Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Arunachala and The Pradakshina Man!

I used to pride myself that I am a spiritualist without being religious or ritualistic. But the place of Arunachala seems to draw me towards itself for a strange unknown reason. It is a different place, different language, a different set of people. I don’t understand a lot of the language that is spoken around. But there is an intense pull that drags me to go there again and again! I went to Arunachala again this weekend, fourth time in the last four months. Its not poornima (full moon!) so the crowds are less, almost zero.

I, with another colleague, landed in arunachala and decided to do the Pradakshina (Parikrama!) around the hill in the night. And we were blessed to have the company of an outstanding individual, due to divine providence. A simple person called Mr. Uday Kumar, a tailor on the Girivalam route – near Adi Annamalai temple. He has been doing the pradakshina around Arunachala hill for the last 24 YEARS, EACH AND EVERY SINGLE DAY, WITHOUT FAIL. A WALK OF 14KMS EVERY NIGHT! So much so that he is locally fondly called “The Pradakshina Man!” I mentally fell at his feet when I heard that!

It was an honor doing girivalam with him – a simple man with simple stories about the grace of arunachala. A person who is not in orange robes, he is the not the usual stereotype. When he started speaking, it was impossible for me to understand his Tamil (given that my knowledge of Tamil is from the movies!). But the emotion could not be missed, so the words started sinking in and strangely became comprehensible. A man of such great record, of 24 years and such humble stories of a person who got a job, who got blessed with good health and more. A man of such great compassion, that for 7 days he walked two times around the hill, instead of his regular one time, for someone else’s health – when the man who was ill was just someone whom he met like I did meet him yesterday.

I could have written a travelogue of my trip but that seems useless now. A Bachelor of Arts in Tamil, umarried and with a voice of divinity, it was really a different experience walking around the hill with Mr. Uday Kumar – listening to his pleasantly sudden outbursts of hymns to the hill Arunachala and in the numerous temples around it. For instance, standing in front of the 10000 Shiv Lingas in the Nityananda Swami Ashram at 12’o clock in the night, when all around you is silence and the breeze from the hill, listening to his singing the Shiva Panchakshari Strotram was a shower of bliss on me. His greetings of familiarity to the numerous sadhus on the way, their playful requests for a specific song, to a specific diety – the 6Kms of the 14Kms I walked with him was an experience I would probably cherish for a life time.

In the morning, I did walk up to Virupaksha cave and sat quietly. I went to Ramana Ashram too and did drive around the hill again in my car in the morning. But one snapshot stuck in my mind – Sitting in his 1.5 Rooms shack, that doubles up as a house and tailor shop sipping on a tea made by his neighbor who runs a tea-stall suddenly made me feel like a fool. Is this not the bliss of feeling a blessing? I was lost in thought – “Having how much is having too much? And what exactly does a man need to be happy?”

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Trip to Thiruvannamalai!

Thank Christ for God Friday (Supposedly the original name for Good Friday!) While most of us don’t know why it is important day for Christians all over the world, people in India look forward to it for it brings in a long weekend combined with Saturday and Sunday.

So, our weekend driving destination for this long weekend was a place we visited earlier but could not stop going back again – Thiruvannamalai. Located 200kms from Bangalore, it’s a good weekend drive into spirituality and religion, if you are feeling like that. It is the place of the sacred Arunachaleswara temple – a temple where Lord Shiva is representative of the ‘Fire’ element. The place is named after the great hill – Arunachala – which is considered Lord Shiva in his physical form. And the temple of Arunachaleswara is among the best architectures that you see in the South Indian temples – probably closer on the lines of Madurai, Sri Kalahasti etc.

The temple is huge, occupies an area of about 25 acres with four large ‘Gopurams‘ on each side. The largest ‘Gopuram‘ is above the eastern entrance which is the main entrance. There are five ‘Prakaram‘ or corridors around the central structure with a high wall running on all four sides at the edge of the outer ‘Prakaram‘. There are numerous shrines for other deities in the temple complex and Goddess Parvathi has a separate shrine on the third ‘Prakaram‘. She is worshipped as ‘Unnamulai Ambal’. The view of the temple from the Arunachala hill is a must-see.

Arunachala Temple

The place was worshipped from a long time by various saints and was written about at length in the form of songs of paeans for the lord. But the place was made popular and known to the western world and so to the westernized (Confused!) Indians like us through the great Indian master Sri Ramana Maharshi. While Ramana Maharshi himself never moved out of Thiruvanmalai throughout his life, the world came searching for him in the form of Paul Brunton – the great English spiritual traveler of his times. In his book “In Search of Secret India”, Paul Brunton wrote in detail about various Yogis he met in India and described Ramana Maharshi and his path of simple self enquiry into ‘Who am I?’ in detail.

So through the lengthy route of Paul Brunton –> Ramana Maharshi –> Thiruvannamalai, we came to know of this place and by chance realized that it is a place pretty close to Bangalore. So do a whole lot of Europeans that you see around in the place. So much so that most of them live here for 6 months + even buying houses and bikes.

Our Trip and Giri Valam

Anyway, Ramana Maharshi used to say that ‘Giri Valam’ or Giri Pradakshina of Arunachala is very powerful form of meditation. To do Giri Pradakshina on a full moon day is supposed to give a whole lot of spiritual and physical benefits. Having read so much about it, to walk the 17+ kms stretch around the Arunachala hill was the objective of our trip this time. Bare-footed and willing to challenge ourselves physically, Paddu, me and Ramesh started driving to Arunachalam on the morning of Good Friday, 21st of March 2008 around 830AM. Driving towards Krishnagiri from Bangalore, we could not stop appreciating the changing face of India as shown on its new highways and the slick Petrol Stations to the side, with all facilities to allow for a great stop-over.

While it was raining in Bangalore, we were not sure what the weather would be like in Arunachalam. If it rains heavily, we cannot do Giri Pradakshina, the chief objective of the trip. By the time we were 10kms away from Arunachalam, thick clouds descended on the town as if to scare us away and it started to pour, pouring water on our hopes and the new found spiritual enthusiasm. We drove straight into Seshadri Swamigal Ashram, an Ashram accommodation right next to Sri Ramana Ashram. Finding a decent place to park our car and a nice place to get ready, we thought of changing the planned time of Giri Pradakshina. Initially we planned to do it in the evening in the full moon but sceptisim about whimsical weather made us start it by 230PM after a light lunch – Thank Paddu for the great Pulihora she packed in the morning.

                rainy-thiruvanmalai.jpg

Believe me when I say that I have never seen so many temples in one single place – in the 17kms stretch there are not less than 40+ temples of various gods and goddesses and even the great Rishis – there were temples dedicated to Agasthya and Durvasa also. Apart from this, are the innumerable ‘penance centers’ or meditation places of great sadhus. The density of spiritual souls per kilometer is extremely high and impossible to miss from the awesome serenity of the place inspite of the crowd. There are no less than 40,000 people walking around the path at any point in time, based on our guesstimates. We started visiting temple after temple, walking through the stretch stopping and appreciating, overawed by the sheer number of those temples – God knows how old each one of them is.

Of course, we in India are now on our way to making everything under the sun, a great market place. So you have mobile shops selling wares like candle stands, lamp holders; foods like Soups, Sugarcane juice, Idli; religious wares like books, cassettes, CDs; and a company-owned Maruti Van selling a Zandu Balm look alike for the paining legs. Everything can be bought making it a walk for shopping than for spirituality 😉

The view of the great Arunachal hill throughout the walk is awesome. You see a mix of people doing the walk and a mix of places. Every view of the hill has given self-realization to someone or the other. Every view of the hill is supposed to be good in its own way. For an unknown reason, just looking at the hill gave me a feeling of mystery and power. The walk and the place broke the barriers of thought and belief as to who gets self-realization. What does a man who has realized the self, look like? I have seen a lot of people on the Giri Valam path, who we usually associate mostly with superstition and weird rituals, who actually sit down to meditate with a deep serene look on their face. It might not be a weird thing but for people like me blinded by stereotyping, it is a revelation. I realized how much we have urbanized the concept of meditation and who should do meditation and how messed up our basics are.

You see people walking around the hill out of belief, out of hope, out of fun, out of curiosity, out of fear and every other human emotion we experience every day. Laugh you may, when I say that the first thought which came to my mind when I saw those hordes of people is – can I make it faster to Self-Realization than most of these people? And then I laughed at my conditioning of competition. Probably spiritualism is one place where all of us can pass the test together and for a change, there are no grades. All of us as humanity should make it through; otherwise we are all equally a failure.

Anyway as one of the bloggers said, Giri Valam is a journey through life – “It houses the Sanyasa, it houses the escapist, it houses the Grihasta, it houses the dead, it houses the Siddhas, it houses the Gods, it houses the animals. A complete universe pulsating with every breath of yours as you walk down trying to cover a 14 km stretch. It’s indeed a walk through life and beyond… depending on what you want to see….”

Closing on the walk we went into the temple for darshan and came out faster than we expected – by none other than the god’s grace. As towards the end of the 17kms walk, we were dead tired – unable to walk another step and search for a place for dinner. We went into a road side shack, had idlis with sambar for dinner and one chai to push them all through – pulled ourselves to the ashram acco and crashed. But not before serving our tired feet with some hot water and liberal amount of ‘real’ Zandu balm.

Next day morning, we decided to dedicate the day to knowing more about the saints of Arunachalam. So we visited Seshadri Swamigal temple, Sri Ramana Ashram. After breakfast in yet another road side shack, with tasty pongal and awesome vada, we started our trek up the Arunachala hill – the sacred hill around which we did pradakshina the day before. Our destinations – Skandashramam and Virupaksha cave, two caves where sri Ramana maharshi spent most of his life before coming down the hill into the place, which is the ashram today. A long trek up the hill and meeting curious set of piligrims, our trek was very eventful. We saw a lot of roaming sadhus and serene swamis. One of them was kind enough to engage us in a conversation – a Tax consultant in his previous life before he left all, he gave us great information on Ramana Maharshi and how to search for realization. Unfortunately we could not talk to him for long, but it was a really pleasant meeting.

Then we walked up to the two caves, meditated for a few minutes in each of those caves and came down the hill – yearning for a next time, when we can spend more time in those caves. Before we left the place, we were checking out a few books on Ramana Maharshi in the Ashram bookstore, when I was pleasantly suprised to meet a childhood friend of mine, after a long time – Devan Rajasekhar. Ramesh and he are meeting after 10+ years even though I met him couple of times after +2. So we sat and chatted for sometime about things, old and new. After that, lunch and drive back were normal as they seem, but it was with a feeling of contentment at challenging ourselves and somehow making it. A feeling of seeing a mysterious place from up-close but still not really knowing it. An emotion of pain, joy, contentment and a quest for more – it was a weekend of mixed feeling and our paining feet vouch for it 😉

However, unlike previous long weekends on Good Friday, we did what is supposed to be done on a Good Friday – Penance. It is widely believed in the Catholic Christianity that mourning for Christ’s crucifixion and feeling his pain are two principles things to be done on this day. We never realized that we will do atleast one of them, without knowing it 😉 Mourn we probably did not, but pain we really felt 😉 Thanks to Arunachala and Christ for the opportunity.

More pictures at http://picasaweb.google.com/phanimitra/Arunachala2

Allies in wonderland!

“Nawaz Sharif, Zardari to meet on government formation in Pakistan”

The political history of Pakistan as a country is briefly divided into  Independence, First Military Era (1958-1971), Second Democratic Era (1971-77), Second Military Era (1977-1988), Third Democratic Era (1988-99) and Third Military Era (1999-07) – A total of more than 30+ years of direct and indirect military rule and brief stints of farcical democracy. I smiled when it is mentioned that there are going to be elections in Pakistan – oh yet again! I am surprised at the similarities and glaring differences between India and Pakistan every time I look at each of these nations. Considered the same country till 50 years ago, suddenly India and Pakistan are worlds apart – just in 50 years.

There are striking similarities between the two countries though, of political dynasty worships (Bhuttos and Gandhis!) to the shameless, if I may say so, political coalitions – of parties with opposing ideologies coming together to share ‘power’. Nawaz Sharif and PPP have agreed to work together – Bhutto and Sharif who fought with each other and levied allegations from corruptions to cowardice, now are together – why? Because they have a common enemy in Musharraf. Just like Congress and Communists have a common enemy in BJP. Enemies and terms of power are first discussed and then the intellectuals in both sides are left to work out what could be shown as common minimum program. An oxymoron right from the word go – they agree that what they have in common is in minimum – but their maximum desire to keep an opponent brought them together. Can we really expect anything concrete to happen in these political climates?


“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

–          Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

But as destiny has it, these allies and coalitions are here to say – this is the new political reality – the force of Aquarian age pushing people to work in groups – groups of people who don’t probably like each other or have immense egos and inner motives to fight with each other. But they cannot escape, they are forced to work together, because slow it may be but that is the ONLY way to move forward. Bleak it might seem but this is the only way toward Light. In the current age, there is no hope for an individual party or individual to change the fate of these two nations and their people – linked by more than history and culture, by blood. Curse, we may each other, but our destinies are tied together. Fight we may till blood is spilt on both sides by numerous sons of this soil –it is only a myth that India can continue to prosper and its people live happily while Pakistan goes to the dogs – politically and economically. As Sri Aurobindo used to call it, this country is Mother India. It is not a vast piece of land with its rivers, mountains, fields and forests but a living throbbing creative individual in all her spiritual glory – the world’s fountainhead of spirituality. And Pakistan now is a wound to the Mother India, because Mother India, always had Pakistan in anatomy. 

I don’t know how it would come about or when, but we are destined to work together for a common cause – India and Pakistan. I don’t know how and when but the culmination of thinking – the best of both sides – of Sufi Ascetism and Vedic science come together to show to the world – its new and higher purpose.

Welcome to the wonderlands – called India and Pakistan!

Intuition!

It was the usual drive that day – well not really, as I was driving back home at around 1130 PM. Working late and into night I was tired and raring to go back home. Driving on one of the relatively less crowded roads, I let my mind wander onto the nice tracks playing on the car stereo and let my hands and legs handle the dumb driving part. Was not even looking at the road properly because there usually are no people on the street at this hour in the night. All of a sudden, I am ‘nudged’ to look at the road more carefully and I saw a tractor coming right in front my eyes, driving in the opposite direction, with no head lights and seemingly for no reason. I have NO IDEA how I veered away driving at more than 100KMPH and safely on to the road all in less than 3-5 seconds maximum.

That incident kinda left me shattered. Not that I did not have those experiences before, who would not on Indian roads. But for the first time I realized that I should not attribute it to God, somewhere in the heaven. It is very physical – the phenomenon. Someone told me to look away from my CD Player and at the road. Someone nudged me to do that. And I realized that it was my ‘intuition’ – just something that I heard very clearly, very closely to be coming from too far from my body. So it must be someone/thing inside me. Then I did something I have not done earlier.

I sat down and listed out of curiosity, thinking hard into my past, all those or most of those times when I came close to being harmed in some form or the other and missed very narrowly. Surprisingly there were a lot of those on the list. How silly, I never thought I was lucky on so many instances. I always remembered how I narrowly missed all those great job offers, admissions, ranks in the class – but never remembered these many ‘fortunate’ narrow misses. That apart I also realized that we can ‘hear’ things that would help us become better people – lot of people have told me earlier but this is the first time I ‘realized’ it. As they say, I just became aware of it. And also how dumb are we as humans if we cannot listen to that ultimate guy inside us who is just too good – that he can tell you things that you can do to save yourself in 5 seconds. How better would we be if that guy talks to us all the time, telling us what to do next. 

Then came my next question, why don’t I hear him all the time? What is stopping me from listening or feeling that nudge I felt the other night or so many of those other occasions? If he speaks, why did I not listen and just do it – like I put the brakes or moved the steering on that occasion. This enquiry led me to another hypothesis. That we as people are actually not just one guy but two in one – the Person A1-  who was driving the car, listening to the stereo and Person A2 – the other guy who was watching. A2 must have been talking to A1 all the while but A1 is just not interested. Listening to Metallica was better for A1. Then suddenly A2 shouted – “A1! You are going to die, you fool!” and A1 listened because that was something that threatened his existence.

I went back to that list that I created and saw that most of the occasions when I heard something from inside was when there was some sort of physical harm to me as a human being. I realized this is nothing different from the intuition dogs, cats and all those other creatures have before an earthquake or a disaster. Small creatures have a greater chance of getting wiped out with any small change in the conditions around – so their A1s can listen to the A2s well before those things occur. But human A1s are not really bothered most of the time because we consider ourselves invincible. We do not consider ourselves a part of this nature around us. We think that nothing can happen to us. So it needs a SHOUT and SHAKE UP from our A2s for our A1s to listen.

So, just this one string of thought made me realize a whole bunch of new things. Not that I have not read such stuff earlier but you appreciate things when you find them out for  yourself. I am in that process. I had a lot of questions just out of that one incident, that are left unanswered. Like for instance, I was looking at my car stereo for some CDs when I ‘for no reason’ looked at the road. How does A2 see if the eyes which belong to A1 are looking elsewhere? How did that guy know of the tractor when I was not even seeing the road? Also questions on people saying I followed my heart – do we listen to it really all the time or do we just say it when our brains figure out what to do?  How do I distinguish who is speaking –A2 or the brain of my A1?

I don’t know the answers of a whole lot of these things but may be I would figure out some day.

Time, The Ultimate Warrior

“There is nothing more powerful in this world than an idea whose time has come” – I was always amazed how Victor Hugo expressed such a powerful truth in such simple language. Growing up, I always looked at the world around with fascination  and I always believed that history is continuously being written in front our eyes. People either read history or predict the future and say ‘It was a golden era in ….’ Or ‘It is going to change the way we look at …’  but as we are speaking these history is being rewritten. New ideas continuously pour into this vast universe day in and day out – all these slaughtered by the best warrior in this world guarding the future – TIME. Because only when TIME moves away do we step into the future. So only a few ideas survive the onslaught and go on to get etched in the memories, only a few go on to change the way future generations perceive the world around or even better, just accept it as THE TRUTH that existed forever.

When I first heard the story of Galileo presenting the concept of earth being round and revolving around the sun to the community he lived in (Not to the world, if you can appreciate it!) – he was scoffed at and was charged of blasphemy. If you tell a kid today that once upon a time people used to think that earth is flat or that they thought that sun revolves around earth – he would consider the folks of the past so foolish. But a small idea that happened in a ‘present tense’ at some point in time has reached the corners of the world, places which Galileo would not have known that existed. Such is the power of an idea whose time has come.

Perceiving the power of ideas that gush out from every stream of knowledge and thinking every day fills me up with a sense of wonder and amazement. Also sometimes makes me believe that THIS IS THE WAY IT IS INTENDED TO BE – I don’t know by whom – for now I would call it the TIME. It let some guys (ideas!) pass through the door, because they are either ‘VALID’ guys to get to the future or they are simply too strong for it. How does it determine what are VALID ideas that should survive – is there a reference book or plan against which it checks? Is there a guiding principle that is used for this validation, is what I started thinking next. May be yes – how does ‘Making this universe better!’ sound as a guiding principle? It sure sounds like those corporate VISION statements!!

One of the ideas was GLOBALISATION. It sneaked in, may be by bribing TIME, and it has created what most socialists would shout their guts out with – RICH POOR DIVIDE. Lot of our people look back and say with nostalgia “How beautiful were the days when we had the small little village when everyone knew everyone else’s name! The pond in the center of the village and temple and the trees?” If TIME knew that globalization would mess up the whole system of Poverty and Prosperity, mess up a few societies to create a few ultra-rich societies, why did he let that one PASS? Why did TIME allow us to create multi-storied apartment complexes where millions of people live in a few square kilometers of land?

 Either this is the way to live that is best for humans in the future, to be together in a smaller area – live, think, work together with extreme dependence on one another that when an asteroid or a gamma ray explosion hits a barren land in the country/continent, there are very few people who die and people would have already learnt how to produce enough food on a smaller piece of land to even survive that catastrophe. Or on the other hand, it is easier to bring all those people who want to be away from NATURE and don’t care for it, ALL TOGETHER in a limited geographical area, for TIME to just wipe out as many people as possible at one simple go. To offload the burden off this earth with minimum destruction so that the remaining guys who are closer to nature will live with as much land as they want and the way they want to.  Interesting possibilities, eh?

Either way, I  just don’t know – I think TIME knows more than I and you do – may be in the long run, the positive outweigh the negatives – so I modified that guiding principle “Making the Universe Better in the Long Run” . In all this discussion of possibilities, I am ruling out human intelligence and their ‘individual’ power to mess with the nature out of this discussion – very consciously – because any thought is an Idea and as per my hypothesis, every idea should pass through the warrior of TIME. So there is nothing like we consciously are messing with nature or we consciously are messing with other people. TIME let my idea to ruin other people’s life PASS the door, so I got in.

Why I am writing all this? It is because I think the time to float this idea has come – That we are all moving in a ertain direction as per the ‘guiding principle’ that only Mr. TIME knows. We are not moving randomly, we are not inventing server farms and internet clouds randomly. It is not random that Google is becoming big or US markets crashed. It is not random that a bunch of terrorists flew a couple of planes into the world trade center. Their IDEA too passed the threshold at which TIME was standing. It let their IDEA pass – all for a reason. I urge everyone reading this post to just stop for a while and look around – What do you see changing prominently around you in terms of thoughts? What have you started hearing more often – Going Green?, Religious Teaching everywhere?, Growth in Temple/ Church Revenues?, Extremism (From both sides!)?, Farmers talking of Macro-economics? Anything!


Once you start looking at the ideas that are sweeping the world around YOU – Not the world in general because for one it is too big for you and me to perceive and make any meaningful conclusion and secondly, as humans it is easier to understand and appreciate when we are at the center of action. “Oh, I never thought I would not be able to live without a cell phone, I cannot remember what I was doing when I did not have internet, I don’t know where I would have invested my money if not for the stock market!” People lived for centuries and millennia without these, remember? What has US cutting 0.75% interest rate got to do with me? Every individual event is a junction, from which the paths of future would emerge. What happens at that point pushes us collectively onto a different route. Remember, what had Japan losing WW-II to do with a village in South America? Everything from end of colonialism to onslaught of tribal extremism and so on..! When you stop a while to look around and appreciate the power of ideas sweeping us every day and importance of every simple, seemingly unconnected, individual event on our collective future, you too would feel what I feel when I started to write this.  

Can you read the vision statement again – ““Making the Universe Better in the Long Run”  See the word  Universe, we as humans and earth as a planet is just a part of the whole universe. To give you an idea, FOR 160  MILLION YEARS, dinosaurs remained the unchallenged species trampling over what comes in their way. Appearing in 3500 different varieties they never would have imagined that they will all become extinct at one go. But for TIME to wipe out such a huge population of such a seemingly invincible species, was not a big deal – it did not seem to care for the extinction was really really RAPID. The IDEA was they were not fit to survive what was to come. Some species that started off from the dinosaur family survived, they have changed so much today that you would not believe they came from the same ancestors. The same powerful IDEA of one-shot extinction left them untouched, even gave them a chance to rediscover themselves. Because even though they started off ogether, these creatures changed in tune with what nature is asking of them.

Understand the vulnerability of us as human beings and work with IDEAS that please TIME. We stand no chance gainst TIME. The only way to survive is to be on its side. Which means, Think And Act for IDEAS that help the niverse get better in the long run – which is the only guiding principle TIME respects.

Realize that what I and You do today can possibly change the future, not just ours but of the entire world. Ok, maybe I am stretching it, as I got into the preachy mode towards the end! 😉

Thoughts and Why I think we don’t remember them!

In our thoughts, we travel far and wide. We travel deep and away. More often than not, we find some beautiful thoughts, some dark ones and some extremely pleasant and some so repulsive that you hate yourself for sinking so low. At a few we praise ourselves (“What an intelligent and creative being I am!”) and at a curse at a few (“It is immoral and scary that I can think like this!”)

But we can never deny the fact that we actually travelled to those places – may be just in our mind paths. I sincerely believe that things that a human brain can think of, we can certainly do (Good, Bad or Ugly!). It is just a matter of having the influences, opportunities and will. I am not getting on to a motivational speech here! If a socially moral and good guy, bumps into a lusty thought of sleeping with a hot next door neighbor, did he commit a sin or not? All of us now jump to our own conclusions – yes, no, yes but not if, no but if….! Because we have to say something about someone else – what if it was
you? We try and justify, forgive ourselves.

The reason I brought this topic up is because I have started to believe and understand that all of us live atleast two lives at the same time – in our physical bodies and in our mental bodies. A ‘tika-wearing’, ‘nice-chap’ can have some really ugly thoughts while a drug addict classmate of yours might actually be the first one to help you out when you are in trouble. It is scary in those cases to realize that we judge people on what we know of them! Do we really know anyone too well? Probably not – Not even our spouses and parents. We really don’t know anyone well enough. Not even ourselves. Because a person is incomplete without his thoughts. You are just seeing one side of the image and trying to construct him as a whole.

We even tend to forget where WE travelled in our thoughts. We constantly convince ourselves that “We are what we do”. It is easy to say and extremely clichéd in motivational speeches – ‘You are what you think you are’ but the mind and your faculty of judgment is constantly telling you to forget that. Your MIND is telling you ‘Never Mind’. Because it is in the own interest of our egos to not remember or maintain memory of what we thought of! It would destroy us as individuals! The MIND makes you forget all the dark thoughts you had by quickly telling you – “Look this is immoral that you are thinking, so between you and me, shut that and conveniently forget that you ever had this thought! I would keep it a secret!”

If that does not happen, imagine – “Lust and Greed are bad”, you would say and your MIND brings to the front all those times till date that you lusted for someone (immorally as per societal standards!) and had coveted for someone else’s wealth even if it means that the guy goes bankrupt. Imagine how it feels if that happens, every moment of your life whenever you say something, it would get irritate you. Make you hate yourself – when your MIND would tell you aloud what a big hypocrite you are. It would keep shouting that you don’t really believe in what you are saying now as you have flouted that yourselves so many times – quoting references. It makes you incapable of passing judgments on other people. It breaks your entire system and the concept of “ME and I”. And hence in the process would destroy the MIND itself. The very mind that is shouting and referring. It is not in its best interests and hence it keeps quiet. It avoids getting into this catch-22 situation with a simple clamp of forgetting your own thoughts and constantly telling you that ‘You are the best’. Interesting!

Is there not a way to break this conundrum? There is – to let mind break itself, to let mind shout at you and tell you that you are a hypocrite. To develop a way to record and remember your thoughts by constantly and keenly observing all that comes in there. If you lust for a hot colleague at office, remember that you did. If you felt envy at a junior who got promoted above you, observe and remember that you envied for that guy. Do not let the mind tell you that you are a “Sinner” to think so. Know that you HAD that thought. Next time, you realize someone envies you – you would then not judge him. Because you were him sometime back! Recording thoughts lets us be non-judgmental. Helps accept everyone around us as they are, because they are as you are! It makes you smile when someone steals or envies, ‘I did that myself a while ago or atleast thought of it a while ago!’

This slowly destroys the concept of ‘I am’ and ‘He/ She is’ and makes it ‘We are’ – Is that not what Universality supposed to be? And after a point in time, the mind does not feel the need to record your thoughts to remind you constantly what you are. Because you would have realized what you are! Is that not what ‘Enlightenment’ is supposed to be?

In my thoughts today, I figured that this is my simple approach to enlightenment. But, I know that this has some blatant loop-holes, as my mind has started figuring out already as to how to beat this system! And I am telling you something that I might not be able to follow myself.