Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Requiem for Violence

Out there, we've walked quite friendly up to Death:
Sat down and eaten with him, cool and bland,-
Pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.
We've sniffed the green thick odour of his breath,
Our eyes wept, but our courage didn't writhe.
He's spat at us with bullets and he's coughed
Shrapnel. We chorused when he sang aloft;
We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.
Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!
We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
No soldier's paid to kick against his powers.
We laughed, knowing that better men would come,

This text is from the “War Requiem” which was written for the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral and was first performed there 30 May 1962. Coventry Cathedral had been destroyed during the Battle of Britain in World War II.
The words are so poignant with emotions that surge in our own breasts as we ring down the curtain on the year 2008. The world and especially India has witnessed an escalation of violent death in different garbs. Natural disasters, religious violence and terrorism seem to have taken control but as the Requiem sings the advent of better men.

All that has happened should only strengthen our resolve to moot out evil in all forms.

Perpetration of evil based on fundamentalism has its root cause in ignorance and intolerance resulting from a monotheistic theology preaching salvation only through its faith. It is sad that India which was the bedrock of pluralism in religious practice with avowed focus on individual spirituality is witnessing a polarisation which is detrimental to its own well being.

Events of 26/11 has seen a solidarity, in all communities, which is very encouraging but this euphoric reaction should not be short lived. We have to find ways and means of strengthening our resolve to move beyond the narrow domains of religion and creed to elevate our spirituality to seek the divine in every human and in all creation.
Now let us sing a Requiem to all divisive forces and usher in a new year of empowered humanity.

Best wishes for a New Year filled with Joy & Peace.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kwanzaa – A celebration of culture

Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday celebrating African-American culture and history. Created in 1966 in the midst of the civil rights movement by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga, Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 through January 1. Each of the seven days focuses on one of the Nguzo Saba, or seven principles. These are:

Umoja (Unity),
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination),
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility),
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics),
Nia (Purpose),
Kuumba (Creativity), and
Imani (Faith).

Today the world stands divided and fragmented mainly due to enculturation without due respect for the eons of value that native cultures contribute both at the individual level as well as at the societal dimension. In the name of civilization, driven by purely materialistic approach, we have witnessed import of alien culture into societies which had enjoyed peace and happiness ever since their evolution in human society.
In this context, it is heartening to learn of concepts such as Kwanzaa. What I felt comfortable with, even though Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga’s background and authenticity has a murky record, is the deep thought given to cultural strengthening through the seven principles laid out and its religious pluralism.
Karenga writes in “Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture”, published in 1997 that
"Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday,"

A culture is strengthened only through unity, which is bonded through collective work and shared responsibility. This process must ensure that every individual has the freedom of self determination. A thriving culture always ensures a clear purpose of societal well being based on collective economic freedom and achievement, leveraging local resources with minimum impact on the Eco-system. This requires an innovative and creative ambiance and faith in a local leadership and in an all pervading cosmic principle.

All native cultures of African tribes, American Indians, Inuit of Canada and Alaska have made rich cultural contribution which had resulted not only in healthy and happy living under extremely harsh environments but also were responsible for a very healthy Eco-system.

Today we are aping the cultures which are highly detrimental to our very survival. Let us move back to our roots.

Happy Kwanzaa to you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Undivided attention

The above graph is known as the E8 Graph and is currently being thought of as the geometry that can establish the fundamental theory GUT (Grand Unification Theory - to unify all forces in nature). Without getting into the mathematical or scientific details we can observe the emanation of the geometry from a singularity which is the focus of all mystical experience.

Meister Eckhart says:

“To be sure, this requires effort and love, a careful cultivation of the spiritual life, and a watchful, honest, active oversight of all one’s mental attitudes towards things and people. It is not to be learned by world flight, running away from things, turning solitary and going apart from the world.
Rather, one must learn an inner solitude, wherever or with whomsoever he may be. He must learn to penetrate things and find God there, to get a strong impression of God firmly fixed on his mind”.

Great mystics had a very clear approach to seeking the height of spirituality. The passage above from a sermon of Meister Eckhart reveals the deep seated wisdom through which he recommends a path to God realization.

There are two acts that become mandatory in our journey towards realizing God nature. One is effort and the other is love. Constant effort is paramount to any activity where we are embarked on nurturing a living and growing presence. Parents are involved in a continuous effort with ever watchful eyes to ensure that their child grows in life with optimum health, knowledge and comfort. It is not only effort but love, which gives an enhanced meaning to the very act of tending to the object of our attention, increases the effort multi fold. There is a cascading avalanche effect as effort begets love and love begets more love. This is the reason that love is given such a high value in human spirituality. This is why St. Theresa of Avilla said “Amor saca amor”, which means “love begets love”. The effort and love become the bedrock of spiritual life and the mansion of God presence that we build on this foundation is to be fortifies by a honest and vigilant control of our mind and all its dictates towards the entire ecosystem.

Eckhart is very specific that this cannot be achieved by running away from the world or physical solitude but by an inner isolation from all the corrupting influences of the world so that we can constantly focus on penetrating the very core of our existence and find the true essence from which we are born. This is the process of stamping the indelible mark of the spirit in our psyche so that all other mental processes become a path to this ultimate realization. The value of mindfulness meditation constantly practiced leads to this incremental refinement in our inner journey.

Love to you all

Friday, December 19, 2008

Everlasting Voices

O SWEET everlasting Voices, be still;
Go to the guards of the heavenly fold
And bid them wander obeying your will
Flame under flame, till Time be no more;
Have you not heard that our hearts are old,
That you call in birds, in wind on the hill,
In shaken boughs, in tide on the shore?
O sweet everlasting Voices, be still.

W.B. Yates was a renowned Celtic poet and his poetry carries a deep insight into very nature of existence. When I read the lines of this short poem he had written 1922, I was moved by its significance to the ultimate finality of all manifestations. Human existence can be defined as our current consciousness frozen in every instant of time. The cacophony of voices or inputs that we receive through our senses determines our current consciousness and hence our current existence. Stilling these voices can be achieved only by our mastery over the influence of our senses. It raises the question that we need to ask ourselves at every moment of lives as to what exactly we want to see, hear, smell, feel, taste and think.

The three gunas specified in the Vedic philosophy is the sum total of this exercise wherein one can be highly driven or lethargic or be proactive towards achieving the highest goal through equanimity and balance.

The banishment of the sense induced consciousness from the earthly realm to a cosmic domain gives it a higher role of removing the guards or barriers that hinders true perception. This perception is equated to the inner core of Agni or flame, an inner realization beyond the dictates of time.

Even higher levels of sense awareness, which we arrive at when we have matured in our thinking, that leads us to appreciate the subtle messages we receive from nature has to be quietened to be in union with a higher reality.

Love to you all

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Qualities of an Effective Teacher

"One day as I was passing the Panchavati on my way to the pine-grove, I heard a bullfrog croaking. I thought it must have been seized by a snake. After some time, as I was coming back, I could still hear its terrified croaking. I looked to see what the matter was, and found that a water snake had seized it. The snake could neither swallow it nor give it up. So there was no end to the frog's suffering. I thought that had it been seized by a cobra it would have been silenced after three croaks at most. As it was only a water snake, both of them had to go through this agony. A man's ego is destroyed after three croaks, as it were, if he gets into the clutches of a real teacher. But if the teacher in an unripe one then both the teacher and the disciple undergo endless suffering. The disciple cannot get rid either of his ego or of the shackles of the world. If a disciple falls into the clutches of an incompetent teacher, he doesn't attain liberation."
…….. From the ‘Gospel of Ramakrishna’

Well it is a simple story that carries a lot of meaning.
Especially in our adult life when we launch ourselves into learning a new discipline or subject or we are into field experience under the guidance of a project manager or leader, our egos become the main stumbling block. In my 40 year career I had witnessed this problem rearing its head both as a learner as well as a leader.

There are some basic parameters that become pertinent, especially when we wish to lead a team of dynamic individuals. These are:

  • In order to kill or eradicate the ego of those who are your students, your presence in the intellectual and skill sphere has to be very large. (similar to the hooded Cobra which can quickly dispatch the frog from agony)

  • You must have sustained level of high integrity, without which you cannot hold the disciples with you. (It is as if the snake had developed indigestion or lost the capacity to ingest and had to omit out the frog. The whole exercise is useless to both participants, as one ends up dead and the other sick)

  • The recipient of knowledge always looks for empowering wisdom from the master. The overpowering wisdom of the master always destroys the ego of the student, as he or she realizes how insignificant his or her capacity is.
  • It is also important that this destruction of ego on the part of the student is accomplished with least distress to the learner. An adept master makes the student very comfortable in the process revealing the level of ignorance from which he is being relieved. (This is the quick strike of the Cobra with potent venom which provides instant release for the frog)

All these attributes of an accomplished guru cannot be had in a very short time. It took me 40 years and I am still learning.

Love to you all

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Voices over the Surf

Nature provides an ambiance where one gets close to the divine. It is in an unexpected moment that one is awe struck by the beauty of a single cloud formation or a a shape of a rock or the sound of the whistling in the wooded grove, that one's consciousness is elevated to a different level.

It is in one of those moments that I sat down and penned this poem. It hardly took a few minutes to write but the source was from some different region of existence.

Please travel the same road with me through this poem.
I sat amidst the spray from the breaking surf,
Transformed my inner being to an ethereal turf,
A power bestowed heightened senses to discern,
A kaleidoscope of voices thrown up from an urn,
Like ashes of the departed sown in the balmy wind,
To nature returned a temporal home this cycle find

In the distance, the mighty whale leads his pack,
Homing instinct this path and journey surely track,
This annual sojourn coded through million years,
Shoreward wind carries the clarion call all prey fears,
Symphony of a hundred notes his presence intimate,
This purpose a command or a love song to his mate.

On this sea I hear the deafening roar of ammunition,
A galley of war in the fog a ghostly definition,
Sails unfurled, the wind whistling, rigging taut,
Hundred hands loading the cannons victory sought,
An eerie mix of wounded cry and suppressed pain,
Chills my heart and a shiver runs down my spine.

Rudely waken from my dream on the water's edge,
Salty spray rests on my face as the dew on the hedge,
Perhaps an echo of my heart’s cry, I hear an inner call,
Your holy presence deep in my heart this evenfall,
Voices over the surf a concoction of emotion evoke,
But my heart this instant your eternal company invoke.

Love to you all

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer is perhaps the most common prayer that is used in worship in the Christian faith. We have heard it and said it so many times and the text is provided below for ready reference. These words are fourth level of translation from the Aramaic, which Jesus spoke and taught in, to Greek then into Latin and finally in English.

Our father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

As one searches deeper into ancient sacred texts, in their original language and with current level of scholarship in those languages, one realizes the in-depth wisdom and cosmic dimension the authors of these texts wish to convey.
The prayer taught by Jesus when his apostles asked him how to pray has been watered down to a very palatable version in Christianity today. I would rather say that the translation simplifies the content to cater to the general public whose path to God realization is purely through devotion.

But for people who seek the Jnana marg or the esoteric path, the modern scholars have been manna from heaven.
A well meaning translation from modern scholarship of Aramaic and considering a higher dimension of intent, is given below:
O Birther! Father- Mother of the Cosmos
Focus your light within us - make it useful.
Create your reign of unity now-
through our fiery hearts and willing hands
Help us love beyond our ideals
and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures.
Animate the earth within us: we then
feel the Wisdom underneath supporting all.
Untangle the knots within
so that we can mend our hearts' simple ties to each other.
Don't let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back from our true purpose.
Out of you, the astonishing fire,
Returning light and sound to the cosmos. Amen.

We can see the beauty of this prayer
Jesus indicated the lack of deeper understanding when he said:

"Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them"......Gospel of Matthew 13:12-15

Love to you all

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Union through Detachment

The soul that is attached to anything,
However much good there may be in it, will
Not arrive at the liberty of divine union. For
Whether it be strong wire rope or a slender
And delicate thread that holds the bird,
it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for, until
the cord is broken, the bird cannot fly.

……. St. John of the Cross

When the heart grieves over what it has lost,
The spirit rejoices over what it has found

………… Sufi Epigram

Look at the picture of the Goldfish; there seems to be something unusual about it. We see Goldfishes in aquariums and in decorative ponds but we seem to have difficulty ever imagining the Goldfish isolated from its entire environment. The first element we look for is water as this is the very essence of the Goldfish’s existence just as we associate human soul to human body for its existence.
We add value to any object mostly by association. Even when we refer to a well known personality, like as Sir.C.V. Raman, it is natural for us to qualify him as a Nobel laureate or the ‘man who discovered the Raman Effect’. This habit of ours leads to look at all objects in our sensory field through qualification. It then leads to the value being attached to the peripheral qualities rather than the intrinsic object of our relationship.
We do not leave out even God from this attachment. This is the reason we call ‘God the Father’ or Brahma, the creator and knowing this fallacy of the human mind Vedic seers knew that we have difficulty in comprehending the absolute and hence created the Saguna Brahman (Brahman with attributes).
As John of the Cross, who was great Christian mystic, says as long as we are attached to any surface qualities or qualifying attributes, we are not able to reach out and attain divine union. Meister Eckhart, another great German medieval Christian mystic, also points out this fact that the human soul has layers upon layers of covering acquired through our attachments to worldly and material objects and it is a Herculean task to remove these sheaths and attain union with the divine.
This is where a centring prayer and inner awakening process plays an important role. First we prepare the ground of action for the divine will to act through heart centring contemplation and then through inner awakening we open the soul’s portal for divine wisdom to take residence . It is only when the divine grace is operational that the layers of falsehood shrouding the soul can be destroyed.
The consciousness resident in your self is the same as the one that is limitless and infinite which we call God or Divine. We limit the individual consciousness through our own conditioning by acquiring desensitizing layers through our evolutionary nature and through our own nurturing from the time we come into this world.
This unification of limited consciousness and the limitless Divine consciousness is a two way process of you seeking the divine and the divine seeking you.

This can be summarized in the beautiful words of Ramana Maharishi:

“If you go on working with the light available, you will meet your Master, as he himself will be seeking you.”

Love to you all

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Field of Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
........... William Wordsworth

I remember in the early summer of 1981, I was in Pennsylvania on an official visit and my friend, Nancy, in the business I was visiting had been telling me about a field of flowers that I must see. As I was on a short visit of two weeks I could not find time till the day before I had to leave for the west coast. It was a short drive of about 30 miles and as we neared the village and drove around the little chapel a field of beautiful Daffodils spread out as far as eye could see. In the middle of the field was a small house. A frail old lady was standing in the patio. I was introduced as a friend from India and I could see a vacant look on the poor woman’s face as she probably had not travelled beyond her village and was oblivious of difference between an Indian from India or an American Indian, the original settlers of America. Nancy told me that the field belonged to this old lady and that she had planted all the Daffodils. In my curiosity I asked her how long she took to complete this task. The answer just blew my mind. She said that it had taken her 35 years to complete this work and she plans to add few more bulbs next season.

The filed was very geometrically laid out and the painstaking work that had gone into this exercise was very visible. One step at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

I thought about this event a few years ago and told this experience to a business audience in Singapore when I was delivering the keynote address in a conference on 'Motivation during recession' (remember that 1997 saw one of the worst economic melt down in Asia).
I told the audience that it is nouse thinking “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal 35 or 40 years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!” but instaed “Start tomorrow”.
Today in “Times of India” newspaper there was a research finding that it takes for any one 10,000 hours to become a genius in any field of study. This goes to prove the old saying “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”

Love to you all

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Biology of Belief

Look at the beauty and innocence of the young girl in the picture. She is a portrait of health, vitality and purity.

I have just completed reading a wonderful book ‘Biology of Belief’ by Dr. Bruce Lipton, a leading Cell Biologist from Stanford University. He quotes Mahatma Gandhi:

Your beliefs become your thoughts
Your thoughts become your words
Your words become your actions
Your actions become your habits
Your habits become your values
Your values become your destiny

This is to bring to our attention the level of effect that belief can have on one’s health.
This is not only true for the high level of success with placebos in medicine where sugar pills can cure incurable diseases but also in case of Osteoarthritis knee surgery.

The example he sites is the case of Bayler School of Medicine study published in 2002, where Dr. Bryce Moseley conducted ‘fake’ surgery on a group of patients, through the regular procedure of making three incisions and doing the salt water splash to simulate the sound of knee washing procedure and sewed up the incisions without any invasive procedure being carried out.
The patients were on regular post operative routine and were told to start their physiotherapy during convalescence. The results were shocking. The success rate of the ‘fake’ surgery was as good as the regular surgery and even one elderly patient went on to play regular basketball.

The book has many other case histories and drug research findings to substantiate the level of effect belief can have on our health. This belief has to come not only from our waking consciousness but also from our subconscious mind. This is the reason that Buddhist "Mindfulness meditation" is an effective tool for not only our spiritual but also our physical wellbeing.

This is also reflected in the miraculous healings that Jesus carries out. While Jesus acts as the medium of channelling the divine energy that pervades the cosmos to a particular recipient, he asks "Do you believe" and always says your faith has healed you. When the disciples doubt his powers he says "…… Oh ye of little faith"

May the power of belief heal us all.

Mystic River

Flowing serenely through the wooded vale,
I chanced upon you as I broke free,
From the thicket and bramble that impale,
This tortured body, a wanderer on this lea.

I have, in my sojourn, many a river seen,
But you have the exhilarating quality to convey,
As the dawn which from darkness light wean,
A lustrous texture reflecting your laminar way.

As a trickling spring, a subterranean source,
You began your life, an unhindered course,
Many rivulets supplementing this vast concourse,
Thundering in ever increasing flow; a mighty force.

Potency bestowed to invigorate or mutate,
Magic fodder to the grain nourishment brought,
Even the mighty land and Pharaoh you subjugate,
You are my life’s inspiration, I earnestly sought.

Love to you all

Monday, November 17, 2008

Buddhist Chant - Namu Amida Butsu

Namu Amida Butsu means "total reliance upon the compassion of Amida Buddha.
Nembutsu literally means "to think of Buddha." Nen (nien in Chinese and smṛiti in Sanskrit) is "to keep in memory." According to Shinran Shonin however it is more than a mere remembering of Buddha, it is thinking his Name,
holding it in mind. The Name consists of six characters or syllables: na-mu-a-mi-da-buts(u) in Japanese pronunciation and nan-wu-o-mi-to-fo in Chinese. In actuality, the Name contains more than Buddha's name, for Namu is added to it. Namu is namas (or namo) in Sanskrit and means "adoration" or "salutation." The Name therefore is "Adoration for Amida Buddha," and this is made to stand for Amida's "Name."
According to belief those who in sincerity recite the nembutsu will be reborn in pure land. Pure land signifies a place where there is no differentiation. Where all existence is in pure undifferentiated energy.

This philosophy has a familiar ring in the Vedic chant in veneration of Shiva or Narayana; “Om namo nama shivaya” or "Om namo Narayana"
The adoration comes from the profound meaning these simple words carry. If we take into consideration the emanations of sound ‘Om’ and ‘na-mo’ (the two syllables separated), Om and Mo are polar opposites and signify matter and antimatter. When these two are brought together, through a negating act ('na') , there is total annihilation and immense pure energy is released for new creation. This energy, which is the embodiment of destruction and new creation, is the symbolism of Shiva.

The name Narayana is a Sanskrit tatpurusha compound of nara ("human, man") and ayana ("eternal, without ending").Tradition associates the nara element with another meaning of "water", explaining the name as indicating the all-pervasive nature of Narayana as that of an infinite ocean of energy in which the never-ending movement of birth, life and death of the cosmos occurs. Narayana, according to this etymology, is the one who moves in the infinite waters and is also the water itself. This close association of Narayana with water explains the frequent depiction of Narayana in Hindu art as standing or sitting on an ocean. Another important translation of Narayana is "The supreme Man who is the foundation of all men".

Hence the poem of Dr. Kenryu T. Tsuji, the abbot of Ekoji Temple starts with Nembutsu being the sound of the universe.

The Nembutsu is the sound of the universe.
It is the sound of the wind
as it rustles the leaves;
It is the roar of the waves
as they rush toward the shore;
It is the song of the robin, the whippoorwill
and the chorus of cicadas on a summer evening.

The Nembutsu is naturalness...
The first cry of the baby
as it emerges into the world
from the darkness of the mother's womb;
It is the powerful cry of independence
of individuality, of selfhood;
But it is also the great cry of awakening
to its dependence on something greater than self...
for its sustenance.

The Nembutsu is the proclamation of the Buddha...
"Above heaven and below heaven,
I alone am the World Honored One."
It is the ultimate declaration of life;
I alone hold my destiny in my hand
leading to perfect Buddhahood.

When I touch the heart of reality,
It is Namu Amida Butsu...
What else can I say?
When I truly share someone's happiness,
it is Namu Amida Butsu;
And in that moment of deep grief
over a loved one's death,
it is just Namu Amida Butsu.

Namu Amida Butsu...
it is the song of gratitude
not of my finding the Buddha,
but Buddha finding me.

Love to you all

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cloud Messenger

One work which I immensely enjoyed reading is Kalidasa’s Megdoot or ‘cloud messenger’. In this work, the role of the cloud as the messenger to bring to fruition a union of the Yaksha and his beloved is beautifully depicted. The characteristics that facilitated the cloud to play this role is its ability to traverse large distances in quick time and its capacity to transfigure itself to overcome obstacles in its path. This is not a mere human love story but a portrayal of the human seeking the union with the divine beloved. Just as Radha pines for the love union with Krishna so also a male, female union in sacred literature is a mystical depiction of the soul seeking divine merging.

The following part of the Megdoot is very apt in mapping the quality of the cloud to that of Shiva.

Clothing thyself in twilight's rose-red glory,

Embrace the dancing Shiva's tree-like arm;
He will prefer thee to his mantle gory
And spare his grateful goddess-bride's alarm,
Whose eager gaze will manifest no fear of harm.

Yaksha says; the black cloud, painted with twilight red, is bidden to serve as a robe for Shiva, the god entrusted with continuous creation through annihilation, instead of the bloody elephant hide (mantle gory) which he commonly wears in his wild, and destructive (pralaya) dance. This dance transforms the subtle energies into gross manifestation. The cloud would be better attire as it will become integral with this specific attribute of Shiva; namely transformation. This is the reason that the poet says Shiva’s eager gaze will not bring about any fear. Fear is associated with lack of fore knowledge. But as the cloud is capable of any form of manifestation due to its both subtle as well as gross nature, it is already in the realm of the fruit of ‘Rudrha Thandavam’ (Destructive dance of Shiva)
Vedic cosmology had a very deep understanding of the concept of continuous creation and assigned a trinitarian character to the Godhead as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. All these three roles are basically same at the most fundamental level as what we perceive are emanations from an implicate order which is all pervading.

Love to you all

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sun - Earth Symphony

A recent discovery by the Astrophysicists at Goddard Space Centre establishes, what is known as a Flux Transfer Event (FTE) between the Sun and the Earth. As you read this blog , a magnetic portal will open, linking Earth to the sun 93 million miles away. Tons of high-energy particles may flow through the opening before it closes again. Researchers have long known that the Earth and sun must be connected. Earth's magnetosphere (the magnetic bubble that surrounds our planet) is filled with particles from the sun that arrive via the solar wind and penetrate the planet's magnetic defences. They enter by following magnetic field lines that can be traced from terra firma all the way back to the sun's atmosphere.
We used to think the connection was permanent and that solar wind could trickle into the near-Earth environment anytime the wind was active. We were wrong. The connections are not steady at all. They are often brief, bursty and very dynamic.
On the dayside of Earth (the side closest to the sun), Earth's magnetic field presses against the sun's magnetic field. Approximately every 8 minutes, the two fields briefly merge or "reconnect," forming a portal through which particles can flow. The portal takes the form of a magnetic cylinder about as wide as Earth.

{for those of you interested in more scientific probing, the spin of the atom keeps flipping between up and down spin as they are normally buffeted by thermal energy but when there is a strong magnetic field the spin is fixed. By polarization scanning quantum computing can be done at nano scale. Is the portal when open, do computation and data transfer? please see}

The beauty of this discovery is the 8 minute window. The number 8 has great significance in music as it represents an octave of musical notes. Notes an octave apart have the same tone but a double or half pitch. Before 2004 it was unknown if the human brain is hard-wired for the perception of octave circularity but now research has proven that not only humans but also monkeys have this unique brain structure.

I think we are witnessing a cosmic musical ensemble. There is tremendous order within the perceived chaos and the beauty of the Creator is manifest for the deep probing mind.

Love to you all

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Returning Souls

During my assignment for three years in Asia-Pacific, I was stationed in Singapore and the main attraction for any friends visiting was to take them to the Imax theatre to have a real visual treat. The very first film we saw there was on the migration of birds, animals and insects. A very impressive migration, given its stature, was the migration of the Monarch butterfly.

The Monarch butterfly, a beautiful insect known for its orange and black markings, is famous for its annual migration to the highland forests of Michoacan, deep in the heartland of Mexico.
Each year, hundreds of millions of butterflies travel from the United States and Canada, to winter in forests of Fir and Oyamel trees. Those butterflies that survive the journey, which in some cases amounts to a 2,000 mile trip, cluster profusely in trees, creating a marvellous sight.
Near Morelia, the capital of the state is the ‘Santuario Mariposa Monarca’ (Mariposa Monarch Sanctuary), a reserve dedicated to protecting their environment.

Each year, starting in late October to early November, the butterflies start to arrive. Incidentally, this time period coincides with the ‘Dia de los Muertos’ (Day of the Dead) holiday (Second day of the month of November). The indigenous peoples of the area believe the butterflies represent their departed loved ones souls, returning in the form of the butterfly. During the evening hours, the insects gather on tree trunks and branches. After morning arrives and the heat begins to rise, the butterflies begin flocking to the forest floor, creating a tapestry of orange and black as far as the eye can see.

The eternal return is a concept deeply embedded in various tribal cultures including that of the Aztecs in central Mexico. This has been carried into the Christian tradition.

But what does this return mean for us.
This is beautifully reflected in Tagore’s Gitanjali:

“The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.

I came out on the chariot of the first gleam of light, and pursued
my voyage through the wildernesses of worlds leaving my track on many a star and planet.
It is the most distant course that comes nearest to thyself,
and that training is the most intricate which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune.
The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own,
and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.
My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them and said `Here art thou!'
The question and the cry `Oh, where?' melt into tears of a thousand
streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance `I am!'….”

Love to you all

Friday, October 31, 2008

Miracle of Life

Look at the beauty of the fold of the rose petals or the perfect geometry of the Nautilus shell in the accompanying picture. There is a mathematical precision. Most of these spirals we see in nature follow what is known as the Fibonacci spiral based on the discovery of the mathematical series by an Italian monk called Leonardo Fibonacci in the twelfth century.

We are discovering that creation is full of precision that defies reason. This is the reason why Darwin’s theory of natural selection is facing increasing pressure and we are now looking at a scenario where we see an implicate order at work. After David Bohm, who came up with this concept in explaining the principle behind perceived reality as emanation from implicate order, many others have followed this line of thinking in other fields of science such as Biology. One scientist who has used this concept in plant biology is Dr. Rupert Sheldrake of Cambridge University.

Recent discoveries have pointed out the extreme complexity of the human species. We are made up of nearly 100 trillion cells, more than the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Each cell is a living organism of high complexity. 10 million cells die and regenerate every second of our life. Skin cells live only for two weeks and bone cells live for three months. Every ninety seconds millions of antibodies are synthesized, each from about twelve hundred amino acids.

We are not just flesh and bones but a highly evolved system whose order is mind boggling.
We are a walking miracle and this is resonated in Aurobindo’s poem:

My breath runs in a subtle rhythmic stream;
It fills my members with a might divine:
I have drunk the Infinite like a giant’s wine,
Time is my drama or my pageant dream.
Now are my illumined cells joy’s flaming scheme
And changed my thrilled and branching nerves to fine
Channels of rapture opal and hyaline
For the flux of the unknown and the supreme
I am no more a vassal of the flesh,
A slave to nature and her leaden rule;
I am caught no more in the senses’ narrow mesh.
My soul unhorizoned widens to measureless sight,
My body is God’s happy living tool,
My spirit a vast sun of deathless light.

Love to you all

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lessons from My Mother

"Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die."
………….. A sonnet by John Donne

On 16th October 2008, my mother completed her earthly life after 88 years of yeoman service to thousands of individuals, which extended form the immediate family to many individuals who came into her life as a husband, mother, care giver and, in the last five years of her life, to the many nurses who attended her. She was a person beyond narrow dictates of caste, creed or colour.
She was not of a high education but always open to ideas and knowledge. Though she was a person of deep and unshakable Christian faith, she was open to deeper interpretation of many dogmatic dictates of the Catholic faith and the events in the Bible. Whenever I had given a talk or a seminar, she was keen to know the contents and listen to the stories I had used in my deliberations and ask for its moral in the context of the subject being addressed.

In the past few years I had a wonderful spiritual relationship with my mother. Everyday we used to sit for evening prayers which always ended in reading the Bible and she expected me to explain the deeper meanings of the words of the Old Testament prophets, wisdom of Jesus and letters of Paul. I used to refer to parallel meanings in Bhagawat Gita, Upanishads, teachings of Buddha and other spiritual leaders.
You could see her eyes light up and mind focused and there was a great feeling of someone present who is being filled with renewed energy. Even on days when she had excruciating pain, she would never miss the evening spiritual dialogue and singing.

She was in constant preparation for the end of her earthly journey. She was a personification of the words of Heinrich Suso, the great German mystic:

“Thou shalt understand that it is a science most profitable, and passing all other sciences, for to learn to die. For a man to know that he shall die that is common to all men; as much as there is no man that may ever live or he hath hope or trust thereof; but thou shalt find full few that hath this cunning to learn to die. I shall give thee the mystery of this doctrine; that which shall profit thee greatly to the beginning of spiritual health and to a stable fundamental of all virtues”.

If I am, today, open to seeking the truth in the entire spectrum of human thought and divine inspiration, which are inseparable part of cosmic consciousness, it is thanks to my mother.

Love to you all

Monday, October 20, 2008

Spiritual Transit

Return from existence to non-existence!
You are seeking the Lord and you belong to him.
Non-existence is a place of income;
Flee it not! This existence of more or less
Is a place of expenditure.

………. Jallauddin Rumi

Today we are witnessing a global turmoil in the financial market arena. What had seemed to be an unshakable revenue generator lies in shambles. The future looks bleak and we need an apocryphal and yet believable forecast to induce hope in the feeble heart that now beats in the dying embers of the stock market.

Have we placed too much hope on the concept of having? The answer is definitely yes. This is where the wise words of Rumi came to my mind, when he calls our life “…This existence of more or less is a place of expenditure”.

There are two distinctions to be made to the word 'existence'. The first distinction is that there are other existences possible and next, in Rumi's words 'this existence' means a life of existing in the purely physical realm. This is what most of us do. We are so involved in material well being whether it be our body or the comforts we surround ourselves with under a false pretext of an illusionary satisfaction which inevitably is very short lived. When this phase of temporary pleasure comes to an end there appears a false vacuum which becomes the tool for aggregation of more material and physical comforts. Man is caught in this ever expanding spiral of vacuum that sucks out his true being and leaves him with a sense of despondency and loss. So in the wise words of Rumi, you are expending all the, God given, creative energy in such existence. This is equivalent to having not only expenditure but also a negative cash flow. A negative cash flow or empowering energy crunch, results in us borrowing at a damaging interest rate from scrupulous markets or sourcing from elements dealing in devious energies.
On the contrary if we live a life of conscious presence of our true reality, as an entity that belongs fundamentally to the very source that came from non-existence, we become the conduit of that energy flow. We are then not only in the income mode but in a positive cash flow situation. We become the giver of life.

Love to you all

Monday, October 13, 2008

Obelisks of Heliopolis

The obelisk, called TEJEN in the sacred language of the ancient Egyptians, was a term which was synonymous with "protection" or "defence." The needle of stone had the function of acting as a concentrator of cosmic energy, and through the various symbols of the hieroglyphs channels this energy to provide protection and good energy spectrum for those who enter the temple complex for worship. The word "Obelisk" comes from the Greek obeliskos, meaning a prong for roasting. Hence it is a conduit of cosmic energy to cleanse the accumulated dross of human lives before entering the temple.
It is a stone that is frequently monolithic, of a quadrangular base, placed upright and ending with a pointed top. It was placed in the centre of large open spaces in the temples of the god RA. They arose, by the time of the pre-dynastic period cults, to a great sacred stone which was raised in the Temple of Heliopolis, the "City of the Sun." As with the pyramids, this monument had a primitive relation with the solar cult. As a general rule, obelisks were erected in pairs so that harmonized energy flow between the two could be additive and upward flowing so that when the devotee entered between the two there was a surge of energy from the base chakra to the cosmic portal of the body.
The obelisk is composed of two parts: the body and the pyramidon. The body is a long block of a conic trunk section and the pyramidon symbolizes the rays of the sun. The top is the point of a pyramid formation which crowns the monolith and rested on a base. It was plated in gold; a metal which the Egyptians affirmed was the "flesh of the gods." But more due to the reason that gold is a very good conductor of energy.

A hymn to the Sun God Ra, who also takes the names of Tum and Horus, sings the central role of the cosmic sun:

Hail, thou who art come as Tum, and who hast been the creator of the gods!
Hail, thou who art come as soul of the holy souls in Amenti (kingdom of the dead)!
Hail, supreme among the gods, who by thy beauties- dost illumine the kingdom of the dead!
Hail, thou who comest in radiance and travellest in thy disk!
Hail, greatest of all the gods, bearing rule in the highest, reigning in the nethermost heaven!

We can see the resonance of Gayatri mantra in the above hymn.

Gayatri Mantra is devoted to God Savitr. Savitr refers to Sun. Sun here does not imply the sun of our solar system. Rather it implies a Sun of all suns. Sun that is the source of eternal light that provides life, knowledge and enlightenment. Light that can illuminate the soul.

Love to you all

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Redefining Ahimsa

Today there is a silent and agonizing cry for peace. I am not talking about the world at large but the situation in India where there is a monumental increase in terrorism and religious intolerance. There is also massacre and destruction of the ecosystem. Last but not the least a total corruption of human values.

Though the origins of the concept of ahimsa are unknown, the earliest references to ahimsa are found in the texts of historical Vedic religion, dated to 8th century BCE. Here, ahimsa initially relates to "non-injury" without a moral connotation, but later to non-violence to animals and then, to all beings. The idea emerges again in the Mahabharata and Manu Smriti, where ahimsa is said to be merited by good Karma.

It is indeed sad that India, the land of advaita and which showed the way to non-violence through its philosophy and the Gandhian path of action, is in this despicable state.

This is the reason that in the twenty first century there needs to be a redefinition of the concept of ahimsa. We are not fighting a foreign enemy or an invader but our struggle is against factors that eschew and perpetuate violence emanating from innumerable, interconnected situations across the globe.

Looking at the concept of ahimsa at the time of Gandhi, I understand ahimsa as the optimum, functional good on the way to ultimate truth, and not as an unconditionally binding law of non-violence on social and political affairs.

The ultimate truth today is that the whole of humanity in an undivided whole and has its beginning about 40,000 years before as Homo Sapiens Sapiens in Africa from where all the six billion people on earth today came (Oxford university has done a ten year extensive research to map the Mitochondria DNA and the Y Chromosome before arriving at this conclusion).This beginning can also be extrapolated to the very cosmic and spiritual origin of all creation. All divisions, of cast and creed, are man made to engineer his own temporal and materialistic self interest. None of the spiritual leaders, Vedic seers, Buddha, Jesus or Mohamed, ever wanted to found a religion. They were out to bring out the divinity in man through how he can fulfil and find meaning to his life.

The violence of today is the brutal separation of man from his true nature. Only the realisation of divine element in all creation through unbounded love can cement this divide.
Hence ahimsa or non violence today has to transcend beyond passive abstinence from physical violence but proactive posture of realising the very source of all humanity and entire ecosystem and an aspiration towards empowerment and nurturing of every element of our milieu.

Love to you all

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

……… Robert Frost (1920)

When I read Robert Frost’s poem it touched a chord somewhere deep down in my thinking and wanted to write what I felt. Sometime ago I wrote an article on the spiritual significance of the flood myth in the various religious and pagan traditions and I dwelt in depth on Vishnu Purana, wherein the pralaya or ultimate destruction of the world is through seven fires. The Purana is rich in imparting cosmic wisdom as the destruction or dissolution signifies the end of an individual through which the world comes to end in this existence. The seven fires denote the uncontrolled desires allotted to the seven chakra centres of the human body. It is very apt that Frost, writing from a western culture which had very little influence from the eastern thought, would have written from his own personal intuition as he says “…….From what I’ve tasted of desire”. This why we have the saying in English "all consuming desire".

This leads us to think what made him write the next stanza. For those of you who had seen the movie “Batman and Robin” the villain of the story is Mr. Freeze and his plot is to freeze Gotham city. But Mr. Mr. Freeze starts off as Doctor Victor Fries, a brilliant scientist, who is consumed by hatred for Batman for he thinks that his wife was killed by Batman. All the dynamic creativity of a fantastic scientist is frozen into a singular attribute of hatred.
The symbolism of the character is important. When one is consumed by hatred all of one’s positive emotions and responses freeze over. In physics we study that all motions and dynamics come to total standstill at absolute zero temperature and this is true of cold hatred.
In today’s world cold hatred freezes men’s heart to destroy innocent lives and themselves through the fires of incendiary devices. Psychopaths, fundamentalists and serial killers operate in this domain of cold hatred. Religious fundamentalism, in all forms, has killed more than 80 million humans in the last two millenium.

Only the warmth of love and wisdom can thaw the cold freeze of alienation from our fellow humans and hence from the cosmic force which has always operated in perfect harmony.

Love to you all

Monday, September 22, 2008

Indra’s jewelled net

"Far away in the heavenly abode of the great God Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out indefinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel at the net's every node, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in it's polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels so that the process of reflection is infinite."

--The Avatamsaka Sutra Francis H. Cook: Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra 1977

This last aspect of the jewelled net is explored in a question/answer dialog of teacher and student in the Avatamsaka Sutra. In answer to the question: "how can all these jewels be considered one jewel?" it is replied: "If you don't believe that one all the jewels...just put a dot on the jewel [in question]. When one jewel is dotted, there are dots on all the jewels...Since there are dots on all the jewels...We know that all the jewels are one jewel"

Dr. Fritjof Capra, Nobel Prize winner in Physics writes in his famous book “Tao of Physics”:

"...particles are dynamically composed of one another in a self-consistent way, and in that sense can be said to 'contain' one another. In Mahayana Buddhism, a very similar notion is applied to the whole universe. This cosmic network of interpenetrating things is illustrated in the Avatamsaka Sutra by the metaphor of Indra's net, a vast network of precious gems hanging over the palace of the god Indra."

This is the JIJIMUGE doctrine of the Kegon School of Japanese Buddhism:
"All things are one and have no life apart from it; the One is all things and is incomplete without the least of them. Yet the parts are parts within the whole, not merged in it; they are interfused with Reality while retaining the full identity of the part, and the One is no less One for the fact that it is a million-million parts."

The moral of Indra's net is that the compassionate and the constructive interventions a person makes or does can produce a ripple effect of beneficial action that will reverberate throughout the universe or until it plays out. By the same token you cannot damage one strand of the web without damaging the others or setting off a cascade effect of destruction. So send your positive strokes at every moment of time.

Love to you all

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pygmalion revisited

"Eternal mind the Potter is,
And thought the eternal clay.
The hand that fashions is divine;
His works pass not away.
God could not make imperfect man,
His model Infinite, Unhallowed thought,
He could not plan—
Love's work and Love must fit." ...........Alice Dayton.

Remember the story of the sculptor Pygmalion? How he made a statue of marble so beautiful that every woman who saw it envied it? So perfect was it that he fell in love with it himself, hung it with flowers and jewels, spent day after day in rapt admiration of it, until finally the gods took pity upon him and breathed into it the breath of life.There is more than Pagan mythology to that story. There is this much truth in it—that any man or woman can set before his or her mind's eye the image of the figure one would like to be, and then breathe the breath of life into it merely by keeping that image before one’s subconscious mind as the model on which to do their daily building.

For health and strength are natural. It is ill-health and weakness that are unnatural. Your body was meant to be lithe, supple, muscular, full of red-blooded energy and vitality. A clear brain, a powerful heart, a sensuous and strong body, all these were meant for you and all these you can have if you will but know, and feel, and think aright. You are the temple of God and should not this temple be more splendid than the Temple of Solomon.

Kabir sings beautifully:
Do not go to the garden of flowers!
O Friend! go not there;
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus, and there gaze on the Infinite Beauty.

As the Kathoupanishad says:
"Know the Self as Lord of the chariot, the body as the chariot itself, the discriminating intellect as the charioteer, and the mind as the reins. The senses, say the wise, are the horses; selfish desires are the roads they travel"

Let us then desire for a strong chariot to travel this perilous road to travel towards our ultimate goal of self realization and not selfish desires.
Photograph credit: Modesty (1866) by Giosue Argenti in marble at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow

Love to you all

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Evolution through anihilation

The composite picture on the left evokes many feelings in me which I would like to share with you.
The picture represents annihilation at three levels.

The topmost picture is that of a Gamma ray burst from the star GRB 080319B which was so intense that, despite happening halfway across the Universe, it could have been seen briefly with the unaided eye. In a paper to appear in the 11 September 2008 issue of Nature magazine this was reported. In cataclysmic annihilation such as this all heavier elements of nature are produced.

The middle picture is that which is so strongly etched in our memory namely the annihilation of the twin tower on 9/11. An annihilation that has fuelled hate so much that it seems to have no end in sight.

The bottommost picture is the CERN-LHC or super collider, where on 10 September 2008 experiment to find the God particle or Higgs Boson was launched. Even renowned scientist such as Stephen Hawking has expressed grave misgiving on the outcome of this experiment. I think even if we find the so called God particle it will not be the fundamental construct of the cosmos. The reason I say this is because there is an absolute commonality, at the most fundamental level, between the observed and the observer (man, machine etc.). So how can we disengage or differentiate to make an observation? I feel the entire field of particle physics is barking up the wrong tree. But as in all progressive investigation this step may lead to direction change which is a fundamental aspect of any innovation.

The three pictures represent

Cosmic evolution
Hatred evolution
Consciousness evolution

The prayer in all our lips

Lead me from the unreal to the real
From darkness to light
From mortality to immortality

Love to you all

Monday, September 8, 2008

Setting our sails

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the self same winds that blow.
‘Tis the set of sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate
As we voyage along through life,
‘Tis the set of the soul
That decides the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

I love this poem by the great American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 – 1919) and the poem title is ‘Winds of fate’. She is also credited with the famous lines; ‘Laugh the world laughs with you, Weep, and you weep alone.’

The tremendous insight into our mental disposition, with respect to the direction of our life, is beautifully brought out in the above poetry. It is human nature to blame fate or destiny and constantly we feel helpless in situations with the self defeating thought that things are not in our control. We are endowed with free will or choice as a birth right and we fail to take cognizance of this wonderful gift. How do we exercise this action of free choice?
Bhagavad-Gita tells us that unattached action (nishkama karma) focused on the divine is the path of freedom from bondage of Karma (BG 2:39).
Thought leads to desire; desire to fear of loss; fear of loss to anger; anger to delusion; delusion to loss of discrimination; loss of discrimination to peril of the spirit and this is the danger of attachment.

Whatever is the direction of the wind let us set our sails in the path of pure detachment.

Love to you all

Monday, September 1, 2008

Perception of reality

If a person has always lived far from the sea and has never had an idea of a shell, he would look at the picture on the right and say that it is a butterfly. Perception of reality is a derivative of conscious mental maps that we store through our sensory inputs. But senses can be misleading as we see in the picture of the opened shell. The world we live in has been the source of our knowledge but we are given the gift of intuitive seeking beyond the apparent. Spiritual masters have taught the way and Eastern philosophy heavily relies on an intuitive journey rather than analytical and logical reasoning.
The Gospel of Thomas has 114 sayings of Jesus and the style of writing is very eastern in approach.
Much is left to the seeker to find out the hidden wisdom and this process takes the ultimate recipient of wisdom to remove layers of falsification that covers our conscious thinking mind.
This is similar to the way Zen masters taught disciples through Koans where a deep meaning is embedded in a crisp and short communication.
Now we will look at a saying which seems full of contradiction but approached from an intuitive level renders itself to deeper interpretation.

Jesus said, “This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away. The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. During the days when you ate what is dead, you made it come alive. When you are in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?” ….. Saying 11 – Gospel of Thomas.

The meaning I see here is that:
The physical manifestation of space-time is short lived and hence all that is created through the senses will pass away but the everlasting spirit or prana will never perish. In this temporal manifestation a continuous creation takes place when aggregation of matter, which is inanimate, is given life in our bodies. When we realize our integral nature with Godhead all individuality and attributes cease to exist and there is no becoming (dynamic action) but only being. In our human birth we become two with the human nature predominating and our spiritual self hidden by illusion. When Jesus asks what will you do? The answer is we should remove the illusion or maya which arises through our avidya (ignorance) and strive to become one again.

Love to you all

Monday, August 25, 2008

Marvel of memory

"Great is the power of memory, exceedingly great, O my God, a spreading and limitless room within me. Who can reach its uttermost depth? Here are men going afar to marvel at the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the long courses of great rivers, the vastness of the ocean, the movement of the stars, yet they leave themselves unnoticed” …. St. Augustine

The picture you see on the left is the Colour-enhanced light microscopy of Pyramidal neurons forming a network in the brain. These are nerve cells from the cerebral cortex that have one large apical dendrite and several basal dendrites. (Image Credit: Dr Jonathan Clarke. Wellcome Images)
There are trillions of neurons in the human brain.
There was a news in the last week dailies about a man who could recall from memory a 81 digit number. The miracle of man unfolds everyday, whether it be in athletic performance or in the employment of his intellect in stupendous achievements in science and technology.
It is now scientifically acknowledged that the human brain can not only tap into information gathered through conscious activity but has the capacity to reach beyond into the field of universal consciousness. Dr. Karl Pribram's findings are validated in selective experiments in the research arena.
Meditation is the tool to employ for this journey beyond the 'conscious data' retrieval. When in deep meditation we pass through level after level of consciousness. These changes take place in a very subtle mode and the heightened self-awareness will lead us to a strong feeling of coming home.

Love to you all

Monday, August 18, 2008

Meditating monkey

“Health, a light body, freedom from cravings, a glowing skin, sonorous voice, fragrance of body: these signs indicate progress in the practice of meditation” ……Shvetashvatara Upanishad
I was fascinated when I saw the picture of the meditating monkey. There was grace in the posture and a glow in the face accentuated by the rich fur. A monkey spends a very active and alert life because it has to share the food source with many companions as well as with competitors. It has also to be on guard all the time against predators.
A monkey is the symbol of vigorous physical activity.
Our lives also have a similar pattern but on a different scale. We often mistake non attachment with a sense of detached complacency. It is not what the seers and spiritual masters taught by their example. Adi Sankara and Vivekananda travelled the length and breadth of India, teaching. The great Gautama travelled far and wide visiting sangas and villages teaching for nearly forty years. Jesus constantly travelled the entire region of Judea and its neighbouring regions teaching and healing. Physical activity is an imperative element of holistic life style.
In meditation we gradually reduce our obsessive identification with the body. The body will feel lighter, our step will be more buoyant and our senses will come more easily under our control. By getting plenty of physical exercise, we help the process along.

Love to you all

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Continuous creation

" In commemoration of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope completing its 100,000th orbit in its 18th year of exploration and discovery, scientists at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., have aimed Hubble to take a snapshot of a dazzling region of celestial birth and renewal. Hubble peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074 (upper, left). The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170,000 light-years away near the Tarantula nebula, one of the most active star-forming regions in our Local Group of galaxies. This representative colour image was taken on August 10, 2008, with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Red shows emission from sulphur atoms, green from glowing hydrogen, and blue from glowing oxygen." (

The awesome picture of continuous creation blows one’s mind away. Hydrogen and Oxygen are the very constituents of water and water ultimately is the harbinger of life. This picture must instil in us a deep seated understanding of how infinitesimal we are in this creation yet empowered with such intelligence as to fathom the very depth of the infinite. Hence this intelligence can not an attribute nor be the creation of the finite but a blessing and gift from the infinite and timeless entity.

Love to you all

Monday, August 11, 2008

Born out of fire

I have posted today an article 'Initiation through Fire' which you can read at leisure. Nature teaches us many truths and the one that we experience when you see the picture on the right is the beautiful carpet of wild flowers which adorns the forest floor. What is so unique about this scene is that this very forest was devastated by a wild fire during the previous summer and you can still see the scarring on the tree trunks.
Nature uses fire as a cleansing medium and gets rid of all the deadwood and unyielding flora.

Bhagawad Gita ch 4-37 says:
"Like the well burning fire burns all the wood, in the same way the fire of knowledge (self-realization) burns all the Karmas (deeds)"

We find many references in Avesta and Pahlavi literature to show that Fire is venerated, and equated with the glow of Ahura Mazda. (Ahura Mazdā is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God.)
We also find that there is a close association of Fire and Asha in Zoroastrianism. Asha primarily means Cosmic Order, similar to what ancient Aryans call it "Rta" in Sanskrit.

It is only through the perception of this inner knowledge, where in one finds the seat of cosmic order that one can find the means of eradicating maya or illusion and ascend to divine nature.

Love to you all

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lessons from the Lotus

It is the rainy season.
There is a spurt of life and the backwaters of Kerala have a luscious growth of lotus this year.
Like the rain drops on the lotus leaf, all that one gathers in this life whether it be wealth, health or knowledge they should glide off the self to the source from where they came, which is the feet of the divine or the plenum of the cosmos.
But while they transit the custodian during the brief period of terrestrial life they should reflect the glory of divinity in each one and that is the purpose for which every blessing is bestowed upon all creation.
Meditate upon the rain drops as they act like a lens and amplify the very fine structure of the lotus leaf. So also the purpose of every blessing is to illumine the inner core, the Atman.

As the great Buddha says that all his teachings can be summarized in the following words:
"Nothing should be clung to as I, me or mine".
Does not the Lotus leaf teach us this profound wisdom?

Love to you all