Talents as an offering to the Supreme Lord

Dear readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Who we are vs who we want to be

Dear Readers,

Welcome to another exciting week of inspirational discussions on various metaphysical topics. Before delving into our topic for this week, I’ll like to once again remind you all of my upcoming book on Juvenile Delinquency. In a short while I’ll make available a link where you can have a preview and together we can make the publication a reality, and you can have early orders. Stay tuned.

The topic at hand today is one that each and every one of us has an internal ordeal about, and often times many people get confused or carried away by the delicate nature of this tussle. There is always the dilemma of how to strike a balance between the person we are and the person we want or would like to become, whether in our spiritual quest, Education, Finance etc. I’ll like to pay a little more attention as how this concept affects the spiritual practitioner. For those who are gaudiya vaisnava’s we may classify ourselves externally as Celibate (brahmacaris), Householder (grhasthas), Retirees (vanaprasthas) and Renunciates (sanyasis). In the social ladder we may be Teachers, Administrators, Merchants or Labourers. Externally it is easy to identify with one or more of these classifications however internally there is always the thoughts that bug us; “are we really ideal grhasthas? Are we doing our dharma as we should?” etc.

Once in Europe I was asked a rather delicate question by a Lady who had a friend who was in some dilemma concerning marriage and intimacy. Her friend was in a relationship and her partner was quite open and honest about his preference when it came to intimacy. He had made it clear from the onset that he wasn’t on the platform of having an intercourse just for procreation yet, and it would take him some time to get there.

Read: He would like to have intimate moments with her regularly when they were married as opposed to just when they wanted to have kids.

She on the other hand was not so interested in having regular intercourse and felt she could very bring it down to just for the sole purpose of having kids. Now her question was whether she could proceed or not with the relationship. I made it clear that I wasn’t in anyway asking her to quit or stay put however there were certain facts that we couldn’t ignore. One is they both had a very diverse approach to sexual intimacy and this may put a strain on the relationship. Second is that if they were to neglect this difference and try to “force” their way through with the relationship then sooner or later one of them would feel either neglected or feel ashamed of their “level of desire”.

The beautiful twist in this incident is that sometimes many of us are like the lady in question except that we actually put up an image of the “person” we are trying to become and forget about who we really are. If we fail to acknowledge our real state and try to artificially promote ourselves to a level that we are not actually on, then we will definitely encounter issues, setbacks, internal turmoil’s and eventually frustration. The ability to accept who we are is called Sincerity, and until we embrace real sincerity, progress is difficult. In our spiritual practices, many of us would like to sleep less like the Gosvamis of Vrndavan, Eat little like them, read more like they did and minimize our sensory demands and impulses especially that of the genitals to the barest minimum. This is whom we want to be.

The reality is that we actually sleep a lot more than we probably should, we eat a lot more than our bodies can take, and we have huge difficulty controlling our genitals. In fact one of the biggest problems we face as Humans is the urge of the genitals; How to manage them. This is who we are.

If we artificially start acting like the Gosvamis and deny ourselves of our real level of advancement and try to present ourselves as the versions of ourselves that we would love to become rather than who we really are, then we may confuse people, deceive ourselves, and create a lot of internal disturbances for our already troubled minds. I’ll personally love to chant 1 lakh (100,000) of God’s names every day, this is whom I’ll like to be, reality is I am not there yet so what would be the ideal thing to do? Create a system that I am my own police (that I do self-check, with little or no external influence) and gradually work myself up to 100,000 names a day.  Pretending that I chant that much or making a show as if I chant that much, or trying to act as if I chant that much wouldn’t help me or anyone who believes that I do. This is where most of us struggle.

In the quest to become the person we would like to be, we deny ourselves the gradual growth which is very essential to our solid development and then put ourselves in difficulty when we can no longer keep up the image. This principle applies to any other area we are trying to work on. Now some people may ask “isn’t it actually beneficial if we start acting as the person we want to become rather than acting as we are now, which may not be the best version of ourselves?”

It is true that putting ourselves in the mood of whom we want to become we can gradually get to that platform, however the key word is; aspiring to be rather than acting as. If I want to be someone who has total control on his mantra medition or japa, the process is to gradually yet constantly work myself to that point rather than “act” as if I already did have that control. If we are sincere enough to look at ourselves in the mirror and say “Hey dear me, listen up, it is nice that you want to be this very exalted person, however if we want to really get to that position we have to go about this in a manner that is consistent and diligent. We have to move up at a pace that doesn’t throw us off course, and most importantly we are doing it for our own good and not to impress anyone.” When we adopt this mindset, we can immediately see that the internal noise “quiets down”.

Thank you for your continued support, till next week do read, share and follow for more.

Causeless Mercy

Dear readers,

Thank you for joining me here again this week for yet another interesting topic. I hope you all are faring well. Before I delve into this week’s topic, I’ll like to inform you all about a few projects I have been working on.

I am excited to announce to you all that there are a couple of books I am yet to release and hopefully by the special grace of God they should be ready soon, however prior to this I’ll like you all to kindly follow this blog closely as the big reveal day is fast approaching. One of my book is on a global situation we face and how we can tackle this issue using ancient wisdom while the other on traditional vaisnava philosophy. There is a lot more coming after these initial two. When they are finally released I’ll be giving free copies to those who follow my blog space. Then I shall upload links to where they can be gotten online.

This is but a sneak peek and with time I’ll reveal more!

Today I’ll like us to deliberate on a word that we often come across in many religious circles, and that is “Mercy”. When used in connection with the Supreme Lord it is usually used to describe a special kind of consideration given to us as adepts or worshippers by the Lord, which we usually do not merit. That is to say the mercy the Lord shows us in various circumstances, is not born from our righteousness, intelligence, austerity, prayers etc. Rather it is as a result of the Lord being kind and showering his grace upon us. Usually the question arises, what do we have to do to deserve this “causeless mercy”?

Truth be told we do not have to do “anything” in particular to deserve the causeless mercy, because as it states it is without cause. If we got it as a result of something that we did, then it won’t be causeless. On the other hand sometimes, some adepts use this as an excuse to act capriciously, be lackadaisical, and then say the Lord will shed his causeless mercy anyway, so why should they bother to put in any effort.

I’ll share a short story to explain the concept of causeless mercy. Even though it is a physical example and in no way translates directly into how the Supreme Lord operates, it will give an idea nonetheless. In my third year at the University while taking my Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Production Engineering, I had an exam I took on engineering design. This course was so dreaded that the Dean himself taught it. The day of the exam came and the Dean walks in with the Question papers and starts to hand them to us. It was 15 objective questions; that is multiple choice questions, where we were to select the right answer from about 4 options, A.B.C.D.  Time allotted was 3 hours. Yes, 3 good hours. I know some of you might feel this is just too much of an exaggeration but trust me I kid you not. As soon as he was done handing them out, he smiled and said “you may start, best of luck”, and He walked out. Now many lecturers would stay in the hall to make sure students don’t ask one another or try to cheat, but he knew what he had set and confidently walked away.

One hour into the exam the hall was dead silent even though there was no one to supervise us, everyone was in total confusion. We had no clue what to write or even choose. Now there was a trap, because he knew that out of frustration some students might just select any of the multiple choices and probably get the right answers from such gamble, he gave each and every one of us an blank A4 paper stapled to our answer booklet where we were to show workings of how we arrived at our answers. These questions by the way, involved calculations. Two hours later the hall is still dead silent and he walks in smiling. He asks us “how is the exam going?”  There was barely an audible answer from a hall packed full with students. You could see many students had their sheets blank and we had just one more hour to go and 15 questions unsolved. What made this course really special was that it was a core course and it had a very high credit hour. Which means scoring low on it would affect your GPA (grade point average). So we had to pass it. Now he begins to walk around the hall and he noticed that many students were stuck. Even those of us who were considered “smart” had a hard time doing much. There was a boy we all saw a whiz kid and even he was having troubles that day.

At the end of the semester the results come back and you guessed right; it was really poor. Now this is where I’ll like us to focus on. The Dean had noticed the overall poor performance and had given a whooping bonus of 10 marks each to everyone. It was over 100 and we needed at least 40 to pass. We had a quiz earlier that semester that was for 10 marks too. So the score from the quiz plus the exams made the total of 100. Even after adding 10 marks to everyone’s score many students still failed. This act by the Dean was an act of “causeless mercy”. We didn’t do anything to deserve it. Now for those who scored at least 20 before he added the bonus 10 marks, they automatically made the cut if they had at least 10 also in the quiz. Those who were lax and felt the bonus could save them, and didn’t put in the extra effort, they failed. I know you all must be wondering “did I pass?” Yes I did. Narrowly too. My total score was 55, which means I scored 35 in the exam, 10 in the quiz and the 10 bonus came to my rescue. Now if for some reason the bonus wasn’t there I still would scale through with at least 45 marks.

The lesson here is that, in as much as we may pray and depend on the Lord to show us his “causeless mercy” in our spiritual quest, we also have to try to merit it by putting in some extra effort. The story of Mother Yasoda trying to bind Krsna also explains this. Only after seeing the many futile attempts and her will to also engage the neighbours (by asking them for ropes) in the act of binding Krsna, does he allow her to bind him. The Supreme Lord will shed his mercy however we must be ready, willing and worthy to get it.

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

Question on our World Events and Crisis

Dear readers,

Welcome to another day in my blog session. It is great to be able to connect with you all here.

In the light of the recent events happening around the world, I have taken a little time out to reflect a little more and to share with you all these reflections. It is no news that the US has been through one Hurricane and is bracing to receive about four more. With Hurricane Harvey, Irma, then the ocean bed in the Bahamas drying out, to heavy hailstones damaging cars, livestock’s and property in Spain today, all I can think of is what is actually going on?

Why is mother Earth or Nature clapping back at us to severely? Why are all these events happening back to back with an almost undeniable increase in severity? Are we totally innocent and are just been “victimized” by nature, or are we abusing the Earth so much that she is tired of our unsustainable methods of development?  Are we conscious of our choices in matter of lifestyle, energy, food and clothing? Do we see this planet as a shelter to every living entity in it or do we as human beings feel that without us the planet is nothing?

What do we really contribute to this planet? Is it in proportion to what we take from Nature and the environment? Are we treating every living entity we encounter with love and compassion? Do we place the collective good of the planet and others before ours, or do we just try to fleece the environment as much as we can until we have taken more than we would ever need? Is religion nowadays just another medium to have a social gathering? Is religion missing spirituality? Does our religious belief aid in the preservation of the ecosystem or does it encourages us to destroy it? Are we brutally ending the lives of people and animals in the name of religion? Are we stretching the Earth beyond her limits when it comes to getting natural resources? Are we polluting the environment and thus reducing our life span by the very choices we make every day?

Are we avoiding natural, effective plant based medicines that have been proven to cure many terminal diseases, just because our “pharmacies” will “run out of business?” Why are we spending billions on ammunitions and warfare, and yet complaining every day about world hunger? Why have we modified plants that were simple and healthy all in the bid to make them look “better” only to discover that we have in fact created the very thing that is now killing us in droves? Why are we suddenly making a fuss about organic food been healthy and better and how GMO’s are not healthy when we consciously injected these plants in the first place? Why do we waste so much food every year just because they don’t look a certain way or have a certain shape, and then proceed to hold international seminars on how to curb world hunger?  Why are we feeding away our food stuff to a few livestock’s just to satisfy our desire for flesh when the same amount of food can feed hundreds of people?

Why start a war when we know very well that those who suffer the most are women, children, old people and the majority who have no clue why these wars are fought? Why is that those who start a war and send young men who are husbands, fathers, brothers, etc. to fight, never send their own sons? Why struggle so hard to get a political office when you know deep down inside you, that you have absolutely no plans of making a change and that all you care about is lining up your pocket and bank account. Why is it that a continent as rich as Africa with almost all natural resources available in large quantity, be termed as poor? Why is it that a continent that has planting season all year round be termed hungry? Why do we make so much propaganda about stolen diamonds and resources gotten from war zones only to sell the same precious stones here in the West at exorbitant prices? Why do we interfere with the political situation in other countries when we know very well that the state of our own economy is far from being perfect? Why is this planet in debt? To whom do we owe all these trillions, aliens? We claim to be the most advanced species on this planet and pride ourselves as “higher animals” yet we are the only specie that pays to live on a planet that we didn’t create? We claim the children are the future yet we abuse them daily? A man is not a gentleman if he hits a lady but a woman who slaps and man and calls him derogatory names is hailed as being feminist? I know some of you might get uncomfortable with some of these questions especially the last one, but that’s the whole point. Maybe it’s time we get uncomfortable and see that something is wrong.

Maybe when we stop hiding behind our numerous camouflages and reveal our true selves, that is if most people even know who they really are, then we may hope to find a solution. One may ask ok, after pointing out all these what do you suggest as a solution, for it is easy to criticize but not easy to walk the talk. One day at a time, and one human at a time I am making a conscious difference starting by making sure that my words, actions, and choices are not a problem to this planet. We are often quick to criticize those who manage the affairs of state but also fail to realize that those people were once just like us. So I feel the best time to teach a president is when he is still in high school, and not when there is chaos in the white house.

Till next week do follow this space for more. Until then read, reflect and internalize.

Voice of a sojourning soul

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to share with you all once again this week, yet another interesting topic. Last week we looked at a very crucial topic; the ideal and real situations in this material world. This week we shall deliberate on rather go through a prayer that I call the “voice of a sojourning soul”.

The following prayer is a humble cry from the soul seeking to find solace in the Supreme Lord. It is made in a mixed mood of desperation, eagerness to meet and feeling of unworthiness. Hopefully I can collect them into a series later on. I hope it helps someone connect on a deeper level.

Dear Lord, It is I your eternal servant trying to make contact after so long. I know you have not forgotten me for a moment, however I have barely kept in touch. Please forgive me for this long silence and forgetfulness. There are times I have selfishly made contact because I had some difficulties or something to ask you, and there are times I made contact because it was a special day, however I hardly remember when I made contact because I was deeply motivated by your pastimes and activities. In all please do not forget the voice of this sojourning soul.

Dear all attractive Lord, It is I your eternal servant trying to make contact after so long. I have promised to give you my entire life when I was trapped in the womb, instead I have spent about one third of it now doing my own thing. I have taken vows to think of you and no one but you, to have you as my Lord birth after birth however I have made the things of this material world my master. I have neglected the ultimate life line you have given which is your holy name and I have taken shelter or other names. In all please do not forget the voice of this sojourning soul.

Dear Lord who is the life of the sacred river Yamuna, It is I your eternal servant trying to make contact after so long. I have been given this wonderful name by my spiritual Guide who is your eternal associate, in order to help me always remember who I am, instead I have falsely identified with the false notion of been initiated into a bonafide line of spiritual practitioners. I have ignored the mood of the name he has given me and instead have been searching elsewhere for your reflection. I have abandoned the river Yamuna and now take pleasure in swimming in the river of material sense gratification. In all please do not forget the voice of this sojourning soul.

Dear Lord who reciprocates to all his devotees in their respective moods, it is I your eternal servant trying to make contact after so long. Even though you are accessible in whatever way and manner I intend to reach you, yet somehow or the other I have been deluded by the identification with my body that I cannot seem to reach you in a mood that is most befitting and pleasurable to you. Yet every day I long and hope that with time and by the mercy of my spiritual guide I can gradually come to the platform whereby I can serve you in my best capacity and mood. In all please do not forget the voice of this sojourning soul.

Dear Lord whose complexion resembles that of a dark cloud before rain, it is I your eternal servant trying to make contact after so long. Just as a dark cloud pours down a heavy amount of rain and cools the earth below it, your name and pastimes offer us all the coolness and spiritual water we need to be free from the thirst after material life. Yet somehow or the other I have chosen to rather plunge myself deep into the water of family life, thinking myself to be a husband, father and householder. Instead of preparing the souls you have entrusted in my care I have taken the liberty to act as if I were you my Lord. In that folly, I see myself as you and try to imitate you. In all please do not forget the voice of this sojourning soul.

Dear Lord who attracts the heart of cupid himself, it is I your eternal servant trying to make contact after so long. To love you means to do all that gives you pleasure and anything other than that is lust. I have been posing lust as love for you, knowing fully well that pure love for you and gratification of my senses are poles apart. I know that in order to get real satisfaction I should satisfy your senses, not because you need it but because it is good for me. Nevertheless, I don’t do anything for your pleasure and my greatest satisfaction comes from my own sensed been pleased. In all please do not forget the voice of this sojourning soul.

Dear Lord who is the master of all mystics, it is I your eternal servant trying to make contact after so long. In every aspect of nature you show me your numerous mystic opulence, you show how you pervade all that be and there is. You show how unlimited you are by supporting innumerable stars and planets, by the systematic rising and setting of the sun. Instead of surrendering unto you totally I am still fascinated by the little “broken glass” mysticism the path of devotional service has to offer. I have performed very arduous austerities and still do, all with the hope of subduing the body and becoming a great mystic, but of what use is my siddhis in the face of death, who trembles at the mention of your name. In all please do not forget the voice of this sojourning soul.

Dear Lord whose complexion is golden, it is I your eternal servant trying to make contact after so long. You have come to this planet on several occasions either directly or through your messengers or your incarnations. Each time you came the message was the same; develop love for you. Somehow or the other, I have not taken full shelter of these messages, thinking I have so much time left. However with each passing day I can see that this is one of the biggest lies I have told myself. Seeing how much time I have spent away from your loving service I beg that you kindly reinstate me in your service. In all please do not forget the voice of this sojourning soul.

I hope this prayer helps you all connect with the Lord deeply. Till next week do read, internalize and follow for more.

The Gold and Diamond Test

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be here to share with you all once again yet another interesting topic. I hope you all had a productive week, mine has been great and I am particularly looking forward to a festival today, which is celebrated by Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

My topic of consideration today is one which many spiritual practitioners find difficult to wrap their minds around, because of the delicate nature of the subject. This subject is one that has made many people become atheist and has also strengthened the faith of those who are believers. It can be summarized in a single phrase; “why does God allow his devotees to go through tough times”. However before we begin to deliberate on the subject matter let’s look back in time and cite a few examples.

Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible was of a simple disposition, he helped the poor, fed the hungry, healed the sick, but in the end he was betrayed by his own disciple for 30 silver coins (is a man’s life not worth more than that? How cheap). In the last meeting with his disciples when he was about to be arrested by the soldiers and one of his disciples drew a sword to fight back, Jesus did the opposite and turned himself in. Bear in mind that this is a person who is a sakti-avesa avatar (one who is imbued with divine potency to do God’s work), he is described as the Son of God in John 3.16 and we all know he had divine powers and abilities. He didn’t try for once to use that power, when brought before the people and the Pontius Pilate asked the crowd to choose between him and the criminals, they chose the criminals over him, still he didn’t complain. Today he is celebrated the world over, and almost everyone knows that name, Jesus.

Haridas Thakur who is the manifestation of Suddha nama, and who is known as nama acarya was flogged in 22 market places, lied on etc. He had the potency to descend wrath on those who did these things yet he didn’t, and the lord intervened. Today his glories shine even brighter than ever.

The Pandavas, knew Lord Krishna on a one on one basis, imagine having the Supreme Lord as a relative and friend. Yet despite this privilege they went through such terrible situations that one can hardly even imagine the extent to which they must have been damaged.  They were poisoned, attacked, set up, had their house burnt down, had their property usurped by dubious means, had their wife stripped in front of an assembly of men, My goodness, this one is tough. However in the end they were victorious and today their glories are sung even more. I can go on to list more examples but I’ll just stop here.

Now let’s draw a few lessons; sometimes in the course of our spiritual life we are thrown into some situation which may seem absurd, however if we fail to learn the lesson, we fail the Gold and Diamond test.  What is the Gold and Diamond test? To purify gold and make it pure, it is subjected to heat, diamonds are just carbons subjected to a lot of pressure over many years. Similarly for a devotee’s qualities to shine, he has to be subjected to heat and pressure, after that one can see the Gold and diamond in him/her. A pseudo devotee will melt under heat (trials) or break under pressure (tribulations).  Lesson two, when a devotee is going through the Gold and Diamond test, in matter of time, if he/she passes the test, we may not see the transformation or elevation physically, but internally there is a great milestone covered, and they are given more access to divine strength and protection.

Lesson three is often times people want to know but these people who pose as disturbances to devotees what is their fate? Usually not very good, Judas committed suicide and couldn’t even spend the money he got from betraying Jesus, the entire Kauravas lost their lives and none of them was spared in the war, etc. The devotee doesn’t wish anyone bad, however Krsna never lets his devotees perish, “Na me bhakta pranasyati”. It’s a promise. I once had an interesting experience once while travelling by road in a public bus.  A private car, double crossed our vehicle forcing us to come to a complete abrupt halt and he jumped out of his vehicle yelling at the driver of the bus I was in. That day was Pandava Nirjala ekadasi, I was travelling with another devotee, and we were observing the fast in total. We were chanting the entire time of the journey, when this incidence began. The driver who had forced us to stop began hitting the windshield and went on to hack off the side mirror on our vehicle.

Our driver became furious and wanted to retaliate, I told him “wind up your side mirror and stay put”. When the devotee who was me tried to speak calmly to the enraged driver who was trying to damage our bus, the driver moved over to our side of the bus as we were seated in front and started to rain abuse on him, the devotee in question wanted to step out to and probably engage with the driver, again I told him, “ignore it, remember you are fasting”. Now this is where it gets scary, from nowhere in a split second a van carrying military officers, suddenly pulled over, and in a few seconds the man terrorizing our vehicle was in cuffs. It was unbelievable, it happened so fast that many people didn’t even understand what was happening. While the officers were whisking him away, for causing nuisance and destroying our car, he started to apologize. A few minutes ago this was the same person who had vowed to beat us up if we dared step out.

The devotee with me looked and me and said this must be instant karma. I said “you see why it was pointless go out to meet him”. The devotee in no way wishes that those who prosecute him should suffer, rather he prays for them, Jesus said on the cross “father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Haridas thakur was constantly praying in his mind for those who were flogging him and that inhibited the lord from acting, even Arjun who saw his wife stripped in front of him, turned down retaliating when he had the chance at the battel field. However the Lord, in his own sweet time, solves everything.

I don’t intend to make this too lengthy, I hope you all learn a thing or two from this. Till next week do share, read, internalize and follow for more.

The Core Test

Dear readers,

I would like to kick off my post this week by saying a Happy Independence day in advance (if you reside in the States), easy on the fireworks, lol. Actually last week while we were having a beautiful Swan boat festival and the fireworks were going off, there was one particularly loud that made my heart skip a beat. It really got me thinking about how something so small could release so much sound energy. Anyways I hope you play safe with the fireworks.

That being said, this week I would love to share something that speaks in relation to what is our content. What exactly are we made up as individuals? Now I am not speaking about our real-self here but more in terms of what kind of mood and mannerism makes up our inner identity. To help us grasp this idea I have taken the liberty to share with you all a brief analogy. Let’s take a Tea bag, a Potato and an egg as our specimen and then we carry out an experiment. When these three items are subjected to intense heat and put in boiling water, they all respond differently, each according to its own constitution and capacity. The potato in its fresh state is hard on the outside and seemingly tough, one would expect it to be the strongest in this test. However this is not the case when it is subjected to high temperatures over an extended period. After sometime it softens and even splits open.

When the egg which has mainly liquid as its internal constitution is subjected to the same situation, it comes out hard and refined. Finally when the Teabag is subjected to a similar situation, it dissipates itself into the liquid and also gives off its aroma. Interestingly, Humans are also like this. Some of us fall into the Potato category, some into the Egg category and others in the Teabag category. When life gets tough and most especially our spiritual practices get difficult, some of us encounter the situation like “potatoes”. We go in strong with a lot of “resolve” but somehow or the other we fail to brace the circumstances and come out soft and weakened. We lose the battle against the forces we combat. There are others who go in like Eggs, apparently fragile and weak but then the entire situation brings out another side of them, which sometimes they never imagined they had. There has been cases of people who lost family members, went into depression but came out of it and became counselors. In spiritual circles, there are practitioners who “fell, or backslide” but comeback with a lot more vigour and become a story of inspiration for others to emulate. These people have been able to harness a lot more than just courage or positive thinking, not to say that these factors aren’t necessary but they have gone even a step further.

The final set of people are those who go in like the teabag. We all know that the teabag is the most unassuming thing we can think of. It is soft and naturally quite simple. In the real sense one would expect the teabag to undergo total destruction in such a situation of high temperature and even pray to see the remains. Nay, it surpasses all others in its glorious exit. Like a magical act, the teabag comes out unharmed and even leaves a lasting impression of itself in the situation that was supposed to be excruciating. These class of people are very rare, because they are the ones who change things in our world today be it in spirituality, economics, management etc. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says that one who neither rejoices nor grieves….. is very dear to Him. The first two items could be said to have reacted in either grief or happiness, depending on how we see it. One comes out hard and the other soft. However the teabag goes into the same situation and is content with being “itself”. The result is that there is aroma and a change in the situation itself. When we encounter tests and setbacks as spiritual practitioners or as just regular folks, the result of the situation is mostly born from what our real internal composition is made of. If we are pseudo spiritualist then we become soft or weakened by the situation, if we are serious but attracted to the results of our actions then we come out hard. This hardness is often times seen in different forms in various people. A quick example; some spiritual practitioner’s take the vow of celibacy and in the long run become very hard hearted due the “nature of their austerity”. They seemingly have overcome a big challenge, which is total abstinence from sex life which is supposed to allow us connect to a higher sense of love, but they have created a different problem, which is lack of compassion or an unforgiving spirit, because they do not have a good sense of the austerity which they practice.

Regular folks may go through adverse situations of poverty, and struggle so hard that they eventually becomes financially successful but end up being miserly because they feel “no one helped them when they needed help”. So in one sense we may feel it is best to go into adverse situations and come out “strong” but we should also reflect on how much this so-called “strength” is actually helping our advancement. We can only give out what we have inside. When we squeeze oranges, we get orange juice and not pineapple juice. Similarly when a spiritual practitioner is subjected to various forms of trials and test, his/her response is proportional to their core values and constitution. If we have hate, anger, grief, envy, malice etc. inside of us, naturally when we are put under intense temperatures or when we get “squeezed”, all these attributes come out. On the other hand if we have love, peace, compassion, equanimity and happiness inside of us, when we get “squeezed” we will exhume these very same traits. The key to surviving these tests isn’t just being tough or hard, it isn’t about just knowing how to deal externally with a situation or knowing how to let waters slide. It is about knowing how to radiate what is truly inherent in us, to the degree that they reflect the true nature of a compassionate spiritual practitioner.

I hope this sheds some light on the subject, till next week do like, share and follow for more. Happy Independence Day celebration to my friends who live in the states too.

Sharpen the Saw

Dear readers,

I hope you are all having a great time. It’s been a great privilege sharing all these insightful topics with you all and I can only aspire to share more as time goes on.

Today while I was in the Kitchen, by the way for those of you who do not know me personally, cooking is one of my biggest activities besides blogging, I had a thought flash through my mind. I had been working on some recipes and finally put it out for people to try and I got some really interesting and positive feedback. The highlight of my thinking process wasn’t just the nature of the type of feedback I got but the fact that my time and energy in researching those recipes were actually yielding results.

It dawned on me, that time and energy invested in self-development is never a waste, as long as we maintain the right attitude. To sharpen the saw, means to improve oneself in whatever field one has an interest. To sharpen the saw means to realize that if we must succeed then it is up to us to make it happen. To sharpen the saw means to realize that to the degree we keep reinventing and rebranding ourselves, to that degree do we keep our relevance.

As a chef I have noticed that the final outcome of a prep can be foretold often times in the manner in which the cook goes about preparing the ingredients and the actual mélange. The result that we desire in the final outcome of the finished prep comes in with the total combination of ingredients, technical know-how, finesse, feeling and the need to constantly better our self. A couple of years back I was to make a very delicate dessert and I was having some difficulty and I asked the Lady who was tutoring me at time “How do you do this stuff, it seems to just wanna mess you up each time.” She looked at me and said “This prep isn’t very kind even though it is very sweet”. Her words hit me and sank deep. She said to conquer it, you must try several times, you must fail several times, you must cry several times and finally when it sees that you are serious about making it, it would let you. Needless to say, that was what happened.

The process she described was sure to happen however I could dictate how much I wanted to try, how much I wanted to fail and how much I wanted to cry, by how much I was going to sharpen my saw. Similarly in other aspects of our lives we have to decide how much time we want to invest in an activity or endeavor by checking how “sharp our saw” is. The phrase “sharpen the saw” is actually coined from a short story of a wood cutter who goes to chop down trees but ends up having a bad day as his saw is blunt. AN old man walks by and tells him to take a break and sharpen his saw, to which he responds I don’t have time to do that. I have to cut down this tree. The old man replies “well that is correct however at the moment it is taking you so much time to do this, why not stop ,sharpen your saw and get back at it.”

Often times many of us complain about how difficult certain things are in our lives, and we give a million reasons why we do things the way we do. However what many of us fail to admit is that, we are constantly trying to hack down the tough trees of life with our blunt saws. We feel taking time out to sharpen our saws, or to master our craft is “too time consuming” yet we wonder why the next guy is doing so well. Truth be told there is no endeavor that gives itself easily without an additional effort. I have taken a close look at many successful people and there is a common denominator; they spend a lot of time sharpening their saws. Every hour others spend hacking at the trees of life with their dull saws, these men spend it in sharpening their saws, so that when they finally begin to cut through the forest of obstacles and life goals, they do so with such an effortless gets. What many of us fail to see is how much effort has been put in, prior to such an effortless gest.

One rough patch some people have in life is they are busy cutting other people’s trees. What does this mean? They have actually realized how important it is to sharpen the saw and have invested a great of energy in doing this, only to proceed in a wrong direction and begin cutting the wrong trees. Some people use their “sharp saws”; talents, effort, training, etc in cutting a tree because everyone is cutting this tree. For example, if I spend a good deal of my time creating a recipe and fine-tuning it according to my time, place, circumstance and materials and I abandon all of that at the last stage of execution to adopt a method from someone else who doesn’t have a similar scenario like mine then I may as well be welcoming trouble. If your saw is meant to cut trees of music, then go ahead, if it meant to cut the trees of show business then go ahead, however do not be confused. Now that been said, some of us are actually “people of many hats” being blessed by two or more talents.

Such talents come with the intelligence to be able to know the difference and thus learn to sharpen these saws differently. No matter how multi-talented one may be, the saws are always sharpened differently. Try to spend sufficient time on each saw and only then can such gift of multi talent be enhanced.

I hope this blog sheds some light on the subject, till next week do read, share, and follow for more.

 

SEXUAL ENERGY 2: EQUILIBRIUM

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a great pleasure to be able to share with you all this insightful topic yet another week.

With the events that have been unfolding in my life recently I wanted to share some deep thoughts on another subject matter however I felt I rather run through the second part of this blog before I do, lest we may forget and not return to it. If you haven’t seen  the first part please do try to read it here .This week I shall focus our discussion more on how to manage this powerful energy that we have and how we can attain some state of equilibrium when it comes to balancing our sexual energy.

Today there are many schools that teach various aspects of yoga and some of them try to teach people about how they can harness their sexual energy. In fairness to those that are legit, I will say not all of them meet the mark and a lot actually end up sinking people more into the very pit they promised to help them rise from. In attaining some state of equilibrium as regards sex, there are usually two ways to go about it; the path of total exhaustion of the desire and the path of intelligent redirect. The first path usually entails people having to engage in the act until they are totally disgusted with it, and end up tired of it. However as we all know, sex is something that doesn’t leave us even up to our death bed.

There is a story of a man who wanted to know how long the desire for sex stays in our mind, and so he went to a sage for an answer. The sage told him to return the next day but to bring his beautiful young daughter along. The next day, as scheduled the man showed up with his daughter and the sage took him to see a dying old man. As soon s they entered the room, the old man’s eyes lit up upon seeing the girl. The sage spoke with him for a while and then they all took leave of him. When they came out the sage asked the man who had come to inquire from him about the duration of sex desire in our hearts. He said “when we were inside the room with the dying man, did you notice anything?” The man replied “Yes I did, the moment he saw my daughter he had his eyes on her the entire time we were there and couldn’t stop staring at her”.

Very well, said the sage. That is your answer. Sex desire doesn’t leave up until death. So one may ask, if it so difficult to “rid” oneself of sex desire, then how can we be free from it. This brings us to the second path which is the path of intelligent redirect. There are two sub divisions under this path. The first is to actually utilize this energy in a setting where we are not promiscuous or frivolous, and where the end result of this energy is to be responsible for the act itself. That is to procreate and raise children of higher consciousness. The desired setting would be in a legal or spiritual union where the couple involved know that they have a sense of love and duty to one another. This would be the most followed for many as it allows one to gradually outgrow the desire by steady practice of detachment while still having a healthy access to it.

The second path is seen to be taken by many religious men who have dedicated their lives to the work of God, and this is celibacy. Being celibate is a huge responsibility and many who delve into it, unprepared usually fall out faster than they went in. Celibacy is actually more than just the physical avoidance of sex, it also involves the subtle abstinence of sex. That is in the mind, which is the sitting place of our thoughts. Those who choose to attain a balance by going through celibacy need to train themselves to maintain high mental power to be able to deal with the constant influx of thoughts that plague our minds. Thus it is not uncommon to see that many celibates who have a deeper understanding of celibacy, practice some sort of meditation, usually sound or mantra meditation to help deal with the mind.

One thing that is certain is; irrespective of which path we choose to follow, we must realize that attaining equilibrium in our sexual energy takes a lot of work, dedication and practice. We have to be true to ourselves by keeping away from those objects/association/environment that stimulate our desires. We must be conscious of our diet, as this plays a vital role in stabilizing our sexual energy. If we have our food infused with so much passion, then chances are that we would definitely become filled with passion and ultimately search an outlet. We must also learn how to regulate our eating and sleeping habits, as these two have a lot of direct influence on how we can control our sex lives.

One would notice or remark that when we are observing some sort of fast be it religious or even just as a matter of diet/ detox, we usually have less inclination to sexual activity. This is because for a body to be fully stimulated the tongue, and stomach have to be satiated. When we have a stomach that is heavy, all that energy bears down on our lower regions and naturally we stimulate the sexual energy. It is difficult to be fully engrossed in sexual thoughts or activity when we are starving. This is not to say starving is a solution but to draw insight from it as a pointer in helping us maintain a healthy eating habit that doesn’t stimulate or agitate our senses.

I’ll like you to reflect on these few points for now and subsequently if there are more questions on the matter I shall try to clarify further. Till next week, do read, internalize and share. Follow for more

SEXUAL ENERGY: REPRESSION vs SELF CONTROL

Dear readers,

I am glad to be able to share with you all yet another interesting topic this week. I hope you all are faring well. Today I intend to take on a topic which is very delicate and yet probably less spoken about.

For some reason or the other, the word “sex” draws a varied range of reactions when mentioned, that most people just naturally shy away from the subject matter. In as much as I shall try to divulge as much as possible on the metaphysical aspects of sex, I do hope that my readers find this dissertation worthy of their perusal. Sex is one very powerful force in this material world that we live in, so much so that almost everything we do revolves directly or indirectly around it. Many people may beg to differ on this point however when we take a closer look, we can see that the truth isn’t farfetched.

On the physical level, sex involves two people coming together in physical union usually to gratify the senses, to give and receive pleasure. This is however the lowest form of the sexual energy, because its motive is purely self-centered and there is usually no code of conduct. When we transcend the physical and move to the subtle level then we begin to see that there is more to sex than just the rubbing together of two bodies. It is very subtle and can have life changing effects on those who seek to misuse it or engage in it for frivolity. We have to agree that in this world the highest form of pleasure is linked to matters relating to the sexual energy, and thus it is often difficult for many people to curtail the excesses that come with it.

When two people come together in sexual union there is a lot more happening than just the exchange of pleasure or body fluids. There is a very high energy exchange that occurs, so much so that people find it had to break off a sexual partner who may be abusive because they have been deeply connected to each other through sex. Not only is the physical pleasure addictive in itself, but the impressions this exchange leaves on the mind of those involved can be lifelong. As a simple example, it is no news that many women find it difficult to completely forget the man they had their first encounter with, no matter how long it may have happened. This is not because he was so special but because the act in itself is special and thus the impressions on the mind are heavy. In as much as I want to give my readers a good preamble, I fear that I may make this dissertation too lengthy, as sex as a topic is so vast that I cannot possibly cover everything here.

Nonetheless, if we are to speak of repression and self-control, then we must try to understand the subject matter a little more in Toto. So one may ask why repress the sexual energy in the first place? Why not experience or enjoy it? Well we have to understand that everything done in abuse has a negative effect no matter how good it is. Thus we must understand that there is a way and direction for employing our sexual energy, so that we do not abuse it, or become enslaved by it. When people lack the ability to rise above the impulse of the sex drive then there is an artificial need to “stop” it or repress it, science shows that this is bad. Often times when we speak of self-control on the matter of sexual energy, many people confuse it with repression. However there is a vast difference between the two; while repression is the person trying to avoid the subject while the mind still lingers on it, self-control on the other hand is the use of the intelligence in subduing the mind while simultaneously keeping off from it physically. Repression has a negative after effect while self-control has a positive on going effect on the practitioner. There is no gain saying that one who is apt in controlling his sexual energy, is less susceptible to Sexually transmitted diseases, and he is a master of his mind. He knows that there is more to sex than just the physical aspect and as such if he has to engage in it, he has to play by the codes of conduct to ensure that he is less entangled in it. The person who has learnt to apply self-control when it comes to matters of sex, has his mind under control and his passions tamed. He is to be seen as a person of intelligence, as it takes a high level of intelligence to constantly subdue the mind. The intelligence I speak of here is not “book intelligence” but intelligence gained from acquiring knowledge that is absolute in nature.

Repression on the other hand is like a pressure cook/pot. On the outside we may feel “wow, what a reserved and composed look” however the internal “temperatures” are a lot higher than we can ever imagine. Just as the pressure pot sits on fire and cooks faster in less time, similarly those who physically avoid sex but have their minds 24 hrs. on it, are like such pots because they are constantly feeding the mind with these desires while shutting the “valve”. There will be an eruption sooner or later. Repression is not only bad for those involved but also for those around such a person. When there is repression of sexual energy, we see the “outburst” in various ways such as unnecessary negative attitudes, anger, intolerance etc. These sentiments do not only affect the person who is repressing this energy but also triggers a ripple effect on those who are close to them and the society in which they live.

So in a summary, repression is not a healthy path to controlling the sexual energy, however self-control is. In my next blog, I shall speak more on some useful tips on practicing self-control. Till then, do read, internalize, share and subscribe