Surrender

Dear Readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all once again yet another interesting blog this week. My blog today is a rather reflective one and I hope we all can draw some insight from it as I share.

I had a rather long weekend as I was really trying to be on top of things I had to do and things I needed to do. Needless to say, I like to get things organized mentally so I can physically roll into the execution with less hassle. In the midst of this process the computer that I was using at the moment decided to give up on me. I spent almost 8 hours on Saturday and even more hours on Sunday trying to see if I could salvage the situation. I also had an acquaintance who is Tech savvy try to assist me, it just ended up wasting his time too.

I needed to do something quick. In the process of trying to fix the Computer I lost almost everything I had on it. I downloaded a recovery app, to see if I could recover things from the hard drive only for the app to ask me for payment after “recovering” items I couldn’t even identify. I couldn’t tell if it was just a scam to get me to pay or if it was genuinely retrieving info. Feeling tired and frustrated, I felt why not try another app, and another app, until I finally got one that retrieved some lost files. I decided to rest my case and see if something else could be done to save the situation. Time was already lost and that could never be gotten back.

While we were trying to see how best to “save” the computer, we were getting obviously tired, frustrated, and losing more time. I had loads of things to do, that weren’t getting done, all in a bid to save money. You may wonder how? I felt instead of buying a new computer why not use this one (which obviously is not in a good state). Now I am losing time, rest, and productivity, so what did I get out of all of this?

I always try to see what lessons can be learnt from any situation that I am in. Instead of ranting to everyone about how tough my life has become, I try to see if I can simplify things myself, especially if it is a complication that I have created. Then it hit me crystal clear. My experience over the weekend is exactly how we are in the material world. The modes of material nature are constantly defeating us in our attempt to lord over it. Instead of seeing that it is a futile effort, we keep thinking maybe if I do this and that it would get better. Just like I was thinking maybe if I try this app or that app, or this fix technique etc. The real solution is right before us; which is to surrender to the one who is in charge of the material existence.

My computer can be used as an allegory to explain the situation in this material world. The more we try to fix it, the more we get entangled in it and lose time and energy. Unlike my computer scenario, where I lost some hours, in life we lose years of our existence and by the time we realize that we have been fighting a lost battle, old age has already kicked in. Now old age is not a bad thing in itself because if we had utilized the years prior diligently then we have nothing to worry about. Where old age becomes an issue is when we know deep down ourselves that we haven’t really given time and attention to cultivating higher consciousness in our prime time, and as such in our old age we find ourselves deficit of the required knowledge and experience, to go through the onslaught of material nature. So likewise in the allegory been used, because I didn’t take the necessary steps to get a working computer on time, now in a later time (which can be compared to old age), I find myself wanting and in serious need to get things done in such a small time frame or window opportunity.

We see this every time with people who feel, spiritual life is meant for old people and refuse to pay attention to or give their attention to matters that relate to the soul or self-realization. Then as they grow older they suddenly see that all that they thought was real and cool, isn’t as it seems anymore and that the most important thing they could have invested in or given real attention; the soul, has been neglected and then they panic in response. The usual reaction is to suddenly try to catch up for all the “lost time” but then the body is no longer as strong, the mind is there, family is not as supportive etc. Just like the adage says “a stitch in time saves nine”; in our spiritual lives a step in the right direction, on time saves us 9 lifetimes.

We can start now, and surrender to the process, or procrastinate and come back 9 lifetimes or more to fix it. Of course we all know that everyone will surrender according to their level of realization and the Supreme Lord will definitely reciprocate accordingly and he has promised, the clarion call however is to avoid the late entry.  I have now seen that sometimes even if we think surrendering is expensive (just like I thought getting a good working computer was expensive), surrendering to a working process saves us a lot more in the long run. Ultimately we find out that it is cheaper, to actually pay the price now than try to find some “simpler and cheaper route”.

Surrender is necessary to advance and we all have to in one way or another.

Till next week do follow for more.

 

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Vulnerability

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all today yet another exciting blog. I hope you all are faring well.

Before we delve into today’s topic, I’ll like to say Thank you to all my readers and those who have supported my blog by regularly reading, subscribing, sharing or even the thumbs up. At the moment we have reached a significant milestone of 2021 unique visitors to my blog, in the space of 21 months. That is approximately 96 visitors a month. Of course the desire is to reach out to more people and we are not there yet, nevertheless I am grateful for all your support and encouragement.

When I first started blogging, the inner desire was to create for myself a medium to express my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences on a platform where I could receive feedback, and share views. Over the last 20 months, I can say that has evolved into creating a platform whereby I can share insights, realizations and also speak on various subjects from a deeper perspective albeit Metaphysical. I have learnt a lot and the learning process isn’t over. One of the toughest part of writing is that you put yourself in a vulnerable position, one that allows for people to criticize, judge or even form opinions about who you are just by reading from you.

A true writer knows this is inevitable and in the unavoidable discharge of his writing duty, he takes the criticism and praise all with a pinch of salt. So in my blog today I want to willingly put myself in a more vulnerable position. One thing we fear the most is being vulnerable, hence we put up walls and defenses. This is not to say we don’t have valid reasons to be scared or overly defensive, nevertheless even the most powerful people we can think of, had their moments of being vulnerable. So what is it that you are most afraid of? What is it that makes you vulnerable?

As a kid I used to be scared of the dark and anytime I had to walk through a dark corridor to turn on the lights I’ll run a full dash to the switch. One day, I think it was my mum if I remember correctly, who told me “the reason why you are afraid is because you think you are alone and someone might get you. You never have to run when you walk with me or someone else, so next time you have to go turn on the light, just walk close to the wall and feel your way along the wall. This way you won’t feel like you are waking through a large ‘vacuum’.” The next time I was asked to go turn on the lights I remembered what she had told me earlier and I walked close to the wall, slowly sliding my hands by the wall till I got to the switch and even though there was some element of fear, it was a lot better and with time I was able to walk through the dark corridor with absolutely no fear.

Now that might be easy, however as an adult my mum wasn’t with me every time and I had to face most of my vulnerability alone. Sometimes in order to trust someone we have to be vulnerable to them, sometimes in order to love someone we have to be vulnerable to them, sometimes in order to succeed we have to be vulnerable, sometimes in order for peace to thrive, we have to be vulnerable not because we cannot be strong but because we know that there is strength in willingly accepting such a position. It is easy to love, admire, respect, worship and follow someone who is strong but not many people can extend these emotions easily and readily to someone they see as vulnerable. Vulnerability is often greeted with two types of reactions; disregard and exploitation.

There are people who thrive on the vulnerability of others so much so that they are constantly searching for anyone who is in such a state to prey on. They feed off weakness just like the Dementors in Harry Potter. The Dementors in this novel series are described as Soulless creatures that deprive humans of happiness and Intelligence. They do so by feeding off your fear or by presenting themselves as that which you dread the most. Interestingly the antidote to a Dementor is to make a joke out of it by casting a spell of ridicule. Similarly whenever we encounter people who feed off the vulnerability of others the antidote is to protect our “intelligence and stay happy”. When the Intelligence is lost, it becomes difficult to focus the mind even on the simplest joyful activities.

When someone is vulnerable people avoid him/her seeing that state as pitiful and not wanting to associate with the person. They feel that by associating with a person who is vulnerable they might as well become vulnerable. There are those on the other hand who greet vulnerability with exploitation and see it as a means to feel better about their own life. When a person who is vulnerable extends to them a hand seeking for help, they respond by finding a way to take advantage of that individual by exploiting them. By taking advantage of such a person they have no intention to help him/her out of her vulnerable side.

After hearing all of this someone might ask, so why would I want to be vulnerable to anyone? Well the answer is diverse however one way to see it is that one can learn to trust on a deeper level when he knows that he/she is vulnerable to another person. A good example is two lovers, who are vulnerable to each other. Despite the fact that they both know each other’s vulnerability, they never try to use it against one another. Someone who knows your vulnerability and still takes care of you and protects you instead of taking advantage of you, is a special soul. By being willingly vulnerable to people we get to know who they really are.

Hoping this meets you well.

Do like, share, and follow for more.

PS; Photo credit not mine

 

Post-Thanksgiving

Dear readers,

Happy belated holidays, and I hope you all are faring well. Thanksgiving this year fell on a day that I wasn’t scheduled to post a blog, so I just decided to let it go and post one afterwards. I must say it was a good decision, as now I can actually look at the day in retrospect and say something deeper.

In as much as I don’t want to make this post a political one, I feel it is rather important that we acknowledge the fact that Thanksgiving day originated from the massacre of native Americans by the invaders and the next day was set aside as a day to give “thanks” for the victory of the natives who were killed. I personally do not know if it is right to celebrate such a day but I guess it is not my place to say how or what days a country should keep as holidays. In that light I shall focus on what I have to say. Nevertheless I felt I chip that in there.

On Thanksgiving Day, my day started off pretty much like any other day until it was time for the Lunch feast. For those of you who know me personally, I am a Vegetarian so no Turkey or any animal was killed for lunch. We had a violence free feast cooked with love and devotion by some wonderful volunteers. There was Pumpkin pie, Spaghetti, corn and cream, Rice, Soya barbecue, Chutney, Strawberry shake, Non Alcoholic grape wine, just to mention a few of the preps. I couldn’t resist the entire ensemble and definitely ate to my satisfaction. However later that evening I was invited to a more personal family gathering, where we were about 10 -12 in attendance. During this Thanksgiving evening get together each person was asked to  share something they were grateful for and I also did. I shall try to re-share most of what I said even if I can’t remember verbatim all of it.

I hope it inspire someone to also be grateful for what they have in life.

“I am grateful for the gift of life, good health, sound mind and intelligence. I am grateful for a healthy and whole body and the ability to make choices. I am grateful for my Parents as I am a product of their love and care. If anyone sees any wonderful trait in me, it means my parents did a good job raising me up. If you notice any flaws, it is probably because I am still working on all they have thought me and haven’t mastered it all yet. I am grateful for being born as a Vaishnava and I feel privileged and not cocky in any way.

I am grateful for my Spiritual Mentors who have accepted me as their disciple, whatever good fortune I have they have created by their mercy. I am grateful for the amount of education I have been given access, both informal and formal, because even by western standards it is quite at par with most of my peers in developed nations. I am grateful for being part of such a lovely community and I am also grateful for been given the chance to be part of it. I am grateful for all those who I work with for tolerating me, teaching me indirectly or directly as every day I learn something in one way or the other.

I am grateful for all the relationships I have had and all those who have crossed my path or walk through my life. I have had my share of good, bad and ugly relationships still I am most grateful. Even for those relationships that were seemingly unsuccessful I am most grateful because from them I learnt how to be a better me, and to know exactly what I didn’t want in my life. I must say I am a product of all my experiences; past, present and those yet to come.

I am grateful for being part of such a wonderful way of life, which to me is more than just a religion. Vaishnavism is our innate nature and practicing is way of life and not just doctrines. I am grateful for having the extremely rare privilege of worshipping the lord in his self-manifested form as Salagram and I pray that by each passing day I become better in my service to them. I am grateful to my dear friend who gave me my first Sila, I will be eternally grateful to you. I am grateful for travel experience having been practically 3/4th across the globe without being a Billionaire. I am grateful for all those who I have met in one country or another for I have imbibed something from all of you and as such made myself a better human being. To me the perfect human being is an amalgamation of all humans, and as such if I can imbibe good qualities from all over the world then I can pride myself as a global citizen.

I am grateful for those things that the Lord is doing in my life that I have no idea of, I am grateful for those things I am yet to see and I am grateful for his grace in my life. I am grateful for the little things I take for granted and I ask the Lord to forgive me when I nag unconsciously being ungrateful for all that he has done. I am grateful for all those who have helped me in one way or another in my life, I didn’t get here all by myself, I had help. I really appreciate. I am also grateful to also those who said No to me when I needed their help, for by rejecting me you taught me to be strong and independent. Your refusal to help me, made me look for other ways to become a better person.

I am grateful for everything.”

I hope this simple gratitude of mine in the spirit of being grateful on thanksgiving inspires us to be grateful. Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.

Death 2 (After Death)

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. Last week I had begun a very interesting series on Death, please be sure to check on the part one in order to have a build up to where we are now.

Last week I tried to shed some light on living every day as if it were our last and how this thought process can greatly influence our lives and daily choices. As a progression from there, it is also worthy to say that the only way to have decent thoughts at the time of death is to cultivate decent thoughts while living. As it is mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita that whatever state of consciousness one remembers at the time of death, that state he is sure to attain. (BG 8.7)

We cannot spend our lives thinking of all sorts of things and think that at the time of death we can magically cheat nature and suddenly turn out thoughts to God. It doesn’t work that way. A student who spends his time reading books on English cannot walk into an exam for Chemistry and hope to remember his elements, how to balance chemical equations, laws of thermodynamics, etc. This is because he has not given these subject his attention and as such it does not become his experience. Without dwelling on this too much, what actually happens after death, is a big mystery for many of us. In the Srimad Bhagavatam, there is a detailed description of how the soul journeys till he gets another body. I’ll save us that detail here but encourage my readers to read further or request a blog dedicated to that. What I’ll like to focus on, is the question of eternal damnation or eternal bliss.

I write for a vast majority of readers across different religions and as such I know many of you subscribe to many different ideologies of where the soul goes to after it leaves the body. I do not intend to bash anyone’s faith or belief or try to place mine above others, I just wish to say things as they are.  Whether or not you believe in hell or heaven or paradise, one fact is clear across many religions that there is a life after death. The Bible gives countless examples (reincarnation), and so does other scriptures like the Gita. However the Gita gives us a lot more by making us understand that our next body is determined by the sum total of our activities in this body. We get to either progress or regress as the case may be. If we have been able to acquire a lot of pious credits by performing good deeds, we get to enjoy those credits in heaven and when they are exhausted we again come back to this material world. If we have been very nefarious and have so much impious credit from wrong doings, we get to suffer them, then again return. Many people find it difficult to grasp the concept of having to return here, the Bible says “…heaven and Earth shall pass away…” the Gita mentions that  … from the highest planet down to the lowest, are all places of miseries…” Only those who go to the Supreme abode of the Lord do not return here.

Why am I going into all of these? We have to understand that we are responsible for our life here and also after. It is a big misconception to think and believe “You only live once”. If for some reason, you even subscribe to this idea, then why not make the better of this one, what is the loss. However if this doctrine is false, which it can be proven to be scientifically, then we are at a big loss. I have taken the liberty to pull up a few references from the Srimad Bhagavatam of some things that happen to those who lived a life full of misdeeds.

While living one may be proud of one’s body, thinking oneself a very big man, minister, president or even demigod, but whatever one may be, after death this body will turn either into worms, into stool or into ashes. If one kills poor animals to satisfy the temporary whims of this body, one does not know that he will suffer in his next birth, for such a sinful miscreant must go to hell and suffer the results of his actions.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10:10:10 translation).

Apparently a devotee may grow old, but he is not subjected to the symptoms of defeat experienced by a common man in old age. Consequently, old age does not make a devotee fearful of death, as a common man is fearful of death. When jarā, or old age, takes shelter of a devotee, Kālakanyā diminishes the devotee’s fear. A devotee knows that after death he is going back home, back to Godhead; therefore he has no fear of death. Thus instead of depressing a devotee, advanced age helps him become fearless and thus happy.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 4:27:24purport).

In due course of time, when a pure devotee is completely prepared, all of a sudden the change of body occurs which is commonly called death. And for the pure devotee such a change takes place exactly like lightning, and illumination follows simultaneously. That is to say a devotee simultaneously changes his material body and develops a spiritual body by the will of the Supreme. Even before death, a pure devotee has no material affection, due to his body’s being spiritualized like a red-hot iron in contact with fire.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1:6:27 purport).

 

If while here on Earth we spend our very limited time gathering enemies, fault finding, committing all kinds of sinful activities, then we are sure to suffer for all of these.

I usually tell devotees who know me personally that when death comes, we cannot choose who comes to see us or not. Now imagine you are on your death bed and all those around you are people you have treated badly, do you think you can have the mental peace to even focus on God in that physical state of being with guilt lashing out at you? My spiritual Mentor would say, treat everyone around you as if you were going to live and die with them, because we most likely will. In my next blog I shall try to bring to light the matter of appreciating people who have passed versus appreciating people who are living.

Do follow for more.

PS. Photo credit not mine.

Death 1 ( The Moment)

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all today yet another blog. I hope you all are faring well. Today’s topic as many of you can see already is one we all avoid and have created a taboo around its discussion, however the last three days I have been a firsthand witness to a devotee who left his body and barely a day after got news of another young lady who also passed on.

In this light I felt it is only naturally that I speak about the most dreaded topic; death and dying. Before I commence my dissertation on this matter at hand, I’ll like to say maybe just maybe once in a while we should all get to witness someone leave their body. Why? It puts everything in your life in perspective. I happened to be in the room where a senior devotee passed away recently and often times we get to read certain descriptions from the Bhagavatam about what happens at the time of death and sometimes some people brush it aside as exaggeration or just stuff that may not happen to us. I can tell you that many might be in for a shock when their time arrives.

In 2005, about 12 years ago, I lost my Spiritual Mentor to some terminal illness and I saw how his body transformed in the last few months, but I also saw how what was in his heart became more magnified.  I need to say I have a lot of thoughts right now flying through my head so please bear with me if they do not seem to align or flow. I think right now, better than passing across some congruent thought pattern is my intense desire to pass across some real talk about life and death. One thing sure and certain is: we are all going to die, no one is making it out of here alive. I am sorry if this is too blunt but the earlier we know that it is sure to happen the better. The most striking part is that we have no clue when, where or how it will happen. Yet most of us live as if we have a contract signed with God as to how long we shall live, and go about life as if we were immortals.

So what is death? I guess you all already know. It is the physical termination of the physical body and the transmigration of the life force, soul or consciousness in that body to another (Bhagavad Gita 2:13). Now whether you believe in reincarnation or not that is another topic. (To know more about reincarnation, please click on the link). So what exactly happens at the time of death? At the time of death, one is enveloped by the sum total of his life’s thought process (Srimad Bhagavatam 3:30:18 purport). That is whatever we have given the most attention to in our lives becomes our primary thought at the time of death. If your life was spent chasing money, affluence, God, etc., at the time of death these thought become your primary thought. Why? Whatever we study for is what we recollect in an examination, and death is life’s final exam.

In life we all worry about many things which in real perspective are not worth worrying about. My spiritual mentor in his final days gives a two hour lecture on the subject; “Die before dying”, the summary of that lecture was to live every day truly as if it were our last. We hear this every time, some of us practice it maybe for a week or two then done. Truth be told everyday on this planet is actually our last, because we have no clue when that day is. Die before dying is putting first things first and seeing how these thigs affect us. An example of putting first things first is as follows; suppose today was your last day and all your family members were gathered around you, what would be the priority in your thoughts? Would it matter what dress you wore? Would it matter what someone else was wearing? Would it matter what race those who came to see you were? Would it matter what your bank statement was? Would it matter what car your friend’s drove in to come see you? Of course none of that would matter. The only thing that would matter would be to share as much love as possible, ask for forgiveness and focus our minds on the Lord’s pastimes as we prepare to make the transition. So if this right here is a simulation of what our last day could look like, now take a look at your current daily activities and ask yourself, am I truly living with the consciousness of one conscious of death or am I just going through life as if I were immortal? I have divided this topic into parts in other to be able to get everything I intend to say out properly. This is because if I cramp everything into one blog, so many things will just fly over our heads. I do not wish that for any one of you.

Usually when people hear those who are spiritual practitioners speak about death and the ephemeral nature of life, they often think we are fatalists and do not know how to “enjoy” life. They ask “Why worry so much about death? Why not worry about life and living now?” Well we do think about life and because we think about life we know is it temporary. We know that life is meant to prepare us for that transition, and that true living is having a life that reflects this mentality on a daily basis. We enjoy life with the consciousness of being the servant of God and as such we accept everything knowing fully well to whom they belong. To the degree something helps us remember that we are eternal souls in a temporary world, to that degree do we accept it.

Till next week, please do watch out for the part two of this series. Follow for more.

Ps. Photo credit not mine.

Karma Yoga

I am delighted to be able to share with you all yet another interesting topic this week. Last week I released my book in eBook format across various eBook platforms. Below is a link with which you can access and purchase it. I’ll love to get feedbacks, suggestions for a possible future revised edition. Happy reading!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/753002

Today I’ll like to harp on a subject which I find interesting and very informative as well; Karma Yoga. Before elaborating on this subject I’ll like to give a brief introduction to the word Yoga. Yoga means to connect with the absolute, and as such there are various forms of Yoga. Different forms of Yoga have different requirements and practices. We have Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, etc. What is popularly referred to Yoga today, is but a branch of Yoga called Astanga yoga or The Yoga of Postures and breathing techniques.

In other words, Astanga yoga would mean the yoga which helps us connect with the Absolute through the process of postures and breathing techniques. Our focus today however is on Karma Yoga. So what Is Karma? We must have heard of the word so many times and people are quick to quote this word when someone gets a repercussion for an action they performed.  We have three types of Karma; karma, Akarma and Vikarma viz action, inaction and prohibited action. These three types or forms of karma basically show us how intricate karma is. This is to also clarify the popular misconception that Karma only means repercussion. Of course Karma means the principle of cause and effect or like Newton’s Law which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

There is more to Karma though, than just cause and effect. This basic principle however shall be used here to explain or give some insight into what Karma yoga is all about. So if Karma is the principle of cause and effect, and Yoga means to connect with the absolute, so Karma Yoga should mean in simple words; connecting with the absolute through the principle of cause and effect. How can this be done? If every action we take or engage in is sure to bring us a reaction then how can we act in such a way that our actions bring us closer to the Supreme destination? By engaging in Karma Yoga. When we perform any type of action we are sure to be bound by the reactions of that action, whether positive or negative. The positive results bring us pious credits which we can enjoy this life time or in another life time, while the negative results bring us impious credits which we have to suffer this life time or another.

Either way we are bound by the fruits of our actions. Now many people may wonder what is wrong in enjoying the positive or pious credits from good deeds that I do. The simple answer is, in as much as positive actions are advocated, if they are done separately from the Supreme i.e. not in Yoga, then we are sure to be tied to the results of such good deeds. Good deeds tie us to the circle or repeated birth and death because in as much as we have some credit to enjoy or suffer we have to always take birth in the material world to experience these results. It is like a criminal who gets parole for good behavior then goes out to commit crime and he is sent back to prison to again suffer his punishment. So what does Karma Yoga offer? Karma yoga offers a means or a process by which we can engage in our daily activities and even in activities which may bind us to positive results and yet be free from those results.

This is achieved by offering the activity we engage in to the Supreme Lord or surrendering the results for the Lord’s enjoyment. A typical example would be working for the Lord. In the unavoidable discharge of one’s daily activities, we will see that we have to work to maintain the body.  The process of working can be very binding if one is not careful, because we encounter a lot of things in the process. Those who are merchants have to lie in order to make a profit, people have to scheme and plan much to the loss of others in order to make gains, innocent living organisms are killed knowingly or unknowingly as we commute to our places of work every day, etc.

If the goal of our work is to give pleasure to our senses and to enjoy the results then we are sure to face the reactions for all the things we do, such as the examples given above, because we are responsible. However if we simply work with the understanding that we are doing our work for the satisfaction of the Lord and show this by actively dovetailing our work with the Lord as the center, through donations of the fruits of our actions, then the Lord is sure to protect us from the intricacies and results of our actions or Karma. In as much as this is a good means to gradually rise to the platform of total absorption in the Lord’s service, one should not think that this is a viable means to engage in various sorts of negative activities and think that by giving the fruits to the Lord in sacrifice or donation that one is immediately free from the results of that activity. That is to say, Karma yoga is not a consensus for capricious activities. This naturally brings us one of the types of Karma which is prohibited action. We should not engage in prohibited activities and expect the lord to protect us.

When one knows what is real action or Karma, when one knows what is inaction and what actions are to be avoided then he is the real knower of things. Till next week do read share and follow for more. Hopefully I will develop this subject further next week.

You have False Ego 2

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to share with you again this week yet another exciting blog. I am really glad to have this unique opportunity to discuss deep topics on such a platform. On that note I’ll say once again that I am even more excited to countdown the release date of my new book, due for the 3rd of November.

I had an amazing weekend at a Kirtan (congregational chanting and singing of the Holy name of God) festival, in an amazing Eco village in Pennsylvania. Every now and then it is good to have one’s spiritual batteries charged up. The entire singing and dancing went on for about 14hours, and in that time frame the only thing that mattered was how to full immerse myself in the chant. For that time frame, no one cared if you looked a certain way, spoke a certain way, and dressed a certain way etc. all that mattered was how much you were contributing in the glorification of the holy name. In brief it was amazing.

This week I’ll continue from where we left off last time and try to give real life scenarios of how the false ego can be misconstrued. Have you ever been told that you have false ego? Funny yet interesting question. I’ll share with you all a real life experience.

Once I was engaged in doing some service, when a devotee approached me and started to share with me what he described as “his honest opinion of me”. I appreciated his genuine effort to come to me in person instead of saying things behind me and I patiently heard all he had to say. I tried to answer any question he had about my personality and tried to alleviate his doubts on those things he didn’t understand about me. However I noticed his intention wasn’t to dialogue but to start a verbal confrontation. In the course of his “speech” he said something which I felt was funny but he thought was rather an attack. He told me “You know, I think you have false ego.” For those not conversant with the lingo, this phrase is a “polite” way of telling someone I think you are proud, in the Gaudiya circle.

I laughed so hard and what he thought was an insult to me became an embarrassment for him. I replied “did you just know?” He was shocked. The usual response would have been a defense or a retort. He looked at me eyes wide open. I smiled and said again “I know I have false ego”. Now he was really confused and asked what do you mean? At this point it is interesting to note that, he was now asking me a question about a statement he just made. Had I responded the way he was expecting by retorting or defending myself, the whole discussion would have degenerated into something messy.  Now seeing he was in a more receptive mood, rather confused now than hostile, I asked him “you don’t know the meaning of what you just said?” He replied saying he did but he didn’t expect that answer.

I then proceeded to explain certain facts about the statement that he had just made. “First and foremost I know I have false ego, which If you define that by saying I identify with my body, you are absolutely right. If I didn’t have any false go, I wouldn’t be here in the material world with a material body. The mere fact that I am here in this world subjected to the threefold miseries and the dualities of a material body means I indeed have false ego. It means my misidentification of the body as the self has put me in such a situation. “

Seeing that this was rather too philosophical for him to grasp and probably not what he meant I then went on to address the second probable meaning. “If you however want to say that I am proud and have used the polite phrase of saying I have false ego, then you are also right. I have no difficulty admitting this, if you see this fault in me. Anyhow I am in a nice process of cleansing theses faults and if I take proper advantage of the process I should be able to get rid of them soon.” Let’s just say that was the last time he ever spoke to me again.

One interesting thing about people trying to label others as been proud or egocentric is that often times it is a subtle reflection of their true self. More so, the phrase “you have false ego” could be used as a means to shut people off, especially when there seems to be a subtle attack on our shortcomings. Sometimes when we ask people a genuine question that seems to challenge their belief system or that brings out their shortcomings, then this phrase is used as an indirect way to dissuade us from inquiring further and making it look as if we are the ones who have an issue. The phrase could also be an indirect way of telling people not to have mind of their own and not to think for themselves.

The whole idea of self-realization is not to become “woke” on a metaphysical level but to also become awakened even on the physical platform. For if the awakening doesn’t start from the physical to the metaphysical then sometimes it could be sentimental. So for all spiritual practitioners who are on the journey of self-realization, do not despair. Sometimes we are put to test in many ways just to see if our resolve to become enlightened is real or just a farce. As we strive for perfection in our endeavors let us try to remember that before we can become self-realized souls, we have to indeed become human beings first, complete with all good qualities of love, compassion, truthful, peacefulness etc. Only after imbibing these qualities in full can we aspire to become more.

Till next week do read, share and follow for more.

You have False Ego! 1

Dear readers,

It is great to be here once again sharing with you all interesting insights on various esoteric subjects. In roughly two weeks my book will be available on various eBook platforms and I look forward to sharing my work with you all. In all of this I am excited yet humbled at the grace of God in my life. I’ll put up links to various platforms where my book can be purchased as soon as it is released, if you haven’t gotten a pre-order, do so now to take advantage of the special discount.

Without further ado, today let’s talk about something most of us must have heard at some point in time, either from a friend or someone who feels the need to “instruct us”. To begin with, what is the Ego? The basic definition is “a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. Psychoanalysis takes the meaning a step further by saying ego is the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious, and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. In Metaphysics ego is described as a conscious thinking subject.

Since we are looking things from a metaphysical perspective we will be working more with the third description, as what we have to discuss is beyond the scope of the first two. In spiritual circles we usually talk more about the real ego, which is the self or the soul. We make allusions to the real ego as the real self because it is distinct from the gross body and connection to this ego awakens our real identity. Often times there is a mix between the two ego’s; the real and the false ego. People who are very much on the bodily platform take the false ego; the body and its designations to be the real ego; the soul. They make plans and arrangements in life based on what they perceive from the false ego and thus fall time without number into a pool of distress and disappointment. Those who identify the false ego as the real ego, usually define ego from the physical perspective of the first definition.

To them, ego is that which supports their self-esteem or self-importance. Anything that goes against this is seen as a detriment to their ego and the response could be defensive whenever people see their ego threatened. However to tie our very core value or importance to things that relate to our physical bodies is to limit the true meaning of the real ego. When we feel our ego needs a car, house, money etc. to survive we are actually operating on the level of the first definition which is totally physical. The second definition says it (the ego) mediates between the conscious and the unconscious… Here we see an attempt to ascribe something more to the ego. Somehow or the other, people must have seen through practical experience that you can still maintain a good level of self-esteem without depending on external appraisal. This means that the ego is beyond the external. The only confusion here is that we can see that Psychoanalysis doesn’t have the name for the real ego and doesn’t really know where to place it and thus says it is between the conscious and unconscious. They know it is more than the physical but are not entirely sure if it is spiritual.

Metaphysics tries to solve this dilemma by saying it is the conscious thinking subject. What does this mean? For the body to exist or be alive there has to be consciousness, a very important factor. The present of consciousness in a body is what determines if it is dead or alive. Beyond consciousness there is the subject (the real self) that is responsible for this “thinking or thoughts”. Automatically Metaphysics separates the mind from the ego by saying it is the “thinking subject”. The Mind is the playground for our thoughts and as such it cannot be the ego. So if the mind is the playground for our thoughts and the ego is consciousness, this means it is more and superior to the mind. More so, because the ego is described as the thinking subject naturally we can see where the “I and Me” concept truly lies.  The thinking is done by a subject (the ego), and our thoughts are filled with objects of the senses which are also the object of the subjects thinking. Simply put, the ego (subject) is responsible for our thought process (object) to the degree that it sees itself as real or false.

So how do we differentiate real from false ego? Real ego means understanding the soul or the self to be higher than the mind and body. It means understanding that we are infinitesimal spiritual sparks fully cognizant, blissful and eternal. False ego on the other hand is based on the bodily identifications, which is taking the body to be the self. It is built on the premise that whatever we are is based on the external identifications of the body that we can see. It says there is nothing higher than the self and as such gratification of the senses of the body is the highest goal of life. Not only is this thinking erroneous it is also detrimental to the awakening of our real self. Living by such philosophy deprives the spiritual practitioner the chance to connect to something deeper; the soul or real ego.

There is a more practical approach to this delineation here and due to space I’ll present that in a sequel to this, next week. In that sequel I’ll try to help you see the application and also misapplication of the real and false ego. I’ll also help us identify situations whereby people can misconstrue the real meaning of the word ego so as to be politically correct or just to make others feel less important. I’ll also help us see how we can tune in to our real ego without becoming naïve or losing self-esteem.

Till then do read, share and follow for more.

PS: Photo credit, not mine.

Vacuum; the low after all highs

Dear readers,

I am very happy to connect with you all today, most especially because I launched my first book last week and all things been equal it should be released next month, fingers crossed. Believe me when I say, I have spent almost half of my existence on this planet putting the pieces that make that book up. I do hope is serves it purpose and helps those in need of guidance.

That been said what are we going to discuss today?

This morning while doing my mantra meditation, my mind took a quick “break” and in that split second a couple thoughts flew in.

  1. What is that special “feeling” that creates such an attraction between two people down here that makes us forget who we are?
  2. If our spiritual essence is all blissful and all knowledgeable and yet we are caught up in this mix of material existence, then its either we are easily influenced as living entities or the material nature is very strong.

Just after these thoughts, I tried to bring my mind back to the mantra meditation I was doing but they kept haunting me. Hours later as I prepare to write my blog for this week, I am torn between presenting this thoughts in an “unfiltered” manner, just as they rummage my mind or to refine them and present them as a polished finished thought process. I felt I’ll rather go with the latter.  The whole point of writing is to be real, authentic and genuine. To connect with people without filters and to share ideas, insights and thoughts with people in a manner that helps them see beyond the physical, hence the name metaphysical perspective. Everyone in this material is searching for that one person who completes them and makes them feel special. Some people try to find this person in a friend, a spouse, a family member etc.

Often times our search doesn’t yield much and even when it does, we can’t spend eternity with them, because death snatches them away and we are left all lonely and then vacuum sets in. As a teenager and even till this day I write poetry and the theme is always love but that of intense love in separation, usually of a lover not there or of one who is broken hearted. I shared these poems a few times with people and once half way through, a friend of mine paused and said “who did this to you?” I asked; what? He pointed at my poem and looked at me saying “I mean this, who hurt you this bad bro? These words strike a deep chord with me, I can feel them as if it were me.” He was in for a shock when I told him they were just my inner thoughts and not based on actual events in this life.

Well years later with more understanding of certain spiritual truths, I have come to see where those deep yearnings came from. The real self, deep down cannot stop searching for the Supreme Lord and that was why no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t write about something else. The interesting part is that there is more to this feeling of vacuum. I have seen the lives of very rich, successful and famous celebrities, who have it all and then the next thing we hear is they died of substance overdose or suicide or fell in a depression. It beats me hollow every time. So with all that money, fame, glamour etc., you were still not happy? Why? In front of the cameras we can put up a fake smile, we can show off our flashy lives on social media and all that fun stuff, however when we go to bed at night, when no one is watching, far away from the cameras and paparazzi, reality kicks in. The soul languishes in pain and cries bitterly. Maybe you may have experienced it. Our eyes cannot stop shedding tears and we feel really heavy on the inside and we don’t even know where the pain is coming from.

It is at this critical moment we should pause and reflect. During moments like this, when our soul is tired of pretending and living a life that doesn’t reflect its true nature, we need to wake up and do the needful. When our pain is unbearable and all the fences we have built to shield ourselves from reality are down, we need to wake up and do the needful. Suicide, substance abuse are all just temporary escape routes to hide from these nights of reality that hit us hard. We can run and hide but not for long. That vacuum won’t fill up, no matter how much we try to, especially if we are using the wrong things to fill it up.

There are days I sometimes catch myself fighting such pain, thinking and rethinking. Then I remember that I am blessed by the best and shouldn’t settle for anything less. I am the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and as such He definitely has my back. He just wants to know that I trust him enough to let go and let him fill up all and every type of vacuum in my life. Letting go is not something we are accustomed to because we always fear the worst might happen. Fear is born of ignorance and because we do not really know the capability of the Lord, we are in ignorance which in turn brings fear.

You can be rest assured that you are not alone, and that there is always help around us if and only if we are ready to access it. Most importantly is the fact that there is help right within us, if we decided to connect on a deeper level beyond all superficiality. The Lord is sitting right inside our hearts beckoning on us to turn towards him, even for a second and connect deeply. We have to become like whales in the ocean, they swim deep down. We have to go deep in our relationship with the Supreme.

Till next week, do have a blissful week ahead. Share, and follow for more.

PS; Image credit doesn’t belong to me.

Talents as an offering to the Supreme Lord

Dear readers,

I feel so happy to be here sharing this with you all today, the last 48 hours has been blissful because we just had an entire day of singing, chanting and dancing. No distractions just the Holy name. I can only hope you all are as blissful as I am. A brief reminder to everyone, my book is gradually approaching its final stages and soon it would be ready for publishing. Do keep an eye for it.

I try to keep my blogs realistic and today my blog is related to the 24hr Kirtan festival we just had. I shall speak on this with regards to talents and unique abilities. Some of us are blessed with various talents and abilities and in one way or another these abilities can make us or mar us. Whenever I watch a talent show and see how people display very unique set of talents and everyone is in awe and wonder, I begin to reflect. If an ordinary human being, who is conditioned by birth, disease, old age and death can do all these wonderful feats, imagine how much more the Supreme Lord can do. Imagine how much talent and ability the Supreme Lord possesses, and even after endowing each and every one of us with such unique Talents, he still has unlimited talents himself.

In my numerous attendance to Kirtan and holy name festivals, I have heard a lot of devotees sing and I have always had a great appreciation for any devotee who actually sing for the pleasure of the Lord and is not about showmanship. One may wonder but how can we tell if someone is singing genuinely for the pleasure of the Lord. I’ll say this should be a topic for another day, however a brief response will be “the taste of the pudding is in eating”. When one sings solely for the pleasure of the Lord, immediately all those who are gathered there can feel that energy and most importantly; everyone listening is drawn to sing with such pure intention, at least for that moment. The sign of a person chanting or signing Suddha Nama or the pure name is that they make others want to sign the pure name too. Sometimes devotees in their kindness will make remarks like “Oh you sing very nicely”. I try never to take such remarks to heart because I always tell myself no matter how good it sounds, it is nothing compared to what the gopis sing every day for the Lord. This keeps my ego in check.

However as if to help me further check my ego, during the 24 hour kirtan there was a young Lady (I would love to mention her name here to give her credit however I don’t have such permission and would not want to violate her privacy) who sang and practically got everyone mesmerized in the hall. The externals such as harmony, melody, and rhythm were all present, but there was more. In my own opinion there was this undertone of a desperate call out to the Lord. In fact it is said that one should chant like an infant calling out to the mother. I could hear this pure unadulterated call out that was just to please the Lord. Why did this stand out so much?

Usually people attend kirtan festivals with the hope of hearing some “famous” Kirtankari sing, and the presence of these “famous” Kirtankaris could affect the attendance if care is not taken. Now for once, here was kirtan by a not so “famous” kirtankari, which was really exceptional. I kept saying to myself

Lord please give me a drop of this unique talent and ability that I may be able to sing for you and make others sing too.”

Often times the natural tendency for most people is to become jealous and defensive and even try to minimize others who have exceptional talents and abilities. This doesn’t help and would never help. If you cannot celebrate the talents of other people then don’t expect people to celebrate your talents too. Especially in a devotee circle, we have to be very careful not to become envious of people who are unique and gifted. We should encourage them to do more and pray that the Lord sees their service, then and only then can we make progress. If on the other hand we try to minimize, criticize, fault find or even sabotage someone who has a very unique talent that we do not have then we are headed straight for doom. We cannot progress this way. We should remember that we are servants of the Lord and the only competition we have is in pleasing the Lord, nothing else. Srimati Radharani is described as the topmost Gopi non different from the Supreme Lord Himself, and there is no one dearer to Him than she is. However it is described that her is mood is that she is willing to give up her position for anyone who can serve the Lord better than she does. We all know there is no one take up that position yet she is willing to step aside.
This should be our mindset, if someone can serve the Lord better, then let me help him or her to do so. It is in this mood that we can succeed and advance seriously. Second point is, we should remember that no matter how good our talent is, it is nothing in front of the Lord and we are actually privileged to be able to serve the Lord in whatever capacity that we are doing now. There are millions of goddesses of fortune and millions of manjaris serving the lord daily, all with unique abilities and talents. Humility is the keyword, and for me this was Humility check 101.

Last but not least is to remember that talent which is not employed in the Lord’s service is like a jewel on the head of a python; it is useless decoration. Whatever the lord gives us, we should try to offer it back to him, and then he gives us more and then we offer again and then he gives even more and the reciprocation continues. Till next week do remain blessed, read, share and follow for more.