Monthly Archives: August 2015

Who will I make peace with?

Who will I make peace with?

Peace is such an elusive term, attempting to attain peace I always feel I have gone piece – piece!  Personal experience has taught me the same lesson every time I ventured in search of peace; peace is what you feel from within and it comes only when the resistance from within stops and I am able to get into a state of accepting what is happening around me.

Peace is something I have been trying to make peace with since childhood. So, let me trace it back as far as my memory goes and see how at each stage I made peace with and who. Also how long this peace lasted before I was off searching peace againJ!

My first memory traces back to making peace with my siblings, either because I needed something from them or because we got into a squabble and it was time to make peace; else no one to play with! This making peace was in a day in day out affair, throughout my growing up years. Peace here seemed very easy to achieve because one moment we were all angry and at each other’s throats and the next we were either crying and hugging each other or apologizing and making amends or laughing away our foolish behaviour. Our childhood has a very simple definition and meaning for peace. The ability to be happy at that moment and have what we wish to have; then peace is there.

My next advent with peace was closer to my emotions and myself, than with making peace with others and buying peace from them, being at peace with them. My college days proved a big tug of war and a very learning experience at every step. The generation gap suddenly loomed very large in front of me and everything I did went against my parent’s wishes.  Try as I might I could not make peace with them, it lasted only so long before something else triggered their displeasure!  The career option I chose was not their choice, the clothes I started to wear were displeasing to them, the amount I ate raised their eyebrows sky high, the way I spoke seemed very outspoken, ill -mannered and brazen, the way I walked on the streets was rather provocative to their taste, they would have been happier with a more demure walk! The places I visited, the company I kept, everything was questionable or changeable. Name it, everything about my lifestyle and me had a red rage, or panic button written on it. Somehow, it was a mammoth task to please them and by the end of first year I was fast wearing out. The irony was that my sisters seemed to fare well! At least, their career path was graphed by my parents and they walked on it! I noticed that a lot of leeway was given to them, coming home after an appointed time was ok for them a taboo for me! They were going for coaching; I was going to waste my time doing something they did not want me to do in the first place. They rarely had to protest so the way spoke was exemplary, the way they walked was admirable and the way they conducted their life was what I was to emulate. Clothes and food became secondary and very minor negatives. The differences and challenges were gaping wide. And I was traversing down a whirlpool, caught up in my own dreams and ambitions and also trying to save my relationship with my parents, make peace with them.

If I made them happy, made peace at home doing what they wanted; I felt very obsolete and lonely at college! I was stuck between two very different worlds and I wondered why God landed me in this particular orthodox family! How all the other friends managed to look happy, be at ease (peace – I could not define or dare ask them then). I was unhappy at both places, home and outside of home. I was unhappy on my own, I was out of place with friends, and I was an outsider at home. And for the life of me, I could not figure out why! All I knew was making others happy was not buying me lasting happiness, and at times it made me sad. And many things I was doing were only a reaction or an act of defiance, I was not very comfortable or happy doing those deeds.

This set me thinking; and my last two years of degree were more of a self-study, than academic or career studies. The more I read, sought advice from my lecturers and the more I pondered; the answer that came to me was always a singular line – “Am I happy, comfortable, at peace doing whatever I was doing?” If yes, I was able to carry it through despite protests at home. I could convince them, reason and make peace too. But if the answer from within said – “No, I am not comfortable, at ease with myself.” Then I knew I needed to rethink.

To cut a long story short; I stepped into my post graduate studies as a person who was at peace with herself.  I had my challenges; my parents were still not very happy with my life’s progress report. I lost some good friends due to misunderstandings; I made some new ones along the way and in all this I managed to maintain my peace. I had made peace with myself, with who I am, who I need to be and how I need to live my life.

It made me strike a balance between achieving my needs and wishes, at the same time manage to keep my parents feathers unruffled and also maintain a good rapport with my friends and peers. I needed to weigh them, friends and family on either side of the weighing scale and I became the pivot or the tipping point. If I could hold myself steady the balance was maintained, else the scales tipped.  My lifestyle could not be dictated totally by anyone but me. The clothes I wore, the career I chose, the company I kept all were intrinsically tied to my comfort level and adaptability. If chose to be defiant and went against my family, I could not maintain the façade for long.  Something which stayed with me till now was the clothes I was brought up in and the clothes I out of the blue decided to wear when I entered college! Similarly, the food we were used to at home throughout my growing up years and the whole new palette that opened up because of college canteen, pocket money, outings with friends. I was comfortable only for a while and then became very ill at ease, both with the clothes and the food and the so called things I was doing with my friends. 

The situation now, as a mother and the challenges I face are more of a déjà vu. And much of what I did as a youth seems to flash in front of my eyes, actions and arguments with my teenage son. Fortunately for me, I learnt and implemented my learning and can be a smart, orthodox and a modern mom all rolled in one. Making peace with myself helped me translate the same to my children also. I coached them find their space, their comfort corner. I mentored them to identify their unique qualities, make peace with their faults or inabilities and focus on their strengths. The life they lead the choices they made; the kind of friends they moved with and finally the food they were inclined to, defined their inner nature and they had to find their balance in all this! Now peace for them is no longer friends and family balancing but balancing food, clothes, ambitions, and their own natural instincts.

Similarly, peace for me is an entirely new ball game, holds a different meaning and the war I wage is also distinctive to me. The understanding that came was making peace with family, relations and a friend is a life long journey.  This realisation dawned rather late to me, and how peace was pivotal to my leading a happy and a complete life. A life which left little to seek; a life which makes its mistakes, experiments, walks down unknown path and, yet is brave enough to acknowledge, accept and accomplish peace; an inner peace with the self.  A life which can inspire every other person I come contact with, and help that person also make peace, with whoever he or she is waging a war with; thus I too continue to make peace with myself.

Thank you.

P.S:

I wrote this article a year ago, published in another magazine titled: www.radiantstreets.com

The song of Self—Last Verse

The song of Self—Last Verse

The song of Self—Last Verse

Atma Shatagam – Adi Shankaracharya  788 – 820 BC

ahaṃ nirvikalpo nirākāra rūpo

vibhutvā ca sarvatra sarvendriyāṇaṃ

na cāsangata naiva muktir na meyaḥ

cidānandarūpaḥ śivo’ham śivo’ham

 

अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकाररूपो
विभुत्वाच्च सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् ।
न चासङ्गतं नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥६॥

 

Meaning:

 

I am all pervasive. I am without any attributes, and without any form. I have neither attachment to the world, nor to liberation (mukti). I have no wishes for anything because I am everything, everywhere, every time, always in equilibrium.  I am Shiva, shivoham, shivoham. I am indeed, that eternal knowing and bliss, the auspicious (Śivam), love and pure consciousness.

 

Further Elaboration:

All the above verses incessantly elucidate the same thing, trying to answer the single question: who am I? Since this is the last verse I am recapitulating the first five verses here below J

Mano Buddhi Ahankara Chitta Ninaham
Nacha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghrana Netre
Nacha Vyoma Bhoomir Na Tejo Na Vayu
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego, nor the reflections of inner self (chitta).
I am not the five senses. I am beyond that.
I am not the ether, nor the earth, nor the fire, nor the wind (the five elements).
I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.

Na Cha Prana Samjno Na Vai Pancha Vayu
Na Va Saptadhatur Na Va Pancha Koshah
Na Vak Pani Padau Na Chopastha Payu
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

Neither can I be termed as energy (prana), nor five types of breath (vayus), nor the seven material essences, nor the five coverings (pancha-kosha).  Neither am I the five instruments of elimination, procreation, motion, grasping, or speaking.

Na Me Dvesha Ragau Na Me Lobha Mohau
Mado Naiva Me Naiva Matsarya Bhavah
Na Dharmo Na Chartho Na Kamo Na Mokshah
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

I have no hatred or dislike,  nor affiliation or liking,  nor greed,  nor delusion, 
nor pride or haughtiness,  nor feelings of envy or jealousy. I have no duty (dharma), nor any money, nor any desire (kama),  nor even liberation (moksha).

Na Punyam Na Papam Na Saukhyam Na Dukham
Na Mantro Na Teertham Na Vedo Na Yajnaha
Aham Bhojanam Naiva Bhojyam Na Bhokta
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham


I have neither merit (virtue), nor demerit (vice). I do not commit sins or good deeds, nor have happiness or sorrow, pain or pleasure. I do not need mantras, holy places, scriptures (Vedas), rituals or sacrifices (yagnas). I am none of the triad of the observer or one who experiences, the process of observing or experiencing,
or any object being observed or experienced


Na Me Mrityu Shanka Na Me Jati Bhedah
Pita Naiva Me Naiva Mata Na Janma
Na Bandhur Na Mitram Gurur Naiva Shishyah
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

I do not have fear of death, as I do not have death. I have no separation from my true self, no doubt about my existence, nor have I discrimination on the basis of birth. I have no father or mother, nor did I have a birth. I am not the relative, 
nor the friend, nor the guru, nor the disciple. 

 

All the above verses; if the reader gives them a careful reading; continuously explain what the boy ( shankaracharya ) is not! He begins saying – “He is not mind, intellect nor ego, then up until the fifth verse he is saying he is not death nor birth, since he has neither!”  Only the last verse begins with – “I am…” He is all pervasive. He is everywhere and in everything and in everyone! He is… and because He is …this world also is…” if we deny His existence then we might have to question all else too. He resides in every animate- inanimate part, particle of this universe and beyond. How can anyone not be Him when we all have Him in us? Do the broken pieces of a mirror reflect a different face in every broken piece? No! They reflect the same face; even the smallest shard has the same face, very miniscule undoubtedly, but the same reflection. Where is the doubt then? Why do we think HE is separate from us? Why this feeling of distance or separateness and differentiation? What fails to bring in the feeling of oneness in all of us?

Why do we behave thus? Why do we so doggedly distance our self from our Self? I am repeating the  introductory paragraph here:   It is a very striking point to note that when the universe began it was in such a pristine pure state; science and spirituality were one, Religion was one, and we all were one. Every householder was a saint, enlightened and achieving the real goal of life. With time ominously dark clouds started to appear, wisdom became a restricted property. Religion became Religions, and Science and spirituality parted ways. Science looked for reason and doubted everything, Spirituality became the mute spectator. We have uprooted our own culture and heritage in our greed for wealth and scientific advancement. What every householder knew then is an enigma to almost the whole nation now.

 What Jagat Guru, Adi shankaracharya could answer with such simplicity and lucidity then, in 788 – 820 BC; at the mere age of 8; we, today, are yet to decipher and capture the essence of those verses. This realized soul knew the reason, purpose, source of his existence and the role he had come to play in the short life that God had blessed him with.

 

And here we are today, with all our modern technologies and extraordinary discoveries, yet befuddled more than ever before and unable to answer the fundamental question.

During our self development classes we ask the students this question – Who am I? And my co –faculty always introduces this in a unique way: “we used to have a television show (This is during those good old B/W TV days where only one channel came) named ‘Tarang’. In that show once the teacher and the students play ’catch me if you can’ and all the children race to catch the teacher. One student catches the hand and shouts, ‘caught you, caught you!’ And the wise teacher says, ‘NO! You caught my hand! U did not catch me!’ and this goes on, one student catches the head, the shirt, the leg, all the body parts but get the same reply from the teacher!! Suddenly they all jump on the teacher together and scream in unison, ‘Now we caught you! And the wily teacher still has that huge smile on his face and says, ‘No! This is my body that you have pounced upon! Who am I!? ” Now this story always holds the audience and they all close their eyes to introspect, pause and ruminate. What is it that aptly answers this question?

If we take the example of Bruce Lee’s famous dialogue: “Be Water my friend…” Are we water? Even then one is a glass of water, the other may be a cup, then again another may be rose colored water and someone else maybe ice. These are all the attributes and clothing or coverings of water. But are we water yet? Water is, it has no taste, no form, no color, and no attributes; yet without water we cannot survive. Similarly, HE is and so I am! All the rest that differentiate us from each other are merely attributes, layers, clothing, bondages, samskara whatever name we choose to give. Thus, remove the layers and what remains is He. And the same He will be in everyone, and all becomes One, singular, no diversity nor separateness.

No wonder that a true Saint sees only a reflection of oneself in the rest of the world. And we in our stupid smallness try to see ourselves and find fault in the rest of the world. We are unique, true, but think again, is this uniqueness really such a good attribute? Why do we wish to be unique or different?

Thus, to conclude, try and see Him in yourself, to answer this question ‘ who am I?’ and to truly realize Him and be one with Him,  try and see Him in all else too. I am..Because He is…

Thank you

Apology..

Dear Readers,

I am re starting my blog after a year long hiatus. Suffice to say I sincerely regret this lapse on my part and will earnestly ensure that this does not happen again.

Too many things kept me pre – occupied, but again, all those are excuses, not worth elaborating upon. I seriously pray that you, my readers have not given up on me and will continue read my upcoming articles.

Apart for being my passion; I pursue writing because of the encouragement I have received from you all in the past. Your comments, suggestions and ideas are always welcome and are a great source of joy to me. They give me hope and a renewal of faith in myself. A small difference to any one reader makes my article a prize winner for me. So please continue to comment, suggest and leave an opinion.

My humble request, Please start reading again; lots is coming up beginning todayJ. My sincere apologies once again and praying for a great time together always…

Love always,

Sharanya

I am completing the unfinished ‘Atma Shatakam’ first ..so, here goes..