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ALL IS ONE AND ONE IS ALL
April 5, 2021
(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on April 5, 2021)
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. — Matt. 5:14-16
The ancient wisdom of the ages is this—you are a drop of the ocean called God. However, most have not realised this truth. “The Kingdom of God is within you,” says the Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 17:21 and this is so. Yesterday, we celebrated Easter, the day Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion. But in a way, we all must rise from our delusion and stupor and awaken to the truth that we are all a part of God and that God resides within all us, just waiting for us to remember. For God realisation is also about remembering this truth that is eternal but currently forgotten.
Think of this truth. When the creation of the Cosmos took place, the raw materials had to come from somewhere. So where did they come from? Even if you believe in the Big Bang theory that the Cosmos was condensed into a tiny ball of energy that just exploded one fine day and continued to expand until the present cosmic setup, the basic elements of the cosmos had to come from somewhere. It is too simplistic to say that they “just came” out of nowhere. The basic building blocks of the entire Universe are the same three sub-atomic particles – protons, neutrons and electrons. There is absolutely no difference between the protons, neutrons and electrons in you and in the paper that you are reading and the chair that you are seated on. They are the same. There is fundamentally no difference between you, your car, your house, your best friend and your worst enemy when it comes to the basic building blocks that make you. This is important to note because it immediately makes you feel the ‘oneness’ of all things throughout the Cosmos.
So, the Creative power that made the entire Cosmos had to have used ‘itself’ as the basic ‘stuff’ that made the protons, neutrons and electrons as well as the almost unimaginable energy that goes into every single atom of creation. So not only are we (as the late astronomer Carl Sagan loved to say) ‘starstuff’, but we are all ‘Godstuff’ that has been mixed and matched in different permutations and combinations and is made to interact with each other amidst the delusion that we are actually separate.
We are as separate as the individual drops in the ocean—which still retain their existence in some stretch of imagination, but at the same time, have merged with the larger entity called ocean. They still exist, but now as a part of a larger, more powerful being. Like the cells in your bodies are individual beings in their own sense—they have a fixed boundary or body, they are born, they reproduce, they absorb oxygen (so they breathe in a sense) and then they die. They may even have consciousness, but miniscule compared to the consciousness of a human being. Yet, our physical bodies are nothing more than a conglomerate of trillions of cells. So, are we the single body or the sum total of trillions of cells?
Extending this thought to the next level—or souls are like the cells that make up the body of God. We are drops of the ocean of God and are one with God whether we recognize this or not. But we are blessed. It is possible through meditation for our consciousness to become one with the cosmic consciousness.
Just like the sound of the sea lays hidden inside every seashell, the vibration of God’s kingdom is hidden within every soul just waiting to be found. It can be found by tuning into it. So, the drop can still have its existence in consciousness, but at the same time can draw on the wisdom and experience of the grand ocean and be one with it at the same time. When this happens, we will realize the truth that we are not separate beings in isolation, but parts of the creator of the entire cosmos and since we all are parts of the Creator, and like drops of the cosmic ocean, therefore we are all one.
How do we as human beings realise this truth?
There is a way, tried and true, that saints, adepts and avatars have walked.
The way is universal and timeless and will reunite you to your higher self and when this happens, the subtle consciousness of God realization will shine through you.
This is the path of individuated Christhood and Buddhahood that Jesus, Krishna, Gautam Buddh and Mahatavar Babaji and many others, even in civilisations long forgotten, helped forge.
As you follow in their footsteps, you will become one with Christ, the universal Christos, which in Greek means “anointed.”
You will discover, nurture and expand the spark of divinity within you. Gradually, you will become awakened and enlightened and this is the ultimate divine mission of every soul.
There is no division in God. The duality of the physical earth plane will be transformed to the Oneness full of love and light experienced by many who have had near death experiences and glimpses of the higher realms during meditation and out of body experiences. When you are set on this truth, you will taste the Water of Life promised by Jesus and other Masters.
As self-realisation expands, the thought of God as an outer deity to be worshiped or appeased releases its grip and you realise that God is in you and in everyone and everything else.
We are all a part of God. We are all One.
The consciousness of being separate will be replaced by an unfailing guidance within your heart and soul. You will learn to engage in an inner conversation between your outer consciousness and your own Christ mind.
The path leading to Christhood and Buddhahood is a testing path of determination and testing, especially in a world that does not reward this calling. At times, you will feel uplifted in the joyous experience and bliss of divine union.
At others, you will feel empty, alone and unworthy as you pass through the shadows where God’s light within you has been eclipsed.
This is known as the dark night of the soul. All saints have passed through this, as did Jesus on the cross and Lord Buddha during his ministry.
The key to this mystical journey is to find your inner light, to expand it through love and to brighten life around you.
Love God with all our heart, soul and mind, keep on keeping on through the ups and downs of life and honour your neighbour with good works. In doing so, you will balance karma and fulfil your specific mission, the divine plan or dharma that can only succeed through you. Your reward lies beyond nirvana, unto your ascension—the permanent reunion with God that Jesus, Krishna, Gautam Buddh and Mahatavar Babaji and many other Great Lights East and West so beautifully demonstrated.
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SPIRITUAL GROWTH THROUGH MISTAKES AND FORGIVENESS
March 22, 2021
(Published on March 22, 2021 in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian)
Spiritual growth is what we are all here for. Nothing else matters because there is nothing that happens to us in our physical lives which in some way is not connected to spiritual growth. Even the most seemingly insignificant or random situations we face can teach us something. Spiritual growth is a constant part of our lives. It is the fire that should drive us.
Our soul has chosen to come to Earth and experience life in this physical world with all its good and bad moments. Just knowing this is helpful in removing any negative or fearbased energy that attaches us to this karmic drama. Knowing that we chose this life should reassure us that it is okay to be happy when we overcome ‘bad’ things because this means that we are evolving.
We need to slow down and live and embrace every single moment of our lives. In moments of silence and stillness, while being in the present moment, pay attention to your breath, the gaps between the breaths is where the pure love that resides and radiates within us will be felt. Love is the way to happiness. This is a love that simply is – it need not be directed towards anybody in that moment. It simply is.
This moment will never return. As Heraclitus put it in the 5th century BC: “You can never step into the same river twice. Because neither the river nor you are the same.” You will never again experience this moment again. Yesterday is the past and the future is a mystery, it often doesn’t happen the way you plan it.
In life we all make mistakes. We may hurt people or ourselves but at the end of the day remember we are humans. We are not perfect and that is why we are here. Life is all about learning from our mistakes. At the end of the day, it is how we love ourselves and others that is important. Forgive yourself for your mistakes.
Forgive everyone who has hurt you. Guilt, anger and resentment will cause more harm to you than to those who have wronged you. These will manifest as negative emotions, like anger and worry for you, not for them. These emotions first manifest in your energy body and from there they grow into physical and psychological diseases. Make a choice to give no more energy to negative emotions. By forgiving, you are benefiting yourself by removing the negative energetic link that is created by negative emotions. By forgiving others, the one benefiting the most is you.
Be thankful for the mistakes you have made in life. These mistakes have given many opportunities for your soul to learn and grow. There is no room and no reason for guilt. Feelings such as guilt only have a negative effect. It is natural to feel guilty at times, but just feel it, learn from it and move on.
We are falsely conditioned to believe that when we make mistakes we will be judged by God, but this is not true. After we cross over to the next world, we ourselves assess the life just lived and analyse the mistakes we made and are given a chance to rectify it. God does not judge us. God is unconditional love. The only thing God expects from us is to do our best. But having this knowledge saves us precious time. We can start learning from our mistakes now. We do not have to wait until the next time round. Now is a perfect time to start. We should learn from our mistakes but do not regret them, for there is nothing you can do to undo them. What can be undone is the negative aspects of guilt or anger associated with them. Also always forgive yourself, be kind to yourself and let go of negative emotions gracefully.
Be kind to yourself and let yourself go at times. This could be the day to take out time for yourself and do the things you have always wanted. Be a little lenient with yourself over the harsh things you may have said to your loved one. Stop worrying about the terrible disease you might have or how you could have prevented some misfortune from occurring. Stop judging and being so harsh on yourself. Love yourself unconditionally!
Right now, you are a human being on earth who is trying to develop spiritually, trying to make the most of this life and all of the beauty it has to offer. You are also trying to master the skills of trying to jump over all the hurdles that are a part of life. Be comforted in the knowledge that your soul is evolving in the process. Do not get too attached to this world – good moments and bad moments are temporary – everything in life is just a fleeting moment which will soon be over. Only our spiritual growth is eternal and our lives will continue forever but in different forms.
The energetic matrix of life includes various emotions – love, forgiveness, humility, kindness, compassion, joy, anger, guilt, fear, arrogance, greed, fear, hate, etc. Do you notice that it is like a spectrum going from high frequency to low frequency? What we need to realise is that the situations that happen in our lives do not create the frequency that we experience. It is our reaction to the situations that we face that guide us to the kind of energy we attract.
This is the reason why we should always react in a manner that we move towards the higher frequencies of love, joy, compassion and forgiveness. When you move in this direction, your inner happiness will be maintained and lessons will be learned more smoothly even in harsh circumstances and situations.
It is, however, a universe of like attracts like. As Jesus Christ said, “Judge not and you will not be judged. Condemn not and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Each of these teachings of Jesus are true and apply even to yourself. In other words – judge not yourself, condemn not yourself and do forgive yourself.
Do not be a slave to fear and guilt. You may have made mistakes but God has forgiven you. Now it is time you forgive yourself. Go ahead with your life and make tomorrow a better day. Love yourself and others and always remember to forgive others (and yourself) in order to free yourself from emotional bondage. We are all human, we all make mistakes, you are never alone. We grow spiritually every moment in small steps. This is all a great lesson that our souls are partaking in.
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EVERY PROBLEM IS A STEPPING STONE TO STRENGTH
March 8, 2021
(Published on March 8, 2021 in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian)
Why do bad things happen in our lives? This is a question that surely everyone has asked sometime in their life. We all have experienced problems and hardships in our lives some time or the other. Maybe some of us are going through a crisis at this very moment. Maybe it is related to health, finance, legal issues, relationships or something else. There are myriads of situations that we all have to face in this physical world.
If you are facing a problem or crisis in your life and do not know what to do, the first thing I will say to you is: You are not alone! No matter how alone you think you are.
When ‘bad’ things happen in our lives, the first question that comes to mind is: Why me? Why has this happened to me? The right question to ask is: Why not me? When you ask this question, you are already on the path to overcome the problem. First things first, please know that everybody in life goes through different problems. Therefore, you are not alone! No matter what problem you are facing in your life currently, someone has faced it before.
What good does it do to ask yourself why? The answer you’ll get is: I’m unlucky. That answer gets you nowhere. The only thing that will come out of that is self-pity, something that accomplishes absolutely nothing. You can feel sorry about yourself, or deal head-on with the problem at hand.
Better questions to ask are: What am I going to do about it?
How am I going to solve these problems that I have? What strategies am I going to employ? What knowledge do I have to arm myself with? The answers to those questions will get you somewhere.
To effectively deal with any problem, you first have to ask the right questions.
Many circumstances in life are beyond our control but what is in our control is our attitude and approach and frame of mind towards these difficult circumstances. We should never get caught in an endless pit of self-pity which keeps getting deeper and deeper. If you can change a situation change it, if you cannot change it then accept it and move on towards something better.
Each hardship that life brings is also an opportunity to learn and grow and become stronger. Facing the challenge and the struggle is a way towards success. There is a story about a chrysalis that was still in its cocoon and was trying to break out and become a butterfly. So, it started to kick the boundary of the cocoon and tried to break out.
There was a man nearby who was observing this happening and felt pity for it and broke the cocoon for it. The man thought he did a great service to it. But little did he know that he would actually cause the early demise of the butterfly. How? In the natural course of things, the chrysalis’ muscles become strong by kicking through the cocoon surface and it is this strength that allows them to fly. Since in this case the man helped, the butterfly did not gain enough strength to fly and therefore died of starvation. What is the moral of the story?
Hardships in life need to be endured for us to become strong.
Sometimes being too sweet or always wanting sweetness will end up giving you diabetes. Every hardship in life is like a workout in the gym for the soul. It is the resistance of weights that gives strength to physical muscles and likewise it is the resistance to problems by working through them that gives strength to the soul.
We need to at times also ‘let go and let God’. Pray over the problem and hand it over to God and keep striving towards moving towards the solution. When we say ‘let go and let God’ this doesn’t mean become passive. It means hand over your worries and troubled mind to the Divine Power and trust that God will help you towards a solution by clearing your mind and showing you the path forward—even though the path may have many bends, curves, thorns and rocks. But with resilience and persistence you will overcome the problem at hand and grow as a person. Running away from problems never solves them.
Regardless of your situation, know that we all have cycles in life. One season of going down, another season will come when we will rise up and see the best in life. Keep your faith. What weighs you down today, you will develop resilience through it, and grow in strength.
Bad things occur to teach us what is good for us. Each and every situation in everyone’s life is a lesson. These lessons might be materialistic or nonmaterialistic but both of them give us an opportunity to learn.
So instead of thinking why ‘it’ happens, think what is the best and most important point that you can learn from that situation.
One thing for sure, bad things occur in everyone’s life but the solution is to be strong internally.
It is easy to get caught up in the misfortunes of our lives and as one thing goes wrong followed by another and another it is natural to assume that fate has somehow targeted us specifically. Everything takes a bit of work and practice and changing our bad luck into good is no different. Sometimes it is a case of negativity breeding negativity or focusing so much on the bad we miss opportunities for good to squeeze in. You have to actively and consciously look for happy things no matter how small they seem. Start with noticing blue skies, a pretty sunrise, a majestic waterfall, children playing together or anything that is good in life. Put forth the effort to smile at others. When you get that parking spot, or fast checkout line, or green light give yourself an instant mini-celebration. As you get into the habit you will begin to notice you indeed have more to celebrate.
Pay attention to all the good moments in life that are always interspersed between any number of difficult moments. It is in these moments that we need to be thankful and also resolve that we will overcome all challenges and difficulties and succeed with our purpose in life.
Good luck and keep smiling. You are never alone.
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ANALYSING LOVE AND ITS ETERNAL NATURE
February 22, 2021
(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on February 22, 2021)
Do you believe in “love at first sight”? Why is it that sometimes you meet someone and there is an instant feeling of familiarity and attraction towards that person? Love is something that is difficult to define.
Love is a feeling of belonging, acceptance and wellbeing. When two people are in love there is a feeling that transcends description. There is something about love that seems eternal. If somebody loses the one they love there is always a feeling, even if buried deep within, that longs to be with that someone again. Is that possible? If somebody loses their loved ones, it is possible to be with them again in a future life or even the life between lives in the spiritual realm.
Love itself never dies. It is one of the few things that we take with us when we leave this world and move into the next. Along with love, we take our karmas and our thoughts, feelings and emotions.
There are many ways to define love. One of these is that love is a positive energy associated with a wish of unification and well being. The aspect of unification transcends physicality. It is equally a meeting of minds, hearts and spirit, as it is a desire to be physically one.
We all like to talk about, think about and dream about love. It is an essential part of our humanity. No matter how many times we “fall” in or out of love, we still feel a powerful urge towards it. Our desire to love and be loved is deep rooted in our consciousness.
The positive perception that we have about someone or something is a form of energy which is called love energy. This love energy works differently between different people. You may be in a room full of strangers and someone walks in and there is an instant feeling of attraction, recognition and familiarity that transcends physical attraction or interest. There is an instant desire to become one with that person. Not everyone will feel this way about that person. The love energy that exists between two people reacts differently than it would between someone else.
One would feel love with a positive perception whereas others may feel neutral or even negative and regard that person with disdain. The point is that the person exuding that energy has a subconscious choice about the positivity or negativity of the energy they emit. We can give love energy and receive it as well. So, different people will feel different types of “vibes” from the same person. It is literally a form of energy chemistry. Different energy sources and types react with others differently and each human being exudes different types of energies that react with other people’s energies differently.
So coming back to the original question—does love transcend death? Can you be reunited with soul mates after death?
Are there eternal lovers or soul mates with whom we have relationships that span across many lifetimes? The answer is yes. Love can and does extend across multiple lifetimes.
Energetically we are all seeking a soul mate. But these soul mates are part of a larger group called our Soul Group or also referred to as Soul Families.
There are certain souls that have been with us throughout many incarnations and therefore there is a lot of karmic history between us. This karmic interaction creates a karmically magnetic effect. You will feel an instant recognition, attraction or a feeling of longing for a person. It can be in the form of physical attraction, but that is not necessary. It can also be a feeling of deep love or interest in someone without a physical attraction.
Many of the souls that we are interacting with today were with us in a past life but in a different relationship. For example, our spouse today may have been our child in a previous life, our parent may have been a sibling, a sibling may have been a lover in a previous life and so on. There is no limit to the various dramatic roles our souls play together in this eternal earthly drama that we are partaking in.
What role will be played by whom is decided by our souls in the ‘life between life’ phases between physical incarnations during the life we live in the spirit realms.
You meet the soul mate that you are meant to meet, when, where and how you are destined to meet, for a divine purpose that involves our spiritual growth and development.
When you have spent many lifetimes loving another person, you will have a powerful connection that is recognised immediately as and when it happens. Also, because your love never dies, it is possible to pick up where you have left off in a previous life. Even though you will have some catching up to do concerning your comings and goings the last few hundred years, your soul mate relationship has a story to it, and you have a history together. So, maybe what we call “love at first sight” is really just a love reunion.
This type of a soul mate with whom you have loved and lost over many centuries will feature an eerie sense of familiarity, like you have known each other before, and sometimes even an uncanny innate understanding of each other. And, this connection will become more and more intense with each lifetime that a couple spends together.
Though we have had many lifetimes and many loving soul mates there are always the loves that lie ahead, yet to come into the path of our lives. These lost loves have dreamed of you, searched for you, and have waited centuries for destiny to allow your paths to cross once more.
When these soul mates once again cross our path we need to be ready for them. This can happen by working on giving and receiving love. When two ready soul mates are reunited, the love energy of this union is unparalleled. Because they didn’t fall in love, they simply remembered that they loved each other already.
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PRACTICING THE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
February 8, 2021
(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on February 8, 2021)
Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.
— Oprah Winfrey.
Practising the attitude of gratitude can and will change your life! Many times people keep complaining about things that they don’t have or things that they don’t like or things that are happening to them that they are not happy about. Oftentimes we complain about things, many times. But it is very important for us to show gratitude.
We are hopefully in the last phase of a global pandemic. If you are reading this article that means you are alive and that you have survived. That in itself is reason to be thankful. We must always thank God for everything that we have and in that thanking, more blessings will come.
If we keep complaining all the time—I don’t have this or I don’t have that—things become more difficult. You become more and more unsatisfied with yourself and your surroundings and that unsatisfaction or dissatisfaction, creates negative vibrations or negative energy. It creates resentments. It creates jealousy. It creates all sorts of things that are not positive in nature.
We have all heard the saying “I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet”. This is something that makes us realise that we have a lot to be thankful for and things could have been worse. Constantly complaining or self-pitying is very negative and creates negative energy that blocks and diminishes our progress.
On the other hand, when we are grateful and thankful, it creates positive vibrations and positive energy. It makes us see things more clearly and makes us thankful for the things that we have in our life.
If you ever feel that you don’t have what you are looking for, always count the blessings that you have. Do you have a family? Do you have good health? Do you have a home? Do you have a job or a business? If you have any of these things, you are better off than many other people in the world.
When we take the time to focus on all the good in our lives, from the people we love to our most treasured possessions, we become happier and more positive people. And when you’re living and acting in positivity and happiness, you have the ability to impact the people around you to do the same.
Positivity breeds positivity. Showing gratitude feels good but on a deeper level, gratitude has the very real ability to positively affect your physical health for the better. Think about the last time you felt happy and positive. Whether you took a deep breath of fresh air or cuddled your baby after a long day, chances are these little moments of happiness not only made you feel more optimistic, but more energetic and productive as well. When you’re feeling grateful, positive, and happy, your brain and body are more efficient. You feel good physically because you feel good mentally.
Even in the darkest moments of our lives, it is possible to find goodness. It is in these moments that it is the most important to be grateful. At such times, it is sometimes difficult to see the silver lining of the dark clouds. Negative thoughts and attitude breeds more negativity and this can consume a person. With effort, we can overcome these moments of negativity. Practicing gratitude can help us to overcome negativity and become happy and positive again.
Be grateful and thankful and let your thankfulness towards God be a way for you to realise how blessed you are and how much life needs to be celebrated and needs to be enjoyed and use that positive vibration to bring positive vibrations in the world. Gratitude shall multiply things even further for you. And even if you don’t have something right now, work towards it in a positive way, being thankful for every moment along the way. Do not be jealous of people who have the things you want. Celebrate others success and soon success will come knocking at your door. Celebrate others happiness and soon happiness will come knocking at your door.
Some things you can do to make gratitude your daily routine:
Express gratitude to yourself. Expressing gratitude to others starts with accepting yourself. Practice saying thank you to yourself for who you are. While doing so, look deep into your eyes in a mirror.
Practise gratitude affirmations. Saying, ‘’I’m thankful for …’’, to everything that surrounds you is a great and easy way to focus on appreciation. Use the affirmations every day to strengthen the power of a gratitude journal.
Keeping a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is one of the most useful techniques for practicing gratitude. Spending a few minutes in the morning or evening reflecting upon the things you are grateful for will bring a lot of benefits to your well-being. According to research, regularly taking reflections on moments you are grateful for can improve satisfaction and your psychological health.
Say “Thank you” to your meal. Taking things for granted, sometimes we forget that many people on this planet are starving and suffering from hunger. If you can choose what to eat for breakfast, lunch or supper, you are very lucky and that’s why you should express your gratitude for the food you are going to eat.
Begin and end your day with gratitude. In order for us to focus on our achievements, it is important to engage in daily self-reflection every morning. This helps in letting our creative juices flow and keeps us energetic throughout the day and also helps in getting a good sleep at night.
Compliment others every day. Compliments can make other people feel good. Telling someone about his or her good qualities will make both the receiver and giver of the compliment happy. Practice giving at least one sincere compliment a day!
Make a habit of thank you. We say thank you to our colleagues and others, but sometimes we forget to do it for our family. Make saying “thank you” a habit and use it for noticing even little things you get used to taking for granted.
Celebrate the moment. Finally, enjoy every moment you live and be grateful for the good things that happen to you. Take at least a few minutes a day to stop and enjoy the beauty of nature and other things around you.
You can think of gratitude as an emotion or mental state, but whatever you might choose, gratitude is something that will bring you closer to a better well-being.
Being grateful, especially in the tough moments, isn’t something that is always easy to do. But if you learn to make gratitude a habit, you will have an impact that spans wider and longer than you could have ever imagined.
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THE POWER OF PRAYER AND THOUGHTS
January 25, 2021
(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of the Daily Guardian on January 25, 2021)
Every prayer, thought, word or deed involves a flow of energy. This energy has the power to lift us, heal us, comfort us, inspire us on the positive side. But it can also deflate us, hurt us, anger us, or make us afraid on the negative side. One of the best ways for us to build good energy is to pray and meditate. In these times, praying together is the best way to stay together. As the old saying goes, ‘a family that prays together, stays together’.
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 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.
There is a lot of power in thoughts and prayers. Thoughts are a form of energy and prayer is a form of communication with the Infinite source of all energy, or God; through our thoughts. Thoughts are like seeds which require nourishment to grow into fruit-bearing trees. The nourishment of thoughts is in the form of affirmation, concentration and attention. Prayer need not necessarily involve the usage of pious phrases.
Norman Vincent Peale describes a three-fold approach in his best-selling book, ‘The power of positive thinking’—1) prayerise, (2) picturise and (3) actualise. The first step involves simply thinking and talking to God informally, which is prayer. The next step is picturising or visualising it mentally. Create in your mind an image of the desired result: a healed love one, a more prosperous life, a happy marital life, a more healthy or confident self. Whatever you seek, pray to God and then visualise it to be so and then just say to God, “I have put it in Your hands, Lord.” After this, the actualisation will come in time either by the desired result or guidance.
Peale gives a glorious example of how we can spread love and goodwill throughout our daily lives. Just say a little prayer for anyone that you see. These are called flash prayers “shot” out towards people. Just send out thoughts of love and goodwill. There have been cases where the recipients of such prayer “shots” could feel a physical manifestation of the energy.
The world can be a lot happier if we all just continuously “shoot” each other with prayers of love and goodwill. Let us “shoot” out positive thoughts towards one and other. We could try to replace our hatred and anger filled thoughts with thoughts of love and goodwill. Just mentally send out peaceful and love filled thoughts of goodwill towards everyone that you see and they will feel it as well.
The energies around the whole world will change if everyone starts to do this. These energies are very powerful and the results will be seen and felt. But constant prayers are needed. Even prayers take time to be answered. Just be patient and have faith.
Prayer and positive thinking are also a very useful technique in creating a more confident and success filled life. Thoughts of success often attract success. Thoughts of failure often attract failure. Energy is like a magnet. It attracts. Positive energy attracts positive results.
Positive affirmations, especially at night time before bedtime is a very important tool to attract positive results. The age-old tradition of prayer before sleeping is so that the positive thoughts and prayers can sink into the subconscious mind during sleep.
As mentioned earlier, ‘a family that prays together, stays together’. The act of a family joining together every day at a particular time and praying together creates a loving powerful energy that strengthens the relationship between family members. This increases the loving divine energy present between you and your family and also adds positive vibrations to your house. This is a great habit that works wonders for family harmony and ultimately societal harmony. Try to do this with your family. Take turns every day. Each day a different person may pray. This increases the sense of involvement of all members, especially the children.
Avoid all forms of negativity. Nip it in the mental bud. One cannot stop negative thoughts from entering, but one can kick them out as soon as they enter. Positive thoughts can repel negative ones from establishing themselves in the mind.
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.
Many of the world’s problems can be solved if there is more prayer energy generated. This energy will increase when we add prayer into our consciousness and make it a part of our daily life. Talk to God either verbally, mentally or even in written form. Yes, write a note to God. Everyday use flash prayers to increase the overall consciousness of peace and goodwill and soon if more people do it, we will transform into a much better, safer and peaceful world.
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 prayer, thoughts, words and deeds—you can change the world!
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THE BALANCE OF LIFE
January 11, 2021
(Published in Spiritually Speaking of The Daily Guardian on January 11, 2021)
Life is such a balancing act: Head and heart, family and work, business and social and the balance of our physical and spiritual worlds.
We live in two worlds at the same time: Our physical world, where the focus is on material things, money, competition, facts, organisation, planning and accomplishing. We are in this physical world, but we are actually spiritual beings who are temporarily being held here by our physical body.
A key to balance is to realise that we are eternal souls currently here on planet earth. This is not just theory or philosophy but comes from our own experiences. When we truly understand ourselves as the souls we are, we can relax and enjoy the journey. We can also learn from all the experiences we are having here. We are souls with a body, not a body with a soul. When we know and live from this understanding, life becomes more content and satisfying. We can be involved in the physical world, not controlled by its challenges but learning and assimilating all the lessons we learn.
In the end, even the physical is spiritual. Our life in this physical world is an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve.
Balancing our physical and spiritual worlds means living with practicality, with facts and organisation along with the essence of the True Self. Our true essence is the good, kind, loving, spiritual beings that we are. This True Self shines when we are relaxed and feeling connected.
The key to staying connected with the True Self is aligning thoughts and actions with our true inner being—thinking in a solution-oriented way. Do we tend to spend too much time complaining to ourselves or others when faced with challenges? Do we give up when we face a challenge, or do we evaluate the situation, tune into an inner guidance and keep moving along our path?
Living in two worlds at once means we stay tuned into our values and purpose. We know who we are, where we are, and where we are going. Through this inner connection nothing stops us from living our dreams and desires.
We have a divine inner guidance to help us create the life we are here to experience. Qualities like self-love, self-respect, perseverance, enthusiasm, joy, love, kindness, patience, discipline and faith are also strengthened through this inner guidance. Some of those qualities may be well-developed already, while others we may want to expand in ourselves.
We need to be sincere with ourselves. Consistent self-reflection, or regrouping through meditation, walking outdoors and being creative helps keep our balance and boosts our progress.
What are the aspects of a balanced person? Physical, mental, emotional, social, financial and spiritual.
When it comes to life, happiness, and well-being, there isn’t one single area of life that we need to focus on. Instead, life is multidimensional and constantly changing.
Focusing too much on one area can cause the other areas to be neglected. This is why practicing balance and having a complete picture perspective toward life is so important.
These are some of the areas of our lives that need to all be balanced as much as possible.

  1. PHYSICAL
    The physical aspect of life includes our health and the way we take care of our bodies. This includes what we eat and drink, exercising and hygiene.
    Our body is the most precious gift we have in the physical world and without it we can’t exist here. If we are not healthy, we certainly can’t enjoy all the other aspects of life. For that reason, taking care of our physical health is the very first step on the road to happiness.
  2. MENTAL
    If we don’t take care of our body, then it will slowly deteriorate. And the same is true for the mind. Just because you don’t have to go to school anymore doesn’t mean you can’t keep learning new things and challenging your brain. Reading books. Learning new things. Following the news. These are all ways to keep our minds sharp and continue to update our knowledge and beliefs. Learning is something that should be a lifelong process.
  3. EMOTIONAL
    We also need to pay attention to our “emotional” side. Emotions can often seem like something that we have limited power over, but being a more emotionally intelligent person means becoming more self-aware and learning how to better regulate our emotions and behaviour. It is crucial that we know how to reflect and navigate through our emotional worlds.
  4. SOCIAL
    Healthy relationships are an essential ingredient to happiness and well-being. Having a social life and a sense of belonging is a basic human need that can’t be avoided. Even introverts need a few true friends to give them a sense of purpose and meaning. We are social animals and one of the reasons why our souls have come to Earth is to experience living with others and to learn from the lessons that relationships give us.
  5. WORK/FINANCIAL
    Another aspect of a balanced person that cannot be ignored is our material needs such as food, shelter, healthcare, and other basics to living a healthy and dignified life. For most people, this means having a job/career that both supports their material well-being, as well as their psychological well-being. While we don’t always get a choice in what we do for a living, there are important ways to give ourselves more power over both our work life and financial life.
  6. SPIRITUAL
    Spirituality can sometimes be the most overlooked aspect to life. For many people, religion is their main source of spirituality and meaning, but we don’t necessarily need religion to find a larger purpose to life.
    Art, culture, philosophy, relationships, meditation and creativity can all play a role in creating more meaning in our lives and living more purposefully.
    Have faith that life is good. Faith does have an important role in good living. Don’t underestimate the importance of seeing the good in things, even our very worst experiences can be valuable, as they are only lessons that make us stronger. Every moment is a source of wealth. Practice living richly.
    Don’t underestimate the importance of “spirituality” or having a meaningful life. When you have a spiritual core, you can withstand almost any difficulty or hardship. It can empower you and motivate you to a whole other level.
    And finally, there must always be a balance between giving and receiving. Neither extreme is good. We must do both.
    Be balanced in everything that you do.
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    LESSONS FROM A RARE YEAR
    December 28, 2020
    (published in Spiritually Speaking Column of The Daily Guardian on December 28, 2020)
    2020 is about to end.
    The cycle continues.
    The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on the year gone by and to introspect on the lessons we all learned as individuals. It is also a great time to apply those lessons in the New Year that is coming in. While this year had its challenges, it wasn’t all bad. It has taught us many important lessons as well.
    This was one of the most significant and eventful years in human history. The global pandemic dominated this year in every way. Whether it was the lockdowns, the economic slowdown or the race for the vaccine. New terms that were unheard of now have been sealed into our global consciousness, such as—masks, quarantine and social distancing. This year has been quite a wild ride and most of it was spent right at home. Like a global reality show we all were in tune with global events through the Internet, social media and streaming services primarily.
    Millions of people have been infected by the virus. Hundreds and thousands have died globally. Millions around the world have lost their jobs and businesses. It has been a year of several challenges. But has it been only bad?
    Not at all. This has been a year of many lessons. While we all sat at home mostly in the earlier part of the year during lockdown, we also got a chance to rediscover our loved ones and ourselves. Many families have become closer to each other than before. Many people have had precious time to look inwards and rediscover themselves.
    Everyone must have learned their own individual lessons. But there are some that hopefully most of us learned. One is that we are literally in ‘the same boat’. Remember all the things we have heard about a global crisis affecting us all? Well this was at least in the last 100 years the first crisis that truly affected us all. We all went through lockdowns, shutdowns and quarantines. This was not confined to some part of the world but rather the whole world and these kinds of global events happen very rarely.
    So since we are all in ‘the same boat’ we can also conclude that we are truly ‘not alone’. Whether we like it or not, we are a global family. Like all families, we have our moments, our ups and downs but that does not change the fact that we are all one global family.
    On an individual level, we have realised that life is a lot vaster and deeper than we thought. Life is not just about money and career. Life is about family, creative talents, relationships, introspection, health, change and adaptability among many other things.
    On the global scale remember that 2020 is the year that has brought us both virus and vaccine. So while many got sick and passed on from this physical world, many more recovered and were granted a new lease of life. That is what we need to focus on and celebrate. Darkness came but the light prevailed.
    Now we are in the last week of 2020 so ask yourself the new things you learned about yourself or your loved ones this year. We all need to be thankful for our lives and those in it. Take this moment to realise that even our lost loved ones are still with us but in a different state of existence. Let us thank God for every blessing we have. Have faith in yourself that there are better days ahead.
    The cycle of time is perhaps best symbolised by New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Every year we go through this cycle—like a soul that reincarnates through a multiple series of births and deaths. December 31 is generally a day of celebration. But what is being celebrated? The year gone by or the new year coming or both? I would say both.
    We look at the experiences we had in one year, introspect and process those learnings and lessons and then apply them in the next year. A lot like the cycle of karma.
    We all are human and make mistakes. We all go through cycles of happiness and sadness. We all have moments of companionship and loneliness. We all go through sickness and health and so on. Life is a cycle. Nothing is permanent. This too shall pass. So don’t get attached to individual moments but enjoy them and learn from them.
    Apply the lessons that you learned. This is a great time to do new things and form newer and better habits. It is also a great time to look inwards and see the glorious divine light of love inside you. By our positive and creative thoughts, words and deeds we can spread new light upon the world. These do not have to be big things. If we all just do good in our daily lives, in our normal interactions, we will be doing a great service to the spiritual development of the world. Hopefully, that will create a chain reaction or a ripple effect.
    We are living in a very significant spiritual period when we enter into what is called the ‘Age of Aquarius’. On December 21, 2020 the Great Conjunction occurred when Jupiter and Saturn appeared to be in a straight line as seen from earth and this happened in the constellation of Aquarius. It is said that this is the beginning of a new era of spirituality on earth. Let the light of the Divine shine in your hearts and souls and let us celebrate our humanity together. We have come through a challenging period together and should celebrate.
    I wish you and your families a very happy, safe, healthy and insightful new year.
    As we all enter the New Year together, remember that your life is precious and you are here for an important reason: Be God’s love. Be God’s light.
    The cycle continues.
    2021 is about to begin.
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    BE THE LOVE AND LIGHT THIS CHRISTMAS
    December 25, 2020
    (Published in The Indian Express December 25, 2020)
    When Jesus was born, a great star appeared in the sky over Bethlehem to herald the coming of Christ. Three wise men from the East saw this star and came on their camels to meet and worship the newborn babe. They found him in a manger and gave him gifts. They recognised this child as a Divine soul.

This year, on December 21, 2020, a sign in the heavens was given as there was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. The brightest seen since the year 1226. It is also said that this is heralding the Age of Aquarius, which is believed to be a new era where there will be a powerful surge of spiritual consciousness on the planet.
Christmas is a great day to look at the year gone by and process everything you experienced in that particular year. Christmas is a day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ but it is also a day that we celebrate the year gone by as we prepare for the coming year ahead.
Should Christmas of the year 2020 be any different?
Well it is different because the year 2020 has been an unprecedented year! It started off in a grand way. The beginning of a new decade. Like the years 1717, 1818 and 1919 before it, 2020 is one of those years that comes only once every 101 years, where the first two digits are the same as the last two. The next time this type of year comes by will be in 2121.
So right from the beginning, 2020 came with something unique in our collective minds. But what a ride it’s been. Nobody could have imagined all the things that would happen.A global pandemic spread throughout the planet and forced nations to lock down.
Covid 19 brought the whole world to its knees. New terms that were hardly of any consequence in our global consciousness last Christmas have been branded into our collective global consciousness like – masks, lockdown, travel bans and social distancing.
We all were forced to stay at home and that left us no choice but to look inwards and introspect. Many people fell into depression, loneliness and sadness. People all around the globe suffered financial challenges because of lost jobs and failing businesses. People got infected and fell sick and hundreds of thousands bid goodbye to this planet and set sail back to the spiritual realms from which we have all come.
But despite all this, there was something interestingly good about the year. 2020 was a great gift to humankind!
We all experienced something together as a species. It taught us valuable lessons. It made us realise in the most dramatic and almost cinematic way that the important things in life are our relationships with each other and that we are all literally ‘in the same boat’.
Videos and social media posts from various platforms popped up showing us how the lockdown affected people’s lives in remote corners of the world and this brought a strange type of relief, joy, happiness and camaraderie. It has shown us that we are quite literally all equally vulnerable and that as the fictional Jack Shephard from the famous TV show Lost says, “If we can’t live together, we are going to die alone!”
The virus sees not one’s religion, financial condition, gender, political views, nationality, caste, creed or colour. The virus is the great leveler.Not just the virus but many other things that happened in the world this year strengthened the bond of people all over the world. There were riots, floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes in various parts of the world. But despite that, there was hope! For through a mass scale global effort of science despite the odds, the year 2020 has seen both virus and vaccine!
Remember earlier when I mentioned we are all ‘in the same boat’? There is a story of Jesus in the Bible about this:Jesus Calms the Storm (Luke 8:22-25)
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
In times of crisis, it is natural to be afraid. It is natural to get negative thoughts. But this is the time to pray for faith. For faith leads to perseverance, tenacity and resolutions of the challenges we face.
Christmas is a time to reflect and process the events of the year. What did you learn spending time with yourself? What did you learn about your loved ones and family? Have you counted how many things there are to be thankful for? Going forward, how will you change yourself in order to change the world for the better? We are all very lucky to be living in these highly spiritual and eventful times. This is a year that historians will be writing about for centuries. It is a year that marks the beginning of a new era of humanity.2020 has been a year unlike no other experienced by anyone alive on this planet.
On this Christmas Day 2020, I bring you good news! We will survive and things will get better. We have all gotten through this together. We remember those who we have lost but we know they are still alive in the spiritual realms, where we will all return someday. But there is no hurry. There is much to do still.You are not alone! Even if it feels like that sometimes. The ride can be scary but we are in it together.
This year has been called by many as the ‘Great Awakening’. For many have felt our connection. We are souls who have come here to explore and bring the love and light of God to everyone else.
This Christmas let us celebrate the lessons we learned this year. Let us celebrate our connection. This year like never before, we felt connected as a global civilisation. We realised that the important things in life are not connected to material things but they are connected to freedom, to exploring, to seeking, to learning, to loving and to being one world connected together.
Like the star that shone the night of Christ’s birth, let your light shine! Let the love and light of Christ be reborn within you! Keep introspecting within and soon like the wise men found the Christ child, we may find the Divine light and love of God within us or the Christ consciousness within us.
Let us be thankful to God to be alive! Let us be thankful that we are all connected! Let us aim to do our bit to make the world a better place. After 2020, we now welcome 2021. In this new year, let us resolve to tackle our individual, local, national and global problems without being afraid and having hope and faith that things will get better.
Peace be unto you and yours! Be God’s Love! Be God’s Light!I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2021.
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YOUR CIRCLE OF LIGHT
December 14, 2020
(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on December 14, 2020)
Each one of us exudes a spiritual light which is an energy that vibrates according to our state of spiritual consciousness. What we do not always realise or recognise is the effect that our light can and does have on others in our circle.
Whether our light shines bright or dim, we are unknowingly helping others around us and teaching them to become more consciously aware of their own light. Our interactions with other people create an ever changing circle of light which changes both in its spiritual luminosity and in its dimension.
This circle of light works in both ways. The light of others also can help us to gain valuable lessons in our own lives as well. The light of others can also assist in either brightening or dimming our own light depending on its quality. Remember how we were all taught in childhood to be careful of the company we keep? This is not only a subjective life lesson but it is an important spiritual truth—we absorb the light or energy of others and this includes the quality of that energy.
Our goal should be to brighten and strengthen our own light through thoughts, words and deeds of kindness and cleanliness. When we cultivate our own inner light through prayer, meditation and unconditional love towards God, self and others we begin to inwardly glow with a more radiant and resplendent light that will be seen by the spiritual eyes of others and will touch the hearts, minds and souls of humanity.
It is this light that illuminates the universe. The light is brilliantly luminescent because it is God’s or our Source’s (whichever you prefer) light. Our Creator’s light lives inside our hearts and souls and has been placed there purposefully for us to seek, access and use it to benefit the world.
By connecting to this Divine source of power (fuelled by unconditional love) in our hearts, we can learn the ways of divine healing, love, wisdom and creativity.
In the beginning, God told us to “be fruitful and multiply”. This is not only about multiplying physical things but also multiplying our creativity through art, science, humanity, philosophy, economics and many other things that can be used to make this world a better place. Also we need to be fruitful and multiply in terms of our good and loving thoughts, words and deeds and further strengthen and energise our own circle of light of which we are the center point. This will then lead us into higher levels of consciousness and this is what creation is all about.
All we are doing is returning back to our Divine origin and source and learning new things along the way but at the same time remembering that which our spirit already knows and has always known but simply temporarily forgotten. The quest for meaning, purpose, maturation and evolution of our soul is a quest to reconnect to Home. It is the journey to know and awaken to our holy self.
The journey Home to God, accelerates and expands our capacity to hold and elevate light and love for ourselves and others by incrementally stripping away layers of the false ego centric self.
It takes time and practice through meditation and prayer to develop an intimate relationship with God. In fact, this transformational process is underway daily as God calls us into deeper levels of relationship which lifts more and more of the veil of unconsciousness. This veil has purposely hidden our Divine identity by keeping us focused on earthly constructs such as the delusion of material life in order to aid in the awakening process. However, this does not diminish the light and wholeness that already exists within.
Our humanity is complex; it has created barriers and resistance to searching deep within ourselves. It takes patience and commitment. As humans, we are always looking for validation, safety, self-worth, acceptance, love and connectedness. Many of us have learned to look outside of ourselves for this fulfillment, and yet we still do not feel whole or understand our true nature. It is only in connecting to our own self and developing self love that this awakening will happen. Self love is not selfish or narcissistic. It does not mean to only love yourself, rather it is about making your inner self the source of love and happiness that will then radiate outwards to everyone in your circle of light.
As part of our human experience, the ego’s role is spiritually useful in teaching lessons of contrast so that we can awaken daily and evolve. These are opportunities to experience ourselves and keep choosing love. Ego consciousness keeps us focused on the outside world and the light of others. We are attracted to the ethereal shining light of others, just like a moth to a flame. Your light is no different. You are seeing a mirror image, a reflection of yourself in your highest form, your Divinity, which is your true identity intertwined with your humanity for this particular life experience. Due to being a part of a cosmic collective consciousness, we are all privileged to the same knowledge, wisdom, love and light. Our soul recognises this light in others as a kindred spirit.
The more you search within yourself, you will understand and trust that you already have everything you will need for your time here, the more you will experience lasting peace, joy, contentment, creativity and love for your journey. The map for your journey lies within you and only you. No one else has your map or knows your path. Dive deep into the abyss of self and you will find more treasure and the brighter your own light becomes as you constantly receive gifts in all different forms. God wants to help you find these hidden treasures and celebrate them with you. God wants you to be eternally happy.
As you learn how to sustain a deep relationship with your Creator, you will find that you lack nothing and are everything as oneness. If you rely too heavily on the light of others to guide you, you will never have enough time or enough desire to search inside yourself to learn what your own light’s higher purpose truly is. Keep turning inward to the unconditional love that awaits within you.
Then your circle of light will shine so brightly that others will be guided to God’s light in their own selves and that is the highest service you can do for humanity. Be God’s love. Be God’s light.
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GOD IS A GOD OF SMALL THINGS
November 30, 2020
It is the small things that matter in life. It is often the things that we do or say in our day-to-day lives that have a large impact on those around us.
(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of the Daily Guardian on November 30, 2020)
We all want to do great things in life! It is human nature to want success, contentment and happiness. What exactly constitutes these things varies from person to person. Some want good health, wealth, fame, harmonious relationships and the list goes on.
Everyone on Earth must have wondered why they are here. We all feel like we have a ‘mission’ of some kind to do something big, important and significant in the world. Humans by nature generally crave excitement and this we believe will come from something big. A huge announcement or a huge event that will suddenly change the lives of billions. But reality is different. In the end of days, we will see that it is the ‘small’ things in life that are actually the ‘big’ things from the divine perspective.
Let me share with you a story I read in one of the several books about near death experiences (NDEs) that I have read (I forget the exact book, but I remember the story).
There was a lady (let’s call her Martha) from New York City who worked in a large advertising agency. She had a few degrees and was an academic topper throughout school and college. Martha worked as a senior executive and had a six-figure annual income. All the things that most professionals strive for. But luckily, she still retained a compassionate nature. One day, her colleague lost her husband to cancer and did not come to work for a few weeks. A few weeks later, the colleague came back to work but was depressed and lonely and sat and cried on her chair. When Martha was leaving office that evening, she noticed the colleague crying and gently walked into her office and softly put her hand on her colleague’s shoulder. She didn’t say a word but just the energy of compassion and consideration she exuded was enough to make her colleague feel a lot better and she actually stopped crying and smiled.
A few years later, Martha had a cardiac arrest. She was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, but her heart stopped for a few minutes. She was declared clinically dead, but somehow in a few minutes her heart started to beat again and she was alive again. She recounted an amazing story!
When she ‘died’ she left her body, went through the tunnel, saw dead relatives and was shown a life review by a being of light. Surprisingly to Martha, the ‘significant’ events of her life were not related to the degrees, the designation or the salary that she got. The significant events of her life were related to the so-called ‘small’ things she did. In this life review she was shown and re-lived the moment described earlier when she comforted her colleague. This was something that Martha had actually forgotten about, but in the eyes of God it was one of the most significant moments in Martha’s life. For, it was a moment when she acted compassionately towards her colleague and gave her solace and hope. In that moment of reliving, Martha was actually made to feel the joy and comfort that her colleague felt. That, in itself, was a rewarding feeling. Martha returned to her earthly life and shared this story with the world.
Each one of us has our own such moments in our lives when we may have said something kind or did something compassionate to make somebody else feel better. It is moments like this which God considers important. Never underestimate your capacity to have a significant impact in the world. By doing these small things in our daily life to those that we encounter in our lives we are making an impact in the lives of others and thereby our world.
Great souls like Jesus Christ who come to our world from time to time give us an idea through their lives about the importance of humility. God chose Jesus to be born not to a king, queen, prince or princess but to a humble carpenter and his wife. Jesus was not born in a castle or palace but in a humble manger. A manger is a place where hay is put to feed animals. So even the place of birth of Jesus was in a place of service. This is a symbol of truth that on earth we are here to serve one another through love and compassion.
In his bestselling book, Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how small things done repetitively over time makes a huge impact in the end. He gives the example that a flight taking off from Los Angeles to New York City has to change its heading by just 7 feet south and it will end up in Washington DC. A small deviation in direction multiplied over time will end up in landing in a place 365 km away. This is the way we should look at our thoughts, words and deeds. We do not need to do ‘big’ things to have a long lasting and ‘big’ impact on the world. Just doing random acts of kindness and paying forward the good things is enough. But they need to be done consistently over time.
Whether we know it or not, whether we accept it or not, the truth is we are all in the same boat together. We are on this small planet at this particular moment in history for a reason. It may not be the exact reason that you have in mind but in time it will be revealed to you. God is a God of small things. It is the small things that matter in life. It is often the things that we do or say in our day-to-day lives that have a large impact on those around us.
In today’s trying times, the world can use some goodness. You have that power in you. Nothing you do for someone is too small. It is more important to consistently do acts of love and kindness over time than to do one big act once in a while. When we keep doing good things, they become habits and having a habit of doing good is the best habit to have. Be God’s love. Be God’s light.
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WATER OF LIFE
November 16, 2020
(Published in the Spiritually Speaking Column of The Daily Guardian on November 16, 2020)
We are inseparable from water.
The first time we experience water is from within our mother’s womb when we are floating in the warm and dark amniotic fluid that gives us life and makes us grow into newborn human beings.
Every creation story of all major religions and myths begin with a water story. Life both in our individualistic way and life on the planet itself begins inside water.
We are 77 % water at birth with our skin delineating the boundaries of our internal waters. This is a fact of our existence: We are a body of water.
The water that flows through our physical being is deeply connected to the rivers, lakes, streams, waterfalls, seas and oceans of our planet. We are all one in that sense. Their fate reflects upon us. When we pollute them through our careless acts, we are polluting and damaging ourselves. When we strive to clean and protect them, we are healing ourselves.
Waterfalls, rivers, lakes, streams and oceans have always had a deep impact on the human psyche. The sounds of waves and waterfalls and even the falling rain provides an instant calming and relaxing effect. The touch and sound of water instantly communicates with the waters within us and reminds of us of our connection. We feel a sense of calmness and peace that transcends all of our distracting and anxious thoughts. It puts us into a meditative state of mind. It reminds us of our own spiritual self and its characteristic of being a wanderer.
The Biblical verse about the Spirit of God moving over the face of the waters is soothing as it gives an idea of the Creator’s closeness to this aspect of creation.
Water is able to purify and renew. The body needs at least eight glasses of water a day in order to keep our inwards ocean satisfied.
Two exercises for healing and restorative aspects of even thinking about water are mentioned in Water, Wind, Earth and Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements by Christine Valetrs Paintner.

  • “Begin your time of prayer by finding your pulse and reflecting on the life-giving blood and water being pumped through your system.
  • “Spend some time by a fountain, listening to the flow of the water and contemplating its invitation for your own life. Pay attention to those places where water wants to surge up and offer its refreshment. Make note of the streams, rivers, and other water sources near you as places for prayer.”
    Watching the vast, mighty yet tranquil ocean with seemingly endless boundaries is one of the best therapies. The serenity it brings to the mind, body and soul is not less than the power of meditation. The rhythmic waves dancing on the shore, the radiant blue-green hue, the squealing birds, the solitude of the beach, everything is perfect to connect to nature which in turn makes one connect within.
    Standing near a powerful waterfall and watching the myriads of water drops flowing over the rocky edge in a cascading volume is one of nature’s most wonderful gifts. The mighty roaring sound of the water crashing and the sight of the mist rising up is something that can be done for hours and hours. Just sitting near a waterfall and closing your eyes and hearing that sound is a form of meditation that brings bliss, joy, comfort, serenity and at the same time impresses upon the mind and soul of the power of nature.
    So what is so mystical about water? The fact that it is life sustaining says much more than what we take for granted.
    Water is one of the five elements of life. It is a cleanser and healer. Water is the opposite element of fire and hence both of them balance each other. Metaphysically, water holds vibrations perfectly and for sustained periods of time. The element of water symbolizes the ebb and flow of our complex emotions. Too much of this element in our life can ‘flood’ us; too little can ‘dry’ us up. Maintaining a sense of equilibrium is hence crucial.
    We have used water for healing since ancient times. Every culture has the practice of purification through water. For example, baptism in Christianity and bathing in the Ganga river in Hinduism. Most ancient cultures uphold spiritual creation stories accepting water as the origin of life.
    Dr. Masaru Emoto, the Japanese scientist who revolutionized the idea that our thoughts and intentions impact the physical realm, is one of the most important water researchers the world has known. For over 20 years until he passed away in 2014, he studied the scientific evidence of how the molecular structure in water transforms when it is exposed to human words, thoughts, sounds and intentions.
    The extraordinary life work of Dr. Emoto is documented in the New York Times Bestseller, The Hidden Messages in Water. In his book, Dr. Emoto demonstrates how water exposed to loving, benevolent, and compassionate human intention results in aesthetically pleasing physical molecular formations in the water while water exposed to fearful and discordant human intentions results in disconnected, disfigured, and “unpleasant” physical molecular formations. He did this through Magnetic Resonance Analysis technology and high speed photographs.
    Likewise positive words and energy can have an impact on the water that is within us. That water energised with positive vibrations can heal us from and prevent us from getting negative vibrations which in turn cause diseases of the mind and body.
    Other practises involving water that can be used include salt water cleansing to cleanse off negativities from you and your house. Words yelled in anger, hatred, fights and negative emotions from people in our house can lower our energy. Spray the water mixed with lime and salt on your walls and windows. Wipe it off clean.
    Take rock salt and mix it with warm water in a bucket. Put your legs in the bucket. Sit with focus on good intentions. You will feel lighter and relaxed after this therapy. Please throw the water in the sink as it contains the residue of your negativity.
    You can also soak in a bathtub filled with lukewarm water mixed with Epsom salt and essential oils. Use candles instead of artificial light. The calm effect it will have on your body and mind is incredible.
    By warming water, we are essentially inducing fire elements in water and hence using both to our use. Cold water can also be used if we want regenerative vibrations and cool off from tension.
    Water is an inseparable part of our lives. Recognizing it spiritually makes us aware of the significance and magical effects it can have on us.
    May we get cleansed and nourished by the magic of divine water, eternally!
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    LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
    November 2, 2020
    (Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on November 2, 2020)
    Darkness is not the opposite of light but the absence of it. We are all striving for light in our lives and this is the season of the year where we celebrate light. Dussehra and Diwali are both connected intrinsically to light.
    But in the process of celebrating the victory of light over darkness, we tend to forget that these are not opposites of each other but one is the absence of the other. There is no light in darkness and there is no darkness in light. But yet for us human beings to live and experience life we need both of these things.
    Light and darkness happen to all of us. Generally we associate light with goodness and knowledge and darkness is associated with evil and ignorance. Every religion in the world associates light with the divine creator. We celebrate the victory of light over darkness every year on Dussehra and Diwali (which is also referred to as the ‘Festival of Lights’). We celebrate the victory of deities over demons. But the most important lesson from these annual reminders is not about that event itself but how to incorporate these into our own daily lives.
    The victory of light over darkness should also be the story of our own lives and this is one of the reasons we are incarnated here in the first place. Our souls are learning lessons every day and one of the most important of these lessons is this. Let light shine in and through your lives.
    When bad things happen to us, we often question fate, destiny and even God. “Why me?” We often ask. But these are moments in our life that teach us the most. If it were not for the ‘dark’ moments in life we would never grow as human beings. Difficult situations happen to us and they happen to everyone. There is no point in blaming others or destiny. These moments are meant for us to experience and learn from.
    Without darkness there would be only light and nothing else. No picture would form. There would be nothing to see. No contrast. We need various levels of light and shade for any image to form. The same is the case between darkness and light in the metaphysical or spiritual sense. They can exist without each other but it is in the mixing of them that our creation exists.
    Instead of asking “Why me?” when bad things happen, a better question is: “Why not me?” Isn’t it more profitable spiritually for us to experience a ‘bad’ thing and grow from it then to just keep on living a life with no challenges? Life without challenges or conflict is like a poorly written novel. No conflict means no story.
    Everyone has difficulties. Just because someone has more money, fame, power or relationships than you do doesn’t mean that they do not have problems. Everyone has their own problems but they are different.
    But what does all of this have to do with how celebrating festivals of light should be about our lives? The darkness within us is doubt, fear, prejudice, greed, hatred and so on. We have all read this a million times perhaps. But here is the point. The light comes into our lives not when these things disappear but it is in our correct handling of them that light becomes more powerful.
    No matter who you are, darkness can enter into you. It is in how you deal with that darkness that determines how much light comes into you to fight the darkness. Everyone can be tempted—Jesus and Buddha were both tempted by darkness. Their light shined brighter as they were able to overcome the temptations.
    We all fight a daily battle within us. There is a constant battle between good and evil within us. It is always about fighting temptations. But temptation is not always what it seems to be.
    Temptation isn’t always about controlling yourself from doing something. It is also about how you think about and deal with hardships. More subtle temptations exist that you may not even have ever realised or acknowledged before. For example, the temptation to blame others for your own perceived misfortune, the temptation to hate others before even knowing their background or circumstances, the temptation to procrastinate and be lazy, the temptation to think you are better than everyone, the temptation to think you are worse than everyone, the temptation to think it is someone else’s responsibility to help make the world better, the temptation to be lonely and have self pity and so on.
    These subtler temptations are the darkness and many others like them. They are hidden and not seen. When the ‘light’ of awareness and realisation falls on darkness, the latter is revealed and exposed. That is when they can be dispelled.
    The eternal battle between light and darkness is traditionally thought of a battle of good vs evil. But it can equally be between ignorance vs awareness, dependency vs independency, sadness vs happiness, doubt vs confidence, giving up vs trying again, loving yourself vs dependency on others, and so on.
    This list could go on forever. But that is what light and darkness is about. It is about constantly discovering and realising things and learning how to overcome the negative thoughts and energy and replace them with positive thoughts and positive energy. It is about realising that everything happens for a reason and we are meant to learn from it.
    There isn’t a better example than the year we are living in today: 2020. It has been a game-changing year. The global pandemic has changed our lives, forced us into quarantine, kept us in one place pretty much, economies have shut down temporarily, many have fallen sick and unfortunately died. It seems like a dark year.
    But let some light into the picture please!
    For every one person who died, 95 or so have recovered. For every day that you were locked indoors you must have had some time to contemplate. For every moment away from office was a moment with your family. For every moment lost in travelling the world was a moment that you could have looked inwards into your soul. Lost business and job revenues plenty, but also new opportunities for a new world. For every day that pollution could have grown, clean air emerged, twinkling stars and snow clad mountains could be seen from the plains. So suddenly it seems like a year full of promise, a year full of light.
    Let your light always dispel your darkness. Wishing you all a happy Diwali.
    Prashant Solomon is a Delhi-based businessman and author.
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    WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO LIVE IN THE ‘HERE-NOW’
    October 19, 2020
    Our minds are now caught in a virtual web that comprises constant
    communication with other people, constant bombardment with
    information, constant worrying or thinking about yesterday or tomorrow.
    But very rarely is the mind focused on just being in the ‘here-now’.
    (Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on October 19, 2020)
    The present moment is the only reality. Everything that is happening to you is happening in the “here-now”. Being aware and centred in this current place and time is the only reality and is the true way to happiness. How much of our time have we wasted in pondering about the past or the future? The past is past and the future is not here yet and will never be. The reason that the future will never be here is because it is always something that is unreachable. When tomorrow arrives, it is no longer ‘tomorrow’ but ‘today’. Have you ever planned a vacation and during the days leading up to that vacation felt a kind of anxiety about the days leading up to it?
    If you use your present time thinking about the upcoming vacation, then you are not experiencing the present moment effectively. You may not be able to concentrate on your daily tasks because in your mind you are constantly thinking about the upcoming vacation. Eventually the time comes and you go on your vacation and before you even realise it, it is time to go back home. Instead the moments leading up to the trip should have been savoured and enjoyed for what they are.
    They are as much a part of your life as the trip itself. In other words, do not ignore or be unmindful of the present by constantly anticipating the events of the future. The “here-now” is the only reality. Time is a precious commodity which is to be cherished, each and every moment of it. Rushing through it either physically or mentally is also wasting it. Each moment is to be experienced for what it is. Even the moments of boredom. For they too shall soon pass. Even the slower moments in life if you are completely present and immersed in them will increase your appreciation of them and relaxation in them.
    Focusing elsewhere in time and only thinking about the past or future will lead to anxiety and stress. This will also make you feel perpetually worn out and feeling out of touch with yourself. The cure of this is to constantly remain in the present or the “here-now”. But how can we do that? “Here-now” means being aware and mindful of what is happening at this very moment. We are not distracted by the ruminations of the past or worries about the future but centred in the here and now. All attention is focused on the present moment.
    This is the key to being healthy and happy. It fights anxiety, cuts down on worrying and rumination and keeps you grounded and connected to yourself and everything around you. Present moment awareness is the one sure way of having a complete experience. Our minds and thoughts are mostly in a constant state of flux moving from one time to the next—back and forth— past, future, past, past, future, future. Either we spend most of our time thinking about the past or worrying or planning our future. Very rarely is our mind on where we are and what we are doing. In each moment of our lives is a lesson to be learned. Each moment of our lives is a hidden adventure that can be enjoyed.
    A great way to experience the “here-now” is to focus and pay attention to our breathing. The simple act of breathing in and out and observing it will bring us to the present moment. This is also the most simple and basic form of meditation and will do wonders to soothe our minds of all worry, stress and anxiety. Being “herenow” through breathing is a great way to anchor us to our reality. Also, many people in today’s world have forgotten the art of simple passive observation. Try this following experiment. While going for a walk or drive turn your brain and your consciousness into purely receiving mode. Eliminate temporarily the transmission mode. This means do not ‘think’ but simply observe.
    Suppose you are a passenger in a car. Just look outside the window and observe. No thinking, no worrying, no phones, no communicating but just observing. You will be amazed by the result! Even your daily route to work which you may have travelled hundreds or thousands of times over the years will reveal many surprises unnoticed before. You will see new alleys, lanes, signs, trees, structures and other things never before seen.
    If done for enough time you may even hear a Divine inner voice inside you that will point out this truth to you gently. It may say, “I have led you down these paths every day, but you never noticed these things till now.” The observer then realises that though she had travelled on this route perhaps thousands of times earlier, she had never noticed so many of the things she saw that day.
    The fact that she could even hear the Divine voice talk to her could also be an indication of the same phenomenon—that sometimes the mind has to be still from the thoughts of yesterday and the hopes or worries of tomorrow and just be in the “here-now”. The Divine voice itself could be calling out to us all the time but perhaps could never be heard because of this same lack of observation of what is. Our minds are now caught in a virtual web that comprises constant communication with other people, constant bombardment with information, constant worrying or thinking about yesterday or tomorrow.
    But very rarely is the mind focused on just being in the “herenow”. With all this constant race and pursuit of material things, we forget the simple things. The butterflies and flowers, the leaves swaying in the trees, children playing in the park, the setting sun, the wind blowing through your hair, the joy of seeing a baby laugh or simply to sit in the rear seat of a car and observe the world as it passes by.
    There are so many things you will notice if you just look and see. It is not a ‘waste of time’, for at the end of the day, what are we really here in this world for? Sure, it is important to do things also. It is important to work and play and laugh and cry and love and hurt, but it is also very important to process all that information. It is important to feel the moment. It is important to live in the “here-now” and just be! After all, we are all human beings, not human doings.
    Prashant Solomon is a Delhi Based author and businessman
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    THE TRUTH IS WE WILL ALWAYS BE ALIVE
    September 28, 2020
    (Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on September 28, 2020)
    What is the opposite of death? Think about this question and note down the first thing that comes to your mind. You will get your answer sooner than you think.
    “What happens after death?” This is perhaps the most asked question in human history. There is nobody on this planet who has never wondered about the answer to this question. There is nobody in this world who has never lost a loved one. One of the biggest of life’s ironies is that the only thing certain in life is that everybody will die someday. Nobody can escape death. But life goes on forever!
    What does this mean?! Nobody can escape death but life goes on forever! This sounds like a very contradictory thing to say. But you will realise that this is one of the most esoteric truths of our human condition. So we will approach this question from various points of view.
    Religions in our world are supposed to all teach us good things. Unfortunately, people of different religions often disagree on many things and these disagreements have often caused many problems. There is, however, one thing that they all seem to agree on – the existence of spiritual beings in a heavenly afterlife realm. Whether Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Christians – they all believe in this. Not only do they believe in the eternal life of the soul but also the existence of an elaborate and well hierarchical and organised spiritual realm of the afterlife. They all believe also in the existence of angels and spiritual beings of a higher nature.
    Modern day science also has opened up majorly to the concept of extra dimensional existence and multiple planes of existence. Quantum theory talks about many more dimensions of existence and also about the superior nature of consciousness when it comes to reality and what exactly reality is. If consciousness can exist here, why can’t it continue to exist forever in some other realm of existence? Plus, what is reality anyway?
    Now coming to another point of view – that of medical cases of NDEs (near death experiences). In 1975, Dr Raymond Moody wrote the life changing book ‘Life after Life’ which was the world’s first major glimpse into the world of NDEs. Near death experiences have now been reported in large numbers across the world since 1975. Not only are the accounts of people who were declared clinically dead fascinating, even more fascinating and convincing is the similarity of reports that have emerged cutting across religions, castes, educational, financial and national barriers.
    Most of the accounts clearly describe that the person who ‘died’ was fully aware of peacefully and painlessly leaving their human body, floating upwards and being drawn into a tunnel of light. This light has been described as being a thousand times brighter than the sun but does not hurt the eyes. When they emerged on the other end of this tunnel, they were greeted by deceased family, friends and relatives and it was like a big reunion party. Then there was a being of light who came and who emitted an overpowering (in a good way) sense of peace and love and particularly causing the person experiencing this to feel loved beyond anything they could ever have experienced on earth. One person explains this as (paraphrasing) – “Imagine the love of a mother towards her baby, the love of two people madly in love and every other love you have ever experienced while on Earth, add all that up and then multiply it by 100 billion. That is coming close to the magnitude of love you feel in that world”.
    Then the person is shown what is called a life review in which they see some events from their life and see how their actions impacted others. So if you made somebody feel very good and loved, you would feel what they felt. If you hurt somebody and made them feel unloved, you will feel what they felt. This is judgement and karma right there. It is not a punishment, it is a realisation and your next life will be a chance to work through differences. Then these souls were either given an option to return or were told it was not their time and they had to return and they did return to earth. Medical records confirm these things. Some of these patients’ hearts were stopped for nearly 30 minutes and today doctors and nurses increasingly talk more openly about these things that they were witness to. The NDE in most cases had a very positive effect on the experiencer. They became a lot more compassionate and spiritual after the NDE.
    Michael Newton in his book ‘Journey of Souls’ talks about how in his hypnotic regressions that he conducted on thousands of patients they were taken back to the place between incarnations. Life Between Life (LBL) sessions he calls them. These fascinating accounts tell about how we all have soul groups, soul families, spirit guides and how life on the other side is well organised and much like earth but without the bad things like wars and diseases. But again there is not a single place or dimension to go to. It is very hierarchical. There are lower, middle and high and higher and highest levels and each one of these can have hundreds or thousands of sub levels. The world of light and spirit is eternal and infinite.
    Both NDE and LBL cases also shared more interesting things about the world beyond this physical world. All the experiencers say they felt as if they were back to their true ‘home’. Earth is not our true home but a place where the soul comes to have a “human experience”. The world of the spirit is more real than Earth. Much like we perceive the wakeful state to be more real than the dream state. Colours and sounds are highly enhanced and there are colours that do not exist on Earth. Another very interesting observation is the absence of linear time. “The past, present and future are all happening simultaneously and time is not at all the way it is perceived on Earth,” says an NDEr.
    So this is a topic that can be written about in reams of reams. But for now, it is comforting to know that our loved ones who passed away are still there and are watching over us from that side. Many have communicated in dreams and through other messages. Sometimes you see something like a billboard that reminds you of somebody you have lost. Maybe a song suddenly plays that was their favorite. Sometimes butterflies are considered to be signs of the afterlife as butterflies are a sign of transformation from a lower grosser life to a higher subtle form of life.
    You and your loved ones who have passed away will be reunited. In fact, it goes beyond that. When you cross over you meet your family and friends not only from this life but from all your past lives as well. Even if they are reincarnated it doesn’t matter. According to Journey of Souls, the soul that comes to Earth only brings about 30 percent of its energy in each incarnation. 70 per cent of the soul’s energy is always in the spirit world. This is often called the “Higher Self”. Our higher selves are still in the spirit world along with our departed loved ones. We do not realise this because our waking consciousness is tied with this physical body. Sometimes we can experience the higher world during dreams. That is why sometimes in dreams we feel like we meet our departed loved ones and even the ones who are still on Earth. This is the meeting of the higher selves irrespective whether they or on earth or have returned back ‘home’.
    Even the word ‘death’ itself proves that it is not the opposite of life.
    Remember that question I asked you in the beginning of this article?
    Many of you probably said ‘Life’ is the opposite of death. Wrong answer! The opposite of death is ‘Birth’. Life is eternal and therefore has no opposite.
    Enjoy your eternal and infinite adventure of life. Whether on Earth or beyond, we always have been, always will be; and even at this moment, somewhere in some form are alive!
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    DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY
    September 14, 2020
    (Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on September 14, 2020)
    ‘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 all over the world should listen to this song and heed the gentle yet most powerful advice ever – DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY!
    Life is a study in uncertainty. Each morning is a new mystery. We have no idea whatsoever how things will go. Today could be just another day or it could be the last day of ours on this planet. Does it matter really? The only thing that truly matters is that we are alive at this moment.
    Worrying is an exercise in futility. Though it is one of the most common traits in human beings. The thing about worrying is that it is totally useless. If you have the power to change or prevent something, then do it. If you don’t have the power to change or prevent something, worrying about it will make no difference whatsoever.
    Does this mean that we should be totally passive and fatalistic? Not at all. Just because worrying solves nothing doesn’t mean that we just sit there and do nothing. Do your best to create a situation that you want and let nature do the rest. Have faith in the Divine and leave the fruits of your action in the hands of the Divine.
    One of the ways to stop worrying is to look at your situation in life and be thankful. People often complain about things that they perceive to lack. Not enough love. Not enough money. Not enough of this or that. Instead people should sit back and count their blessings. Not metaphorically. Actually sit down and make a list of all the things in life that you have. Be thankful for what and who you have in your life.
    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.
    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?
    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.
    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
    As you read this article, you are breathing. 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 a minimum of 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
    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.
    Reading transports your mind into another world of sorts. Imagination and wonder are great ways 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. But we must love ourselves too. 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.
    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 spiritual beings currently on planet earth to learn, explore and grow. The sooner we realise this, the sooner happiness will come.
    Prayer can be as simple as just talking to God the way you talk to yourself. Be thankful when you pray but don’t be shy. Express your desires to God and if it is something good for you, the process will begin that will cause that to manifest.
    Chanting the name of God or a mantra is also a way to charge you spiritually. An instant blessing is received by a person who takes God’s name with reverence.
    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. In the end, all is good.
    So once again, don’t worry, be happy!
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    CALCULATING THE LIVING COSMOS
    September 3, 2020
    (Published in Spiritually Speaking The Daily Guardian August 31, 2020)
    “The cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.” –
    Carl Sagan (1934-1996), US astrophysicist and creator of the hit TV show ‘Cosmos’.
    A lot has been discovered since the time Carl Sagan passed away in 1996. We now know that there are most likely at least one planet around every star in the universe. That is a lot of planets and stars. For us to understand our cosmos and our role in it, we should start by looking inside our own selves. Is the material cosmos a smaller part of a larger energetic and spiritual cosmos? It could be. But first, let us look at some mind boggling numbers.
    There are over 7.8 billion human beings on planet Earth as per August 2020. Let us take that number as 8 billion. That seems like a lot of people doesn’t it? But it is insignificant compared to the number of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. There are 400 billion stars in our Galaxy. Divide 400 by 8 and you get 50. That means there are 50 stars in our Galaxy for every human being on planet Earth! That is right. Imagine the size and vastness of the Galaxy. Imagine how many places and things there are and how many intelligent forms of life must be out there.
    Macrocosm and Microcosm
    The good news is that our Milky Way Galaxy is not the only galaxy. Latest estimates by astronomers put the number of galaxies in the ‘known’ universe at about 2 trillion i.e. 2,000,000,000,000 and on an average each galaxy has a few hundred billion stars. And according to what we know now – each one of those stars should have at least one planet.
    The way the universe is made is orderly. All of these 2 trillion odd galaxies are not just randomly floating in space. They are arranged into clusters and superclusters. Our own Milky Way galaxy is a part of the Laniakea supercluster of galaxies. It is mind boggling to think of the immensity of the universe outside the earth.
    But wait a minute! This immensity of the macrocosm of the universe is mind boggling but equally mind boggling is the fact that the microcosm is equally if not even vaster. Did you know that an average 70 kg human being is made up of about 7 x 1027 (7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) (that is 7 Octillion!) atoms! In each breath there are trillions of atoms exchanged. Also it is estimated that we have about 10 trillion cells inside of us.
    That is way more than the estimated number of stars in the known universe which if you take 2 trillion galaxies and the average number of stars as 100 billion per galaxy comes to 2 x 1023 or 200 sextillion stars! To give you an idea of the sheer magnitude of these numbers – there are more stars in the known universe than the total number of grains of sand on every beach on planet earth.
    But the number of atoms in one single human being is much more. In fact it is 35,000 (7 octillion divided by 200 sextillion) times more than the estimated number of stars in the known universe!
    So our bodies are grander universes in themselves.
    96 per cent of the universe is either dark matter or dark energy.
    Now we all know that we live in a universe of energy. There is something beyond the material seeable universe. There is an entire energetic and spiritual plane of existence. But where is this? Can we actually know it and can it be discovered or at least do we have a hint of this huge colossal spiritual universe?
    Actually, we do.
    It is now known that despite the hugeness of the whole universe with all its trillions of galaxies, stars, planets and all – all of this so-called ‘material’ universe comprises only 4 percent of the universe’s mass. Approximately, 23 percent is ‘dark matter’ and 73 percent is ‘dark energy’. Here ‘dark’ refers to unseeable, undetectable and unknown. The nature of these two things is unknown to scientists at the moment but they know that these things not only exist but that together they comprise 96 per cent of the known universe. Imagine that!
    The same applies to the microcosm as well. If you look at the atomic structure, most of the mass is inside the nucleus but that comprises a tiny percent of the atom’s size. Plus there is a huge distance between each atom in terms of the tiny atomic scale. You can say that most of the atomic world is comprised of ‘emptiness’.
    What if even all of this is just one large part of something much much bigger? Well, modern science says that this entire universe itself could be just one out of possibly infinity of other universes which collectively can be called the ‘multiverse’. So the Cosmos (remember the quote by Carl Sagan in the beginning of this article) could be way bigger than what we originally thought.
    We are Godstuff
    “The Kingdom of God is within you,” says the Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 17:21 of the Bible. When the creation of the Cosmos took place, the raw materials had to come from somewhere. It is too simplistic to say that they “just came” out of nowhere. The basic building blocks of the entire Universe are the same three subatomic particles – protons, neutrons and electrons. There is absolutely no difference between the protons, neutrons and electrons in you and the chair you sit on. They are the same. There is fundamentally no difference between anything when it comes to the basic building blocks that make everything. This is important to note because it immediately makes you feel the ‘oneness’ of all things throughout the Cosmos.
    So, the Creative power that made the entire Cosmos had to have used ‘itself’ as the basic ‘stuff’ that made the protons, neutrons and electrons as well as the almost unimaginable energy that goes into every single atom of creation. So not only are we (as the late astronomer Carl Sagan loved to say) ‘starstuff’, but we are all ‘Godstuff’ that has been mixed and matched in different permutations and combinations and is made to interact with each other amidst the delusion that we are actually separate. We are as separate as the individual drops in the ocean – which still retain their existence in some stretch of imagination, but at the same time, have merged with the larger entity called ocean. They still exist, but now as a part of a larger, more powerful being. Like the cells in your bodies are individual beings in their own sense – they have a fixed boundary or body, they are born, they reproduce, they absorb oxygen (so they breathe in a sense) and then they die. They may even have consciousness, but miniscule compared to the consciousness of a human being. Yet, our physical bodies are nothing more than a conglomerate of trillions of cells. Are we the single body or the sum total of trillions of cells?
    So what is 96 percent of reality?
    Most of reality is unseen and unknown currently. Let us propose a theory. But first a quick reference to the world famous book written by Paramahansa Yogananda ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. In the chapter ‘The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar’, Yogananda tells us about the physical, astral and causal universes. The physical is the material universe, the astral (energetic) is more subtle and is the place the souls go to after leaving earth and the causal (spiritual) is even more subtle and more refined, this is where more advanced souls go and ultimately the highest plane of existence is the merging with God. Each one of these universes have their own sets of planets, stars, solar systems and galaxies.
    I feel that this could be the answer to what is 96 percent of reality. Maybe ‘Dark matter’ is the astral universe and ‘dark energy’ is the causal universe. Yogananda did also mention in the book that the physical is smaller than the astral and the astral is smaller than the causal.
    If so then 96 per cent of the Cosmos is spiritual and divine in nature and just waiting for us to explore it. The best part is we are our own spaceships in this regard. Meditation can give us glimpses into these vasts energetic and spiritual realms. Go deep inside you, take a deep breath and explore the vastness of the glorious infinite realms within you!
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    SPIRITUAL BEINGS HAVING A HUMAN EXPERIENCE
    August 27, 2020
    (\Published in The Daily Guardian on August 17, 2020)
    “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
    Read the quotation above again and let this truth sink into you. Let this thought envelop your very being. Then read it again. This one quotation, if pondered, will change the way you think about the world, world events, your own role in this world and your life itself. Two very important aspects are being talked about — who we are and what is happening to us. According to this, we are actually spiritual beings having a human experience and not the other way around. So we are immortal and eternal beings on a never ending journey.
    When you dream at night you are no longer aware of your physical body. But you clearly are still conscious in the dreamscape. While there may be a fluid nature to the experience, it is actually ‘you’ who is experiencing something. So who are ‘you’ exactly? The real you is your consciousness or spirit. It is the eternal I am. During sleep we do not remember our bodies or the surroundings but we still have the awareness of being. We are spiritual beings who are currently using a physical body to experience the lower frequency physical world.
    We are spiritual beings having a “human experience”. Spirituality is reality and everything physical or energetic is a part of that reality. We experience life as a human so that we can learn and grow and evolve spiritually. Life on earth is about learning lessons. It is about using our talents to make the world better in some way. It is about loving yourself and others. Just like a scuba diver or astronaut needs a special suit to survive underwater or in space, the same way the soul takes on a human body in order to survive in this physical world. ‘
    So where do we come from when we are born and where do we go when we die? First, do we even understand these things? If you ask somebody a simple question, “What is the opposite of death?”, 90 percent of people answer: “Life”. Seems like a simple answer. But it is the wrong answer and you will see why. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal and therefore has no opposite. Birth and death are simply entry and exit points. They are doors that open from the spiritual world into the physical world and then back again. Neither did your existence begin at birth, nor would it end at death. These two things are simply transitions from one world to another, from one frequency to another.
    Imagine you are watching Netflix and you get bored and change the channel to Amazon Prime. Now you are watching a different show. But just because you switched from Netflix to Prime does not that mean that Netflix has stopped broadcasting? It is still flowing in the background. But now your device is tuned into another frequency. So it is with physical life and non physical life. The place where we have come from and where we go ultimately has been described in many spiritual texts and accounts as a place that is made of light, energy and thoughts.
    Our souls exist there in a more subtle form which has been called the astral body and then even higher levels exist which are called the causal body. These frequencies have been described to range from realms of existence that are much like our earth but with more subtle energies to higher dimensions full of light and love and much more beautiful than earth without any negativity, disease, parasites, wars and so on. It is a place where there is much learning and evaluation of lessons learned on earth. Some may call the higher levels ‘heaven’.
    Dr. Raymond Moody in the early 1970s changed the world forever with his book, Life after Life, which brought the near-death experience or NDE into popular culture. Many years later Dr Michael Newton came out with Journey of Souls, which brought the life between life (LBL) sessions into popular culture.
    The NDE is an experience where someone was declared clinically dead for a few minutes (mostly following a heart attack or accident) and reported floating out of their body and entering into a bright light which led them into an energetic tunnel or vortex. At the end of the tunnel they met their loved ones who had passed on before them and also met a council of elders and saw a life review in which there were specific moments highlighted from the incarnation that just ended. They would see and feel how they made others feel by their conduct. Then they were asked if they wanted to come back. In some cases they did not want to come back but were told they have to. In every case, they reported that they felt love and that they were back home. Then they returned to their earthly bodies. These NDEs are all scientifically recorded and acknowledged since most of these occurred in hospitals.
    LBL sessions on the other hand are hypnotic regressions that take the subject to the time between incarnations. In each case, the subject describes that the souls live in soul groups and soul families and that there are spirit guides that are assigned to them. Plus the spirit world is a very organised and hierarchical place and not random. Time and space do not exist there and it is a very fluid place where transportation and communication both happen telepathically.
    We also reportedly meet our loved ones who have passed on from earth and this includes loved ones from all our previous incarnations. There is a constant feeling of being loved and this love seems to exist everywhere in the spirit world. We meet souls that were with us through many incarnations and some souls who are with us mostly in the spiritual realms but may not necessarily incarnate with us. Even if someone reincarnates then, according to Dr Michael Newton, they only take about 20-30 percent of their energy with them to earth and the rest remains in the spirit world which means that there is constant interaction between souls even if they are incarnated. The higher selves are connected even if their incarnations are happening simultaneously.
    Another aspect of the spiritual world is reportedly a constant divine light and music that plays. Plus there are no restrictions on the senses and everything is alive. Also it is reported that everything is highly enhanced — the sounds and colours are much more vivid than on earth and some colours do not even exist on earth. Also people have described that the spirit world is a lot more real than physical life. Just like conscious life seems more real than a dream, the same way, life in the spirit world seems more real than life on earth.
    Along with this, it is clear that we are all souls and that there are many levels of existence with various forms of spiritual beings of different development levels. Some are teachers, guides and soul family members that are all helping us in our infinite and eternal spiritual journey. Many reports say that there is no end to the realms of consciousness and evolution. Even the great ones that have come to earth are still evolving further on their journeys. It is an endless experience designed by God to explore and learn.
    Everyone has lost a loved one. It is natural to mourn and miss those we have lost. But remember that we actually never really lose anyone because they still exist in another realm of existence. That realm is our true home where we all came from and where we will all return some day. There we will be reunited with our loved ones. Till then keep living life to the fullest and take each new day as a new opportunity and remember that we are on earth for a reason and there should be no worry or no hurry to leave.
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    STOP UNREAL EXPECTATIONS
    August 5, 2020
    (Published in The Daily Guardian August 3, 2020)
    We all expect things in life. Whether from other people, from ourselves or from situations. It is normal to have hopes and expectations. However, giving too much importance to unrealistic expectations is a recipe for disaster and should be avoided to have a peaceful and happy life. There is a popular definition of expectations. It goes like this. “Expectations are premeditated resentments.” When we have expectations, it is like we are pre planning the future resentments that are bound to occur. But whether it is expectations from others, from yourself or expectations others have from you or whether it is expectations from life and situations in general, the good news is you can learn to minimise them. Not having unrealistic expectations is a great way to grow spiritually and we will discover why.
    We all have experienced it. You expect your loved one to say or do something that pleases you. It doesn’t happen and you feel dejected and disappointed! It starts from childhood. Kids expect parents to spend time with them. But parents are too busy. Disappointment. You expect your best friend to like something you do, but they don’t. Disappointment. You expect your spouse to like the same kind of food, TV shows and movies that you do. They don’t. Disappointment. Or you expect them to express their feelings more often and they don’t. Disappointment. You expect your children to always think the way you do and automatically think that they will live their lives the way you want them too. They don’t. Disappointment once again.
    You are not alone. We all have had these moments in our lives and felt disappointed with other people. The reason is not about good or bad, or loving or less loving. The reason is because of unrealistic expectations. If you do not expect, you will not be disappointed. Unmet expectations can lead you down a very dangerous path of thinking that you are not loved or that you are unworthy in some way. But that is not the reality.
    Every soul that is born has a history of multiple lives before. Each incarnation leaves certain imprints on our souls. Those imprints from previous lives and from this current life as well has an effect on the way we think about and perceive the world, ourselves and others. We often forget that even the ones we love the most have a spiritual and karmic history that is different from ours. We all have our own individual journeys. We can not expect that anyone else will be exactly the way we expect them to be.
    Unrealistic expectations aren’t always about other people. Sometimes we expect too much from ourselves. We always try to push ourselves too hard or are overly critical of ourselves. Often the cause of this is two fold – comparison with others and understanding our own limitations.
    It is natural to desire things that others have. We see someone in a fancy car or a fancy house and we start to compare ourselves to them. We start to expect things from ourselves in relation to that comparison. We need to remember that everybody has a different situation and looking at other people’s lives should not change our own life plan. You can learn lessons from the lives of others but remember that your goals in life, your dreams in life are yours only. Expect from yourself only what you think you can handle and not because someone else is living a lifestyle that you desire. When you compare yourself with others you will never be satisfied.
    Learn to give time to your inner self through meditation and creativity. Take a breather and enjoy the moment! It is OK to take a break in life. Just because you expected your life to be a certain way which did not happen does not mean you have failed or that you need to be upset or disappointed. Remember no matter how much we plan, life has its own plans for us. There will always be some new opportunity for you to explore and always a new lesson to be learned.
    The same applies to other people’s expectations from you. Remember that your thinking and actions should not depend on what other people expect from you. Your dreams and goals and the kind of life you want to live should be lived only because you want to live it like that. People have a tendency to want to control others. Many people must have experienced this in life. It could be a parent, spouse or boss. These people need to manage their own expectations and your life should never be about fulfilling the expectations of others.
    We all expect things from life itself. As kids we probably expected to be millionaires by the age of 40. Some expected to be famous and powerful. Everyone must have had certain expectations in life. This is natural and normal. Having an expectation which is in the form of hope and desire is fine. It is when we allow our expectations to rule our happiness that problems are bound to occur. Remember that life has its own plan for us. We could call this karma or destiny. But the trick is to live in the moment. Strive to do the things you enjoy. Let the joy of doing it be its own reward. Once you do it, don’t expect people to praise you or don’t expect that you will suddenly become famous or powerful. Keep on doing what you want to do without expectations of the outcome or the accolades of achievement. Life is about the journey and not the destination. Take each day as it comes without expectation.
    Acceptance is an important part of spiritual growth and not having unrealistic expectations is a great way to achieve this. Learn to let go. This does not mean that we have no boundaries. Not expecting things from others does not mean that you become a pushover. Self respect and self love is the most important thing. If you are not happy the way someone is treating you, voice it and do not accept. Communication is necessary. Do not expectthat the other person will know your problems and what you are not liking. Accept others for who they are. Everyone is different. That is what makes life so wonderful.
    Not having unrealistic expectations helps you on the spiritual path. We are all on an infinite journey across multiple incarnations in a variety of dimensions and worlds. We should always be open to learning lessons and understanding that our happiness is within us and can never be gained by expecting anything that is beyond our control. We can only control ourselves and our reactions to external situations. This will teach us to accept and forgive ourselves and others. These are among the most spiritual of all virtues.
    So while some expectations are natural, we must avoid unrealistic expectations from others and from ourselves and from life itself. Enjoy the journey. There is something waiting for you that is better than your wildest dreams or expectations!
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    TO LOVE AND TO CREATE
    July 20, 2020
    (Published in The Daily Guardian July 20, 2020)
    Prashant Solomon
    Being creative is one of the most important reasons we are here on this Earth. Many people question the reason they are born. Is it just a coincidence you are here? Are we only a statistic or a mere blip of insignificance in human history? Nothing can be further from the truth. There are basically two things that are important about life and everything else is a derivative of these. To love and to create.
    In many books about ‘near death experiences’ or NDEs there is an interesting similarity that many people experienced. They were asked two questions in common by a Being of Light or a Higher Power when they were declared clinically dead and their souls returned to the spirit world briefly before returning to their bodies. The questions are – what did you learn about love? How did you use your God given talents to help the world? That’s pretty much it. Of course, there are other things that happened during the NDEs but that is something for another article.
    Here we are going to look at the second question in more detail.
    Each of us comes to this earth with some inherent talent. Everyone has heard the phrase ‘hidden talent’. A talent is always connected to some creative quality in a human being. Whatever it is. Writing, painting, singing, music, business, politics, diplomacy, philosophy, acting, love, relationships, parenting, cooking and the list goes on and on.
    Many times the real ideas or creative bursts come to us in moments where we are logged out of this virtual world. Endless sessions on WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Netflix, etc. etc. are entertaining for sure and if used properly can be a source of new ideas and information. But they need to be used in moderation because too much of these stifles our creative pursuits.
    This means it is important for us to have periods when we switch off our phones, TV, computer and Internet. Reestablish our relationship with our creativity and with nature. The mind and heart need to be at peace for creative imprints to be made upon them. Creative imprints often come from higher planes of consciousness and higher dimensions. Many of the worlds greatest artists, businessmen and inventors say they got their ideas from dreams or from what seemed like a coincidental ‘idea’ that just randomly popped into their minds. Many of these enter the mind during the hypnagogic state of mind when you are just on the verge of falling asleep.
    The hypnagogic state can provide insight into a problem. Many writers, artists, scientists and inventors such as Beethoven, Salvador Dali, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and Isaac Newton have credited hypnagogia and related states with enhancing their creativity. So remember to pay attention to this state of mind just before sleeping and if possible keep a notebook and pen near your bed.
    Other states of mind like when you are not focussing on your thoughts such as during a shower or driving are also times when ideas frequently come into our minds.
    But simply having ideas is not being creative. Creativity is a marriage between ideation and innovation. These words are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. Ideation is getting ideas, but innovation is executing these ideas in a practical manner. Both are needed for creativity to be a successful and game changing force.
    Every product you see around you or that you use in your daily life is the result of somebody’s creative action. It is not enough to merely have an idea. What if Steve Jobs dreamt of making a cool mobile phone that had a camera and other things and then just forgot about it? What if the Wright brothers had an idea of a machine that could fly but did nothing to make it into a reality? These are just two examples. The world is a better place today because of the creative entrepreneurship of many people.
    This is also what will give people the ultimate satisfaction in life. Not just money, power, position or fame. These should never be the goal. The goal should be to do something that helps the world in some way. A book you write could change lives. A movie you make could stop wars. A song you write could increase compassion. A business you start could employ thousands. A product you manufacturer could change the way the world works. It all starts with an idea for something new or an idea to make something better. But action is needed to make it a part of people’s lives.
    The recent global pandemic and lockdown which is still going on is a reminder that looking inwards and becoming more compassionate and creative can and will make our own lives better. In the process, new ideas have emerged already. Online meetings and online education have become the norm. But there is still a lot of ideation and innovation that is yet to come. Creative action will come that will change the way we live, work and play. New industries will emerge and the world will become a better place ultimately.
    We now recognise that we are all in the same boat and that global problems affect everyone. This is a great opportunity and a great awakening – spiritually and creatively. Most great periods in human history were preceded by either pandemics or wars or both. This period is no different. If new creative action is taken by more and more people, the world that emerges from this cocoon of creative and introspective opportunity will be better and brighter.
    Now briefly let us look at the first question that was asked to NDErs.
    What did you learn about love?
    It is said that to “swim in a sea of love” is the source of creativity and that love is the creative dimension and creative energy that surrounds us and binds us. Love becomes us. Life’s a journey to realise and remember that truth. When we give and receive love in its divine form which means an unconditional love that is when magic happens and our creative action becomes more effective and is able to touch not only the mind and the heart but also the very soul of everybody that comes in touch with that creative action.
    Love is a strength and power that resides everywhere but needs to be tapped into and when combined with our creative action the world will become better, happier, wealthier and stronger in every way.
    Prashant Solomon is a Delhi based author and businessman
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    THE CHANGING RIVER OF LIFE AND ITS MEANING
    July 6, 2020
    (Published in The Daily Guardian July 6, 2020)
    Prashant Solomon
    One of life’s most powerful ironies is that the only constant in life is change! This is perhaps best described by the philosopher Heraclitus in the 5th century BC in the following way – You can never step into the same river twice. Because neither the river nor you are the same.
    This indeed is one of the ironies of life and at the same time one of the greatest dynamics in the universe. There is a universal flux which exists throughout all of creation. A flux that ensures that nothing is immune to change. Even physically, we may not realise it, but we are constantly changing with each and every breath. The food that we eat becomes us and so does the air we breath. The inhaled and exhaled breath causes quadrillions of atoms to be exchanged. So even physically like the river analogy we are always changing and never the same.
    Just as we are constantly changing physically, we are also changing mentally, spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. Are we the same person we were just a few years, months, weeks, days and even hours ago? Every moment that we are alive we are experiencing something new. Even if it looks like the same monotonous life, it is not. We are reborn with each new breath. Our bodies, minds and souls have evolved to some degree.
    The universe is constantly moving and everything is changing. The earth is moving around the sun as the sun is moving around the center of the galaxy as the galaxy is expanding further into the vastness of space.
    But in our absorption in this space time continuum we do not realise how far we have moved forward. In the same manner we do not realise how many things life teaches us every day. Every moment that we spend on this planet is different from any other moment in the past and is different from any other moment that will be in the future. This is the nature of change. Not only is change the only constant, everything is constantly changing.
    And what exactly is the lesson we can learn from this?
    The fact that everything can and does change also implies that everything and everyone is like a variegated shade of gray. There is no purely light or dark or black and white that lasts forever. Everything keeps changing and this applies to everything we think or hold in our minds and opinions.
    There is nobody who is totally good or totally bad. Everyone is a shade of gray in these moral and ethical values as well. So this is what is the lesson to be learned? Never judge and be prejudiced towards anybody or anything because everything and everyone changes.
    Sometimes change is for the better and sometimes for the worse. Not being judgmental and being forgiving is very important because nothing is permanent and even the worst people can and will eventually be redeemed. Sometimes the so called ‘best’ people can and will be tempted and challenged and fall from grace. And then after another cycle they will again be redeemed. And thus it goes on.
    Change enables you to be the person you want to be. It is also a valuable life skill. Being able to change your approach shows a commitment to progress and confidence in your own ability. Internal changes should be made constantly to ensure that no stagnation takes place.
    Some changes are beyond our control. These changes, whether good or bad, will teach you something new. These make you more flexible and understanding and prepares you for the future.
    Everything in life is changing all around you – technologically, politically, economically and socially. Life is more exciting, rewarding and enjoyable when things around you always change. This also keeps you in the moment and open to adapting.
    Change creates new opportunities and experiences which some may consider risky. But taking risks and managing failure is what life’s all about. Some kind of a risk is necessary for progress and facing risks and moving ahead is what builds confidence and enables progress. There are many benefits that new experiences can bring as well.
    Change is a ticket out of bad situations. As long as you embrace change, you will find that your situation need not last forever. Something bigger and better is waiting. If you reject change, experiences and opportunities are likely to pass you by.
    Sometimes the past can hold us back, but moving on should be a slow and steady process and not rushed. Little changes that occur every day stimulate progress and put you one step further away from the bad situation you have left behind. Don’t let your yesterday dominate and dictate your today. Personal growth happens when you look ahead and learn from the past but with the intention of making the present and future better.
    Seasons change, rivers flow, technologies come and go, the years fly by and people will grow alongside you. Your life is counted by the changes you have been through and not by awards you won or money you earned. You will never forget the opportunities you embraced, the chances you took or the times you failed and picked yourself up again. Those milestones are all a part of the journey of life and are significant in their own way.
    Your personal development relies on the changes that have happened in the past which have led you to where you are now. And what you learn and experience today will help to carve your future path.
    The times we live in today is a great example of how quickly and definitely life can and does change. We can not change our external situations too much but we can control our attitude and reaction towards them. We can also learn from these changes and use them to change and grow from within. Life is an eternal voyage of change and we are all eternal voyagers! As Heraclitus mentioned, “we can never step in the same river twice”. But don’t worry, there are many rivers to enjoy in this universe!
    Prashant Solomon is a Delhi-based businessman and author
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    BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND
    June 27, 2020
    I have started writing a fortnightly spiritual column in the Daily Guardian newspaper. My first article ‘Be your own best friend’ was published on June 22, 2020.

I am posting the content of the column below:
Are you your own best friend?
When we are alone with ourselves, instead of feeling bored or lonely, that time would be much better spent by looking inwards and introspecting. If this lockdown has a silver lining, this is one of them – it has given us a chance to slow down and look inwards. It has given us a chance to think about what truly matters in life. Our family, our health (physical, mental and spiritual) and our happiness.
But we have also seen and heard lately about the growing problem of depression. People are feeling lonely and lost. There is a simple solution to this. Love yourself and become your own best friend.
Loving yourself and being your own best friend is as important as breathing. Now this does not mean that you become selfish, self centered or narcissistic. On the contrary, it makes you more loving, attentive and compassionate towards others. Unless you love yourself first how can you spread love to others?
Physical life is a journey that our souls are experiencing. It is a journey to evolve through experience, to learn through feelings and relationships and it is a chance to work out and balance our karma created in other lives and some from this life. The importance of self love cannot be understated. For our soul to complete its mission effectively it is important to be happy. It makes life a lot more pleasant to traverse through. Self love is the quickest and most efficient route to true happiness.
When you fall in love with somebody or something you want to cultivate that by spending time with the person or thing you love. A new hobby you cultivate often feels like it is the best thing in the world. Now here is the secret to ensure that you are always happy in any situation that life brings you to.
Do not get attached to the point that you can not be happy without it. Some attachment to our loved ones – family, friends, etc. is natural and necessary. Love is never meant to be indifferent. Love is meant to be unconditional.
However the reality is we have no control over anybody else. We can only control our own self and our own reaction to others or outside events. That is where the whole concept of self love and being your own best friend comes in.
You are your own only eternal companion. If we learn to love ourselves and be our own best friend, life will be a lot easier. From the time we were created in the great bosom of the Cosmos, we have travelled far and wide from lifetime to lifetime encased in different bodies but in each lifetime we were our own true companion. Others are there and then go away.
In physical life we become attached to material things and to people. The idea of being in love is a great thing and is something that we should all do. But the feeling that we can ‘not live without’ someone else (whoever it is) is not correct.
Why should we be our own best friend? Why should we love ourselves? Well the answer is simple. When you love yourself, only then can you truly love others unconditionally. The kind of love that is divine love is unconditional in nature. It is not reserved only for somebody in certain circumstances. Of course as human beings in families and society we all get attached to our family and friends and this is normal. But our happiness and love should not be dependent on others.
When we become emotionally dependent on others it is the beginning of potentially disastrous consequences. Why do we hear so many cases nowadays about depression and people living miserable lonely lives and even taking their own life? This is because people are becoming too attached to external things to make them happy.
The idea that you can be happy only if so and so is in your life or if you get X or Y thing is one of life’s delusions and fallacies. It is a part of the facade that this world is designed to make you believe. We must overcome this by looking inwards and remembering that we are our own only true eternal companion. When we learn to love ourselves first in a non selfish way that is when transformation and spiritual evolution progresses.
When you are your own best friend and love yourself, you will never be lonely. You will be able to enjoy your own company and be able to communicate with yourself. Self communication is very important. Talk to yourself – out loud. Go somewhere where you can be alone for a few minutes every day and talk to yourself out loud – just like you talk to other people. Discuss your thoughts, fears, ideas, worries with yourself as if you are talking to somebody else. In time, you will be amazed by the answers you will get. In truth, the positive, loving and powerful ideas you are getting are coming from your Higher Self – that part of your soul which is always in the higher spiritual realms. ‘You’ as you know yourself in this physical human consciousness is only one tiny aspect of your full self.
When you love yourself you are loving God (Creator/Source) for we are all small parts of God. Invest time and energy into building a solid loving relationship with yourself. This will make you happier in your daily life as you soon realise that true happiness is dependent only on one person and that is – you! Nobody else can make you sad or happy unless you want it!
Love everyone but know that everything is in passing. ‘This too shall pass’ as the saying goes. Channel the love of the cosmos through you and build it up. Then spread it outwards. Be the love. Be the receiver, transformer and transmitter of that divine love. Know that you are your own best friend and nobody can make you sad, lonely and unhappy unless you permit it. If people are there in your life good, if they are not, well that is Ok too. You are the only one who will always be there with you within God. This is not a possibility but a fact.
Be your own best friend!
Click here to see the scanned image of this article.
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CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN – NOT ALL BAD
April 26, 2020
The world is under lockdown! The year 2020 is still being dominated by the Coronavirus Pandemic. With just about every country on Earth being affected and most of the world in lockdown, this is perhaps the most significant event that we have ever witnessed. With millions sick and thousands dead across the world, there is obviously sadness in the air. With many businesses either shut down or about to be and many people losing their jobs this is a financial emergency for the entire world.
That being said, everything is not all bad. The lockdown has its positives as well. It has given the world a much needed downtime. People are at home with their families and this is a good thing. We are getting to rediscover our relationships and also we are able to rediscover our selves. I have used this time to read, try to write (going through writers block at the moment), paint, exercise, meditate and the best of all – spent time with my kids teaching them and helping them with homework.
So Coronavirus doesn’t have to be all bad. This is the first time that the entire world is literally and realisably (is that a word?) in the same boat! It is the first time that we have come together against a common enemy. The world has definitely changed forever. Even after the lockdown ends (or at least THIS particular lockdown, there could be more coming unless the vaccine is found) things will not be the same for a long long time. But that’s Ok. We don’t know what’s coming next – maybe it will be better than what was before. Stay safe everyone.
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TIME TO LOOK BACK AND INTROSPECT
December 25, 2019
This appeared in The Indian Express on December 25, 2019
Prashant Solomon
The last week of the year is heralded by Christmas. At this time next week, we will be in the year 2020 which is not just a new year but the beginning of a new decade. This is a perfect week for reflection. It is a great time to look back at not just the year but in this case, the last 10 years and take stock of our own lives. Are we happy with the way we have spent the last year or decade as the case may be. Is there something we could have done differently?
We are living in interesting and intriguing times. We are being faced with many challenges in our world today – environmental issues, economic slowdown and an atmosphere of tension in the world that is being caused by focusing too much on our differences instead of our similarities.
The world of today has its challenges and risks but also its opportunities and rewards. Christmas is a good time for us to look inwards and reflect what we truly are as human beings. For while today is a day of celebration, Christmas cakes and carols, it is also the day that we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Today’s theme for this Christmas message is community and peace. The world has always had divisions and mistrust among communities. Take the example from the time of Jesus more than 2000 years ago. The Jews and Samaritans lived side by side. They were two sects of people living in Israel. They both despised each other. In fact, the Jews did not even like to utter the word ‘Samaritan’. But Jesus often taught great truths in the form of stories which are called parables.
One of these is the Parable of the Good Samaritan-

Luke 10:25-37 New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii (local currency) and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expenses you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
What makes this story even more interesting is that the Samaritans were people who were hated by the Jews of that time. They were considered so low that Israelites did not even want to speak to them. But yet, this Samaritan was the only one who actually helped. On the other hand – the priest and Levite (both respected and high ranking people amongst the Jews) refused to help. This story conveyed a deeper message that despite our prejudices or differences against certain people, we must know that there is good in everyone and sometimes it is the ones who are considered different, the ones despised, who actually end up helping you at the end and sometimes the people who you consider as your own may not.
Jesus himself was a Jew and for him to tell a story where a Samaritan was actually the ‘hero’ of the story was very meaningful as it represents how important he considered it to love, respect and help people irrespective of their religion or background.
When people do that, there will be peace.

“Peace is not the absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition of benevolence, confidence, justice.”
― Baruch Spinoza

As Spinoza said, peace is not just the absence of war but a state of mind where there is an atmosphere that makes it conducive to thrive. It is a state of mind where the creative spirit of humanity is encouraged to grow and prosper.
As Jesus said at the end of the Biblical account – “Go and do likewise.”
This statement is interesting indeed. If we take the phrase – “O God” it can be considered as the simplest communication with God. But within that phrase is encapsulated in the form of anagrams the phrases “Go Do” and the word “good”. All we really need to do to please God irrespective of your religion or belief is this – “Go Do Good.”
That’s it. It is that simple. But doing good is not only about treating yourself and others with love. Doing good means doing creative and enterprising things to make the world and all life on it better for future generations.
Doing good means making new inventions, new discoveries, creating art in any form, creating businesses, creating jobs, creating education and creating a wholesome environment. It is not enough for us to just sit and think good thoughts – but to “go DO good”.
“Go and do likewise,” said Jesus. Action is important and so is the type of action. We must do good in every way we can in a manner that will benefit the world.
Christmas 2019 is a perfect time to reflect on our past, present and future. Where do we want our world to be 10 years from now in the year 2030? Think about it and work towards that goal. Each one of us has the potential to be a spark of goodness that will make the world a better place.
But take this moment to let this thought sink in. Enjoy the Christmas spirit of love, joy and universal peace. Merry Christmas and wishing you a Happy new year 2020 and a happy new decade of the 2020s.

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STEPPING INTO CHRISTHOOD
March 23, 2019
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works,

and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

— Matt. 5:14-16
.
There is a way, tried and true, that saints, adepts and avatars have walked.
The way is universal and timeless and will reunite you to your higher self and when this happens, the most subtle consciousness of God realization will shine through you.
This is the path of individuated Christhood and Buddhahood that Jesus, Krishna, Gautam Buddh and Mahatavar Babaji and many others, even in civilizations long forgotten, helped forge.
As you follow in their footsteps, you will become one with Christ, the universal Christos, which in Greek means “anointed.”
You will discover, nurture and expand the spark of divinity within you. Gradually, you will become awakened and enlightened and this is the ultimate divine mission of every soul.
There is no division in God. The duality of the physical earth plane will be transformed to the Oneness full of love and light experienced by many who have had near death experiences and glimpses of the higher realms during meditation and out of body experiences. When you are set on this truth, you will taste the Water of Life promised by Jesus and other Masters.
As Self-realisation expands, the thought of God as an outer deity to be worshiped or appeased releases its grip and you realise that God is in you and in everyone and everything else. We are all a part of God. We are all One.
The consciousness of being separate will be replaced by an unfailing guidance within your heart and soul. You will learn to engage in an inner conversation between your outer consciousness and your own Christ mind.
The path leading to Christhood and Buddhahood is a testing path of determination and testing, especially in a world that does not reward this calling. At times, you will feel uplifted in the joyous experience and bliss of divine union.
At others, you will feel empty, alone and unworthy as you pass through the shadows where God’s light within you has been eclipsed.
This is known as the dark night of the soul. All saints have passed through this, as did Jesus on the cross and Lord Buddha during his ministry.
The key to this mystical journey is to find your inner light, to expand it through love and to brighten life around you.

Love God with all our heart, soul and mind, keep on keeping on through the ups and downs of life and honor your neighbor with good works. In so doing, you will balance karma and fulfill your specific mission, the divine plan or dharma that can only succeed through you. Your reward lies beyond nirvana, unto your ascension—the permanent reunion with God that Jesus, Elijah, Enoch and many other Great Lights East and West so beautifully demonstrated.
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PLAYING EARTH GAMES
March 6, 2019
Recently Elon Musk said that he believes it is entirely possible that our physical world is a highly advanced virtual reality game being played by our advanced future selves. But what if it’s way more glorious than that?
Think about this. 20 years ago the video games we had were very primitive according to today’s standards. The graphics were cheesy, the experience of playing a video game still felt totally like a ‘game’.
Fast forward to 2019. The video games of today have graphics that are very realistic. If you wear a VR headset and play a game you feel a lot more like you are a part of that game than you would 20 years ago.
Fast forward to 2119. Just 100 years from now, if we are still around, we should have made huge advances in technology. A VR game a century from now would probably be indistinguishable from ‘reality’.
But what if our true identity is that of spirit beings or souls and our true world is the spirit world? Perhaps our true spirit beings are highly advanced in technology and are able to make an entire universe that is like their version of virtual reality.
If we have constructed a virtual world that runs on software, which is a part of the physical world, maybe they constructed a physical universe that runs on matter and energy, which is a part of a larger spiritual universe.
So pixels and bytes of our software games in a universe made of atoms could be the same thing as atoms of our physical games in a universe made of lifetrons and spirit?
Perhaps virtual reality games and software or the computer world in general (which is a construct of human beings) is a smaller version of a physical reality, which is just the construction of spiritual beings and a small part of a much larger spiritual universe.
Many of our holy books suggest this. The concept of multiple dimensional worlds is present in the Hindu writings with the concept of ‘loks’ and in the Holy Gayatri Mantra there is reference to ‘Bhur’ (physical) ‘Bhuvah’ (astral) ‘Svaha’ (causal), which are three different planes of existence. The Bible speaks of various heavens and worlds. Buddhism also talks about multitudes of levels of existence. Islam also speaks about seven heavens.
So it is entirely possible that our souls chose to enter, exit and re-enter their version of virtual reality into our physical universe in order to learn lessons of love, compassion and humility, which helps us grow as spiritual beings. Then we leave this physical world and re-enter our true home in the spirit planes where we absorb and reflect on the experiences and lessons we had on the earth plane. Then in time, we reincarnate into another earth body and play a new game as the same player but a different character.
Maybe death is nothing more than the moment we take off our VR headsets through we which we played the earth game and realize our true spiritual world and spiritual form that is our true home and our true nature. Many people who have had near death experiences (NDEs) claim that the spirit world where they briefly went to seemed more ‘real’ than the physical world.
So bottom line is this – don’t take this life on earth SO seriously. Enjoy the game. Enjoy the ride, because someday this particular game will end and another new adventure, another new game will begin.
(Published in the Sunday Speaking Tree of The Times of India on February 10, 2019).
Click here for scanned article.
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THE BELOVED – PART 1
October 2, 2018
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.
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THERE IS A LOT TO BE THANKFUL FOR
September 13, 2018
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.
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A SPIRITUAL BUTTERFLY’S CATERPILLAR EXPERIENCE
April 11, 2018
(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

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ANOTHER NEW WEBSITE DESIGN
March 31, 2018
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.
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DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY
October 7, 2017
‘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)
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THE MAN FROM YAMUNA PUSHTA
May 29, 2017
(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
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GIVING CHILDREN WITH AUTISM THE RECOGNITION THEY DESERVE
April 2, 2017
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
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THE MEANING OF BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY’ (PARABLE OF TALENTS) March 29, 2017 (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 tobe 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’ orseeds’, 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)
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CREDAI CONCLAVE 2017
March 13, 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.

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POWER OF THOUGHT
March 4, 2017
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.
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THE GODHEAD IS OM
March 4, 2017
OM is a holy sound which is not only a chant, but it is a template of cosmic energy that when applied to our bodies by simple sounds actually generates a flow of cosmic energy from the lower chakras to the upper chakras and initiates a process of energy flow that stimulates spiritual evolution.
The holy sound of OM is a combination of three letters A-U-M and these three sounds symbolize the Divine Energy or Shakti. But that is not all. There are many very interesting aspects of these syllables that can be experienced by you right now.
Sit back and relax a moment and take a deep breath. Now say ‘Ahhh’ in a normal voice – neither a shout nor a whisper – but just kind of like if you were singing ‘Ahhh’ – the musical note. You will feel something in your gut region as you chant this. A kind of tingling sensation. Feel it?
Now the next sound U (oo). Take a deep breath and say, “Ooo” rhyming with ‘too’. Where do you feel the tingling sensation now? Feel it. You will feel a sensation in your chest area.
Now for the final sound M.
Take a deep breath and make a humming sound of ‘Mmm’. Where do you feel the sensation now? In the head area? You are on the right track.
Try this a few times and experiment. Now for the combination. Combine the three sounds and say ‘Om’ or ‘Aum’. Notice the sensation. It begins in the gut area, moves to the chest area and finally into the head area. This is the Shakti that is flowing from the lower chakras to the higher ones. This is the direction of the Shakti flow that causes spiritual growth.
But there is something about this experiment that is even more interesting. In the Hindu tradition, the Trimurti is the Divine Godhead that comprises of Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver) and Shiva (Destroyer or Transformer). The three sounds that you just experimented with are also representations of these three gods. The ‘A’ is Brahma the ‘U’ is Vishnu and the ‘M’ is Shiva.
The gut is the region which naturally resonates with the ‘A’ sound. This is also the symbolic region of Brahma, the Creator. Think about it. The gut is the place of creation. Babies gestate in the womb, food is digested in the stomach from where new energy is created.
The chest is the region which naturally resonates with the ‘U’ sound. This is the symbolic region of Vishnu, the Preserver. Life is preserved generally through the chest region. This is where the oxygen is stored in the lungs, this is where the blood is circulated throughout the body. These are the main aspects of preservation of life.
The head is the region which naturally resonates with the ‘M’ sound. This is the symbolic region of Shiva, the Transformer. Along with Destroyer, Shiva is also considered as Transformer. It is through him that the souls evolve or transform into a higher form eventually. The head is the place of transformation. The Third Eye or the Ajna chakra and the Crown chakra are seated in the head. The spiritual energy that travels from the gut into the chest is finally processed in the head region and this is where our consciousness is transformed gradually into the higher spiritual planes
Shiva is more commonly referred to as the ‘Destroyer’. However, he is also called the Transformer. They are connected. When a seed is planted into the soil and grows into a plant, the seed has been transformed into something greater or higher and in the process, the seed is ‘destroyed’ in a sense. When darkness is destroyed, it is transformed to light. When evil is destroyed, it is transformed into love – a higher frequency of consciousness.
So OM is a Divine sound that is a combination of sounds which symbolize the Godhead and also can be practically tested and experienced as a way of transmuting the core base energy into preservative and then ultimately transformative energy that leads to spiritual evolution and awareness of the higher planes of consciousness.
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MULTIPLYING WEALTH, CREATIVITY AND LOVE
February 23, 2017
Being fruitful and multiplying wealth
Multiplying wealth is God’s command. But so is multiplying creativity and love.
According to the Bible the first command God gave humans was to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28). 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.
Jesus Christ taught lessons using stories or parables. One of these – the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) is about ‘being fruitful and multiplying’ but in a very different way.
Parable of the Talents – a gist
It is about an employer who is about to go away for some time. Before he does, he gives three servants – lets call them A, B and C some talents (coins). A gets 5 coins, B gets 2 coins and C gets 1 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. How much did they multiply wealth?
A has made 5 coins grow to 10, B made 2 coins grow to 4, but C took 1 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. ‘You could have at least put the money in the bank and earned deposit,’ says the master to C.
Then Jesus goes on to say that those that multiply wealth will get more and those that do not will lose even what they do have.
Lesson on investing?
Instead of letting money stagnate through hoarding and hiding it should be invested and circulated.
But the power of this parable goes way beyond multiplying wealth. For this goes to the very first command God gave humanity – ‘be fruitful and multiply’. Let us take a closer look at this and its importance for our world today.
Multiplying wealth – material, spiritual and creative to make a better world
God has given each and every one of us certain gifts. Some may be writers, musicians, artists, leaders, healers, speakers, caregivers and so on. God gave us all various ‘talents’ or ‘creative seeds’. These should be multiplied and grown, not buried in the sand. Using these to help enrich our world is how we make them grow. Multiplying wealth is not only about multiplying material wealth.
But it goes even further that this. 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. If you are loved by God (which we all are, even if we don’t realise it) then we need to make that love grow and multiply just as the first servant did. We need to make sure that the love God has given us is put to use and spread to others and not buried inside the depths of our own self-centredness.
Love is a resource, an asset!
To use the investment analogy – love is a resource, an asset, a gift that we have along with our other creative talents or skills. This asset has to grow in order for us to live bountiful lives. It can only grow by circulation and not by stagnation.
When you help something grow you get more rewards or ‘fruit’.
In the parable, it is multiplying wealth. In our own lives, it could be money, skills, love or blessings. These things come to us only when we take the risk of taking a chance.
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.
The greatest risk is not taking any
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. Be like the first servant. Use your gifts, improve the world, spread love and compassion to all you encounter. Multiply wealth whether it is material wealth, spiritual wealth or creative wealth. Today’s world has its share of problems but it also has its share of wonder. By nurturing and growing our talents, we can bring more love, peace and creativity to our world.
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CREATING YOUR OWN CUSTOM IMAGE DISPLAY SIZES IN WORDPRESS
January 27, 2017
Creating custom image display sizes in WordPress is something that can make your site really attractive!
Are you having problems with WordPress image display sizes?
There are some tutorials available on YouTube and Google, but none seemed to work properly for me.
Recently, I decided to revamp this website and since I am a web designer and have dabbled in stuff like PHP/MySQL etc in the past, I decided to do it myself. So, first I installed WordPress on my server and got some cool themes and plugins and created a new site (The theme on my site is Executive Pro). I think the new site looks pretty cool.
However, my images were being displayed in the wrong sizes. Somehow my images on posts were always coming in thumbnail size despite changing the image display size options in the Media Library.
An image sized 400×264
An image sized 400×264 px in WordPress
I went to Style.css and made some changes to the IMG tag and was excited when I saw that an image of my books was now displaying in the correct size as I wanted. Was the problem solved? Not yet.
I found a picture of President Donald Trump’s swearing-in for a new post I was writing. But this picture, which I wanted as a wide banner like image was being displayed as a small image – like my book cover images on my Books page. I changed the image size in Style.css again. The Donald Trump image got fixed, but now my Books cover images were large, stretched and distorted.
Create your own custom IMG class
I used YouTube and Google to find a solution to this. Most of the solutions I found involved resizing images in the Media Library or resorting to coding. The resizing part didn’t work and I did not want to get into PHP coding. For almost three days, I tried to find solutions to no avail. But last night, I got an idea that so far seems to work well – creating IMG classes for specific posts or pages.
So for example, I wanted my book IMG size to be 166×248 pixels. When you look at the code in Text mode on the post editor, the IMG tag had been designated a particular class by WordPress and while the IMG code showed these dimensions, the IMG somehow never displayed correctly.
Then I thought just like we can create STYLES for text, why not for IMAGES? I wanted that my book cover images should be assigned a class which I called ‘book’. So I went to the Style.css file and found:

primary img {

                  width: 100%;
                  height: 100%;

}
and then I inserted the following code in the STYLE.CSS file immediately after this:

primary img.book {

width: 166px:
height: 248px;
}
Basically, I created a new class of images sized particularly for my book cover images. Then in the BOOKS page, I deleted the WORDPRESS CLASS that had been created by default at the IMG tag and added class=”book” into the code. It worked like a charm. So far, so good. I hope it helps you as well.
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SPIRITUAL VOYAGERS OF ETERNITY
December 29, 2016
We are spiritual beings encased in physical bodies. We are not human beings who have occasional spiritual experiences, but rather we are spiritual beings who have occasional human experiences.
Our bodies are born, our bodies die; but we our selves do neither. We are voyagers of eternity created to learn and experience, to assimilate, to absorb, to observe and ultimately to know.
Once we realise these things, we will be free from the chains that bind us to continue in this unending journey of discovery in the form of flesh. But self-realisation is not the end of discovery, it is just the beginning, for without the enslavement in the flesh; we are free to soar through the innumerable worlds and innumerable planes of existence as freely as the light that shines forth from the countless suns.
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THERE ARE NO STRANGERS ON CHRISTMAS
December 25, 2016
(Published in the Indian Express – December 25, 2016)
It is Christmas once again!
This is that time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and also prepare for the coming of a new year. It is a time of merriment and joy where we celebrate not only with cakes, presents and Christmas trees but also reflect on the year that has gone by.
The message for this Christmas is humility.
The promised messiah entered this world not in the comfort of a palace with several servants, but was born in a humble manger with only shepherds to welcome him. But the shepherds were witnesses to a great event earlier when the glory of the Lord appeared to them in the form of angels. These angels informed them that a holy child would be born in Bethlehem, and that child would be found in a manger.
As the Christ would say some thirty years later –
‘For whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.’ (Matthew 23:12 NIV).
Jesus Christ taught a simple lesson of love, forgiveness, humility and brotherhood – as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago.
Just as Christ’s birth is celebrated every year, it should also be a reminder that this is a good time to reflect on the year that has passed by and plan out how we approach the coming new year.
What are the lessons we have learned? What are our successes and failures? What are the things we are proud of and what are the mistakes we made that we can learn from? Christmas is the perfect time to think of these things.
We live in interesting times. There is a lot of strife, violence, terrorism, and environmental and economic difficulties in our times. But at the same time, there is a lot of hope in the fact that we are coming together as a planet. Thanks to technology and media we are no longer on the far fringes from anybody else. More than ever before, we as a planet are faced with challenges and dangers that affect us all. In such times is a perfect opportunity for us to solve our world’s problems together and together take our species into a new era of love, light, peace, prosperity, discovery, joy and happiness as one world, one people.
Humility is the message that we are thinking about this Christmas. We may think that humility is synonymous with irrelevance, but nothing could be further from the truth! Think of Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Benjamin Franklin, Swami Vivekananda, Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata, Bill Clinton and our own prime minister Shri Narendra Modi. All of these people began their life journey from very humble backgrounds, but that did not deter them from achieving greatness. Humility is not the opposite of greatness, but rather the path towards it!
It is not ungodly or unrighteous to seek greatness. True humility is to strive for something great and achieve it, but to recognise that whatever you achieve is meant for God’s glory and not your own personal glory. It is up to us to solve the problems of this world. It is up to us to make this world a better place with a brighter, peaceful and prosperous future.
As U.S. President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address on January 20, 1961:
‘Here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.’
So this year on Christmas let us recognise that we all have a mission, we all have a duty to our world, we all have the responsibility to make this world a better place, but at the same time we need to do it for the glory of God. Christmas is a great day to remember this lesson – God gave the world his son to lead the people of the world to love their neighbour as themselves, to forgive one another, not to judge nor condemn but to thrive and strive towards perfection.
As Jesus said:
‘Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect.’ (Matthew 5:48 NIV)
In the process, remember that you are a gift to this world and like Jesus or any of the other people who have given much to this world, you have a mission, you have a gift inside you that must be given to the world. Today is a good time to look into your inner self and ask for God’s help to make you an instrument of His love, His light, His peace, His joy, His glory and His power.
We are all children of God living together on a small blue planet in a small corner of our Galaxy and there are no strangers on Christmas or ever.
I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year 2017.
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FROM A SINGLE DROP TO THE MIGHTY OCEAN
August 24, 2016
About Becoming One With God
Many people fear that becoming one with God means they will cease to exist as an individual soul. But you will never cease to exist; you will always have your identity, awareness and consciousness. What will change are the boundaries of what you are conscious of. In essence, you will become bigger, more aware and gain qualities that you were never aware that you even had.
When two drops of water merge, they form a larger drop. You may think that the two smaller drops cease to exist, but in actuality they have merged together to form a larger entity . That larger entity retains the qualities, characteristics and properties of the smaller drops but now exists as one entity. If you were one of the smaller drops, you would not cease to exist; your consciousness would expand. What happens when this newly formed larger drop falls into the ocean?
It would not exist in its original form, but all its molecules, atoms, properties and characteristics would still exist.But since it would now be one with the ocean without any separation, it would have access to all the resources of the ocean. Its sense of who it is, would expand to infinity.So has its sense of awareness, consciousness or identity ended? On the contrary , it has been greatly expanded. It now feels what the ocean feels, it now sees what the ocean sees, and it now hears what the ocean hears.
When we become One with God, we do not cease to exist; our consciousness expands. We will still retain every memory, thought, feeling, idea and emotion that we’ve accumulated over several incarnations. And all those others that we have loved and felt close to ­ even those who have passed away ­ will once again be with us. In the Oneness, there is neither death, nor separation. We will have access to all those we have loved and lost.
We are all made in God’s image. We are all a reflection, a representation of the Infinite Creator. So just like our own image in the form of a photo, reflection, portrait or video is a symbol of us, so too, we are the symbols of God. We are all drops in the Ocean called God.
This is why it is so important to have compassion towards each other. Not because of a subjective notion of being good but because truly when you love others, you love yourself. When you harm others, you harm yourself.Because in the final analysis, as we evolve as spiritual beings having a human experience, we will realise that we are all One in actuality . As we evolve spiritually , we will actually feel a lucid, knowable and realisable oneness with everything else.
Love is the energy of oneness. Love is the feeling of compassion. Love is the stuff out of which consciousness is made. Love is the raw material the Creator has used to create the cosmos.When we love others, we are truly loving ourselves and when we truly love ourselves, we are truly loving God.
So never again let the fear of oblivion enter your hearts or minds, for you will always exist in fullness, but that fullness will just keep getting bigger and bigger.
It is expansion towards infinity.
(The Speaking Tree Column, Edit Page, Times of India, August 24, 2016)
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THE POWER OF YOU!
June 16, 2016
A new video I uploaded today. It’s about YOU! Yes, YOU! For you have the power to change the world, to shape your own destiny. We think some politician or government will do that, but no, its you, its me, its us! Please watch this and leave your comments and if you like it, please share.
Thanks!

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LET THERE BE SPACES IN YOUR TOGETHERNESS
December 14, 2015
Lebanese poet-philosopher Khalil Gibran, in ‘The Prophet’ has beautiful advice in reference to detachment in relationships:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your soul. Sing and dance together but let each one be alone. Stand together yet not too near together, for the pillars of a temple stand apart and the oak tree and cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
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AFTER THE DARK NIGHT, THE SUN SHINES BRIGHT
October 20, 2015
Unless we experience darkness, we will never value the light. Everybody has experienced or is experiencing some kind. Sometimes it is a lonely place to be in. You get the feeling of being alone and disconnected. Worry and doubt seem to be ‘solutions’ when in reality they only make you sink further into the hole of misery.
The truth is: You are never alone! Worry and doubts are not the answer and always remember that this period of darkness will pass. But the first thing you must do is to recognise your situation for what it is. In Reality it is nothing but one of the many experiences that we have signed up for on this journey we call life. And whether we know it or not, God is always with us on the journey with all its ups and downs.
Unless we participate in life’s battles we will never succeed. We must approach all our problems in life as opportunities to grow and learn. Just as the on who wants to build his body needs to exercise, so must we go through problems in life for our souls and characters to grow. Just as lifting weights makes our muscles stronger by overcoming resistance, our soul need some resistance as well to become stronger. we are here to learn lessons; and many more lessons are learnt through defeat than through victory. This does not mean that we are here to fail; far from it. We are here to win; but often times victoryis not complete without lessons learnt and no matter how much we wish otherwise, most lessons are learnt through our defeats more than our victories.
Hard times should be learnt from and accepted as a part of life but should never lead to unhappiness.
Faith in ourselves and in a power higher than us is the key element to both happiness and success and through that, moving from darkness to light. Let that peace, hope, happiness, contentment, love, joy and abundance consciousness permeate our subconscious minds so that our circumstances appear to manifest these into our living reality.
To climb the highest mountain, you often go through a series of hills and valleys before you can reach th summit. For that to happen you must keep on moving, navigating the valleys and thorns as a matter fo course in order to reach the goal. Let us take life in our stride and deal with whatever cards life has dealt us. No matter how hard it may seem, faith can truly move mountains and you can overcome every difficulty or obstacle in your path.
It is only when we have known the darkness, do we realise the value of light. Despite seeming elusive at times, light could be just around the corner. Like the light at the end of the tunnel, or the dawn that follows the darkest night, or the sun that appears from behind the clouds-your light is there, too, even though it plays hide-and-seek. These are the moments in life when you need to sit it is you are here to do.
When you believe that you will find light, when you believe that the darkness is only a phase and treat it as nothing more, your light will become visible and you will shine as a beacon of hope to many.
(Times of India, Speaking Tree Column, Edit Page, October 20, 2015)
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NASA ANNOUNCES LIQUID WATER ON MARS, BUT LIFE?
September 29, 2015
Today NASA announced that liquid water still flows on the surface of Mars! Well, this is the second best announcement about Mars that we could wish for – the first being of course that they found life! Hmm, perhaps a little disappointing but who knows, that announcement could come sooner than we think.
Well the fact that there is liquid water on Mars significantly increases the possibility of life on Mars and also it makes things a lot easier for humans to someday visit and colonize the Red Planet.
Actually water, which is the most important aspect for life as we know it, is not as rare as we once thought. Apart from Mars – our own moon, Enceladus (a moon of Saturn) and Europa (a moon of Jupiter) are believed to also have plenty of water. Signatures of water have also been found around planets orbiting around distant stars as well.
Where water is, life cannot be too far away. So it is just a matter of time before we discover life outside our own world. Slowly but surely most of the scientific data that we are receiving is making the answer imminent – we most certainly are not alone!
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LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE AND BRING LOVE TO THE WORLD
December 25, 2014

(published in The Indian Express – Dec 25, 2014)
Christmas is that time of the year that most of us think of Christmas Trees, cake, presents, Christmas carols and Santa Claus. But this is the day that billions of people around the world celebrate the birth of the Messiah who was born in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago.
Jesus Christ or Yeshua as he was actually called by his peers was born to a humble carpenter Joseph and his wife, Mary. So powerful was his presence on Earth that three wise men from the east saw his star in the heavens and were led to him. They presented the blessed babe with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
When Jesus was 30 years old, he began his holy mission on Earth to bring the good news to the world. His message was simple – love God and love your neighbour as yourself. Simple as it sounds, this was a very powerful message and still is in today’s world where there is so much violence, strife, war, poverty and hunger.
The Good Samaritan
When asked by someone who is their neighbour, Jesus answered in the form of a parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).
He recounted how a man was beaten by robbers and left for dead on the road. First a priest comes and then a Levite, neither of these helps the man. Then a Samaritan comes and helps the man and nurses him back to recovery. Then Jesus asks the questioner, “Which of these was the man’s neighbour?”
“The one who helped him,” said the questioner.
What should be remembered is that the Jews hated Samaritans. For Jesus to tell his Jewish audience that the Samaritan was his true neighbour, was a big step in those days when Jews didn’t even want to talk about Samaritans, much less talk to them.
This message of love and neighbourly conduct is as relevant today as it was then, perhaps even more so. We live in a world where there is so much discord between people of different faiths, nationalities and other divisions. The world is suffering tremendously by gruesome, heartless acts of terrorism and violence.
It is in these kinds of conditions that this Christmas we should endeavour to spread the seeds of love into the world. We cannot afford to do otherwise. The power of love is the most powerful force in the universe and if enough of us seek out God’s love and light and try to live it in our daily lives, we will surely save the world from self-destruction.
Love, peace, joy, forgiveness, service and hope are the qualities that will help us to continue to spread the message of the Christ on earth.
Jesus was a man of action. One of my favourite verses is –
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
Let your light shine! How lovely that sounds! Through prayer and meditation we can all increase our own soul’s light and that mixed with “good work” will bring God’s glory to the earth. By doing the works that Jesus talked about during his life on Earth, we can truly make Christmas a festival to celebrate with great joy.
This Christmas let us not only think about his birth, but also let us once again allow the message of love to be reborn in our hearts again as it was in Jesus’ times.
We do not have to do big things to make a big change. When we do small things also which are good and filled with love and light, they will create a ripple effect of goodness. When that ripple of love and light touches enough people, they will also feel like spreading it forward and so on until the darkness in the world ends and is flooded with the light of God.
There is one God and throughout the Ages he has sent his messengers to earth to spread this message of love and compassion. Every human being on earth is a child of that God. We each have a divine mandate to fulfil. We are all co-heirs of Christ as it says in Romans 8:17.
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” – Romans 8:16-17 (NIV).
Let the spark of Christ’s love bloom in your heart and then do the works that you do in your everyday life, but fill those words, thoughts and deeds with love and you will be contributing to the healing of our world and those people who inhabit it.
There are many paths that lead to God and it is not in division, bigotry and hatred that we should walk that path. For if we are true to our own selves and our path then we must also respect the paths of others. God is not interested in which path we take. For sometimes those who consider only their path to be correct end up like the priests and Levites of the Good Samaritan story, where in the end it was the one who actually acted on his love and mercy became the true neighbour, even though he was a Samaritan who was despised by the entire Jewish community. The fact that Jesus chose a Samaritan in this story is significant because it shows that even if people do not share your religion, your nationality, your views, they may be your true neighbours and blessed in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ.
God’s love is a love that transcends all divisions. It exists in every atom, every cell, every human being, every animal, every plant, every rock, every drop of water, every breath of air, every spark of fire, every grain of sand, every planet, every moon, every star, every galaxy and every universe, every plane of existence either physical or spiritual, every dimension. God’s love is inside you! It is inside you in the form of light. Look inwards and find that light and then let it shine so brightly that it compels you to act upon it and all people will look at your good works and glorify the God inside you. For as Jesus said clearly, the Kingdom of God is within you! (Luke 17:21 KJV)
This Christmas let us honour Jesus by acting upon his message of love, peace, forgiveness and action and service towards others.
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CROWDFUNDING IS SLOWLY BECOMING POPULAR THOUGH NOT REGULATED YET
December 10, 2014

(published in The Economic Times, The Times of India – Dec 10, 2014)
The real estate sector in India, despite its many impediments, continues to be a favoured investment option for many. Urbanisation has been rapid in the past few years, with ‘upwardly-mobile’ buyers keen to invest and reap dividends from the real estate market growth real estate investment has proved to be a good investment in the long run.
The current year and its developments have laid the path for strong demand in commercial real estate, debt and equity markets. This will also lead to an increase in demand for infrastructure from every other sector like manufacturing, education, health, industries, auto, etc., which, in turn, will lead to demand for residential as well. Some recent developments like the introduction of REITs and relaxation of FDI norms have raised market expectations, but then REITs are yet to take off and gain momentum and crowdfunding is slowly gaining ground and becoming popular though not, regulated yet.
People need to be aware about the project along with the operators of the crowdfunding platform
Despite the time delay, REITs will bring in globally accepted practices to real estate finance and will also attract domestic as well as global investors by providing them with a transparent and risk free investment opportunity to invest in completed revenue -generating properties. Crowdfunding has raised many eyebrows in India. Currently most of the reward -model crowdfunding projects are in the social and creative area currently, but slowly entering other sectors as well. The Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is in the process of finalising a legal platform for crowdfunding in India.
Until now, SEBI has considered three types of crowdfunding options namely equity -based (EbC), debt -based (DbC) and fund -based (FbC) for implementation in the first phase.
Crowdfunding is not entirely a new phenomenon, but once in motion it will enable investments in small sums of money, lucrative for people who have limited cash to invest. Even though crowdfunding eliminates most of the hurdles associated with traditional real estate investing, it needs to be organised, monitored and regulated.
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A SPARK TO SET US AFIRE
November 15, 2014

(published in The Economic Times, The Times of India – Nov 15, 2014)
We all have in us special sparks of love and creativity. These sparks are not meant to remain trapped in our hearts; they need to be released into the world. That is the basic purpose of life. As we go about our lives, let’s love and create with God so that we pitch in to making life brighter, happier and more joyous for us all.
As you go about your day, look around at everything that you use, almost without thinking. The car, mobile phone, sunglasses, internet, aircraft, fridge, air-conditioner, the shower — you get the drift. These are no longer novel objects; we take them for granted. Just imagine, every one of these things, like many others, began as a spark in someone’s brain. What if that person dismissed the idea as a fleeting thought or let it remain hidden inside for fear of ridicule or failure? Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Good for us. I wonder how many more unseen sparks got snuffed out before they could become dazzling possibilities.
Have you ever felt the sizzle of a spark in you, howsoever faint? Let it out, become a creator. It’s not God’s copyright, you know. We can co-create. Lessen the divine burden, eh? Well, you may not be an Einstein or Edison in the making, but perhaps a Gupta or an Iyer who could transform your and our lives.
So don’t kill that spark. Fan it, release it, share it. We’re waiting, with bated breath.
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DESTINY OF AN ATOM
April 30, 2014
My bedroom window overlooks the lawn, which has two pipal trees in it. One of them is the parent and the other its offspring. For the past month, I’ve noticed that after the leaves fell off, only the parent tree started to grow its leaves back. The offspring tree remained barren for a while, and that worried me. I asked my wife why she thought that one tree’s leaves were returning while the other’s not. She said simply, “Everything is different.”
This statement sent my mind on a trip. A trip that momentarily in my imagination encompassed all of creation!
In my mind, I saw the leaf of the tree and peered into it to reveal the individual cells teaming with activity, inside those cells I could see that down to the deepest levels there were smaller and smaller sub-units – molecules, atoms, sub-atomic particles and so on.
One estimate is that there are 200 Trillion (200,000,000,000,000) atoms in a single human cell and that there are 100 trillion cells in an average human body. So the total number of atoms in a human body is approximately 200 septillion or 224 atoms. Imagine that! This number is greater than the total estimated number of stars in the known universe, which is just a comparatively modest 70 sextillion stars. Let us not even try to calculate how many atoms exist in the known universe; the mind would be unable to comprehend it. But for a moment – try.
Imagine all of the atoms that exist. Each and every one of them is different in their own right. The way God created the universe is that everything has individuality. Imagine that, not only do atoms have individuality, but they also have individual destinies. How so?
Take hydrogen. It is the simplest most abundant element in the universe. But every single atom of hydrogen has its own story to tell. Some are present inside the bodies of distant stars; some are in water (H2O) molecules in the oceans of planet earth, some in Methane (CH4) lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan, some in the Ammonia (NH3) clouds in the atmosphere of mighty planet Jupiter, some inside your body, some in mine.
Each and every atom created is in a sense an individual entity with its own destiny. Just because two atoms of hydrogen, or oxygen, or beryllium, or gold, or praseodymium or any of the other known elements appear to be identical, they are not. There is a certain quality or property of creation that everything even down to the sub-atomic particle is endowed with a certain characteristic of individuality. Nothing in the universe is exactly the same as anything else. We are all unique. Even in our unity.
Every atom has a tale to tell, a journey to recall, a destiny to achieve.
If we take the case of all the atoms that are there inside the leaf, where our present journey began, we know that these atoms began their journey elsewhere, perhaps in the sun, then into the ocean, then perhaps it was a part of a fish, an animal, again into the soil, then through the nutrients of the soil into the body of the leaf where it is now part of one of the trillions of cells. But its journey doesn’t end there. It will go elsewhere in time. Atoms get exchanged all the time. Every breath you take, you get new atoms, every exhale gives atoms back.
Out of all of these trillions upon trillions of atoms, no two are exactly the same. Yet each one is remembered in the mind of God as one of His almost infinite creations. Just like the atoms are not the same but come together to make larger entities, those larger entities form even larger ones and so on, perhaps without even being aware of it.
What if our planet earth, the planets, the sun and all the other billions of stars in the galaxy and all the billions of other known galaxies are likewise like the atoms and cells of a much-much-much larger entity of which by the same analogy we are also part of? What if? Imagine the thought.
Well my mind is now back in the here and now. Good news, the leaves of the offspring pipal tree have started to grow back!
From my book ‘The Cosmic Light Within’ click below to get your ebook right away!
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LIFE, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH
January 11, 2014
Life needs conflict
Life, is the greatest show on Earth. But imagine a story without conflict. Would it even be called a story? Every successful novel or drama has to have conflict in order to be interesting. Imagine a novel about a mundane ordinary existence, a tale of only happiness, of only love and bliss, a tale of only light and no darkness. Would it be interesting? Would anybody want to read it? What if the hero of an epic would be able to get whatever he wanted without an iota of challenge? It would indeed be a boring exercise to read such a tale.
So if we like challenges and conflicts in our fiction, why do we shy away from challenges, hardships and problems in our own lives? Why is it that when we are faced with tragedy, betrayal, loneliness or sorrow in life we ask ‘Why me?’ Our lives a drama in the theatre of the Divine; perhaps we have been created for His merriment and pleasure! We are immortal souls that have voyaged to this Earth plane to experience what we call life. And if that be the case, how can we learn and grow as souls without getting rattled by problems in life?
If there were only light in this world and no darkness, an image would never form. There can be no creation without the duality of good and evil, pain and pleasure, laughter and tears, light and darkness, prosperity and poverty and so on. If we, as lovers of creativity, literature, drama and art, can marvel at the contrasts between various shades of light and darkness, we ought not to be so reluctant to accept bad times in our own lives. Let’s not feel wronged, abandoned and deserted by God in times of trouble.
When there is a storm, we know that even after the darkest of storms, the sun will come. Why is it then that we doubt God’s will in our own lives? There is no need to feel doomed after a bout of darkness for this is actually the time when our faith, patience and perseverance are tested. We can only learn lessons from these times. Generally, we only surrender to God in such times of perceived hopelessness. These events in our lives are reminders that we are not alone. We have never been alone and will never be alone. A grand celestial audience is watching our drama on planet Earth!
Our lives are a living story; a story that was written by us along with our Creator in order to experience different feelings, learn different lessons and dream different dreams. Like all dramas, our lives also need their share of conflict that we, as spiritual protagonists, must overcome challenges to achieve our goals. We must never lose our faith in the Divine Director of this Earth Drama, who will ensure that things will go as planned. Things will not always be easy; but no one says that life is meant to be easy. We have to work hard to earn the Divine Oscar for our efforts on Earth.
As William Shakespeare says in ‘As You Like It’, “All the world’s a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players: /They have their exits and their entrances.”
So when tragedy strikes or hardships come – whether in relationships, career, health or anything else remember that the greatest of heroes are not those who didn’t face conflicts (for all heroes have), but those who overcame them.
When we overcome and leave this Earthly stage, we can have comfort in the promise of Christ in Revelation 3:12 “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.”
(published in The Speaking Tree, The Times of India – Jan 11, 2014)
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THE DIFFERENCE IN DOING AND BEING
August 29, 2013
The simple art of passive observation is something that is becoming a rarity. In today’s world we are many times obsessed with ‘doing’ something. In the car, we are either driving, listening to music, reading or talking on our cellphones. Or we are thinking about yesterday and tomorrow with our minds totally absent from the here-now. An experiment was conducted where instead of always trying to do something, the passenger in the car was instructed to just look outside the window and observe. No thinking, no worrying, no communicating, just observing. The result was amazing!
The daily route to work taken more than one thousand times over the years revealed many surprises unnoticed before. The observation yielded new alleys, lanes, signs, trees, structures and other things never before seen. The simple but not easy task of eliminating all thoughts from our minds during the observation also yielded strange results. Suddenly from the silence within came forth a form of communication with the Divine hitherto heard but rarely. A feeling that asked, ‘Have you never observed these things before? You pass by here every day but have seen these never before. They have been here all along, but you have seen them not.’
The observer then realises that though he had travelled on this route perhaps thousands of times earlier, he had never noticed so many of the things he saw that day. The fact that he could even hear the Divine voice talk to him could also be an indication of the same phenomenon – that sometimes the mind has to be still from the thoughts of yesterday and the hopes or worries of tomorrow and just be in the here-now. The Divine voice itself could be calling out to us all the time but perhaps could never be heard because of this same lack of observation of what is. Our minds are now caught in a virtual web that comprises constant communication with other people, constant bombardment with information, constant worrying or thinking about yesterday or tomorrow but very often never with just being in the here-now.
But there is another aspect of the experiment that needs mentioning. After a few minutes of observation and the hearing of the Divine voice, it continued further, ”All these things you see – love them and you love me!” God wants us to see the world and observe it. From that will come the lessons that need to be learnt and the love that needs to be loved.
With all this constant race and pursuit of material things, we forget the simple things. The butterflies and flowers, the leaves swaying in the trees, children playing in the park, the setting sun, the wind blowing through your hair, the joy of seeing a baby laugh or simply sit in the rear seat of a car and observe the world as it passes by.. there are so many things you will notice if you just look and see. It is not a ‘waste of time’, for at the end of the day, what are we really here in this world for? Sure, it is important to do also. It is important to work and play and laugh and cry and love and hurt, but it is also very important to process all that information. It is important to feel the moment. It is important to live in the here-now and just be!
After all, we are all human beings not human doings.
(published in The Speaking Tree, The Times of India – August 29, 2013)
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STUDYING IS NOT MUGGING
August 27, 2013

(published in Millennium Post Edit page August 27, 2013)
Education in India needs to be more learning-oriented and less examination-centric.
It is the children of any nation that are the biggest resource of the future and India is no exception. The population of India is around 1.22 billion and more than 50 per cent of the population falls under the age of 25 and around 65 per cent under the age of 35. Among the hundreds of millions of children in our country, some could be the next Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Gandhi, Newton, Bill Gates or Abraham Lincoln. Somebody out there amongst the children of today are the national leaders of tomorrow. But what are we as a nation and as a society doing to gear them up for the challenges and opportunities ahead?
What kind of education system are we giving them? And how much of a priority is education to the national leaders and governments of the day? The education ministers and education secretaries of all Indian states may not be the most powerful or even well known amongst their peers, but one thing is for sure – for the long term welfare of the Indian Republic, they are the most important people in this country. For in their hands lie the future development and growth of India’s most precious and important asset – its youth. They also have the power to formulate and implement new policies that will improve the quality and quantity of educational institutions. So now we are in 2013, 66 years after the British left our shores and left us with the responsibility and destiny of governing our own land and preparing our own youth for the challenges of the future. But let us examine our own selves and ask how have we really changed the education system that the British left us with? It has been said often that the British system of education was designed to create a nation of clerks amongst the Indians and perhaps that is true. All of us remember the anxious nights we had cramming for an examination the next day. We all remember trying to memorise dates in History, formulae in Physics, Chemistry and Maths, trying to remember important latitudes and longitudes in Geography, trying to remember all the Latin associated with Biology and so on. But is that the right way for youngsters to learn?
The system needs an overhaul and fast. We have to move far away from the system of clerk creation that the British left us with and introduce a much more interesting, fun approach to education and we also need a totally new approach towards examinations.
Education in India needs too be more learning-centric and less examination-centric. At the very least, it needs to have a completely different approach to examinations. Instead of having voluminous textbooks that are meant for purely cramming information into the minds of our youth so that they can go and take an exam, there needs to be a much more practical research based approach to education. Children at a certain age need to be able to choose their subjects according to their interest and capability instead of according to a pre-defined curriculum.
We live in a rapidly accelerating Information Age. Can we possibly keep stuffing all this information into our brains? And why should we? The very term Information Age implies that we have access to information of all kinds accessible instantly through the Internet and other digital forms, yes also physical books and papers as well.
But in such an Age, is it not more important to know how to access that information quickly and easily and to be able to use it as and when needed. Research needs to be encouraged where children will be encouraged to actually research something and use whatever information tools are available for the task. This is how our youth will learn how to learn and think. Education is about learning and thinking and not memorising! When are we going to understand this simple fact.
Examinations should also be such that children can have access to their research materials and use them so that their answers will be more accurate. But of course within a prescribed time limit.
Evidence of this lack of thinking and innovativeness is seen around us. Just think of how many Indian products or brands are available globally. Products that were invented in India. How many inventions and discoveries in general are made in India? Very few. This is because of this lack of research approach in education and a lack of research and development of science and technology in general.
Children will learn more when they experience things and do things on their own. In the US, schools regularly take their students to zoos, museums, planetariums, aquariums and such places. They have outdoor excursions to the forests where kids can experience plants and certain animals face to face.
I remember as a child (I studied in the US as a kid) in class 2, we were taught about the Mayan civilisation. I remember that we hardly read anything in a textbook. We were shown a Discovery channel type documentary in our classroom and were shown and physically held artifacts of the Mayans. We were explained things through maps, diagrams, etc. Generally, the information was portrayed in a very interesting and meaningful way, so much so, that I remember everything clearly even now 34 years later!
But there is another thing that needs to be highlighted. Education is not only about science, social studies, etc. It is also about morals, ethics, civics and ideas. Imagine a subject called ‘Ideas’ where children are encouraged to think and try to discover and invent new concepts. This is how a nation will grow into a great nation.
Our children are tomorrow’s leaders. They are the only hope for this country. If they learn to have respect for society, for country, for women, for environment, for rule of law, for research, for entrepreneurship, for poverty reduction, for education, for lofty and noble thoughts and ideas, for honesty, for truth – then we have an education system that is worth it.
We need more schools, colleges, adult schools and adult colleges, more museums, more libraries, etc. The private sector’s participation is needed more. Allow schools, colleges, museums, libraries, etc. to be profit making bodies. Let them be run by companies listed on stock markets and pay teachers well. Why not? Which is better – that a company provides quality education and makes a profit in the process? Or that governments continue to allocate budgets to education and yet not be able to provide quality classrooms, teachers or teaching.
Just like we had an economic liberalisation process that started in 1991, we need an education revolution starting now!
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DON’T BE ANXIOUS, PRAY AND HAVE FAITH IN GOD
August 26, 2013
When we are faced with anxiety in life, we do tend to worry about it. We think that the worst may happen to us. The uncertainty of life is also something that tortures us. “What will happen to me?” is one of life’s most uncertain and perplexing questions.
Recently, I found a small passage in the Bible that has given me a lot of hope.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
During a rather difficult moment in my life, in a moment of tears, I prayed to the Lord to help me and the words ‘Philippians 4:6’ flashed into my mind. I opened my Bible and read this verse. In that moment of anxiety and worry, imagine how I felt the moment I read the words ‘Do not be anxious’. Praise God!
So brothers and sisters, I urge you also, in times of anxiety, fear or worry; do not be anxious. The right thing to do is PRAY and PETITION the Lord and give THANKS to Him. When you do this, the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Yes, this peace of God that comes does really transcend all understanding. A moment of tears can suddenly be followed by peace.
Have faith in God. Do not worry, fear or be anxious. Pray and petition God with thanks and then leave it to Him. Be content in the knowledge that if you hand over the situation to Him, the results will certainly come. Have faith that His will is done and that His will is the best thing for you. The results may not happen overnight (it could though) but it will come in His time, not in yours. Have patience in God.
Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. We all have problems. We all have anxious and worrisome moments, but God is with those who have faith in Him. And remember –
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31 (NIV)
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WAKE UP CALL FOR CITIZENS
August 2, 2013

(published in Millennium Post Edit page August 2, 2013)
India is destined for greatness. But where will this greatness come from? Is it only the government of a country that can lead it to greatness? Is it only the political leaders that can forge the destiny of a nation? No. The true greatness of any nation lies in its people.
There is potential for greatness in every citizen of the land. For the true owners of our nation are its citizens. Government is only the custodian of the nation and is there exclusively to serve the people of the country. This is what a true democracy should be like. However, for a true democracy to thrive, the citizens have to play a larger role and fulfil their duties towards the nation.
The most famous line from US President John F Kennedy’s inaugural address is, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ What is this but a call for citizens to rise to the occasion and do their duty? What we in India many times tend to forget is that while the Constitution of India gives us several fundamental and other rights, it also has prescribed a set of Fundamental Duties in Article 51(A).
The purpose here is not to list these out as a simple Google search can reveal them in more detail to anyone interested. However, what is important is for us to understand the concept of citizen’s ownership. If you go to any of the world’s great countries and look at the progress and development made in these places, you will see that it is not just the role of government, but also the role of citizen. It is from the citizenry that political leaders emerge and they cannot be divorced from people. In a true democracy, the leaders that the people get are the leaders that they deserve. If we simply sit in our drawing rooms and debate about the quality of leadership this country has, we will achieve nothing. We have to take an active role in creating a new type of leadership in the country.
As mentioned earlier, it is the citizens who are the owners of the nation, but they need to act like owners. Here ownership means to play their part in building the nation. It is the citizens of any nation that are the true nation builders. Leaders are not only political. There are leaders in the fields of business, education, social service, science and technology, literature, arts, music, sports, entertainment, etc. They are all doing their duty to the nation by using their talent to not only bring glory to the nation, but also to highlight important issues that are important to tackle in order to make the country into a better place.
How can this be achieved? It can be done in a variety of ways. Just strive to live each and every day with the intention of using your talent and resources to help improve the nation in any way.
For the concept of duties to become strong, educating the youth of the country is of paramount importance. Here education is not only formal education in schools and colleges. Education means focusing on youth at home and in the workplace as well. In formal education, civics and moral science should be taught with the same fervour and importance as maths, science, economics and English. A sound foundation of good citizenship and ethics is crucial for the better future of the country.
Parents need to teach their children the importance of obeying laws and being patriotic. Being patriotic is not only about respecting the national anthem and flag, it is also about living your life for the betterment of your world and in particular your country. Children need to learn and be encouraged to express their talents and skills and consider themselves as a national asset. Every citizen is an asset that needs to be developed.
Our citizens could be the one discovering the cure for AIDS, finding cheaper and cleaner ways to produce energy efficiently, discovering ways to solve the problem of water and food, inventing new technologies in various fields, creating new industry that can provide employment to millions, and so on. This is why it is important to inculcate the spirit of creative thinking and entrepreneurship keeping in mind the development of the nation at the foundation of any endeavour.
All this will happen when people start to think about their country first. Instead of envying other countries, they should strive to make India prosperous. Things you do for your country do not have to be big, small things can lead to bigger chain reaction.
Whether you start a small business, write an article, teach a child, shop at local stores with local goods, not pollute, participate in cleanliness drives, create a work of art, volunteer for some social cause etc, you are performing your duty as a citizen. You are contributing to the consciousness of community development and this will begin the process of change. Considering that most young people spend most of their time at school or work, it is also important for teachers and employers to inculcate a sense of patriotism and duty into the hearts and minds of young people.
For it is the youth who is the future of the country. Some day, the older generation will be gone and it is today’s young generation that will be tomorrow’s leaders in various fields. Do not be discouraged by the present state of affairs in the country. Don’t let anybody say that things cannot change. They can. Do your bit starting today. Plant the seed of greatness now and some day it will blossom into a tree of national pride.
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AN ETERNAL VOYAGE OF WONDER
June 3, 2013
Before Galileo Galilei and Nicholas Copernicus, we lived in a geocentric solar system. This was the truth that was the accepted one. This was excepted by the church, the governments, the scientists, the philosophers and the common people of the day. There was just one little problem – it was not true.
Today, largely due to the bravery of the two Renaissance scientists mentioned above, we know that we actually live in a heliocentric solar system. The sun, and not the earth, is the center of the solar system and all the planets move around the sun and not the earth as was believed before.
The 21st century world has no problem believing that the earth goes round the sun because we have known this since the time of our birth. But remember that just a few centuries ago, the entire world’s paradigm of belief was turned over like a ship tossed over by a rogue wave at sea. This shift in perspective no doubt had a large impact on the future course of scientific discoveries, technological inventions and other human events. From a geocentric world we suddenly became aheliocentric world.
We are today on the edge of a new frontier of shifting paradigms of thought. Our global perspective is about to shift once more. For now it is not a question of whether the sun moves around the earth or vice versa, it is a question of our very existence as beings and our own spiritual destiny.
We have been so used to considering ourselves as a human body with a soul that most of us have forgotten our own truth. We have forgotten our own destiny. We have forgotten who our true being is.
One of the great minds of the 20th century was the French Jesuit named Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who perhaps managed to encapsulate this new paradigm of spiritual thought and our own true identity in the best possible way when he said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” That is the new paradigm shift in self realization that we need to think about and allow the great significance of to sink in. The moment you realize this truth that you are a luminous being of love, light and wisdom and not a sack of flesh and bones human body, that moment is the beginning of true wisdom and true wonder.
True wisdom because when you start identifying with yourself as being a spiritual being who is an image of God, you begin to realize that you are a spark of the Divine Flame and are a Divine Child of God and brethren to all the Masters who have incarnated on this world to try and make us realize this truth.
True wonder because it makes us realize that we are all voyagers here on an eternal voyage of wonder and self discovery. Our bodies are only vessels through which our souls can explore this material earth plane and through it we learn and experience important lessons that help our spiritual selves to grow and ultimately move to higher planes of consciousness.
Coming back to our solar system analogy. We are not like the rocky ball of the earth which does not shine any of its own light but reflects the sunlight. We are like the sun, which shines brightly and observes its planets as they revolve around it. We shine like the glorious sun!
But remember this, there are always higher planes to go to, for even the glorious sun is but a spark that moves around the center of the Galaxy, which itself is but one amongst billions of others in The Universe, which could be but one amongst the billions of Universes in the Multiverse. And so on the journey continues!
(Published in The Speaking Tree, The Times of India – June 3, 2013)
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ANYBODY OUT THERE?
October 26, 2012
(published in The Speaking Tree, The Times of India – October 26, 2012)
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When NASA recently landed the Curiosity rover on Mars, the moment once again raised the age-old question, “Is there life in outer space?” The most logical answer is that there must be life out there considering the infinite nature of our known universe with its assumed 70 sextillion stars distributed across billions of galaxies.
Fermi’s Paradox
Either way you look at it – creation or evolution or both, as they are not mutually exclusive – there is no logical reason why Earth should be the only planet among hundreds of planets out there with life. Perhaps some of the 777 planets discovered so far outside our solar system have life. If so, why have we not found anybody out there yet? This question is referred to as Fermi’s Paradox. He asked simply, “If there is life out there? Where is everybody?” For life to be detected, communicated with and interacted with, such life needs to be more or less on the same rung as we are on the evolutionary ladder.
When you look at an amoeba with a microscope, the amoeba is blissfully unaware of that fact. Humans and amoebas are on two very distant rungs of the evolutionary ladder to have any kind of meaningful interaction. Other intelligent creatures on our planet like whales, dolphins, ants and bees are also promising in their forms of communication and their ability to build ‘cities’ in the form of anthills and beehives. But here again, we do not have any real way to communicate with them. Looking at these examples, if there is a lot of alien life out there in the universe and even if we find ‘them’, will we be able to communicate with them?
Then again, even if we do find other life out there, we will only be able to communicate with them if they are on the same level of evolution as us. If life outside Earth is too ahead or behind us on the rungs of evolution, we will be unable to communicate or detect each other. What if we are like amoebas for a more advanced form of life? Maybe ‘they’ are waiting for us to reach a certain level of spiritual development before they admit us into the ‘Galactic Society.’
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ALL THAT IS, IS NOTHING BUT LOVE
September 8, 2012
There are moments in our lives that remind us of our true Divine nature and oneness with all of creation. In these moments we get a glimpse of our true nature as living sparks of a loving God.
Sometimes we understand and experience things that we cannot easily put into words. Like when we are listening to good music or meditating and suddenly we feel a moment of bliss and expansion in our consciousness. Many times you may have been listening to a score of music or meditating and felt a sudden surge of love towards not just all of humanity, but all of creation itself. A wave of love erupts from the depths of our hearts and travels across cities, nations, continents, planets, star systems, galaxies, galactic clusters and universes in just a few seconds. In that moment of pure ecstasy, you feel oneness with all beings. You feel love that cannot be described in words other than to say that it is more intense than anything else you have ever felt.
It is a feeling of complete unification with all things. In the physical world that we live in, we cannot become truly ‘one’ with other physical beings. But when we transcend the boundaries of physicality, we truly are able to merge together in the form of spirit and energy.
Think of it like this, there was a time billions of years ago, when everything in this universe — from the largest galaxy to the smallest atom — existed together inside a potentiality that was smaller than the smallest atom. Imagine the density of such a potentiality. Why we say ‘potentiality’ is because before the the Big Bang took place, there was neither energy nor matter. Both of these were created in that instant that created the cycle of the universe. From that moment onwards, the tiny potentiality expanded in a flash of energy that is expanding to this day. Every star, planet, atom, everything that exists today – you, me, the chair you’re sitting on, the car you drive, the ring that you wear, the atoms that make up all those things — were created in that flash of creation called the Big Bang. Since then things have just been expanding and getting readjusted.
Perhaps at the deepest level of Spirit, we know that we all came from the same source, at the same time, by the same word of creation that created all. It is clear that the primary motivation and energy behind Creation can be narrowed down to one single word – Love.
Love is the cement that binds all together. Love is the force that primal in nature. Before we were made as souls, we existed together in the potentiality of Love in the bosom of God where we basked in the glorious Love of God for eternity.
It is a small glimpse of this Divine Love that we experience in moments where the energy of certain music coupled with a particular state of mind can make our spirit transcend the physical world and its delusion of separation, so that we remember at the level of the soul how we felt when we were aware of our oneness with all that is.
These moments of transcending the physical bonds of Earth are just a glimpse of the unimaginable bliss and feeling of all-encompassing love that we will feel when our souls finally complete their journey on Earth and rise up into eternity to touch the face of God!
(published in The Speaking Tree, The Times of India – September 8, 2012)
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WHEN YOUR EARTH VISA EXPIRES
March 27, 2012
Where do we go when our Earth visa expires? Most religions suggest that our souls live on and travel into another realm. While this is the common belief, it is not as simple as it sounds. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity talk about multiple levels, dimensions or frequencies of existence after the soul leaves Earth. The Quran and Bible have instances where the term “Seventh heaven” is used. Hinduism talks of various astral planets and even higher spiritual planets or ‘loks’ where souls travel to after physical life comes to an end.
There have also been accounts on record of near-death experiences (NDEs) where those declared clinically dead have subsequently returned to life. In ‘Life after Life’ Raymond Moody recounts NDE cases in which patients described seeing their own body after being pronounced dead, then travelling through a tunnel into a room full of light where their dead relatives and friends came to receive them. Then a life review happens, in which they see instances that occurred in the incarnation just passed. Then many see a ‘Being of Light’, emitting a powerful feeling of love. They are told their time has not yet come and they return to their bodies.
In ‘Journey of Souls’ Michael Newton talks about the period between incarnations. Newton uses past life regression techniques to take people back to the time after their death in their last life and before the time of their current birth. An account of the spirit realm describes split incarnations where one soul occupies two or more bodies at the same time, soul families, groups, colours are seen based on levels of spiritual development, spirit guides, council of elders, healing areas, library and temple. Finally, the place where the soul decides the type of experiences it needs in the next incarnation and actually chooses parents and circumstances needed for the new incarnation to meet its karmic requirements.
Do our souls actually ‘travel’ somewhere? It’s like asking if you are actually travelling somewhere when you dream. There is obviously something happening to your awareness. The field of awareness shifts from one plane to another. First you are awake and then you enter dreamland. But when you transition from this world to the next, are you actually travelling in the spatial sense or just shifting the frequency of your awareness?
When TV channels are changed, it is only awareness that is shifting from one channel to another. The old channel doesn’t cease to exist because the new channel is being viewed. It is just that the screen is now displaying a different frequency. This is the same principle that happens when we die. Our awareness is tuned into a different frequency of creation. The Earth plane does not cease to exist, but for the person who has passed on, the frequency of awareness has shifted. The reality they perceive is now different.Similarly, for those on Earth, the person seems to have gone, but in reality the soul has just moved onto another frequency of awareness. It leaves behind the empty human body, a kind of virtual reality device, through which the soul experienced life on the Earth.The opposite of life is not death.
The opposite of birth is death. Life is eternal. Birth and death are just entry and exit points of incarnations.
(Published in The Speaking Tree column, The Times of India March 27, 2012)
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ASTRAL AND PHYSICAL WORLDS
May 31, 2011
Astral life begins once physical life ends. There have been many accounts of the astral plane, which describe its luminous nature. One of the most famous accounts is in the book, Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda.
In the astral plane, we inhabit astral bodies that are much like the physical ones we currently inhabit, but those are much subtler and radiant. These astral bodies are not confined within the narrow limits of current space-time continuum that governs the physical cosmos. In the astral plane, inhabitants communicate through telepathy and since we recognise people who were our family and friends in different incarnations; we learn to love them all equally. There are astral worlds of light, which have colours and music beyond our present comprehension. The astral plane is one of great beauty and joy. It is the place where many souls consider their “true home”. It is also much larger than the physical universe.
So what about our current life on Earth? It is one in which the physical elements of life are manifested. But thanks to technology, it seems that our current life on planet Earth is becoming gradually ‘astralised’. How is this? Well, let us take a closer look at our lives today.
In today’s technology dominated society, we use computers, digital cameras, internet and mobile phones, for instance. We watch news, TV shows and movies. We listen to music, mostly in digital format. We have passionate opinions about people we don’t really know, whom we’ve never met — be they politicians, media personalities, movie actors, business leaders, even terrorists and criminals. How many of us have actually seen and heard or touched these famous or notorious people physically? Yet we seem to ‘know’ them today through their projected images and sounds that are readily available to us through technology. Is it not like we know them in an astral or more subtle form? Even if you never met them in the flesh, you would continue to ‘get to know’ them through their light and sound images.
The same extends to people who are not necessarily well known. Today’s social networking sites are a testimony to this. Think of how many Twitter followers and Facebook friends you have who you don’t really ‘know’ in the physical sense. We are now growing so accustomed to electronic lifestyles that we are beginning to experience life and relationships as a form of virtual or electronic or energy life. We are now open to accepting life forms interacting with us in their electronic forms as long as we know that there is some real intelligence and individuality being expressed. Your relationship with someone would continue to grow more intimate through these electronic platforms even if you never interacted in the so-called ‘real’ world of flesh and blood.
This seems to be the first step in the astral conditioning process. As we advance technologically, we create things that make our earthly experiences a little more like the astral experiences that we have had in the past and will continue to have in the future after our Earth visa expires. In that non-material realm, we learn that the reality is not the flesh, but the radiant energy that is our true nature. Our modern day technology is a reminder of that and just a pre-cursor to that awesome astral realm that we will all return to someday.
(Published in The Speaking Tree column, The Times of India May 31, 2011)
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BUDGET 2011: EXTEND A HELPING HAND TO THE REALTY SECTOR THAT EMPLOYS MANY
February 24, 2011

(published on The Economic Times website, February 24, 2011)
As the nation awaits the Budget for FY 2011-2012, the real estate sector is eagerly looking forward to certain reforms and amenities that will help spiral its much needed growth. The existing Taxation laws have room and scope for much improvement. By considering these incentives for the sector, the government will be adding a well needed boost to a sector that has given much to the nation in the form of employment, infrastructure and shelter, but has not got much in return so far.
Apart from tax incentives, there are other factors that the government should consider for the real estate sector. The first related to the amount of interest on housing loans that is exempted from tax. The current rules allow 1.5 lakh rupees exemption, this should be raised to 3 lakh rupees to make house buyers feel less of the taxation heat. Real estate is also plagued by being levied both sales tax and service tax. This anomaly should be abolished and a single tax should be levied instead. It should be an either/or situation and not a both situation.
Another area for exploration could be the current LTCG (Long term capital gains) tax on real estate. Currently, the LTCG tax on residential properties is exempted if the property has been held for more than 3 years and if the proceeds are re-invested in another residential property within one year of sale of that property or re-invested into Capital Gains Bonds which are recognized by the government. However, the government could consider that if a property has been held for more than five years, then the LTCG could be fully exempted. This would encourage the real estate sector because it would create a more attractive atmosphere for people to purchase property. The benefit of such LTCG changes could be extended to commercial properties as well and should also be expanded to include companies into the LTCG exemption on property ambit.
Real Estate should finally get the much desired industry status as so far it is one of the major contributors in terms of employment generation and also accounts for over 5% of the nation’s GDP. Once industry status is conferred, real estate can be regulated and organised in a better fashion. It is imperative that this is done. Housing projects (integrated townships and group housings) should get infrastructure status as they provide a backbone for the further growth of the nation.
The age old saying of “roti, kapda and makaan” itself indicates the primary importance of the real estate sector in the wellbeing of humanity. The real estate sector is the backbone on which the nation will be developed into becoming a major player of the 21st century. It needs to be awarded industry status recognition and should also be given certain tax benefits and should be given the due respect that it deserves. Hopefully, in this current budget, the hon’ble Finance Minister will listen to the cries of real estate developers and extend a helpful hand.
(The author is Joint Managing Director of Chintels India Limited, a New Delhi-based real estate development company. Views are personal.)
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YIN AND YANG
November 21, 2010

(published in The Speaking Tree newspaper, a part of The Times of India November 21, 2010)
We all have a Father and a Mother God within us; the merging of these energies results in spiritual awakening, says Prashant Solomon.
Recently,I had a very powerful dream, a dream in which I was in a strange realm, where I could feel something called the ‘female healing energy’ or FHE. This energy represents the feminine aspect of creation and is crucial for the process of healing.
It is clear — from the knowledge I acquired in that dream state — that all created beings have been made not only male or female — but male and female.
Each of us has a masculine and feminine side. The Chinese call this feminine side, Yin, and the masculine side, Yang. To become whole, we need to balance our Yin and Yang. The Divine Mother shows us how to do this. We all have aspects of both Father God and Mother God within us. Paramahansa Yogananda writes in Autobiography of a Yogi, “The Divine Mother is as much an aspect of God as the Heavenly Father.”
Our feminine side is creative, intuitive, sensitive, nurturing, comforting, caring and patient. The Divine Mother is the healer as well as the teacher. Our masculine side, on the other hand, is associated with reasoning and being analytical. The Heavenly Father is power, strength, protection and discipline. Our spiritual awakening comes from a merging of our divine masculine and feminine energies deep within our being. The opposites unite within us and help us find our spiritual centre.
Through weakness, we gain strength, through surrendering to dullness, we find creativity, and when we are receptive, we manifest abundance!
We should not resist uniting with our FHE. Resistance only causes struggle and pain in our daily experiences in this era of global spiritual awakening. As we discover the balance of Yin and Yang within us, a wholeness and harmony envelopes us and we radiate that warm and peaceful energy to others around us.
The Divine Mother element of God is something that quite frankly, I was not very familiar with until I experienced it in my dream. In that realm of existence, healing of beings was done swiftly and smoothly through the FHE that resides within us. The FHE is a part of the female aspect within us. It is akin to a mother’s tender love that nurtures our soul’s growth and provides us warmth and comfort. It is the female aspect of our creation that gives us feeling and intuition, and it is precisely this that heals us.
Paramahansa Yogananda, using the analogy of the Garden of Eden suggests that Adam is reason and Eve is feeling, and it is in the union of these elements that we exist as humans.
Just imagine a female deity of your choice or just feel the Motherly Love that the universe gives you freely and you can do healing wonders through that energy of the Divine Mother.
As I woke up, I saw a small porcelain statue of Mother Mary in my room and felt instinctively drawn towards it. I kissed it and held it close to my chest. I felt the love of the Divine Mother and felt the FHE flow within me.
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FAITH, RETICENCE AND WORK
March 31, 2010

(published in The Speaking Tree column, The Times of India March 31, 2010)
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ performed many miracles, including healing the sick and even raising the dead. Christ tells healed people two things: ”According to your faith be it unto you”, and ”your faith hath made thee whole”. Then he charges them by saying, ”Tell no man about what has happened to you.” Faith has a vital role to play here.
The Roman centurion whose servant was ill had so much faith in Christ that though Christ offered to come to his house the centurion said, ”I am not worthy that you come to my house, but simply say the word and it shall be done. Like I am a man in authority and when I tell my subordinates do this or do that, I know it shall be done.”
Jesus was so impressed by the centurion’s faith that he declared to all those assembled there, ”I have never seen so much faith. No, not in Israel.” Within the hour, the servant had miraculously been healed.
However, there are also some cases in the Bible where Jesus could not cure people ”because of their unbelief. Jesus also said to ”tell no man”. This is so because at times sharing things with others can be counterproductive as other people’s envy, doubts, fears and negativity can adversely affect the healed person’s mind and could also create some kind of negativity which could hinder the healing or other desire of the seeker as a negative suggestion is also powerful and can choke the flow of positive energy or belief. This is why reticence is important. Claude M Bristol says in his book, The Magic of Believing: “It cannot be too strongly emphasised that you should not give anyone an inkling of your plans or desires. To do so may end disastrously for you.” Because the negative vibrations that other people can send you could be powerful and can deter your plans. This is perhaps the same reason that Jesus instructs the healed person to ”tell no man”.
When a woman touched the robe of Jesus, she was cured and Jesus asked: “Who touched me for I could feel virtue flowing out of me.” Now the word ‘virtue’ is not the best translation of the original Greek word dynamis which means power or strength. Incidentally, all the verses that talk of Jesus’s ‘mighty works’ also are translations of the same Greek word dynamis. Each time in the original Greek text, it was this word that was actually used. This word is used throughout the New Testament. So there is a kind of power that flows into the faithful, it is this faith that attracts the flow of the healing power and it is this ‘power’ itself that is the originator of the mighty works of Jesus Christ as described in the Bible. It is likewise lack of faith that blocks the flow of healing power.
The woman believed that Christ would cure her, but she also acted by touching his robe. The centurion had faith in Jesus, but acted by asking Jesus to heal him. There must be some kind of action or request (prayer) on the part of the receiver. ”Ask and it shall be given”, ”seek and you shall find”. While we need to have faith in God, we need to act as well for without action on our part, faith itself is of no use ”For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
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ULTIMATE FAITH IN THE DIVINE WILL
October 31, 2008
(published in The Speaking Tree column, The Times of India October 31, 2008)
Why do we pray? Some want health, others wealth. Some pray for the longevity of their parents, the safety of their children or that some other desire of theirs gets fulfilled. These prayers, like all others, have power and energy that bring them to life.
The only difference between a prayer and a desire is that a prayer is directed towards God with faith. Faith plays an important role in whether the prayer is answered or not. But do we always know what is best for us?
Suppose there is a new video game in town that every child wants. But this game is not without its dangers – it has gore, violence and profanity and might not be in the best interest of the child. But the child still wants it and repeatedly asks his parents for it. They may refuse a few times, but chances are that after a while, may give in to their child’s demands. Not all parents will give in, but some will. So, the child’s ‘prayer’ was ultimately answered by faith and perseverance. But is the video game good for the child?
We ask God for things that we want, but are those things always the best for our spiritual growth? As the saying goes, ‘be careful of what you wish for, because you might get it’. We may be intensely praying for things or relationships that may not be good for us. But the intensity of our prayers creates a vibratory ripple in the Cosmos that will have its answer, its result – the fruit of the desire seed. This is why it is important for our spiritual growth to let God decide what is best for us.
When Jesus Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of his crucifixion, he knew the fate he would suffer the next day. Though he was divine in nature, he was also in human form and naturally did not want to die. So, in Luke 22:42, we learn that he said the following prayer: “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my Will, but Thine, be done.” Christ put God’s will above his own. “Thy Will be done” is also part of the Lord’s Prayer. This is the essence of faith in its truest and purest form.
Putting everything into God’s hands and saying simply, “Let Thy Will be done” requires a tremendous amount of courage. It requires a lot of faith. Because somewhere deep down inside your heart and mind, you wish and hope that the Lord’s Will coincides with your own. But true and pure faith knows (not believes, because believing is not being entirely sure) that the Will of God is best for you. That is true faith. Like in the case of Christ, if he had not died on the cross, he would not have therefore been glorified through resurrection and thus his mission would not have been accomplished. So, his will in this case, would not have been the best for him. God knew what was best and since Christ said, “Let Thy will be done”, it was done.
At the same time it is fine to put your request before the Lord like Christ did when he said, “If Thou be willing, remove this cup from me.” So you can ask God – “If Thou Art be willing then let Thy Will be done, not mine.” This prayer – if said with utmost faith and sincerity and with the knowledge that God loves you and will do whatever is in your best interest – will yield the sweetest fruit.
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YOU ARE GODSTUFF
March 4, 2008

Published in the Inner Voice column of Hindustan Times March 4, 2008)
(slightly edited version was printed in the newspaper due to space constraints)
The ancient wisdom of the ages is this – you are a drop of the ocean called God. However, most have not realized this truth. “The Kingdom of God is within you,” says the Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 17:21 and this is so. Think of this truth. When the creation of the Cosmos took place, the raw materials had to come from somewhere. So where did they come from? Even if you believe in the Big Bang theory that the Cosmos was condensed into a tiny ball of energy that just exploded one fine day and continued to expand until the present cosmic setup, the basic elements of the cosmos had to come from somewhere. It is too simplistic to say that they “just came” out of nowhere. The basic building blocks of the entire Universe are the same three sub-atomic particles – protons, neutrons and electrons. There is absolutely no difference between the protons, neutrons and electrons in you and in the paper that you are reading and the chair that you are seated on. They are the same. There is fundamentally no difference between you, your car, your house, your best friend and your worst enemy when it comes to the basic building blocks that make you. This is important to note because it immediately makes you feel the ‘oneness’ of all things throughout the Cosmos.
So, the Creative power that made the entire Cosmos had to have used ‘itself’ as the basic ‘stuff’ that made the protons, neutrons and electrons as well as the almost unimaginable energy that goes into every single atom of creation. So not only are we (as the late astronomer Carl Sagan loved to say) ‘starstuff’, but we are all ‘Godstuff’ that has been mixed and matched in different permutations and combinations and is made to interact with each other amidst the delusion that we are actually separate. We are as separate as the individual drops in the ocean – which still retain their existence in some stretch of imagination, but at the same time, have merged with the larger entity called ocean. They still exist, but now as a part of a larger more powerful being. Like the cells in your bodies are individual beings in their own sense – they have a fixed boundary or body, they are born, they reproduce, they absorb oxygen (so they breathe in a sense) and then they die. They may even have consciousness, but miniscule compared to the consciousness of a human being. Yet, our physical bodies are nothing more than a conglomerate of trillions of cells. So are we the single body or the sum total of trillions of cells?
Extending this thought to the next level – our souls are like the cells that make up the body of God. We are drops of the ocean of God and are one with God whether we recognize this or not. But we are blessed. It is possible through meditation for our consciousness to become one with the cosmic consciousness. Just like the sound of the sea lays hidden inside every sea shell, the vibration of God’s kingdom is hidden within every soul just waiting to be found. It can be found by tuning into it. So the drop can still have its existence in consciousness, but at the same time can draw on the wisdom and experience of the grand ocean and be one with it at the same time. When this happens, we will realize the truth that we are not separate beings in isolation, but parts of the creator of the entire cosmos and since we ALL are parts of the Creator, and like drops of the cosmic ocean, therefore we are all ONE.
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PRAYER POWER
October 24, 2007

(published in Inner Voice column, page 13, Hindustan Times, October 24, 2007)
(published in slightly edited form in the newspaper due to space constraints)
There is a lot of power in thoughts and prayers. Thoughts are a form of energy and therefore real. Prayer is a form of communication with the Infinite source of all energy, or God; through our thoughts. Thoughts are like seeds which require nourishment to grow into fruit-bearing trees. The nourishment of thoughts is in the form of affirmation, concentration and attention. Prayer need not necessarily involve the usage of pious phrases.
Normal Vincent Peale describes a three-fold approach in his best selling book, ‘The power of positive thinking’ – (1) prayerise, (2) picturise and (3) actualise. The first step involves simply thinking and talking to God informally, which is prayer. The next step is picturising or visualising it mentally. Create in your mind an image of the desired result: a healed love one, a more prosperous life, a happy marital life, a more healthy or confident self. Whatever you seek, pray to God and then visualise it to be so and then just say to God, “I have put it in Your hands, Lord.” After this, the actualisation will come in time either by the desired result or guidance.
Peale gives a glorious example of how we can spread love and goodwill throughout our daily lives. Just say a little prayer for anyone that you see. These are called flash prayers “shot” out towards people. Just send out thoughts of love and goodwill. There have been cases where the recipients of such prayer “shots” could feel a physical manifestation of the energy.
The world can be a lot happier if we all just continuously “shoot” each other with prayers of love and goodwill. Let us “shoot” out positive thoughts towards one and other. We could try to replace our hatred and anger filled thoughts with thoughts of love and goodwill. Just mentally send out peaceful and love filled thoughts of goodwill towards everyone that you see and they will feel it as well.
The energies around the whole world will change if everyone starts to do this. These energies are very powerful and the results will be seen and felt. But constant prayers are needed. Even prayers take time to be answered. Just be patient and have faith.
Prayer and positive thinking is also a very useful technique in creating a more confident and success filled life. Thoughts of success often attract success. Thoughts of failure often attract failure. Energy is like a magnet. It attracts. Positive energy attracts positive results.
Positive affirmations, especially at night time before bedtime is a very important tool to attract positive results. The age old tradition of prayer before sleeping is so that the positive thoughts and prayers can sink into the subconscious mind during sleep.
Avoid all forms of negativity. Nip it in the mental bud. One can not stop negative thoughts from entering, but one can kick them out as soon as they enter. Positive thoughts can repel negative ones from establishing themselves in the mind.
Many of the world’s problems can be solved if there is more prayer energy generated. This energy will increase when we add prayer into our consciousness and make it a part of our daily life. Talk to God either verbally, mentally or even in written form. Yes, write a note to God. Every day use flash prayers to increase the overall consciousness of peace and goodwill and soon if more people do it, we will transform into a much better, safer and peaceful world.
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WORLDS WITHOUT END
December 9, 2006

(published in The Times of India, Editorial Page, December 9, 2006)
Looking at stars on a clear night somewhere away from the city, one is amazed at how many are visible. The hazy band of the Milky Way stretches across the night sky and contains millions of stars, thousands of light years away, but still part of our own Galaxy. Late astronomer Carl Sagan put the number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy at 400,000,000,000 (400 billion). There are a little more than six billion people on our planet — so a rough estimate puts it at about 60 stars in the Milky Way per human being on Earth. Imagine that, each one of us could have 60 solar systems in the Milky Way Galaxy.
Since 1995, we have discovered around 200 extrasolar planets or planets revolving around other stars. Some of these stars like 47 Ursae Majoris, only 46 light years away (a stone’s throw in terms of stellar distances), even have a system of planets like our sun has. So far we have only been able to discover larger Jupiter-like worlds because the current method of finding planets makes it difficult to find smaller Earth-like worlds.
However, NASA is planning to launch the terrestrial planet finder project in 2014. This project will be able to detect smaller Earth-like extrasolar planets. Chances are good that we are soon going to find other planets with liquid water and an Earth-like atmosphere. These other worlds will become targets for human colonisation. Going back to our 60 stars per human formula, even if we take a very modest figure of two planets per star system, this means there are 120 planets per human being and over 800 billion planets in our Galaxy alone. That is a lot of potential real estate.
As mysteries of the Universe unfold, it is important that we realise our place in the larger scheme of things. Just as we talk about being a part of the world, we need to remember that the world is only a part of a much larger Galaxy, which in itself is part of a much larger Universe (there are more than 100 billion known galaxies and an estimate made in 2003 by Australian astronomers puts the total number of stars in the known universe at 70 sextillion or 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000).
There are now theories that even the Universe is only one out of many universes that make the multiverse — the supreme collection of universes. These other universes would exist in some other frequency or dimension and inter-dimensional travel could someday take us there. Where does it end?
Are we the only planet with life or is the multiverse teaming with life? While we have not yet found life anywhere other than planet Earth, we still have 70 sextillion stars multiplied by the number of universes to explore before we can conclusively prove that Earth is the only inhabited planet. However, even if we find a tiny microbe on Mars, we have proved the other alternative — that we are, in fact, not alone.
Either way, exploration and colonisation of space is necessary. If ours is indeed (however unlikely) the only inhabited planet in the multiverse, then we have a great responsibility. We have been given the gift of life and we need to preserve that. This would mean that we need to carry the torch of life to the stars and colonise other planets.
The Earth could be destroyed in so many ways and it would be our duty to spread the fire of life throughout the multiverse. If the other alternative is correct and there is an abundance of life, wouldn’t we want to find it and interact with it? How long can we earthlings be alone? There would then be an endless opportunity to exchange our culture, commerce, science, techno-logy, beliefs and art. What a wonderful thing it would be to find intelligent and friendly life elsewhere. Clearly, we are just in our infancy. We humans have only reached our own moon so far. Humans have not visited even Mars yet, though our probes have criss-crossed the surfaces of Venus, Mars and Titan. But our focus is too earth-centric. We need to stop abusing our planet and think of its preservation, just as we need to seriously start planning the further exploration and colonisation of space as physicist Stephen Hawking has advised.
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STILL THE MIND AND SEE THE LIGHT
October 19, 2006
(published in The Speaking Tree column, The Times of India October 19, 2006)
Stillness of mind is necessary for us to realise who we really are. “Be still and know that I am God”, says Psalm 46:10, a clear advice in the Bible by the Lord to meditate.
When a stone is dropped into a pond of water, it creates ripples, which prevent a person from seeing his own reflection in the pond.
It is only when the ripples subside and the water is still that you can see your own reflection. Our consciousness is like the pond; if thoughts enter into our mind, they create ripples in our consciousness and these ripples prevent us from seeing our own self in the pond of our consciousness.
Stubborn thoughts need to be stopped if true knowledge of Self is to be gained. This must happen smoothly. A thought is like a fire, which is fuelled by attention.
By not paying attention to a stubborn thought, it can be made to pass through the mind unattended. Do not try to wrestle with your unwanted thoughts. Wrestling with them is giving attention to them.
A person can only truly concentrate on one thing at a time. Focusing on our own breath is a good way to divert attention away from stray thoughts.
Breathe in deeply through your nose and while breathing in, pay attention to your breath. Hold the breath inside you for just a few seconds, maybe five or six seconds, and exhale slowly paying attention to your breath as you exhale.
This technique will relax you as well as help in stilling the mind. After repeating this exercise about 10 times, say the word, ‘Om’, ‘Amen’ or ‘Amin’ — depending on your choice, they basically all refer to the creative word of God — three times.
Now focus your attention to the point between the eyebrows about one inch above the eyebrow level. This is the centre of Christ Consciousness, which is called the Kutastha Centre by Paramahansa Yogananda.
In the Bible this place is mentioned by Christ when he says in Matthew 6:22: “The light of the body is the eye: If therefore thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light”.
The idea is to concentrate on this point without thinking or allowing thoughts to enter the mind. True meditation is the complete stillness of mind.
Though thinking about God is a good thing and can be helpful in raising the levels of positive energy around you, while meditating try not to think of anything — not even God. Remember what the Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God”.
Knowing something does not come by thinking about it, but by realising and experiencing it. When the mind is stilled completely and concentration and attention is at the Kutastha Centre, then gradually, the veil separating your own awareness from cosmic awareness is pierced.
A feeling of complete relaxation and tranquillity is soon followed by joyous bliss that is all-pervading. When the eye is single — the single eye of intuition or the Kutastha Centre becomes the focus of attention — then the body shall be full of light.
When the attention is focused like a magnifying glass at the Kutastha Centre, the eye of intuition will see the divine light of God and the body shall be bathed by the Divine and Glorious light.
It is a wonderful feeling to still the mind and see your own true blissful self in the reflection of your own pond of consciousness. Seek God within you now.
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Spirituality
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HE SEEKS AND SAVES THE LOST
March 22, 2005
(published in Inner Voice column, page 15, Hindustan Times, March 22, 2005)
Like every human being, many times I have ‘fallen short of the glory of God’ and have repeatedly asked for His forgiveness. Such times I have always felt distanced from Him.
After succumbing to temptation, we often feel cut off from His Holy Presence. We feel sapped of our energy and strength. The positive vibration of God’s Holy Presence is substituted with the negative vibration of guilt and loneliness.
Fear not if you have sinned, for so has everybody else. Had we not sinned, we would not be here on earth in the first place. Everyone else on this planet has sinned and therefore is born.
A passage in the Bible talks about Zacchaeus a publican, who because of his short stature climbed a tree to watch Jesus pass by.
When Jesus saw him, he called him down and said that he would stay with him that night.
Those around Jesus wondered why he wished to stay in the house of a sinner. Jesus replied, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
It is God’s wish to seek and save that which was lost.
He often sends us little hints that He is there to show us the way and that he is there to forgive us. The hints we send us are manifested in various ways.
We must all have experienced it. You open a holy book and your eyes fall on a verse that seems tailor made for your particular needs at that moment.
You are driving home from work and you are confused about something or worried and your eyes fall upon a road sign or a sticker on the back of a car and there comes the flash! You understand that God is trying to communicate with you! It is a joyful feeling — “For He is come to seek and save that which was lost!”

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