Tag Archives: Yoga

Silence is the Way!

24 Jun

Sadhguru_Kailash11 living Master – a Yogi, Mystic and Visionary humanitarian all rolled into a form that’s pure energy, which is beyond the perception of those like this self, limited to only the five senses. The only one who has created the Creator himself in the form of Dhyanalinga – the only one existent on this planet at this point – over a period of 3 lifetimes, using the ancient mystic process called Prana Prathishta!

1202 participants – men and women of all ages, clad in all-white attire, with no identity other than a number! Swamy became 926 (that they add up to 8, his birth number, at the age of 44, which too adds up to 8, isn’t just a coincidence, but most certainly providence)!

Samyama88 days of intense and deep meditative process – in absolute silence, inexplicably interspersed with a variety of sounds, involuntary action and uncontrollable downpour (from the eyes of meditators inside and sky outside). No communication, gestures or interaction of any kind were allowed among the participants, with the processes interrupted only for consuming (raw) food, taking bio breaks and sleeping on designated time (no watch or clock to be found anywhere)!

60 days of preparation – at least 3-4 hours of practices every day with severe food restrictions, in order to get the physical body, i.e., manifest, with its rigid boundaries and constraints, ready to receive the Master’s energy with the possibility to transcend to or at least get a glimpse of the non-physical, i.e., unmanifest, in order to try and comprehend, with whatever limited comprehension we have, Life the way it is!

4 qualifying programs – over a period of time (4 years for Swamy) and a pre-program meet + interview where participants were gently offered many a chance to drop off, as this isn’t just another Yoga program for any aspirant, but usually offered to only the closest and trusted handful of disciples of a Guru!

250 volunteers who too have to adhere to similar conditions as the participants and have to ensure the participants’ wellbeing, timeliness and active participation – over and above their own daily practices!

Shiva_AdiGuruA Life altering experience that’s so different for each participant, despite all of them being part of the same process and being close to each other in the same energy space, that’s especially consecrated to enable intense yogic processes! Offered free – including food, water and stay for all 8 days!

Words are utterly inadequate to capture the experience this self went through in Samyama, along with 1201 fellow Isha meditators from June 12-19, in the presence of my Master Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev at the Adi Yogi Aalayam in Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore!

Sadhguru-Prana-Pratishta-1-500x375This blog post – poem rather, which is more apt, considering my Master also happens to be an accomplished poet – about the program is probably as simple and abstract as the process yet could be as profound as the experience itself. It may not convey anything at all or it might touch your core and shake it at the very root and raise the longing within to seek the eternal truth, just as it has done for Swamy. Shambho!

Silence is the call of the divine!

Noise is how we try to understand any communication, which is no different from the bovine?

Silence is the medium for transformation of the soul!

Noise is the way of transaction of ideas and thoughts through words, eerily similar to an animal’s howl?

Silence is singular and omnipresent, yet not listened to by many!

Noise is varied in form, tone and pitch, yet conveys little to a limited number of listeners, if any?

Silence, when deep, will open the floodgates of tears!

Noise, when loud, will force one to close both ears?

Silence is easy to practice, even in large groups!

Noise isn’t that easy to avoid, even in small troops?

Silence pervades deep within and can result in instinctive action!

Noise prevails at surface level and mostly results in impulsive reaction?

Silence establishes a strong connection between the transmitter, aka, Guru and the receiver, i.e., the seeker!

Noise the weakest connection between two that conveys very little to a listener from the speaker?

Silence is practiced by most beings other than human, living or not!

Noise is prevalent among humans, who don’t care to comprehend this gift that all other beings got?

Silence is the white light that illuminates the soul and guides one on the journey to self-realization!

Noise is the black hole that sucks away all energy and misguides one on the tour of self-preservation?

Silence is the symphony where the body, mind and soul synchronize in perfect harmony!

Noise is the cacophony that tears apart any semblance of vibration, resulting in utter disharmony?

Silence is the gentle breeze that lets one sway to the tune of nature!

Noise is the typhoon that blasts away one’s ability to listen, reducing all and sundry to a mere caricature?

Silence is the only manure ever needed for the self to blossom!

Noise over a long tenure will drown one inside a painful, worry filled chasm?

Silence is the source of creation, emanating from the sacred AUM!

Noise is the cause of destruction, encircling us in a meaningless word filled storm?

Silence is the eternal state of bliss, for all realized beings!

Noise is the infernal state that has gone amiss, for most human beings?

For all those who chose to merely exist in this lifetime, noise holds sway?

For the few who chose to live Life the way it is, Silence is the Way!

Dhyanalinga3

Saying Yes to No!

22 Apr

Nuts_n_SpicesThe shopkeeper at the Nuts ‘n Spices store must’ve been really perplexed as he couldn’t comprehend why that lean man with a salt ‘n pepper beard was picking one item after another, stared at each for a few minutes and kept them back in the rack after shaking his head. The only solace to him was that this curious individual didn’t look threatening in any way. Yet, he remained alert as this man has been in the store for nearly half-an-hour but his basket was still empty.

It took me nearly half-an-hour to realize that there aren’t many items that I can consume anymore. Forget the exotic stuff. We’re talking about basic foodstuff that we consume every day. After another fifteen minutes or so, when I moved to the billing counter with a half-filled basket, I couldn’t comprehend the relieved smile in the face of the shopkeeper. Hmm… they must’ve been trained to welcome every paying customer with such a smile!

Monkay1Hey reader, why that bemused look in your face now? Oh, you’ve no idea what I’m talking about or what this post is about! Be assured that the above two paragraphs are actually the prelude to this week’s post and read on.

A few days ago I’ve registered for a week-long program that’ll happen in a few months. This is the highest possible program offered to mere mortals by Isha Yoga and requires completion of four other programs and clearing an interview as a part of the pre-program event. And this is also the only program that anyone planning to do is discouraged from doing, not once or twice, but multiple times during the pre-program event. Because, when meditators such as Swamy say Yes to this program, they’re also made to say No to many things that are an inseparable part of our daily lives!

If you’re as perplexed as the over one thousand meditators who were present during the pre-program event, here are some of the things we had to say No to lift the veil of confusion.

Filter_coffee_South_Indian_styleNo coffee or tea. For a typical south Indian whose day starts with a Filter Kaapi (that’s how coffee is called in this part of the world) and The Hindu newspaper (nowadays replaced or augmented by Times of India in many households), that’s a big ask. Add to the fact that I’m the official tea maker at home (what, don’t tell me you haven’t yet read about how to make Swai, aka Swamy Chai, in the blog post Calm in the Teacup!)

DairyProducts6No dairy products.I haven’t seen this bouncer coming. Neither did Gomaatha, who’s going to be very upset with more than a thousand people at one go, for shunning products churned out from her milk! This one’s really tricky compared to the previous one as milk, curd, buttermilk, ghee, butter and cheese are just the dairy products used directly. The indirect list extends to everything from biscuits (also known as cookies) and chocolates to traditional snacks such as Murukku, Thenkuzhal, etc., and pretty much all sweets that are made either using milk or ghee. More yummy items such as Pongal, Chakkarai Pongal and Payasam are also out of my plate (for the first time in my Life, I couldn’t consume my favorite Pal Payasam, sigh). Ice cream aficionados may cry at what they’ll sorely miss during the peak summer, but I wasn’t perturbed as it has been more than a decade since I’ve had one!

Chilly1No Chilly – green or red. This one takes away pretty much the daily south Indian staple food, i.e., Rice with Sambar and Rasam (buttermilk is already gone, in case you aren’t still out of the daze) as the powder used for both has chilly. All sorts of ready-mixes such as Puliyodharai (also known as Puliogare), Curry leaf powder or chutney, Parupppupodi (lentil powder) too are gone. Pickles of any kind that has chilly as an ingredient (that’s almost 6 sigma of them) are out as well. Heck, I can’t even take Idly – the safest edible food there is for children and adults alike – like I used to as Chutney, Sambar and Chilly Powder are all gone out my plate by now :O Thankfully, I’m not from the neighboring state where Chilly is almost worshiped!

NegativePranicFoodsNo negative pranic foods. Such as garlic, onion or brinjal (aka eggplant). While exclusion of onion ruled out many things such as the humble Upma (a rapid tiffin that my wife loves to make as often as she can for breakfast or dinner and one that we love absolutely as she makes the best Upma in the whole world, as far as my taste buds know) and any kind of sambar that uses it, the brinjal ban didn’t bother me a wee bit as I wasn’t a fan from my childhood. It’s a fact that my mom used to make ladies finger or some other veggie just for me, whenever she cooked brinjal poriyal or kootu, a fact that didn’t amuse any of my four younger brothers! We rarely use garlic so that wasn’t a problem either. For a change, it’s the mighty onion’s turn to cry as my better half has started making Upma without it now!

Thinking3No non-vegetarian food. This was absolutely not a problem for me as I had been a vegetarian all my Life. But I can hardly imagine some of my friends signing up for this program considering how they relish every living moving being other than their kind!

No smoking or consumption of alcohol. This too wasn’t a problem as I had been a non-smoking teetotaler all my Life. But for all those who smoke only when the drink (ah, c’mon you must’ve heard this lousy excuse from more than one of your acquaintances) or don’t bat an eyelid even when they had to walk out in the burning Chennai heat or bone chilling Minneapolis cold, many a times during the day, to light up that cancer stick, this will be one big Nooooooo!

By this time, we were not worried about what not to eat anyone, but already wondering what, if any, can we eat! They had answers for that, of course.

Vegetarian-diet100% Natural Food is recommended, but at least 50% is required, daily. Now that’s easier said than done, however clichéd that might sound, as we’ve the habit of cooking everything – including vegetables – than eating them raw. But having been an Isha meditator for over four years now and having tasted the natural food offered at various Isha Yoga programs – the ones I’ve attended at the Ashram and the ones where I’ve volunteered closer to home – this one sounded reassuring than depressing.

Pepper_Ginger_CapsicumPepper to substitute Chilly. Pepper and Chilly have a completely different kind of taste, but this too wasn’t a major problem as I was already familiar with preparing a variety of Isha salads with Pepper, Capsicum and Ginger and know fully well how good they taste and how much filling they can be, without making one feel heavy.

Soya and Sprouts as Calcium substitutes. Supplements rather as the sudden elimination of all dairy products will lead to calcium and some vitamin deficiency and these two are healthy natural supplements.

PeanutsGroundnut (aka Peanut) for energy. The humble groundnut – soaked overnight in plain water – is part of the daily meal at Isha and is a veritable source of energy. Those of you who’ve read my post Shambho and the 7th Hill will know how I (and thousands of other meditators) survived 42 days of Shivanga sadhana, till noon every day, just by consuming a handful of soaked groundnuts and a drink made with a mix of lime, honey and water.

vegan-pyramid-800x600By the time we managed to convince ourselves that we can somehow manage this diet regimen, which is nothing but the Ethical Vegan Diet, came the Pashupathi Asthra (read part 3 of the enchanting Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi – The Oath of the Vayuputras – to understand what this is). Daily practice of what we’ve learned from 3 out of 4 Isha Yoga programs (the 4th one is a lifetime experience about ‘Life the way it is’ and doesn’t teach or require any daily practice) and another additional hour of a kriya done in a particular posture. This means another No, to the newspaper this time, as I now need that hour for my daily practice, which could be anywhere from 3 to 4 hours.

Then came the Brahmasthra – the conditions that need to be adhered to during the program itself. There were many and any violation means immediate elimination from the program and a lifetime ban from attending it ever again in this Life!

Thinking_ChimpBy now the reality of why they discouraged us from attending the program dawned upon us. We were given one final chance to leave the pre-program event. To my surprise, not many took that offer (other than a few brave souls who did) and remained seated, looking forward to the selection interview. After about an hour – during which we were promptly made to perform the kriya we were supposed to practice every day from now on – my interview was over and I was asked to start my preparation for the program.

Sadhguru3Some of you may think the journey is impossible. Some others may even think the conditions are improbable. A few might already have concluded all those who’ve signed up for this program are just out of their mind. But I won’t have any hard feelings even if you’re suspicious of my sanity and look at me the way that Nuts ‘n Spices shopkeeper did, for I (and many other fellow meditators) have signed up for the program willingly, fully aware of all the conditions we’re expected to adhere to.

Banner3My daily practices and strict adherence to food restrictions started on 10th April and will continue for over 60 days. With my better half’s unflinching support as ever, I’m discovering new food items that won’t violate the restrictions, almost every day. It isn’t easy, but hey, I’m still alive and kicking, much better than I used to be. And Pazhamudhir Nilayam or Solai and Nuts ‘n Spices are at present my favorite shops!

Sadhguru1The path chosen by a seeker may raise many an eyebrow because many times in Life, intensity is mistaken as insanity. It doesn’t matter to the seeker what others think, as this program is an opportunity to be in the presence of a living Master for a week, fully immersed in his boundless grace, offering a possibility to dump all the karmic trash accumulated over lifetimes and start Life afresh. Having been there and done that a couple of times, Swamy knows how powerful and life altering being in the Master’s presence can be.

Screaming4There are many instances in my Life, when I just said No. A chance at being an eminent athlete (it’s another story that my sprint dreams came to an end when I was just 15 with a knee shattering sports accident); An opportunity to study Architecture (that would’ve helped me pursue one of my passions – sketching/drawing/painting); A chance to study Computer Science in my engineering course (it was a field at the beginning of its astronomical growth trajectory); A shot at following the illustrious footsteps of my writer idol Sujatha (my first short story was published in the popular magazine Ananda Vikatan in Dec 1990); An offer to join an IT major around the time of my wedding (I eventually joined another one after an year); The family pressure to have a second child (it would be amusing to know that parents expect such things from their progeny even today); A possibility to remain and flourish in the USA (where I’ve spent nearly four years on two long term assignments); The choice of continuing in one of my most successful roles as Global Operating Leader of a Hosted Captive – a first for my organization, no less (as some of you know, I moved to the Learning and Development function rather than continuing comfortably with what was practically my baby, one that I nourished and still cherish) and so on.

3Monkeys3The list of incidences and opportunities that I’ve said No in Life is long, just like any other fellow human. While some of them were obviously stupid, a few did turn out to be prudent as well. I remain wiser for those incidences and my choices taught me the most valuable lesson in Life – you’re responsible for the choices you make, so learn to accept the consequences and stop blaming others.

Mylo_MaggiS1I’ve also said Yes in many cases that have either turned out as a blessing such as marrying my lady love (a living example of how to be a better half of the other half that isn’t that much of a half but is on the pursuit of the whole nevertheless) or pursuing a sports career for my son (a professional Chess player of some repute, he has already represented India at international level and won the Bronze medal along with his team in the World Youth Olympiad at Turkey in 2012) or inviting two adorable daughters who exemplify unconditional love into our lives (they walk on all four and wag their fluffy tails to communicate, in case you’re flummoxed by one of my ‘No’s above) or treading the spiritual path through Isha Yoga with the grace of my Master Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev or hopping onto the Blogging bandwagon wholeheartedly a while ago to unleash the writer within on unsuspecting readers like you through my posts in SwamysteryBeen there, Seen thatSwamyverseSwamyView and quotes in SwamyRay!

Truth be told, saying Yes or No in Life, the way we know it, isn’t that hard. But the only way to know Life, the way it is, is by Saying Yes to No!

The Absurdity of Existence!

16 Jul

Life is a cycle. Cycle means both continuity and completion. Every cycle has completion in terms of time taken for a cycle and continuity when the next cycle starts. Many a cycle goes on from one Yuga to another and beyond, forever!

Life’s cycle starts with physical birth and is thought to end with death. This life-cycle continues forever, through generations, for all life forms. And it applies to professional Life too, where we are part of projects, each with a life-cycle and many such projects being active at the same time. Projects face closure too!

When the cycle of Life just completes without continuity, it is called extinction. Dinosaurs’ life-cycle didn’t continue after a certain point in time during the Mesozoic era some 65 million years ago. Tigers’ life-cycle won’t continue after a few years, if they continue to be h(a)unted by the ghastly two-legged (m)animals.

Of the 44,838 known and assessed species, 905 are already extinct and 16,928 are listed as threatened to be extinct, according to the Endangered Species International organization. Millions of species still need to be assessed to know their status. Humans obviously had a big hand in destroying many of these rare species.

In Life, which in reality is an Endless Beginning, every being that’s born will Feed, Grow (physical growth happens through feeding), Study (very few truly Learn), Work (even fewer create work for others), Earn (obviously there are many ways for the smarter ones), Partner (marriage isn’t the only legal way anymore), Copulate (man is yet to play God here as the original design & process pretty much remains the same for all beings even after millions of years of evolution), Procreate (offsprings, naturally), Grow Old (oh, the many things mere mortals do to appear young by cheating themselves & others) and Die (not a choice for even the most powerful or rich ones).

But if we just manage to merely exist like that, there is no difference between animals with underrated 5 senses and humans with grossly overrated 6th sense. Inanimate objects like stone or sand also just exist, but are obviously far more useful and valuable than us. Mere existence by any is an unpardonable waste of a precious lifetime.

All of us falsely believe in living an active Life, by chasing only “that which is”, because our perception is limited to the 5 senses, which is the same as animals! In the Yogic way, Shiva is portrayed as “that which is not”, indicating both the infinite possibilities of Life and it’s boundless nature. To perceive “that which is not”, i.e., beyond the physical, one must dare to go beyond What’s known (typically taught, studied, listened to and rarely observed during one’s Life) and imagine or visualize (not to be confused with dreaming) What could be, which is nothing but What is!

The extra sensory or subtle perception required to perceive ‘that which is not’, is that much maligned 6th sense, which can be developed only through deep observation and thinking different or opposite, neither of which is easy for a normal human mind that is conditioned to think and act in a monochromatic socially acceptable way.

The ability to ‘think’ is a gift given only to the human being, helping it evolve faster and better compared to other earth beings. But what we’ve evolved into today is certainly not something worth boasting to a Martian or Furian, considering the murder and mayhem we’ve caused among ourselves and to other beings as a race.

Those who did ‘think different or opposite’ in their lifetime, are celebrated, analyzed, interpreted, followed and their work continues to be improved upon. But many such beings were also murdered, incarcerated or exiled, due to fear, which stems from our inability to understand or the complete lack of it. Our innate arrogance, a manifestation of the ego, of course will fail to acknowledge any such ignorance, despite historic evidence spilt all over the bloody sands of human history.

While the count of original thinkers in the history of human race is minuscule compared to the large populace which lacked that faculty, if and when brilliant thinking happens, Ideas flowing like a fresh water stream translate into meaningful Outcomes, an individual or organization transforms from Good to Great and the Joy that ensues, typically at one being’s level, transcends to Bliss for all beings.

When Gautama, the Buddha, sat under the Bodhi tree, looked within and thought (or meditated) deeply, he got enlightened and Buddhism came into being, resulting in bliss for many. When Steve Jobs was fired from his beloved Apple, he thought deep and hard and eventually came back and created countless iThings, which enthralled millions.

We are a race that has wasted the precious gift of thought, time and again, through indulgence to satiate the 5 senses that we share with animals. And that’s why many times, animals with one less sense appear better than us – in their acceptance of Life, the way it is, and the simplicity of how they live it, the way it should be.

We ambitiously set out to change Life and ended up destroying it’s very essence instead.

Improvement can never happen through destruction, yet we destroy our forests & flora and relentlessly continue to build concrete jungles.

Nothing can ever be bountiful through depletion, yet we continue to drain precious natural resources like water.

Physical form will decay without giving a damn about how wealthy or powerful one is, yet we spend an entire lifetime in enhancing and fixing this frail body, that’ll eventually be done and dusted.

When Life in its myriad forms and shapes is throbbing vibrantly all around us, we fail to even notice it but focus on searching that elusive Higgs Boson or some obscure Alien form to understand how Life came into being!

Everyone from Adhi Guru Shiva to Bodhi Guru Buddha to the multitude of New Age Gurus, some of who’ve corporatized spirituality, more effectively than many corporations, have figured out and taught to look for God within. Yet we continue to visit temple after temple looking for God in a deity’s physical form.

Going by the quantum of harm we’ve done to our own planet and environment, there isn’t much time left for this race to fix the damage to ensure we as a race survive and thrive. Yet we spend millions in meeting at beautiful locales to discuss about what can be done year after year and return empty handed / headed every single time, wasting valuable resources – human or otherwise – all the time. That’s just wishful thinking, useless for anything!

Nature, while being very tolerant to all this atrocity, continues to ring the alarm in many forms, shapes and sizes. A meteor hit that made Dinosaurs extinct; Tsunamis that wiped out whole civilizations; Earthquakes and Volcanic eruptions that continue to shake and stir even the most powerful countries; Floods that devastate the developed, developing and the not so hopeful nations alike. Nature’s reminders are strong and the list is indeed very long.

It is time we heard the alarm ringing loud & clear and woke up from our long ‘Life the way I know it’ slumber to do something worthy and purposeful about living and preserving how ‘Life the way it really is’ intended to be.

It is well past the time for us to stop just Doing most things as-is and just about time to start the quest for Knowing the 5 Whys, the root cause of all misery. That’ll eventually lead us to Being, how and what we’re actually meant to be.

If we choose to emulate Rip Van Winkle instead, Life the way it is lived by us today will lack the vibrancy and go unseen or unheard of by any other being, be too bland to cherish, stink due to lack of anything fragrant and will fail to touch anyone’s heart. It will be unnoticed, unsung and forever remain a tragic-comic portrayal of The Absurdity of Existence!

Endless Beginning!

29 Mar

Everything that has a beginning must end at some point in time. Really?

Image

Faith the 2-legged dog

Sun rises on the East, moves from horizon to horizon, evaporates water, makes people sweat, lets the world glow during twilight, and sets on the West. Cycles ends for one part of the world, when it just starts for the other.

Seeds sown, watered, fertilized, weeds removed, grain harvested, packed and shipped. Cycle starts with seeds and ends with grain, but new seeds are sown soon for the next cycle.

Babies are born, suckle, cry, drink, eat, crawl, grow, walk, play, go to school (aw, shucks!), study, grow, ride cycle, study, play with daddy’s smart phone, study, study, go to college, infatuate, study, tweet, update FB status, buy bike, join G+ circles, watch YouTube videos, fall in love, get a job, marry, buy stuff, fight, buy car, change jobs, divorce (some, of course), buy house, make babies, burn out, think about retiring, practice yoga, marry off their children, retire (sort of), grow old, die. Cycle ends. But the cycle also starts with new babies, all over the world, all over again.

Stuff is bought. Watched, ridden, worn, driven & enjoyed with awe for a few days. Cherished for a few weeks or months. Exist along with hundreds of other stuff in the house for a while. Gather dust when replaced with new stuff (hardly any leave the house though – what’s that loft or garage for!). Cycle ends for old stuff when it just begins for new stuff.

Take anything in Life, observe and listen, without analyzing too much with too little knowledge we possess. Think. Do everything that has a beginning end at some point in time, really?

Life is one long, fun-filled, shocking, educative, adventurous, heart wrenching, cherished, teary eyed, memorable, heartwarming, joyful, soul stirring, enchanting, Endless Beginning. Don’t complain. Have faith. Just live it!

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