Saturday, February 27, 2010
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Friday, December 28, 2007
Pay it forward
They say we can not change the world. True. We can not. But we can at least try to do whatever we can. The goodness and faith in humans aren't that much rare component I suppose. I remember one poem from Shri Robindranath Tagore’s Stray birds.
"Who is there to take up my duties?" asked the setting sun.
"I shall do what I can, my Master," said the earthen lamp.
Does it seem a nice idea ? Well, only if it can be implemented. Three is just a count. But if we really want, we can go for as big number as possible, or may be we can make it a point to live it throughout our life. But, the work should be something real big. It can be as big as giving a smile in the morning to a stranger who looks sad. It can be as simple as patching up with your best friend or your father, who you know love you very much but because of some incident you stopped talking with. It can be as hard as giving your seat to someone who really needs it in a bus. It can be as weird as sharing a part of your hard-earned money with God’s those sons who require your blessings to survive. It can be as difficult as working honestly in our job without taking bribe, without wasting time. It can be as grand as living a life full of Love, Joy, care, empathy so that each moment of your life can touch many known and unknown persons and take a tiny step in making this world a bit better.
Let’s see how we can do it. Make a wish on this eve of new year. Let us start this small movement of paying the good works forward. Let us touch everybody whom we meet. Remember, no man is an island. The very favor which you started can end up reaching you through unknown ways.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Tuesdays with Morrie
My friend Lokesh gave me this book. He wrote some of his thoughts about it after reading the book. As always, I was quick to add few points on his points. Here they are.
I can’t even imagine myself in the same situation as Morrie. If I would have been in the same situation, I think I would have opted for mercy killing. Having said that, I know it is easier said than done and requires a great deal of courage. But may be in that situation, I would have actually got the required strength to make the decision. This is unnecessary pain, both for me and people around me. Moreover, I feel in today’s world no one will be as supportive as presented in the novel. Forget about the family members, you won’t get people even after paying money to do such kind of a job as done by care-takers of Morrie. I can’t live with loosing my self-dignity everyday.
Morrie was shown as a character with great strength and determination. He was facing death everyday but still he was smiling over it. Anyone else (at least me) would have easily gone into depression. But if he was shown having such a great character, his repeated mention of his growing bodily weakness came as a disappointment. The greatest strength would have been shown if he would not mention about it. But again, we humans are not perfect. Forget about Morrie, a normal human being can have moments of weakness. Hats off to Morrie for his great determination and will-power.
Sometimes repeated mention of disease can be seen as the reality which the more he repeated, the more he accepted. There was no point of weakness. The time for weakness and strength was already gone. It was the time for acceptance and prayer.
Also, I feel all the advice and lessons of live given by Morrie are known to even a normal person. But a normal human being is so much entrapped in fight for survival (poor people fighting for basic needs) and world of materialism (next step when your basic needs are fulfilled), that he/she refuses to accept these facts. Everyone gets bouts of these feelings every now and then, but then he/she runs away from it quiet easily.
Life’s greatest lessons are all the simplest. It is easy to have information about it. It is another thing to realize it. We all know that we will die one day. But do we really realize what we are talking about? Do we know what it is to die actually? Do we know how well prepared are we for this ultimate fate? The trick here is to die before we actually die and see the truth that there is no death. Only real knowledge will make us wise, not the information.
I believe, it is not the fault of an individual. It has to do with the way society brings up his next generation. Morrie rightly said, “Make your own culture and give society a damn”. But one in a million has the courage to do it. It is not easy to go against the society, more so when your elders have imbibed in you the importance of following the rules of society and religion. You and I won’t do it. Will you?
There should always be a fine balance of what society needs of you and what you need to do for yourself. It is not to tell that you break laws of society or don’t contribute to it, it is just to say that some things are just very personal. And you should be the only one to decide them. People can help in giving advice but in the end, you should take the choice with your conscious thinking.
There is one sentence mentioned by Morrie.
“People are only mean when they are threatened” and society always threatens them.
Well, society means you and me and others. The society had always existed before and that has not stopped people from being kind or so. There is always all type of people in society. You might have few good and few bad experiences. It is actually not the society, but our perception of society and its interpretation in our mind which makes us think that we can survive here only if we become mean. No individual can live one’s life in true sense if one lives only for survival. We are born here not to survive or threaten; we are born to Love, to care, to understand and to share.
Was Morrie like this before he got diagnosed with this deadly disease? I am saying this because it is more important to learn these lessons when you are in well-being. When a person is fully fit, he gets desires and wishes to fulfill them. Because he knows that he/she can achieve it. At that point of time all these “lessons of life” are easily ignored. Moreover society and family pressures, forces him/her to ignore these lessons. He/she is taught to be mean and selfish, by our society and by our parents. Can’t blame our parents for this because they are also part of the society and moreover they want their children to be successful in life. It’s just that meaning of success is being taken wrongly by them too.
Question above came into picture because some of the sentences in the novel caught my attention. Here are they:
“The day he learned that he was terminally ill was the day he lost interest in his purchasing power”
“You realize that, especially when you are in a time like I am, when you are not doing so well”.
Death is the great leveler. When you know that the race is about to be over and I will be leaving it, then you just don’t run like mad man, but try to complete other important things. We all know what other important things in our life are. It is only that we ignore them with clever argument that currently we can’t afford to put our time in those things and there will always be a time when we will do all these. Well, death reminds you that your time is running out and you should start living in your priority. When you have to choose your priority, you will of course choose those which will mean to you more at that time.
It is always important to learn these lessons as early as possible. But everybody might not be as fortunate as him. He required death to teach him all these lessons. Are we also waiting for something or someone to realize these lessons? Or we can learn it right Now?
~ ~ ~
In the end, one of my favorite lines of the book.
“I heard a nice little story the other day,” Morrie says. He closes his eyes for a moment and I wait.
“Okay. The store is about a little wave, bobbling along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He is enjoying the wind and the fresh air – until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore.
“My God, this is terrible,” the wave says. “Look what’s going to happen to me!”
“Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, ‘why do you look so sad?”
“The first wave says, ‘you don’t understand! We are all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?”
“The second wave says, ‘No, you don’t understand. You are not a wave; you are part of the ocean.”
Monday, November 12, 2007
Radha Madhav temple visit in Korea
It was a cloudy Sunday, a normal fall day in
Come Sunday. Normally a lazy day with 12 hours of sleep. Not today. I got ready by 9 and waited for Yagna. He came all the way from his house to my guest house to pick me up and we went to bus stop. Got a bus for Gangnam and then reached the place where temple bus was waiting for me. I was the only passenger!! Well, I thanked Yagna for taking all the pains to guide me till then.
After getting few more passengers, and enjoying beautiful landscapes, we reached at Radha- Madhav temple. Immediately I heard “Hare Krishna” maha-mantra. Absorbing it inside me, I scanned “Bhagvad Gita – As it is” and read few of random verses. And then we started Kirtan. As we all know, everything has one vibration energy and frequency. If any frequency matches to your basic frequency, Resonance happens. The sound is very effective way of getting that energy. Few sound vibrations can awaken your consciousness and dormant energy. “Hare Krishna” Maha-mantra is one of those. Kirtan has always been a very effective way of sadhana in Bhakti-marga.
nehabhikrama-naso ’sti pratyavayo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat
"In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear."
The speaker told how material success, degrees and money will not be carried over next birth. But higher consciousness, bhakti and knowledge will come with us as chitta from one lifetime to another.
After pooja and bhakti, there is Prasadam. We enjoyed very Satvik prasadam prepared by volunteers. There can never be more joy to eat Prasadam after offering it to Lord.
Return journey was as colorful as our stay there. It became a “Tirth-yatra” bus with chanting and kirtan. Being new to this group, I was asked to introduce myself. I not only introduced myself, but also took that opportunity to sing kirtans of Shri Ram and
There was a question about how will I come back. Well, when you are on a mission, the commander takes care of everything. So, Lord arranged a nice person to accompany me till my place. We had lots of discussions and thoughts on various subjects. When I reached at my guest house, I was exhausted because of journey but my mind was escalated. I had lived one day in
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
A chat with a friend
Tell me one thing. Sometimes it is said that man has no free will. “patta bhi bhagwaan ki icchha se hi hilta hai” . And sometimes it is said that man has free will to choose what he wants to do. How are these two consistent?
there is a concept called Scientific circumstances evidences. When a person says I have free will to do what I want, he is saying that his mind/chitta has found some work to be noble (or due to any other motivation) to do it. He is free to put effort in it. But whether the work output will be according to his wish is not decided based on his effort only. There are so many other factors involved in it.
if everything goes according to his wish he declares it as the result of his free will and if not he declares – it is “Hari Icchhaa”.
Scientific circumstances evidence is the sum of all the other factors involved in deciding fruits of any Karma. God's will is a simpler name for it.
Let’s approach it from another angle.
When we see misery in the world, it is said that though we all are god's creations, he does not force our hand, he has given us free will to decide what we would do. this free will then is a self-causal phenomenon, wherein what we do keeps on modifying what our free will is, in this interpretation free will is nothing but manas(mind) doing work according to its vacillations which in turn causes pain.
At the same time to explain the net effect of karma, it is said that the outcome is not in your control. There is God's will at play. How do the two fit?
These two fit in perfectly. Our freedom is in putting effort. By thoughts, we get motivation to do Karma. This thought pattern is governed by our Sanskara. These Sanskara is accumulated mind impressions of various births. So finally it all comes to mind. where else did we get motivation for doing any Karma ?
You are free to put efforts in the Karma (work) of your choice. but you don't have control on the fruits of that action.
You are active and inactive at the same time. What you are doing in essence is just affecting you. The feeling that it affects the world is illusory. Herein lies the dynamism. That is why things are always in transit, in motion because the whole process is self-causal. You do actions based on mind; the mind gets modified in the process, changing the very trigger which causes action effect modifies the cause.
Yes, this feedback mechanism brings good aspect with it. Mind impressions can get changed due to proper feedback. Pure, unattached work can eventually burn unripe seeds of mind impressions.
Dada Bhagwan has given extensive discourse on Karma. Here are few excerpts from book “Aptavani”.
“human beings act according to their innate nature (prakruti) but merely claim, ‘I am the doer’ and thus exercise their ego. What exactly does one do in all this? What people refer to, as purusharth in this world is really a language of illusion. Things occur and materialize because of your past karmas coming into effect, and to claim ‘I did it’ is subtle pride (gaarva) and egoism. The real purusharth, the true purusharth begins only after one becomes the Purush (Selfrealised). It is only then your belief of ‘I am the doer’ is destroyed. It is the state of absolute ‘non-doer ship’. All that is relative is prakruti and the Purush (the Self) is real. What then is real purusharth? Real purusharth is when You (the Self) remain the knower (gnata) and the seer (drashta) when someone is cutting your hand. Gnankriya (knowing) and darshankriya (seeing) are the only activities of the Self. The Soul does not have any other activities. True purusharth is when the Self remains in the state of the knower and the seer.
You cannot just sit around claiming that everything is destined (prarabdha). If you do, then you become completely idle. The mind will become restless with such a dependency. If this dependency on destiny is correct, then you should not have any worries, but in fact you are the factory of worries. Therefore even that dependency is lame. It is not real. It is not scientific. People in
The mind is like a rhizome. It is made up of many tubers and is very subtle. When any situation arises, it expresses attachment or abhorrence towards that situation and it remains absorbed in that situation. Because of this, a new causal-mind is created, the effect of which is brought into fruition by vyavasthit (scientific circumstantial evidences), and this effect manifests as ‘effective-mind’. Everyone’s mind is different because his or her causal-mind is different.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Ramayana - Yoga Vashishtha and Ahalya Udhdhar
Though Ramayana does not include this part, Yoga-Vashishtha is very important in Shri Ram’s spiritual enlightenment. Shri Ram goes for pilgrimage and gets sahaj vairagya after seeing the apparent reality of the world. This worries his father, King Dasaratha. Sage Vasistha consoles the king by telling him that Ram's vairagya is a sign that he is now ready for spiritual enlightenment. He says that Ram has begun understanding profound spiritual truths, which is the cause of his confusion and he just needs clear guidance. The sage begins the discussion with Ram which is called “Yoga-Vashishtha”. Ram talks about impermanence of all things and shows his disinterest in any Karma. He argues that nothing is permanent and no Karma gives permanent joy. Then why should we do Karma? Guru Vashishtha narrates him various stories and teaches him about science of Karma and more. Yoga Vasistha is considered amongst the most important scripture of the Vedantic philosophy.
Sage Vishwamitra comes to Ayodhya to get the help of Ram for the protection of yagna from demons. King Dasarath reluctantly agrees for that. When Ram is going somewhere, Lakshman can’t stay behind. They have never parted with each-other and he also goes with Ram. The motive behind Vishwamitra’s plan to take Ram was two fold. First, he wanted Ram to come out of Ayodhya and meet common men in their journey. Till now Ram had studied at Guru-ashram and then stayed at Ayodhya’s palace. People really didn’t know him well yet. By going to their place, people got to see virtues and noble character of Ram. Ram was going to be Yuvraj of Ayodhya. He must have jan-mat (people’s consent) for it. This was the first motive.
Second motive was much more important. He knew that there will be “Sita-Swayamvar” at Mithila. Knowing Sita’s virtue and character, he knew that Ram is the only fitting groom for her. So he took Ram with him for this grand purpose. Protecting Yagna was not at all difficult for a Sage like Vishwamitra. If he wanted, he could have done it by himself.
After Ram-Lakshman killed all the demons and successfully protected the Yagna, they got the news about Sita-Swayamvar. Vishwamitra tells Ram that there is a very age old holy Shiv Dhanush at Mithila. They should go there to have darshan of that. They will also take part in Sita-Swayamvara. During the journey, they found Gautam Ashram which was completely deserted. Vishwamitra tells them about story of Gautam muni and Ahalya. As the story says, Indra disguised as Gautam and did adultery with her. Gautam cursed both Indra and Ahalya. Some reference says he cursed her to do Tapas to remove materialistic desires. Some says she was made into a stone. Vishwamitra tells this story and told them that she is waiting for someone. When Ram asked waiting for whose coming? Vishwamitra replied: "One who can uplift the fallen. All know how to judge, blame and punish someone but the redeemer of sin who raises the fallen is rare indeed. Touch of such a great soul's feet redeem all sins". Then Ram touched the stone with his feet and Ahalya got freed.
One may think that Ahalya did not know that it was not Gautam and she should not be blamed for that. However, Gautam muni understood it. Why he cursed Ahalya was because they were living an austere life there. Getting materialistic desires is considered as a setback in their spiritual sadhana. He asked Ahalya to do austere penance in rectitude so that she can come out of her desires. The symbolic meaning of this tale is quite deep.
Indra having adultery with her should not be taken in literal sense. Indra represents our five Indriya and Mind. Here adultery means mind and Indriya took control of Ahalya. When instead of your consciousness your mind runs you, materialistic desires can haunt you anytime. Once our spiritual power becomes weak, any novice sadhak feels the attraction of materialistic pleasures to be greater that spiritual joy. Sadhak gets carried away with it and it requires more sadhana to come back to same stage. Thus, Gautma muni advised her to do more sadhana and went for hermitage.
The symbolic story that she became a stone says that she took all the Indriyas inside her such that she became as inert as a stone. A materialistic mind always reacts. A stable mind watches. A Sthit-pragya Sadhak has all its Indriyas in control of oneself. One can then see how mind plays all the tricks in making you believe all that it wants. Ahalya was doing this sadhana for quite a long time. When Ram comes to meet her, she met them and realized that her penance is completed. She might have had some satsang with Vishwamitra and Ram-Lakshman. Ram was embodiment of love and wisdom. By the touch of him, Ahalya realized that she has become pure now. She then left to meet Gautam Muni.
Ram-Lakshman started for Mithilapuri along with Vishwamitra. Their fame had already reached there. People of Mithila were eager to see the princes who conquered demons and transformed Ahalya from a stone to a woman.
Jay Shri Ram !
P.S: Watch episode 5 online.
P.S: Watch episode 5 online.