The Sky Is The Limit.

Today’s topic has been suggested by the youngest member of our group Sanjana who still has many miles to go before she sleeps. The rest of us six, except Maria who too still has some catching up to do, are all past or are on the proverbial three score and ten land mark and perhaps have other thoughts on the matter. Sanjana is also likely to write on technology and science, where there perhaps the sky is the limit whereas for me having been there and done that, goals are different and perhaps for my readers and fellow 6/1 bloggers, exotic. Maria is new to the group and it will be interesting to see her take on the subject.

I am a Vedantin. The core idea in that school of thought is “Brahma Satyam, Jagat Mithya, Jivo Brahmaiva Naparaha.” as so beautifully explained by Adi Shankara.

If you have gone to the article as given in the link you would have seen that Brahman is limitless and the Truth and that the Jiva, that is the individual is not different/apart from Brahman and therefore he too is limitless. The goal of the individual in this life is to ultimately REALISE that truth and be free and limitless. I have capitalised and highlighted the word REALISE to explain that it it the process of making something real that is only conceptual to start with. This is a matter for understanding.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Sanjana. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

I am a practicing Vedantin. I am also in the stage of Aantara Sanyasa.  That blog post was written almost a year ago and since then I have only firmed up on my practice and can affirm that I hardly ever worry now.  I am also blessed with an innate happy frame of mind that I inherited from my mother.  For me, this topic is a living reality. I hope that this blog post will inspire my readers to also not worry and be happy.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by me. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Social Evolution, Revolutionary Change, Negotiated Settlement: What is Best When?

A very interesting question raised by my fellow 6/1 blogger Conrad.

In my not so humble opinion, the answer has been staring at our faces for decades. None of them work in the long term. All of them have been tried and found wanting. The human being is simply not willing to bring about a world that can live in harmony with all members like other species do.

The nearest society has come to some kind of a Utopia is when it engages in totally spiritual approaches to life. This simply means that we let what is innate in us to operate freely so that superimposed value systems of superior/inferior, good/bad, etc be replaced with what Frans de Waal calls our greater powers of abstraction, and involves “a move toward universal standards combined with an elaborate system of justification, monitoring, and punishment.”

At this point, for most people religion comes in as religion and morality has been inseparably enjoined since long. Oxford English Dictionary defines religion as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. This is not what will bring about morality in our lives but I strongly believe that spiritualism will certainly do. OED defines spirituality as “Relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.”

Quite how a spiritual life can be inculcated in us is something that I am not qualified to suggest. I however think that small beginnings made in our schools right from the childhood can and does bring about this as, I have personally seen happening in many of our schools that teach our children good values from the beginning. For those interested, here is one such school and I reiterate that, there are many thousands more in India and hopefully, in the next couple of generations, at least in India, we will see a society that will be harmonious with sound moral values.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Conrad. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Anticipation.

The image is of a Cricketing batsman anticipating a delivery from the bowler at the other end of the wicket.

This topic has been suggested by Shackman for our weekly Two On One Friday Blog Post. Please go over to his blog to see what he has to say on the topic.

anticipation

a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen in the near future:
As with most pleasures, it’s not so much the experience itself as the anticipation that is enjoyable.
The postponement of the film’s sequel has held cinemagoers in eager anticipation for several months.”
~ Cambridge Dictionary.

Having no wild or even tame oats to sow any more, I have little to look forward to in my life in anticipation for something that is likely to happen in the near or distant future.  On a daily basis I have three things that I anticipate and I have one long term anticipation.

My day inevitably starts with anticipation for the arrival of the daily newspapers. Once I have organised myself comfortably and settled down to read them, the mood changes to various emotions. Disgust, happiness, anxiety, pity, sorrow, joy etc, depending on what the contents convey. While I am going through all those emotions for about an hour and a half, there is an undercurrent of anticipation for the settling down to solving my daily quota of crossword puzzles.

The next thing I anticipate is my afternoon siesta with the hope that I do not get disturbed by visitors or telephone calls.  By and large I am satisfied with the time I do get for it but, occasionally, courier delivery men will disturb and that disturbs my equilibrium somewhat.

The last thing I anticipate is a good night’s sleep and I inevitably get it.

In the long term, I anticipate a simple death having already lived eight years beyond our national average life expectancy for men,  and I regularly use two Vedic prayers.

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिंम् पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ।।

Om Tryambakam(pronounced as Trayambakai) Yajamahe Sugandhim pushtivardhanam; Urvaarukamiva bandhanaan Mrityormuksheeya maamritaat.

“We worship the three-eyed One (Lord Siva) who is fragrant and who nourishes all beings; may He liberate me from death, for the sake of Immortality, even as the cucumber is severed from its bondage (of the creeper).”

अनायासेन मरणं विनादैन्येन जीवनं ।
देहि मे कृपया शम्भो त्वयि भक्तिं अचन्चलं ॥

Anaayesaena maranam ,Vinaa dhainyaena jeevanam
Daehi mae Kripayaa shambho ,Thvaya bhakthim achanchalam

Meaning : Requesting Lord Shiva to kindly grant three wishes:-

  • To give a peaceful death without any bodily troubles to me or others
  • A life without any trouble for the basic needs
  • Total Bhakti to Lord shiva.

Some three decades ago, my Guru instructed me on Action and Outcomes. The gist is that there are four possible outcomes for any action taken – 1. Get what is expected; 2. Get more than what is expected; 3. Get less than what is expected and 4. Get something totally different to what was expected.

The trick in living a life of balance and comfort is in accepting that any of these four outcomes are possible and accepting whatever comes out of our actions as what we deserve at that particular point of time.

This clip explains that well and it gives me great pleasure in sharing it with my readers.

Traditions.

The inspiration for this topic came from a character in the novel A Peoples’ History Of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian. The character is a professional rangoli artist. In my childhood, I distinctly remember rangoli being drawn every morning outside our homes and the logic for it. The images were always drawn with rice flour and the belief and also the fact was that ants would come to eat the flour. Why feed the ants? So that they did not come inside the homes to look for food and also the traditional belief that we are obliged to feed all creatures big and small in whatever way that we can. That tradition of rangoli disappeared from our lives over the years due to urbanisation and moving into flats / apartments but, feeding creatures continues to be practiced quite widely. In my own home, we had the tradition of feeding crows, doves, sparrows and squirrels till urbanisation took its toll but, my children feed stray dogs and cats in our neighbourhood every day and also during the day time when at least one particular tabby cat comes meowing for food a few times.

Many other traditions have disappeared from families due to the pressures of modern life and one that I miss most is the original use for our festivals for the families to come together for a few days of feasting and fellowship. On the other hand, some traditions like respect for elders and taking their blessings continues to exist though even that seems to be disappearing with replacement with modern Hellos and other forms of greetings.

Most families and other groups have traditions that they follow without having any idea as to how they started or the logic for them and I share below two stories to illustrate such traditions.

1. We visited our newly married daughter, who was preparing her first Thanksgiving dinner. I noticed the turkey thawing in the kitchen sink with a dish drainer inverted over the bird. I asked why a drainer covered the turkey.

Our daughter turned to my wife and said, “Mom, you always did it that way.”

“Yes,” my wife replied, “but you don’t have a cat!”

2. When the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, the cat who lived in the monastery made such noise that it distracted them. So the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice. Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up. Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.

I came up with the idea for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog posts where Shackman and I write on the same subject. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say about the topic but, before you do, please enjoy this song,

Spirituality And The Media.

This week’s Friday 2 on 1 fascinating topic has been chosen by Shackman. I am really curious to know quite what he will have to say on it and, I am sure, so will you be. So, without much delay, please go over to his blog to find out for yourself.

For me, the most important media is the print one. I prefer that to any other and I am lost without my quota of newspapers, periodicals and books. The largest of these is the newspaper one and India’s largest, The Times Group in two of its publications offers daily small stories and every Sunday, publishes a suplement devoted entirely to Spiritualism.


The next in the Print series will be my monthly dose of publications from five separate institutions, though three of them belong to the same order, The Sri Ramakrishna Mission.

The next in line for me are shows on religious / spiritual themes on our television channels. India has a long history of such serials starting with the famous Ramayana Series by Ramanand Sagar in the eighties. Today too, there are any number of channels offering such fare and I watch one on Sai Baba Of Shirdi every week day for half an hour.

India has any number of Godmen as they are called derisively by the sophisticates, and I occasionally get links through WhatsApp to Youtube broadcasts on spiritual matters by some of them. Here is one by Satguru, a very popular religious leader which should amuse my American readers.

One also gets bombarded by messages on spiritual and religious matters via WhatsApp, email and SMS messages, all using modern social media and I often get quite annoyed at the sheer volume of stuff that I have to delete every day.

I can therefore conclude that this must be the single largest subject for modern media and I am sure that my readers will agree.