Playing Earth Games

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).

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A Spiritual Butterfly’s Caterpillar Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Man From Yamuna Pushta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Parable of Talents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From A Single Drop To The Mighty Ocean

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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After The Dark Night, The Sun Shines Bright

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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Life, The Greatest Show On Earth

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

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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An Eternal Voyage of Wonder

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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All That Is, Is Nothing But Love

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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