Thursday, 28 May 2015

Early-morning Walk, Mind - your Best friend or Worst enemy?

 Few days ago, It was 7:00 AM in the morning and the weather from the window looked terrible. There is hardly any sign of sun and I could see few drops of rain falling and a fog collected on the windows.Do I need to go for a walk in this cold,
chilly, windy day and what if I get caughtup in the rain, somewhere on the road. Just, take it easy, relax for some more time, get some extra sleep and then go to work,cancel your plans of morning walk for today - announced my mind. Thanks for
your kindness and advice but, going for the walk is the most important part of my day. Morning walk freshens my mind, I love the fresh air, birds chirping and the light of morning sound. Most importantly, it gives me a time to introspect,
plan my day and on a practical level, this is the only time of the day, I am out there in the open air, giving my mind and body bit of exercise. Otherwise, I work all day sitting in front of Computer, in a closed office environment. So, come
what may, I am going out for my daily walk even if that means, carrying an umbrella - and off I went. Sure enough, I was amply rewarded for my hard work, this is what I found. A beautiful rainbow.
Its interesting that in Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna talks about the importance of controlling the mind.
Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 6.6
bandhur ātmātmanas tasya
yenātmaivātmanā jitah
anātmanas tu śatrutve
vartetātmaiva śatru-vat
Translation & Purport by Srila Prabhupad
“For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy”.
The purpose of practicing eightfold yoga is to control the mind in order to make it a friend in discharging the human mission. Unless the mind is controlled, the practice of yoga (for show) is simply a waste of time. One who cannot
control his mind lives always with the greatest enemy, and thus his life and its mission are spoiled. The constitutional position of the living entity is to carry out the order of the superior. As long as one's mind remains an unconquered
enemy, one has to serve the dictations of lust, anger, avarice, illusion, etc. But when the mind is conquered, one voluntarily agrees to abide by the dictation of the Personality of Godhead, who is situated within the heart of everyone as Paramātmā. Real yoga practice entails meeting the Paramātmā within the heart and then following His dictation. For one who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness directly, perfect surrender to the dictation of the Lord follows automatically.

So, this is the story of our life every moment. You want to do something and your mind immediately gives you different suggestions. So, what you get is what you put into it.Just like GIGO - Garbage in, garbage out in the field of computer
science or information and communications technology refers to the fact that computers, since they operate by logical processes, will unquestioningly process unintended, even nonsensical, input data ("garbage in") and produce undesired,
often nonsensical, output ("garbage out"). Similarly, our mind is also like a computer. It will take the inputs, impressions that we give to it and when the time comes, it will give out whatever we have fed it with.
Once I heard, a Lecture where the speaker explained wonderfully about the mind and how it makes or breaks a person. It was a simple incident but, left profound impression on my mind. Once, two friends from a small town planned to go to the nearby City to get an important job done. They need to catch a train early in the morning around 5:30AM, go and meet an higher official to talk about their retirement benefits and pension etc. The plan was to meet at the train station  and the second friend never turned up, so the first friend went alone to the city, got his job done and came back in the evening. Then, he met his friend who  failed to turn up at the train station and the reply was like this. I am sorry, I could not make it.I actually wanted to come but, two street away someone told me that, there is a stray, mad dog that had bitten number of people, so it’s dangerous to travel alone. And, also I don’t have small change, had a 100 rupee note. And, who knows, what if the Staff at the Ticket counter does not have the change. I loose the rest of the money. And, also it was rainy, cold. What if I slip and break my leg or something...And, so on. Apparently, the person who had so many excuses never got his pension paperwork done and even left his body without getting that work done in his lifetime. One good stick is enough to scare a stray dog, 100 rupees is nothing compared to the benefits that are going to come and as Bhagavathm explains, “padam padam yad vipadam na tesam”, in this material world, in every step there is danger. That means, there is an element of risk in everything that you do but, that should not stop one from doing right things. Because, even if you are not doing anything and sleeping in your house, things happen.
Let me quote the above verse completely, because it is so wonderful..
“Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.58
samasrita ye pada-pallava-plavam
mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh
bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam
padam padam yad vipadam na tesham
TRANSLATION by Srila Prabhupad : For those who have accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Murari, the enemy of the Mura demon, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf's hoof-print. Their goal is param padam, Vaikuntha, the place where there are no material miseries, not the place where there is danger at every step”.
Ok, I actually started off writing this by talking about Benefits of going for a morning walk but, was inspired to write about mind control. To sum up, please take care of following things –   
Weakness of Heart – Lord Krishna called this Hridaya Daurbalyam. Arjuna, who was the greatest Warrior  (was of course put into illusion by Krishna, so that Bhagavad Gita can be spoken) became completely weak, his body was shivering, his Gandiva Bow slipped from his hand and refused to fight.So, when we give chance for these things like doubt, indecision, loss of  faith in ourselves, loosing sight of our goals,  
Resistance to change – The first thing a man does is to resist and try to stop the change from happening.We want to control so many things in life.Stop old age, control temperature by Air Con or Heater so on. But, change is inevitable, part of life and that’s why so many organisations these days are coming up with Change management, how to cope up with change.
Bad Habits – Which are due to wrong association and company. As someone said “ A man is known by the company he keeps”. It’s important to have the right company and take up a right path in life. If one is trying to be a millionaire, he cannot go around with beggars and expect to become one. Of course, that does not mean that a beggar cannot become a millionaire and even though he is  a beggar, his role models  should be that of millionaires. Of course, ultimately man proposes and God disposes, but that desire and personal endeavour should be there. Rabbits don’t line up tigers mouth. It has to go out and hunt for them.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Nidhivan of Vrindavan

 I noticed this tree on my morning walk today and it somehow reminded me of Nidhivan of Vrindavan.The trees at Nidhivan are also similar to this tree trunk and they are said to be 5000 yrs old.I visited Nidhivan few years ago but, the memories are still fresh in my mind.Nidhivan also called as Madhuvan is one of the most significant and popular places of Vrindavan.This is a mystical and sacred placed, where it is said that every night after evening arti at the Rang Mahal temple, the place  becomes completely empty. Not even monkeys dwell and the whole area, which is surrounded a wall is vacated. The temple, is then locked.It is said that if some one stays back,they will become mentally derailed, deaf, dumb or die.
The belief is that in the nighttime, this the place where Srimati Radha and Krishna spend their time. The priests before locking the temple, leave some items like toothbrushes, some holy water in a jug with four sweets. In the morning once, they open the temple, it becomes obvious and noticeable that someone  was actually there the night before.The items kept there including the toothbrush, water, sweets appear as used.
I remember couple of years ago, a  crew from Zee TV  visited the place, stayed overnight outside the Nidhivan complex to find out about this mysterious and sacred place. Its also, interesting that there are number of houses adjacent to the Nidhivan and apparently, none of them open their windows during night time.
This is also the place where the famous Bankey Bihariji, who is currently worshipped at the Bankey Bihari temple appeared.The history goes that there used to be  great saint called Swami Haridasa who by his incessant devotion and worship of Lord Krishna made him
to manifest in a deity form (Lord Bankey Bihari).
There also the famous pastime of Shyamananda Pandit who previously called as Dukhi Krishna Das used to reside at this placed and clean the surrounds.One day he found a anklet, which was most unique.The moment he touched the anklet, he was filled with spiritual ecsatcy and he immediatly understood that, it is a special anklet and hid it, tightly wound in a cloth and waitied for the owner of the anklet to come.Very soon, a beautiful lady came enquiring about the lost anklet.Shyamananda Prabhu replied her that, he has the anklet but, would give it only to the rightful owner. The sakhi, maid servant took him to Srimati Radha Rani and he was blessed by her and was given the name of Shyamananda.Before he was taken to Srimati Radha Rani, he was asked to take a dip in a pond and he transformed into a beautiful cowherd girl. Srimati Radharani gave her blessings to the new Sakhi or friend by naming him as Shyamananda and applying a special Tilak on the forehead. There is more to the story but, I will write it some other time.
In Nidhivan there are number of places of significance, which contain the spiritual mystery of the Lordships Radha and Krishna. There is a Samadhi of Swami Haridasa, The Rang Mahal, The Sacred Well of Radha Rani, The Appearance Place of Bankey Bihariji etc. 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness

Photos of a Full Moon and the clouds using my new Mobile - ASUS Zenfone 2.Not bad for a night shot, the First one taken using a normal mode and the other one using the night mode.
I am sorry to say that, I have been extremely busy both at work and with family. Hopefully, I get some time next week to write something.I need both, an inspiration from Krishna and some time to think and write. Talking about the inspiration actually, in Bhagavad Gita 15.15 Lord Krishna Says,
“sarvasya cāham hrdi sannivisto
 mattah smrtir jñānam apohanam ca
 vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
 vedānta-krd veda-vid eva cāham
Translation: I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.
Purport: The Supreme Lord is situated as Paramātmā in everyone's heart, and it is from Him that all activities are initiated. The living entity forgets everything of his past life, but he has to act according to the direction of the Supreme Lord, who is witness to all his work. Therefore he begins his work according to his past deeds. Required knowledge is supplied to him, and remembrance is given to him, and he forgets, also, about his past life. Thus, the Lord is not only all-pervading; He is also localized in every individual heart. He awards the different fruitive results. He is worshipable not only as the impersonal Brahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the localized Paramātmā, but as the form of the incarnation of the Vedas as well. The Vedas give the right direction to people so that they can properly mold their lives and come back to Godhead, back to home. The Vedas offer knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and Krsna in His incarnation as Vyāsadeva is the compiler of the Vedānta-sūtra. The commentation on the Vedānta-sūtra by Vyāsadeva in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives the real understanding of Vedānta-sūtra. The Supreme Lord is so full that for the deliverance of the conditioned soul He is the supplier and digester of foodstuff, the witness of his activity, and the giver of knowledge in the form of Vedas and as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Krsna, the teacher of the Bhagavad-gītā. He is worshipable by the conditioned soul. Thus God is all-good; God is all-merciful.
Antah-pravistah śāstā janānām. The living entity forgets as soon as he quits his present body, but he begins his work again, initiated by the Supreme Lord. Although he forgets, the Lord gives him the intelligence to renew his work where he ended his last life. So not only does a living entity enjoy or suffer in this world according to the dictation from the Supreme Lord situated locally in the heart, but he receives the opportunity to understand the Vedas from Him. If one is serious about understanding the Vedic knowledge, then Krsna gives the required intelligence. Why does He present the Vedic knowledge for understanding? Because a living entity individually needs to understand Krsna. Vedic literature confirms this: yo 'sau sarvair vedair gīyate. In all Vedic literature, beginning from the four Vedas, Vedānta-sūtra and the Upanisads and Purānas, the glories of the Supreme Lord are celebrated. By performance of Vedic rituals, discussion of the Vedic philosophy and worship of the Lord in devotional service, He is attained. Therefore the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Krsna. The Vedas give us direction by which to understand Krsna and the process of realizing Him. The ultimate goal is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vedānta-sūtra (1.1.4) confirms this in the following words: tat tu samanvayāt. One can attain perfection in three stages. By understanding Vedic literature one can understand his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by performing the different processes one can approach Him, and at the end one can attain the supreme goal, who is no other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse the purpose of the Vedas, the understanding of the Vedas, and the goal of the Vedas are clearly defined.”
Translation and Purport by  His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad.

As explained by the Lord and Srila Prabhupad, the ultimate object and essence of learning vedas is to know the Ultimate Supreme reality which is Lord Krishna himself. But, so many times people get misguided and loose track, the great philosophers, highly knowledgeable scholar of Vedas, they think that to read Vedas is to enjoy in this life, get liberation from this body and attain heaven and again enjoy there. Infact, in the discussion between Narada and Vyasadev, Rishi Narada explains to Vyasa who is his student that, even though you have compiled the Vedas, Brahma Sutras, Upanishads and other Puranas which explain so many things and give so much knowledge, all of them does not talk about the sweet, nectarean  Glories, pastimes of Supreme Personality of Godhead and his devotees. And, infact whatever you have written in the Vedas will actually make people enjoy their senses albeit in a controlled and regulated way. Thus, you write a book that explains about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and his devotees etc.
And, that is how the Srimad Bhagavatham was written which consists of 18,000 slokas describes the ten subjects, which are (1) the creation of the ingredients of the cosmos, (2) the creations of Brahma, (3) the maintenance of the creation, (4) special favour given to the faithful, (5) impetuses for activity, (6) prescribed duties for law-abiding men, (7) a description of the incarnations of the Lord, (8) the winding up of the creation, (9) liberation from gross and subtle material existence, and (10) the ultimate shelter, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
One more interesting point is the remembrance and forgetfulness, both come from the Lord. So does this mean, God is responsible for what ever we do? No, not really. Please refer to my previous blog post -

Friday, 1 May 2015

Nepal Earthquake

Mount Everest - A mountaineers dream destination
Nepal - the moment we hear the word, we are reminded of Mount Everest.One of my collegue was in Nepal when the earthquake happened.He had just come from Nepal and he looked shocked and broken.A sad and devastating disaster for Nepal.It is very sad to imagine the situation of all the people affected by the calamity.Few years, ago I met a friend who told me that he built the house by himself i, e Project managed the whole building by engaging tradesman and he told me. I have built my house on a solid foundation, strong walls that can withstand something like, 120KMPH winds and so on.He looked satisfied and confident of his safety.But, really when we see or hear news like these, our strength and prowess is so minute compared to the force of mother nature.I felt sorry and was looking foraway to help people of Nepal and came across this article by Food for life - ISKCON.

I was moved to see the extent of damage and destruction caused by the catastrophe and an amazing thing I noticed was the happiness in the faces of people lined up for food (prasadam).I immediately donated some money.
How and why this happened?.I am not sure, if we need to talk about this at this moment. The need of the hour is to help the ones affected by the disaster.
Anyway, I read few things like,  As per science, the plate movements are causing the earthquakes to happen. As per neo- scientific theory proposed by three scientists which was originally propounded  by Einstein is called - Pain Wave theory. According to which, if at one place animals are slaughtered on a mass scale, the energy created by the pain caused to the animals go into the ground causing the earth to shake.And, recently there was a mass slaughtering and sacrifices of animals in Nepal as a part of a 260 year old custom and tradition and supposedly about 350,000 plus animals are killed.