Saturday, December 27, 2008

another chance....

how often we wish for another chance
to make a fresh beginning
a chance to blot our mistakes
and change failure into winning.


it does not take a special time
to make a brand new start,
it only takes the deep desire
to try with all our heart.


to live a little better,
to always be forgiving
to add a little sunshine
in a world for which we're living


never give up in despair
nor think you are through
for there's always a tomorrow,
a chance to start anew.

song of the day....pal pal from lage raho munnabhai....love the lyrics....

Monday, December 15, 2008

spirituality and religion...

Today I am making an attempt to define spirituality and religion….explain the meaning of the two…and try to explain the importance and relevance of both these terms in our life….this I am penning down so that my concepts get clear and also so that I am able to pass on some wonderful information I have learnt over the past one week from sw.vimalanandji…..she had a gyan yagna over the past week in vasai and I was lucky to attend most of it….and I feel it is my responsibility to share what I gained….also its my joy to share….its my tribute, my guru dakshina to swamiji…..i am going to write some more posts about Indian culture, hinduism, parenting, meditation, shrimad bhagwad geeta and lot more etc etc….basically I am going to share what all I learnt over the last week…….the core of everything, the essence is from swamiji’s lectures….but I have put in my understanding of the subject, my views, opinions, some different illustrations and examples…..also the way of writing is going to be like how she talks….coz she talks in an amazing way…I am going to forward all my posts to swamiji so that if I have misunderstood anything she can rectify it….so with her blessings I start my adventure (trust me that’s what I am feeling it is…it is an adventure….my heart is beating fast….i am feeling a thrill )
What is spirituality????
If u ask youngsters “ARE THEY SPIRITUAL or RELIGIOUS” many of them including me will answer spiritual…why do we all answer like that?? What is our concept of being spiritual or of being religious???
Being spiritual we think means “for me all religions are equal” “there is only one god” we say “god didn’t make religion….man did” so we feel we are in better connection with god wen we are spiritual… basically we are all just trying to be fair to everyone…we think we believe in equality…. we are just trying to be good human beings when we say WE ARE SPIRITUAL…. our misconception is if we say we are religious we will be misinterpreted that OTHERS MIGHT THINK WE FEEL OUR RELIGION IS SUPERIOR….
So first of all lets see what is spirituality….SPIRITUALITY IS THE STATE OF MIND….IT IS A TYPE OF MIND FRAME WHICH IS ALWAYS HAPPY (IN A STATE OF BLISS)…..no matter what happens….there is no jealousy or envy or hatred or anger in the mind for anyone inspite of any actions…..SPIRITUALITY IS A NATURE OF A PERSON….IT IS REALIZATION OF SELF…..IN SANSKRIT WE SAY IT IS SAT CHIT ANAND SWAROOPA……(I will try n explain all the technical meanings in subsequent posts)
Now let us all think….are we always HAPPY, IN STATE OF BLISS???? Do we get affected mentally by rise and fall of economies or by rise and fall of our collegues???? Are we ever stressed, tensed, irritated???
Think for a moment….IF THE ANSWER TO THE FIRST QUESTION IS YES….read no further…..you are a realized soul…..i offer my humble pranams to you….BUT IF THE ANSWER TO FIRST QUESTION IS NO AND TO REST OF QUESTIONS IS YES……SNAP UP TO ATTENTION….YOU ARE LIVING IN A FALSE (or should I say FOOL’S) PARADISE…..you are not spiritual….you are PSEUDO SPIRITUAL…..and let me clear one thing you cant have yes to all questions….or no to all questions…because that’s just not possible…..
NOW, at least theoretically we think we know little bit of spirituality….let us try to understand RELIGION….first we all will think why do we scorn religion???….why do we think its uncool to be religious...it is because in this scientific day and age we don’t understand religion….we think religion means rituals (which we think are meaningless)….that is the first mistake….religion includes rituals, true but IT DOES NOT ONLY INCLUDE RITUALS…and whatever rituals are there they are certainly not MEANINGLESS…..just because we don’t understand the meanings and the idea behind it we think they are meaningless…..like for eg : the wedding ceremony….hindu weddings include lot of rituals….we shall just see the seven steps….if we don’t know the what the seven vows are, we might think what a waste of time it is….but when we know what it signifies the entire wedding ceremony takes a new dimension….(I was amazed when I first came to know what the vows were….they seemed to encompass everything anyone can think of) if you don’t know what they are…CLICK HERE
2nd eg : in any puja we perform we put many things like fruits, ghee, wood, and lots of other things in fire….now whats the idea behind it….do we put it in to destroy it??? Or we put it in as we like to inhale smoke??? Or for the heck of it…..i ll tell you why we offer in fire at the end of the post….dont skip…read the entire post…
well let me tell you one thing NOTHING is done for the heck of it….there is no ritual that is without a sound logic…..its a different story you might not agree with the logic….(but most of the time our not agreeing is either because we are misinformed….or because we have closed & prejudiced minds) and trust me if u find something that is illogical or weird or that cannot be explained WE PEOPLE have distorted the true meaning either as per our own sweet wish (maybe coz it was for selfish benefit of some people) or they have understood it wrong and then propagated wrongly…
for eg : good old days people believed that the knowledge of scriptures was for Brahmins only…..that they only have right to learn it..know it…when sant dhyaneshwar translated shrimad bhagwad geeta in Marathi (I think…m not sure) it was met with tremendous opposition….he and his family (they were just 3 children…one younger brother and younger sister) were thrown out of the village and they faced various atrocities….
So the point is at times our scriptures have been mistranslated n over a period of centuries the chasm between the truth and what is told grows wider……but thankfully even today if we go to the right people we can get correct knowledge…..(will tell you about where to go in subsequent posts)
Now let us come to the point….WHAT IS RELIGION??? RELIGION IS THE MEANS TO ATTAIN SPIRITUALITY.
IT IS THE VEHICLE WE USE TO ATTAIN THE STATE OF BLISS…we can chose the path ourself….the path that appeals to us, the path in which we are comfortable in, and we feel is best for our growth….the paths are bhakti (devotional) it includes bhajans (singing devotional songs), jap (chanting Gods name repeatedly), puja (daily prayer…chanting of shlokas, dusting the temple, lighting the lamp and incense sticks) etc etc….next is gyan (knowledge)…we can attain the knowledge of self and state of bliss when understand the knowledge of our scriptures….and put into practice whats written in them….next is tap (rigorous penance) wat dhruv, valmiki rishi, Buddha etc did….well these are the ones I remember….if there are more I ll put it in my next post
How each of these paths lead us to one goal i.e. STATE OF BLISS will explain later…..
yes there are going to be a lot of posts in this particular series…..and hopefully I can write everything that is there in my mind asap….the only hindrance is I am studing for gre at the moment….n my exam is less than a month away so I might not get enough time at the moment….
Now let me tell you something that might make u sit straight in your seat and pay attention to what I have written….
What if I told you that all of the swamijis, brahmacharis and acharyas from chinmaya mission (more about it later) are very well educated like doctors, engineers, architect, MBAs, professors, are creative and talented stage artists, dancers, etc etc
What if I told you that lectures on shrimad bhagwad geeta were given by acharyas in various top management institutions in india(IIMs) and abroad (Harvard)….
What if I told you that the birlas, piramals,goenkas listened to the discourses from various scriptures daily and taught their children teachings of shrimad bhagwad geeta
most of us feel these things are boring, meant for elder people, and maybe unintelligent people or people who don’t have anything better to do…..some of us feel that those who want to escape from the world become sanyasis….do we sincerely believe that…..the sanyasis leave the world not to escape from it but to attain a much higher realm….do we believe that understanding the scriptures is easy???? Or it is boring??? I ll tell you my take on it…I find it intellectually stimulating, fascinating, universally true and very practical. Swamiji said a very nice thing…SHRIMAD BHAGWAD GEETA IS THE MANUAL GOD HAS SENT ABOUT HOW TO MAKE BEST USE OF THE WONDERFUL INSTRUMENT HE HAS PROVIDED US WITH…SO WE MUST READ IT BEFORE WE USE IT I.E BEFORE WE ENTER THE WORKING PHASE OF LIFE (KARMAYOGA) NOT AT THE END OF IT WHEN THE INSTRUMENT HAS ALMOST BROKEN DOWN
with this I conclude….please wake up “GOOD MORNING”…please think…I ll write something more soon enough…..till then…happy thinking.
PS: the significance of putting our offerings in fire in puja…..well first of all we don’t put it in fire…secondly we consider all the elements as god ie we see &worship the lord present in them….we offer our naivedya (in form of ghee,sandal wood, fruits etc) to the fire god(agnidev) coz firegod is said to be the messenger between man and God….so whatever we wish to offer to any god we offer it through fire….beautiful and meaningful, is it not???
Giving you all some more food for thought….
In hinduism do we believe in many gods or one god?
In hindusim do we believe in idol worship?
Pl leave a comment whatever U feel the answer is.