Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Feeling Your Presence

Just this morning, I had a beautiful thought like never before : Guruji, I know you are there. What more can I want ? Why should I worry ?

Since then the sun shines brighter, the birds sing merrier, the sky is bluer, the mind is calmer, the smile is prettier...the heart is fuller, the intellect is clearer, life is easier....Ahh.....

Jai Guru Dev, :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Utsav With B & D

Bawa and Dinesh are teaching an UTSAV course April 2nd - 5th in Pune for the first time. Don't miss it !

UPDATE :Times Of India covered the event in this article.

Jai Guru Dev,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Interesting Website

I recently started reading this website http://www.historicalrama.org after a friend recommended it highly. Started by a couple D.K.Hari and D.K.Hema Hari (more about them here), the website along with its parent website - BharatGyan, tries to put India's amazing Vedic culture, its rich heritage and history in scientific and historical perspective. For me it made fascinating reading especially the research done on Lord Rama.

I do wish more details had been added on the main website. 2-3 paragraphs certainly do not do justice to the amazing knowledge that the land of India has given to the world over the ages. I'd like to see more on the amazing concept of cosmic time (1 day of Bramha) , vedic mathematics etc.

In any case, I think it is time we stand up to who we really are. The west has been able to accept India up to Buddha's time and many narrow minded people in our country cannot stand any talk about this rich spiritual heritage in the name of (pseudo)secularism. The world needs to know what Sanathan Dharma really is. In it, I believe lie the answers to the world's woes.

Guruji has blessed their efforts too
Jai Guru Dev.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Is Spirituality Selfish ?

Selfishness is often thought of a non-spiritual quality. In the world One craves for possessions - money, gadgets, a big house, swanky cars etc. or people - relationships, friends, popularity, power etc. At some point the mind gets tired of these amusements and starts looking at spirituality. One does the Art Of Living course and now finds himself or herself in new exciting company of people in search of other things.

It starts with small things. The craving now shifts : How many courses have I done, How many senior teachers do I know / hang out with ? How many spiritual friends do I have ? What organizational position do i hold ?

For a while all this troubled me. Whats the point of being on the spiritual path if the objects of craving change but the tendencies remain the same ? But there was a realization that I also had the company of kriya, meditation, satsang, knowledge and the Master - stuff I did not have before. All these brought me back to the center whenever the focus was on gaining something.

As someone said : Being on a spiritual path does not mean it won't rain, just that you now have an umbrella.

Then the cravings moved to less material and more abstract ones.

"I want to conduct a satsang at my place so that the sattva of my home goes up". "I want to meditate so I am peaceful". "I want to do kriya every day so I have less problems in life". "I do seva so my karmas are dissolved". "I will volunteer for this event so I can meet Guruji"

The goals then move higher. Let me meditate so I am liberated / enlightened in this life time.

It is so interesting - this path of spirituality. One maybe selfish in ones goals, but the result is yet a better life for a lot more people other than myself. If I meditate regularly, I am a more peaceful person and that means people around me are more peaceful. At the very least I am less of a pain for others around me. If I do seva - even non-altruistically - people benefit from my efforts. If I participate in a group meditation / long kriya - the group effort results in a more peaceful environment around for all. As I am more spiritually inclined, I am also more grateful and consequently more generous with my money, time, effort.

And when one reaches the ultimate goal - Nirvana / Liberation / Enlightenment - then What ? Just looking at Guruji's life gives the answer. One who has nothing to take cannot but give.

As Guruji says : The Divine is complete responsibility.

One who can go to the Himalayas and quietly sit in meditation is instead on the road, in the air, day after day, meeting terrorists and naxalites, resolving conflicts, bringing more peace to this planet. What a wonderful state to be in - where one cannot but give !!!!

And He wants us all to be like HIM !!! How fortunate we are !!!

What a beautiful journey this - from utter Selfishness to utter Selflessness, from doership to complete and total responsibility, from taking to giving, from darkness to eternal light.

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

? , !

Been reading the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Vasishta regularly for a few weeks now and pondering on how the infinite wisdom within applies to my life and the knowledge that I have gained in Guruji's grace. A little Q&A with myself.

Q> Do spiritual people also face suffering ?
A> The Mahabharata is full of spiritual folks that were divided across the battlefield and perished.

Q> When one has a Guru, does one face tough situations ?
A> Arjuna had Krishna Himself as a charioteer in the Kurukshetra war and lost his own son, Abhimanyu, on the battlefield. Whats the point of being given precious knowledge like "Accept situations as they are" if there are not going to be any situations to deal with ?

Q> Why do some folks progress more than others on the spiritual path ?
A> The Yoga Vasishta starts its amazing commentary by emphasizing "Self Effort". As a teacher of mine used to say "The Sun is always shining. Its your choice whether to open the blinds or stay in darkness".

Q> If God is doing everything, why do I need to do anything ?
A> The entire Bhagavad Gita is devoted to this question. Even while showing Arjuna the Vishwaroopa Darshan where the entire Kaurava army was dissapearing into Krishna's infinite form (i.e. they were already dead), Krishna exhorts Arjuna to fight and do his duty as a warrior.

This reminds me of something a teacher of mine used to say regarding seva "The event will happen - whether to participate or not is your choice". I used to think of it as arrogant - why should I participate if my participation makes no difference ? Now I see it differently :) Participation is not about changing how things evolve - it is about my own evolution as part of the universe's evolution i.e. being God's hands and thus becoming a channel for HIS grace.

Q> If all is ONE, then why so many shapes and forms, joy and misery, the dualities ? Could the ONE not just BE ?
A> This question is still the deepest one I have. No answers anywhere yet - not in the Gita, not in Yoga Vasishta. The only thing I notice is that I want things to get over only when I am miserable. When joyous, I can accept the world as is. But this question comes again and again. Maybe thats why Guruji says in Ashtavakra "Wonder about it" !

It so interesting - suffering. A beautiful intense phase where one comes face to face with ones own boundaries, cravings, desires, limitations, fears. If I give knowledge a chance, all this will dissolve in a second, if not, I continue to reel in misery.

Guruji - Can I accept ?


Jai Guru Dev,

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Words That Trouble Me

Philosophy and Social Service. Two beautiful words. Used (actually abused) a lot in daily conversations. Have the potential to have deep profound impact on an individual and society but get relegated to the back of the conversation line so often that they almost become obscure. Thats why I call them bad words.

Friend : I am facing this terrible problem

Me : OK did you try this or that .

Friend : Yeah they did not work .

Me : Hmm...did you try talking to XYZ.

Friend : Yeah that did not work either.

Me : Hmm...yeah just stay calm and have faith in God. Things will get better.

Friend (getting upset) : Don't give me philosophy.

"Don't give me philosophy" - What a fine way of taking the real solution to the problem and throwing it into a deep well and continue to reel in misery !!!

This I believe is the problem. You visit someone's home and find beautiful bound copies of the Bhagavad Gita ,writings by Swami Vivekananda, Srimad Bhagwatam - all nicely adorning the top shelf of a bookshelf - conveniently out of bounds to the hands or the mind. Whats the point of this precious knowledge if one is unwilling to incorporate it into daily life ?

This for me has been the most beautiful experience on this wonderful path called the Art Of Living. Guruji's path of seva-sadhana-satsang is so simple, practical yet so profound that it really almost forces one to LIVE the knowledge. Regular Sadhana builds the awareness and the calm space for the knowledge to settle, knowledge and bhajan satsangs fill this space with awareness and beauty and seva is the ultimate lab/practical/ expression of this awareness and beauty. How amazing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The other word is "Social Service". I remember commuting between Pune and Mumbai some years ago. The train pantry would serve snacks in paper plates and beverages in paper/plastic cups. Where do you think these plates/cups would settle after they had been used ? Under the seats, in the passage, in the toilet bowl. Some kindred soul decided to take it upon himself to fix this mess. He would put on a pair of gloves and a trash bag and go from seat to seat asking people for their trash. He would collect it all together and dispose it off at the next station in a trash can. Guess what he got in return - Smirks from passengers, snide comments like "Dekho Samaaj Seva Kar Raha Hai", cold unfriendly stares. The poor guy gave it up after some time.

Why has "Social Service" become such a catch phrase that applies only to a small group in school or NSS groups in college or college graduates in Social Work ? What about the rest of us ?

My memories go back to school when in the 8th Grade we were given the option to join the Boy Scouts or join the Social Service group. Here is how it would work : All the tall, well built, cool guys who were on some sports team or those with a pleasing personality used to get selected for the Boy Scouts group. The rest had no choice. Rejected by the scouts group, they joined the Social Service Group. Their job - keeping the school premises clean while the scouts folks had cool camps to attend. What they got in return : Snide remarks from the smartly dressed students in a Scouts uniform : Abbe Jhaduwale (Hey Janitor). Smarting under the humiliation of being rejected by the scouts group and the remarks they got, these folks would obviously disregard their duties.

Small wonder that social work is not a fashionable thing to do in our country. Until it finds its place of pride along with professions like medicine, engineering, finance and other exalted (and overrated) occupations, this beloved country of ours with a brilliant past faces a bleak future.

Words like philosophy (read knowledge) and service need to be the most important words in our vocabulary. Until them I will call them "bad words" :)

I am so grateful to Guruji for his guidance that turned my priorities upside down . I have learnt that to give is to really acknowledge the abundance I have been given.

Jai Guru Dev,