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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Write your own destiny

Sadhguru, Hindustan Times

Destiny is something that you have been creating unconsciously. You can also  create it consciously. You can rewrite it; all that we do in the form of a spiritual process is just that. If you can touch the core within you, if  you  can  experience that the source of creation is within you and then shift your whole focus on yourself, you can rewrite your own destiny.

All the time your focus is scattered because what you consider as ‘myself’ is your house, your car, your wife, your education, your position and your other identities. If I strip you of all these things, including your body and mind which are just accumulations, you will feel like a nobody.

Once  you become a true individual, your destiny is yours. Individual comes from ‘indivisible’ – it cannot be divided anymore. It cannot be here and there. Why in the spiritual process people who are in a hurry for spiritual growth are not getting into  marriage, children  and relationships, is because the moment you have a wife or a husband, you fall into a trap. ‘Me’gets identified with the other. The significance of Sanyasi and Brahmacharya is just shifting your focus on you. When I say ‘you,’it’s just ‘you,’ not your body or mind.

If you are unable to be like that, you just choose one identity. When you say ‘you’ make  it  you and your Guru. You attach yourself to the Guru without any hesitation, because you can get as entangled as you want with him but he is not going to get entangled. The moment you are ‘ripe’, you can drop it. With other relationships, it is never so. Even if you want to get free, the other will not let you go.

So, just create a longing to grow, to dissolve, to know. What has to happen will happen. Once  you  become an individual, your destiny becomes yours. Once your destiny is happening in awareness, the next step will happen by  itself, because life within you has the intelligence to choose freedom.

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Is life that serious?

Anil Mathur, Hindustan Times

My mind would be a lot lighter if I could have a clear answer to the question: Is life to be taken seriously or let it flow as it comes? I do not know how my actions would differ if I were to be told firmly that human life is a very serious business, derived as it is after many other forms; and, therefore, must be lived accordingly. Perhaps, I would have worked a lot harder, but if I were convinced that destiny is supreme and what has to happen will happen, then I need not have sleepless nights.

Interestingly, the answer has been varied to me on a day-to- day basis, depending on my mental, material and physical condition or situation at that time. Of course, I am well aware that one of the main tasks of life, as shown by our scriptures and gurus, is to rise above joy and sorrow, happiness and unhappiness, and to take everything in one’s stride. But this is easier said than done, especially when even small things often elate you or depress you.

Two other things that crop up are the roles of ambition and destiny. If life is to be taken seriously, how do you face the failures or inability to reach targets and objectives set up by you or by others for you? Will it lead to frustration and depression, or is this even remotely related or linked to the present turmoil and unrest seen all over—externally and internally?

Take life as it comes. This is a popular saying but the ‘achievers’ may see a sadist, defeatist attitude in this approach, only justified by those who have failed in the materialistic world to get a larger size of the cake. If everything is destined, then clearly a light approach would be better, as it would mean peace and calm.

But the wise say that the right approach would be to see what is within our ability to change and what is beyond our control. This clearly does not answer my primary query: Is life to be taken seriously or lightly.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi

Dr Prasanjit De.

Pilgrimage is a quest and expression of one’s faith.  The Vaishno Devi shrine is one such pilgrimage that has attracted so many devotees years after years by its invisible force. It was our second visit to the shrine. We had chosen the month of January as there is less rush of piligrims during this time of the year. During our last visit we couldn’t visit the Bhairon baba temple- partly due to our ignorance. It is believed that the pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi is not considered complete without a visit to the Bhairon temple. This time we planned our itinerary as such.

The very sight of the cloud-clad Vaishno Devi temple from a distance is heavenly. We had reached the temple in the evening. After darshan of the Goddess, we retired early for the night into one of the shrine board guest houses that we had booked. We started quite early the next morning for the next phase of our journey so that we could reach Katra by afternoon. There were hardly any people at such an early hour. Freshened by the chilly winter breeze, we were trudging along with prayers in our hearts towards the Bhairon Baba temple. 

Suddenly, we came across a langur on the wayside trapped by vines. Apparently, the langur looked tired and listless from its long struggle in the wintry night to set itself free. My first reaction was help the simian. But my family members wouldn’t allow me to do so for fear that the wild animal could bite. Reluctantly, I gave up and decided to move forward. We had trudged around fifty steps, when my uncle sensing my dismal asked me to go back and set the langur free! I rushed back to do the same. I was trying my best to untangle the langur in vain. I looked around for someone but there was no one. The very next moment I was startled when someone patted me on my back and asked me what I was doing. I said that I was trying to free Hanuman ji! He smiled and asked me to step aside. Then with a single pull with his strong arms, he set the langur free! I was dumbstruck with awe and reverence. Many people will probably disagree, but for me, He was no other than Lord Rama who had come to help his devotees on that fateful day!
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Blessful Children and Treat for Their Mother

Gautam Gigoo

Once upon a time in a village there lived mother with her two children her name was geeta and her children raju and sunita both children were very small .

 Raju was elder brother of sunita both of them were loving children of their mother one day geeta was cooking dal and chawal for them on a stove in early morning because in that place there was no electricity any such thing in as city well while making food for raju and sunita geeta hand was burned while taking out rice and chawal in bowl when she had taken out of stove children came and screamed aloud their mother calmed them down saying oh dont worry raju and sunita am fine you both eat tasty dal and chawal specially for you children didnt eat they hold the hands of her mother for some time and kissed on the burnt parts she was relieved from pain and raju and geeta started making their mother to eat dal and rice first raju said open your mouth maa and she eat dal and then sunita open your mouth maa and she eat rice and this was special treat given by children to their mother blessful children
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Joy of being within

MN Kundu

The  Upanishads uniquely illustrated our doer and observer self. There were two identical birds in a tree. One bird was eating fruits, jumping, singing and  dancing.  After prolonged activities, it came near the other bird that was  all  along  sitting silently and observing without any involvement and doing nothing else. Even its presence was shrouded in leaves. In a state of silence,  the  two  became perfectly identical in existential plane without any activity or prominent manifestation of presence.

The  silent  bird  represents  our  watchful  inner self which is always silent  and  inactive  without  any  involvement in outward happenings. The active  bird  represents our doer social self which functions in workplace, society,  home  etc.  It  is creating and exhausting karma, circling around craving.  When the outward activity stops, we are attuned with the observer self   beyond   worries,  anxieties,  joy  and  suffering  arising  out  of involvement  in  worldly  living. The aim is to invoke this calm inner self and seek refuge in peace and happiness of being.

Another  example  may  further clarify the point. When we take part in a drama,  we talk, sing, dance, fight, weep, suffer or enjoy as per the role. But our real self amusingly observes our own enactment of suffering, sorrow or  death  without  being perturbed at all. In the heart of hearts, we know that  we  are  mere players but exhibit perfect involvement in the drama by words, deeds and expressions.
The tragedy is that in real life situation we forget that the world is a stage  and  we are mere players. We identify ourselves with the role played by  us  and  become  ignorantly  involved  in  doing and possessing things. Seeking  refuge  in the inner self, we can make our life enjoyable in every moment and observe it as a tragedy or comedy.

To enter this inner self from social self, we need to meditate to be one with it. Sit down quietly and observe the sensation and sound of breath, its movement in the body. Meditate on who you actually are beyond your deeds and possessions and discover the detached being within.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pray and be happy

Dharminder Singh Ubha, Hindustan Times

People generally pray to God for a variety of reasons. Some pray to Him out of fear, believing that they will be punished if they do not pray regularly or on certain occasions. Some others remember God only when they are in  some  difficulty and need help which humans cannot or do not give them.  There  are others who pray out of a sense of duty thinking that they should  do  it, not necessarily because they want to do it. Then there are those who are deeply devout and remember God out of love and reverence.

It  is pertinent to ask whether it is prayer to God or faith in God which  is  more  important  and  more  powerful. The obvious answer will be 'faith' because prayer without faith would be just a meaningless ritual.

The Bible says,"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find;  knock,  and it shall be opened to you." Lord Tennyson, in his famous poem  ‘Idylls of the King’, writes: “More things are wrought by prayer than these world dreams of”. Indian  sages, saints and scriptures express infinite faith in the power of prayer,  call  it  a panacea for all our ills and exhort the people to pray regularly  to  God  or various gods and goddesses. The prayer in the Indian context  refers  to  a  plethora  of  religious rites, rituals and forms of worship.

The  liberal  and  humanistic  approach to religion changes its focus from  the  world  of myth and mystery to the world of man. People with this type  of  mindset  believe  that service of mankind is the best worship and that ritualistic prayer has no place in the world of today. Of course, they too believe in the power of prayer.

But  it  is  the  silent  prayer of the soul which they perform. For this,  they don't need to go anywhere, need no aids and perform no rituals. Despite being wordless and formless, it strengthens one's confidence, leads to spiritual growth and paves the way for a successful, happy and contented life.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A life of trust in Him

Sant Rajinder Singh, Hindustan Times

Trust in the Lord requires conviction that there is an unseen Power that created us and the world in which we live. Trust in the Lord means knowing that our soul’s journey is under God’s will, that God has sent us into the world for a purpose, and that our destiny is to fulfill it.

Consequently, we realise that we cannot leave this earth before our destined time comes.

Living in trust also means that we understand that certain events happen which are preordained by God; likewise, we have been given free will in which we can make choices.

In many ways, our life is like having an assistant who comes to us each morning at work and says that our day has certain appointments already scheduled and other times free in which we can schedule what we want.

There is a story about a boatman who had two oars. One of them had the word “faith” carved on it; and on the other appeared the word “effort.” One day, as the boatman sat on the bank of a river, someone walked by and asked him, “Why do you have these two words carved onto the oars?” The boatman replied, “Come into my boat and I’ll show you.” The person climbed into the boat and was given the oar that said “effort.”

The boatman then asked the man to row the boat with just the one oar.

As he did so, the boat began going in circles.

Then, the boatman took away that oar and handed the man the oar with the word “faith” and asked him to row with that oar.

Again, the boat began going in circles.

Finally, the boatman gave the man both oars.

As he took them—the one oar that said “effort” and the other that said “faith”—he began rowing, and the boat sailed straight to the other side of the river. To have faith in the Lord is important, but that does not mean that we sit back and do nothing. We need to put in effort as well.
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Mortality in delusion

P P Wangchuk, Hindustan Times
Delusion is illusion, and none can say that he hasn't suffered from it at some point or the other. It is a curse that afflicts the unaware and the weak.

The Bodhidharma makes it clear, "Delusion means mortality, and awareness means Buddhahood." The issue is why is it that some of us get deluded so easily? And what is a deluded man like? We get clear answers to these questions from Ajit Kumar Bishnoi's book, Spiritual Sense --- The Truths.
Indeed, it is the truth that is laid bare through a self-explanatory story of a deluded man?

This young man had all the opportunities to study and work hard and be settled well. But he frittered away his opportunities; and could not differentiate between the right and the wrong, the good and the bad. Mindlessness was his main feature. He took wrong decisions at every step.

As days passed, he found himself in a mess. He had problems with his family and couldn't get along with others in society too. People avoided him. The man got into depression which made his life miserable. All that he could do was lamenting over his stupidity. He shunned advice from his seniors and the wiser.

As a result, very soon, his mood swing took great speed. He was now under the burden of a mountain of problems and could not sleep. He failed to draw a recovery strategy. He lost the confidence and trust of his people. Life appeared to him a huge burden instead of a great journey to be enjoyed.

Soon he lost faith in himself. He became intolerant and things went quite scary for him. That led him to the ultimate shelter - heavy drinking. His miseries multiplied and his life had nothing but misery to offer.

What are we to learn from this? Get rid of the delusion either your own way or listen to wiser people. Let's care  for the wisdom of Ludwig Borne who said that getting rid of delusion makes us wiser than getting hold of the truth.
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Get close to Him

N K Soni, Hindustan Times

A devotee was frantically giving details to his Guruji. He said he had always been very humble and generous, had been regular in his prayers and temple visits. He had never missed an occasion to help the poor. Despite all this, he said, he had not been able to achieve anything worthwhile spiritually or socially.

The guru thought about it for a while and then asked in what way he had established relationship with the Lord. The devotee explained that on all such occasions, he told the Lord that he was His humblest servant and that He should take pity on him and reward him or solve his problems.

The guru asked him, "When you were a child and approached your father for money or food articles or books and stationery or other favours, did you adopt the same style as you adopted with God?" "No sir," the devotee explained, "Sir, that was a different thing. He was my father. I could slide into his lap or move around or sit on his shoulders, kiss him, embrace him and he would promise to fulfill my requirements."

"Now, here you are", said the guru "that means you have never treated God even as your father. Look here, my son, the purpose of visiting places of worship or sitting in meditation is to reduce the distance between you and the Lord. So long as there is distance or difference of levels like an officer and subordinate, a master and servant, your prayers and devotions are not up to the mark.

Try to establish a close relationship with Him and you will see the speed in spiritual progress. In prayers, when we say 'Tumhi ho Mata, Pita tumhi ho, tumhi ho bandhoo, sakha tumhi ho', it is not just to please Him. We should mean it and sooner we establish such close relationships the better."

The guru embraced him and said, "Be His son rather than servant, your progress will be fast."
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Life is for celebration

Avinder Ghura, Hindustan Times

An 85-year-old man who learned that he was dying wrote the following piece: “If I had my life to live over again, I would try to make more mistakes.  I wouldn’t try to be so perfect. I would relax more and laugh more. I would limber up. “I would take more chances, climb more mountains, swim more rivers, go to places I have never been to, eat more ice-creams and fewer beans! I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones! You see, I was one of those people who lived prophylactically, sensibly and sanely hour after hour and day after day.

“If I had to do it all over again, I would ride more merry-go-rounds, I would watch more sunrises, I would play more with my children, be happy and not hold on to debilitating grudges if I had my life to live over again.

“But you see, I don't !”

Isn’t this message a beautiful reminder to all of us? We have to make the most of the time we have on earth. The old man realised that in order to be happier and get more out of life, he just had to change his priorities. The world is already a beautiful place, to enjoy what we already have, we just have to live consciously.

Whenever we are unhappy, if we analyse the reason for our unhappiness, it is because life is not matching our expectations.

Happiness is a decision. Each of us can be as happy as we make up our minds to be. We can, if we want, fill up our days with positivity, animated conversation, chatter and laughter.

To be happy we need to concentrate only on happy thoughts. A friend of mine still gets exercised and breaks down every time she remembers the nasty remark that was made to her by a relative 15 years ago. Let us not be garbage collectors carrying around trash that was thrown at us 15 years ago. The ghosts of the past have to be exorcised.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cosmic consciousness

Ravindra Kumar, Hindustan Times

There  are  different  interpretations to what happens to someone who realises  God.  The  experience  cannot  be  described in worldly language, because the tongue refuses to obey and words are insufficient to translate.

Yet, those who experienced it have tried to express the inexpressible to the  best  of  their ability.  Dr.  Richard  Maurice  Bucke surveyed the experiences  of  saints  in  various  religions  and summarised the “common denominator” in  his  book Cosmic Consciousness.

According  to him, one observes  that this universe is a living spiritual presence and is not made of dead material. One finds oneself eternal as a soul and the fear of death and  sin  goes  for  ever.  One acquires enormously great capacity both for learning  and teaching. He has exceptionally good health and there is extra charm in his personality.
At  the  time  of  “spiritual  climax”,  the  experience of death and immediate  resurrection is so sudden that you do not know what is happening and the accompanied feeling of bliss is so unique that it is indescribable. You  feel that you have entered a new and unknown world, entirely different from the old world.

There  is  indifference  and  unconcern  to  worldliness. There is a sudden feeling  that everything is happening according to some divine plan for the good  of  everyone,  much in agreement with the teleology of Max Planck and towards  a  predefined  divine  goal:   Since  universe  is  God and God is universe,  consciousness  of  the cosmos means God-Realisation in which one finds ineffable joy, freedom and peace.

In  most  cases,  the chosen form of God appears in trance or vision, such as Krishna, Jesus etc.  

According to Astavakra Samhita, “The wise who are free from mental projections, unbound, and of unfettered intellect sometimes sport in the midst of great enjoyments, and sometimes retire into mountain caves.”

As per Vedanta, “the wise may continue to work in material world according to his former nature or may give up working completely; he is free in this matter.”
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Untruth to truth

Sadhguru, Hindustan Times

Amavasya means no moon day or new moon day. Whenever something or somebody goes absent, one feels the presence all the more and powerful. On any other day, even the Pournami, it is there; but on Amavasya, the presence is felt even more. The earth broods on Amavasya; entire life process is slowed down and it is a great opportunity because the integration of life happens much better on this day. When a slowdown happens, that is when you notice your body. When everything is going well and  you are busy, you do not know what is happening with the body.

That is the significance of Amavasya. On that day, because a certain integration  of the elements is happening, there is a slowdown of everything. If you are seeking wellbeing, Pournami is sacred. If you are seeking liberation, Amavasya is sacred. Accordingly, there are different kinds of practices and ‘sadhanas’ for those two dimensions of life. It is a day when one can become easily aware of, ‘What is me and what is not me,’ and from there on, the journey from untruth to truth begins. From Amavasya to Pournami, every month the opportunity is created naturally. Even for those who are completely unaware, there is a natural opportunity available beginning every Amavasya and moving on. For all those who are seeking absolute dissolution, Amavasya is great.

You may have heard that if people are a little mentally imbalanced on Pournamis and Amavasyas,  they  become more imbalanced. Why? The gravitational impact of the moon is working on our planet. So it is pulling everything up. Similarly, your own blood is trying to rise to the moon’s gravitation.

If you are happy, you will be happier; and if you are unhappy, you will be unhappier.
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Solutions are within

Divya Kapoor, Hindustan Times

We all have problems and so we are always in search of solutions. We go to each and every person who can help us out with our problems but we forget the protagonist,i.e. ourselves. We never try to find solutions with ourselves. We just search ceaselessly and blindly.

I always look for my best friends or my brother whenever I am encountered with a problem. I discuss the issue with them in complete depth but never find a solution because it's my problem and I always have solution because we are the ones who know best about our lives and we are the only ones who can take the right decision.
I made it a task of asking myself every now and then for every small issue of my life; and surprisingly it has worked miraculously.

When we were kids, we were perfect because we thought we know everything and what we don't know, we would know by experimenting and we had no fears and notions.

As kids we did things all our way because we were crazy and we were ignored for our faults because we were kids; but as we grow, we realise there is the need to be perfect and to be definite but we fail to realise one thing that we can just try being perfect not perfect because there is only one perfectionist, i.e. God.

We have solutions within us; all we need to do is follow it with a pure heart and clear mind and faith in Him.

Don't stress yourself for making mistakes as we cannot reach even near perfection. But keep in mind that your own solution is always correct and no one can give the accurate solution to one's problem except oneself.

One must live a life with an eye for solutions, not with an eye for problems. The more you focus on something, the more of it comes to you.
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Truth is the cure

Vineet Mani

The man seemed restless and confused. The situation had grown quite unfavorable and he wanted to draw the attention of his superiors to it, but could not do so because of fear. He thus showed only the rosy picture to his superiors. In due course of time, the problems became grave.

The man was basically a simple and honest worker. He had grown slowly both in stature and position and soon assumed a position of repute in the organisation. After several years of hard work and poor living conditions, he and his family were witnessing good times and happiness.

Although at an important position, the man did not change at all and kept working with equal hard work and dedication. Some people who never used to pay any heed to his existence turned into his advisors and misguided him to follow the wrong way. And the naïve did not realise until the situations became very bad.

One day as he reached home, he was really worried. He swallowed a few sleeping pills and tried to get some sleep. In his dreams, he questioned his own stupidity. If not stopped, he thought, this will lead to a major problem that could ruin his and his family's future.

The next morning he got ready to face the reality and went directly to his boss. He did not even look at the people who had actually created such situations for him. He was filled with a sense of pride and his face was beaming.  He started speaking slowly in front of his superior and explained the entire situation.

There was complete silence for a few moments and then his boss said, "We have faced ups and downs in our lives but what matters is honesty and bare truth." He added sometimes the problems are simple and can be easily solved but what is required is to come forward and speak out the truth.

Get back to work and we together will face the situation. The man heaved a big sigh of relief and felt good over his truthful ways.
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