Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The other day someone remarked that I have too much faith in my Guru. Such remarks/comments do keep flying around me all the time. However, this time it set me thinking. Do I have faith in my Guru? And if so and if not, what is 'faith'?

H H Sri Sri Ravishankar, founder of The Art Of Living says "Faith in the divine and faith in one's faith. You know everything is being protected, and everything is being taken care of."

Osho said "Faith is a leap into the unknown".

Both these conceptualizations I could agree with. After all they have been given by spiritual masters ! But conceptualizations are done merely for the benefit of intellect driven humans trying to fathom truth through their cognitive abilities. My agreeing with them or disagreeing with them does not take me any closer or any farther from truth. As truth stands beyond what I agree with or do not agree with. So, do I have faith? Faith in whom, faith in what? Do I have faith in my Guru? Do I have faith in Him? Do I feel that He is with me? I am protected? Or better still do I feel that I am with Him? Both don't seem to be absolutely true. It is neither. Where is He? Who is He? If He is there then He doesn't seem to be with me and it doesn't seem as though I am with Him. He seems so distant. Yet He is!
I stand there shorn of His proximity or distance. I am and He is! He is a part of me, an integral part of me, He is me !! Is it blasphemy to say He is me? I don't know. He is me.
I am also shorn of all protection............ protection from whom, from what. All that is there is a part of me, it is me!
Is this faith ??

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Satyam Param Dhimahi

At the Brahmnaad, a performance by 1200 sitarists in Delhi, Sri Sri Ravishankar, a spiritual master and founder of The Art of Living, made the whole congregation chant 'Satyam Param Dhimahi'.

The first verse of Shrimadbhagvatam (Bhagvad Purana) by Maharishi Vyasa states 'Satyam Param Dhimahi' (May we meditate upon the ultimate Truth). A treatise on the glories of Lord Krishna commences with such pious sankalpa - May we meditate upon the ultimate truth ! Such was the vision of our ancient Rishis. Even as he starts to shower accolades on his diety Lord Krishna he wishes all to rest in truth! He does not start this mega document by saying 'Krishnam param dhimahi' (may we meditate upon Lord Krishna) or 'Vishnu param dhimahi' (may we meditate upon Lord Vishnu) or 'Shivam param dhimahi' (may we meditate upon Lord Shiva). He says 'Satyam Param Dhimahi' (May we meditate upon the ultimate truth)!! This is Sanatan Dharama. This is the basis of Hinduism....abiding in the truth! This is the dharama that has been suffering the onslaughts of alternate belief systems that rest not on truth but on concepts like jehad and conversions. Today we need to protect this Sanatan Dharama that has never preached killings of those not adhering to its tenets or has also never preached conversion of others to its tenets. Today we need to stand up for this Dharama, that which blesses all to rest in Truth. As Krishna goaded Arjuna to fight for re establishment of Dharama, today many Arjunas are needed to stand up for the survival of this Sanatan Dharama.

Saturday, March 7, 2009



Charlie Chaplin once won 3rd prize in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest!


Sara was horrified to find a fly in her tea. The waiter took her cup to the kitchen and returned with a fresh cup of tea. She shouted,"You have brought me the same tea!" How did she know?

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Call of Dharma

The word Dharma is derived from the root verb ‘Dhr’ which means to ‘uphold’, to ‘nourish’ or to ‘sustain’. Dharma is that which upholds humanity. Dharma is not religion. Religion is a restrictive concept that relates to individual societies laying down the conduct of its members in personal and social context. Thus, while Dharma outlines universal principles of existence, religion limits its canvas by seeking adherence to specified modes of worship and social interactions. As such Dharma unites but religion ends up being restrictive and thus divisive. Dharma is the law or a divine order that recognizes the nature of things in existence and is that all encompassing principle which outlines the humanity’s interaction and response to existence for its own sustenance. In other words Dharma is that which sustains and protects humanity.

The Vedic people in ancient India followed the Sanatan Dharma. Sanatan means eternal. Thus, Sanatan Dharma refers to that which is relevant since eternity and shall be relevant till eternity. It is interesting to note that the eternity of Sanatan Dharma is not just because it is indestructible or it is timeless but because it is capable of making its followers eternal by providing to them the ultimate knowledge of existence. It provides the follower the path of truth leading him to attain union with the soul.

However, Dharma which helped India prosper from time immemorial, which is said to protect humanity from ills and is so all powerful that it can lead individuals themselves to the state of being eternal, where is it today? How come India today is facing upheavals of discord and conflict? There is a remarkable dictum in the eighth chapter of Manu Smriti “Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha". It implies Dharma protects those who protect it. Dharmo rakshati means dharma offers protection i.e if one chooses to live a life guided by the principles of Dharma. The second part of the dictum is rakshitaha i.e the dharma itself requires protection. This means that the concept of Dharma whose protection we seek needs to be protected!

While Dharma itself encompasses values of universalism, acceptance, tolerance, embracing diversity, etc., the second part of the statement “Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha” spurs us into action. When a large section of the society starts to resort to Adharma and causes major upheavals in the society, it becomes necessary to take to action to protect dharma.

Thousands of years ago, Lord Krishna goaded Arjuna to fight, not for selfish purposes, but for higher principles of Sanatan Dharma. Adharma had attained proportions threatening dharmic (righteous) existence of humanity. Thus, the war of Mahabharata became necessary for restoration of dharma. What India is facing today is as alarming. Terrorism all over the world has assumed dimensions that threaten existence itself. Killing and maiming of innocents in the name of beliefs, dogmas and religion is destroying all the principles that Sanatan Dharma propagated. Today once again Dharma is in danger. And the call of Dharma is – action.

Dharma does not imply inaction or non action but indicates all those actions that are necessary for sustaining the health of humanity. Although it propagates the virtue of tolerance, it does not imply tolerance of intolerance. In fact Dharma cannot exist without a confrontation of intolerant ideas. The concept of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (world is one family) ingrained in Sanatan Dharma propagates acceptance of diversity. But tolerance and acceptance of diversity does not mean acceptance of tyranny.

Adi Shanakara says in Gita Bhashya “Vedas state two fold dharma for the maintenance of the world, one characterised by action and the other by renunciation. Dharma is that which leads directly to liberation and worldly prosperity.” In the Karana Parva of Mahabharata it is stated “Dharma is for the stability of the society, the maintenance of social order and the general wellbeing and progress of humankind. Whatever conduces to the fulfilment of these objectives is Dharma, that is definite.”

Today India is facing onslaughts from dangerous belief systems which are threatening peace and prosperity that the country has been moving towards in the last 60 years since its Independence from the British rule. These belief systems have thrived over the centuries on the dogmas of terror, brutality, murders and crusades against those with alternate ways of life who are termed by them as non believers. They have practiced the doctrine of jihad – a code of murder and rapine disguised under the coating of a religion. Jihadi terrorism in India today aims at establishing this belief system in India by extermination of Hindus, the followers of Sanatan Dharma.

On the other hand, the self righteous anti Hindu intellectuals have joined these enemies from within. In the garb of globalism, tolerance, coexistence, they are competing with these enemies in undermining the Hindu pride and glorious traditions. They are using the pen and particularly the visual media to project distortions in the minds of the people of this country. At a recent meeting in Mangalore Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living said “With the support of intellectuals supporting terrorists, the pen has also become another terror along with gun, threatening the integrity and sovereignity of the nation.”

India today is secular because India is a Hindu majority country. India is a democracy also because India is Hindu. If Hindus, the followers of Sanatan Dharma, do not rise to check these onslaughts, the days of secularism and democracy in this country are numbered. The need has arisen to for Hindus to awaken from their slumber to protect Dharma. In other words, to protect Dharma is our Dharma today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I stare at the canvas in front of me. This large painting sheet in front of me. All filled with colors. Some bright, some dull, some stark and loud, some mellow and somber. Colors carefully put in by me, and some splashed recklessly.

I am breathing hard, at wits end, on a mindless mission to color some more. The parts I like, I touch them not. While feverishly trying to add some sense to the spaces that make me not so happy anymore.

And as much as I try, the colors just run, and mix up with others to make all look as one. I gasp for breath and cry for a pause, and then I see the top right corner on the canvas wall.

There in the corner was a whiteness I had never seen. Where did that come from, that glossy sheen? Staring at it, such beauty I saw. All innocently and in awe.

Oh! it actually was left all alone. Untouched by colors, untouched by me, this little section was the "Master"-piece.

Friday, January 23, 2009



India was the richest country in the world before the British invasion in the 17th century !


You have 2 jars, one of them fits exactly 5 litres and the other one fits exactly 3 litres. How would you get exactly 4 litres using these two jars?

Friday, January 16, 2009

History waiting to repeat?

The family visit to Agra last week was for the benefit of my two young nephews aged 9 and 7 years who had never seen the Taj. Strangely the visit for me turned out to be a morose one. The Taj did not seem as splendorous as it used to. The grandeur of its marble seemed to have been visibly effected, presumably, by pollution since I last saw it around two and half years ago. The badly lit inside was depressing and too claustrophobic. The too well known story of 22,000 craftsmen having their hands cut off upon the orders of the Emperor after the completion of the monument seemed to stain the beauty of the Taj as I looked at it.

Visit to the Agra Fort was no better. How Akbar, the so called ‘emperor’ died suspected to have been poisoned by his own ambitious son Jahangir. How Jahangir blinded his own son Khusraw, a contender for the throne as per Akbar’s will. Shah Jahan, Jahangir’s son killed his own brothers to secure the throne and was finally imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb in this very Agra Fort ! Listening to the guide giving the tales of treachery, deceit, barbarism, cruelty and ruthless ambition that was played out in these monuments of Moghul historicity, I wondered how this land of Vedic culture based on truth and dharma gave way to such lowly culture of killings, loot, plunder and lust!

Greed, lust, cruelty and barbarism reflected in every story told by the guide. He showed us the phansi ghar in the basement (not open to public so we could just peep in) just below the Jahangiri Palace which incidentally was a place for rest and pleasure for the women in the emperor’s harem. It made me wonder why a phansi ghar was situated inside the living quarters and just below the place where the emperor indulged in pleasures. I was then told by the guide that this was the place where the women (queens) of the harem who fell out in disfavour were tortured and executed! Only a Moghul emperor could drink the choicest of wines and enjoy pleasures sitting atop a dungeon where hapless and screaming women were being tortured and tormented.

Looking down from the Fort we were shown a tank like structure and were curious. The guide related the story. It was a favourite sport of the members of the royal family. Elephants were kept around the tank deprived of water in hot seasons. They were drugged to make them thirstier. In that state after days of deprivation of water, they were led to this tank which was filled with alcohol. As they drank the alcohol, in that inebriated state of extreme thirst, they bloodied each other as the emperor and other royals watched with pleasure!

This was the culture that invaded the land where Sanatan Dharama was practiced. A land where animate and inanimate were revered, where birds, animals and even rivers, mountains were worshipped!

That Hindu India was prosperous and full of riches has been chronicled by various travellers. It was a coveted land. One is told of how rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds were embedded in the walls of the Moghul monuments and mausoleums creating ornate designs. Jewels were set into the floors across the vast marble. The splendour and wealth of the Moghul courts has been narrated over the years. Where did all this wealth come from? Obviously plundered and looted from the people of the land. Babur the first Moghul was a nomad and obviously did not bring it from his country. The wealth was plundered from the temples, state treasuries and the peoples of this land. It was the wealth of the Hindu land conquered by the invaders given to plunder and loot.

Even before Muslims came to India, there were wars and battles between the Kings. There were conquerors and there were the conquered. However, the wars were mainly fought between the martial classes. Strange as it may sound today, the Kings and princes observed time honoured conventions that were sanctioned in Shastras. For example, places of worship were never touched. The Brahmins and the learned were not harmed, women were not violated, and cows were not killed. In fact, non combatant civil population were never killed or captured as the battles were mostly fought in open spaces. The local population was never plundered and war booty was an unknown concept in wars and battles fought then. The kings had a code of honour and violating this code was considered reprehensible and kings found it worse than death.

However, Muslim invaders came with a different code. They would fall upon unarmed, hapless civil population after a victory on the battlefield. They would burn down villages and towns after the defending martial warriors had been killed. They went in for mass murders of the civil population and Brahmins were their special targets. They pillaged and looted even from the bodies of the dead. They raped and captured women who were considered a part of the booty. Those who were not killed were sold as slaves. This was the code of the Muslim invaders – code of their Prophet. They did it all for their Prophet as ‘holy warriors’. The world famous historian, Will Durant has written in his Story of Civilisation that "the Mohammedan conquest of India was probably the bloodiest story in history". The Hindus found it very hard to understand the psychology of this new invader which they were witnessing for the first time in history. If one were to read the chronicles of those times, advent of the Muslims into India became possible only through deceit and treachery and not out of valor or greater prowess.

Then came the British and the plundering of this hapless people continued and more than ever before. It was not a plundering for a short while. It lasted for a full 200 years from the battle Plassey in 1757 to Independence in 1947. So much so that a country which even after being ruled over by the Muslim invaders for so long was considered the “brightest jewel in the British Crown”, at the beginning of the 20th century, India was the poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income! After 1000 years of attacks against Hinduism, India gained Independence but at the cost of partition of the land with hundreds of thousands of Hindus killed and driven out of their homes by Muslim claimants to the North Western part of the country.

Last 60 years India has tried to regain its self with economic progress on all the fronts. Today, it is being projected as the 'Superpower' of tommorrow. It has tried to forgive and forget the wounds afflicted since the days of Mohd bin Qasim. It has been trying to think of a better future for its people. Hindus accepted a large part of Muslim population within even though a separate state Pakistan was carved out as homeland for Muslims. They embraced the followers of Christianity which had bled them and ruled over them for over 200 years. All because Hindu way of life is inherently tolerant and accepts all diversity with a vision of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (world is one family). However, it has again become a target of these two monotheistic religions. For over a decade now Islamic terrorists have been attacking mainly the Hindu population. The objective of the ‘jihadi’ terrorists is to divide India once again on the basis of religion and create what they envision as Mughalistan. On the other hand, the poor and underprivileged are constantly being targeted by the Christian evangelists, converting them to Christianity against lure of money brought in from the affluent West. These conversions have assumed alarming proportions in the last couple of years.

Is history waiting to repeat itself ?

Sunday, January 4, 2009



It is impossible to lick one's own elbow!


If you take away some, whole is left. If you take away whole, some is left. How is it?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's message for the year 2009!

"The last hour of 2008. The time on this planet for us is a gift. Time is a gift to ourself. When we consider time as a gift our whole outlook towards life shifts. Like every year 2008 also has offered you many gifts. With it's thorns it has made you strong, with its petals it has given u joy.

Any event has the good and not so good. The not so good has made you strong and realize you can handle it. Good part gives you peace and tranquility. This Last hour is good to reflect how you welcomed 08 when it came and how it swept you and swirled you and passed you on to 09. 2008 has made many rich people poor. Those who never thought they could come down from their ivory towers had to smell mud. Many who have cheated got exposed. The flaws of capitalism laid bare before our eyes in 2008, like 20 years ago, in 1989 the bubble of communism burst. Through all this time we learnt one lesson- we should never compromise on human values. Love, compassion, sense of gratefulness and vision for everyone has to dawn in our life. 2008 also saw terrorism, loss of life, Sudan, Iraq, Gaza, India had the worst ever terror attacks.

People have asked me — that they are feeling guilty to celebrate. Barely two months after the economy fell, one month after terror attacks — how to celebrate? Yes, you will feel guilty when your celebration is aimed at gratifying yourself. But if the intention is to uplift everyone in your area, just do it. Don't delay it. We will never feel guilty if we our celebration takes people out of their gloomy moods. This celebration becomes service and there is no guilt. And when your service becomes celebration, there is no ego and pride in it. Get this. When celebration becomes service, there is not guilt. And when service becomes celebration, there is no pride. Let us celebrate with this one intention that let's bring home the (Spiritual) Knowledge to everyone — that life, events are impermanent. What is permanent is our spirit, our consciousness. It has no birth and death. Life at a higher plane is eternal and so celebrate every moment knowing that every moment is a gift to us.

In 2009 we have a great responsibility to uplift the planet from the ashes of the disasters of 2008. New hope, new creation has to made. It is easy to get swept away in a negative mode. It takes courage to move out of it. I am sure all those who are here have this capacity … And all those who are listening (and reading this) also have that capacity!

At 11 pm, make 2 wishes
1- Personal - What you want for yourself in 2009
2- What you want for the world (ie: peace in Sudan and Iraq, stronger economy in the US,…)
And if there is no difference between these two wishes, then you are enlightened !!!

Last year there was a concern that there would not be enough food on the planet to feed everyone. This year I feel there will be plenty of food on the planet for everyone (lot of yield will come through). Later this year economically Europe and US will become strong. Don't have concerns. It will become better and better … the second half of the year (2009)."

HAPPY 2009!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008



A group of owls is called a parliament!


One mother gave 25 books to her daughter and another gave 8 books to her daughter. However, between both the daughters they increased their collection by only 25 books. How?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Amusement Park

Recently, while talking on the phone, my friend showed a keen interest in visiting this new mall/amusement park, which had a scary tunnel ride; the sort in which a cart goes through a tunnel with all sort of mechanical/ghostly creatures shooting out of no-where with lots of shrieks and loud noise. While on the subject, she quipped "Darne ke liye log paise dete hai" (People pay to get scared). Amusing words, but one that reflects so well on our day to day life. The roller-coaster of a life. Pay, stand in a long Que and wait our turn, for the best rides. And finally when our turn comes, experience those fleeting moments of joy, and before long its all over. "Bada darr laga, bada mazza aaya" (It was very scary, it was so much fun). "Phir se jana hai" (I want to go again).

As long as one enjoys the rides, the creation of the Park serves its purpose.

As long as..... Over heard a conversation between a boy and his father. "Dad, I'm feeling sick because of all the rides." "OK son, lets get you back home."

All taking our rounds in the scary tunnel and confirming it as reality to each other. All seemingly amused in one big Amusement Park.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Life : A rendezvous with Karma

Of late, I have been pondering over the events happening around me, some of which pleasant and some not so pleasant but many of them uncannily making me aware of the play of karma in one’s life.

Karma theory is known to be a play of cause and effect. As you sow, so shall you reap. It is as simple as that and may be even simpler than what one understands. However, the phrases destiny and freewill have often confused the understanding of ‘karma'. It is perceived that destiny is something that has been inflicted upon us against our freewill. But there is nothing actually like destiny and freewill. It is all freewill, only 'karma'. What is taken to be the play of destiny today is a result of freewill exercised in the past whether in this birth or in a previous one. We are the creators of our own world.

Understanding it a little more, it is not actually the actions alone that constitute one's 'karma' but a whole combination of thoughts, feelings and actions. Let us take the oft quoted example of one ripping open someone’s belly with the intention to kill and ripping open someone’s belly by a doctor intending to save the other’s life. Action is the same but the intention and thus the imprints gathered by the two people are different and thus would result in different effects for both of them.

This made me ponder over the emphasis laid by spiritualists and religions on ethics and values in our daily lives. Sri Sri Ravishankar, Founder of the Art of Living has talked many times on the role of ethics in businesses and corporates. I have started to get a glimpse of the enormous truth of existence that he has been propounding by laying emphasis on ethics. As a very gross example let us take a transaction of an individual selling a product or providing a service. Let’s observe the intention in the transaction. First case scenario: the seller wishes to sell it at the best price for maximising his profits and second case scenario: the seller sells his product or service to provide to the need and comfort of the customer though against a price.

In the first case the intention being maximisation of profits, the individual may have extracted an undue price from a gullible customer or may have adopted unethical practices or may have sold a substandard product for maximising his own profit. In these cases he would have caused discomfort or distress and a feeling of being cheated, to the customer. Yes the cash flows in but what did the seller earn? Discomfort, distress and a feeling of being cheated. In the second case the seller was careful to see that the customer gets comfort and convenience from his product and at a fair price leaving the customer satisfied with his purchase. What did the seller earn? Comfort, convenience and satisfaction! Now, cash is only a means for attaining comfort, convenience and satisfaction. But driven by a desire for maximising profits while compromising on quality and customer satisfaction, what does the seller attain?

Can we observe every transaction, thought that we go through? Each thought, each feeling, each emotion, each action goes into creating our world. This implies that all the wrongs that we feel were done to us, all the insults that were heaped on us originated from within us!

The difference between the enlightened masters who walk on this planet and the ordinary folks is precisely this, they are aware of this truth of existence and are able to overcome it whereas ordinary mortals not being able to live this truth, toss around in life in the hands of their own karma and creating more and more spirals of web around themselves.

Living in a heightened state of awareness of this truth, can one choose one’s karma? Yes, it is possible if one were to go by what the enlightened one’s indicate. Being in awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings and actions. This is possible only when one is living entirely in the present moment responding to each situation with awareness. But is it really possible to respond to situations in their present context only without being driven by the past experience, anger, hurt or even patterns of behaviour cultivated, consciously or unconsciously and relied upon till now? Even if one were to have the intention of choosing one’s future behaviour, is the future not emanating from one’s past? For example the choices made in the past, the environments created around one self, etc, etc. What about the impressions carried over from the past? What about the imprints one may be carrying in the deep recesses of one’s subconscious that may compel certain types of behaviour or situations even without one willing them now?

This is where the relevance and need is, for a ‘Guru’, a spiritual master. In olden days, in India, people understood the nature of a Guru, an enlightened one at that. That is the reason they would travel for miles at end and for months to have a ‘darshan’ of an enlightened one. They experienced peace and freedom from problems by just being in the presence and within the sight of an enlightened one. The wiser ones among them understood cleansing they were undergoing at the subtler levels of mind and spirit, a cleansing of the unwanted karma! Such visits were akin to intense pilgrimages.

In the present times, in the presence of Sri Sri Ravishankar, millions all over the world have experienced the same inner peace, the silence of mind. At a personal level, I have experienced the silence of greatest of inner turmoil by just one ‘drishti’ (glance) from Him. And the inner transformation I have witnessed within me since I first met him is beyond my own comprehension. Such is the power of ‘darshan’ of an enlightened one.

What is the physiology and chemistry of ‘darshan’ and what happens during this phenomenon of ‘darshan’ is something worth trying to understand. May be another time I will deliberate upon it with my views and experience.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008



Shrimps are born male but slowly grow into females!


A 10 foot ladder with two rungs 1 foot apart is hung from a ship. The water in the sea is rising at the rate of 1 ft per hour. How long will it take the ladder to be submerged in water?

Vasudaiva Kutumbakam vs Globalization

Long ago the rishis (Hindu ascetics) of ancient India proclaimed “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam” i.e ‘the world is one family’. Another verse which was in the form of a prayer reflected the same globalism enshrined in the Vedic thought thousands of years ago, “Loka samastha sukhinau bavanthu” – May the world live in peace. The people did not just pray for the happiness of humans alone. They prayed for every living creature in the world. “Sarve sukina santhu, sarve santhu niramayaha” – May every living being be free from ills and miseries and attain peace. Such was the vision held by the people of the Vedic culture.

Today the world is talking of ‘global village’ and ‘globalization’. Globalization by definition is ‘the process of transformation of local phenomena into global ones, a process by which the people of the world are unified into a single society and function together’. While globalization started as an economic phenomenon driven by business interests, it is today perceived as a unification of economic, technological, social, cultural and political forces. However, although globalisation aims at diluting and dissolving the political boundaries of nations, nationalities, cultures and diversities, the world today is witnessing strife, wars, conflicts at all fronts and on all accounts i.e economic, political, social and cultural !

The Vedic people who proclaimed 4,000 years ago that ‘world is one family’ were not seen to be in such conflict. Although the underlying objective of the two concepts appears to be the same, there obviously is a difference between the process of ‘globalization’ being attempted today and the principle of 'Vasudaiva Kutumbakam' that was ingrained in the culture and way of life of the people on the Indian subcontinent.

Globalization was motivated by economic interests and not out of a concern for ‘universal welfare’ – economic interests of those searching for new markets and better resource mobilization. Its advocacy for free trade was adopted by different countries as it did lead to cash flows in otherwise deficient economies. However, the whole process being motivated primarily by economic interests of a few powerful nations and corporations, the emphasis was on pursuit of financial gains. It did lead to satisfaction of economic needs of many people in less developed countries, though not all, thus nations’ policies and actions have started to get structured around greatest financial gains to benefit their societies. Progress and success has started to be measured in material terms, and other concerns such as environmental issues, or human perspectives of emotional richness or social well being, are not necessarily cared for. Moreover, the survival in the new global business markets is dependent on improved productivity and increased competition and in such highly competitive environments, human actions are getting centered on self interest and greed.

In this pursuit of material progress - production, distribution and consumption of an increasing number of goods and conveniences is the creed and each competes with the other to produce more with less. More skills, better technology, better access to cheaper resources even if through the exploitation of natural resources of the earth or through better, bigger bombs to maim and destroy opponents, all in pursuit of more financial gains! Although many of the wars being waged in the world appear to have religious and ethnic basis, the underlying motives are now being perceived to be economic – competition for dwindling resources of the world. Troops and weapons are being deployed where local people threaten corporate investments and returns!

On the contrary, ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ was ingrained in the way of life of Vedic people as an integral part of their culture. Their vision encompassed the whole humanity as one’s own part. There was no place for exploitation of natural resources, in fact animals and plants and even rivers and mountains were venerated. Their actions were seeped in a concern for ‘universal welfare’. Their interactions with alternate beliefs, faiths and even civilizations reflected tolerance and pluralism. When sects like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism emerged as reformist movements, even though as rebellion to what their propagandists considered wrong in the society, the Hindus did not suppress these reformers but gave them the freedom and space to grow. After the spread of Budhism in India, Sri Adi Shankaracharya brought many back to the Hindu fold not through force, coercion, incentives or threat but by preaching in the form of debates.

Where did this vision of and concern for ‘universal welfare’ come from?

The Vedic people had the knowledge of the eternal truth, the truth of the wholeness of universe. They knew it was a oneness and a perceived separateness from this oneness as an individual identity was a matter of awareness. Thus any action at any point in this oneness would affect the whole. The whole is aware what happens at any point in the universe and a response is triggered to every action. Scientific researches of modern day confirm this Vedic knowledge of oneness of universe. Here is what I read about it some time back. The starkest revelation is through the theory of non-locality in Quantum mechanics.

‘Non locality is if you take two quantum particles that were twins and separate them billions of miles apart, and then do something to one particle here, the other particle billions of light years away will “immediately” come to know about what you did to that one particle here!! This quantum property has been confirmed by experiments. In fact, “all” particles in this universe are twins, in the sense they all can be traced back to a common ancestral origin. In other words, what happens to every particle should become known to every other particle in this universe! So the whole universe is “interconnected”?!’

It was this knowledge thousands of years ago that made the Vedic people proclaim ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ – ‘the world is one family’. Present day drivers of globalization can take cue from this knowledge.

Later day philosophers and thinkers in India have been propounding this concept again and again. Lately, Sri Sri Ravishankar, a spiritual master has made it a mission to make it a reality in the present day chaos. The Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Art of Living in 2006 witnessed a congregation of 2.5 million people from over 150 countries belonging to different cultures, nationalities and religions. All came to celebrate this truth, this reality of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam – the world is one family !

Friday, November 28, 2008

Terror Within !

Mumbai under siege !

We all saw it on National television. We all see the anger. We all felt the pain. When does it stop? What does it take for the nation to wake up? How many times does it have to be replayed? It has happened in Mumbai, in Delhi, Ahemdabad, J&K. 3600 lives in the last 4 years lost due to terrorist activities. Forget the nation, what will it take for you and me to take notice? Will a personal loss only jolt us into awakening? Are a few words of anger, a few words of grief, a few words of regret that are expressed by us enough?

A weak and diseased body is not able to handle outside infection. There is a rot within. Our weakness makes us prone to outside infection. Have we woken up to identify what is the rot within? Are they the politicians we support and elect? Do we actively participate in building a strong nation? Are we concerned about our neighbor, let alone the whole country? Is it our mindset and attitude? Is this about me or is it about everybody? Is your voice being heard? When do we stand up? How do we stand up? Is it through education? Is it through the government we choose? Is it through violence, or communication? Maybe before making others understand, we need to re-understand, re-think and re-educate our own self.

The terrorist. The politics and politicians. And where do I stand in all this? Should I too not take the blame?

The movement starts from 'I' to 'Us' to 'Everyone'. What 'others' face today, 'I' will face tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008



The original name of butterfly was 'flutterby' !


In a building there are 3 floors
Each floor has a bulb in the room
In the basement there are 3 switches
You can go up the stairs only once
How can you find which switch is of which bulb ?

Monday, November 24, 2008


'Kavya shastra vinodakalok gacchate dhimata .........It is a sign of intelligent person that he devotes his time to music, art, scriptures, poetry, wit and meditation.' So spake Sri Sri Ravishankar, a spiritual master and humanitarian from India, at Brahmnaad, a grand symphony of 1200 sitarists held on 21st November, 2008 in Delhi. It was perhaps the first time that so many sitarists played the instrument together and the event is expected to find a place in the Guinness book of records.

Music has been known to be an integral part of all traditions over the world. One reason for this is that our musical roots run deep: even before our ancestors could speak, they probably sang to one another. Now neuroscientists are working on a theory that music has been central to the evolution of the modern mind. If they are right, it will strengthen the hands of those who want music to be more central in fields from education to therapy.

'Both, music and spirituality bring harmony in life. Meditation brings silence within and brings music from the soul. Whereas, good music brings calmness to the mind, and gives rest and strength to the body,' said Sri Sri Ravishankar at whose inspiration the grand symphony was organised by the Art of Living Foundation. His emphasis on 'good' music is worth noting. It has been known that music shapes the brain just as the brain shapes what it recognizes as music. It implies that musical preferences may determine many of the human traits and even our values !

Brahmnaad apparantly was an attempt to revive the tradional sitar a plucked stringed musical instrument, originating from the lute family. The music of the sitar has charmed audiences for hundreds of years. As the leading stringed instrument of pre-Islamic India, the sitar was a common element of religious festivals in India. Sitar’s origin lies with other stringed instruments, one of them being the Veena, a fretted stringed instrument popular in ancient India. The Veena was said to have been played by Saraswati, the Indian Goddess of Music and Learning. The sitar may also be an off-shoot of another stringed instrument, the “tanbur.” This long-necked lute played a crucial role in Medieval Muslim cultures.

Listening to the 1200 sitars playing together was no less than a spiritual treat. It was an experience that will remain with me for a long time to come.

'When so many sitars play at the same time, it is not just sound ( naad ), it is divine melody - Brahmnaad,' said Sri Sri Ravishankar.

Sunday, November 23, 2008



A blue whale's tongue weighs more than an elephant !


There are 3 apples in a bowl. How can we distribute these apples between 3 girls so that every girl receives one apple and one apple remains in the bowl?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Love of the Mystic

Why is the mystic in love? The mystic is in love because he cannot be but in love. He is on the journey to reunite with his Beloved whom he has been separated from.

Kabir has penned down some of the most heart rending poems in cry for uniting with the Divine.

O my Love! come to my house
My body is in intense pain
While all say I am your spouse
I have the very doubts
So long your heart isn't immersed in mine
What kind of love is that
I don't relish food neither do I sleep
I feel discontent in my own home
Passionate is my Love
Like the thirsty longs for water
Will someone do me a favor
And narrate my predicament to my beloved
Kabir is now in total distress
Without seeing the beloved, he is going to die.
---- Kabir

The Sufis in Islam have been known to be intoxicated lovers of God. Their bewildered state of heart is revealed in their songs and poems. The verses of Rumi, a Sufi poet reveal some of these mysteries of the heart.

Should Love's heart rejoice unless I burn?
For my heart is Love's dwelling.
If You will burn Your house, burn it, Love!
Who will say, 'It's not allowed'?
Burn this house thoroughly!
The lover's house improves with fire.
From now on I will make burning my aim,
From now on I will make burning my aim,
for I am like the candle: burning only makes me brighter.
Abandon sleep tonight;
traverse from one night to the region of the sleepless.
Look upon these lovers who have become distraught
and like moths have died in union with the One Beloved.
Look upon this ship of God's creaturesand see how it is sunk in Love.
---- Rumi

In whom the longing for the Beloved has been ignited, has received the greatest gift of grace a human can receive. Because it is this longing that sets him on the path back home. His is a journey back to the source! The love of the mystic is incomprehensible to intellect and thus the rest of the world. The worldly pleasures no longer offer either attraction or solace. It is a love where nothing will satisfy him except union with the source. However, this union with the source goes beyond the senses and the intellect. The greatest of mystic poets have expressed the longing for this union but fell silent when it came to expressing the inexpressible union itself.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Means To Me"

... What I understand of it, and its relevance to me
... Path to me
... Path within me, to me
... A few words a few thoughts, on the meaningful, on the meaningless !!

Share what you can, express what you feel!