Category Archives: short musings

Doer??

We are going through difficult times. Who had thought that a virus could cause so much havoc? Plans have been disrupted. Schedules have changed and the style of working has changed drastically.

Every morning I wake up thinking that will I get milk today? What rumours will rock today? The deepest of slumber have been jolted by an anxiety, what if…..But life is such.

And that leaves me ashamed. Even though I understand that nothing is in our hands because we are just puppets and yet there is fear and anxiety. Faith and devotion gives us ‘Abhaya’(fearlessness). But me I just tremble. I say that because times are such or is it my own lack of belief in the superior being.

But time and again it is proved that nothing is in our hands. Maybe it is a man made catastrophe, maybe not but the truth is the outcome is beyond us.

There was a picture circulating in whatsapp which resonated with me

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The funny part is that this material world is actually a cage where in we have been sent to rehabilitate, so that we can remember our actual position and try to go back to our original abode.

This we understand in our present condition. A virus has made us understand about our actual position; it is also made us understand how powerless we are. Nothing was and nothing will be in our control.

We may gloat of our material accumulations or our scientific progresses but the fact remains that we are not the doer.

When Arjuna in the midst of the battlefield is bewildered and refused to fight? Krishna asks him why do people think that they are the doers when actually it is the three modes of material nature doing everything.

prakrteh kriyamanani
gunaih karmani sarvasah
ahankara-vimudhatma
kartaham iti manyate (BG 3.27)
TRANSLATION
The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.

How long we will think of lording over nature and take advantage of it to satisfy our cravings. It is but inevitable that nature will take revenge one day.

But the best part is that now as we remain indoors it is the nature which takes a breather. The air is purer, we can hear the birds chirp and the animals are free to roam as they like. At least let us be happy about that.

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Filed under Lessons, short musings

Assessment !!

From time to time it is necessary to evaluate ourselves. It helps to know what we have learned and how much we have evolved.

With this objective in mind every year around the end of February or beginning of March, I conduct some form of assessment for the children of the school where I take weekly Bhagavad Gita class. Last year I had taken a quiz on the Bhagavad Gita for only two standard ie. Children of the fourth and fifth standard. The children had performed exceedingly well. And I was so proud that day.

This year the plan was to make it bigger and better. The assessment would have to be enjoyable and yet quantifiable. After a lot of brainstorming and consultations with my seniors, a format was prepared.

While the first 2 standard would get just colouring sheets, for the others it would be more elaborate. And the way they coloured…..my jaw touched the ground.

For the others we started with complete the shloka. I would give a part of the shloka and children were asked the preceding or succeeding part. That was the icebreaker and the children participated enthusiastically.

Then children were divided into groups of 10 and given jumbled shlokas. They had to arrange it in proper order. Out of the 20 teams only one did a minor mistake. After they arranged it they were supposed to illustrate the shloka according to their understanding. Initially they panicked. It was something very new to them. I had called some friends and my son to help me out that day. So we allayed their fears and boosted their morale. And the way they opened their minds was .. just wonderful.

This illustrates about how the soul progresses from infancy to youth to old age to death and then to a new body.

Some more pictures

The immense joy that the day gave me as a teacher/preacher cannot be explained in words. In actuality it was my assessment as to whether my children had understood me or not.

Definitely the memories of that day will be etched in our memories forever.

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Filed under free writing, short musings, Slices of life

Have faith

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 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 darkness to light

In a foul mood I went banging doors and slamming things. Yes, I do such absurd things or sometimes just yell. It takes the stress away. And I get back to normal, Nowadays I just yell ‘Krishnaaaa’ and then calm down. But today I didn’t do any yelling. I was too stressed to do even that. No, nothing very critical. Just that water supply in our building sometimes plays errant. No water and I get tensed up. I start imagining all sorts of troubles eventually leading to my bad karma and my ‘sufferings’.

Yes, I tend to be melodramatic.

Today I didn’t yell. Nor did I blame my karma. Today my position was of a warrior who has accepted defeat even before the war has begun.

I went about folding clothes, arranging cupboards when I looked around and saw the lighted ‘diyas’ at the altar.

I love the sight of diya (mind you the oil diyas not the wax candles). I love the flames playing around in a dark room. Somehow it lifts my mood up, makes me calm and makes me believe that there is hope.

I am immediately reminded of the line, Tamosama jyotirgamay’ lead me from darkness to light. It also means coming out of ignorance to knowledge.  Always darkness is linked to ignorance. Lying down at night when sleep eludes, even the simplest problem looks gargantuan.  The same problem in the day time is minuscule.

I remember a similar prayer sung in school, ‘Lead kindly light amid encircling gloom’. The essence is the same, leading from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to light. I have not had chance to study other religions but I am sure others too speak of the same truth. After all what is religion… its a means to advance to knowledge and erase the ignorance from our hearts.

Lord Krishna in the Bhagvad Gita Chapter 10 Text 11 says:

tesam evanukampartham
aham ajnana-jam tamah
nasayamy atma-bhava-stho
jnana-dipena bhasvata
Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.
In this shloka too darkness has been compared to ignorance.
We may think we are elevated, that we are ‘gyanis’ the knower of all truths but the fact is that we know very little. And that little itself is enough to make us puffed up with pride. But those who are humble enough to keep on serving the Lord come what may;  He himself lights the lamp of knowledge in his heart.
Such a simple formula.
So do I have the endurance to carry on against all odds? The illnesses, the material discomforts, the sudden doubts of faith? That time can only tell. Till then I will look on to the lamps in the altar and bring courage to the heart.
Tamso maa jyotirgamaya….Lead kindly light…..

 

 

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Filed under Essay, short musings

I was, I am, I will

na tv evaham jatu nasam na tvam neme janadhipah na caiva na bhavisyamah sarve vayam atah param

This shloka from Chapter 2 of the Bhagvad Gita (Text 12) always gives me goose bumps. Why? Because this shloka reiterates the eternality of the soul as also the fact that we are individuals which were, are and will be living….always. TRANSLATION: Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. I always fall in love with life again when I read this shloka. It fills me with energy.

The mere fact that we are not supposed to be machines but we are individuals with similar characteristics and yet we have something special fills me with joy.

This shloka reiterates the fact that e as spirit souls will never perish. The individual soul was always present and present today too. If lucky tomorrow it will go back to Godhead and there too will retain its individuality while serving the Lord. Very often people get afraid to be involved in bhakti fearing that they will lose their interests their passions. Bu the fact is all the passions and interests can be used for bhakti. I like to write, so I write, I like to be with children, so I teach them. Simple. Use your talents in the processes of bhakti. Simple. I remember as a young girl telling my mother, ‘Don’t ask me to do as the others do…I have my own individuality’ 😛 Maybe in my heat I knew that I am individual eternal soul then too 😀

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Filed under short musings