Why we love a thing, animal, person or God is beyond our intellect’s vision. Such love doesn’t care if one has seen, met or known the other or not. It doesn’t care whether one gels well with the other. It doesn’t care if such relation brings benefits or losses. It doesn’t challenge any faiths. It doesn’t expect anything. It exists for its own sake. That love is true love that doesn't change even if the thing breaks, the animal bites, the person hurts or the God doesn't answer prayers! Its neutral, without any qualification whatsoever. Even trying to describe such love is polluting its purity.
That a circumstance, inclusive of people and surroundings, formed around me for me to react emotionally is karma. How I fell into such an emotion is built over ages. For things we see and have the power to analyze, we termed as habit; but same habitual history that cannot be traced across lives (sometimes traceable in the same life), they termed as karma.
Logically, we may question it, but do we have answers to why a child cries when a certain thing is taken away from it while the other child doesn’t? Do we know why a person grows up with a certain set of likes and dislikes of things without even those being exposed for him to form a habit? All psychology aside, we do not know it for *sure*. So instead of shooting in the dark, “we do not know” is the proper perspective. The same karma is easily understood by mathematicians and statisticians, when applied to inanimate objects, as “law of averages”, while moralists sing “I believe in karma, what you give is what you get returned”.
Many intellectuals have tracked this thought back to the source and realized that the unknowable will always remain unknowable! That I’ll know the unknowable is an ego that thrashed on its way still not being able to get to it. Others have submitted themselves to the unknown by falling weak in this helplessness. To them, the secret opens up. That acceptance of helplessness is the power that melts the god to show the infinite for the devotee to merge into.
yasya deve parA bhaktiryathA deve tathA gurau
tasyaite kathitA hyarthAH prakAshante mahAtmanaH
Thereupon, the moon begins her dance
Of virtue and sin, night and day
The Self, witnessing, in its own trance
The moon watching the sinking soul
Hides in Shiva’s hair, whole
The jiva, making its own ties
Takes up numerous births and dies
Realization being the only goal
Break up the unworthy troll
Lighting the jiva, wiping the cloud
Hear the pranava, clear and loud
Ah! The Self, rising like the Sun
Stops the world on the run
Instead, I tried to measure this happiness hypothetically and concluded that its equivalent to a millimeter away from madness, if the sea level is sanity and Tapovan is the start of insanity J
om tat sat
When a spiritual aspirant tries to dissociate the body consciousness, Prakriti causes many a changes to tie him up in the body. These changes mostly appear as laziness causing lethargy to act in the beginning, for example. Later on, when one rejoices the laziness, it makes a person to act by changing the circumstances drastically and suddenly. A person unprepared for changes in his slow moving life gets a shock and reacts accordingly. That’s a pull of consciousness into the body. Other times, a sickness that one does not bother for causes Prakriti to attack routine functioning of the body, at times vital too. Swami Vivekananda’s body was said to have met its mortal end through a vital bodily disorder. My understanding of the matter is that brahmacharis who are succeeding in ignoring the Mayic traps of lust and other attachments are bound to face similar attacks from Prakriti. If one succeeds in even ignoring these things, his progress drops down to a frustrating crawl or even to a feeling of time standing still! Having found patience to be the key, the sadhaka moves on. At which Prakriti poses various games in the mind since the weaker mind can definitely kill the spirit. These arise as fears, doubts, regrets, etc, in the waking hours or if not so, the attack continues in the dreams or sleep from which one finds himself woken up at odd hours of the night and such make-believe stories taking their hits on the mind in the waking state!
The struggle continues still.
sridharA neene kAyappA
As I write this, more of its meaning has struck me, so I’ll take a detour to mention that lest it be forgotten among my weak memory waves. I’ve been struggling among the people I didn’t want to end up with, especially during my stepping into my sabbatical. Its been one thing after another since the past four months that have taken away the key to the treasure trove I’m hunting: patience. Although I knew it, I’m losing the key every day in an event or two, with always and immediate after-thought of momentary regret! Similarly, the health’s toll too has caused a lot of pondering and a feeling of being tied-up among the circumstances that I cannot move out of, even if wanting to. The quote yells out to me that here’s my lesson: the thought that I’ve lost pace or so many months are lost is wasteful, since even these are washing away my prArabdha, in a way. So, that’s the tapasya of some hidden form and that’s the penance that must suffice for now till new doors open automatically! Otherwise, I’m just being cruel and thankless towards the God who’s all-loving and neutral; I’m also being greedy to ask for more than I deserve!
Returning back to what I wanted to write about initially… what (else) patience does. It works absolute wonders for a person who’s trying to go within. Circumstances that test the patience of a sadhaka provide and opportunity to question reactions. With such questioning over a period of time, one realizes that the surroundings wouldn’t change whatsoever. Its like breaking one’s head on the wall, unless one tries to neglect the conditions in totality. This neglect leads a person into silence, which is what one is targeting in meditation anyways! Aha! The key’s found, treasure’s now just a matter of time.
You’re the sound of silence
Heard with immense patience
The smell of mud
Like flower within the bud
The taste of water
Like milk having butter
The heat of the fire
Amidst the mind’s ire!
The touch of the wind
Like a healing hand
The sight of the sky
Like life that will never die
Last year, this time around, on Datta-Sridhara jayanti, I was at Bangalore and spent the first half at Vasanthapura at Sridhara Swamiji’s paduka mandira. Today, I’d initially planned to go to Varadahalli for a similar darshana and prasada, but that was not to be. Even a visit to have paduka darshana at Ramatirtha nearby got shelved. I wasn’t even able to do my routine puja today! As my earlier self, I would get frustrated with such happenings and beg for grace. Today, however, I can feel the grace even in such seeming denials. Why, I can’t really say, but I feel so; nay, I know so. So, I’m going to write something about how I want to exist now, henceforth!
Let me start with a prayer or two to my most beloved guru, Sridhara. Why I say most beloved is because I know Shankaracharya from only his writings and others’ writings about him, Ramana through such and his video too, but Sridhara through these and people who’ve met him, heard him, touched him, lived with him and moreover, through his voice! Perhaps, I say this (also) because I feel it more today through his grace on this special day of his jayanti. It’s a bhakti-bhaava.
guru dattAtreyA shripAda rAyA
narasimha sridhara guru rAyA
namaH shAntAya divyAya satya dharma swarupiNe
swanandAmritatriptAya shridharAya namo namaH
What I wanted to talk of today, is how is the existence today and how it should be! I’ll, for some reason, say the latter first. The existence must be childlike, not childish of course! A child gets something and loses interest in it as soon as the next interesting thing comes to it. That is, it’s a moving interest if it may be called that at all. It doesn’t remain stuck to any one thing for a long period of time. The so-called interest in a particular subject or object, for a child, is for interest’s sake only. It’s a different matter that it learns from it and uses such data later on, gets attached, and grows on to be an adult like us, totally tied up and bound to all sorts of things, good and bad. But suppose we draw a line just there as to the child’s interest for interest’s sake, or better put, child’s doing something for no particular reason but only because it needs to be done (eg, for others like parents, relatives, etc). That line would define how I would like to exist: existence for existence’s sake in this world. Its not a negative, lost-everything, kind of outlook towards life as *many* might feel, since within, there’s an entirely different world, full of bliss. As long as this bliss continues, there’s nothing wrong in what is happening around… I’d merely be a witness. Again, to me, it’s a positive thing.
Next, how life was until now: the childhood is a living for others, according to others, not knowing anything, learning, not learning, right or wrong, most of it being visibly circumstantial. Later, a stage comes where we *feel* we live for others, or even as if we live because others live for us! However the case may be, we do make plans for tomorrow, losing today, exhausting ourselves in a bandwidth that’s beyond our catering! Having done that, lost and fixed health, we age and then on, our (over-grown) family feels our burden since we, even if not a burden, expect them to live according to the terms that we’ve defined lifelong. (This may probably be one of the reasons that Vedas declared vAnaprastha Ashrama, wherein a person is expected to leave his family behind, at most, taking his wife along, for children to live on their own terms). We do not remain happy and contented with what we have achieved by then and want more from life, materially. We have got attached to people and things we built around us over the entire era that has gone, judging and misjudging everyone and everything. That attachment will have bound us to such an extent that we do not allow ourselves to step an inch away from any of that. To justify our behavior, we also state all the troubles we’ve undergone in past years, not knowing that it was all for ourselves and for our people that brought us pleasure! No one cares for it today since the past is valued little, by a few people, if at all. A child relates to its parents and viceversa, emotionally and that’s the most difficult barrier to break: to step away from them. Even anyone wanting to take a plunge so finds it hard to believe that the first (physical) cut of the umbilical cord bound us to the society but the second (logical) cut of it frees us for ever! Somewhere during that time, we may or may not realize that Death awaits us across the fence as an atithi (uninvited guest), like a vaishvAnarAgni to whom our final Ahuti need be given!
Om asatomA sadgamaya
om shAntiH shAntiH shantiH
dattaguro'rarpaNamastu: ramaNArpaNam, shankarArpaNam, sridharArpaNamastu
Be it the fear of snakes, ghosts, all sorts of phobias, or even that of the unknown. Ironically, I wonder if the fear of life, for people who attempt suicide, is also a fear of death! It may be a little far-fetched, but its something to think about. For now, lets take it for me to be saying that barring the fear of life, all other fears are but a fear of death.
Only because fear concerns itself with the matter of death, the locus of fear cannot be found. Just as any other matter related to death or death itself is a mystery, so is fear too. Fear is an inherent feeling just as existence is. It arises subjectively depending on other external factors, but it arises internally. Fear, by itself does not stand separately outside an individual. It’s a phenomenon that grabs the mind and takes it along into its depths towards the area that we may term as a death zone. A person, when in fear, cares about nothing, however logical or scientific.
So how do we deal with fear? I personally feel that trying to analyze death itself could cure all the fears. What is it that excites a person about life? What is it that an individual is going to do living a longer life? How will it matter to a person what lies after death? Does it affect how a person dies? To such series of thoughts, someone eventually brings up: your family will be affected if you die or even if you don’t, a handicap could burden your dependents more than death. Now that’s categorically fear, is it not? So, you tag along with life the way it is. But, if you carefully analyze this botheration, you could easily see that what we consider as a matter of concern for our family is factually a matter of our own concern. That I may not live to witness my family suffer is not a concern towards the family but it’s a selfish feeling of not wanting to be pained by my family’s suffering!
Yesterday, since noon, I was feeling a little uneasy without reason. Even after trying to find out what it was, I couldn’t get anywhere! Later towards the evening I started going into depression. So as not to brush it off on someone else, I switched off my cell and tried to sleep. Through a long night that it was, I managed to catch glimpses of sleep. I woke up pretty healthy, so to say.
Towards evening, this same feel of yesterday started repeating, however with some stupid reason. I tried to settle the issue by working on it twice. Somehow, it occurred to me then that the issue can’t be settled so. It needn’t be. It will just involve itself more since the people involved in it aren’t looking at it from my angle. So just with that ignorance of mine, I began to recover. In fact, I recovered completely, if I know it better. The kind of sadness that took over me in the past 24 hours, in my past experience could take weeks to recover from. Somehow, time measured in those weeks has been measured in minutes then!
As a related issue, since I got onto this vacation of almost a month, I was thinking of planning several months of coming back to spiritual *feel*. After having spent nearly half a year away from it, that’s what I thought would be needed to get back to a glimpse of reality. However, day before yesterday, I slept off at a usual time and got knocked out of sleep in an hour or so! Surprisingly, not only was I wide awake, but I felt such a spiritual high that I wasn’t sure I wanted to sleep more.
Here’s what I feel after all that… its all about energies. Offsetting negativity positively! If someone leaves a feeling of dislike, hate or whatever, its just going to worsen to react similarly. Just love the person more and more and the feeling improves suddenly in a matter of seconds. And it is not at all difficult. I lost my sleep over such stupid feelings thinking around in circles on how to treat the issue. The issue is treated as soon as its seen as a non-issue. Let the person who feels it to be an issue deal with it… I simply ignore it. I love the other person for all the reactions and I’m done there!
At whose feet I lie prostrate,
Overflow from his heart and fall,
Onto my head, bathing me off my sins.
May I be drifted along that love's flow,
Until I drown completely,
Without even a trace of the smallest identity,
That arises often, tying me to this existence,
Confined to the limits of the body, mind and ego
Causing an endless struggle in this world,
That's bereft of your glimpse,
Through the day or night.
To you, may my breath always be offered;
Else, let it not be with me, this moment onwards!
Similarly, the waking world itself is a projected world on to the underlying truth that has been veiled off from us. Now, the return journey to the source is to throw off the projectile first and dig through the veil. That second aspect is just not getting to me. I can now see how this world, with all its animality, humanity and divinity, is not real. At this juncture, I feel lost in this rabbit hole that goes both ways endlessly. Its like a blank level... not a dark screen but a plain white paper or cloth on which the painting was, but has been rubbed out now! Its like sitting on the brush, knowing well that the paper is being seen but not feeling the paper... I can't get across to that. The question that remains now is what is that that is hidden beneath? Do I see darkness? No. Do I see the light? No. What do I see? I do not know... its a dreamlike existence where I know well that I am dreaming... say a lion is chasing me and I know I will die here in falsehood and it sure will hurt if the lion gets to me. So I run in the dream helping it continue, but I do not know what its going to be like when I wake up, if I wake up. Where will I be then? What’s it going to be like? I do not see a bit of hope there... the veil is too bloody strong, I'm tired running and there's a good chance that the lion will get me anytime now!!!
tena tyaktena bhunjitA mA gr^dha kasyasvidhanam
I almost broke my head on the Ishopanishad while at Rishikesh. I'd to read over the entire upanishad over four times to understand a little of what was going on in there! At first, I thought its easy reading so I went over the first two mantras. On the third, earlier understanding contradicted itself and I thought I was crazy. Then I read Shankara's commentary over and over, but knowing each mantra well was a lot different from what all put together meant. Where would we all seekers be without Shankara walking us across? Another student was thoroughly confused and asked me to explain what was meant by "greater darkness" that comes later while explaining the fate of a person who just partakes of knowledge without the performance of the karmic rituals. I spent the night before the Upanishad exam almost entirely on the Isha and realized that I understood it really well, but tossed the exam aside. (Of course my marks agreed with that!) I was more than happy to see that this student liked what I understood and shared with him. I guess that is the real test of any understanding: facing questions, expressions, etc, of a student who himself, is willing to learn.
So what is it that makes a small Upanishad like Isha so difficult? Oh yes, the fashion in which the contents hold themselves just like any other Upanishad. But here, I think it comes off as not being connected well among the sequence of mantras either. At first, it goes on to say that Ishwara covers the entire universe and that we must not covet other's wealth. Later, it mentions fates of those who do karma alone and those who just try to gain knowledge. The results are mentioned to be best when the two are combined. It also has prayers to fire and Sun. In the end, one can't assimilate all of this on a platter. Each mantra seems a separate dish meant for different people at different times, but they're not. Once the meaning as a whole strikes you, its bliss without any doubt.
(This title may well have been influenced by David Godman's The Power of the Presence)
“Now is the time” is something that I have valued less in practice. Why in practice is because I do know theoretically that time is utmost important and I am also among the crowd that goes cribbing "I don't get time to do blah blah blah". I'm also one of the laziest and biggest procrastinators that I've seen. Knowing that, one can clearly see how the short-of-time-fact comes to effect.
We always think of doing something, going "not now, maybe tomorrow onwards". That tomorrow never comes. If we were any bit smarter, we'd have known that whatever that is that makes us breathe can't afford to be one of us. If that also goes "I'll breathe tomorrow onwards", we'd not have the opportunity to procrastinate anything! But in its kindness it lets us breathe *now*. That is where the entire power lies, if we try to see. Things we see, or don't see for that matter, things that exist, exist in the now. They're here for us now. We are here to experience them now. Whenever it is, it is now. That is what time is. Its the moment of existence. All things get done in the now. Nothing is there in the past gone by us. We could spend our lifetime thinking of the past and gain nothing, possibly even lose everything. Even planning ahead of time takes a toll on the now. I remember having answered, to a question "Where are you?" in a yoga course, "I am where I think I am" meaning "I am where my mind is". (I was ridiculed, so to say, as a philosopher then!) So the mind takes you into the past reliving those moments, while at other times, going ahead and trying to live things that haven't happened (in this life)! In all that happening, only for an extremely small percentage of mind's existence, it lives in the now. If we can hold on to that moment called the now, every now and then, continuously, that is what makes up as meditation.
This now has the power to create and destroy universes; its verily the brahman that we all must reach. Even in the vyavhAric, living in the now gets a huge amount of things done in a short amount of time. The human life is wasted in the non-now, otherwise.
ॐ तत् सत्
This is not only for grown-ups alone, its also true for children. In fact, children are designed to use all the available resources around them to struggle for them and get them what they want. This is how God felt one's journey into life must start: craving for big and small things alike! Parents, relatives, etc. feel bad about what the child wants and they fulfill its desire. Having gotten used to such a fulfillment, the child grows up into this "being of wants". This is not entirely true though, since children who do not get their desires fulfilled are also seen to have a similar behavior later on. Whatever may be the reason for it, its clear that, "if only such and such thing happens to me, I'll be happy", is a lifelong experience of all. We fail to understand that this lack of something, *always*, cannot be fulfilled because its not outside us. Its like the camel that chews on the thorny shrubs in the desert and loves the taste of it thinking that the taste is from the shrub, not knowing that the blood oozing out from the thorns' pricking is what it likes; the taste being within.
If only we could understand that the true completion lies in one's stillness that Krishna explains of as stitha prajna, whether or not our desire is fulfilled, we would not go hankering till life's end and devote enough time to our journey within.
Emotions, though very much present in the sadhaka must not become a hurdle to the spiritual progress. Getting stuck in emotions is also a trap posed by maya that tries to bring back the sadhaka into her glorious creation. At such a juncture, the sadhaka needs to do what Ramakrishna did! In jnana marga, when the ego rises, one should melt the butter by submitting the submitter too unto the Lord. That balance between jnana and bhakti must continue till it does by individual effort, after which it drops on its own. Then on, the merging does what it deems fit. What an individual cares to do then is no saying since there's no individuality left.
Today, I clocked three months from leaving my job. If I look back, I've spent two months in the lap of Himalayas while being stuck at the course, bound by the rules, without anyone to judge whether right or wrong. I've spent the remaining one month between family, relatives and friends, also recovering from a health problem. The last is keeping me off my spiritual feet, forcing me to postpone my unplanned plans; I foresee the same continuing for a while before I pace up in order to relive lost time!
Back at Rishikesh, I met up with Sw. Atmananda who's setting up a unique ashram. He specifically adviced me to keep off the one month that I spent so. He meant to say that I face a risk of falling back into earlier (way of) life, but I'm unsure if he knew whether I'll have to face enforced frustration, making me wonder if keeping all my belongings itself was a good decision. That has made me look back on places I wanted to avoid, stay longer than ever in a seeming unending zone. I'm still bound by pressure. There's only one way to slacken all this: silence.
Now lets analyse the situations further. How would I react if the snake had bitten my own kith and kin? I may say that I wouldn't kill the snake still, but I may actually do so. Such a moment may carry me to an act that I can't judge with a hypothetical analysis! Even so, I'm sure that even *if* I kill the snake, I'm going to regret it later after the *fit* of anger has gone. So what I feel sorry about right now is not (only) that the snake has been killed by the person in the first case, but that he's happy about it later on.
In the other example, if one from my family or closest friends is to be hanged as a criminal, will I still support the cause? I may, and if I do so, will I still support it with the same fervour in saying that its good for the society and the criminal? Will I not even shed a tear?
Anyhow, I shouldn't be mixing spirituality and social order or politics. Its just a thought...
Another thing I was trying to ascertain is the sleep that gets induced while reading a book or while trying to concentrate in hope of meditating. Now I know that both are not very different since all these, including these two aspects of svAdhyAya and dhAraNA, are within the bounds of the mind. So says ajAta-vAda.
Not much of anyone apart from Shankara has been helpful in my spiritual journey, since only Advaita gives the core! So again this time, Shankara threw more light on these states in his vivarNa on yoga sutra vyAsa bhAshya. What happens when a person concentrates, meditates and gets into samAdhi is quite clear in some of the yoga sutra translations and bhAshya-s. That is, the previous samskArA-s are burnt and the mind gets purified. Mind, while being against its own dying into manonAsha, is up against all the sAtvic activities such as svAdhyAya or yogic practices. What are minds weapons to fight against us then? When we try to concentrate during yoga, what we're doing is to focus on the-one-thought in order to drop this too, later. Mind starts jumping, bringing back all the likes and/or dislikes that one has built over lives. These are verily the vAsanAs due to samskArA-s that arise mostly during meditation and one gets carried away with them. Most books talk of such a thing as allowing the vAsanA-s to resurface and getting over them through various means. Mainly, the three means to get over these are: suppression, redirection and sublimation; the first being the worst and the last, best. Redirecting is used only as a means when one understands that one must not suppress and one's not matured enough to sublimate the vAsanA-s.
Thats not sufficient understanding since the knowledge is not complete. What happens when one tries to do even this is to be very well analyzed. One may succeed at completely understanding the above and even try consciously to do whatever it takes. However, mind has an extremely powerful tool against such activities. Everyone knows it but no one *really* knows it! What happens when a person tries to focus on an intense reading or svAdhyAya? Sleep takes over! Thats precisely how mind makes one to believe that s/he's exhausted, tired or incapable of focusing, concentrating and meditating. Why does this happen? The samskArA-s get burnt only in high stages of meditation and samAdhi/transcendental states. Just when a person's concentration deepens to lead into meditation, the mind, unpurified still, awakens past samskArA-s. These samskArA-s are being fought in the waking state. As such, the mind does something that an untrained person does not have any control over. It puts us to sleep and drags us into dreams, where it can make us live those samskArA-s and make the vAsanA-s stronger, so that even fighting them in waking states becomes difficult. If one fights more and more in the waking states, so that the rajasic dreams don't get tainted by tamasic samskArA-s, clearly the mind puts one into the tamasic deep-sleep!
An advanced sAdhaka, however, gets into prolonged periods of samAdhi and washes away vAsanA-s, burns samskArA-s and in turn, the samAdhi period also increase. At such a stage, the mind is fully ripe to receive the highest knowledge that cuts asunder all bindings whatsoever.
(It may be only appropriate here to make a mention of what is samAdhi counted in time. 12s of concentration/dhArana makes one unit of meditation/dhyAna, while 12 units of dhyAna result in one unit of samAdhi. In short, if one meditates for 1728s or 28.8 mins, one is in samAdhi! Sounds very simple, doesn't it?)
Reach It without fear
Dropping all enmity and pity
Cross the ocean of duality
None other than the Self
Can be of any help
In the within and without
Have not even an iota of doubt
Else the truth is near, yet so far
Its farther than the farthest star!
When a thought leads into another, and yet another, endlessly... its because the resulting thought is held within the source thought itself! In short, I being the source thought of all, it includes every thought that can occur ever! So if one looks up any thought and starts analyzing it, one shall see that such an aggregation can be loosened into many a bit as leading unto other thoughts. When all such loosening happens without following any resultant thought, it leads to the stilling of mind. That is effective meditation.
When a person even considers a physical relation with another person, s/he is objectifying the other person. Mark the word *objectifying*. Considering a person apart from oneself and desiring towards such an object creates duality. (This duality spreads further into multiplicity). The object identified so, creates a subject, ties up the subject to the body and then on its just tying up more knots. It also is one of the deepest knots to untie... a deeper impression is created thats too difficult to remove.
... And in spirituality, its not more the merrier, but travelling with a lighter baggage is the key!
Thus I felt that I was being unjust to the course and talked about quitting it. After some discussions with the respective authorities, they gave exempted me from this so-called KY. However, I shifted to doing other things out here like serving in the canteen, data entry jobs or library work instead. (I also got exemption from the bodily-focussed yogAsanA class and took to long walks instead that gives me time to continue my manana on vedAntic learnings). So much for KY here at YVFA. Now for some stories about what KY is:
The first story goes about Swami Sivananda who used to serve people endlessly with his catchy tagline: Be Good, Do Good. Swami Chidananda went on to say this later on: Do as much good to as many people in as many ways as is possible. Sw. Sivananda was Dr. Kuppuswami in his purvAshrama and so he used to give medication to many a people who used to walk to Kedarnath-Badrinath. Once, one of the persons on such yatra left his medication behind and Sw. Sivananda followed to trace him in order to give the same. At each chatti, having missed the person, he caught up pace, eventually running, in order to catch up and finally handing over the medication advicing prescription and walking back from 7kms upwards of Rishikesh!
The second story, interestingly, was narrated to us by Sw. Radhakrishnanandaji during his special class on dharma. A sannyAsi starts walking from an ashram, after having collected food. Towards the afternoon having come 10 miles into the forest, he decides to have lunch. His lunch is, however, covered up with ants! The sannyAsi ponders so: "If I leave the ants here in the forest with my lunch, they'll have the food now, but they'll starve for want of more later". So, he goes back 10 miles and leaves the ants at the ashram so that they get their share of food!
How many of us would have left the food and the ants to themselves in the forest, let alone walk back?!!! So, sevA in itself seems like a big word to me; we can hardly do any service to anyone with such comparison!
Then he went on to say that all the above goes well if a fifth E is given up: ego!
Significance of 18:
- 18 chapters
- 18 parvAs of mahAbhArat
- 18 days of war
- 18 divisions of army
- 18 aspects of the human being (5 karmendriyA-s, 5 jnAnendriyA-s, 3-guNA- s, 4 mind-divisions of manas, buddhi, ahankAra & chitta, and lastly jIvA)
We reached there at 0715 and only one person was with him in his room. He left some 10m later, but we stuck on till 1015. In those 3 hrs, Garibdasji gave us a good discourse in his ever modest composure. His language was sweet, to say the least, and pure Hindi. He also narrated two of his poems, one of them being the entire crux of the spiritual journey. Garibdasji also answered as many questions as we could ask him.
I'll only mention two things that he talked of:
--Out of the many people that claim to be walking the so-called path since decades, only a small percentage has actually made it. He cited the reason for this to be clearly a show of ochre and not a wee bit of seriousness within. From his experience he dared a quote so: If a person seeks God, then not finding Him is just not possible! In fact, He's guaranteed!
--On someone's asking the best path, he threw a simile: if a person does not have a disease, there's no use asking for (the right) medicine. He added later that he'd be accessible if any true seeker needs guidance at the right time.
That is, when you think you know something, you also know that you know it. To put in other words, when one starts analyzing the understanding, he becomes aware that he is understanding. This other entity that watches over the understanding is the Self. When you target your attention to the watching-over-entity aka drashTa aka seer aka subject aka knower aka Self, another such takes over and watches you as the intellect or the object! Hah! This goes on endlessly, driving even the meditative beings over the cliff into ad infinitum.
In another lecture of Religious Consciousness, said Swami Atmaswarupananda to my satisfaction, the Self is declared as unknowable in the scriptures. Still, the humans think as to say "I'll know the unknowable and I'll know it now". Finally, they've to arrive at the here-and-now after having gone a full circle. Shastras declare That/Self to be unknowable, as purNa. How else can It be declared if Shankara himself said its to be (un)known in the neti neti. If you know it, it'll not only remain unknowable, it'll also become an object; then a question would arise as "to whom was it an object?" Any answer to this question will have the answer become the knower and then Itself becoming unknowable!
The knower of knowledge cannot be known!!!
I myself feel that its okay if a person has a way different from his view of life, if he is *unable* to do so, while *wanting* to do so. But to just talk about it and say that "I do not want to walk the path" or "you should not walk the path" is not quite the right thing to do. Why preach it at all then?
As Swami Sivananda said "an ounce of practice is worth more than tons of theories".
After a long time, I'm back to blogging.
There were two reasons for a long break from the blog world. Not so much as a break, but shifting new blog entries to wordpress was one reason. Bomb blasts at Mumbai led to shutting down some blog servers by some ISPs. This was factually a mistake from the ISPs, since Indian govt had asked some specific blog URLs to be blocked, while some ISPs messed up by blocking the domain instead! Blogspot remained one such for a while and unblocked from some access points quite later than expected! Meanwhile I'd shifted to wordpress.com to return today for my love of blogspot.
Secondly, but more importantly, I was held up in the exit process back at work. I'd blogged earlier (yes, I know more than once :) that I'd be quitting my work for a kind of a sabbatical. My last blog on this indicated the date as July 31st, 2006. However, it finally got done on Aug 10th, 2006. Then on, I've shifted my households to Honnavara and hurried somehow to Rishikesh at Shivananda ashram for a YVFA course. Here, things have gotten a little too hectic for an average human being, more so for a lazy person like me! I do take strolls outside the ashram-- almost daily-- but this blogging thing took a while to get back to.
And thus we started along the path of Ganges upwards of Rishikesh: Sriram, his uncle Mr. Devaru and me. We had stayed in a hotel bang opposite to where we were to take a taxi from. We were told on our vikram auto journey from Haridwar to Rishikesh that this place called Triveni Ghat is where the press/newspaper vehicles start off from anytime after 0300 hrs. This was to be a very comfortable time to leave Rishikesh in order to make it in good time to Uttarkashi for our agency to be contacted for guide, porters, tent, etc. We wanted to rest a little on reaching Uttarkashi before meeting our agency contact Mr. Pitambar and keep the rest of the day free to buy provisions for the trip. The verbal list of things was discussed over and over again for a final cut at Bangalore itself.
So we took a drop at Triveni ghat and on Sriram’s enquiring, we got ourselves a room at a newly built hotel called Ganga Guest House just opposite the (newspaper-)taxi stand. We’d our dinner at Rimpy’s just 4-5 blocks away on recommendation from Amit, the kid at the hotel reception. The food at Rimpy’s was fantastic and the menu had a huge range to pick from. The quantity of food deserves a special mention: the soup bowl was large and almost overflowing while the regular economy north Indian meal had *4* tandoori rotis, a vegetable, dal, some rice & raita. We ate to our heartful, not to mention the stomach and slept off for a few hours in our room.
The fun began the next day at 0330 hrs when we hit the taxi stand enquiring about taxis only getting confused with inputs that varied from “no one’s driving off before 0500 hrs” to “a taxi will come over anytime now and leave as soon as it is full of 10 passengers”. So we waited and got ourselves hopping taxis with our backpacks just to fill 10 passengers in one vehicle that were otherwise spread out in multiple cabs. Before 0500 hrs, we were driven to barricades that block the ghats during the night for safety reasons. On dropping a newspaper, the road was thrown open for our sleepy driver by the police!
The drive was scary, not as much for the curves and the hills but for the sleepy driver who stood up on the brakes whenever he saw a vehicle approaching us. After a while, I learnt that the driver was actually sleeping in bits at the wheel!!! This came as so much as a shock to me that Sriram and I started analyzing whether he was sleepy or the looks were sleepy. Not wanting to risk and on my insisting that the driver was asleep for good fractions of a second on a regular basis, Sriram and I started talking to SUD (sleeping ugly driver). We were not sure what to ask and went on with all sorts of nonsensical questions about the weather, road, blah blah… god-knows-what. At first, SUD was annoyed and nodded at each inquiry. Later, his sleep took a walk and he started talking some. Although assuring enough, we ran out of petty talk soon and SUD continued his sleep again. We tried much in vain, but success was reached only when a person in the backmost seat fell sick and vomited! SUD had to stop and that made him wake up much. Later, we found that he was as bad a driver, or even worse when awake! I wanted to pen this experience in greater detail just to say that although the journey began on a bad risky note, it taught us a valuable lesson of being careful ahead!
After having done Yamnotri last August, our second trek in the Himalayas was between 15th to 26th July 2006 and to the source of the Ganges and Bhagirathi. I’m not posting details yet, but here’s briefly what it was:
15th: Bangalore-(flight)-Delhi-(train)-Haridwar-(vikram auto)-Rishikesh (Ganga hotel)
16th: Rishikesh-(shared taxi)-Uttarkashi (GMVN guest house)
22nd: Tapovan-Bhojbasa (GMVN guest house)
23rd: Bhojbasa-Chirbasa-Gangotri (Mandakini hotel)
24th: Gangotri-(shared taxi)-Rishikesh (Ganga hotel)
26th: Rishikesh-(vikram auto)-Haridwar-(train)-Delhi-(flight)-Bangalore
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The mind keeps on jumping like a monkey is well known and an experience of everyone. Its also a common practice to try and control the mind. There are various meditation techniques taught to that effect. Soon these techniques, when not being used, fall apart! That is, the mind is meditative, at most, only while its involved in meditation.
While comparing the mind with the monkey’s unsteady behavior, we soon forget some other qualities of the monkey. A few months back, at Varadahalli Sridharashrama, I was sitting on top of the hill reading blissfully, when ruffles of leaves caught my attention. A monkey was trying to eat some seed-like fruits from a tree. The discipline with which it searched the fruits and ate them surprised me. There was a process it followed. It used to walk up a branch, picking only the fruits hidden among leaves and then trace its way back doing the same thing, before moving out to another branch and repeating the process. I kept on watching for a long time. It was as if the monkeys knew what is known as the depth-first algorithm!
Humans take undue credit for so-called inventions when all we do is discover! The nature has everything that there is to have, we just discover them and the ego takes over claiming them to be inventions.
Moving back to our topic of mind having monkey’s restless characteristics, it also has the power of monkey’s discipline that I just gave an example of. We fail to see that and are comfortable with accepting that the mind’s job is to jump around and then we let it be. Why not see that the mind’s job is to be disciplined in its search for the fruit that its born to eat? The fruit lies in the depth-first algorithm; there’s no point in moving across branches endlessly without going deep within the nearest branch known as yourself!
... moods: agonizingly funny, downright stupid, insanely brilliant, wholly lonesome, barrelful drunk...
... personalities: involved, enticed, careless, lost...
... plans: all tangential and contradicting.
I can't relate to any of these right now. All these elliptic thoughts seem to be making up a dotted-line to psychosis!
On the other hand, someday even those doings, thoughts and the other subtle stuff such as mind, intelligence, memory and whatever there is, in essence, will be burned to ashes. Thats what vibhuti represents to me. It says out loud to defocus from the impermanent foreground that will automatically take one to the permanent background of the eternal self. Akin to photography, where one defocuses with the lens all the objects to clearly see the subject. Technically, its shifting to the background process, disowning all those overlapping foreground processes with their innumerous threads and dangling pointers turn into zombies in totality and let them die their own death!
chidAnanda rUpa shivohaM shivohaM
I was thinking that a friend even when out of touch or not responding to your mails will still be a friend. The bonding exists if you feel it exists. It need not necessarily be expressed... its just there. I'm reminded of Metallica's Nothing Else Matters:
So close no matter how far, couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are, and nothing else matters
Never opened myself this way, life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don't just say, and nothing else matters
Trust I seek and I find in you, every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view, and nothing else matters
Never cared for what they do, never cared for what they know
But I know
So close no matter how far, it couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are, and nothing else matters
Never cared for what they do, never cared for what they know
But I know
I never opened myself this way, life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don't just say, and nothing else matters
Trust I seek and I find in you, every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view, and nothing else matters
Never cared for what they say, never cared for games they play
Never cared for what they do, never cared for what they know
And I know
So close no matter how far, couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are, no, nothing else matters
But a spiritual lesson fades, unlike walking on the ground. One can easily get buried under the past and present in this world and lose perspective of the future. The future, though defined by karma, still could have a place out of the worldly attachments. When the end is in sight, new set of doubts and problems crop up from nowhere!
A calculated risk is no risk at all.
Coincidentally, when I step out on July 31st, I'll have completed 5 yrs and 9 months at this workplace, while my prior experience also totals to 5 yrs and 9 months! Quite strange an occurrence I thought it to be, this morn!
Anyway, currently I'm in mixed feelings... more emotional though. I've made some of my best friends here; its been a second family. I've also learnt some of my best lessons here! Bangalore has given so much of what I wanted and streamlined some of my future. I'm not sure I'll be able to burn the bridges behind me...
hum chhod chale hain mehfil ko, yaad aaye kabhi toh mat ronaa
me: I'm not feeling well enough to walk, lets eat some food here itself
R: (reluctantly... mumbling, joins us and goes for a wash; Rag joins in with his tiffin)
M: Have a look at the lunch!!!
me: Hmmm, nothing worth eating, lets go out. Where's Radha?
M: He's in the wash.
me: (bulb glowing) Lets go out after Radha fills his plate :)
M: (smiling) yeah, lets sit at the table
(we wait for Radha, who walks out, fills his plate)
M: yaar, sirf rice liya usne, chappati leta toh aur mazaa ata :)
me: Radha goes for refills, he doesn't fill his plate all at once.
R: (joins us and looks surprised to see us without our plates) guys?
me: Nothing's worth eating, we're going out.
me: Enjoy your slow death :)
me & M: hehe, tata
(Rags is not sure if we're going or would come back)
After we returned from lunch, Malto and I checked in the cafe if Radha needed some company from us, but they all had left already.
Meanwhile, Prasad returns and says that he went out for a good walk in Cubbon Park, followed by a delicious meal at Vrindavan. Moreover, after listening to the story, Prasad went and added fuel to fire by talking to Radha about it.
Radha's still furious and wanting to get back, but he'll be okay.... looks like he liked the food anyways! :)
I do not know by what formula the market stocks map to points, so I can't really say that they will always remain in the positive (not to be funcused with *bullish*). I factually mean that there's a chance that the market points would go into the negative! As in, say, Sensex: -900; then the definition of *bearish* would fall short, so lets call it *boorish* instead! :)
When the markets are bull and your stocks go up, they pay you dividends, you're free to sell and you make profits; in bear markets, you make losses if you're able to still sell or you hold on longer in hope that you'll make money or atleast get your money back. You've a choice, that is.
However, I wonder in boorish markets, how would it be? There won't be a choice, perhaps. You can't sell, you can't even recover money, the shares are no longer yours... you owe the company more, in fact! They'll hunt you down and take money from ya or have your employer cut from your salary... we'll have boorish EMIs!
Against destiny, people argue why is there so much cruelty in the world? Why did God decide such a fate for the state of the world? ... etc. I'll try to express how an advaitin within me wants to react to such queries. Consider how the sun illumines the world. A thief is free to steal at night when there's no light or even in broad daylight! In either case, can we blame the sun as responsible for the theft? Thats what we do though!
* Good things happen due to me while the bad things are beyond my control.
Yoga is basically distancing from bodily association and unity with the soul; distancing from the prakriti to reach the purusha.
The entire set of Patanjali's yogasutra has been condensed into three statements by Swami Venkatesanda. No one has ever put these shlokas into the right order for the easiest and straightforward understanding. Everything else in yogasutra is a what-to-do, somewhat how-to-do, but the following ones are descriptive of what-it-is and how-to, what-happens-by-it and finally the goal-to-reach (or the goal, as it stands always).
yogas chitta vritti nirodha
tadA drashTuswarUpe avasthAnam
Most of us think of yoga as mind control from the first line, ending only as a witness from the second, but the third one puts everything in perspective. Thats where the entire episode of bashing of dualists by non-dualists is ended by SV, quoting the yogasutra declaration that "the seer no longer exists separately from the seen"!
The advaitin's path necessarily involves intense study of mAyA in all its forms during waking, dream and deep sleep. An analysis into each and every aspect of life leads the student to ascertain the changing temporary nature of it, to discard it and climb a layer below that acts as a substratum to the superficially sensed objects. Moving on, one applies the same analysis to the layers one below the other in an orderly fashion till the end finds itself. So, its a mAyAvAdin's journey starting with an acceptance that jIva perceives the world as real to advaita moksha without the world vanishing, but only by its appearance of reality dissolving into the reality of brahman! That is, *realizing* the world as mithyA doesn't mean that the world disappears; mAyA still remains as a superimposition on brahman, with the realized merging into the brahman. Its like the realized watching the movie as the screen than from the earlier viewer's perspective; the movie still playing as before!
The Self is said to be the active substratum behind everything, while still remaining merely a passive witness to all that happens. So, a realized sage is awakened to the Self but remains asleep in the mayic world! The entire world sleeps through this world when the saint remains awake abiding in the Self. Similarly, the whole world remains awake in the Maya refusing to accept the illusive nature of what we find as the reality, while the saint sleeps blissfully behind it!
satsangatve nissangatvam nissangatve nirmohatvam
nirmohatve nischaltatvam nischaltatve jivanmuktiih
... said our Adi Shankara. Why it is important to have the right company is said in just the right words in this shloka from Bhaja Govindam. I was thinking some time back how easy it is for one to fall in bad company, get influenced, lose perhaps an era, with or without regret later, and then possibly blame it on others in the end! Whoever it is responsible, we've lost that era!
There are still others who say that a person with will-power won't get spoilt in wrong company giving examples such as "lotus in the dirt", et al. However, that may well be true for a lotus; but being a lotus in itself is a tough thing. How that happens is being in constant company of the good; yes, thats satsanga. Its not about attending a spiritual discourse and walking out into the routine... it needs the follow-ons of thinking and contemplation in a repetitive -- nay, endless -- cycle till the subject feeling is firm.
One may agree with all that I blabbered above, but think that s/he's not in bad company. Then why bother at all? Fine, I say... but here's more blabbering for describing other types of companies, not necessarily bad.
They say that even a lie repeated a lot many times feels like truth. Consider schooling, for example, the physics we studied; it left us in a whole world of atoms and molecules. I'm not saying that it was a lie, but I feel that it has caused us to be somewhat narrow-minded in that it doesn't let us escape to take a non-scientific viewpoint, even for a moment. For everything within or without, we search for a scientific explanation, in vain, more often than not. Even so, the world we believe in, after being fed all sort of inputs through our senses since childhood, is just one-sided viewpoint... bad or good company, thats all!
Satsanga helps us *see from* the other side of the shore if not *see the* other side of shore, slowly at first, steadily next and firm at last. Else its just getting stuck in bad company, the non-sat, the unreal, the Maya, the anirvachaniya, the loop of lives and deaths!
The mind rises in the waking hours, painting the sun's world for us to believe in and live by. With that come the bound relations, friends and enemies, qualities of good and bad, and an utter ridiculous feeling of doership in everything that happens or is merely witnessed! The mind's web is also produced in the dream state, albeit such a world being different, governed by weirder set of rules in comparison to our waking world. No one can deny the tightly coupled senses in and during the dreams, although they're freed minutes from waking up. While waking up, the mind slowly fades out the dream world or does so shockingly fast (depending on the quality of the dream and one's attachment towards such a dream world) and brings forth another world of this waking state. There's not even a guarantee that it gives of whether or not you're still in a dream! It may sound foolish unless you've dreamt within a dream; yes, its recursive.
In deep sleep the spider's web vanishes; its pralaya, no dream or waking worlds exist. The mind is sleeping, though not dead. The little rest that the mind catches then, gives it sufficient strength to pull one out of the deepest sleep into freshly created dream and wakeful states to be related to; the memory that still exists aching to be associated with. This is true in its entirety even in death, except that the memory fades into being reset or sometimes corrupted in bits and pieces, brought alive in later lives by the mind. So the *individualized* soul gets dragged across worlds and universes of mind's web, spreading across lives and lives.
Bajaj played an impressive defense on his downsizing employees in favour of technology and even attacked some elements for not-so-fair-policing in Europe taking Mittal's bid for Arcelor as an example. The energy in this proud Indian who to quote said "India is going places" was felt even in the interview. He also went on to criticize Indian politicians of corruption and claimed that his files moved slow in the govt due to his refusal to bribe since ever. But most of all, while speaking of India in comparison to China, Bajaj said that China is far ahead in infrastructure, but his confidence in India's democracy guarantees that India can only improve from here on, since the Indian infrastructure can't worsen than what it is, and so can't the corruption. Towards the end, Bajaj said "so if we are so good-- based on facts about India and rest of the world-- even in such a scenario, we will be in top three countries in twenty years! Thats one more person who thought of generations other than his alone and my hats off to him. (I'll be getting as many Bajaj products as possible now on to show my support).
On a related note, I've always been a fan of Bajaj ads.
They say its lonely at the top. As one goes higher up the responsibility chain, lesser are the people left to make decisions. There's not many to share your load then. If we care to analyze this, its true even when one grows spiritually, leaving less and less people to understand you. If ishwara is considered as the highest position in responsibility, He's definitely all alone at the top!
Here's an extract from M*A*S*H season 4; the episode is called "Quo vadis, Captain Chandler". After dropping bombs from a B-29 plane over 50 times for almost 2 years, Captain Arnold Chandler gets some kind of an awakening telling him that he's Jesus Christ and he can no longer kill people. The psychiatrist, Major Sidney Freedman is called in to examine him.
Sidney: You died
Christ: I arose
Sidney: That was a long time back. Where were you all this while?
Christ: I live in all men
... moving on to questions on dropping bombs…
Christ: on people?
Sidney: on the enemy
Christ: I've no enemies.
Sidney: Even the North Koreans?
Christ: (Crying) They're my children
Sidney: Tell me, is it true that God answers all prayers?
Christ: ... sometimes the answer is no!
Other things that can't be identified apart from the daily chores or as something of an overdoing, can still be one. That something is what one would have gotten into as a part of self-hypnosis: a belief. One such belief is the existence of the world as a part of ourselves, or more appropriately, we as a part of the world. From childhood, all our sense feedings have led us to a self-hypnosis... an abracadabra... God knows when the wakeup alarm is set for, when the pendulum will come to rest!
Scene 2: This morning, I finished screening the 3rd season for what maybe more than the 3rd time! The last episode "Abyssinia, Henry" has always been an emotional favorite. The last OR scene, when Radar breaks the sad news about Henry, has been shot without others being informed pre-shoot. The scene brings out the best of everyone's feelings, without a single dialog, and that too from under the OR masks... its just the eyes!
Scene 3: After I walked into office today, I placed the order for season 10!
Hawk's writer friend gets enlisted only to write a first hand account instead of a bystander's. The original title he has in mind for his book is "You never hear the bullet". His experience from the ongoing war is that there's no dramatic sound of gunshot or anything like that -- the way its pictured in movies -- when a soldier gets killed; but later, he himself hears the bullet!
Henry: I just know what they teach you at command school. There are rules to war:
Rule #1 is young men die
And rule #2 is doctors can't change rule #1.
A few scenes from Band of Brothers also suggest that there are times, even in war, when a soldier gets hit without even knowing from whence the bullet came and when. A dialog -- nay, a phoneme -- is left half way when the soldier who's talking, drops dead!
Although I learnt very less in biology classes while schooling, I did gain a good insight into physiology during my biomedical study. The beautiful mechanism called the body is built piecemeal with building blocks called cells. Each cell is kind of a standalone entity acting as a sodium-potassium pump. When the cells get together acting in unison, we have muscle contraction, the heart beating, pumping blood; rather, the body does what it does best: survive.
Now, lets draw some parallels with what the mind does. Thinking thoughts, being pumped, make up a singular mind. When thoughts act in unison, we have the world we see or feel around us. Sometimes, it’s a giveaway when you feel connected to another person in any which way. Be it family, a friend, an enemy, or even an unknown passerby. The connection is caused by our mind linking with the others or exposing the link that already exists. That’s when we feel we understand what the other is thinking. Its like soldiers marching forward, one’s step being exactly similar to the other’s.
When various such minds come together, we have creation. In fact, the creation exists because the others’ minds are felt separately from ours. They are, no doubt, connected in some way, but we don’t know so first hand. Its like the thing about six degrees, if you’ve heard it. It says that each person is connected to any other person anywhere through at most six persons in between; each relation being family, friend, acquaintance, etc. So the creation, too, is factually a network of minds, doing what it does best: exist.
And all things stand apart from the wise
Back to where you started, the road bends
Where death loops again into life, the search ends
When the noise and melody merge
Into the supreme stillness of the mind
And all that you see and feel
Are felt as nothing but one of the same kind!
From birth, through years, even to this day?
What do you do when you act louder than words?
While silently winging with feathers of similar birds?
What do you do when there isn’t a ray of hope?
When you know, with you, they’ll never cope?
Till when do you wait when there’s no right time?
How do you live when nothing will ever rhyme?
How do you fix all that falls apart?
Hanging onto the soul that’ll soon depart?
So I give up now and to all I bow
Since others’ right way to go, I’ll never know!
I know that reply was meant to please me but its a fact that I've remained possessive of all relations thus far. In the past few years, I've taken such attachments only as long as they needed to go. I do fall in emotions, contextually at times, realizing immediately, but still continuing so. Its not a regret I have about such human feelings, but they do tie in for a long time, settling down in memory, resurfacing occassionally, when you least need them to.
Sometimes I'm given to wonder if the indifferent attitude for one's own good, exists only superficially? The memories would come back haunting again, won't they? So whats needed is to even be indifferent to those memories now and then.
At this point, I'm reminded of Pink Floyd's Us and them:
Us and them
And after all we're only ordinary men
Me and you
God only knows it's not what we would choose to do...
Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who
Up and down
And in the end it's only round and round and round...
Down and out
It can't be helped, but there's a lot of it about
And who'll deny it's what the fighting's all about?
Traffic snarls everywhere on the roads, any time of the day. Off peak hours, the number of blood boiling incidents lessen; but nonetheless, they are there. Noise of modified Yamahas and autos, while driving you deaf, also cut your lane at the same frequency. If everyone stuck to their lanes, things would definitely move faster, but no one would believe that, leave aside following it.
This week, I took an auto once and car-pooled with Rags to take a break from the rude traffic. Two days, I rode my bike just to switch focus to loving the vehicle than the traffic. I wouldn't say that it helped.
Even so, be it on car or bike, I still try to leave early, be in my lane, put on indicators while switching lanes, honk only when flashing lights wouldn't work, give right of way to motorless vehicles, allow people who follow rules to get their right of way, slow down or halt when people cut into my lane (at any angle), let people cross roads and, most of all, keep my head cool!
Its okay if one doesn't feel inclined towards gurus of this day, but if one does think that there have been great personalities in the past, there's no reason to be saddened that they aren't around any more in flesh and blood. In doing so, we would be undermining their teachings! Didn't they declare that the soul that they merged into is ananta... eternal? That after realization, there isn't a feeling of separation that they could relate to or even the so-called merging becomes a myth? That is inspiration enough to search for one's own guru, whether from the present or past (or even future!)
There are all ranges of radio waves present all around and depending on where one is placed, one needs to tune the receiver to the correct frequency using the right antenna. Similarly, depending on what our inclinations are (made from karmic past, of course), we need to tune into our guru with the right faith. The guru is omnipresent, sarvadhi saakshi, transcending all that we think are obstacles to us. Then why limit our thinking to what era we live in and give up? Instead, shouldn't we be looking within and/or without on the right wavelength of spirituality?
These visiting squirrels soon started finding their way into the house over a period of time in search of some edibles. They sure had a ball when my parents were home for some four months. My mom's cooking and dad's dessert salads served them hearty meals through the day then.
To our surprise, groundnuts were the last on their list when fed something else! They loved all sorts of food: rice, upma, potatoes, tomatoes, even mangoes and biscuits. During the time, our baby squirrels named as Lav and Kush brought their family and friends too. Soon, we'd our family grow to a couple of regulars and some visiting squirrels every now and then.
We found squirrels to be early starters that end their day of eatout much ahead in the evenings. Owing to their frequent visits, one of them decided to hitch a tent in our other balcony without our knowledge, happily stepping out at meal hours and slipping away again. This fella was driven away since after my parents' leaving B'lore, there wouldn't be anyone to feed or free him from closed house. I spent time trying to click photographs of these beauts. I didn't get good snaps due to their being too sensitive to surroundings, though my dad got a neat video capture.
There was a day when my mom wasn't well and due to delayed feeding; then, a hungry squirrel sneaked into the room and jumped onto my mother's bed as if asking to be served! They are lovely creatures, even blessed by Rama in some mythological story and its considered to be holy and a blessing if a squirrel touches a human. Of course, in her sleep, my mom couldn't have gathered all that while screaming out!
Around three months back, my landlord decided to convert the balcony into another room and in doing so, I lost our squirrels' visits! I was getting too attached to them and I began missing them over these days. A few weeks back, however, while I was sipping my morning tea, one squirrel slowly stepped in front of me. I was boggled at its having entered the house. All the doors and windows were closed, while the other balcony (now, the only balcony!) has a grid covering. I got worried at its being trapped and had to chase it away with much effort, without hurting it. In our chase, the little fella ran over my feet and I was all goose-pimply in awe!
I understood the visit to be a claim for his/their share of food. But since I didn't have much access to where I could have fed these squirrels, I went back to wait mode. Soon, I was to find a solution in the balcony with that metal grid, where a squirrel was playing around. A couple weeks back, I *called* a squirrel with a whistle kinda sound. He looked back from the coconut tree he was climbing. On my pantomiming eating, he jumped down and in fractions of a second, he found himself next to some nuts I was setting up for him! Thats when I took some pictures that are put up here. I don't get many opportunities to feed the squirrels now. Its a little difficult to put food across through those small grill opening of the balcony! Sadly, my squirrels have moved from being visitors through being family to being visitors again!
I trace back this feeling of easy living to insane states I'd gotten into a lot of times earlier when I was spiritually bound. In the recent past, I've crawled away from such inclinations and even my readings had stopped. Rather, I'd fallen from my own ideals.
But this automatic switching to such a smooth float on life's troubled waters happened when I realized that all my greedy excuses got bombed by themselves. The luring after money and cars for a short period of time gave me a tense set of months. But then, it all just evaporated one fine day. A thought occurred this morning about all this. If you've money and lose some, you don't mind; but its also true that if you don't have much money and lose it, it doesn't matter either. Many may not agree with the latter part of the statement, but its better to not care much for money and survive, than to live on the edge of money matters. I was just happy to step out of this mucky living, be it so at the cost of some money... finally, its just money!
And now, I'm comfortably numb, again :)