Doing Something II.

Cheerful Monk while commenting on my post Doing Something asked – “So what are you choosing to do? How are you making that choice?” In the same post, Wisewebwoman commented – “You need to share, Ramana!”

My response is This. Please click on the images for larger resolutions.

And this.

My life has been like the clip below for quite some time now and I often throw the cup and the balls away just like the child in the clip does.

I hope that my responses have amused my readers enough to come to some serious stuff.

I don’t set an alarm clock to wake up in the mornings. My inner mechanism has a built-in alarm that wakes me up around 4.45 am every morning. Till 8.30 my morning is taken up by meditation, yoga, morning cup of tea, japa, prayers and breakfast. After those have been handled to my satisfaction, I read four news papers everyday and also solve four crossword puzzles that come in them. That takes me to around 1200 noon when I start reading whatever I am currently reading in the form of a book or one or more of the many magazines that I subscribe to. Lunch is around 1.00 pm and after lunch too I read till about 2.00 pm when I go off for my siesta till 3.30 pm. From then till 5.30 pm I am either at the computer catching up with my mail and attending to other matters like blogging / reading other blogs and reading the international news. I then go to a park nearby for a walk and meeting with my friends and return to my computer to end whatever has been left over for the day which will include a session or two with Facebook. I either watch a movie or some program on the TV or read till 10.00 pm when I go off to bed to sleep.

This routine is often changed to include going out to see movies or to lunch with family or friends but by and large it is unchanged except when visitors come calling.

I am sure that my readers will agree that all the above will come under the classification of doing ‘nothing’. I enjoy being in my comfort zone and am content with my life as it is.

Now to what earthshaking ‘thing’ that I do when I do do something. For some strange reason, I am treated like a sage by some people. Simply stated, I mentor some younger friends and allow my broad shoulders to be used to cry on by some friends and relatives of around my age.This can be in person, by mail, whatsApp or phone calls. Not a day passes when I don’t have to handle one or two of such interludes in my life.

There Monk and WWW, I have bared my soul!


“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
~ Dalai Lama XIV

When I had suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts, I had no idea about what I will write on it. As late as yesterday, I had no clue as to how to go about writing the post on time. This morning however, when I sat down for my daily session of meditation, the idea of writing about inner peace came as though it was a command and ideas on what to write also crystalised.

In Sanskrit peace invocations one always concludes by saying “Om! Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.” The reason that the word Shanti, meaning peace is said three times is to invoke peace of mind during sufferings arising out of Adhidaivika (of divine origin), Adhibhautika (originated in the physical, material beings), and Adhyatmika (created by ourselves).

The word “daivika” means “of divine origin”. Adhidaivika refers to the suffering due to divine causes, causes that we have no control over. These include natural disasters like floods, tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, plagues, fires and the like.

The word ‘bhautika’ is derived from ‘bhuta’ which means all “things”. It can be any entity, living or non-living. For example, even a stone can be termed a bhuta. So Adhibhautika refers to suffering caused by other things. These are classified as – other humans, domestic animals, wild animals, reptiles, insects, mosquitoes, bugs, cockroaches etc. For example, suffering can be caused by someone physically hitting you or hurting you through verbal abuse. Similarly, suffering can be caused by a snake or a scorpion bite, you may have sleepless nights due to mosquito bites, you could be attacked by a domestic or a wild animal etc.

The word ‘atmika’ means ‘self-generated’. Adhyatmika suffering is the most damaging and long-lasting as we inflict it on ourselves. This could be physical, mental, or emotional.  We cause physical suffering on ourselves by, for example, overeating, not taking care of our health etc. Most other suffering is mental. We suffer when we carry negative emotions – anger, hatred, jealousy, greed etc.

In the Indian ways of life, one remarkable feature was the way the average Indian was expected to face trials and tribulations of life with equanimity and peace of mind. Unfortunately, we have become quite materialistic in our life styles here over the past few generations and so this ideal of a life of inner peace despite adverse conditions is also rare to find except in those who follow some kind of a spiritual life which will include regular meditation and study of the scriptures.

I flatter myself that I lead a spiritual life and by and large, live a life of inner peace and joy. I have not however  yet reached the stage that the Dalai Lama has reached. Ido slip every now and then and get agitated. I am however making steady progress and hopefully will reach that stage before I call it a day.

I have suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.

Memory Trigger. 5 – TM, The Beginning.


In my post Religion Vs Spirituality you will find a new commentator Sultan.  Please do read his comments.

Sultan is among my close friends. His family including his in laws and mine were very closely linked when we lived in Bombay at the same time. After that, both of us have lived in different places and he has retired to Mumbai as it is now known and I to Pune. His family home in Patna was my home whenever I went there and even during Ramzan, his mother who kept roza would cook meals for me so that I did not have to fast with them. I am family for them as are Sultan, his lovely wife Farida and daughter Shehla are to me.

Sultan has been an enigmatic atheist all his life. Enigmatic, because he is also an Al Haj. Al Haj is one who has performed the Haj more than once in his lifetime.  Sultan has done it so many times that he has forgotten how many. He has also performed the Umrah any number of times. Being an atheist and all this? The mystery is in his Indianness. He lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for decades before he returned to retire to India and all his family members and Muslim friends wanting to perform either Haj or Umrah would depend on his hospitality and escorting to do those. A remarkable fellow really, with so much patience and affection.

This atheist friend was a Consultant teaching Indian companies productivity in the seventies before he took off to the KSA. It was a time when I was burning the candle at both ends in Bombay and Sultan suggested that I try Transcendental Meditation to get my act together. He had attended some lectures given by a TM Instructor during the process of his consultancy work and felt that I would benefit. Off I went to learn and that was the beginning of my spiritual path. That nudge from this atheist friend took a trajectory of its own and while he continues to be an atheist, I have changed. It has had no effect on our friendship though.

His comments on my blog post for the first time ever, took me down memory lane to his family, Patna, and also my tryst with meditation and all that involved. And most importantly, the nostalgia took me to how Sultan and I met. That is another story waiting to be told at a different time.


Side view of a blonde male person with blue eyes, stocky body and belly, topless and wearing a light blue shorts, butt crack almost showing, walks slowly as he holds and raises a gray cellphone on his left hand to take a photo of himself, lips sealed in a frown

For me a selfie is a term to be weary of. I belong to a spiritual tradition where the self and the Self are treated with a great deal of respect and constitute the major part of its pedagogy. It all started with my being gently led to a book by Paul Brunton called The Quest Of The Overself by a well wisher who did so when I told him that I was named after Ramana Maharshi. That book, one that I still go to for reference, was among the many influences that led me to Indian spirituality at a time when I was deeply embedded in a highly materialistic pursuit.

Nowadays I just have to go out of the house for an errand and I will see a few instances of people taking selfies. How I wish that they would spend the same amount of time on going after the ‘Self’?

And when I read stories like this one repeatedly in our newspapers of people losing their lives because they were so focussed on taking selfies that they lose their balance and fall to their deaths. And this is not a peculiarly Indian phenomenon as Wikipedia tells me.

Sometimes technology initiates problems unforeseen at the time of invention.

Being Alone.


Synchronicity strikes again.

Number one development – Yesterday my niece Anjali posted a link to an article on her facebook wall that took me to this author and her book.

I bought the Kindle version of the book which I have now started to read and will review here after I finish. My initial take is that it promises to be interesting.   I also exchanged these comments with Anjali on facebook.

I : “I am not exactly alone but I have bought the kindle version to read at leisure since you have recommended it.”

Anjali : “Experiments with solitude are a good thing. It doesn’t matter if we live with other people or like the author, live alone in a remote shepard’s cottage. She has raised some valid and extremely interesting points and should be read keeping in mind The Case For Boredom. ( Jiddu, UG, Russel and many others have written on the subject)”

Number two development – This morning, it being a nice lazy Sunday morning, Ranjan, Manjiree and I were sitting around chatting when Ranjan mentioned that his classmate and friend Prasath from Thailand had spoken to him and specifically asked Ranjan to take good care of me because I am now alone!  Prasath was one of the many young people who used to flock to our home during Ranjan’s college days and were very attached to Urmeela.  Prasath and his family had visited us last month while on vacation here and he kept on ruing her absence.  He must have felt that I too must be missing her and had kept that thought to himself but had mentioned it to Ranjan in his chat.

I am no stranger to solitude and my regular readers will know of my innumerable retreats to practice Vipassana Meditation and my continuing practice.  These two developments coming as they did, immediately one after the other, has led me to give serious consideration to going off on another ten day retreat soon!  My readers will know about it much before I actually do.

The Old Monk.

When a friend sent me this to suggest that I am now nearing monkhood myself, I could not but remember the Cheerful one.


Readers of this blog are familiar with Cheerful Monk. She is one of the earliest cheerleaders of this blog and has always encouraged me by asking very difficult questions or just saying “Yay”.

My friend however had another thought in sending that picture to me.  During my drinking days, of over fifteen years ago, when I could not get my first choice, malt whisky, I would drink only rum on lots of ice, and my favourite brand was:


Now that the topic has been opened up, I wonder what would happen if the Cheerful Monk and my old time favourite Old Monk got together! Will Cheerful Monk become more cheerful and will the Old Monk become older and wiser? Or will both of them end up on the rocks as suggested by my friend?