Going beyond…

Himalayan peaks

Robert Frost once wrote:

“Two roads diverged in a wood,

I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference.”

What a classic line that is, for a century later we all still relate to it.

In the August of 2013, Krishnashtami day, my Master told me to come and live in Puttaparthi.

He continued, “Sarvada Sarva Kaleshu Sarvatra Hari Chintanam” (everywhere, at all times, under all circumstances contemplate on the One).

Puttaparthi is a land of ethereal promises. No doubt. But back then I had wondered many a times, ‘why?’ It was not in my foreseeable plan.

However when your guru asks you to do something, you do it. As simple as it sounds, it was difficult, sometimes it still is.

Eventually when I did marry and move to Parthi, I had thought,”Man! I didn’t know I was this obedient.” I now realise He had infact answered my prayer, just that He had packaged it differently.

In these 2+ years, I have learnt many a lesson, met many brilliant minds, kind hearts, loving souls, ardent spiritual seekers and masters: things that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. The love I have received, the lessons I am still unlearning and relearning. #Gratitude

One of the crucial, nerve-racking tests of ’em all is learning to wait. The waiting lingo is so very common here. Almost everyone you see would have waited some time or the other for a sign, a command, or a benediction.

I am turning 30 this weekend – while time doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, the rites of passage don’t let you in peace. Interestingly enough, that is not even getting my goats.

***

In the early 1900s Swami Pranabananda sensing young Mukunda’s doubts, who would later become Yogananda, had told him, ” I will tell you how priceless is a guru’s help. I used to meditate with another disciple for eight hours every night.” “…But a little veil always remained between me and the Infinite…”

At long last when Pranabananda sought Lahiri Mahasaya‘s guidance, the Master had told him, “You may go now and meditate. I have interceded for you with Brahma.”

Okay. Plea bargain: I have not meditated for eight hours in the night, I am not even remotely close. I have not been a disciplined sadhaka. I still am not. #facefallen

But I want to say: “Call back, my lord, call back this pervading silent heat, still and keen and cruel, burning the heart with dire despair. Let the cloud of grace bend low from above like the tearful look of the mother on the day of the father’s wrath.”

***

Last year, this time around, my guru made me have a week long satsang with a Himalayan master. It was exhilarating. He has been tossing and turning my world, ideologies, concepts since then. For the most part, I have loved it. Again: #Grateful

The pressing feeling though – Every spiritual master I have known and read, have always sought the guidance of a Guru in close quarters. I have had my trysts in the altar of my heart for too long. The other day as I read Yogananda address Sri Yukteshwar Giri as ‘Gurudeva’, I was lost in the endearing profundity of it all. It was sublime.

Even as I type these words, I do understand, my Master, that you are nudging me towards the nirgun aspect of life. Something I asked out of you. Now, whose fault is that, you might say!

I agree. Shall I then submit a prayer?

I seek Thy humbling presence in my everyday life. Spare the incessant heat, and the silent tests. Show me Thy presence in all that is, and all that I am. Delay not. Show me Thy presence like a torrential rain. That I may flourish and fly in the eternity of the oneness that we all are.

May every micro and macrocosm find peace and love in the now and forever.

Love and pranams,

Your beloved… ❤

And here’s to the day I shall truly be born, for aren’t birthdays meant to be forever!

I also humbly take this moment to thank every being, whose influence and presence has helped me in my sojourn.

Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavanthu | May all the beings in all the worlds be happy. |

 

Of a ‘Life’ beyond labels

We are not labels

[Blogged first at FB]

I have not written anything in months, but today just seemed like it.

Let’s start with a few observations. Shall we?

1. Just yesterday, I was following Aya’s story in Humans of New York. Brandon is posting a 11 part story of this Syrian refugee, whose VISA was rejected by the US government. They are looking to sign a petition to get Aya to the US soil.

One of the comments requested more details before signing the petition. No guess on what happened next (spiteful remarks!). HONY is one of the goodness pages on FB, there is plenty of positivity and love. Yet few of them, despite their best interests, chose to roll in the mud.

When someone genuinely has a question, address it. If we don’t believe in the goodness of the world, who will? 

2. If you ask me why I got a dog, I would say no precise reason whatsoever. In retrospect, I can see how this too has helped in my learning. Unless we are a part of something, unless we live in close quarters, unless we desire to learn, grow and be open, awareness in true sense of the word, will elude us.

Having Phoebe in my life, I have come to understand not only animals better, but ourselves. You would be surprised to know how certain people, out of too much love for the animal kingdom, disregard fellow humans, while certain humans disregard animals and other fellow creatures, simply because they are wildly different to us.

Why do we have to argue if animals are better or humans? Why does our love have to be exclusive? 

3. Several people known and unknown to us, lost their homes and lives in Chennai floods. We definitely had a lot of astonishing support from each other, even as media and politicians were letting its people down. That aside, even at a difficult time such as this, few groups advocated their candidacy.

DMK and ADMK feud, political gimmicks, fans of various actors discussing who is more philanthropic, how the spirit of Chennai mattered, how RSS helped several victims, how a Muslim helped a Hindu and so forth.

My question: If we were in Hyderabad, Australia or Pakistan, would we still not help? Why does region/religion/sect have to matter anyway?  

4. Speaking of politicians, we have people like Donald Trump and Rahul Gandhi looking to run candidacy. Who again disrupt lives by bringing out differences!

“Let’s not allow Muslims in the country” says one, while the other bellows, “The supposedly secular country gives the minority no rights, vote for me, I assure a better life”

What kind of leader does that? You’re supposed to bridge the gap, not widen it.  

5. Then of course the intolerance debate: is India really intolerant? Aamir Khan gets his hashtags. Not to forget the hit and run case with Salman hashtags.

Why do we have to be patrons of our heroes in all and sundry, waging war of words? Why do we have to be rigid?

As an Aamir Khan fan myself, I was a bit baffled that someone of his stature felt unsafe. But then, it is upto us to come to conclusions by being open to the two sides of the story.

Embrace, be polite, be willing to understand and resolve.

For instance, my best friend believes passionately in patriotism, and wonders why I don’t call myself a patriot. It is not because I don’t love my country. It is because I love everything else too.

Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree, and decide what’s more important.  

6. As for the home turf hungama, there is a lot of Muddenahalli and Puttaparthi tug of wars in the Sai circle. Much to my surprise, I find fellow brothers and sisters fighting.

This is beyond the realm of cognitive bantering anyway. Why indulge in one?

Just because, I agree or don’t agree with something… Just because, I understand or don’t understand something… I am not planning to hate. Nothing is worth hate. I am going to love ‘em, any which way. Period.

As for what I believe in, I’m not planning to get into any discussion whatsoever. Simply because, it doesn’t matter.

***

If you come to think about it, all of this is about –

What is true? What is false? Who is right? Who is wrong? Where do I belong? Where does he/she fit in? The world is looking like Hunger Games. Hungry for power – position – rightness – survival. Based on our questions and our resultant answers, we support or deny, most times vehemently.

Result: We let our differences win over our latent oneness. If you have ever followed my posts, you will notice I have talked about belongingness, oneness, or spirituality sometimes, for lack of a better word. What a load of BS right!

I agree.

I am not sure if there is one good word to explain that pristine connection that all of us have with each other. They are labels after all.

Take me for example. I am a woman. I am a Hindu. I am a Tam Brahm. I am an Indian. I am a Saiyan. I am a daughter. I am a wife. I am a pet parent. I am a friend. I am a disciple. I am, and will be so many more. So what? How am I in any way different to an Israeli man or my atheist friend? I am not. None of us are.

It’s time to let go of our labels. We are not it.

“It’s not who WE are that holds US back, it’s who WE think WE’re not.”

In the here and now, we need to choose. What do we want to be? How are we going to define ourselves? By region, religion, gender?

Is that all we are: a product of our circumstances?

Or should the circumstances be a product of who we are?

The next time we are in conflict, can we resolve to ponder – “Where are they coming from? Why are they saying what they are saying?” It is always a good place to start, isn’t it?

Because we can, we will love. Because the world needs it, we will empathize. Because we need to grow, we will seek to learn.

Then someday, not far from now, we will experience that oneness as an experiential reality. That you and I are neither these labels. That you and I are neither the body nor the mind nor the intellect.

That you and I are the ekam (one). That you and I are the sat (truth). That you and I are called in different names, and manifested in different forms.

That you and I are the world as we know it to be. ❤

Until next,

Be well and Sayonara.

Updated to add: After I published this post, a friend shared a video by Prince ea, which nails my sentiments so well. Thank you Prince ea for all that you do!

Letter 19: To the someone that pesters my mind good or bad!

Dear Thoughts,

Do you know your existence is such a sham?

You are not meant to be, but you are. What is meant to be is thoughtlessness, but you were born erroneously, and you still continue to exist over generations. Result: We bond over multiple layers now.

No, strike that! Maybe I shouldn’t call your birth erroneous, for you are doing exactly what you are meant to. That means, I should instead congratulate you, for pulling out such a spectacular feat.  Continue reading

Why spirituality is the new age best thing?

We are a generation that questions everything.

We will keep at it until we get the right answer/(s). We have questions on war and violence, rapes and castration, the use of euthanasia, homosexuality, corruption. There are also other questions on a personal level – as we deal with illness, the loss of a loved one, abuses that lead to depression, not having enough money, of career choices, on finding our special someone, on beliefs.

Questions? Questions! Questions.

We need answers. Sometimes finding them can be a gruelling, long process, yet our fascination, our desperation, our quest never stops.

I have had my shares of questions too, and I still have them. 🙂

The only medium, in my personal experience, which has appeased me, given me reasons to hope, and filled me with a sense of overwhelming freeness, has been SPIRITUALITY.

spirituality-wallpaper

Its vistas are such. There are no distinctions, or differences whatsoever. We are one. Literally. Truly. From there it starts. ❤

I just love that. For that is how I stem my beliefs.

In the last few weeks, I have had one of my biggest questions answered, and it really gave me a sense of overwhelming freeness.

I am not much of a disciplined sadhaka. In my credit I have nothing, but earnestness to have that understanding. Invariably, whether or not I crack His code, He sends the answer in few ways. Those re-affirmations are such joy, and I had one of those last week too. Like I said in one of my earlier posts, I believe that if we truly yearn for something, the universe will help us receive it. And I did 🙂

A year or two back, one of my friends, gave me one of Jaggi Vasudev‘s books, wherein he answers to everyday questions of his followers. I never read that book. I instead wondered why my guru, never did that. There are so many burning questions in the present day world – The world needed answers. The world needed to know how to live, what was right. “Why didn’t you Swami”, I had asked.

My guru embraced everything, and I had not once seen any distinctions, yet I presumed and parroted like the world – that there existed right and wrong – that there existed duality.

Couple of weeks back, my husband and I were deeply introspecting and talking about few world issues, and its spiritual connotations. I happened to mention the above to him, and he shared one of my guru’s discourses with me. In it, I had found my answer.

“Blimey!” I had thought. “Here I was labouring for years just to receive this answer, and now it was mine.”

I got the same answer again, this past Thursday through a spiritual healer, Mr. Natesh Shetty, when my husband interviewed him in his radio show.

If you have read my posts ‘Do we know what it is to really forgive’, and The difficulty of being right‘, you will know that I am one of those, who constantly classifies things as right and wrong, and I try my best to do what is right. I fail of course miserably, a lot, but the RIGHTNESS seemed important.

This post will now give it a perfect finishing touch.

This will also answer one of my friends, who pinged me after reading the ‘forgiveness’ post. She said, “That doesn’t seem doable, my logic cannot get around to it.” I told her, “Yes it is difficult – might even seem unreasonable, but that’s the answer.” We cannot fight faith, we can only embrace it, and it will give us the clarity. And it did 🙂

I will directly jump now to Brother Natesh Shetty’s words, cos he nails it right on the head:

He says our classification of good and bad doesn’t exist beyond human mind, while Karma functions at a level that is beyond the human mind. At that level, there is no judgement. Everything is just an experience as meant to be – perfect.

That was my answer too: My guru never fixated so much on what is good and bad, because nothing is really right or wrong. The rightness and wrongness are but perceptions of the frail human mind. To Him, it is all just pure, unconditional love. He is love. We are love. How can a love like that judge us? It simply doesn’t. 🙂

This is a larger than life message, which explains the concept of ‘reflection – reaction – resound’ on a finer level. Sometimes, we need more than just words to help us absorb it. However, I suggest you listen to Brother Natesh’s interview, for he details so adeptly the working of these seeming abstract rules.

If you wish to listen to the full 1.5 hour Radio Sai interview with Mr. Natesh, you could listen online, or download. The deeper bits start at about 26 minutes.

More on Natesh Shetty’s interview:

Brother Natesh says hypnosis is a state of heightened awareness, and that each of us, everyday, experience hypnosis in those moments just before we wake up, where we are alert, and get conscious of the surrounding sounds, our thoughts, etc.

On Karma: From Facebook fun posts to SITCOM dialogues, karma is under constant radar, and we dabble so much on the good and bad karmas. Certain candid and deep insights of Mr. Shetty will appease our human mind and offer much comfort.

(Audio excerpt on Karma)

Apart from that, he speaks on past life regression and explains how one act could impact us on a larger level, across births. How it could determine our soul level decision, and that not everything is meant to be healed, few need to be experienced.

(Audio excerpt on past life regression)

I think this falls in line with the book ‘Your soul’s plan. I have only breezed through the book, wherein the author says that every soul makes a detailed plan on all the experiences it has to go through in the lifetime before it is born. It even plans things like who will be its parents, spouse etc. Something similar to what Brother Natesh tells us in his interview. So what we see as good/bad are but pre-planned incidents for our own learning.

Excerpts: The author says, “…The more traumatic our challenges, the more difficult the concept may be…”

Yeah. No doubting that! 😕

“…You need only ask, “What if? What if I really did plan this experience before I was born? Why might I have done that?” Simply asking these questions gives new meaning to life challenges and launches a journey of self-discovery. That journey demands no particular beliefs regarding spirituality or metaphysics, only an interest in personal growth and the acquisition of wisdom…”

“…While we are in our physical bodies, our souls communicate with us through feelings. Feelings like joy, peace, and excitement indicate we are acting and thinking in ways that are consistent with our true nature as loving souls. Feelings like fear and doubt suggest we are not. Our bodies are exquisitely sensitive receivers (and transmitters) of energy that tell us through feeling whether there is a match or a mismatch between who we really are and the ways in which we are currently expressing ourselves…”

Living the spiritual way

Living the spiritual way

Coming back to the interview, he says:

How we are here to create a sense of balance, meaning even accumulating good karma might mean rebirth. This balance, he says, is also achieved when people send in their energies. He covers a bit on gratitude here. How gratitude is a high energy frequency, and is closer to unconditional love, as this emotion too looks beyond imperfections. The fact that it pays back in ways than I cannot even imagine just blew my mind.

(Audio excerpt on gratitude)

He also speaks about music therapy, the kinds of music, and how each type vibrates at a different state. Then on Phyllis Krystal – on being non-judgemental, and how consciously practising it would be a good enough first step – on how even indirect misuse of money could affect us, because of our energy investment – on imprints that we carry through lifetimes, and how healing and awareness could help us – and a few other things.

(Audio excerpt on being non-judgemental)

(Audio excerpt on Karma and Money)

He ends the talk by saying, how working on the one statement of Sai Baba, “Be happy” has helped him be on this path of pursuing happiness constantly . Even if it is more of a life-long quest, as a healer, he gets to achieve that, and thereby help in spreading happiness. And I will salute to that!

It was a beautiful interview that would speak to us on a lot of levels. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

Here’s to finding more meaning and answers as we journey through life! ❤

“Samasta Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu”

Dissecting the god debris!

It’s been 3 weeks of Puttaparthi life, and after donning multitude roles – running, baby sitting, cooking disasters, masterchef moments, hosting get-togethers, being fed, long walks to the nearby village, Sivrathtri, snoozes, and many more – I have tonnes of things to say – like the umbrella embarrassment I give my husband whenever we go out into the sun. But no – I can’t talk about any of that today.

After certain late night discussions, get-togethers and some mind wracking time in understanding the ways of the world, and the hand of God – I knew I had to write – to put in paper my beliefs, my questions, and the desire to dissect the ‘God Debris’ in the name of jnana marga – in between the everyday karma yoga, and few and far between bhakathi marga dates – for a devotee needs to understand what of the unfathomable can be fathomed, and what not to fiddle with our fastidious, finicky minds.

who-is-god

Topic 1 – everything is a reflection of what you think and perceive, and so the personal God quotient is no exception.

What people came at:

Very often – based on how you want certain thing or situation to turn out, you get your answers.

My thoughts:

I think otherwise.

God or cosmic energy goes only by higher ideal or by love, and it CANNOT be reflective of your ephemeral desires. Even f it does come to you as personal God and says yes – perhaps the prayer is in line with the higher way of living, or in the least, its inconsequential to the grand scheme of things.

So the act of assenting could either be out of love, or a leverage to pull you into higher radar of evolution.

He cannot tell you just what you want to hear.

Topic 2. Everything in the world is God, which makes the seeming disparity, a play of the mind – and so at the Super soul level, “the problems” are not ‘problems’

What people came at:

Ignore the play.

Example. A is a self-obsessed rebel and demands things from the world, while B is quite a selfless, flexible person – A gets what he wants and B either gets whats left, or the little that he desired.

What people came at:

Thats akin to a mother’s role – if a kid wants to be pampered – she will do just that… and if the other child is not fussy and accepts what comes by – it gets just that. From a mom’s perspective – she loves them equally, and she satiates them based on what they ask for.

My thoughts:

I think it shoves the whole karma theory out of the picture.

Ingesting Karma theory into my belief system was a hard pill in itself, considering we cannot sell past anonymities as causes of present deprecating consequences. However – you can still buy it.

And after I made peace with that theory, a new proposition waltzes in, in the name of a reflective world! Huh.

Like Gurucharan Das or Devdutt Pattnaik says – I get that Dharma is never definitive. It changes with the ways of the world. However, even as a theist, I can only call a spade. I do not know the thretha yuga dharma, but in terms of the dharma of the present world, Ram shouldn’t have let Sita do what she did. Similarly, A can be a rebellious child, and B can be a flexible, understanding child – but if I need to don the role of a mother, it would pain me to give more to A. It would pain me when I see a YouTube video of a BPL kid, who wants to buy a 5Rs balloon, and loses it in 2 minutes of buying it.

Karma Theory does not ease that pain, but it atleast says that at the end of every tunnel, there is light.

Now that we are all trying to define personal Gods – in my opinion – I cannot imagine that God would give more if you ask more – and leave the others rummaging the leftovers. Or that god would just remain a spectator of a reflective universe like how Rhonda says in ‘The Secret’. Or that god would just let Karma tally her way out of people’s life.

Its all true, I get that, but its not just that.

We are all Gods, I get that too. We are just journeying to discover that, and be that.

However – in the name of jnana marga, karma theory, power of thoughts, disparities and many more – lets not complicate Him to be anything more than love.

And to me He is definitely more than a mere reflective spectator. To finding Him in us!

Devdutt's Yahoo post: in love with the nitty-gritties!

It was just yesterday when Mr. C sent a yahoo link titled Hearing Sita’s silence, written by one Mr. Devdutt Pattanaik, and I have gone all rapt. The author writes about Ram, Krishna, Draupadi & Sita, and the different ways through which each of them uphold dharma.

The post is an absolute beauty, and a definite food for thought. Continue reading

Of meeting the ‘One’!

I have been waiting, you know, for you. It was not for a day, a week, or even few summers, I think I have always waited, and as have you. Thoughts I have had a million, ramblings in hundreds, blog posts a dozen, as my fascination for you has never ceased.

Is it plain intriguing euphoria, or that something which I can’t put a name on?

I know not, dearest.

In time though, I hope to know, for I love you. Continue reading