Philosophy

What Do We take With Us?

‘Many succeed momentarily by what they know;
Some succeed temporarily by what they do; but
Few succeed permanently by what they are.’

These three lines have always stayed with me and keep me rooted to the earth. A kind of a reminder to tell me is what you leave behind or what makes you immortal is what you are and were when you were alive, not what you possessed 
by way of wealth and reputation.  
There is a small story about a rich, stingy businessman and his only friend, a tailor. The more the wealth the stingier and meaner is the temperament of the rich may be a true curse. You have all the money which neither do you know how to spend nor are you able to give it away. Anyway, I will not to digress from the main story.
This businessman also fell ill, and his days seemed to be numbered. The tailor’s son came to pay his respects to the ailing Seth and said, ‘Master, I have a small request for you, my father is already in heaven and has forgotten to take his needle with him. He always used to dream of stitching lovely clothes for Gods up in heaven which he is unable to do because his needle is here. Could you please take this needle with you and hand it over to my father, in heaven, where you will be meeting him.’
The tailor was the miser’s only friend, so refusing was out of question. He readily obliged because the boy was not asking him to part with anything, he was foolishly asking this miser to take something with him! So, the businessman took the needle promising to take it with him to heaven the boy happily went away bowing to the miser. Now the businessman thought and thought of all the probable places where he could keep the needle so that he could take it with him whe
n he died. He began wondering about the ways in which he could take the needle with him to heaven. ‘Pin it on my shirt
? No, my clothes online casino will get burnt in the pyre and so will the needle’. Then he thought, ‘Maybe in my mouth, in the bulge of my cheek? But my whole body will be burnt to ashes, how will this small needle survive?’
Without any plausible answer to his dilemma, the Seth got very frustrated and called the little boy and shouted, ‘How can I take this needle with me. I am anyway going to be burnt when I die and reduced to ashes!’

I don’t think I need to add anything else in this article for the reader to understand what I wish to say. I will simply end this with a small poem, a favorite of mine from the book, ‘Becoming a person of influence by Jim Dornan:
The boy only smiled and looked questioningly at the businessman implying, ‘you cannot a small needle and you are hoarding all this wealth for what and to use when?’

My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done,
Leave countless marks for good or ill ere sets the evening sun,
This is the wish I always wish, the prayer I always pray;
Lord, may my life help other lives it touches by the way.’

 

Khalil Gibran on marriage

I am an ardent fan of Khalil Gibran; a poet, philosopher, visionary, saint ….I run out of eulogies when I need to describe this one person. This page is dedicated to him, In the sense I will be writing his poems and try to understand them with you all. Each of us sees the same thing with a unique individual perception. Help understand this great prophet better… He writes:

The sea between the shores of the couples souls
Aye,you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But, let there be spaces in togetherness.
                                                                                                                                  There are a lot of calories in beer and drunk homemade detox drinks in indiscriminate and you don’t individual to drinkable rattling such of it to play putting on unit.                     
Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let your love be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other”s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of lute are casino alone though they quiver with the same music. give your heart but not into each other”s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. Stand together yet not too near together. For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other”s shadow.
colorful life



Beautiful, is it not? A few lines to aptly describe the way a couple can live together and be happy too! A marriage is not about merging with each other! How can two different people merge? Lose their identity? Can an oak tree and the cypress tree be called oak tree? We need to walk hand in hand towards the same goal. Like the train tracks, each one independent yet dependent and very imperative for the smooth running of the train. Give your love to your spouse but safe guard your heart. That is for the creator! We humans forget this truth. We shower everything on each other. And breath down each other”s neck! We forget the creator ,the purpose of our lives and ourselves too. We begin trying to merge ;with unmet expectations end up on different shores with a sea of misunderstandings between us.
So simple yet so difficult!

Dream or Reality

King Janak, of Mithila, once dreamt that he was a hungry pauper and begging for food. He Went from door to door only to be turned away dejected and empty handed. He finally reached a Dharmashala where alms were given to beggars. The poor King had no bowl to receive the food and was sent away from here also unceremoniously. He further dreamt that he scavenged the bins and garbage pools in search of a bowl and finally chanced upon a broken earthen pot piece! The king hurried back with the bowl and got whatever little the bowl piece could hold.
To make matters worse for the crestfallen king he also dreamt that as he was about to put a morsel in his mouth, a bull fight began and they came charging in his direction. Sheer fright stoned the poor king and the bowl of food fell to the floor. He woke up drenched in sweat and totally unsettled. He then heard, “Wake up your majesty!” the loud gong and the sentry in the doorway.
A momentary sense of sadness loomed large over the king. Was the dream real? Or what he was living now, the wakeup call of the sentry and his kingly bed, the richness and mansion, was this real? What if he really had to face the life he dreamt of just now? Was he actually prepared to face such a reality if it were ever to occur?
Are we also not living in a surreal dream like world? All of us seem to be oscillating in a state of sleep and wakefulness. When we are prepared for an event and its eventuality we think we are awake. Because then things go our way and we can perceive or anticipate the end result. If things unexpectedly occur and we have to countenance mishaps or unfortunate losses we want to quickly erase it from our memory like a bad dream or a nightmare best forgotten.
But isn’t this entire life a series of eventualities? It is a sequence of dreams; some pleasant and some not so pleasant. Do we really have a wakeful state is the question we need to ask ourselves. A dream, asleep, last a few minutes and makes us brood over it for maybe an hour or so. This life, in real, is also a dream lasting for maybe 50-70 years encompassing many smaller dreams within dreams over the lifespan of the dreamer. 

Know Myself?

A message

My spiritual Guru mentions in one of his books, “The science of the souls is least explored. The man ignores this priceless richness. The approach to it does not follow the right direction; though knowing oneself well would be the least thing, before trying to penetrate the secrets of the universe. Man is afraid of going to the heart of things. Many of them do not believe in the higher forces weaving the threads of their destiny. They are afraid of this kind of ‘greatness’ and unconsciously they try to escape it. They want to be autonomous, deciding their own life, which they believe they are conducting as they like. They want to know, believing that thus they can earn some power over the elements. By deciding to go and explore other planets, they only let a bad inner instinct of conquest manifest itself. To plant a flag, to dominate, to monopolize a territory and to disturb unscrupulously the established order, that is the ideal that motivates them. Man would like to exercise his powers beyond this planet, the exploration of which has become banal. He has taken control of, ransacked and polluted everything. He does not discover with a view to respecting creation, for him, a virgin territory is a source of profit. His desire for space conquest partakes of this context.”

 

who am I?

Do I know myself?

I read and reread the above paragraph before I could really begin to assimilate the meaning. I began with a scoff and an expression of disdain challenging my Guru’s words. The more I read the above passage, mulled over it, clearer became the essence and truer each word started to appear to me. The verity of it all sunk and hit me like a ton of bricks. I am practicing meditation the last three years now and every day I am surprised at the extraordinarily simple meaning it gives to everything. All it teaches me is to know myself, something I have pushed in to the back most quarters of my being. What exactly did I have when I was born? And what am I going to take back with me when I die? Who is it that I am really searching for? Did I stop after I found what I was looking for? My answers were very shameful to my own self, I am sad to realize. Let me answer them as they come to me, I came with nothing and I will leave it all behind and only my soul ascends, leaves again in search of a new body or to merge with God, I am unsure, is a known truth. I knew this all along, but I thought, ‘That does not mean I simply sit back and do nothing, I need to study, earn, live a life!’ True? Again my heart said, ‘True, of course you are not supposed to sit back, you did not either, you finished studies, you worked and you also have , and are still leading a good life! Correct?’ I involuntarily nodded, correct. So, the next question that popped up is, ‘now what? You have been doing the same thing for the last 20 years or so, so where are you on your online casino journey of life? Are you happy?’ This was a tough one to answer candidly, I mean, of course I am happy! But where am I? What next? I am not so sure. In fact where am I in comparison to my yesterday, as a human being, a person, an individual? My conscious self had no answer. Have I progressed on the road to life, in retrospect, ‘No, I am actually leading a meaningless life on a daily basis without really going anywhere.’

From the day I joined meditation I realized my true goal to be as ‘Knowing myself and becoming one with the one inside me’ So, forget the past, at least the last three years could I honestly say I am walking towards my goal? Do I know myself better than what I knew or more than what I knew before? Again, sadly, my heart shook its head negatively. Partially I am more aware, but me, my real self is still locked up in the small corner of my heart, unknown, waiting and maybe breathing its last out of starvation and negligence! Everything and everyone else is still occupying the major seat of the heart and I am yet to give myself back to the one who created me! What a shame and what gross ingratitude! I still make excuses to follow the simple steps laid out in our system. I am still embroiled in the material, perceivable world. It is a simple path yet so difficult to follow! My real self has become mute and deaf with the clamor on the outside.

I know I have to nourish my soul and give my heart to the soul in its entirety; I am only returning what rightfully belonged to the soul always. Procrastination is all that I am doing for the last three years. Whatever I am earning in the material world is no food for my soul; it is staying here, in the material world. My soul came bare and I covered it with layers and layers of thoughts and bondages. When the time to go comes the soul may have long gone and I will still be foolishly feeding and dressing the external self. It is time to really awaken, not just wake up, and know my real self and become like the self that created me. Wish me luck please.

Anger – Render it powerless

Anger- Your enemy

Anger is the single most dreadful disease a human being can suffer from. This leaves the person totally incapacitated and helpless, more like an invalid. Anger robs the person of discretion, reasoning, sanity and love. It breeds hatred, guilt and fear in the person. An angry person is afraid from within and feared by the outside world too. It is a double loss to the individual. The reasons for anger are many but the result is the same always; it gets a hold over our reasoning and wisdom. For any personal progress getting a grip over this vicious vice is imperative.

If we can fathom the reason for our anger; it is half the battle won. Each one has their own unique triggers and we get an intuition even before we are actually in the situation. Anger gives a premonition and tells the person that we are walking into the red alert zone. All we need to be is awake, alert and read the signs correctly. We can avoid the traps and move away from that place till the storm subsides and re-enter with a sane frame of mind. So you are proactively addressing the crisis and the chances of a positive result are enhanced instantaneously. The individual triggers need to be addressed first as compared to the events on the outside, which arouse anger in the individual. Unmet expectations is the most predominant and common cause of anger and very controllable too. Start keeping a lower bench mark and try and make it negligible over a period of time. The normal or calm state of mind stays with such people and one rarely encounters them in a ruffled state.

Get a hold please!

Managing anger

The few tips to managing anger:

Learn to be forgiving: I am mentioning this first because this is the most difficult part. Anger makes us do and say things we regret later and it becomes very tough to forgive and forget. It may be possible to forget the other person but the real test and challenge is to forgive oneself. If we are able to recall the pain of forgiving oneself then getting a hold over that anger trigger will seem an easier hurdle to overcome. Personally, this has been my toughest battle. I am totally unforgiving and very vengeful by nature. Getting angry was equivalent to raising hell and severing ties with the person totally. Am a better and more self forgiving person now, anger still comes but goes away real quick.

Find an acceptable outlet for yourself: Getting angry is not so abnormal, but getting out of control when you are angry is the worrisome part. If we have a reasonable, more acceptable channel to release our steam it is a safe bet to go for it. This activity or outlet must be easy and something that comes spontaneously to the person concerned. If the person has to seek an outlet which is not very close to the heart then it never pops to the mind when the person is getting angry. My counselor used to tell me to drink water, count to 10 or switch off mentally. All the three were not my cup of tea! I could never think of water or even casino manage counting and switching off was impossible when I was so boiling with rage! I decided what worked for me was, leave that place. Just get away and revisit it when you are calmer. So, seek your own individual outlet, please. Else you will get angrier at not being able to control your anger!

Go out for walks: This is the most therapeutic way of getting off the steam, and least harmful. Walking takes the person away from the place of action and also gives the person time to think, come back to a calm state, start thinking reasonably and do some introspection. This and what I am about to write further worked wonders for me.

Regular dairy writing, prayer and meditation proved to be my panacea. I did this with dedication; in fact I am still doing all the three, for 3 months and I could see a change in myself. I would sit and write about the situation, and what exactly caused the anger to surge in me. I realized that none out of ten, it was something very frivolous and easily ignorable. All I had to do initially was move away, and with time I could mentally switch off myself. At times I still used to get angry, react, and then write about it in my dairy. This worked as an introspective tool for me. I would read it through and promise to myself to put an end to this. It took me 3 months of sustained efforts and a conscious deliberate determination on my part to overcome my anger. I am not saying I have conquered this vice but I am on track and continuing to do so.

Despite these individual differences we all are not so different really, because in the end we do get angry and are afraid of losing control. So, see what works for you and walk on the right path right away. Letting go of anger gives us courage unknown and we feel less burdened and light enough to be able to fly. Good luck and new beginnings to all of us.

God or Guru

Why Guru?

Saint Kabir beautifully sings these few lines which when translated mean, “Guru and God both are standing in front of me, and I am confused as to who to bow to first. Praise be to thee, O guru for leading me, and pointing in the God’s direction!”

God and Guru are not in a contest as far as supremacy between them is concerned. We devotees of God and disciples of Guru are confused about their role and supremacy. The conflict stems from our own fear and dual state of mind. Swami Vivekananda treated his guru Ramakrishna as God and never looked elsewhere. His guru, Ramakrishna, showed him the path that leads to enlightenment and merger with God. To achieve or realize God one has to approach a Guru, because a Guru is the gateway to God. Saint Kabir himself was a realized soul at the tender age of 12, yet he needed the guidance and blessings of Guru Ramdas to finally merge with God. It is not who is superior or more important than the other, the simple truth is one leads to the other. You have to seek a Guru if you are earnestly seeking God; both go hand in hand and cannot be ignored. Even God had to be born as human to attain salvation. How can God merge with god? He has to come down to earth, live the life of a human being, aspire for god, thirst for god, seek God and search for a guru who will lead the way! So the road to God is definitely through a Guru alone.

Do we need a Guru?

Many people read a lot of philosophy and religious texts and think they know everything, and they can thus approach God directly, rather they do not need the guru as a middleman! It is like learning to swim reading the swimming manual, without the guidance of a coach. If we wish to do a PhD on any subject is it possible to accomplish the feat without a teacher? Or is it possible even with a teacher who is educated only till the degree level? If the teacher is trained only till nursery levels then how can he/she possibly guide you to the finish line? And which ‘Do -it –Yourself’ manual can really take you the finish line either? Think about this carefully and answer for yourself. You may think of yourself as independent, learned, wise etc, hence not needing a guru, but your individual progress in any direction will be hampered. Like for any qualification on any path you need a teacher and an able guide, similarly to qualify and attain your spiritual goals you need an able guru.

To conclude, God is the goal, guru is the guide to the goal and the path we choose or the guru we choose is left to our better judgment and discernment. The bond with one does not preclude the need the other; it takes our hand, extends itself to lead us to the other.

Giving-Can we?

My experience with giving

We always read and are taught that the more you give, the more you get. Or whatever you give comes back to you multiplied and many others in the same vein. Even I have grown up reading all this, yet when I see a beggar I try to decide how much he/ she will need! If I do not have change I put a ten rupee note and pick out 5-7 rupee coins from the beggars bowl! It did not bother me much earlier. I used to think, ‘What the heck! They surely do not need Rs.10/-! Rs.2 is more than enough, and so on.’ The look on the beggars face was indescribable. I never made eye contact though, simply picked my change and hurried away. Very recently, I read this article:

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, the famous ghazal singer, was known to give, give and give. He returned home to Pakistan, preferring to spend the last days of his life in his homeland. But his Indian Bhajans and songs in praise of Indian Gods was met with opposition; forcing him to return to Bombay, India. He came back a penniless man with no income or wealth. So, his aficionados, the lovers of his music, collected Rs. 20000/- (In those days it was decent amount) and gave it to the maestro.

That very evening, after the concert; somebody came up to Ghulam Ali Saab and started weeping, saying he had no money, not even for food. This great human being pulled out the entire sum of Rs. 20000/- from his pockets and simply gave it all to the weeping person! He retained not a single coin even.

I felt so ashamed, I had nowhere to hide. The whole picking the change from the beggars bowl and the stricken look on the beggars face was right in front of my eyes. I died a thousand deaths in that one moment of realization. I am so self –centered! What a sop to my conscious I gave deciding how much the beggar needed! Who Am I to decide?

My spiritual Guru writes, ’what we receive is to be distributed. Even distributing has its own law which says,”Unless everybody receives, you cannot give to one in particular, except when it is your family.’ Even in a family we do give only one person followed with the instruction of “share it with all “or “distribute equally amongst all present.” When we sow seeds and water our fields, we do not water a particular seed. We water the whole field and which seed grows bears fruit is not in our hands. It is not for us to pre judge the seed and say, ’yes, this will bear fruit, so I will water only this seed!’

Similarly when we have fish in the tank to feed, we do not feed one fish! We feed all of them; you cannot isolate one and say this one’s hunger is more than the other! But when it comes to giving we become very judgmental and stingy too. We will give as much as we want, to who so ever deserves according to us! Why?

Bade Ghulam Ali khan had nothing when he returned to Bombay. He received from others and the very same evening he parted with the entire amount without hesitation. He gave, simply gave away what he had. Whether he had anything for himself was never on his mind and whether the person asking deserved, needed that much also never crossed this magnanimous man’s mind.

He gave, truly gave away!

parents were kids too

parents were kids!

This picture has the mother too. Pick who is who! Very funnily we forget the day we don the parents garb that we were children once!.As a counselor, specializing in adolescent counseling, “how to tame my wild child ” is the most popular query. And almost nine out of ten parents say, “we were never like this! we used to obey, behave, never question our parents…look at this generation! I did everything exactly the way my parents taught me! In fact, I gave them freedom and raised them in a very unorthodox way! Look at what I got myself into today ” They lament endlessly and I feel very bad interrupting and snapping them out of their self-piteous dream.

careful ,it may snap

I will quote my favorite author again, Khalil Gibran says”Your children The Affordable Care Act does address the growing cost of health care, it’s true focus is on reforming and expanding health individual insurance . are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life”s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday . You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”

Shows us the mirror very blatantly, yes? We want our children to become what we could not, our unfulfilled dreams and aspirations are unconsciously pushed under their nose. Some lucky parents are blessed with a progeny which willingly steps into the parents shoes. But many seek different goals and want to walk the path less trodden. It is wiser if the parents learn to adapt to the changing times. what may have been the best during our youth will surely be obsolete today. We must guide them and show them the alternatives available; leaving the decision making to them. The more you stretch the string of the bow the sooner it is likely to snap, rendering it useless altogether. Likewise, when the coercion becomes unbearable, the child snaps and rebels. The misbehaving starts and the parents agitation starts too.

This generation parents have become needlessly competitive. The acceptance levels run low and comparison is the biggest vice. The children are finding it burdensome to live up to their expectations and many are succumbing to the pressure .