Tag Archives: Volunteer

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

SG1

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

 

Joy Drops!

3 Oct

Recently a colleague shared a few interesting tips on ‘How to Stay Happy Always’. One of them was “The tears happen. Endure, grieve. Then go on”. This got me thinking. Wondering rather!

Who says tears happen only due to grief? There are many instances in Life when tears well up in our eyes for reasons that have no relation whatsoever with grief. In fact, they are tears of Joy! So, what triggers them?

Great music. Try listening to Maharajapuram Santhanam’s ‘Bho Shambo’ song with closed eyes. Or the likes of TM Krishna, Sikkil Gurucharan, Bombay Jayashree & MS melting away into their music! Legends like Madurai (Mani Iyer), Kunnakkudi, Kadri & Seergazhi do the same effortlessly. Adele (Someone like you), Susan Boyle (I’ve a dream), Kenny G (Songbird), Yanni (Santorini), Elvis (In the Ghetto) and many such exceptionally talented and blessed musicians too will have the same effect on a keen listener. My recent ‘Aha’ ones were ‘Chakraview’ by flautist Pt. Rupak Kulkarni and ‘Ahir’ by Prem Joshua!

Darshan of a deity in the Garbagriha during Deepa Aradhana! When the priest slides aside the curtain in front of my family deity – Lord Muruga of Kumaramalai – after several minutes of alangaram (dressing up) and the Lord Child smiles at us with a slightly tilted head; When one finally gets the sight of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupathi after several hours of wait, a sight that lasts only for a few brief seconds but forever etched in one’s memory; When Goddess Meenakshi in Madurai is ceremonially taken to her Palli Arai (bed room) clad in a simple white saree sans jewelry (she’s an Empress, mind you) after the Artha Jaama (late night) Puja; During the Nadha Aradhana (offering of sound) at Dhyanalinga temple at Isha Yoga center. This experience will be amplified in temples such as the Kukke Subrahmanya or Dharmasthala or the many shrines that are naturally lit by only oil lamps!

Aha moments while reading a book, such as the first and second parts of the Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi that I’ve recently read. In ‘The Immortals of Meluha‘ (part 1), the first time when Lord Shiva’s Thaandavam (dance) is described in vivid detail, when his Neelkanth (blue neck) is recognized for the first time by Ayurvati (chief doctor) or when Lord Shiva recites the war cry ‘Har Har Mahadev’ (all of us are God of Gods). In ‘The Secret of the Nagas’ (part 2) when the identities of Lord Ganesh and mother Goddess Kali are unveiled (literally), when they were unconditionally accepted by both Lady Sati and Lord Shiva and when the sacred chant ‘Om Naham Shivay’ was chanted for the first time! Or when Subroto Bagchi’s blind mother tells him to ‘Go Kiss the World’ on her deathbed! You may read my reviews of all 3 books at GoodReads.com.

During those seminal scenes in movies with phenomenal performance by a star. When Jones Sr. calls Jr. “Indiana” for the first and last time in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’; Alfred tells Wayne “Never” in ‘The Dark Knight’;  Sully’s eyes open after the soul transfer at the last moment of Avatar; Vader looks longingly at Skywalker after throwing away Palpatine with his single remaining hand at the end of ‘Star Wars – A New Hope’; T-800 sacrificing himself by sinking into molten metal while looking at Sarah & John in ‘Terminator 2 – The Judgement Day’; Sakthivelu tells his followers ‘போதும்டா, போய் புள்ள குட்டிய படிக்க வைங்கடா’ (enough, please educate your children), to end the pointless bloodshed once and for all in ‘Devar Magan’!

ஈன்ற பொழுதிற்ப் பெரிதுவக்கும் (prouder than the time of birth) moment for a doting parent. Our recent one was when we came to know that Jr. has won the Bronze medal with his Indian team at the World Under-16 Youth Chess Olympiad at Istanbul, Turkey.

Listening to National anthem while representing the nation. Have you noticed how many Olympic athletes had moist eyes, while accepting their medals?

மாங்கல்யம் தந்துனானேன (groom tying mangalsutra in bride’s neck) moment. Most think it’s only for the parents, but many obviously know it isn’t only them.

First time of anything with a newborn – sight, wail, rollover, hail, grip, babble, move, step, fall, rise. And of course that utterly disarming smile that’ll melt any heart – even the ones made of kryptonite!

Brief moments of Deep spiritual experience during Meditation or while performing Kriya. It’s hard to explain, but experienced by many a meditator.

Being in the presence of Guru. my Master – Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev – is an accomplished master blaster, when it comes to blasting open the floodgates within any meditator. He will only laugh out loud when we ask why!

Rewinding our flash memory (pun intended) by fondly looking at a decade or more old photo or video or faded greeting card with a hand written message.

When one stands amidst pristine nature, marveling at its magnificence and the skill and care of its creator! I’ve felt it in many places including the mighty Smoky mountains, foothills of Velliangiri and in the wilderness along the North shore in Minnesota. Lord Shiva’s abode Kailash and Manasarovar, Valley of Flowers, land’s end at Dhanushkodi, the Grand Canyon, Alaskan wilderness, Angel falls, Galapagos, The Great Barrier Reef, Aurora Borealis, the North Pole  are all in the to go list – in this Life or another!

When that brilliant but economically challenged kid whose study we funded gets selected by a top institution for higher studies or by a company for job, based on merit!

When the pet dog jumps at us and eagerly licks our face at odd hours, on our return from a trip. All it expects in return for showering the unconditional love is a gentle rub or a tummy scratch. And it’ll have moist eyes too!

When one comes back alive and kicking from a Life threatening injury or disease. I’ve seen the suffering, prayers and hope well up in my parents’ eyes when I started walking again after two surgeries in my knee that kept me bedridden for several months and brought any chance of a sports career to an abrupt end, when I was in high school. I’m sure Yuvaraj’s mother would’ve felt the same way when he triumphed against cancer recently. Vikram’s wife would’ve been through the same when he rose again and became a colossus in his acting career.

When someone (usually a child) asks a profound question for which we don’t have an immediate answer! All the knowledge we thought we’ve gained through years of experience is of no value at that moment.

India’s World cup winning moment. And when the entire team carried one of the greatest living legends of the game on their shoulders around the stadium! Oh, what a relief for a billion people – Cricket fans or not – to know that it could be done again, after all! And how hard it would’ve been for the brave bunch that did the impossible the first time!

When hearing a simple ‘Thank you’ from a student attending a volunteer training session, reassuring you that the weekend spent volunteering is an investment, not an expense. Our great nation will reap the benefits, someday!

When a Leader gently lets the limelight shine on his team during great moments of triumph and recognition. MS Dhoni, a great contemporary sports leader, does it happily, time and again.

Such teary moments are ample in everyone’s Life and they are never about grief. They are about joy, pride, love, triumph, reverence, gratitude and bliss. There’s no shame in shedding them. For they lift the facade we all have to wear – even if only momentarily – and offer us a glimpse of the true nature of Life. One that has to be experienced, cherished and celebrated. They are Life’s Joy Drops B:)

உயிர்மெய்

ஸ்வாமியின் தமிழ் பதிவுகள்

G.Sairamesh's Blog

Business of helping people Prosper & Grow

Coach4excellence's Blog

Committed to the business of helping people to effectiveness & growth!

Joshi Daniel Photography

Images of People Photoblog

E-Learning Provocateur

A blog by Ryan Tracey

Donald H Taylor

This is an archive blog. Please visit donaldhtaylor.co.uk

Leadership Freak

Empowering Leaders 300 Words at a Time

Been there, Seen that

Unraveling Life’s mysteries, one blog post at a time!