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Arunachala, In Silence…

Absolutely loved this picture of Arunachala hill which seems looking over a vast ocean… The vast ocean behind the image is just clear blue skies.. <Click open in a different tab/page to see the full size image>

Chollathu cholli nee , chollara nillendru,
Chumma yirundhay , Arunachala

Ramana Maharshi- Akshara manamalai 36

In silence Thou saidst, ‘Stay silent!’ and Thyself stood silent, O Arunachala!

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Story of Fish and the Japanese!

Not sure of the origin of the story, just found it interesting..

The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh. The Japanese did not like the taste.

To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought lower rice.

So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little trashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive.

Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish. So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan?

To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state. The fish are challenged.

As soon as you reach your goals, such as finding a wonderful mate, starting a successful company, paying off your debts or whatever, you might lose your passion. You don’t need to work so hard so you relax.

Like the Japanese fish problem, the best solution is simple. L. Ron Hubbard observed it in the early 1950’s. “Man thrives, oddly enough, only in the presence of a challenging environment.”

The Benefits of a Challenge – The more intelligent, persistent and competent you are, the more you enjoy a good problem. If your challenges are the correct size, and if you are steadily conquering those challenges, you are happy. You think of your challenges and get energized. You are excited to try new solutions. You have fun. You are alive!

Recommendations – Instead of avoiding challenges jump into them. Beat the heck out of them. Enjoy the game. If your challenges are too large or too numerous, do not give up. Failing makes you tired. Instead, reorganize. Find more determination, more knowledge, more help.

Don’t create success and lie in it. You have resources, skills and abilities to make a difference. Put a shark in your tank and see how far you can really go! (Source – Unknown)

Mystic River flows on..

Mystic River Flows On….

Back in time when we used to write
(And not type as we do today)
With ink flowing down the fountain pen
I was told that it was called a mystic river
Of thoughts flowing from one’s heart to their next home
A book, bound and ready to bloom!

Apparently,
The words and the book then waited,
The ink within weathering it for days
For a hand to caress, a mind to read and a heart to warm
May be to meet a reader who really understands why they were born!

The author, sometimes got lost in the dunes of time
Had either grown old or rusted
Always hoping someone agreed with what he thought
Someone liked what he said
Or drank from the spring of water, he thought, he created!

But there occasionally was one among a few
Who wrote, but knew
That the mystic river out, he did not bring!
The eternal fountain was elsewhere
And that he was just a pen to that universal spring!

I read one such book, written by one
Who considered himself just a space, through which the river flowed
Who did not own those words, Nor did he create the river
Who knows the mystic river flows as ever, To where it knows it should!

He asked,
Where was the word, before it was on paper or on his mind,
Whence forth did it spring from,
To be born in ink and live in a book with its family & friends!

The words were magical, the book enrapturing

I suddenly became one with the word
Realized I myself was a word too, born in the ink of blood
Born off the spark of a thought of authors
Who think they created me!

And one day, just like the word, the ink on me would disappear
The weather would erase me, the dye on paper forgotten

So why are words born all the time?
Again and again, in a new ink and on a new paper!
Why does the mystic river continue to flow,
From unknown origins to unknown destinations?

(Inspired by Master Parvati Kumar’s book ‘Sarawati – The Word’)

Shadows!

As a kid, I frequently heard my grandma’s yowls
Asking me not to chase my own shadows
That shadows devour and eat up our souls
Only to leave us weak and drag them to unheard shallows!

I felt it was just another village myth
Just treated my grandma, a wonderful pastime, to play with!

I thought it was great fun
As a kid to chase my shadow
And as an adult, my boss’s Rado 😉

Nothing was enough,
And the game never ended
I was told to be tough
‘coz in this world- only yourself, you fended!

Go to a school and top the class
In the office, “Aim to be the boss!”
(Which is more like die tomorrow!)
If you play a game, kick some ass
Drop a great line, pick up that great lass!

Life is fun only when you win
Even if bruised and rolling!
Just as my childish game, It’s even more fun
When you leave there smiling and someone else howling!

Until a day came,
When a wise man crossed my path
An exquisite silence on his lips
And a brilliant light, he hath!

Without saying a word, He made me feel like a fool
With rags on his body and a smile on his face
He mocked at my half-cooked definitions of ‘being cool!’

He never uttered a word
But the mere presence was a mesmerizing sight!
He did not say – ‘Don’t chase your shadow!’
He only hinted to me – ‘Turn to Light!’

The shadows disappeared in an instant
The Rado’s seemed obscene
My whole life whirred till the present
Made me feel naked, yet clean!

Surprising, the man did not say a word about my life
Of past, present or the future – nothing of my kid or my wife!
Never a syllable on what I was, am and would be
He radiated a silence and said – ‘Just Be!’

In his silence, he left me a message

To never miss watching with wonder the rising sun
And never cry for the one bidding adieu
Know he would be back tomorrow to wake you
Just looking as wonderful and bringing another bright new dawn!

Despite all the noise around,

Never miss that new leaf on a tree you always see,
or a bird returning home saying ‘Sayonara!’
Describe your life in ‘Third person singular’
Laugh at your worries and say ‘This to would pass!’

And yes, shadows are real, everyone has one
They are our dark sides, until one day
When we become the sun!

Top Ten Things to Think About If You Want to Change the World

Loved this list that I read elsewhere!

1. Know that all significant change throughout history has occurred not because of nations, armies, governments and certainly not committees. They happened as a result of the courage and commitment of individuals. People like Joan of Ark, Albert Einstein, Clara Barton, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Rosa Parks. They might not have done it alone, but they were, without question, the change makers.

2. Believe that you have a unique purpose and potential in the world. It’s not so much something to create as to be discovered. And it’s up to you to discover it. Believe that you can and will make a difference.

3. Recognize that everything you do, every step you take, every sentence you write, every word you speak-or DON’T speak–counts. Nothing is trivial. The world may be big, but there are no small things. Everything matters.

4. To be the change you want to see in the world, you don’t have to be loud. You don’t have to be eloquent. You don’t have to be elected. You don’t even have to be particularly smart or well educated. You do, however, have to be committed.

5. Take personal responsibility. Never think “it’s not my job”. It’s a cop-out to say, “What can I do, I’m only one person.” You don’t need everyone’s cooperation or anyone’s permission to make changes. Remember this little gem, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

6. Don’t get caught up in the how of things. If you’re clear on what you want to change and why you want to change it, the how will come. Many significant things have been left undone because someone let the problem solving interfere with the decision-making.

7. Don’t wait for things to be right in order to begin. Change is messy. Things will never be just right. Follow Teddy Roosevelt’s timeless advice, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

8. The genesis for change is awareness. We cannot change what we don’t acknowledge. Most of the time, we aren’t aware of what’s wrong or what’s not working. We don’t see what could be. By becoming more aware, we begin the process of change.

9. Take to heart these words from Albert Einstein–arguably one of the smartest change masters who ever lived: “All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

10. In order for things to change, YOU have to change. We can’t change others; we can only change ourselves. However, when WE change, it changes everything. And in doing so, we truly can be the change we want to see in the world.

Gandhiji said: “Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger and we will make not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large.”

This is NOT MY LIST but list is taken from here (http://www.positivepath.net/ideasMA11.asp) and copied only for a wider distribution purpose. The copyright belongs to the author Michael Angier.

Marketer who went off consumption!

Life is too busy these days to post anything new myself. But I found a video of a talk by a senior of mine from college, Gaurav Mishra, and I found it really really interesting as an idea and also as a talk… I hope the idea and its patrons, becomes a much bigger chain one day… a day that the planet would be better off…

I am still technically challenged to embed this video in to my post.. till then just view it to the right on my vodpod video list. That is the only one on the list for now.. 😉

For a lot many reasons, I feel my previous post on Rediffiland was a lesson for myself. Whenever I start to write anything now, it all seems futile. The words on the page seem to be contradicting what I am trying to say. There is a limit that has been reached with words and I can see it now. Whatever I say, I can argue against it myself. So much so that I have lost the conviction that comes out of partial ignorance. I am losing the conviction that comes out of being partially closed (intentionally or unintentionally) to the other viewpoint. I can play with words, turn arguments on their head and I can win debates. This is what I was ‘Trained’ to do – to convince people when they are in doubt – be it a customer or a friend. But I started disbelieving in it myself. I am not the best one to judge, advice or direct anyone, anymore, suddenly.

I hit the ceiling of intelligence – not in the sense that I am so very brilliant that I have nothing more to intellectually analyze or know. But just that I started losing comfort in the whole idea of intelligence being the most important quality of a person or it being the driving factor for a lot of actions. Because I have seen that my intellectual analysis has started to impact my ability to act. For intellectual analysis is an endless process. The process itself is a lot of fun, with new knowledge acquired the branches never stop splitting into more and the depth never seems to hit the final endpoint. So much so, that the intellectual analysis suddenly is not fun anymore – for there is no goal. The goalpost itself keeps moving and the mover is my intellectual analysis, if you understand what I mean.

I have this general feeling today that the world knows a lot already. A lot has been analyzed, discussed, thought about and understood (atleast partially). But the time now is to ACT. The world is crying aloud for action. The world is asking for hands to do the job. And I found the singular reason acting as hindrance now is intellectual analysis. We have way too many intelligent people who are willing to analyze, provide options but do not have the courage to take the next step towards action. That includes ME too, big time. We know the Pros and Cons of a choice, so I focus on Cons and go to the next alternative. What we miss now is Faith and Courage to move beyond analysis.

As I said earlier as a comment to one of my friend’s blogs, Faith is the prerequisite for Action. Faith, probably, in your own analysis, in your own capability, in your own ability to pick yourself up even if you fail, faith in your family that they would stand by you through your tough decisions and failures, faith in yourself that you are worth more than your bank balance, faith in the fact that even a small act can change a life atleast for a moment, faith in the communities around that they are not out of control already, faith that destruction is only a preceding act to new construction and more importantly, faith that the world is not cruising on its own towards destruction but there is in fact a Pilot up above all of us. Faith is what a lot of intellectuals are lacking. Lack of faith is what ails us – the weak-hearted, ultra-intellectuals. So we depend on corporations for jobs, governments for roads, luxury brands for respect and accent for acceptance.

As one respected Telugu teacher (Master EK) in Andhra Pradesh once said – ‘Irrespective of education qualifications and high salaries, all we see around are beggars. Because they don’t have the faith – that they have anything to offer to the world but depend for everything on it! What do we call someone who has nothing to offer but asks for everything in return – A bloody beggar?” Another great visionary (Pt. Sriram Sharma Acharya) said – “There is no one in this world who does not have either Time or Money to give! Absolutely no one! What you don’t have is the heart to give or do something for someone which does not involve YOU in any way!”

Fellow Analysts! The old world is being torn down systematically if you have not realized it yet! The new world needs to be built and we need hands to do it. The new world needs new systems and processes for Politics, Arts & Literature, Health & Living, Education, Community building, Science and Spirituality. You can be in any of these fields but the call is to ACT now to build the systems and processes in these areas for the future, on the foundations of inclusion, self-respect, honesty and faith on human will power. Choose your field, ACT to start making a difference.

For if you sit long enough in those structures analyzing the world, you might find yourself buried in the rubble when the world around you is torn down –and converted to structures for a New Age. When that day comes we will not be sympathized with but scoffed at for being Fools – exactly opposite of what we consider ourselves today – Intellectuals.

Is the moon still there when nobody is looking?

A very interesting question and an equally brilliant analysis by a whole lot of scientist from Einstein to Bell and a whole lot of more people.

Einstein in his famous EPR paper and through his other discussions takes a position that is ‘realistic’ over being ‘deterministic’ and assumes that all things that we see and cannot be reasonable measured – can be assumed to always exist. So it is a ‘reasonable’ and ‘realistic’ assumption that the moon is still there even when none of us is looking.

The reason I put this post up – In much the same way – you can realistically assume that I exist even when I you don”t see me blog.  😉

Btw, for people interested in the question of Moon’s existence, read this paper by Dr. David Mermin. It is pretty interesting summary of thoughts on this question and quantum mechanics answers.

We are as complete as we are!

“Om purna mada purna midam
Purnaat purnam udachyate
Purnasya purnam adaaya
Purnam eva vasishyate
Om shanti shanti shantih

Literally translates into:

“That is the Whole; This is the Whole;
From the Whole, the Whole arises;
Taking away the Whole from the Whole,
The Whole remains.
Om peace peace peace”

This is a hymn from the Upanishads. The reason this hymn caught my attention and made me Google is the multiplicity of interpretations this simple, small hymn has. I have compiled the various meanings I found on the internet. Even though I don’t vouch for the accuracy, I would urge you to find your own meaning by thinking about it. It is worth thinking about.

Interpretation 1:

This hymn is considered the master thought in Indian ancient mathematics for their understanding of the concept of infinity when it was unknown to other civilizations. The concept of Purnam as Infinity (not as Whole as mentioned in the literal translation above) would display the ancient understanding of how infinity as a mathematical figure behaves.

Infinity + x = Infinity; Infinity –x = Infinity;

Interpretation 2:

In a similar mathematical sense, people gave India the credit of ‘knowing’ zero and its behavior as a number. Replace Infinity with zero and the concept is very similar and clear.

Interpretation 3:

This interpretation works on the hypothesis of the equality of infinity with zero based on the mathematical behavior of the two entities.  Very interesting and a simple “Zero equals Infinity” search on Google gives multiple perspectives to this concept. Concepts of Pythagoras and his belief of this entire world as a structured ordering of numbers is very close to this interpretation.

This link here is an interesting read, though it might be a little controversial 😉 But we can discuss more if you are interested. http://everythingforever.com/st_math.htm ;

Interpretation 4: (My understanding, my thoughts)

This interpretation is off the scientific and mathematical limits and merges into the human sciences. Replace the meaning of Purnam with ‘Complete’ or ‘Full’ in a sense of not lacking in anything or any front.

That is Full; This is Full; Only from a Full does a Full arise; If you take away Full from Full; Full Remains;

That is also complete and this is also complete: No one or nothing is incomplete or lacking in anything. This assertion urges us to not try to find things lacking in people or features missing in things around us for all of us (living and nonliving) are already ‘complete’ as we exist today.

Only from a complete person can something ‘complete’ come out: Half-hearted efforts and inattentive jobs are bound to be fraught with errors and incompletion.

If you take away a complete object from a complete human being, the object and the being still remain complete: Like an artist who puts his entire being into his creation to make it as complete as himself. When he is done, both the art and the artist are still complete. The artist does not part with a part of himself/herself when the art surges forth from him.

Interpretation 5: (My understanding, my thoughts)

This is the usual spiritual meaning of ‘Aham Brahmasmi’.

That is complete. This is complete: God or whatever you find your source of will is complete. Your existence as yourself is also complete.

From the Whole, the whole arises: From a complete universe a micro-version arises with similar features and feelings of the entire universe. (For instance there is an interesting statistic that ratio of Water to Matter in human body = Ratio of Water to Land on Earth = Approx 66% and some interesting words of Nadis with the meaning of nerves in human body is the same word used to denote Rivers on earth and so on – citation needed!) If that is true, we can control ourselves and control the whole world and vice versa, a series of flooding rivers might denote a deluge of hyper-emotions in humans etc. You can go on and on! Think about it if it interests you!

Taking away the whole from the whole, the whole remains: This is the most interesting part. If you remove ourselves (one whole!) from the universe (another Whole) – the Whole remains. If you trust this assertion, what is the fuss about we as human race disappearing or getting wiped out from the face of earth 😉

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Whatever be the meaning and the interpretation of the first three lines, I always like the ending of most of these Vedic hymns. For they end always with wishing for Peace and blessing the world with Peace all the time.

Kids and Banyan Tree!

In my childhood, on my way to school, there used to be a great banyan tree. It is so huge with a think trunk and thousands of branches, that whenever I have to imagine a big tree, that tree is what comes to my mind. I always used to wonder how difficult it would be to grow a tree like that until I was old and wise (I know one necessarily does not follow the other 😉 enough to understand that all it took is a small seed – the seed that is not even a millionth of the tree size. Behind the enormous complexity is a beautiful simplicity.

So why did I remember that tree again? I was reading multiple posts on rediffiland and the ensuing comments from individuals from various backgrounds, belief systems and languages. It is interesting to say the least and enlightening if I have to stretch. These reminded me of that huge banyan tree. Like all of us standing under that tree as kids, trying to talk of how big and complex the tree is; how wonderful are the colors of its leaves; what a miraculous sight of it hanging roots; to basic questions like who used to water it when it was small; to more erudite kids talking of photosynthesis and the green of chlorophyll. All of us have a strange curiosity to know more about the tree, albeit from different perspectives. It intrigues us, it excites us, provides us a chance to show who is more knowledgeable and also to prove who is more correct.

The very fact that we are all thinking together and sharing our thoughts – courtesy internet and blogs – has a reason, possibly. I used to wonder all the time why asking for a scientific proof to spirituality is a blasphemy. Why are humans made to be so dumb and ignorant that they should only imagine God but never see him? I was frustrated when people mentioned that there is God and then we. Rama is God, Krishna is God, Jesus is God, and here Buddha is also God (“Unhe Iswar mein tha aviswaas, inhone unhee ko bana diya Bhagwan” -In Harivansh Rai Bachan’s satirical ‘Buddha aur Naach Ghar’ poem- one of my all time favorites!)

I totally appreciated Lissome’s post (http://lissome.rediffiland.com) on Rediffiland blog which opined that Ram, Sita and Lakshman were humans. Yes, they were humans, very much exercising their free will and independent thinking all the time. They had emotions, feelings of love and betrayal, to be disappointed by someone who they trust and love. No, I have no qualms in thinking and saying that probably Ram was never God. But honestly and deeply praying to Ram, a lot of common people realized What God Means and I believe that fact though I don’t know how. So did people who prayed to Krishna or Shiva. And when all these people talk or sing, if you listen to it taking out the writer’s bias (as Sarath put it) you realize that they are talking about the same thing with different names. They all saw the same thing and that I am sure! I think they all saw the seed, when we were fighting over the banyan tree.

The common thread that combined a few names of people who I personally think did realize God as a concept and as a ‘real’ source and not as a theoretical possibility (Read this wonderful post for theoretical feasibility from Sarat http://probabilityisgod.rediffiland.com titled Universe 1) is the simplicity of thinking and the thinking which is introspective. The only problem I have with Science, as I wrote earlier, is that we can go on searching and finding a new species every day! But we are not reaching anywhere with that, we are just counting the leaves of that great Banyan Tree. I believe that we as people are to search for similarities, if the search has to be meaningful, be it in people or nature. There might be hundred different emotions displayed, but the basic root sources for all those emotions and words are just a handful of feelings.

So which side I am on? Am I an atheist or a believer? Why should I belong to either of these categories? Why can I not be a God-believer who thinks Faith is nonsense unless proven otherwise? Why should I belong to one class just because I said Ram is not God and who in the first place defined these classes? Read this beautiful post on Kalama Sutta Dhamma, by T nA http://ashitshankersaxena.rediffiland.com/ )

I am for now calling myself an amateur scientific spiritualist; I realize that any search requires the seeker to be disciplined, determined and open to possibilities – I have not even started the journey and the search, I am just gearing myself up for it – physically and mentally.

Finally, I am trying to move away from the banyan tree, so that I can get a holistic view of it, to appreciate it in full and not just its leaves and the branches. I have started to move away from it so that the random words of people shouting underneath it do not influence me. And while I walk away from it, I have a feeling that I am going home, just like in my days at school!