Kasab sahaab

In response to Rajiv's first point about UPA's five year term...

Come on, don't be so harsh on Kasab/ Qasab please. He's a kid, claiming to be 17 yrs old, pressurized to give those earlier statements about being trained in Pak. Sometimes he understands English completely, sometimes he doesn't; how can you blame him then?

In fact, you can understand how serious Congress/ UPA is in providing security, they want to try it out on him first before they extend the trial package to Indians too. Around Kasab's jail, roads are being closed and remade elsewhere for his security. Remember this, Indians around there are just Mumbaites who lost their lives in terrorist attacks many times, so they won't be inconvenienced by mere roads being closed... they still have their lives, right? What does the judge know who heard a petition filed by locals there and asked the police to go to jungle for Kasab's case if they can't provide security!

Kasab has clearly said that newspapers, perfume, walks, etc, are basic necessities for keeping him from going insane. His sanity needs to be intact to do ultra-intelligent work like shooting innocents in Mumbai/ India, as and when need be. In fact, the hearing should be postponed, indefinitely, not only until the new lawyer reads 11000 pages of the chargesheet with a 3 month vacation. Anyway, Pak has given a deadline of May 5th to close all investigations about 26/11 to their various departments. Why even waste everybody's time, let poor Kasab go back to wherever he wants to, even give him money that is being spent by India for security of Kasab, lawyers, witnesses and infrastructure changes.... better now, than after 20 yrs of the case running, when anyway he will be free.

Another day

Either side of the bed you get up from
Its another day, and another fray

Trying to separate right from wrong?
Sometimes there are shades of grey

Things don't always go as planned
It doesn't matter how much you pray

However grave the issue you see
As days pass, you'll wither away

Another day, another fray
Life goes on so till death parts away

Office Space styled blog deletion

(Inspired by IMDB's thread, thanks to Fenix; you won't appreciate this unless you've seen the movie)

This post was deleted because my jump-to-conclusions mat said "Delete Post".

This post was deleted because it was a million dollar idea... I'd such an idea once.

This post was deleted because thats what I would do if I'd a million bucks.

This post was deleted because "posting was the worst idea ever", "yes.. this idea... its horrible".

This post was deleted because "Na na na not gonna post here anymore".

This post got deleted because this is America! This isn't Riyadh! They're not gonna saw my hands off!

This post was deleted because its *beep*in' A.

Before I tell you why I deleted this post we have to swear to God, Allah, whoever that nobody knows about this, all right? No family members, no girlfriends, nobody!

I deleted this post because I'm gonna invest half of it in Mutual Funds and give the rest of it to my friend, Saheib, who works in Securities...

I deleted this post, because I always mess up some mundane detail.

I deleted some posts because, uh, they said I could delete posts at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven while I'm collating...

I deleted this post because it had "Straight to Upper Management" written all over it.

ISP nonsense

My internet blues are never ending, be it whoever the service provider. I've tried Airtel's GPRS dialups with speeds upto 40kbps through my cellphone hitting technical snags and billing issues. A weekly plan would work only 3 or 4 days, a daily plan would work at one time and not work half a day, if at all, at other times. Sometimes the daily plan would stop working at 1000 hrs the next day, and at other times anywhere between 0700-0800 hrs. But all or one of these would happen only on your activating internet for a day with an SMS message. On roaming, such a free SMS cost me Rs.18 a couple of times, which is almost same as the daily internet charge. Later, the daily plan would work for maybe more than a day at times. However, without any notice, one fine day they had changed their system to internet being active without activation! My internet usage cost me at disconnection of whatever the prepaid balance was! Or the other way round, it disconnected when they cleared my prepaid balance on a per 10KB download billing. Utter nonsense! I gave up and lost the battle.

Meanwhile, I'd moved on to Reliance USB modem with speeds upto 144kbps that cost Rs.2800 or so. That was prepaid too, but they sold me a mega-expensive unlimited plan that didn't work the first month at all. I'd lost my 1500 bucks, because they said "it should have worked, all is well at our end". When it worked the next month, with no changes on my side, it gave me speeds of 20kbps that moved to upto 80-90kbps after complaints. All the while, they had several billing issues, billing me per hour of usage, after charging Rs.1500 for unlimited usage in advance! Their technical, billing and management personnel all had varying answers such as "we do not have an unlimited plan for prepaid" after having sold it with printed pamphlets at Reliance Web World, "we have unlimited prepaid plan but its new; not everyone knows", "you're billed for data download" (on an unlimited plan, yes!), "we'll look into it", "call back in 96 hours", "there were billing problems, but we have resolved it, recharge again and check", "we can't give you refund, there's no policy like that", etc. I was spending additional money for calling them from my cell phone... over many many complaints spread over 2 months, they refunded all that I lost in duplicate deductions (except the first month's Rs.1500!!!), but deducted it all the next day. Another complaint, another 96 hrs, another response, another escalation, more calls from cell, more money lost. Again many complaints later, I told them I'll go to consumer court. They refunded the amount, accepting everything verbally a day before the month end, deducted all of it again 2 days later. Why again? Simple.. they said my refund was valid for that month only. Yes, for 2 days, the amount was valid to be used for data downloads, but that data download was already paid for that month with Rs.1500 unlimited package. So its money, available for 2days, that you can't use. I lost the battle there too, because they moved to a great policy of responding to each email and phone complaint with "billed for data charges" and never replied to what the unlimited Rs. 1500 that reduced to Rs. 999 later was for. Their definition of unlimited data downloads was a non-english set of terms that meant bill-per-hour-anyway. I couldn't win with stupidity... I gave up.

I shifted geography where we have BSNL, who are very simple, straightforward people. They give you what you ask for... well, when they want. We got our Dataone BSNL DSL connection at Vasai after around 1.5 yrs after applying for it. DoT (Dept of Telecom) had called it the year of broadband in India... I do not know what their definition of India was or definition of year was. Perhaps, they meant they would take at least a year in giving broadband to anyone in India! Well, that was before I moved here. After moving, I upgraded the account to unlimited usage, something that BSNL knows and understands better than Reliance. Well, I thought so! They moved my account from 250 bucks pm to 750 pm, added 750 for additional deposit and billed me whatever telephone calls and taxes cost last month. All settled neatly now. Again, I thought so! For some reason, the line's gone noisy and due to that its irritating to make and receive calls; the internet disconnects every five minutes for anywhere between 30 secs to 3 mins! Complaints haven't helped since 4 weeks, because they call me up asking "has the phone started working?" even if I clarify each time that the phone's working, but i) there's static on the line and ii) DSL fails every 5mins! "Okay", they say "we'll look into it". Then we're back to square one. To top that, this month, they billed me 750 for "unlimited internet usage" plus 16k (yes, Rs.16000!) for "internet usage". Interesting, very interesting. I'm sure they have an explanation for this. They all do. Its just that I will never understand. I can never win, but this time, I've some other perspective. I'll get to this soon, but before that lets take a detour to movies... yes, Office Space... I'll tie it in, believe me. Here's the dialog exchange between leads:

PETER: I, uh, I don't like my job. I don't think I'm gonna go anymore.
JOANNA: You're just not gonna go?
PETER: Yeah.
JOANNA: Won't you get fired?
PETER: I don't know. But I really don't like it so I'm not gonna go.
JOANNA: (LAUGHS) So you're gonna quit?
PETER: No, no, not really. I'm just gonna stop going.

Do you see how this ties up now? Where Office Space helps is Reliance and BSNL have one difference in their billing me nonsense: Reliance was prepaid, they had my money; BSNL is postpaid, they want my money. Here's my Office Space knowledge applied to BSNL:

me: I, uh, I don't like my ISP. I don't think I'm gonna pay anymore.
them: You're just not gonna pay?
me: Yeah.
them: Won't BSNL disconnect?
me: I don't know. But I really don't like this huge overbilling nonsense so I'm not gonna pay.
them: (LAUGH) So you're gonna disconnect?
me: No, no, not really. I'm just gonna stop paying.

Here I recall Seinfeld (The Chinese Restaurant):

Jerry: (A couple of days ago I used a public phone), go over time on the call, hang up the phone, walk away. You've had this happen? Phone rings. It's the phone company... they want more money. Don't you love this? And you got them right where you want them for the first time in your life. You're on the street, there's nothing they can do. I like to let it ring a few times, you know, let her sweat a little over there, then I just pick it up, "Yeah, operator... oh, I got the money... I got the money right here... D'you hear that? (taps on microphone) That's a quarter. Yeah, you want that don't you?"


I'm having a sudden feeling of tranquility, which had become rare off late due to my dissolving myself in movies by choice. The idea was to take a back seat, let time adjust circumstances to my convenience to pursue sAdhana, while still not getting into the worldly crowd.

Today's tranquil disposition is all thanks to not being able to stop myself from replying to a mailing list thread where one gentleman found himself in a position similar to mine, some years back. While he was seeking guidance on what to do and there were/ are people replying to it, I'd to share my thoughts and experience for what its worth. More than helping him, I think it was an opportunity for me, a wake up call if you will, to reflect upon things as they stand at this juncture of my geographical shifting, perhaps for good! Here's what I wrote there:

First of all, I'd like to say that my reply is purely on inner-feeling, I didn't approach anyone in the mortal body for guidance but submitted to whoever I consider as Guru and I still know that I didn't decide, but the decision was taken; I just seem to have acted out. Later on, I did get approval from some saMnyAsins and sAdhakas that I met. However, you may kindly choose to consider the reply as an ego-driven one, which may be so in all possibility!

I went through a similar phase some years back and began to theoretically plan out early retirement; that failed, of course! I knew I was not ready for saMnyAsa due to vAsanAs and responsibilities due to pUrva saMskAra, but I also knew that I can't contribute to work to the extent that I started feeling guilty of not justifying my salaries. I'll not get into boring details of my dvandva bhAva then, but suffice to say that the best effort you talk of itself became a delusion to me. Perhaps, thats a feeling for you too. Finally, I decided to try a middle path as a way out, which meant giving up without planning and assuming that there is a plan due to which I survived thus far. This middle path meant that I'd earn and save on need basis or more appropriately, reduce needs to fit the savings, till I have dependents (it may be worth mentioning here that I chose to remain a bachelor) and focus on chitta shuddhi. I went through lots of ups and downs since I walked out of my job over 2.5 yrs back, including taking up a job for 3 more months elsewhere to sustain, all thanks to this middle path, but I haven't regretted it once. The only thing I regret is sidelining my viveka-driven vairAgya and keeping all sAdhana aside to totally commit myself to laukika workplace for the duration of notice period, which extended to 10 months! Bhagavatpada, to the best of my understanding, strongly recommends saMnyAsa at the first glimpse of viveka vairAgya, else it is prone to get diluted into the worldly. For those who fail to act on it for whatever reasons, the middle path works better if there is a lot of self-imposed discipline and satsanga, till there is a Guru to guide. Its much better if you have one already, IMHO in a mortal body or not.

Finally, you're the best judge of your vairAgya and to act upon it, because karma theory ensures that you get what you deserve. I thought of sharing my thoughts and experience here because I took that step you're considering, although you may want to serve the society while I felt I was incapable of that. Yet another option may be to afford a sabbatical of a year or so and decide at the end of it whether you were right. That all depends on how confident you feel of going back to where you were, if need be. But socially, a lot of "acting on it" is based on one's responsibility as a family member, and what the family thinks, be it in a world of mithyA. In any case, I'd request you not to give up your sAdhana be it as a fulltime activity or parttime. May God/ Guru guide you on your path.

Apologies, if I've accidentally stepped on anybody's toes here with my conviction.


From Suyodhana to Duryodhana

Many of us do not know that Duryodhana wasn't named as Duryodhana at birth, but came to be known so due to his evil doings. Obviously, no parents will name their child so! Said Suyodhana wisely so:

jAnAmi dharmaM na ca me pravR^tti
jAnAmi adharmaM na ca me nivR^tti

I know what is righteousness, but I do not have the tendency towards it; I know what is immoral, but my tendency is not to give it up.

Now add this to the debate on "free will and fate" and analyze it with "bad habit/wrong path being easier and good habit/right path being difficult to form/follow". IMO, more than wanting to do the right thing, a difficult choice, doing wrong being easy was what made Suyodhana Duryodhana!

Circumstantially, I don't get to do the right thing, which crushes me so much that I stop trying to do any good at a certain point. Stopping there is a neutral thing to do, which is when Suyodhana accepts that fate rules over free will and he is destined to not having pravR^tti of doing good and he's destined to not having nivR^tti from doing evil. That said, now comes a tougher fact of life: to the ego, being helpless is illogical and to the evil-thinking, there is an easier path of wrong-doing! I'll link this up later...

Let me bring up a question here: which is better of the following two?
  1. Not knowing good from evil, right from wrong at all (recall "ignorance is bliss").
  2. Knowing good from evil, right from wrong, but not being able to act accordingly.
There are answers to this question based on what perspective we take: as a neutral observer or an active participant. From the former, 2 is superior due to his learning, declaring Suyodhana as wise. However, for an active participant, i.e. to Suyodhana himself, not being able to do good, leaving evil, knowing right from wrong, wisely, must have been suffocating! He'd rather choose 1 and be in blissful ignorance, but that too would hurt his ego even if he could go back to being an unwise ignorant fool!

Instead he chose to split jAnAmi dharmaM na ca me pravR^tti and weighed it against jAnAmi adharmaM na ca me nivR^tti. First part is something he could achieve no success with and instead worked on the latter part. If he could do away with wanting nivR^tti from adharma, and instead choose to want adharma, he would meet with complete success, aided by fate as well as free will then! This helped the ego too, so it was the best available solution for wise Suyodhana to choose and become Duryodhana!

chitta vR^tti nirodha

In a recent satsanga, I came to know of Ramana Maharshi's explanation of chitta vR^tti nirodha, which is the defining sutra of Patanjali's yoga. It is well-known among commoners of Ramana and kunDalini followers that Bhagavan has made a valuable contribution to kunDalini beyond sahasrAra. However, about Bhagavan's yoga definition either I've read and forgotten or its just something that I find myself immediately agreeing to (a feeling similar to déjà vu thats perhaps common among sAdhakas).

Every vedAnti knows that mind or manas is further divided into manas, buddhi, chitta and ahaMkAra, loosely translated as mind (recursive definition!), intellect, memory and ego. Be as it may, what is important to know that the mind itself functions as what is knows as the intellect, etc... this is exactly what Bhagavan refers to as vR^tti: that is, the mind changing itself into many other names and forms. Stopping this vR^tti is nirodha, and nirodha of such vR^tti of chitta is yoga.

Bhagavan is known to put things in simple words that seem very easy, although factually are difficult. :)


Rush Limbaukh is slumdogging Indians

At the outset, thats an intended typo from Lim-baugh to Lim-baukh. The word *baukh* stands for *barking* in Hindi and thats precisely what this radio jockey has done, he's come out of his jocks yet again! In his radio program, Limbaugh told a caller, who evidently didn't mention India, that slumdog Indians taking away American jobs in the form of outsourcing is not going to stop. Little did he realize that while saying that he has called Americans worse than slumdogs if corporates have to take away quality jobs from them and give it to Indians.

What else can you expect from an idiot who has made fun of people with Parkinson's disease? As they say, commonsense is not so common.


(originally written on 15 Aug 2007 thinking some nonsense over Independence Day and later left unfinished, lost in drafts!)

to think, speak and act.
to meditate, silence and undo.
to start, revert and end.
to nothing, something and everything.
to dependence, inter-dependence and independence.
to remain, be and exist.
to peace, peace and peace.

Spiritual path and the Guru

(Off late, I'd taken to lots of movies and some political debates. I'm slowly returning to the main content of this blog: adhyAtma)

I was casually exchanging mails with a satsangi and the topic shifted through lot of things that I'm doing or not doing and whether I'm confused. That led to a series of mails where I wrote up things that I was reserving for some blog entries. Instead I'll blog those mails in a dialogue, my friend here will be marked as MU:

me: I'm sure you may be thinking that I'm confused. And let me agree this time that due to so much of running around in the past, I'm kinda confused on things that I'll pursue being in Vasai. Maybe, all in good time! :)

MU: Confusion on the spiritual path is probably not uncommon..I'm sure that as you settle down, you will find your way.

me: Just to clarify, you too meant confusion (in worldly matters) on the spiritual path, right? :)

MU: Confusion, not necessarily, in worldly matters only - even in the spiritual path itself - I had a friend in the US who came to India, became a Sanyasin and then associated with so many gurus that finally he was confused as to which guru to follow, then another who is married with a child & is confused about how he can do rigorous sadhana given his station in life...in fact, in my opinion, confusion is the norm in spiritual life rather than certainty! :-) Hence the need for a guru!

me: Doesn't "hence the need for a Guru" and "confused about which Guru to follow" seem contradictory? And thats life, worldly life! :)

Well, to me, both the matters are essentially worldly. Spiritual path begins only on following principles that lead to moksha. Taking from the example and not specifically commenting on your friend, being confused about which guru to follow, having followed many, is akin to which path to follow, be it bhakti, yoga or jnAna or even in really spiritual details of Advaita Vedanta, whether to follow Bhamati or Vivarana(*), etc. If one doesn't know what to follow, if there's no faith/ understanding of the path, then the very step in the so-called spiritual journey was hurrying without being prepared for it or maybe smashAna vairAgya. I think a better way would be to stick on to guru who initiated one into saMnyAsa, if not identify a guru and then take to saMnyAsa.

The other end of how to do rigorous sAdhana while being a family-man is also a worldly thing, and actually defeating dharma. If the person is unwilling to take to saMnyAsAshrama, then he needs to do sAdhana thats agreeable with his family responsibilites, rigorous has no meaning left then.

In either case, therefore, the spiritual journey has hardly begun and confusion is in the worldly. I know this because I fall in the latter category of "how to do rigorous sAdhana being in Vasai" kinds and think that confusion is worldly... with Guru's grace, I'm clear about spiritual path in little bits that I've read/ followed. :) As I live in hope, all in good time. :)

[*Bhamati or Vivarana, etc: If one becomes confused between these, there are only two options, select one that you agree strongly with, or find a common ground between the two; it surely exists. Picking either or both mean the same thing to me, because both do take one to moksha! Unfortunately, most of us stay clear of both because they seem contradictory in others' opinion (or to us)! :)

MU: On a lighter note, I said "hence the need for a (note singular :-)) guru".

me: Yes, that did pass my mind :) Sadly though, lives pass by many Gurus till one really gets the one!

MU: I may have mentioned this to you before but would like to reiterate it in this context in particular in that, according to SwAmi PArthasArthy, spirituality is not tied into your station in life. One may choose sanyAsa if it follows the grain of ones nature but a householder too is equally capable of achieving mokshA. There are hurdles in each path, albeit of different kinds, but the goal can be reached via both.

me: Agreed, the goal can be reached by both... why only two, it can be reached via gazillion paths. Thats the reason I said that one needs to pick and walk on what one is ready for, including circumstantially available path, which in turn, I strongly believe (as per karma) is based on how much one is ready. So, there's no point in insisting one should do "rigorous sAdhana" within family life.

MU: If I am not mistaken, according to traditional VedAnta, sanyAsa is a must for mokshA. Therefore, I am curious, can you tell me what you mean when you say:

>> Spiritual path begins only on following principles that lead to moksha.


>> with Guru's grace, I'm clear about spiritual path in little bits

What are these principles? Can you share them with me briefly?

me: Yes... I was quite careful in wording myself as you can see below... :) ...

>> Spiritual path begins only on following principles that lead to moksha.

A path that *begins*, leading to moksha, need not end at the beginning. In that, vairAgya is not something that one enforces, it comes naturally to one ready for the spiritual path. Similarly, AFAIK, saMnyAsa will consume the person ready for moksha.

I've said this earlier, but will repeat myself again and again. The principles are the same: developing sAdhana cAtushTaya, not really worrying about how many different paths are there, who'll be the right Guru, whether I can do things within family life, can I ever be capable of giving up and take to saMnyAsa, etc. That development, at the right step, will take the person to the next door that one needs to walk into (or in liberation terms, walk out of).

Anything that seems inconsistent is because of lack of shraddha that comes from sAdhana cAtushTaya itself. And I'm yet to find anyone, be it any path one follows, or any grihasta Guru, or a saMnyAsi Guru, who'd disagree with anything in the sAdhana cAtushTaya! Thats the beauty of traditional vedAnta: going back to basics makes a foundation of solutions for the most complex of problems. There is a common ground to everything in the shruti, it can never be contradictory... meaning the principles are definitely the same.

I'd like to play one final note, drawing an analog of the spiritual principles with education system. The somewhat anything-goes-attitude of the non-traditional systems, without initial sAdhana cAtushTaya (not necessarily rigorous) is akin to my wanting to do rocket science engg. without basic physics background. Enough said, I suppose. :)

MU: Ok, thanks for your inputs. Sorry, if my questions were a little repetitive (and hence irritating). I agree that sAdhana cAtushTaya is imperative for mokshA but it has never been easy for me to understand how to implement it in life. Just reading that one should develop viveka, vairAgya, etc sounds good but how does one do it in practice is the more difficult question. Hence attending lectures by SwAmiji's disciples helps me tremendously. It has been over two years that I have been attending these lectures and it is only recently that some glimmer of light is visible to me....and it is only a glimmer..I see only inklings of the path to follow...

me: Nah, nah, apologies if I sounded irritated. I wasn't. Its just that we all expect a different answer every time we ask the same Q on spiritual front, perhaps something easier, or maybe a short cut. IMHO, such a thing doesn't exist; else the laziest person on earth that I am would definitely grab it! :)

Precisely so. I'm sure you'd agree that even the disciples of Swamiji may have delivered the same thing that you may have heard earlier or read in Swamiji's books, albeit in various packages. Its only on repetitive reading or hearing (shravaNa), through various angles at times, that the concept gets down deep. I've one understanding that I blabber on my blog every now and then... that the understanding should become a habit (manana) to such an extent that the theoretical reading should get deeper and deeper, to reach even our dreams. Thats how its practiced, AFAIK, becoming a part of us (niddhidhyAsana).

hari Om tat sat