O tamaH!

॥ ॐ॥

O tamaH, Thou Are Rudra Himself,
Who puts me to deep sleep.
Fooling me back into ignorance,
For my love of Thy dark form.
In that blissful embrace of Thine,
The desires still remain as seed.
Losing Thy grace on waking up,
My desires play the destroying dance.
The powerful presence of Thee,
Pervades the Tripura not only sleep.
With Thy Trident, destroy that seed,
That brings me this wakeful dream.
Its but a play of the most beautiful, Maya,
Thy consort in the abode of Kailasa.

॥ श्रीगुरुपादुकार्पणमस्तु॥


|| हरि ॐ ||

What am I, but dead matter,
Without Thy presence in me?

Not knowing That
I've distanced myself from Thee!

Would I ever Know
That's to wait and see

Longing that Union,
For now, I'll just be.

|| श्रीगुरुपादुकार्पणमस्तु ||

A simple case for saMpradAya

|| हरि ॐ ||
What I'm trying to do with the following thinking is make up a simple case for the Vedantic saMpradAya or tradition, which requires one to learn in a succession of guru-shishya relation.

Lets say that I'm an engineer and for some reason, I feel myself inclined to medicine. So I pick up some books that I hear are taught in medical school and then read them cover to cover. I've no one to teach me, much less endorse if I've learnt it all right. At the end of my self-acclaimed learning, am I a qualified doctor? Is it okay for me to practice medicine treating patients? Is it also okay for me to start my own medical school and take students? Fortunately, law answers all these questions in the negative. It requires me to learn from an established medical school which is authorized by a body of qualified people in medicine. Only then will I be said to have any useful knowledge of medicine for application and teaching.

Now, why is it that people are mistaken to think that the same set of rules do not apply to Vedanta, which is even known to be esoteric? For some reason, there are people who have books by self-acclaimed masters or have learnt under them, who themselves are not disciples of anyone in the saMpradAya. Its no surprise then that the so-called knowledge that they have is not useful knowledge as far as the spiritual progress is concerned, not to say that its a downfall!

The saMpradAya requires, therefore, for a student to approach a shrotriya and brahmaniShTA guru, with reverence, to learn Vedanta after acquiring the sAdhana cAtuShTaya, that is the four-fold qualifications. Many are known to discard this set of qualifications also and thats another reason there is a misunderstanding of concepts and the knowledge doesn't shine forth. To draw a parallel with the above example of medical school, don't they too have a minimum set of qualifications before one attempts to learn medicine?!

What is meant by shrotriya is a master who has gained scriptural knowledge through a disciplic succession in saMpradAya and with that basis, not only knows the subject well, but also knows how to teach. This is a concept lost on many. The word brahmaniShTA describes being established in brahman or the absolute consciousness. Further, the saMpradAya says that its impossible for a non-brahmaniShTA to know if someone is a brahmaniShTA, which means that the stress here is on shrotriya. Bhagavatpada says that being a shrotriya guru is a must for one to gain knowledge, even if the guru is not brahmaniShTA, so thats how important the saMpradAya is.

|| श्रीगुरुपादुकार्पणमस्तु ||

Another funny incident

|| हरि ॐ ||

I spoke to Raghav on phone yesterday after a long time. Somewhere during the morning, I woke up recalling something and called this friend again. He sounded sleepy and then I realized it was too early to wake up, let alone call someone! The time seemed like a little past 0400 hrs. I apologized for calling that early saying that I didn't realize myself what the time was, but since I'd something interesting to share, I just picked up the phone. I think he asked me what it was and by that time, I'd forgotten what I'd called for! I expressed my regret again for an odd-time call and disconnected.

Now here's whats interesting. I began thinking how I could be that stupid in calling someone at an odd-hour and wondered if it really happened or was it a dream. I've done this before a few times. The only logical way I thought I'd know that was by picking up the cell phone and checking the last outgoing call with its timestamp. I did that and it looked as if I'd indeed called. I was feeling remorse, sleepy and doubtful again all at the same time. I slept off, only to get up after a while and look for my cell phone again. The cell phone wasn't around since I'd kept it away for charging before I went to sleep last night itself! It was nothing but a dream. :)

The sAdhana struggle to see the dream as a dream continues...

|| श्रीगुरुपादुकार्पणमस्तु ||

I want realization too!

॥ ॐ॥
There are many a fundamental flaw in the statement 'I want realization too!' no matter whether you interpret it as I too want realization or realization too is wanted by me, because the statement could mean any of the two, though I want to focus more on the latter meaning in this post.

Lets treat the first meaning as we often hear people say I want it too to mean I too want it. This becomes a statement that indicates reason for wanting. The problem with one wanting realization because someone 'else' (pun intended) wants it is that one may not be necessarily ready. There is a right reason for wanting to liberate oneself and that right reason is viveka-driven vairAgya. No other reason is apt, nor is the sAdhana fruitful with such foundation. Enough said on this point.

The issue with wanting realization among other things in life is that of lack in mumukshutva. This is a major hurdle on the path... why, sAdhana cAtuShTaya must culminate in mumukshutva to become an utammottama adhikAri of j~nAna. The burning desire to liberate means the only desire, which itself becomes a cause in getting the Guru. The Guru is said to search and find such a mumukshu himself! Since that is an extreme rarity in an already rare number of seekers, the remaining grades of uttama, madhyama and  manda adhikAris in decreasing order of mumukshutva must achieve citta shuddhi by focusing entirely on sAdhana cAtuShTaya. Such grades of adhikAris also benefit due to physical proximity to the Guru, which again means wanting only one thing in life. Ones who neither have the intensity in desire to liberate, nor focus entirely on achieving purity of mind are the ones who want realization also among other things. Unfortunately, most of us are not even a part of manda adhikAris, but are of pastime philosophical needs in our cozy lives. Such people go nowhere on the path because its more of an arm-chair philosophy for them, something to chat about over a cup of coffee. And here's why...

When we want other things, the basic step of viveka itself is not going well. We are unable to discriminate between the real and unreal, end up living almost the entire day in the unreal, believing it to be real and trying to gain most of it towards the unreal goals. Take an example of a person who wants to make more money. He would go out of his way to spend more time at work to the expense of his family. Would this person do the same towards his goal to liberate and at the cost of the family? No! Our social norms declare the earlier kind as a hardworking person, while the latter is supposed to be an irresponsible chap, regardless of whether the society understands anything at all between the real and unreal. Therefore, vairAgya is difficult to come by for such people who try to be seekers. Without these basic qualifications, Bhagavatpada says in Vivekachudamani that even the practice of shaTsampatti is as useless as a mirage in the desert. How then will such a person gain mumukshutva, let alone liberation? Bhagavatpadacharya says in Kathabhashyam: न हि बाह्यविषयालोचनपरत्वम् प्रत्यगात्मेक्षणं च एकस्य सम्भवति। It is not possible for one and the same person to have commitment to dwelling on external objects and appreciation of the inner self!

In closing I'll quote a little-known teacher, Dr. Poy, who had once convincingly told someone so--
You asked for my teachings and here they are: ''Part-time sadhus don't get enlightened.''

॥ श्रीगुरुपादुकार्पणमस्तु॥

A short note on aShTAnga yoga

|| हरि ॐ ||
I've been meaning to write a series on yoga as I announced on the blog several months back. Unfortunately, circumstances have not been favourable to do something consistently. Someday I do hope to get back to it, but here's a quick note. A friend of mine suggested that there seems to be a Catch 22 in that a person cannot have a mind free of desires without meditation and he can't focus on meditation without a restless mind. In my opinion, this is not true. If thats the case, it would be an endless journey and we do know such is not the case, there being many well-established yogis. Had they not been there, we would have not even considered taking to the path, let alone walking it! My understanding is that most people jump to either mass yogAsana and/or prANAyAma and call it yoga. They either hallucinate themselves into a so-called meditative state and cry on when they fail to control their downfall, or blame the path when they cannot meditate. I don't want to sound holier than thou here, but I do have trouble with the hot-selling yoga, however it is sold. Yoga is definitely not something you can buy off the market. It is not something to do as a mass class, but an individualistic path; if not so while learning the initial steps, it should graduate to be one such. Guru's guidance to the disciple is also individualistic in the higher stages.

Yoga by itself doesn't make clear what one is doing per se and for what really, not in totality at least. Thats why yoga is said to go hand-in hand with sAMkhyA, which is the theory behind yoga practice. The basics of sAMkhyA tell one that he is the purusha though he finds himself stuck in prakRRiti. The path of yoga is a practice that delivers one's freedom as purusha. I've always stuck to my opinion that Yoga must go through all the 8 steps of aShTAnga yoga. There is no skipping levels and jumping straight to yogAsana & prANAyAma if the goal is indeed meditation. These two steps are just good for physical health otherwise and somewhat mental, and the resultant benefit is just worldly without yama & niyama.

"When a yogin becomes qualified by practicing yama and niyama, then the yogin can proceed 
to Asana and the other means." --Yoga Bhashya Vivarana (II.29)

yama and niyama lay the foundation for one to focus on the Asana positions well and the movement of prANa during prANAyAma. yama is made up of satya (truthfulness), ahimsA (non-violence), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacarya (celibacy) & aparigraha (non-covetousness), while sauca (cleanliness), santoSha (contentment), tapas (austerity), svAdhyAya (self-study), Ishvara praNidhAna (surrender to God) make up the niyama. One must try to follow these to the best of one's abilities. As one becomes well-established in these basic rules, over a period of time, his citta is shuddha and then he can build over these while carrying on to yoga and prANAyAma next.

The basic idea of Asana is to keep the body flexible enough to maintain a position without physical or mental agony over an extended period. Before reaching any meditative exercise, one has to be able to disconnect from bodily suffering, else what kind of "meditation" would that be? Even prANAyAma would not give good benefits soon if the Asanas don't make prANa movement flexible. Most AsanAs are to be done in stages of sync with breath. A classic example is suryanamaskAra that has inhale, exhale and breath retention tied-in per stage. Once the body is flexible enough to perform the AsanAs painlessly and the movement of prANa through the body is smooth, one can proceed to maintaining one of the sitting postures for longer period of time.

While the practice of the above continues, one should move onto a very important stage before the doorway to meditation: pratyAhAra. This is also the least understood anga. All the yama, niyama virtues gained are good for meditation only if pratyAhAra succeeds, because this stage links the bahiranga (external) stages with the antaranga (internal) stages. A great analogy for what pratyAhara means is what a tortoise does. The way a tortoise withdraws its limbs within its shell, so should one withdraw his attention from all the five senses. This is an extremely important step in sAdhana of a yogi. This makes or breaks a yogi, so to say. The mind is fed all the data from the senses, other than one's own memory to process. Pulling one's attention from these inputs lets a person use his mind for the goal. The practice of this step can continue with some senses even while in simple worldly activities.

With the above internalization, one becomes ready for dhAraNA (concentration) on an object, breath or IshTa devata, etc. When this dhAraNA towards the object becomes steady over a period of time, without any distractions whatsoever, it is said to be tailadhArAvat (like a steady flow of oil) and then dhyAna (meditation) happens! Its not something you do, its a happening! So when you say you can't meditate, its because you're trying to meditate, what you need to do instead is remove all obstacles that you think are troubling you. Be honest. Accept that there are troubles, else you would be realized already... why, you wouldn't even have been born in the first place! :) So be true to yourself, try to remove obstacles with all the bahiranga and antaranga steps, keep concentrating and meditation will happen.

I'll close this now, what was intended to be a short note, by saying that I'll purposely skip the last anga samAdhi which has no English word per se and its something that can best be left unexplained (till I someday write a series perhaps, if there is Guru icchA) and only be experienced.

|| श्रीगुरुपादुकार्पणमस्तु ||


हरि ॐ ||

I intend to express a somewhat detailed learning in a later blog entry, if mood sticks on, which would likely talk of the Mandukya Karika as placed against Buddhist philosophy. However, here's a quick note from a reference in Gaudapadacharya's Mandukya Karika, which appears to me as a very good expression of mithyatva (delusion) of the world.

When an incense stick is burnt and moved about rapidly in various patterns, those patterns appear to be existing. Say when moved in a circle, a red ring of fire is seen. Now, this particular red circle has no existence of its own, but it does appear to be existing. It is not different from the incense stick itself because the incense stick is the material as well as the efficient cause for the red circle, but yet it is different because the incense stick is not a red circle. The circle appears due to the power of movement of the incense stick that projects a circle, which is only of apparent reality based on the incense stick as a substratum. So too, brahman is the material and efficient cause for the world to appear, but brahman is not the way the world appears. The world appears due to Maya, the power of the real substratum of brahman, that makes brahman appear as the world. The world is therefore mithyarupi; in reality, brahman is without a second: ekameva advaitya brahma.

ॐ तत् सत् ||

ॐ OM

हरि ॐ ||

A couple years back when I was at Sagara, I met an Ajja in the ashram. He was residing there in a hutment for a few months to do his mantra japa which was recommended to him when he asked the maTh guru for saMnyAsa dIkshA. We had a good satsanga few times which gave me the food for thought which makes up the content of this blog.

Usually a sAdhaka wonders at the breadth of scriptures that he needs to study to get to a level that he can make any sense out of it at all. This would have been fed initially by imagination of the Supreme Truth in various ways. Sometimes that imagination is inline with the scriptures due to the person's pUrva saMskAra and while at others it is lateral to it, totally opposite or even unrelated. For such, gradually the scriptures open up the meaning wherein whatever he would have read earlier too suddenly makes a lot of sense. Then, he may end up thinking that all of what he did was unnecessary had he understood the first simplest scriptural content he came across! But, as it is well known, a long journey is necessitated to know that no journey was necessary. Another part that bothers some is the time it is taking or has taken in reaching the so-called 'goal'. That it takes so much time for a sAdhaka to get to That is because he is biased with the time concept and the multiplicity of learning which is difficult to unlearn. The time itself is lost on one who is immersed unto the path. Having reached there, time has no meaning whatsoever.

Lets return to the width of scriptural study needed, which is what I want to bring out with an example here. There are many deities in the Vedas and several mantras, yajnAs, stotrAs, shlokAs, upanishads, etc, for all of them. Then there are purANAs with more such. Even the literal meaning is lost on most who chant them for many years, but they learn it. At some point of time, the true meaning is bound to reveal itself to those who have faith. I'll list the shvetAshvatara upanishad pramANa to this effect at the end of the blog.

For now, lets take a simple example of a sAdhaka chanting gaNapati atharvaSIrsha upanishat. Most of us would chant with a focus on Ganapati as a deity and praise him through this upanishat. Having done that, we would study the same and other upanishads and learn that they too contain similar passages of description for other deities. These do result in phala as described through the presiding deities. However, upanishads contain the higher truth, not a stuti alone. So various upanishads take a principal deity and describe brahman through it! When upanishat says त्वं ब्रह्मा त्वं विष्णुस्त्वं रुद्रस्त्वं इन्द्रस्त्वं or त्वं कालत्रयातीतः etc, it is talking of brahman as represented through the deity. Over a period of time, the description sets in, phala expectation drops and the meaning strikes us towards the beginning of the upanishat itself. To close on what this means brings me back to the satsanga with Ajja that I started this blog with. We somehow had drifted into discussing the ganapati atharvaSIrsha upanishat and came to the conclusion that the beginning itself is sufficient to tell it all! I said what more could be said when it starts with त्वमेव प्रत्यक्षं तत्त्वमसि? And Ajja went a step further and asked why so? Even before that नमस्ते (which is broken as नम: ते) गणपतये is well complete in itself! Surely, in the end, the first step of ॐ *alone* will be sufficient to reveal the brahman fully!!

shvetAshvatara upanishat ends with:
यस्य देवे परा भक्तिः यथा देवे तथा गुरौ ।  तस्यैते कथिता ह्यर्थाः प्रकाशन्ते महात्मनः ॥ २३ ॥
To one who has great devotion to God; to whom as is the God, so is the Guru; knowledge reveals its shine to such a great soul.

ॐ तत् सत् ||

Impermanence of it all

Hari Om!

Any interest in any thing worldly seems to live its course over a period of time. Some interests live out longer than the others but if I were to look back and see they too would have weakened and died off. With all of us, its true. Some notice it, others don't. Those who don't notice it wonder why they get bored and look for more to keep them happily occupied, while those who do notice it think there's something wrong with them and look for ways or shrinks to fix themselves up. Among the latter are a rare category, demented as per the rest of the worldly crowd, that search for answers outside what the routine offers, that is-- ignoring the masses. They would, sooner than later, conclude that its the impermanence of the happiness in the objects, including subjects that we tend to treat as objects.

Its said that when a dog chews a bone, the sharp edges of the bone bleed the dog's mouth and it likes the taste of its own blood, only misunderstanding it to be the taste of the bone! Similarly, the reason for all of happiness from the objective world is our own independent happiness uncovered during pramoda. That alone is permanent. While a only glimpse of such is happiness, when totally tuned to, irrespective of the instruments of the world, one is sure to get a free flow of bliss. Wanting such bliss, one could hardly look back into the world for objects, knowing well that not only are they not long lasting, but they just uncover what can be permanently held on to, only if everything else is dropped. Eventually, everything will drop for the sake of That alone. Till then, its just deviating into impermanence of it all for the time being, so as to survive as long as it takes to become blissfully whole, knowing fully well that I will come back to what is meant to be.

om tat sat

A week at Prashanthi

Sai Ram!

This one's for a friend, Sai Prasad, a satsangi whom I call Saideva. :) He wanted me to write about my trip to Prashanti, although it meant just the darshan routine. So lets see how this turns out...

An old friend Bilgi called up a month or so back out of the blue, tracing my number through someone. Wanting to spend a week at Puttaparthi, he wondered if I could join as well. Its been 10 long years since I visited Parthi though I did have a few darshans at Bangalore and I did want to go since a while, but for some reason, like most of my trips, was waiting for the right time. I wasn't sure I could make it this time either, but there was a call and I booked my tickets to sync up with Bilgi's who had a friend along on our trip planned Sat to Sat. Due to his work schedule, we flew to Bangalore and asked for a cab to pick us up from Parthi. The drive was two and a half hours long with an additional lunch break of half hour. Roads are pretty good, except for a small rough patch.

We did try to check into the ashram but since they prefer families, we had to scout around outside. Bilgi was running around with an agent to look up some 5-6 lodging places until we landed ourselves at a place called Sai Vijayam on Chitravathi Road. It was quite a decent place to put up and so we stayed there.

We were late to line up at the evening darshan and so ended up in the 25-30th row in the darshan hall. We enjoyed the chantings of Rudram, Chamakam and  Purusha Suktam at 1700hrs, followed by Taittiriya Upanishad before the bhajans began at 1800hrs. I began conversing with an old chap sitting next to me about the chantings and he said, Swami came in the morning to give darshan! While leaving, we knew that Swami turns up usually in the afternoon darshan only. So as the first afternoon had to pass, the hall was full but Swami didn't show up. We returned back passing via stores, book stall and bakery. On return, we planned for the next day morning 'strategy' for a closer darshan, since we were 3 of us sharing a bathroom! Usually, when I share a room with anyone, I make sure that I get up way too early and finish of my bath before the others wake up. This time, Swami wanted me to sleep more. :)

Next morning, Gaonkar got up before 0400, followed by Bilgi and they went ahead for queuing up for Omkar at 0520hrs. I was to join them at nagarasankirtan if I could. And I did. We didn't expect the morning crowd to be thin and we went on time as I would 10 yrs back. It was a less crowded time of the year too, but after nagarasankirtan we found that even the darshan lines made up only 4-5 token lines, that too on a Sunday! We did make it to the first row in the darshan hall. We broke for breakfast as a routine, reserving our places in the darshan hall. On return from breakfast, the hall would fill up till some 15-20 rows and we would sit back in want of breeze, listening to Vedic chants till start of bhajan. This became routine too. The weather was pretty hot as it hadn't rained yet. At bhajan, we headed through a crowd filling less than half the hall to our front row! Bhajans went on but Swami didn't turn up. We had two dry sessions by now, the longest witnessed by the three of us. So we began praying for a good afternoon darshan. By the time we left the hall in the morning, it was filled up more and we thought that afternoon would be tough getting ahead in the rows. Bilgi got a little tensed up and decided that we ought to go ahead early in the afternoon. After our lunch at the canteen, we went back to our room and caught on our naps. We went in before 1430hrs for the pre-token queue, which had grown quite a bit, followed by 4-5 token lines. I remember we ended up in the 2nd row in the darshan hall. Swami did come out for darshan, but he went straight to the stage after the ladies side! This was a 3rd darshan of ours without close proximity of Swami, it was a long darshan lasting 45 minutes, but it was also distant.

On Monday morning, we pushed our morning start by an hour, because the crowd would thin down further on weekdays. I liked to get up in the morning there while still lying down or sitting up in my bed in chintan, while others finished their bath. I would get up from the bed when they were about to leave. After my bath, I'd join them, mostly with my seat reserved in the darshan hall in the first row. Swami didn't turn up for darshan and as we thought up the law of averages, we somehow calculated that we would get a close afternoon darshan. Bilgi took our mats and went ahead at 1400 hrs that afternoon to line up ahead in the pre-token queue. This too became routine. He would return to continue his nap before we all headed for the line up at around 1500 hrs. We got the first row past the tokens again. Swami turned up with his chair pushed by his students slowly through the entire crowd and we eventually got our first, close, first-line, darshan. This made up for earlier darshan 'losses'. :)

On Tues, we followed our morning routine of going directly for token line, hoping well for the first row thanks to other more lazy people who thought that Swami doesn't turn up in mornings anyways. Moreover, it was drizzling in the morning, and as I left the room, it started pouring to no end. Chitravathi Road was flooded. I started weighing out the odds of reaching late for darshan and inched forward from the sides, running some, pausing a bit and continuing. I was completely drenched by the time I entered the ashram gates and prayed at Ganesha mandir. I couldn't see sign of Bilgi and Gaonkar. Not finding their footwear on the side where we left them and since there were no queues outside, I peeked in the darshan hall, where they weren't. I headed to the canteen in the rains in vain. While returning back to the darshan hall, the downpour had turned down to a drizzle and I saw them walking towards the hall too. Seemingly, they were having coffee in the ashram at the Fresh & Honest stall! :) The hall was kind of empty and we still got our first row. Feeling a little feverish, I'd time to go back to the room and return with dry clothes on.

Swami did turn up, again to move about to the dais from the ladies side. We had a close darshan being in the first row on somewhat right side. He suddenly asked his student to get the car. We started working on our strategy for a 2nd proximity and ran to the gate as he got into the car. The gates were closed. Hah, we then took to the edge of the hall from where the car would leave and took his darshan while he left for the super-specialty hospital. Afternoon passed by empty yet again in eternal wait for Swami. We started looking at the brighter side of leaving the hall early for our shopping for books or in ashram stores. With Swami's darshan in the evening, we could leave only past 1930hrs, when the stores and bookstall closed.

Wed was dreaded because I started late from the room and as soon as I took a few steps on Chitravathi Road, something hit my hand. I thought it was mud or a stone that ricocheted off some vehicle, but up there was a monkey throwing feces, obviously. I went back to the room for a wash, but it occurred to me that I had been a little slack on my Hanuman chants and read this as a reminder towards that! I started off immediately with the same. Back at the darshan hall, Swami didn't turn up in the morning, but I did get to hear quite a few Hanuman bhajans that day, confirming my belief. :) Gaonkar too sided with me on this thinking since he thought that it was some special day of Hanuman that day, why else would there be so many bhajans for him! Meanwhile, I asked Bilgi if Swami could ditch the darshan both times and he said its possible. I reiterated if Swami had done that since our arrival as I couldn't recall. He said no. And with my big mouth, I seem to have had some stupid premonition; Swami didn't turn up both times. The first row went waste as we sat through waiting.

We were all charged up for the Guruvara and made an early start. This time around, however, they couldn't reserve a seat for me. We were some of the people who knew that one part of the students' side is open to all in the mornings. And thats why, however late you reach, you are bound to get a 2nd row. What my friends had done is that they moved my seat from the mandir side to the opposite side, while they remained there. I was still in the first row. :) That morning, Swami took a full round giving us close darshan as he passed by through our first row seats. I got a close darshan as Swami took letters and blessed padukas for a seva group bang opposite me. While he turned to get onto the dais, I ran towards the mandir side and got another close darshan from 2nd row there. :) It was a blissful morning, but of course. On return, our land lady asked us if Swami came in the morning. She knew there was a school function in the evening and so Swami may not come in the evening. We didn't get depressed right away.

As we started off in the afternoon, I told Bilgi and Gaonkar that we missed our darshan yesterday and it sync'd up with my asking if Swami could not come out of his abode both times. So I blabbered out that we would get an awesome darshan this afternoon too as Swami would give us 2 darshans in a day today. For some reason, the feeling was very strong. As we entered the bhajan hall, Bilgi ran ahead for a first row, while I was stranded at security behind a person who had his pockets full and being checked thoroughly. Gaonkar skipped from behind me into 2nd security check. I started telling the sevadal 'Sai Ram, Sai Ram' to hurry the checking. As I began my run in the hall, Gaonkar was just about to sit in the first row. Bilgi and I were not allowed in the first row as it just crossed the boundary. 2nd row was a little depressing on a Thurs, and Bilgi suddenly spotted a first row on the right. There were exactly 2 seats and we jumped. As Bilgi sat there and was trying to hold the 2nd for me, I ran seeing another chap heading at full speed for that seat too. I jumped with my mat and got the seat, brushing my hand against the other chap. As I looked back and said sorry, the guy had already rushed elsewhere. We had our first row yet again though the team was split. I told Bilgi on our early return from tea and back seat Vedic chants that Swami would come here in a car. He laughed while I insisted its possible. While the Vedic chants were still on, Swami's car moved in! As it moved slowly, it took a left turn after the ladies side towards the gate. Bilgi was on my left, he said "He's leaving". I uttered "No, wait" and we saw the front wheel move from left to right! It was blissful just watching that wheel turn. The small Toyota smoothed into our front and as it inched in front of us, I pulled out Bilgi's blank letters from my pocket, keeping one with me. Swami's side window was down and he looked straight at us, his stare saying "I know the letter's blank" and I conversed "this look is sufficient for me". Swami's car took a turn from the students side and moved out the gate. Gaonkar, Bilgi and I turned back blissful.

Fri was our last day there and the morning went dry as usual. Bilgi was praying for a great darshan, recalling that all his last darshans were a good look from Swami. I had had a good darshan on Thursday and was praying for others instead. In the afternoon, we entered the hall and split with Bilgi on the right side and Gaonkar & I on the left, all first row, but with a few others in between. I told Bilgi that he will have a close darshan and perhaps, padanamaskar today, the reason why he is segregated. I voiced this out to Gaonkar too. I saw pre-darshan Bilgi was lost in intense praying. I too prayed that he get a good darshan. Swami arrived and a lot of his staff got padanamaskar. There were a lot of letters collected by Swami's staff too. As he arrived close to Bilgi, the same seva group crowd that was blessed in the morning caused some commotion dropping letters, making a mess and I couldn't get much of Swami's view. As he came towards me, with Gaonkar on my left, the chap on my right with some wedding card got up and went towards Swami! He had some others who kind of joined him moving forward. The seva dal was sitting idle calmly and I knew I had to make do with a close darshan; the staff had rushed Swami ahead through our area. As he turned to go on to the dais, I prayed for that last darshan look at least and Swami looked at us from a distance. This was the end of my darshan as I would want it too. :)

Meanwhile, Gaonkar said that Bilgi must have given his letter. I responded "Bilgi has a strategy of giving a blank letter that I too follow. He wouldn't give his letter unless Swami himself takes it providing an opportunity of touching Swami's hand." :) After aarti as Swami was leaving, Bilgi turned up behind us as we all got up. I could see bliss on his face that overflowed. After the messy crowd, it seems Swami took two letters. One letter belonged to a poor man in ragged clothes who had taken the seat next to Bilgi when the earlier chap suddenly lost patience waiting and went left before Swami arrived! The other was very interesting. As Bilgi prayed to Swami with his mind conversing in its usual style, Swami looked at him and opened his fingers for his letter. Bilgi inched forward on his knees delivering the letter between Swami's fingers and as he returned back, he touched Swami's left leg and got his padanamaskar. :) All the while, Swami was looking directly into his eyes and Bilgi's narration overflowed that bliss onto us.

We had a closure of a wonderful trip, checking out early morning the next day to drive to Bangalore airport and return back to Mumbai. I'd like to say that Bilgi did all the darshan planning taking our mats along in the afternoon and mine in the morning. It is to him I owe my darshan proximities. To Gaonkar, we owe our thirsts being quenched since he got most of our empty bottles filled from a stall called Amruth. I mostly lazed indoors, shamelessly. Other than that, we did quite a hunting for our outside-the-ashram lunch/ dinners for change. Towards the end, we wandered upon an expensive place to have wonderful soup and Gaonkar recalled a great Gujarati thali joint for our last two day fills. :) I'd also like to mention that since I didn't carry chappals, I wore Bilgi's chappals there on the first darshan day and last. I did buy a pair from an outside stall that lasted a day and yet another pair of slippers from ashram stores that lasted 3 days before being stolen. :) I joked that Bilgi's pair would be discarded even by the thief, as they were getting torn. He discarded those there, while as they say, my pIdA was gone with my chappals, twice!

PS: Saideva, you didn't expect the blog to be this long & boring, did you? In case you reached this far, I can't say I didn't warn ya. ;)

Om tat sat

The Anahata

I've been meaning to write about this one since a real long time, but its not something you casually talk about. I've kept this with me for quite some time sharing with a couple of close satsangis, but today I do feel like letting it out, mixing it with a lot of deviations here and there, ahem, as usual if I may add! :)

Anahata is the chakra at the level of the heart. Its also the 4th or the middle chakra among the seven, not only because its mid way when mapped onto the body, at the heart level, or middle of the count, but also because its the centre of the worldly and spiritual worlds. This is an interesting point that I haven't really come across elsewhere. Its something that occurred to me over the years and this blog is basically trying to express that.

Any kundalini practitioner knows that after the kundalini begins its rise, it needs to be guided up or held at the current level with constant practice, failing which, it will begin its downward journey back into the muladhara. Anahata is interesting because its midway to sahasrara, or from sahasrara in case of Aurobindo's downward count. I suppose in some kriyas, it is considered other way. (To my imagination, its like the calculation of electric current conventionally thought of from positive to negative poles but later on understood to be really from -ve to +ve because electrons move towards the +ve causing an electric current. However, the conventional symbol continued). Similarly, in tantra, its either thought of as the Shakti moving upwards to Shiva or in a balancing act Shiva moving towards Shakti in some explanations. The latter, I reckon, is symbolic and not actually a movement. At least in my learning I haven't come across it followed thoroughly. I'll return to this downward movement towards the end, which is truly an original contribution of Ramana Maharshi to the Kunadalini world.

Heart is the seat of emotions in the poetic, even psychological, expressions. In science, its the main organ of the body. In other expressions, anything in the centre is referred to as the heart of the system. To me, when the kundalini rises from Anahata upwards, one is crossing the bridge from the worldly pursuits to the spiritual one. Its not as easy as crossing a concrete bridge though. I think it takes a lot of commitment to actually reach the anahata, but to cross it is the true milestone what Swami Krishnananda would call the human to divine change. All the lower chakras till the anahata are so tied to bodily impact that they will, if not used well, lead to make the person baser, lowering from human to animal levels. In fact, a person who cannot handle animal instincts is best kept away from kundalini because the muladhara, surely the svadhisthana and even at times the manipura will deepen the animal instincts in human if not channelized well. There are many great souls and masters lost in this world of lower chakras. Thats also where, I imagine, tantra splits into the dark world. So its obvious that reaching the anahata itself is a great place to reach.

Now this place is so crucial that it can make or break a yogi, not necessarily into dark world, but into the emotional crisis. Opening the anahata chakra brings along a heightened perception of others' sufferings, humans or not. Great masters have an anahata that perhaps maps across many anahatas of several beings that they knowingly or unknowingly help. My Guru Sridhara says that even equating such a heart to butter that melts on applying some heat is incomplete justice. He says that a sadhu's heart doesn't even need any heat to melt. It beats to others' benefit, so to say! Now imagine such a feeling of another's pain to someone who is incapable or isn't mature enough to bear. He would surely get stuck, burdened or even lost. That is the strength of anahata. Even with the great powers that come with each chakra, anahata can bind a person down into not only one's own emotional issues but others' emotions. If the person is capable enough to handle the additional load over and above one's own, the learnings can be well used to streamline, analyze even, and march upwards for the vishuddha. But where such focus is lost into using those emotional peeks into others for personal benefit, or for neutralizing their karma, which is against their prarabdha, instead of the personal goal of yoga, the union that the person is born for, it will lead to more sanchita for the yogi. This point cannot be stressed enough that a person may get carried into living others' lives at this point. It also cannot be overstated that helping others directly curing their prarabdha affects not only the subject's karmic path but also the yogi's. Such yogis become yogabhrashtas, restarting the yogi's path from perhaps nowhere!

Anahata is special that way. Emotions make us more human, but its also an animal instinct that most people forget. You can't possibly think an animal loves its young ones any lesser than parents love their children. Humans, however, can analyze those emotions while animals can't. Thats what has the seed to take the human away from the inbuilt animal instincts into tapping the divinity within. Its a true test that anahata opens up with itself opening. Where a yogi manages to spend more time in anahata0, trying to understand its wonderful feelings, with its embedded traps, he can pass through into vishuddha. And it surely is a beautiful breakthrough. I'm not saying the path is any easier then on, but its a major hurdle crossed over. It reassures one's own commitment from not wanting to be either a bhogi, a sevak, or even an egoistic guru, but lights the hope for union with the divine, the true aim of human birth.

Before closing on this topic, I'd like to touch upon another thing that happens at the level of anahata, which is not the anahata though. Its also possible for one to confuse that particular feel with anahata or vice versa. Its what Bhagavan Ramana calls the right heart or the spiritual heart. This is where, He said, the kundalini has to be brought down to, from after opening the sahasrara. Kundalini, as a practice, is taught and written about to end on the opening of sahasrara, the thousand petaled lotus. But the Maharshi says that it may be the most blissful feeling not necessarily leading to moksha. One may get stuck into the sahasrara forever, not knowing anything about. There are yogis that have voiced that the body will drop off in keeping the sahasrara open for twenty days. When, however, the kundalini is brought down from sahasrara, it has the potency to break open the hridaya granthi that binds the human into his karmic bandhana, the root of endless cyclical births and deaths. I understand that the effort of actually trying to run the kundalini by unfocused means into this granthi, not unlike trickle charging a battery, will have a painful effect. It will likely cause immense bodily pain at the anahata level and the kundalini will feel stuck, burning, not being able to move either way. At this moment, one must either struggle and commit to the path regardless of the pain and confusion, thereby pumping in more kundalini energy with immense focus or give up for a while and restart when comfortable. Its not a complete failure, nothing is. Its a learning that nothing happens in a day in matters of the world; in this case, nothing happens in a life time!

om tat sat

Food habits

Some people have a standard time of food, no. of meals to have and what to eat. Others eat on the go, unplanned, depending on the time available and around their schedule, but still with a look at the clock. But as I understand, there are very few who eat on need basis. Here when I say need basis, its based on two factors: hunger and bodily needs. Being trained of eating at specific times due to bringing up or work schedules or circumstantial, we can hardly think on our need of food intake.

I switched to the first factor of need some 5-6 years back or maybe more, some time when I hit my spiritual depths. With that, I used to eat when hungry and skip when not. So that meant no particular timing during waking hours, but my body made a timing on its own. My body found its own slot to express hunger not the way I was trained to eat. Breakfast was always an important meal for me. I don't remember having been any productive without a breakfast. I do know though that without a breakfast, I have not only had a bad work day, but also bad health through the day even with decent lunch fills. What I used to do though is that delay the breakfast some midway through to lunch, calling it brunch the way they all do. This helped me beat the breakfast and lunch crowd at the messy restaurants. Did I say that I hate crowds too? :) But this was a side effect. What I was doing, indeed, is feeding myself only when hungry.

I was also avoiding the dinner crowd by eating an early dinner between lunch and dinner, calling it linner like no one else I know of calls it. This helped me a lot to be on the run when needed, twist schedules of sleeping and waking around my spiritual reading. It also helped me stay active most part of the day and night, sleep less and in small sets of naps, instead of a long continuous stretch. Either way, the entire experience helped me understand how my body reacts and why it does. It led me to the 2nd factor of the need based eating, which meant eating what the body needs. I started thinking if I'm not burning much in physical activity, I need to eat less. That helped me on my sabbatical when I was hardly doing any physical or mental work. I was mostly in reading, silence or on my own, not even expending energy talking. During those times, I used to have regular breakfast and lunch but no dinner. I'd some great personalities forcing me food at dinner time and I used to politely refuse and when they didn't understand what "eating what you need" meant, I used to hurtfully refuse. It faded away in a while and I started feeling how good my sleep was. Whenever I had a dinner, I used stay awake most of the night without a wink of sleep.

The funny thing is that from that sabbatical I returned to a job that made 16-18 hrs of my workday. This meant some physical strain, but a lot of mental work. I had to switch to 4 or even 5 meals a day, all full sized. I have eaten breakfast, lunch, evening snack, dinner, and middle of the night 2nd dinner on returning home and heading for work next day. That was necessity feed and I managed to stay healthy albeit putting on some weight. I wouldn't have been able to survive the stress and deliver work without that. I also used to eat a lot during couple of treks I took. So its always good, I feel, to eat based on need than by the clock.

So I think its safe to say that my discipline, therefore, is to not have a normal discipline in food, but to switch based on circumstances. :)

Indian Passport Office

Since a year there has been lot of news about India catching up to speed with passport issue. From the earlier 45-60 days for a fresh passport, they said most offices had upgraded themselves to computer-assisted passport offices and so, the lag had come down to 14 days. Now if you read the fine print, or no print in this case, it is clear that there are at most a few Indian cities that follow this so-called fast process. On top of that, Indian passport office website carries  tatkaal option, albeit available at select offices. Having seen Thane under that select list made me happy some time March end. Under that scheme, a reissue of a passport would be done in 3 days! I couldn't believe my eyes. It was too good to be true.

In any case, I read up all that there was to be to read about such reissue process and also what need be done for tatkaal process. I even wrote to the Thane passport office and heard back from them asking me to apply online. The website also says that applying online for the passport will give you a date and time of appointment due to which you'll be saved of the time to wait in long queues waiting for token. So what I did is apply online, take a print out of application, get all documents ready, old passport, its copies and the tatkaal documents: Annexure I [standard affidavit that cost me 400 bucks thanks to notarized crooks here :) ] and more than the 3 required proofs, 1000 bucks for fees and 1500 more for tatkaal. I thought its still worth it if I don't have to wait for 45-60 days.

I expected to come back home for lunch on the said day having been given an *appointment* at 1000hrs at Thane passport office, which was also printed on my online application. To my utter shock, I was told in their enquiry counter to stand in a queue, take a token and wait for the number to submit my application. There were tons of people doing just that, some with online application, some with manual application and yet some more who were buying the application forms there and filling it. All were in the same freaking queue! So much for "apply online, avoid queues" crap by our govt offices. Much past noon, I hit the scrutiny counter. The moron who was to scrutinize my application told me that I can't get a tatkaal reissue. On asking why not if I had the affidavit and more than all the required proofs as per the website FAQ, he told me "passport valid tar pahije" (your passport should be valid)! If my passport had been valid (not expired), why would I apply for reissue??? Is that so difficult to understand? Moreover, he asked me if I wanted the affidavit back. When I told him its no use elsewhere, he gave me the affidavit back saying "you can use it somewhere else". Where can you use an affidavit that says "Standard affidavit for passport"? :)  I suppose thats what you get in hiring people under reservation schemes.

I returned home thinking how I wasted 500 bucks for paperwork for tatkaal, but then calmed down thinking I saved 1500 bucks. Now I wait in eternity for police to call for verification, pay their "fees" and someday get my passport. I realized if its too good to be true, perhaps it is.

The defence

I don't quite know what this blog is about taking off from the title. I've a lot of things on my mind on this topic and having not blogged for long, I don't know how this one's gonna read. I tweeted an hour back so: Watching Never Back Down and kinda love it. Am not a fan of violence, but a huge fan of defence. I can't even point out what in the movie triggers this blog, there's so much of a tangential disconnect! The tagline of the movie went Everyone has their fight. Now thats true, be it with the actual, real life, physical, fight or what the fight stands for. It may be chess, your beliefs or your life. A lot many people have called me defensive, even in matters that didn't need defence; thats who I am. There are only two ways to deal with an attack: to fight back in defence or just pass. Passing is not giving up, its not losing. Its a gentleman's way out. Some beliefs are so strong that you can't pass. Then you ought to fight till the death or till you think you have reached a stage to pass it; that is, if you're not in the wrong.

I don't follow the adage attack is the best form of defence. In chess, I've lost most games in attack because when I go all out, I lose the home ground defence. Thats one place where my multitasking skills have failed me. In life, I have my own set of beliefs. I defend them, regardless of who attacks them. I've gone against the most respected on these grounds. I've tried passing there, but its not always possible and nor is it always a good thing. A few months back, I was chatting with an old friend whom I caught up with after many years. He was surprised to know what I do or don't do now. Then I went a bit on a defensive, being me. He was very understanding, but he asked me why I was defending. I said because I felt too strongly about the path. To this, he had a mature thing to say: the path doesn't need a defence. He was right, but then not all understand that.

At times where I knew its a muck to get in, I don't defend. I pass. These times are tough for people in the game; they think of you as a team. I don't. I go solo. I don't like to depend on others for my defence. If I don't understand the subject to fight alone, then its not worth the defence. Any help is welcome and I would use it, not being thankless, but I wouldn't base my entire premise on expected team support. As for when I pass even when I feel strongly for the issue, its surely something where I'd be breaking my head on a wall otherwise; its quicksand. Here I remember a quote I read somewhere: never wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it. Such debates are a strict no to me. A couple of years back, I backed out of a debate on a topic close to my heart, after which someone called me a coward. I applied the pig rule there and kept mum. Those are the times when I learn that patience is a virtue.

This brings me back full circle to the movie. As much as in physical encounters we forget to breathe and lose, in verbal confrontations too, we forget to breathe and lose. In the latter, the breath stands for thinking. The flow of prANa in breathing causes thoughts to be at the forefront. They help you build patience, grow wise by the breath. Breathing is very essential in the worldly as much as in the spiritual, both cases, slower the better. In the worldly we ought to focus on the thoughts that ride the breath, while in the spiritual we are to focus between breaths, the thoughtless state. In the end, we all have our focuses, we all have our fights. Some fight to make ends meet for the daily bread, others do it to make it to the top of the success ladder. Some defend their lives, others go out for an all out war to win the world. Some fight the outward projection calling it a battle of life & death, while some few defend within of whats left of their spiritual goal.

PS: I may have come off as a wuss here, but I'll pass the debate. :)


Another useless conversation

I was dragged into another close to useless conversation some time back, which makes me write this another close to useless blog entry. :) I'll let the following conversation with a person who moved back in our society speak for itself. Let it be known that he was a hi-hello acquaintance for a year or so 10 yrs back before today.

me: hello uncle..blah blah
he: hello blah blah, you were in Haridwar na?
me: well.. yea for a while at Rishikesh...
he: haan Rishikesh, I'd called you at Bangalore once.
me: hmm
he: so what do you do now? You can work in Bby now that you're back.
me: (after telling him some history) I'm undecided, looking at options, but not in Bby.
he: how about business?
me: no
he: marriage plans?
me: no
he: no, no, you should get married.
me: I'm lonesome, wholesome.
he: wholesome?
me: yea
he: no, no, without marriage you can't be complete...
me: hehe, says who? Its your opinion. Mine differs. Its a trap. :)
he: you can say that after experiencing everything. At my age 50-55 you say so its a different matter...
me: why? Lot of people marry, its just a popular path. Nothing about completion in it.
he: God created man for...
me: (interrupting) God did not create man, its a misconception.
he: no, no, he created so many beautiful things.
me: well, okay :) (who's gonna argue on that) But dharma, artha, kama, moksha are 4 stages. One can go from brahmacharya to moksha directly.
he: You should think and do things.
me: I've thought a lot, this is a 15 year old decision.
he: there are some duties that one has to do.
me: (This was perhaps an indication towards my parents, which is where I get pissed off) Sir, the duties that I was born with, I'm doing already. I don't agree with people who add their own burden on their head and call it a duty. When you're traveling in the train, you don't carry your luggage on your head, do you? I don't and I still reach the destination with my baggage. :)
he: you have to think a lot on these matters. After 50...
me: Sir, I'm 34. Thinking is a continuous activity, its not something that you snap your fingers and do! Decisions keep getting refined as you progress in thinking. Saying that one person is 55 yrs old doesn't mean he has thought a lot. It depends on what that person has done in 55 yrs! :) Maybe, you've a lot more laukika experience, I've a lot more adhyatmika experience. A person who assumes, without knowing any background of another on what he's done, is doing wrong.
he: see you have to think about all these things...
me: that very statement there implies that I haven't thought about things. :) (case closed)

Then I learnt that this poor chap's wife is in Chennai, he keeps going theretill she joins him here. His daughter is married and son works in Chennai. Now, now... main hi mila? :F (new smiley, no prizes for guessing what it means. ;)


This too shall pass

With a heavy heart I write
That all life is a fight
For some, this fact is a known one
While others figure when all is done
But each moment can be a pleasure
And then we learn how to treasure
Time, good or bad, will never return again#
So we do have the best bargain 

#This line maybe inspired by the following incident: Akbar asked Birbal to write something that when said to a happy person will make him sad and when told to a sad person will make him happy. Birbal wrote: "This too shall pass."

Off the cuff: hypertension

Its been a long time since I blogged and I recently learnt that there are a few followers, albeit handful of them, that read my blog regularly. I realize, therefore, its my duty to write every once in a while to bore them! :) Here's one topic off the cuff that I should've written upon since it also happened to me off the cuff: high blood pressure.

Some time in Oct 2009, I started to explore some in-house painting. After an online search on DIY, I went to a medical shop and picked some gloves. During the painting, however, my hands started itching and next day or so I'd to see a doctor with a handful of rashes! It turns out I have the quite common latex allergy... and while treating that, a regular blood pressure check landed the doc in shock! :) I was running 150/90, which over the week of changing doctors, going from allopathic to ayurvedic went to as high as 170/110 landed me to an expert doc in the field. He concluded that to be hereditary and put me on decent olmesartan doses. I particularly used to like this doctor since he treats my mother, but I gave up on him after some dosage disagreements. I'm yet to consult others for a second opinion or change to ayur/ homeopathic, but for now, I'm going with his medication with my dosage.

Thus far, I was sharing this news only to some on a need-basis or totally-unconnected basis because I was hoping it to be a temporary phenomenon, if that. However, with my kind of approach of checking BP and understanding how my body reacts to taking timely medication for a month and stopping it for 3 days at a stretch reveals that indeed this mortal body has hypertension, which to me, is a contradiction to my nature. In recent days, I've become a little short-tempered due to lot of interaction with useless service providers such as Reliance or circumstantial things locally. But these are no long term reasons for being hyper. Nor do I suspect lack of exercise and laziness to have led to it, but that is possible though frequent brisk walks didn't bring my blood pressure down. I've been neck-deep in stock markets too, but thats a fun pastime than any craze for making money or more likely the shock of losing it. And more people that know me know that I'm hardly concerned with money, even though I don't have much of it. :) So, the only valid reason, I reckon, is hereditary since both my parents have hypertension. I may be the cause of that for them, but I'm not the cause of it for me! ;)

Then again, blood pressure is a symptom, not a disease. More on BP some other time, if and when mood permits... adios.

A peek down my frustration

Its been a long time since I've blabbered. Don't get me wrong, I do blabber off blog, I meant on anythingwise!

Okay, I don't know how to start this blog, there's a lot I want to say and I don't know if I can bring out all that or even some in a theme... I'll jump straight into it and see how it turns out raw. Lets just say that the theme is something that has made my short-temper.

Way back in 1996, I made a statement, as a biomedical engineer, to my moron-- and crook-- of a boss, something to the effect that "these days, some doctors just want to make money". Maybe, I didn't know he was a crook yet! He came back sharp and said "there's nothing wrong in doctors making money". To this day, I don't know what to make of it. In my statement "these days, some doctors just want to make money", my stress is basically on *just* and *doctors*. Just making money means ignoring patients which is the primary job. The best doctor who ignores patients is worse than the doctors who failed to make it through their exams. A lot of people, including doctors, seem to be illiterate of the fact that medicine was a noble profession, much like teaching. I told this to someone today and he said that all teachers take tuitions outside class and make money. Not that I don't know there are teachers that just make money. I even know of some who force their students to not only come to their classes outside, but also to bring many other students, failing which... they will fail. But this is where I have a problem. You pay hefty sums for your son's tuition and you brand all teachers as those who make money teaching outside of class! You want your son to compete, you tutor them outside, its not just the teacher with all the wrong. Worse yet, when I said "not everyone", he went on "some of those who don't take tuition are the leftovers". Hah! I know teachers that won't have it any other way. There are others who teach for the passion of teaching, regardless of whether there's money. I'd love to do that myself.

Another argument I hear for doctors after money is that engineers make money, so why shouldn't a doctor? I told this last person who threw that in my face: "Do you bow down in front of your engineer out of respect?" If you've been to some villages, there are people who treat some doctors like God. They can hardly pay for their medication, leave alone paying the doctor's charges. These are doctors who have made, and kept, the profession noble. OTOH, I heard of a doctor on one of my biomedical engineer's jobs that forced a sole child to somehow buy a water-bed for his hospitalized father because the patient had rashes on his back. The "doc" emotionally blackmailed the kid into believing that his father will be more comfortable in a water-bed. In a couple of days the young patient died... the doc knew this and thought he'd make money off it! Such docs, I'm told, are recovering their huge medical college fees. Well, how "noble".

There are two things I want to divert into here; one, nobility and another, money. Although these are professions which are noble by their very nature of work, I believe all professions can find nobility in their own ways. Any decent job done without taking money becomes noble. If an engineer who built your house or an architect who designed it didn't take any money, I'm sure you'd call it a noble act. Isn't that why money or alms given to a homeless are a noble action? But, contrast this with doctors or teachers. If they just do their regular job with regular money in a regular way, those still are noble things. In which case, I submit, that the noble doctors and teachers become more ignoble, when they start charging hefty sums for routine things and so on, than if engineers do the same.

Continuing on the money front, things done without charging money become noble by the very act. About this, I've seen lot of people having trouble. These are the people who are convinced that there is not more than a handful of people like that. Even among them, they believe are people who are stinking rich. One of them, I recall, is my jackass of a manager in my first software days. Enter Linux/ GNU. Any Microsoft hater knows Linux. And any Linux lover knows that its not about 'free' but about 'freedom'. However, I want to focus on free...free as in without charging money. My manager asked me why would anyone write an OS for free? And how would anyone trust them to support. Well, he failed the argument when I asked him if he got support from MS ever? I also asked him to have an opinion, not even an argument, only if he is paying for his Microsoft OS on his PC! He did shut up.

These category of people who make up a large portion of the world know the language of money and money alone. They wouldn't believe you if you said that anyone would give away all the wealth to charity. An example someone like Warren Buffet who made money all his life. Instead, they think that people who give their money away are those who don't have their own offspring! On a related note, these are just basic things in the world, far be it then for them to ever understand the concept of saMnyAsa. Well, so much for them who see a world of money, people who want to make money any which way in any profession, noble or not, no charity anywhere, and no one to trust since all are cheaters. Moreover, they have accepted it as today's world and even call it fair. Sorry, I don't agree.

PS: I too have seen cheaters every once in a while all my life and have been seeing a lot of them in the past few years on a regular basis. And then there are also a bunch of liars which I always voice against. But still, I would not have it any other way with my life. I'd still trust people to do the right thing till they cheat me. Even today, I paid the paint shop upfront because there was load shedding and he couldn't mix the paint till a couple of hours. I told him my brother would pick up the paint later. Most people won't do this and instead call me stupid. I like it this way. Life's simple.