Monday, March 30, 2009

a doctor in the making?

Was it just a few months ago that I mentioned to a friend that I would have preferred a girl to my brat? Because my little boy sometimes waves the angel wings and I better take note before I forget.

A few nights ago, I went to bed earlier than the boys, not feeling too well. After an hour, I yelled at hubby,
'I cant sleep. Come here and talk to me.'

Hubby sent the baccha, who was watching Madagascar on my comp, to put me to sleep.

'You cant sleep? I will play the flute for you.' he said sweetly.

For two three minutes I endured air currents blowing into my ear as Pavdu played the flute sitting on Papas pillow. I was so touched that I didn't have the heart to tell him to move the flute away from my face.

Then he lifted an eyelid to make sure I was asleep and bounded off back to his movie.

Yesterday we spent the day in Swami Nithyananda's ashram. As we passed the cow shed on the way to the temple, Pavan wanted to go meet the baby cow.

'Please Ai, lets go inside no.' The heavenly smell of gobar enticed me but I refused.

'I am telling you Ai, if you touch the bachada, all your pains will be over'.

'Really? Who told you that?'

'Nobody told me. I just understood.' he said. I laughed all the way to the temple, as he skiped along.

Behind the temple is a massive six hundred years old Baniyan tree, a place of intense healing and beauty. I hugged a branch and felt my heart beating rhythmically, in tune with the universe.

'Ai, excuse me please.' he interupted me.

'I will not excuse you. Please keep quiet here. Cant you see people are meditating?'

'That lady is touching the tree with her head. She is not meditating.' he pointed out.

'She is praying, which means she is talking to God. It aint easy to talk to God. We shouldnt disturb her. Got it?'

'Got it.'

He explored the place as I lay down under the tree, waves of bliss floating through my being.

'Ai, look at this leaf.' His face loomed below the green canopy.

'Mmm. Its very soft.'

'Eat it. It will cure your stomachache.'

'Who told you?'

'Tch. Noone told me, Ai. I understood. Now eat it. I have washed it clean.'

To shut him up, I ate the little thing. It didnt taste bad, the Baniyan leaf. If the tree is a healing energy , its leaves cant hurt, I reasoned. And the next half hour, the boy was busy collecting the fallen leaves and putting them in the bag. And left us to talk to God in relative silence.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Grasshopper to launch in Mumbai

A Grasshopper's Pilgrimage,

to be launched in Mumbai

on 15th April

7 pm,

at the Juhu Crossword Book Store

by Chetan Bhagat!

All are welcome.

(A special invite to all those who have read the book. It will be fun to talk to you.)

A review in the Telegraph of Calcutta, begins like this:

A Grasshopper’s Pilgrimage (Rupa, Rs 150) by Manjushree Abhinav begins with a tall list of thank-yous that includes family members, the pet dog, the Muse and even the tree that gave its “life to make the pages of this book”. Such piety coexists with whacky humour, chick-lit oomph and beady-eyed dreams throughout the book .

Read the rest of it here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Guru Bhakti is class seventh

'Why do some Gods appear to be vengeful? Why do we have some Goddesses with four hands? Why worship clay images? '

Most of us have had these questions bugging us sometime or the other. I just found a you tube video of Swami Nithyananda that answers these questions and more.

The conveniences of being devoted to a God over a Guru. :)

{ A few days ago, I had gone to attend the last concert of the Kabir Festival held in Bangalore. I had missed the earlier concerts because I was doing the NSP. A friend asked me,

'How come YOU missed Kabir?'

'I was doing something better!' I replied.

'What can possibly be better than Kabir?' he marveled, hopefully.

This video is the answer, my friend.}

The essence of Shri Ramakrishna's teaching: When, hearing the name of Hari or Rama once, you shed tears and your hair stands on end, then you may know for certain that you do not have to perform such devotions as the sandhya anymore. ( The Gospel of Shri Ramakrishna, volume 1, page 77, chapter 1, Master and Disciple.)

How Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi cured a disciple of Guru-addiction.

A spiritual syllabus of different standards. Neatly classified. So good to know I am in the seventh standard. Which class are you studying? Or have you skipped school altogether?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

here and now

Here and now, starts the Yoga instruction.

This is how the book begins. Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. This book is a great work. If you can master the meaning of this book, you can become a master yourself.

If you can be here and now, you are already a yogi.

Nope, this wisdom is not mine, I am simply chewing a talk I heard yesterday by Swami Nithyananda.

All religions have two parts, one is the essence of the religion, the spiritual aspect, and the other is the ritualistic aspect. The day to day things to be done.

How to brush your teeth, how many wives to marry, all that.

If you a Buddha, it is better not to marry. If you are a Krishna, you can marry as many times as you wish. Only, don't bother to count. (Yup, he really said that!)

Patanjali's Yoga is a clear stream of science. It is hundred percent essence. Which is why, all the spiritual masters of the world are directly or indirectly inspired by Patanjali. It is a teaching that makes masters. Patanjali is a spiritual navigator, he says.

Swamiji will be expounding the Patanjali Yoga Sutras all through this year. This was the first talk, in North America. They will send the Cd's to India and we can see them at the various meditation centers. More information here.

I am sure these video clips will come on the Life Bliss Channel of youtube soon.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

days and nights with the master

Since I cant stop thinking about those days, and that night, and since no one around me really wants to know how it was, I might as well blog it.

Step by step. Here is an account.

When I first heard about NSP (Nithya Spurna Program) :

At the end of the two day wash, sorry, the ASP (Ananda Spurna Programme), we all danced. To Tamil rock bhajans. One of the ladies, she was saree clad with hair combed back severely into a tight plait, started jumping before the music started. After the music started, she jumped across the room, around us, within us, like a charged up monkey. No, I have never seen a monkey dancing, but if I did, I guess it would have as much energy as this otherwise sober lady.

Later I got to know her, she is a mother of two. When I asked her how she dances so (errr) well,
she answered in half a sentence:

"Earlier I was shy, but after NSP..."

--------------six months later--------------------------

What happened at the NSP:

The special ingredient in this NSP was the presence of Swami Nithyananda. And what a presence he has!

Miracle no 1:

I am not too fond of crowds, but I can take them. For a while. It is always a little strenuous to be at peace with yourself in a packed local train compartment. The relief at coming out of the train is akin to getting out of tight clothes.
So I was a little apprehensive about the prospect of living with two thousand people, for four days and nights.
However, the place was so well organized, additional temporary bathrooms, multiple counters for serving food, etc, etc, but this is just the realistic explanation.
What really worked was how each one of us got systematically dipped into the nectar of bliss and became one with each other.

Miracle no 2:

Everybody danced. In that 2000 packed hall, there was space enough to barely jump where you stood, and raise your arms straight on top: but, every single body danced. I was one of few who got on the plastic chairs to see swami dancing, in fact, I matched my jumps with his. There was no fear of falling, because those who did, fell on others.

Each session started with swami coming in to music, sitting down with the question slips. As he sorted the questions, the DJ would up the music and we would be up dancing. Three minutes, and the swami would touch his mike, the music would immediately stop. He would answer a couple of questions, with minimal words, 'Don't worry, I will take care' or 'Blessings. It will be ok.'
and as he would let go the mike, the music would start again.

' What is spirituality? ' someone asked swami.

'Being blissful and allowing others to be blissful' he said.

On the last day, after the anand darshan, I had the luck to watch swami dancing from a distance of five feet. It was the most graceful, relaxed, happy, sensuous and hypnotic dance I have ever ever seen. I am usually happier dancing myself than watching people dance. But watching swami dance was something dancing within myself.

Miracle no 3 :
We tationed all night.

'Since we have come here to meditate, we might as well do a bit of it between the dancing.' Swami said. And so we all died and then awoke, we did the mahamantra humming, we expanded to the cosmos and back, actually I don't remember much what all we did. Rather, my experience was that it all just happened, without much effort.

Swami made us write down all our guilt's, (incidents we wish hadn't happened) and then we closed our eyes and went through the list. Re-living , he said, is relieving. Soon the entire hall was howling away.

And then he played a neat trick on us. Promising us the world, he asked us to write down all our desires. House, car, world trip, (a hut in Tiru), whatever we have ever wanted. And then, we were all made to stand, and do a deep breathe in, hold, deep breathe out, hold, repeat, visualize all your desires coming true, repeat, repeat, I don't remember what explanation he gave, but we all got so spaced out, all the desires, thoughts just evaporated.

'Happy family, all I want is a happy family' was the last thought I had before I went completely blank.

And the last tation, the one all of us were dreading, sitting up all night, eyes closed, the only instruction was to meditate on darkness. Meditate on darkness! And not sleep! I kept standing up to fight drowsiness, what with my neighbor snoring away.

But after around one AM, I started seeing the darkness and my goodness, its the most beautiful sight in the world. For one, it is endless. It has depth. It is mesmerizing. My body was blessed with a deep penetrating restful awareness.

Swamiji promised us that this tation will cure insomnia and yes, I have been sleeping very well ever since I came back, and, more important, I get up fresh and early.

the most touching moment: was when swami fed us curd rice. I came down for dinner and saw a very very long queue. I wondered what was the occasion and saw that swami was serving himself! I couldn't even say thank you when he served me. It was the tastiest curd rice I ever had with tears of utter gratitude flowing down my cheeks. Needless to add, curd rice is now my favorite food.

Some clicks:

Clicks are moments of 'Yes! I always thought so, but you have put it in words.'

1. Swami : Sitting on a sofa and watching cricket is the stupidest way of passing time. The players are getting the exercise, all you do is sit indoors in one place and say 'Yey!' And the worst thing is that a game has become a matter of national pride and shame.

2. Swami: It is not necessary to ask questions to the master. As long as you have questions, even well formulated, intelligent questions, it signifies a dependence on words, a student -teacher relationship. In fact, it is a deep attachment to slavery. Slavery to concepts.

It is much more significant to have communion with the guru, to just be in the presence.

An invaluable health tip:

Its called Oil Pulling. Technically speaking, it should be called oil swishing. I mean, how does one pull oil?

Instructions: The first thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth, before that glass of water, take a spoon of sunflower refined or sesemese (til) oil, yes, put it in your mouth, and swish it around for twenty minutes. The first couple of days you might gag within the fifth minute, and that is fine. After swishing it, pulling it through the teeth, throw it out, it has a lot of toxins. Then you can brush, have your coffee, tea, whatever.

Benefits: Oil pulling is basically a detoxifying process. It cleans out the mouth of its millions of bacteria: many diseases start in the mouth. The person who recommended oil pulling to us, says it helps him to sleep better, his blood pressure has regularized, and, most important, the inner chatter has reduced. A little research on Google says that oil pulling can cure diabetes, arthritis, dental problems, ulcers, etc, etc.

Personal Experience: The first three days, I was aware of salivating more, which means the system was working better. Yesterday I looked at my tongue in the mirror. Its not been this pink since I was a little girl! Aches and pains in the body are minimizing. Digestion has improved. Hunger has increased. Yesterday I had planned to go on a fast. I ended up eating double!

Here is a link to oil pulling secrets.

Meanwhile, I take your leave to dance! I have bought three music CD's (and not one book), all in Tamil. I am getting free form slavery to concepts, words, language.

Grasshopper scores again

I think this review is thanks to Banno. The pleasant surprise is that the grasshopper is getting reviewed by those who are the villains in the book: the atheists. :) Here is the expert of the review:

I must begin with a disclaimer and a confession. I am totally not into spiritual reading. I shy away from books that come with spiritual/religious tags and over the years, I’ve become suspicious of anything that describes itself as a ‘journey of the soul’ or something along those lines. Which is not to denigrate the genre. It is just that I personally start to get restless and irritable at the mention of the soul.

It was, therefore, with a small measure of trepidation and guilt that I agreed to do this review. It isn’t fair to approach a book with shelf-sized biases. That said, I have to confess that this book was a pleasant surprise. It was smooth reading right through. Author Manjushree Abhinav chose to tell an honest story instead of wrapping up a sermon in a novel’s cloak.

Read the rest of the review here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

tation and station

Tation here is short for meditation and station is the regular railway station.
A few days ago, a blogger friend and I were yapping about how meditation (I shall call it tation from now), had affected our day to day lives. We decided to blog it.

Now that I am a published writer, I cant just write anything, you know. It has to be special. It has to be different. I should feel like writing it.

So today I was sitting on the doorstep of my house, watching the sunlight make shadows of leaves on the wall. And I called a new friend, someone I met at the tation camp I recently attended. This is what she yapped:

Before tation enters your life, you are like standing next to a fast moving train. The boggies are thoughts that pass through your mind at such speed that you cant make out what they are saying. There is a gap between two bogies, but ofcource you cant see it.

Once you start tationing, the train moves away a bit. You get a slight glimpse, if you are centered, of the gap between two compartments. But the din, the inner chatter is still continuos.

And when tation becomes your life, you are at the station. You see the train coming, (that is intiution), then you hear it, you see it slow down, it stops, you see the hyperactivity on the paltform as people rush about, then you say bye to the train, it pushes off, puff puff, and you happily unclutch from it. Then you chill with a newspaper and a cup of tea, till the next train of thoughts arrives.

And thats all, folks, about tation and station.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

then god held my hand,

and asked me to wait
he clamped a bracelet on my wrist
and said, this hand will do great work

the first thing this hand did,
when he released his grip,
it touched his feet quickly
intense intimacy in a crowded space

a big hall, a couple of thousand devotees
dancing to Tamil rock bhajans.
i step down from the stage and
look up at him, meeting, hugging and blessing...

i flashback to a minute ago,
when i gave him a grasshopper
'you wrote this?' he asked
'it's dedicated to the mountain', i replied

he blessed the book, then asked me,
'you have anything to say to me?'
dumbfounded for a moment, i found my voice.
'i love you' it said.

'i love you too maa,' he said, and my face
disappeared among his hair as he held
me close. exploding with bliss, I was about
to go, when the swami held my hand and said, wait!