Om shAntiH shAntiH shAntiH

Most of the Vedic chanting is ended with either a shAnti mantra or just plain simple Om shAntiH shAntiH shAntiH. The reason to pray thrice for peace is because there are three kinds of afflictions that we mortals face; viz. AdhyAtmika, Adhibhautika and Adhidaivika.

AdhyAtimika problems are ones related to one's own self. These are physical and mental issues that one has to deal within one's own battle of life. Adhibhautika afflictions are imposed on one due to circumstances involving surrounding people and things that come as part of one's prArabdha. Adhidaivika issues are those beyond our control even as a society, things which we call rightly as "Acts of God" such as earthquake, volcanoes, and such calamities.

So when we pray, we ask God as a sarvadhI sAkshin to bring us peace, as a sahasramUrti or a virATapurusha to bring us peace, and also as Ishvara ruling over anything and everything to bring us peace.

iti trivAra satyaM

om shAntiH shAntiH shAntiH

Talk the walk

Ever since I left Mumbai in 2000, I've been staying alone up until a few months back when I crawled my way back home to Mumbai. During those years, after work or weekends were all times of silence. I didn't talk, I didn't have anyone to talk to around me, which is how I preferred things to be. A side-effect of mum solitude was being very verbose while in company. This chalked out quite a digital living for me: either of deafening silence or a loud chatterbox. Of course, since no one saw my silent times, they saw me as a talkative nut. Not that I wasn't, I sure was, but I guess when you averaged out the talk over a week, I'd turn out to be normal, if not below it.

I've had my reasons to talk; more often than not, the main reason was humour. To laugh and to make laugh is perhaps in my blood. I've been tagged a cartoon by many due to this undying habit of mine. It so happens that I can't stay serious for long, it takes the fun out of life for me. Also, sitting along with a company of people at work or otherwise is painfully boring if they just stare at you or at empty spaces! Instead of torturing myself in such company, I'd make them utter something or the other or try and make them laugh. I remember interviewing a chap for a leadership position who just wouldn't laugh. He'd stick to his questions, answer them and sit back as if to wait for the next one. That seriousness would have killed my team spirit. My sole goal then became to make this chap smile, if not laugh, at least once during the interview! To my immense pleasure, I achieved this twice and told it to my senior in the interview report. He came back in the 2nd round and my senior made him smile once. I think I had a trickle effect there. :)

A year at Sagara last year was mostly of silence since I stayed alone, hardly spoke to neighbours if at all, and visited very few people. The only regular talk was with vegetable vendors or at a restaurant once in a while, unless I found satsanga. Since my return to Mumbai, my talk has increased a bit because I trouble my parents with pranks every now and then. But due to mostly being indoors, I still rarely talk much and hardly longer than needed. However, the past week or so has been different. I have talked so much on phone and with a visitor that I've an aching voice box now! My preferred mode of communication is again becoming email, chat, blog or facebook, more than phone or face-to-face.

So I realize this now: if I walk my talk, I'll have to travel the world's length, but if I talk the walk, I'll have nothing to say! I prefer the latter. ;)

PS: In other words, from a brAhmaNa bahUjana priya, I'm becoming brAhmaNa bhojana priya :)

Many Biharis understand democracy

Many Biharis know their rights very well in democratic India. They know that rights are of the Biharis, by the Biharis and for the Biharis. Simple. If you need to travel, travel. No preparation, money or tickets are needed. You just need to decide the mode and day of travel and you're done. Tickets are meant for losers, who do not know what democracy is. There are also other set of losers who do not allow Biharis to use their rights, thereby inviting a ridicule at best, an attack at other times.

Recently, some officials tried to act smart and asked these fellow citizens for tickets in a reserved compartment! We don't know what exactly transpired between them, but since these Biharis knew their right-to-travel, they weren't pleased to being objected to traveling without tickets. What we do know is that they exercised their other right: right-to-burn and soon the bogies found themselves burning as they deserved to be.

Vande Mataram! Jai Hind!

The Freedom Dip

It all started during our first Himalayan trip in 2005, when we drove and trekked to Yamnotri and the itinerary got sync'd up so as to get our Ganga or Yamuna dip on Independence day. The next year, we chalked out a plan to trek Gangotri-Gaumukh-Tapovan and got our Ganges dip around 15th Aug again. Somehow, since then, its almost become a ritualistic routine to take a symbolic independence day Ganges dip in the Himalayas-- mostly Rishikesh-- every year! Since Sriram was out of India for a while, I took those dips on behalf of both of us the past two years, if not on 15th, centred around it less than a month here or there. I've termed this as "The Freedom Dip" now.

Unfortunately, this year, a lot of things have gone wrong though the freedom dip was initially planned. There was Gujjar community issue, followed by foggy airports, issues with rain-- flooding at first on railway tracks and then to country getting into drought now, a swine flu scare around us restricting travel, and finally, 15th Aug intelligence report warnings of terrorist attacks! All these have had an impact on working out a feasible travel plan up north for the celebrated dip. It deeply saddens me that the call to Rishikesh hasn't come through this year, but I do hope that I can postpone the same and take it sometime soon. And while I'm hoping, on "a great day for freedom", I'd rather hope that Sriram and I get to take this dip together instead of me alone!

Then again, like other things, all in good time...

Thoughts 105

105. Whenever I get frustrated, I run past the phase hastily; beyond that lies a beautiful phase of pure humour.

H1N1 and the like

Every few years, newspapers get lucky with some tragic news which has a national impact, if not international. Be it due to an earthquake, tsunami, act of terrorism or some new disease. Such things give news papers and channels something to fill their otherwise useless spaces and time slots with. It is also a time for idiots to spread rumours.

I remember some 12 odd years back, there was a big scare of plague due to rats. This time around its swine flu. The news ran about with usual guesstimates of people affected, deaths among them, undetected ones, the risk of spreading. One title ran two days back that read "33% Indians to be affected by swine flu in 2 years". Interesting, isn't it? What kind of a research is that? Are we saying we can't control it and hence it will reach that level? Or are we saying that we will control it to that level? Either way, its quite a stupid thing to say, especially when they themselves ran news such as "so many dead", "schools and theatres closed", "does blah blah have facilities to test for H1N1?", etc. They are practically hoping for some kind of a panic situation.

The other set of people benefited from these are companies that make medication or preventive medication/ consumables. Ah, the disposable mask! People don't seem to understand the meaning of disposable there. It means a mask that can be worn for 4 hrs only. Another thing not widely known about masks is that masks are more of a device to protect others from you, not the reverse way! Thats the reason surgeons wear it anyway, in order to not contaminate the insides of the patient! In any case, masks being useless for H1N1 is a fact that was announced at the very outset of this pandemic. Its also clear now that more than these masks helping, they pose a disposal issue and hence are a reason that the flu will multiply and spread instead! Still, these masks are selling in black. I've read reports of these stupid penny masks selling at Rs.400! Who's benefited?

Lets deviate a bit and look at seasonal flu as well. When it started off, it was considered scary too... almost this much. Then it went on and on and now, we have a pop-a-crocin kind of situation. And well, what does Crocin do? It helps you sleep a bit, reduces pain a bit, that way, and the flu passes off on its own, more or less. I haven't known a flu that has gone by without my being in bed for 3 days overall, with or without medication. Same goes for this swine flu, as I got to read yesterday. Its like a longer flu of 7-8 days and even with Tamiflu, its still going to last at 5-6 days. But such news is in no one's interest. Tamiflu or equivalents need to be made for cos. to make a huge sum off this. It almost reminds me everyday of the scene from V for Vendetta and the reason for an epidemic starting in the first place! Anyways...

I'm also disgusted the way totally unrelated companies are having a ball now! These sickos such as Reliance Communications are sending out messages and offers to be kept informed of Swine flu. Two such messages today have ruined it for me so much that I'm going to throw their so-called services away with their sim card soon. One of these offers read Rs.30 per month and the other Rs.3 per sms! To hell with Reliance.

As for number of deaths, its quite low in comparison to malaria, HIV and such. I'm also reminded now of when HIV/ AIDS became a threat so much that a lot of us used to carry a blade at the barbers! It was a precautionary measure and I'm thankful that the razor rates didn't go up due to it. Now all barbers know what safety means. Funnily enough, that safety thing may not be true about the main reason that HIV spreads! :)

To sum up in the end: lets stick to sanity, ignore the rumourmongers, not add to panic, have healthy food, increase immunity, grow and eat tulsi, grow neem if possible, use our clean hankies and scarves instead of masks, contain prices of necessities and... live on.

The story 3 years later...

On August 10th, three years earlier, I walked out of a five and three quarter years of affair with Tek. Its the longest I've had with any company and for that reason too, Tek will always remain a sweetheart to me! Of course, given my short memory, this date was overwritten by Aug 31st, another short relation I walked out of that I'd with Cnxt back in 2007. This relation was a kind of a live-in, because it provided me with a 16-18 hour workdays, many a time. :)

My internet was down since yesterday until a couple hours back and I received an sms this morning that gave me some suggestions on do's and don'ts today without any specific context; I get irritated and tortured when people go on talking without telling you the context! Even that faded away by a'noon, until now. So I thought of searching through mails and stuff for today's date, found an archived chat with a mention of this date, then searched my blog and bingo! To reconfirm, I also searched my emails for "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" which has been the subject line of my last day at work since Tek. :)

I left Tek for pursuing something thats close to heart, so much so that people wouldn't believe it if I told them that those were my childhood dreams! But what people do not understand that this path is a long one, its one that begins at a certain unknown moment till another certain unknown moment. At that first certain moment, whenever that is, all that you have planned, in the time that you've planned, the way you have planned, etc, all are meaningless. The time itself is meaningless then. Its just a journey of a pursuit for something that you think is hidden from you and you search for it in any way you can. Its not a path where you can measure success, because success is getting something you already have and you won't know till you know it. And till then, the world sees it as a failure. Beyond that too, the world still sees you as a failure because they don't know what you know! Still, its all very interesting. :)

Lets see in worldly eyes, what have I lost these 3 years: a brand, a job, a salary, a huge sum of monies, a chance to find another job in this recession, an opportunity to build/ buy a house in a "happening" city at 3 yr old rates, work experience, contacts, etc. I'd one chap, who's also on the path and connected with me on one of the networking sites, message me asking me to join back the industry where all the "experience" is. And mind you, he meant experience in the sense that teaches us to live by the force, meaning not work-experience but spiritual. I almost burst into laughter, but then fell physically ill with more exchange of messages with him! The reason I'd laughed it out earlier is because someone who doesn't know what I've gained or lost the past three years, who himself has not been out on a sabbatical, had managed to spiritually advice me to come back from something he hasn't done! Thats got to be a joke, be it unintentional. :)

So what have I done in these three years? Let me recall some things: I went and learnt discipline at my 2 months at YVFA, Rishikesh. I made some satsanga friends there. I found some great guides and teachers I can go back to when I'm stuck with anything on the spiritual front. God has been kind. I found some invites to stay forever in some ashrams and have managed to stay clear of them due to my commitment to the middle path. I searched a lot for a peaceful place for my sAdhana and bought out a land with the blind trust that I put in people. I got some people to follow up on it and get titles on my name, in vain. I planned to build on those 5 acres of land back then. I'd done away with all my money in that village land and went into dire straits not getting land, losing money and not having a place to stay. In that moment, I got a job as grace, went out to grab it, hang in there for 3m and 20d, till my village land went into legal hassles. I went back to that village, rented a place for a year, fought the legal battle and won back the land. Meanwhile, I read some books, saw tons of movies, fought lure successfully at times, failing at others, built tremendous patience, and did whatever possible sAdhana I could in the mess I was in. I sold away the land back to the person who put a case against me anyways, not wanting to break his ancestral property, losing a lot of money, time and opportunity cost! I sold some investments to survive, bought an old car to drive around in the hills a bit before I gave up villages and returned back to Mumbai. Now I'm sitting here, catching up with lost contacts, waiting for time to put up a favourable moment to take my next step, whatever that is. :)

Lets see in my eyes, what I've gained or lost now, shall we? I learned a lot of things about how people see you when you're off work. This was something unimaginable to me, not that I care, but a learning experience nonetheless. I learnt patience... an immense value quality on the path. I learnt that walking the path is an experience of bliss that you get not by talking it alone; you can't swim in theory! I know what to do to succeed and what not to do to become lethargic or worldly again. I know how to get back into the world when needed and come out of it without getting involved. I know how risky it is to go out there and try to settle alone when the world preys on you! True story! :) I learnt that the middle path is more difficult since the worldly hurdles are so much more that spirituality crawls in it. I know what I have to do next in order to get to my sole goal and I've learnt to ignore everything that I need to do to get there or waste doing but still return to get there. I also learnt an important lesson of how to do things first and talk about it later, if need be, than the other way round and lose it totally! :D I learnt to live in the moment... losing track of time... as you can see from the length of this blog too! ;)

Thoughts 104

104. Going with the flow, as I define, is not to add more value to events beyond the *moment*.