Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Navigating through life's roads

The night was dark and the road was unlit and full of potholes. To add to the woes, our vehicle had dim headlights and poor suspension. Along with rain and a bad wiper, it made driving excruciatingly difficult. Visibility was very poor, made worse by bright high beam headlights from the opposite direction. What does one do in such a situation? Tailgate another vehicle going at a reasonable speed and use it as one’s guide vehicle, making driving easy due to the other guide light.

The vehicle is our body mind complex and the light is our inner search light of intuition. The road is our journey not merely physically but through life itself. Bad patch is like a bad period in time in our life. It is not possible to modify our vehicle during such a tough time. The only option then is to follow the guidance from a wise person, whose light is brighter and who has perhaps travelled through the bad stretch many times and knows it well.

Conditions improve, such as our vehicle being blessed with deep intuition enabling us to navigate easily. The bad stretch and the rains may end, but such roads keep cropping up now and then, so it is not of much solace. Now and then there may be well lit stretches, which is like living in a protected environment, but that cant be counted on either.

The only option then, which can always be depended upon is to seek guidance from another vehicle, till such time our own vehicle becomes well equipped to face any situations!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Welcoming the new touchscreen laptop

I recently bought a touch screen laptop from the US. We commonly use a tablet for browsing, games & other fun stuff. But typing on it if you must type seriously & create large, detailed documents is a real pain. While there are peripherals that can be used to overcome this limitation, operating systems such as Android, iOS are very limited when it comes to doing any serious work. While an Android system can be at least connected via USB to a computer, a much touted device like ipad falls short of any capabilities that don’t use the internet. Like changing one’s religion, one has to give up all of one’s beliefs & ways of working to adopt an Apple machine, which isn’t for me in this lifetime. 

This is where the new generation of touch screen Windows 8 based laptops is really fantastic, giving one the option of browsing, playing games, watching photos, videos, etc using the touch screen option, while the keyboard continues to remain, allowing one to do some ‘serious’ work as well. Since the operating system is Windows, it has none of the limitations of Android, which really speaking isn’t meant for computing, though it may come close in many aspects. So, one would use the touch screen for everything except typing, including moving the mouse around. One would use the mouse when high precision movements are needed. This can also potentially prevent some of the wrist injuries due to prolonged contact with surfaces for use of the mouse & keyboard.

One can go further advanced & try out laptop cum tablet designs, where the laptop screen can be folded in some patented way to convert the device into a tablet. These tend to be much more expensive though & one invariably ends up sacrificing many of the laptop features such as a DVD drive & screen size to make way for the convertible tablet. 

In the future it is very likely that displays will be floating in the air, making 3D objects which can be moved around. Imagine presentations being in 3D, excel sheets with rows & columns having a third dimension of being stacked up! Such a revolution would make things much more ‘physical’ in terms of input & output.

Some tips for those looking to buy a laptop:

  • 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

The cloak of humility is worn from within

I've heard a remark born from wisdom & from experience ‘The cloak of humility is worn from within’. This is a deep statement & worth pondering over. 

The dictionary defines cloak as an outer garment and as something that covers or conceals. So typically a cloak is worn outside & covers something inside, in the widely used form of the word. However, it is also something that merely conceals, without particularly referring whether on the outside or inside.
Some of the dictionary definitions of humble are in such a way that it evokes pity on someone who is humble, rather than respect. They even border on being derogatory. For instance it says ‘someone who is having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc’, ‘low in importance, status, quality, etc’, ‘low in height, level’. These meanings are certainly not aspirational. This is expected, given that the English language & hence these dictionaries are usually having their origin in the western world, where humility is not a desirable quality. There is only one meaning which evokes a sense of reverence for someone who is humble, as ‘not proud or arrogant’. 

However, in our Eastern culture in the hoary Hindu tradition, being humble is something one is ingrained with right from one’s childhood. Humility is considered as much of an achievement as success in any field. This is expected, since the entire way of life in a country like India used to be structured around achieving life’s true purpose which is self realization, another word for which reads self negation or negation & eradication of the ego. Sri Ramakrishna has famously said something to the effect, that the ocean of grace collects not on the mounds of ego but on the flat lands of humility. It signifies an ability to receive more of grace, knowledge, wealth or anything that is of significance. So humility is just an attitude & does not have anything to do with the outer world of possessions of knowledge or material wealth. 

So, coming back to the saying, the cloak of humility is thus an inner cloak that covers the outer, rather than the commonly used cloak that covers the inside from outside. Humility in the form of the cloak, by definition is not something that gets exhibited on the outside. Thus, being worn on the inside, it leads to a covering of the outside. Covering the outside means that this cloak covers an outward exhibition of one’s possessions, whatever they may be, whether subtle possessions of knowledge or intelligence, or gross possessions of wealth. 

There is another interpretation as well. Where there is an ego, there is some ‘thing’ to be covered from the outside. However, as humility progresses to its culmination in the destruction of the ego, there is no ‘thing’ to be covered on the inside. However, that doesn’t mean a self realized person is a pauper with no possessions or a fool with no knowledge. A self realized person has the whole universe as his, or vice versa, nothing that he calls his own, which are one & the same. Hence for such a person who is the epitome of humility, the cloak is to cover the outer exhibition of possessions. Then the inside shines, without being obstructed by the outside & lights up everything! 

Why is this important today? As a country, we’re moving towards blindly aping the West in all aspects without realizing the strength of our way of life. No longer is it considered wise to be modest, rather it is taken as a sense of non-achievement. Instead of letting one’s achievements & work in the world speak & stand on its own strength, people are following the Western way of being outspoken in reeling off their list of capabilities, whether they’re useful to another or not being secondary! 

Sooner or later, someone with even a little intelligence realizes that no matter how intelligent or knowledgeable one is, one’s ‘own’ ego centric knowledge is just a drop in the ocean of everything there is. Rather than grow the ego centric knowledge to try & embrace more and more aspects of existence, it is better to let go of everything in a spirit of surrender. Then there is knowledge of everything that is needed within the grand scheme of events. It is commonly known for example, that a realized master such as Paramhansa Yogananda used to reflect the consciousness of those whom he was talking with. For example, while speaking to medical experts, he would freely talk with them as if he was an expert, using their terminology & genuinely exhibiting knowledge of the medical profession, despite lack of any ‘formal’ training in that field. This is not surprising at all, as consciousness which forms the basis for all of existence, can appear to take on any form in the world of Maya!

In summary, it is far better to wear the cloak of humility from within than to wear any cloak the outside, which amounts to deception or a fa├žade over one’s true nature! The former is a sign of sure progress towards all embracing realization, while the latter is a sign of sure regression towards embracing the ego.

Friday, August 24, 2012


A fact of life, is it is full of strife
Refuse to strive, so that you may thrive
Not on flights of fancy, or mounds of misery
But on flowing freedom, in a sovereign kingdom


Light of the day, you illuminate all that is seen
Knowing not what it is that I am so keen
Casting shadows of doubt, that none can lean
Until one knows, light & shadow, is just to glean


O thought, I seek to find thee source
As thee meanders to twist & turn
In labyrinth paths, with endless force
Pray show me what I yearn to learn
Take me deeper & far beyond the dross
To the restful state, where there is no return


On the spiritual path, surrender is the most wonderful thing that can happen. It is a state when one learns to trust God or the infinite power of being to take care of everything, from the mundane to the meaningful. It is surprising, but for most people for a very long time, this trust doesn’t come easily as the ego keeps obstructing the natural process. It is like beating one’s hands & legs while in free fall – there is nothing really to do but to just be & relax, yet it is incredibly hard since one is hurtling down at tremendous speed & seemingly there is chaos & destruction which requires one’s constant action & attention. After a while though, one knows that once the fall has started (fall used not to convey a downward or negative trend), implying once the prarabdha karma that constitutes one’s life has been set into motion, it takes care of itself. Most people choose to strive with their mind rather than sit back & enjoy the movie. 

However, once there is complete surrender, then thoughts no longer lead one into multiple directions. There is pure, choiceless awareness at every moment. To be choiceless is freedom itself – freedom from having to make choices which present themselves to the normal ego ruled person at every instant of time. Making choices dictated by the mind is always tricky, as the mind never knows the full picture & can never tell what the best choice is. One standing 6 feet tall can never really see the whole road & all the routes to know what lies far ahead & decide now which route to take. However one on a tall building, or more appropriately, on a moving helicopter, knows exactly which road to take – which keeps changing constantly. This is the state of pure being which where everything happens spontaneously & only the right thing happens – rather, one may say there is just 1 path & no right or wrong path.

Practically, how does this work & how is this restful state brought upon? There are numerous well known paths to liberation, so there is no need to get into those. The most direct path is that of self enquiry. Whenever thoughts trouble oneself, it is enough to watch them & enquire ‘to whom do these thoughts arise’. The answer obviously is ‘to me, to I’. Then one further enquires ‘who am I’ or ‘who is this I’. One doesn’t answer this question in any way – though it may appear to some that I is the body or mind or brahman/being in a theoretical sense. So every chain of thought is led to this question & then there is silence. After a while the silence remains of itself without explicit need for the self enquiry. This restful state feels much like deep sleep, except that the body is fully functioning and aware of the waking world. The body does what it is supposed to, at exactly the time that it is supposed to. As a very simple & routine example, say one needs to go & get water from the cooler in office. Now this is not something that normally needs to be planned as it is straight forward. But while in the pure state of being, this simple activity is so perfectly timed, that the exact person one needs to meet also appears there, with the exact conversation that needs to happen taking place. It is almost as if the whole of life is running according to a very detailed script which auto adjusts & takes care of everything!

So, is this state worth attaining or does it appear boring? It is not dullness, like the sort that one feels after lack of sleep or a very heavy meal, but it is highly vibrant & full of life. It is deeply peaceful, so that one can instantly close one’s eyes & lose track of the whole waking world, yet instantly wake up again the waking world, as needed, without the least bit of drowsiness. If everything happens in the best possible way, then what else is desired? There is nothing more to strive for. Once this state becomes continuous or permanent, it is called liberation. It is liberation from constant mental effort & striving to move towards desirable events/places/people/outcomes & away from undesirable ones. It is when one becomes a living embodiment of the truth, when all that is said in the scriptures about the final state occur effortless, always. The state itself is important to be held onto & the events that happen later are of no consequence, since it is already established that they will be perfectly in order.

Surrender to thee

O dawn, I surrender to thee
That you may show me what to see
O wind, I surrender to thee
That you may take me where you flee
O sky, I surrender to thee
That you never make me feel, blue
O fire, I surrender to thee
That you consume what I need not, with glee
O earth, I surrender to thee
That you keep me unshaken in this milieu
O space, I surrender to thee
That you make me infinite, so I can just be

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

God is everywhere

This is a frequent excuse I’ve heard from people as to why they don’t need to visit any holy places. While it is true at the highest level, that all that exists is indeed a manifestation of God, it is also true that there is a factor called Maya which covers God, thereby making it appear that everything is a discrete, separate entity having no continuity or underlying commonality.

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.

Of real dreams

Quite some time back, I used to have a recurring experience during sleep which I thought was a dream. It was a feeling of actually floating around & travelling by flying as I moved past cities & all kinds of scenery beneath me. I wasn’t in a flight, nor was I in any vehicle, but I was just flying by myself. There was no one else in the dream & the most pleasurable part was the act of flight itself. It felt very real & refreshing to think about it in the waking state. Sometimes I fly high, sometimes low. The ground beneath is very real with all the scenery that we see typically. The freedom of flight by oneself, un encumbered by the physical body is indescribable. I had no explanation for what this joyful experience really signified.

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.

Thoughts that create life

It has been a very long time since I wrote a post on my blog. It seems I’ve been too caught up in ‘doing’ things all the time. Though there is always a reflective under current to my state of mind, none of it has made its way into writing for so long. Unfettered, unedited writing is the mark of a free mind flowing without stopping to examine the thoughts along the way.

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 .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

Why visit a temple?

Looking back, it appears very strange, somewhat unbelievable that for so many decades of my life I never experienced first hand the real significance of temples. It is only of late that the presence of God is distinctly felt when I visit temples. It is so real, even more real than looking at somebody with one’s own eyes. This first started at that great pilgrimage center of Tiruvannamalai, in Ramanasramam, where I distinctly felt like a fish immersed in water, the ocean of bliss. I felt like I was swimming in the nectar of Satchidananda. All thoughts were perfectly stilled without effort. It was a natural state of being, incredibly joyous. But what was so obvious to me was not necessarily experienced by everyone. Many visitors just came in, saw the place, sat for sometime, talking loudly & then just left. No doubt there would’ve been an impact on everyone, irrespective of one’s awareness of the changes, but such a beautiful experience must be fully experienced with one’s attention focused on it. Some people argue that God exists everywhere, so why go to a specific place of pilgrimage such as a temple. This is akin to telling a thirsty man to imbibe water vapour from the atmosphere, since there is always moisture in the air! The fact is undeniable that water exists in the atmosphere, but we’re not fitted to draw moisture from the air directly into our bodies. Likewise, the vast majority of us are incapable of feeling the presence of God everywhere. So, in the beginning, we must go directly to the water source of consciousness to quench our thirst. The field of consciousness in the manifested creation is of non uniform density throughout space. Thus the positive force field is very strong at some places, but negative or weak at other areas. There can be a small grain of particle or a stone image or a tree or anything really – size being immaterial, which can be powerful enough to alter the minds of people by its force field. In fact even the holy river Ganga is said to be truly a blessing from God for the salvation of mankind. Some of my friends have attested to its holy presence – while bathing in the Ganga, their thoughts became naturally stilled. The effect was so profound with one person, that he said he could not concretely remember every moment of bathing in the Ganga. This is because the mind had merged completely with the self during those moments, so while the mind became active again there were no impressions to again bring forth!

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

Today and forever

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?
Why I?

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.

Why I:
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

Blossoming beatitude

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!