Tag Archives: Love

Stop before you Start!

18 Aug

Stop before you Start! 

~ the amber light for all spiritual aspirants, to pause before they start the journey

So you’re bitten by the proverbial spiritual bug. As soon as you’ve listened to a mesmerising Master eloquently explaining what enlightenment is, on YouTube, and soothingly assuring it’s a possibility for everyone – that includes, ahem, you! Or when you’ve seen your BFF lose weight miraculously, a mere month after s/he started a new yOgA practice, which s/he learned in your workplace itself. Or when you simply couldn’t put down the book on the methods for self-realisation that you picked up at the airport (at double the cost of Amazon, no less) during one of those pointless business trips. Or when your fav celebrity – one of the many, obviously, since there are one too many now – gushed about how her recent initiation into mindfulness has transformed her as a person overnight (though there is no proof of any such transformation, other than her own assurance to famished fans like you)!

Anyway, one or all of the above happened to you within the last fortnight and you’re all fired up to start the journey to know. Umm, you don’t know yet what you really want to know, but who cares about such nuances anyway. If your fav celebrity got transformed, you, her die-hard fan, too will most certainly get the transformation. And how could the bestselling book be wrong, you ask yourself. And the weight-loss too is a dangling carrot that’s hard to ignore. And, if in doubt, you can always check with the YouTube Guru, who seems to know about everything under the sun! So you can hardly wait and are all set to press the ignition button.

Wait… wait… wait… Hold on for one moment please. Consider this the amber light that may actually prevent you from wrecking not only your #MakeInIndia superbike by jumping the Red, but also potentially wrecking those around you – on the road or at home or even at work, for that matter. Please Stop, just for a moment, before you Start that journey, which might be inevitable, who knows.

The long journey to self-realisation is a lonely pursuit. And a very selfish one!

What the h#!!?,” you may baulk. “Aren’t there millions of seekers, like me, who are on the path, being part of so many spiritual organisations!,” you might marvel. Yes, but…

IMG_20170712_093824There may be many fellow seekers along the path, or on a different path, to the same destination. They may even be part of the same spiritual organisation that you chose to be a part of and may do all the same programs that you do and do all the daily practices that you are supposed to do.

But, rest assured, each journey is different and every seeker has to pursue the journey alone, even if s/he is part of a group of seekers. And because you are aligned with a group of seekers who are all guided by the same Guru doesn’t mean you are all going to work together for everyone’s enlightenment. Tsk.. tsk.. Self-realisation is such a self-explanatory term that one should never get lost in any imagination about it’s self-centered nature. There is no getting around the hard-to-swallow fact that it’s about you and you alone.

sp1.jpgIf I become a better person, as a result of my spiritual practices, won’t the people connected with me be thrilled?,” you may wonder. Indeed, they will be. And the weight loss would certainly earn a few more admirers as well. But…

There will be many spectators along the path – loving family, caring friends, acerbic critics, unqualified self-proclaimed masters, et al. All of them are but mere spectators, who haven’t started (or concluded – especially the half-baked masters) their own journey yet. In fact, many of them won’t even have a clue about the existence of such a journey. They are so entangled in survival that they may not even be interesting in knowing about it, let alone support you in pursuing it. So, don’t be surprised if the beloved ones end up being the befuddled ones, not being able to comprehend what’s going on with you, i.e. the person they thought they knew all along!

I’ve got a fantastic Guru guiding me man… someone so popular that everyone from politicians to celebrities to industrialists line up to be at his events that happen all over the nation!,” you may protest. Well…

Guru_Swamy3

If you’re blessed, you may actually have a Guru (Spiritual Master, not the head of some religious establishment), with boundless compassion to guide seekers like you, shining the light along the path. But even s/he isn’t going to literally hold hands, till you reach the destination.

Not only that, the Guru will strip you clean of all the pretensions of your very existence, including the facade of personality that you’re hiding behind, in order to eke out a living in this man-eat-dog mad mad world that’s hell-bent on self-destructing the only planet it has got to live, so far, in this vast, still expanding, universe. Be assured, it won’t be a pretty sight, when you’ve no other choice but to look at yourself, in all your true-self g(l)ory… eeew! And that’s exactly what a real Guru does to you, because Guru is the light that annihilates the darkness of your hilarious ignorance, which you presumed to be intelligence, until the tables are turned, upside down.

adiyogi41s.jpgAll right, now that your iMax sized imaginary world of spirituality is shaken a bit with shattering Dolby Atmos sound, you better pause for a moment at this Amber sign (umm, Amber is the warning sign, in case you routinely fail to notice or jump at the sight of it on the roads), before speeding away into the unknown, but not uncharted, long winding path of spirituality.

Oh hey, you’re totally free to proceed on the well-known path of religion, which is the always available alternative, which most humans find very comfortable to tread, during any part of their existence. But that’s not going to take you to where you may actually want to go, since, most unfortunately, all the savvy preachers, heavy tomes and slick videos and impressive social media posts won’t bother differentiating one from the other, i.e. religion from spirituality. They are distinct and almost diametrically opposite.

The journey to realise the Truth isn’t a fun tourist trip that anyone curious can undertake. It’s a challenging yAtrA (pilgrimage) that not many get to complete, within a lifetime.

Yet, it’s been diligently undertaken by many, willingly, from time immemorial. And most of them did (and still do) have a Guru to guide them along.

Of course, anyone can start it. Even you, who loves whistle-worthy silly dialogues like “ரிஸ்க்ன்னா எனக்கு ரஸ்க் சாப்பிடற மாதிரி!” (“Taking risk is just like eating rusk for me!”) can. No one’s going to stop you from starting. And no one’s going to be there to ensure you sustain it. Or even complete it. You’ll be on your own. All the way, from start to finish. Hard to swallow but hey, that’s how Truth is.

Fun fact: The spiritual journey neither has a fixed schedule nor predetermined levels of difficulty.

RealizationBoth the length and difficulty of the journey is determined by you, not anyone else. So, if at all you don’t make it all the way, or you take a very long time to make it – may be a few lifetimes, the only being you can blame is yourself. And the “I told you so!” spectators will still be around to rub some salt on your wounded ego.

Along the path, there will be…

  • a number of tempting side attractions that will distract you from continuing the journey.
  • many a roadblock that will test your resolve to continue the journey.
  • a multitude of moments when you will be so exasperated that you just want to drop everything and run all the way back to where you started.

Naturally, there will be a number of fellow seekers too, who will pat you on the back, saying “Well, we’re on the same boat sis (or bro)!” hoping to cheer you up.

With plethora of content and myriad media to consume it, there are any number of aids available to a seeker, who should know how to utilise them, to progress further, along the path. The YouTube video that ignited the fire in you is one of them. That overpriced book full of practical methods is another. And it’s quite possible to be so enamoured by such aides that you may be stuck right where you are, without even realising it. After all, more videos and books are getting published every day. From everyone who thinks s/he has figured it all out!

CDD9-3And, if and when you make it to the destination, in this birth or another, you may be utterly baffled to realise that the journey is indeed the destination and you didn’t even have to undertake the gruelling journey in the first place, to realise what has always been there, right within you. Bummer!

Yet, upon the conclusion of the journey, you will end up immersed in the state of eternal bliss, overflowing with compassion, just like those who have attained self-realisation, before you. From time immemorial. And here’s the best part. There’s absolutely no obligation whatsoever for you to even share the experience with anyone, let alone shine the light of your hard-earned gnAnA (wisdom).

For every Agasthya Muni or Adi ShankarA or RamaNa Maharishi or Sadhguru, there have been thousands of other realised beings who simply chose to remain in the state of bliss, finding no compelling need to share it with anyone else. It’s certainly possible for you to be like one of them. Seems like a very tempting bargain, eh!

GuruPurnima1All said and done, there is a reason why there have been and are only a handful of realised beings and Masters, even as the human population kept on growing relentlessly. They are the only ones who walked the path all alone, all the way, consciously avoiding the distractions, and reached the ultimate destination, with or without the guidance of a Guru. They are the ones who have seen the glorious light of Truth, shining forever, within themselves. They are the truly blessed ones who had the glorious darshan of the Ananda ThANdavA (dance of bliss or ecstacy), with their eyes closed. And only a few of them, in an outpouring of compassion, chose to guide others along the path, as Guru.

So, before you choose to get on the path of spirituality, which btw – just to reiterate, because it’s extremely important to know – has nothing to do with religion, simply because someone known to you has done so or some social media post has fired you up, do take a moment to assess yourself. And be honest with yourself in accepting the fact that you may not be ready yet.

20120625_143222The humility to accept your lack of readiness to even begin the spiritual journey in pursuit of Truth, is indeed the starting point of the enchanting journey to everlasting realisation of the Self! Your humble acknowledgement of “I don’t know,” will eventually become such an unbearable thirst that it can be quenched only by the one(s) who has been there and seen that. Who knows, s/he may happen to you in this lifetime itself (don’t ever try going around shopping for a Guru – it just doesn’t work that way), to nudge you along the path.

Well, the Green light is on. It’s up to you now to Pause your Start or Continue unwaveringly. Happy journey fellow seeker!

May Grace be with you for a purposeful Life overflowing with Joy.

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

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Swamy aka @PrakashSwamy is a seeker (full-time may sound funny, but that’s a fact) whose seeking was on-and-off from his teens (when a maternal uncle took him to a Transcendental Meditation program) and switched gears upward in 2009, when his Master Sadhguru (Mystic, Yogi and visionary founder of Isha Foundation, awarded the Padma Vibhushan by Indian Government in 2017 for the remarkable social endevours of his spiritual organisation) initiated him into the ancient Kriya of Shambhavi Maha Mudra. A few more advanced Isha Yoga programs followed, culminating in Samyama, the 7-day Silence program, in 2013. With Shivanga, the yatra to Velliangiri Mountains, aka Kailash of the south and the yatra to Kailash itself (in Tibet) happening in the same year (2013), Life, as he knew it until then, took a decisive turn. Swamy eventually bid farewell to his lucrative, and reasonably successful, corporate career in 2015, which he assures is a planned retirement, to pursue the VAnaprastha phase and experience Life, the way it is, with a definitive purpose – of attaining self-realisation.

UpaGuru1Swamy considers himself twice-blessed, since, apart from being guide by the boundless Grace of his Master, from within, his ongoing journey is also being actively guided now by his Upa Guru Shri Sohamanandaji (the other bearded one, in the above pics), who is kind enough to not only to dispel his ignorant assumptions about spirituality from time to time, but also to take him along on the life-altering yatras to spiritually charged spaces such as Pancha Bhuta Sthalas (sacred spaces of Lord Shiva, associated with the five elements) & Sabarimala (both in South India) and Char Dham, comprising of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedharnath and Bhadrinath (on the mighty Himalayas). These days, in his own words, Swamy’s existence – one day at a time -is focused only on “Read, Write, Meditate!,” not necessarily in that order.

Oh, in case you are curious, Swamy hasn’t attained self-realisation, yet.. ha.. ha.!

img_20161225_080543.jpgYou may enjoy knowing more about Swamy‘s spiritual journey and experience of Life the way it is in his poetry (Dhinam Oru Padhigam hymns – 218 and counting…), blogs, quotes and social media posts (links to all given below).

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

Follow Swamy Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Explore Swamy’s creation (blogs, quotes, poetry, reviews, photography…)

Been there, Seen that | Swamystery | Swamyverse | SwamyQuote

Swamyem | SwamyView | Swamygraphy

 

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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 


B’I’nary ‘i’nsight!

31 Dec

The single letter word I pretty much summarises why humans are such a screwed up species.

Always written in capitals, anywhere in a sentence, it symbolises the every rising ego, by standing tall, like a sore thumb.

That’s why, it’s so hard to contemplate the simplest – and needless to say very elegant and exceptionally eloquent – essential question thay may lead one to eternal wisdom, offered by the Sage of AruNAchalA BhagavAn RamaNa Maharishi, “Who am I?”

It’s so hard to get past one’s simple name, when one asks the question him/erself isn’t it!

Equally intriguing is it’s nondescript non-capital form “i”, which can come to the rescue of the increasingly frustrated ones who struggle to get over its towering capital big brother. Since the much humbler “i” is probably the solution to all the misery caused by the ignorant arrogance of it’s irritable big brother, let’s look at it in a bit more detail.

Unlike the adamant tall “I”, the humbler “i” is actually made of two parts, which may even be considered as the two states of binary “1” & “0”, which has been interpreted in a million different ways in different cultures such as “Shakthi” & “ShivA”, “Yang” & “Yin”, “On” & “Off”, “Ecstasy” & “Stillness”, “PrAkrithi” & “PurushA”, “Individual Self” & “Supreme Self”, “Pashu” & “Pathi”, “Everything” & “Nothing”, “AgnAna” & “GnAna”, “Thing” & “No-Thing”, “PingalA” & “IdA”, “Thought” & “Silence”, “AvidhyA” & “VidhyA”, “Intellect” & “Intelligence”, “MAyA” & “Reality”, “Manifest” & “Unmanifest”, “Oneness” & “Allness”, “Exclusion” & “Inclusion”, “Incomplete” & “Complete”, “Partial” & “Whole”, “Knowledge” & “Knowing”, “Darkness” & “Light”, and so on and on and on.

Going from the never ending quest of being the “1” in everything one does for mere survival, to the state of acceptance that all that one does is utterly pointless unless one realises the true purpose of Life, i.e. becoming the “0”, is the journey called Life. Since realising this Truth is the purpose – not a Goal, which is what hilarious humans are driven to, in anything & everything – the emphasis in Spirituality is always on the journey and not the destination, because there isn’t any.

And the possibility for that realisation opens up only when the head full if “I”, i.e. the “0” on top of the “1” is chopped off and rolls away, so that this “1” being realises that it isn’t an individual being at all – despite all the name, fame, religion, caste, social status, wealth, power, etc.  but just another being in the vast myriad creation, all of which is a part of the whole of “0”.

Time to pick up the gnAna axe and swing your way up above the mighty looking ignorant “I” mountain, with the newly gained Binary “i”nsight as your climbing guide, and proceed towards the self-realisation summit, eh! 

~@PrakashSwamy

The truth about Truth!

25 Sep

The hardest thing about Truth is, 80% – at least – humans will be confused, shocked, disappointed or disillusioned when they experience it.

OMG-KirabWhen you didn’t get that bike with gears for your birthday, it wasn’t because your dad didn’t love you, but he couldn’t afford it, at that time. He still got you a cycle though.

 

When you didn’t score the highest mark in your favourite subject, it wasn’t because the teacher didn’t teach well, but you didn’t reproduce exactly what was taught. The  evaluator doesn’t know or care about your linguistic prowess & has to correct hundreds of answer sheets with similar answers.

OMG-MonkeybWhen you didn’t ace your first job interview, it wasn’t because the interviewer was satan’s incarnation, but you were too cocky about your theoretical knowledge. She could easily pick a better one, who was humbler too.

 

When your couldn’t buy the motorcycle or car of your dreams with your annual bonus, it wasn’t because the vehicle was overpriced, but you had other expenses or debt to be paid off. Your friend bought it without breaking the bank because he had the sense to invest a % of his pay, every month.

 

OMG-A-BranchbWhen you couldn’t marry the love of your Life, it wasn’t because he ditched you for a fairer, richer girl, but you expected him to relocate. He was willing to do that after an year though, since his current project was his ticket to a raise or promotion or both.

When your kid couldn’t get a seat in the marquee school that charges a hefty fee, it wasn’t because the school was communal, but you lived farther & they didn’t have transport. He loved going to the neighbourhood school anyway as he could spend more time having fun with grandparents than sitting in a van full of tired kids.

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When you couldn’t buy that villa you desired, it wasn’t because you couldn’t afford, but because that would’ve hit your plan to get your kid coached professionally in the sport he loved. Your choice to buy an apartment in the neighbourhood where you live paid off big time anyway as the real estate price soared.

When your parents refused to leave your home town to live with you in the big bad city, it wasn’t because they abhorred your family, but because they were comfortable with the idyllic slow-paced Life of the small town where everyone knows everyone else & care to stop by & enquire about wellbeing – including yours. You used to love that place & parents too, while you were growing up!

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Experience of Truth is cathartic. It’s hard to accept, because most of your living is a facade, which, unfortunately, you’ve started liking & enjoying.

Truth even hurts most times because you can’t do anything about it. So, you inevitably end up doing all kinds of drama, pointing fingers at others & blaming them for what’s essentially your doing. In short, you’re stuck in your own maze.

There are three choices when it comes to Truth.

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First is “It’s not my fault!“, i.e. denial & running away.
That’s what you do most of your Life. And you know it sucks.
Second is “So what!”, i.e. defiance & resisting change.
That’s what your ego does to you many times. And you know that hurts.
Third is “Now what!”, i.e. acceptance & taking action.
That’s the way to comprehend the truth about Truth!

Be joyful 😌 & spread the cheer 👌
@PrakashSwamy

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Gift, Unwrapped!

18 Mar

Gifting7Swam(il)y* has recently been invited to a few events by near & dear. The list of events varied from occasional housewarming to oft-celebrated birthdays & anniversaries to enchanting spiritual ceremonies. Like any invitee, Swamily too ended up picking gifts for each event and got them wrapped in glossy paper with curious designs. Invariably at each event, there was a lot of curiosity about the gifts – not just ours, of course. Curiosity led to inevitable action, i.e., tearing up the gift wrapper to get a glimpse of the gift itself!

GiftWrap25The torn away, crumpled wrappers, lying discarded, quietly in a corner of the room, where the event happened in all its glory not so long ago and the gifts they securely (& secretly!) held till the event got over, which were now piled up to be displayed in strategic locations within the home, got Swamy thinking about us humans and our fanciful ways with gifts & wrappers…

How many of us have wondered if there is any connection between the value of the gift and the design or quality of the wrapper?

GiftWrap18The number of people who spend time in choosing the wrapper is almost negligible as very few spend quality time in choosing the gift itself, which is typically determined by past (typically unsavory) memories about the recipient, what [s]he has gifted during one of those innumerable vague events that the giver hosted long ago and the budget approved by the home minister (whoever it is, depending on whether the ‘alpha’ is ‘ida’ or ‘pingala’)!

Is the gift bought to show off giver’s stature / taste or receiver’s need / taste?

GiftWrap14Many a time, it’s the price or budget that decides what the gift would be. Inevitably, the recipient’s (potentially tumultuous) past too has a bearing on the decision. As far as stature goes, if, for whatever unexplained reason, we chose an expensive (strictly in our view, obviously) gift, then we may for a moment consider a very glossy looking golden or silver wrapper to showcase how ostentatious the gift within is, to all other gift givers attending that event. Taste is probably the last thing in either the giver or receiver’s mind, though it has the potential to change the whole gifting equation and make it a lasting memory, to be cherished and possibly reciprocated, for a long time!

How many of us extend as much care in unwrapping as in seeing the gift within?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMost of us tear it up in a hurry, not even pausing for a moment to look at the design, color and quality of the wrapper. Very few recipients of gifts are careful (& artful) in making the act of unwrapping look as elegant as wrapping, which in all probability was done by a pro, who does it for a living, mostly positioned in a not-so-glamorous corner of the shop, not far away from the crowded billing counter.

How many of us have marveled at the care & craft of the person who wraps the gifts?

GiftWrap20In all probability, the only thing we might remember about the whole wrapping event is, pushing the poor wrapperer (or is it wrapperist, considering [s]he is truly an artist, even though we pretend to have absolutely no time to spare to appreciate their artistry) to get it done quickly as we’re perennially in a hurry for anything and everything in Life. If at all we’ve responded to them in any way, that would be for rejecting the expensive wrapper and choosing a free or cheaper one instead. Umm.. why bother to care for someone who neither gifts nor receives it from us, eh!

How many of us preserve the wrapper for reuse?

GiftWrap2Hardly a handful. Irrespective of whether you head some kind of a Green council at your workplace or residential area, it’s as rare as an UFO actually landing in your backyard (& quite possibly, to your utter bafflement, the aliens visiting are not tiny green thingies with large browless pitch black eyes popping out of their bald head, as portrayed in countless movies) that you would’ve thought about gift wrapper reuse. Fact remains, they’re connected with not only environment, but are an artwork by themselves, though hardly appreciated by the giver or receiver of gifts!

How long is the gift (& the wrapper) cherished & remembered?

GiftWrap21Gift – probably remembered until it starts gathering dust in a shelf, alongside many other such gifts, thereby eventually – and inevitably – becoming one among the many gifts received over a period of time. There’s a possibility that they’ll be remembered just in time for next gifting occasion to the gift giver, as the act has to be reciprocated, when the receiver and giver swap roles, willingly or not.

Wrapper – most probably remembered (or not at all) for just a few hours, until they are torn upon and trashed. If you belong to the odd / crazy tribe of nerds who gather gift wraps for preserving or reusing, then their longevity could be as long as the next gifting occasion, or even your lifetime!

How many gifts inspire (or not) reciprocation?

Christmas box giftsMost certainly all do, because the size and price are eternally etched in the memory of the receiver, exclusively for the purpose of reciprocation (or retribution). But there’ll only be a handful – in the entire known humanity – who enjoy the occasion and opportunity to gift someone something, thereby ending up spending quality time and effort (& money), each and every time, to carefully handpick a gift (& invariably the wrapper)!

What’s important – wrapper, gift or neither?

GiftWrap9Most gifts are given to ensure social expectations aren’t violated, thereby negating any opportunity to consider them as important. Most gift givers (& receivers) hardly bother about the wrapper, thereby making it a no contest between the mighty gift and poor wrapper. Very few gifts are actually hand picked and packed with utmost care, reflecting the love and affection the giver has towards the receiver, making both the gift and wrapper noteworthy.

If you ask Swamy, he’ll most probably frown and say it’s neither, but the commerce, stupid! For, which came first – gifting or selling (gifts) – is possibly as hair-splitting as the chicken or egg question? Ahem, anyway, in the light of all the deep insights Swamy has shared about the art of gifting and the craft of gifts (& wrappers, of course), now consider this for a moment (or more, if you wish)…

What if you’re the gift? And the all the nonsense surrounding you as a mere facade is the wrapper?

Gifting8In a Life governed, and possibly even directed, by a thoughtless (not mindless, mind you) society, the wrapper has naturally gained prominence over time, compared to the gift. Everyone either marvels or repels at the mere sight of the wrapper. So wrappers change over time into shiny ones with minimalist patterns or colorful ones with creative patterns, to satiate the endless thirst of a society, hell bent on hanging high all those who dare to think about the gift within, which happens to be less than a handful. Old wrappers get discarded at the whim of some skeptic ones and new ones are picked up with utmost care, worried about someone septic. Still, most action, all along the long, often pointless, Life happens, and ends, at just the wrapper level. The gift goes unnoticed during the lifetime. Or many a lifetime. Few gifts are remembered and cherished, after their lifetime.

GiftWrap3How sad, and typically human, considering the Creator – boundlessly benevolent and endlessly creative – endowed each gift, i.e., creation, without discrimination, with the ability to realize the value of the gift. Just looking at what the Creator has done with each and every single one of his (or her, just in case if you, dear reader, happen to be a feminist in disguise, waiting patiently for an eternity to bait any unsuspecting writer making even an oblique reference to the Creator as masculine) creation would take our breath away. But where is the time for us fools to marvel at the magnificence of creation all around, above and beneath us, as we continue to be lost in umpteen pointless pursuits in the name of success, not just losing sight of things worth observing around, but also about ourselves. The compulsively stupid species that we are, with a ridiculously overrated sixth sense, in our society-abiding, self-preserving wayward ways, have got so stuck to the wrappers – however marvelous they are – that we have almost completely forgotten to comprehend, nurture and cherish the gift called Life, the way it is, which remains, for most beings, for many lifetimes, as just a Gift, never Unwrapped!

 * Swamy + family = Swamily

Note: Thanks to Swamy’s colleague (& ment[o]ee) Chan (far from Chinese & very Indian) who triggered this blog post, through a simple mail thread about a quote on the humble wrapper ;).

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Love + Gratitude > @PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

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