change

NOSTALGIA…

NOSTALGIA…

As we (my better half and I) started to pull the car out of the drive way to get some shopping done we saw the mailman drop a post into the neighbour’s mailbox and walk right past our door. I noticed this and commented, “Aww! No mail for us; which means no one is thinking about us!”

Pat came the repartee from my husband, “You should be happy we don’t have a mail! It means no taxes and no bills to be paid yet! No one is asking for my hard earned money!”

Now, that was a new way to look at it, I thought. The emotional me was being woeful about no ‘letters’ coming from any near and dear ones and here he was, my ever practical better half; happy that no expense statement was pending.   The thought that in this day of emails and ‘Whats app’ and ‘Twitter’, where the news of the world is at our fingertips and available in current time; anyone would bother to write a formal letter, is ridiculous.

The world’s best technology working at the beck and call of every single person in every household, toddler included; it transported me to my ‘good old days’ of when I was studying in college. The last two decades have wreaked havoc in our personal lives in the name of advanced technology and the revolution of information dispersal. Most of the allure of waiting, the charm of expecting for a special moment is lost today. These are such sad times of instant gratification that anything which requires patience and a little bit of waiting have lost charm.  We have forgotten ‘how to wait ‘and as a result we run short of patience, high on temper and our temperament is very ‘snappish’. Everything has to happen at the ‘like the click of our fingers’ else we can easily move on to something else, because this takes too much time.

Before leaving home for college studies my dad wrote me a ‘loooooong’ letter,  full of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’.  He bought me a dozen Inland letters and I was asked to write a letter once in every 3 days, and call him once a week.  If I sent a letter with my results, I used to expectantly wait for the post man and dread my dad’s’ ‘reply’ and what further advice, admonishing was in store for me! We used to go out and wait in the queue of STD booth and make our weekly calls back home. They had implicit faith in us and in their upbringing too. Else, how could they have survived without speaking to us for six long days?!

This apart, even when I got engaged my fiancé used to send post cards and write 6 page long declarations of undying love! I have a huge folder still, a collection of all his love letters.  He used to call at specific times and I had to wait by the Land line; the one and only phone at home.  It had its own charm I think.

Even after marriage he used to travel a lot. We did not even have a landline then. I had to take permission from my Landlady and wait by the phone at the appointed time. My landlady would discreetly make herself scarce, yet I used to feel very conscious of the time and uncomfortable about intruding their privacy. The end of every call would begin my second wait for long letters detailing about his times away from family and how much he misses us.

Today also he travels a lot; but the wait is missing for many reasons.  The best reason is of course, the great strides our wonderful technology has made! From no phone days, we have come to the day where ALL of us have the latest phones! So communication is instant. We have to wait for nothing and no one, in fact if he( my better half) for some reason gets delayed or fails to inform me that he has reached a place or is about to leave from a place, I get angry!! I am not totally blaming advanced technology for the increase in my expectation and decrease in patience, but it does have a big role to play.

I have not written a letter in years now. We all have learnt to text each other with great alacrity and absolute dexterity in the best of abbreviations possible! My handwriting (which used to be like a ‘string of pearls’ –my 8th class teacher’s compliment I cherish till date) is reduced to some doctor’s prescription legible to none at all! So, letter writing is an unthinkable option today. The second big loss I have suffered because of these phones is ‘memory’!  Once upon a time, long long ago, I held the esteemed post of being the official directory for my family, friends and extended family. I could rattle off phone numbers, birthday dates, anniversaries and other important ‘first meeting’ dates with ease. Today, I suffer from selective amnesia! My hi-tech phone has a reminder setting, and the ubiquitous Face book declares every personal detail awfully publicly. So, the need to remember has ceased and my memory bid adieu too!

The sad thing about this technology is that we seem to live a public life and yet a very lonely one. When I had to wait for my husband’s call and go to the Landlady’s house, I worked hard to maintain a good rapport with her. This was a good exercise for my social skills.  Then, I did not hesitate in seeking her help. If I sought help from her, I used to be conscious that I be ready to help her too, when and if she ever needed me.  Today, I have the world at my finger tips (my latest 4G enabled phone) needing favours from anyone has become a bit far fetched.  Everyone does home delivery, everyone has a mobile, an e-mail Id and a website of their own in some cases! Be it my grocer, my hair dresser or my favourite restaurant guy! If all of them fail, I can always summon my better half! He dare not refuse to appease to my demands and I need not be polite either nor do I have to repay the good favour! Why bother getting dressed, put on a smile meet my neighbours or anyone for that matter?  My life is so boringly limited (yet exceedingly rushed) to the phone that I lack the time to meet anyone. This one gadget has managed to rob me of my flawless etiquette and my natural charming demeanour and reduced me to zero social skills!

There it is, my woeful state of vegetated existence, a small walk down the memory lane, all because ‘I haven’t got a mail’. All I have is my Smart PhoneJ

You are the one

Last month I visited a remote village outside of Ghaziabad, UP to conduct puja. We, the other volunteer and I were delayed, trying to find our way and by the time we reached there a small group of people were already waiting for us. 

I apologized for the delay and started the puja, before and after the every session I ask a few relevant questions like when was their last sitting, or how is their meditation going on, do they have any doubts regarding the practice and so on and so forth. I followed the same path here also but the responses I got were all very different from the usual anticipated ones. In addition to answering my questions with utmost brevity all of them cited some other problem or ailment of theirs in great detail. By the time I came to the 6th or 7th person I was kind of feeling low and eager to see a young chirpy smiling face. These women and men alike were all middle aged and could only complain and crib about their life’s inconveniences. I did not know when next I would visit this place and so I certainly was incapacitated as far as helping them in any way was concerned. The feeling of helplessness was settling in and I was slumping in my chair praying for some young face, and soon.

It is true that when you fervently wish for something to happen even the God’s conspire to make it a reality. And the next two that sat in front of me were a mother and her daughter! I must have really smiled for the first time that day, out of sheer relief. So, I started talking to the daughter, asked her name and what she wanted to do and this is the small conversation we had, her mother butting in at the right places:

Me, “Namastey, what’s your name? ”

Mother, “Archana, she is studying Law! She wants to become an advocate!”

Me, looking at the daughter, “Really! That’s great! Become an advocate and do what?”

Archana, “Do something for my country, do good”

Me, “Wow! That is really cool, so you have a plan in place? I mean you wish to do something for the country, so where are you going to begin? Country is huge! ”

Mother, “She will start from here; her native place, she will start here madam! Then she will go to the city and then country!”

The daughter nodded in agreement and I was kind of beginning to have fun, finally. So, I continued, “So, to start from here also you need to be aware of the problems they are having and the wrong things that are happening in your vicinity, right?”

Again before the daughter could open her online casino mouth the mother said, ‘No, no, she knows nothing! She is busy studying always; in fact she comes here for weekends, stays with her aunt!’

I probably had a very visibly puzzled look by now because the daughter softly said, ‘No, I think I will try and correct the things that I can correct at home first, then village, and then from there probably try and bring a change and serve the nation!’

This answer pleased me and I was happy that she was narrowing it down and thinking about where and how she could bring a change. I just had to push her a little more and probably I would get the answer I was angling for from the start of this conversation.

 I said, “Wow! Good, so home is the first place you think needs to be changed is it?”

Mother, ‘Home? What is wrong at home? And what do you want to change at home?!

And before the girl could begin to explain, the mother declared, “You change yourself first! Set things right with you, your time table, dreams and goals! The rest will fall in place. Change should begin with the concerned person, right sister?”

I was too speechless with the quick reaction and exchange, but the sweet and wise girl thought for a moment and said, “Yes, sister. What my mum says is correct. I will first change and then only can I think of brining a change, here or anywhere. You please start meditation.”

I had my answer; I smiled and started the puja with a smile on my face. A few simple exchanges and both, mother and daughter had hit some home truths on realising dreams and where change should really begin from.

Globally, the youth today is full of energy, enthusiasm and fire with the burning desire to bring the change. The path nevertheless is totally hazy and they are too impatient to wait, think and chalk out the path in the first place. They have envisioned a grandiose dream and are totally in the dark as to how to realise the dream. Frustration, anger sets in fast and they become aggressive blaming the system, parents and everything else. The famous quote of Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see” is forgotten or never understood in its totality.

To close this, here is another clipping sent by a friend of mine, another true anecdote with the same message.

 WORDS FOR TEENAGERS

Northland College Principal John Tapene has offered the following words from a judge who regularly deals with youth, “Always we hear the cry from teenagers, ‘what can we do, where can we go?”

My answer to this is. “Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, study your lessons, visit the sick, and after you have finished, read a book, your town does not owe you any recreational facilities, your parents do not owe you fun.

The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that now one will be at war, in sickness and lonely again. In other words, grow up, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a back bone not a wish bone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It is too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now, and that somebody is you!”

 

 

Sahaj Marg- Miraculous Path

The biggest hurdle for me on joining Sahaj Marg was letting go of my beautiful and most cherished temple. I had literally created it, handpicked the small idols from different holy places I had visited over the years and almost everything in that temple had some story, memory, meaning attached to it. Even the small lamps that I used were from Kedarnath!

Apart for me amassing them with love and devotion, a few idols that came as a gift, came at very opportune or propitious moments and made their place in the temple permanent. To sum it up the temple was very miraculous and significant to me and I was loathe dismantling it or seeing it leave the house. Maybe that it is why it took me a year to give away without having any qualms or feelings of guilt, fear or shame.

The second, bigger block was the ‘miracles’ that most of my family members used to narrate to me, whenever they visited a temple or their family guru performed a Puja at their place. This bothered me much more than the temple really because in Sahaj Marg we do not have anything like ‘miracles’ and we are seriously advised NOT to look out for or seek miracles! Temple worship is treated a bit leniently in comparison to the new comer seeking miracles in Sahaj Marg, according to me.

I used to listen to my relatives with admiration and slight resentment; envy that I do not have such stories or experiences or miracles to gloat about.  My miniscule personal miracle after joining Sahaj Marg was the way “Whispers from the Brighter World” gave me answers or resolved doubts for me.  Anything that used to gnaw and tease me used to get clarified from ‘Whispers’. I at times used to get very teary, overwhelmingly emotional and rush to my husband (a cynic and a sceptic to the core!) and narrate ‘my miracle’; his non-committal comment was, “Okay, I thought you finally have joined something sensible, looks like I was mistaken. You still seem to be searching for things on the outside like the rest of them.”  Or if I was in defiant challenging mood and dared him to give a negative reply he would smile rather indulgently, shrug his shoulders and leave the place. The comment and his quick exit both used to pierce me right through, like a sharp dagger and all the bleeding finally stopped me from searching for a ‘miracle’ through whispers or any external source altogether.

I came to my next question; then what is so special or different or exclusive about Sahaj Marg? Why was I even practicing it for the last two years? And what exactly is a miracle for me that I want to gloat about to others? What did I accomplish in order to boast or call it a miracle?

Master has his own way of teaching us what we need to know, at the apt moment and in a very exacting way. I overheard my husband, who till them was a very reluctant participant, one day, “The amazing change in my wife over the last 2 years is almost miraculous to me! It is as if Sahaj Marg has waved a magic wand over her and she is a very new, different person! ”

So, there it was, the miracle, working for the last two years for others perception! My abhyas, Sahaj Marg had performed a miracle on me! Master keeps saying in almost all his speeches, “Look Within, it is all inside you and you alone!”

My husband saw the change in me and joined the mission willingly and encourages online casino others to do the same- my first miracle and the series has been never ending since then. But again these are external miracles on some else, I have changed to become a better person and improving every day, a miracle!

The last best thought that struck me came from a preceptor in Ghaziabad ashram, Sister Poonam Saxena. She was explaining the system to some new to be abhyasis and said, “Sahaj Marg is not about getting or gaining something. It is about changing and becoming something!” There it was; the miracle! A changed human being because of Sahaj Marg! Which system gives this reassurance and invites this self-enquiry? This system does.

Which Guru reposes so much confidence in another human being of no calibre and encourages him/her to become divinised or meet the Master? Sahaj Marg does exactly that, creating preceptors, giving them the responsibility to work for the Guru and in turn progress on their own spiritual path towards their real goal.

Which system never says ‘no’ to anything and yet manages to help the aspirant in saying “no” or letting go of everything that is unnecessary. The transition is so smooth one never realises that one has let go of anything at all! This wonderful mission enables this too. This mission allowed me, the stubborn egotistic me to change me and chiselled away at the jagged, chaffed ends and set me on the road to becoming a divinised being. If this is not miraculous, then what is?

I no longer despair when I listen to someone else’s miracles. I have my miracle within me, and all because of my miraculous Mission. Sahaj Marg, me in Sahaj Marg both are miracles and me living up to my Master’s expectations and becoming what He has envisioned for me, my last miracle.

Thank you Master for this miraculous Mission, your presence and blessings showered on all of us, and the miraculously effective simple method.