Prayer – Heart’s refuge

Prayer is the first means of the weak and the last means of the strong.
                               -Daaji quoting his Guru, The Heartfulness Way

The cool waters of the lake, lay still. The crocodiles were swimming lazily after feeding well on the fishes and other small animals that strayed into the waters, unsuspectingly. The sun still young in the sky moved forward gently towards the horizon.

A herd of elephants approached the lake. The boisterous and strongest among them, Gajendra entered the waters causing commotion and disturbance to the peaceful atmosphere. He was oblivious to the surroundings, and focused on the two new cows that joined the herd. He was undoubtedly strongest and youthful. There were many scars on his body each telling the tale of the fierce battles he fought both within and outside the herd. 

The crocodiles in the lake moved further downstream as they had no interest to pursue the many elephants. Moreover the waters were shallow and with firm footing on the ground the elephants had clear advantage. 

Gajendra’s playfulness increased and he started splashing water with his trunk, and continued to pluck the lotuses from the lake throwing them on the cows. Inadvertently he stepped on a mound where a giant crocodile was resting. The crocodile attacked the elephant viciously. He grabbed Gajendra’s leg and pulled him  into deep waters. The elephant tried picking up the crocodile with its trunk. For a moment the crocodile let go of the leg and attacked the trunk. The elephant trampled the crocodile.

Meanwhile, the other elephants left the waters and retreated to safety.

Gajendra moved towards the banks, but the crocodile swiftly cut off his path, caught his leg between the teeth, and started pulling him to the deep end. They battled long and hard.

The crocodile won for a while, before the elephant gathered strength and began thrashing it. The elephant won at times, almost getting out of water, but the crocodile renewed  the attack, in its natural habitat.

Birds, monkeys, elephants, small animals, other crocodiles all stopped in their tracks and watched the heroic struggle. The sun moved further down on its path, bearing witness to the many struggles of existence.

The battle for life continued, both bleeding profusely. The metallic odor of the blood attracting scavengers of both worlds. Patience rewards in the jungle.

Gajendra, his strength waning, gasping for breath, looking for respite, pleading help from friends and family in the herd, as all were waiting for the inevitable.

He looked up to the heavens, and called out with deep anguish, “Lord, you who creates the worlds and animates them, who gives strength, support, sustenance, for all beings, – I am losing the battle. I am tired, losing hope and courage, you alone are my refuge. Please decide whether I must live or die. I have realized that strength means only so much, power means nothing. Please come and help.”

The prayer is answered and help arrives in the form of Lord Vishnu who brings the events to a conclusion. Gajendra lives.

The story of Gajendra’s rescue is one of the most popular stories of Bhagavata Purana and merits a closer read than what is depicted here.

The dire circumstances in which one prays is all too common. When one is subjected to poverty, when one’s honor or life is at stake, prayer is discharged. Prayer is routed through an automatic and unmanned exchange. It reaches the one who can act, and help arrives.

दुख में सुमिरन सब करे, सुख में करे ना कोय |
जो सुख में सुमिरन करे, तो दुख कहे को होय ||
                                                                               -कबीर

In anguish everyone prays to Him,
in joy does none
To one who prays in happiness,
how can sorrow come
                                                                               -Kabir

Moving from an emergency prayer to a prayerful attitude and gratitude is the way to incident free life. In his book co-authored with Joshua Pollock, Daaji shares many insights. Please read the book, and cultivate a prayerful attitude.

You may purchase a copy of the book here.

“Read and Enjoy. Do and Feel.”, this is the philosophy of the Heartfulness practitioners. There are many gems in the book, and we should collect each one of them and share. Happy reading and sharing.

Prayer – Heart’s SOS

She looked at the elders seated in their high places. There was pin drop silence, as all of the elders, ministers, family and friends hung their heads in shame, unable to look into her eyes. It never occurred to her that she would be subjected to such humiliation, that too in front of her own kinsmen.

She looked at her husband, he put his head down, if there were fires raging in his heart, they weren’t strong enough to consume him or save her. He just sat there motionless. He seemed like the ghost of the person who won her hand at a challenging competition. She looked at others who were supposed to honor her, protect her. They too stood as if they were statues and not part of the proceedings.

Then she heard, the prince command his brother to disrobe her. As the man approached her she started running hither and thither, her wailing for help falling on deaf ears, many closing their eyes. Not being a witness they thought is a way to avoid the guilt that would follow later.

She sought help from every person in the court hall, she appealed to the King and the Queen, to prevail on their sons. She besought the help from the elders, peasants, whoever was present. None came to rescue. If only my brother were here she thought, but “if” has no place in reality.

The prince approached her and lay his hands on her saree and started pulling it off her body, she held it tight, tears welling from her heart, and despondency taking over. Mind nudged her to accept her fate. But it is not a matter of life but of honor. Her name would be tarnished for all time to come. She looked at the heavens and beseeched the gods to come to her rescue. There was no audience there for her.

She held on to the saree tightly but the prince was strong, and she knew it was only a matter of time before he would completely disrobe her and she would be seen naked by all those present. Her mind said “give up”, but the heart jumped into the vacuum with a sense of urgency, deep respect and honor for the Self within, in that moment it connected to the source that animates and weaves every fabric of creation.

Prayer is to ask for higher help.
                                            -Daaji, The Heartfulness Way

A miracle came to life.  Draupadi stood with her hands held together high over her head in prayer, resigning to her fate, totally dissolved into her heart. Dussasana the mighty prince kept on pulling her robes, till he fell to the ground tired, hands aching, exhausted.

It takes a moment to receive help, prayer is high speed connection to the source. When we are connected, all help is available immediately.

Exploring the depths of prayer, in his book co-authored with Joshua Pollock, Daaji shares many insights. Please read the book, and learn to pray.

You may purchase a copy of the book here.

“Read and Enjoy. Do and Feel.”, this is the philosophy of the heartfulness practitioners. There are many gems in the book, and we should collect each one of them and share. Happy reading and sharing.

Prayer – Heart on Fire

While walking with Daaji in the woods, I asked him a question: ‘What is prayer?’

‘It is the inner cry of the heart,’ said Daaji. ‘The heart’s feeling cannot be manipulated by the logical mind. Generally, we pray when we lack something. To pray under dire circumstances when we can bear no more is natural. But when we are happy and overjoyed, that feeling also becomes a prayer if we connect ourselves with God at that moment and express gratitude.

-Kamlesh D Patel and Joshua Pollock, The Heartfulness Way

The man approached the gates of the majestic palace, surrounded by beautiful gardens. He was poorly dressed,  clothes ragged by the test of time, yet one could see the effort put in, to look presentable.

He walked to the guards at the gate, and requested an audience with the prince. They declined his request and gently asked him to leave. The man persisted, telling them he and the prince were best of friends, as they went to school together. “Kindly announce my presence to his highness, he would himself come here to meet me.”, he says.  At this stage the guards scoff at his claims and become little rough, and push him to the ground.

As he falls to the ground, his heart lets out a cry; for his friend was his last hope. The starving faces of his children and his wife, the poor conditions in which they live and the harshness of circumstances that made them prematurely old, flashed before him. The mind chastised him for being poor, and unresourceful and egged him to end his life. The heart, understanding the despondent situation, shed the tears, these are not ordinary tears. When heart is involved they are tears of blood.

As he lay on the ground with all hopes dashed, he feels a presence, and a loving voice, unmistakably of his friend, Lord Krishna.

Sudhama, or Kuchela as he is more widely known today, is then taken into the palace where Krishna personally serves him, and takes good care of him. During his stay, Sudhama never tells his friend the purpose of his visit. He meekly offers the gift of puffed rice his wife packed to Krishna. Krishna becomes extremely jubilant and joyful and reminisces the many adventures they had together, the nostalgia and the sweet memories of boyhood adventures keep them occupied.

Sudhama takes leave of his friend, returns home with a worry in the heart as to how to face his wife. When he arrives, he finds that Lord Krishna fulfilled all his needs without being asked. Tears roll out of Sudhama’s eyes as gratitude fills his heart. Prayer communicates everything, and one who fulfils knows without explicit wording.

God or Help is not a passive energy, but ubiquitous force ready to harness and transform lives. It is always listening.

In his book, The Heartfulness Way, Daaji explores Prayer, and how to cultivate a prayerful attitude. You may purchase a copy of the book here

“Read and Enjoy. Do and Feel.”, this is the philosophy of the heartfulness practitioners. There are many gems in the book, and we should collect each one of them and share. Happy reading and sharing.

The Schrödinger’s Reality

My friend posted the above image on facebook with a comment, ‘I may have Schrödinger’s whatsapp’. It caught my attention, and not knowing who Mr.Schrödinger was, I googled him. It led me to an article which is here.

Schrödinger’s cat: a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (e.g. Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other. (Source: Wikipedia)

So where do the reality and quantum superposition collapse? In the example of the cat, the decay of a single atom determines whether the cat will be alive or dead. But here is the kicker, the atom continues to decay based on its half life, and likewise the cat too moves into its quantum state. When we observe this experiment from the same level at which it is conducted, we feel that the cat is alive or dead. To give the experiment its due, the observer should be in the quantum world.

Let us draw upon the vedantic tradition of India:

नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः |
उभयोरपि दृष्टोSन्तस्त्वनयोस्त्तत्वदर्शिभिः || (B.G 2:16)

nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate satah
ubhayor api dristo ‘ntastvnayostattva darshibhih

That which exists continues to exist, that which doesn’t exist has no existence, the true seer knows this by observation.

Lord Krishna says, ‘I am time, I destroy all beings…’, so the fate of the cat is not dependent on the decay of the atom, but when the time comes for it.

Adi Shankara, if he were to see this, would refer to:

ब्रह्म सत्यं जगन्मिथ्येतेवंरूपो विनिश्चयः |
सोSयं नित्यानित्यवस्तु विवेकः समुदाहृतः || (Viveka Chudamani 20)

Brahma satyam jaganmityetevamrupo vinishchayah
So ‘yam nityanityavastu vivekah samudahrutah

Brahman is real, the world we live in is an illusion, a conviction of this truth shall help in discerning what is real and unreal.

So is the cat dead or alive? Is it both alive and dead at the same time? These questions are they real? So, only Brahma who is outside this world of cause and affect can truly answer this paradox, going back to my view that the observer should be in the quantum world.

Ramanuja, another great philosopher, would concur that the cat is both alive and dead at the same time based on the subjective and objective reality. With respect to the observer placed in the same material world as the cat, the cat is dead. That is the objective reality. For the cat, subjective reality, it is still alive having an OBE (out of body experience).

Along comes Babuji Maharaj, who says, whether the cat is alive or dead at the same time is confined by our perception, however refined it may be. Even the highest evolved saints in human frame can only perceive so much. Reality is much ahead. It is not confined to the states of past, present, future; or here, now or wherefore. We must seek answer to these questions in the dimension where reality can be explained thus:

​‘It is as it is.’ It can be imitated upon only by keeping one’s self off from every concept. – Babuji Maharaj

According to Chariji Maharaj, this question is idle curiosity, it has no purpose or meaning, for this to be a scientific study there must be a purpose. As for the cat, long before the atom has a chance to decay, it would check what is in the flask, and proves, ‘curiosity killed the cat’.

Daaji, when he comes to hear this would chuckle and say, ‘please leave me out of it’, with folded hands.

As for my friend with Schrödinger’s whatsapp, the answer is in your hands. Open whatsapp and you are done.

Me, I have lot of spare time and put all these thoughts together, while going through the references below:

References:
Wikipedia.
Bhagavad Gita
Viveka Chudamani
Complete Works of Ram Chandra, vol 1
Heart to Heart, vol 2

Dream, the bridge across

It was a saturday afternoon. A sumptuous meal with an engaging conversation satiated the heart, but the mind totally awake, stimulated and thirsting for more. The body however was reluctant to do anything else other than paying a tribute to the meal by urging the feet to go up the stairs and into a warm bed, looking for an embrace from the soft blanket. The feet yielded.

The room upstairs, is dim with curtains drawn. On that day the curtains did not matter, the cloud cover made sure the sun himself is enveloped, agreeing to the needs of the body. I sank into the bed grateful, turning gently to my left and drawing the pillow closer into the vacant space between the neck and the shoulder. With eyes softly closed, I was just a dream away from the beatitude of life.

One, two, three the seconds needle was ticking away in the clock adorned on the wall. With each tick the noise increased, the mind that was lulled by the forces of nature, as well as the senses, gained a foothold of resistance. Like a baby wrapped in a blanket, cooing softly, attempting to free the limbs in search of the bottle of milk, the mind too started to look for something to feed on. Any chance of dreams now started to look bleak. I reluctantly sat up put the pillows against the nicely polished headboard, and picked up the kindle. The fingers turned the pages, and the mind earnestly engaged in the conversation with the words from the book. The  eyes had no choice but to cooperate, and the words started to sink into the brain. As each sentence built on the previous one, pictures started to emerge and the words blurred.

The crisp sound of the ocean crashing against the rocks, a gentle breeze carrying the salty fragrance over the damp sands, ruffled the still leaves of a coconut tree. A man in his late fifties with a backpack approached the tree. The smooth trunk ran up thirty feet, before forming an arch by the weight of full grown coconuts. He put his backpack down, and opened it to reveal what looked like ropes. He took the bigger of them ran it around the trunk pulling it towards him and running around his back. He aligned the two ends to be in the middle on to his right and tightened them with something resembling a cork. The harness formed a loop around him and the tree. He took the smaller made a smaller loop with the other rope that was a foot wide. He removed his shoes and placed the smaller loop around his both feet at the ankles. He started to climb the tree with the help of the two loops showing agility, swiftness and simplicity defying age and inducing awe. He drew a hatchet and in one sweeping motion cut down the bunch of coconuts nearest to him. The bunch fell to the ground with a thud, and few coconuts scattered on impact.

A small coconut rolled along the slope, slowed down by the soil until it was brought to a full stop by a soft rock the size of a coconut. No wait, it is not coconut, it was my head. I opened my eyes at the impact, and saw the coconut. “Thank God, for small graces!”, I picked up the coconut and walked up the slope to return it to the owner. The man on the tree saw what happened, he did not notice my presence until his eyes followed the rolling little one. He saw me approach him, and was pleased to see my intention. He signalled me to accept the coconut as a gift and pointed to a butcher knife in his backpack, showing with his hands how to cut open the coconut and drink the delicious water.

I followed the instructions to the letter, opened the drupe, inserted a straw and sipped gently in anticipation. The creamy, sweet and salty water with rich taste filled my mouth. I started sipping earnestly, drawing the water with longer and longer sips, and with each sip the water filled the mouth, and each time the taste was as refreshing as the first sip. I wondered how much water the coconut held. My stomach was full, yet the coconut didn’t seem to empty. I looked up to the man, He was smiling. He signalled me to cut open the coconut and eat the soft meat inside. I cut open the coconut.

The two halves of the coconut lay open in front of me, and despite my stomach grumbling at the overload, the taste buds caved in. I cleaned up the soft meat and relished it even more. I was about to throw the shell, when I noticed something. “Is that?”, I couldn’t believe it. The place where the coconut has the three eyes, they were encrusted three gems, a ruby, a diamond and a blue sapphire. I pulled them out gently and placed them in the palm of my hand to examine closely. “How is it possible?”, I thought.

As I rolled them in the palm of my left hand, they came in contact with each other and fused together into a ball. It was the size of a gum ball, with the most mystical colours emanating randomly. Caught up with the enchanted jewel, I didn’t notice the man coming down the tree and assembling the scattered coconuts. He took out a box from his backpack and packed the coconuts in it, neatly. He came up to me to and said, “Have a nice day!”, and turned back.

I came back to my senses, “it is not mine to keep”, I offered the jewel back to the man.

The man was surprised, “Never before someone offered me what they found in the coconut”, he said, “It is yours to keep”.

I protested vehemently, but the man was firm. He said, “look, the coconut chooses the man, and the gifts it wants to bestow. I appreciate you offering it to me, and I do accept the spirit behind it”, he continued, “but, the jewel is yours”. He took the jewel from my hands and examined it, and a smile escaped his lips. He looked satisfied. He placed the sphere on his forehead, while uttering something that seemed like an incantation. He placed the sphere in my hands, which mysteriously was now, flat and warm, it was more like a precious pebble, with the same glitter and emission of colours.

He started to walk and beckoned me to follow, “The jewel you offered me is the blessing of three gods of life, love and death. Normally, when the jewels appear in the coconut, they remain separate”, he said, “in your case, they fused as one, by offering it to me, you have bound me to reveal how to deal with them”, he paused, “hence I put the charm, and an inscription so that you won’t forget”, I rubbed the pebble gently, and could feel something there but couldn’t see in the fading light, “So long as you remember, the three gods work with you and in your favor, that is all I can say.”

I looked into his eyes, but couldn’t read the expression, it was getting dark quickly. I asked him, “you said, the coconut chooses the man, what about the woman?”, He smiled and pointed me to a distance. There I saw a woman, waking up to a coconut, that hit her head. I was bewildered, “what is this place?”, I asked, “and, may I know who you are?”, intrigued.

I heard no answer, when I turned to look, the man was gone. I was puzzled, and looked around, the woman too was not there. “This can’t be”, I thought, “ a dream?”.

I tried hard to remember where I was, and how I got here; then the reality started sinking in, I was trying to read a book and fell asleep. But what is real? It couldn’t have been a dream. Yet, there was no sound of the ocean, just the distant air conditioner and a rush of air through the vents. The sweet taste of coconut meat and water was still in my mouth. How can that be? Who was the man? Where is this place? How to go there? Where to find him?

I turned in the bed waking up, when something poked in my ribs, I picked it up, and turned on the bed lamp, it was the pebble, with an inscription on it,  “Gratitude”.

Understanding Trump

A while ago, I wrote a piece on Donald Trump, you can find it here. Much water flowed under the bridge, yet the bridge remains. Donald Trump, fulfilled his dream of being the President of United States of America. No one thought he could do it, and yet with all the odds stacked against him, he achieved the impossible. Although there are questions about him losing the popular vote, and the electoral college, he is here to stay.  To understand what is coming next, we have to know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

When Trump ran for the election, he was on the top of the pyramid bordering on Esteem and Self actualization. (These things cannot be so clearly separated, there is always a flux). In the pursuit of Esteem and Actualization, he became the President. In being so, he is taken out of his comfort zone and put in a strange place, an intimidating place, and totally different from the world he hails from. So inadvertently he moved to the bottom of the next higher pyramid, where he must think for not only himself but also his country, the people and all those who are dependent on him. He alone can help them (at least in his thinking).

In the new pyramid, the bottom is Physiological needs, which must be met first. In case of America, the food, water and health that are the bare necessities are affected by workers from Mexico,  outsourcing to China,  deals like NAFTA, Trans-Pacific partnership, and others. So Trump would work against anything that interferes with an american’s bowl.

The next one is, safety needs. Trump is far from being subtle. He talks first, signs later. He signed an executive order to limit people who are entering into his country, for the safety of his people; boy, did he get into trouble! (Read this.)

In the pyramid, after safety come, love and belonging. He will make deals with Russia, India, Britain, Germany, France and South Korea. He knows a good deal when he sees one. He can make a deal better even if it has no promise to start with. Such is his charm. The strategic partnerships with these countries is inline with curtailing unrest through out the world.

Now after completing the three levels on the pyramid, he will come face to face with Self esteem and Self actualization, the last levels on the pyramid; when it applies to America, what would he do? When President Obama roasted Trump he paved way for Trump to take the White House. This was a personal challenge and Trump had to prove to himself that he is something, and he did it.

When it comes to America, how does America show to the world its self esteem and what would the actualization be? How Trump as the leader of the most powerful country in the world, will actualize America? It is a scary thought.

As normal people we have unimaginable power. We shall bring about a revolution through likes and emojis, tweets and others. Sitting at the comfort of our homes, having a decent life than so many, we can do anything. We can protest Trump for travel ban, because America is ours, it is for all the immigrants whether legal, illegal or refugee or some other classification. Going to America, is our birth right and American President cannot stop it. How dare he? Somewhere along the line in pursuit of happiness, we forgot what are rights,privileges and responsibilities. Each of us have some. If all we did is to operate within our framework, the world will take care of itself. Yet, it is a pipe dream.

When our egos are bigger than our guns, the hands move slower in the draw.

So the best way to handle Trump is to let him be. When you draw him into chaos, remember it is his territory. The man thrives on it, and even the best surfer cannot ride the Mavericks the way Trump handles unrest. People may wish he be impeached, what would you like, Pence as President? With Trump you know what is coming and yet cannot handle it.

Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.
– Abraham Lincoln

For better or worse, He is the President, the sooner he gets the support, he doesn’t have to prove himself. Fight the good fights, fight with peace in heart, but support him. In doing so, America will be great again.

The alternative is not good for the world.

Book Review 001: Complete Works of Lalaji Maharaj Vol 3.

2337_fc-228x228

This book comprises of 36 letters written by Lalaji Maharaj to his associates and friends between 1924 and 1931.

We are far removed from the age of receiving mails through a postal system. With communication at speed of light or approaching speed of light, we don’t really pause to appreciate what is being said and what needs to be said.

Even among the lovers, the communication is swift and lacks depth. What can you say in a text message or a chat window? Few words on how much we love, few emoji’s of kisses and hugs that is all. If this is the status we accord to our lovers, what can we say of our friends or relatives or elders? What do we say to them? What do we ask of them? What do we say to people who look up to us? Are there any?

Lalaji Maharaj, is an epitome of humanness. In every letter he writes you could see the softness of his heart and purity of intention. At first, I felt, if only I received such a letter! Then I read that letter again, it was addressed to me, and it became personal.

In each of these letters, he is egging me to improve myself, by giving a taste of how better would it be, if only I worked, practiced, the simple methods prescribed by Him. He evokes in the heart the very feeling of being better already, thus clearing the way and facilitating our approach to our purer selves. All this he achieves in few words.

If reading few words from Him were enough to create such a strong connection and change, what if we could practice his suggestions? What if we were in His company? When Babuji Maharaj says, with a blink of an eye Lalaji Maharaj could liberate a person, it is believable, and you could see that potency in the words. Much has passed from the time these letters were written, and yet each word is alive with His presence and memory. The Heartfulness movement of today is a seed he sowed many years ago, when he said, ‘The service of humanity is spirituality’.

These letters must be read not just once, but many times. No one would say these words to us; even our beloved would hesitate, and in that hesitation is the insecurity and the fallibility of the human condition. But Lalaji Maharaj says it, with such love, care and concern it makes us wonder that there can be people who give the gift of love undeservingly.

In many ways our lives are blessed that we belong to the lineage of such a personality, and are given the treasure of his words, his love and his transmission. The true gift above all, is His grace, that is ever present in our lives as a living Master.

If you haven’t read this book yet, it must be a priority to do so.   

 

Wisdom of our Fathers

whitehouse
Dear Mr.Moore,

Greetings. It is day 2, after the election. I happened to see your day 1 to do list, not sure who the target audience are and to whom the list applies. You sir contribute in someway for the uplift of society whether by documentaries or by foresight, but sometimes even the best of us are caught up in the theatre, in this case the #Election2016.

While you may be upset about the result of election, I have a problem with your point 5, “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!” The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact.”

Should you elect the leader based on popularity? The electoral college was designed to make sure that people are not blinded by it. The wisdom of our fathers is saving America. It is another matter whether we like Clinton or Trump.

As of this writing, Clinton is winning the popular vote by a margin of about 300,000 votes. She has won California by a margin of about 2,520,000. So if we remove California she is not winning popular vote and in fact trailing by a huge margin.
Conclusion: Only California Matters?

Similarly the popular vote is coming mostly from states like California (2.5M), Illinois (850k), Maryland (625k), Massachusetts(880k), New Jersey (465k), New York (1.5M), Washington(385k). Remove anyone of them from the picture she is at par or less than popular.
Conclusion: Only these states matter?

In about 50 states and the district of Columbia, Clinton won 21 places, does it mean the other 30 states don’t matter? The votes that are cast don’t count? May be people in those states shouldn’t come out to vote at all?

United States of America, is far bigger than one state. The President of America is an icon far beyond popularity vote. Yes it happens that sometimes people who are less likable will be elected to this office, it happened many times before and it may happen again.

Please watch the documentary you made about how the town of Flint died, was it in Roger and Me? Look how you cared then and what upsets you now? Remove the personal aspect of your liking or hatred for the candidates who were fielded by the two big parties.

Here is who is responsible for loss of Clinton:
1. Johnson+Stein took close to 1.1M votes. If Clinton was a viable candidate she would have won Arizona(11), Florida(29) and there you have her 270 electoral votes. Look at the impact of these two candidates in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Michigan etc.
2. It is not electoral college that has cost her the election. It is these fringe candidates. When did a candidate not belonging to the major party win Presidency?
3. It is the people who chose to vote for these candidates who betrayed whole of America. It is a wasted vote. It is worse than a vote that is not cast.
4.Again, it is not the electoral college but the two parties that fielded the all time low candidates. The one who connected with people that matter won the election.

Hopefully we can fix the loopholes and revise the criteria for candidates running for this high office.

Respectfully,
Bhavani Shankar
P.S.: I am not American. Sometimes you need to be out of the box.

 

 

 

Friends – Love’s Selfless Form

2237_beach1

We all need a friend one time or the other.

What we couldn’t share with family, comes out easily to friends. Relief from a broken heart, failed exam, short of funds for an enterprise, or just some one who allowed us to be who we are, changing us without imposing, guiding us gently, bringing out the best in us without being in our face, if we didn’t respond to anything, left us alone to our own will, weep secretly in the heart, and pray vehemently. These are friends.

It is my belief that when God created us, he could send only so many as our siblings. The rest of them he sent out to other places, and made us come together as friends.

Friends come in many forms and sizes, they help us relate first of all. Some have come as pets, some as strangers, some as neighbors, but all came with heart. Love is the invisible bond that connects us all, like an invisible thread that runs through string of pearls.

Friends are not made, we gravitate. There is no such thing as befriending. You could be friendly, if so that is superficial, and generally transactional. When Sugreeva offered friendship to Rama, it was in exchange for a throne. When Sudhama went to Lord Krishna it was out of need. So they offer help, irrespective of the transaction and even so, it they are at the wrong end of it. Verily, a friend in need is a friend in deed.

There is one great friendship that is oft cited, that is of Karna and Suyodhana. Come to think of it, it is not really a friendship. Suyodhana saw the opportunity and took it, he would have a warrior as good if not better, than Arjuna on his side. From Karna’s point of view, he was in debt, which he thought he could repay. One appreciative quality of Karna is of loyalty and not friendship. Loyalty because he never left Suyodhana’s side, and not friendship, as he never rose to fulfil a need.

Jatayu fought Ravana when he abducted Sita,  he was a great friend. He gave his life, without knowing for whom and what for.

Friends generally stay out of limelight.

Trijata, was a good friend of Sita. As Sita’s confidence of Rama coming to rescue her started to erode, Trijata consoles Sita and tells her stories of her dreams and gives her hope. Whether she had such dreams or not, she helped Sita get through her tough times. If that doesn’t qualify for friendship, what does?

The character of a person is shown in best light in what he does for others.

In modern times, we don’t get to hear many stories of the friends who stood the test of time and that is understandable, one because, such friends are rare, two friends don’t flaunt their friendships.

Recognize the small acts, they have greater impact in life and often the performers go unnoticed. When we are grateful to life, we acknowledge our friends.

The loneliest among you belongs to a great family of souls that end up meeting again. They reunite according to well established rules and their destiny is achieved at the highest level, where shady areas have disappeared and where only beauty remains.

-Babuji Maharaj

 

Siblings – Love links across time

download

Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet.
-Vietnamese Proverb

Today Raksha Bandhan is celebrated around the world. A sister ties a protective charm around the wrist of her brother and wishes him well being and prosperity. An age old tradition that is said to have evolved from the time of Lord Krishna.

Not much has been said about sisters in our literature. The only sisters that come to mind are Subhadra, Lord Krishna’s sister, but nothing has been said about their relationship. Surpanakha is another example, sister of Ravana, who in one way is responsible for the feud between Lord Rama and Ravana.

References are often used to reinforce an idea, drawing inspiration from great people of the past or successful people, or scriptures. When anecdotes are missing from such sources, it doesn’t mean the ideas are wrong. They missed out on the experience.

A sister is a wise counsel. She is like a mother, loving without expectations. At the same time like father, she is an advocate for responsibility and right action. She is man’s first friend, motivating, cheering and loving every little act of her brothers. She is the first one to help a man understand his feminine side. Not having a sister in life means walking with eyes open in a dark room.

The moulding of a man’s heart is done by mothers and sisters, long before a spouse claims it. Love blooms easily in the garden of hearts, that is well tended.

It is hard to relate to a man who grew up without sisters. Being logical with negligible emotional quotient, makes him boring.

Even a man of short stature, grows into a giant when groomed by sisters; though they cannot make a claim to his success. Napoleon Bonaparte, comes to mind.

Love, Responsibility, Devotion and Joy they create a strong sense of belonging. These are imbibed from Mother, father, sister and brother.

About brothers, much has been said and much can be said. I summarize thus:

When you smile to the person in the mirror, your brother smiles back.

Stranger are the bonds that brings us together, stranger still are the circumstances that hone these relationships, one is left with wonder and gratitude for a life that is lived among such families.

It is easier for me to believe:

There exists a great family of souls strongly bonded to each other and within which they can open out. Confidence is the masterpiece of this process, which consists, from circle to circle, in reaching the central point where fusion with the Divine is achieved.
-Babuji Maharaj