Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Depths of Our Comprehension...

Every thing has a limit in one way or the other. So, does your comprehension. Whatever is unknown, never heard of, may become hard to fathom. After all, brain is an organ enclosed in a bone skull with imagination that goes very far. But, how far depends on this organ's past experience, exposures and quality of its matter. As we grow old, we get exposed to different objects, technologies, incidents and stories that shape up the comprehending power. When people use the word incomprehensible, they usually mean a surprise or a shock. This use of the word is in reaction state where the incident or exposure occurs before the reaction. The other side of this is the meditative state where one can imagine the incident or the exposure before it actually happens. This second state would mean a deep imagination out of the ordinary that has not been experienced before.

All people come with a conditioned state of mind from the past and they move forward with time and gradually shape their comprehending power accordingly. Just like a Mogul emperor from fourteenth century would surprise himself at the look of a machine as complex as a refrigerator, even though he had other ways of cooling at his time. Or, just turn it completely upside down and think, could it be your comprehension that thought of the emperor as being backward in technology to what we have today. You may be right or wrong here. But, there is definitely only one answer in your mind between right or wrong.

Let's see how we reach at this conclusion of right vs wrong. When we judge any thing or situation, we use anchors. There is such an importance of anchors in our life that these anchors keep our comprehension tied to a reference point. Let's imagine the technologies of the past. It's very hard to make people believe that something like a pushpak vimaan ever existed in Ramayan. But, why would many people try to dispel such thoughts? This story is believed to be at least five thousand years old. Now, this period is nothing when compared to the existence of life on the earth. Evolution science says that humans have been on this earth as late as the last hour on the 24-hour clock. If humans have existed on earth for thousands of years, how is that we think of the current generation as its brightest ever? Can you figure out an anchor that makes you feel this way and deny the existence of such superior technology in the past? Yes, one of it could be as simple as the calendar system. Anything dated BC seems old and unsophisticated. We usually relate the use of sophisticated technology to only a few hundred years back. That is a general perception because that has been taught, shown and repeated in history books over and over. Such repetition conditions the brain and chisels your depths of thinking. The repetition is what makes the practice of learning. When the exposures repeat, you develop your thinking accordingly. Now, let's take an example of someone who did extensive study into anything ancient such as pyramids, ancient mechanics, human evolution and even the evolution of today's mindset and technology. There have been great inventors, scientists and thinkers who have created wonders of this world. Unfortunately, written record of evidence is only what we want to believe in today because we cannot logically accept the facts that are quite incomprehensible.

Talk about intellectual curiosity. People have even analyzed the religious books and claimed some of their incidents as false. It's not their fault, but their ignorance which prevents them to comprehend that something like that could happen at all. Anything out of the ordinary surprises them. They attribute most of the sophistication to only the recent inventions. They may be wrong even with their own beliefs of them as being otherwise. Come to say about Leonardo's lion, Egypt's pyramids or the Pushpak vimaan. By the way, Leonardo's lion was a non-power operated woodden lion that came out of the castle to greet people with flowers centuries back. Such was the excellence of mechanics back then. These today's minds find them hard to figure out, especially since their blueprints now belong to history. Theories develop accordingly about history with individual and collective comprehensions and are later believed widely. It would be very difficult to make an ordinary mind even believe that ancient technology was far superior than what it is believed to be. At least a person watching Ancient Discoveries on history channel might be somewhat willing to believe. The civilizations of the east were far more sophisticated at times way before thousands of years ago. Such discoveries have been made in ancient Mesopotamia and at the lost treasures found in the ocean bottoms that change our perceptions completely in awe. The point of discussion is to understand that our thinking has its own limits, regardless of our admittance. That's one of the main reasons why most of the people are consumers of idea rather than inventors.

On the other hand, sometimes reason stands opposite of faith. A curious mind always finds ways to go beyond the limits of comprehension. But, there are always limits on the reason. Guru Nanak ji once said...One cannot comprehend Him through reason, even if one reasoned for ages. Of course, word Him refers here to God. We can never understand god by reasoning our daily lives or god's actions or existence. In today's world, even people who pray to god assume that it's a business deal. Once they pray, they must receive the fruit of their prayers. However, the fruit belongs to the one who really deserves it. The one who can show his patience. The one who can really devote himself. The one who doesn't ask for it. In his lectures, shree Kripaluji Maharaj says...There are two kinds of absolute: Material Absolute (Maya) and Divine Absolute. And, that human mind, being substantially conditioned to the laws of cosmic manifestation, co-relates only to material creations and existences. Practically it cannot understand the Divine matters, because unperceived things cannot be imagined and unimagined things cannot be understood. So, the Divine love matters should be taken with faith. Even though Material or cosmic power 'maya' has many inherent qualities such as in 'self-euphoric' feeling attained through sensual gratification. But, such happiness is far from spiritual, as said in bhagwad geeta. Every material existence is related to 'time' and 'space' that have physical limitations whereas faith in divine realm is not limited to such factors. When you cannot find logic to go further than your reasoning, have faith and expand your horizons to be able to accomodate the unknown.

Taking into account such limitations, you must not haste into your preconditioned perception of each situation that you encounter everyday because the decisions that you will make may not teach you anything. Sometimes people say that they didn't know that they had a particular quality until they faced a circumstance that opened up hidden dimensions of their personality. That new feeling is one window into a different kind of world that you should not miss. You can always see this situation positively to learn and get exposed to a new universe. Therefore, it should be considered that there are always dimensions that either you have not visualized or you are afraid to experience. Now, if you accept the depths of your comprehension, you should develop the faculties of your mind accordingly. That requires tremendous effort as it is not easy when you are fighting your own inertia (inclination for status quo). A great way to prepare towards that path is to focus your energies and open up your channels of thought because unless you make yourself vulnerable and try these 'new' ways of thinking, you would not succeed. Just like lord Buddha said...In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true. Therefore, it's only when you limit your ways of thinking and create your dimensions that the dimensions do actually appear. Otherwise the world of wisdom is unlimited and omnipresent. All we need to do is realize that we can be ignorant and choose a path while many other paths were waiting to be picked. One of the ways to bring such vision is through the meditation as quoted by the lord Buddha...Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance [inside you]. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. Only then would you comprehend the realities that are unseen, unwritten or only told over the generations. And, that will make you realize what was incomprehensible till this day.

Friday, January 25, 2008

BHU Kulgeet

मधुर मनोहर अतीव सुन्दर, यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी ।
यह तीन लोकों से न्यारी काशी ।
सुज्ञान धर्म और सत्यराशी ।।
बसी है गंगा के रम्य तट पर, यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी ।
मधुर मनोहर अतीव सुन्दर, यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी ।।
नये नहीं हैं यह ईंट पत्थर ।
है विश्वकर्मा का कार्य सुन्दर ।।
रचे हैं विद्या के भव्य मन्दिर, यह सर्वस्रष्टि की राजधानी ।
मधुर मनोहर अतीव सुन्दर, यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी ।।
यहाँ की है यह पवित्र शिक्षा ।
कि सत्य पहले फिर आत्मरक्षा ।।
बिके हरिश्चन्द्र थे यहीं पर, यह सत्यशिक्षा की राजधानी ।
मधुर मनोहर अतीव सुन्दर, यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी ।।
यह वेद ईश्वर की सत्यवानी ।
बने जिन्हें पढ के ब्रह्यज्ञानी ।।
थे व्यास जी ने रचे यहीं पर, यह ब्रह्यविद्या की राजधानी ।
मधुर मनोहर अतीव सुन्दर, यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी ।।
यह मुक्तिपद को दिलाने वाले ।
सुधर्म पथ पर चलाने वाले ।।
यहीं फले फूले बुद्ध शंकर, यह राजॠषियों की राजधानी ।
मधुर मनोहर अतीव सुन्दर, यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी ।।
सुरम्य धारायें वरुणा अस्सी ।
नहायें जिनमें कबीर तुलसी ।।
भला हो कविता का क्यों न आकर, यह वाक्विद्या की राजधानी ।
मधुर मनोहर अतीव सुन्दर, यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी ।।
विविध कला अर्थशास्त्र गायन ।
गणित खनिज औषधि रसायन ।।
प्रतीचि-प्राची का मेल सुन्दर, यह विश्वविद्या की राजधानी ।
मधुर मनोहर अतीव सुन्दर, यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी ।।
यह मालवीय जी की देशभक्ति ।
यह उनका साहस यह उनकी शक्ति ।।
प्रकट हुई है नवीन होकर, यह कर्मवीरों की राजधानी ।
मधुर मनोहर अतीव सुन्दर, यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी ।।

To read the interpretation of this kulgeet, click on
Kulgeet (English).
To listen to this kulgeet, click on BHU Kulgeet. (This broken link has been recently fixed)


Literal meanings:
विश्वकर्मा - Lord of architecture
सर्वस्रष्टि - All creation of nature
बिके हरिश्चन्द्र थे यहीं पर - Once King Harishchandra even sold himself to keep up the truth of his words, providing a glorious example of his morals on this land of Kashi. Read full story of him by clicking here.
थे व्यास जी ने रचे यहीं पर - Maharishi Ved Vyas ji wrote sacred books, including Mahabharat, in Kashi.
मुक्तिपद - Steps of freedom
यहीं फले फूले बुद्ध शंकर - Kashi is the birthplace of Lord Buddha (in Sarnath) and land of Lord Shankar (Kashi Vishwanath Bhagwan)
वरुणा, अस्सी - The two tributaries of River Ganga; Varanasi name comes from Varuna + Assi.
नहायें जिनमें कबीर तुलसी - Kabirdas was born in Kashi and Tulsidas ji was born on the ganga shore
वाक्विद्या - Study of voice (Speech and Poetry)
प्रतीचि-प्राची का मेल सुन्दर - Beautiful mix of east (prachi) and west (pratichi)
विविध कला अर्थशास्त्र गायन गणित खनिज औषधि रसायन - Multiple Arts, Economics, Music, Mathematics, Mining, Medicine and Chemical Science


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Singing as "voice of the soul"

You must have heard this many times..."Work like you don't need money, Love like you've never been hurt, Dance like no one's watching, And Sing like no one's listening". Note that last piece of this quote. Singing is that piece of voice that is shaped in beautiful melodies. Each syllable vibrates a different piece of tissue in our body. Each has a different kind of effect on us. That's why our vedic books stress on the chanting. The actual chanting involves producing clear sounds of syllables that vibrates upwards from abdomen towards the head. If you've been a student of physics, you would know the concept of resonance. A small amount of sound resonates through the vocal cord to the engulf the tissues upwards. The reason of explaning this is to provide you a credible scientific argument for singing. Now, imagine those lines in the quotation above. People sing for various reasons. Some just sing or silently chant the songs. That is not voluntary effort. What I will emphasize is singing with your soul behind it. When you open your mouth for singing, try going all out not on volume, but on rhythms of that song. Sing as if it's coming from your heart. Put efforts on the right syllables or notes.....going up and down on pitch. And slowly slowly, as you practice you start reallly singing. This is called Riyaaz. That is the practice towards perfection.

Now as you start singing, many of the meanings of that song will suddenly become alive again. The meanings that were lost in the extreme familiarity of the song come back again. The oft-repeated words get new dimensions. That's when you know that the words have touched your soul. They are no more just the lyrics on a paper or of a nagma. Be it a ever-green song, an oldie or a chalisa, it seems to just come from the soul. That's what makes singing so cherished. It's not just the words, but the total combination of resonance, words and full-throttle effort put in from your heart and soul.

So, if you've never tried it, try it often. And, you will soon find a beautiful outlet of the melodies of your heart and also, get a whole new hobby to work at. Guru Rabindranath Tagore ji once said, "God respects me when I work; but God loves me when I sing".

Monday, January 14, 2008

Some favourite song lyrics

(हिमालय की गोद में ) by Mukesh

चाँद सी महबूबा हो मेरी, कब ऐसा मैंने सोचा था।
हाँ तुम बिल्कुल वैसी हो, जैसा मैंने सोचा था।

ना कसमें हैं ना रस्में हैं, ना शिकवे हैं ना वादे हैं।
एक सूरत भोली भाली है, दो नैना सीधे साधे हैं।
ऐसा ही रुप ख्यालों में था, ऐसा मैंने सोचा था।
हाँ तुम बिल्कुल वैसी हो, जैसा मैंने सोचा था।

मेरी खुशियाँ ही ना बाँटे, मेरे ग़म भी सहना चाहे।
देखे ना ख्वाब वो महलों के, मेरे दिल में रहना चाहे।
इस दुनिया में कौन था ऐसा, जैसा मैंने सोचा था।
हाँ तुम बिल्कुल वैसी हो, जैसा मैंने सोचा था।

चाँद सी महबूबा हो मेरी, कब ऐसा मैंने सोचा था।
हाँ तुम बिल्कुल वैसी हो, जैसा मैंने सोचा था।

To hear and watch this song, click here.

(जिस देश में गंगा बहती है) by Mukesh

If this one didn't bring tear to your eyes, you probably didn't pay attention or you missed its meaning and heart-touching combination of Mukesh and Raj Kapoor. It contains everything: pride of the nation in the eyes, depth in the voice and after all, Raj Kapoor's flawless expressions.

होंठों पे सचाई रहती है जहां दिल में सफ़ाई रहती है
हम उस देश के वासी हैं – 2
जिस देश में गंगा बहती है

मेहमान जो हमारा होता है वह जान से प्यारा होता है
मेहमान जो हमारा होता है वह जान से प्यारा होता है
ज़्यादा की नहीं लालच हम को
थोड़े में गुज़ारा होता है – 2
बच्चों के लिये जो धरती मां सदियों से सभी कुछ सहती है
हम उस देश के वासी हैं – 2
जिस देश में गंगा बहती है

कुछ लोग जो ज़्यादा जानते हैं इंसान को कम पहचानते हैं
कुछ लोग जो ज़्यादा जानते हैं इंसान को कम पहचानते हैं
यह पूरब है, पूरबवाले हर जान की कीमत जानते हैं
मिल-जुल के रहो और प्यार करो एक चीज़ यही जो रहती है
हम उस देश के वासी हैं – 2
जिस देश में गंगा बहती है

हम कल क्या थे हम आज हैं क्या, इसका ही नहीं अभिमान हमे - २
जिस राह पे आगे बढ़ना है, है उसकी भी पहचान हमें
इस धारा को किसने रोका, ये बंधकर भला कब रहती है
हम उस देश के वासी हैं
जिस देश में गंगा बहती है - २

To hear and watch this song, click here.
(गंगा जमुना) by Hemant Kumar

Another lovely example of our country's innate belief in truth, justice, pride on our morals and strong emphasis on passing it over generations. Beautifully portrayed.

इन्साफ की डगर पे, बच्चों दिखाओ चल के
ये देश हैं तुम्हारा, नेता तुम ही हो कल के

दुनियाँ के रंज सहना और कुछ ना मुह से कहना - २
सच्चाईयों के बल पे, आगे को बढ़ते रहना - २
रख दोगे एक दिन तुम, संसार को बदलके - २
इन्साफ की डगर पे, बच्चों दिखाओ चल के
ये देश हैं तुम्हारा, नेता तुम ही हो कल के

अपने हो या पराए, सब के लिए हो न्याय - २
देखो कदम तुम्हारा, हरगिज़ ना डगमगाए - २
रस्ते बडे कठिन हैं, चलना संभल संभल के -
इन्साफ की डगर पे, बच्चों दिखाओ चल के
ये देश हैं तुम्हारा, नेता तुम ही हो कल के

इन्सानियत के सर पे, इज्जत का ताज रखना - २
तन मन की भेट देकर, भारत की लाज रखना - २
जीवन नया मिलेगा, अंतिम चिता में जल के - २
इन्साफ की डगर पे, बच्चों दिखाओ चल के
ये देश हैं तुम्हारा, नेता तुम ही हो कल

To hear and watch this song, click here.
(शालीमार) by Kishore Kumar

हम बेवफा हरगिज़ न थे पर हम वफ़ा कर ना सके
हमको मिली उसकी सजा हम जो ख़ता कर ना सके

कितनी अकेली थी वह राहें हम जिन, अब तक अकेले चलते रहे
तुझसे बिछड़ कर भी ओ बेख़बर, तेरे ही ग़म में जलते रहे
तूने किया जो शिकवा, हम वह गिला कर ना सके
हम बेवफा हरगिज़ न थे पर हम वफ़ा कर ना सके
हमको मिली उसकी सजा हम जो ख़ता कर ना सके

तुमने जो देखा सुना सच था मगर, कितना था सच यह किसको पता
जाने तुम्हे मैंने कोई धोखा दिया, जाने तुम्हे कोई धोखा हुआ
इस प्यार में सच झूठ का, तुम फैसला कर ना सके
हम बेवफा हरगिज़ न थे पर हम वफ़ा कर ना सके
हमको मिली उसकी सजा हम जो ख़ता कर ना सके

To hear and watch this song, click here.
(आक्रमण) by Kishore Kumar

मेरी जान के प्यारे तुझको तेरा, देश पुकारा जा
जा भैया, जा बेटा, जा मेरे यारा जा...

देखो वीर जवानों अपने, खून पे ये इल्जाम न आये - 2
माना कहे कि अपने ही बेटे, वक़्त पड़ा तो काम न आये
देखो वीर जवानों अपने, खून पे ये इल्जाम न आये
देखो वीर जवानों ...

हम पहले भारतवासी - २
फिर हिन्दू मुस्लिम सिख इसाई
हम पहले भारतवासी
नाम जुदा है तो क्या भारत माँ के सब बेटे हैं भाई
अब्दुल उसके बच्चों को पाले, जो घर वापस राम न आये
देखो वीर जवानों अपने, खून पे ये इल्जाम न आये
देखो वीर जवानों ...

अँधा बेटा युद्ध पे चला तो, ना जा न जा उसकी माँ बोली
वह बोला कम कर सकता हूँ, मैं भी दुश्मन की एक गोली
जिक्र शहीदों का हो तो क्यों, उनमे मेरा नाम न आये
देखो वीर जवानों अपने, खून पे ये इल्जाम न आये
देखो वीर जवानों ...

अच्छा चलते हैं,
कब आएंगे, ये कहना मुश्किल होगा
तुम कहती हो, ख़त लिखना
ख़त लिखने से क्या हासिल होगा
ख़त के साथ रणभूमि से, विजय का जो पैगाम न आये
देखो वीर जवानों अपने, खून पे ये इल्जाम न आये
माना कहे कि अपने ही बेटे, वक़्त पड़ा तो काम न आये
देखो वीर जवानों अपने, खून पे ये इल्जाम न आये

To hear and watch this song, click here.
(पूरब और पच्छिम) by Mahendra Kapoor

A land so pure and great that only words of this song on Manoj Kumar's lips can describe to someone from the West.

जब जीरो दिया मेरे भारत ने,
भारत ने मेरे भारत ने,
दुनिया को तब गिनती आई
तारों की भाषा भारत ने, दुनिया को पहले सिखलाई
देता न दशमलव भारत जो, यू चाँद पे जाना मुश्किल था
धरती और चाँद की दूरी का, अंदाजा लगाना मुश्किल था
सभ्यता जहाँ पहले आई,
पहले जन्मी है जहाँ पे कला
अपना भारत वह भारत है जिसके पीछे संसार चला
संसार चला और आगे बढ़ा,
यू आगे बढ़ा बढ़ता ही गया
भगवान करे ये और बढे, बढ़ता ही रहे और फूले फले -२

है प्रीत जहाँ की रीत सदा... -२
है प्रीत जहाँ की रीत सदा, मैं गीत वहाँ के गाता हूं
भारत का रहने वाला हूं, भारत की बात सुनाता हूं
है प्रीत जहाँ की रीत सदा

काले गोरे का भेद नहीं, हर दिल से हमारा नाता है
कुछ और न आता हो हमको, हमे प्यार निभाना आता है
जिसे मान चुकी सारी दुनिया, - 2
मैं बात, मैं बात वोही दोहराता हूं
भारत का रहने वाला हूं, भारत की बात सुनाता हूं
है प्रीत जहाँ की रीत सदा ...

जीते हो किसी ने देश तो क्या, हमने तो दिलों को जीता है
जहाँ राम अभी तक है नर में, नारी में अभी तक सीता है
इतने पावन हैं लोग जहां, -2
मैं नित नित, मैं नित नित शीष झुकाता हूँ
भारत का रहने वाला हूं, भारत की बात सुनाता हूं

इतनी ममता नदियों को भी, जहां माता कह के बुलाते हैं
इतना आदर इन्सान तो क्या पत्थर भी पूजे जाते हैं
उस धरती पर मैने जनम लिया, - 2
ये सोच, ये सोच के मैं इतराता हूँ
भारत का रहने वाला हूं, भारत की बात सुनाता हूं
है प्रीत जहाँ की रीत सदा…

To hear and watch this song, click here.

More good songs...
* आओ बच्चों तुम्हे दिखाएँ (जाग्रति)
* साबरमती के संत (जाग्रति)
* हम लाये हैं तूफ़ान से (जाग्रति)

* इक राधा इक मीरा (Lata)
* राधा कैसे ना जले (लगान)


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The need of concentrated mind before learning

You must have seen students toiling over to become educated and sometimes wonder why is it all that important. It is not just the process by which you attain the knowledge. But, that is the essence of the truth that a body must be tamed with self-discipline before it becomes effective in absorbing the wisdom. A Guru understands this and guides you through the process where you can control your mind and focus.

Speaking of concentration, old texts of Patanjali state the importance of Yog (or Yoga, as people call it). Patanjali wrote Ashtanga Yog to describe the process of controlling the mind. This text starts with the line, योग: चित्तवृत्ति निरोध:, meaning 'Yog limits the oscillations of the mind'. Ashtanga in sanskrit means eight limbs. Therefore this yog consists of eight limbs:

1. Yam (Moral Principles) - Non-violence, Truth, Non-stealing, Abstinence and Non-possesiveness
2. Niyam (Personal Disciplines) - Purity, Contentment, Endurance, Self-inspection and Devotion
3. Aasan (Yog Postures) - body postitions to release tension and prepare for meditation
4. Pranayam (Yog Breathing) - controlling the life forces or tendencies of the mind through breathing
5. Pratyahar (Withdrawl of Senses) - developing inner powers to reduce distractions
6. Dhaarna (Concentration on Object) - Focusing on the singleness
7. Dhyan (Meditation) - Withdrawing of mind and deep concentration
8. Samadhi (Salvation) - Realization of super joy and bliss

Goal of this discussion is to see the very high level view of the role of preparations for body and mind. In today's world, people want shortcuts. Some want to lose weight by doing Yog Aasan (as in step 3 above). Many commercial establishments cater to this need. But, is it really worth it? Yog was written by Patanjali for people to discover through a sequence of sincere steps. Before one can attain the real wisdom, the body and soul must be cleansed through Yam and Niyam. The Yog vidya or knowledge is meant to cleanse your thoughts and thus leading you to the super joy by providing a stable mind that lives in a self-disciplined body. Now, questions come as to how that is possible. And, my honest advice is that it is not, if you don't believe it. Only after your sincere efforts are put in with complete faith in this wisdom, you will spend time to fully utilize its benefits rather than wasting your resources getting entertained along with others in a skill sold at establishments. There will not be much harm either. You will flex your muscles and bones while doing these Yog aasans. Or, it could be that you are not interested that far into the world of controlling your mind.

In the ordinary life, it's a rare realization that mind cannot be controlled. Some, you would find, are so certain that they have controlled their mind and desires. But, usually it's on their own terms. That is not effective. That involves the self in the decision-making process.

Therefore, if you ever feel tired in difficulties that arise in life for you to learn a lesson or skill, just remember that it is a process that MUST occur for taming of the body and mind. Only a stable mind can acquire the precious lessons provided by the destiny. So, practice it in daily life and you will find that the ancient wisdom guides you through the process of learning and takes away your confusions arising everyday. As they said, getting prepared is half the battle.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Some interpretations from hindu teachings...

(This is an ever-growing list)

As I discover some beautiful teachings myself in our hindu dharma shastras, I wish to bring them to you:

In Hanuman chalisa, we ask lord Ram for 4 fruits of life. Do you know where and what?
Says, Jo dayak phal charu, in the first doha. This means that, hey lord, please give 4 fruits of Dharma (Morals), Artha (Prosperity), Kaam (Love) and Moksha (Liberation)।

To listen to Hanuman Chalisa, click here (Try to listen and sing this chalisa daily).

Some quotes from चाणक्य नीति (Chanakya was a sharp-minded advisor to King Maurya):

-- प्रत्येक व्यक्ति को स्वाध्याय अवश्य करना चाहिए। उसे प्रतिदिन धर्म शास्त्रों का कम से कम एक श्लोक अवश्य पढ़ना चाहिए। इससे व्यक्ति को ज्ञान प्राप्त होता है और उसका भला होता है। (Everyone must spend time daily in self-inspection and read moral teachnings from vedic books to enhance their knowledge and happiness.)

-- मन के संयम के बिना कोई दूसरा तप नहीं है, संतोष जैसा कोई सुख और तृष्णा जैसा कोई भयंकर रोग नहीं है और दया जैसा कोई धर्म नहीं है। (No meditation is bigger than self-control; No happiness is bigger than abstinence; No disease is bigger than desires; And, no religion is bigger than that of mercy.)

Funny role of the catalysts...

1. A man was born in a brahmin family in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh. This man loved his wife just too much and was obsessed with her passion. One day when he came back home and found that his wife had gone to her father's house, he couldn't bear this separation and set out to her house in the dark night. He walked in wind and rain and reached the river bank. Then, he crossed the swollen river on the back of a dead body thinking of it as a boat. Finding all her doors closed, he climbed up to the upper floor using a hanging python thinking of it as a rope in the dark. His wife woke up after he climbed. He thought his wife will become happy seeing him come miles to see her, but she felt very ashamed on his insane obsession of her. She said, if you put the same heart in lord ram, you will cross this ocean of the world and attain eternal bliss. This man was so ashamed on hearing this that he went back and became an ascetic and went on to write a great hindu text that people read to this day and offer their prayers to the lord. Do you know who this man was?

Yes, this great man was Goswami Tulsidas ji and he wrote Shri Ramcharitmanas that describes the life of lord Ram.

2. Centuries ago, a young princess named Vidyottama, meaning extremely wise lady, proposed that she will marry someone who was more intelligent than her. Her intellect disturbed pundits and they conspired to find her the dumbest man for her. One day, they saw a man (wood cutter) cutting the very tree branch on which he was sitting. They found him the dumbest and approached with her proposal. They just told this man to pretend deaf and mute and let pundits interpret for him. On the day of great debate with her, the lady started by holding up her one index finger, meaning that One god exists. This man, thinking she wants to poke into his eyes, raised two fingers that pundits interpreted as Two faces of god (body and soul). Next, she showed her five fingers with palm, meaning five elments of life. This man thought she wants to slap, so he showed a fist that Pundits interpreted as five elements embedded in one body. Finally, she accepted his superiority and decided to marry him. Soon after marriage, she found out about his dumbness and threw him out. This man got so humbled that he dedicated himself to the literature and knowledge and became one of the greatest writers of Indian Literature. Do you know who he was?

He was Mahakavi Kalidas who wrote famous books including Meghdoot and Abhigyan Shakuntalam.

Lord Ram's date of birth (as calculated by a software)
I spotted an interesting article that stated that a computer software called 'Planetarium Gold' has calculated the date of birth of lord Ram as January 10, 5114 BC at just after noon time। This date was based on the descriptions in Valmiki Ramayan. It said the lord went into exile at the age of 25 and came back to Ayodhya at the age of 39.

Gayatri Mantra and its meaning
Gayatri mantra has been used everywhere by all. This powerful mantra contains in its line the essence of all vedic knowledge. In that it calls for illumination of the mind, body and soul by dispelling of ignorance through the divine light (Sun).

ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः । तत् सवितुर्वरेण्यं ।
भर्गो देवस्य धीमिह । धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

Interpretation: We contemplate the glory of Light illuminating the three worlds: gross (Bhur), subtle (Bhuvah), and causal (Swah). I am that vivifying power, love, radiant illumination, and divine grace of universal intelligence. We pray for the divine light to illumine our minds.

Literal meaning of the words:
Om: The primeval sound
Bhur: The physical world
Bhuvah: The mental world
Suvah: The celestial, spiritual world
Thath: God; transcendental Paramatma
Savithur: The Sun, Creator, Preserver
Varenyam: Most adorable, enchanting
Bhargo: Luster, effulgence
Devasya: Resplendent,supreme Lord
Dheemahi: We meditate upon
Dhiyo: The intellect,understanding
Yo: May this light
Nah: Our
Prachodayath: Enlighten,guide,inspire


Friday, January 11, 2008

A painting of perspective

One day I was thinking of drawing a picture that I have deep in my thoughts about many around me. Each individual, as you know, comes with a unique personality and thought process. Now, have you thought why a person you know thinks so differently from you? As science says, it has something to do with genetics and something to do with how the bringing up was. But, I somehow it's about a 'well' that the individual lives in that shapes the perspective. Here is the picture...

Imagine a waterwell not-too-deep, round, without water, hardened soil floor wide enough to live and move around. Some grass on the edges, some chips coming off the wall and some moss on the rims. But, once you go down, it gets better...well-maintained walls, painted, decoration, mirrors, furnitures, tv, kitchen, view of the sky, temperature controlled, views of the well. Inside sitting a person. Very happy. Feeling accomplished. Feeling lucky. Feeling free. Lost in own world. No stairs to go up. Many more sitting in nearby wells. All happy. All they see is their world. One of them one day puts two pipes together and makes a periscope, long enough to see outside. It was green outside. Birds chirping. Sun overhead. People working hard in the fields. Living simple life. Sometimes in pain. Sometimes in misery. But, happy from inside. With lunch breaks with their wives who bring fresh warm food to the fields. They look around. They are satisfied. Why is it not down here? Why did the person think he had everything? Is it possible to have misery and peace together outside? Sleep well and work hard next day. What could be possibly in other wells? Why is the neighbor not doing the same thing?

Perspectives differ. The awakening requires a periscope into a totally different world. It's very difficult to get the idea of making one. Second is to get the angles right in its construction so we see the right target. But, it's always easy to not have one and enjoy our own perspective because change is against human instinct and desires, but remember this...Change is the law of nature. Everything changes easily besides your own perspective. Your perspective is attached to the inner self and its conditioning. You cannot easily shake your inner self and change the scene in front of you. It requires tremedous effort and the deeper your ego, the harder is the change of perspective.

I will give you a very beautiful quote from lord Buddha...If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. He says, don't just see the flower. See the miracle that this flower is. See its beauty, its power, its birth and the whole life behind it. And, by seeing, you explore and pay attention .

Perspectives involve a lot of things - your thoughts, wisdom, genetics and your experiences. These keep getting chiseled and take a shape as time goes. The intelligence is in knowing that there is no end. As George Lichtenberg said, One's first step in wisdom is to question everything - and one's last is to come to terms with everything. See around and you will see it everywhere.

I believe that the real insights come not from chasing the ideas, dreams, people or notions, but from searching within. Just like the slow process of evolution, perspectives do change, but they change slowly under the slow heat of experiences and intricate chemistry of thought processes. It is almost genious to be putting oneself away from the 'well' and see where you were to begin with. But, the true reformers of oneself are rare because we don't often see things as they are, we see them as we are.

This painting has so much truth into it that it comes lively as we start to think about it. But, that's how it will always be. Not each one will get the perspective right. Not each one will get awakened. Not each one will be willing to try. Not each one will know to try. All this picture says is...

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." -- Marcel Proust

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The importance of listening and understanding

I was laughing my heart out on this cartoon below. (Click on the image for clarity)

It is so true in real life.... It's just funny and I am sure you have been through such instances. Or, may be my laughing bone just got stimulated, call me crazy. but, he he...I am just a Dilbert fan. :)

Few of my favorite dohas and quotations...

(This is an ever-growing list)

जाल परे जल जात बहि, तजि मीनन को मोह । 'रहिमन' मछरी नीर को तऊ न छाँड़ति छोह ।।
(Story of fish's unending love for water... Caught in a net, water leaves the fish leaving its attachment for the fish. But, rahim says, the fish gives up its life in the craving and separation with the water.)

टूटे सुजन मनाइए, जो टूटे सौ बार । 'रहिमन' फिर-फिर पोइए, टूटे मुक्ताहार ।।
(If your beloved gets angry with you, you should console him or her 100 times, just like we tie the garland of pearls as many times as it breaks.)

वहै प्रीत नहिं रीति वह, नहीं पाछिलो हेत । घटत-घटत 'रहिमन' घटै, ज्यों कर लीन्हे रेत ।।
(Rahim says, it’s not love, it’s tradition that diminishes with time. True love is not like the sand in our hands that slips away slowly from us. कर means hand in sanskrit.)

मीठा सब से बोलिए, फैले सुख चहुँ ओरे । वाशिकर्ण है मंत्र येही, तज दे वचन कठोर ।।
(Speak sweet with everyone because that spreads happiness. The only mantra to overpower others is to give up the harsh words.)

कबीरा तेरा झोंपड़ा गलकटियन के पास । अपनी करनी जांयगे, तू क्यूं हुआ उदास ।।
(Kabir says why do you worry even if you live near the butcher shop. He who does so will get accordingly.)

माटी कहे कुम्हार से तू क्यों रोंदे मोंहे । इक दिन ऐसा होवेगा मैं रोंदूंगी तोहें ।।
(Earth says to the potmaker, why do you knead me under your feet. There will come a day when I will knead you under me. This doha points to the eternal truth in death)

जे रहीम उत्तम प्रकृति, का करी सकत कुसंग । चन्दन वीष व्यापत नही, लिपटे रहत भुजुंग ।।
(Rahim says a person with good character does not get swayed in the bad company, just like the sandal tree does not get poisonous even when serpents hang around its trunk.

छमा बड़न को चाहिये, छोटन को उत्पात। कह रहीम हरि का घट्यौ, जो भृगु मारी लात ।।
(It's required of elders to forgive when young ones do mischieves. Rahim says lord vishnu didn't lose anything even when maharishi bhrigu, brahma's son, kicked him in the chest. The lord even asked bhrigu if he had hurt his leg by kicking him. Vedic stories say bhrigu was testing who the greatest was among brahma, vishnu and mahesh by pushing their limits on anger. Since vishnu was asleep, bhrigu decided to wake him up through his kicks. This dohas says forgiving shows your greatness and high character.)

Other quotes

* "One can overcome the forces of negative emotions, like anger and hatred, by cultivating their counter-forces, like love and compassion." -- Dalai Lama

* "Love, joy, and peace cannot flourish until you have freed yourself from mind dominance." -- Eckhart Tolle

* "I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable." -- Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

* "When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." -- Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, January 5, 2008

True Love Never Did Run Smooth

Even though I've heard stories on famous love stories from this world, I was just amazed at this line from Shakespeare 'True Love Never Did Run Smooth'.

I am no writer, but I've found that writing about painful subjects give you an outlet just as your regular crying or doing something worse. As I think more about this line, I wonder about what true love is. When two people break up or let's just say one rejects the other because it's rarely mutual. There can be umpteen reasons. Sometimes past behavior or current habits push people away. People separate. Did they really separate? Because if they truly loved each other at one time, how is it possible that they split up? Let's assume that one person's behavior was the worst and it created hatred or disinterest in the mind of the other. Should both or one person stop loving in that case? Can negatives become so heavy over the positives? Ultimate question people ask is, if I stay, will he or she change? Now, hold your thought there because I am going to quote some words from ancient wisdom...

One Arabian parable says...Write the bad things that are done to you in the sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble.

I believe in these words. I have been through some bad things done to me all along my life. I mean it generally. Because YOU and ME were brought to this earth to be tested. God will not give you if you do not give up your fears and work hard to climb up that hill. There were no freebies sprinkled for you. In this test, you will move with vigor sometimes, but you will also cry and fall in despair at other times. You will want the help. Then, you ask the god and he shows you the way. That is certainly promised. But, it's YOU who must do it. Therefore, take a moment and think. What really happened? Someone rejected your love or you withheld your love for someone? Is the other person repenting for his or her behavior and made remedies? You say, it does not matter now because your love is gone. Gone? Where? Were you loving before? Imagine mother's love for you. Does it go away? Some kids are just incorrigible, aren't they? Do their mothers start loving less? If not, why not? You would think it's the blood relation because that's the obvious. But, what about the adopted son or daughter? Do moms love less to the adopted ones? If you answered No, why? No, love is never about blood relations. It's a bond. It's unlimited. It's 'for'-giving. It knows no boundaries. People are called crazy. They are called blind in love. True love soaks your soul. Believe me, it goes that deep. It touches the very existence of YOU. You would have your reasons later to deny or reject that love. Did you really reject that love? Have you ever tried telling your mom that I break up with you and she still loves you? Did you really have the courage? Did you go very far after doing that? No, your ego did, it took you wherever you wanted. But, deep down, your soul was crying. It will never accept that you rejected her love because that was her true love. That love never stopped you because your ego will become unhappy. Your ego will make your tongue act out. But, mom's love knew that her love will stay happy as long you remain happy. Her love can see you go away than remain unhappy. This, my dear, is true love. It is the faith of the soul. It is the bond that always stays. Humans leave and so do their egos. But love has always won and will keep winning as long as it is true. Love never asks you for something. Love bears the pain. How easily shakespeare summarized it in one line...because unless the love is tested, it's worth cannot be measured.

I can guarantee you that if you love someone, love them always. Love them when they are gone. Just forget the bad things that happened. For one, just let it go. Wipe it off of your brain. You want some examples? How about the famous Shama-Parwana? Shama means fire, Parwana is used for the moth that just never stops flying around that fire lamp. Isn't that moth aware of the fatal energies of the fire? Moth said...yes and? Just as you thought you were losing control in love, you still loved. But why do you give up now? He or she offended you. And, you cannot trust him anymore. Fine. The deal is made. You tried and failed. But, wait a minute, did you push the other person's love away? So, how did you fail? Not for your ego. Never. You told yourself that I will move on because this love has failed. Ok, fine. Who will argue with you? It will never be your friends who will. After all, aren't they friends who want your happiness? See the irony? Friends will sooth you. But, can they probe you? Why would they? They will give you alternatives. They will patch the rough wounds. They will ask you to make yourself 'safe' by avoiding the person who hurt you. And, they are right. Because they know what you told them. It came from YOU - the brain, the mind, the ego. When you were hurt, you forgot to ask your heart or your soul. What would a soul know when the brain is making logical steps to keep you safe? Great. Didn't that just kill you when you said you are safe now? Let me just ask you this. Were you on seventh heaven when you said you feel safe now? I mean, did that give you joy? If it did, you should keep doing it. If it did not and trust me you know it did not, then choose the right path.

I sometimes wish people come face to face and be very relieved to break up. Some cases may be true, but some are quite artificial. They are made up. No one can tell, except you yourself. It is so because you cannot fail at any cost. You cannot become vulnerable again. Gandhi ji used to say, It's easy to slap someone. But, it's the hardest to ask for someone's forgiveness. You know why? Because asking belittles you. On top of that, if it's to accept your fault, just forget it. How dare you hurt your ego!! So, dear, saying sorry is a big thing. Trust the other person, when you receive one heartfelt sorry. And, come on. Trust yourself!!! You can always do it. You better do it because as long as you are on this earth, it's a never-ending stream. Love is the only medicine and love is the only refuge. You are free to try everything else. You can try to outsmart the traditions. You can think that you will not see this person again, so why not just throw away his or her love. After all, you've moved on. If you firmly believed in this, you are right. Not everyone wants to retry the same person when the history was bad. But, listen now. See through your soul's eyes on what is holding you back. Is it really his or her past behavior? Or, is it your own vulnerability? Or, is it just your ego? People mess up frequently in love. But, once the realization and true repentence sets in, it has that power to make your love more deep and mature. So, go ahead and make a decision because either way, it will be good for you. But, remember...prophets have said this again and again in many ways...

"And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course." -- Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)