The Beloved – Part 1

It has been too long in terms of Earth time that we have seen each other in the flesh.

You have been gone too long.

Time is a strange illusion. At times it feels like just yesterday that I used to look into your eyes and joy leaped out from the depths of my heart.

And yet at times it seems like it has been eons since I saw your smile and heard your sweet laughter.

With each passing day it is one day further from the last time I saw you. But once again the illusion of time is a strange paradox. While each day is a step further from the time we met in the flesh, each day that passes is one day closer to the day we will meet again.

Just like each spring comes after the cold winter, followed by the harsh summer and then autumn followed again by winter; so the spring will come again.

Just as the seasons come and go, so do our journeys of the soul.

We are born, we live, we love, we cry, we laugh, we celebrate, we make love, we mourn and then we die.

But just like spring is born again, we shall return again.

When we are born we have no idea what is in store for us in this world.

We dream, we hope, we fear and we love.

But we do not know with our limited human minds, who we will meet, what will we fear and whom we will love.

But the creator knows it all from the beginning of the illusion of time.

It was not obvious until later in life that we would find each other.

Finding you was like finding a pin in a labyrinth of hay. We do not really ever know whom we will find on this journey. Sometimes we seek and yet not find. But sometimes we find even though we did not seek.

It is the love of the creator that leads us to find the beloved.

One grows up, falls in love, gets married and has a family and all of this is good.

But when one finds the beloved, it goes beyond.

When you find the beloved, you never fall in love with them. You rise in love with them. Why should love ever be fallen into?

If it is the love of the creator, it is risen into. Not fallen.

We love many with our minds and our hearts and this is good.

But when we love the beloved, we love them with our souls.

They may not be family, spouse or friends in this world. But the beloved are the ones that we know without knowing, who we recognize at first sight.

They may be strangers on earth, but they are our soul mates and twin souls with whom we share Heaven.

There is a lot to be thankful for

Each morning when we wake up, we have no idea what the day will have in store for us. Not just that, we actually don’t know if this will be our last day on planet Earth. The only thing we do know for sure is that we are still alive at this moment.

As we go about our daily life, we often complain either silently or expressly about the things that we lack in life. Not enough money or not enough happiness or not enough free time or not enough this or that. Life is something that is not meant by design to be easy. But it doesn’t have to be a burden either.

There are many things in life that remind us of joy and happiness. There are many things in life for which we should be thankful. A few moments everyday of looking inwards will bring peace and a certain amount of perspective to our minds.

The next time you feel down or unhappy or unfortunate, just take a breather and start making a list of everything to be thankful for. Your health, your family, your job or career, your education, your ideas, your friends, your life itself. Surely everyone has something to be thankful for. Focus on these things and be thankful. Doing this, will create a ripple of positive energy that flows outwards from you. In time, when you realize how much you have to be thankful, you will start to feel positive and happy and this will spread to those around you.

Do not ever worry about things. If you have power over them, correct them and if you have no power over them, there is no point in worrying. But remember this, prayer and faith in God can and does change things many times. When you focus on what is possible and believe it will come to pass, chances are it will.

A Spiritual Butterfly’s Caterpillar Experience

(Published in the Speaking Tree, The Times of India April 12, 2018)

Sometimes we don’t understand life – the things that happen to us or in some cases, that don’t happen to us. But the important thing to remember is that life on earth is about evolving spiritually, and this is not only about meditation and prayer.

Life itself is a property of the Spirit. Life is about growth, experience and learning. Life is eternal. Sometimes we don’t understand why “bad” things happen to us. Whether this refers to relationship problems or breakups, finances, career confusion, health issues, addictions, depression or any other predicament, we need to be aware that no matter how dark it may seem, there is always light somewhere. We only have to find it and if that seems too hard, we only have to sincerely ask the light to find us. When this happens, we will begin to change our outlook. We will understand that “bad” things are only lessons that we have to lear n and experience, to grow spiritually.

Consider the physical body. If you want to build or strengthen your muscles, you have to overcome resistance in the form of weights. It is only when your muscles are stressed, they become stronger. Similarly, life’s difficulties are the resistance that our souls need to overcome, in order to grow and become stronger. So the nature of life itself is a spiritual enterprise, happening through a human experience.
We have divided our lives into so many little pockets that we fail to realise that everything we do is a spiritual event. We have personal, private, professional, social, religious and spiritual lives. All these things are a part of a greater whole.

When we go to school, college or office, it is spiritual. When we eat food, exercise or sleep, it is spiritual. When we have love relationships it is spiritual. When we spend time with family, it is spiritual. We cannot separate spirituality from our lives any more than we can separate ourselves from our breath. No matter what we do, we breathe. No matter what we do, we think. No matter what we do, we feel. Whether those thoughts and feelings are positive or negative, determines the outcome of the experience as a whole.

Some people say that life and death are opposites. That’s not true. It is birth and death that are opposites. They are entry and exit points to various worlds. Life is eternal and therefore, has no opposite. When one door closes, another opens. When we are born on Planet Earth, we in a sense, die in the world we came from. When we die on Earth, we are once again born in the world that we go to. This is the Spirit realm that has infinite levels and dimensions.

Where we end up depends on how much we learned and evolved during our lives on earth. So when things seem difficult, take it as an opportunity to lear n a lesson. The caterpillar thought it was the end of the world until it became a butterfly. We are spiritual butterflies having a caterpillar experience. So while meditation and prayer are great ways to develop spiritually, every experience we have – every human interaction – is a spiritual event that makes our spiritual state change. The more these events bring us closer to love and compassion, the more spiritually advanced we become.

Read the scanned version of this article

Read this on The Speaking Tree (Times of India) website

 

Another new website design

So throughout most of the month of March 2018, I have been learning a lot of technical stuff about web hosting, web servers and setting them up. I am now hosting and managing all my sites myself. Plus, I also learned about a great new plugin for Word Press called Elementor in which I have made both this site and the new site for my company – Chintels.

It has been a very interesting and educational process.

Don’t worry be happy

‘Here’s a little song I wrote.. You might want to sing it note for note, don’t worry.. be happy!’ This is the opening line of the famous song by Bobby McFerrin back in the 1980s called ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’ Now more than ever, people should heed the words of this song.

The times we live in are stressful indeed, but when stress begins to control us, it can lead to fatal consequences. We have all heard about the things that are bad for us – smoking, drinking, obesity, etc. but the real killer is stress. The bad news is that we live in a world full of stress. But the good news is that stress can be managed. When we realise this, we can take control of our lives and overcome the stress. How?

‘Don’t worry, be happy!’

Happiness is a hidden gem that often remains hidden. But yet, the irony is that it can be achieved rather easily if we change our approach and attitude towards life.
Always remember that worrying never solves anything. If there is something that is in our control, we can control it. If not in our control, then worrying will not make any difference. So in either case, don’t worry!

There are many ways that we can make adjustments in our lives – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that can lead to us being happy.

Physically

Let’s start with breathing. Breathing is something that we all do without really noticing it. As you read this article, you are breathing. Notice it. Feel the air coming through your nostrils, feel it going into your lungs and be aware of it as it is exhaled. Simply focusing on your breathing is relaxing and regularly doing this is perhaps the easiest form of meditation. It reduces stress and will make you more centred in your thoughts.
Exercising is also a great way to reduce stress and make you happy. One can start with taking a daily walk for minimum 30 minutes. While you are doing this, try to think of something pleasant or funny. Try not to think about work or other stresses while walking. Going to a gym and exercising is also great and remember that you can start with lighter exercises. The feeling you get after exercising is the reward itself. Generally, one feels very relaxed and happier after a workout.

Mentally

Browse the Internet and read something that interests you. There is a whole world of information and knowledge that is waiting to be discovered. Read something online or watch some interesting videos on YouTube. Watch something funny on TV. Humour is a great stress reliever and puts things into perspective. Life is not meant to be always serious and humour is a great way to remind yourself about the balance needed in life.
Read books. Take out the time to read a good book. It will teach you something and at the same time, it will transport your mind into another world of sorts. Imagination and wonder is a great way to be happy and reduce stress.
Writing is also a great way to relieve stress. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to write an article or a book (although that would be great) even just jotting down your thoughts in a notebook or writing a diary is a great way to let out vented up stress and energy and express yourself. You never know what comes out of you when you write. Every bestseller began with a single word.

Emotionally

In our daily relationships, there are good days and bad days. Sometimes we have fights, arguments, and disagreements with people whom we love. Sometimes we suffer from breakups, separation or divorce. These situations can lead to major emotional trauma and stress.

But the good news is – don’t worry be happy! Believe it or not, you are the only one person responsible for your own happiness. We tend to become emotionally dependent on others. We have this feeling that we can only be happy if we are with so and so. Be it a spouse, a friend, a child, a parent, a sibling, etc. But this is false. This is only a mental construct. We are the only ones responsible for our own happiness. In order to do this, we must become friends with our selves. We must love ourselves. This is not a selfish kind of love. It is not saying that we don’t love others, but it is saying that we love ourselves just as we love others.

So, in case there is a breakup or an argument or a fight, etc. we will also be content with having our own self to keep us company. This might seem funny, but try it. If you are alone or feeling lonely, talk to yourself and not just random babbling, but have an actual conversation with yourself. Trust me, in time you will feel the stress and loneliness melt away and happiness will flow towards you.

Watching a nice movie, play or reading a good book can also lead to an emotional charge that will not only entertain you, but also teach you some new perspective about life. It will help you to get rid of emotional stress.

Spiritually

‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.’ – Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

 

We are spiritual beings currently on planet earth to learn, explore and grow. The sooner we realise this, the soon happiness will come.

Meditation and charity are great ways to develop spiritually and as this happens, stress is bound to be relieved and happiness is sure to come.

Meditating increases our awareness and leads to a state of bliss that relaxes us and decreases stress and also gives us a glimpse into a larger peaceful world of energy and love. There is a field of spiritual energy that surrounds us and binds us. Meditation helps us gain access to this field. Soon we realise that we are on a spiritual journey and the only thing we take with us back to our spiritual home after we leave our bodies is our thoughts, feelings and karma. Not one paisa or square millimetre of land! If we only strive for material things, we are wasting our time. Material things are important, but as a means to an end and not the end itself.

In the end, all is good.

So once again, don’t worry, be happy!

(Published in Double Helical Magazine September 2017)

The Man From Yamuna Pushta

(Published in The Speaking Tree column of The Times of India Edit Page May 22, 2017)

Yamuna Pushta is an embankment of jhuggis (hutments) behind Raj Ghat, Delhi, on the banks of the Yamuna River. I had gone there in 1995, as a reporter for a Delhi-based evening newspaper, to cover a story about drug trafficking that was allegedly taking place there.

When I got to the Pushta, I visited the jhuggi of a man who had been a drug addict since childhood. I sat in his 8 feet by 8 feet jhuggi. His wife and two kids had been sent by him to beg in Connaught Place. The proceedings from their daily begging activities would help them survive and also cater to his ongoing drug addiction.

He offered me a glass of tea and we started talking. For a man who lived in Yamuna Pushta, he was surprisingly serene. He spoke to me in a calm, composed and collected manner. He confessed he regretted his habit, but doubted if he would be able to survive without his daily dose of drugs. “When I was a kid, a bad man injected me with drugs and I became a drug addict – it was not out of choice,” he told me.

He also told me that what he really wanted in life was for his children to study, be healthy and hopefully some day by a gift of destiny, become educated and get good jobs and eventually marry and have their own families. At that moment I realised that we both wanted the same things in life. I also realised the connection that exists between all human beings on Earth and all beings in the universe.

It struck me that though a man could be a drug addict living in Yamuna Pushta who had to resort to sending his family out to beg, he is not just a ‘statistic’ or just a ‘story’, but a human being who wants what all people want – the well being of family.
That day, I left Yamuna Pushta a little wiser and a lot more aware of the connection between beings – the love of God that binds us all though we may look different, have different ways of living even if of a completely different level in the social spectrum.

The story doesn’t end there. By a strange twist of irony, that same evening, I went to cover an event that then Prime Minister, P V Narasimha Rao, was attending. I waited in the media area, heard the sirens of the PM’s motorcade, listened to his speech and went home.

That day I had seen two men who were perhaps from completely opposite end of the social spectrum. On the one hand, a man living in a 64 sq. feet jhuggi, a drug addict — a man who sends his family to beg in order to survive, but yet a man who wanted something nice for his family; on the other hand, the Prime Minister of India, who had everything possible within reach. I don’t think there can be any more extreme levels on the social spectrum than these two men.

The man from Yamuna Pushta and I connected that morning at a mental and spiritual level. Oddly, I didn’t feel that when I heard the PM address the gathering in a meticulously prepared speech.

I returned home wiser and felt touched at the level of the soul. The man at the ‘lowest’ level of the social spectrum affected my heart more than the man at the ‘highest’ level.

 

Click here to see the scanned version of this that came in The Speaking Tree column Edit Page Times of India May 22, 2017

Giving children with autism the recognition they deserve

World Autism Awareness Day

I had the privilege of being invited as the chief guest to present children with autism certificates and awards at a function organised at Nora Niwas, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.

Had a wonderful time with the lovely children and staff at Parivartan School being run by Pordac NGO at Nora Niwas on World Autism Day! God bless the kids and the people running it! I am very happy with the work being done by Manjir Gupta and her team.

It is so important for people to become aware and sensitised towards the needs of children with autism and other conditions. They are God’s precious gifts to humankind and we must do our best to love them and improve their conditions and try our best to integrate them into society.

Manjir Gupta started Pordac (Protection of the Rights of Differently Abled Children) after her son Aranya had problems in mainstream education because of his autism. When she realised that the schools in Delhi did not seem to be either equipped or sensitised towards the needs and requirements of Differently Abled children, she quit her job at a bank and formed Pordac. Now, the Parivartan school is giving hope to many more children with autism. Great job and God bless!

You can learn more about Manjir and Pordac by visiting their website.

Visit the website of PORDAC

The Meaning Of `Be Fruitful And Multiply’ (Parable of Talents)

(Published on March 29, 2017 in The Speaking Tree of the Times of India)

Parable of Talents

According to the Bible the first command God gave humans was to `be fruitful and multiply’. While this could be taken as a command to populate the planet, it has much deeper meaning that is as relevant today as it was then. We can learn more about this from the Parable of Talents.

Jesus Christ taught lessons using stories or parables. One of these ­ the parable of the talents is about `being fruitful and multiplying’ but in a very different way . It is about an employer who is about to go away for some time.Before he does, he gives three servants ­ let’s call them A, B and C ­ some talents (coins). A gets five coins, B gets two coins and C gets one coin.

When the employer returns some time later, he asks A, B and C to account for how well they managed the money they were left as stewards for.

A has made five coins grow to 10, B made two coins grow to 4, but C took one coin, buried it and returned it to his master.

The master is furious! He abuses C and takes away the money from him and gives it to A. He then admonishes him by saying that he could have at least put the money in a bank and gotten interest.

Then Jesus goes on to say that those that have will get more and those that do not have will lose even what they do have.

This parable could be a lesson in the importance of investing and circulating money to make it grow as opposed to hoarding and hiding it and watching it decay in value. But the power of this parable goes way beyond money and materialist things. For this goes to the very first command God gave humanity ­ `be fruitful and multiply’.

God has given each and every one of us certain gifts. We all have been given various `talents’ or `seeds’, which we are not supposed to just bury in the sand, but multiply them by making them grow. How we do this is to use these to help enrich our world.

Moreover, what is the biggest gift or virtue that God gives us? It is the capacity to love. Through love come the other virtues of peace, joy , happiness, bliss and contentment.If we apply the parable of talents in our daily lives, then we need to use the gifts that God has given us ­ including the gift of love ­ and multiply them.

Love, an asset, has to grow in order for us to live bountiful lives. It can only grow by circulation and not by stagnation. Then the reward or `fruit’ will be to get more of what you have helped to grow.

We may think we are preserving something by hiding it away or being overprotective but we are doing the opposite. By hiding something away that can bring value to the world, we are inadvertently destroying it.

Ships may be safe in the harbour, but that is not what ships were built for.

We may feel we are safe by suppressing our own creative skills, procrastinating or by being indifferent to others, but that is not what we came to Earth for.

So don’t waste time. Use your gifts, improve the world, spread love and compassion to all you encounter.

Click here to see the scan of the article from The Times of India (March 29, 2017)

CREDAI Conclave 2017

The CREDAI conclave happened very nicely this year.

The speakers included Sadhguru, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Shekhar Gupta, Raj Jain and others.

The conclave continued the theme of skill India, strong India, clean India.

The Conclave took place at Taj Palace Hotel on March 7-8 and was attended by real estate developers from all over India.

 

Power of thought

Every thought creates a universal vibration

 

Every thought produces a vibration in the universe. The energy of the vibration produced increases as the intensity of the thought increases. These vibrations have power. They can change their surroundings and ultimately make the world a much better place.

Have you noticed that when you enter into a room where there has been a fight or argument, you can ‘sense’ the tension in the air? Have you ever been in a place where you have had an eerie or uncomfortable feeling? We have all felt this some time or the other. It is natural for us to be able to sense vibrations.

Similarly, there must have been times when you have gone to a holy place where many come to pray or meditate and sensed a powerful feeling of love, peace, serenity and safety.

All of this shows that the ripples or vibrations produced by thought and intense awareness have an impact on their surroundings and produce vibrations that over time are absorbed in the place. The place then retains the energy of the vibrations.

Thought is powerful. So are its byproducts – words and deeds. A nice word can and does have a powerful impact on its recipient.

A word filled with love, kindness and compassion can create a powerful vibration of goodness that if powerful enough can change the way people around think. The power of mantras has been known for thousands of years.

A selfless deed to serve someone else can set a very powerful example and permanently change the person helped by giving them a taste of love and compassion. An act of love or kindness makes both the giver and receiver experience a feeling of goodness and love.

Using thoughts, words and deeds – you can change the world!

Our planet today has a lot of negative energy that is manifested in the form of wars, violence, crimes, prejudices among other things. But that can change.

If enough people just stop what they’re doing for just a few moments every day and send out positive energy in the form of a prayer or mantra for love and peace into the universe. Let this positivity be guided specifically towards our planet Earth. This will begin the creation of a matrix of positive energy and vibrations.

If everybody just makes it a point to close their eyes for a few minutes and imagine our planet Earth floating in space. Imagine all the billions of people, animals and plants on Earth and just send a thought or word of love. After this, smile at the Earth and wait for the response – you will feel the Earth smile back. If you do not feel the response immediately, don’t worry. It will eventually come over time.

Soon the negative vibrations will be replaced by positive ones and this will be the beginning of a new era of positivity. Try it. Once a day for a few minutes to start with. It will make you feel great. If enough people do this, we will all change for the better and the Earth will change too.