• http://www.amazon.com/The-Thomases-Road-Realization-ebook/dp/B009BATQUA/

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We the Monkeys....

I found an article in the paper dated Nov 17, 2010, The Times of India, very amusing indeed! It said that -Officials of the forest are considering Family Planning(Vasectomy) for messy monkeys who stray into the Malnad villages of Uttara Kannada, in order to contain their menace, destruction of arecanut, coconut, paddy and sugarcane crops.... Environmentalist Shylaja Gornamane, citing reasons for the serious problem, said monkeys are forced out of forests by people collecting minor forest produce like fruits.

Isn’t it so obvious who the real menace here really are! It is the overpopulated human race which doesn't even spare the fruits in the forest that is the food for the monkeys! . And then we want to "Family Plan" for the monkeys!

Here's some interesting statistics related to population. 'It took about 2 million years for the world population to become 1 billion (1830), 100 years for 2 billion (1930), 30 years for 3 billion (1960), 15 years for 4 billion (1986) and 11 years for 5 billion (1997). The world population stands at 6.3 billion (2000)and is estimated to be around four times of it around 22.5 billion in 2100. In context of India, Post -independent India in 35 years (1947-81)literally added a second India, i.e doubled it's population. When the population doubles, resources do not double and the critical condition in India is that it’s resources can no longer sustain this exploding population. In 2000 India’s population touched 1 billion mark whereas in 1901 it was around 238 million. Although India occupies only 2.4% of the world's land area, it supports over 15% of the world's population. The population growth rate of the world is around 1.1% and that of India is around 1.8%. To achieve population stabilization, the growth rate should be ideally brought below 0.5% which has been achieved by most developed countries.

What is the problem in our country that we cannot contain our population growth? There are actually some very funny reasons!!!

Catholic priests are advising parishioners to have three or more kids as the catholic population in India seems to be reducing. What a way to increase people in a particular faith. Just reproduce more!
One of the Hindu fundamentalist group Bajrangdal dal, during the religion linked riots in Orissa in sept 2008, was reportedly against conversions to Christianity mainly because it would reduce Hindus to a minority and how can that be allowed when according to Hindutva philosophy, India is a land of Hindus!
Muslims reportedly prefer having five or more kids primarily because they want to increase the muslim population!
This attitude of trying to preserve a good measure of one's own religious population is the peculiar bane of the Indian Society. Really now, is our individual religion the only thing worthy of preserving? The land on which we stand, the water that we drink, the air that we breathe, ...don't we owe something to it? How can we claim to love a God we do not see when we cannot love the environment that we can see is suffering from the plunder and exhaustion of resources, and excessive pollution solely because of over population and mindless development of the Human Race.

Now what can the common Indian do to check population growth. Of course reproduction is the right of every Individual, and of course we need not follow any stringent norms like China did. But lets just not let our choice be determined by our religious leanings…Education of women and higher age of marriage has proved to be successful in keeping a low population growth rate in Kerala so far, and it has been an example for the rest of India to follow. But education is often no match to personal religious persuasions. We have to decide our priority here. Lets not let false religious sentiments deviate us from our one true responsibility to humanity and to humanity's only provider…the amazing creation of god called Earth. We owe it to our God to preserve it's most beautiful creation, the Earth, no not the umpteen religions which man created just so he won't die of boredom with nothing to argue about.....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Ultimate Killer Control- called Ingratitude

I was reading a well written, passionate book related to environment (Our Environment by Laeeq Futehally) and certain thoughts were triggered on reading.. how in a forest all the plants and animals are present in relation to the dominant species! For example in a typical rain forest an almost solid roof is formed by the tops of large trees. The dense mass of leaf material makes a permanent ceiling for the entire forest (since the trees are not deciduous). This prevents direct sunlight from reaching the ground, which means that there is little undergrowth.

It is obvious that because of the dominant tree canopy through out the year, only shade loving plants flourish except in pockets where a tree has fallen and sunlight enters in till the space is filled up again. It is also obvious that according to the dominant flora of a habitat are the fauna that survive in these habitats (animals etc dependent on the plants prevalent in a habitat).So the climax condition in any habitat is very much in accordance with the dominant species.

Nature has always been rearranging itself over its course of evolution according to the dominant species of each time frame. I wouldn’t say therefore that the destruction that has happened of nature is not natural!This may seem an odd statement, but consider this; It is nature’s course to create the environment as per the dominant species, which currently for the largest habitat Earth is Man..

Man has been altering the habitat Earth as per his whims and fancies. Which is in fact quite natural considering that nature created man an intelligent species which had the capability to overcome it’s natural enemies. Though all species occupy their own niche in a habitat in equilibrium, not encroaching on another's territory or food, still it would be wrong to say that it is on account of an all embracing charecteristic of the wild species. There is behind this undeniably the law of the survival of the fittest,which is quite a 'me first'or in other words a selfish charecteristic.In fact two species cannot occupy the same niche (role) for a long time because it results in competition which in turn results in the survival of the fittest and elimination of the other. Selfishness is also therefore a natural trait and each species' populaton is checked by each other's selfishness(more often than not).

Moreover a species that is introduced in an environment where it has no natural enemies, spreads uncontrollably, eating away resources that were for all the inhabitants of the habitat. Like the water hyacinth which is a native of South America brought to India as a garden plant. Having no natural enemies in India, it multiplies at a tremendous rate, and soon covers all of the water surfaces. It is a greedy plant that drinks up all the water of the lake on which it grows quite like man exhausting all the resources that it survives on.. The only difference about Man from the hyacinth, is that Man is a species that has overcome its enemies and therefore has grown in population to such a proportion that it has sapped the life out of its own environment. The plants and animals that can survive are only the one’s that man the dominant species allows to survive, quite like how only shade loving trees can flourish in forest with a thick canopy(although the dominant trees have their own natural controls intact unlike man who has brought under control all it's enemies).

Natural again definitely considering Man's Intelligence, but our intelligence also shows us that unless we check our population and recede our encroaching uncaring steps, we will exhaust the very resources we survive on. For example if the rate at which we consume bamboo for paper is slower than the rate at which we replenish it by planting, then soon we would have to do without paper. Our intelligence is putting efforts to prevent further harm to environment, but the effort is feable compared to the relentless and enormous damage to environment that we do collectively everyday.

Now the ultimate control has to be therefore with nature alone that created all this mess by creating Man. Our dominance of nature has not been against the natural growth and climax in natural habitats, and so it is only natural that there has to be a check not far off in future that is predestined for a species like ours. Aren’t we the dominant species altering our habitat making it unsuitable for our own survival which is what does happen naturally in succession (called reaction) in habitats which eliminates that errant species? Nature has never been helpless;it always has a check for everything, however slow in coming. The exhausting resources will itself check the population growth. Nature may be too loving to do anything overt, it only just recedes to non existence due to lack of love of its inhabitants.

The Natural Killer Control of the Intelligent, powerful, dominating, thoughtless and selfish species therefore,... is it's own ungratefulness!
The end of such a greedy species such as water hyacinth and man is in the exhaustion and so destruction…of both; the habitat (nature) and consequently the ungrateful species. This end also looks natural in the whole scheme of things. Everything that has a beginning has a natural end.

Ungratefulness is the ultimate killer, or lets say the ultimate control. It saps the life blood out of the parent, the provider and finally with its death dies the dependent too.. The provider dies a slow death unloved, unappreciated, uncared and abused. Even if we cannot learn to be grateful, still, if we the self loving species have to save ourselves, we have to stop abusing and spitting on our one and only provider, the mother Earth..But then at this uncontrolled pace of human progress we do seem to have gone beyond the point of a ‘comeback’...For there is no killer like the killer called ingratitude. It has a life, movement and all devouring pace of its own that is not checked even by self love.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hopelessly flawed

I switched on the TV and heard a character in a Movie saying 'We are all hopelessly flawed'. It hit a chord because I had been in a hopeless mood regarding my own flaws… the flaws of having an overactive brain, of being a critic, of being opinionated, philosophical, of having an ego, of being laid back (or call it lazy), maybe even talkative, maybe possessing intensity that draws intense situations(!), slightly obssessive compulsive… and many more flaws, that seem to be an obstruction to peace, within and without.

The character in the Movie then broke into a poem which in essence asked nature to keep its pristine perfection to itself and give him (the poet) the crowded city!! The poem seemed to reassure me that I need not strive to be perfect or have a perfect life. The world has a place for imperfection too...When it comes to relationships; it is really unrealistic to ask for perfection. At best we can be sincere in our approach to others....in our own unique imperfect way...

Come to think of it, the world in fact has never been perfect especially when we look at all things with our perspective. Then we notice that, the woods usually don’t come without biting insects and blood sucking mosquitoes, the city with its comforts does not come without its crowd and pollution; or consider this, youth has so little in terms of essential maturity, whereas wisdom and maturity more often doesn’t have the glory of youth. Even virtues are attached with vice, for example, it has been noted that intelligent people also tend to be aggressive. So just see what that spells for close relationships! It would mean an intelligent partner will often be uncomfortably aggressive, a simple person could prove boring, a wise partner may seem too proud and preachy, a beautiful partner too arrogant, a talkative one could cause discord while a silent one could exasperate you. Show me a virtue and I will show you the attached vice! (...has somebody already said that?).Even in terms of what we seek, if it is an excess of money, we give up the joys of leisure, if it is an excess of knowledge we give up blissful ignorance. (Yes!.. even knowledge is not for the weak hearted as knowing and perceiving can hurt, and so it can be a vice rather than virtue to possess {if you value peace more} unless you are emotionally strong enough).

Recently I saw the movie ‘A beautiful life’ which shows how a father helps his son through a war. He does not reveal to him that it is a real war going on around him, rather he says that it is a game and for all the precautions that he makes his son take, he tells him that there are points, and the more points he makes, the more the chances of winning the game. The result is that the son survives the war … totally emotionally unscathed! The imperfect situation of war was converted into a beautiful game. Isn’t that how we should deal with all the imperfections within and around us….closing our mind to its interpretation as an imperfection and seeing it rather as that factor which makes life the beautiful game it really is.

So cheers to my imperfections, as that is what makes me what I am. Peace or no peace, valued or not valued, understood or not understood, tolerated or not tolerated, I am still perfect in my imperfections.
I too appreciate people according to their sincerity, not perfection as I genuinely feel perfection is totally overrated. Imperfection is quite obviously the real nature, beauty and individuality of everything that constitutes the perceived world and perfection could actually make the world too predictable and so boring. So everything is really hopelessly and ……actually thankfully …. flawed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Taking Calculated Risks

"Fear of Danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than Danger itself" Daniel Defoe

Sometimes we need to take risks in life rather than living in fear...of the toxins in everything that we intake or use. A life lost a bit early due to certain risks taken is better than a life lost to fear....

But it is important to take 'calculated' risks. There is no denying that the environment we live in today is very polluted. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the cosmetics we use etc are all taking away years from our lives...
But we forget that at the same time the immense progress made in medicine, discovery of cures and prevention for formerly fatal diseases(like TB)...all this has added years to our life...

In the year 1900, the average life expectancy of the world was 30yrs, and by 1985 it was 62yrs. Now 2010 estimate stands at 67 years.

What I am intending to say is we have an extra 30 or so years gifted by developments in science.... then is it really important to be paranoid about the toxins that we take in? We may increase say two years to our life by the care we take to keep away the toxins...like...not buying grapes and apples fearing they are coated with pesticides, scared of the white cauliflower (must be dipped in Malathion) scared of even medicines and supplements knowing that they too contain preservatives that could be very harmful, could possibly accumulate in tissues, not using any cosmetics at all, worried about the chlorine in the swimming pool, the UV at noon....But look at it this way...Don't we reduce comparatively, say four years from our life by the paranoia and stress concerned with all the caution and care! Aren't we thus compromising on the joys of life and added years in life that can come only from being a bit care free? Not a good deal..is it? Isn't it then better to adopt the midway...that is even use 'caution' in moderation?

So lets be careful .... but lets also not overdo it. Lets take reasonable care but lets also be reasonably carefree.......

Friday, August 27, 2010

The climate characteristic!

Having lived in a number of climatic conditions...like parts of punjab, bengal, rajasthan, ..and having seen the peculiarities of the people of each region, I have been drawing conclusions which have finally taken a definite form in my mind with my recent visit to another of the regions in maharashra. I am putting the view down finally in words.

In Kottayam, I have often felt that it's particular kind of heat can get to the head. Recently I have been wondering whether heat, head, and high rate of suicides in kerala have any link? Can a type of heat make one feel more suicidal than just the push of circumstances.

The peculiarly unrelenting dry heat of some regions (heat even in evenings) also can effect adversely the intelligence of the people of those regions and so I doubt it can make people dumb (especially the poorer sections which stay outdoors more often or lack a good house.

Whereas some other regions like in Jodhpur, I have felt that the cooler evening air gifts a calming peace on the people of the region, making them quite easy going.

One obvious thing is that people of different regions share similar physical charecteristics, language and even some similarities in terms of their natures. Having stayed in many regions I have experienced that I have been different too in each region. Some of it I accord to my age at each place...but I couldn't strike out the possibility of climatic characters effecting me.

People of some region show vigour and zest for life whereas another region may show a lazy and careless attitude, while others of some regions are very serious and proper about life. In some regions people show lack of depth. They show love and friendliness but it is merely like a surface reflex, whereas their innermost feelings are not fathomable by their surface expressions and behaviour.

One of the biggest blessings in life is staying in different places. It is like opening a new and different window of the mind at each place and becoming open minded, understanding and accepting.
People who have moved around in their formative years are the people who show more rounded personalities. People who have all their life stayed in one place are less accommodating.

Then think of climate change and how it can effect the general civilization! Climate holds more secret powers than we have cared to notice. History, the present and the future have been shaped and is shaped by some known ways and some even unimagined ways by the powerful forces of climate...I am sure.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Clean Body, Clean Mind (Equilibrium 4)

I have concluded onto a midway to a spiritual existence, and called it 'Equilibrium'. It means knowing and living as the spiritual self without rejecting the physical self. Equilibrium is a balancing act which means not denying emotions but only distancing oneself from it (as a witness).

To elucidate I take an example from the earlier blog- love of someone leads to sorrow when the loved one departs. These (love or attachment and sorrow) are two sides of the same coin. To deny or disown sorrow is to hide it inside the body, which then shows up as emotional or physical diseases. To 'distance' from sorrow is to grieve without loosing awareness that the world is illusory and everything is just a play and we are acting a part. Reflect that actors have to feel the pain of the charecter to play the role well but they are always aware that they are not the charecter. On the other hand if they do not identify with the charecter they will spoil their role.

So also we have to be aware without spoiling the role we are playing. Also, without twists and turns a story is boring...so also life is boring without people to interact with, consequently differences, problems and solutions. Moreover it is the process of problem solving that leads to personal growth which is the noble purpose of life.

Equilibrium is therefore living a normal life, accepting the presence of emotions, be it negative like hate and jealousy, thinking through or discussing with someone close and thus respectively breaking down the negative emotions (detoxifying) or/and removing it(venting) whichever suits or is more helpful to the person. To maintain equilibrium this is a very crucial process of 'cleaning the body' of toxins or biproducts(bad emotions) and retaining the good produce(healthy and helpful conclusions) of every thinking process that each life event leads to.

Equilibrium may involve cycles or lets say "fluctuations from the mean" followed in response to the awareness that fluctuations are to accepted to eventually reach stability. Fluctuation could mean knowing when to act and when to let go. On another level it could mean cycles that is a period of attachment followed by detachment; a worldly phase intermittent to the spiritual phase etc in response to the awareness of one's self. Therefore equilibrium can be called a state of fluctuating mean. Though equilibrium is a rational and realistic approach and so a seemingly easy approach, it has its share of things to practice

1 Associate with events but find pockets of time to dissociate from them
2 Remember to smile and celebrate the differences and incompatibility with other people (even through the frowning), realizing that these are the catalysts to personal growth and are secrets to an interesting life; and being aware that an isolated life or life with clones of self would be so... boring......, to say the least
3 To express ones own mind and differences but then remember not to brood or bother about it. At some point say 'CUT' and 'can'(dissociate from) the shot.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Austerity Vs Equilibrium (equilibrium 3)

I have read by now four of the 'Nine Lives' by William Dalrymple. The very first one 'The Nun's tale' was very moving and disturbed me enough to want to blog down to organise my thought.

It is the tale of Prasannamati Mataji, a Jain Monk, who leaves her family and an easy life, in her teens and adopts the austere life of a Monk. One of the main principles of Jainism is to give up all attachment as attachment is suffering. And so she willingly gives up family, wealth, possessions, adopts fasting, walking barefoot, all this in an effort to shed the last attachment to the world... and yet unknowingly she forms one attachment with her friend and companion for 20 years (Jain nuns travel in pairs), Prayogamati. Her friend fell sick and took a ritual fast to death (Sallekhana) leaving Prasannamati Mataji terribly sad and lonely. In fact she cried at her death which is not allowed in jain monks! Later on she also decides to take Sallekhana...and even wonders about the possibility of meeting her friend in some future birth!(The aim of the austere life of Monks is to escape the world)

I have often been wonderstruck by the routine of the Jain monks specifically how they try to avoid harming all life forms and for that even fanning away insects before they place each step, covering their nose to avoid breathing in microorganisms, not travelling in vehicles as insects are killed under the impact of the tyres. I cannot help but consider it as consciously adopting the 'obsessive compulsive behaviour', in terms of non violence.

But ofcourse if adopting such an attitude helps to create a permanant state of compassion for all life...it might be worth it?

But then if compassion is desirable how can sorrow be undesirable? If the crushing of an insect under the feet did not bring sorrow, then there is no meaning to being compassionate and being particular about not destroying any life. And so I can't understand the logic behind encouraging love and compassion and discouraging sorrow and tears. Prasannamati mataji could have supressed her tears but would that mean she is not saddened by her friend's death whom she loved?

The Human system cannot be denied its existence. It has the luxury of experiencing all 'good' emotions and it comes with the price of being able to experience the so called bad emotions as well. It is just not possible to accept one and deny the other as they are two sides of the same coin.

Despite the Mataji's lifelong practice in austerity, living a life with no comforts, she unknowingly had the comfort of a good friend who could understand her and be a companion for 20 years. It reminds me of how the Titanic was made to be 'the unsinkable' but still found a reason to sink...

I cannot help but conclude that of all the various approaches to spirituality, the best way (or the most logical way) has to be the midway (equilibrium). Because, in the search of the spirit, is it really possible to ignore the life, the emotions that we are meant to experience.

We can at most understand ourselves as merely witness to the emotions, but can we really be without emotions...rather should we really be without emotions?

Monday, May 10, 2010

The spiritual cycle (Equilibrium 2)

I finally read the much heard about book, 'Men are from Mars and women are from Venus'. I wasn't really expecting to discover anything new but I was taken aback by how much I really didn't know!

Men have an intimacy cycle! That is they require periods of intimacy(with their partner) followed by periods of independence. Women get upset when men enter the independence phase (which is like going into a cave) thinking they must have done something wrong to make him want to be alone, and so try to prevent the man from going into this phase. But...they (women) don't realize that to again feel the need for intimacy men need their time out with their own self! Lack of periods of independence sort of contaminates their intimacy phase.

The book also says that women are like waves. When she does get a listening ear to express any (say) hurt feelings, she will in fact seem to get more upset until she hits the bottom of her wave(trough) and then her mood gets better and better and reaches normalcy(crest). But her issues may still not be resolved and in a few days her mood may again go down. This happens a few times before each issue is totally resolved and she can be centered again!

It is obvious from the above explanations, that without pulling away for a period, a man will only keep feeling a distance (from his partner), whereas without expressing her very lowest feelings in phases, a women can not hope for an eventual or total release from her troubling issues.

Reflecting on what I learnt from the book I realised that all things and beings in nature...'simply everything' has a cycle. Night day, ebb flow, heat rain, joy sorrow, life death....cycles are true for earth and for earthlings. But it still really amazed me to discover why men and women behave as they do. It is because ..like everything in nature, their behaviour is also governed by cycles! Obviously then, the right thing to do is allow all sorts of cyclic behaviors rather than resist them...until equilibrum (or centering) comes naturally.

It now becomes easier to understand the spiritual pull on human kind as well. The human being is both a body and a spirit. We have both, the pulling to be the body and the pull to be the spirit. And so it becomes clear (from above examples of the need to respect the different pulls or phases) that to experience growth in our spiritual self, it becomes just as much necessary for us to respect(allow/enjoy) our physical self (not just our spiritual self).

 If we don't allow ourselves to be Human we only end up contaminating our Spirituality as well. Take the simplest of examples- if a person in search of one's spiritual self (also called true self) does not retaliate to injustices (to self) like verbal insults; in an attempt to practice being spiritual (be without ego identification with the body), eventually his/her spirituality only gets contaminated, because the suppressed ego escapes into the spiritual practice! That is, rather than enjoy being the spirit, he/she would rather try to show off that, 'I am spiritual, I am above all your foolishness'! This is sneaky expression of Ego. Ninety percent of what he/she says will be Ego boosting (showing off) and ten percent 'could' be real spiritual content. That is, spiritual expression will also in disguise be only the very human... 'ego expression'.

And so, I am of the opinion that, the proper approach to spirituality is to let the need to be Human, the need to feel good about oneself ( about the body or Humanness) diminish at its own pace, with the spirit growing more and more in power by phases of total attention to spirituality(spirit) intermittent with attention to the ego (body) . And so..even spirituality is to be approached in its own turn on the cycle (by the beginning seeker)....And there is no need to fear the darker phases as the phase that is more fulfilling will always win eventually

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Part 1- Intro

I had been reading two books simultaneously, possibly because I wasn’t content with the concept of either. Both concepts are true in their own way but seem incomplete. One was about ‘letting go’ of our false self(emotions generated by body). It suggested the escape from troubling emotions by saying ‘I (higher self/soul/cosmic consciousness/true self) am not feeling this, my false self is feeling this. Also saying, ‘I(true self) don’t understand these feelings!

I really can't accept that because I believe that recognizing the inner self (higher self) should not require us to deny existence to our body! After all, the Higher self 'chose' to be in a body, then how can it totally ignore the existence of the body and its emotions!

The other book is about ‘the law of attraction’ It says that 'if we are feeling negative, we draw negative experiences. Therefore to bring all our desire’s to fulfillment, we should make sure we are always feeling good. Whenever we feel bad, we should shift to thinking something good so that we can feel good and draw good.' But then what about resolving issues that are making us feel negative! Moreover isn't it Life and often negative circumstances that lead the body, the false self, to search for better (lasting) or rather Higher solutions and so leads it to recognize the Higher self within. Why should then one prefer a particular circumstance over other? Rather one should let the body lead itself in whatever way to complete and lasting self discovery.

It was while I was shuffling with dissatisfaction between these two books, hoping to somehow finish them, that I happened to see the movie Equilibrium. It has made it to my favourite movies list (inspite of violence and a little lack in logic) because it reflected my point of view and satisfied me. The story is about a step taken to prevent another world war. It is decided that the root cause of war is man’s ability to feel. So to remove anger, jealousy and hate, a medicine is taken by the human race which make them emotionless. The price of this is that they don’t feel the good emotions either, but atleast there is no war and the human race is preserved. But the question is what are they living for? Just to carry forward the race? Finally the conclusion of the story is, 'Emotions are not the cause of war. Emotions are a gift that makes life worth living and not a mere existence. The cause of war is the lack of skills to manage emotions. It is when not managed, that the gift becomes chaos'.

The question now is only how to manage the emotions? Only when we recognize that we are actually a part of the infinite and that the body and its emotions are instruments to us that we would try to objectively learn about this instrument without ego association with the instrument. We would then recognize correctly its strong points and weak points and use it as an instrument. But still… 'I' am here within it to use it, not to let it gather dust just because this emotion charged instrument is not me! Fine, it is not me, but it is mine, and it is in my hand to be used….correctly.

When the instrument experiences the negative emotions, we would try to solve its problems in ways that suit it’s make. Sometimes it may require recognizing the futility or stupidity of an emotional reaction and so ‘letting go’ of it. But at other times, it involves understanding a reaction and the need for a proper immediate action and so requires just ‘letting be’, under ‘Higher supervision’.
I told this to someone but my idea was dismissed as lower understanding and I was provided with a book ‘ Practicing the power of now’ by Eckhart Tolle (especially to thwart my belief in possibility of destiny). I began reading it and quite amazingly I find it infact seconding what I believe!

I quote-‘To relinquish judgement does not mean that you do not recognize dysfunction…when you see it. …….You will then either be totally free of reaction or you may react and still be the knowing, the space in which the reaction is watched and allowed to be.’
Also I quote, 'There are cycles of success...and there are cycles of failure....The down cycle is absolutely essential for spiritual realization.' Also, 'when you have reached a certain degree of presence, you don't need negativity anymore to tell you what is needed in your life situations. But as long as negativity is there, use it. Use it as a kind of signal that reminds you to be more present.'
These words in this particular book reflected my thoughts in quite the exact words!

And so I am assured and can affirm that I believe that Being the True self is not always about ignoring negativity around and within. For Example spirituality is not about letting other people abuse you with their words or actions, just because the higher self is not supposed to be affected! Rather, being the true self is often acknowledging the feeling of the body and using the accumulated wisdom and understanding of the brain and also the intuition of the heart to carry through the body's reaction. Being the true self is not about going to the other extreme. It is all about recognizing the other extreme but arriving at the right equilibrium of an awakened spirit living a whole and fulfilled life within a body.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Art of not Giving!

I am writing this as a reflection a day after Good Friday. Jesus GAVE up his LIFE to save us. Being a christian always means being 'giving'
But believe me, the Bible also advocates that 'Not Giving' is as important as giving! In fact compulsively giving may not turn out to be always good. One has to know when to -NOT GIVE.
For example- giving good advice. Do all people like to follow advice? No
A listening sort of person would take a good advice after consideration mostly at the first instance.
The Bible says in essense that if you find someone doing something wrong advice him three times and if he still does not listen 'have nothing to do with him'.
To what extent should we have 'nothing to do with him'?
The Bible says somewhere (as an advice to apostles) that if you are not recieved in a particular home, then as you leave shake even the dust of the house off your feet.
That's symbolic of how complete the cut off should be!

What does such total leaving or not giving do?!
Not Giving helps the 'not giver' and could eventually also help the 'not given' too!
It is very difficult to totally have nothing to do with a person you love. But you will only hurt yourself everyday by holding on to a non listener. When all forms of attachment are abandoned, you will not feel the need to advice and when you dont advice you wont be agonized with helplessness when your words are not heeded to.That is how it helps the 'non-giver'.

Whereas when a person who hates to be 'told' finds he has been abandoned, he misses the care, tries to incite you to advice but when all fails, he will finally look 'at the advice'! It might take years for the person to come to your answer, but it is better than never, as would otherwise have been, and you would have saved years of agony on yourself. We owe something to ourselves first and why bear a futile unrest in life FOREVER for a non listener however much loved!

Art of Not Giving in a nut shell
1. Learn to recognize non listeners
2. Stop 'telling' a non-listener'; you will only earn for yourself the title of a nag!
3. Have nothing to do with the person, cut off 'emotionally'.

Power of Circumstances

I had scorned even the thought of reading the autobiography of Adolf Hitler. Why would I want to read the mind of a murderer! But since yesterday I am thinking of reading it.

Yesterday I happened to switch on the TV to a movie which held my interest. It happened to be based on the happenings in Adolf Hitler's life that gave him the major and final push into politics. It seems that Hitler actually wanted to make his carrier as an artist, and politics was just a fall back plan for him! His dreams to be a recognized artist were destroyed once and for all; his final attempt was squashed (by those who noticed his oratory skills that could mesmerize people, and wanted to use it for their political interests). That is how the movie ends.

Just Imagine how history is made! Men, who understandably need career and success in life are often forced by this very basic need to walk in a particular direction and path which is fenced on both sides by firmly closed doors!! And that makes for 'His Story' in many possible ways- the good, the bad, the unimaginable.

A month back I had read 'Devil in Pinstripes' by Ravi Subramanium and had arrived at a similar conclusion. The innocent ,clean hero of the book eventually turns out to be capable of being as much a devil as the two in his company whom he loathed. Carrier, need for success and growth, professional rivalry, all this throws up situations where profit and self interest thwart away every moral consideration.

We may learn our values very well, ingrain it firmly as a part of our very self, but ...circumstances...,they have an undefyable force of their own that can push away the firmest of values like paper cards. A power that could make 'any' man do or be what had been once unimaginable. So it is not really wise to think we are clean and good people, when we have had no 'fenced paths' in our life. To have walked the wrong path or the possibility to walk the wrong path is also therefore not impossible in any person's life. But to have the will to break the fence and the emotional power to push to the right but difficult path against the power called circumstances,..... that is what in fact actually requires all the substance and all the spirit in Man.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New age 'etiquettes'

I have been learning and trying to incorporate the new age 'etiquettes' for some time now, and nothing helps me incorporate lessons better than writing it down.
1. If you dont like something dont say it, just forget to do something that you usually do.
2.If questioned dont tell the truth that it was because you were hurt, just say you forgot. You avoid an issue but make your statement without actually making any.
3. It is cool to ignore some statements of the other person
4. It is cool to answer only one question, when you are asked two.
5. It is cool to look busy when the other person is trying to talk to you.

The old world was well mannered and truthful and genuine, but if you are that way today you would not be respected! No, I am not being sarcastic. If you find old world people like yourself, be as you are, but when you see the slightest hint of a new age personality and you want to be respected, then be of the new world or else...it really can get frustrating and you might end up gettin hurt!
Soon the new age person will come round and try being sweet to you, BUTdont soften and revert to the original you. The new age is deceptive and selfish. Dont let down your guard, be selfish, keep carrying through your new age plan, keep looking out. ......if you hate being hit when you are not looking!

PS: It's a different world all around today, and it is wise to adapt. I only mean that; 'When in Rome do as the Romans do'. I dont mean at all that being Roman is good. Adapting will help protect your interests (which hopefully are good and important enough!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

God, and the parent

Why is it that the power we call God is often considered as a parent? Is it merely because this power is responsible for creation, or is it because in many intriguing and astounding ways, this unseen power is directing us by a complicated enmeshed set of guidelines.
While I was studying a course in creative teaching, I was taught about different ways of helping a child develop the right attitudes. I had thought then that when I have my own kids I would use the same techniques. But I realized the hard way that being a parent 24/7 does not give time to think and use techniques! The real parent often just reacts rather than proacts, and it just gets worse when you have more than one to handle!
But when I look at how God works in each of our individual lives, he does seem to be using all those creative techniques and even has patience for each and every living being!

Let me give examples. When a child does something wrong, rather than slapping or caning, the teacher/parent is supposed to use ‘consequences’. ‘If you don’t keep back your toys today, you wont get to play with them tomorrow’. That’s a simple example of consequence. But I find even that very difficult to apply! I may quite easily use that statement today but tomorrow when my child pesters me with constant chatter just when I am trying to relax with a book, what do I do!? ‘Go and play with the toys’ That’s what I would end up saying!

But the power behind the universe called ‘God’, uses consequences without fail for every act that every individual does. ‘The Law of Karma’ is nothing but the ‘technique of consequence’. God never punishes us; rather our actions catch up on us.

One interesting creative technique of teaching was ‘being a scaffold’. For example if a child asks a question, don’t give the answer right away. Wonder with the child, ask leading questions which he/she can answer and lead by small rungs to the final answer. This is to help the child think on his own.
“Give a man a fish, he will have something to eat, but teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”
But as a parent of a ‘gemini’ child who even thinks aloud in words and questions, I often find myself just irritatedly snapping at questions!
But God has the patience to use the technique effectively for each and every individual! Now really how much patience would that require!!
Whenever seeking for answers of any sort, all of us would have noted the coincidences in life that seemingly are unrelated to our question or goal, but after a long winding way, or little rungs of success, we suddenly find ourselves somewhere that is in some queer way linked to our state of mind or questions about a couple of years(or more) ago. That is how God works; never dropping things into our lap as answer to every silly prayer, but gently guiding us to a state of mind where our prayers are more meaningful and answers are just over the next rung.

God is an unseen parent but is so much more efficient than any well meaning visible human parent! And for all the damage that parents can do to kids by bad parenting, God can reverse it and bring something good out of it. Don’t children of insensitive parents sometimes think through it all and learn the importance of being sensitive and become better people than they would have otherwise been? Their lonely life often forces them to turn to the one real perfect parent of all…, the God Parent, and learn His ways.

God does intend us to realise eventually that what we are looking for, is often perfection and that is not in the world, its only in His Love...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The good from sin?

I heard 'The Prodigal Son' in church last Sunday! The story (a briefing for those who perchance may not know the story) is that of a man who had two sons. His younger son asked for his share of property and went away with it to explore the world. But soon he squandered all the wealth and was short of money. So he began to work as a hired help feeding pigs! He came to his senses realizing that he had forsaken his father’s love; for in his father’s house even hired men had food to spare! The story goes that he returned and asked forgiveness from his father and said he would work as a slave as he did not deserve to be called his son. His father on the other hand was overjoyed and celebrated his return. But this made the elder son angry and he complained that though he had been an obedient son, never once had his father been as extravagant on him. The father then explained that it is because of the joy of having found a son who had been lost.

On hearing the story again I was just wondering with a little boredom as to how many times since childhood would I have heard a sermon on this topic, when the priest said something that made me pay attention. He said that unless we have fallen into sin and repent and require forgiveness, how would we learn the importance of forgiving. This statement woke me from my half sleep and it suddenly brought into my mind the story of the book (play) 'Lady Windmere's fan' by Oscar Wilde. I had liked it because of a similar message it had held. A woman falls into sin (due to some miscommunication) and loses a lot in life because of that and realizes her blunder.

Later she finds out about her grown up daughter who happens to be in the same position 'of being about to fall into the pit' and rescues her from making the same mistake as her. And then is shared a profound wisdom by the author! I remember the words only vaguely, but he meant, 'that those who have fallen and are considered ‘low’ in society are often better people (than the good people of society who have never committed a serious mistake) because they know where the pits are and are so much wiser because of it and are also in a position to warn and prevent 'the good people' from committing the same mistakes. Their example and experience is what guides the 'good' to remain 'good'....

The basic message of ‘the prodigal son' was skipped in my mind and new messages unfolded! It is true that I have heard 'the prodigal son' around a thousand times since childhood; yet I realized another aspect of its meaning in church today. Wasn't the prodigal son repentant, meek and humble in the end when he returns to his father? And wasn't the son who never ever sinned (never left his father or disobeyed him) arrogant, unforgiving, jealous and too proud of being 'good'!

No doubt, as the priest said, "God sometimes allows us to go away from him"....... so we can come back as better people than what we were as obedient sons!

Friday, March 5, 2010

When one door closes...

When one door closes...another door opens?
Or could it be that when we are single mindedly pursuing one particular door and ignoring the other doors which are more proper for us at that stage, the door we are heading towards closes on our face? We can cry forever at the door or wait forever for it to open, or we could just look around at the other door that was always there, but only now was brought into focus.

I have been thinking...we should be so thankful that there is a power greater than the power of our Focus, that closes the doors we are focussed on. And we should be so thankful to all the doors that close on us. The Negative is just a pricking nudge towards the positive. If we could always look around and choose the best door against our nature to focus on one and become content with it(often beyond it's duration of usefulness), then probably we might never have needed closed doors.
Each person with his/her own particular nature needs his/her own miseries for his/her own good. Knowing this as true is essential sometimes, so we can force ourselves to look around, as sometimes we just can't look away, from our favourite door...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lathmaar Holi

A few hours ago, I heard some comments on TV by women of Barsana, the birth place of Radha and the place where Lathmaar Holi originated. In this form of Holi women thrash the men with sticks! The women folk of the region were saying that 'Men don't really respect women, the way Krishna respected Radha. There are no such men as Krishna, and for men, women are merely 'use and throw'. Lathmaar Holi is really an opportunity for the women to take out their frustration and resentment against the men. Even children are allowed this day to hurl abuses at the Men.' These statements from the women made me realize that Lathmaar Holi is really therapeutic for women!

The regular holi with colours is fun and freedom, but this is really therapy, sort of like play therapy. Here the hidden anger and resentment against men is taken out. It is true, I feel women do Hide from their real feelings about men.
Their statements also reminded me of a reality show where a woman breaks off from her boyfriend and throws away the engagement ring in anger and both walk away from each other. But then it is the woman who seeing that he is not coming after her to explain himself, turns and goes after him meekly requesting him to explain everything away. Everything that she heard and saw. All that she had overheard him say about 'not caring a damn about her'. Women just can't face reality. How can they trust their own ears, their eyes and their brain when it could make them loose their desire to live. They find it better to hold on to imagined reality than loose the desire to live. Understandable.

And so I respect the person who started the Lathmaar Holi, to bring out hidden anger resentment and frustration and give healing to the women folk. Was it Krishna? Or was it some other Man? If it was some normal Man, then I am amazed at the care!Can a normal man really care so much for the health of women? Well, women are needed to take care of the household, and their health is vital for the health of the family. Now, that care becomes understandable!

Monday, February 15, 2010

To Market or Not to Market?

In todays world, the above question is almost the same as the question, 'to be or not to be'! Blame it on the immense population, the enormous pool of talent, the increasing number of choices in every aspect, that only if marketed well 'I or my value' may 'be' or else just 'not be'!

Many times I have surprised myself by being guilty of the very things I have been at one time very sure that 'I am not capable of''! In 2002, march I wrote in my diary, 'When we have doubts about ourselves we show off whatever little we have. When we are sure of our riches, we can afford to be simple. Yes, marketing could put me off. But today, the world belongs more often to the 'glittering' and less often to the 'substance'.
And so in 2007 after my first attempt at publishing which failed, one of the many reasons being that 'because I have not officially studied Theology', I put it in my blog. When that didn't attract many readers, I tried to get it published again another two times. With the third rejection, my faith in my book has matured and trust in the publishing industry has diminished. Maybe they would prefer more attention seeking controversy creating books, not one that intends to dispell controversies and contradictions. I am happy I discovered blogdom on the way as it gives me a unique freedom to express. But maybe my Book is stiffled most probably under the growing load of my own posts and so I have entered twitterdom to freshly market my book and now even blog. All unapologetically.

From politicians, to actors to authors...all are willy nilly marketing themselves, their products or their ideologies. But they are people in the limelight, then why the need to market!? I guess there is such a crowd in even the limelight that each has to sound the 'tom tom' to be noticed.
But then there are also the militant groups who have been anxious that they are not in the papers for over 14 months and so right away just burst a bomb to remind everybody that they exist!
I am anguished, 'why kill life just 'to be', as they achieve nothing but death. It won't destroy the Nation's Spirit. It will only grow more united, I trust that . Then why ? Just'to be'? So much better then 'not to be'!?
It's the most cowardly way to come forward.
My 2002 notes are not outdated yet. Empty vessels make much noise. Please fill yourselves with genuine purposes.

A Valentine-For the Loved or the unloved?

Valentine day is named after St. Valentine. I read, that St. Valentine a PRIEST, supported love, romance and marriage and performed marriages in a time in Rome when Marriage had been outlawed! He was also a sort of pen friend to a young blind girl, being a light in her darkness. In his last letter to her, before his execution, he addressed himself as 'your Valentine'.

Valentine day, a day of celebration of love, is not just for couples, it's about being there for all the lonely souls, it;s about being there for oneself.

There might be so many lonely folk on a valentine day! They might not even be lucky enough to get a good soul like 'St. Valentine as a friend in their loneliness, but someone they should always have is their own selves. Is that easy? If it were, there would be no suicides ever! Whatever the reason for suicides, the basic reason is that one forgets to love ones own self! Everybody in the world may be pointing at our faults, but each of us is a temple of God. The first duty of every person is towards one's own self, to discover one's own potential that nobody else has a duty to notice; a duty to love oneself. in a world where nobody else may show the capability to truly love another.

So, I write a poem dedicated to all those who might have often found themselves lonely on Valentine day


It's a day of Love, a day to give
A day of friendship, joy to live
But first I have a Heart of Mine!
I treat it well, my Valentine

It cares for all, it cries for peace
It bleeds for love, it smiles with ease
And then all lone the day?! It's fine...
as 'I', am my best Valentine!

It mends my dream, eases my frown
It holds my wishes, n'er let's me down
All darkness, it's my one sunshine!
Yes 'Me', my very best Valentine...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Training in Empathy?

I am quite happy to note through the papers that this time around I was wrong, and politicians have finally found the courage to say to the Shiv Sena, that it is too much now!

And now to speak about what the newspapers bring us....
While reading the newspapers, I find some news pleasantly surprise me by being so touchingly philanthropic, and some news causes so much pain to me that I wish I had not read them. Man is capable of so much good and bad. Even at the level of the people that we get to know, it is like reading a whole new book. We make a first impression on the basis of the 'Title and cover' and immediate evaluations. But when we start reading there are often pleasant or unpleasant surprises, and as we close our evaluation of the book, we may think, 'oh, it is not at all the way I first thought! We may sometimes like it more than we expected or are shocked by contents we hadn't expected.
And then there is our own self that we think we know, but keep discovering that we have to manage our selves too, our weaknesses, our expectations, and also manage our interaction with each different person! From the Macro to the Micro level, Human interaction, within the self or with others is more or less 'management'. Whether it is between nations or groups or parties or individuals or even within our own self. It is obviously so important that 'Managing Humankind' be a lesson taught in every class!

What makes for such management that could make possible for sustainable peace within the community and the nation and the world?
'What we act that we become'. Repeated messages given from our childhood form a pattern that decides how we behave with others. We try to act according to the expectations of behaviour and more often than not we begin to confirm to the expectations. I believe that one of the most essential messages that should be given from the very childhood say in Moral Science classes is 'Put yourself in the shoes of others before you decide how to act towards them'. I am saying this because this directive had formed in me the basis of behaviour with others. The fall side of it is that we may behave over patiently with others and then when we lose it finally it could be like an explosion from a small spark!( But later on the importance of assertiveness forms from experiences). But still it is always better to start timid than aggressive and I do believe that even that fall side can be prevented within such classroom scenario itself. Each year this same message should be given in more and more advanced way in Moral Science class as is given for other topics in other subjects. Like there could be enactment of how a particular sort of behaviour feels when coming from the other.This could also be said as 'giving the dose of the same medicine'. This is usually required for those, who though well meaning may not be able to understand how their behaviour comes across to others. I have needed that sometimes! In people who are unmindful of others, often I have seen that 'put yourself in the other's shoes' suggestion or at worst a dose of the same medicine does help and I have drawn a conclusion from varied experiences that in such people there definitely has been a lack in that practice in their formative years. Schools can do a lot in this - let us say 'training in empathy'. Empathy may not always come naturally, but I do believe it can be learn't through regular practise. How are terrorists created? Many probably know that it is mostly by brainwashing little children in special schools upto their adulthood so that they are trained to think only in a specific manner. They could have been different people given the freedom to use their own brains if they had studied in normal schools. Empathy can then definitely also be encouraged within the normal school scenario by a long duration of training. I believe it is very essential and would be very beneficial for the dream of a peaceful world.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Perspective, or lack of it?

I am both stunned and amused by what Thakerey /Sena has been saying. The Government had declared that it has no hand in what happened in IPL and that the non selection of Pakistani players was not premeditated.
Does the Sena mean to refute the statement of the government and mean that after invitation, none of the Pakistani players should have been taken?Shouldn't the Government react to that! Had one or two Pakistani's been selected and the issue had not happened at all, would Thakerey have even bothered to think, let alone speak about who brought them? SRK having wanted to take a splendid Pak player is understandable. Thakerey's arguments that if SRK could want that, then he should take two jailed up criminals because they are Pakistani's; is a demonstration of defective argumentation. Being a politician when he hatches a plan for self propoganda at least he should make sure it does not have loopholes and defective argumentation. With such grossly defective plans, just nobody would be fool enough to believe that his plans are for the good of the people rather than so obviously for party propaganda. Moreover if the Sena wants to prevent Australians playing in Maharashra to oppose the violence and 'outsider' treatment given to Indians' in Australia, how can they explain their concept that 'Maharashra' which is very much a part of India is not open to all Indians?!

Then there is BinLadin who looks all around and sees everything red but fails to notice that he is in the centre of all of it and most definitely must be the same colour. Just after a foiled attempt to blow up another huge Volcano of Pollution, he comes out with a tape snubbing the Americans for global warming. If he is concerned about the earth, he should be concerned about each and every earthling,all the children of the earth.

There is no sound basis to the thinking process of such people who take the responsibility of deciding for others and calling the shots. No wonder why these fellow earthlings end up making all the rest of humanity squirm, with their every word and action. Definitely nobody says anything to them. Only if they could think with more perspective they could understand... and not snap at every harmless prudent word.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The fortunately unlucky...?

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out"
In all the schools I have studied, the very first opportunity to say the 'Thought for the Day" would find me say this Thought.
In life as well, often at every other crossroad when I find a so called lack of good luck, I find my mind turn again to the same Thought.
I have found reasons to trust this saying. For a river beset with a tough path sees more of the world in it's winding way. The easy lucky path tries less, shows less, teaches less.

In my teens I had written a poem titled 'The Worst'. I loved that poem more than any other poem I had written at that time, but unluckily I lost the whole collection. Today I feel like rewriting it. I remember only a few lines and I am gonna recreate just two stanzas from the old poem around the words I can remember

The worst?

The worst is nature's naughty mask,
to wring out all for a worthy task.
The worst can sure be the hardest whack,
but it tests our teeth and weighs our stack.

Look the worst in the eye, pull its mask aside;
for sure you will find life smiling wide
When the worst does fall, got to deal it right...
For the 'hardest nut', has a soft inside....!

And now a fresh small poem celebrating the fact that there are people who trust and love my words. Most people notice things on a pedestal, but it is such a greater joy to be noticed when still in the mud. It is also a poem for all those who happen to be....

Fortunately unlucky

Failed again.., Oh yes, as you see..
and may wonder with not the slightest clue
'Are you worthless or just plain unlucky?'
Failed again, Oh yes it's true
It's the eyes of the world that have failed to see
'cause I am good, I am more, I have found anew!
Failed..Failed, it's a word to me
are there any scales that can judge the true?
'Tough luck'.Wrings more.Ah! Fortunately....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

GOD-Parts or a whole..?

My third flight was a miracle. I took a pill for nausea but there is no pill for panic! But fortunately for me the third seat which was for my baby was not alongside mine and so a pastor was seated there. He had just been moved and so I chose not to shuttle him back and put my baby on my lap. I told him of my previous bad flight experiences and he helped distract me by talking on spiritual things. His efforts worked!

I really felt that when inner resources fail, God still helps by giving an external aid. The pastor with his steady eyes and calm demeanor, held my attention when it began wavering by the movements. It is true that God is in us but sometimes we need the God in others.

We talked about my manuscript on answers for skeptics in religion for which I could not finding a publisher. He told me that maybe my book isn't ready and that I should consider if there is anything to be added to it. When I reached home, my sis in law had a book waiting for me, 'Christ in Ancient Indian Thought' by Dr. Koshy Abraham(she seems to supply me with resources, regarding books this was the second book she provided, the earlier one was also at another opportune moment!).

Though I parted with the book before reading it from the biginning, I did manage to start and read till the second chapter and one line in the second chapter struck me, 'Parmatma...has a spiritual congregation for consultation'. This line from the book took me to a disconnected stream of thought linked to a query I had long back on the reality of sidhi. SIDHI- is a hindi term and means gaining mastery over one of certain powers of God and using it. In right hands it can benefit, in wrong hands it can harm. It was confusing then as it implied that God is not an individual power and his different powers can be tapped without his will. I couldn't understand it then, but I can understand it now comparing with the example of how Jesus turned around and asked, 'who touched my cloak' There were many who had touched but only one had drawn from his power and got well. It therefore does seem possible to draw from the powers of God but only a pious soul is worthy of gaining this knowledge of mastering some powers, the knowledge of which I have heard is provided in Atharva Veda . Just like stealing a cable connection, it is possible to steal the power without paying by a pious life. That is when this tantric vidya can be misused being in unworthy hands. That thought process spurred by a line in the book cleared my confusion of how a good power can end up in bad hands and how it could be possible that individual powers can be tapped. The statement in the mentioned book -that God has a spiritual congregation for consultation, meant -the father son and holy spirit I guess, but I have read into it a deviant or deeper meaning. Come to think of it, quite like our country India which has many states with individual administration but the whole Indian peninsula is not really divided by any real barriers to distinguish the different states; God is One with many powers which are part of a whole, and yet each part, each power can be very distinct...
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