Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Where am I heading ?

The interviewer asked me “Why do you want to join this company? “ That’s when it struck me once again. Why am I doing this? What do I want? What is the purpose of my life? These questions are ‘pressure questions’. Questions that come to the mind when one is under pressure. And when the pressure is dissipated the questions fizzle out. My final year of college was full of pressure. Studying at IIT (for those who don’t know IIT - it’s one of the best engineering colleges in India) and doing well there, does create a lot of pressure due to high expectations - Expectations of others and expectations of oneself.

Somehow I escaped the questions once again and just took a path that was easy and that followed the ‘herd’ !I went on to do Masters from Europe. I had a nice scholarship. A fancy degree name “Erasmus Mundus Masters in Nanotechnology”. I had everything a student would want. And yet, I had no idea what I was doing and where I was heading! I was just flowing with the expectations that everyone (including myself) had set onto me!

By the time I finished my Masters. It was the time to face the same ‘pressure questions’ once again! This time, although I got a swanky job for myself, the questions didn't leave me!

I was seeing that even with the job, I’m not going to head to what I really want. I’m not going to head towards happiness or freedom. If I looked at people who had these kinds of jobs and had been working all this while, their happiness didn’t seem to be showing on their faces. Infact the people looked even more manipulative and stressed!

So, what am I doing? Where am I heading?? What is the purpose of my life??? These questions were haunting me! And honestly, I had NO IDEA how to deal with them!

One of my friends and teacher of Art of Living told me. Go to villages in India and do some seva and see. This sounded like a good plan, so I came to India before joining my first job at Amsterdam with the intention to do Seva and meet my family.

A little time at the Ashram and meeting with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and that was it! Of whatever life I had seen and whoever I had met, I had NEVER met a person who would be so free, who would be so happy, and who would be so much in the present moment. In whose mere presence people would become so happy!!! I saw that if life is really worth living, it’s only worth living with him, It’s only worth living for him, It’s only worth living to be like him. If there is any direction that I want to head towards, it’s the direction that HE gives!

I feel so fortunate and grateful to get the opportunity to stay at the Ashram since then. The more closely I get to see him/know him; I realize that there is so much more in him that I had thought that I knew. And the more time I spend around him/for him, the more contentment, happiness and freedom is dawning into life.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Broom, Vroom & Zoom !

I asked Vinod Menon ji today… About the success of the new parties… his answer:

Broom, Vroom & Zoom !

The people of India certainly have the intelligence. But many a times they may be out of touch with their sensitivities and sentiments.  Their sensibility directs them to vote for a mature, patriotic and national party.
The intellectually corrupt newest party of Delhi has an appeal. Their appeal is certainly emotional. This broom party can influence by whipping up emotions of the voter. Weak sentiments and misplaced sensitivities can guide the voter in favor of the broom. It does not need a forensic study to see an evidence of studied histrionics and choreographed theatrics in the broom party.

Evidently their rhetoric’s are a continuum of anti-establishment and anti-authority. The end at 49 days of governing Delhi is ample proof of inability to govern. Wiliness, cunning, unchecked ambition and extreme greed has been covered and hidden under the facade of desh bhakti. Have you heard the AK49 chant the following: “Bharat mata ki jai” & “ Vande Maataram”. After harvesting all the votes by whipping up the “Bharat “ sentiments, AK49 will not think twice to ditch these two bharat phrases. Lets do a fact check. Does the Bukhari camp agree to chant along with AK49 ? If not, then isn’t AK49 miss-leading the naive and the innocent.  AK49 is attempting to position himself as a victim in every of his occurrences. He fails to hide his suffocation and frustration after the mainstream media rejected his messages. How can he downplay his miscreant behaviors. Holding on to the comforts of bungalows in delhi and flights in private jet, does not represent the true ordinary man. Behind the outward and visible communication, the character sketch of the Broom leaders shows different intent. That of neutralizing justly wealthy people and diffusing people with honest power. Social equity will be fairly distributed and granted only by much mature and experienced political parties.

Beware of the non-familiar ! Are you ready to bring reasoning into the forefront ? Sensibilities needs to be encouraged over and above sensitivity and sentiments. This is not the time for emotional medication or another experiment. Indians must vote with intellectual conviction. Indian people should not be underestimated. They are capable of seeing the clarity in the next prime ministerial candidate. Today the surveys and other ratings are close to accuracies. If you vote for the party with guaranteed majority then you will save your precious vote.

--As said by Sri Vinod Menon ji

Monday, April 7, 2014

The messiah of politics

I just asked Sri Vinod Menon ji about Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji giving opinions in politics ... and here is what he said...

The messiah of politics

As human beings, nobody can be without transactions and interactions. Confrontation and conflict are integral part of transactions and interactions. It is only normal that there are errors and disagreements in conversations. The most popular way of resolving the stand-off between two people is by subscribing to a system of governance. Governance in the way you communicate. Nothing can be devoid of governance.

To make optimum governance-possibilities and to create a framework of legislators, the polity has to elect their leaders. Only then, the elected legislators will get authority to frame rules and regulations for the people. Then the people will be in compulsion to live by these laws and orders. Welcome to politics. Politics is an integral part of living. There are numerous other things which are integral part of your living. Many a times your interests are latent and in seed form within you. At an appropriate time and suitable provocation these seeds emerge and come to the forefront. You will agree that any such surge within you must have adequate tutelage. This excitement and surge in people must get guidance so as to be channeled in the direction of progress. Are there any mass educators to train the electorate on how to vote?

The educator of the masses must have a profile which gives him authority to guide the masses. This guide or the leader must have the ability to see things beyond that which is obvious. The vision of the most of the electorate is limited to only that which is obvious. A short term gratification limited to personal tastes is the present motivation. A true leader and a guide must inspire the voter to a collective cause, a sustainable and a long term goal. The electorate must become persuaded to perhaps compromise on personal taste and connect to a more nobler cause of country and also humanity. A renowned spiritual scholar who evidently has achieved the drive of human value is necessary. Who do you know that corresponds to the profile with a universal presence, international respect, national reach, personal influence and local expertise. Can anybody do without such a guide and mentor ? If politics is integral to you as much as is music, then what we need today is a Guru for the electorate and a messiah of the politics.

It will seem irresponsible for such a Guru if he does not participate in country’s affairs. As a role model, the real Guru will not be seen as an abdicator of duty. Do you have a name that fits this profile? Those who are willing to give a name and a face to this important and urgent profile,  christen it as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji.

-- As said by Sri Vinod Menon ji

Monday, May 20, 2013

Love wins over all negativity

This happened with me on a railway station... My phone was low on battery and I needed to charge it... So I found a small kiosk at the station where there was a plug point. There was a 15 year old boy who was manning the kiosk. I asked the boy if he could charge my phone using the plug point till the train left. He promptly did it.

When the time came to leave, the boy said I would be charged Rs. 10 for that ! Although that boy didn't seem to be the owner, he surely wanted to make a quick buck... I felt compassion for him and thought, that if such was the tendency at this age, how would he be when grown up ?

So I said to him, " I am not going to pay you for charging the phone. I am giving you Rs. 10 because you are my friend." Saying this felt good to me and it honoured his end of the bargain as well. He didn't have to charge for something that he didn't really own or deserve, and I didn't feel overcharged for charging of a phone for 10 mins !
At this point, the boy said... " No bhaiya... I don't want anything"... And refused to take money ! Small incidences that bring out goodness in people are so satisfying :)...

This is what I've seen Gurudev doing in each and every action of his ! He uses this technique to bring out the best in a person... Even if the whole world calls a person a theif, Gurudev would call that person 'The most honest man !'.... The beauty is that he really sees that thief's honest side while he says it and the thief also believes in it ! Even for a die hard criminal he says, In a criminal there is a victim crying out for help...! Thus he brings out the best in the person by focusing on the goodness in the person...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

You do my work & I'll do yours !

This happened on my way back from Vellore, where I had gone to meet with all the YES+ VITian’s. I was at the station with three of my students, Selva, Sakshi and Pooja who had come to drop me. 

We were at the station and the train to Bangalore came in. Brindavan express was quite tightly packed. I was waiting for the A/C compartment to come but when train stopped, the A/C compartment was no where in sight. Selva announced there is no A/C in this train. I didn’t have a reserved ticket and on seeing how tightly packed the train was, it didn’t seem like I had a good chance of getting one. The TTE, got down from the train and I approached him. Quietly taking him a little on the side I asked him “ Can I have a seat ?”. The way I asked, seemed as if I didn't mind paying him a small bribe. He said “Yes, Rs. 50 “. A yes meant that he had the seat. At this point, Selva also came and spoke to the TTE in Tamil. He told him the same thing. Selva, came to me and said, "Bhaiya, its just Rs. 50 more." 
    Here was a real life chance to apply what Gurudev has said in so many satsangs! So I told Selva to tell him that we are with Guruji, and we would not be giving bribe. Selva went a little hesitantly himself and told the TTE something in Tamil but I heard the word Bill. It seemed like he himself didn’t believe the TTE would give a seat WITHOUT a bribe ! I went up to the TTE again, and told Selva to translate that we were with Guruji, and therefore we just couldn't give him a bribe. I went on to explain that it wasn't that I didn’t have the money, it was just that I couldn't give it. Selva did the needful but the TTE just walked away and went inside the train.
It was clear that our conviction in explaining the situation was not strong enough. So I told Selva to go again but this time, say it with full conviction! Selva went in and the train began moving but I stood my ground. I would not board the train if the TTE didn’t give me a seat without the bribe… But I didn’t want to go standing for 4 hours either!
   Just then, Selva came running to the door and said, “Bhaiya go in! He’ll give you a seat!”… So I boarded the train with a sense of satisfaction J !

Now, after boarding the train I couldn’t locate the TTE for some time. Then suddenly the TTE came out of a bathroom, spotted me and came and told me “please go and sit in D4, Seat 24”… So I happily went to coach D4, seat #24 and found a guy ( must have been in his 40’s ) sitting with his wife and mother. I pointed at the seat and said that it was a reserved one. He instantly got up and gave me the seat...
I sat happily for a few minutes and was feeling triumphant about the fact that I got a seat without giving bribe. But then, I started to feel a little sad for the guy whom I made stand… The good feeling of not giving the bribe was now being neutralized. I thought to myself that the next time the TTE came, I would ask if there was another seat available… Just then, I looked at my cell phone and saw a text message from Sakshi… It said “ There IS an A/C compartment in your train !”… As soon as I read the message, we arrived at a station ! I got off and ran back to the TTE of the A/C compartment. I asked him if there was a seat available and sure enough, there was one!

So I happily shifted to the A/C compartment and made that man sit… Looking back, it made me feel grateful that every thought is taken care of when intentions are pure and the focus is clear !

Gurudev keeps saying... "You do my work and I'll do yours :) ! "... The question is just about taking the step...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hurry om Hari...

One more point that really struck me while I was doing the Weeklong Advanced course... It was about the "Hurry in the mind"... Swamiji said... " During this entire course... Remember whenever Hurry comes to your mind... the english hurry not the Sanskrit Hari... just RELAX... tell Hurry please relax and come some other time... I'm not going to Hurry now !!! And move like a king... with ALL the time in the world ! ".... Wow... that was such a revelation ! I noticed that this Hurry in the mind is the only cause of worry !

For instance... many times I noticed that my stomach doesn't really need food, but just because the food is tasty I want to eat more...

One of the first few times I caught my mind in Hurry was when I realized I was wanting to eat something... I thought I'll eat something and feel better... then I just closed my eyes and checked weather I'm really hungry or what is it... Thats when I realized , I didn't really feel hungry... But there was this " hurry in the mind " that was just pushing me to do something... And since eating something seemed to be a good 'time pass' I thought I was tending to just go and eat !!! It was such an eye opener that eating is so many times just a 'time pass' !!!

Another time I noticed the 'hurry' coming to my mind was while I was standing in the queue... Every moment I would look at the person in front of me and see if he has moved any bit and then look at the person at the counter and pray that he quickly finishes his job and move so that the person right in front of me steps forward !!! Sometimes the person right in front of me would not move even though the person in front of him has moved... This would create an even more sense of 'hurry' that 'why isn't this person moving !'

This Hurry is really the feverishness that grips the mind... It makes me not enjoy the moment ! It promises that happiness will come only after I complete some action... Actually, this can come in any form... So many times it comes is in the form of desire or ambition ( more on that sometime later )....

But then I was wondering what do I do when it comes ??? and I notice that it has come ? A few things that I observed work are:

1. The moment I became aware that "Hurry" has come and would just be with it... It would start to subside... The key really is to become aware that the "Hurry" has dawned and to 'watch' it !!!

2. Some kind of physical exercise/activity... This keeps one occupied and shapes the body ( in case of exercise )... The physical activity could be some kind of seva, then people are benefited. The physical activity could be eating also :D, but then that doesn't really help anybody ( if its really not required )...

3. Just remembering the sanskrit Hari ;)...

I'm sure there would be many other ways ( I'm curious to read your ideas/ways in the comments )...

I was just reminded of one of Guruji's line while writing this post... "The action or the result of the action is not going to give any contentment... First be content and do the action out of contentment !"

Friday, June 15, 2012

Recipe to the Most Delicious food ever !!!

I feel so guilty for not writing for so long... Actually, I have written some posts but they are only stored in 'Drafts'... I shall start posting them soon too ( hope 'soon' is not like the time difference between this and the last post ! ). I've decided that even if its short.. I'll just keep posting !

I happened to do the Weeklong Advanced meditation course last month and have been wanting to write this since then... During this course, amongst many things, my teacher ( Swami Bhramatej ji ) said this amazing sentence on how to eat food... He said "Take half the quantity of food in every bite and double the amount of chewing"... Then he said... "U know why ? Because Stomach doesn't have teeth !"... So... I DID implement that during the course... I would shred the roti piece and really take only half of the piece of roti that I usually used to take... I didn't compromise so much on the vegetables... Then, I would put it in mouth and just start chewing and chewing... I did one more thing... Since chewing was taking so long... I would even close my eyes while chewing... And... I suddenly started to feel that the quality of food at Ashram has suddenly improved !!! The amount of food that I required to eat had also reduced !!! It was really so amazing to see this phenomenon !

Since I was talking half the size of the bite, I was aware of what I'm taking and since I was chewing more I really started to taste every bit of thing that I was eating... Thats when I realized that the Recipe to the most delicious food can lie on my eating also and not just on the cooking !!!


Monday, May 30, 2011

Ashram a University for LIFE studies...

A lot of people ask me " Oh... so you stay at Ashram "... and the very next question is... " So you are not going to get married... People staying at such places don't get married right ? "...  " Ohh... you must be getting up really early and meditating the whole day ! "... " Oh... how do you manage your finances and needs ? " ... " Ohh.. What do you do the whole day ? "... Its almost as if I'm an animal of a rare species in the zoo... 

Well... The ashram is nothing like that... I thought of writing this post to so that people can appreciate the ashram a little better... How I see the ashram is like a University... A university where the subject of study is 'LIFE'... Like 'Professors' in a university, Swamijis or experienced Teachers share their experience to teach new people at the ashram... Equivalent of classes are 'Art of living programs'...  Ashramites are like PhD students doing their own research with the assistance of mentors...  Sometimes 'Visiting profs' or Guru's or swami's of other 'maths'/ organizations come and share their experience as well... 

My own body and mind is my laboratory... The whole day I conduct experiments by doing normal 'seva' activities, which for me at the moment is working with the 'Events Team' of the ashram... Events team as the name suggests is responsible for all the programs and events that happen at the Ashram right from planning, scheduling, inviting people to executing the event/program and taking their feedback and suggestions and then incorporating them in the next event/program... And in this whole process acquiring all the material finances for me and the Ashram as a whole... Material amenities and finances are essential and are definitely required to sustain life and one surely has to do something to get them... However, usually many people just get caught up in just acquiring these amenities ! The 'work' done here is more than enough not just to sustain me, but also many more at the Ashram. All this is the 'work' part or the 'running the experiment' part... Like in any experiment we first conduct the experiment and then take observations that is the 'Satsang' part... Where we all sit together, sing together, listen to knowledge, meditate and see how the spoken knowledge was applied or not applied in the day's experiment... Meditation and reading knowledge is like the self study part or the 'swadhyaye'...

As I spend more and more time at the ashram I have started to feel more and more aware of things both inside and outside... By becoming more aware outside I mean... becoming more sensitive to people and situations outside... For example... These, days very often I start seeing how the person in front is feeling,  thinking or going to say... Just a few days ago a friend of mine (also an ashramite) came to me and said... You know what... Looking at his face I simply knew what he was going to talk about and told him... He was just taken by surprise ( actually he was going to talk about something very different )! I knew the broad topic but not the nitty-gritties... These kind of things have slowly started to increase... Or sometimes I just get to know what is going to happen or who is calling on the phone or  if someone is remembering me etc... 

By becoming more aware inside I mean... becoming more sensitive to my own body, thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions... As one spends more and more time observing this, one starts seeing how much more there is to it ! As a simple example... If we just observe which nostril do we breathe from predominantly at a particular time, a lot of things can be revealed... Or what is the breathing pattern when we are angry, greedy, jealous or in some other state of mind can help us get out of it... Or a keen observation of food intake can simply tell us what food is right and what food has what effect... For example, I simply fast for a day in a fortnight... That whole day I observe the hunger and what effect it has on the system... How, I tend to become angry more easily when hungry, how my thoughts start changing when I'm angry etc... also, there is such a big difference in the way I feel for the next whole week after that !  

The longer one spends here, the more aware and more knowledge ( both about inside and outside ) one starts to get... After some time, one starts going outside this 'university' ( Ashram ) and starts to give 'guest lectures/public talks' ( knowledge talks/ pada yatras/ Art of living courses/ Satsangs ) to share with the world one's experience of 'LIFE'...

 All this is just a small glimpse of all that happens and that is possible here... Actually come to think of it all this can be done anywhere in the world and all the time... The difference is that this place is more conducive and ideal for this type of 'research' for beginners... A place where the energy levels are so high because thousands of people have meditated here over so many years... Where all the people have the same goal ( consciously or subconsciously ) but completely different behavior, culture, family background, habits, language, age-group and sex... A perfect example of harmony in diversity... Where else can one find so many saintly people together in one place... The food and the climate ideally suited to go within with more ease... And most important of all... This is the place where Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ( whom we can call the most knowledgeable in the research of 'LIFE' ) spends his maximum time in a year !

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mind Games !

Its really interesting to observe this mind... This mind is really tricky and plays all sorts of games ! When, what happens to the mind and the whole trajectory of life changes... An interest in this and going beyond the mind got me to this path, or so my mind thinks :)...

Very often I hear people doing things that are not so healthy, justifying their stance by giving other wrong things that people do, or they themselves do ! This is how the nature of mind is... It likes to justify itself logically, so that it doesn't have to change and can continue indulging in the vices or habits that it has got used to...

Another way of the mind to justify itself is, it accepts that they do the wrong thing, but are not strong enough to change ! Here again, the mind has found an escape route for itself to change from its habit pattern...

One more mode of the mind is that it claims that all these things have an effect, but it really doesn't matter, I am or my mind is strong enough to handle the effect... Well, if the mind is strong enough to handle the effect, then isn't it strong enough to stop the habit ?

In many cases, the craving for the sensory pleasures, blinds us and creates this false sense of logic or comfort, and that is why the mind is really tricky, and one has to be really cautious of it... But, how does one become cautious ? What can one do, when we are stuck in the illusion ? That is where a Guru helps... This is where faith comes in place... If there is a Guru in life, then he removes this curtain that has blinded us and shows us the reality... He authenticates... That is the significance of a Guru in life...

I feel fortunate to have a Guru in life... It is said that Guru comes to you whenever you need him and not whenever you want him ! I've seen this happen to me so many times... Everytime I've got entangled or stuck somewhere, I've seen him helping me and guiding me through it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Come with ME...

I had heard so many stories about, how Guruji values love and devotion more than anything. He doesn't see what food he eats, but with what love and devotion that food is made... It doesn't matter how loudly you call him, but with what love in your heart you call him... It doesn't matter how big errors you make, but with what intention you make... It doesn't matter how big or small you are, but what devotion you have... But when he is with you, he behaves so normally, that one is not able to hold on to so many concepts and stories that one hears about and one doesn't even realize what happened !

About three years ago, I wanted to ask Guruji a question... The question was weather, I should quit my job or join my job back ( I had postponed the joining of my job )... I had been staying at the ashram for about 3-4 months by then... I was pretty happy at the ashram but I still wanted to make sure that I don't take a wrong step... So, that evening, he was walking, and he looked at me and asked me " haan kaisa hai ? " ( How are you ? )... I said... " Thik hoon, ek question tha " ( I'm fine, wanted to ask a question )... He said... " haan tum humare saath Belgaum chalo wahan set karte hain tumko... " ( You come with me to Belgaum we'll sort it out there )... I didn't know what happened ! I was obviously elated ! Slowly, as the fact was getting digested, the fact that GURUJI has invited ME to travel with him, started getting to my head... This is a very common phenomenon, when he pampers you, one feels YOU are the only one !!! So, I started becoming stiff and proud thinking that no one is so great as I am, and blah blah...

So, when the date to leave came closer, I had to book the tickets etc... The ticketing people asked me, that you get a confirmation from Guruji's secretariat. So, I went to one of Guruji's secretary, and told him to send the confirmation... He said, he would ask Guruji and send it... A day later, I meet the secretary, and asked him... He said... " Guruji said he doesn't remember telling you anything like that !"... That was it !!! I couldn't believe it... First I thought the secretary was telling a lie and he hadn't asked, but he seemed to have asked very surely ! Then, I thought, how can Guruji forget things ! He remembers and knows things that he is not supposed to remember also and here he is saying that he can't remember something that he himself said ! I started feeling helpless... I asked other people... Does this happen that Guruji forgets something that he says ? They said... yes... very often he does... I couldn't believe this ! I didn't know whom to believe... weather, to believe what his secretary told me, or what Guruji told me, or what other people told me... So, then I thought, I'll ask him myself next time... Till the time I got the next chance to ask him directly, all my pride and stiffness had completely gone, I had started feeling vulnerable, humble and grateful... So, when I asked him directly the next time, he said " Yes... yes... you contact swamiji " and left... Later, that day I got a call from swamiji that Guruji has asked me to go with him and bring this one guy along with me... That time I realized how he plays games ! Till the time, I was all stiff and proud, he had even forgotten what he himself said... I feel so grateful that he forgot it !

Thats when I learnt: every-time you become stiff and proud for anything... you loose the connection !