Happy New Year 2019

Today is 31st December 2018 and the entire world is busy celebrating the arrival of yet another new year 2019 and exchanging greetings. We all wish others “A Happy and Prosperous New Year”.

The purpose of this blog is make you think in a different perspective.

First let us examine Time. We all know that the time is not absolute and relative in nature. The calendars are man made. From the nature perspective there is only sun rise and sun set that results in day and night. So, we are simply passing through this cycles of day and night ever since we are born.

However we are conditioned/ trained about calendars. We are also trained to think in terms of past, present and future. As of today, we reminisce the past (2018) and hope that the future (2019) holds some promise for us. But our past is already gone and not sure if tomorrow is ours. Hence I say that Today is the most important day where we exist and if we need to do anything it has to be today. And when we are always rooted in Today there won’t be New or Old days. The famous philosopher J Krishnamurthi has said that you shall die to the past every minute, every day. That means you shall empty out all your ego, thoughts, anger, jealousy etc on every day basis. Then you are newly born every day. He also says that you shall not be thinking about future since that involves mere thinking and no action. Any action happens now and immediately.

Now let us come to the word Happy. My first question to you is that “Is it fair to hope for a Happy New Year?”. We all know that happiness is a state of the mind. A poor man may be more happier than a billionaire. Can we really live all through our life with only happiness? The answer is absolutely no since we will be going through ups and downs during our life. And when do we consider a year to be a happy new year to us? Is it when only good things happen to us? Again is it really possible that only good things happen to us? Obviously there are bound to be some bad things also that will make us feel sad. Why do we classify the events/ things that happens to us as Good/ bad in the first place? Why can’t we take them as mere events/ things and learn not to condemn them or justify them and learn to flow with them gracefully as they occur in life. What will happen then? We will be more open ended and willing to undergo all types of experiences with the same state of mind. And that mind will be at peace internally with itself always. Externally it may be happy or sad but that does not matter.

Next, what do we mean by the term Prosperous? Is it wealth/ health/ money or all of them? We want to be happy and prosperous at the same time knowing well that happiness has nothing to do with prosperity. You can still be sad being prosperous also. In my opinion we are merely making a wish to be prosperous and that wish is a desire in nature. Any human being shall ultimately reach a stage of zero desires in his life time (preferably as early as possible in his life time and not definitely during the time of death). What will happen to him then, shall be experienced by self instead of me telling.

So, here is my prescription of how you shall wish a person at any point of time.

May you be a person with zero desires and who is always rooted in Today, willing to wipe off your past and start afresh every day. May you be the person who does not condemn or justify whatever happens to us

Your comments are welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

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Freedom From the Known – My Paradigm Shift

As some of you are aware I have quit my job in February 2017 and set myself a goal of self-realization. Towards that I started learning/ practicing various things like Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation since last year. I was actually thinking practicing them will be my goal for my entire life.

Then came the book “Freedom from the Known’ into my life in December 2017. As I started reading this book I for sure could not grasp much and had to read each chapter again and again. The number of pages of the book is 129 only but the content is very hard to understand. But I understood that this is a very important book when we understood its contents and start practicing it.

On 10th March 2018, I created a WhatsApp group with the same name of the book and started discussing one chapter a week. In sixteen weeks we have covered all the sixteen chapters. I had to compulsorily go through each chapter understand its content and summarise for the participants. As I did that, I began to understand many things.

The most important thing I realised is that self-realisation means knowing about myself in this life and may be that will lead to realising the God within me which has become secondary now. It is not about what happens after I die, it is not about whether soul exists or not, it is not about the possibility of rebirth etc. It is knowing about myself outwardly in terms of my relationship with the world and inwardly in terms of my desires, anger, jealousy, frustrations, greed etc. It is about being aware all the time with total attention.

The next important thing to understand is that self-realisation cannot be obtained by seeking help from books/ teacher/ friends etc. No one will know you better than yourself. Similarly, none of the knowledge/ conditioning acquired by us will be helpful. We have to undo our learning/ conditioning to be able to understand ourselves without any prejudice.

The time factor or gradualness also will not help. That means you cannot think I will change gradually step by step. You have to orderly on the instant. And it is possible if we constantly make ourselves aware of the following steps in our day to day life.

Ceasing of all Fragmentation: I am a human being first and will remain a human being. I do not belong to any religion, nation, caste etc. I may be a Hindu for government record purposes and may be following Hindu philosophy, but at the root I am a human being.

Having no Fear: Fear is an obstacle in our day to day worldly matters as well as in the spiritual world. We shall not have no fear whatsoever. It can mean to be able to question/ validate everything, stepping out of the trap of respectability, having no worries/ concerns etc. This change of having no fear can be brought upon instantly by being aware every minute.

Having no Desires: Desires are another obstacle in our path to self-realisation. The desire can be in any form like wanting to acquire, wanting to travel, seeking recognition/ appreciation etc. This change of having no desires also can be brought upon instantly by being aware every minute.

Ceasing of All Comparison: Comparison is another obstacle for our journey of life. We get tremendous peace of mind when we stopped comparing ourselves with others. That will also lead to having no jealousy, no greed, no competition etc. This change also can be brought upon instantly by being aware every minute.

Practice Joy and Do Not Pursue Pleasure: By ensuring that thought does not take over our instant gratification of looking at a beauty etc. we can always remain in a joyful mood. Since pleasure is associated with thought and sorrow, we can avoid pleasure by remaining in the present moment and not wanting to repeat any joy encountered by instant gratification. For example, I can look a beautiful woman, appreciate her beauty for a second and move on with my life without wanting to see her again and again.

Being Totally Attentive: We need to be able to have total attention similar to the one when there is a serpent in your room along with you or fire in your room. This will lead to increase of our awareness since we do not exclude any thing.

Practice Seeing the World in Actuality: As I see many things in my life, I shall practice to see them in actuality. For example: I see a motorcyclist talking on a phone while driving. That is the image in actuality. But mind takes over and says that he/ she shall not be doing that or why he/ she is doing that.

Move out of the Corridor of Duality: Remember that there is no good/ bad, like/ dislike, ugly/ beautiful, love/ hatred etc. The entire creation has a purpose and hence there is no duality. By moving out of duality, you will observe change in your outlook of the world.

Eradicate Violence Within US: Remember that we are violent when we call ourselves an Indian or Hindu or abuse a person or criticise a person. Violence has no place in us.

Die Every Minute/ Day: Each passing moment in your life is history and there is no point in retaining the past life. When you die every minute, you are emptying your past (That is, your desires, thoughts, intentions, aspirations, experiences, achievements, anger, jealousy, greed etc.). That way you are a new born every minute and will be lively. By practicing this your life outlook will change tremendously. For example, you will no longer be complaining about having to take your parents to hospital often since every time you are taking them to hospital that will be the first time.

Only Today Belongs to You: Tomorrow is not ours. Yesterday is gone. We are left with this moment/ day. Learn to make most out of it by being in action rather than dwelling in ideas/ thoughts/ feelings etc.

Being Independent: Our true nature is being independent but through our training and years of conditioning we have been made dependent. Please remember that only a independent person can be interdependent and not a dependent person.

Practicing Silence: This is a very important aspect we need to work on since we are not habituated to being silent. Silence does not mean merely not talking. In silence there is no flow of thoughts etc.

Finally Meditate: Meditation helps you in increasing your awareness about yourself. Hence constant practice of meditation is important. To begin with twice a day is recommended. You can then start meditating frequently. Please remember that meditation is to be aware of every thought and of every feeling, never to say it is right or wrong but just to watch it and move with it.

My First Ride of the Year 2018

How many of you feel bored to travel to same destination many times? I have been to Wargal every year and still doesn’t get bored. The destination is same but the way I see it each time is different.

So you already know that my first motorcycle ride of this year is to Wargal. For those who did not read my earlier blogs, I wish to inform that sentimentally I first make a trip to Wargal to seek Goddess Saraswathi’s blessings before planning any other long rides.

Myself and Mallik were accompanied by Ravindranath Reddy and his son Rohan for this trip. We usually call this ride as breakfast ride since the ride ends after the breakfast. The total number of kilometers is under 100. We started at 6 AM at our house on 7th April and we all met at Tirumalagiri X Roads at 6.30 AM.

Before meeting them, I took this picture of sun appearing in my side view mirror.

The weather was very cool today thanks to the rain yesterday. There are cool winds blowing against our face while riding and it was very comfortable.

We stopped at Shameerpet Lake for some time and took some pictures. We spotted a young couple near the lake who seems to have come for a photo shoot. You can see them if you zoom this picture.

Here is another picture taken with my friends at the lake. Left to right are: Mallik, Ravi and Rohan.

We have taken a different route from Mulugu and lost our way. We finally reached Wargal after enquiring with local people.

The temple itself has undergone some changes and is now looking even more beautiful. Here is a view of temple taken from a distance.

As we entered the main temple we found that they have closed the curtains since the deity is being decorated after the Abhishekam. We found this to be our blessing in disguise since we had an opportunity to sit there for some time and perform meditation. Also the priests asked for our names and performed Archana. We were asked to recite the special prayer praising the Goddess. And last but not the least, the darshan itself is very beautiful with Goddess revealing herself slowly from darkness to light as the harathi’s are being given. We had similar experience last two years also. It is here last year that I realized that I shall not seek any worldly pleasures and instead try to find God within myself. And with that beautiful darshan she seems to have blessed us.

After getting satisfied, we started our journey back to home. I got an opportunity to drive Mallik’s Continental GT for some time on the way.

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Me on Continental GT

I am ending this blog with some pictures that you may like.

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An Unexpected Trip to Srisailam

We learned On 28th March 2018 once again that if man proposes God disposes. Strange are his ways to make us humble.

This trip was planned to visit Saleshwaram which is located at a distance of 60 kilometers from Srisailam. The route includes 16 kilometers of driving on a mud road from Farhabad X Roads and 3 kilometers of trekking in the jungle. This route is opened only for five days in a year around this time.

We have not traveled by motorcycle since the weather is already hot during this time reaching a maximum of 37 degrees Celsius. Also we have the privilege of Komala Garu (Mrs. Mallik) accompanying us. In fact we went in her car with Mallik being the charioteer. So Krishna (Mallik) and Arjuna (Mrs. Mallik) were in the front seats and myself and Ravindranath Reddy (Hanuman and Flag) sitting in the back. It’s actually we accompanied Mrs & Mr Mallik. Here is our chariot below.

To our disappointment when we reached the Farhabad X Roads, we were told that the route will be opened from next day. That is how we ended up visiting Srisailam as per God’s wish.

The attraction at Farhabad X Roads was a tiger statue.

The drive itself was very familiar for us since we traveled by this route many a times. However the forest trees had no leaves and was looking as if they are deprived of something. I wonder how animals are surviving in that hot forest environment.

At Srisailam, the darshan of Lord Mallikarjuna was very good and there was no rush. The chief attraction for us this time is Siddha Ramappa Kolanu. As per the legend, Siddha Ramappa did penance here and hence a small temple with his paduka’s established there. The place also has a small waterfall and a few steps to get down to the place. You can view the valley from downstream of the waterfall.

 

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After seeing this place we headed back to Hyderabad with a stop over for lunch at Munnanuru.

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Lunch at Munnanuru

And last but not the least I signed off this trip with a nice coffee at Mallik’s house. It was another day to remember.

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Nero and a Cup of Coffee making me relaxed after a nice trip at Mallik’s home.

Introduction to Fritjof Capra – The Physicist-Philospher

I have read an interview with Fritjof Capra published by Hindu on 19th November 2017 and found it very interesting. Hence I am sharing some of the excerpts of that interview through this blog to reach wider audience.

First we will start with his introduction. Fritjof Capra is best known for his first book, The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism(1975), which has sold over a million copies worldwide. He had his epiphany while he was sitting by the ocean one afternoon and felt the cascading waves and sand forming a cosmic dance, which he intuitively likened to the dance of Shiva, that he had been reading about. This started a long inquiry into Eastern religions and more particularly Hinduism and Zen Buddhism. In 1972, he drew the parallel between Shiva’s dance and the dance of subatomic particles in an article titled ‘The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics’.  He is now Director of Centre for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California. I have highlighted the key takeaways of this paragraph in Bold. In order to progress myself in spirituality I realized that I have lot of work to do and may be less time. I will not be disappointed since I will do my best and I am sure that I will get an opportunity to carry out the remainder of the work in the next life(s).

Let us understand how Fritjof Capra got interested in Hinduism. From a family point of view his mother was a poet and father was both lawyer and amateur philosopher. So he got introduced to Hinduism from childhood itself since they used to have lot of discussions about Art and Philosophy. His father had a very well-known German translation of the Upanishads (Let us get our copy if we don’t have). He had also heard about Buddhism from his father. He really got interested in Indian philosophy in the 1960s; it came through the artists – the beat poets in San Francisco like Ferlinghetti, Kerouac and Ginsberg.

And then in the 1960s, he became part of the counter-culture. He began to practise Yoga and Zen meditation, before finally settling on Taoist tai-chi, which he practices till today. He also experimented with psychedelics, which exposed him to alternative visions of reality through books, through classical texts. The Bhagavad Gita was an eye-opener for him, a profound experience. As per him this was the first original source that he read and it was and is the best. Then he read a lot of books about Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki. You can see that Bhagavad Gita influenced him a lot. We shall all try to first read and understand its essence and then reflect on it and finally put it in practice. The last two steps of reflect and practice are very important. Just reading is a waste of time.

In 1969, he met Jiddu Krishnamurthi who became a big influence on his thinking. He had read his books before and one of Krishnamurthi’s collections of writings is known as Freedom from the Known. Fritjof was very puzzled by it. Fritjof was a young physicist, just beginning a career: here was this Indian sage telling him that he must forget about knowledge, about language and he must free himself from all that. This is very interesting and I request the readers to reflect on it since it has a profound meaning. When Fritjof got a chance to meet him, he asked him: “How do I free myself from the known as a budding physicist embarking on a career?” Krishnamurthi immediately responded: “First you are a human being. Only then are you a physicist. You have to liberate yourself as a human being and that you cannot do through thinking; you can only do that through meditation. Once you have achieved that liberation, then go back and do physics. I love science.” He showed Fritjof that you can combine different states of consciousness and use them when they are appropriate. The key learning for us is to work on liberating ourselves through meditation. Let us start in this life and if lucky enough we may achieve this liberation in this life with our determined will. Always remember that we are human beings first.

Then he clearly outlined the distinction between religion and spirituality during this interview. Spirituality is a perception of reality in a special state of consciousness and the characteristics of this experience of belonging to a larger whole, connected with everything, are independent of historical and cultural context. The organised expression of spirituality is religion, which always depends on cultural and historical context. As per him unfortunately, religion often ossifies and the teachings are expressed as dogma; experience is replaced by faith. You have to believe; you don’t have to experience. These religions, all over the world, also align themselves with politics and very often with right-wing politics. In America, it is the same with the Protestant ethic and preachers like televangelists. I agree with him and Swami Vivekananda very clearly stated that one shall experience the religion rather than following blindly as a faith.

He also acknowledged that Hinduism is a very tolerant religion and felt sad on the current state of affairs in India as well as world wide.

And then he talked about the idealism of the 60s and 70s on economic and ecological issues being negated today. He sees that as a cycle, which he feels is very consistent with Indian thinking. He has explained his personal experience from the 60s to the 90s in this interview. You can go through that if interested.

He also talked about surge in communications and how it was critical for establishing global capitalism and how the financial capitalism has smothered the global capitalism. He has given his opinion on various issues being faced by the world today and what needs to be done.

While talking about hope for the future he feels that there are two major problems, among many others: climate change and economic inequality. Violence and war also exist but are derived from inequality. He feels that people are very enthusiastic, but are confused about certain aspects: In his courses he provides a scientific basis to bolster certain values like ecological sustainability and human dignity. And he is happy doing that to those people who are already convinced but confused about certain details. This is a very positive and hopeful development as per him.

So in a nutshell if we are enthusiastic and ready to incur principles into our life there will be hope for the future. So the transformation shall start within rather than blaming others. With this I am concluding this blog.

You can read the entire interview at the following link.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/interview/fritjof-capra-talks-about-his-journey-towards-balancing-science-and-spirituality/article20550307.ece

 

 

 

My Long Cherished Wish Fulfilled at last. Visiting Vemulawada  

Vemulawada is only 160 kilometers from my residence and still I could not visit in-spite of my desire to visit this holy place. Elders say that the we cannot visit a holy place until the God gives us permission. May be it is true. October being an auspicious month as per Telugu Calendar, finally I made it on 27th October 2017. On my friends recommendation I have visited Kondagattu also in this trip (30 Kilometers from Vemulawada) and it was worth it. This was the first solo motorcycle ride for me in pure sense and the total distance covered was 370 kilometers.

In Vemulawada I have visited Sri Raja Rajeswara Swamy temple.  The presiding deity of the temple is Sri Raja Rajeswara Swamy who is locally popular as Rajanna. He is adorned on both the sides by the idol of Sri Raja Rajeswari Devi on the right side and to the left is the idol of Sri Laxmi Sahitha Siddi Vinayaka.

Pilgrims have divine bath in a holy tank called ‘Dharma Gundam, before proceeding for darshan and these holy waters are believed to have medicinal properties.

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Dharma Gundam
You see the term called’ KODE MOKKU’ all over the temple and wondered what could it be. I learnt that Kode mokku is a ritual where the devotee makes the pradakshinam of the temple with a kode (bull) which is vahanam(nandi) of Lord Shiva. I found a Dargah within the precincts of the temple and found it unusual. This is an ample evidence for religious tolerance.

In Vemulawada I missed visiting Sri Bhimeswara Swamy temple which is located very near to the Sri Raja Rajeswara Swamy temple. Please do visit this temple since its history dates back to 9th century.

Next we will move to Kondagattu Anjaneya Swamy temple. The deity is a Swayambhu idol and the temple is built around 300 years back. I had a good darshan of the lord and was happy to visit this place.

 

The drive to Kondagattu from Vemulawada was very beautiful. On the way, I stopped at a place to take the pictures of a small temple with beautiful pictures painted on the walls. Hope you enjoy them.

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I also talked to the people sitting there and they informed that they grow Cotton and Rice in that region. During the conversation they asked me about my work. When I informed them that I am retired, they could not believe. They asked me to remove the helmet to see my face. Since I did not want to prolong the discussion I quietly left that place after saying good bye to them.

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Finally I am signing off this blog with some pictures I have taken on my way.  Thank you for reading the blog.

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Swami Vivekananda’s Speeches at the World Parliament of Religions (1893) – A Summary

Once upon a time there lived a small frog in a small pond for a long time. It is born in that pond and lived in it entirely. One day another frog from the sea came to this pond. The small frog asked the other frog is the sea bigger than her pond. The other frog laughed and said your pond is nothing when compared to sea. The small frog doesn’t believe in this and somehow decided to push the other frog out of the pond. The same thing is happening between various religions with every religion thinking that their religion is only the true religion. This is the story told by Swami Vivekananda during his second speech in World Parliament of religions held in Chicago in 1893. This story also explains the reason for differences between various human beings with each one thinking that only their understanding of this world is correct. On reading this speech and other speeches given in that conference I felt inspired to share my learning through this blog. Hope you will enjoy the rest of the blog and find it useful.

I do not wish to give an introduction of Swamiji here and will start with the introduction of this conference. The World Parliament of Religions was a gathering of more than 5,000 religious officials, scholars, and historians representing the major world faiths. It was held from September 11 to 27, 1893, as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The gathering is considered to be the first global interfaith event in modern history. The event was organized to commemorate the 400 years of American evolution since Columbus discovered America.

Vivekananda faced lot of difficulties after reaching Chicago to attend the conference. Due to divine grace he was able to overcome all the difficulties and was able to attend the conference. I am mentioning this to highlight the fact that we shall also have strength to face difficulties like Swami Vivekananda and through divine grace we will be able to overcome our difficulties.

Vivekananda gave six speeches at the conference. First we will start with the title of all the six speeches.

  • Vivekananda’s reply to the welcome extended to him by the conference.
  • Vivekananda’s sweet story on the reason for differences between humans and religions.
  • A detailed explanation of Hindu religion. I recommend that every Hindu shall read this speech and know about their religion in detail. Also read it to understand how the speech is structured.
  • The fourth speech highlights the immediate needs of India (Food, Shelter etc.). He has given a clear message that religion is not our immediate need and spoke against any conversions. Unfortunately this is true (in terms of poverty) even today in India. Many are dying due to hunger, poor medical facilities, corruption etc.
  • The fifth speech highlights the interdependence of Hindu and Buddhism.
  • Through his concluding speech, he highlighted that all religions are equally true and they lead to the single destiny and the need for unity among the religions.

He has started his first speech by addressing the participants as brothers and sisters of America. This has instantly made tremendous impact on the participants and shows that our opening lines of the speech are very important to capture the audience attention.

Also the first speech though short has summarized the intent of this world conference and its future path and Swamiji has become world-famous by delivering this speech. So for our speeches also we need to carefully plan the content and structure. Our intent is  not to become world famous but to make a small difference to this world.

He has highlighted that Hinduism believes that all religions are true and they are different paths to realize the divinity/ God similar to how various rivers ultimately merge in seas.

He also proudly informed that India has given shelter to all the people from various religions/ countries who has sought refuge and embraced them. We shall imbibe this quality of kindness/ acceptance for all.

The importance of tolerance and the need for realizing that all religions are true. This is more relevant in India today, considering the events we are witnessing in our country. The tolerance for this generation is the need of the hour.

He has minced no words on why he is proud of Hindu religion and India. The learning for us is to understand the importance of following the Hindu religion tenets for our day-to-day living and also reaffirm our faith in our country.

Through this third speech he explains in detail various facets of Hindu religion. I realized that as a Hindu myself I don’t know anything about my religion. I suggest every body to read this speech in detail.Probably this speech will help the followers of other religions in understanding more about Hindu religion. Similarly after assimilating the Hindu religion we shall try to understand the importance of other religions and their teachings.

This speech is also an example of how to structure the content of the speech.  It starts with the origin of the Hinduism, definition of Vedas and their eternal nature, meaning of God, difference between body, mind and soul, how to live in this world, different forms of worship and how all these ways ultimately lead to God etc.

He is very bold also in declaring that the Christian’s efforts to convert the followers of other religions to Christianity is not needed. He declared that the need of the hour for India is not religion but to attend the basic needs of poor people urgently. It will be a sin if we teach them religion without feeding them properly. His intention of extending help to the poor is relevant even today considering their difficulties in our country.

He has also given a beautiful speech on the interdependence of Hindu and Buddhism. He has declared that Hinduism cannot exist without Buddhism and vice versa.

In his last speech, he has declared that unity among religions cannot be attained by assuming that one religion is supreme and all other religions are to be destroyed. If any religion has this expectation he has warned that it will be an impossible goal. He has also stated that this conference has highlighted that respectability, purity and sacrifice are not the exclusive property of a religion. He has also highlighted the need for cooperation, respect for other religions and peaceful coexistence.

Vivekananda has also demonstrated the quality of authority/ courage during the conference. During his speech he stopped for a minute and wanted to know how many of the participants has studied our religion and obtained independent knowledge. Only four or five hands raised among the 5000+ participants. Then he has looked at the participants affectionately and in a very authoritative tone stated “How dare you criticize our religion without any knowledge of it”.

With this I conclude this blog. Please note that this is a summary as per my understanding only and could be wrong also. The intention is not to hurt anyone but to generate interest among some of you to go the through these speeches.