Terrorism in India

Yesterday's terribly saddening shootout in IISc, Bangalore campus killing an innocent Professor from IIT, Delhi (Prof Puri) and hurting others causes one to ponder so... isn't any amount of humanity alive anywhere?

There's no use in fighting borders
When the enemy is within

There's no use in smoothing edges
When the sculpture is loose

There is no using in tying knots
When the rope is burnt

There's no use in counting steps
When the direction is wrong

Another chapter of history

Yesterday, we were having our usual cafe' talk and from somewhere it went on a serious topic of India's history. Its a very sensitive issue to discuss since most of it drifts into religious debates and hate speeches. But while keeping into limits, we touched upon the various invasions of India and whether there was some benefit left behind by any whatsoever.

Not getting into those details, the talk went on to mean that all of the opinions are subjective perspectives, so we refer to historic books. Prasad made an interesting point at that. He said that history was written by people who had the strength. What this strength means is anybody's guess! I agreed and went on to say later: tradition is what keeps the true history alive.

Food/drinking habits

Someone said brilliantly:

aye kAzi peene de masjid mein baithkar
warnA aisi jagah batA jahAn khudA na ho

For all, it means the same thing, but most stick to one *side* of the meaning, while the others cross over. Well, I crossed back. Why, one may wonder. Though I have personal reasons for crossing back into tea-totalling, here's more to it...

The above shaayari justifies drinking for most in that it doesn't matter if they drink even in the presence of the Lord since the lord's everywhere! However, that means that one should not drink anywhere for some, also since the lord's everywhere! People pick their own paths for whatever conveniences; I picked the latter.

I've been with people who followed ekaadashi-s to the core. I've followed quite some myself. On ekaadashi, or other upavaasa-s for that matter, some starve, other devotees stick to eating fruits or no rice, etc. Once I asked an Iskcon swami why so and he went on to explain that raakshasas get into the dhaanya-s on that day and therefore it has to be avoided. Well, maybe he couldn't explain it well or he didn't know it well. I used to go around collecting info while there to see if I was on the right path. I wasn't, but that apart. People give up onion, garlic and stuff for some reasons on particular days!

A simple practical reason for all this is pretty neat: onion, garlic, etc are taamasic, in that they are aphrodisiacs. Upa-vaasa is basically staying-near (God). In doing so, one must try to be as near as possible. Since the mind is a monkey and jumps around, people went on to be physically around the idols of deities trying to meditate or do some religious kaarya. In doing so, the least eaten the better for reasons of time available as well as concentration. All other stories were built around this fact. Unfortunately, like all times, people tend to stick to stories than morals!

Why I went around ekaadashi narration is because here's where the drinking meets it. Giving up drinking on some days or a month of shraavaN is no better than *following* ekaadashi-s. They might bring in purity for a day, but thats that. Moreover, the idea of "I gave up" brings in more harm than it does good. Religious followings need not necessarily have to do with spiritual ones. Spirituality demands one's being absorbed in the self at all times, religion doesn't. Religion has to do with mahA- and upa-pAtakAs, spirituality doesn't. Still, to me, that I didn't drink, eat or do something on such-and-such a day or at such-and-such a place is tomfoolery since Ishwara is sarvadhi sAkshi bhutam. This means that no one can hide and sin! :)

As an aside, Ramana Maharshi said something to the effect that forgetting the self is the biggest sin! Anyone here who isn't a sinner then?

And the truth died away

The lie always has its way
And the truth dies away

Its simpler to choose the masses
Than to fight the society's races

To be tied from the sweet chains
Than to walk through a million pains

To point fingers unto others
Than to give them a hand

To turn down arguments with wry
Than to pose a shoulder to cry

To backstab a kind friend
Than to walk together till the end

Thus the lie won over again
And the truth died away

History repeats itself

Its interesting to know how history repeats itself and still a person has no control whatsoever over it! Many a event in life are deja vus. A person with a foot-in-the-mouth disease will have it till he dies. He'll keep on blabbering all over town being hit badly, stabbed mercilessly again and again... and yet again stabbed, until he's safe in death's arms.

His prArabdha follows him to his grave... nay... leads him so. Such learning from faults is not for mortals; only one who's conquered death can do so. Why else would one be born endlessly and forget lives of misery? I heard a ghazal yesterday that went:

zindagi se baDi sazA hi nahi
aur kyA jurm hai woh patA bhi nahi

So very true! I don't take the depressing meaning of it. But not one soul here knows what he's doing. People just take ownership for everything that they come across, give lessons to others and not learn anything! We all do that... live for an era, at most, and then die. As Ramakrishna said once, no one's interested in being a student, every one wants to tell others what to do. I, for one, stopped that last year, but thats not good enough. I stopped probing into people's lives, even of those who I care. Its got to be other way round too... I need to stop talking altogether.

As once a wise man said: no good deed ever goes unpunished! Every man for himself is the way of life. Neither a lender nor a borrower be applies not only to money and stuff, it must apply to advice too; it must apply to any sort of sharing; it must apply to everything that there could be. Let people live and die not caring for others... thats how it was, is, and thats how it will be; thats how its meant to be. We live in a society that laugh at other's handicap, that throw stones at madmen and are full of evil. An act of helping done as an act of help, is a favor done, is done for a selfish reason and is done to mean so. Its mean. People who *do* help others don't exist since they are never in the limelight, they never will be and will never claim so!

I concluded something more in the very recent past. All my life I've come across people with holier-than-thou attitude. They may well be so; I don't deny that fact. But its too much to let another's heart bleed for that reason, even more cruel to be the reason for it. That links me to another set of eternal questions: who decides that a war is fair? Who decides that its perfectly alright to kill a huge army of people just because they love their motherland? Who decides the motherland boundaries? Why?

Eat, or be eaten?

Next life, perhaps! Perhaps, never!

ghaTiyantram punah punah

Puzzle addiction

In the past, I've been through IRC addiction. That had long since vanished, but has resurfaced in other forms like some frequent mail exchanges and google talks recently. Most of it has been due to a puzzle-solving addiction that I got hooked on to last Thursday night.

This KlueLESS stuff was good, seemingly inspired from Notpron. What I learnt in this episode of puzzle-solving is that I couldn't focus elsewhere much! I took a break on the weekend and continued Monday a little and finished this morning. In this year, there have been puzzles that were sent as fwded exe-s or the Crimson room and some other similar thing that I'd to solve, but this one was brilliant.

Right now, I'm staying away from notpron in a wait mode. My work needs to be done and another addiction might well cost me my job :) In all fairness, notpron is way out of my league!

At their feet

(Someone had asked me "Who's you Guru?" and from nowhere I replied "Ramana, Shankara & Sridhara are like Dattatreya to me". I was pondering over that later but what I wanted to say is that it hardly matters if your Guru is (seen) different from another's, as long as they're enlightened. Since according to shruti, brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati and thus, all who are enlightened are but that one brahmaN! In short, there's no Ramana, Shankara, Sridhara, as apart from each other, or Dattatreya. Looking forward to Datta jayanti & Sridhara jayanti tomorrow, here's something I scribbled some weeks back. )


To the masters who have trod the path
and to all those who have left their marks

To them who have shown the way
and walked with us, night and day

To those who have opened our hearts
and united our lives full of split parts

To those who didn't leave us in our worst times
and brought bliss to our troubled minds

To those who washed our deepest sins
and drove the attached fears to the bins

To those whose feets are doors to knowledge
I bow, submit and walk the sword's edge.

dattArpaNamastu

Similar minds

A 9-pointer test gave out:



... while a 45-er gave:



Incidentally, when some of my friends were about to gift me a book, I guessed it to be Mein Kampf, while another online test had told me that I'm an Einstein. Either its too eerie or all tests suck or both :)


(There's something common between Hitler and Einstein according to the conclusion on Einstein: your ideas will save/destroy the world! :)

Commenting removed

Unfortunately, due to some sick whackos and freaks spamming my blog with all sorts of their hate comments, I'd to remove the commenting on my blog. They've used their blogs to spew venom against my posts. I'm taking the back seat following this post; ignorance is bliss.

People who know my email id may kindly use it to send me comments henceforth.

And finally...

... my last few months at work have gone to a little more than few. That is, from Feb/March time frame, I'm moving over to June/July. This date was worked out after a chat with my boss, who feels that the company as well as I will benefit from pushing the stepping out around then.

My co's win is floating the SR (staffing requirement) next fiscal instead of the current one and my so-called work-contribution till then. Seemingly, it also gives them a good time to locate a replacement.

My advantage is a plan for some cash-in-hand, the tax implications thereof, a place to stay and other personal/ family issues to sort out before I can realize my zero-income plan!

All in all, it may also be their hope that the longer I stay, the more chance of my reconsidering the decision too. Good lord, I hope not!

More blessings

Yesterday, Swami (Sathya Sai) came in my dream and materialized a necklace for some doubter, who was stunned looking at Baba with his eyes sparkling!

Later on, he materialized something else (maybe vibhuti) for Prashant Bilgi, a friend of mine who got me into visiting Sai, and four very small Shiva lingas for me (one was white).

Surprisingly, he had short hair like Nisargadatta Maharaj and spoke Marathi with me! He said something to the effect that "don't postpone your saadhanaa for later, start immediately".

Bhagavan's blessings

I enter an old dusty temple in some hope. Ramana Maharshi is sitting just inside the sanctum sanctorum facing some deity! Bhagavan turns to me. I can't help but notice the contrast between his dark skin and his short grey hair; as if I know the contrast between his body that we see and the Self that he is. There's a plate outside with a lot of coins, with a few five rupees ones. I break the silence and say to the Maharshi "No one stole" as if the money belonged to me from my drawer in office. Ramana puts a five rupees coin kept in front of him next to the plate and immediately I react by saying: "I know thats the one..." (nodding, as if I knew it was the money he carried when he left home). He nods back!

I know from somewhere that Ramana's leaving the temple and wants me to meditate there (or something!) I'm reluctant and seem to think: "How can I even think of being where you sat before? Give me some blessings" I can't control my feeling and fall flat at his feet in a saashTaanga. (the bystander is thinking "why him?!!!") My head touches Ramana's feet and I expect something to happen. Something does happen!

I feel some energy enter my skull from his feet and move down my spine. All's blissful. My body shivers! When this energy meets my kunDalini halfway, it forcibly pushes her down all the way to the mulaadhaara. This part being painful, I yell out loudly. Bhagavan seems concerned at the end of it and pantomimes me to look at him. I look into his eyes; in fact I focus between his eyes, on the third eye! Soon a blissful feeling flows from him that wakes me up! End of dream, I'm wide awake, no more pain.

I wonder whether to get up. I wonder what the dream means. I wonder if I should meditate, cry, look around for Ramana's picture. I do nothing. I lie still. I decide to sleep on; only that I can't. I pick up the cell to check time: 0411 hrs. I see an alarm set for 0600 hrs. I say to myself: "I'll sleep more". I still can't. Its guruvaara.

[I freshen up, look at Ramana photos, write this dream down, lest I forget details. Soon, I open Paadamaalai and at some page I see: The Self is upaadhi-free]. ramaNaarpaNamastu

What more, now?

These days,
  • I can't start my day at work before 1100 hrs !
  • I can't feel myself at office after 1800 hrs!
  • The hours between those go by without the work getting done.

My office needs a break from me, plain simple fact that my boss refuses to see!!!

Sad cafe

Today, I was listening to the following songs:

Still loving you -Scorpions
The sad cafe -Eagles
Winds of change -Scorpions
The girl from yesterday -Eagles
You & I -Scorpions
Best of my love -Eagles
She's always a woman -Billy Joel
Love will keep us alive -Eagles
Lying eyes -Eagles
Peaceful easy feeling -Eagles
Everybody hurts -R.E.M.

Some theme, eh? :)

Hats off to Eagles. .. what a song: The sad cafe!

Oh, it seemed like a holy place,
Protected by amazing grace

And we would sing right out loud,
the t
hings we could not say
We thought we could change this world

With words like "love" and "freedom"

We were part of the lonely crowd

Inside the sad cafe
...
Some of their dreams came true,

Some just passed away

And some of them stayed behind

Inside the sad cafe.
...
The clouds rolled in and hid that shore

Now that glory train, it don’t stop here no more

Now I look at the years gone by,

And wonder at the powers that be.

I don’t know why fortune smiles on some

And let’s the rest go free
...
Maybe the time has drawn the faces I recall
But things in this life change very slowly,

If they ever change at all

There’s no use in asking why,

It just turned out that way

Ad infinitum

This is a world of infinities, or should I say these are infinite worlds? We all have known how one person can't see the same color depth as the other sees, or how no two people perceive the world exactly the same and we've experienced how thoughts go ad infinitum too. Today, I realized another thing. The time I was experimenting with desirelessness, I was asked "isn't it also a desire to be desireless?"

That time, I knew it to be a trick question, but didn't have a convincing answer beyond calling it (much) lesser of the two crimes. Now I know it more. I know that my answer to such a question is also ad infinitum. Consider this: I say that the desire to be desireless is not a desire, but a person who is desireless doesn't want to be desireless, he just doesn't even want the desire to be desireless!

Here's a quote I phrase to this thought: The world is only thought-deep.

vAsanA-s

What are vAsanA-s? They're, at a very basic level, known to be occurrences from memory. However, this memory is not a memory of things done, seen, etc, in this life alone. These are associations over numerous lives that have found a root to settle down to. They're the sediments, or some sort of concentrate that mixed with other things in life bring out the essence of the past experiences alive!

vAsanA as a Sanskrit term is derived from the sense of smell. Its talked of in scriptures with an example of a cloth retaining a flower's fragrance after coming in touch with it. Very similar to this, when a person knowingly or unknowingly does, thinks or says something, it immediately commits itself unto the person as vAsanA. As such, over a period of many a lives, the likings of a person will have made it as strong vAsanA-s, only to recur again and again and growing stronger. Its a vicious circle that makes living-according-to-the-past a natural process. Yes, they make a kaarmic binding by forming knots. Its easy for a vAsanA to drag a person's senses into even shunned experiences just like a dream lion can scare a person even after waking!

The mind is shadowed by these and the impurities make it opaque to such an extent as to cover up the Self that shines, and making it impossible for one to believe that there's anything apart from the body, mind, intellect that makes a person! Such is its hold. Its akin to the dark clouds covering up the sun upto as much an extent as to not let know if its day or night!

... and so passes another life!

gurucharaNArpaNamastu

Fighting for survival

Its well-known that a lamp's wick burns faster & brighter just before dying out! That is the lamp's way of saying "I'm dying, please help me out here!" Anyone willing to oil it up again can do so then. Similarly, the mind tries to yell out that its dying, if you try to ignore its cravings. Paying heed to such a cry is resurrecting the vaasanaa-s!

One should know that the mind tries to play all sorts of tricks to get back its food. It survives on vaasanaa-s. Not feeding the mind so, its bound to die. No matter what. It may still sip on and live weakly, one's not knowing. This is what is called as manolaya, meaning hardly any activity as if the mind's asleep. manolaya is also one of mind's trickery at work trying to voice it as if its dead. Someday later, it might just start off living on old memories or mostly in dreams. This is where Ramana Maharshi points out the seeming end, thats not to be. One needs to go beyond this stage and see to it that the mind goes over from manolaya to manonaasha, the latter being the death of the mind in the heart.

Till then, its just ghaTIyantraM punah punah: the neverending fight of the mind... for survival!

Life's reversal

( This was written in Sept, but published today)

aham brahmaasmi

(The 1st, 3rd & 4th stanzas were written in early Oct)

I am the light that shines
I'm the life that rhymes

I am the air thats breathed
I'm the space thats sheathed

I am the goal you seek
I'm the bliss you peek

I'm 'tween one & the other thought
And in me, they'll be driven naught

I am the Truth that is Self
And the only one you need to delve

Close encounters of the chat kind!

Before I start talking of my long pending account of chat friends, I'd like to confess that I've a bad memory, more so when it comes to names. So I may end up missing out someone whom I have chatted with a lot and who'll come back and haunt my memories while driving or other lonely afternoons. In that case, I may kindly be excused by them.

One of the reasons that I decided to blog this in these days is because there's a good chance that I'll never get to meet these nice people again! On that sad note, I'll jot down these friends, in no particular order, as they occur to my mind... (unless otherwise mentioned, all are from the room #pune on talkcity)

Gaulee taai:
Her real name being Gauri and who would talk like a kid many a times, leaves me
no choice but to call her Gaulee. Whenever addressed by her second name Shringarpure, she would say: "purey" as in "atta purey". She's the sister I never had, who's settled in US with her hubby Pandu and a cute li'l son, Adit. I attended their marriage at Blore with Niks and we still await to see the photo of the four of us clicked together. Gau, any luck scanning yet? ;) I've had the best talk with her. Gau's the one who was always herself on chat and gave a realistic picture of life-after-chat and how things will never be the same as they seemed on chat! That although we all knew, some would've had a difficult time to digest post-chat days. I didn't have much luck to capture this camera-shy friend since she was always the one to hide behind someone else during clicks. She also holds a title I coined for her Max Muller followings, that she lived up to: German Queen :) I still can't believe that we talked so easily on chat, but couldn't exchange more than a hi when we actually met first at the Pune Mega Meet! Gau was able to guess my voice years later when I gave a surprise call to her during my UK visit. Hats off. There was an earlier time when G claimed credit for having guessed what book I sent her on receiving a parcel on her bday!


Blee:
Mayur Pendse, "blee blee blee", is what I remember addressing him. He was one of the famous ones on #pune. Settled in US, married now and runs an insurance business, I guess.

Niks:
Nikhlya, 1976 trademark, another of me in terms of laziness. Thanks to this common habit, we didn't meet more than a few times even while being in Blore. Most of these meets were courtesy Anjaan's company who sent him on trips to Blore. Sometimes I feel that this is the only reason that Anjaan was sent to Blore! A busybee with his network management coding, Niks has, since a couple of years, been able to find time for his stage acting. I've been fortunate enough to watch his two performances, but thats all the time we had then that day. Before marrying recently, Niks was at Blore and I believe he's still here.

Nk:
I missed out nk, sorry, due to Niks name overlapping Nk's, both being Nikhil! Okay, nk's another cool chap of belonging to my thrice calling names on chat: nk nk nk. Later, I moved to calling him nkya after I habituated myself with the ya suffixing work. Another guitar player, or I recall he learnt with the chat folks, perhaps Srini. Nk's also been a badminton champ and a good piano player. I've a pic of him riding the bike that I clicked when I was pillion riding another bike, both in motion. This was during the mega meet. We hadn't been in touch for a quite long time till gmail made us exchanging emails again for a while! Nk sourced a gmail account from me; well, back then gmail was beta and I got lucky getting a few extras.

Oasis:
I guess this guy was studying in Singapore, when he made a trip to Pune for the mega meet.

Laraa:
I remember laraa, Laxmi, had two dogs and was quite a favorite on chat. I remember wishing her a few birthdays after the chat days.

Ramu:
Coded official tea-guy on #pune, perhaps by my sick jokes on "Ramu, chai la". I met him once during the meets.

Aj:
Vivek Gupta, ajnabi, to whom a lot of people are thankful for founding #pune, including a few couples that were made online, was last known to be addicted to work at Veritas, Pune.


Damit:
Damtya, Amit Dharwadkar, the biggest PJ master, not only in quality, but also in quantity. He has to his credit of being made it to the group's abuse phrase "haa damit hota" on someone's cracking a PJ. Sorry Damit, I hope you don't mind me saying this ;) Damtya has been a great contributor to all that was organised in the name of #pune from many a megameets to small Vaishali/Rupali hangouts. After many days of chatting, Damit and I found out that our dads knew each other from MGM hospital days. When we got this info, I was still at MGM then. Damtya spent some years at Bosch, Blore, when we met a few more times, before he moved back to Pune a few months back to work for Deutsch group.


FV:
Damit's cousin, French Vanilla, Amrit; my hand
still hurts when I think of his hi-fives that spread across more than my palm, or anyone else's for that matter. He always came up with some colorful UI on chat when he logged into the room. A Java freak at heart, its no wonder that FV made it to some game company in US.

Anjaan:
Sharadya, anjaan dada, who's in Hyd with a company that unknowingly sponsored lot of his #pune meets not only in India, but in US too! .


Shonalika:
Shona, at Blore, loved lollipops and actually asked for orange flavor on chat. I recall she was in architecture.


Sachin:
A tending-towards-US fella, who ended up coding at some high-profile defense projects in US, who once in a while throws a "namaskar saheb".


Nilu:
Lost him in US. We spoke a couple of times during his visits to India earlier.

Smd kaku:
Swati kaku, who moved from Canada to US some years back, claimed Canadian beer as the best. She was lively on chat and even when she made a trip to Mumbai. There, we landed at her place after some meets at some restaurant in Dadar West. Anjaan, as usual, made it too! That evening, Shardya and I planned to talk over drinks and Swati kaku joined us. We were worried that it was getting late, but smd seemed cool until we, mostly her since we escaped after dropping her home at almost midnight, got blasted from her dad.

Srini:
A well-known guitar wizard, many people don't know that this guy and his guitar were actually siamese twins ;) We talked much over phone when he spent a few months in Bby. However, his routine needed him to practise playing even on phone. It was fun talking with him listening to his music, until one day he vanished and I ended up talking to his aunt, with whom Srini was staying. She told me that he'd moved back to Pune. Funnily enough, when I said, "Oh, I didn't know; he didn't call me or anything", she went "He hasn't even called me after going back to Pune". Well, that was our Srini.


Keanu/Nilesh:
A very good short-time friend. We met twice but we gelled so well that he shared his bad times with me. Unfortunately, I even stopped hearing news about him these days. Years back, Nilya ran a (hacked account) cybercafe and we all were, at some time or other, guilty of gatecrashing there to surf for free!


Mount:
The #pune stud who makes bold comments always. Our first meeting at Dadar is still remembered by Damit and me at times. Ameya was seen with a paunch overlapping his gym-physique during his GRE days. Immediately past this, he spent a week to flatten it! Quitting CA after his MS, spent some time with a startup and now, Mountya is with Bloomsberg. I still remember feeding him with an answers to Bansri's game questions "Which animal do you like?" and "Why?" He bought them and said "Rabbits" and "Because the taste good!" That was some fun.. Bansri was wild at him! :)


Bansri:
Baaaaaaaansri, in a high-pitch, would this short kid yell while introducing herself. One of the rarest named girl ever, she used to attend many a meetings.
She would always say "Why do I need a nick? I've a good name". I remember travelling with her to Pune on the mega meet.

Ion:
Posing him a "positive or negative?" question invariably has ion answer: "ion is always positive". We were mostly the first ones to arrive at meets. My memory refuses to recall his real name.


Gotya:
An NCST scholar, who spent most of his time being modest, has the experience of running a company, before venturing into deep waters of security, insurance and Saudi projects, all at once! Gotya and I've fought over AMIETE issues whenever we met and none of us changed our point of view, ever. He'll be furious to know that I quit AMIETE for good, for my reasons! Then again, I'll be quitting everything for my reasons! Anyways, after knowing his plans in Saudi, those insurance and security interests make much sense! :)


Sens:
Smriti taai, who made it a point to send her graduation pics, follows my birthday by two days, but is much younger than me. Most of us have spent meeting many a hashpune folks at her house in Prabhadevi. She's settled in US now with her husband, a kid and her dietician role. I've had the pleasure of shocking Smriti taai on phone twice during my UK trips.


Mams:
Mamta, always seen with Smriti is also in US with her hubby and kid.


Sunbeam:
Smita, called me guru and herself shishya due to my all time blabbering, perhaps. She's the audiologist who could be completing her PhD anytime now and is settled in US. We mostly spent chat time, humoring each other out.


Hary:
Coolhary, Harshya are the names of this dude who's working in US now. I don't remember chatting with this fella, but we met a couple of times.


Punekaru:
Amrut, a thums up, Linux and Hariharan fan. I always called him pUnekarU or something like that. He didn't want to go to US, but spent a year on an Indian job there. I've heard that he refused to take a mega-paying job by the US client, reasoning "I want to return to India". Hey Amrut, hats off to ya man. We need more people like ya. I didn't have a chance to meet him past our chat days, even when he tied himself to a Bangalore job a couple years back!


Angee, Cindii:
Always known together, thought of together, talked of together, sisters who've hosted many a get togethers at their beautiful flat at Dadar. Aarti, I guess continues their father's business while Angee is a a groundstaff with some international airlines.


Pixya:
Pixu. Major Pixar fan. Always colorful, always fun, great chap, always ditching meets, in short, always himself.


Bags:
One who hated being called pishvi, was last known doing her MBA at Symbiosis, Pune.


MM:
Madhura Maideo, another sister online, whom I recently googled out and contacted. She told me that she married a couple of years back and is settled in US. Boy, she hated being called "dhaakti" and used to yell back "mothyaa" against my prefering "thorlyaa"
:)

Monaa:
The sweetest kid I remember whom all loved online. This Chennaite now misses idli sambar in UK where she's giving finishing touches to her internship at HR dept in some co at London or maybe she has a job already.

Maddu:
I haven't chatted much with maddu, maddixit, Varsha, but have met her a few times and talked over phone. An MBA, who has tried out more than one field of work. I guess she used to work with her brother before she took up a job with Wipro (was it? Well, I could be wrong)

Zp:
Zp, oft mistaken for zilla parishad, but actually zweet pea, who talks in shortforms such as VM, JB, JM, that I guess stand for Vande Mataram, something and Jai Maharashtra. For that something, my guess is as good as anyone else's (except zp's). As one may know by now, zp is in the habit of replacing all s occurences with z's, zooner or later.


Shilpa:
If I remember her name correctly, I went to her house once for giving/collecting a book
.

Vaiju:
I only remember her frequent :Ps

Nitro:
We didn't chat more that we spoke on phone. I don't recall his name right away, but he's known to be a guitar wizard. Last I heard that he too moved to the US.

Appu:
I remember he was doing his MS and was also a favorite #puneite in US.

psk:
Another #pune frequenter who slowly reduced his frequency and one day vanished into US to resurface one fine day on the #pune list.

A paki girl:
One time chat with this paki girl helped me conclude that Pak has some great set of people who share very similar peaceful feelings as Indians.


Honeybunny:
One of my favorite americans, who has a family of seven. Her kids are just too cute, all of them. I lost touch with her since she vanished from her mail id. Ms.Willard's husband used to chat as TPM, the piano man. I hope her youngest kid Elizabeth is doing great. I still remember the day when I chatted with HB, while she was still at the hospital, after Liz underwent heart surgery as a kid of less than two yrs.


Ronny:
This one e-mailed me one day when she was admitted due to her handicap causing some trouble. She was bedridden for a few months and we exchanged emails in her broken English. Although, I didn't remember chatting with her at all, she clearly did. Most often she talked of social service. She too vanished one day without a trace. I hope she's doing well.


Gita:
I don't remember her nick or name, so I'll just call her Gita, a befitting name for her. A dentist at Blore, who ran the (bhagvad)gita room.


Ajay:
#india friend, who hailed from Delhi. Totally lost this chap.

Other servers/rooms:
Something to do with spiritual readings, I used to hangout at this place that had one of the most lovely people I came across. How they helped each other out to wade through the death of near and dear ones was touching.

One more server, where I used to chat with a kid who was an Indian in LA, my memory failing me. But she was definitely a lifeguard at some children's swimming pool.

(I reckon another reason for blogging these could be that I've been looping through all ten seasons of F.R.I.E.N.D.S lately, a series that comes second only to M*A*S*H. The third fav is definitely Seinfeld. I know this has nothing to do with my chat friends, but I can't help listing MASH when I talk of favorite TV series anywhere :)

Th... th... th... Thats all folks!!!

More on time

Earlier, I expressed a little on how time is another illusion created by the mind. Here's more on it, where I'll try to say how I think a realized might feel about time.

All of us must've come across or atleast heard of crazy workaholics who can think of nothing when they're working. This is a good disease to have; its like meditation. All that meditation helps us achieve in its early stages is to focus on one thing. So working of this work-maniac can be seen as a karma yogi's way of meditating! It may not be difficult to assess now that this person, who knows nothing else around him while being under the burden of getting things done, would not know how time passes by him. So s/he is quite oft heard saying "Oh! I didn't realize it was midnight already!" or "I don't know how the day went so fast; I've so much to do still", etc. These statements occur to that person when someone or something interrupts this fellow's work. S/he may not remember what s/he ate over lunch too or even so, skipped lunch altogether. This is the most basic example that I came to when thinking of how a realized relates to time. Think of this, but a zillion-odd times more indifferent to things around!

So when a person is engrossed in the Self, realized, how can he know time? For him, the time doesn't exist, just like any other thing.

Time: another illusion

Today, I woke up with some thoughts about time, and slept thinking over it, missing alarms perhaps, till being woken up by a telephone call. I'll try to gather here what it was that made me conclude some more things on my conviction about time being an illusion (as much as space is!)

Well, think of a project schedule or students working on something. Everyone has a similar capacity to do stuff, so it should actually take the same amount of time if two people start working on the same thing. However, we've seen that that almost never happens. Its easily concluded that one guy is better off than the other in that particular task. My viewpoint is totally different here. Why couldn't it be that both may have actually taken the same "length of time quanta" but both have different resolutions of it? A scientific approach to justify this nonsensical statement I made is that when one travels away from earth, time slows down! Ah, that seemed perfectly acceptable, didn't it? Why, God knows! The reason is that the time's slowing down as the spacing increases from earth is because time and space both are illusive creations of the mind!

So what happened there when these two individuals worked on a 2 hour task, eg, is that both perceived those two hours differently. Their own interpretations of those two hours that came by their minds' resolutions of time were different. Mind creates an illusion of a time factor as a part of creation. Each one has a different *belief* of time. This is the reason that project schedules fall apart, students fail, individual achievements vary, major govt plans fail too, etc. Why else would everyone need a clock each, put in sync, if everyone's interpretation of time was *understood* by the mind, in sync?

There's one more example I've used in past that strikes my mind now. Suppose you're habituated with sleeping & wake-up timings of 2300hrs and 0600hrs, respectively. Say one Thursday, you slept at 2300hrs & woke up at 0600hrs, not on Friday, but on Saturday! (forget the pathology you have, hypothetically it happened). Will you ever know without others (humans or things) telling you that you lost the so-called 24 hrs of your life? Ever?

Justice

Wow, today's headlines of Saddam's trial brought back memories from my arbitration at an earlier job. Of course, it was nowhere closer to this one and it would be a gross mistake comparing myself with Saddam, but I'd rather say that I'd like to compare US to the arbitrator or other party in my arbitration. I'm refraining from mentioning the name of the company here since I've high regards for it, except for a bunch of fools who ran the division I was employed with.

It was a joke, biggest ever I've practically faced. Of course, I lost a lot of money since they'd a private PF and stuff, but then writing off the monies was better than standing those stupid people. I still remember the first arbitration (the arbitrator himself was the second party!!!!!; yeah, I didn't know much since I was kind of a kid back then) meeting where my lawyer put the arbitrator in his deserved position... well, I can't use bad words, but you get the hint, right? :)

Okay, these were the interesting moments:
Arbitrator: I'll assure you, Mr. Bhat (my lawyer too was a Bhat) that I'll take an unbiased, fair, decision.
Lawyer: I'm sure you would, but let me tell you this. The decision should not only be fair, but it must also appear to be fair.
Me: (thinking, hah, you're screwed, Mr. Arbitrator :)
Arbitrator: Aaa, Uuu.... huh!

The words in italics are precisely what today's headline story carried, about the human values associations' voicing about Saddam's trial! Kudos.

satyameva jayate

A different math

Raghav's quoting "1 -The only member in the Advaita’s number system" brought back many a memories from my satsanga earlier. I was prompted to think that this 1 as Rags calls it, actually means infinity in advaitic math, if I may call it so. Why it is so is that any number, any formula, be it addition, subtraction, multiplication, division or any complex equation, in advaita, the result equals one. The only way this can happen is if this One is complete. And so it is. Its pUrNamadaH. Its infinite. It includes everything that there is. Consider numbers 1 and 2. Between these two integer numbers, there's a whole lot of infinite decimals that can occur. Actually, these too are a part of the One in advaita since that one is infinite.

There's further shUnya look to this math as I recall from my satsanga. Ghabri-ji had a very interesting viewpoint: shUnya can't be described inasmuch as infinity can't be! Any increase or decrease of shUnya leads to a value thats non-shUnya. It tends to be 1 or -1 then. Lets analyze this: if one tries to assess and understand shUnya, it ceases to be shUnya. When mind starts off its rest, thats shUnya, it ceases to be the Self that it is. It slips from its infinite position that sees shUnya and then rolls off into tending to be 1 or -1 and then there's creation! Ah, the beauty of the complexity made simple.

I understand that shUnya actually could be infinity, except for missing an identity of purNa! I mean that shUnya is the viewpoint of infinity. What nirguNa brahmaN witnesses must be shUnya since there's nothing that there is apart from it, that which is infinite/ purNa!

Inferring consciousness

The other day, what occurred to me on consciousness is something that I'll *try* to express with a basic (read "stupid") example: Consider yourself in a pitch-dark, huge, empty room. You can't see a thing, feel a thing, etc. None of your senses tell you there's anything out there, except for empty space. Now, one has to conclude it to be a *void*.

When this void is experienced, similar to what may be experienced in many a spiritual path, one might err to conclude that its a big void. But if the focus is clear that one who's experiencing the empty room out there is the one and only *consciousness*, then its like inferring that, at this stage. One may call that by any other name, but in common parlance also when one says s/he is aware of things, eg, when coming out of fever, shock or coma, the inference is one's *consciousness*. All words have this basic limitation when it comes to expressing any experience. While many a thing are beyond even experience, how can words describe brahman or logic infer tat tvam asi?

I am...

Ramana Maharshi taught self-enquiry as a means to self-realization. One of the main methods he suggested is to enquire "Who am I?" and holding on to the I thought till the I dies off in the Heart and then abides as Self.

Of course, it sounds simple and had it not been for the monkey mind, it would have been so too! Well, the unfortunate part is that this is not the only problem that we all have with Ramana's direct path. Most of the people have understood it to be one or more of the following:
  • Ask "Who am I?" continuously.
  • Ask "Who am I?" and wait for an answer from within.
  • Keep on repeating "I am" mentally.
  • Focus on the "I am" and search for the I (or lead the I to find who the I is).
  • Be as you are, while focusing on the I/I am.
My understanding is that the last two may be closer to what Bhagavan's teaching is. The mind is a bunch of thoughts and to focus on the I thought is as difficult as any other path of jnaana. As Maharshi said walking the path of jnaana is like coaxing a bull with a blade of grass. That sounds about right, even in any beginner's understanding of trying self-enquiry, any which way!

Now what is it meant by focusing on the I thought, in each thought? Although Ramana's teachings came from his experience, he himself said that others found out the same to be inline with Shankara's teachings on advaita vedaanta. Yesterday, I was trying to analyze this particular aspect of self-enquiry with what little I know in the traditional advaita. Advaita tells us that the seer sees the object that is this universe, to start with, because the mind goes out and takes the form of any object that is perceived. Trying to draw parallels with what Maharshi says, when we think of any person/thing/whatever, the former being the subject and the latter the object, a thought goes out and takes the shape of that object and we wastingly live the moment so. Our focus is drawn to the object instead of the subject that is I. I'll try to express this in better detail, bringing in day-to-day examples:
  • I woke up: The inference here should be that "the I" woke up; woke up from sleep? So was the I sleeping? If I was sleeping then how can I say that I experienced a bad sleep or blissful sleep? So is it I who slept or the body that slept? It has to be the latter. Then who is this I? So this is the I-thought that I need to hold on to here.
  • I'm freshening up: The "I am" of "freshening up" can be held to and thought of as who is this I, but I deviate here to explain my advaitic understanding. The unstill part of the mind that assumes the shape of the objective "freshening up" takes the still part of the mind thats I (according to tripuraa rahasya). So when one makes the statement "I am freshening up", the "doing of the action" of "freshening up" is what is understood by us, generally. But if one rightly sees it as it to mean that I have *become* the act of freshening up, then the statement means something else, while still reading the same! Thats what happens. The mind takes the shape of the the objective and becomes it, while doing so dragging the I along with it!
  • I'm taking a bath: Similarly, *I* becomes the act of taking a bath and so "I am" equals "taking the bath". And so the others like:
  • I'm dressing
  • I'm eating
  • I've to go to work: I (am the one who has to) go to work. "I am", and so I, becomes the act of going to work.
  • I'm driving: as taking a bath.
  • I'm working: as above
  • I'm asking "how are you?": The mind goes out to become the speech, and the action of actually asking the question here.
  • I'm talking lots in the meeting: as above.
  • I'm thinking: A recursive activity here thats a big stumbling point in self-enquiry. I think that I'm thinking... and so on. This is mostly what happens when the mind fools us that its into self-enquiry while slipping us a thought that its thinking!
  • I'm sleeping: The most peaceful thought that can occur when one is in deep sleep. This is a contradictory one, in the sense that how can the mind and enquiry be active in sleep, but one of my most favourites. I always had a strong feeling that the deep sleep state is very similar to the realized state, except for ignorance. Gaudapaadaacharya has a similar explanation as per my understanding. If one can enquire in deep sleep, so to say, it could be quite fruitful.
In all of the above, subject can easily lose the focus and become the object. If the mind's dragging the I into name and form of the object is understood, it should be comparatively easy to negate that in theory and focus on the I-thought as the only one in practice!

ramanaarpaNamastu

avidyA

avidyA has been thought of to be nescience that overlaps the real and creates an illusion of universe, ishvarA, etc. As per my understanding avidyA that is due to mAyA cannot be unreal, in the exact sense of the word. Since there is nothing other than brahman, its quite difficult to understand how mAyA can exist as a separate entity and overlap brahman for the creation to occur. Even so, if mAyA is not different from brahman, then it would cause other absurd conclusions.

Now, there are examples such as mAyA reflects brahman and that is what results in this creation. I've extended a similar example for understanding why brahman is not clearly understood in the veil of avidyA: a dark cloud covers the sun to such an extent as to make the sun disappear for some time; the cloud, during that time, is quite clearly visible. However, were it not for the sun, the dark cloud itself wouldn't have been visible! To summarize in a statement: the sun lights up the dark cloud for it to be visible and cause the sun to be veiled! This is precisely what mAyA does. mAyA cannot have a separate existence from brahman. But due to mAyic avidyA, one can't know brahman.

Another thing I notice in this example is that once the sun is seen and the light focussed upon, all that one can see is light; nothing else is visible. That is to understand that once brahman is realized, one can't see anything else without actually seeing brahman.

brahma sathya jagan mithyA jIvo brahmaiva nA parA

turIyAtIta

Earlier, I used to be unsure about what turIyAtIta meant, against turIya. When turIya itself is beyond the three states, it could be confusing to understand what can be termed beyond the fourth! Here, I'll try to express my understanding.

While the three states are:
  • waking, experienced by vishva, represented by a,
  • dreaming, experienced by taijasa, represented by u and,
  • sleeping, experienced by prajna, represented by m,
the turIya is, literally, "the fourth", thats represented by the ardha-mAtra. The fourth is actually to be used only in relation to these three states, else its meaningless. Thats the reason that this state has no name, per se, and is called the fourth. What turIya actually depicts is the natural state of existence in all the three states and hence is beyond the three states, while still including them!

When one looks at understanding turIya, it is still turIya. But once *in* turIya, none of the three states exist; in which case, usage of the term turIya is rendered meaningless. Then, all thats left is the state that was earlier termed as turIya; thats the state when no individuality of soul(s) remain(s) and there's only aikya... ekameva advitIya brahmaN..., considered beyond the fourth: turIyAtIta.

ramaNArpaNamastu

Silence and advaita

Even kids know what silence means at some level. When there's lot of noise around due to kids, parents and teachers tend to say "be quiet" or "silence, please". If you look at what this silence means, its quite clear that its the silence of words; as in not using any words. It doesn't take one to "do something" for being silent. If a person says "I'm silent", s/he's broken the silence; s/he's no longer silent. At later stages, silence means more than not talking.

If this simple lesson is compared with advaitic moksha, one wouldn't ask: what do I need to do to get moksha? There's nothing to *do* to get moksha, there's only a series of *undos*. Thats what is termed as neti-neti in advaita parlance. Strictly speaking, undoing something is also doing something in the same way as thinking "I'm silent" is not being truly silent.

So what is this undoing? Its undoing of bondage. Its undoing of false superimpositions. Its undoing of "I'm the body/mind/intellect" concept. Its undoing all the learnings that views brought us from childhood. Its undoing of "I'll believe only when I see" belief. Its undoing of the idea that there's something to do. Its undoing the difference in everything. Its undoing one's own ego. Its undoing of cycles of births and deaths.

ekameva advitIya brahman

Always in the wrong

All my life, I've been multitasking. While it has brought me happiness and whatever it is that I have today, its not what I aim for. Now its time to switch tracks and focus on one thing, not because I want to do different from what I did till today, but because I'm incapable of doing anything that I've been doing till now. Moreover, any activity of mine now takes amazing energy and focus to get done, or so I feel. If I focus all my energy on doing one thing, it'd rather not be what it was till now, since I know them to be meaningless.

So God, I ask for strength, courage for me, my family, relatives and friends... and while doing so, submit myself unto you; thou are the only light. With that, I know that no matter what I try to do, all that is going to happen is what you intend to happen unto me. Still I'll keep on trying to do what I think is right, and not trying to do what is not right. There's no point in asking for blessings since I know I have your blessings, like all do!

Part-time saadhus don't get enlightened.
--Dr. Poy

And here's my first step taken today to correct that: talking to my boss about quitting my job.

athaatho brahma jijnaasa

Strong impulses

Out of all the desires, it is said, God made the sexual impulse or the desire to procreate the strongest, because he wanted his creation to continue (forever). I feel that one of the reasons that this impulse is so strong is because its the cause of birth: the root cause of maayic bondage!

The very reason that one thinks s/he's born makes one think that s/he'll die, and then, everything between the two events inflict pleasure & pain. It may be one of the reasons that brahmacharya is thought of as an essential components in the spiritual path that cuts bondage. Having said that, what is aimed at as a first step itself is to cut through the strongest desire. Once this is stabilized and perfection in brahmacharya of deed, word & thought achieved, it no longer remains a first step. The seemingly ardous first step in the mountain foothills is itself scaling the mountain peak. Yes, thats the summit.

Thats one of the main reasons that brahmacharya means *celibacy* on one end of the dictionary and "being absorbed in brahmaN" at the other. These definitions would no longer remain as separate; they would unite into one advaitic meaning of brahmaN.

brahmacharyaat naanya upaayam

Wife as a mother & sister

I was just thinking around two days back about the relation of man and woman, in various forms, how they differ and why still, they're same at the root. I was thinking of blogging about it, but some more things happened then. For one, I've a call from Arunachala at Tiruvannamalai over this weekend. For another, after knowing which, the first one will make sense is that I stumbled upon a story thats linked at the end of this entry.

What is a conicidence is that I find something common between the story & my thoughts I mentioned of earlier. I was thinking of how a wife is different to a man than his mother or sister? Oh! it seems like a stupid question... does it? Read on. But for some cravings at one level for a short period of time between the two, there's nothing different in a married relation. A mother, sister or wife is equally a Goddess at other times. Perhaps, thats why Ramakrishna worshipped his wife always. Maybe, today we can't relate to such things, even as Sw. Sivananda talked of maintaining brahmacharya within marriage and of wife being a sister or mother after the birth of a child.

Even if we leave that part of a Goddess, leaving the sexual attraction for a short period in the entire span of married life and even in the earlier phase, small durations of actual sexual relation, the wife cares for her husband as a mother does for a child and the husband cares for his wife as he would do so for his sister. So from my angle, I feel that if sex is ignored, the married relation is no different than the other two. If this is understood, it should help us see what Ramakrishna and Sivananda talked of. Another way of looking at things is seeing the relation at three levels. First and the most basic level is where people see the relation as a mere sexual relation. This is, lets say, the body/mind craving each other. At a subtler level, the relation is similar to a brother-sister, mother-child relation. At the subtlest level, it is advaitic, wherein, the husband, wife, mother, sister, all are but one.

And now, its surprising that I'd to stumble today upon the story about Arunagirinatha... check the first five paras, atleast. It really made me cry.

yaa devi sarva bhUteshu kaamarupeNa saMsthithaa
namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namO namaH

God, let it be

There was a time when I would
Have thanked you for what I feel
That phase has long passed
Or so I thought it to be

Do you have a better plan
That you care for me to know?
Before its too late and
I've no other place to go

An open door hasn't helped
No, its not the way I face
If that door closes on me
I won't even feel the ache

Even if it waits with open arms
I may wander away, don't you see?
Not returning to where I'm now
Or elsewhere 'morrow I may be

These feelings aren't meant to last
I know they're momentary
Hope you've chalked a route
Leading to where I want to be

I've fallen from your grace
But you too know why that is
There's this whole lot of karma
That I need to do away with

Its not at all my doing
Even if there're times I seem to please
I still come back to right things
Haven't you always seen?

So many eras have passed
But I still think you don't care
If you did, I'd know better
Than to blame you all the way!

If I can't do any good
Should you mean to make me fall?
As I try to remain unmoved
You get me to face them all

No past nor future I seek
No present I wish you gave
I'd rather not get to begging
Even if you want me to crave

There's always been a thing I asked
Maybe its against your wont
Why then bring things from my past
And build bridges I've burnt?

Tea totalling

In the past few months, I've tried to get addicted to smoking, vodka, rum, beer, chocolates, icecream, junk food, etc, all that failed; but I ended up tea totalling. Yes, I'm the idiot who carries tea to work! People carry lunch, snacks, all sorts of books, etc. I carry only tea & myself! Our cafe serves more than 10 different types of *beverages*, but all of them are taste-spoiling, health-reducing, name-sake drinks, aged so that you *beaver away* :)

--a thankless engineer

Vacationing: Car vs bike vs walk

I'm sure all know that this argument would never end... its like one man's food... still my two cents follow :)

I took a trip in the Himalayas driving ex-Delhi and trekking too, but I felt the car helped only to get all the cartons of baggage across, save us from rains and accomodate us due to lack of hotels & tenting ground in crowded cities. Its alright as long as our aim was comfort.

Bike would have pleased us more as Robert Pirsig clears in Zen & the art of motorcycle maintenance using the analogy of watching a movie vs acting in a movie, I recall.

But I realized something more from the Himalayan trip. Driving is pleasure, yes. Riding is more pleasure, its a given, for me. But if trekking is the aim (of course, I would want to ride a bike in the Himalayas anyway), undoubtedly hitchhiking, buses or even wandering on foot between places (given infinite time :) are my choices. The reason is that in Himalayas, you tend to get stuck between landslides; more so during the rainy season that I chose to travel! With a car, or even a bike, its impossible to pass across these roadblocks; moreover, you can't even park & leave it midway on the highway. Personally, we would have made it to Gangotri and even Gaumukh, if we didn't have a vehicle: car/bike. The argument extends further to hold more water without motorable roads!

Haversacks are a big issue especially when not packed properly, if trekking is a plan. I'm not sure on the comfort of riding with a haversack on, between points. I like to ride lightweight. I'm sure frequent bikers know better.

There's no way out!

Yes, "there's no way out" is what I think sometime almost everyday now. This knot of the heart is too complex and deep to just snap out of. At this stage, I imagine I may've mentioned earlier too, its difficult to go back, but looking ahead doesn't seem too easy either. For a moment, I stand lost not knowing the past, not knowing the future... and thats not all, I don't even see where the present is!

I'm in a deep state of shock where living itself is a lot of effort. By that, I mean working, eating, sleeping, everything seems like too much of an effort. Nah, its not sheer laziness as one might think looking at me. It just seems futile, a showoff, a drama, maybe I can't even express what its like anymore. For example, imagine yourself at a movie theatre; how do expect to enjoy the movie when all you can think of is the white screen? Watching the movie becomes too much of an effort, doesn't it then? How then could anyone actually expect you to not only watch the movie and enjoy it, but factually relate, narrate and convince others to watch it.

My fear is that I may have really gone mad already, according to these worldly terms that I've myself lived once, for long. Every day, I convince myself that soon this misery will end somehow. I don't know how thats going to be possible. Its like not having brakes in your car and driving down a hill. You can't switch gears to reverse, you can't park and step out, but you've to go with the flow in the car till the road turns into a flat or an upslope... or God forbid, you hit something. All you can do is to try to hold on to the steering so that you don't accidentally jump off the cliff!

Looking back from the future

This is my first, and maybe last, try at fiction! :)

(Scenario: The questioner meets Phaedrus in some kind of an asylum)

Questioner: Hi! How are ya?
Phaedrus: I'm alive, thanks.

Q: So how long have you been here?
Phaedrus: I don't know.

Q: Your blog tells us that you checked-in here sometime during 2006.
Phaedrus: Maybe its so.

Q: What happened?
Phaedrus: I must've gone insane. Atleast I felt my going insane then, now that I recall.

Q: Could you be more elaborate, please?
Phaedrus: Some time during that year, that you mention to be 2006, it was already some years that I'd begun disbelieving in the existence of the world. That made it quite difficult to live by the norms laid by the so-called society in this dream world; the work, friends, family, relations, etc. And...

Q: And... ?
Phaedrus: And later, I decided to quit all this.

Q: What do you mean quit?
Phaedrus: I left my job and tried spending some time with my family to ease their pain. I took up a school teaching job for a while.

Q: Teaching what?
Phaedrus: Some sort of stuff. I don't recall. Perhaps, it was more than some stuff, like all sorts of stuff. I did blabbering more than teaching. Maybe I lost my job there due to it.

Q: Oh! So?
Phaedrus: Then, I took some more spiritual trips that I'd been taking, settling down in Himalayas for a few months. There, I felt that the crowd wouldn't reduce anywhere and people were flocking around into these *spiritual* places like anything. Thats when I decided to stay alone in some goddamn remote village.

Q: Then what happened?
Phaedrus: I did that. I spent time in a village.

Q: What did you do there?
Phaedrus: I mostly read stuff and scribbled on to blogs and pieces of paper.

Q: For how long?
Phaedrus: I don't know.

Q: How did you land here?
Phaedrus: I don't know.

Q: You don't have the slightest idea?
Phaedrus: Not really. All I remember is that I used to read & write stuff as I said. I grew vegetables and fruits for food and mostly survived on that. My health, people say, took a toll, due to irregular schedules! Later, I remember that even this eating, reading, writing, etc felt much nonsense and a lot of effort. So I just used to be.

Q: Be?
Phaedrus: Yeah, be... as in surviving.

Q: Ah! So what do you want to do next?
Phaedrus: What I've been doing for a while... BE.

Q: Ah! I think you're at the right place then. Thanks for your sharing nonsense.
Phaedrus: Oh, you're welcome. Thanks for dropping by in my dream. Ta.

On the back seat

The hunger that died
The thirst that quenched
Needed no food
Nor water that rained

Whats it that lives my life
I know not even to this day
All I thought wasn't true
This isn't even near the way

A way that leads me to the Self
The self thats never hungry,
Or thirsty, the one that lives on
Unattached to the senses' robbery

The years that went
Are no longer binding
They're neither to help me
Nor stop me from finding

This search is beyond time
And its over the space
I can take a back seat
For its no longer a ratrace

The Selfish Creation

I look in the distance
And all I can see is me
Is it not because
There's no I and Thee?

I close my eyes
And I delve within me
The world disappears
Then I know I'm free

Who else paints my dreams?
For those too are centred around me
Thats a whole new creation
Just as we all now see!

Adi Shankara


Adi Shankara
Originally uploaded by bhatpraveen.

Some time back, I'd written a poem on Adi guru shankaraacharya. Today, I've a photo to associate to my poem about this immensely great, unparalleled guru and ajnaanagraasakam brahma.

dhyaanamulam guror murtih
pujaamulam guroh padam
mantramulam guror vaakyam
mokshamulam guroh kR^paa

Obeisances to jivanmuktaas

I can't even imagine the greatness of any jivanmuktaa who put forth ideas on self-realization, made the path, showed the path, blessed others to follow and cleared the hurdles in the path for others to walk smoothly! As Sw.Vivekananda once said that no one should think of own moksha before every living entity around is realized!

Even with a little taste of the path, I feel myself to be incapable of living this life, let alone "doing the prescribed duties"! It seems like the weight of an elephant laid on a horse's back as Bharata once seems to have told Rama describing his state when the former was to rule Ayodhya for 14 yrs! The state is quite similar. Every day, the way Bharata would miss Rama for 14 yrs and pray to his paadukaa is akin to the way I feel counting each moment of each day, missing and praying the source. I'm not sure I'll be able to live on for 14 yrs at this pace!

So having realized, someone pulling the Self and binding that heart's knot again for the welfare of others is beyond my selfish understanding. I can only guess the amount of effort needed to get a realized Self into the body, mind, intellect complex and still remain at bliss. Nisargadatta Maharaj said that the body knows how to react and live on its own, even without the self being involved. I can only assume that this is obvious for a jivanmuktaa and as Adi Shankara says that such people only live in this world for the welfare of others, if not a wandering monk. But I'm in such a state that I can't go back to my karma, nor can I lead myself ahead on the spiritual path. I'm in a trishanku avasthaa. As of now, I don't see a way out of this trap. I'm not even in a thankless position to say if the earlier ignorant state was better or not. These are the times that I've heard to have been reached by a pilgrim as seemingly written in the pilgrim's progress. The depth of this state is not measurable by me or someone else. Its like a pitstop, where neither do you see the road before, nor the road ahead; the weather clears up only as long as you move on, else you're stuck. So, I'm stuck, helpless and have no pointers whatsoever. All my dependence right now is on so-called time and prayers to jivanmuktaa-s. Else, unfortunately, its clearly an atheist in the making!

ajnaanatimiraandhasya jnaanaanjanashalaakaya
chakshurinmiilitam yena tasmai shri gurave namah

Life's an oxymoron

What I follow gives up
What I give up follows

What I seek I can't get
What I've I don't want

What I know is of no use
What I don't know is valued

Mental renunciation

"Mental renunciation, thats what gItA talks of when it says that one needs to give up the doership feeling" is what I hear many a people say. I try to understand what they mean.

Clearly, literal translation of the gItA vAkya means what these people say. But is that really what Krishna means? Consider "mental renunciation". It should mean, when I do anything, I should do it without *any* association *whatsoever*. When I associate myself to the act, it gives rise to karma and karma binds. Regarding this, Shankara is very clear when he says that karma and jnAna can't go hand in hand.

Lets hypothetically see this as not doing karma by disassociating oneself from the doer's ego, thats mental renunciation. For a person who can't renounce physically, is mental renunciation going to be easier? I'm not saying that a person who has physically renounced will not have mental associations. The gItA clearly denounces such a person as a hypocrite. But I personally find the physical renunciate to be in a better position to mentally renounce than the physically active, trying to be a karma yogi. This, I've concluded.

When a person tries to live in the same world that he's trying to renounce mentally, he reminds himself all the while that he's not the doer. Its like nAmasmaraN. This goes on parallel to the actions that he physically performs, but thinking that he's not the doer. He puts in efforts in all his might, atleast as much as he used to always, but this time with no expectation or anything such. This parallel activity continues for long. Somewhere during the time, a small loss of focus on this nAmasmaraNic activity due to the depth of seriousness of task at hand, or say forgetfulness, or oft likely vAsanA-s, give rise to ego! Ah, there's your trap. Then its a downward spiral, is it not? I do agree that it is doable, and that one can snap out of these momentary pitfalls if he's well aware, but I've judged that its so only for an advanced practitioner of the path. Else, its as was.

Raama naama

माझ्या मुखे राम नाम 
सुख दु:खे राम नाम 
काम नाशन राम नाम 
असो व्यसन राम नाम

माझे घर राम नाम
दिव्य स्वर राम नाम
माय तात राम नाम 
अज्ञाने  घात राम नाम

मनि बुद्धि राम नाम
विद्या सिद्धी राम नाम
देही निवास राम नाम
श्वास घास राम नाम

कर्म धर्म राम नाम
कारणी कारण राम नाम
ब्रह्म लोक राम नाम 
गीता श्लोक राम नाम 

जागता झोपता राम नाम 
जगता मरता राम नाम
वेद सार राम नाम
मोक्ष द्वार राम नाम

Kaama navhe, Raama


क्षमिसी मझ कामा , मनी राही एक रामा 
तुझी नव्हे हि जागा , स्वप्नी हि रामच जागा 
तुझ्या सावलीच्या अंधाराचा हि करी नाश 
माझ्या सुर्यानारायणाचा प्रकाश

jnaanam naasti gurum vinaa

One can't get knowledge without the guru. Thats what the subject means. Now, there have been people who argued that the guru doesn't need to be an external entity to oneself. Agreed, theoretically at least. The examples have been the great personalities of Ramana Maharshi, Sw.Ramakrishna, Sridhara Swami, etc. Well, Ramana did consider Arunachala as his guru, but lets keep that aside for a moment. Also lets sideline the fact that Ramakrishna walked many a paths being guided at each following. I'm also unwilling to ignore that Ramakrishna spoke to Kali every moment. Even forgetting that Sridhara kept Ramadas Swami in his guru's position. But... but, do we really need to say that we're akin to any of the above? If so, you may not even be reading this nonsense I write here!

So, a guru is needed. Be it in any form that you yourself are willing to accept and submit unto, at times arguing in order to learn. This requires one to sideline one's ego and accept that the guru would only do good unto him spiritually. Its a mandate, be it unwritten if you may. The guru's features have also been mentioned. He has the capacity to take one across the darkness of ignorance so that one may see the light for oneself. He makes the most complex brahmajnaana simple to understand. Take Adi Shankara... the beauty of his following words makes you wonder the utter simplicity of it all:
shlokaardhena pravakshyaami yaduktam granthakotibhih
brahmasatyam jaganmithyaa jiivo brahmaiva naa parah


("What crores of scriptures have to say I'll tell in half a stanza: brahmaN is real, the world is not-real, the individual soul is same as brahmaN, not different")

Amazing, simplistic beauty, incomparable... all that there is to know is here and now. Thats the importance of a guru. This is what a guru does to us! The dumbest of the students need understand this... the guru comes down to your level and pulls you out of the clouds of ignorance into the clear skies of the sun rays.

The guru I talk of is a spiritual, self-realized, brahmajnaani, nothing less. Any other comparison to teachers of academia or religion are of no further use in adhyaatma. Why? A reason is that anyone who's not a jnaani, can teach others only bookish knowledge. Putting it to use is left unto you, that you yourself alone are incapable of handling! Rather blunt, but true... thats the reason one's after a guru in the first place. Okay, let me accept, still, that one can make use of the shruti teachings even from an unrealized teacher.

There's one beautiful analog that I'd particularly like bringing in at this juncture to make a point how important a guru is. One may have learnt all the veda shaastra-s or all that there is to learn but still jnaana *won't* surface without a guru. Consider the ladle in the paayasa (kheer; a savoury dish) being/already cooked. Its in the paayasa all the while, is it not? Still, does the ladle get the taste of it? jnaanam naasti gurum vinaa.

ajnaanatimiraandhasya jnanaanjanashalaakayaa
chakshurunmiilitan yena tasmai shri guruve namah

Decide what you want

The so-called "people on the spiritual path" are always looking for something else. They go on reading many a leader, in their eternal search, not following one thing. They confuse all paths and mix up and do something on their own accord. Then they go on to make arbitrary statements quoting many a different path to make you see their point. You give in.

Its one thing to say that all roads lead to God, and quite another to walk as many paths. See, if you decide that you like one path, why not walk it instead? A good example of this sort of a thing is mixing up of neo-advaita, zen and nihilism and concluding that what all of these mean is advaita! Another classic example is to say that Sw. Vivekananda talked of four yoga-s, following any means the same. Then yet another would be to quote Ramakrishna and say that the paramhamsa said that saguna and nirguna mean the very same! More than some times have I heard people randomly quote Ramana or Nisargadatta that there's no one to search for, no one to liberate, etc. Or Jiddu Krishnamurthy, for that matter, to say that there's no guru needed. My recent readings of UG Krishnamurti also brought a new angle for this posting. So here, I'm going to try to say what I understand by these paths myself and where they lead and why mixing more than one can have disastrous results! I'm not saying that one path is better than the other. Its quite subjective in the sense that what you may be looking for may be different than what I might be having my mind towards.

Advaita's moksha: Shankara's moksha, led unto by adhyaaropa-apavaada, followed by neti-neti, with shravaNa-manana-nidhidhyaasana on shruti vaakya-s, is being one with nirguNa brahmaN. Only jnaana can liberate and any other path has only purificatory value.

Dvaita's bhakti: Madhava's moksha means being in the eternal bhakti of the lord at Vaikuntha, reached by naamasmaraN and the like.

Ramana Maharshi: Enquiry is the direct path to get moksha because any other path will finally reach you at the question: who am I?

Nisargadatta Maharaj: He believed in his guru's mantra and reached self-realization. There's no causality and anything exists so because everything exists so, be a witness to everything.

Buddhism: Momentariness of everything, nihilism. Do not believe in Vedas; advocate meditation as the basis and lead one into Buddha's silence.

Jiddu K: No guru is needed to liberate you.

UG Krishnamurthy: No path, no gurus, no moksha. The (no) state is where the question and the questioner are the same. No one can do anything about it. Its something that happens, no one can give you anything, no one can get himself anything. Looking for eternal bliss is delusion.

Whats necessary now is for one to decide if s/he really thinks that all paths are same, much less, lead to the same goal! Can we see now how futile is the exercise of walking multiple paths, with mixed up ideas, at the same time? It may be opening a new path with unfounded ends, if thats what we're looking for!

gururarpaNamastu

Miracles

Yesterday, someone talked of Swami Sivananda's miracles. What are miracles? They're trump cards to attract people, to put them on the path. On the other hand, they're side effects that benefit the devotees! The greatest miracle, as Sathya Sai seems to suggest, is love.

I've seen that the eight maha-siddhis are given too much importance by some. They don't realize that these powers are traps in spiritual progress. I'm reading The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho and a lot of miracles are written about! I might comment more on the book once I'm done with it a couple of days down, but overall its average, still interesting and of course, the nice fable-styled writing of Paulo can't be ignored.

Back to miracles, over the past many years, I used to be impressed by Maharshi Mahesh Yogi's flying yoga or Kundalini powers, not to see & read about, but I wanted to *get* those. Not of much value, but it seemed interesting... a kiddish academic interest. Of course, the former's FY also has a lot of peaceful effects on the universe, but I was purely interested in the magical experience. As of now, I don't know if I want to spend the valuable vyavhaaric time in such meaningless play; I always feared the traps. What if I get addicted to those powers and such? Not that I would make bad use of it, but what if I just get indulged so much that I turn a yoga-bhrashta? (Someone even had told me that in my past life I was a yoga-bhrashta. All the more reason then, to stay away :) Someone asked Nisargadatta Maharaj once about the miracles that happen around him. He said that the questioner or people around see them and he denied that he is *doing* those. "Miracles happen".

Holy Waters

I finished my long postponed trip what started as a small plan of just Rishikesh, expanding through Gangotri-Yamnotri-Rishikesh, to a full-fledged Mussorie-Yamnotri-Gangotri-Gaumukh-Rishikesh. As fate had it, we couldn't make it to Gangotri/Gaumukh, but only 50kms earlier, due to a series of landslides following an earthquake. Here's a brief account of happenings (and a long detailed one, I hope, would follow sooner than later; till then check the snaps):

13th a'noon: Flew Blr-Bby.
14th morn: Flew Bby-Delhi.

Here, we met...
The men: Sriram & me.
The machine: Hertz's Maruti-Suzuki Esteem (diesel).

14th morn-night: Drove Delhi-Mussorie.
14th night: Camped in the car at Mussorie... didn't get a hotel.
15th morn-even: Drove Mussorie-Hanuman Chatti.
15th even: Taxied Hanuman Chatti-Janki Chatti.
15th night: Trekked 2 kms and tented en route due to rains and slippage.
16th morn: Trekked to Yamnotri, found a hidden hot water stream among the cold water gushes, had a cold & hot water bath!
16th a'noon: Trailed, Taxied, drove to Uttarkashi.
16th night: Camped in a hotel due to diesel issues & barrier on the ghats. This hotel, next to the Ganges had a beautiful view from the balcony.
17th morn: Drove to near Gangneni, spent half a day stuck due to landslides.
17th eve: Drove back from near Gangneni, but got stuck amidst fresh landslides.
17th night: Drove back to near Uttarkashi & camped in the car.
18th morn: Drove to Uttarkashi, checked into the same hotel for a brief rest.
18th morn-even: Drove Uttarkashi-Rishikesh.
18th even-20th morn: Stayed at Sivananda ashram, Rishikesh, had great satsanga, took Ganges dip on 19th & 20th.
20th morn-even: Drove Rishikesh-Delhi, got lost in Delhi after visiting MLBD book stores & had a wild drive to Hertz/airport in order to not miss the flight.
20th even: Flew a delayed Delhi-Bangalore.
20th night: Hit the sack.

That thought

That thought, follow that thought, out there
Tells me a thought, trapped in a thought or two
I miss many of these, not knowing who started who

Where do I get led from here I know not, its true
I've tried over and over, reaching nowhere
Knowing still, staying just here, I shouldn't dare

I haven't a clue what becomes next of me
Wasting every moment I believe in my days that go
Waiting for the dark tunnel to end up in light, that must show