Sep 23

Navaratri 2017 – Night 2 – My Birthday! :)

This year, the second day of Navaratri happened to be my birthday. I keep getting asked how I spend my day… So here is what I did today.

Dinesh lovingly woke me up by pressing my feet at around 6:00 am. Then he went off to teach Yoga to the people doing their advanced courses in the ashram. I lazed around for a bit and then got out of bed, took a bath and got ready for the day.

Today Dinesh and I had to go to submit our documents for our Schengen visa at the VFS centre in Bangalore. We had an early appointment, so we left ashram around 7:30 am. it was a beautiful, cloudy, cool day. Reached there, realised they needed some more documents than we had, got them, submitted them successfully, and after about 3 hours, were on the way back to the ashram when dad called.

He is looking to get a new car and was seriously thinking of buying a Tata Nano. I spent the next few hours going into various car showrooms and making sure he didn’t. It’s now a toss-up between the Maruti Celerio, Swift Dzire and the Honda Brio… As long as it’s not the Nano I am fine. So far, the day had been humdrum at best.

We reached ashram around 2 in the afternoon, ravenously hungry.

Hema and her mom had made a full-on South Indian feast. Kamesh had made some quinoa Khichdi.

Finally, it felt like a birthday!

We all had really tasty and healthy food – drumstick sambhar and quinoa, parpausuli which is something I really like – it’s steamed dal + boiled French beans + some utterly delicious spices, two more yummy veggies and payasam made with red rice, milk and jaggery – no sugar. Belly satisfactorily full, I now wanted to sleep.

Everyone had come home the night before to wish me and be part of the midnight Guru Pooja and cut the customary cake. It was a very nice gooey, moist, chocolate cake! Note the past tense 🙂

We ended up talking a lot about our next book… Yes, we are writing another one… and it was pretty late by the time we slept and I was running low on the second state of consciousness. Dinesh gave me Rekkenho a Japanese massage technique we had learned and I drifted off…

I was woken up by Ajay, Arvind and Srivi yelling Happy Birthday… Was too tired to even get out of bed. They hugged me, I wished Srivi (it’s her star birthday today) and promptly went back to sleep… I vaguely remember various other people coming and wishing me… Rupal, Tamana Aunty… but I slept through all that

It was 6:00 pm when I woke up… had a bath, wore a veshti and Dinesh and I left for Satsang via the Gurukul where we go to meet our Lord Ganesha, Lord Narayana and Goddess Saraswati, the Sapta Matrukas, Lord Munishwara and Maharishi Patanjali… along with any other subtle Beings who happen to be floating around. Bowed down to them all and off we went to Satsang.

Went and sat right in the Yagyashala… the Rudra Pooja was on and Gurudev was in the depth of His Silence. You feel a rush of energy of a very different quality when He is like this. A soft, Strong Quietness envelopes you and carries you off to a meditative state…

After a blissful meditation, and some rousing bhajans, Gurudev got up and floated out… Of course, He didn’t look at me… He doesn’t even acknowledge the Universe when He is in the Navaratri Silence. On your birthday, you expect Him to give you a hug or some flowers or something… but somehow Him not doing anything was just perfect.

His Grace makes us able to slip into that enchanting meditative state, but His sister, Bhanu Didi was the one who initiated me into meditation. She gave me my Sahaj Samadhi mantra and she keeps a sort of silence too during Navaratri. As soon as Gurudev left, she took my hand, took me to the stage where Gurudev had been sitting and garlanded me. She put a chandan and kumkum tikka on my forehead. I touched her and her husband Narasimhan uncle’s (whom we all call Anna meaning big brother) feet. They blessed me, hugged me and my day was made.

Happy Star Birthday Srivi!!

Everyone around hugged and wished me and there were many photos taken.

Dinesh and I came back to our lovely home Vyas Kuteer… and I decided to do all the things I should have done in the morning if that visa business had not been there. I exercised with Lalit… Did core exercises on the floor, grunting through them, glad that I could do them. Many people came by to wish me and we all talked and joked while I finished my exercising…

Then I took a bath, freshened up and did my full Sadhana routine. Padmasadhana, Sahaj, Sudarshan Kriya, Sayam… the works! That took about 2 hours.

And then I wrote this piece out

In between, I was answering phone calls, replying to messages, answering emails and generally getting pampered by anyone who got a chance

In case you are wondering, it was my 48th birthday. And it was a very nice day!

Thank you, everyone, for all the blessings, the wishes and the love.

Jai Gurudeva!
Love
Bawa

Sep 21

Navaratri 2017 – Night 1

On a one-dimensional line, where is the second dimension? It is inside, on it and all around. Similarly, on a 2-D paper, where is the third dimension? It is inside, on it and all around. If you were a two-dimensional being, the third dimension would be mystical and magical for you. Something you could only begin to imagine…

Get to the third dimension and the fourth dimension should be inside, on and all around the three-dimensional you.

Could God then be an n-dimensional entity, n tending to infinity?

Let’s skip the abstract maths and think about it another way. Right now, wherever you are, there could be the transmission of various channels – BBC, CNN, Disney, Discovery channel, etc. Can you see them, hear them or feel those signals? No! Yet if you have a Television set and a receiver to tune into those particular frequencies, you can access them.

Similarly, the God frequency is everywhere. If you have a body and a mind to tune into it, and the technology (meditation) to access it, you could. Anywhere, anytime.

There are certain places and certain times when the signals are particularly strong. Certain places have an inherent power to them that comes because many people have meditated there over prolonged periods of time. Times like Navaratri and Shivaratri amplify this Shakti so that the energy becomes palpable… Many times, to even those who don’t know how to meditate!

For a person who has been meditating, these places and times are super special. We in the third dimension could potentially get glimpses of other worlds and aspects of this Creation– Fantastic beyond imagination…

To get the biggest thrill, a good surfer knows how to ride a wave at exactly the right moment. To earn great returns on the share market, an astute investor knows when to buy, when to hold and when to sell. A meditator knows the extreme importance of Navaratri and will ride the wave of this Supreme Energy – For a Thrill that never diminishes and Returns that only multiply over lifetimes.

To spend these nine days and nights at our Bangalore ashram is an absolute blessing. If you consider yourself to be a meditator or are into any sort of spirituality, to be doing anything else during these nine days is an absolute waste.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar recently tweeted – Navaratri is celebrated as the victory of good over evil. However, from the Vedic outlook, the victory is of the Absolute Reality over the apparent duality.

Ponder these words during these next nine days. If you are still not on your way to Bangalore ashram, book your tickets and come. Preferably Tonight.

The Gods and Goddesses are already here waiting to welcome you 🙂

Keep watching this space for more about Navaratri 2017 from Dinesh and me.

Jai Gurudeva!

Love

Bawa n Dinesh

Mar 12

Satwik Bee

Let me pen down what happened before time and meditation obliterate it from my emotional memory. Even now, it seems like a long time ago. But it was just yesterday when Dr Ankita had to get back to her room after she gave a CST session to Bawa. Since there was no one else around, the task came to me as we were getting late for Thor’s Osteopathy session. When I was kick-starting my bike near Vyas Kutir, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful weather and nature at its serene best. We crossed the rustic Sree kovil cottage and the glorious Maharaja Kutir and passed Panchakarma. As we were driving past the Panchakarma gate, Ankita said in a panicked voice that a bee was biting her. And in a more panicky voice, she shouted that bees were biting her. So I crossed the pipeline road and stopped the bike. Ankita got down and I noticed she was being attacked by swarm of bees. I parked the bike next to the road and tried to shoo the bees away. That made me their next target.

There we were, for the next 15 minutes trying to hit ourselves all over the body desperately trying to fend off the hundreds of bees that seemed to take a penchant to us. They were biting us everywhere, around the eyes, on the lips, the neck, on the scalp, the hands, the feet, the back; all body parts not covered by tight clothing. One even bit the tip of my nostrils, making my upcoming Advance Course in Rishikesh easier:-) What I was doing on the road must have looked like a tribal dance: shaking my head, running all around, stomping my feet, hitting myself all over. I was amazed even at that time at how they were able to get at my hair; the bees seemed to be exceptionally adept at that. One got into my right ear. Dhap! I hit my ear and pulled it out. The adrenaline rush would have been too much, that was probably why I was not feeling the individual bites. It was like my whole body, including my scalp, was on fire. Dozens of people were gathering on the road but could hardly do anything. Buses went past on the road, and I could see the weird looks in their eyes. If they couldn’t see the tiny bees, they would have thought we were a bunch of lunatics. One sweet boy wearing a helmet removed his jacket and threw it at me. I rushed to Ankita and waved it frantically around her. None of our juvenile machinations deterred the angry swarm. It seemed this macabre dance was going on endlessly. One part of my mind was wondering if this ordeal was ever going to end. I was thinking of Gurudev, and mentally chanting the Om Namah Shivaya even as I continued defending myself. The boy on the bike told me to get on, drove me a distance and brought me back. That just left me with the bees that were stuck in my hair and in my clothes. Meanwhile, Hiten came in the ashram van, and with amazing presence of mind, put a white sheet on Ankita, threw her into the van and rushed her to the emergency clinic. Some thoughtful person started a fire with dry twigs in front of Swami Brahmatej’s house and made me stand in the fumes so that more bees don’t get attracted. Someone came and poured a bucket of water on me. Hiten came back for me and took me to the clinic. I removed my t-shirt and 4-5 people got busy removing the stings from my body, maybe a similar thing was happening to Ankita inside the clinic. Chandu from our gaushala then got black soil with gomutra and a little gobar and applied it the over the bee stings, which were immediately relieved. It was extremely soothing and turned out to be a lifesaver. Our indigenous Indian remedies are so easy to source, fast healing and so effective. This is not to discount the role of Dr Sangeeta who was there on time, to quickly administer an anti-histamine to avoid allergies and hydro-cortizone to stop any swellings because of the bee-sting poison, which I later found out is called ‘api-toxin’. Bawa gave me a CST (Cranio Sacral System) session. Thor, one of the best Osteopaths I know, gave a session to Ankita and it was like ‘sanjeevani’, just bringing her back to life, since her whole system had gone into shutdown.

My mom and dad, Arvind, Srividya and other friends and ashramites also came to visit us at the clinic and the whole atmosphere was so light and filled with laughter. Selfies were taken, jokes were cracked and the atmosphere of joy pervaded the whole place. This was a chance to implement what Gurudev says, ‘Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional’. Though there was tremendous amount of pain, smiles were abundant, suffering, non-existent. What a blessing it is to have good company (people who are in knowledge and who are meditators) around, having a Sat-sang around us!

Over 70+ bees stung me, Ankita was attacked by more than a 100. I guess women are a lot stronger. A host of people came to visit, conducted prayers and sent blessings too. Srividya got food, Arjun got food and movies :-), Shiv and Sakshi got coconut water (for the loosies I had, it is better than any saline or ORS). The reactions when the news got around that the two of us were stung by bees were varied.

  • What were these two doing together and in which bushes?
  • Why did they disturb a bee hive, because bees don’t attack without being provoked?
  • If they had just lied down low with their heads covered with their hands, the bees would have gone away.
  • How interesting it would have been if they each had a Chinese mosquito-squatting racket?!
  • Bees die when they sting; the bees must have been Japanese to do a Kamikaze attack like that.
  • Now their blood is precious, it can be used as bee anti-venom.
  • Ankita’s neck is full of poison, she is like Shiva now 🙂
  • Bee-sting is full of protein, it’s the best post workout supplement.
  • Bhaiya, you are so sweet like honey, no wonder the bees were awestruck.
  • Bawa’s brother in law told his daughter, see this is what happens when you don’t bathe everyday 🙂
  • There’s so much to learn from a bee. A bee, in its sattvic or rajasic mode, gives the light of knowledge (wax) and the sweetness of love (honey). In its tamasic mode, it stings and hurts others and gets itself killed. To bee or not to bee, that is the question!

Gurudev says any event brings forth emotions and knowledge. If you get stuck with the emotions, knowledge won’t dawn. If you look for the knowledge, emotions won’t trouble you. The knowledge I got from this incident was to remind me to say no to abcdefg…

A – Ask questions: Why did this happen? Why to me? Why did I have to go at all at that time? … Questions are related to sadness and only lead to anger, regret, guilt and more sadness.

B – Blame oneself or blame others. Ankita felt it happened to me because of her. I felt, it would not have happened if I had not stopped the bike and zoomed away somewhere … Blame puts us back spiritually. It doesn’t let us see the invisible hand of karma, or the cause of all causes, Shiva.

C – Complain. Complaints pull our energy down from a state of gratitude towards sadness.

D – Demand. One cannot demand that people help us. One cannot demand that people respect us or treat us well. When we are grateful to whatever comes to us, more is given. When we serve more, we deserve more.

E – Excuse: Giving excuses or making up stories for not doing something disempowers us. Excuses make us weak. Our explanations and defenses are our biggest weaknesses.

F – Fume: Anger is one of the gates to hell (along with greed and fear). Anger is a sting that can poison a whole relationship for a long time.

G – Gloat: Like extra salt in food, ego and arrogance can make a relationship unpalatable.

With Gurudev’s grace, we were able to stay in the knowledge and come out unshaken and stronger than before. My commitment to making life a celebration grows and I pray, that in doing that, He makes us busier than a (satwik) bee.

Warm regards,
Dinesh Ghodke

Mar 10

Brinjal Bliss

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Prep 8 to 10 small brinjals by washing them and cutting them into chunks. Float the chunks in wter so they don’t oxidize and go black. Boil 2-3 largish potatoes and cut into chunks. Keep aside.

For paste:

½ coconut grated
1 bunch spring onions chopped well
4 tbsps dhania (coriander) seeds
4 whole dry red chilies
5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
2 inch ginger coarsely chopped
2 inch piece of cinnamon

Put all these in a heavy bottomed pan and dry roast for a few minutes until fragrant. Let cool, then blend in a grinder and make a smooth paste adding about ½ cup water. Keep aside.

For Gravy:

3 tbsps ghee
½ cup roasted and powdered peanuts
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
2 tsps dhania-jeera (coriander and cumin) powder
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tej patta (bay leaf)
3 tbsps of jiggery or palm sugar
1 packet coconut milk
8 medium tomatoes peeled and cut into chunks

On a medium flame in a heavy bottomed pan, add the ghee and let it melt. Add the rest of the gravy ingredients except tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add the paste. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, potatoes and Brinjals.

Cook on a medium flame, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Add coconut milk and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. The gravy should be thick, you may add water if required.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Serve piping hot with rotis or bread.

You can use the exact same gravy with paneer and potatoes or for a mixed veggies casserole.

Jai Gurudeva!
Love
Bawa (n Dinesh)

 

Mar 9

Tackling Exams Part-II

21 tips for people who are not prepared for their Exams

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The following has been adapted from a few chapters of our book Ready Study Go! – Smart Ways to Learn published by Harper Collins. For more insights and details, you can buy the book from almost any bookshop and most online portals that sell books. For buying it from amazon.in click bit.ly/readystudygo

If you are one of the people who suddenly woke up today and had a crashing realization that you have an exam tomorrow for which you are just not prepared… Read on!

Follow these tips and there just might be hope for you.

  1. Accept that you may be utterly unprepared for the upcoming ordeal. Do not waste time giving gaalis to yourself and others around you. Just plain simple acceptance that you are not prepared is enough. Acceptance brings a sort of peace and this peace in the mind is critical to be able to function in a crisis.
  2. Start as early as possible in the evening.
  3. Pray. Help from anywhere is welcome. If you know how to meditate, meditate for 20 minutes. Don’t zone out longer than that.
  4. Don’t count the number of pages left. Simply work.
  5. Don’t waste time on any pointless activity. The ONLY thing you need to do is work. No facebook, no tweeting, no Instagram, no nothing. Just you and the books.
  6. Don’t bother about making a schedule. The only schedule you have is to work till you can’t and then push it a bit more. Then sleep and wake up early enough so that you can at least revise whatever you have done before the exam.
  7. Keep all the things you need handy. Textbooks, blank papers, pens, pencils, whatever… Clear your work area of any distractions. Mobiles and other electronic gadgets that you don’t require at this point should not be visible.
  8. See if you can have someone else join you while studying. If one looses focus, the other helps get it back.
  9. Drink water and stay hydrated. Not tea or coffee. Or aerated soft drinks. Just water.
  10. A light dinner and simple munchies will take care of the hunger pangs that might arise.
  11. Start by skimming over the entire notes two to five times at the very least. This will give you some idea of what’s coming at you and will give your brain a bit of time to assimilate stuff.
  12. Don’t count the number of pages. Just work!
  13. If there is something you particularly like or know from that subject, first finish that off before you move to other more challenging stuff. Finish easier things. One thing done is one thing less to do.
  14. Review whatever you do every hour to hour and a half. This will help it settle in your mind.
  15. Don’t count the number of pages left. Just work!
  16. Taking a 10 minute break every two hours will help a lot. Just take a quick walk and come back.
  17. Write stuff out. In the exam credit is given for writing not reading. So make sure you write things out twice or thrice. It helps it stick. Draw rough diagrams and label them. Make flow charts if required.
  18. Did I mention not to count the number of pages left?
  19. Read my earlier post on tackling exams. Especially the During the Exam and After the Exam Sections.
  20. If a friend can help you, reach out and ask for help.
  21. When you are through with your exams, buy our book Ready Study Go! – Smart Ways to learn and follow the techniques and tips in it so you don’t keep getting into this mess again and again. You can buy our book from bit.ly/readystudygo

 

All the very Best!!

Jai Gurudeva!
Love
Bawa (n Dinesh)

Mar 8

Tackling Exams Part – I

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The following has been adapted from a few chapters of our book Ready Study Go! – Smart Ways to Learn published by Harper Collins. For more insights and details, you can buy the book from almost any bookshop and most online portals that sell books. For buying it from amazon.in click bit.ly/readystudygo

There is a wonderful attitude to adopt when you are giving an exam. Think of an exam as a game. One which your teacher has set up for you to play – exclusively for you to figure out exactly how much you know of a particular subject. By the way, it also points out to the teacher how much they have succeeded in teaching the required knowledge. Your teacher challenges you with a series of questions that will determine if you have understood the knowledge and its application. You rise up to the challenge and see if you can win…

An exam is just a game a teacher and student play with each other. When you think of an exam like this, all the stress vanishes and your brain works at optimum levels. Here are a few tips to help you play the game really well. These tips assume that you have studied well through the semester and you are not on a last minute studying binge. I have a few tips for that calamitous state, which I will share in the next post.

Meanwhile, if you are in a hurry to get to that post or get more tips than the ones outlined below please buy our book Ready Study Go! – Smart Ways to learn from bit.ly/readystudygo and read up the chapter on Emergency Studying.

The Day (or Evening) before the Exam:

  1. Drink plenty of water, totally avoid white sugar and refined flour. This means no soft drinks, ice creams etc. Eat 5 smaller more frequent meals than 3 big meals. Do not fast.
  2. Get some sort of exercise done. A short 20 minute walk will do.
  3. Set out all the things you need for the exam the next day. Pens (make sure they have enough ink and are writing smoothly), pencils (sharpened), erasers, rulers, colours if you need any, hall ticket, etc. Have a check list and make sure everything is in place. Decide what you are going to wear the next day and lay out the clothes. Wear loose comfortable clothes.
  4. Revise everything you have studied. If you have created mind maps or use flash cards, go over them now and enjoy the instant recall of the most important things you need to remember. If you don’t know what mind maps or flash cards are, don’t worry about them, just revise stuff the way you normally would. Draw out rough diagrams, remember to label them if your work requires that. Don’t try to learn anything new at this point. Plan to finish this latest by 11 pm. Go to bed then. Sleep is critical to success.
  5. Get a good night’s sleep.

 

The Morning of the day of the Exam:

  1. In the morning, definitely have a bowl of fruits. You may have whatever you like to eat for breakfast about 30 minutes after the fruits. Eat lightly.
  2. If you know how to meditate, meditate 20 minutes. This will help you more than anything else today.
  3. Just skim over everything you have studied. Stop looking at your books at least an hour before your exam.
  4. Get to the exam hall 15 minutes before the exam is due to start.
  5. Use the toilet if required.

 

During the Exam:

  1. Pray. Help from all quarters is always welcome!
  2. Keep a bottle of water with you and sip occasionally. It’s nice to stay hydrated.
  3. Take a few minutes to read the entire question paper before beginning to attempt anything.
  4. You DON’T need to answer the questions in sequence. Start with stuff you are utterly confident about. Finish that. Then move to stuff you think you can handle. If you get stuck anywhere for more than 4 to 5 minutes abandon the answer and move to the next question. You can come back to it later if there is time. Attempt all the things you know or you think you know before going to the more challenging parts of the paper.
  5. Attempt everything. Write something – even if it sounds silly. Write it out. Many times examiners are looking for excuses to give marks, if there is nothing written, they cannot give credit.
  6. If you have finished answering everything and there is time left towards the end, spend it on beautifying your answer sheet. Underline key words, draw lines to separate answers, highlight key points, etc.

 

After the Exam:

  1. Don’t hang around discussing the answers. You have written what you have written and there is no way to change that. Results will come in their own time.
  2. Go home.
  3. Eat a nice meal and rest.
  4. Rinse and Repeat.

 

There is quite a bit of research and our own personal experience at tackling exams embedded in these tips. More in our book Ready Study Go! – Smart Ways to Learn which you can get from bit.ly/readystudygo or almost any bookstore in the country.

All the very Best!!

Jai Gurudeva!
Love
Bawa (n Dinesh)

Feb 15

Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri is the night when the Shiva Principle is closest to our realm of existence. On Maha Shivratri, when people sit together, chant and meditate, everyone can get a glimpse of unity with the infinity.

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Shiva was not a person. Shiva is a tattwa, a principle, that is eternal. Everything related to Shiva never happened on this physical realm and has never ceased to happen in the subtle plane. Shiva never sat at Mount Kailash – however, the Shiva principle is accessible in Kailash… Kailash is the place where there is only Bliss and Inner Celebration.

The Rudram is an ancient Vedic hymn glorifying the Shiva Principle. Chanting the Rudram, or hearing it being chanted bestows everything you may desire in this world and the next. the here and the hereafter. The Rudram when chanted in a meditative space, with the right intonations sets up powerful vibrations in the environment which nullify the negativities that may be present and uplifts one’s spirit. It is said that even if just one devout reciter of the Rudram lives in a village or a town, the entire community reaps the benefits, and becomes free from disease, droughts, thefts and other ills.

The mantra Om Namah Shivaya is the basis of existence of all that is, that was and that will ever be.

The Art of Living is organizing the biggest Shivaratri celebration in India. Thousands of pundits will be chanting the Rudram at 40 locations across the country. For 20 minutes, from 11:40 pm to 12 at night everyone present will chant Om Namah Shivaya followed by a midnight meditation with Sri Sri.

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Join us at any of the venues, or online on Mahashivaratri, this February 24th from 10 pm onwards to listen to the magnificent Rudram, chant Om Namah Shivaya and meditate with millions of people.

Jai Gurudeva!
Love
Bawa (n Dinesh)

Feb 14

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Q. How did Valentine’s Day start?

A. The history of Valentine’s day is shrouded in mystery.

A Roman emperor – Claudius II, somehow got it into his head that single men make better soldiers than ones with wives and children. So, he outlawed marriage for young people. And that’s a sure-fire way to get young people committed to each other. Tell them no and they are going to want to do exactly that. Marriage became the hot thing to do and a priest called Valentine defied the emperor’s decree and performed marriages for young lovers in secret. Imagine an entire underground movement overtaking ancient Rome filled with desperate young people wanting to get married. Of course, the priest in question was caught and killed by the Emperor. The church declared him a saint for being martyred and Valentine’s day was born. February 14th became St. Valentine’s day. A day dedicated to love and lovers and all things related to love.

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There are other possible stories as well, but this one caught my fancy.

Q. That’s nice to know. But what exactly is love?

A. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says – Love is not an emotion. It is your very existence. If you think about it, everything is born out of love. All the wonderful, positive traits that anyone can have, they have because of love. All the terrible things that we Humans do and have done, amazingly are also from a distorted type of love. Young Love can be like fresh champagne – all bubbly and energetic and full of verve and disarming. It will leave you breathless. It will make you so weak and so strong. The only problem with this type of love is there is an accompanying sense of insecurity to it. Mature Love is like old comfortable shoes. No zip and zing, but solid comfort. Indian tradition says there is a third type of Love – The Divine Love. One that has all the scintillating energy of young love coupled with the comfort and security of the Mature Love. This Bliss of this Love can be tasted when one meditates…

Q. Whooo… Sounds great. A little deep, but great! Does this kind of ideal love actually exist?

A. If you have delved even a little bit into spirituality you have had a whiff of it and you know for sure it is there… The normal human love is like diving into the depths of the Ocean. It can be very deep, but it’s finite. Divine Love is like the sky. Infinite and goes on forever. Rise from the depths of the sea and soar into the infinity of the sky. Q. Flying sounds wonderful… But let’s talk about diving. Could an ideal lover exist? Are there soul mates? A. Hate to disappoint you, especially on Valentine’s day. But the answer is no. Let me tell you why. Your soul mate – the one you would want to spend the rest of eternity with is a super special person. Right? He or she needs to totally meet a list of criteria that you have in your head.

Q. Flying sounds wonderful… But let’s talk about diving. Could an ideal lover exist? Are there soul mates?

A. Hate to disappoint you, especially on Valentine’s day. But the answer is no. Let me tell you why. Your soul mate – the one you would want to spend the rest of eternity with is a super special person. Right? He or she needs to totally meet a list of criteria that you have in your head.

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We do have almost 8 billion people on the planet, so there is some chance that such a person may actually exist… However, the chance that you will actually meet that person, and that they will in turn like you (they may have their own soul mate criteria, that may not be a match with you) is infinitesimally small. Even so, you will argue, some chance is there. I would agree, except that the list of things your soul mate should be and have that you got in your head keeps changing. Doesn’t it?! Who you thought your perfect soul mate should be at age 18 is vastly different at age 20 or 25. Not only do you want someone who has all the traits you have listed, you want someone who has all the traits you have listed and this list dynamically changes with time! This becomes a little impossible. Don’t you think?

Q. Oh no! No soul mate. Then what? I was saving all my love for them.

A. Instead of looking for a perfect person, you focus on being a perfect person. A wonderful human being. If you are that, you will attract the perfect person to you. They may not be all that you thought you wanted, but there is a high chance that they will be all that you will ever want!

Q. Ok… so found him. How do I keep him?

A. Mostly men love their egos pampered. You want to keep your man, take care of their ego. Tell them they are the ultimate. The very Best! If you don’t they will stray to another who does.

Q. Hey… We men are reading this as well. How do we keep our girls?

A. Take care of their feelings. Never mess with a woman’s feelings. Make her feel loved and taken care of. If you don’t, she will go off to someone who makes her feel that way.

Q. Ok… Sounds simple. Is that all? Any other secrets to make sure my Valentine stays my Valentine?

A. It’s simple, but it can get complicated.

First rule of having a great relationship is to make sure you communicate with each other. Don’t think if he loves me, he should know. Tell him. Make sure he knows!

Secondly, respect each other’s dreams, goals and ambitions in life and support them. These need not be the same. One could want to clean up the Oceans, the other may want to create wealth for a super comfortable life. That’s ok. As long as both respect each other’s dreams.

Lastly, keep your focus on the bigger things in life. If the focus is narrow, only on each other, both will feel suffocated and the relationship will stagnate and die. Focus on stuff much bigger than the two of you. Then you will stay together and enjoy each other to the hilt. If you are feeling bored in your relationship, there is no more zing left, this is perhaps the reason.

A little secret from one who knows – Learning how to meditate and meditating together is one of the most romantic things you can do!

I have written more on relationships and working in teams (those are relationships too) in our book Ready, Study, Go! You can buy it from most bookstores and online portals that sell books. bit.ly/readystudygo to get it from amazon.in

Q. Sounds interesting. What to do when it comes to money? Does he pay? Does she pay? Do they both get their dads to pay?! 

A. Goddess Laxmi is capricious. Here today, could go tomorrow. That’s why she is depicted sitting on a lotus floating in water. Kabhi bhi doob sakti hai!

Focus on Goddess Saraswati. She is the one with the education portfolio. She sits on a rock. When you learn a skill well, it’s yours for a very long time. Rock Solid. So even if that whimsical Goddess Laxmi abandons you for a bit, with the help of Saraswati, you can easily lure her back.

When Knowledge and Wealth are yours, it really doesn’t matter who pays. You know you can get back whatever you have spent!

Meanwhile, as the father told his son before going to an expensive restaurant – “Order something cheap!”

Q. Thanks. That was nice. Not what I expected, but a really cool perspective on Valentine’s day. Any parting words?

A. You need not limit the scope of Valentine’s day to a couple of human beings. Think bigger. This year, how about making the Country your Valentine? Or making Learning your Valentine? Or best of all, making Spirituality your Valentine??? Then you can go flying!!!

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Jai Gurudeva!
Love
Bawa (n Dinesh)

Jan 20

Bye Aban Mummy

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My darling mother passed away yesterday. She was called Aban mummy by everyone. She was more or less the universal mom. She had been a victim of paralysis and it’s terrible consequences for a very long time and finally she is pain free. She is in a much better place than she was while her beautiful body was wasting away.

Even though she must have been in horrible pain all the time, she used to come to ashram for satsang and she sat through the entire Poojas last Navaratri.

Though she went through immense pain, Gurudev gave her a royal exit.

On the morning of January 19th, she woke up, was given her bath and settled in her bed. She had her chai. Chai was very important to her 😃.

A few years ago, when she was critical in the ICU and we all thought she would die, she asked for chai. The doctor refused saying that we don’t serve chai in the ICU. My sister told the doctor, if she dies without drinking her chai, I will kill you! The doctor allowed the chai to be given…

After having her chai, she had a bit of breakfast and then dad asked her if she would like to watch some Knowledge Video of Gurudev. She nodded. For some reason, the video wouldn’t work. So, dad asked her if she wanted to listen to the Guru Pooja being chanted by Bhanu Didi. Again, she nodded. Dad put the Pooja on and sat to meditate with her. When the Pooja was over, dad came out of meditation to see that she had stopped breathing. She died listening to that beautiful sacred chant, peacefully, while meditating!

Dinesh and I were at the ashram and we rushed home as soon as we got the news. The atmosphere was serene, quiet and light. Her face looked rested and bright. Dad had a few tears in his eyes and so did I… but it was more from sweet memories that we shared than any sort of grief. It was a very different state of mind I was in. Tears and happiness to know that finally she was out of pain and free, and gratitude for the way she left, and relief that she was not suffering any more, and a sort of a joy that she was now with Gurudev.

Many people came to pay their last respects. They all commented at how light and easy they were feeling. Bhanu didi and Anna came as well, with some flowers that Gurudev had sent for her. We took her body smelling fragrant and sweet amidst the singing of Jai Jai Radha Ramana Hari Bol out of the house to the waiting hearse.

Even in the hearse, with her body lying there, we were either meditating or talking normally. Even cracking a few jokes which I am sure she would have giggled at, if she had heard them… perhaps she did.

We reached the Parsi Tower of Silence. My sister who was in Bombay had flown down to Bangalore and came directly there. She did cry quite a bit. But by the time the beautiful farewell chants were over, she was more or less fine. Many of mummy’s dear friends from the Dadar house satsang days came there. Everyone was in Bangalore for the Teacher’s Refresher Meet happening here… All the ones she really loved happened to be in Bangalore at the time of her passing… We all sat and meditated while the chanting was being done.

Then they took her body onwards where it would be consumed by birds of prey and whatever would remain would be swept into a pit where it would be made into manure which would then be released into the grounds making them lush and green and beautiful. We come from the Earth and go back to Her.

And then it was over. The chanting, the meditation and the genuine love of the people who were there made Aban mummy’s funeral a lovely, serene, enchanting experience. There were tears and laughter as we recalled some lovely memories of her… as the sun set, we all departed from there… Lucky to have known her, loved her and felt her love. Somewhere I actually feel safe that she went on ahead, and will be there waiting for me when it’s my time to go…

I am pretty sure she is having a great time with Gurudev now, wherever she is. So I am not going to say may she rest in peace or anything like that – Mummy was never one who wanted rest or peace… She was full of love and laughter and a bit of mischief…

I am going to say may she have an absolutely fabulous, fantastic time on this new adventure she has embarked on … wherever she is and will be … and keep a good spot for me, and all of us when we eventually get there.

Bye Aban Mummy…

Jai Gurudeva!
Love
Bawa (n Dinesh)

 

Jan 5

Incredible You

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You are such a coincidence, it’s a miracle you even exist. You are an adventure four and a half billion years in the making. You swam against 250 million sperms to get to the egg deep inside the fallopian tube and you managed to fertilize it first. You won the most important race… In fact, the only race that would ever actually matter right at the very start. You and me, we all start off as winners.

The prize for winning that race is called Life.

We get to be on this amazing planet called Earth and every year we get a free trip around this massive yellow star we call the sun. We get to love each other, fight with each other, hate each other, be angry at each other, feel jealous of each other, be nice to each other, enjoy each other… most importantly love each other and maybe learn from each other.

I have been doing most of these since 1969. These days I devote more of my time to loving and learning and having a blast. Maybe everyone else should too.

A super-duper Happy New Year 2017 to all… To Life. To Love. To Learn.

PS Dinesh and I wrote a book about learning. It’s called Ready Study Go! – Smart Ways to Learn and it has made a few ripples in the last part of 2016. We have sold more than 20,000 copies. It was on amazon.in best seller list for a few weeks and it has made it to the amazon.in memorable books of the year list. If you have still not read it, you may have a treat waiting for you. And if you have read it, I hope you are implementing the stuff we have written about. It could well pave the way for you to the realization of your dreams…

We hope for big things for our book this year and know that with your support, we could get this book in the hands of all who would like to make learning a simpler, more meaningful activity. You can buy it from most book stores across the Indian subcontinent and almost all online portals that sell books. To get it from amazon.in click bit.ly/readystudygo and from amazon.com click bit.ly/readystudygointl

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