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.


Abhishek (Bathing the Lord)

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another interesting blog this week. I hope you all are faring well. A few days back we had a grand celebration of the Lord’s advent and there were many rites and activities during the course of the day. One of the ceremony is to bathe the Lord or to perform what is known as Abishek. For many this is a totally foreign concept and to even think that the Lord can have his bath is mind bugging. Not to worry, soon we shall look at this ancient tradition together and see what merits are there to it.

Abhishek has its root in the Sanskrit word abhiseka; the conceptual meaning related to cleansing or purification and it is symbolized by the actual rites in the process of puja or worship. It is also defined as a bathing ceremony. To understand the concept of engaging in worship of the Lord let us begin with a few basics. In gaudiya Vaishnavism, the Supreme Lord is worshipped on a much personal level and as such this mood reflects in our service, prayers and worship. Adoration of the Lord on a personal level is not something new to the Vedic scriptures, as we see the same been hinted in other scriptures like the Bible and Koran. For instance, in the Bible; Abraham was described as the Friend of God, Moses as his Servant and Solomon composed verses which were in the mood of a lover for God. In modern times, Priests such as Father Francis of assisi, Saint Josemaria and others were known to have had an inclination towards the worship of Jesus as a baby, thus imbibing the mood of a parent.

The Veda’s however have given more detailed exposition on these relations with the Lord and how to develop them. It is natural that when a new child is born we want to bathe and clean it up nicely and dress it in the best of clothes. This is also same with the Lord when he appears. The difference is that unlike an ordinary human being, the Supreme Lord doesn’t take birth, because he is Unborn. He appears or manifest himself, and when he does he is also welcomed with different rites and ceremonies, of which bathing him is one. The underlying principle is that of showing and expressing Love to the Lord, and He also reciprocates accordingly.  The Lord doesn’t require any of these things from us because he is self-sufficient and as such he is complete in himself. When we offer our service and Love to him in various ways, he reciprocates and we benefit and make spiritual advancement from his reciprocation.

Just as every spiritual practice has certain rites, gaudiya Vaishnavism also has its share of rites that are meant to create a personal relationship between the practitioner and the Lord and not merely for show or as routine activities. Understanding why we engage in these rites, is the first step and executing them with the right mindset is the key to getting the real benefit from them. When we have our bath, the general idea is to become clean, however when the Lord does, he does so to give pleasure to his devotees and to satisfy our desire to serve him in that capacity. At this point, some of you might begin to ask, “But how can God bathe?” The response is quite simple if we look at the question closely. If we think that there is something that God cannot do, then how is he God? If God the creator, maintainer and destroyer of the entire Universe is incapable of doing certain things then how is he God? The next understanding will be to see that we are made in the image of God or we are his replica and as such whatever tendency we have, he also has in a pure, spiritual and magnificent way.

He is not limited by time or space and as such he can do whatever he pleases. We as human can only eat with our mouth, but the Lord can decide to eat with his eye or his mind, because his body is not material like ours and it is above the laws of material nature. Similarly when the Lord bathes, it is not because he is dirty or sweaty, but because he wants to give pleasure to his devotees who want to serve him in this manner.  Furthermore, when the Lord bathes he does so in five kinds of liquid; Milk, Curd, Ghee (clarified butter), Honey and Rose water. These combination is described as Amrta or nectar. Bathing the Lord in these liquids is an expression of our love and service to Him, and he reciprocates by in turn giving us this nectar back for us to relish.  Partaking of this sweet nectar that has been used to bathe the Lord is said to have the power to deliver one from diseases and untimely death.

The principle behind this ancient tradition cannot be fully appreciated if one’s knowledge of the Supreme Lord is impersonal or formless. For those who think the Lord has no form, then it is difficult to fully understand the logic behind this. However those who worship the Lord in a personal approach can easily appreciate this practice. The Supreme Lord is sound, energy, Light etc., but he is also more than these. He is the source of the sound, the source of the light and the energetic from whom all energy emanates. In other scriptures such as the Bible we can see where God clearly says that Man should be made in his image and likeness. Moses was said to have seen the back of God, Jacob (Israel) was said to have wrestled with God. So God as a person with a form is not a new concept that is being promoted, however understanding how to relate with him in one or more ways is relatively new to many people.

I hope this brief dissertation sheds some light on this topic. Till next week; read share and follow for more.

Time, Attention and Experience

Dear readers,

It is my pleasure to be able to share with you all once again another interesting blog this week. I hope you all are faring well.

Today I will be sharing with you all some brief insights on a very spiritual topic and hopefully we all can learn a thing or two from it.  Recently I saw a video on Facebook of a young kid that went viral for good reasons. In the video, the kid tells us that whatever we practice we become good at it. If we practice kindness we become good at it, if we practice complaining, we become so good at it that we will complain about anything. I drew a few more lessons besides what he said and tried to extrapolate his ideas to spirituality.

When people join a path of spirituality, generally the idea is to be enlightened or become better persons by cultivating higher values. Thus it is natural that every new practitioner should adopt those practices that enable him/her to become a better spiritualist. In the beginning of our journey we would naturally want to know what to do, what to say, what to eat, what to avoid and what to embrace. We then give time to does things which are favorable and avoid those things which are not. When we give time to something, we invest our energy into it and thus we become versatile in it. The time that we invest into our spiritual lives is directly proportional to the amount of attention we pay to these matters. There is a saying that “whatever we give our time, becomes our experience.” Similarly, the time and attention we give to spiritual matters, translates into our experience in spirituality.

As a martial artists, there is an old saying by traditional Japanese Instructors, that to master a technique, one has to practice it at least 10,000 times. Now many people think the number is just figurative and others actually take it literally. Irrespective of which side we choose to follow, we can at least agree on one fact; in order to master anything we must give it sufficient attention. So naturally this brings me to spirituality. People join the path and initially have the desire to become enlightened or advanced and the process stipulates that they must engage in certain practices. Many people start off with a blast and with time they slow down, for a myriad of reasons. The irony is when we don’t give time to those things which we want to be good at and yet expect to miraculously become good at them.  Life doesn’t work that way and never will. A good example in our gaudiya line is Hari Das Thakur who is celebrated as the Nama-acarya; because he chanted over 300,000 names of the Lord daily.

He certainly gave a lot of time and attention to a practice his chanting and subsequently he gained a lot of experience in it and became renowned for it. So the question then arises; we all claim to want to achieve Love of Godhead, are we giving time and energy to those things that enable to become full lovers of God or are we giving time and energy to those things that enable us to become lovers of the material energy? We claim we want to become pure devotees, or at least that is why we joined the path, are we giving our time and energy to those things that will help us become pure devotees?

We claim we want to go back home back to Godhead, are we engaging in activities that show we are really keen on going back to the spiritual world, or are we giving our time and energy to trivial things that bind us here? We claim we want to serve the Lord in the different mellows when we get back to Him, but are we engaging our time and energy in his service here on earth or are we engaging our time and energy in trivial matters and discouraging others who are trying to serve? These are soul searching questions we need to ask ourselves every day. If we say one thing and cannot match it with our actions then what are we really practicing? At the end of the day, everyone carries their cross, everyone is responsible for the advancement or deviation they make. If we are not engaging our time and energy in those things that make us better Devotees, Christians, Muslims, etc. then let us be kind enough not to distract those who are sincerely trying to make this effort.

There is no doubt that we all are advancing in different rates and pace, however just like driving on the high way, slow vehicles keep right and allow fast vehicles the left lane to move faster. If you know you want to drive slowly in your spiritual life then it is only fair that we allow those who want to move at a quicker rate to do so. In this light it is mentioned that every spiritual practitioner should associate with colleagues of similar interest. An English adage says “show me your friends and I’ll tell you whom you are”. If your association is full of people who criticize, blaspheme, deviate from principles, sooner or later we will give our time and energy to such activities and gain experience in it. If we associate with people who chant the Lord’s name regularly, pray intensely, avoid trivial talks, serve with a proper mind, study the scriptures, then we will also give our time and energy to these things and with time they become our experience.

In summary ask yourself daily, what I am giving my time and energy to, because it will become my experience. If you see it is contrary to what you say you want then change and give less time to those things that slow your progress down. We are the designers of our spiritual lives and we are responsible ultimately.

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

Happiness; It is here not there!

Dear readers,

I hope you are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all today yet another blog. I had some interesting experience two weeks, after I had posted my weekly blog a day late. Surprisingly the following week I noticed it had quite a lot of views as compared to some of my other blogs. So jokingly I said to myself, “You know, maybe late is sometimes good”. Lol

Anyways, this week I’ll like to share with you all something I guess we all crave in one way or form, and that is Happiness. First, what is Happiness? It is a state of being Happy. What does it mean to be happy? Well the Dictionary doesn’t really help, because it defines happiness again as a state of pleasure or contentment. We can go on and on trying to find the meaning of these words, but we will end in an endless circle of new words, all in the search of the meaning of happiness.

How many of you have seen the Movie “The pursuit of HappYness”. (Yes, Happiness is spelt that way in the title). In a nut shell it is a movie about a single Father who has to go through a lot of difficulty including having no place to sleep, while trying to juggle finding a job and being a father to his son. Well at the end of the movie, things fall into place. The movie though very emotional teaches a lot of things. Today I am not here to talk about the movie but about the concept of Happiness and life generally. From a metaphysical perspective or a spiritual understanding, happiness is more than just being happy. What we define as happiness in the material world is but the absence of sorrow. In other words, happiness and distress are but different sides of the same coin.

When one is absent then the other is present. Happiness from a deeper point of view will be the absence of those things which cause us real misery. These things are Birth, Disease, old age and finally death. We all know how painful the process of giving birth can be for mothers, and even from the early stages of conception to the end, mothers have to put up with a lot of discomfort. No one likes to fall ill and as such diseases are also a source of misery. Old age comes with its highlights and also its constraints. There are a lot of things we can no longer do as we grow old, because our bodies no longer have the vigor it had when we were younger. Yet despite these changes, sometimes you hear people say “I am happy” and the next minute “I am not happy”.  The ancient scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita explain to us that the temporary appearance of happiness and distress are like the manifestation of winter and summer or heat and cold, both are temporary and as such one must learn to tolerate these dualities.

That we tolerate these dualities doesn’t mean they don’t exist, as some pseudo-spiritual groups like to teach, however it does mean we know it is there but we detach ourselves from the experience that comes with it. One may wonder, I still haven’t given a clear definition of what Happiness is? Happiness is that which gives lasting contentment to the real self. When we engage in activities that give satisfaction to the soul, only then can we experience real happiness. My Father always use to tell me “Son, happiness is not in a place, person or country. It is inside of you. If you are not happy with yourself, even if you go to the Moon, you will still not be happy”. I’ll jokingly reply him saying “but at least the moon is a place where there are demigods and the environment surely is different and as such I will be happy there”. To this his reply was “If you haven’t found happiness within yourself, you will definitely carry whatever misery is inside of you to the Moon planet too”.

In brief what he meant was that happiness is not in the next car we are dreaming of buying, it is not in the house we want to buy, or the beautiful spouse we hope to marry someday etc. Happiness is not in any of these things and it will never be. If we tie our happiness to any of these things we see, feel or experience, we are definitely bound to suffer misery sooner or later. This is because none of these material items are made to give eternal happiness. Our new car gives us “happiness” as long as it doesn’t develop a fault, as soon as it does, the happiness becomes worry and expenses.

The new spouse we are dreaming of, gives us happiness until we get into an argument and see that we have differences that are difficult to reconcile. Suddenly we begin to question what happened to the “butterflies we felt in our stomach”. If all these things could guarantee happiness, wealthy people would be the happiest people on Earth, sadly the narrative is different. While wealth and material opulence can give some level of comfort, which is definitely desirable, it doesn’t give real happiness that lasts. Another puzzling factor about material happiness is that, the more we strive to achieve it, the quicker it slips from our grips. Thus we are caught in a rat race trying to catch or hold on to happiness and happiness constantly trying to elude us.

When regular folks here spiritual practitioners speak like this, they begin to think; “How can people be so negative that they don’t even wish themselves happiness?” As if to say that merely wishing ourselves happiness was a guarantee to get it. We definitely do believe in happiness, however we seek happiness that truly lasts. In that light, we do not bother ourselves with those temporary absence of sorrow that many confuse for “happiness”. The happiness that we seek as spiritualists is that which brings eternal happiness to all living beings, and nothing else but reconnecting with the absolute can give this in full.

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

Spiritual Stereotypes

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be here with you all today, sharing insights on various topics from a metaphysical perspective. I hope you all are faring well. I have been en route travelling hence my late post, kindly excuse me.

Today’s topic is one that drives home with many, especially those of us who have been either lifelong practitioners of some spiritual practices, or at least long time practitioners. I must say this topic was inspired by an incident that occurred a few days back, however before I begin to describe what happened, I felt I give a brief background of my University days. During my sophomore year I was involved in quite a lot of stage acting and as such would have regular rehearsals with other students in our drama group. During this time I was known as the “court jester” as I would always make everyone laugh.

In fact whenever we had meetings, the coordinator would specifically tell me, right after reading the agenda, “Please we have a lot to cover today, don’t make us laugh”. As soon as I replied, the entire crew would reel in laughter. Why am I recalling all of this? So fast forward a couple of years, we all graduate and fate takes every one of us to various parts of the world. I keep in contact with some of my friends from University days and some from my drama group. Somehow or the other many of them also follow my posts on Facebook and my blog, and a few have written to share their sincere appreciation of my blogs and writing. However there was more that they didn’t share, and a few days back I got to know.

So my friend posts a video, which is funny and I comment with a remark. She replies back saying “This is the you that I know. For a while I felt you had become cold because of your religion, since you hardly crack jokes like you used to. I am happy you are still the same person”. I was somewhat surprised and it did trigger a lot of thoughts. First and foremost, back while we were on campus, she and many of my friends who cared to know, were all aware of my faith, religion and practices, so it is not as if they just found out. The question is, what has changed? I decided to look deeply and some thoughts began to fall into place.

First theory: I must have unconsciously passed across an air of being “too spiritual” and probably because my timeline is full of blogs of spiritual subject matters, my friend felt I was no longer the funny guy she knew.

Second theory: She must have assumed that I was overly spiritual because I didn’t keep much contact and also due to the nature of my posts after we graduated.

Third theory: I must have unknowingly become a boring guy and lost all sense of humour because I wanted to come across as a grave student of spirituality.

Fourth theory: Spiritual life has taken its toll on me, and the effects are people see me as boring.

To be fair and unbiased I decided to look at each theory that I had jotted down, with as little bias as possible. In all fairness to her observation I must say that often times many people who follow some spiritual practice usually become “too serious” for their colleagues and it comes as a natural stereotype that most religious people are fanatical about their practice. The first theory might hold some weight, considering the fact that I did keep little contact with my friends from campus days and it is not surprising if they felt that way. The second theory might also hold some weight because my timeline is covered in practically just esoteric/spiritual posts and a few occasional comic posts. Thus it is natural for someone to once again assume that I had become too serious to share a joke. The third theory is one that I’ll like to probably harp on a little bit. Even though I know for certain that it doesn’t describe me, it does actually describe some spiritual practitioners. In our quest to look the part or to be serious students of spiritual life, sometimes we tend to become too strict for our counterparts and as such help them solidify their stereotypes about spiritually inclined people being fanatical. In my case I think what happened was that as soon as I graduated from campus,  I “forgot” to connect more. While on campus I was a lot more conscious of my interaction as the last image I wanted to portray was that I was a recluse because of my religion.

I made friends and people connected with me on various levels not even worrying about what I didn’t eat or what I didn’t do. With time I guess because a large percentage of those around me share the same faith and beliefs, I have probably lost touch with my jovial side. The fourth theory is true for a lot of spiritual practitioners and to an extent true for me. Let me explain. When we live in a spiritual community we come across many people from different walks of life. As such we have to be careful how we interact with others due to differences in our backgrounds and above all keeping in mind the rules and regulation in that community. For someone who is sanguine in temperament, jokes and being chatty is a normal attribute. The general mood of most spiritual communities is that everyone should be Melancholic (emotionally sensitive  and perfectionist introverts), and as such many people either hide their true nature or try to repress it while putting up the “required or expected mood”. In simpler words, people live a double life. One, they show in the spiritual community and another in a setting they feel more comfortable.

I have had personal experiences where I have shared jokes with people but instead of having a laugh, it rubbed them the wrong way. That been said, many spiritual practitioners then take the defensive and as such try to become or adapt the “mood” that is expected. The result is shallow and many people either get fried out or just abandon the process after a while. It is of little wonder why many people do not feel at ease in most spiritual gathering because they feel they cannot be themselves. Now should we allow the fake mood of such a place affect our real temperament and stop of us from being real? No. For how can we claim to be on a path of personal relationship with God or the Supreme, if our actions are all superficial and impersonal?

That been said, to all my friends who were with me during my campus days or who do not share the same spiritual path as I do, I want to say a few words.

“I have changed positively since we last connected or spoke and I am trying to be a better person. I have made considerable progress in my realization of the absolute truth and as such my circle of friends has been influenced. This much has changed about me. However I am still the loving, joke cracking and fun to be with person that you all know, and nothing can change that. If you ever feel the need to connect with me on a personal level, share a joke or catch up on campus days, please feel free to send me a message. I look forward to it.”

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

Tradition and Culture 2

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be here again today, sharing with you all yet another inspiring blog. I hope you all are faring well. I sincerely apologize for being a day late, I was overwhelmed with other activities.

As a continuation from last week’s blog, here is the second part. For those of you who missed the first part, please do read it here, so as to get a good background before continuing with this part.

Since we all interpret these knowledge differently, it is certain that our tradition is affected and also reflects our interpretation. Some of our interpretations have been influenced by time, some by personal motives and agenda, some by lack of proper spiritual understanding of spiritual matters and others simply by the desire to cheat others.

Every spiritual society tries in one way or another to inculcate in its adepts the benefits of practicing a tradition that is in sync with the true nature of our real self. Since this tradition is the transmission of Knowledge from generation to generation, the goal of a spiritual society is to make sure that this knowledge is available to every one of its adepts in an unadulterated form. This is made possible by teachers, saints, spiritual mentors/masters etc. The second part of tradition and culture is the how the individuals of that tradition and culture apply it to their lives. That is, do they live their tradition and culture? I have had experiences and you may have had too, where we meet someone who identifies with a certain religion or spiritual society and we immediately see that they do not follow what the society they associate with prescribes.

A quick example is, one might see a Hindu, who eats meat and ask “I thought you guys were vegetarian?” Now if the person is sincere, the typical answer is “Oh I’m sorry I am not a strict practitioner”. At least now we know that the deviation is from the practitioner and not from the spiritual society. In the same vein there are many other traditions and culture from the spiritual society that many people do not keep or follow, and because the vast majority of people are not aware of what true spiritual tradition and culture is, no one holds these deviants accountable for their actions. Just like in the example above, if you don’t know that Hindu’s are Vegetarian and you see one eating meat, you cannot tell that he is breaking any principle, because you don’t know. Similarly, if we don’t know those things that constitute real spiritual tradition, how can we tell when we are in front of an imposter or a deviant?

So in other to know what true spiritual culture (transcendental behavior found in the spiritual society) is, we must have a true spiritual tradition (transmission of beliefs that are based on scriptures that are coming directly from the Supreme Being, from generation to generation or better put in a line of disciple succession.) They both go hand in hand. One without the other is incomplete. Now we must be sincere to ourselves and inquire “what is my spiritual tradition and my spiritual culture?” How do I achieve both of these? How does my daily choices and activities affect the manifestation of these two factors in my life? How much progress am I making in realizing these two factors to the fullest? Just before we go further I must say here that by accessing our spiritual tradition and culture we become better in our material tradition and culture. Contrary to what some people might think, that being in tune with our spiritual traditions and culture makes us more impersonal, rather we sees things as they really are.

One who bases his entire life on traditions and cultures that identify with the body sees things in regards to the body. If they have a certain type of body they feel they have to act according to the material traditions and cultures of that body, which may not necessarily be beyond the modes of material nature. Realization of our real tradition and culture makers us become the better refined Human beings we are meant to be, because we actually begin to see things as eternal spirit beings and not as transient bodies who feel that they have to crush every other living being in other to express their culture and tradition. One good example of this is the Slave trade era. As at the time this happened, certain people from a particular tradition and culture felt it was okay to deprive another person of his freedom because they had different traditions and culture. The Colonials thought the Africans where primitive because they did certain things which were different to the way they did and as such they reacted in different ways, one of which is slavery. Today we all know better, and things have moved in a different direction, but come to think of it, if the tradition and culture of those colonials were spiritual, in the real sense of it, then they would naturally have the culture of Love, Peace, Compassion etc.

When you have these qualities, you don’t act in the way they did. So we can see that even though they came with one type of religion, they definitely lacked the basic understanding of that religion. The spiritual tradition of Christianity is “Do unto others as you would them do unto you”, if they understood this tradition and imbibed it as their tradition as opposed to having a tradition based on bodily identification, then history would have been different. The bottom line of this message is that we as spiritual practitioners need to have a deeper understanding of what we really practice, and we also need to hold ourselves accountable for the implementation and application of our spiritual tradition and culture.

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

Tradition and Culture 1

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be here today, sharing with you all yet another interesting topic as usual. I hope you all are keeping well.

Today we shall be discussing a very important topic, one that affects all of us in various ways. When the words Tradition and Culture are mentioned the first thing that comes to mind is the way of life of people and what values and ideologies they identify with. Of course, it is without doubt that Tradition and Culture expresses a lot about people, and also a lot about a person in particular, and from someone’s tradition and culture we can deduce certain things about him/her. However in today’s blog, my focus is not so much on the dynamics of Tradition and Culture as regards Language, Food, and Dress etc. but about how our spiritual values can become our tradition and culture.

Tradition is the transmission of beliefs and customs from generations to generations while Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. Depending on how we perceive ourselves, we tend to ascribe that to what our culture or tradition is. If we are from Asia, we might say well it is a tradition where I “come from” to dress in a particular way or to eat a certain kind of food. Someone else might say, “Well because I am from North America, it is a tradition for people to act in a certain way or to treat people in a manner which is different from where you are from.” Bottom line is we directly or indirectly link our actions to our tradition and culture. While this is a fact to a large extent, we need to see past this if we desire to get a deeper sense of what tradition is really about.

So again, when we say tradition and culture, the real question is “what tradition and which culture?” The tradition and culture associated with the body is sure to be temporary and diverse but those associated with the soul are eternal and universal. We can see this proof in our everyday life. Take a real life example of a family that moves from one country to another, say Asia to America. While they may still keep certain things like food and even speak their local language at home, they are influenced in one way or another by the “American culture”, and knowingly or unknowingly they tend to adapt to certain things and even substitute certain traditions into theirs. This on the external is knowing as adaptation or social integration, a very important factor for long term stay in a foreign environment.

We are eternal beings in a transient body and as such our tradition and culture has to reflect our eternal nature and not our transient side. The soul is eternal and will remain long after this current body dies and decays, and as such our tradition and culture should reflect the true nature of the soul and not our bodies. So what is the nature of the soul? It is Eternal, full of knowledge and blissful. Similarly it should have a culture that reflect this nature. The culture of the soul is Truthfulness, Love, and Compassion, just to mention a few. Do not forget, the meaning of culture is the social behavior found in the human society, thus the soul’s culture is the “transcendental behavior found in the spiritual society”. For something to be transcendental, it means it is beyond or above the three modes of material nature namely; goodness, passion and ignorance. Thus the culture of the soul has to reflect attributes that are above these three modes.

Now what is our real tradition? Since tradition is the transmission of beliefs and culture from generation to generation, similarly the tradition of the soul is the transmission of beliefs that are based on scriptures that are coming directly from the Supreme Being, from generation to generation or better put in a line of disciple succession. This will mean automatically that our real tradition is that which has been given to us from the Supreme Lord in a disciple succession. This tradition is none other than the vast ocean of Knowledge coming from the Vedas. This tradition has been handed down by the Lord himself to demigods and down to us. For the uninitiated, all this might sound a little vague so I’ll try to simplify it as much as I can. Every revealed scripture on this planet, be it the Bible, Koran or Bhagavad-Gita has its roots in the Supreme Lord, and as such they represent the basic tradition that we are meant to have. One may then inquire, “If that is the case, then why do they all have different things in them?”

The answer is that the Lord reveals Himself to people according to time, place and circumstances. The Bible was given about 2000+ years ago, while the Gita was spoken about 5000+ years ago, different times and different circumstances, thus the Lord in his infinite intelligence speaks according to the need at hand. Now even though there might be some things that we perceive as differences, we can all agree that the culture of spiritual life is the same. The traditions may differ but the Culture is the same. The tradition is the knowledge that was handed down to us by the Lord at various ages and times, while the Culture is the transcendental behavior found in a spiritual society. So whether one is Christian, Muslim or Hindu, we all share similar cultures. How? Every one of us accepts that in a spiritual society, there should be love, compassion, truthfulness, peace, austerity, cleanliness, prayer, etc. These are tenets of culture present in all forms of religious practice and we all agree with them.

The area we all have tension is in the tradition, which we defined as the transmission of beliefs from generation to generations. It is in the explanation of this tradition that many of us have either misinterpreted or redefined, in ways that now create the tension we experience today.

I’ll keep this brief and expatiate more on this topic next week. Till then do read, share and follow for more.

Teach me, Dear Lord

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be here once again, sharing with you ancient wisdoms for modern day problems.

Today I’ll like to share with you all a prayer that I have written, and it would be my first written prayer for this New Year. From time to time, I like to pray to the Lord in non-scripted prayers that are heart felt. You can find another one here from last year.

Dear Lord, today I come before you as lovingly as I know how to say thank you first and foremost for everything that you have done for me, all that you are doing, and all that you are yet to do, that I am not even aware of. I sometimes get lost in my numerous thoughts of the things I think you should be doing, that I sometimes cannot see those things that you are already doing. Teach me sincere gratitude, Dear Lord.

Dear Lord, today I come before you as dutifully as I know how, to tell you much I am eager to serve you and maybe boast about how much I am serving you. However just as I am about to continue blowing my horns about the things I am supposedly doing for you, I feel a little nudge and see my Guru’s smiling face. As if to show me how insignificant my service is, I begin to remember the numerous services that my Guru rendered to you while physically present on this planet, and all of a sudden I see that my “so called service” is but a spider’s effort compared to his Herculean endeavors. I remember how my Guru spent his last breath doing nothing but your service, in different areas of the world, even though he had to bear many physical, emotional and even political hardships. In that moment I feel ashamed of my pride. Teach me sincere service attitude, Dear Lord.

Dear Lord, today I come before you as meekly as I know how, to say prayers to you both standard and personal. I repeat daily prayers by your great devotees, and also say my only little prayers as best as I can. In all, every time that I call upon your name, I am sincerely grateful that you have somehow or the other given me access to this special “telephone number” of yours, that whenever and wherever I call you, without offences, you will respond. As you know I still battle with the Mind and only by your mercy can I tame him and make him a true friend. Teach me sincere prayers, Dear Lord.

Dear Lord, today I come before you with a broken heart, to show you how much pain I have suffered while trying to find love in the material world. In my futile attempt to become You as the Supreme Lord and enjoyer, I have cultivated relationships and have been heartbroken because I forgot you. Time and time again, you have made me see that you are my true lover and I belong to you. Nevertheless as I try to act and play the role of a lover here in this world, please help me be a lover of your devotees. Bless me that even when I have to become a “lover to your devotee” I will do so knowing that I am only a caretaker and you are the eternal lover. There is nothing impossible for you to do, and I believe that by your grace I can do this better, being more conscious of you. Teach me sincere Love, Dear Lord.

Dear Lord, today I come before you with my short comings, all of which you know so there is no point of me listing them again. Every day I strive to better myself and make some progress in the improvement of my life, in an all-round manner. However, improvement in the material world is like swimming upstream against current and there is no gain saying it can be tough a times. Nevertheless, I have no fear because I have you. My righteousness is like a filthy rag in your presence and only your grace can save me, of this I have no doubt. Teach me sincere improvement, Dear Lord.

Dear Lord, today I come before you with a long list of my achieved austerities, thinking I can impress you by telling you how many Nirjala Ekadasis I have done, how many Bhisma Pancaka’s I have observed, how many Caturmasya Vratas I have observed and how many rounds of Japa I chant daily while sleeping very little hours. In my futile attempt, my Guru smiles at me and says “How much compassion have you been able to show while doing all these austerities? Has your long list of austerities made you more loving or more critical?” In that moment I get it, and I see that my Guru’s greatest strength was not just his long years of celibacy and austerity, but his loving disposition to everyone who came across him, even those who tried to sabotage his work and tarnish his reputation. Lord, I am not on that level yet, but help me. Teach me sincere compassion, Dear Lord.

Dear Lord, today I come before you with my list of pain and distress, showing you how much I have to endure while trying to serve you. I complain about how people misunderstand me, how they try to misrepresent me and how much I have to deal with just trying to execute my prescribed duties. In that moment I feel as if you were unfair and not seeing all that I do for you, but my Guru shows up again. He smiles and says “Have you forgotten everything that I taught you? Why has such weakness of heart come over you? Does the Lord himself not declare that his devotees never perish? Does his famous song; the Bhagavad gita not promise that he never forgets our endeavors?” I nod in affirmative. “So why are you worried?” Then I remember how much he also had to put up with, but eventually his glories are sung all over the world, and I sigh in relief. Teach me sincere surrender, Dear Lord.

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

Note: The prayers I share on my website, are not a show of any form of advancement but my sincere meditation on the Lord. The aim and purpose is to inspire us to pray to the Lord more in a way we understand the most. I hope this helps and touches someone out there.

Spitting Upwards

Dear readers,

Thank you for joining in once again this week. I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another interesting topic.

Today I’ll like to share with you a short story from a collection of stories by His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati Thakur. This story, just like other stories by Maharaja comes with a moral lesson at the end. Those of you familiar with cultures from the Orient will know that it is a common practice to teach people ideals and moral values by telling stories. This is still very much in practices in some countries in Asia and Africa as well. In fact the Mahabharata and Ramayana are great epics that teach us a lot of lessons through wonderful stories.

I’ll begin by telling this short story and giving a little explanation in addition to what His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati Thakur Gosvami has given.

Once there was a kid who was rather spoilt and was always demanding things from his parents. In his usual tantrums, one day he asked his parents to give him the Moon. The Parents knew this was impossible, however to try to please him, they took him up a high rise building to give him a feel of being “closer to the moon”. Seeing that the Moon was still far away from his reach, the young boy began to cry, shout and curse at the Moon and Sky. He said “O foolish sky, why are you holding the Moon up there, don’t you see that I want to play with it? You should immediately let it go. If you do not let go off the Moon so that I can play with it, I shall immediately make you feel the evil consequences of disobeying me”.

As he was swearing and cursing thus, he started spitting upwards at the sky in great disgust, but obviously every drop of his spit fell back to his face.

In his commentary, Srila Bhaktisidhanta explains that “those who prefer to blaspheme the highest order of the spiritual maser and the Vaishnava’s are simply attracting utter disgrace upon themselves”. The key words here are spiritual master, Vaishnava’s and blasphemy. Just before I add to this short commentary I’ll like to remind us of the story of Hanuman who as a baby wanted to eat the Sun, thinking it to be a fruit. In his case, at least he had the power to fly to the Sun and had he not been stopped by Indra, it was certain that he would have achieved his desire. On the other hand the spoilt kid in this story has no power like Hanuman but has deluded himself into thinking he has some ability.

This is the position of those who criticize Vaishnava’s and disobey Guru’s instructions. When one disregards other Vaishnava’s he is said to commit what is known as the mad elephant’s offense. This offense is so dangerous that it destroys his devotional creeper and leaves him bereft of any devotion to the Lord. Yadi vaisnava aparadha ute hati mata/ uparie va chinde tara shukhi jaya pata// (If the maddened elephant of Vaisnava aparadha enters into the devotional garden, the creeper of bhakti will be uprooted and all its leaves will dry up) – Caitanya Caritamrta 2.19.156

To make this worse, if such a devotee disregards the instruction of the Spiritual master; which could range from general like following the regulative principles to specifics like personal orders, then his spiritual life is in jeopardy, his well-being is at stake, and if he doesn’t desist he is sure to meet with utter disgrace like the kid described in the story above. Criticizing Vaishnava’s is bad enough in itself, however worse than that is doing so in order to satisfy one’s selfish materialistic desires, and even worse than this is, to do both of these while simultaneously neglecting the order of the spiritual master.  Another short story to illustrate the negative effect of criticizing Vaishnavas is the story of Ramacandra Puri, who was disowned by his own Guru; Madhavendra Puri when he also criticized him. Ramacandra Puri was the god-brother of Isvara Puri, Lord Caitanya’s guru, however he had one bad quality, he would criticize people and even went as far as criticizing the Lord for overeating and the Lord had to cut his food ration visibly. This was of great disturbance to the assembly of Vaishnava’s so much so that they also reduced their food rations.

One thing we can note here before going too far, is that once your actions become a source of disturbance to Vaishnava’s and you add criticism to that, it is not long before your devotional creeper dies out. The effects are seen visibly on such a person, as they have no taste for spiritual activities and whenever they are around, all they do is criticize other Vaishnavas, despite been with so much faults themselves. When one disobeys the order of the spiritual master, the result is that one begins to criticize and find faults with Vaishnavas, and this offence is said to eventually get to the Lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. How can one who spends his entire time criticizing others have any taste for spiritual practice? How can the pure name of the Lord appear in their Japa?

One may wonder does this mean if we see a misdemeanor we shouldn’t point it out. Of course, we should not hide under the fact that we shouldn’t criticize Vaisnavas and then begin to act capriciously. We can correct and point out misdemeanors in other Vaishnavas; if that is our duty, if we are their authority in some capacity, if they have solicited our advice, if we are senior to them and if they take instructions from us. If we do not fit into any of these categories we should be careful lest we go trying to correct someone more advanced than us and risk the pitfall of aparadha. May the lord grant us the intelligence to avoid acting like the spoilt kid or like Ramacandra Puri.

May we be so focused on improving ourselves that we have no time to see the faults in others.

Till next week, do share and follow for more.


Dear readers,

Happy belated New Year, for those of you who missed my first blog of the year. I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be here with you all today.

Today I’ll like to harp on a subject we are all familiar with and one that we all have; birthdays. Mine was a few days ago and I must say I appreciate all those who took out time to wish me well, those who made preparations and cake, and those who bought me gifts. I am forever grateful. Whether we celebrate it or not, each and every one of us has a birthday, or a day we took birth in this material world.  Of course, the setting is different for everyone. Some of us are born into rich families and others into not so rich families, some of us are born as the only child and some are born alongside others or into a family with other children. Irrespective of the way, place, country or time we were born, there is a common denominator in taking birth in this material world; and that is we all came in naked, helpless and crying.

In fact, it is a thing of worry for the Doctors who help deliver us and for our parents when we show up into this world and we do not cry. The Doctors give us a heavy pat on the back, as a shock just in case we are unconscious or have fluids blocking our air ways. Pause for a minute, before we run into what happens after we leave the hospital. How did we get to this point in the first place? By what means did we get the parents that we have at the moment of our birth? Was it by some natural selection? The truth and answer might be difficult for many to grasp nonetheless I shall try to explain it in the simplest way I know how. First and foremost, there is no question of chance when it comes to taking birth and having a new material body. Our current body is a sum total of the activities and desires form our previous body. To get a better grip on this subject matter please kindly read Reincarnation. It will do you a lot of good to click on the link and read that first before continuing if you are new to the concept of reincarnation.

So having a new body in brief is as a result of choices, activities and desires form our previous life time and as such we have been granted a new body to fulfil all our unfulfilled desires and given another chance to try to put an end to the repeated circle of birth and death. In other words, our birthday is but another chance to get it right, especially in the human form of life. In the human body, we have intelligence and we can discriminate between good and bad, and as such we are accountable for everything that we do. Animals on the other hand act out of instinct on four major propensities; eating, sleeping, mating and defending. If we as human beings do not rise above this four tendencies and center our lives on them, then our human form of life which is a very valuable gift is considered no better than that of an animal.

At the time of birth, we are given a name, a country, a race, a religion, an address, etc. we have no say in these things, at least not until we are 18. Some of us never even bother to change them but we spend our entire lives defending them, like we had a say in getting them. We base our entire identification on these false designations, so much so that it becomes the center for division among us all. One may think “I am a white, male who is Christian, or I am a coloured female who is Muslim” , based on what we have been told and labeled. Truth be told we are none of these designations and the earlier we realize and break free from these false identifications the better for us all. Every year that passes, takes us one more year closer to our graves, and whether we like it or not, Death is a universal truth waiting to happen to us all.  If we understand this, or at least try to understand this, then what can we do to salvage the very limited time we have on this planet? We begin by asking questions. Who am I? Where did I come from? Am I this body, or my mind or my ego? Where do I go to after death? At the time of death, what happens to me? These questions would be the basis for a life changing journey for most of us and they will give us a new sense of direction and purpose in our lives. We wonder why our current civilization is so shallow despite our recorded rise in scientific inventions, we wonder why people are so empty on the inside despite having so much externally, we wonder why those who have so little material possessions are usually those with the biggest hearts and not vice versa.

We can put an end to all these wondering and dilemma if we know the answers to these aforementioned questions. So the next time it is your birthday, I am not saying do not celebrate, however in the midst of that “celebration” ask yourself these questions and if the answers do not come, then it is probably time to start making the right enquires in the right direction. Sometimes people feel we spend too much time talking about death and say maybe we should focus more on life and “enjoy it”. What they fail to realise is that we are dying every day, every second, every minute, every hour and on every “birthday”. The final part of us leaving the body is just a culmination of our slow daily death, thus when we are aware of that fact, that the present living state is but a hidden dying reality then the best way to “enjoy life” would be to “live life fully conscious of the fact that today might be the last”.

Till next week, do share and follow my website for more blogs weekly.