Monday, December 14, 2009

To Marry or Not to Marry



A few people in the world have this doubt, should they get married or not. After all it is a huge commitment as you are taking the responsibility of a person.
There was a great philosopher - Socrates, and a few people went and asked him. Hey Socrates, " Should I get married?" These were the people who were not sure whether it is worth an investment.

Socrates was the correct person for the question as he had suffered a lot from his wife. She was really terrible -- a witch. She used to beat Socrates, she had also poured a kettle of tea over his face and had burned him -- half his face remained burned throughout his life. Such a beautiful man, such a beautiful person like Socrates, and he had found the most terrible woman.
So these young men asked. Socrates said," Yes, if you listen to me get married. There are 2 possibilities. 1st - if the wife is like mine, you will became a great philosopher like me. 2nd - if you get a nice wife, of course you will enjoy your life. Both the possibilities are good." As if the wife is very bad she will nag you continuously and this is a great help to meditation. By and by one starts feeling unattached. One starts feeling," This is all illusion, maya." So don't avoid complexities in life, learn, pass through them, because that is the only way to grow.

So in short what we can conclude is in life, never escape from problems. They are very helpful, as they aid your growth. And if you are going to marry/date a girl, do not get a cow. So find a real woman, who will give you all sorts of troubles...-:). It is in that situation, one's mettle is put to test....

Happy Hunting...-:)
....Anu

Friday, December 4, 2009

Nice Poem.....



Recently I came across these beautiful lines. Here it goes.....

a> Watch your Thoughts, they become words.

Watch your Words, they become actions.

Watch your Actions, they become habits.

Watch your Habits, they become character.

Watch your Character, for it becomes your Destiny.

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settle for.

Life is like melted butter.. once things cool down, it can be reshaped!


Bye

..Am

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gratefulness........


Long ago there was a master and disciple who used live in the forest, 10 miles from the city. Their dwellings was a small hut right in the middle of the forest. Every morning they used to come to the city, help people, do a lot of service and at dusk leave back for jungle. This went on for a long time. One fine day when they were in the city heavy rains lashed the area, there were strong gusts of wind and the it rained cats and dogs. By the time they reached home (in the jungle) it was dark. The rain was still pouring, and when they came near the hut, most of it was destroyed by the ferocious storm.

Seeing this the disciple was furious and very angry. He started shouting at the master "You say that God is there to protect us; this is what your God is. It could not even save a small hut which was the only place for us to stay".

The master looked at the disciple; paused for a moment and smiled. He said " I am so grateful to God, that he saved half of the hut even in this fierce storm. The weather was so bad that even the whole hut could have been destroyed, but thank God you took so much care and saved half of it. We still have a shelter, in this inclement weather".

Moral of the story is - we should be grateful to all the things life has offered us. Usually we take a lot things for granted. Find every little opportunity to be grateful and you will see a tremendous transformation in the quality of your life. Usually, instead of using every opportunity to be grateful, we do the opposite and we grab every opportunity to Grumble.....-:)

Chew on this for some time....

Should you find it hard to get to sleep tonight;

Just remember the homeless family who has no bed to lie in.

*****
Should you find yourself stuck in traffic; don't despair.

There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

*****
Should you have a bad day at work;

Think of the man who has been out of work for the last three months.

*****
Should you despair over a relationship gone bad;

Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.

*****

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend;

Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week, to feed her family.

*****

Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance;

Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

*****

Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror;

Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

*****

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking "what is my purpose";

Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.

*****

Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities;

Remember, things could be worse. You could be them!!!

*****

Should you decide to tell the above to a friend;...---:))

You might brighten someone's day!

If we see life this way I don't think there is anything to complain about...,-:)

......Am


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Ready to eat - A thanksgiving meal

Every year the last Thursday of November is the Thanksgiving Day. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general. Family feast is an important tradition during Thanksgiving. The entire family sits at the table during dinner. It is also a time for relatives living in different places to come together and celebrate. This is done by offering prayers, gifting your near and dear ones. The traditional stuffed turkey adorns every dinner table during the feast. Pumpkin pie, Cranberry sauce, Corns are some of the dishes cooked everywhere to mark the day.


Shoppers lined outside an store (time - 4 am morning)

It is also a time for people to shop, shop and shop. I know people flying all over form Europe and other countries to come and shop in U.S. Most of the things are offered at a very discounted price. The day after Thanksgiving is called BLACK FRIDAY, it is not uncommon to see shoppers lined up for hours before stores with big sales open. Once inside the stores, shoppers often rush and grab, as many stores have only a few of the big-draw items. To put things in perspective, a full Calvin Klein suit that costs around $550, can be bought in $250 etc. So in short it is a shoppers delight. Electronics and popular toys are often the most sought-after items and are sharply discounted.

So let all be grateful on this day and thank all the people who make our life beautiful. Next post will be a story on gratefulness.....

....Happy Thanksgiving
..Am




Saturday, November 21, 2009

Few Shots from my India Trip.....






One of the best part pf the trip was, it was very efficient I did what I wanted to do and left quickly. Enjoy the pics..

..am

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Soccer Game -- Misconception about Art of Living

Last week my lab group went for a game for soccer. The temperature was was around 50 Deg F (10 feg C). Initially many of us were cold but after running here and there on the filed we started feeling warm and the game picked up the pace. As usual, after the 1st 20 min I was totally into the game with full vigor and intensity.We played for about 2 hours, and it felt great. The whole idea of an outdoor sports excites me so much, I feel like a small child whenever I am on the field.Shouting, yelling, running and going nuts. And so happened this time too, when one of my tememates (who was suppose to be the goalkeeper) came to the midfield and during that time the other team scored a goal. I was RED, and shouted "What the HELL man, why are you freaking coming out into the midfield" etc etc. Then whenever I scored a goal or the team scored one I use to shout and go gaga. Eventually we won the game.

But to my surprise, someone made a very strange comment. Here is what was said " That dude Anurag, looks so calm and peaceful, but he is so intense in the filed shouting and yelling, what is all this......is this is what Art of Living is all about !!!!!

My answer was YES. Yes this is exactly what Art of Living is!!! Art of Living simply means whatever I am doing, I am totally into it. If I am angry - I am angry, if sad - sad, if happy - happy. Living life in an unfragmented manner is Art of Living, living life as intensely as intensely possible is Art of Living. I do not know why people have this wrong notion that spiritual people should not get angry or excited. Whats wrong?? Only difference between a spiritual person is - negative or positive emotion are gone once the moment is finished. The anger is there only during that moment, once the event goes then anger too is gone.



If you really want to learn the Art of Living you have to remain young, alive, available to crying, laughter, available to all dimensions, flowing all over, streaming. But remember, people will all the time misjudge you and you won't get any sympathy. People may cast aspersions at you, but that is worth it. People may think that you are a hypocrite, they may condemn you, they may call names to you, but don’t be worried about it. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is your happiness.

Whenever you hold back some emotion, you feel uneasiness, unhappiness, because the energy is not flowing. The energy is not river-like; it is stuck, dead, frozen. And you would like to flow. Life is flow; death is frozenness. Of course, discipline is needed, not as control but as awareness. A controlled discipline is a deadening phenomenon. When you are alert, aware, a discipline comes easily out of that awareness – not that you force it, not that you plan it. No, moment to moment your awareness decides how to respond.

Guy on the right (Changyao) was the subject of my wrath (Must admit he was the best player in our team)

That’s all Art of Living is all about: remain happy, and don’t create any situation for anybody to be unhappy. If you can help, make others happy. If you cannot, then at least make yourself happy.

I love u all....

...Anu

Monday, November 16, 2009

We are Watching.......Part02

FYI: This is a continuation of the previous post. Read the one earlier and you will appreciate the important message.

.............But there was still a third group who said, ”We don’t know anything about meditation. How can we judge?”



Then, again, after a few months, the group of intellectuals came. Now there was nobody except the master - Jalaluddin. He was sitting and smiling. All the disciples had gone. So the intellectuals asked, " What is happening? The 1st time we came there was a mad crowd, and we thought this is useless. The next time we came it was very good. People were mediatting. But now all are gone. Where have they all gone?"


The Master said, ”The work has been done, the disciples have disappeared. And I am smiling happy because whatever was suppose to happen has happened to the disciples. And you are the fools, I know! I have also been watching – not only you. I know what discussions were going on, and what you were thinking the first time and the second time.”

Jalaludin said, ”The effort that you have taken to come here for three times would have been enough for you to become meditators. And the discussion that you have been in, that much energy was enough to make you silent. And in the same period, those disciples have disappeared, and you are standing at the same place and with the same mind and with the same useless words".


Moral of the story is INNER WORLD is a matter of SUBJECTIVE experience, you can't analyze it with the laws of science. As science or OUTER WORLD is a matter of OBJECTIVITY. Whatever is happening in meditation is a deep individual experience. How can you describe something so deep in words, mind you words can capture only gross things. The more gross an object/thing is words can describe it completely. The more subtle we go fewer are words. So how can you analyze such a deep experience, with words etc.

So if any of you people there want to explore what are the treasures hidden inside, don't wait besides the fence and waste your precious time in words and discussions...... Just take the plunge and experience bliss....

Love
...A

We are Watching.......Part01


Hi,
A lot of times when I discuss spirituality with my friends and tell them how Art of Living helped me in my inner growth. They all acknowledge the fact, that this path is great. But somehow when it comes down to them taking the program excuses are rife. Most common being I do not have time or I am watching or let me analyze 1st then I decide. They will attend the Satsang, will come to the Yoga and meditation session and when it comes to learning the home practice many of them go into reasoning mode, they want to observe and then decide on committing. They are very clever - clever fools -:) - because these things cannot be watched from the outside. What is happening is an inner phenomenon. Many times you cannot even see to whom it is happening. From the outsied there is no possibility to watch it. How can you watch from outside? Gestures you can see; people doing meditation you can see. But what is happening inside, that is meditation. What they are doing outside is just a situation.



It happened: there was a Sufi Master,
Jalaludin. He had a small school of disciples. People passing sometimes would come to see what was happening in the school. Once a group of very intellectual people came. They are always very alert people, very clever, and they looked. In the Master’s house, just in the compound, a group of 100 people were sitting, and they were doing mad gestures – somebody laughing, somebody crying, somebody jumping.




The intellectuals watched. They said, ’What is going on? This man is leading them toward madness. And this is nonsense; we have never heard. People when they meditate, they sit silently.” And there was much discussion (as usual..-☺) between them. A group of them said, ”Because we don’t know what is happening, it is not good to take any judgment.” Then there was a third group among them who said, ”Whatsoever it is, it is worth enjoying. We would like to watch. Why can’t we enjoy it? Why be bothered what they are doing? But just to watch them is a beautiful thing.”



Then after a few months, again, the same group came to the school to watch. Now what was happening? Now everybody was silent. The 100 persons were there, the Master was there – they were sitting silently, so silently, as if there was no one, like statues. Again there was discussion. There was a group who said, ”Now they are useless. What to see? Nothing! The first time we had come it was beautiful. We had enjoyed it. But now they are just boring.” The other group said, ”But now we think they are meditating. The first time they were simply mad. This is the right thing to do; this is how meditation is done. It is written in the scriptures, described in this way.”
But there was still a third group who said, ”We don’t know anything about meditation. How can we judge?”

What happened after this.....wait for the concluding post...-:).

...Am


Friday, November 6, 2009

Success Breeds Success.......


There was a farmer who grew superior quality, award-winning corn in his farm. Each year, he entered his corn in the state fair where it won honors and prizes.

One year, a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew his corn. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbours when they are entering corn in the competition with yours each year?? The reporter asked. Why bother? The farmer replied, Didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen grains from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior, sub-standard and poor quality corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I have to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors to grow good corn too.

The farmer gave a superb insight into the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbors corn also improves. So it is in the other dimensions and areas of life! Those who choose to be in harmony must help their neighbours and colleagues to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others live well too. The value of a life is measured by the lives it touches.

Success does not happen in isolation; it is most often a participatory and collective process. So share the good practices, ideas and new knowledge with your family, friends, team members and neighbors and all.
As they say:
Success breeds Success!!!

Love
..Am

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Contagious Kissing.....

An eminent businessman went to the doctor. ”Doctor,” he said, ”I wish to consult you about my son. I believe he has got measles.”

”There is a great deal of it about at the moment,” said the doctor. ”No family seems to be safe from it.”
”But doctor,” he went on, ”the boy said he got it from kissing the maid, and to tell the truth, I’m afraid I’m also in danger from the same disease. And what is worse, every night I kiss my wife, so she may be in danger.”

”Good heavens!” said the doctor. ”Excuse me, I must go and get my throat examined at once!”

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween 2009

31st October was Halloween, where many people dress in bizarre costumes and come on the streets for the Annual Halloween Parade. It is somewhat on the same line as the Fancy Dress we have in India. I also decided to dress up this time, as Jesus -:). And to my surprise it was a big hit, when I was walking in the parade with my friends I had so many people who wanted to take a picture with me. When I was walking down the street, small kids used to call and ask "Are you Jesus Christ"? I had a rose in my hand that I used to bless people, was just tapping on their head and saying God Bless.


My 2 friends (Shaan and Swarup) dressed up as Satan. And the message we wanted to convey was in life Opposites Exists because of each other i.e. Jesus exists because of Satan and Satan exists because of Jesus, or in other words good exists because of bad and bad exists because of good. In short opposites add value to each other.

Bye
..Am

Monday, November 2, 2009

Three Most Important Qualifications on Spitirtual Path...03 Concluding Part

The last most imp quality of a seeker is INTENSITY or in other words I can write, giving your 100% in whatever you do. Most of the time we live a very, very limited life and do not allow our energy a full play. Whatever you do, don't hold yourself, if you love someone love totally, flow into the other totally. If you are swimming swim totally, if you are eating, drinking, talking, crying etc, just do it totally let there be nothing to hold you back. I tell you it is the shortest way to be happy. Because anything incomplete is very difficult to drop. Complete things ripen and fall on their own accord. When a fruit is ripe it falls. Of course the tree feels for a few seconds something is missing, and then it forgets. So be it relationships or any other tasks if done 100% then there is no baggage that comes with it.

There is beautiful story in Zen which goes like this:
Somebody asked Chao-chou, a great Zen Master, "What did you used to do before you became enlightened?"
He said, "I used to chop wood and fetch water from the well."
The man asked, "Now that you have become enlightened, what do you do?"
He said, "The same. I chop wood and I fetch the water from the well."
The man was a little puzzled; he said, "But what is the difference then?"
Chao-Chou said, "The difference is much. Before, I used to do many more things side by side. Chopping wood, I would think of many things. Carrying water from the well, I would think of many things. But now I simply carry the water, I simply chop the wood. Even the chopper has disappeared. Just chopping. Just chopping, nobody's there."

So the bottom-line is live life as intensely as possible because anyway one day death has to come and seeing a dead body remember, death is coming and use this opportunity to be alive as intensely as possible. So you can embrace death and go in deep rest.
Ciao..
...Am




Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Three Most Important Qualifications on Spitirtual Path...02

This is a continuation of the previous post. The 2 nd quality of a seeker is to be free of EGO or expand it so much that it includes the entire world. What is EGO?? There are a number of definitions that exists, them most simple for me is EGO comes when the "EASE GOES". If we do not feel natural in a situation or in front of people then somehow we are not able to bring forth what we actually are and it complicates things. EGO is something that has been a part of everyone's life, even the sages, maharishis had it. But what made them graet was the fact that they recognized their EGO and took corrective measures.

One real incidence happened in the life of Adi Sankara, the founder of the Vedanta school of thought. So what exactly happened in that encounter, refer to the video I have posted below.



Enjoy
..AM

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Three Most Important Qualifications on Spitirtual Path...01

After spending a few years on this path of self exploration, I have come up with 3 most important qualities of a seeker. There can be many, but these are what the most important/appealing from my point of view.

1. Authenticity: If we want to seek higher spiritual values in life the 1st and foremost condition is to be authentic, true and not have any deceptions. The more we try to hide, the more we go away from our center. Usually people tend to believe in rituals and customs and forget these are just peripheral things that need not be given much importance. When I say not much importance I do not mean to ignore them, but what I want to say is not to make them the center of your being/existence. The more we get involved in lies, the more it poisons our being and the opposite is also true i.e. the more authentic you are, greater is the clarity in mind. I remember one of my aunt she is literally paranoid about rituals. She wakes up at 5 am, goes to temple, gives food to the pujari, does here mala (3 - 5 times a day), reads the scriptures etc etc. But when I talk with her there is so much anger, frustration that is pent up and you can litrelly feel it. God does not care if you offer him food or if you chant the mantras. What God is looking for is an authentic being.




THE Chhandogya Upanishad has a beautiful story.

Satyakam asked his mother, Jabala, "Mother, I want to live the life of a student of supreme knowledge. What is my family name? Who is my father?"
"My son," replied the mother, "I don't know. In my youth I slept with a lot of different people and I conceived you. I do not know who is your father. I am Jabala and you are Satyakam, so call yourself Satyakam Jabal."
Then the boy went to Gautama, a great seer of those days, and asked to be accepted as a student. "Of what family are you, my dear?" inquired the sage.

Satyakam replied, "I asked my mother what my family name was, and she answered, 'I don't know. In my youth when I slept with a lot of different people I conceived you. I am Jabala and you are Satyakam, so call yourself Satyakam Jabal'. Sir, I am therefore Satyakam Jabal." The sage then said to him, "None but a true brahmin, a true seeker of truth, would have spoken thus. You have not swerved from the truth, my dear. I will teach you that supreme knowledge."


The first quality of the seeker is to be authentic, not to swerve from truth, not to deceive in any way. Because if you deceive others, eventually you are deceived by your own deceptions.


To be Contd....

...Am

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Diwali.....


May the festival of light bring health and happiness to all of us!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Being Alone and Lonely…


A lot of times, each one of us feel there is no company, no one to talk to and it leads to boredom. But then again the question arises why do we feel this hankering for someone’s company, be it parents, friends, girlfriends, etc. Mind you being alone is not same as being lonely. Aloneness is when you are so content that you don’t need the other, the other does not pull you towards herself/himself. Loneliness is ugly, it has a negative vibration with it. Just imagine if you are so bored with your own self how deadly boring will you be for the other. This has to be understood deeply. Just think on your own life. Why do you hanker so much for the other? Why is this constant madness for the other? Why aren’t we satisfied with our own self? From where arises this misconception that you are incomplete? Not that I do not feel these things, I have been in such situations countless times. Where I thought if I get the company of this girl my life will be so happy…-☺. This is tendency of the mind to get caught with objects and become identified with them. The trick to get out of it is – Catch yourself red handed as many times as you can. Again and again catch yourself red handed and drop the object (can be a live person or a material possession). And suddenly you will feel coolness, all excitement gone.

There is a word in Sanskrit called VIVEKA (discrimination), which means to realize that you are not the body, you are not the mind but a Pure Witness (Sakshi) to this life and its events. And when the power to discriminate between; what is a dream and what is reality grows the mind automatically becomes calm, serene, silent and centered. For an unaware person dreams come when he/she sleeps, for a person with heightened awareness the whole life is a dream...-:).

Showers of Love
…Am

Monday, October 5, 2009

Intellect and Intuition !!!


Hi,
Sometimes I sit and ponder on the fact, where can I use intelligence and what is the place of intuition in life. Surrounded by scientists and analytical people all the time, I tend to get in the analysis mode; wherein I tend to analyze my life and the events. But then again part of me just wonders at the magnanimity of this creation and, that WHY changes to WOW!!! Too much intellect can make you aggressive, dry and serious. Intellect is aggressive, on the contrary intuition is receptive, it lightens you, it makes you more sensitive.

If you are receptive you become intuitional and start seeing things which the intellectual can never see because he is not open. And the most amazing thing is that the intellectual is looking for them but cannot see, and the intuitional is not looking for them but can see. In fact all the great discoveries have been done by intellectual people, but in their intuitonal moods. Intuitional people are not able to make discoveries because they are not looking for them, so even if they come across them, they forget about them.

Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4 As a matter of fact the supreme consciousness/supreme intelligence/God whatever you want to call it, can only be known through intuition. What is beyond intelligence is only Divine. Then again the question, where do I use my intelligence?

Ans. Use your intellect to become silent, sharp and talented.
So that, if in life you come across something in your intuitional mood you can really discover it.

Yours,
Intellectually Intuitional Friend ...-:)
....Anu


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Law of Nature -- More you give, more you receive

Usually people do not want to share things they have. They tend to hold on to the possessions, knowledge and information. Somehow they do not realize that, if in life you are a miser and you cling to things, to money and this and that; the more you are contracted inside and the life force is blocked. You can see a perfect example of this in nature.

There are two seas in Israel/Palestine. One the Sea of Galilee which is filled with fresh and sparkling water. Trees and flowers grow around it. Fish live in it, and its banks are green. Source of this is the River Jordan from the hills around Mount Hermon...


Sea of Galilee

River Jordan flows on south into another sea. Here t here is no life, no song of birds,. The air hangs sinister and heavy above its water, and neither man nor beast nor bird will drink. This sea is the Dead Sea.

Dead Sea

What makes so mighty a difference between these two seas – one so alive, so tremendously alive; and another so dead, so deadly dead? This is the difference: the Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the waters of River Jordan. For every drop that flows into it, another drop flows out. The more it gives joyfully away, the more it receives in return. This is the sea of life – the Sea of Galilee. The other sea hoards every drop of water reaching it and gives nothing in return. The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. The other sea gives nothing and does not live. It is truly named ”The Dead” – the Dead Sea.

And the same is true about human life. You can become the Sea of Galilee or you can become the Dead Sea. If you become the Sea of Galilee, sooner or later you will attract the supreme consciousness to you. And you will be in a totally different world. You will have the touch of the divine. Or you can become the Dead Sea; then go on receiving and don’t give; then go on hoarding and don’t give. A miser is a dead person; a miser dies everyday. Share, whatsoever you have share, and you will receive more. That is the meaning of friendliness.

The more compassion, love, and friendliness you give the more they will grow. Not that you will become friendly: you will become the friend. Not that you will become friendly: you will become friendship, friendliness. Not that you will love: you will become love, you will be the very quality of love.

Love
..Am

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You R Responsible.....

Hi,

I have been thinking how we sometimes blame other people for our moods etc. But on the contrary if you decide YOU are responsible for all your moods, for all your actions, in the beginning depression will take over. But IF you can pass through that depression, soon you will feel light because now you are freed from the other, now you can move on your own. You can be free, you can be happy. Even if the whole world is unhappy and unfree it makes no difference. Otherwise, how is a Buddha possible? The whole world is the same. It is just the same as it is for you, but a person who has realized the above fact goes on dancing and singing; he is freed.


And the 1st freedom is to stop throwing responsibility on the other; the 1st freedom is to know that you are responsible for action as well as in-action. One of my friend called me and said that people misuse him and take unfair advantage of him, he says some of his friends are selfish and misuse his kindness. I told him that if people are trying to use you, God has given you intellect to decide what do and when to say NO. Be nice to people but don’t be naïve. Using people is their karma getting used or not is your free will.

Responsibly Yours,

….Anu

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Navratri --- Time for cleansing and rejuvenation


Here is an article where Sri Sri explains the meaning and significance of navratri.....


The festival of Navratri is celebrated with prayers and gaiety in the beginning of the Ashwin (autumn) and the beginning of Chatira (spring). This period is a time for self-referral and getting back to the source. During this time of transformation, Nature sheds the old and gets rejuvenated; animals hibernate and life emerges back afresh in the spring.


According to Vedic science, matter reverts back to its original form to recreate itself again and again. The creation is cyclical, not linear; everything is recycled by nature- a continuous process of rejuvenation. The human mind, however, lags behind in this routine cycle of creation. Navratri is a festival for one to take the mind back to its source.


The seeker gets back to the true source through fasting, prayer, silence and meditation. Night is also called ratri because it brings rejuvenation. It gives relief at the three levels of our existence — physical, subtle and causal. While fasting detoxifies the body, silence purifies the speech and brings rest to the chattering mind, and meditation takes one deep into one’s own being.


The inward journey nullifies our negative karmas. Navaratri is a celebration of the spirit or prana which alone can destroy mahsihsasura (inertia), shumbha-nishumbha (pride and shame) and madhu-kaitabh (extreme forms of craving and aversion). They are completely opposites, yet complementary. Inertia, deeply ingrained negativities and obsessions (raktabeejasura), unreasonable logics (chanda-munda) and blurred vision (dhoomralochan) can be overcome only by raising the level of prana and shakti, the life-force energy.


The nine days of Navratri are also an opportunity to rejoice in the three primordial qualities that make up the universe. Though our life is governed by the three gunas, we seldom recognize and reflect on them. The first three days of Navaratri are attributed to tamo guna, the second three to rajo, guna and the last three to sattva guna. Our consciousness sails through the tamo and rajo, gunas and blossoms in the satva guna of the last three days. Whenever sattva dominates in life, victory follows. The essence of this knowledge is honoured by celebrating the tenth day as Vijaydashmi.


The three primordial gunas are considered as the feminine force of our magnificent universe. By worshiping the Mother Divine during Navaratri, we harmonise the three gunas and elevate sattva in the atmosphere.


Though Navratri is celebrated as the victory of good over evil, the actual fight is not between good and evil. From the Vedantic point of view, the victory is of the absolute reality over the apparent duality. In the words of Ashtavakra, it is the poor wave which tries to keep its identity separate from the ocean, but to no avail.


Though the microcosm is very well within the macrocosm, its perceived separateness is the cause of conflict. For a gyani (wise), the entire creation becomes alive and he recognizes life in everything in the same way children see life in everything. The Mother Divine or the pure consciousness itself pervades all the forms and has all the names. Recognizing the one divinity in every form and every name is the celebration of Navratri. Hence, special pujas honouring all aspects of life and nature are performed during the last three days.


Kali is the most horrific manifestation of Nature. Nature symbolizes beauty, yet it has a horrific form. Acknowledging the duality brings a total acceptance in the mind and puts the mind at ease.

The Mother Divine is recognised not just as the brilliance of intellect (buddhi), but also the confusion (bhranti); she is not just abundance (lakshmi), she is also hunger (shudha) and thirst (trishna). Realising this aspect of the Mother Divine in the entire creation leads one to a deep state of Samadhi. This gives an answer to the age-old theological struggle of the Occident. Through wisdom, devotion and nishkama karma, one can attain advaita siddhi or perfection in the non-dual consciousness.


P.S: Don't you all think how easily Sri Sri (Guruji), explains the spiritual meaning of traditions in such a nice way......


Happy Navratri....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Activities Fair @ Columbia University




Hi,
Today we had the annual activities fair on campus, where all the clubs come together; set up tables to advertise and interact with students. We too had our table and it was a big hit. We served fresh fruits, candies and cookies to the students and also told them what exactly we do on campus. It was very windy outside and the flower vase we had on the table fell with all the water spilling on table, this somehow created a chaotic situation for a little while. But that is what art of living is all about to be unperturbed even in chaos.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

How to make PANEER - INDIAN COTTAGE CHEESE

As a student in U.S, paneer (a kind of Indian Cheese) is not available in grocery stores. Here is a very easy protocol to make delicious paneer at home and then cook whatever u want with it.

1. Take half gallon of Stoniefiled Organic Whole milk. I like whole milk as the paneer comes out very nice, I have no idea what happens with reduced fat milk.
Ingredients
2. Empty the milk in a container and bring the milk to a boil, make sure u keep stirring it frequently as it may get stuck to the bottom of the pan, this will spoil the taste.

Milk Boiling

3. When the milk comes to a boil, slowly start adding white vinegar so that the milk curdles. Keep stirring it slowly. For 1/2 gallon 2 - 3 table spoon shld be enough. Do not add too much as it will make the paneer sour. The way I do it, is Iadd a little bit and stir the milk and see if panner comes out. if not add more.

4. After 1 or 2 min you will see the milk curdles and the paneer and water separate. Use a strainer to get rid of excess water. It will take around 1 hr to get rid of the water. Let the paneer be in the strainer for the whole time.
Curdled Paneer
5. Paneer is ready. This fresh paneer will be very fresh so it may break easily. What I do is if I have to cook paneer in the evening. I make it in afternoon or a night before and refrigerate it. So it is hard and easy to cut in cubes.
Paneer is ready

P.S : Shape the paneer --- Take the paneer out from strainer and wrap it in a muslin/cheese cloth. Put something heavy and flat on top of the paneer. I usually fill a cooker with water and use it as a weight. You can leave the weight overnight or 5 - 6 hrs. Once done you can make cubes out of it.

NOTE: The water you get from straining, is a good hair conditioner; so do not throw it. Once it cools down you can use it to wash hair.....

Friday, September 4, 2009

Time - One of the non renewable resources....



A wise man Christine Warren, once said -

Time I have only just a minute. Only sixty seconds in it. Forced upon me, can't refuse it. Didn't seek it, didn't choose it. But it's up to me to use it. I must suffer if I lose it. Give account if I abuse it, Just a tiny little minute but eternity is in it.

But are we aware how we use our time ? One thing nature made sure was; each one of us on the planet will be given 24 hrs a day, not a second more or less. From the Head of a state to a peon all have the same amount of time for work. And a lot of times when people ask you to do something and the 1st reply we give is "I don't have time". Now think on this carefully, you don't have time or you don't want to make time ? We waste so much of this precious resource on useless issues (browsing internet, facebook, orkut, gossip, thinking too much etc etc). In fact a person who can manage his time can find the time to do everything in life. Having said that I agree it is not that easy, as old tendencies are hard to overcome. But the 1st step to get over a bad is habit is to acknowledge it. Then comes the 2nd step of how to get rid of it. In school days, time use to come at premium, not any more..-:(. 70 - 80 years of life is too short to waste in useless things my friends, so come on wake up and shake up and leave all those judgments, prejudices, and enmity behind. Else you can keep on dragging life and see it as a burden or you can just realize the truth that one day every one has to die so why waste time in getting angry and fighting with people. Why not dance, why not love, why not celebrate, sing and laugh!!!! Just think back and see at your own life, how quickly 20 - 25 yrs have passed, and the rest 50 - 60 yrs will fly away. You know in the Indian scriptures it is said that one of the most difficult things to get is a human life, as the human consciousness has the capacity to reach the zenith. Not possible with any other living form. So in short if we realize just 2 things:

1. One day everyone has to DIE.
2. This human life, right now, is a GIFT.

Then all the distractions the mind has, go away and we see life in a more dynamic form. And meditation is nothing but just a dynamic expression of life.....

So lets be aware of each and every moment and not let these beautiful 70/80/90 years just slip by...-:).

Till then, Lots of love,
Anu

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wasting a lot of time......

Last few weeks I have been very irregular on blog, and in life as I had a couple of issues.
1st I had a severe neck ache, may be due to excessive traveling, odd sleep hrs and sleeping wherever (on the floor, in a bus, on the couch etc etc) I want to. The body is intelligent to signal in its own way, when you mess with it -:).
2nd one of my old collaborators has left to France forever, so that was jolt for me. As I used to work closely with him on the bio side of my experiments, now I am left all by myself -:(.
3rd somehow I felt a sudden loss of energy for the past 2 weeks or so and I have no explanation and excuse for it. Perhaps I have to step up my sadhana and be more disciplined.

I have to remind myself again and again that time is flying away and we should know how to use it to fullest.

But the good part was I developed some cool recipes (Indian, Chinese food), which I will post pretty soon.

Till then
Make use of ur time and Enjoy
..am

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Eye Opening Incidence of my LIFE.....



This happened in India. During my freshman year I was traveling with my family for a wedding in Udaipur, Rajasthan. We decided to take a break and get something to eat. We stopped the car at a rest area and each one of us took things to eat like Namkeens (Salted Snacks), tea, coffee, some chips etc. My younger brother was very hungry so he took more than he could finish. After about half hour when we were full we decided to resume the journey. My brother was not able to finish his portion so he asked me what to do. I told him leave it on the ground for the dog to eat. A street dog came and sniffed the food, he licked some of it; but since it was salty and dogs do not like salty food he just walked passed it. During this whole time my eyes were neither on food nor the dog but on a man who was standing approx 2 feet away from the dog and watching the food without blinking his eyes. He was a home less person who was very hungry. As soon as the dog left the place, this person jumped on the food, grabbed it and started eating it.

I was so shaken by the incident that I realized and experienced how important food is. Food that was sniffed and licked by a street dog was being eaten by a human being. Indeed it was clear to me whatever we are doing it is for food. But sometimes we take a lot of things for granted, as we have not seen or experienced the other extreme. As written is Upanishads “Annam Brahmam” – meaning Food is God, I saw it by my eyes that yes food indeed is God and one should not waste it anytime. From that day, I made sure that I do not waste food at all.

Was an eye opener for me......

...Am

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Big Question???

Lately my mind is pondering upon very important and difficult questions.

What is the purpose of this life?

What do I want from it?

How can I make it useful?

The more I try to get answers to these questions more the confusion. Sometimes I feel those who do not probe so much into life and live it as a mundane thing might be happy. But are they really? Their life is like a ferrris wheel, same thing again and again and again. Typically, as I have observed 99% of the people have somewhat similar life pattern – work on the weekdays, and on the weekends they go visit friends (most of the time same set of frds), do grocery, and kill time by watching TV etc. Now, this is fine once a while but can you imagine doing it more than once a month. I ask myself do I want such a life and the answer is an outright NO. Then again the question crops up what do I want? Some excitement, some enthusiasm, some life energy. Every action should lead into a feeling of fulfillment, we shld feel yes now I have done it 100% and I have lived it 100% then we experience life in a very dynamic form. Can I have such a life?? Yes I can, as I am to choose what I want. Initially, it is difficult as the mind has been cultured to do things what most people do, but once you get over it then you recognize how useful this life can be.

I remember once, Sri Sri was asked: What is the purpose of life?

And his answer was “ The purpose of life is to serve, rest you figure it out”.


Yes, the correct balance of Sadhana (Spiritual Practice), Service and Satsang (chanting/knowledge) has the potential to give a sense of fulfillment. But it should be made a priority it is not something done in a lukewarm manner. It has to be intense.

Then again the question comes why should I do other things. That is when the spiritual knowledge goes through the litmus test. It is very easy to renounce the world and have a peaceful mind, but the challenge is when you are in the world, doing the usual chores and still not perturbed by the disturbances around. It is living life like a LOTUS. If you notice, the lotus flower is in dirt but is still is unsoiled by it, similarly a true Yogi is one who lives life in the world but is untouched by its dirt.


So I strive to be a LOTUS at the same time taking each day as gift from God. But the questions still remain...-:).


Love

Am