Just a puppet

Pihu whistled as she got ready for her college. Mrs.Agrawal, her mother was a bit relieved seeing her in a good mood. She whispered to her husband, ‘Weather is good today…’

‘Or is it the lull before the storm’, whispered Mr. Agrawal back.

Dealing with teenagers is not easy. Pihu was all of 17 and she had given enough heartache to her parents.

Volatile temper, bad grades, you name it and Mr and Mrs. Agrawal had experienced it all.

Till her tenth Pihu had been an obedient girl. An ace student and good in sports and extracurricular activities, there has been a change in attitude as soon as she had joined junior college. Sometimes her parents had difficulty in accepting that this girl was really their daughter.

Pihu came and sat down to have her breakfast, ‘What have you made ma’, she asked.

‘Poori-bhaji’, answered her mother.

‘Maaaa’, screamed Pihu, ‘How could you?’

‘What happened?’ shivered her mother

‘Can you see the acne on my face, I can’t eat oily stuff, can’t you understand?’ said Pihu

‘You can make your own breakfast’, said Mr. Agrawal

Both father- daughter glared at each other.

‘You can have bread and jam if you want’, said Mrs. Agrawal trying to diffuse the situation.

Pihu just picked up her bag and left.

Mrs. And Mr. Agrawal sat down in contemplation. They were musing that what mistake they had done while bringing up Pihu.

Pihu came late and shut herself in her room. However much her parents cajoled, she refused to come out.

‘Do you think, she is doing drugs’, asked Mrs. Agrawal in a quivering voice.

Mr. Agrawal  just mumbled incoherently.

Overnight both decided to visit Pihu’s college. They decided to go and speak to her teachers about her behaviour. Pihu had left already for college again without having breakfast.

As they were getting ready, the telephone rang….It was the College Principal. He wanted to meet them immediately.

The Principal informed them that Pihu was not paying attention in class. In fact she was disrupting the class quite often. In fact the previous day he had taken a leave as some of his relatives were visiting him. While going around the city, he saw, Pihu and her friends near a shopping mall most probably to watch a movie during college hours.

‘Has she told you that she was going to a movie?’ asked the Principal

They shook their head.

‘Pihu is a bright student and it pains me to see a good student go astray. If need be take the help of our School Counsellor’, advised the Principal.

Mr. And Mrs. Agrawal went home.

Pihu was subdued that day. Obviously she had come to know that her parents had been summoned to the school. Mrs. Agrawal went to her room and asked softly, ‘Which movie did you go to yesterday?’

Pihu mentioned the name.

‘Pihu have we ever said no to you?? But going to a movie during college hours mad that too without telling us? You are still a minor Pihu and you take such liberties’.

Pihu sat quietly.

Her mother  continued,‘And I hear that you are not attentive in class and in fact disturb the class.Why Pihu? What about your ambitions. You wanted to be a scientist right but what is all this….?’

Tears trickled down Pihu’s eyes.

‘We have never forced our dreams on you Pihu, you have got whatever you needed’, and the Mr. Agrawal recounted all the episodes of their travels and the happy times they had spent as a family.

‘Why Pihu? Have your dreams changed or are you being influenced by your friends? If you don’t answer me I will believe that in your heart you don’t consider me as your mother’, said Mrs. Agrawal and got up.

But Pihu rushed to her side and hugged her and burst in tears, ‘Maa, don’t go away if you too leave me what will I do?’

And the whole story came out. She had Vidhi had been good friends right from primary school but now Vidhi had to go to another college because she took another stream. Phu felt lonely, it was then that she befriended a group of students who were fun. They went on adventures and took chances. Pihu wanted so badly to be a part of their troop. And she had been imitating their behaviour.

Mrs. Agrawal sighed in relief. At least now they knew the problem, the solution could be worked on.

———————————————————–

Arjuna had asked Krishna that sometimes an unknown power seems to be working upon him and unknowingly he had to do something which he didn’t wish to do.

arjuna uvaca
atha kena prayukto ‘yam
papam carati purusah
anicchann api varsneya
balad iva niyojitah

TRANSLATION

Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrsni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force? (BG. 3.36)

Krishna had then explained that it was the modes of material nature working on him.

sri-bhagavan uvaca
kama esa krodha esa
rajo-guna-samudbhavah
mahasano maha-papma
viddhy enam iha vairinam

TRANSLATION

The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.(BG. 3.37)

The soul as such is very pure but as soon as it lands on the material nature, the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance start working upon it. And we are just the puppets of these modes.

Different times of the day the modes act differently. The early hours of the day is the time when the mode of goodness is more prominent.The day time is the time when we work and is dominated by mode of passion. The night is for the mode of ignorance,

Any food which is fresh is in the mode of goodness, spicy food and meat are in the mood of passion while stale food is in the mood of ignorance.

So the different times of the day, the food we eat and the company we keep all act on the modes and we act accordingly.

**The story above is a hypothetical one and is just to illustrate how we act and the reasons behind our actions and is not a guideline in managing teenage tantrums

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How to deal with crisis

In the world which we live, we are constantly facing some or the other crisis. The first problem that we fear is sickness either ours or our loved ones. Apart from the physical limitations we also have to deal with the financial implications. It is a case of the lion’s lair or the shark’s mouth. The second problem especially of people living in the Middle East is that of job insecurity. This problem escalates if you have children. Then you feel the sword hanging over your head 24*7. What if you or your spouse lose your job in the middle of the school year? You may search for a new job but what if you don’t get? If you decide to return to your home country, will your children get admission in the middle of the year? How to deal with such situations?

Our scriptures have divided our miseries into three:

  • Adidaivik: The miseries caused by the demigods like earthquakes, floods, tsunami
  • Adibhautik: Miseries caused by other living entities like dengue because of mosquitoes or your colleague creating problems for you at work etc.
  • Adhyatmik: Problems caused by your own mind. Why is she staring at me or I am not good enough etc.

But very often, we over selves are the cause of most of the miseries. More often than not it’s our ego the I, me, myself which cause problems for us. Colleague causing problems for you very often than not is the cause of an over inflated ego. (adibhautik), Similarly Adhyatmik Problems too are caused because either you think too much of yourself or too little.

Then you may question how do adidaivik problems arise? As we know we were all living peacefully in the spiritual platform along with the Lord but somewhere the desire to enjoy or Lord arose in us. And so Lord created this material world in which we were supposed to enjoy but at the same time we were supposed to do some prescribed duties. When we did these duties like different yagnas, the demigods would be satisfied and they would bless us with ample rain, food etc. Repeatedly doing these duties would arise our God consciousness and we would start serving the Lord and ultimately return to the spiritual world. But the age of Kali is very troublesome. We tend to forget our duties and we incur the wrath of the demigods in the form of flood, tsunami etc. If you are not a believer and you want a ‘scientific’ explanation then let me explain. We have used this earth, this environment to fulfil our greed. The incessant cutting of trees in the Western Ghats and the subsequent floods is an eye opener to all. I shudder to think with our reckless lifestyle what more is in store for the future.

We have heard about the acronym SOS. SOS or save our souls often used by people who have lost their way in deserts pr wilderness. This acronym holds true for us who have lost our way to the actual goal of life which is going back to Godhead.

  • The first thing when crisis hits us is to remember that I am not this body But a spirit Soul. However big the problem is the fact remains that it will not be carried over to your next birth. So don’t panic, this too will pass. The eleventh shloka of the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita explains this perfectly

sri-bhagavan uvaca
asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhasase
gatasun agatasums cananusocanti panditah

TRANSLATION

The Blessed Lord said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.

Be dispassionate…try to look at the problem from a third angle. So the important thing is to Observe. Is there any opening in the market for my qualification…can I secure a place for my children in my home town. Don’t panic but observe. Most of our problems are of the body and it helps when we disengage and watch

  • Weigh possibilities scratch out what is not feasible.

So what is SOS…we are spirit souls, observe from all angles and scratch out options

What gives strength during moments of crisis?

  • Faith in the Supreme Lord. Take all problems as a test
  • Something better is planned for me. We say, man proposes but God disposes. That is often true because He has better plans for us.
  • Whatever happens we learn something and the experience makes us stronger.
  • I am not alone. The Lord stands by Me. As explained in the fifth shloka of Chapter 4 of the Bhagavad Gita        sri-bhagavan uvaca
    bahuni me vyatitani janmani tava carjuna
    tany aham veda sarvani na tvam vettha parantapa

Translation; The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!

So we have never been alone, He has always been with us.

Whatever struggles we face if we are in the path of Krishna consciousness, is a step nearer to Krishna. As Bhagavan says in Bhagavad Gita 4.9

janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna

 TRANSLATION

One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.

Whatever crisis you come across if you are in the right frame of mind, you lead to Krishna. So take all crises as stepping stones.

(Excerpts from a class taken of 16th October 2018)

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Have faith

art-beads-bracelet-271607.jpg

 Picture courtesy : pixabay.com

We are a generation always in the search of quick-fixes.So in that quest google is the winner and we all have become mini-engineers,doctors, plumbers and what not. Once a handyman in Bahrain had screamed at us,’Jiska kaam hai usper chhodd jiye'( Leave the work to the person who does it) when we had suggested something. That is how ‘intelligent’ we have become.

But there is one thing which does not have any quick fixes or rather has one but we can talk about that later. And what is that? Our karma. What is written in our fate has to be lived. Or in other words what we sow,we reap. The punya( good karma) and the paap(bad karma) keep on accumulating and from time to time we keep on enjoying/suffering the reactions. There is no shortcut; if it is suffering you suffer, no escape from it.

Very often we say,’you should have faith in the medicine for it to work’. Especially when you are taking homeopathy or ayurvedic medicines. Similarly when going through a low phase like suffering losses or bad health many people give you some remedies. Chant this, do that, do this. And you do. if you do it is fine but don’t do anything halfheartedly. Do it if you believe, if you have shraddha in what you are doing.

When the ‘jiva’ that is the frag-mental piece of the Lord wanted to enjoy the world by itself, this whole material world was created. But along with the world, the Lord also gave out solutions. He knew that someday we would have enough of this material world and would want to go to our eternal world and so he gave remedies. Our vedas are full of remedies, you want health, worship this demi God, you want wealth worship that demi God and so on. So when you are in need someone suggests some remedies; chant this, do this,; don’t turn up your nose because our Vedas do give us solutions. And these solutions do reduce our sufferings or problems BUT only if you have shraddha or faith..

We say follow your dreams but you can follow dreams only if you have faith.

We take paracetamol for fever because we have faith on it.

Similarly if someone is suggesting some remedy, do it only if you have faith in it.

As I said earlier, there is no escape from karma. And these remedies just reduce the intensity. But there is one permanent remedy from all that and that is chanting of the holy name. But that too needs shraddha. Chant the holy name and see all your karmas dissolve and go back to your eternal home where there is no suffering. That is the only quick fix to escape karma.

tam eva saranam gaccha
sarva-bhavena bharata
tat-prasadat param santim
sthanam prapsyasi sasvatam
TRANSLATION
O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode. (BG 18.62)

 

 

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From ignorance to light

Life throws up surprises every now and then. Like you are doing good in your job and suddenly the business shuts shop. Or you are a businessman but you suffer multiple losses. Life can be so unpredictable. Like you are happy, you have finished with your responsibilities and you want to relax and suddenly you discover that you have a lump which is not just a lump.

No, this is not about me.

When I read blogs I often feel it unrealistic. We write about the urban upper class but what about the towns and the villages. Isn’t there a story there.

What about common life, why has it become so uncommon?Quotefancy-1520040-3840x2160

As I said earlier there is so much to write about in the mundane.

I think about life, the ordinary struggles and the shocks and the surprises we keep getting now and then and I want to unravel the mystery.

I know a lady who has raised her two children singlehandedly. her husband is somewhere. I do not know whether her husband was an alcoholic or abusive or both. I never asked. I didn’t want to hurt her anymore than what she was already hurting. But heard that her husband used to come now and then demand money, take and leave.Until one day her son now grown up and earning, threw him out and threatened him.

Out of curiosity I had asked her son once, why your mother tolerates him. He just replied mother can never refuse beggars.

And then it hit me. She was not tolerating him, neither was she doing it as a sense of responsibility. She was doing it as a duty. the duty of a human not a wife; of helping those who are needy. was she right, was she wrong? I am not going to judge her but I realised that every scene has so many angles.

Life when it wants just to show some angles, it throws some surprises. And then the Lord, the witness watches how we deal with it. I look back at my journey from March 31st 2004 and see how I have evolved and with all humility I bow down and hope that I have evolved well. It was that day I discovered that I had pituitary adenoma which subsequently lead me to partial darkness and the knowledge that I have to be on support of external hormones but it has led me to an absolutely delightful journey of self discovery. A discovery which earlier I may not have embarked upon earlier. Have I been good or have I been bad, I will not judge but the fact is that today I am grateful that I had the chance to see so many ups and downs to discover myself.

Someone very dear is going through the same trials. I just hope that she too takes this opportunity to discover self.

The shloka in my mind:

tesam evanukampartham aham ajnana-jam tamah
nasayamy atma-bhava-stho jnana-dipena bhasvata
TRANSLATION
Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance. (BG 10.11)

 

 

 

 

 

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My friend

As I shed tears, the better half asked,’ Do you want to please Krishna, yourself or the others?’ I stopped myself and thought hard.

this is not something new. Call me emotional or call me sensitive but I get hurt easily. Any relationship/friendship I put my 100% and then when I don’t see the same reciprocation, I get hurt.

Apart from the fact that I am a straight forward person, the other problem is that I get attached and the normal course when you get attached is that you start expecting. Now attachment with Expectation is a lethal combination. And try as I might,it is impossible for me at least at this juncture to remain unattached.

Now you may wonder why this  rant. Well as it always happens I try to do the maximum for the family and friends but when I see them backbiting or let us say when things do not go as per my expectation I get upset. And as usual the tears flow

Being able to cry anywhere is a strength.  Not a weakness.  I'm not scared of feeling my emotions. I don't feel the need to hide and bottle them up. I AM a strong woman BECAUSE I cry.

courtesy: https://goo.gl/images/q5WESu

But then the husband said, ‘who are you trying to please?’ And that made me think. It made me think of this shloka.

gatir bharta prabhuh saksi
nivasah saranam suhrt
prabhavah pralayah sthanam
nidhanam bijam avyayam
TRANSLATION
I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.(BG 9.18)

I always get a lot of strength from this shloka. Over a period of time  I have realised there is nobody that is truly yours. In numerous instances you will find that your parents,your siblings, your spouse, your children and your friends all have different agendas. Though they may be with you theoretically, they are not really yours. The only person who is truly with you, with your ups and downs, being your witness, and giving you strength is the Parmatma. He guides you too that is if you are ready to listen. As soon as I this realisation came, I felt peaceful, the tears dried and I was ready to face the world again.

 

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I shall NEVER run away

Continued from here

Harish spent the whole night tossing and turning. What would Suresh do, would his wife return were his prime concern. It was only in the early  morning that he could finally sleep.

When he woke it was to find that it was bright and sunny. He checked his watch and got a shock, it was 8.30 am. He jumped. He had thought of waking at least by 6 and opening the shop for his milk customers.

‘Amma pack my breakfast,I will have it in the shop’, he yelled.

‘But why?’, she yelled back.

‘I have to open the shop, customers will be waiting  for milk.But wait if the shop is closed where the vendor will keep the crates’, he yelled

‘Whatt…..why you want to go. Suresh is already there’, said Amma.

Harish stopped and went to the dining area where his mother was having breakfast and reading newspaper. ‘Anna came?’, he asked

‘Yes, he came at 4, had his bath and left.Your father has gone there now to give him breakfast.’, she said

‘Vanhi??’, he asked

‘I didn’t ask Harish, didn’t want to bother him early in the morning’, she said.

Harish went to the shop around 11.30. There weren’t any customers. Suresh was taking stock of the milk packets sold that day. He looked at Harish and smiled.

‘How are you Anna’, he asked

‘I am perfectly fine’, he said and looking at him said, ‘You are asking about yesterday right’.

Harish nodded.

‘Sumati felt that all are ganging up together to keep me and her separate’. he said.

‘We never had that intention’, Harish said

‘That is what I told her. I told her how I had lost my job and how after numerous trials I didn’t get another. And how you got the idea of operating this shop. I told her how for our future I had to work hard now. And when we save a little we can go for vacations….’

‘She listened/’, Asked Harish.

‘She had to. I also told her that for amma she is like a daughter, so if she too treats amma like her mother, all will be fine’, said Suresh.

Harish looked at Suresh in wonder. ‘So much change’, Harish thought, ‘God is merciful upon me.’

‘I think all this is because we haven’t given any responsibility to her. As we know idle mind is a devils workshop. So I am going to ask amma to involve her at home. Also, I am going to ask her to bring breakfast for me. There is so much rush in the morning, she will help me. What do you think? Am I right?’, asked Harish

‘Yes, you are’, said Harish. At that moment some customers came. As Suresh was taking their order, his phone rang, he signalled to Harish to take over. By the time the customers left, Suresh had finished with the call.

‘Amma’s call’, he said, ‘Sumati’s parents have brought her back. I will go home now’, he said.

Harish looked on happily. ‘Is this an end or a beginning’, he thought,’I always wanted to run away, afraid of problems. But then the sweetness of success is it because we overcome our problems or is it because we tried and didn’t buckle under pressure. But most important, would I have this feeling of achievement if I were alone.  Would I have the love and blessings of everyone if I were alone. No. Sure being together has a lot of problems but much more than that is this feeling of love and togetherness’.

————————————————————————

karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango ‘stv akarmani
TRANSLATION
You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.

As this very famous shloka says we have to perform our prescribed duty and not bother about our result. Or in other words, don’t bother about the destination but enjoy the journey. Life will never be without problems face them. Running away  whether to another place or in some cases taking away one’s life is never a solution.

———————————————-

I am taking part in BAR-A-THON Edition 3
The theme is RUN. I hope you enjoyed this yatra as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 

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I should have run away

Continued from here

Suresh came by 5 and told,’You can leave now Harish I can manage, go watch a movie with friends.’

‘I am going to meet Guruji’, he said.

‘Too matured for his age’, muttered Suresh under his breath.

When Harish reached Guruji’s place, Guruji was watering his plants. When he saw Harish he was happy and immediately hugged him.

‘You know Harish when I first met you, you were like a wild flower. Tempestuous, angry and rebellious. Then slowly you became receptive, just like this plant. You know this shrub was wild; then I pruned it, gave some manure, watered it and it began flowering.  Looking at you I feel so proud Harish and definitely your parents feel so too.’

Harish was uncomfortable, he didn’t know how to receive compliments. And then he said, ‘All because of you Guruji or else I would be roaming around in some street smoking ganja and what not.’

Guruji looked at him closely and said, ‘the storm is over, is it?’

‘Seems so’, answered Harish and explained the events of the past few days.

‘My good Lord….are you hurt Harish……’

‘I am perfectly fine Guruji, I escaped unharmed’, replied Harish,’ But Guruji, so much anger that you want to hurt someone else without thinking about the consequences?’

‘When we want something very badly, we develop an attachment to it, and eventually when such attachments do not materialise anger generates. It is all very logical. Have you seen a child demanding for candy in a supermarket?’

Harish nodded.

‘First it will look at the candy, then he declares that he wants it, then when he doesn’t see his parents relenting, he will roll on the floor and eventually when still his parents don’t yield, then he will scream to pull everyone’s attention and even then if he is not heard then he will start punching his parents. We never grow up really. Only our desires change and maybe our methodology of acquiring our desires………When there is anger your sense of judgement deserts you’.

Harish was engrossed but then his phone rang. It was Suresh, he took the call.

‘Harish, I know I asked you to take a break but you have to come to the shop now. It is urgent’, and before Harish could say anything the call was disconnected.

Harish took leave from Guruji and rushed.

‘As soon as he reached the shop Suresh started to leave, Harish asked what the matter was and he replied…’Sumati has left home’.

The rest of the evening was spent in a haze, ‘God……. is there any end to our troubles. Just now Anna was becoming serious and now this. If God forbid Anna falls back to his old ways, then what…’ A hundred questions battled in his mind and yet he went on working mechanically.

When he reached home he saw his parents in a sullen mood. Suresh was at his in-law’s place.

‘What happened amma’. he asked.

‘Nothing much actually. As you know Sumati doesn’t do any work at home. The whole day she would be lazing around, playing on her mobile and watching Television. Today Mrs. Shetty had come to visit, I just asked Sumati to bring a glass of water. She just got up and went to her room. Later on I asked her why she didn’t get water and she started screaming that all we thought of was to make her a maidservant just as we had made Suresh our servant. I told her that Suresh had improved and in fact become responsible. She said that, that was our plan to make Suresh busy in the shop so that he would be far from her……Next I saw her packing her bags and leave. I asked her to stop but she didn’t listen. Then I called Suresh. Now he has gone to talk to her, most probably he will stay there. i just hope he doesn’t stay there only from now on…’

‘Don’t talk nonsense, give food to Harish and then let us sleep. Out staying awake will not change anything’, said his father.

Harish lay awake thinking. relationships are so complex difficult to handle, better to run away and stay alone somewhere.

to be continued


We all need a Guruji, in our lives, someone who can guide us and lead us to the right path. It is very important to have an inquisitive mind to ask the right question to the right person. Then only we will find answers to life’s secrets.

tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah
TRANSLATION
Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth. (BG 4.34)

Harish is fortunate to have a Guruji who is always there to answer his questions and to guide him but the thought of running away is always in his mind. Maybe he longs for a Utopian world where there is no rife. He has to understand that there are going to be problems but as long as there are solutions. life is fine.


I am taking part in BAR-A-THON Edition 3
The theme is RUN

 

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