Oct 9

A Moon for Puja (Karwa Chauth in London)

In India, many wives observe the Karwa Chauth. They fast the entire day – from sunrise to moonrise. It’s a very strict fast – not even water is allowed through the day. Karwa Chauth is observed once a year and is believed to ensure the long life and continued good health for the husband.

For the Karwa Chauth process, the wife makes up a thali (plate) of brass or silver in which she puts a small diya (candle), a glass of water which her husband will make her drink from, when she breaks the fast, a few dried fruits for the mom-in-law, sindhur (the red powder Indian brides apply in their hair) and some sweet which she will feed to the man of the house.

Prelude to a well-earned Meal

In the evening after a small Pooja ceremony, the wife looks through a sieve at the moon, holding the loaded thali. Then her husband makes her drink the water, and she feeds him the sweet.

Puja is the ever-dutiful wife and every year she does the Karwa Chauth for her hubby Kapil. She definitely wants her husband to have a long life and great health. She is also quite a foodie and enjoys her meals. She must really love Kapil to go through this fairly torturous process (Thank God it’s just once a year!) very year.

Once the evening ceremony is done, the hunt for the moon begins. She can’t end her fast without looking at the moon remember? And moonrise in London at this time of the year is fairly late in the night. Fasting for the husband is one thing, but waiting for the moon to rise and hoping that there are no clouds so you can see it is something else completely – especially if you have hot sambhar rice with ghee, dosas and chutney waiting to be gobbled for dinner. And you happen to be Puja the foodie.

This year, the evening Pooja was over by 5:00 pm. The sun was shining brilliantly, birdies were tweeting merrily, the grass was green and the sky was blue… No sign of the night or the moon. Puja was getting increasingly impatient, bordering on irritable at the thought of having to wait a few hours for the moon to show up.

That’s when I got this brilliant idea!

I called Salman who is in India on a what’s app video call. Told him to go outside and find the moon, and point the camera to it. Puja happily looked at the moon on my phone through Salman’s phone, fed the sweet to Kapil and gulped down the water… and made a beeline for the dinner table and let out a happy sigh…

A Moon for Puja

Bring on the dosas!!

Wishing everyone a very long, happy, healthy and prosperous life.

Jai Gurudeva!

love

Bawa

Sep 29

Navaratri 2017 – Night 8 – The Three Goddesses

On the eve of Dinesh’s birthday was the grand Chandi Homa… He wrote a poem celebrating Navaratri and the three Devis – Goddesses Durga, Laxmi and Saraswati.

Here it is for you to enjoy! Have a lovely day.

Nine months in mother’s womb, define and shape us

Floating in fluid love, finely foretells our future thus.

Nine nights of Navratri too, navigate the coming years

Spent with the Guru, spawn smiles and grateful tears.

 

First three days of Durga represent valour supreme

End of Mahishasura; laziness in the bloodstream.

Stop procrastinating, take baby steps to clear Tamas

Start now! What are you waiting for? Christmas?!

 

Next three days of Laxmi, signify riches of type eight,

Who am I (realization of our source) ‘n courage great,

Knowledge, wealth, health to enjoy food and share it,

Joy from children, power to rule and the victory spirit.

 

Atop the lotus on the water, sits glorious goddess Laxmi

Wealth is capricious, up and down like waves in the sea.

Married to spirituality, Lord Narayana the magnificent

So use rajas to act wise, serve others and be diligent.

 

Last three days of Sattvic Saraswati, the resplendent

Guardian of fine arts, speech ‘n wisdom transcendent.

Seated majestically on the rock, with her sight internal

Signifying shelf life of wisdom, unlike wealth, is eternal.

To be free of disease, stress, violence, and apathy

Worship the three, Durga, Laxmi and Saraswati.

Embodying wondrous valour wealth and wisdom

They bring beauty in life, success and freedom.

 

Jai Gurudeva!

love

Bawa n Dinesh

Sep 28

Navaratri 2017 – Night 7 – The Dark Sacred Night

Louis Armstrong croons his famous song –

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white

The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night

And I think to myself – What a wonderful world…

It was perhaps the first time that I had heard of the night being sacred. The Night is, of course, dark, but sacred? Maybe it rhymed, maybe it was some flash of insight… Tonight though, Gurudev revealed one of the secrets of the night.

He asked us, when can you see more? During the day or at night?

Coming from Him it had to be a trick question, and so the obvious answer was obviously wrong 🙂 Some people said day, others said night. No one said why they said so.

He explained – During the day, what you can see is so limited. It is in the night that you can see the vastness of the stars, the galaxies, the heavenly parade. The night gives you a glimpse of infinity. The day actually prevents you from seeing you are part of this Humungous Grand Creation.

The Dark Sacred Night reveals Infinity

Tonight is the night of Devi Kaalaratri. Her form is quite fierce, but her power is to grant you a glimpse of infinity, and that deep enchanted magical rest that only night can provide.

On a side note, did you know that more than 80% of the light receptor cells in your eyes, the rods and cones, are made to see in the dark?!

Tonight, switch off all the lights. Keep your eyes open and sit for 15 minutes or so. Experience the Sacred Darkness of the night. If you do this every night, it is said that your vision will improve.

Night in Sanskrit is Ratri – literally meaning that which gives peace to the three – Body, Mind and Soul. Have a beautiful sacred good night tonight!

What a wonderful world… What a wonderful world…

Jai Gurudeva!

Love

Bawa

 

 

Sep 27

Navaratri 2017 – Night 6 – Restlessness

Considering that these 3 days were days of Rajas and many may have felt all sorts of restlessness in their systems, I thought I would take a cue from Gurudev and talk about the five types of Restlessness that could have popped up for you. They certainly did for me.

The first is the restlessness due to the place you are in. This one was obviously ruled out. If you are feeling restless in the ashram, it doesn’t have anything to do with the ashram… but other places can create this in you. Moving away from them will create a sort of a peace in you. Coming to the ashram can create a veritable explosion of peace in you.

Come… Peace, love and Joy are awaiting you here!

The second, restlessness in the body. Wrong food, crazy eating times, not exercising or overworking can all cause this one. Remedy? Eat the right kind of food (an entire chapter in my new book is going to be dedicated to this… Maybe an entire book), eat at more or less the same times each day (dinner definitely before 8:00 pm), exercise (The Yogic Fitness series of courses will teach you how) and an adv course or three every year should take care of work fatigue.

If this is your mind… wear the seatbelt called Sudarshan Kriya and enjoy the ride 🙂

Restlessness of the mind – too much ambition, strong likes and dislikes cause this one. Spiritual Knowledge helps dissolve this. Seeing Life from a broader perspective. Knowing that you are going to die someday. Knowledge of life or death, confidence in yourself, faith in the Divine will alleviate this restlessness.

Restlessness in the deeper parts of the mind, emotional restlessness – Nothing helps here… when things in the head go on a rollercoaster ride, you are in trouble. Your seatbelt is the Sudarshan Kriya and meditation. The presence of a Guru, a Saint, an Enlightened Being can greatly calm this restlessness.

The restlessness of the Soul happens to only a select few. Real prayer comes forth. Siddhis and miracles dawn in your life. This is longing for the Divine from your very core. It is extremely precious. Satsang and the presence of an Enlightened Being alone can soothe the restlessness of the Soul.

Today, the Grand Homas have started. The energy in the ashram is scintillating and sparkling. Tomorrow Rajas and Tamas will give way to Sattwa. That feeling of peace and joy. That lightness of Being, that allows you to be in the world, yet not of it… Like a Lotus – Even though it is all the time in water, it never gets wet. The next three days, Creation celebrates the Ultimate Victory. Everything is perfect.

Jai Gurudeva!

Love

Bawa

 

 

 

Sep 26

Navaratri 2017 – Night 5 – Gurudev Speaks

After the third night, there is a constant will He, won’t He?! going on in everyone’s heads… Will He ignore the Universe and continue His silence? Or will He finally speak tonight… Each evening after the Pooja, we wait with baited breath. Till last night, He simply glided away on a cloud of Serenity, not acknowledging anyone or anything.

Tonight, the Pooja got over, the bhajans stopped and we all waited. He had not given any indication this year. He had been totally oblivious to all even through the Pooja and the bhajans tonight. Slowly He opened His eyes, picked up the mike and spoke… Jai Gurudev, Jai Gurudev…

Then in Silence, yet noticing and taking us all in He turned to all sides with His hands folded in Namaste, greeting everyone amidst tumultuous whistling and shouting and clapping as we all celebrated His entry back into our world.

Navaratri at the ashram with Him is full of enchantment, but this moment when He opens His silence is truly magical for me. It brings tears to my eyes and I feel so blessed, fortunate and grateful to be here with Him.

Tomorrow the grand Homas will begin. It’s a comfortably early start at 8:30 am. I know I have said it before, let me say it again. Come to Bangalore ashram during this time – it is the time of miracles and magic. Don’t miss it.

I know I have said it before, let me say it again. Come to Bangalore ashram during this time – it is the time of miracles and magic. Don’t miss it.

Jai Gurudeva!

Love

Bawa

Sep 24

Navaratri 2017 – Night 4 – Devi Kushmanda

This is a little-known form of the Devi. At least I didn’t know about this one until I heard what Gurudev spoke about her… When there was darkness before everything, it is said that Devi Kushmanda smiled (she must have used Sudanta) and created the cosmic egg from which Creation sprung forth.

Kushmanda is Sanskrit for Pumpkin. I guess that’s why whenever someone says to you my darling pumpkin, you smile and their whole world shines and both of you become happy.

Pumpkins!!

A pumpkin is supposed to have a unique property – it has the ability to both absorb prana and radiate prana. A pumpkin is full of a lot of seeds which have the potential to become a source for more pumpkins. From the very small, it becomes a huge fruit and this huge fruit has so many small seeds.

Our own energy has this quality – of being smaller than the smallest and larger than the largest. The pumpkin is a symbol of that. Within you is the entire Universe. And you are like a little seed in the manifest Universe… And sometimes like Devi Kushmanda all you need to do is smile to bring fullness to life.

Don’t worry if too many thoughts or restlessness grips you for these next three days. They are the days of Rajas. I wrote out quite a lot of a chapter of my new book today. I guess the trick is in channelizing the Rajas instead of fighting it.

Good Night!

Jai Gurudeva!

Love

Bawa

PS You can read what Gurudev has spoken about the nine forms of the Mother Divine at bit.ly/navdurga and get these super cute Devi images! 🙂

Sep 24

Navaratri 2017 Night 3 – zzzzzz…

Q. Where is the Navaratri Night 3 Post?

A. Too much Tamas… Mainly slept all day, getting up only for Sadhana and eating a bit of food. I think this year, all the Tamas of the first three days hit me altogether on the third day… Getting ready for Rajas! 🙂

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

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

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