Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Be Spiritually Driven

When you are not spiritually driven, however willing you are to help others, you cannot bring your thoughts into action as your own shortcomings make you vulnerable. But when you are spiritually driven, you know that you will get that Divine Help if you strive and this thought would make you work that much harder to achieve your goal!

Who Inspires?

Worldly intellect and knowledge does not make you capable of inspiring others. It requires a strong spiritual wisdom which inculcates enough emotional quotient for you to be truly inspiring and acceptable.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The address in your head

Ramakrishna Paramhansa rued that some so-called highly spiritual people were like vultures. Though flying high, their eyes were always fixed on rotten carcasses below. This famous katha is worth repeating to illustrate the point.

A sanyasi and a prostitute died the same day. Their houses were opposite each other’s. But Yama’s servants arrived on the scene, confused. They had been asked to take the sanyasi to hell and the prostitute to heaven.

The sanyasi had been a great man. The prostitute had also reached some sort of perfection in her profession. The servants were sure there was some mistake somewhere. Surely the destinations had been mixed up?

But Chitragupta verified that those in deed were the orders. Afterwards, he explained matters to the puzzled Yamdoots.

The fact was that every morning when the sanyasi’s house rang with the chanting of the Lord’s name, the prostitute across the road would weep. She longed to be present at the prayers and cursed her lot.

At times, she would venture out modestly clad and put her ear against the sanyasi’s wall, yearning to participate but not daring to go in with her ‘sinful’ body. Her mind was always preoccupied with thoughts of God, praying that in her next birth she should be enabled to do seva in a temple.

The sanyasi meanwhile had been one ahead of the prostitute. Whenever he heard the music across the road, he cursed himself for choosing to wear saffron and being imprisoned in the life of a renunciate. Many a time he came out of his house, longing to cross the road, but could never gather the courage to risk his reputation.

Thus, said Chitragupt, the prostitute lived in a temple and the sanyasi in a brothel right through. Strange was the power of the mind. The final result for the soul was calculated not only by the outward marks in the ‘written’ exam, but by ‘internal assessment’, also.

And rabbit lost the race!!!

Why do you think the rabbit lost the race? Was it because the tortoise faster than the rabbit? No, it was because the rabbit was not focused. Though better equipped and faster than the tortoise it lost as it lost the focus. The winning mantra is stay focused and you will win over any situation.

Listen to your heart!

Listen to your heart as God stays with you in your heart always. While it is said that Devil tend to occupy the empty mind. So if your mind is contradicting what your heart says. Listen to your heart!

To us must you return

A friend called the other day, sounding pensive. He had lost a dear friend the previous day. His friend had sent a ‘friendship day' SMS to him and thirty others wishing them well and hoping to enjoy their friendship for many years.

He died that very afternoon of a massive heart attack. My friend's biggest regret was that he did not reply immediately but postponed messaging to the evening, an evening that never came.
The Quran says: Every soul shall have a taste of death … to us must you return (35:21). If there is any thing certain in this life it is death. Yet the very mention of it is considered inauspicious and unpleasant.

We are scared of so many things in life and we try to overcome the fear by rationalising. Somehow we do not apply the same approach to our fear of death.

Death, most believe, is transition from one life to another. But the next life is not the extension of the one we are living and that is the scary part.

We go to another world or life alone, not knowing what awaits us. But the Sufis look at the death differently. They long to be united with their beloved God and for them death provides the opportunity to fulfill their mission.

The uncertainty of life should never be a reason for gloom. On the contrary it should encourage us to treat every day as special, make us try and complete our unfinished tasks with a sense of urgency.

It should urge us to enjoy every moment and to be nice and kind to the people around us. When Alexander the Great, who ruled half the then known world, died, his hands were placed outside the coffin as willed by him.

This was to remind all that everyone, pauper or the king, would go from this world empty-handed. In most Sufi orders, death is remembered as a daily ritual in one form or the other. It brings humility, softens the heart and makes us humane.

Our amazing potential

A little girl was on the beach one day after the tide had rolled out. Hundreds of fish washed up on the shore. The little girl picked them up one by one and threw them back.

A man approached her saying, little girl, you can't make a difference for there are thousands on the beach. She looked at him as she threw another one in and said, it made a difference to that one.

Most of us tend to think it's the big things that make a big difference, but when we look at all the little things that we did, we can see how that invisible trail leads to our big breaks.

Life is actually made up of little things that count a great deal. They are of great importance in our relationship with others and in our relationship with God.

The 'Bible' says, "Wherefore, be not weary in well doing, for you are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceeds that which is great."

Do we take time to remember some of the simple courtesies that are so important in building personal regard and graciousness in our relationship with others?

Do we remember the smile, the compliment, the positive note and the word of encouragement? We should do these important little things without reserve, without holding back on good energy. They should be a part of our everyday manner as we groom ourselves socially in our critical young-adult years.

One quality of character most needed in this world is kindness for other people. One of the urgent lessons of life is to learn how to deal with imperfections in ourselves and in others. And if we are not altogether pleased with ourselves, it should be easy to understand why we are not altogether pleased with others.

God places in each of us the potential of character, compassion, joy and the knowledge we need for personal growth. The seeds for each godly trait are in each of us. Let us water our own plants.

Sanyas is the state of mind

We recently visited the sacred place of a famous saint, who taught mankind that marriage was not a hindrance in spiritual quest and that lay people could achieve spiritual bliss. Seeing the places where he meditated we reached an ashram of great importance in his spiritual journey. Here, we met a senior sanyasi who showed us around. But gradually we found the old sanyasi behaving like any roadside Romeo. It was embarrassing.

Why do we want to look pure in the eyes of society when the mind is impure? When saints, preachers or priests transgress from self-declared spiritual rules, their lapse is most shocking because it betrays devotees' faith.

When Arjuna wants to opt out of the war Sri Krishna accuses him of having double standards. Explaining the right meaning of renunciation, Sri Krishna says, "One who relinquishes the results of actions is a true renouncer" (BG:18:11). Krishna has no sympathy for those who make a show of renouncing the world but mentally indulge in desire: "One who, restraining the organs of actions, sits revolving in the mind thoughts regarding sense objects, he or she, of deluded understanding, is called a hypocrite" (BG: 3:6).

During fasts, if we look at food greedily then we are cheating by gratifying our eyes and nose. Shankaracharya was ready for sanyas at the age of six. But renunciation cannot be an escape from the world, which is a battlefield where one must fight to survive. When survival is threatened, some resort to sanyas. That is not renunciation but finding consolation in inaction.
The mentally impure are soon betrayed by their strong desires. Their body may be quiet outwardly but their mind runs differently. It is better to admit that the mind has cravings, than to fulfil them dishonestly and try to look chaste in society.

Renunciation is the art of mastering the mind not the body. Indeed, Swami Ranganathananda explains that we can transform our homes into ashrams (spiritual abodes), while the old sages describe the stage of Grihastha (family life) as an ashram.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The karma of talk

Gandhi's three monkeys are an amusing way to teach children about moral conduct. The obedient monkeys, who talk, hear and see no evil, hide within them layers of philosophy.

If we stop the senses from wandering outside and turn our attention inwards then we will not be disturbed by outer stimulus and will start on the steep hill of Self Discovery.

Swami Vivekananda likened the mind to a maddened monkey who has been given wine to drink freely and has been bitten by a scorpion.

Such is the alarming state of our mind. The demoniac mind is like a volcano ready to burst. An untrained mind is swayed by the senses and misleads the intellect.

Amongst the five sense organs, the 'tongue' (rasana) is the most powerful as it has a double role - taste and talk. And it's everyone's experience that we cross limits while eating and talking.

'Body-doctors' warn us of ills of eating insensibly while 'Soul-doctors' warn us about the evils of hearsay, back biting and gossip (ninda chugli).

We may get away by saying that these are true facts but an uncomplimentary word about others (dress style, habits or choices in life) is the work of a nasty tongue.

When we talk filth about others, it mounds up as our bad karma. A bhajan says, "Is jicha ko rog laga hai ninda chugli karne ha, is jicha se prabhu ko sirnar le dosh tere kat jaayenge'- the tongue has a disease of gossiping, use it to chant God's name and your impurities will be removed'.

Saint Kabir said, 'Nindak niyare rakhiye, aangan kuti chawaye; bin paani sabun bina, nirmal kare subhay'- 'Let us make a home for our criticiser near us because he cleanses us without any soap and water'.

It's very difficult to get rid of a bad habit but at least we can stop giving inputs when friends around us are gossiping, or we can pretend our head aches or show that we're not interested. The topic might change and maybe also our bad samskara.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Relation between confidence and faith.

Confidence and faith go hand-in-hand. Confident person leaves everything to God and a person with lots of faith starts with confidence

How many types of truth?

There are three types of Truth. The original fact. The communicator's version. The listener's perception.

Knowledge grows if you share!!!

Knowledge sharing is knowledge enhancing. In order to convey the knowledge, you need to be sure what you talk and this takes your knowledge to a new form.

Defining meaning of life

If you have the ability to manage thorns, then the life is bed of roses

What is a conflict?

What is a conflict? Conflict occurs when your expectation exceeds your gain. But if you work towards achieving your goal without expecting too much, success is what you get.

What is an Ideal Match?

Every match can be your ideal match, if you have an eye to identify with it.

Why do you compare?

How can you compare a coconut tree with a neem tree? One gives us fruit for better health while the other gives us a soothing shadow to rest underneath. Both are good and both are required. But both cannot be compared. That is life!