Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Monday, January 27, 2014
- Try really hard to get it from the US, looking for a sale where you can save 50-70% & not a paltry 10-15% as offered in Indian online stores, that too only if you’re lucky
- If you must buy in India, wait for online sale and/or look for credit card cash back offers
- Keep browsing outlet stores of major manufacturers especially Lenovo & Dell, looking for new, unopened laptops
- Register & create alerts using keywords on slickdeals
- Definitely get a touch screen laptop, whether convertible to a tablet or not depends on your priorities. Goes without saying – get used to Windows 8 or wait for a later version
- Stretch your budget to get a SSD or if that isn’t likely, get a SSD combo drive for faster caching
- Having learnt it the hard way, I find going for a business laptop makes a lot of sense, even for home usage as these are much more reliable, are constructed robustly & come with better support
- Get a high res screen as this cant be easily / cheaply upgraded later. Surprisingly in India, specs on sites don’t even mention screen resolution!
- Low amount of RAM is ok, as long as it can be upgraded
- Finally, don’t spend too much on a laptop (unless you really need high end specs) as sooner or later it will conk out (maybe few years to a decade) & by then anyway technology would be so far advanced that you will be tempted to upgrade
Friday, August 24, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
However, there are places on earth & people on earth where the covering of Maya is very slight or even non-existent. These are the revered, holy places or holy people meant to give hope to humanity that there is something beyond the sometimes mundane, sometimes beautifully perceived matrix that we live in. By frequently visiting & attuning ourselves to such energies in holy places, one is gradually able to attune oneself to such energies even without visiting the places or people in a physical sense.
Nevertheless, there is a discrete ‘opening’ in Maya, perhaps what can be called as an opening in the time-space continuum that wraps itself around us so closely all the time. Thus, the rejoinder to ‘God is everywhere’ is that ‘Maya is nearly everywhere’ & those places/people where Maya isn’t, are most sought after, like jewels buried in the sands of time-space.
Recently on reading the book ‘Journey of souls’ which is a must read book examining the life between lives using hypnotherapy to regress subjects to the past, I found the answer to what this very real dream experience meant. This is also mentioned in the other highly inspiring book 'Conversations with God'. It seems the soul or jiva sometimes dis engages itself from the body & roams around freely. It leaves a part of its energy behind in the body as an imprint, to return as quickly as needed. This happens during sleep state & also for babies that are still in the womb.
So, incredulous as it may sound, this experience was my jiva or soul roaming around in an alternate reality which was neither my waking universe nor my dream created universe! It felt so ‘real’ because it was real in the sense that it actually happened beyond the imagination projected by the mind. To use a different expression, it is also an ‘out of body’ experience since the body is fast asleep, with the mind dis engaged from the senses. As one advances far along the path, progressing spiritually, one is able to consciously disengage from the body & leave the body behind. There is even a technique by which one can exit the body from the Ajna chakra or the spiritual eye.
Over the past few months there has been an accelerated learning about the lessons of life in general, without actually going through that many variety of experiences. It seems when you’ve learnt the lessons, or actually, remembered that you already know it, then many of the experiences that are meant to teach you those lessons become unnecessary.
One of the greatest learnings for me or rather unlearning a concept that was quite deeply ingrained in me, was about the idea of free will vs fate. Some books I read such as ‘Journey of souls’, ‘Destiny of souls’ & ‘Conversations with God’ have contributed immensely to this new found clarity.
My earlier understanding on this topic was to somehow shirk away from responsibility of all kind by attributing everything to ‘fate’ as an extraneous factor over which I have no control. This helped in many ways to learn acceptance of events, people & circumstances without fighting to change them. This could also be because none of the recent events have been adverse, implying there was no real need to struggle against the tide.
But the current understanding is that there is such a thing as free will. It is just that this free will acts in an unconscious way for most of us, most of the time. In fact, if there was no such thing as free will & if everything was pre-ordained then there would be absolutely no purpose for life. What fun is the whole drama if every single thing is already scripted? Even in theatre or a movie, the actors improvise on spur of the moment actions to even surprise the director. So the questions becomes, is there free will consciously? The answer to this is that most of us don’t employ free will consciously because we don’t observe & control our thought patterns which constantly create life for us. By bringing our whole mind under the radar of conscious observation, we can really become masters of our own destiny. Hold a thought, any thought long enough & it becomes powerful to create the reality we seek. It is another matter that sometimes, bringing the thought into physical manifestation may need another lifetime, which makes it appear that free will has failed.
If I examine my own life for some such ‘thought patterns’ which led to circumstances or events which I couldn’t explain, I clearly see a few such examples. For instance, for a long time I used to hold the thought that I hate computers & everything that goes with it. This led to a need to get away from computers as something evil. This thought manifested itself as pain in the hands during intense hours of work (within normal hours of duty!). I had even written a blog about this at http://anandanubhava.blogspot.com/2006/11/suffering-due-to-computers.html .While one can spend lifetimes digging into research material on the mechanics of physical injury due to computer usage & its prevention, none of that is practically useful as long as one doesn’t change the primal thought generating behaviors & circumstances for its outward expression. So the cure is extremely simple – to just hold the positive thought that one is healthy in all ways. Care should be taken to see that one doesn’t hold the negative of the negative thought – such as ‘I am not ill’ since this doesn’t work like Maths to make it a positive affirmation.
Yet another example in my life is the reinforced thought due to prevalent literature & studies based on statistical evidence, that running can be injurious to the knees. Just adopting this thought since it is so widely prevalent leads one’s own body to start running in such a way, unconsciously, as to produce the effect of knee pain. I now realize why I sometimes used to get knee pain – it didn’t matter how much I ran, where I ran, what I wore, how frequently I ran or what warm up/cool down exercises I did as much as what I thought running would do to my body. Then one has to go to great lengths to retrain the mind & the body to consciously run with the proper posture. It is so much easier to just observe one’s own mind & remove this negative thought.
Until one becomes a master in observing, controlling & changing one’s own thought patterns to create the desired circumstances in life, one has to be incredibly careful on what material the mind is exposed to. For example, most people read incredibly bad news which is all there is in the newspaper, first thing in the morning. So the thought gets ingrained into their mind that ‘it is a tough life’ or ‘how meaningless life is’. Then they struggle through the day since difficulties inevitably get presented to them & they find it hard to discover any meaning for why they must struggle so much. Without washing the mental cloth each day, the fabric of the mind becomes so dirty that to imprint one’s own thoughts on it becomes a challenge.
So what thought should one hold? To each, his / her destiny, hence each person should hold the highest thought they are capable of. However, in the relative world, the highest thought one can hold is about oneself, rather than any other object. That highest thought about oneself is ‘I’m self realized & I’m infinite’. This is no new thought, nor is it born of fiction as it is a primary thought expressed in the Upanishads as ‘Aham Brahmaasmi’. Only now do I even comprehend clearly what the steps of the Upanishadic self enquiry mechanism involve when they talk about ‘Shravana, Manana & Nidhidhyasana’. Shravana is simple & many of us do it – it is being exposed to such lofty thoughts input through the senses – listening to discourses, or reading scriptures. Manana is to constantly circulate such a thought in the mind & Nidhidhyasana happens when the Manana has become deep & constant, leading to self realization upon reflection on the highest thought.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Thus, it is not hard to understand why temples & other holy places were at the center of the Hindu civilization in olden times. In those days, whenever one was afflicted with negative energy, sad thoughts, untoward incidents in life or just needed the intuitive guidance of a higher being, temples served as power centers where one could tune into an uplifting presence. Such knowledge about their significance is now lost to the progressive, modern culture. It is indeed a matter of shame that even in the holiest land of India which is said to be the spiritual capital of the whole world, many people scoff at age old rituals merely because their scientifically inquisitive mind has no explanation. Such rationalists need to wait for the Satya Yuga when all this will be common knowledge in the so called ‘scientific’ way to be understood by the vast majority. For those who cannot wait for many millennia, there is a most detailed, cohesive explanation by Osho on the internet, which one can access by searching Google for “Alchemical Secrets of Places of Holy Pilgrimage”. But mere reading will not suffice. There is absolutely no substitute for first hand, repeatable experience.
And what is it with auspicious days? I have clearly felt on days such as Shivaratri, Krishna Janmashtami or Ramanavami that there is a much more purified & powerful presence of God saturated throughout creation, not just temples. Of course, on such days temples become even more exalted. One slowly understands there must be some meaning to all the madness of standing in long queues, jostling with one another & sweating it out just to get a glimpse of a ‘stone image’!
Having been endowed with free will, it is our responsibility to uplift our consciousness constantly. One of the easiest ways to do it is to regularly visit a temple where we feel the divine presence. Like the water from an ocean rushing into the water in a small cup & replacing that dirty water in the cup with the ocean’s own water, the consciousness of God completely cleanses our very being down to the depths of our subs consciousness. This also serves as a means of satsang, which is the company of truth. Since it is very hard to find the company of holy people steeped with spiritual splendor in our daily life, temples are an easy way of achieving this. Imagine for a moment how difficult it must be to find a truly holy man’s time for satsang everyday, in the midst of a materialistic society in a bustling city! Likewise, imagine how easy it is to find a temple, irrespective of where you are. Different temples may have differing powers of manifestation. For instance the world famous temple in Tirupathi has an awesome magnetic presence, but the sad part there is one cannot spend more than 10 seconds with the blessed deity. On the other hand, we must also strive to directly make contact with the divine being, irrespective of where we are. This can be by any of the standard means of purifying the mind. It also helps remove the dirt in one’s mind so that the blessings can be poured in readily. This way, we take the first baby steps towards seeing God everywhere, independent of location. One’s aura or energy field or consciousness expands & gets purified.
Where does all this eventually lead us to, at the pinnacle of human evolution? One becomes a perfect channel for the divine presence to be expressed in everyday life. Just like in the beginning one benefits from the presence of a Master or a temple, likewise, at the end of the journey other people benefit from one’s evolved state of being. When the nectar fills up, the bees are attracted! In that state, there are absolutely no selfish motives & one’s actions cannot be logically explained. Everything flows effortlessly, by the self, for the self, of the self!
Monday, August 24, 2009
A spark in the annals of time,
When the gust from the past
Brings forth a plethora of possibilities
Gushing forth like the rapid river in spate
On whose bows the boatman rows
Wafting hither, thither, as she whims.
At every periodic twist and turn
Bestowing order to illusory chaos
T’is the hour for the hoary helmsman
To beseech her, who moves earth and wind
Why I am rowing?
Why I am?
This is a poem I wrote for a birthday gift. Normally poems should be self explanatory, but people may just get the general gist without grasping all the subtle nuances & deeper meanings. So I’ll attempt to explain the intent & imagination behind this poem.
Today and forever:
This is to be reflected starting from today, the birthday and go on forever. Alternatively, the bend in the river happens today, but the river flows forever in a continuous manner.
A spark in the annals of time, when the gust from the past brings forth a plethora of possibilities:
Every soul that has ever existed was created at some point in time, no one knows when. That moment is referred to as a spark – often times a spark is just a momentary occurrence, but it creates a fire that can rage on for a long time, doing many things - some wonderful, some disastrous. Likewise it is the gust that carries the spark & creates the raging fire, i.e., an individual soul encased in ignorance. One often wonders why one had to be created, to be told that it is all just God’s play where, in the end he wants us to unite with him. The other meaning of gust from the past is that every life is a continuation from the past life. The wind that blows, its intensity, direction, etc is determined by the past & influences the future possibilities. Thus, when one is born in this world or another, the prarabdha karma of fruits waiting to ripen already exist.
Gushing forth like the rapid river in spate, on whose bows the boatman rows, wafting hither, thither, as she whims:
Being born as explained earlier, the life force flows rapidly like the mighty river. This is true of certain individuals, while others may like the mere trickle of water, hardly flowing. In any case, it is wrong to construe the whole river to be an individual soul. In fact that represents the entire sum of life forces in existence. It is impossible to separate certain drops of water or certain currents, from others & from the river itself. The boatman represents the ego, thinking itself to be the doer. We struggle, strive hard all our lives in chasing dreams, laughing when we achieve them & crying when we don’t. It is bondage worse than a prisoner in gallows for life. In fact, though the boatman rows hard & thinks it is he who is guiding the boat here & there, the reality is that the river of life herself is the doer & she carries the boatman according to her wishes. Perhaps the rowing of the boatman often only makes matters worse – in his ignorance he may smash against a rock! Thus it is with life that one has to sit back, follow the flow of life & just enjoy the whole show without giving rise to new desires, but just allowing the prarabdha to run its course.
At every periodic twist and turn, bestowing order to illusory chaos, t’is the hour for the hoary helmsman, to beseech her, who moves earth and wind:
The periodic twist & turn is the birthday! We humans keep assiduous track of time, as though it is something very tangible. Likewise, the twist & turn in the river is nothing more than an imaginary milestone. Perhaps it does nothing to the flow of the river, perhaps it does something. In any case, it is not very significant for the river herself, but for the boatman who keeps rowing it is a crucial ‘turning point’! It is believed by many people that the tracking of time by humans is what keeps us from going into a chaotic spin. However, just like the river would flow just the same if it were not for periodic twists & turns, the universe would go on irrespective of what we keep track of. It is for us, the boatmen of the world whose egoistic mind can easily go into a spin, that time & such other milestones become necessary. The hoary helmsman is the ancient ego – God alone knows how long it has existed & what phases it has passed through. Of course, in its last life in the journey, all that would be revealed. It is the boatman’s one and only duty to seek answers to some key questions from the river – the river whose flows moves the earth beneath (soil) and causes wind due to currents. It is every human beings’ only purpose in life to seek answers to such questions, not just intellectually, but to internalize them & develop complete awareness at every instant.
Why I am rowing:
This is a question seeking answers and it belongs to the realm of karma, doership. The seeker here questions as to why he is performing actions. The alternative is of course to not perform any action, which is impossible to do. Even an idle or lazy person has to perform actions to maintain his body – such as eating, sleeping, etc. This question therefore is easily answered, since there is no other alternative. It leads to a deeper question.
Why I am:
This is an existential question, referring to the ego ‘I’ and why it exists. The boatman here questions his very existence and whether it is necessary in the grand scheme of things. He then realizes that the river is necessary for the boatman, but not the other way round. In fact his separateness is a fictional entity. Thereby he is able to dissolve his identity & just follow the river, without trying to row here, there, wherever his mind leads him. Henceforth the questions & answers to the last 2 questions happen between the semblance of ego (like the burnt rope, or like a line in water – no division causing hindrance) & God. The answers are experiential & cannot be put into words.
Here the ego has been dissolved and the ‘I’ refers only to the creation in its entirety. It refers to the eshwara loka, or prakruti, or the created universe. As to why there is creation, it is said that it is God’s play that arises spontaneously from Brahman, which forms the substratum or adhistana. Saguna Brahman arises out of Nirguna Brahman. Yet it is as real as the Nirguna Brahman. However, this can be experienced in various forms, such as love, peace, joy, etc.
This goes to the realm beyond the created world. The knowers of Brahman who are not incarnations of God, cast off their body within 21 days it is said. Those who climb to these heady heights usually cannot come back to their senses to tell the tales. It is only incarnations of God, or Ishwarakotis who can describe this state. However, it simply cannot be grasped at all. Nirguna Brahman which has no attributes – how can one understand that ever? One cannot even experience it, for Brahman alone is. Hence it is said that ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ which means the individual soul free of ignorance, verily is nothing different from the Brahman.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
As the sleeping bud awaits the dawn,
Cradling in its fold petals of potential,
Seeking life's light to bid adieu to yawn;
Thy shall be the resplendent flower of fruition,
Of a myriad mileu of delectable dreams,
Borne with expectant ecstasy by thine forewent dandelion!