Always

There will always be

Space for me

And space for my growing body

There will always be

Space spreading its shores

In all directions

Appearing to retreat, yet always treading ahead

There will always be

Stars above my head

Decorating my astral Self

And the moon shining

Its luminescent sacred milk

Upon our lives

There will always be laughter

Shooting up to hug the great Sky

There will always be

Trees and fields of green

Spreading further than eyes can reach

Always rainbows to hold up dreams

And the patter of rain to fill me with music

There will always be

You in I and I in You

Dancing in the trackless spaces of the Self!

Into the Flow

 

After a very, very long time (having lived ‘happily ever after’ and with no wish to pursue anything whatsoever) I have posted on my blog. Thanks to a lady called Manisha who left a message saying she’d started following my blog only to discover that I was no longer actively posting! I felt as though my conscience was speaking to me.

Out of the blue a stranger comes and gives me a little nudge. That’s all I needed (Thank you Manisha!).  And it is interesting how someone you’ve never met or spoken with can have such an impact: make you move forward!

For a split second, Maya’s veil lifts up to let in the light of Truth. It dawns that there is no stranger. That someone somewhere is listening, even prompting me to move ahead, keen to hear what this wisp of cotton longs to share.

Somewhere in my little journey of nothingness there is a friendly pat, as if to say, “Come on, come on, move along. I’m with you. No dallying here in a dried up well.” At that moment I awake as if from a deep slumber.

For me the activity of writing is as crucial as breathing. Apparently I may not write, but the writing continues all the same. My nerve endings carry flashes of insights. Invisible to eyes, the writing flourishes underground. In a subterranean realm the rivers and tributaries all continue their flow. They know where they are going, although I may be left in the dark.

But the obvious, apparent activity, of tangible thought and touch, of keying words on a pad, is what keeps me alive and ticking. This smudge of an activity keeps me interested in life and awakens a sensitivity towards events unfolding around me, deepening a keenness to make sense of that which is beyond meaning perhaps.

Or else, what is there to hold onto? Life passes by in a blink. Everything is so dreamlike, so wispy. Pale cotton candy… gone in a second! What have I learned after all these years of living?

Quite a bit, I will say. Although easily condensible into a few short sentences. And of course, the learning continues!

I have discovered, for one, that nothing is more precious than my own company; not even the company of saints, which is precious because saints take you back to your source, back to who you are! In other words: Back to your own company!

Yet, beyond one’s own company, more precious are those moments, however fleeting or unplanned they may be, of rejoicing in the memory of God. And this could happen in sudden snaps, when one is singing in one’s bath or looking up at the immense stretch of sky and exulting in its beauty, when one is overwhelmed by that sudden connectedness with God.

I feel those are the only moments that makes one’s life worthy of living. Basking in God’s glories and allowing every fibre of one’s being to be charged with divine love!

It is in those moments that this cotton wisp with no fixed agenda, ‘nowhere to go and nothing to do’ gets transformed , is placed among the living gods and begins to vibrate an ever joyful light. Now, that is something worth living for! Greatest than all gifts is the gift of loving God.

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A Full Circle

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How life spins. 365 days have spun away since my last birthday. And yet I feel I’ve done nothing and have gone nowhere. The stillness that I experience every morning during sadhana takes me to my center which is nowhere. How do I map that place? How do I put a circle around it? Simple. I just let go. Drop everything. And am there.

The most extraordinary place, healing and magical!

How do I show you? If you’ve done the Happiness Program you’ll know what I mean.
If you haven’t, do it. You’ll regret you hadn’t enroled earlier.

And funnily it seems to be the most precious part of my life. What turns me on. Fills me up. The only worthy reason to live. Just a profound experience of nothingness. Of going nowhere, yet getting so close to the Self. Getting back onto oneself, drinking from one’s own fountain of love. Purity. Integrity. A sense of being solidly grounded in oneself. Unshakable and brimming with a quiet certitude that is a gift from Infinity.

Nothing can beat that feeling I have as my eyes slowly open from that space of Eternity. The eyes and senses slowly readjust to the world of color and form and smell. It is like seeing the world for the first time. Slowly. With no sense of time or hurry. Becoming aware of the extraordinary in ‘ordinary’ things and feeling a rush of love. A great bugle calling delight in an anthill. And then moving about lightly like a cloud in the open blue sky with not a worry.

I can’t believe a year has passed since my last birthday. So many things have happened. Friends have come and gone. I have laughed and I have cried. Yet always I feel the support of an invisible hand, loving and kind, guiding me throughout, showing me that I remain untouched, unstained. On a stormy day the stars may seem wiped out, but they never lose their sparkle. They remain shining though hidden.

That’s what my Master has made me experience. The greatest gift I could recieve in this lifetime. Thank you Gurudev for making my life complete, wrapping me in that inexorable shawl of Completeness.

Jai Guru Dev.

Golden Bobby

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Bobby is my newest friend, noble and mad. He is noble for good reasons and mad for many! The first time you meet him you may think him unstable, what with his eccentric ways and black stand-up hair. Look beyond the appearance and you find a heart of gold.

Bobby drives cars and runs his own  taxi & transport service. At the age of 16 he was behind the wheel, earning for the upkeep of his expanding family of brothers and sisters. He decided to give his father early retirement and a life of relaxed luxury.

Maybe it’s the unpredictable hours, the long halts in unknown places, and getting to brush shoulders with the full spectrum of the human kingdom that made him wise and philosophical.

Quick to anger at the smallest injustice that may pass his sharp eyes, and quick to cry, the mere memory of God brings tears to Bobby’s eyes. Bobby’s eyes are like two lakes, ever full and glistening, threatening to burst the dams of civilized equipoise.

What I love most about Bobby is his unflinching ‘Yes’, in this world of resounding ‘No’s. Every pore of his face shines with readiness. No task is too big or impossible for him. He can even take on gravity with triumphant levity! In this respect he plays the role of the mythological Hindu wish-fulfilling tree (Kalpa vriksha) and wish granting cow (Kamadhenu).

Bobby is my best friend’s brother. A month ago I met him for the first time when I visited my friend’s home in Chandigarh. I had been in two minds about whether to go to Chandigarh with Meera who was quietly adamant about me travelling with her or to follow my heart and go solo to Rishikesh. A phone call to my dad swiftly sorted out the matter.

“Go wherever you wish, but don’t travel alone!” were his barking orders. The phone quivered a weak acceptance. I am usually poor at following others’ instructions. There are two things that I don’t like to short change myself about: one is my Guru and the other is Ma Ganga. But Meera’s persistent plea and my father’s command weighed in favour of Chandigarh. So I thought, “Let me be grandly selfless for a change.”

But all the way to Chandigarh my heart wept silently for Ganga. Grand Ganga, wide and royal, flowing swiftly past like a lost dream. Gone, gone into the Ocean of Nothingness. “Oh, Mother, please forgive me this time,” I prayed.

Chandigarh was an unexpected homecoming. Stepping into Meera’s home was like stepping into the Golden Age of my childhood. There was something so adorable and familiar about everything. Her mother, old and frail, took my hand in hers and showed me around. It seemed as though I had always held her hand and smiled into those deep, kind eyes.

The bus ride from Delhi to Chandigarh had been long and dusty, yet the child in me, delighted, rushed out to the park outside and slid down the snaky, curvy children’s slide with glee.

The shyest member of Meera’s family, Bobby, avoided us on the first day, and tried to dodge us the second. But I insisted he have dinner with us and he came sheepishly downstairs carrying a large pot of steaming fragrant pullao he had cooked. And that was that. Bobby and I bonded like instant glue. Over dinner he suggested driving us to the famous Naina Devi Temple, their family deity, the next day.

But my heart was still where it was. In the lap of Ganga. And so without any forethought or idea of  the great distance by road, I blurted out, “I want to go to Rishikesh. Will you drive us to Rishikesh?”

And Bobby said, “Yes!” A Divine Yes that lit up his eyes, with not the slightest hesitation or trace of doubt. It had such a beautiful finality to it!

Yes, he drove the 600 km stretch back and forth in high spirits and kept us laughing all the way.

Thank you Bobby for fulfilling my deepest wish with just a simple ‘Yes’.

 

Connecting Through Love

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He has this knack of bringing people together. After all we are human – cut away name, family title, social title, educational qualification, religious & cultural background – and what have we? Love.

“Love is your very existence,” quips Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, everytime this topic is touched upon at interviews and satsangs. “It’s not just an emotion, it’s your very Being!” he emphasizes.

He has this way of connecting completely ‘unrelated’ people in simple yet effective ways. Internationals from the Vedic Wisdom Program visit the slum areas of the city and nearby villages to bless the locals.

“The purpose of the Padayatra,” explains Gurudev, “is that your hearts open and you see that how deeply you are connected with people you don’t even know! You don’t know their language, they don’t know your language, but you still feel that ‘Wow! You are so connected’.”

Gurudev is an expert at doing this sort of thing. From early Art of Living days he would post his teachers to far flung countries where the language, culture and people were absoutely alien. The teachers would go with great trepidation but would return from these trips with stories laced with Grace and Love. What really counts is really the presence of a person, and a loving presence will convey love far more than any words can.

Where would an ordinary bloke get to meet a hard core criminal? Gurudev sends his teachers (the brave and willing) to Prisons all over the world to rehabilitate convicts. Through the Prison SMART Program Gurudev has empowered individuals to teach the Happiness Program to prison inmates.

What unfolds is a two-way transformation. Touched by the humaneness of the inmates the tag ‘criminal’ simply drops from the minds of the teachers. And the inmates high on the happy energy of the Sudarshan Kriya feel a sudden awakening to a life with new possiblities. Many want to become teachers after their term is over.

Says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “If you heal the victim, you will eliminate crime from the planet. Expand your vision, and see that inside every culprit is a victim crying for help.”

Gurudev is keenly tuned to the cry of help from all quarters. Art of Living volunteers are immediatey despatched to trauma hit zones – be they war torn countries or nations hit by natural calamities.

I live in the ashram and I see how people are getting connected all the time. The other day I was waiting to see off Gurudev at the Ganga chain along with so many others. I looked across to find my roommate – a youngster from a small village in Orissa bonding with a group of Bulgarians. What did they have in common? Kitchen seva to begin with and then they must have discovered that they had much more in common and so much else to share! It was deeply touching.

And now we have the World Culture Festival and as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar puts it – it is nothing but bringing celebration under one umbrella. A reminder that we all belong to each other as One World Family and we are here on this planet to be useful and celebrate humanity – our ‘humane’ qualities of love, sharing, compassion and serving. Here is the best venue to get connected and exchange love.

Art of Living is the core to bringing so many people together – people from diverse cultures, languages, religions – feeling a sense of oneness thanks to one being – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – the connecting cord for millions of people on this planet.

I find this thought simply astounding. And leave you with it.

Drifting through Infinity

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The hills whisper

Whispering Hills whisper

It’s a Boone to be here

Such a boon to watch the salt mingle in the waves

and the stars crawl up the sky

and suck in air

through straw nostrils that talk of Nothingness

Turning your back

on what doesn’t exist

to face the Reality

that is

I could keep lumbering on like this

no blabber

just the thin of the teak stripped off

like taking off my mask

and speaking of things that matter

Of last night’s meditation

that took all the words off

with it

Leaves drifting

through Infinity