India


My culture, I love,
Different, yet special,
Deep & spiritual,
Ancient yet advanced.

It doesn’t search for competition,
Is indifferent to other’s opinions,
Doesn’t justify or insist,
It’s more than just a misfit.

It has been misinterpreted,
And distorted,
Prejudiced against and argued over,
But it never did annihilate or cower.

It may seem to be nearing it’s end,
Western civilisation it has befriend,
But these apocalyptic insinuations,
Are nothing but fallacious fiction.

I know that one day,
When my country will be in complete disarray,
All countries and governments will bid adieu,
Only my “crude” spiritual civilisation will come to our rescue!

Governments & their Veils of Secrecy

We live in a constantly changing world. A world of new inventions and fast reproductions. Veils of technological inventions protect us from real contact and tint our glasses with mass opinions subjugated by the media machinery. Our opinions are not ours anymore.

We are made to believe what the system wants us to believe. Today, money is not the currency of power. But information, or rather lack of it, is. Ignorance is bliss. Ask Julian Assange or Edward Snowden. These are the slight role models of today, made to appear disturbed or even unhinged to the common public. Allegations of crimes they haven’t committed haunt them into any country they take asylum in.

So what does the public do to rebel against large scale suppression by powerful organizations and governments? The genius is that there is no tangible crime being committed. Obstruction of the Right to Information can only be proved when there is any information. You cannot fight for something you don’t even know exists. When there is no crime being committed, there is no action to be taken, no jury to reprimand and no verdict to be achieved. Such a mass blindness prevails right now when we are sitting in our homes and leaders and wealthy dictators rule us without our knowledge.

But, as it has been for centuries, every system fails. A new revolution begins; societies awaken, enlighten; governments fall. Our world loves chaos and is constantly moving from order to disorder, as is the way with entropy.

What is our part to play in this revolution? Awakening. Looking around in the world you inhabit. Understanding how it works and being alert for any misdoings. Objecting and reorganizing our system structures, rebuilding and resuscitating values and moral functioning. Julian Assange says that the way he discovered classified information is by searching for files that are buried within layers and layers of encrypted codes, which made him question their importance. Similarly, we find that in the real world, too, the things that have most security or most secrecy are to be approached cautiously and suspiciously.

In the end, we all see how much we want to see; accepting half-truths, safe in the knowledge of ignorance. We decide our place in society and we shape it. Whether the society bends to your wants or condemns you for resistance is a different matter entirely!

Idolizing: The New Indian Trend

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary online describes “idolize” as follows-
idol•ize
verb \ˈī-də-ˌlīz\
: to love or admire (someone) very much or too much
: to worship as a god; broadly : to love or admire to excess

In India we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, bringing home the Elephant God to tumultuous preparations and celebrations. The concept of idol worship is by no means unique in India and buying idols from shops is still carried out with gusto everywhere in Maharashtra.

Buddhism does not support the concept of idolizing. The Buddha didn’t want his disciples to idolize him because in the process of idolizing saints and Gods we treat them as people or beings separate from us, thus creating duality in our minds.

But idolizing is very much a norm today. Not just with Gods and religions, we idolize political leaders, celebrities, activists, freedom fighters and many others. While worshipping a deity is more acceptable because while looking up to deities, we only seek perfection and divinity and one’s sensibilities are in place as long as one doesn’t start identifying oneself as a follower. But deifying a person is another matter.

The most grotesque and horrific example is of course, Hitler. While he was a phenomenal politician, he wasn’t a good man. And while people have the tendency of following the ‘herd’, there were also people who idolized him and couldn’t separate his good qualities from his bad. He was a good showman, but an awful human being; an idealist, but a murderer.

Why does it become so difficult for us to distinguish a person after they become familiar? Why do the rough edges start fading and the whole picture get diminished to only the parts which are pleasant to us? Our minds simply accept those faces of a person that are acceptable to it, that are filtered through years of programming that we subject to it!

So is idolizing worth the cost that it comes with? Schools even encourage us to look up to freedom fighters and brave kings, but that is okay when their entire ‘edited’ lives are compressed for us in a few pages of a textbook. In real life, it’s a different story, of course.

When we idolize, we project parts of ourselves onto our idols, we see qualities and pieces of them that we are most familiar with, that appeal to us the most. We see the best in us and see ourselves elevated in another being, In the end that’s not so bad, is it?

I guess the solution lies in not getting attached to our idols. Understanding that they are people and that our principles are not theirs’ and vice versa. We need to understand what The Buddha meant i.e. we don’t need other people in order to see the perfection and abundance that is already there in us. The ‘ideal’ which we perceive in others is present in us, and that is why we identify and connect with it in the first place!
Namaste.

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The Lost Treasure

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So many self-help books today have the same age-old principles. Many western books on quantum sciences are just repeating what has been taught by most ancient cultures. For instance the Entanglement theory is just another term for the non-duality which is written in the Bhagavad Gita and even taught by the Buddha.
These books have been there for over a millenia. But if these sacred but scientific texts are actually of value why are they not in use?

Because they have been ignored and treated as treasures which are stored and not used.  Similarly, we might ask, why are there fewer people who read any book at all? The answer is simple, ignorance. Most self-help books today offer quick fixes which might be used much more easily than say, the teachings of the Buddha. They would have been perfectly okay had they been long-lasting as well.

The reason why ancient knowledge has been buried and not perused is because most of these books ask for continuous, lifelong dedication, unlike self-help books which focus on materialistic or outward results, these books are more about the inner self. Indian spirituality has always worked on the micro level, because it believes more in spirit than matter. Matter can be easily manipulated, inner change is so much more difficult. Inner change is not futile unlike what most believe; discipline is not a tangible substance, but it’s absence can cause so many problems.

Similarly, the presence of faith can make man accomplish startling feats, hence religion. Life is not so easy that a simple key will unlock all solutions to our problems. Religion is not mandatory or even irreplaceable. But it is part of our history and history will always teach us to be wiser than our ancestors.
Experience, wisdom, along with knowledge teach us, but the question is, are we listening?

An Objective Universe

Something memorable said by the character of Neils Bohr in ‘Copenhagen’, a play by the brilliant Michael Frayn :

“Einstein shows that measurement – measurement, on which the whole possibility of science depends – measurement is not an impersonal event that occurs with impartial universality. It’s a human act, carried out from a specific point of view in time and space, from the one particular viewpoint of a possible observer. Then, there is no precisely determinable objective universe. The universe exists only-as a series of approximations, only within the limits determined by our relationship with it. Only through the understanding lodged inside the human head.”

This lack of an objective universe made me contemplate the credibility of any of our view-points pertaining to some of the most important decisions made simply on our experiences. If everything perceived by me, you and every other person on the Earth never coincides, then this is disastrous for scientific experiments where each outcome will vary from person to person (might even explain why I never got required results in the Chemistry lab!)

But from a more philosophical standpoint, this might make it easier to answer questions that have evaded us for a long time. Like:

What is the purpose of our Universe? Rather, what is this Universe? The more I think, the more meaningless it seems. But who said it has to be meaningful? Who said it has to be anything?

I close my eyes and try to feel nothingness, but then how do I know what is nothingness? It is not everything I know it is, then what is left? Some part that I’m unable to realize, understand, perceive? The only thing in the world I cannot perceive is myself, because I’m the one observing. So whenever I try to close my eyes and perceive or imagine nothingness, I must see how others see me? Or maybe how the collective consciousness sees me? Or some ultimate true way of seeing me? And yet what do I actually see?…Ideally something other than just darkness. As of yet, I haven’t!

P.S. Also check out the radio play by Michael Frayn I quoted from above. It explores the Bohr-Heisenberg relationship, before and during the Second World War, with very fascinatng possibilities about their last meeting and what they discussed.

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Winter’s Coming

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Sun shining so brightly on the auburn leaves,
Making them glow like burning gold,
The wind so gently sighs and heaves,
Along which the birds let their wings unfold.

The winter makes the garden look like a frozen paradise,
Sprinkled with stray flowers of pink and purple,
And perched on the silvery branches cries,
A robin in a nest with feathers all rumpled.

While the beauty lasts not long,
As the sun sets west,
From the skies, towards the trees, comes along,
Mother to the little birdie’s nest.

The wind is strong & the cold chilling,
Little creatures fidgeting in their nests & holes,
But no rabbits or rats a-tilling,
No dirt-tossing busy moles.

Sleeping in harsh weathers,
Waiting for dear daylight,
Burying themselves in their feathers
The owls hooting & the bats with no sight..
All in silent prayer together..
Waiting for dear daylight…

An Idea a Day, Keeps the Wars Away.

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When I first read this, I couldn’t have agreed with it more.
People come and go. People do not dictate the workings of our world, their actions do. And their actions bring about events. Events can change the course of history. But it’s not even an event that can change the world. It’s an idea.
An idea was what first inspired Newton to discover gravity, Nikola Tesla to electricity and Edison to steal it from him. It’s ideas that are the beginning of our course of actions. Ideas have changed the lives of millions of people around the world- both the good and the bad ones. It’s not a sane idea to want to erase a community because of their religion, but it’s an idea nonetheless, and a powerful one at that.
And yet we live in a culture consumed by discussing people and events. Actors, politicians, celebrities, sportspersons, musicians, you name it. If it’s not the people we are talking about, it’s their actions i.e. the events caused by them. Honestly, I’ve no interest in knowing the latest monkey-tricks pulled by a teenage-celebrity-gone-bad, but I have, it’s on the news!
A little step-up from people who discuss these things are people who discuss larger events- like the economy, the elections, the World Cup, the implementation of a new nuclear weapon.
Why does our world have to revolve around people’s actions after they’ve taken place. The new anti-terrorism bill passed has thousands of protestors, because the government never asked it’s own people for their opinions before passing it. The women’s safety issue is still unresolved because women- the main victims, didn’t partake in the debate. This goes on forever… every base concept of a problem isn’t thought through. Ideas aren’t discussed anymore.
Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “God Is Dead”, I say philosophy is dead. Pragmatic approaches are based on full-proof ideas, and for that people need to THINK! Maybe we do live in a materialistic world, but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore the intangible stuff!
It’s the 21st century, we are evolved enough to discuss ideas with open minds without the danger of violence, or so I thought. The intellectual community seems to have sold their brains to the scientists, who have no other vocation than to discuss their antagonistic research and results.
There is a new community emerging, though. They call themselves, ‘the spiritually aware’, ‘the self-realised’ or enlightened, even the ‘Indigo children’. The spiritual, in my humble opinion, ranks higher than the intellectual, simply because it upholds the well-being of humanity to supersede every other thing- something science has still not realized.
Maybe someday, the intellectual, physical and spiritual will simply remain words and humanity will come to self-realisation from it’s own stupidity.

Mother

I’m the fragrance of a warm cup of tea,

I’m the feel of every brush of your fingers

Against soft hand-knit winter sweaters,

I’m the lazy Sunday mornings,

When sleeping in was all the quality time we needed,

I’m every holiday, every picnic

Put together, I’m your comfort, your home,

I’m the rock you pour all your worries on,

I’m the one person you can’t call your friend,

I’m bigger than any identity,

I’m you, But you’re not without me,

I’m the part of you that you can’t change,

I’m life and it’s giver,

I’m eternal and beyond,

Even nature worships me,

I’m in you and in everybody,

I’m one, but I’m everywhere,

I’m the beginning,

I’m your mother.

Pioneers of the Artificial

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Sometimes I’d rather see a face,
Than stare at a screen’s white space,
Sometimes I’d rather hear a voice from a million miles away,
Than see a million argue over what each has to say.

I don’t mind reading your deep thoughts online,
But I wish it was while we watched together the stars shine,
Today I know your innermost thoughts,
But I don’t know your name or your favourite spot

So that we’d hang out without a care in the world,
The human presence is an experience unparalleled.
I cannot separate one of you from another,
We’re all the same, connected with a different server.

Our notebooks are virtual,
Bland and neutral,
And yet we colour them with feelings,
No wonder real life isn’t as appealing.

So keep on spelling out words of wonder,
Of joy, of heartbreak, peer pressure, surrender;
We belong to a generation of pioneers of the artificial,
We may fake recognition, but our feelings are real.