Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Your current intense and serene enchantment,
Your eternal youth and sensual movement,
Your perpetual presence and abiding dignity,
Makes ‘Bo’ wonder about your enormous longevity, O Narmade.

Through eternity and times,
Through history and rhymes,
Through mountains and meadows,
You are still a young and green ado, O Narmade.

Creation of planets, destruction of stars,
Birds and beasts, peasants and Czars,
War and worship, exodus and subsistence,
You seem to have witnessed every existence, O Narmade.

From birth to pyre, life is a transient yarn,
But it appears laws are unalike for gods and human,
From Amarkantak to the Arabian Sea,
But for disruptive twists, you are intransient see, O Narmade.

Temples and Ghats numerous all along your course,
Dargah and Church are also facets in your discourse,
Pious and the spiritual that you are to every source,
You are the divine force, O Narmade.

Your Parikrama is a pilgrimage supreme,
That powers man to the universal light,
Today however we have dammed your stream,
That’s powers our lives with the modern light, O Narmade.

Blessed are the birds and mammals that you touch,
Blessed are also the fish and plants that you shelter,
For they easily survive life’s rigorous torch,
Because of your generosity and motherly tweeter, O Narmade.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Andhra farmers in Vidarbha do better than local

A popular story that has been going around the rural governance circles in Vidarbha over the past few years is that there are a few families of immigrant farmers originating from southern Andhra Pradesh, now settled in and around Mouda and able to extract crop harvest far better than the local farmers.
On 30th October 2011 Dr. Srihari Chava and I went to Tarsa village is about 45 kms from Nagpur in the Mouda Tehsil. We reached Tarsa at about 4 pm and enquired about the Sarpanch. Unfortunately he was at Nagpur and so we met his brother Shri Sridhar Lohabare. Sridhar is a full time farmer looking after all the family land, we asked him about his activities, earnings, as well as about the yield extracted by the Andhra farmers. He said that while he was able to draw a harvest of about 30 bags of Paddy per acre, the Andhra farmers draw about 40 to 45 bags of Paddy per acre and earned much better. He explained that the Andhra farmers used more pesticides and fertilizers and get better results while the local farmers were unsure about the results considering the higher cost of such inputs.
We then requested him to introduce us to one such Andhra farmer and therefore he took us to Banor village to meet one Shri Muppaneni Venkateshwar Rao, a progressive farmer, owner of significant tracks of land, various agricultural machineries and a rice mill. His story was very fascinating; his father, uncles and aunts were five brothers, two sisters when they under their grandfather migrated in the year 1962 from a place known as Malturu Mandalam in Prakashan District of Andhra Pradesh. His grandfather sold all their very fertile land of about 3 or 4 acres for Rs. 5,000/- and moved to Pentakampa village in Bodhan Taluka of Nizamabad District. They stayed there for two years but could not find suitable place to settle the entire family. During that time some Andhra farmers were buying land in Maharashtra and his Grandfather visited this place, got in touch with a broker called Vermaji of Nagpur who showed him some land. The Grandfather like it and decided to buy about 10 acres in Mouda for the simple reason that it was near the Khindsi River. The land was not level, covered by trees and the river was rain fed. The family worked very hard, faced some very tough times. During draught years there would be no agricultural activity and his father and uncles worked as labour cutting and carrying stone quarry on their backs and clearing forests. In those days there were no proper roads and during rains the whole area got inundated knee deep in water. Going from one place to another was mainly by foot and took a lot of time. After 1982 when the Totladoh project got inaugurated and Pench River waters got diverted through the many irrigation canals which were constructed, the scenario for agriculture improved. After this many more farmers migrated to this region from places like Godavari District, Guntur District, etc.
The reasons why the Andhra farmers were able to get better yield than the local farmers was explained by him;
a)      The local farmers were imprisoned by traditional thinking like excess fertilizers should not be used;
b)      The Andhra farmers had migrated from some very strong agricultural regions like the Godavari basin and had ideas, techniques, and knowledge which not known to the local farmers;
c)       Any new fertilizer, seeds or other input which came up in the southern states like Andhra and Karnataka were immediately introduced by the Andhra farmers in this region and the local farmers had no idea about it;
d)      New machinery like tractor and harvester were first introduced by the Andhra farmers and not by the local farmers;
e)      The local farmers were comparatively lazy and not so hard working as the Andhra farmers;
f)       The Andhra farmers worked hard to level the fields which were sloping towards one side which helped to conserve water;
g)      After irrigation became regular the Andhra farmers worked hard to reduce the height of the borders thereby more land was made available for farming.
This Muppaneni family has come a long way since 1964-65 when they purchased about 10 acres. Today the entire family owns and tills more than 100 acres of agricultural land, operate a 2 ton capacity rice mill, and run other machinery like trucks, tractors, harvesters, cars, etc. The Grandfather was the first generation in migration, his five sons and two daughters were the second generation who were born in Andhra but raised in Maharashtra. They lived and studied in Maharashtra and have added another 20 children over the years (one of them being Shri Muppaneni Venkateshwar Rao who has studied up to the 12 STD from Porwal collage) which are the third generation in this migration success story. The next generation is also born in Maharashtra but most of whom are studying in schools and colleges in Vijaywada and Guntur Districts of Andhra.
A couple of disturbing matter that he shared was one that, NTPC is constructing a Thermal Power Plant on very fertile and irrigation fed agricultural land very near to his land while there are rain fed land not very far away at Tiroda village. The effects of the thermal power plants will be severe on the agricultural activities in the neighborhood. Second farm labour is migrating to urban areas and there are no good hands available to work with. They work less hours, are less productive but expect more pay as per government norms.
Shri Sridhar Lohabare shared that the Andhra farmers have been living in this region for nearly fifty years now and have contributed in the growth and development of the region. They do not dabble in local politics and restrict themselves only to their work. The Andhra farmers help and support their own people unlike the local who try to pull each other down. The local farmers have always been playing ‘catching up’ with them in terms of yield and productivity. However the government agriculture department is not very useful when it comes to providing fresh techniques and knowledge. The officials of the department do not involve themselves whole heartedly in agriculture and their productivity is also less compared to the Andhra farmers.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dreams and nightmares - behavioural stories

These two stories stared at me from the local newspaper ‘The Hitavada’ on the 30th Nov 2011. Normally I go through what is going on around the world especially the economic scenario. They tell me about what to expect in the near future to happen in the world and especially in India. The local news is generally about people and events which I speed through. That day however I could not.
The first story was from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh state. Azamgarh is a rural place where life is difficult without any major employment sources and in the recent past has been rocked with sectarian violence. Towa village 35 kms from Azamgarh city has a population of about 5000 and has primary schools only up to the 5th class. While across the Kunwar River in the nearby town of Saraimeer there are several schools, colleges, technical institutions and markets. From the village to the town there is a circuitous 20 km road but many prefer the 2 km boat ride instead. However the rainy season made matters worse and reaching school and college in time always remained a problem. In the flood of 1998 a boat overturned resulting in the death of a student. Shakeel Ahmed a resident of Towa who is not well educated himself took the initiate of constructing a knowledge bridge across the river with funds raised through public donations. The work started in 2004, with a simple design of spans over six pillars, was completed in 2009 at a humble cost of Rs. 65 lacs. Initially there was no pukka road to the bridge and the entire project was completed in 2010. Today it ferries about 800 students daily back and forth. The news report states, “According to Shakeel it was not an easy task. ‘It was hard to collect money from the people. In the beginning they thought that I will cheat on them. Most of the time I was out of home because I was collecting money. My elder brother was Headman of the village and thought that it was a matter of insult. I couldn’t study much but I wanted to make my children educated’.” Such an ordinary yearning yet so profound and magnanimous in its reach. Rs. 65 lac is not a small amount that any ordinary person can afford to spend on a social cause how-so-ever worthy. Shakeel is said to have visited many places to raise the money including following his village members to Delhi and Mumbai where they worked. I for myself could not have imagined and neither have I heard anyone taking up such a task of constructing a bridge across a river with donations. It must have been labeled preposterous and foolish at the very first instance. Yet today hats off to the belief and courage of one man to have made the impossible into a reality. His faith in goodness saw him through. This was certainly an inspiring story of triumph of good intent against practical odds.
The second one was not. The location is New Delhi the capital of India, where there are more cars than any other place in this country. Exhibitionism and deceitfulness has rendered the people immune to compassionate feelings. Money seems to have become all pervasive in its priority over humanity. Egoistic and stressed people have become ferocious, thick skinned to reason and there is a perceptive feeling of unwillingness to go out of the way to help others in distress. Although such sweeping generalisations do not hold good always but I doubt whether there would be many in India today to disagree with me.  Two young men from Chittaranjan Park in South Delhi by the names Shailaj Roy and Siddharth Roy as reported had entered a parantha eatery at early hours of dawn, where two other men Chetan and Vijay were already present and for some reason there was an argument about who should have been served first. Triviality escalated into a major fight. Initially it was pacified by a policeman but both the warring sides were in no mood to let things pass. After a short while the discord erupted once again and this time sticks and sharp instruments were used.  Shailaj and Siddharth Roy were beaten badly and the former died. Other people in the eatery were watching the fight and sadly nobody came forward to help these two who were lying bleeding, calling for help and barely conscious. Someone informed the police station who arrived after half an hour and by the time it was too late for Shailaj.
Is the craving of the ego so powerful that we cannot overlook minor arguments? Is this what urbanization makes of humans that we have to kill to make a point?  The first event is from a place where circumstances are tough but people end up becoming gentle and behave to become shining example. The second event is from a place where circumstances are excellent but people become unruly and become examples of how not to behave. Isn’t it ironic that in plenty, people become selfish?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rural degradation in India

My recent travels in the rural heartland of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra state has confirmed one lingering suspicion in my mind, that this country is slowly losing the romance of the rural lifestyle; its economy, culture, value systems and emotional richness. It is disappearing slowly. Decades of neglect right from the British occupancy days has made the life in the villages very miserable. Today what we see is a pathetic sight and wish that it can be erased instantly. One can very well imagine what the people who live there must feel.

 The geophysical distribution of population and physical structures or amenities that one sees these days; there is a town with population of a few lacs linked around which, within a 25 km radius there are numerous small villages where the average population is a few thousand, occasionally less. This scenario repeats every 40 to 50 kms until another town appears.  The towns definitely have high schools; some would have a collage, there are hospitals with doctors, market, shops and businesses, government offices, motorable roads, street lights, RCC buildings with electricity, railway station, bus station, goods and cargo transport vehicles, police station, a drainage system albeit open constructed along the road leading to a desolate location outside the town and other infrastructure of such likes.  The people are generally either traders or shop keepers that is the business community or the employees and workers that is the service provider community. They are busy throughout the day with a basic objective of trying to earn money and make a lot of noise either, arguing, shouting, honking, simultaneously while they play aloud film songs. These people are hardly ever at peace.  However some categories of people do not live in such towns. The industrialists live in major cities near their factory, of course some would locate their factory near to the source of raw material but they themselves never stay there. The political rulers also never stay in such towns; they prefer to stay close to the industrialists in major cities. In fact the major cities were erstwhile towns which slowly have evolved into cities. The farmers also never stay in such towns since they also stay close to their source of pride; their land and their village. The village could (I don’t say would) have a primary school without doors and toilets, could have a primary health center without a doctor or medicines, there are no shops and businesses, no roads and transport facility except for the bullock carts, no government offices, no railway bus or police station. The unfortunate villages have houses made of dry bamboo, twigs and logs with dry grass on the roof; every house has an open drain, and of course many without electricity. Some slightly better villages would have houses made of brick and cement however unplastered on the outside. A common factor in all these villages is that majority of the houses do not have a toilet inside. People prefer to defecate in the outdoor, men in the morning and women in the night. The houses generally also accommodate cows, bulls, goats and sheep; animal to work in the farm, means of travel, and to provide milk for food or simply to sell for cash. Attending and caring for these animals makes the whole place disoriented and smelly. The inhabitants in villages nowadays are all farmers, some with land and some without. The noise levels are less as people are either; working in the fields, going to town, returning, or sitting at the local tea vendor cum general store for gossip. The clothes that these villager menfolk wear are mostly white kurta with either pyjama or dhoti and the women mostly wear a dark colored sari. Clothing is nowhere near the colorful and modern designs of the towns and cities. 

Not too long ago, till the 18th century the village was a lively unit where people of every walk of life lived and practiced their trade. People belonging to all the four groups of occupation as defined in the caste system, whether it is the priest, teacher, or soldier, law and order provider or the business man, farmer, or the worker, artisan considered the village worthy of living inspite of the political clout of the towns and cities. The village economy thrived and became the bedrock of culture, religion, art, science, commerce and warfare. Every event or every individual that became popular in the kingdom germinated from a humble village. Every tiny village became the primary block for collection of land revenue and implementation of policies from the court of the king. Food for the population proceeded from the village and still does but then the voice of the village which once upon a time found resonance in the highest court of the kingdom is no longer given an ear. The Panchayat system of local governance had its base in the village and this age old concept still find itself in vogue today.

It is disheartening to observe the total disintegration of the village. Today everything in the village is crumbling down. There is hardly any sight of hygiene and modernity seen in villages now because nobody is interested in staying in the village for long. Most of the members in a village are seniors who have no option to go anywhere else or are far too attached to their land. The expression on their face is pitiable because one can see the signs of despair and defeat. The people of the middle age and the youth have mostly migrated to the towns and cities in pursuit of better education and believing there upon a better future. The people toiling in the farms are probably migrant labours or people who have obtained a leave of absence from their factories to work in the farm and who would move back after the harvest. Over the past decades people have learnt and after comparison between the rural and urban life have opted for the latter. They prefer the hard life of the slums in some town or city rather than the open air of the village because it holds promise of a better future. Life in the village is primarily based on agriculture which without irrigation is only a seasonal activity, involving a lot of hard manual work and unlimited perspiration, and the final remuneration in monetary terms is just not enough to cover the input cost and provide a decent living. One of the reasons why irrigation development does not happen is because funds are diverted to provide for infrastructure in towns and cities. The village community which lives on agriculture to feed itself and the crowds in the towns and cities cannot secure a comfortable life for itself and neither can it visualize a comfortable life in the future. There is no government support in terms of fair policies and neither is there any compassion from the people living in towns and cities who ironically though are entirely dependent for food. As though the town and city population look down upon the villagers, they invariably tease the villagers to join them. This has been happening for long now and one day there would be no one living and willing to live in the village.

Who will protect them against the vagaries of nature, who will support them with a comfortable life after a hard days’ work, who will remunerate them enough to make the whole effort worthwhile, who will make them feel that it is not a thankless occupation? Who cares for the humble villagers anyway?

One day in the future we would see that major corporate houses purchase all the agricultural land available in the country, shift their employees from towns and cities to villages, provide them with decent housing, lifestyle and salaries, mechanize the entire process of farming, bargain with the government for better irrigation systems and then hoard the produce to sell them at optimum profits. That would then be called urbanizing the village.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


1. Strength is important on the inside, do everything even renunciation from a position of strength. Do nothing out of weakness.
2. Fear nothing, have extreme fearlessness and extreme compassion, be gentle. Don’t fear anybody or anything and let no one fear you.
3.”Bear with them”, remain equanimous to external factors, control mind.
4. Soul cannot kill nor can be killed.
5. Action and meditation, both are important, internal and external.
6. Make continuous effort to move or transform from Tamas to Rajas to Sattva state.
7. Beings come from the unknown, live in the known and go back into the unknown. So what is there to be worried about?
8. Make pleasure and pain, gain and loss, conquest and defeat, the same. Work with balanced attitude, calm attitude, then, you will achieve great results.
9.  Be a Yogi, be equanimous, evenness of mind.
10. Perform actions abandoning attachment, remaining unconcerned as regards success or failure. This evenness of mind is known as Yoga.
11. Control the senses, sense organs.
12. One who restrains the organs of action, yet entertains thoughts of sense objects in mind, is a hypocrite.
13. One who controlling the senses by the mind, remains unattached, directs the organs of action to the yoga of action, excels.
14. Do actions free from attachment, for sake of Yajna, to give and not to take (in mind), and then there will be no bondage.
15. Action cannot be avoided, take action but for others welfare, without personal attachment.
16. Action is because of Prakriti – nature, our ego assumes that we are doing it.
17. Forces of nature act with forces of nature, inside to outside, outside to inside, know this, don’t get attached.
18. Sense organs and sense objects these are forces of nature that act and react with each other; our mind is in between, when mind gets involved ego develops, craving and aversions develop.
19. Desire unrestrained, anger and uncontrolled mind covers true knowledge.
20. Beyond body and sensory organs, is the mind, beyond mind is the intellect and beyond intellect is the atman.
21. Be a Rajarshi, be without craving, without fear and anger, have control and discipline of the mind and thinking.
22. Nirvikalpa – without mental modifications, a state of no mind.
23. Let the mind be satisfied all the time; then detachment will come, work will not be work anymore, it will become enjoyable.
24. With faith and shraddha, discipline and control the senses,   and be free.
25. Renunciation and action are one when the mind is focused on the self, in tapas, with detachment, in the spirit of yoga.
26. With sense organs under control, immerse in self, recognize it as the same self in all beings, work like a Yogi, for the benefit of all. Detachment comes.
27. Detachment alone can set you free, one is basically free, it is the bondage of sense organs that imprisons us, we cannot become what we are not.
28. Humans have two natures, one internal and the other external, all action is because of nature, let the internal nature be supreme.
29. At the level of the self (above intellect) all life forms are the same, there is no difference, there is absolute equality and unity.
30. Develop equanimity; stay equidistant from pleasantness and unpleasantness, both extremes. Stay unattached from / to external factors / contacts and become free from external environment.
31. Our six enemies; Kama (unrestrained lust), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (delusion), Mada (arrogance or pride), Matsarya (jealousy). All connected to external contact and leading to unhappiness.
 32. Dependence on external factors brings unhappiness; freedom from external factors brings happiness.
33. Control your desires; you are your own friend and enemy.
34. Let the supreme self be the object of constant realisation.
35. Conquer your senses such that mud stone and gold seem the same.
36. Retire into solitude and practice concentration of the mind.
37. Let the heart be serene and fearless.
38. Avoid extremes, be moderate in everything you do, not too much austerities or too much indulgence.
39. From a scattered mind become a gathered mind.
40. When seeing the self by the self, one is satisfied in the self.
 41. Sense organs have no role, the self can be realized only by trained buddhi i.e. intellect.
42. Control of the mind can be achieved through Abhyas, Vairagya and Sraddha.
43. Earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and ego are the lower eight parts of nature. Intelligence and conscience are the two higher parts of nature.
44. Maya is like the magic of the magician. When you get involved in the magic you are caught but when you are focused on the magician you can’t get caught in his magic. The maya is very difficult to cross if we do not focus on the mayavi, the one who crates the magic.
45. The gunas are also maya. Tamas pulls one deeper into maya, rajas retain one in maya and Sattva helps one to pull out of maya. Sattva is not the highest reality, it only shows the direction.
46. There are four seekers of the mayavi / magician. The distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the seeker of wealth and the spiritually wise one who seeks for the sake of love, which is the best.
47. Craving and aversion are the two main obstacles.
48. Beyond the manifest is the unmanifest. When one is steadfast, disciplined and detached, in pursuit of the unmanifested, one surely attains it.
49. Strive for the unmanifest and the unmanifest will help you to advance further, through intellect, Buddhi, the unmanifest will help you to advance.
50. It is the body conscience that holds us back from understanding the universal atman, the Brahman. The whole function of knowledge and intellect is to penetrate the surface and see the one behind the many.
51. One who does work for me alone and has me for his or her goal, is devoted to me, is free from sensory attachments and bears no enemity towards any being, he or she will attain to me. 
                                                                                                                                 (From Chapters 1 to 11)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A different take on current events

A couple of events or rather phenomenon that are happening in the world today and drawing queer responses from the wise is disturbing me. I am primarily referring to the precarious economic crises in Europe and the USA. The west is richer and a better place to live, no doubts about that. The people in the western countries have a better life style is also true. But does that justify people and countries to live beyond their means?
I would not like to argue this from an economic point of view alone as the wise are currently doing. Every expert worth their weight in salt criticizes Greece, Spain and America from the perspective of (a) huge budget deficit wherein the Government spends more on welfare than it collects by way of taxes, and (b) people at their individual level are spending more than they are earning. Nobody has a solution to offer. How can they have a solution? Capitalism, Socialism or a refined mixture of the two, whatever policies one may follow, cannot offer a solution against itself. This is primarily because life is not just an economic problem to solve.
Life is continuous cycle of birth and death and the current condition depends on one’s past actions. The two variable both unknown and indeterminate in this equation are (i) one does not know of one’s past actions and therefore current expected levels of comforts/discomforts cannot be expected or anticipated, (ii) for each individual this above factor is different. It is not as if Socialism or Capitalism is at fault or a failure. It is just that some people or group of people (call them a country) are doing better or worse than others. That is also because people of similar nature tend to live together just like birds of the same feather flock together. So we always have situations where some families do better than others and taking the argument further where some countries are doing better than others. But each one, whether individual or family or group or country has its own band, a band with an upper limit and a lower limit of permissible levels of comforts/discomforts. Whenever these folks try to exceed these limits, life does not support them. Inspite of best policies and best intentions, their flight of fancy is grounded.    
The economic theory of Consumerism would not accept this argument, Christian faith which does not believe in rebirth would not accept this and neither would modern science. When somebody says that ‘in life we always get what we deserve and never what we desire’, it is immediately branded as defeatist, fatalistic and plain rubbish.  
I am not a thinker, nor a philosopher, but I can jot down a few suggestions for the people of this world to ponder. (a) do good action always, whether it be of the mind, mouth or body, life will always keep improving; (b) listen to your inner voice rather than what commercial ads and peers tell you about what is good for you; (c) stay within decent limits of austerities, today a car is a necessity but a cheaper car is always preferable than a costlier one; (d) consider your work as a duty rather than as a means to an end, do your duty and leave the rest to life to decide; (e)live through whatever situation life places you, without any reaction but with a smile, encourage others to do the same, charity and welfare is welcome to the extent it facilitates to stand up and work and not beyond; (f) poor cannot be eliminated from the world, they are there because of their own deeds and they have been there since beginning of time; (g) loss of every kind is inevitable, some have a bigger share depending on past actions, take it in your stride and encourage others to do the same.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Life passes by!

Feeling anger as I sit and reflect,
Desperate I gaze, with frustration
And hopelessness upon the future,
As I consider my plight.

And life passes by.

The regular routine is not for me,
Neither are desires and wants for me,
Disinterest and indifference for daily events,
A normal day is boredom for me.

And life passes by.

Car and shares are a bother,
Wife and kids are a burden,
Money and power are a tension,
Alone by myself is heaven.

And life passes by.

My basic nature I have seen,
My mind my ego and all,
The steering is still in their hands,
They still make me dance.

And life passes by.

Persevere calls a voice from within,
Every moment has its meaning,
Today I still am a victim of the senses,
But only a prisoner knows real liberty.

And life passes by.

Wisdom is in equanimity,
Balancing the defeats with the victories,
Rise and proceed even when, pothole
Cause a stumble and level roads cause a crash.

Still, life passes by.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We Are What We Feed

Extracted from ‘The story of two sons’, Editorial in The Vedanta Kesari July 2011 issue.

Sri Krishn describes in the Gita that there are two types of treasures (sampat) which every human being possesses. He calls them as the ‘Daivi Sampat’ (divine qualities) and ‘Asuri Sampat’ (demonic qualities). The difference between human beings lies in the degree of manifestation of these forces.

Describing the Daivi Sampat, Sri Krishn says,

“Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in knowledge and Yoga, almsgiving, control of the senses, Yajna, reading of the scriptures, austerity, and uprightness;

Non-injury, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, tranquility, absence of slander, compassion to beings, non-greediness, modesty, absence of fickleness;

Boldness, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride; these belong to one born of divine state”.

As to the Asuri Sampat, Sri Krishn enumerates it thus,

“The persons of Asuri nature know not what to do and what to refrain from neither is purity found in them nor good conduct, nor truth.

They say, ‘The universe is without truth, without a (moral) basis, without a god, brought about by mutual union, with lust for its cause, what else?

Holding this view, these ruined souls of small intellect and fierce deeds, rise as the enemies of the world for its destruction.

Filled with insatiable desires, full of hypocrisy, pride and arrogance, holding evil ideas through delusion, they work with impure resolve.

Beset with immense cares ending only with death, regarding gratification of lust as the highest, and feeling sure that that is all;

Bound by a hundred ties of hope, giving over to lust and wrath, they strive to secure by unjust means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyment.

“This today is gained by me; this desire I shall obtain; this is mine; and this wealth also shall be mine in future. That enemy has been slain by me, and others also shall I slay. I am the lord, I enjoy, and I am successful, powerful and happy. I am rich and well born. Who else is equal to me? I will sacrifice, I will give, I will rejoice”. Thus deluded by ignorance bewildered by many a fancy, covered by the meshes of delusion, addicted to the gratification of lust, they fall down into a foul hell.

Self conceited, haughty, filled with the pride and intoxication of wealth, they perform sacrifices in name, out of ostentation, disregarding ordinance;

Possessed of egoism, power, insolence, lust, and wrath, these malignant people hate me (the self within) in their own bodies and those of theirs.

Thus the moot question; which of these sampats will grow – the Daivi or the Asuri? The answer is simple and best illustrated with an old anecdote. Young Ramu said to his grandfather, “Tell me a story, Dadu.” “There were two wolves”, began the grandfather. “They lived in the same jungle. And whenever they chanced upon each other, they fought. They fought with such brutish spirit, it frightened everyone. They fought and retreated, and fought and thus went on their lives. Now tell me Ramu, which of these wolves will finally win,” grandfather stopped abruptly and asked Ramu.

Confused the young Ramu could not find a right answer. The grandfather understood his position, and said with a smile, “Of course, the one who is fed most”.

The lesson of this simple story lies in the fact what we feed becomes strong. What is the feeding? The kind of food – physical and mental, that we consume determines which wolf we are feeding.

Valuable lessons on Fear

Two recent events in my life, very insignificant, happened within a few days of each other and opened my insight to a truth and a very powerful lesson. I learnt that I am fearful and I also learnt why I am so fearful. I am always trumpeting in my blog writing and also when advising friends that one should never do anything under the influence of fear, that there is no need for fear, blah, blah. But when I analysed my own actions I discovered how hollow my words were.

The first occasion was when an old friend had come to my office to visit one of my partners. We exchanged greetings from a distance. While leaving, she with her husband was standing and chatting with my partner near the main door for quite a while. I could not bring myself to go and meet them. I was sitting in my room, working on some file but practically paralysed. What would I talk, how would I face them, if I go and talk to them would they be interested or would they be polite politically, or should I simply pass them with a nod of the head and walk on, would that be rude? I could not decide. Somewhere there is still some anger lurking inside me and at that moment this anger also raised its head, to justify the ego. Why should I go and meet her, can’t she come and meet me? So, it became obvious to me later that my fear got the better of me. Now, fear of what? Fear of being slighted, fear of being looked down upon, fear of being a loser, fear of the ego being shattered. I was in fact protecting my ego all the while. The rascal won’t leave me easily, even though identified, marked. Hah!

The second occasion was when I went to Bhubaneswar to attend a conference. From there I went to Kolkata and then took a return flight to Nagpur. The return flight was because I wanted to get back a day early to attend to some work and since no train service was available on the day the conference ended. To save on costs I booked this return ticket through my client organisation and hoped that this matter remained clandestine. However it did not. One inquisitive employee started making enquiries of me and I dodged. I dodged because I wanted to save my face, my reputation. I feared being exposed. But then the obvious was clear to all. It was obvious to me that I was trying to save my ego from blemish, my precious ego that I feared losing. I blamed myself for the stupid act and wondered whether I was worth protecting at all.

Both these incidents made me very unhappy, very close to depression. I could observe my fearfulness and could also see that I was becoming miserable because of that. It was a major failure. How much attachment I had for my ego, how much I loved and protected it, how much importance it had. I realized that this was exactly what I did not want. Then how was it that I did exactly what I did not want to? I could see that I had no control over my mind and my thinking. I spent a whole night in remorse.

Swami Ranganathananda in his exposition on the Bhagwat Gita explains, the atman cannot kill or be killed, it is eternal, it wears the body and the mind like clothes, to discards them when they become old and useless. The first major realisation from this episode, the significance of clothes on our body is there only till it is useful and serves a purpose. To give it any more importance than this is foolish. Similarly our body and ego are temporary and have to serve the atman to liberate itself from the cycle of birth and death. Until that moment of moksh happens the atman keeps changing clothes. When undue importance is given to body and ego, they play around with emotions, create karma and therefore we have to go through its complete cycle of cause and effect. Instead of bringing the curtains down on rebirths, we end up creating more births till all past karma is exhausted. How foolish it is to give importance to body and ego, how counter-productive. How precious is every moment in life to work out a liberation road map, why waste it on fancy emotions and thoughts, which take you in the wrong direction. Second major realisation, it is very essential to retain composure and calmness both is conquest and defeat. To be joyous or depressed belong to the realms of the mind, the ego. To entertain such emotions is to give importance to the ego, which will lead to more karma and rebirths. A balanced disposition, a controlled mind, equidistant from any extreme is the only way to live. Neither should failure bother you, nor should achievements affect you. All these have no real significance when we look at the countless births that we go through, countless events, good and bad, all forgotten and of no value to us today. Why keep rolling is such trivial pursuits which do not contribute to the goal of liberation? Very valuable lessons.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yeh Bharat Desh Hai Mera

The past two decades after economic reforms were bestowed on the people of this land, have witnessed remarkable transformation. Life has not remained the same, conditions have not remained the same and Indians have not remained the same. Substantial change has taken place in this land. It is said that change is the only changeless thing, therefore change has to happen. When change happens it is mostly on autopilot. Someone gives a direction but to what extent the rest follow would depend on their sole initiative and understanding. Many mould the changing environment to their individual needs and vice versa get molded themselves by new environment. The envisaged change cannot be evenly distributed and cannot be a common phenomenon. Therefore it is often seen in the net result after all the metamorphosis has taken place that while some changes are good helpful and welcome amongst the people, some are hurting. While some people derive maximum benefits, some others miss the bus. But then since the change process once set forth cannot be reversed, everyone has to live with both the good and the bad.

As an ordinary citizen and lay observer I shall recount some of the amazing changes being witnessed in this country;

Traditions lost: Right from the time of Alexander and then Babur to the Europeans and the English, foreigners have tried to introduce their culture upon the people of this land and succeeded. The Indus and the Ganges river basin civilisations were poles apart from the western counterparts. People here were rich and talented but self-evasive to a fault. The ideals of life as laid down in the Vedas, the Gita and the Ramayana; the altruistic teachings of Buddha, Mahavira and Adi Shankaracharya were of a different standard. Babur in fact hated India and considered this country and its people most ordinary, “Hindustan is a country of few charms” he said in the Baburnama. The only things Babur liked about India were the abundance of gold and silver easy to plunder for which he stayed back. In this land greed and ostentatious display of wealth was looked down upon. The story of Rama and his brothers is one of devoted love, strong principles and sacrifice. The story of Krishn was of righteousness, respect and honour for one and all. Reverence of saints and sanyasis who were innumerable in this land and taking up monastic life by one member from every family by choice was considered normal. In the past, of the four types of human activity, Dharma and Moksha were considered superior to Artha and Kama. But all this is now lost and major erosion has taken place during the past two decades. In today’s India when anyone brings up such thoughts from the past it is at best dismissed as impractical or at worse considered magical like a Harry Potter story. People of this eastern land are no more the people that they were. The invaders have finally successfully decimated him from inside out.

Rural Migration: In the past there had always been migration. The Marwari’s of Rajasthan settled all over the country, the Punjabis went over to Africa and Canada, the Bengal famine and the partition of India were also very strong reasons for migration. In fact the migration story has always been for survival, safety and better living conditions if you leave apart the reason of conquest based settlements. The modern Indian migration story is slightly critical. Mass scale urbanization is taking place and people are moving from rural regions to cities. It is as if an illness or a curse, nobody from the younger generation wants to stay back in their village. The reasons are better school, collage, better job, better housing and better life style. Every city is bursting at its seams, health and hygiene have become issues, cleanliness and order is now passé, mafia type crime has become reality. Transfer of population to urban places has been an age old phenomenon but it had a very slow pace and was never considered an easy option. People in the past who undertook it knew that they would be sacrificing the wonderful comfortable life of the village. With patience, time and efforts over decades, those people have slowly improved their living condition in the city. Today their success is visible to all. Secondly development has not reached the rural regions, which is a failure of strategy and foresight on the part of the government. People have made their conclusion about which side of the bread is buttered and that they will forever miss the development bus if they continue living in the village. Rural migration has become a mass activity and at this scale one can imagine in the next decade only elders will be seen in the villages. That is in case no corrective measures are taken.

Consumerism: The present young generation aged below thirty is spending as well as making their parents spend as if there is no tomorrow. Such a phenomenon was never witnessed in this country before. Of course majority of the population did not have excess money to spend. Those that did have money were always cautious about where and how to spend it. But today in the cities one can see people walking in and out of malls and markets with loads of money and shopping bags. This is not about shopping alone; in fact the attitude towards life has changed, instant gratification has become the key. People don’t believe in maximum diligent usage, stretching the life of a product, recycling, postponing or restricting consumption and saving. All this has become so old fashioned. The today’s generation does not believe in waiting, they want to get everything today and now. Enormous wastage is a direct product and bad effect on physical as well as psychological health of the people due to inadequate digestive ability is a by-product commonly visible. To be able to spend, people have to have spending power. For this they earn, beg, borrow or steal and everyone sees to it that none of the options are left unused. Corruption is equally common in all spheres, all areas, all levels, and all sectors. In fact corruption is accepted as a normal and necessary evil and people have learnt to take it in their stride without any complain. To get their target possession, people would go to any extent, leaving no stone unturned. Very few care to introspect about whether they deserve it or not, very few care to analyse whether they need it or not, very few care to evaluate whether they can afford it or not. What everyone cares for is that they ought to have the thing which they crave for. A person with a cycle wants a bike, one with a bike wants a car, one with a car wants another car; a person with a telephone wants a mobile, one with a mobile wants another with advanced features, one with such an advanced mobile wants an i-pad; a person with a flat wants a bungalow, one with a bungalow wants two; clothes are bought and thrown as if they were toilet paper; hotels and restaurants have become profitable irrespective of their taste and where food is wasted with an expression of birth-right; people who travelled by bus now want to use the ac train compartment, those who used the train now want to use the plane; people who visited temples in the nearby towns now want to visit extremes corners of the country, people who travelled the states now want to go to the America and Europe. Salaries have sky rocketed, employees look for a change in job just for more salary, with a stronger purchase backed demand prices of every ordinary item have also hit the roof and inflation has become a serious concern.

Fearful, fast and furious: Someone said that these days we see more religion but no spirituality. The degree of fear in every individual has increased by many units. People have extreme fears of losing, of failure, of loneliness, of not having, of poverty, of being branded an unsuccessful, but nobody fears losing health or losing mental peace. To overcome their fears people flock to bargain with the gods or the godmen, undertake fasts and conduct rituals. Here too the attitude is so pathetic, as if people believe that by spending money on some external agency they can overcome their obstacles. These day’s temples are becoming rich and one gets to see bigger and more lavish temples being constructed. Without spirituality these would become places of doom rather than places of happiness.

People have become impatient, short tempered and intolerant. Newspapers provide ample examples of such trends on a daily basis right in the morning. Conflict in the name of religion, conflict in the name of caste, conflict in the name of power, conflict in the name of survival, conflict in the name of money, conflict in the name of ego, conflict in the name of jobs, conflict in the name of road space, all these stuff have become regular and unavoidable. Now day’s it no more requires a hindu-muslim context to start a riot. Recently at Nagpur, the Muslim community was at fighting amongst themselves over the place for burial of a saintly person Baba Mustafa who had died, curfew was imposed for several days and matter was finally decided by the Supreme Court. The Kaph panchayats follow their own rules of inter-personal relations and same gotra marriage is considered more than a sin. Honour killing as the term suggests is the only honourable exit available for a family against their daughters marrying outside their caste. Marriages don’t work anymore and the percentage of divorce has increased to match that of the western world. Every caste category wants a reservation proportion marked for them in school, collage, jobs. Road rage, loud honking and accidents due to speed are too common. Everybody wants to reach their destination fast and it is always the fault of the other driver. Everybody wants a good piece of land, the builder, the industrialist, the dalal, the politician, everyone. They have all become so focused on getting it out of the clutches of the farmer. The irony is that this same farmer toils to produce food for all these people. Farmers commit suicide when the burden of loan becomes too heavy and weather becomes too dry to sustain agriculture. Every conflict goes to the courts and today the courts have so much back log of cases to hear and decide that an ordinary citizen cannot expect justice to be delivered within their lifetime.

Virtual world - the new life; Internet and mobile telephony, two important developments under modern information technology has changed the way of life for youngsters in school collages and workplace, the manner in which communication is conducted. Short message service, tweets, emails, chats, v-cons, eclassroom, elibrary, ebooks, webinar and video game; have put an end to talking and meeting. Had this been a long distance communication it would still be acceptable. However even office colleagues post a ‘Hi’ message over the internet chat but do not acknowledge a greeting physically. It is difficult to see kids play games like hide and seek, marbles, and such others. They play games which will earn money like cricket, tennis, billiards, chess and when tired they are fiddling with the video game. Movies have gone animation and it is easier to imagine and create a fabulous story using computer tools. So we have even the Ramayana converted and if one may say so, trivialized into cartoons. Television soaps and serials have captured the kids and the ladies and converted them into zombies. Even if the story gets unrealistic the loyalty does not falter. TRP has emerged as a modern concept with an economic significance capable of making and breaking careers. My guess is that we are just seeing the tip of the virtual world today. This thing is going to get bigger, fancier and very powerful in days to come.

A few more trends: The last twenty years have witnessed a lot many other changes in this country though small but very telling. Women have become more empowered in every sphere of life right from driving lorries, taxis and trains, to becoming porters at railway stations, to breaking the corporate glass ceiling, to holding the remote control over affairs of the country. True we had Indira Gandhi before but she was a one off entity. Today we many more Indira Gandhis. Today even the average Indian women is not contented with being a housewife, she demands and gets financial freedom. However the age old practice of dowry has not stopped and on the contrary has fueled girl child infanticide, thereby skewing the gender ratio in some parts of the country. So we have Kerala women getting married to Haryana men and then the struggle starts for the matriarchal society girl with the male dominant society culture.

In a growing economy jobs are available for asking and sometimes are offered without asking. While the corporate sector feels no embarrassment about stealing manpower from competitors so also the employees feel no fear to jump jobs at the drop of a hat. However the catch is that work pressure has gone beyond the roof. Employees are expected to produce results, finish tasks however herculean they may sound. They are expected to possess a basic intelligence, willingness to work hard, sacrifice personal needs and not succumb under pressure. Salaries and other emoluments have gone ridiculously haywire and there are many samples that draw in crores monthly.

Education in schools and collages has been transformed beyond recognition. 10th and 12th board examinations produce children with 99 percentile marks. IIM and IIT expect students to earn 100 percentile in their entrance examinations. Coaching classes and parental pressure drive kids on a high performance trajectory with huge expectations and stakes. Failures and poor performance normally results in numerous suicides during the results season. Will these kids grow up into abnormal adults having high expectations from society and its groups and creating pressure all around them? Time will tell.

Today this country has a youth majority population with a lot of self confidence. Previously the world recognized the potential and capability of the Indian brain but today it accepts this as a reality. Spirituality is no more the only human export from India to the west but now there are many young corporate leaders, sports champions, musicians, artists, technology engineers, scientists, etc. Today this country also attracts FDI, people with bags of money looking for investment prospects, people with technology and business looking to expand and grow. The world has changed for this country and I literally mean it.

That does not imply that poverty has vanished from this country. It has not. However it has become less. The number of BPL people has increased in number but have shrunk in proportion to the population. The jury is still out on what constitutes a BPL individual but had not people been moving up the prosperity chain the migration from villages into cities would have stopped long back. India and Indians have still not been able to address and tackle the issue of alleviation of poverty as a country and as a government. People continue to struggle till they themselves are able to work better, earn better and live better.

A Hindi film song by a modern time song writer and music director sums it all up; “In dino dil mera, mujh se hai keh raha, tu khab saja, tu jile zara, hai tujhe bhi izazat, karle tu bhi mohabbat.”

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Invictus is a short poem by a lesser known English poet William Ernest Henley (1849-1903). It was written in 1875 and first published in 1888. The poem became the source of inspiration in the twenty first century for the great Nelson Mandela when he was held in prison for thirty years.

The poem motivates the reader to face up to all challenges without fear. Circumstances may be cruel, unbearable, unjust, yet they cannot destroy ones inner spirit. This dignity with which one treats own life, cannot be broken or taken away. In the end life has to triumph, even against heavy odds. The eastern philosophy says that we alone are the heirs to our deeds. What we are today is a direct consequence to our past deeds. So let us face our life with pride and humility at the same time. Bad times pass, nothing lasts forever, and it is very important to remember this fact. We should not permit tough circumstances to overpower our rationality nor drown our positive outlook. That is real strength, real character, real power. Tough situations also teaches us how not to hurt and harm others. These are lessons life wishes that we learn when we go through such situations. There obviously must be some reason for that.

For anybody going through a bad phase in life, this poem comes as a source of succor. It is further more comforting that Nelson Mandela actually found this as his motivation to overcome apartheid and also forgive his oppressors. It is a masterpiece which touches chords of emotions deep inside the heart, brings forth courage and transforms the tears of pain into those of pure victory, over circumstance; making light weight of all sorts of heaviness inside.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Amazing Baba Lokenath

The contents of this post have been extracted from various websites dedicated to this amazing saint. I have omitted the miracle stories and picked up only his life and words. During my recent visit to Sodhpur I was facinated by the fact that my great grand father (who could have seen Baba Lokenath) had built a temple dedicated to Baba Lokenath at Sodhpur. Today this temple is a major place.

His Life

Baba Lokenath Brahmachari was born on Janmastami, the 29th August 1730 in the village of Chaurasi Chakla, named as Kochua, a couple of miles from Kolkata. At the age of 11, young Lokenath left home with his guru Acharya Bhagawan Ganguly. He went to Kalighat Temple in Kolkata and then went on to live in the forests for 25 years and later on in the Himalayas, selflessly serving his master and practicing the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali along with the most difficult Hatha Yoga during 80 years of yogic austerities. Faithfully traversing the diverse paths and disciplines of Yoga, Lokenath eventually reached the pinnacle of Realization. He attained enlightenment, the state of being one with the Absolute at the age of ninety.

Baba Lokenath was nearly seven feet tall with little flesh on him. He had intense eyes and always radiated energy. Denying the needs of his physical self, he negated sleep, never closed his eyes or even blinked. He went about stark naked and in that state he braved the chill of the Himalayas and immersed himself in profound meditation or samadhi to attain siddhi.

After his enlightenment he traveled extensively on foot to Afghanistan, Persia, Arabia, Israel, China and the Northern continent. He made three pilgrimages to Mecca after understanding Islam. Later when he arrived at the small town Baradi near Dhaka, a small hermitage was built for him, which became his ashram. There finally he accepted to cloth himself, took on the saffron robes and lived for many more decades guiding his followers. His teachings were infused with simplicity that endeared the common man. He preached love and devotion and an unwavering faith in God and in one's deeper, immutable self. For him nothing is but self.

On the 1st June, 1890, Sunday, at 11:45 am, Baba Lokenath was meditating when he went into a trance with his eyes open, and while still in meditation, left his physical body forever. He was aged 160. Such a life span from 1730-1890, though difficult to grasp by the modern mind, is not unheard of among great Yogis.

His Enlightenment

There were a number of times when Baba did speak of his enlightened state. His expression of identification with the ultimate truth flows like devine music from the world beyond.

"Words are such poor vehicles to express the inner experience. Any attempt to reduce it to words only belittles the Ultimate Truth. It is like the mute trying to express the taste of nectar."

"Everything that exists in the infinite creation exists within myself. The whole Universe is within me. I am existence beyond space, time and causation. My existence is without beginning or end. I exist in eternal expansion. These words are not meant to be shared. That is the reason you see me spending time with the householders, granting their mundane demands. Do not think when I am busy with you all in worldly matters, that I lose touch with that blissful state. No. Whoever achieves that state can never fall from it. Nothing can ever again be seen in isolation. Everything is seen as the expression of the One. In variety is the taste of Unity."

"Because I eat, drink, attend to the call of nature and live like any one of you, you think of me as one like you. Your greatest mistake is to think of me as a body. How am I to explain who I am? Everyone is so involved in the fulfillment of small desires, so unconscious, so forgetful of the true 'I'.

There is also a Vedic text which explains Baba's state of Yoga: "The One Divine Being is hidden in all beings; He is omnipresent, the Indwelling Self of all beings, the witness, and the one who imparts consciousness, unconditioned and without qualities." (Svetasvatara Upanishad. 6.11)

Recalling His time in the Himalayas, Baba Lokenath said, "While in samadhi, heaps of snow would cover my
body and would melt away. In that sublime state I had no feeling of the existence of my body. I was in that state of samadhi for a long time. Then, finally the effortless state of the Ultimate Truth was revealed. In that state of consciousness, there was no difference between me, the rest of the cosmos and all its manifestations. The inner and the outer all merged into each other as an expression of ultimate bliss, absolute joy. There is no state beyond this to be achieved in human life with total effort and divine grace."

His teachings

Conscious Awareness

To the question, "What is the path to a happy and peaceful life?" Baba spontaneously replied, "Do whatever you like, but do it consciously, with a sense of awareness." The questioner, however, continued, "If you give me permission to do as I please, then what would you say if I hit somebody's head with a stick?" Baba smiled and replied, "Do it and see. I asked you to perform all actions consciously. Once you become conscious and aware, you will find that your conscience will prevent you from hurting anyone." The evils in society are perpetrated because awareness is absent. All evil actions are the result of unconsciousness. A seeker should try to practice all activities in a state of awareness. This is the most important "abhyasa-yoga" or spiritual practice for the aspirant. Most recurring actions that flow from lust, anger, greed, jealousy and the like manifest only in a state of unawareness. The seeds of these tendencies lie dormant in the subconscious layers of the mind.

To seekers of truth and bliss Baba gave another fruitful instruction. "If you intend to become spiritual, you must analyze your actions and thoughts each day before you go to bed at night. You must assess the good actions and evil actions and come to a firm resolution not to repeat evil actions anymore."

Be Angry but under control

Baba also says, "Be angry but do not become blind with anger." Never allow anger to possess you. Then it blinds you. When anger is given free rein, it bursts out and causes damage -- not only to the person at whom the anger is directed, but also, more seriously, at all levels of being to the one who is angry. Let anger become conscious. Step back, be a witness to anger and its mechanisms, to what is appropriate and inappropriate in the situation. The show of appropriate anger in daily life may be inevitable. The parent chastising a child, the teacher reprimanding the student, may call out a display of anger in protective guidance. No one should be consumed by anger. Remain a vehicle of appropriate and conscious expressions of anger, always working for the highest possible good. Then anger cannot possess or damage the mind or body, or thwart the purposes of the soul.

Become the Gita

Baba became the living essence and full embodiment of the Universal Religion of Love, the Sanatana Dharma, which is taught in the Bhagavad Gita. He says The Gita is not some reading material that needs to be read regularly as a routine. You must become the Gita - that is the whole purpose of the Gita.” From the essence of His exalted being, Baba emphasized to His devotees that the Bhagavad Gita is infinitely more than scripture. It is an eternal song meant to be sung through the medium of our lives. As the living example of His own teaching, Baba came to be called 'The Song of the Living Gita'.

Know yourself and that's enough

The yoga practices were a comprehensive training for Baba's soul. When Lokenath asked about the need to study scripture, his Gurudev replied that He should not waste time acquiring borrowed knowledge from books. Instead, Guru Bhagwan advised him to utilize the practice of yoga, "If You know who you are, you will come to know everything. There is nothing in this external, manifested world which is not within you. Believe my words; there is no truth without, because your atman is 'sarvatbhutatman,' the Atman seated in the hearts of all creatures. In you is the dormant seed form of all the knowledge, power and wealth of this entire creation. Why should you leave the diamond and waste time on pieces of glass?"

Divine Presence for all times to come

Today, Baba is no longer in his physical body. He is the Divine, all-pervading presence, the presence that works silently in the hearts of all who are devoted to Him. Baba said, “I have everything in me. What you need in life, you have only to take. Do not think that with the death of this body everything will come to an end. I shall be as available to you as ever when I was in my physical body. Only the body will be burnt to ashes. That 'I' which is not the body will never perish. I am the Changeless, Immutable One who is never lost nor finished. Where and whenever anybody needs my help, I shall be available forever after."

Love pure and unbiased

One day, Baba was visited by a pundit from a local school who proceeded to lecture him on the scriptures. As the pundit was talking, a crow began making an unpleasant sound which the pundit found intolerable. He threw a stone to make the crow fly away only to have the bird return immediately to the same branch and resume making noise. To Baba, the bird was freely expressing the beauty of its existence through its own sound. When the pundit tried to drive it away a second time, Baba interfered. "You have driven away the crow because the sound seemed very unpleasant to your ears, but your sound, too, seems to me equally unpleasant and disturbing." The pundit was shocked because a crow is a crow and man is the master, superior to all creatures. To Baba, each and every creature is itself a manifestation of divinity. He felt the same about the smallest ant as the highest being. As a result, hate had no place in his heart. Baba wants us to know that nothing should be looked down upon.

His words of wisdom, of love and compassion

"Whenever you are in danger, whether in war, forest, ocean or jungle, remember me. I shall save you. You may not know me. You may not realize who I am. Just pray to me with a little touch of your heart and I shall free you from gripping sorrows and miseries."

"For those who surrender to me with love and devotion, if they are in trouble, my heart melts. This is my compassion...and with my compassion, my power flows out to them, freeing them from miseries and unhappiness."

I willingly reveal myself to you. Therefore, you are in a position to reach me, or else, it is impossible.”

I am eternal, I am deathless. After this body falls, do not think that everything will come to an end. I will live in the hearts of all living beings in my subtle astral form. Who so ever will seek my refuge, will always receive my Grace.”

“For more than a hundred years I have travelled far and wide through hills and forests and have collected enough treasures; these you shall have the benefit of while sitting at home.”

“Your material life, your desires for everything material and your natural tendency for yearning material happiness - all these have been divinely designed to take you to a plane of higher evolution.”

“Be it the desire for the transient objects of material life, or be it the desire for the Divine Grace and the highest state of spiritual oneness - can you deny the fact that behind both is that same element of desiring?”

“Everything that exists in the Cosmos, I feel it existing within myself; I have become like that vast limitless expanse existing in eternity.”

“When ignorant people see me in my ordinary human form, they consider me likewise. They do not realize that I am the Paramount Being, the Paramaatman - the one that pervades the Universe.”

“The Gita is a melody; it is a song. No music lover just reads the music. He must need to listen to it to realize its rhythm and harmony. The Eternal Lord has been singing this divine song from time immemorial in the hearts of millions. But we are always busy thinking about the past, doing the present and dreaming about the future; hence we never hear this song.”

See the children - see how natural and unconditional their love and devotion is for their mother. There is no hypocrisy, no false vanity. With such simplicity and trust you must surrender yourself to the Divine Authority. Demand from Him as purely as the child demands from his parents. Pray to Him as if He is the only one you can totally trust, as if He is the one on whom you can exert all your rights. Only then will you realize that you have come so much closer to Him, that he is not far from you - in fact, you will comprehend that He is the one sitting deep in your heart.”

“My child, never miss the opportunity to meet the realized saints, for their blessings and presence will inspire deeper devotion and love for the divine and Guru. Satsang, being in the company of the holy ones, who live the truth, is the greatest blessing of the Lord.”

“Renunciation comes through acceptance of everything that life has to offer to you; detachment comes through your love for the Divine.”

Your eyes cannot see beyond the skin of a person - so you judge him by his spoken words and his external form. I see Him in everybody. Hence, whatever I see, good or bad, it is He. He is pure and perfect. Therefore, whomever I see appears pure and perfect to me. Everything is beautiful to me.”

The difference between Bhog and Upabhog is like that between the husband of a woman and her lover. Upabhog is illicit pleasure; pleasure without proper control and without the sanction of the scriptures. When you transgress the injunctions of the scriptures and enjoy the life of senses - that is Upabhog. Upabhog can never give you mental peace and happiness. However, you can attain spiritual peace of mind through Bhog, which is pleasure with a sense of control and in accordance with the shaastras. Through Bhog, you can even experience His Divine Grace.”

I only ask you to perform all your actions consciously. Do whatever you like but do it consciously and with a sense of awareness. Once you become conscious and aware, you will find that your conscience prevents you from doing any evil deed.”

Any such deed that brings you a sense of repentance and grief after it is done is a sin; any action that creates a peaceful and happy state of mind is a virtue.”

If ever you should feel a sense of gratitude toward me, give some alms to the poor. Whatever you may give to the poor, neglected and downtrodden brethren of yours with true love, I shall always receive it.”

The three shots that cause all the sorrow and misery in this world are - insulting words, loss of wealth, loss of most near and dear ones. One who bears with patience the pain of all these three shots will be able to conquer death.”

Darkness disappears with the rising sun. The thief runs away when the householder awakens. Likewise, contemplate on the higher qualities and the lower instincts in you will run away, and your body will become the temple of the Divine.”

"I have seen only myself. I am bound by my own karma. The materialistic world is bound by the tongue and the sex organ. He who can restrain these two is fit to attain siddhi (enlightenment)."