Author: author

The subtle ego

Two brothers – Ramu and Shamu lived in Sonapur village. Ramu was very successful in his life – had property, more than enough money, fame and luxuries in his life. Shamu was hardworking but made barely enough to sustain himself and his family.

One evening Shamu invited Ramu for dinner at his home. Ramu looked at the furgal meal and started advising Shamu about how he is devoted to God and how God has made all his dreams come true. Shamu said that he also believes in God and is devout. To this Ramu retorted, if Shamu’s devotion was really true then he would not be going through all the troubles that he is facing in his life. Shamu’s concept of devotion is flawed and he needs to seriously think about his concept of devotion.

That night Shamu spent a sleepless night worried that all his years of devotion may have been misplaced and may be his devotion and prayer is not being heard by God. So the next morning, while praying he put a request to God “Please help me find the true way of devotion to you, if my concept of devotion is misplaced as my brother suggests”.

Years passed by and both the brothers aged. On a full moon night, both brothers passed away peacefully in sleep.The demons from hell came to collect the soul of Ramu, while angels came to escort Shamu to heaven.

Ramu was perplexed and asked the angels “How fair it was for him to be collected by the demons of hell. I have spent large amounts of money in renovating temples, given a lot of money in charity and done so many good deeds. Whereas my brother Shamu has done nothing like that, so how can he be taken to heaven and I sent to hell. How fair is that?”

One of the angels answered, “Yes, you have donated for temples and charity, but that was more out of your need to feel important – not because you cared about the temple or the person who was seeking charity. You have spent your entire life being judgmental about everyone around you and now you are being judged on your actions. Whereas Shamu might not have given money to build temples, but he has worked hard every day by actually being involved in constructing a temple, he has spent time with children helping them with their education, he has prayed asking to be lead to truth, he has fed the poor who come to his door (many times skipping his meal), he has given of his time, effort and more than all this he did all this in the true sense of service to the lord. Hence he deserves heaven.

Reflections

It was a fine morning. I was walking out of the restaurant after my breakfast. As I stepped out, I saw a old man in rags digging into the dustbin. I really don’t know what about that man made me stop and watch him.

But there he was, furiously searching as if for some treasure. I saw his face lighten up and out came his hand from the bin with a loaf of stale bread. He sat down beside the dustbin and started to eat his treasure with joy.

A stale bread giving him such immense joy and here we are living in luxury (compared to the life that old man leads) and all we ever think off is how less we have.

Its strange that we hardly think that we are far more blessed with many good things in life than so many of our fellow brethren.

Shouldn’t we live life in gratitude for all that we have?

The delusion of Duality

“O, enlightened master, how do I dispel the darkness of ignorance within me?”, asked the disciple to his master.

“Does darkness exist? What is darkness?”, asked the master.

“Well, don’t you witness darkness in the night, every night? How can you then suggest that darkness does not exist?”, asked the confused disciple.

“When the sun goes down and with it the light, you witness darkness. The absence of light is what you perceive as darkness. Darkness depends on light. You have only one entity Light, but you experience it as two – the presence or absence of it. You cannot destroy darkness – for it does not exist. But, yes you can bring light and remove the darkness. So my dear child fight not to dispel the darkness of ignorance”, declared the master.

“Your entire life is mired in the mistaken notion that there are two, without realizing that the “two” stems from just one single entity. Like the absence of Love is hatred, absence of goodness is evil. Contemplate deeply on this and get yourself out of this mistaken notion of Duality.”, continued the master.

“You are wisdom personified. You are either aware or not aware. Delve deep within you and find that wisdom in you and the darkness of ignorance will fall of its own, dear child.”, concluded the master.

Is pain undesirable?

Mattu was a successful business man in the town. He was very popular and known for his highly principled life. He suffered from a disease in which he could not experience pain at all. His life did not know what pain was. Everyone envied him. He simply could not feel pain.

When he was 40, he partnered with an international business house and was about to take his business globally. After having signed the contract papers and a dinner in a swank hotel, he returned home.

He went to bed. In the night he threw up a couple of times. He thought that this was due to indigestion and thought he could visit the doctor in the morning. He went to bed…never to wake up again. His appendicitis was infected and as he could not experience pain, he never knew about it.

May be if he did get the pain, would he have survived?

So is pain really undesirable?

Education – the window to enlightenment?

It was an unusually sunny day. My vehicle had broken down in the middle of a deserted highway. Wondering what to do, I started to slowly walk towards the nearest village which was about a mile away. The sun was right above the head and was striking very hard on me.

I think the temperature must have been around 42 degrees. I had almost walked the distance and was near the village, when out of sheer exhaustion, I collapsed – half faint and half awake.

I could hear a motorcycle stop near me. Hearing my incoherent speech, I could hear someone telling the other in English “Leave him alone. These people look very well dressed, yet they drink beyond their limits and fall on the road being a nuisance to everyone”.

One of them got down and I could feel them tug at my pocket and remove something; I think it was my purse. But I was too weak to protest. Before I could even react, the motor cycle had zipped past.

After a couple of minutes, I could hear some jingle sounds and realize that a cow cart had pulled beside me. I heard someone shout “Daai, seekrama konjam color vangite vaada” (Get some lime soda fast).

I could make out someone trying to hold me and pour some tangy liquid in my mouth. I don’t know how long it took for me to recover. I saw a haggard looking man with his wife and a child standing by me, till I was alright. I tried to get my purse out and give them some money…only to remember that I was robbed. Education the window to enlightenment – I seriously doubt it.

The story of Sirish the deer

Sirish was a beautiful deer that roamed the forest in the Sahyadri ranges in western ghats. Through out his life he could sense a sweet smell around him.

He spoke to a couple of animals in the forest.

“Do you smell that perfume?” he asked.

All the other animals ridiculed him. Some said, he was hallucinating, some said he was mad and many just behaved nicely in front of him and ridiculed him in his absence.

Years passed by..the perfume smell only got stronger and Sirish had learned through experience to keep it to himself.

One day as he was roaming the forest, he came across a cave. He saw a blue light emanating from within the cave.

Curious by what he saw he went inside the cave. He found an old man with a flowing white beard sitting cross legged.

“What brings you here?” the old man asked

“I saw a blue light and was curious to find out what was happening in here” he replied.

“You look very unhappy? What is the matter?” asked the old man.

“Well, you may think I’m crazy, but then from birth I have always felt that there is a perfume around me…and its getting stronger and stronger as the days pass by. All my friends in the forest think I am imagining things. But I can feel the smell…I have searched all these years in vain. Would you be able to tell me where this smell is from and why I can smell it when others can’t?” said the deer.

“Aha, so that is what is bothering you?” asked the old man and continued, “In your own belly you carry that sweet smell. We humans call it musk.”

The deer stood there shocked and in disbelief.

Aren’t we all like that musk deer – trying to find that divinity within us?

The window to a beautiful life

I would like to share with my readers, an incident that is supposed to have actually happened during the days of Buddha.

Long ago, there lived a tiger and a deer in a forest. These two animals were always at loggerheads with each other and they made sure that when ever an opportunity arose, they would teach the other one a lesson. It so happened that the tiger killed the deer in that life and in its next life (rebirth cycle/karmic cycle), the roles reversed and the deer made sure that it was reborn as the tiger and the tiger was born a deer and so this chain of action and reaction continued until some time.

After a few births like this, where they avenged each other’s death, they realized they were tired of it and they wanted to end it but didn’t know how. They decided to go to Buddha and find out if at all there was any solution to their problem. When they told Buddha all that had happened, Buddha listened to them and in all his wisdom told them that there was a way of getting out of this rut and the mantra to that was to forgive and forget each other for all that had happened so far. Its so easy, isn’t it?

Forgive and forget people for what they they have done to you and move on.

The point that I am trying to drive home is that God with all his knowledge, gave us all a mind so pure and a heart so big, not to hold anger and hatred but to love everyone around us as much as we would love ourselves.

Its definitely not easy but at the same time its not impossible.

After all we are saving ourselves so much of trouble by not coming back here time and again just to get even with people and ruin the short and beautiful life that God has bestowed upon us. Think about it.

Science and Spirituality

Lets take an example of how science and spirituality will deal with a situation and then proceed to understand the differences or similarities between them, if any.

Let us for our example study “Hunger” as the subject. Science, tries to understand how hunger pangs develop, how our body and mind is able to know hunger, what physical changes happen within our stomach and what communication takes place through our nerves. That’s science for us.

If you approach a spiritualist, he will ask you to starve, thereby you experience hunger. Without wasting any words, you would have experienced hunger. Spirituality tells us to experience.

Science is useful in situations where a person who has experienced hunger is curious to know how the whole dynamics of hunger work.

Where as spirituality is useful, when a person wants to understand what hunger is.

Science deals with intellectually understanding a particular subject, whereas spirituality deals with experiencing.

Science focuses on “doing”, spirituality focuses on “being”.

The Spiritual Pride

For all those who pride themselves in being very spiritual and look down upon others who aren’t, I would like to ask you a few questions:

  • Is Fire going to burn you any less because you are spiritual?
  • Is water going to wet us any more because we are not spiritual?
  • Are you going to bleed any less due to a cut, because you are more spiritual?
  • Is the pain of the wound going to be any more because we are less spiritual?

If a bomb is dropped on a city, the bomb is not going to explode based on if the people who live there are spiritual or not. Its nature is to explode and so shall it be.

The nature of fire is to burn and so shall it remain – be it a saint or a sinner.

Our day to day life runs because of the natural interactions between things – they are very much predictable. The Sun rises and sets, etc., Being spiritual is not going to make us go beyond the laws of nature. The only thing that it helps is in being able to understand the nature of things and live in harmony with them. And by the way, what is being spiritual.

Spirituality tries to study and internalize who we are? what our nature is? Why we are what we are? etc.,

Religion – no matter which one – only gives us tools and methods to be used to be spiritual.

How very sad that the means itself has become the end to many of us

Serene Swimming Duck

A couple of days back I had to take my son for boating. As me, my wife and my son, sat in the boat, we saw a duck swimming effortlessly on water.

It was so stable and serene, we couldn’t but notice its serenity. I pointed to the duck and asked my son to look at the duck. He asked me how the duck was able to stay afloat.

I explained to him how the duck paddles below the water, etc., As I was explaining I realized how much of effort is going on under the water to make the duck look so serene on top of the water.

Isn’t it the case with almost all the successful people – the success that we so easily see, that gets portrayed in the media has come after a lot of paddling?