Tag Archives: Children

Past in Present!

15 Apr

The extended Swamily recently made a road trip to his home town Madurai, for his mother’s 70th birthday celebration ceremony (the traditional way with homam or havan, vedic chanting, etc). After the ever-customary Temple visit & purchasing all kinds of stuff (from eatables to brass items to Nannari sorbet to clothing to sticker bindhi to lamp wicks to gift items to rug cloth bags for saving the planet from plastics to what not…) and now-customary visit to Ramana Mandhiram (RamaNa Maharishi‘s uncle’s house, in the lane opposite to the South Gopuram of the world famous Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, where BhagawAn had the profound death experience, while still in his teens, which set his historic one-way trip to the sacred town of AruNAchalA aka ThiruvaNNAmalai, to shine his “Who am I!” spiritual light on the world), they had some time in hand to visit the residence where they’ve spent several of their formative years. 

Present Past… 

During the return journey, the family took a quick detour into a suburb of Dindigul called NGO colony, where Swamy lived for a few years, during the middle & high school years. Swamy’s sister-in-law #3 (of the 3) made an insightful observation, when the extended Swamily were about to get down from the vehicle to see the old house at NGO colony, Dindigul.


Past Past… 

After being away from the family for a few years (for better education, he was left with his grandparents & maternal uncle’s family in Madurai, during the Primary school years, which happened at BAla Gurukulam & Sri VidhyAlayam schools, in S.S.Colony), this independent house (Swamy Sr’s first own house – quite an achievement then, for an honest government servant with a fairly large brood & an extended family) is where Swamy lived & studied from 6-10th standard (@ MSP Solai Nadar Memorial HSS, which apparently remains one of the top schools in the town); met with a life altering (quite literally) sports accident (shattered the knee cap due to improper landing at long jump – for which the PET didn’t bother to train anyone – that too immediately after a sprint, for which Swamy seem have a natural flair) not only abruptly ended his potential sports career (India still awaits an Olympics Gold in Sprint 🐥) but also forced him to discontinue the scholastic education (due to incorrect treatment by an allegedly drug-addict doctor, which resulted in 2 surgeries & prolonged the period of recovery to several months) that he (pretty much always) did well in (a State Rank in S.S.L.C & University Rank in Engineering will sufficiently substantiate that claim), for an year (which eventually made him Anna to his fellow students, then onwards, simply because he was an year senior to them 😜); became an ignorant agnostic for a short duration (blaming God for letting him down😣); turned believer (is it gnostic! 🤔) again; discovered (or re-discovered) his talent for sketching & writing (no formal training in either craft, other than joining a popular online course for painting & promptly discontinuing it soon 🙃); silently appreciated the value of family (hint: his left leg was in a PoP cast for months, due to 2 surgeries to fix his damaged knee, so he couldn’t go to the restroom on his own for awhile – at least until he could pull himself around with the cast 🤕), et al.


Long story short… or in today’s SoMe terms – blog story tweet 😁, that house occupied a significant number of gray cell real estate, to store piles of unreal memories, letting the mind reminisce the long gone past, as and when it liked. And there are a few other places like that as well (Swamy Sr was a humble – untainted as well – government servant, who was routinely transferred from one town to another, every two or three years), not only in Madurai, but also nearby towns like RAmanhAthapuram, Dindigul & UtthamapALayam.


Present Past… 

Incidentally, Swamy was inadvertently visiting some of these places, in the recent past, for different purposes. As a serious seeker, he is fully aware that there are no accidents or mere coincidences in Life. So, his sister-in-law’s (an intellectual & writer similar to Swamy, but doesn’t dabble on the spiritual space, unlike Swamy) remark triggered a thought train… (ah, that bloody wily mind… how glad is it to be in the thick of pointless action again.. & again.. & again.. 💭😱).

Here’s what she said (may not be verbatim, but close enough)…

Anna, you seem to be the most excited person, who wants to see this old house!

A pertinent point, considering the group of people getting out to see the house (now in dilapidated condition, locked out without any inhabitants) included 2 (out of 4) of his younger brothers (who too have lived there) & one more sister-in-law (who is familiar with the house) & the other s-i-l’s parents (who happen to be paternal aunt & her husband, for the brothers & thereby familiar with that house as well). The 3 kids (of the younger brothers) & the driver were just curious about all the excitement of the (yet-to-grow-up) adults, as they had no clue about the place. But the kids were naturally excited about climbing the wall & exploring the ancient dwelling of their parents, where they probably were the past replicas of them in the present! 😯


After spending a short while, checking every part of the house (it was locked, but one can go around, climb the stairs to the open terrace & also peep through the partially shut windows) & recalling a few interesting (or intriguing, depending on the perspective) incidents, the group left the derelict place, overflowing with memories of a long gone, but obviously not yet forgotten, past. The smartphones captured the house, frozen in time, for posterity, as it’s quite possible that none of them may ever visit it again! 


Past in Present… 

As the vehicle continued to clock kilometres on the expressway, speeding towards Chennai, so everyone but Swamy can rush back to their survival routine the next morning, Swamy recalled a different incident, from his Master Sadhguru’s life, which resonated with what he’s now going through. 

It’s called the Karma YAtrA, which enabled those involved in Sadhguru‘s consecration of the Dhyanalinga, (a one-of-a-kind perennial energy form, consecrated using the ancient mystical process of PrANa PratishthA, which is his Guru’s will that took him 3 births to complete), to experience their past, the memories of which was impeding their participation / presence, by exploring places of their past!

(you may know more about it here… http://isha.sadhguru.org/mystic/dhyanalinga/consecration-process/karma-yatra/)

After reaching Chennai late in the night (which can also be termed as early in the morning), taking a brief nap & waking up fresh, listening to the cooing & chirping of birds, it became clear to Swamy that, he has started visiting places of his past recently, not to remember the past (that was a reality a long time ago, but obviously not anymore) but to let go of it (as it has no relevance or value to the spiritual pursuit, progressing towards self-realisation). For good! 
Though Swamy’s state of awareness is still limited to only the Present Past (past events of the present birth / lifetime) and yet to expand to the Past Past (past events in previous lifetimes), he’s at least clear about what needs to be done in the present, ASAP, about the past… Quickly cover a few more places that enshrine memories… to complete the Karma yAtrA, i.e. journey to the Past in Present! 👍👣😌🙌

Be joyful 😌 & spread the cheer 🌻
~Swamy

@PrakashSwamy 


Mata, Pita, Guru, Deivam – the order that everyone still gets wrong! ~ Part 1

9 May

Mata, Pita, Guru, Deivam – the order that everyone still gets wrong! ~ Part 1 

Mata (mother or mummy), Pita (father or pops), Guru (teacher or spiritual guide), Deivam (God or supreme Truth / reality) – this is the order of obeisance we’ve been taught from our childhood, first by the first one (the second one usually doesn’t bother about touchy-feely things like these 😉 and later by the pseudo third ones (standard edition teachers who ass-u-me Guru = Teacher, because it’s an easy way to intimidate students, and parents  :O)

The BAUHumbug way everyone understood this is it’s the ascending order of respect or devotion, i.e.

  1. Respect your mom, aka Mata – she’ll be delighted if respect is elevated to worship (just the way it’s in the 69% terribly worshipful southern state), ‘coz your daily survival pretty much depends on her whims & fancies
  2. Respect your dad, aka Pita – he’s perfectly fine with respect (worship is reserved for temples only, in his lifebook), which in many cases is expected & in most cases is demanded as well
  3. Respect your Teacher, aka Guru – this is where the confusion starts because
    a) there are too many teachers one encounters in a long studious lifetime, who all invariably expect respect anyway
    b) pretty much none of them teach you anything really useful to make a decent living
    c) none of them even remotely appear like the ISO certified Gurus in their flowing robes and shining faces beaming from within amazing beards but instead are like the uncle or aunt next door, which is essentially what they are anyway 
  4. Worship your God, aka Deivam – the key here is ‘your God’ because of the amazing human trait for inventing not only Gods but also multiple religions for the one & only God (at least that’s what every scripture worth its ink says, consistently)

20131102_140745You, like any fellow human, do respect or worship all of them diligently, but eventually end up wondering why, especially after you start using your own credit or debit card extensively for your expenses, however incredulous they are (I meant the expenses ;). 

Why the heck should I respect (forget worship dude, that’s so Jurassic)? 

  • Parents (oh yeah, both of ’em – Mata & Pita) – who just did their duty, which they’re supposed to do, because they’re the ones who chose to give birth to me, not the other way around (given a choice of birth, you would’ve probably picked Ambani or Zuckerberg or one of those Khans or even the newest power heartthrob Trudeau – even though it would be pretty amazing if you had made those choices before you were even a drop of sperm)!
  • Teacher – ugghh, someone who’s been repeating the same lessons from pre-independence era, doesn’t like being questioned (even genuinely curious ones like ‘has no one ever planted trees before emperor Asoka’) and adamant on reducing marks for not putting a stupid brown wrapper on all text books & notebooks (with a label for each – at the top right hand corner). And, even more importantly, s/he isn’t on WhatsApp to respond to your queries just in time!
  • God – where the heck was s/he when I had fractured my limb or lost in the final round of national tournament or unable to find even one girlfriend from among 20 or so girls in my class. Oh btw, how come no one in my extended family or friends have never seen him/her even once!

20131102_140219Absolutely justified WTF reactions and very valid questions

Pretty much every millennial (are they called Gen Z now!) human being’s reaction would pretty much be the same, it won’t be a surprise if many of them have already posted their angst on Facebook wall, shared their bewilderment on WhatsApp groups & Snapchatted their dismay as well. In fact, some of them may be already trending on YouTube, beaming their bemusement in a video shot with their Pita’s latest smartphone, while munching a post-dinner snack from Mata, keeping aside the homework their Science Guru wanted the next day morning, while watching Morgan Freeman having riotous fun as The God in Bruce Almighty!

Knowing well it’s practically impossible for the first three digital dinosaurs to answer any questions by digital natives and the fourth (God, in case your social media hopping, big-G searching fickle mind has already forgotten about the MPGD order) doesn’t bother about such silly questions because s/he will sedately wait for many yugas for you to ask the right question (that too to yourself), let’s give up the idea of conjuring some millennial-friendly answer (that’s very relevant for their dinosaur elders as well) and focus instead on comprehending the problem at hand.

Moore’s law states that the computing power will double every two years (as transistors simultaneously became smaller & more powerful).

Thinking2Like any smart human whose intelligent sentences have become enchanting quotes (hundreds of Swamy’s too are starred in swamyray.wordpress.com or can be searched using #swamyray or #swamy on Twitter, Facebook & Google+), monsieur Moore has also left a lot unsaid as he must’ve been a very busy man predicting such complex things and then compressing them to fit under 140 characters (that’s a tweet length, in case you’re a relic from the Cretaceous or Mesozoic era). Here are the other possible things he hasn’t said, which Swamy gathered using the bloody expensive, ludicrous looking VR kit launched by one of the many smart phone makers, who are all in a no-win race to keep churning out phones that are nothing but clones – exactly the same as what everyone else makes!

Moore’s law unstates (or does not state – in case your aunt happens to be a language teacher) that…

  • Human intelligence will be halved every two US presidential terms (Clinton-Bush-Obama-Trump or Madmoiselle Clinton – you do the math)
  • Human interest diminishes to the inverse of infinity every two decades (that’s typically when a long-serving political leader finally decides to hang his/her boot, not because s/he wants to but since they’ve too – especially since they’re medically dead & his/her son or daughter is anointed to the throne by the chamchas & chelas, thereby ensuring nothing ever changes)
  • Human inquisitiveness is replaced by indifference every two academic years (as your birthday celebrations shrink from party for everybody to somebody to almost nobody, which is typically every two years, you assume you’ve grown bigger & bolder but neither the first & second – umm Mata, Pita – nor the third – grrrrr… Guru – seem to agree with your self-assessment and still admonish you for questioning their individual wisdom & collective might)
  • Human insight into problems – self-crafted or otherwise – and solutions (needless to add) subdues to the point of irrelevance every 2 apps (if you’re blinking, then WhatsApp your granddaughter)

Swamily11It’s only the last point that needs our attention, but Swamy went ahead and wrote the whole Moore’s law section because it amply demonstrates Swamy‘s uncanny ability to connect seemingly unconnected abstract dots about pretty much anything known to humans (and unknown as well, apparently). Otherwise, even without the whole Moore’s law section, this blog would still be very readable & thoroughly enjoyable. Heh.. heh.. 😀

We live in the exciting era of human devolution where intelligence has become a nondescript commodity, because for pretty much anything and everything a human still needs to do there’s an app. And, for any question, there’s big-G (no, not the Fourth G, but Alphabet’s subsidiary that’s probably used to find what the heck Alphabet means or does as well). So fitting the famous foursome into our daily lives is kinda hard for appstatic youngsters. And that’s exactly why the problem of misinterpreting the order and its purpose needs a fresh perspective, interpretation & clarification, which, incidentally, hasn’t been appified & uploaded to Play store or App Store yet by some vague 14 year old self-taught app whizkid from Yangon (they now have a democratic – well, almost – government, in case you’re the type that shuns reading or watching NEWS).

First things first (isn’t that why they’re, ahem.. first) – the order.

The Order of Mata, Pita, Guru, Deivam isn’t Ascending but Descending.

IMG-20140525-WA0000It’s fine if your mouth involuntarily screamed WTF, that too in the presence of M, P or G (not that they’re too bothered, considering that’s how every 3+ year old kid reacts these days). That’s what happens when you find your comprehension of something taught for ages (an inherent design flaw of the colonial way of rote education designed to produce obedient clerks that kicked out the exceptionally effective Gurukul way of learning that used to produce humans with their thinking & curiosity intact) takes a 180 degree turn.

CoachSwamyTake a moment. Gulp a cold one to cool yourself, if needed. And start reading the next part, aka Part 2 (that’s what usually comes after Part 1, unless you’ve emigrated from Mercury where the numeral system is entirely different, just-in-time before a billionaire blondie POTUS decided to not let any non-American into, well, America.. where else!) carefully, from the very first sentence onward.

… to be concluded in Part 2… as soon as Swamy finishes writing it 😉

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

~ @PrakashSwamy

 

NATYA – a simple formula for success

25 Oct

On Vijayadasami day (Oct 22, 2015), considered auspicious for Vidhyarambham (initiation of learning, of all kinds, including performing arts) in Bharat, Swamy was invited to be one of the chief guests for a classical dance event. While Swamy doesn’t have any claim to be associated with dance in any way (he at least actively listens to many kinds of music, including the classical, and even sings & plays percussion instruments, though not formally trained in either), he chose to accept the invite as a mark of respect for the tremendous amount of effort that goes into learning an art or craft (or even sport for that matter, which Swamy has witnessed up-close-and-personal as he’s been part of the quest to raise Jr as a sports – Chess – champion) by all beings involved – the learner (usually an eager child), the learned (the teacher, trainer, coach or Guru, who trains many eager children), the learning enablers (usually parents and a few near & dear) and the learning itself, which is an excruciating, arduous & invariably long process that inevitably consumes a significant part of the childhood. But on any day, Swamy would gladly vote for children spending time learning a performing art, craft or sport, instead of wasting long hours pointlessly in rote learning.

wpid-20151022_181121.jpgThe event Swamy was invited to was a Salangai Puja, to mark the elevation of learners of classical dance from beginner to intermediate level, by letting them wear the salangai on their legs (around the ankle) for the first time, after a few years of learning the basics of classical dance – Bharatanatyam, in this case. The learners will continue to learn for a few more years under the Guru before they can do the Arangetram, i.e., first (typically public) solo performance, announcing to the world that s/he is ready to perform the dance independently anywhere.

SP31Four children – Adhira, Shailaja, Shivadarshini & Srujana – from Siva Natyalaya (the popular dance school of Mrs. Bhuvanadevi Karthikeyan located at Madambakkam, near the famed ancient Shiva temple) were elevated by their Guru to the next level on Vijayadasami & Swamy was one of the chief guests (the other two – Mrs. M.R.Lakshmi & Mrs. Krishnakumari Karthikeyan – were eminent persons from music & dance arenas respectively). This blog post is an excerpt of Swamy’s speech at the salangai puja (not his first public speech but certainly the first at a performing arts or cultural event).

NATYA – a simple formula for success

SP4Swamy’s speech at Siva Natyalaya’s Bharatanatyam Salangai Puja (சலங்கை பூஜை) event in Chennai on 22-Oct-2015 (the speech was in Tamizh தமிழ், which Swamy is quite conversant with, as it happens to be his mother tongue தாய்மொழி)

Namaskaram. After seeing my profession on the invitation (in chaste தமிழ், no less), you must’ve been wondering about what I really do for a living and what relationship do I’ve, if any, with dance!

பிரகாஷ் ராமஸ்வாமி – முழுமை வழிகாட்டி, மனித உள் ஆற்றல் கண்டறிதல் மற்றும் பேணி வளர்த்தல் வல்லுநர் 

SP14I too have wondered the same way about the dance part, as unlike the other two chief guests here – one from the classical music world (learning from none other than the great Semmangudi himself) & the other from the classical dance world (whose grandfather learned from the legendary Balasaraswathi), I’ve nothing to do with dance. Music has been a part of my Life but dance not so much. But as I also write (blogs now, books soon), it’s natural for me to ponder about things and wonder about connections between seemingly unrelated things. When I thought about me & dance, it dawned upon me that there indeed is a powerful connect. And that is Adiyogi (Swamy pointed to the bronze Nataraja statue on the stage that was decked up with flowers for the auspicious occasion).

SP2As someone on the spiritual path for the about 6 years now through Isha yoga, we’re deeply reverential to Adiyogi. Shiva is considered the first yogi in the yogic culture. Incidentally, he also happens to be the Lord of Dance, i.e. Nataraja. His famed dance is the Tandava – in Ananda & Rudra forms – and he’s also known as Thandavakkon in Tamizh because of this. So, now you know the connection between Swamy and dance (the audience chuckle). 

SP9Once that became clear, I’ve thought about what to say in this forum, where eminent persons from music & dance arena are there and children are performing the traditional Bharatanatyam dance beautifully with able guidance from their Guru & the accompanying musicians. Since children are familiar with formulas in many subjects they learn at school such as maths, physics & chemistry, it would be appropriate to give them a simple formula for achieving success in their quest to become eminent classical dancers. And that simple formula is NATYA. Very easy to remember (as the term itself means dance) and hopefully to follow & practice as well.

SP10N is Nada. Nada means sound. The universe that we’re part of is said to have originated from sound –  the primordial sound AUM. Recently, NASA scientists have managed to make the sound of Sun audible and it incredibly sounds as AUM (which isn’t surprising for our ancient culture as the many sages & enlightened beings have figured it out many centuries ago). All Creation is said to be just sound and the creator is also known as Nada Brahma. For dance too, the basis is sound. We’ve seen how beautifully the word Pankajam in a song was depicted as blossoming of lotus by the children. When we hear the word (sound) and see the depiction through gestures or mudras (movement or expression), we can connect with it easily and can comprehend better. 

What’s critical in this relationship is the alignment – between sound and movement in the case of dance. It could be something else for other types of Life pursuits. Alignment with a source, principle, goal or purpose. If your action is in alignment with a purpose, the result will be beautiful and the expreince will be joyful.

SP12A is Agnostic. In these turbulent times of religious intolerance, agnostic is a very sensitive world. But agnostic doesn’t just mean non-believer. It also means someone who is not biased – towards good or bad, like or dislike, progressive or regressive and so on. Shiva is also known as Aghori, someone for whom nothing is ghori or horrible. He accepts everything as it is. The people surrounding him are always depicted as demented beings, but he loves them the same way he would love any other being. He’s as comfortable being in the graveyard smeared in ash, wearing skeletons as he’s in his magnificent Somasundareswara form (worshipped in the famous Madurai Meenakshi temple, in Swamy’s home town). That’s why he symbolises Life the way it is. 

As a learner of dance (or anything for that matter), you shouldn’t be biased towards one or the other. I like this adavu or I don’t like that jathi. This song is more beatiful to perform than that song. I prefer that accompanying person to this one. Your focus should remain just the dance itself (performance or action). And you’ll just accept everything else around it as it is. Nothing is good or bad, no likes or dislikes. Everything just the way it is. That’s being agnostic.

SP21T is Transendence. Loosly translated (as Swamy was speaking in Tamizh – a far deeper, more delightful & meaningful classical language), it is elevating oneself from the present state to a state that’s many levels above or beyond. In the yogic path, it is achieving the state of Samadhi – an eternal state of bliss, which enlightened beings are said to be in, all the time. 

In dance (or any performance or action), Transendence is not just for the dancer (to go from a learner to a spectacular performer) but for the spectators too (going from hmmm to wow). You should reach a level of performance where there’s no stage, no accompanying artists, no spectators, not even the dancer but just the dance. That kind of a dance would bring tears flooding from the eyes of anyone blessed to be present. Tandava certainly would’ve done that to the sages and celestial beings who may’ve witnessed it, as Tandava is the dance of transendence. Both at cosmic and atomic level as creation is also known as the dance of Shiva.

SP28Y is Yearning. Not earning, which unfortunately is the focus of many star performers in any performing art today. Without yearning for something, it’s not possible to achieve the state of transendence. The sages who’ve become enlightened have performed yoga or tapas for many years. The saptarishis have spent not one or two but 84 years in preparing themselves to receive the grace of Adiyogi, who after observing their diligent preparation has become the benevolent Adi Guru (first Guru or Master) as the benevolent Dakshinamurthi to transmit his yogic knowledge to them, several thousands of years ago.

SP23As a dancer (or anyone performing a purposeful action), you must have immense interest and expend tremendous effort to be someone that people line up to see, not because you follow the principles of dance to the T but because being part of your performance lets them transcend to a different level. That’s how you’ll be known as a Balasaraswathi, Rukmini Devi, Padma Subramaniam or Alarmelvalli. In classical music, Bho Shambho belongs to Maharajapuram Santhanam. One can’t think beyond Madurai Mani Iyer when it comes to rendering Ka Vaa Vaa. Suprabatham is synonymous with MS. The same holds true for Kanda Sashti Kavacham and Sulamangalam sisters. Such astonishing levels of achievement is possible for you too, if you truly yearn for it.

SP17A is Absolute. Adiyogi is depicted as either an ascetic in a blissed out state of meditation or ecstatic state of tandava. He’s not partially in either state but absolute in both states. Whenever you perform dance (or any other purposeful action), your intent, focus and intensity has to be absolute. Such a state is not possible if you are performing for others. The performance or action will naturally flow from within and encompass all those who are touched by the performance or action in some way, only when it is absolute. If every moment of our Life is absolute, there’s no other choice for us but to be joyful.

So, that’s the simple formula of NATYA
Nada – action in alignment with a purpose.
Agnostic – accepting Life the way it is, without any kind of bias.
Transendence – elevating oneself & others from the mundane routine to an eternal state of bliss.
Yearning – immense interest and effort to achieve peak performance.
Absolute – intent, focus & intensity to achive transendence.

SP35Nataraja’s (Shiva in the form of Lord of Dance) dance Tandava is said to depict or embody the 5 thatvasSrishti (ஆக்கல் அல்லது படைத்தல்), Sthiti (காத்தல் அல்லது பொறுத்தல்), Samhara (அழித்தல் அல்லது மாற்றல்), Tirobhava (மறைத்தல் அல்லது மாயை விளையாடல்) & Anugraha (அருளல் அல்லது விடுவித்தல்).

It’s easy to see the NATYA formula is directly associated with the 5 Tandava thatvas (தாண்டவ தத்துவம்). But if I start explaining that now, the organisers may open their Netrikkan (third eye), as we’re running out of time. So, let me conclude by requesting you to use the NATYA formula for success in your pursuit of Dance. May Nataraja’s Grace be with you for a purposeful Life of dance overflowing with Joy.

The following is an extension to the speech (not shared at the event due to paucity of time), connecting the dots between NATYA & Tandava.

SP29Nada = Srishti (creation or Shiva as the source of creation) – Life of creation (humans inclusive) in alignment with the creator.
Agnostic = Sthiti (existence or Shiva as the preserver of creation) – Accepting Life the way it is, without any personal bias.
Transendence = Samhara (transformation or Shiva as the transformer of creation) – Elevating oneself (& others in one’s presence) from the mundane routine to an eternal state of bliss
Yearning = Tirobhava (maya or Shiva as the master who plays with the ignorance of his creation) – Having immense interest and willing to expend any amount of effort to know the Truth or purpose of Life.
Absolute = Anugraha (enlightenment or Shiva as the Guru who benevolently enables one to achieve and remain in the state of eternal bliss) – Having absolute clarity of intent/purpose, total focus and burning intensity to achive self-realization.

SP34As there is Nada Yoga (yoga of sound), there is also Natya Yoga (yoga of dance or movement). Dance, when performed as an offering to the ultimate (Shiva as Nataraja) and not as a mere performance, has the potential to let the performer transcend to the state of bliss. Just the way being in the mere presence of a realized being (like Sadhguru) can elevate a seeker to a different state of Life experience (beyond the known physical, limited to the five senses), being present during the perormance of a dancer whose dance is an offering to the Lord of Dance can and will let the participants transcend to a different level of experience – akin to being present during Nataraja’s Tandava itself.

NATYA(Oct-15)May Adiyogi’s grace be with you to immerse yourself in and experience the joyful dance of Life!

@PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

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Fifty 50!

10 Dec

Asura_BookJust completed reading Asura by Anand Neelakantan, an interesting tale on Ravana’s perspective of the Ramayana epic. Ravana’s tale was all the more interesting to me as I’ve already reminisced about the near complete absence of this great King of Lanka in the Sri Lankan history. Devouring 500 pages in 4 days transmogrified me to much younger days, when I used to borrow many a novel from my uncle, who was a member of the prestigious Victoria Edward Hall library in my hometown. I had to finish the books quickly so that he can return them and borrow new ones, which in turn I could borrow (is that borrow2 or 2borrow!). Worked very well for me as those books and a weekly dose of Hollywood flicks shaped my linguistic and communication skills better than what was taught in school and college (I did have fantastic English and Tamil teachers, btw). Sadly, the focus of schools and colleges pretty much remains on studying and not learning, even today!

ThevarMaganWhile writing the review of the book (read Swamy’s review of Asura here), my mind wandered off (just doing its job, that’s all), introspecting human nature and Life (my favorite subject of all time) as we know and live. And I ended up concluding that each one of us are part Asura and part Deva, irrespective of whether we like this hard hitting fact or not (which is the case with all hard hitting facts anyway). Interestingly, the thespian Kamal Haasan tried emphasizing the same thing in more than one of his movies like Thevar Magan (my favorite, not just for Kamal’s stellar transformational performance but also the great Sivaji Ganesan’s first and probably only opportunity to showcase his real acting prowess – ah man, what have the directors denied us all along!), Nayagan (fan favorite, Wow, what a performance!), Anbe Sivam (critics’ favorite – hard to believe it was directed by Sundar C!) and Aalavandan (everybody’s joke, despite his awesome take on playing the villain, which his other avatar as Director messed up big time). Well, before we transcend to the suspended reality of mythology and movies, let’s spend some time on dissecting the AsuraDeva mix of genes in us.

Gardening1When the seed is sown, every one of them has the same, if not equal, chance to grow into something valuable, purposeful and memorable. The eternal rule remains the same for Flora, Fauna, Humans or the multitude of other beings whose existence we don’t even know about or incapable of perceiving in the realms beyond the physical.

KashGarden22sEach flora seed can grow into a plant blossoming with vibrant flowers in myriad colors, attracting honeybees and butterflies that get drunk on pure honey and romance them for an endless supply of that elixir. In return, they also help seed more plants through pollination. Some seeds grow into plants that bear grains, fruits and vegetables, which other creatures consume for their survival. And a few other seeds grow into magnificent trees offering shelter to birds and other tree living creatures and shade to humans and other land beings.

KashGarden26sThe Gardener who shaped and nurtured the flora certainly has taste. And patience. But humans, needless to say, have neither. We will pluck the flowers from the plant and make garlands out of them to decorate our hair or favorite deity, as a daily offering along with Camphor, Sambrani and Agarbatti. How many times have we restrained ourselves from plucking them and spent time instead marveling at their vibrant colors, intricate shapes and delicate texture? While animals take only what they need from plants, we try to make them produce more by dumping chemical fertilizers because we always want more of everything. A lot more than what we really need. We also promptly saw the huge trees off to craft furniture, carve musical instruments and build houses!

OMG-LionbEach fauna seed can emerge into a marvelous creature that’ll coexist peacefully with Mother Nature, living Life the way it is. From the mighty Lion to the exceptionally fast Cheetah to the chirpy Sparrow to the gentle giant Elephant to the mammoth Whale to the slippery Seal to the magnificent Peacock to the slithery Snake to the busy Ants to the majestic Eagle to the chatty Parrot to the cheerful Squirrel to the clever Crow to the agile Ape (oh, we’ve lost all that agility in the name of evolution brother) to the mesmerizing Cobra to the friendly Dog to the curious Cat to the spirited Rabbit to the motherly Cow and a million other known and unknown species, they all play the Game of Life by the law of Nature and go through the 3 stage cycle without needing a 5-Why analysis on Living Life!

OMG-MonkeybEnter the all knowing all conquering human and instantly their absurdity of existence comes to the fore. Lions and Cheetahs are caged in zoos (a treatment meted out to convicted human criminals); Sparrows are chased away by towering skyscrapers and cellular transmission towers (all they need is a tiny box or hole); Elephants are chained in temples and murdered for their tusks (how would it feel when someone plucks out our gleaming white teeth for decoration); Whales and Seals are either hunted mercilessly or haunted by the slimy and lethal deposits dumped into their abode, the ocean; Peacocks are defeathered to be used as decoration (will we ever hang our hair and nails on the wall!); Apes are cut open or injected with chemicals in the name of evolution research (we’ve evolved into something monstrous that they’ll never want to be!); Cobras are captured repeatedly for extracting venom or beaten to death (how does one pray to yet kill the same thing!); Dogs are stoned and chased away or instructed to behave and win contests for their proud owners (which is the same we do with our children as well); Cats are associated with bad omen (bah, humbug!) and will be lucky to have even the 2nd of their 9 lives; Cows are milked and then slaughtered for meat (hard to imagine even the hard core criminal among the beef lovers having cannibalistic tendencies towards their mothers!). And invariably all fauna are cooked and eaten, by humans the world over!

LordShivaThe Creator who has given shape to the fauna from the endless beginning would never have imagined how his magnificent creations would someday end up as toys or playthings in the hands of his most puny and meek creation, that is truly, madly, deeply, hell bent on proclaiming that the only business of belief left is the mindless destruction of nature and it’s way of Life, which sadly is the polar opposite of how Life is supposed to be!

Thinking_ChimpAnd do we even have to get started on ourselves? The less said the better, for obvious reasons. Right from (pro)creation, we want to live Life on our terms, i.e., the way we want to live and not the way it is meant to be. Children are selected and given birth (boys outnumber girls, despite the well known fact that only women can give birth, still) at the time of our choice (the birth star and sun or moon sign is critical for their success in Life – some idiots even go for fancy dates such as 11-11-11 or the up and coming 12-12-12, supposedly our judgment day and also happens to be the birthday of a Superstar, which is no different from getting a fancy number plate for their car by paying a premium). They’re enrolled in premier educational institutions (which is one of the most thriving businesses, in case you finally realize that your monochromatic job sucks and look for an alternate career) that are totally focused on the output (100% pass) than outcome (inherently good, intelligent citizens who can raise the standard of living for all – including themselves – and make this once great planet great again). They’re advised to pursue multiple co/extra-curricular activities that’ll improve their earning capacity or popularity (irrespective of whether the child actually has a natural affinity or aptitude for any of them). If they manage to grow up and find their footing in this planet despite all this nonsense, their natural attraction to the opposite sex will be opposed vehemently by the so called elders, citing social and economical status. And if and when they’re finally married and start their own family and mind their own business, the whole vicious cycle starts repeating itself for the next generation.

Galaxy_AndromedaWe don’t fare any better when it comes to stepping beyond ourselves as individuals and looking at how we are in the larger context of society or nation or planet or universe (merely imagining our existence at that magnitude will result in the Zen moment of realizing our insignificance in Nature’s scale and scheme). We compete, compare, consume, loot, rape, kill, dump waste, wage war, insult, grow jealous, get angry, curse, scream, cry, wallow in sorrow, complain, point fingers, fail to accept failure, crave for more, celebrate success than contribution, ignore wisdom while trying to acquire knowledge, don’t care or share, pity ourselves rather than believing in the self and live forever in darkness while light is just a window or doorway away and not at the end of the tunnel as it always presumed to be. All it takes is lifting the veil of the ignorance curtain to let the light of Life in, but since we’ve been taught ‘Ignorance is Bliss’, how would we even strive to know what true bliss is! Unfortunately, we never really understood the true meaning of simple but profound quotes such as ‘Old is Gold’! In reality, Gray hair doesn’t necessarily assure wisdom, for our choice is always to react and not re-act in Life!

Crying_GirlOur biggest – and probably only – problem is that, despite having mountains of literature and mines full of scriptures that tell us in black and white about Life the way it is, we won’t listen! We are so focused on winning at all costs by driving our Life on the fast lane in the expressway to excellence that we’ve totally forgotten that Life on the slow lane is far more joyful, and can also help us realize that the Journey is the Destination and Joy Drops from exhilaration are far more valuable than tear drops from exhaustion. Our skulls are so thick and ego so swollen that we won’t spend even a single quiet moment to comprehend what many a Yogi, Guru, Mystic, Spiritual Master and Philosopher have tried telling us about Life, from time immemorial. They keep trying till this moment however, but we keep following them blindly without really listening to their message!

Human neither understands FINE isn’t Fine, nor knows that when Life recycles Time, the Present becomes the Past in the Future! And No, we can’t go on like this forever and still expect to evolve further. I realized the folly just in time before joining the ranks of the Forty+ fools and chose to communicate about the most precious four letter word – Life, the way it is – as often as I can, to open wide as many eyes I could, to the possibility Life offers to all, without any discrimination or disproportion. And my Master’s grace is the guiding light in this second – hopefully better – half of my Life journey, in which I write, therefore I am.

Puppy_PotpourriOur survival in the long run is so bleak that I would say we’ve about an 80-20 chance – Eighty for self-destruction and Twenty for self-realization! Wish you will listen and change for the better now, before it is too late. If we steadfastly refuse to change our ways even now – despite harsh reminders from nature in the form of a tantalizing Tsunami or rapidly melting Polar ice or even an uncontrollable Contagion – the difference of 11 and 12 won’t be 13, but zero. Even the cup-is-eternally-half-full compulsive optimist in me wouldn’t give us a chance of Fifty 50!

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