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.

The God Delusion.

I had posted this on my now defunct second blog. I wish to keep this on record and so am copy pasting it here.

I love to spend time with young people. They stimulate my thinking process.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss some economic problems that face India with a young friend Sunil, and after I came home, I exchanged these messages with him.

YT : A book I strongly recommend is Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley

Sunil: I will try and get hold of that. Thanks. Have you read the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins?

YT : Yes. Sad.

YT : Matt Ridley incidentally is a gr8 admirer of Dawkins.

YT : Sunil: You are not?

YT : I am but I am not an atheist. I am not a believer nor agnostic. Figure that one.

Sunil : Ah, you are God!

YT : ☺

Sunil and I met again after a few days and discussed this discussion. I had to explain to Sunil that not only was I God, he was too.

He was flabbergasted and I had to explain to him the philosophy of Tat Twam Asi and Aham Brahmasmi.


The Calling.

Magpie 11 commented on my post THE MOST DANGEROUS STAGE IS RESPECT

“…some one said there is too much Me me me…surely that is what blogging is about?”

Exactly. This is a BLOG, short for Web Log, or a diary written and maintained in the web, with the exception that it is shared with anyone who cares to visit, read and comment. For me, it is a way to crystalise my thoughts and to explore fresh thoughts from my readers.

He also went on to quote me and comment –
” there is an inner calling to pursue certain esoteric things that does not seem to affect most people”

What are these “esoteric things”?
esoteric:: Intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.

Smacks of some sort of elitism to me…… the problem is of course that if most people did seek to pursue these tings, whatever they are, then they would cease to be esoteric.”

In my response, I had written that I would address the issues raised by him in a separate post, and here it is.

I wish that Magpie 11 had chosen a different definition of the word “esoteric”. The same dictionary that he refers to also has this definition –

“b : requiring or exhibiting knowledge that is restricted to a small group ; broadly : difficult to understand
a : limited to a small circle

I used the word in these two contexts.

My understanding of the word ‘calling’ stems from my employment background. I went through three phases of a job, where I got paid for what I did, or did not if I did not do what was expected of me; or I left if what I got paid was not worth my while; a career, where I progressed from just a job to assuming ever increasing responsibility; and finally, to a calling. The last was at the peak of my working life when I was able to create a completely different organisation in the late nineties, which continues to flourish till today. Subsequently, the calling became one of care giving and as I write this, that calling continues to operate.

Now, let us look at what ‘calling’ means to me and why I call it esoteric. It is what I would do anyway, with no pay or promotions or other rewards, and nothing else other than, physical disability or death will stop me from doing it.

I also believe that the calling is of two kinds, one is the calling to attend to material things, in which category, I would include my current preoccupation, care giving; and the other which is spiritual. Now, Magpie, please do not mix this with religion. Let me explain.

I believe that my spiritual pursuit forms the foundation of me as a human being, and is based on my central values and beliefs concerning purpose and meaning in life, truths about the world, and my own vision for real-izing my full potential and purpose. My calling is to real-ize my full potential and fulfill my aspirations, and this has to include self regulation. This means that I have to understand and control my thoughts, emotions and behaviour. I fully accept and recognize that other people have the right to hold different values, beliefs, customs and traditions, and that I must, without giving up my own beliefs, show others due consideration and be open to other points of view. This does not mean that I become a door mat and allow others to trample on me, but I am willing to live and let live. I simply expect reciprocation and if I don’t get it, it is of no great import to me.


Why is it esoteric? To the best of my knowledge, a very small minority of the world’s population, wish to pursue this path to Real-ization. That is why I called it esoteric.

And finally coming to the question of Religion, Magpie says – “Yes Religion….. or “The Way”. There is another reason….. it leads to an easy life…. convince your self (or be convinced by the brainwashers) that your life is controlled, ordained by a greater power than you and you can sail along as easy as winking.

This comment I would imagine comes from a scientific temper, now called atheism or virulent anti spiritualism. I do not approve of brainwashing of any kind, spiritual or religious or whatever, but why is someone not willing to accept that the Subject and the Object cannot be the same, considered to have been brainwashed?

I belong to a tradition that fully accepts atheism and materialism as legitimate philosophies. So, I am intrigued that the latest kid, let us call him a Religion, on the block, Atheism is not being considered as a Religion with its own High-priests like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Or am I just playing with semantics? Is it not their esoteric calling, or am I missing something here?

An Outraged Friend.

On Sunday, a friend who makes a monthly visit to me to let off steam and to recharge his batteries, inevitably on Sundays when he has his weekly off, came over to rant about his latest outrage.

My friend, let us call him KD, is an atheist born in the Roman Catholic tradition. He is a bon vivant who is totally secular. He is divorced from his wife who is a non practicing Protestant Christian and daughter of a pastor of one of those prolific evangelical Protestant sects that dot the Indian landscape. Her family has many pastors in it and most other members are devout and have slogans like “Jesus Saves” and “Praise The Lord” on their vehicles.

With that background, the story will now become clearer. KD has a step son, from his exe’s previous marriage. KD has three children from his marriage, all now grown up and away in many other parts of the world. The step son, the eldest, got married recently to a girl from his mother’s religious sect for which all the children had come to Pune.

After the marriage, all the children, with the new daughter in law, went to pay their respects to their maternal grandfather who has been catatonic for the past eight years in a hospital. When he became aware of the children, he opened his eyes and just asked one question to them – “Has K been saved?”. The children returned on Friday from their visit and reported to KD about this and KD went into a state of total rage and could not sleep.

This was followed by a dinner at KD’s place for the new bride’s family on Saturday during which, the family did not exactly endear themselves to KD with their frequent prayer and oft repeated “Praise The Lord!” during normal conversation. Before the meal started, the senior most of them asked permission from KD to pray and just to be polite, KD agreed. The dinner was no better with very solemn and silent eating at the end of which, permission to pray was again asked when KD who had had enough, said “No thank you.” The guests were aghast and quickly excused themselves and left.

KD stewed again the whole night and decided to come to his friend and confidante to share these two stories and to ask whether he needed to be saved? He cheered up quite a bit when I said, “yes, from these people”.

I have nothing against people holding on to their beliefs and practicing their religion to the best of their abilities. But surely, they should have the sensitivity to leave such behaviour aside on social occasions among people who either believe differently or do not believe at all?


The purpose of this post is very simple. My earlier post on ‘Hell’, has taken a life of its own and the comments and responses are showing no signs of abating.

At last count, there were fifty five comments on the post and it is still counting. I recommend that, those readers who have not subscribed to the comments by mail, go back to the post and catch up with the very lively debate that has started there.



“I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet
Riches to men of understanding, or yet favor to men of skill; but
Time and chance happeneth to them all.”

William James said that religious belief is “the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto.”

Why am I suddenly writing about this subject? Let me give you some background.

Since my post on ‘Ambition’ was published, a dear atheist friend of mine, who has known me only the past few years, has been arguing with me about atheism and theism; Natural Selection and Spirituality, and as atheists are wont to, has been trying to convince me to convert to atheism. As I had posted in my later post, we Indians are very argumentative and this topic is as good as any to get two good friends to argue about.

Indian Shastras (Sanskrit Scriptures) say, that in order to be successful, six qualities are required – udyama, proper effort; saahasa, perseverance; dhairya, courage; buddhi, knowledge; shakti, skill and resources; and paraakramaa, the capacity to overcome obstacles.  The absence of any of these qualities can stymie our efforts and produce unexpected outcomes. And, it is a very big ‘And’, there is no guarantee that even if you have all the six qualities and take action, the outcome will be as per your expectation.

That brings us to the stage of taking action to succeed.  When we take any kind of action, we expect an outcome to that action.  That outcome can be exactly what we expected; less than what we expected; more than what we expected; or completely different to what we had expected, perhaps even opposite of what we expected. We can never know before taking that action as to how the outcome will turn out to be.

It has therefore been taught to those who are willing to learn, that when you consider the two paragraphs immediately above this one, there is something working behind the scenes that influences the outcome. You do not have to be a religious person, or a spiritualist to accept this reality.  This can be proved by simple observation of all that we do.

When I pointed out the contents of the two paragraphs to him, his reasoned reply was that ‘chance’ has nothing to do with the outcome, but the outcome being different from what was expected is due to one or more of the six qualities listed in the first paragraph, not being present in adequate measure.  My response to that is; why does it happen that what is lacking is lacking? His response is that it is because of inadequate preparation or overconfidence.  This answer too can be taken to the next level and the next level ad infinitum.

Since writing the post, I ‘chanced’ on Looney’s post which is poignant. Please do read before you comment on this post.

Samuel Johnson, the great lexicographer, when a reader confronted him on why he defined the word ‘pastern’ as “the knee of an horse” (instead of the part between the fetlock and the hoof) his reply was, “Ignorance Madam, pure ignorance.”

Who is ignorant?  What is your answer to this conundrum?