Sunday, November 02, 2008

To be

To have but not to hold
To hold and not to keep
To keep but not to own
To own and not to love
To love but not to be
To be and not to have

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Framework

‘My very being is stricken with the weakness of sentimental pity. With my mind bewildered about my duty, I ask Thee. Tell me, for certain, which is better. I am Thy pupil; teach me, who am seeking refuge in Thee.’ (Bhagwad Geeta, 2:7)

Even the finest of human beings has to withstand the storms of disbelief, doubt and ignorance. The realization of this state may result in introspection, self-dialogue, learning other’s learnings and seeking refuge in God.

‘O you who believe! Seek help in patience and prayer. Truly! Allah is with the patient.’ (The Qur’an, 2:153)

The mightiest of all believers may be assailed with a crisis of disbelief. S. Radhakrishnan says, ‘It is the general experience of seekers that they are troubled by doubts even when they are on the threshold of light.’ A typical case of last mile connectivity!

Yet, by faith alone, Noah moved ahead, being divinely warned of things not yet seen. And, by faith, Abraham, when he was tested, offered up his son.

‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ (Mathew, 14:31)

Even if one is a believer, what is the framework to live through life’s moments of dejection, hunger and despair? Is faith enough for these moments?

‘And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits. But give glad tidings to the patient’ (The Qur’an, 2:155)

What if these moments expand to fill into the span of an entire lifetime? Can one just blame it on one’s past Karma in the hope of redeeming oneself through positive thoughts and actions in the here and now? It will be odd telling a cripple that it is his wont to go through life as it is, because, divine light awaits him at it’s end, even as others around him skip and hop through life.

Is endurance, then, the answer? – ‘He who endures to the end, shall be saved’

Once one knows the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of existence, ‘how’ does one ameliorate oneself? When I was trying to conceptualize the 'how', I was still stuck with the 'what' - the attached 2x2 matrix speaks of the current situation one may find him/herself in, given the past and present karma of the individual. But, 'how' does the homeless orphan on the street draw upon his inner strength? It is easy to fall into a ‘trap’ here – hunger will push him into the world of crime, while his present state has to be blamed on his past. He gets pulled into a vicious cycle! Does the message of God hold any importance for someone in this situation?

Unfortunately, I have no framework to give to myself to answer all of my questions. But I do hope to find peace in my belief that God loves us all.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The more the number of questions that I ask of God, the less that I hear back from Him. And then suddenly, as if struck by a thunderbolt, it all comes back to me. Heaven relents. The emptiness disappears. The fog recedes into the crevices deep inside of me. It's day light again. It's given to me in the precise hour that I am supposed to know.

Jesus once said: 'All cannnot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given'. The message that I hear is not what you hear. God sought me to do what He couldn't ask of you. In a way then, He chose me, and not the other way around!

What did God choose you to do?

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Great Fix

I had hit upon this article in 'The Hindu' dated June 27th 2007 (Paul Davies) which states that the Universe looks suspiciously like a fix. And no, one cannot fully explain this to anything external (internally anchored cosmos, eh?) to it, be it an unexplained God or an unexplained set of mathematical laws.
The Universe may have indeed fixed itself, for is not the Higher Being a part of it and vice versa? The all too convenient coincidences (the Universe being just right for life) are nothing but a plan in a design that is beyond us.
I will take the trouble of quoting from Stephen Hawking's 'The arrow of time':
God may have set everything in motion at the beginning of time (read the physical laws and the right conditions for the Universe to exist), but no further divine intervention was required.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Six Billion Selves

What would you have to say if I were to tell you that the solution to the population explosion (seen as a whole globally) lies in our collective and individual Karma? Sounds absurd but merits an examination.

Let's begin at the roots. Hindu philosophy claims that we are all projections of that higher Being. The Brahman is the universal set to which our souls (human & non-human) belong to. The human souls commit vices that keep them bereft of the moksha from the birth-death-birth cycle, thus ensuring that humans keep generating themselves (as moksha can be attained only in human life). The humans also fell trees, kill animals for food and otherwise and crush more insects under them thus leaving these souls free for their next avatar that could very well be human!

Thus the human population will only increase as:
  1. Human souls keep regenerating themselves in the absence of an exit from this world
  2. Non human souls give rise to humans at a rate faster than the reverse rate due to the former's shorter life span on an average which is either natural or human induced
At any point in time, thus, there will be more humans in this world than God ever budgeted for!!! We are now six billion strong and still counting.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Duality was on the fore in the first ever inter-religious dialogue held in Bangalore, between Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Art of Living) and Dr. Zakir Naik (Islamic Research Foundation) to understand the concept of God in Hinduism and Islam. One spoke of love as a channel to God whilst the other seemed to insist on a more scholarly path to Him (to resounding applause from the gathering). Of course, the former was being really humble in declaring his ignorance of the scriptures being quoted by the latter. Interestingly, the very scriptures that he feigned ignorance of and resisted quoting from, teach that simple trait that he already embodies - that of humility, ignorance and of love. For if not for ignorance, how does one prepare oneself to learn? If not for one's acknowledgement that one doesn't know enough, how does one open his heart and mind to gain from other viewpoints? Thoreau once said, 'How can we remember our ignorance which our growth requires, when we are using our knowledge all of the time?'

The dialogue in brief:

Dr. Naik laid the litmus test in deciding if an entity is to be regarded as God -

1. God is only one without a second. God is only one but sages call him by various names. There are 33 names given to that Entity in the Rig Veda and 99 names given to him in the Koran.

2. God is the absolute and eternal. He has no beginning and no end.

3. He begets not nor is he begotten. Of Him, there are no parents and no offspring.

4. There is nothing like Him; He has no likeness, no image, no picture, no statue. He can't be compared to anything.

He further added:

- Judge not a religion by what it's practioners do or the customs and traditions they follow. Judge it rather by it's sacred scriptures

- Hinduism preaches that everything is God whilst Islam teaches that everything belongs to God. Hence, the difference between the two great religions is only of an apostrophe and an 's' (God vs God's)

Sri Sri insisted: 'See not what differentiates one another. Rather look at the similarities and enjoy the dissimilarities.'

My 2 cents on the whole affair: We all worship the same God. Call Him what you may, He is the sole creator and sustainer of this world.

The takeaway from this event is summed up by Sri Sri's recalling of Kabir's teaching: 'You can read all the scriptures in the world, but all that is required is two words of love.' This is surely what we need in this time of disquiet, uneasiness and strife all across the world.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Because of You - Version 2

"For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away" - 1 Corinthians 13:9,10

When the time comes, I shall know. And know I did.
But the partly known refuses to die. Maybe it needs an earthly blow to wear out. Or maybe it just needs You.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Because of You

With the glare of the sun strong across my face, I waited with the gentiles. As the wings of time flapped away into the distance, I asked, 'Where's he?' And the sun only seemed to tighten it's warm embrace of me. I shielded myself with a torn cloth masquerading as a handkerchief when the clouds, having gathered together into a ball of cotton, curtained the ball of fire, as if to let another resplendent one into the scene. My accomplice rushed to him to get his audience and touched his feet. I waited, absorbing in the gentle visage of a man. An hour later and after having been spoken to in an alien tongue, I felt satiated. I knew I was sure to come back to feel the ripples of the spirit again.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


My colleague was shocked to find a ten day old baby boy wailing at her doorstep this Sunday evening. Clearly, its mother had left it there to rot fearing social stigma that would otherwise have been her fate.

The fact is that God blinked when the unfortunate baby was born to this world, with no one to call its own. Oh! why do You perpetrate such misery to your people Lord? Why do You still punish us for the original sin to this day? Why do You condemn us to live in apalling conditions all our wretched lives? Why do You keep us wanting and hurtful? Why do You terrorize us in order to make us tread your path? Why do You rather not shower compassion on your beings? Why do You not realize the role that love can play vis-a-vie hurt? Why do You not realize that spreading hurt can only do just that - spread more hurt and inturn sully your own heavenly cause?

Almost as an answer, God spoke through Sadhu Vaswani in today's edition of 'The Times of India'. He says: "On the pathways of life, we face different types of weather including stormy and smooth, wild and mild. We come face-to-face with difficulty and danger, disease and death. We feel frightened. If only we cultivate the faith that such experiences come to us not without a purpose, we need not be afraid. Seek refuge in the Supreme and trust Him entirely. Though storms howl and darkness grows deeper, His light will continue to shine on us. When fear knocks on the door of your heart, send faith to open it and you will be free from distress. God loves each one of us and has a plan for each one. He will provide for all our needs."

Monday, August 01, 2005

A life reborn but shorn of reason

Each one of us is the effect of the infinite past. This is the law of Karma. Each one of us is born into this world to work out our past deeds. Each one of us is the maker of his own fate. In effect, I alone am responsible for what I suffer or enjoy today. In that event, a question surfaces on my mind. Why don't we hold onto our memories as we travel from one shore to the other? Why is the connection with our past disconnected once we move into another form? If I'm conscious of my past lives, I would desist in doing just what led me to my fate today. Will that not take me closer to the Infinite faster by making me able to build on my knowledge steadily? Will God not want that Himself?

It will be interesting to think how this could be achieved. Maybe we could suspend our learning while being in a void between giving up one life form, going to heaven to enjoy the fruits of our good deeds and then falling back to earth into another birth. Once into a definite form, we could restart our journey (unless ofcourse if we are a species that is inherently lazy in which case we will be human, we might then want to procrastinate OR a species that cannot think in which case we will not be human) This is where lies the solution. Only in the human form can we truly liberate ourselves from the web of illusion. And by the time we'll get into another human form, it will be a million years. So, start now!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Calling

Last Saturday, a woman called at my door, claiming to be out on His work. She began by asking if I ever wondered why every other day, some people have to die. Before I could offer, she continued that it is because Jesus has returned and it is a holy retribution for all our misdeeds.

Although the Bhagwad Gita says (9:23), "Even those who are devotees of other Gods, worship them with faith, they also sacrifice to Me alone, O son of Kunti, though not according to the true law", the various paths etched out for us to reach Him do not cross. Why is it that the same Authority keeps his subjects divided on matters as trivial as to how to invoke His name?

Has Jesus returned to punish us for believing that our individual paths are correct or will He, this time, offer us a common ground?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


If I love you, it's a sin,

If I ignore you, I love you more,

If I hate you, I hate myself ever more,

If I miss you, I cry and get sore,

If I think of you, in my heart, it's a downpour,

If I love you, you win.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Only Human; Only Irrational

As I look skywards for a sign, I notice the sheer helplessness that emerges from the futile attempts to salvage my space and identity. Why do I still look for you in all the wrong places? Why do I cling onto what was never truly mine? Why do I hope against sinking hope for the reinforcement of my deeply held desires? Am I then, only human?

Why am I then, deprived yet blissful? Why does it all seem so easy?
No, I'm so NOT done.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

God, the Almighty

When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment in law, (Matthew 22:38), he replied, 'You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.'

Here I describe the non-dualistic version of that Lord in the words of Swami Vivekananda. (All the three - dualism, qualified dualism and non-dualism are necessary for a man at different stages of his spiritual evolution. Advaita or non-dualism is the highest level and hence the description using this view)

God is the Infinite, Impersonal Being - ever existent, unchanging, immortal, fearless; and you are His incarnations. His embodiments. This is the God of Vedanta (ie the Upanishads, the Jnana Kanda portion of the Vedas), and this heaven is everywhere. In this heaven dwell all the personal Gods there are - you yourselves. Exit praying and laying flowers in temples/churches! What do you pray for? To go to heaven, to get something and let somebody else not have it. We attribute Him all our human characteristics, functions and limitations. He must bring us food and give us clothes. As a matter of fact we have to do all these things ourselves and nobody else will do these for us. You imagine there is a God of whom you are special favorites, who does things for you when you ask Him. And you never ask of Him favors for all men but only for yourselves. Our whole idea of God, our praying, our worshipping, all are vitiated by our ignorance, our foolish idea of ourselves as a body. We must get out of materialism. The way of praying to the God of Vedanta is by disinterested service of the world..He is the Lord of the universe and is in everyone. There is but one church - the body. In this body, He resides, the Lord of the souls and the King of kings. Always look within, never without. Such is the God that Vedanta preaches and such is His worship.'

"Rise, Thou effulgent one! Rise, Thou who art always pure! Rise, Thou birthless and deathless one! Rise, Thou almighty and manifest Thy true nature!"

Friday, May 06, 2005

Dislocated Location

Will be back with more learnings soon...have just switched cities in sure has been busy with the usual trappings of the outside world.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Mortal, Immortal

What's this balderdash about immortality one may wonder. Anything that has name and form is transient. And when we get fixated on all that will have an end, we further move an inch towards mortality.

Let's first analyze what happens when one dies. To begin, a quick classification of the flesh bearers: Type One: Man who has acquired the Truth and purified himself. Type Two: Man who has not attained to knowledge but has done good deeds with an eye on the divine reward. When the Type One dies, he goes through layers of light and meets a non-human who leads him to God. This man never returns and is immortal. Type Two first goes through smoke, night, ether and are then born as Gods (the various personal Gods that Hindus are credited with - Brahma {not the impersonal Brahman, please note}, Vishnu, Varun etc [the heirarchy of these Gods in another blog soon] in heaven. They stay there as long their good deeds permit them to. When the effect of the good work has been exhausted, they return by the same path as son of man on earth. To be noted is the fact that heaven, having a name and form, is itself a mortal state of existence. An eternal heaven is a contradiction to Hinduism. Those whose works have been very good take birth in good families; and those whose works have been bad take bad births, even in animal bodies. Thus the Type two take a zillion births unless they fall into Type One, the immortals.

Now the issue of how to fall into the Super One group? There is no permanent heaven without realizing God. The Bible says (Romans 8, 8:6-7), 'For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed it can be.' To be spiritually oriented means to search for God in all that we see living around us. It means that we reach out to our 'Atman' which is the reflection of the 'Brahman' Itself. We cannot understand God without knowing the soul. To know the God is liberation from mortality and hence the soul seekers attain to Type One. The more you hunger for material things, the more you slip into Type Two. The imortal and perfect soul must be the same in the highest God as well as in the humblest man, the difference between them being only in the degree in which the soul manifests itself. As this soul is likened to God, He has nothing outside of Himself; nothing at all. "Thou art the man, Thou art the woman, Thou art the young man walking in the pride of youth, Thou art the old man tottering in his step.' If you go back to 'Brahman' from which you have been projected, you are liberated. You become safe from the jaws of death.

If you truly hunger for the Truth, you are on the track to eternity. Go find yourself a spiritual Guru, he'll lead you There.

Friday, April 22, 2005

God VS Popular Culture and Science

Popular Culture, Science & God fill a great part of our daily lives. Thought of compiling what a few personal idols of popular culture and science think of God's place in the scheme of things.

Diana Ross in her memoirs (Secrets of a Sparrow) wrote:
"I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free.
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me."
This song talks about how God protects all his creatures, even his little ones. Further - "I am one with all of God's creatures: His dogs and cats, His sons and daughters. In the deepest part of my being, I know for certain that I am never alone."

Madonna often exploited religious imagery (1989s 'Like a Prayer' sold 18 million copies), talked of pre-marital pregnancy ('Papa don't preach') and even made fun of the nuns but when Lourdes Maria was born to her in 1996, she wanted none other than the Pope himself to baptize her. Change of heart or a yet another reinvention for the Chameleon? I think this is for real. After briefly flirting with Hinduism in 1998, she now practices the Kabbalah.

Newton (source: 'The Arrow of Time' - Stephen Hawking) incorporated God in his view of nature because of his strong religious convictions. He insisted that the solar system would require attention from God from time to time if it were not to suffer instability. For Newton, God was the creator and maintainer of the universe.

Einstein (source: 'Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium, 1941) is credited with saying, 'To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot. But I am convinced that such behavior on the part of representatives of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal. For a doctrine which is to maintain itself not in clear light but only in the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress. In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests.'

Charles Darwin (source: From his autobiography: 'I had gradually come by this time (i.e. 1836 to 1839) to see the Old Testament, from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rain-bow as a sign etc, and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindus, or the beliefs of any barbarian....Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother, and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.'

Well, as Jesus said, (Matthew 7:8) "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ode to my other self

I wrote this piece in honor of my evil side. I still have no luck!

You think I ain't going no where bound by your chains
Look how high I fly, my wings flap devoid of any pains
Gasping for life, now I'm done, while you are still so vain
Who are you to question me, you inexplicably insane
My penance is over, there I go into the rain

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Journey to the Infinite

Thought of converting my comment to questions (over my last post) raised by an old friend into a blog in itself. I'll break that up into questions and try to take them in order.

1. What does the pursuit of matter mean? What end result does it hold?

2. Matter can bring happiness and so it isn't detestable.

3. Is loving matter a sin? If not, then, why run away from it?

4. Spirit & matter are inseparable. Or are they?

5. Even seeking questions to the above is a desire in itself. Is it right to harbor one such desire especially if one's happiness and misery depends on answers to the above?

Daunting task really but I shall try. (The Vedas have this to say - He who thinks he knows It not, knows It. He who thinks he knows It, knows It not)

1. Matter refers to all that is external - an event, a personality, an object and all that we erroneously think to be true. Getting caught up in this delusion is ignorance (the end-result). Knowledge, Love & 'Brahman' (lose English translation - God) is seeing beyond all these. Beyond an event is knowledge. Beyond a person is love. Beyond an object is infinity.

2. 'Happiness' that comes from matter is temporary. It has a name and form and hence, by it's very nature, it has a beginning and an end, just like it is for your body. Not only is it temporary, it is a delusion. You depend on an external being for your morsel of happiness.

3. Agreed - loving matter is not a sin. However, even if worldly love can be like an ocean, the ocean has a bottom. Divine love is like the sky - limitless, infinite. 'From the bottom of the ocean, soar into the sky.' Having said that, 'Let love be'. Do not give it a name. When you give love a name, it becomes a relationship and relationships restrict love.

4. The Vedas say - 'I am a spirit living in a body. I am NOT the body. The body will die, but I shall not die.' If the spirit can continue to live without matter (subject matter of another blog - will write on this one soon, I promise), then the both are separable. In fact, technically, both are very different. Matter is known, its the spirit that you should seek and which is the sole purpose of your life.

5. Exactly my friend, when you desire the truth, all other desires drop off as I noted in the blog. Truth is always there, seek it and all your desires will dissolve and what will remain is bliss.

There, I tried to share the truth with you. I may not know it entirely. But, maybe this will help you to begin your own journey to the Infinite.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Happiness, where art thou?

When can we be really happy? Man thinks foolishly that he can make himself happy, and after years of struggle finds out at last that true happiness consists in killing selfishness and that no one can make him happy except himself. So long as there is desire, no real happiness can come. (Yet, all that we desire is happiness. However, once we tire our mind of running here and there and everywhere in pursuit of it, we shall realise that it lies right within us) Swami Vivekananda taught that it is only the contemplative, witnesslike study of objects that brings to us real enjoyment and happiness. Which means that if we flow away with the current of things, whether sorrowful or happy, we can never attain to ever lasting bliss. Happiness presents itself before man wearing a crown of sorrow on its head. He who welcomes it MUST also welcome sorrow. In the Swami's words, 'What we want is neither happiness nor misery. Both are chains, one iron, one gold; behind both is the Atman which knows neither hapiness nor misery.'

If having desires is the root cause of all unhappiness, how do we remove them? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, 'When you desire truth, all other desires drop off. You always desire something that is not there but truth is always there. Desire for truth removes all other desires, then it dissolves and what remains is bliss.'

But, what about the desires that spring from the need to sustain the body? The thirst for water, the hunger for food? If we are denied these, won't we be miserable? The Bible says (1 Timothy 6:7-9) 'For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.'

Guess I can live with the above explanations for now. If anyone reads this post and has a different take, I shall be happy to partake of it.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Friend or Foe?

Ever hurt by someone you know well/don't know well/love/a stranger/a sworn enemy? Well, you can take heart. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says 'In the company of your friend, you lose your centeredness. Your enemy puts you back in yourself. Your friend sympathizes with you and makes you believe in matter. Your enemy makes you feel helpless and takes you to the spirit. So your enemy is your friend and your friend is your enemy!'

What do these words mean to a skeptic?

Often, in the daily tussle between our pursuit of spirit and pursuit of matter, the latter reigns supreme. We give up looking within us for that effulgent being, for strength and for immortality. Comes along an earthly blow and devoid of any support, we start to look inside of us...question our being, seek fellowship with God and reach out to our Spirit, our Soul, our 'Atman'. And when we do that, we experience unending joy. But we have an external being - ostensibly our enemy, to thank for it. On the other hand, our friends keep us fixated on and surprisingly, contented with our shameless existence. Then, who is the true friend?

As for me, I'm still travelling...wish I could truly forgive and forget.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

This Delusion

Reading about who we really are brings more questions to my mind than answers, for instance, if this body is not me, then why do I feel it's pain? Sense perceptions, I guess, further bind us to the mortal world. I remember my first 'Art of Living' session in New Delhi...the teacher said, 'What is it that you want in this life?' Pat came a litany of desires (mortal all of them). The teacher replied, 'Doesn't that want you to free your self of all that's holding you back'? Profound words they and they set me thinking....What is the purpose of this life? If Hinduism preaches that the smallest of creatures has a soul, then why has my soul chosen to manifest itself in a human form?

I wish I could give you this and that....but will that not shackle you up further? Will that not accentuate the constant static of meaningless pursuit, of materialism, of decay that you hear incessantly in this world? This world and all that it comes with, is a delusion that keeps us away from our real of divinity.