Tag Archives: Philosophy

Template living vs Life template!

1 May

Template living vs Life template!

One of the SwamyPals (a motley group of humans who have studied along / worked with or for / acquainted Swamy during this lifetime and for some unfathomable strange reason chose to remain connected with him, via an exclusive WhatsApp group) recently shared an article on the mid-life crisis faced by people. It’s one of those plethora of well-articulated, number list articles that can be sighted all over the www, which usually ends with an elegant invite to buy the article author’s book (how come even nondescript authors publish only best-sellers!) or sign-up for a signature training program that guarantees to change your Life, just like a million other lives or subscribe to his/er YouTube channel or at least follow on Twitter

1474812015120The problem with such articles – typically by western thinkers, philosophers, preachers (did ya know many popular leadership pundits / authors / trainers are preachers belonging to the multitude of congregations of Christian faith), trainers, pundits, et al – is that they’re always focused on templatizing humans, who are so diverse as a species that it’s utterly pointless to fit them into a template, for pretty much anything. Anyone who has gone through or have / know children going through formal education knows how horribly this templatization has gone askew. 

And the silly beings with an extra 6th sense that humans are, we invariably fall for such so-called deeper insights into the human psyche, supported by reams of research data or colourful Infographics from bigdata, and sign up gleefully for human software upgrade programs (it’s the Matrix, stupid!), generously offered as training modules by corporates – especially to the mid-lifers, i.e. Damagers, err.. Managers aka Supervisors, to ensure they never manage to get out of the BAUHumbug Template Living.

IMG_20161221_083334In the once-great culture of SanAthana Dharma (which, thankfully, is seeing a welcome revival), every aspect of living has been observed, analysed, contemplated and codified, to enable not only better living for all but also to remain undistracted from worthy pursuits of Life, while living vibrantly.

The SanAthana DharmA Life Template is so well crafted that it’s well nigh impossible to get caught in ridiculous things like early, late or mid-life crisis, if one is sensible enough to comprehend the purpose (context) of Life and apply the processes (content) of living. 

The human lifetime is practically divided into stages known as AshramA, each comprising of 24 years, which can further be divided into 12-year phases to enable a seamless transition from one stage to another.

Stage 1: 0-24 years ~ Brahmacharya AshramA 

~ the learning / student stage 

Swamily_PP10-12 ~ BAla ParvA or BrahmacharyA phase 1 – be a child – play, explore, be curious, learn using the senses, question everything, etc (mostly denied to all children, in this supposedly modern age, filled with a plethora of tools and technologies).

The UpaNayanam is an important event performed during this period to bring not only discipline in living (daily austerities to be performed, such as SanthyAvandhanam) but also to initiate the inward focus (through chanting of slOkAs, singing prayers and dancing, i.e. using devotion as a tool) at such a young age itself.

Formal education may also start at this stage, depending on the ability of the child and readiness of parents to actively support it.

12-24 ~ BrahmacharyA phase 2 – Learn life skills and ancient wisdom offered by the scriptures, under the tutelage of a respected Guru, in the Gurukulam (the present day schools don’t teach life skills & the boarding school is light years apart from the sacred learning space of Gurukulam), covering both physical (Hatha YogA, KaLari, sports, service to Guru, etc) and mental faculties (prANAyAmA, Mantra JapA, dhAranA, etc). Opportunities to practice the skills and earn (primarily to offer Guru DakshiNA) were also offered, to enable the transition to family life.

Swamily_PP2The focus of this stage is on DharmA (righteousness, ethics, values) & MOkshA (spirituality, awareness and practice of ways to attaining self-realisation). Artha (material aspects such as wealth) & KAmA (emotional aspects including sex) are kept aside through diligent practice of austerities and celibacy (where the current generation of students stand on those two is better left unsaid). 

At the point of transition to the next stage, the individual is offered a choice to either become a GrihasthA (housholder) or SanyAsi (ascetic). Nobody is ever forced to choose either option and the individual’s choice is respected and supported. 

Stage 2: 24-48 years ~ Grihastha AshramA 

~ the family / housholder stage

24-36 ~ GrihasthA phase 1 – get married (this could happen in the previous phase too, for specific reasons), work or offer services using the skills acquired for a living, raise a family, practice austerities prescribed in the scriptures, sustain spiritual practices.(though the work part happens today as well, there’s no appropriate application of life skills, because none are taught. Married life too is in tatters, because there’s no practice of austerities, which are designed to keep one grounded, truthful, thankful, empathetic and humble).

Swamily_PP5PANigrahanam or KannikAdhAnam aka marriage / wedding is a key ceremony at this stage, followed by the ceremonies to celebrate various stages of family life such as pregnancy (Seemandham), child birth (PunyAhavAchanam), first anniversary of the child (Ayushhomam), etc.

Nuclear families or community living was encouraged to ensure a sense of belonging by offering required help and guidance to each other, utilising skills and knowledge and sharing material wealth.

The focus is on DharmA (through lawful citizenship and rightful delivery of services), Artha (essential to make a living), KAmA (essential to start & raise family) & MOkshA (performing daily and Thithi specific austerities and continuing spiritual practices).

36-48 ~ GrihasthA phase 2 – mentor / guide children, who by now will be already in the Gurukulam or getting ready to learn about Life, share knowledge acquired (though experience) and wisdom gained (through ongoing learning and contemplation) with others, take care of elders (who will be in the later part of Stage 3 or earlier part of Stage 4 by now),

Swamy_PP1The focus is on Dharma (not wavering from righteousness), Artha (to serve others), KAmA (to be compassionate) & MOkshA (preparation for self-realisation).

Serving others – in whatever way one can – is emphasised during this phase. Service can be offered using limbs (Karma yOgA – selfless action), mind (GnAna yOgA – opinionless contemplation), heart (Bakthi yOgA – egoless devotion) or energy (KriyA yOgA – lossless transformation). This is primarily to prepare oneself to let go of everything else.

Stage 3: 48-72 years ~ VAnaprastha AshramA 

~ the knowing / seeker stage

48-60 ~ VAnaprasthA phase 1 – pilgrimage to holy places, reading scriptures & listening to spiritual discourses, contemplation on the true purpose of Life (based on knowledge acquired and interpretation of scriptures), seeking the guidance of a Guru / Realised Master (for attaining self-realisation), serving the Guru, effectively utilising the experience to offer help / guidance / service to anyone in need, practice detachment from all attachments of Stage 2.

Swamily_PP7The focus is on DharmA & MOkshA. At the end of phase 1, the ceremony of Shastiapthapoorthy (60th anniversary of existence) is conducted, celebrating the lives of two individuals spent together as GrihasthAs and preparing / prepared to pursue the spiritual path to liberation / mukthi.

60-72 ~ VAnaprasthA phase 2 – Officially an elder now, one can continue to guide the expanded family by remaining a part of it (detached from the Artha and KAmA parts, obviously) and offer service to others, while remaining surrendered at the feet of the Master, to continue the progress along the spiritual path.

Alternatively, one can leave the household and become a member of the Guru’s Ashram or any active spiritual organisation – either as a resident (GrihasthA without material & emotional attachments) or as a renunciate (mendicant and full-time sAdhakA / practitioner of sAdhanAs in pursuit of Truth).

The focus is on DharmA and MOkshA with a judicious mix of all four paths – KarmA or action (seva / service), Bakthi or emotion (devotional practices), GnAnA or wisdom (tapping into intelligence by keeping aside the intellect) and KriyA / energy (inward journey & exploration).

Stage 4: 72-whenever ~ SanyAsa AshramA ~ the renunciate / self-realisation stage

This is practically the realm of ShivA… the supreme being… the omnipresent divinity known as the Parabrahmam.

In an ideal case, if one has passed through the previous 3 stages in the right way, then there won’t be anymore self or I or ego left.

Swamy_PP10Living is a joyful vibrant existence, moving from one moment to another, with utmost ease.

The physical and mental faculties are useful only for serving others.

Material aspects such as name, lineage, fame, social status, wealth all remain immaterial.

‘I am not the body, I am not even the mind’ awareness keeps identity facades away. 

Guru is experienced as ShivA, a magnificent presence, not person.

Guru’s place is the holiest of places, for the rest of living time.

Guru’s words are the only scriptures to be referred, shared and cherished.

Contemplation is only to realise the self and attain liberation.

Devotion is towards all beings, offered in the form of absolutely selfless service, using KarmA, Bakthi, GnAnA and KriyA seamlessly.

Silence is  the most preferred way of communication.

Being still is the most important sAdhanA.

If one lives like that, at this stage or even earlier, the creator will have no other choice but to descend and liberate the self. That’s the proven – time and again – outcome of the Life template

It has happened to innumerable number of beings in BhArat and it is a possibility, even to you and me, even in these modern template living times. 

facebook_1409910586On the other hand, 

Having sailed through mindless rote learning during BrahmacharyA… 

Having performed routine tasks and read & believed innumerable number list articles during GrihasthA…

Having indulged in more material pursuits during VAnaprasthA and getting further entangled with one more generation of progeny…

One may just be peering out of the barricaded window of an upscale old age home or a high-rise apartment where the neighbour remains a stranger… 

Still enjoying all material comforts that money can buy, pretending to be connected with the fellow senior citizens also living there, counting the number of days that have gone by after the last telephone call or email or WhatsApp chat of one’s child/ren, who is/are now a proud citizen/s of some other nation, where more such dime a dozen number list articles continue to be published.

Still remaining nostalgic about glories of a long gone past…

Still religiously visiting temples and praying for salvation…

Still reminiscing about the power and status one possessed once-upon-a-time…

Still debating the state of secularism in the world’s largest democracy…

Still complaining about the quality of food, compared to what one used to relish during the haydays…

Still yakking endlessly about countless mundane things…

Still getting religion and spirituality mixed up and confusing others too…

Still thinking one knows pretty much everything there is to know…

Still striving to live up to someone else’s expectations…

Still trying hard to be like someone else…

Still remaining ignorant about the real purpose of Life…

Still inching towards the inevitable death – only to be born again to continue carrying the burden of the humongous load of one’s own KarmA… and, in all probability… 

Still reading one more number list article by an intellectual about… whatever!

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Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

~Swamy

@PrakashSwamy

img_20161225_080543.jpgYou’re welcome to cherish other Swamy blog posts (SwamysteryBeen There Seen ThatSwamyviewSwamyverseSwamygraphy), Quotes (SwamyQuote) & Poems (Swamyem – including 200+ #DhinamOruPadhigam hymns), leave a comment and share it with your social circles.

You’re also welcome to stay connected to Swamy (@PrakashSwamy) on Social Media.

 

 

Along Came A Spider!

23 Dec

SONY DSCOn the occasion of yet another unique date this year, i.e., 11-12-13, instead of the usual SwamyWay of writing a post about or around that (here are his posts published on 11-11-11 and 12-12-12), Swamy decided to delight his loyal readers by offering them the opportunity to choose what he would write this week. Three options were provided in both Facebook and Google+, along with a hint as to how each of those posts might be.

The response was quite overwhelming (keep in mind Swamy is a compulsive optimist 😉 and indicated how busy blog readers are these days, especially during weekends! One can reflect on the poojyameva jayathey response in three different ways – normal human, sub-normal human & abnormal human.

Spider10First one is philosophical. Normal humans hate making choices, with the apathy getting amplified if that choice has to be made for others. And if at all they are left with no choice but to make a choice, they invariably resent whatever choice made. Choice is temporary but suffering is permanent seems to be their philosophical conclusion. With a little over 80% of our race in this category (how else do we fit in the ubiquitous 80-20 model, which is supposed to be applicable to all and sundry), is it any surprise that books on philosophy and self-improvement – especially “how to” and “for dummies” type – are not just published regularly but also outsell every other kind in publication (most are immediately left to make friends with dust bunnies at massive bookshelves hidden in the corners of bedrooms, but Swamy politely brushed aside that as topic for a future blog post, considering his bookshelves also have thousands of them stacked up to the ceiling and his own first book will get added to that list – in 2014)!

Matrix2Second one is existential. Sub-normal humans don’t give a damn about most things in Life anyway and making choices probably figure below the bottom of their list. They are the Lone Wolf Mcquade type that mostly keep to themselves in any place, avoid eye contact with others (or stare so intensely that you’ll end up avoiding eye contact with them) and appear always to be in a contemplative mood (you may try ruffling a coiled snake at your own peril). How does it matter if I make a choice or not?”,“What difference is it going to make to me or you?”,“Who cares about anyone or anything anyway?” and such are part of their human existential examination. It shouldn’t be a shock to you if close to 20% of the world population belongs to this category, because if you’re not here, then you’ve to be part of the 80%. Just in case you’re aware that you neither belong here nor there (fret not for there is a possibility that you’re not just another Trishanku but may be someone blessed with that rare skill of seeing the Third Side of a Coin), please move on to the next paragraph.

Spider7Third one is spiritual. Abnormal humans absolutely love to make bold and radical choices in Life (like choosing a professional sports career for their only child and doggedly pursuing it for decades – there will naturally be a book on this enchanting penance by Swamily, when the time comes – or walking away from a role that brought name and fame not once, but once more), time and again, irrespective of whether it is for themselves or others and completely irreverent about the consequences of their choices. Life finds a way… I’m neither a doer, nor the done, but just a mere tool used by the magnificent mechanism of Life… This too shall pass…” seem to be their spiritual submission. You’re free to conclude which category you belong to, simply because you’ll anyway be upset if someone categorizes you as one of the three.

Anyway, now that we conclusively know how absolutely open you are to reading (Swamy’s a believer) or ignoring (most likely the stark reality) any of the three choices, Swamy chose the one that sounded like a quintessential Swamystery title for this week’s post. And like many Swamy posts from the past (hmm… that has a nice ring to it, a la, blast from the past!), this one too was triggered by a real life incident.

Spider4One fine day two weeks ago (all the days are always fine, it’s only we who make them good, bad or ugly), when Swamy was on his way back home after completing few errands, a tiny being decided to hop a ride on his significant half’s scooter (the best mode of transport in an Indian city, especially when one plans to buy stuff at multiple outlets, all located in a crowded marketplace). Not that Swamy’s royal steed, the Classic 500, isn’t enthusiastic about such rides (with a long overdue service done recently and the addition of an upgraded exhaust, the red bull is now raring to go – care to hop along?) but the fact remains Scooters have room to spare – both within and out – for carrying stuff, while their more macho brethren, the motorcycles, which are known as bikes in India, not to be confused with bicycles that are known as bikes elsewhere, which in turn are just called cycles here! Of course there are Scooters and there are scooters (here’s a hilarious read about that other kind)!

Spider6As soon as he started revving up the scooter, he noticed it on top of the instrument cluster on the handlebar. Despite the wind and movement, it didn’t budge and sat (stood?) still. Swamy was in a dilemma within about 300 meters of the start of that ride (which probably was the equivalent of 30 kilometers for that being, considering its size), with a stream of questions flowing briskly in his mind like the wind that caressed his salt ‘n pepper beard (his hair too is of similar shade, but was hidden within the helmet, which he has always worn from the time he started riding – well, certainly not the same helmet though). Just like the way he shares anything that he gets to know, here’s the opportunity for you too to swim in that swirling stream!

The Where ? – Is location really important?

Spider18Where did that being came from? Does it really belong to that place or has it hopped numerous other rides to get there? Where does that being think it was going, hopping this ride? Or does it really bother to think about such trivial things as staying or moving?

The Who ? – Who really decides where one belongs to??

Who made the choice for that being to hop on this scooter – the creature, the rider, the scooter or someone else? Is that the same as who makes the choices for whatever happens in every moment of our lives?

The How ? – How does that someone become the Who that decides the Where???

Spider12How did that creature decide on who would give it a ride on that particular day to wherever it wanted to go? Or is it beyond such pointless pondering to happily hop on and go wherever any ride takes one to?

The Why ? – Why does that How occur to that particular Who that decided the Where????

Why did that creature hop on that scooter exactly at that time? Why does any being stays or moves? What does stay offer – stability? And what does move offer – change? Is one better than the other? Are both important or just irrelevant?

The When ? – When exactly does that Why sprout leading to the How, Who and Where?????

Spider20When exactly does a move happen? Is there a destined time for anything to happen in anyone’s Life? Is ‘this moment inevitable?’ If so, isn’t every single moment of our lives inevitable? Then what about those who don’t move or change at all?

The Which ? – Which is tipping point when that When really happens, resulting in the Why, How, Who and Where??????

Which is important or critical – the journey or the destination? Does any being have a choice to choose its destination (that creature would’ve ended up somewhere on the road or at the parking lot of Swamy’s home at the end of that journey, but it didn’t) or is the only choice in Life available to any being is just to be a part of the Journey?

The What ? – What is the reason for us pondering forever the Which, When, Why, How, Who and Where for whatever that happens in Life???????

Spider17What happened to that creature, other than what exactly happened at that point in time? What else could have possibly happened, had it not hopped on Swamy’s scooter? What’s the point in asking all these W ?s

Spider11Looking at it from the other side of the mirror (if that thought hasn’t ever occurred to you till now, do watch Mirrors or The Sorcerer’s Apprentice to know), is there really a point in pondering about things, especially after they occur (which is very typical of humans, who even have invented tools to do such pondering such as 5-Why)? If you are fully aware of things, events or actions, as and when they happen, then you belong to an elite category called realized Masters, who just know the answers for all the questions – even those that haven’t been asked yet – in which case you obviously have no need to read or ponder about this, or anything else for that matter, as you just know, and be! Since that’s as rare as us sighting a Unicorn (or UFO, if you happen to be a nerd – probably a proud one too) near your home on broad daylight, just keep reading.

Spider1Now, where were we? Heck, does it even matter! The way this blog post has written itself (Swamy has told it many times in the past – including in this post about his posts – that once he sits down to write a blog post, it pretty much writes itself), Swamy does not think this one’s for the faint hearted anyway. At the cost of sounding haughty, this one’s more bang in the middle of the endless beginning of JK territory than Swamystery, which is a pleasant surprise for himself, for that’s a path he hasn’t treaded consciously till now!

Spider19So, go on and ponder about the probable (it’s tempting to say possible, but who knows what is, until it really becomes possible) answers for each of those questions. If nothing else, at least your brain cells will get that much needed exercise to reignite the electricity that could lead to some marvelous ideas in 2014. Isn’t that worth dreaming about and pursuing (it would sound magnificent, if you try saying that like Morpheus), considering that for most of 2013 would have just been another year such as 2012 or many more that preceded it? Even when FINE isn’t fine, it’s perfectly fine if you lose a few strands of hair (or whatever is left of what used to be there) while on that quest, for what you may discover within might well be worth it!

Spider16Ahem, that’s not exactly Swamy planned to pen, err… type, when that tiny 8-legged creature nonchalantly hopped a ride on his scooter on that beautiful day. But is it any wonder, fortunately for him and unfortunately for you dear reader, that’s exactly what has transpired, as intricate and complex as a spider web, when Along Came a Spider!

P.S.: Swamy let that spider out somewhere around that 300m mark from where it hopped on for a ride, near a tree, well away from the traffic. It’s a small world and time is relative, so one can never be sure enough to say, never the twain shall meet, again!

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Love + Gratitude > @PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

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