Saturday, April 21, 2012

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This is the 4th edition of the Annual Conference on Digital Commerce - Registrations for which are underway! Participate in this conference to know more about the exciting field of Digital Commerce and how you can benefit from it! For more information you can visit the link above or visit the following Facebook links:  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The End

Seeing her lying on her death bed
Her face turned ashen, or was it red?

The final moments, turned sour
as approached the deathly hour

What was I thinking
As the end of her life - came flashing

Ego, pride, pains and prejudices
Disappear - in the deathly still

All that we fight for
all that we aspire to

All is sealed in the finality of the moment
And in flashes appears a life spent

To those who stand beside the body
lying ashen, still and pale
the frame that once stood tall
appears ever so thin and frail

Lifeless the breath turned out
the corpse simply stands out

I had told myself I wouldn't worry
But thinking of her dying moments made me think

Whence came the waxing whence the waning
writhing in indescribable pain - the light of life all but fading

I came back to fight another day
And perhaps wait for another end
and see the almighty once again have a field day...


Monday, March 29, 2010

It does not matter...

It is the mind alone that is simultaneously the door to bondage and liberation. How one tunes and understands one's mind determines whether one gets freedom or stays in bondage. It is the mind that creates an identity for us - known as Ego. Indeed Ego and Mind are synonyms - two names describing essentially the exact same thing. But even in writing we use words such as MY MIND or OUR MINDS. Clearly, we treat them as possessions and not our own selves. The writing in itself serves as a dead give away to what our scriptures declare - We are not the mind. However, the mind is so powerful that the association it creates becomes a crutch to which we stick all our waking moments. It is what makes us think who we are.

The Maharshi used to say that the mind has to be dealt with closely. This has to be understood clearly. Who is it who is dealing with the mind? What is that Entity which wants to deal with the mind? This entity has to be something which is bound to be different from the mind - in other words there has to be a subject-object relationship between this entity and the mind. All our daily practical experiences will clearly demonstrate that there indeed is an entity that stands in the capacity of an observer - doing nothing - participating in nothing and yet being present in every instant. Even in deep dreamless sleep, this entity is the one that understands and experiences a complete lack of all physical phenomenon which we experience in deep sleep or even otherwise in the other two states - viz waking and dream sleep. If there were no such entity - this observing entity - our continuity would be lost. We might sleep as John and wake up as Abraham. Now - this entity is what our scriptures goad us to observe carefully. Let the worldly drama carry on is what the scriptures insist we understand. Once this understanding dawns on us - the next step would naturally lead us to what we call DISCERNING. We begin to discern the true nature of the events around us. Of course by all means continue what you are doing. But the moment a particular situation begins to affect you adversely - think about who you truly are and what is your real association with the thing that's affecting you. Every other thing then begins to fall in place.

Mind always presents a catch-22 situation. As mentioned earlier - it is the mind alone which creates our identities and every instance of our life goes through the process of being analyzed and brewed upon by the mind. The mind is a lot more complex than we can ever imagine. It sees, senses, observes, filters and analyzes a mind boggling volume of data. Of course something as intricately complex as the mind will never allow its own annihilation. But the end result of all pursuits leading to true self realization has to ultimately involve a complete annihilation of the mind. The catch-22 however is that mind alone has to annihilate itself. Through mind alone mind has to be convinced of its unreality. But one cannot kill the mind simply by wishing it away. When we say we have to kill the mind, what is meant is that we need to loosen its grip on us. And its grip will be lost only by understanding its true nature and how it plays its games. Once the real understanding takes place mind will cease to bother us until a point will be reached when the mind will be found to be completely gone. What needs to be understood is that there is an entity which is observing all these things. The fact that there is a mind, the fact that there is a world, the fact that someone is getting troubled or someone is enjoying life and such --- all these things are happening in a certain realm whose observer is actually neutral to all this drama. Just as a street light throws its light regardless of whether the street is silent or whether somebody is being robbed - so too is this entity which serves only as a spectator. It has no role to play - just as the street lamp has no role to play except to shed light. Similarly, this entity - which is indeed the basis for all the drama is completely unconnected with the drama itself. Once the understanding that we are not the actors of the drama but that neutral observer - all the rest disappears even as the snake disappears from the rope once the true knowledge dawns.

Till this understanding does not take place - the world will either be fun or hell. The ups and downs and the vicissitudes will continue because they are not in anyone's control. All this talk of free-will, destiny, fate, luck, chance etc is for mere intellectual consumption alone. They all happen in the realm of Avidya or Ignorance. All teachings are in the realm of Ignorance. The Teacher and the Taught are in the realm of Ignorance. Whatever is the not-self is merely in the realm of ignorance alone. But of course, the drama is profound. Its grip on us is profound. So we tend to suffer or enjoy and try to find out reasons behind our state and course of emancipation etc. Then one fine day, through some grace of the Lord, the reality dawns. Indeed there is no lord in isolation from us. He is not sitting there in heaven tasked with dispensing justice to errant souls or rewarding the beautiful ones. It's as illogical an exercise as anything else. For if He were sitting somewhere else - He would simply become another entity - howsoever powerful it may be - it would just be another entity. And that contradicts the omnipresent, omniscient nature of God. God, cannot exist in isolation. Of course, there is no sufferer and there is no suffering. But tell this to a person who has defaulted on his credit card bills or who has just lost a loved one. He will retort back and say - all this is pure myth. Such is life. Such is this drama. And it will go on. To the one who understands, it doesn't matter. To the one who does not understand, it will never matter.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Trilogy of People, Circumstances and Events in our Lives...

I have recently been thinking a lot on three fundamental aspects of our day to day living – the People surrounding us, the Circumstances we find ourselves in and the Events that keep taking place in our lives. I would like to give a more compact term to the Trilogy of the People, Events and Circumstances – and since I am not much of a creative person, I would just call it the Trilogy of Existence – or Trilogy in short. The matter of this article rests on the fundamental premise of Upanishads – that the Aatman (or Brahman) alone IS. The rest is merely Adhaysa (or superimposition). While this assertion will need to be almost axiomatically accepted, what follows can still be perceived even at an intuitive level with some amount of common-sense. But for the more rigorously minded folks, the basis for the arguments herein can be traced to Vedanta. I wanted to get this submission laid out in advance so as to preclude any further doubts as to the basis of the statements to follow.

The rest of the article seeks to establish the overwhelming effect of our “thought patterns/desires or Vasanas as they are called in Sanskrit and Vedantic Literature” in shaping the nature and form of the Trilogy mentioned earlier. It seeks to eventually establish that what we see around us, invariably disguised in the trilogy mentioned earlier, has its roots firmly grounded in our Thoughts alone (conscious but mostly sub-conscious). It is a position that is – as we will shortly see – in juxtaposition to commonly held thoughts and beliefs as to the nature and cause of the Trilogy surrounding us.

The world we see around ourselves does not exist independently of us as commonly understood. This is the principal purport of all Upanishadic Teaching. This misconception - which is resolved in the Upanishads by the concept of Adhyasa (or superimposition, alluded to earlier) - is one of the fundamental causes of human misery even though in itself it is not the root cause. The root cause lies in a different locus - and that is the locus of our very own Self. Without going into the nitty gritty of what Adhyasa is all about - for it is too gigantic a subject in its own right - Adhyasa is how Brahmasutra explains the nature of all that we see around us. In simple terms, Brahman alone is the reality and the rest of the Cosmos we see around is merely a superimposition which appears Real and Independent owing to our Primal Ignorance of our own True Self. This ignorance - as has been pointed out in earlier articles - is akin to the Rope appearing as a Snake and Water appearing as a mirage in the desert. Both the Snake and the Water are false - but for the duration that the Snake appears - it causes fear in us and vanishes when true knowledge dawns, and the water in the mirage ceases to excite us because its truth is known to us and yet continues to be seen even when the truth of it has been established. In a similar fashion, it has been argued that the World is Unreal - insofar as it has no Independent Existence - but its existence derives from the Brahman. Whether concurrently with the knowledge of Truth, the world disappears as does the Snake from the Rope or continues as does the Water in the mirage is hard to tell - but is irrelevant to our current discussion. Besides this is not what I intend to discuss anyway - but since I will be using the premise of Brahman's reality and non-reality of the world as a fundamental pillar to establish the case of the Universe being an outward concretization of our inner state of mind - some reference to the underlying literature seems appropriate at this point.

When we see a beautiful (cute, good-looking) individual, we attribute the occurrence to chance or luck because that's what we are given to understand through our general experience. We believe almost unquestionably in the truth of the following statements – this person makes me sick; oh how I hate him (or her); oh I wish I didn’t have to undergo so much pain just to get a simple thing done; why is he (or she) behaving this way?; why doesn’t she (or he) “get” me?; what have I done to merit what I am getting?; why is God so unfair to me when I have never hurt anyone ever in my life?, and so on. All these are verily a matter of routine experience. We firmly believe that it is the circumstances or the people or the events such as these that are making us sick and causing all the ills in our lives. What this article seeks to establish is the exact opposite. It seeks to turn this notion on its head by arguing that inasmuch as these people are bereft of an independent existence, their reality therefore is merely a projection of “some aspect” of our own state of mind. The Trilogy itself is merely an outward reflection of the turmoil (or bliss) within us – only it appears to us in the form of a person or an event or a circumstance. It’s not as if these People, for example, existed in their own zone and zoomed into our focus to make life miserable (or, by the same token, pleasurable – though this aspect is not being debated for it causes no problems to us to be a subject matter for debate) for us following some inexplicable quirk of destiny or fate, which is the commonly used argument to describe the reasoning behind our current situations.

Insofar as the Universe is merely a projection of our own Thoughts, it can be shown that the beautiful individual (or the despicable event or circumstance we find ourselves in) we see is simply a manifestation of our own desires (known in some cases and sub-conscious in most others). By the same token, when we seem to be surrounded by loving, caring individuals, it is a direct response to our love for our own self. The foregoing exposition in itself may not translate into a ground-breaking finding, but its implication has the potential to fundamentally change our perspective of life as we know and see it.

When we see people who we believe hate us, what we are seeing is actually a progeny of our own hatred for our own selves. It is this hatred – the cause of which may or may not be directly known to us – that materializes in the form of a Person (or event or circumstance). We believe that this Person or Event or Circumstance came about independently and has no connection with our inner state of mind. What follows then is the struggle to “fix” the person, or event or circumstance so as to make them more conducive to us. It is here that I challenge you to reverse your position, following the teachings mentioned earlier, and look into the possibility instead of the Trilogy being fashioned out of your own inner turmoil, the Trilogy itself being merely a “concretized reflection” of an essentially abstract emotion buried in your own self.

The Universe is created by our own imaginations. This statement has been analyzed in an earlier article on the Reality of Existence in my blog and follows from the Upanishadic lore. Our imaginations in turn are created from an innate and natural power residing within us. It is erroneous to ascribe an independent status to people, events and circumstances around us. We are their creators and we are their sustainers and we equally are their destroyers. This has been elaborated in the article mentioned earlier. If the Truth of this is questioned then the rest will become meaningless. But if the testimony of Holy Sages and the Upanishads is held sacrosanct then the discussion can continue.

Now let’s see from practical experience how far what has been mentioned thus far is validated. How often we have seen that when we are happy, everything around us seems happy and joyful. Conversely when we are sad, everything around us seems to evince sadness. When we are in Love, the whole world seems lovable. When we are heart-broken, we begin to think the whole world as treacherous. Some of these statements may sound sweeping in nature and intelligent ones amongst us would be ready with counter-arguments. But if you pause to reflect on the matter calmly, the truth will be evident in full force. On account of the foregoing therefore, it can be reasoned that it is actually our thoughts (conscious, but mostly sub-conscious) that generate the People, Events, Circumstances trilogy. The obvious implication is that by the power of our thoughts we have a capability right in our own hands to influence to a huge degree, if not completely, the composition of the Trilogy, for better or for worse!

Tomorrow, when you see a sulking boss, a furious wife, a pestering friend or even a lovely woman or a cute child or win a lottery of a million dollars, pause to think a while before ascribing the happening to mere chance or luck. Something far deeper has colluded to bring about the kind of trilogy surrounding you and know that the power to determine its nature is actually in your own hands. Know the force of your thoughts, for the truth is that there is no one else out there existing independently of you anyway. It's just YOU, the True Self, Brahman that exists in Reality. All else is Adhyasa (Superimposition of the world on the True Substratum or Brahman).

For so long as the bodily journey continues, an appreciation for this knowledge can give you some degree of control in governing the trilogy, and even if you cannot control or govern everything, you will at least understand the part of YOU that's causing the despicable portion of the trilogy surrounding you. This way at least you will stop the blame game and the analysis/paralysis syndrome that eventually follows when the trilogy goes bad. You will be much more contented and happy.

So before you blame your spouse as the source of your misery, know that the spouse in reality has no existence of his/her own. The problem which you are ascribing to your spouse has its roots in YOU alone. Analyze and fix that first before dashing to the family court to file for divorce. Chances are that once you have reached the core of the issue and fixed it, the errant spouse would seem to concurrently undergo a massive 'transformation' of sorts and would seem to become one with you, with all your issues/problems vanishing in thin air. The wise one knows all along that it isn't the spouse that needed the fix - it's YOU who needed it and once that's done, the ”errantness” of the spouse disappears even as the source of the errantness itself is annihilated.

Monday, March 8, 2010

An ode to myself...

Oh! the endless stupidities of Life...Get a grip now...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

And yes, I write all this stuff that makes no sense to anyone - only to keep myself alive...though i myself fail to fathom the reason why I want to keep living. Perhaps, perplexingly against all logic and evidence that life has given hitherto though it may seem, the tryst with life continues unabated in the hope that one fine morning the sun would be bright enough to dispel the gloom from my life. Until then,,,,,,,, gotta carry on......

Sunday, February 21, 2010

God is everywhere

Many a times in life, we are faced with unpleasant situations. You head out of your house for work and suddenly on the way down in the elevator, a gentleman who is the very incarnation of Satan and whom you cannot despise and hate more than anything else crosses your path... What do you do? A sudden burst of anger causes a seething sensation down in the very core of your being. Yet on some other occasions, somebody very dear to you causes you immense and unbearable grief by some action or deed. You feel as if you've lost all faith in mankind itself. The list of such woefully and regrettably familiar incidents is unfortunately endless. There seems to be no direct emancipation from them nor a recourse to a favorable solution for them. What do you do?

Now one of the most fundamental spiritual attitude that is taught in Spirituality Classes (hopefully it is done, though I am not hundred percent certain it is being done now a days) is to see God in everything. This is a very simple tool to combat negativity around you. But it was only today that I realized the true import of this concept through a divine intervention of sorts - while I was in conversation with a friend. I was speaking to him about some problems I am facing these days and my friend said - Saurabh ... why don't you see God in that person? Why don't you see that the intractable behavior you are seeing in this person is not the making of that person alone - but is actually God's way of testing you? Immediately, I was seized of a force that's almost impossible to describe... I said Yes! why didn't I think about it that way? We all say we love God and we trust God and that God is our only refuge. Why then do we not accept what God has to offer - not just in material aspects of life but also in the kind of people God chooses to surround us with? Why can't we see that people in and of of themselves are mere bodies and their substratum is no different than our own - viz the eternal Brahman. So in essence, they are nothing but God. There is actually no escaping from God in anything and everything we get to deal with. It's just the orientation of our minds that needs to be set aright. Next time you see somebody who sickens you to the core - accept that individual's existence as being divined from none other than God Himself. He is verily God. And if it helps matters - just think that the Divine Will of God ordained him to come into your life. Now deal with it as if you were getting the highest love of God ... for coming from God Himself ...what else can you ask for? Indeed this is what Gita calls as having a Prasada-Buddhi ... meaning the realization that everything is God and comes from God and belongs to God alone. We are mere players in the larger scheme of things. It helps in humbling the Ego and aids in building the divine connect with the One True Source of all that exists - Brahman!

Reminds me also of a beautiful line from a Song that I so love.... MUJHE GHAM BHI UNKA AZEEZ HAI, KE UNHI KI DEE HUI CHEEZ HAI...I used to interpret this line for what it literally stands... it's the rendering of outpourings from a beloved's heart for her beloved... But delve deeper and you see the spiritual connect in it as well...hats off to Raja Mehendi Ali Khan who wrote these lines (or so I think)...