Mothers

Dear readers,

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

Yesterday was Mother’s day and many of us took our time to remember our Mother’s and pay homage to them. Should I decide to write about my Mother here, I guess I’ll have to make series upon series as one blog cannot do justice to her. Nevertheless I shall try to at least say a few words before linking up to our general topic of Mothers. My mum as I remember her when I was a kid, is a disciplinarian. She made it clear that first I was her child and then friend. Considering the times we live in now, I feel this aspect of motherhood is slowly being lost. I feel sad at some videos I see online, when I see the way some mothers are treated poorly.

My Mum made it clear to me that mediocrity wasn’t an option, you either go big or go home. In fact I remember her saying that whatever you do, good or bad, be the best at it. Not that she encouraged me to be bad, however her philosophy was “ If you are going to go down the bad road, knowing the consequences of your action then you better be the baddest that ever lived.” She made me see that excuses were for the weak, and weakness was not in my DNA, blood or family line. She stood tall herself and wasn’t the one to wait on help. My mum, a multi-talented woman also showed me that sometimes, success is not a one way road but a multi lane high way. I learnt to multi task, and maintain composure while doing so from her.

Though weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning! To many this is just a line in the Psalm, but to me it was an armor to go through life. Unlike the present day generation, my mum emphasized that to win I had to stand out, and standing out meant exactly that. She pointed out that getting on the treadmill of life wasn’t the issue, however remaining on it was the point. To this day, I never worry about those who get on that treadmill before me in whatever area of their lives, because I know one thing for sure; you can never out run me. It is either the “treadmill of life stops or I run till I can’t run anymore”. I wish I could blend in things about my dad here as he also has the tenacity in him, however I’ll just have to wait till Father’s day. To this day, all I do is to make sure that her effort in my life is not in vain. Just like my dad, my mum always urged me to be better. Don’t settle for less when you can be more!  Improve yourself! Work Hard and Pray! These were some of her words as I grew up.

Those who know her, will say she is like a lioness; Fearless, strong and won’t hesitate to take down an entire pride of lions if any of her kids were in harm’s way. Just like the queen on a chess board, she is extremely powerful. In fact so powerful that many people see her in me. I am the product of the very best I must say and this has its price. Naturally people expect more from me, I have tried to live up to that, until recently when I realized besides God, my spiritual mentor and my mum, I really don’t worry myself anymore about people’s opinion. I can also say Happy Mother’s Day to you.

That been said, we should also know that besides our biological Mothers we have six other Mothers; making them seven in total. The Queen, The Nurse, The Cow, The Earth, The Spiritual Mentor’s Wife, the wife of a priest and one’s real mother; these are the seven types of Mother’s we have. The Queen has the major role of looking after not only her King, but the entire nation as well. To this day, the special place of a Queen in any Kingdom has been emphasized time and time again. We see this power come to life in the game of Chess, where the Queen piece moves around the board, as she pleases without restriction. The Nurse is the mother who delivers us at the time of birth. She helps our real mothers to bring us into this world using her knowledge of child birth and delivery. She also assists our real mothers in taking care of us when we are very tender. The Cow’s place as our mothers, though seriously abused today by money making industries, still cannot be overlooked. She takes but a few blades of grass and gives a lot of milk in return. She is practically one animal whose milk all animals can live off from. Every part of her body is fully functional and even her bile products help fertilize our soils as manure.

Mother Earth as fondly called by many is a Mother we cannot ignore. She holds us up every day without complain, she provides us with food, herbs and various kinds of natural resources. She gives us gems and treasures in the form of precious stones and minerals. In fact her body flows with rivers and oceans that help sustain our lives. She nourishes all the other mothers who in turn nourish us, and thus is very sacred. The Wife of the Spiritual mentor or guide is also a mother, because she does a great service of looking after the spiritual guide who helps us in our spiritual growth. In other words she can also be our spiritual mentor.  The wife of a Priest is a mother and looks after not just the priest but everyone who comes to the priest for help. Her blessings and good wishes are just like those of the priest in our life.

Last but not least is our biological mother who gives us life and carries us for nine months in her womb. We cannot imagine how much pain and sacrifice she goes through just to see us grow and survive in life. Her service is selfless and pure. No one can repay her or be like her. Even gods revere her position and honour her existence. We all owe our mothers a life time of gratitude.

Till next week, do read, share and follow for more blogs. Happy Mother’s day!

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Your Calling

Dear readers,

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

Today I’ll like to share with you all a very important topic; one that can be applied to those who are trying to pursue a career in spirituality or even for regular folks. It is none other than the subject of “higher calling”. We hear many priests and pastors especially, who say they were “called” by the Lord to begin a ministry. While some are genuine, many have also abused this statement and used it to amass personal monetary gain. The legitimacy of the calling is not our concern today, rather we will focus on what happens when you answer to your call.

Recently I watched a video on Facebook by a pastor who gave some interesting insight on the matter and I decided to develop on some of his points and share it for everyone who is in need of some clarity. A calling is like being “marked”. (This is the analogy that he used). When you are marked by God and he calls you to do his work, there is a different route carved out for you immediately. Those who answer to this call, are definitely going to face a lot of tribulations and also a lot of blessings. To access both of these, one has to answer the call first and foremost. Naturally one may ask “what does it entail or mean to answer the call from God to do something?” I can give you a philosophical explanation of how this works, however topics like this are better understood when we make them less esoteric. Thus I will rather give you examples to illustrate the importance of answering your call.

Let us imagine that Michael Jackson didn’t become a musician and rather went on to become a Doctor, Let us imagine Michael Jordan didn’t play Basketball and rather went on to sell Insurance, Let us imagine that Oprah Winfrey didn’t become a TV personality but went on to work in a call center. When you are done visualizing this, imagine the amount of lives these people have touched by the path they followed and what would have happened if they had not been there. In other words, when we answer to our calling, we align with God’s purpose for our lives and we walk in his mercy and grace, and this enables us to achieve the impossible. In the Bible, David is someone who answered to his calling and God walked with him. His life’s story is an example of what happens when we answer to our calling. However before we can be called, we have to be busy improving whatever talents the Lord has given us. Our talents must be improved upon on a daily basis. David would play the harp all day in the fields and at the time, one would think it was just a pastime, but when the time came for him to be called, this “pastime” which was actually a talent that he had polished, was what God used to bring him to the Palace. Many times we have talents that we do not use or nurture and wonder why we are not having breakthroughs. God wants to call us, but we are not ready.

When we do what God asks us to do, we will never have to seek permission, rather people will send for us, as David was sent for. He didn’t need connections or filling out resumes. We must also note that when David went to the palace, he went as a servant not as a leader, even though he was destined to be a leader.

On getting to the Palace, he continued to use his talent to serve but God wasn’t done with him. He had other plans for him. Now when we get called to follow our true calling, sometimes the initial stage might not truly reflect what the end will be; do not despair for you are a work in progress. God wasn’t done with David yet. Now, when the time came, David was asked to take food to the battle field for his brothers, he could have said no, but he saw this as an opportunity to serve. He went and he confronted Goliath and he was victorious. When we answer to God’s calling, sometimes we might have to do things which may seem beneath our “status”, do them anyway. For by doing these things as service, we constantly remember that we are on a call, and the Lord will definitely take us through the right route.  Sometimes God just wants to see if we have the humility to shoulder the responsibility of higher things. Our opportunities are wrapped in obedience.

Those who answer their own call and refuse to be deceived by another person’s call, actually walk in grace. When you are answering to your own call, you walk rather than run. This is because, God dictates your pace, he knows when you will arrive and has everything set up to make this happen. When we answer someone else’s call, we have to run behind them to play catch up, because it is not our call in the first place. The call process of the Lord is NOT going to make sense. No matter how much you try to understand it, it won’t fit into your grasp. We will wonder sometimes “well if God wants me to do so and so, then why isn’t this happening”. Well that is because he only needs your obedience.

If we ever get confused about what to do, then all we have to do is spend time in the presence of God and do the last thing he asked us to do. When we are answering to our real call (God’s call), we become an answer to a problem. To become an answer to problems, we need to sometimes go back and serve. When this happens we do not need any promotion or approval, because we are already approved by God. When we are called by God to follow our true calling, we torment what torments those who are our leaders. That means we become the solution to the problems that our leaders have, as such we naturally become leaders.

I hope this inspires someone to listen to their real calling. Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.

Lord, are you there?

Dear readers,

It is great to be here today, sharing with you all yet another interesting read on my blog. I hope you all are faring well.

This week, I’ll be sharing with you all a prayer. Once in a while, instead of a regular blog I do share prayers written in everyday words, expressing different sentiments. I hope this prayers touches someone’s heart and helps them make the right choices.

Dear Lord, are you there?

It is unlike me to speak with you in prayer by asking questions Lord, however today I come before you differently. As the omniscient one, you most definitely already know what I am about to say, nonetheless I’ll say it anyways. Let me start by saying Thank you! Something I guess I should say more often. Thank you for Life, good health, a roof over my head, food on my table, good education, exposure, resources and finance. I may take these things for granted, but I do know that they do not come by easy. I also want to thank you for those things you do, those things you have done, those things you are doing and those you are yet to do, for in good faith I receive all these blessings and I am forever indebted.

Every now and then Lord, I may whine and complain about how my life is not going the exact way I’ll like it to. Yes, sometimes I may even ask for more than I already have. Can you blame me? I am just another living entity feeling I am entitled to somethings. Please take no offense. If there is anything I have noticed over the years in my life Lord, it is that my journey is not one smooth ride but more of zig-zags filled with a lot of adventure, lessons and of course some fair share of pain. I guess it is the pain that makes me run in circles. I know kings are made in jungles and in times of war than in palaces and times of peace, however sometimes this warrior needs a break from the little battles so he can focus on the bigger war ahead.

Dear Lord, are you there?

Hallowed be they name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done… Lord I cringe at this part. I ask myself, am I really ready to have your will done? Most of these things are easier said than done, as I begin to see that I prefer the comfort of predictability than the discomfort of uncertainty. Saying that your will be done, is accepting anything and everything you throw at me, it means saying that you will remain my worshipful Lord even if you break my heart in pieces by not being present before me, or by handling me roughly in your embrace. I don’t know if I am ready for this. I’ll still prefer to have you before me whenever I want, and always gentle in your embrace. I don’t know if this is possible either.

With the material body comes pain, desires, and a lot of issues, managing them is the highlight of our existence and those who have this figured out are revered as teachers and masters in life. I have my daily dose of these lessons to learn, combined with my constant cry for grace and Love. I don’t know if you are sending it across or I am just not receiving it.  Either way, I don’t seem to get it. It is like I always fall short of your mercy. The wounds from my constant fight with material nature make it hard for me to concentrate. They say time is supposed to heal you, but I don’t think I have done much healing Lord. The only hope I have is that I know somewhere deep down inside that you won’t let me down.

Dear Lord, are you there?

Sometimes I want to have a peek into the future to see what I have laying ahead and how much more hurdles I have to surmount, sometimes I wish it was a lot more easier than this, sometimes I wish you didn’t pick me for the tough task, sometimes I wish I was just a regular guy, going about his normal life, but I guess there isn’t much glory in that. I do not want the glory Lord, and sometimes just like Jesus prayed on Mount Sinai, I also say “Lord if it is thy will, please may this cup pass over me”. The body I have can only take as much as my mind and heart can handle, but then I hear you never give more than we can handle. At this I just cringe, as It seems you trust me a lot to give me this much to deal with. I hope I don’t let you down and all those who count on me.

To be honest, there are times Lord when I just feel “that’s it, I’m done. I am not doing this anymore and I know you must have seen this a million times, but then somehow I just hold on a little longer. I am not saying it should be all easy and flowery, neither am I asking for too much. All I am saying is please show me where we are going with all of this. I need to know if we are on track or off. Just like you were the charioteer of Arjun, please take my chariot to the middle of the battle field of my life so I can see who/what I have to fight. I trust you will take me to that spot and show me everything clearly. I must warn you beforehand Lord, that just like Arjun in the Bhagavad-Gita, I am definitely going to have my own melt down and resist to fight. I know you won’t have to recite the Gita again to me, however please show me alternative strategies to winning this battle.

Thank you for listening to me Lord, I know you can understand the words I don’t say.

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

Earth Day

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be here sharing with you all another exciting blog today. I hope you are faring well. Happy belated Earth day (I don’t know if one can say that lol).

Since yesterday was “Earth Day” I felt I do something in relation to that today. I do not know what the global connotation of Earth day is, however I can infer by the exhibition I saw yesterday, that it is a day set aside to celebrate our planet and see how to make it more sustainable. There is a continuous debate going on around the world, as to how our activities as human beings, are affecting the “health” of the planet and should we choose not to amend our ways, we might very well cause our own extinction.

I remember growing up as a kid (I’m an 80’s kid by the way), and I can hardly recollect having seen the amount of waste around as we have today. Not to say there was none, however today just beats the stats by a large gap. Plastic wasn’t really a thing, and milk still came in a glass bottle. We played outside till late and the streetlights coming on in the evening was the universal call to go home. We were not afraid to drink water straight from the tap, in fact that was a favorite pastime for many of us as kids, after we played soccer. Parents were not worried about the water having lead or some kind of poison. It was okay to hang out with friends of different background and when you got hit by a kid, especially among boys, you wrestled it out. No parent sued another because two boys were wrestling on the playground.

In school, the teacher was a second parent and had the right to discipline you and even report you to your parents; who in turn thanked them sincerely and made sure that you learnt whatever lesson you were meant to learn from the disciplinary action you received. Parents knew they needed the teachers and the teachers vice versa. The neighbors could chastise you if they saw you acting out of order and they expected your parents to do same to their kids, if the need arose. Everyone knew that it took a village to raise a kid, and so together, we all made it better and easier. Today you can’t even correct kids in a class without receiving threats of legal action from their parents or guardians. Do not even think about corporal punishments, you might never get out of jail for that if you tried it. *Disclaimer* I do not in any way advocate, physically abusing kids.

I got my behind spanked as a kid, and I didn’t die from it. Did it make me a better person as compared to those who weren’t? I don’t know. However I do know that it made me understand that there were boundaries never to be crossed when dealing with elders, parents and adults. Today, I see kids fighting and even beating up their teachers and I cringe at the thought. As a kid, we never even thought of that in our dreams, because we knew the consequences were dire and instantaneous. Back in the days, we could walk into people’s yard and pluck fruits off their trees, eat it and walk away. The worse that happened was we were asked to pick up leaves we knocked off the tree, while trying to get the fruits. A few days ago, I saw on the news, a young black boy gets shot at (luckily it missed him though), because he knocked at a door asking for directions. I just cannot get it. What happened to people being kind? Growing up, if a kid showed up at your door asking for directions to his school, most folks back then would drive you to school and made sure you were safe, NOT pull out a shotgun and try to blow your brains out.

To imagine that this happened to a kid, while his father is actively deployed to Syria, serving the nation, makes me wonder to what good is all this war mongering? Who benefits from these wars, who suffers the effects, we all know is large disparity. When we went shopping back in the days, everything was organic, at least as far as I can remember. To be honest, that word “organic” didn’t exist, because it was just unheard off that some kind of “food” were filled with chemicals and others weren’t. We could take an apple and eat it right off tree, without having to soak it in Soda to reduce pesticides, after probably having washed it a gazillion times. We have succeeded in tripling or even quadrupling our food production by using chemicals, yet the planet still suffers from famine and food shortage, and more people are dying from cancer from these chemicals. So what have we achieved? Food meant for humans is been fed to animals, animals are raised in horrific conditions just to be on someone’s plate, and our health is worse than ever. Where are we headed?

If this planet was a bus, many of us would alight already and discontinue the journey, sadly we cannot. The government instead of saving the lives of its citizens, is rather teaming up with greedy corporations and poisoning food and water, because the alternative is expensive and that is where the business starts. As kids we would dance in the rain and play rain soccer, till we were covered in dirt. Our immune system grew stronger because we were not over protected from the elements or dirt. Today, it is illegal to collect rain water, how did we go from playing in the rain to not being able to collect rain water? I can go on and on telling you about how our dear earth had changed, how the ice at the poles are melting and images of Polar bears, looking skinny are circulating the internet. I could tell you also about how the temperatures are now insane and how the seasons no longer follow the months. I can tell you how it is almost May and it is still snowing in most states, yet people feel global warming is a hoax.

In a nut shell, whatever you do, whatever you eat, or whatever activities you perform, know for certain that it is having an impact on this planet and even if you escape the long term effects, your kids and grand kids probably won’t. Be safe, be conscious, be Eco-friendly.

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

Get out of your own way!

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. Last week was filled with lots of activities for me and I must say I discovered myself in a new way.

There is no gain saying that I try my best to excel at whatever I do and I am of the opinion that whatever you put your mind in, you can do well. It has also been difficult for me to understand how people cannot get somethings done, UNTIL yesterday when for the first time in my life I “froze”. Those who know me might find this strange and so do I. So how did this all happen?

I have been an avid lover of things related to the arts; singing, dancing, composing songs, writing poems, acting, playing instruments etc. Some of these I have as innate abilities and others I have developed over the years. I am not a professional of any kind however I do my best to perform at a level above average in whatever I undertake. Having said that, I also have had issues in believing that someone could “freeze” doing something they like doing. In fact, I laugh at movie characters who get tongue tied at a speech or who find it difficult to do something “simple”. I guess nature was just waiting for the best time to teach me a very vital lesson. This blog is clearly not what I intended to share today, however the experience was just too real to not share.

In a gathering of say 15 people last night I was invited to sing, something I do every time without qualms and I enjoy doing it. I had just finished playing the drum and took the harmonium and started to sing, when I noticed my fingers and hands were all shaky. I couldn’t believe it. I sing every day and I have never had such an experience. I pulled myself together and somehow went through the session but my composure was totally off. Somewhere in between, I pumped the harmonium louder and sort of hid my apprehension in the high sound. It worked for a while, but a tune I knew so well, failed me. I was not only embarrassed but humbled beyond words. In that moment I began to imagine how hard it must have been for so many people who had to keep up with me at things they weren’t good at, and I had no idea. I began to see how it felt like to experience such temporary shock. Interestingly I have done singing sessions in front of hundreds of people for hours, and never had an issue, so what happened?

After thinking for some time, I could identify a few things; first and foremost I was too concerned about the outcome of my singing, as it was in front of a relatively new crowd. I was yet to connect with my audience on a more friendly term, and as such I was nervous. Yes, I said it, even I get nervous too. Second, which is probably the most important factor, is that I was standing in my own way. I was in my head telling myself, how people were watching me, how everyone wanted to see how well I could sing, I was literally breathing down my own neck, as such I was slowing myself down. In flashback, I just wonder why I was so disturbed over nothing. Did this experience disturb me? Yes it did. Am I going to try again? Definitely! What if it happens again? Then it means there is something I need to work on. If there is an anxiety, it means there is fear, if there is fear then naturally there is ignorance. Fear is born of ignorance. So what I need to figure out is what am I ignorant of, that is creating this fear in me that suddenly shuts me down while I do something I love doing?

The moment I can identify this, then there is a chance I can solve my sudden freeze and fear. One crucial point to note is that, even the audience was not as disturbed as I was. So there it is; I had created an expectation in my head, and because I was unable to meet that expectation, I had difficulty accepting the fact that I was consciously standing in my own way. No one was booing me to stop, no one laughed, no one even criticized me, and I was fighting demons I had created in my own head. The beautiful thing is that, these demons are only as strong as I allow them to be. If I continue to feed them, which is what they want, then they grow powerful. If I refuse to feed them with doubt and fear, then they die naturally.  In life we all, will face moments like I faced yesterday at one point in time or the other. In some cases, it will be due to genuine lack of expertise, in other cases, it will be due to our own internal dialogue. Whichever the case may be, we need to get out of our own way and give ourselves a chance. I know if I have to do this right, then I have to do it again, and focus on what I am doing rather than what my mind is telling me.

I know it is easier said than done, however the only way to improve, is to try. The Master is just a student who has failed so many times and has refused to quit. Failure is good, because it makes you humble, gives you instant feedback, and allows you room for progress. Success, sometimes doesn’t teach us as much as failure. So last night I didn’t do well, it means I am one step closer to doing it right. This should be our mindset and we will definitely achieve a lot more success in any aspect of our lives. I have no idea what will happen the next time I try to sing in front of the same “unfamiliar” audience, but I know for sure, I am not going to chicken out.

Till next week, do follow for more.

Attraction to God’s Name 1

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog today. I hope you all had an amazing week.

Last week I shared some beautiful lessons from the epic Ramayana and how we could apply them in our lives. I have always been an advocate of reflections and inner spiritual growth rather than a person of fanfare or show bottle spirituality. Thus this week I felt I share with you all some more realizations.

Just yesterday I was at a home program organized for University students and we were studying the scriptures together. I must say it was an amazing exchange and the mood in general felt very assuring especially for me. These new practitioners were spending a good deal of their time learning more about Vedic wisdom and knowledge, to be able to be part of that was inspiring for me. We spoke on various topics but one of the subject matters that lingered was a recap on the reasons why we are not attracted to the glorification of God’s holy name.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur (a renowned scholar in the Vedic tradition) has listed four major reasons why we are not attracted to the holy name of God; 1. Weakness of heart, 2. Attraction to unwanted habits 3. Illusion of Spiritual Knowledge and 4. Offenses. Even though these four main obstacles have sub-divisions, I’ll like to say they pretty much summarize any reason/excuse we may have for not wanting to or not being able to take full shelter of God’s name. The first obstacle which is weakness of heart includes; fault finding, desire for fame, attachment to things not related to God and envy. As spiritual practitioners we can testify to the difficulty that these impediments pose in our spiritual life. If we spend a good deal of our time finding faults in what others are doing instead of being critical with our spiritual life then we are at a disservice to ourselves. If we engage in spiritual activities in other to be recognized and praised then we are also lacking a very basic requisite for chanting the holy name, which is being humble.

If the practitioner is not humble and doesn’t show respect to others how can he effectively chant the holy names of God? Humility isn’t just the absence of pride but the presence of real service to others. To be humble however doesn’t mean to become stupid, because often times some practitioners in the bid of trying to become “humble” become or act in ways which maybe stupid. To act in a way that is stupid is to allow others to use us for their personal agendas in the guise of being spiritual. We have to carefully guide against this.

This brings us to the third subdivision which is attachment to things that are not related to God; when a spiritual practitioner has too much affinity for material objects or matters and shows little interest in things that relate to God, then advancement is slow. When we exhibit attachment to things that do not remind us of God, it means we are purposely aligning ourselves with things that make us forget God. It is either we are trying to constantly remember God, or we are trying to forget him. Someone may ask at this point, that it is not so easy to draw a line, and that there has to be a “grey area”. Even though we may not say it out rightly that “I want to forget God”, our daily choices and activities speak differently. For example, if we are in a relationship with someone, it is expected that we try to communicate with them on a daily basis. We cannot claim to “love” someone and not keep in touch with them for weeks on end. If we love someone as we claim to, then our daily decisions should show that there is a conscious effort to bring that person into our lives more, or to make them have a significant place in our lives. Similarly, if our daily activities are connected to things we do or like, and these things do not remind us of God or increase our attachment for Him, then we are consciously choosing otherwise. Action speaks louder than words, so merely saying we love God is not a yardstick to measure our sincerity. We have to walk the talk. Thus when we place a lot of attachment to things that are not related to God that is; his name, form, quality and pastimes, then we are ultimately trying to forget all of these.

Last but not least is dealing with Envy. A heart that is full of envy cannot radiate love, thus how can we achieve love of God if we are incapable of loving to the fullest. We can exhibit envy towards people or towards God. In our daily life, we sometimes see that we have friends who are better than us at certain things, or even fellow spiritual practitioners who have good qualities we desire but do not currently possess. Whenever we see some good qualities we admire in someone, instead of being envious of them and trying to put them down or discredit what they do, we should rather glorify them sincerely and try to serve them. By rendering service to such people, we can also learn how to develop those good qualities and by their mercy and blessings we may also exhibit these good qualities.

Deeper than this is when we are envious of the Supreme Lord, and we may knowingly or even unknowingly express envy towards the Lord’s activities or glories. Unknowingly we may be envious of the Lord by refusing to cultivate proper understanding about his glories, or we may knowingly feel that the Lord is “exploiting us” and thus we cannot serve him or bow down to Him. Sometimes when people are new to the process of Loving devotional service to God, and they hear about the glories of God, they sometimes feel like “why does God have so much power?” As simple as it may sound, some people then try to acquire mystic powers in order to “play God”. This often times always leads to frustration and unfulfilled desires.

Till next week, when we will deliberate on the other factors, do remember to like, share and follow this blog for more.

21 lessons from Ramayana

Dear readers,

I hope you all are having a wonderful week. It is a great pleasure to be able to share with you all again yet another inspiring blog this week.

I wanted to post this on Rama Navami however I did another blog instead, so I felt this week would be a nice time. For those of you who are not familiar with the stories from the Vedas, I’ll be sharing 25 lessons today from the Epic story of Ramayana. This is the story of a young prince who is banished to the forest; a night before he is made king, due to the desires of a step mother. I definitely cannot tell the full story here however these lessons are great tips for everyone in life.

Without further ado, I present you 25 life lessons from the Epic Ramayana;

Power of Bad association: It was a known fact that Kaikeyi loved Lord Rama more than her own son, then how did she become so evil. It was due to her association with the maid Mantara.

Attachment to service and not to the position: Lord Ram was willing to become king as a service to Maharaj Dasarath, he was also willing to go to the forest as a service to his father.

Mission of Life should be to vanquish demoniac tendencies in our heart: Lord Rama’s purpose to kill the demons was fulfilled by his banishment to the forest.

Even extreme reversals if taken in the proper spirit will help us fulfill our mission in life: For example the law of gravity is only in effect in the Earth’s sphere and not beyond. So also laws of material nature act only when we are on the level of the modes of material consciousness and not in spiritual consciousness.

Rama or Aaram: A test for every seeker or spiritual practitioner, citizens of Ayodhya wanted to go with Lord Rama to the forest and leave behind the comforts (Aaram) of the city.

Alertness in Spiritual life: Lord Rama leaves the citizens when they are asleep. If one is inattentive or lazy, one will lose taste in Bhakti.

Sometimes saintly people may cause pain to others not to hurt them but to benefit them: Just as a Doctor may cause pain (operation) to cure a patient.

The Supreme Lord is the proprietor: Bharat ruled the kingdom on behalf of Lord Rama, keeping the Lord’s shoes on the throne. We are only caretakers, He is the real proprietor, he gives and can take away. The caretaker must act according to the will of the owner.

Anyone can make a show of greatness: The reversals tests who we really are. When laksmana cuts the nose of the witch demoness Surpanaka, her charming form disappeared and she assumed her real form which was ugly. One’s greatness is tested by one’s ability to tolerate provoking situations.

Bhakti (Sita) cannot be achieved by Deception: Ravana wanted to kidnap Sita by deception but all he got was the Maya Sita or illusory Sita. Greed and Lust never satiates, they lead to arrogance and envy. Attachments create traps and make us suffer. Marichi takes up a golden deer form which Sita develops attachment for. We should always see things through the eyes of the scriptures.  The spider web is very attractive to the fly, but it is also a trap.

Maya knows our weakness: She can make our strength a weakness and then force us to take shelter of learned souls. Ravana uses Sita’s knowledge of sastra to make her disobey Laksmana.

Always stand by what is right: Jatayu’s integrity is forever remembered. Real success is to please the Lord. Jatayu lost his life fighting for Lord Rama but achieved the purpose of life which is to please the Lord.

Patience, determination and enthusiasm:  Shabari was told by her Guru to wait and receive Lord Rama, while the Guru and others ascended to heaven. She waited for years and showed enthusiasm by cleaning the cottage everyday while waiting for the Lord to arrive. She had complete faith in the words of the Guru and waited patiently with determination.

The Lord reveals himself only when he wants: We cannot put a façade before the Lord. Hanuman tries to disguise himself before Lord Rama, but the Lord Knew who he was. The Lord knows us from within, who we really are and we have to be honest to receive the Lord’s mercy.

Obstacles on the path of Bhakti: The demons who tried to stop Hamunan as he crossed to Lanka are like obstacles on our path of bhakti. Mainaka (the golden Mountain) – Temptation to seek comfort before achieving our real purpose. Simhika (The Shadow catching demoness) – While striving for Bhakti people will chastise us, criticize us, we should be willing to tolerate. Surasa (The Serpent) – Being envious of people in higher positions and trying to stop their progress. By engaging in devotional service we can devour these demons.

Arrogance: The world is a mirror of our consciousness. Ravana thought Mandodari was envious of Sita, while he was actually envious of Rama. When we think we know, we are not willing to listen to good counsel. Spiritual progress means simplicity and humility.

Big or small we can swim the ocean of repeated birth and death: By chanting the names of the Lord we can stay afloat in the ocean of Samsara (repeated birth and death).

Hearing about the Lord: Revival of our dormant love for God is achieved by hearing about him. The Lord in the heart or Ravan knew his thought and could have killed him but he went through these ordeal to give us the opportunity to sing his pastimes.

Righteousness: Even though all the Monkey soldiers were against him, Vibhisan was willing to be misunderstood to take shelter of the Lord.

Counsel and Advice against the battel of illusion: In the battle against illusion, at every stage we need the association of devotees to put us straight, otherwise we will fall off. Even Lord Rama took counsel of Vibhisan.

The grace of a Saint is important: Agastya Muni had a divine arrow which he gave to Lord Rama to help kill Ravana, the arrow was used to pierce the heart of Ravana.

As we continue our daily battle with the darkness in our lives, may the Lord grant us the courage to fight the good fight. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

Ill fate?

Dear readers,

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

Recently while responding to messages on my social media, I saw a video posted by a friend on my timeline and it basically addressed a very crucial topic about Karma. For those of us who are not familiar with the word Karma; this is the law of cause and effect. That is, for every action there is a reaction. Even though some people have a hard time accepting this law, we cannot negate the fact that it is scientific and thus has a lot more basis to it than just religion or faith.

Sir Isaac Newton postulated one of the laws of motion which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, it is a universal proof to the law of Karma. In real life we will take “motion” to be Action. We as living beings are constantly engaged in one activity or another, and our daily interactions with the modes of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance), bring about different results from our actions. When we act in the mode of goodness, we are sure to get a reaction that is in the mode of goodness. Similarly when one acts out of ignorance, then there is bound to be some suffering, because darkness is born out of ignorance. For example, a man who is sawing off the branch of a tree that he is sitting on, will definitely fall as soon as the last part of the branch is sawed off.

Now in life sometimes we go through various hurdles, ordeals, and trying times and the natural response is; “why me”? Why am I suffering so much in this life time, when I haven’t done anything to merit it? Why do bad things happen to good people? We curse, tear our clothes and feel so much injustice at Nature, God and everything we know. On the other hand, if we get some big raise at work, buy a brand new car, hit a business deal, make more money or travel to fancy holiday resorts, we never seem to ask “why me”? Rather we say, “It is all as a result of my hard work and effort. I deserve it all?” We can immediately see that there is an imbalance in this type of thought process, where we accept good things as our effort and hard work, but dispel bad things as ill fate or natures plan to punish us. Whenever someone is going through some setback and it is suggested that maybe it is as a result of past impious activities, many take offence at such a statement. Of course, we cannot callously attribute Karma to everything that happens without going through the motions of studying the very present situation. It is also worthy to note that, attributing Karma to peoples misery can be seen as cold and inconsiderate if not done properly, with knowledge and from a  space of compassion.

If our objective be to criticize, mock or humiliate those suffering, then even if we are correct about their suffering been due to Karma, they will not accept it. This is because the intention with which we point things out matters a lot. This is on one side of the spectrum when we have to deal with those who are not very philosophically inclined, or people who might take offence easily to the things we say. On the other side of the spectrum are those who are devotees or followers of a Theistic philosophy where there is a personal relationship with God. These set of people depending on their level of advancement see things differently too.

There is a verse from the Bhagavat Purana that says “My Dear Lord, one who earnestly awaits you to bestow your causeless mercy upon him, while all the while suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds, and offering you respectful obeisance with his heart, soul and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10. 14. 8). This verse is more than just a soothing for those in distress, because it is the absolute truth mentioned in the revealed scriptures. There is a similar passage in the Bible from the beatitudes, “blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5; 3-12). Those who are servants of the Supreme Lord know that whatever trials and tribulation that they are going through in their life is nothing but a means to accelerate their union with the Lord. They know that the Lord being merciful shows his special grace by allowing such trials to show that his devotees will always be glorious in the end.

The devotee rather than curse the Lord, says “Lord thank you for reducing my suffering. I should be suffering a lot more than this, but due to your causeless mercy, you have so kindly reduced my bad karma.” There are many examples of great saints and servants of God who went through a lot of trial and tribulation and at the time, people asked them to curse God and even deny his existence. In the Vedic scriptures we have the Pandavas, who lost everything from their kingdom to their wife, escaped close calls with death on several occasions but eventually were crowned kings in the same kingdom they lost.

Job in the Bible lost everything he had, was inflicted with a terrible skin disease, friends and family left him, but he was fixed in his faith, for he knew that the Lord would never forsake him. In the end not only were his afflictions removed and his body restored to perfect health, but he was also rewarded with 7 times more riches than he had lost. In the Psalm of David (Ps 30) he says …”weeping may endure for a night but Joy cometh in the morning”. So dear spiritual warriors, slowly yet gracefully pick yourselves up by the boot strap, look up to the Lord and know that he is sure to respond to our call.

Till next week, do have a great week ahead. Kindly share, like and follow for more.

Dreams

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all once again, yet another interesting blog this week. I hope you all are faring well. As a break to the last series of blogs I uploaded which were quite philosophical in nature, I decided to write on a more mainstream topic today. Today’s topic is one that almost everyone is conversant with and not much philosophy is needed to explain what it is. However we are going to be looking at the subject matter a few steps away from the physical aspect.

Today I shall be writing on dreams. So what are dreams? This word or concept is very interesting because it can be both a noun and a verb. Many of us are conversant with Martin Luther’s famous speech “I have a dream”. When we speak of dream as a verb we usually talk about the possibility of doing something. However when we speak of dream as a noun then we are referring to a series of thoughts, images etc. that occur in a person’s mind when they are asleep. We all have had dreams at one point in time or another and most of us do every night when we go to bed. In fact only a very few percentage of people go to sleep and do not recall having dreams. This could be for various reasons. The beauty of having dreams is that we are introduced to a world where we are not limited by time, space, nor our bodies.

At one point in time or another, some of us must have had a dream where we were flying, had special abilities, could speak different languages or had immense strength. We were able to do things that defied the laws of nature and the abilities of our physical bodies. Then we wake up in the morning and all that is gone. So what happened to all that we saw in our dreams? To understand this let us analyze a few basic concepts. We have the sleeping state and the wakeful state. In between these two states we have a third which allows for occurrences such as hypnosis, but that is another topic entirely. In our wakeful state, we do things with the help of our physical body. We walk, dance, talk, laugh, and eat, all with the help of our physical body. Thus we are limited by the capacity of what our physical bodies can do. We also have another body called the subtle body, some call it the astral body and those who practice astral travels tend to use this body more. Astral travelling is one practice that allows people to experience for a fact that they are actually more than just their physical bodies. We will not dwell much on this subject either.

In the dream, when our physical bodies are in their sleeping state, the subtle body is in its waking/wakeful state. It is safe to say that for those who are not very spiritually in tune with their subtle bodies, it remains dormant or asleep when the physical body is awake. So at night when the physical body goes to sleep, it becomes active. This body begins to engage in various activities, based on our desires, thoughts, imaginations or share dictates of the mind. Sometimes, information that is stored in our subconscious mind make it to our dreams and it develops form or shape. If we spent an entire day dealing with say flight bookings for people to a holiday resort, it won’t come as a surprise if at night we see ourselves swimming with dolphins in a breathtaking resort. Even though we might not have had a direct contact with a resort, but information of this place builds up in our subconscious mind as we were working throughout the day. Dreams could also be more than just thoughts or replays from our subconscious minds. Dreams could provide us with visions into events that are yet to happen, or even better clarity to things that have happened.

Some people have been able to testify to seeing things in their dreams and sometime later these things manifest in the real world. This ability if properly harnessed becomes some sort of clairvoyance and can be used to help people. Another interesting phenomena which we can get from dreams is that when one is very spiritually advanced, dreams could be a contact point for association with higher beings who may not be able to present themselves before us physically due to various reasons. In fact my spiritual mentor used to say that, whenever any of his disciples has any difficulty we should just speak to him and he would definitely give guidance. Many of my god brothers have recorded many occasions where our spiritual mentor would appear to them in a dream and give clarification to things.

The possibilities that are present in our dreams are endless and when we can access these properly, we begin to operate on a different dimension. Many of us might have seen the movie Inception, where the famous Actor Leonardo DiCaprio uses the sleeping state of dreams to implant ideas and thoughts into the minds of people. Even though many people might wave this off as just a movie, the idea of mind control via several methods is not new or alien in our society today.  The most popular form of mind control we all know is the Television or nowadays social media. There are however more subtle forms of mind control which are not easily accessible to the masses that is been used currently by many powerful countries in the world. These techniques are used to control, manipulate and even access information from competing countries via spy agents.

It is thus very important to try to keep track of our dreams every day, this way we can monitor the thought process of our subconscious mind. When we keep track of our dreams then we can also influence the outcome of the type of dreams we want to have. Yes, it is possible to influence the dreams we have. We can write down or dreams daily as soon as we wake up before we get off the bed. This allows us to fully recollect the dreams we had at night. Initially this might be difficult especially if we are not used to remembering our dreams. However with time and conscious practice, we will gradually begin to recollect more.

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

Pseudo Quintessential Spiritualism

Dear readers,

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

This week I’ll like to harp on a topic that is quite interesting and a source of concern for neophytes on the path of spiritualism. Often times either by false perception or transferred thoughts of misconstrued idealism, many newbies on the path of spirituality create a utopia of what they seem as the quintessential circle of spiritualist. In their minds and activities they wonder about from faith to faith, religion to religion waiting to find that sphere of the above described spiritualism, all to little or no avail. This reminds me of the famous novel “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, wherein he uses the perfect allegory to pass across the situations of a trouble State and the results therein.

A lot of people new to the path of conscious spirituality, (and I mean one that has for focus the concept of a personal relationship with God), often get caught in the web of differentiating pseudo spiritualists from the real ones. The externals are not an issue, as many people can easily figure their way through this part. The difficulty starts when the philosophy meets practice and practice meets the everyday way of life. It is at this junction the pillars that hold the faith of many start to wobble and eventually collapse. When the exciting “conscious chants” are over and the mind starts its rampage and reality sets in, the new spiritualist begins to wonder what happened to the promise of “eternal high”. When the delicious communion of cruelty free meal is over and the newbie sees that the seasoned practitioners and old timers are not so free from violence in their discussions, his doubts seem to crawl back.

Many newbies will play ostrich at this point and bury their heads in the sand of hero/mentor worship, self-denial, misinterpretation of the philosophy, and “adaptation according to circumstances”. The pseudo spiritualists in such a religion who is but a quintessence of Napoleon from the Animal Farm will usually try to fake the practice of the philosophy with the hope that someday they make it. This may work for a while for some people, for some time for most people but not every time for everyone. Truth be told, many people are not ready for the truth because it disrupts the reality of their ignorance. So what could the truth be? Why is it so difficult for the newbie spiritualist to figure it out? It takes intelligence to be able to separate grain from chaff. As easy as it may sound in real life, many neophytes and even seasoned spiritualists find it difficult to make this separation. The reason could be varied however when the basics are not learned properly, then it is hard to even grab intermediate matters talk less of the advanced stuff.

It is apparently cool and flashy to put up a show of being “woke”, filled with the spirit or being on the platform of spontaneous love of God, however what is not cool is having to deal with the reality that sets in after these imposters see that their charade is not getting them anywhere. Let’s take an example of someone who attends a party of world class swimmers held on a cruise ship. At high sea, the ship starts to sink and then he sees all of the “seasoned swimmers” panicking. Only to find out that they can’t really swim.  There is a mixed feeling of anger, betrayal, and even amusement when such a guest has to witness the pseudo swimmers struggle for their lives in water. The neophyte in spirituality is sure to witness such scenarios at some point in their journey into spirituality. The choice is theirs however what they want to do with such a lesson.

The best recourse will be to take the path seriously, to train body, mind and spirit in the true tenets of whatever spiritual practice they are into. It will be in the interest of this practitioner to look for a real seasoned practitioner that understands the theory and practice of the path they are on. The neophyte must also make sure that the seasoned practitioner lives a life that reflects a balance of both theoretical understanding and practical application. When that is done, then he has to address the most difficult part; himself. Like it or not the larger percentage of work to be done in order to progress in spirituality, is the effort we put in when there is no one looking. Those things that we do when we are alone with our minds and the Lord in our heart.

Amidst this rubble is a few percent of those who are “woke” or say aware of the feeble phantasmagoria presented by these charlatans who parade as God conscious people. This few understand that in every spiritual circle there is bound to be the struggle of light over darkness and both never coexist. This few “woke” individuals know that sometimes there is joy in celebrating small private victories as opposed to the general opinion of making a show of advancement. They understand that spirituality is a silent inner journey where the aim is to go as deep as possible, way beyond the superficial flowery externals; floating on the surface that people confuse as the real thing. We can say they have surmounted the tendency to be distracted by the byproducts of spirituality. As it is with every endeavor that exposes the malignant nature of darkness, these few individuals will face their portion of the soul’s dark night. In their purification the neophyte will be deceived to think of it as tribulations and as such ridicule them. However just like the proverbial phoenix, they eventually rise from the same ashes they were reduced to.

The secret lies not in personal prowess, expertise, erudition nor deceit, but in sincerity that cannot be purchased by anything besides genuine intent and perfect understanding of who and what God really is.

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