Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the Divine feminine

Swamiji makes some pretty strong and striking statements here.

The one that really hit my gut was about the nature of life. Life is passive, even lazy. Life is not active. Activity is born out of restlessness, a masculine energy. That which seeks its pleasure outside of itself is masculine.

And the person I remembered was my great grandmother, a very old old lady who passed her time on her bed, cutting vegetables for her neighbor's kitchen, with a song on her lips.

Before my grandmother passed away, she would say again and again, 'All I want to do is to live with you and cook for you.'

My grandfather too had a lot of feminine energy, he silently beamed warmth and affection, a deep and unconditional love for us. In his last days, when he couldn't talk much, he would open his can of dry fruits and hand us some cashews.

I wonder, is that what I really seek from a Guru, the bliss of childhood, when love was as simple as a chocolate?

And I find myself looking forward to old age, if it is going to make me more and more feminine.

Why I blog

Words from the Master

Posted: 24 Aug 2009 02:16 AM PDT

There is another, one more play of ego which we all nurture so well – what is called social ego.

What is this social ego?

You feel that your life is highly private to yourself and that no one should be let into it.

For example, people come to me to discuss their child’s erratic ways. But they are not comfortable when there are others around. You don’t want others to know about these things because you have this built up ‘image’ in the eyes of society for yourself and your family members. If you let people in on your family matters, you feel like you are exposing your whole self to them. You are afraid that your whole image might come crashing down and there will be nothing else to prop you up in society. This is social ego.

The image that you have so painstakingly built, the image which has become the identity with which you identify yourself in society, is at stake. It is more of an identity for yourself than for others! If you can show yourself and your family just as you are, you will be more relaxed because then there will be no pressure to cover up anything.

Of course, you might say, “Swamiji, the only reason we want to keep these things a secret is, we don’t want people to start gossiping about it.” Let me tell you: No one is qualified to talk about another. If they talk, they are fools. Remember this and automatically the power you give to them and their talk will simply disappear. It is you who have given them the power to affect you, is it not? Now, that power will disappear.

Just decide and live like an open book, that’s all. By seeing your courage and body language, people will automatically understand that it is not going to help gossiping about you! I tell you: To drop your social ego and live without any privacy, is a great liberation.

This excerpt has been taken from the book: Guaranteed Solutions.

Playing with Stories

Come tell us a story about what playing means to you and in return you can eat, look beautiful and star in a film! And do bring along any friends who live in Tippasandra (Bangalore).

Mathinahalli: playing with stories is a festival of exchange and mutual gestures designed to document the neighbourhood’s stories about childhood, play and the city at large. These stories will help in capturing the evolution and dynamism in the way the residents of the neighbourhood have played in the spaces around them across generations.

At Mathinahalli, visitors can eat, get quick beauty fixes and audition for a film in exchange for sharing their stories and experiences. All the stories so collected will be shared openly on the web for everyone to study.

FROM: 26-30th August 09 at, Construction Site turned community space, 4th Cross, New Tippasandra Ward No 83, Opposite BBMP park and Shishu Griha/Govt Playground.

A part of the Spirited Caravans ( neighbourhood camp at New Tippasandra. For more details call Prayas at 9902591198.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Einstein's smart parrot

Whenever I would attend a discourse, I would always have a missionary zeal to share it with the Geek hubby. Unfortunately, all he could understand were the jokes. So I would quickly make notes of the jokes, my pen shaking with laughter.

Once upon a time, Einstein was on his way to give a lecture to an audience who had never seen him, or his photo. It is only now that all of us have seen his unkempt hairstyle photo. And, being the intelligent fellow that he was, Einstein was rather tired of having to repeat everything add infinitum.

He was cribbing to his driver that he was too tired to talk, when his driver offered to take his place.
'I have heard you countless times, I know it all by heart. Let me give the talk.'
'Ok', said Einstein.

So the driver got all dressed up, ruffled his hair, and went on stage. And he gave a wonderful talk, just like Einstein.

After the talk was over, someone asked a question.

'Oh, this is such a simple question, even my driver can answer it. Hey, driver! Answer the questions!'

Swamiji talks here of how to become an Avataar. But we cant copy him, cos we wouldn't know how to answer questions.

Stretch yourself as long as you can in your mind and iron out the yards of crumpled material in all directions.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I am dead I am I am

At Tiruvannamalai, for some of us seekers, it is considered cool to just be, to not follow any spiritual practice. Some of the masters like Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadutta Maharaj, and Ramesh Balsekar, we interpreted their teachings as a 'do nothing' philosophy.

In the Ramanashram, it is engraved on stone the process which Bhagwan went through and achieved self -realisation. When he was barely sixteen years old, fear of death overcame him. His response was to lie down and face it (!), and so he imagined the physical symptoms of death. His body being immobile, carried to the funeral pyre and then burning. After half an hour, he realized that which does not die, the everpresent 'I'.

I always thought this is the way it happened to one great soul, it was his time. I never realized that this could also be a meditation technique, a method, till I heard this talk on you tube.

The obsession with playing dead transcends Hinduism, or even kids. Some of the nuns follow the practice of lying in an open coffin for a couple of hours before sleeping. Some of the sufi's dig pits in the desert and go kaput. And a particular buddhist monk's initiation is done after he spends three months attending funeral pyres.

Swami Nithyananda also narrates how he overcame his fear of death at the Manikarna ghat, Varanasi, by watching dead bodies burning at the akhanda smashaan (continuously burning pyres).

One loses respect for death as one sees numerous bodies, of all shapes and sizes, going up in smoke. When so many of us die again and again, we have company, what is there to be afraid of.

When my sister was shooting her diploma film in the Film Institute, she needed a woman to play a dead body, wrapped up in white and tied to the wooden plank, being carried on four shoulders at the chanting of 'Ram Naam Satya Hai.'

I willingly offered to lie me down, tired as I was by all the running around! Although she was slightly un-nerved at the thought, my sister finally gave me the role, as there was no one else as eager.

And, although this happened much before I got into the seeking business, it was so beautiful to be still, and silent, and surrendering ...

Edited to add: After writing this post I did something I have been wanting to do since days: a half an hour session of Yoga.

I did only one asana, guess which?


Essay on Independence day

Pavan (eight) had an older friend (ten) to help him write the essay. I sat next to them quietly as the friend dictated the entire essay to him, word by word, letter by letter.

'Independence day is the day India got freedom from the British Rule. Great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru fought bravely for the Independence day. . . .'

'Very good. Now Pavan, write down one last sentence on your own, without his help. It has to come from your own mind.' I instructed the boy.

What he wrote brought tears to my eyes.

'When India got Independence, all Indians were very happy.'

Friday, August 14, 2009

a geek in the fridge

'Prayas!' He knows that when I take his name I mean business.


'Go to the fridge, open it, there is a white packet of tulasi leaves in there. Take two leaves, wash them, crush them, and put it in your tea cup. Right now!'

'But I don't want tulasi leaves in my tea.'

'You want me to let you go to work or not?'

'What does tulasi have to do with my going to work?'

'Listen, both me and Pavan are grounded. You are our only contact with the swine flu germ. So you also have to take care. You have to wear the mask on the bus, wash your hands for fifteen seconds ten times a day, eat your influenzum pills, have tulasi in your tea. If not, stay at home. Baat khatam!'

He looks at me for a second. Then quietly goes and gets the tulasi leaves.

After half an hour, on my way to the kitchen, I pick up his empty tea cup. I can see two leaves stuck to the inside of the cup. They dont look like tulasi. They are not. They are kadipatta leaves!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

the laughing Buddha

Once there was a conference of Buddhist monks on the meaning of true spirituality.
Each monk went onto the stage and gave long speeches.
Finally, it was the turn of a Zen monk to speak.
He went on the stage and simply started laughing! He laughed and laughed…from his Being.
The laughter just rose from his belly. He started shaking uncontrollably with laughter.
And his laughter was so infectious that soon all the others in the room started laughing, without even knowing why!
Without their even being aware of it, the laughter of all the monks produced a huge wave of positive energy in the room.
The monks reached a state of tremendous elevation.
Their thinking was shattered and their Being was filled with bliss.
The Zen monk finally spoke, “This is true spirituality.”

Laughter is the highest spiritual quality. It can lead you to enlightenment! Laughing is a great healing energy. If you laugh at your sickness, you will become healthy. Laughter is a beautiful way of connecting with the Energy of Existence, which is pure healing Energy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Muddy water

Once the Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers. This was in the initial days. While they were traveling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and the Buddha told one of his disciples, "I am thirsty. Do get me some water from that lake there."

The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, "How can I give this muddy water to the Buddha to drink!"

So he came back and told the Buddha, "The water in there is very muddy. I don't think it is fit to drink." After about half an hour, again the Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake.

This time too he found that the lake was muddy. He returned and told the Buddha the same thing. After some time, the Buddha once again asked the same disciple to return to the lake. The disciple reached the lake to find it absolutely clean and clear with pure water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit to be had. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to the Buddha.

The Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said," See what you did to make the water clean? You let it be.... and the mud settled down on its own - and you got clear water.

Your mind is also like that! When it is disturbed, just let it be.Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don't have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless."

KEEP SMILING - not because of something, but in spite of everything.

Swine Morning

Instead of the alarm ringing, my mobile beeps with a call early in the morning. It's mom.
'Raju called me to tell you not to send Pavan to school today. Swine flu has entered Bangalore!'
Why didn't she call me directly? I think.
'Ok, Ai.' As it is, he was feeling a little warm last night, and both of us have a bad cold, so I let him rest.
But Papa has other thoughts on the matter, not entirely untrue.
'You just want to sleep a little more, that's why you aren't sending him to school.'
'Ya, rite.'

After two minutes, an sms beeps.
'Scientific prevention of Swine flu using household products : 1. Inhale clove oil for one second. 2. Chew 1 clove a day. 3. Eat raw garlic, onion, ginger. 4. Drink hot milk with 2 gm of turmeric. 5. Consume plenty of vitamin C fruits. 6. Use 'Nilgiri oil' on handkerchiefs.
It's from Father-in-law.

Another two minutes, hubby reads out another sms:

Homeopathic remedy for swine flu prevention:
Influenzum 200, 5 pills, three times a day for 5 days.

I get up and tale a swig of oil in my mouth ( for oil-pulling) and go out to get the newspaper.

2 schools shut as student tests positive. Other city institutions in dilemma on giving holiday.

Its a swine morning, isn't it?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Laugh, instead of taking your pills

Words from the Master

Posted: 07 Aug 2009 02:45 AM PDT

If you analyze why you laugh when a joke is cracked, you will understand: A set of logically connected statements is first told to you. When you are clinging on to the logic that has been created, the punch line is delivered and your logic is shattered! At that moment when your logic is shattered, your thinking, your mind is also shattered and you are in a state of no-mind or satori. You are Buddha!

When you are in no-mind, you are in the present. When you laugh, you are in the present because when you laugh there can be no thoughts. When you are thoughtless, you are in the present. When you are with thoughts, you are either in the past or in the future.

Laughter is total and it can simply heal and transform you. It is the best and easily available medicine for humanity.

This excerpt has been taken from the book: Guaranteed Solutions, by Swami Nithyananda

And this is a video of a laughing swami. Swami Nithyananda from Tiruvannamalai. The Mountain as a Man.

If you don't laugh while seeing this video, I will change the name of this blog from Mountain comma to Mountain fullstop.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Creative Writing Workshop goes Global!

(The August batch is done, but there will be one more in September. Keep coming back to this blog to look for fresh announcements).

Soulpen: Writing for happiness

How do I define creative writing? All our lives, we write for others, because writing is a means of communication. However, writing can also be used to communicate with ourselves, to find out who we are. Before it becomes an art, writing is intrinsically a therapeutic process. It can heal our uncertainties.

Creative writing, therefore, is that writing in which the writer is more important than the reader. It is a beautiful process of turning within.

The next Creative writing workshop in Bangalore is scheduled for the second weekend of August, 8th and 9th.

Timing: 10 am to 6 pm.

(Lunch can be arranged.)

Fees: Rs. 1,500/

Venue: Protospace, No. 6 MR Garden, 2nd cross KEB Layout, next to Rangabharana Dance school, Sanjay Nagar, Bangalore 560094


(or an internet cafe)

Want to attend Soulpen but not living in Bangalore?

No problem.

Protospace is now planning to broadcast this workshop online, on skype. Virtual participants also welcome. As virtual participants we will interact via voice or video during the entire duration of the workshop. You need a webcam and a decent Internet connection.

After you confirm, we will invite you in the video conference.

Eligibility: Preferably over 18yrs old and a love for writing or reading or both.

Focus: The aim of the workshop is to fuel the love of writing towards an intense and natural discipline. It will help the beginner as well as the writer who is stuck in the middle of a book.

Call : 9945192862

Here is the feedback of the last batch at TOI.

Flow chart:

Why do we write? Because we need to tell the story.
As toddlers, we were all creative with the use of words. The neighbor who had a dog was bowwow. The little boy who played cricket was katakata. The kite which flew in the sky was whoosh.
When we started pre-school, our talents grew to huge proportions. We came back home and told granny, 'Today I climbed a duck. Tomorrow our teacher is going to die. So school will be closed.'
And then the devil struck. We were given a pencil and a rubber and asked to memorize spellings and all the love for words and thoughts was lost with the wind.

This workshop will erase whatever scars our education inflicted on our imagination.
We will write and read out and no one will laugh.

We shall begin with an exercise, a ritual for overcoming the writers block, or to get started. Participants will be given blank papers, with a manageable word limit. Lap tops will not be needed.

We shall do more exercises to stretch the mind and work the writing muscle.

The class will read out a couple of their favorite short stories and we will analyze the story-line and compare it to the structure. Then we will work on a short story structure. To begin with, we will write a short story with a straight narrative, and then we will play with the structure.

Those who have a story in mind will write their on their own. Others can follow a guideline.

Everyone has a novel inside. Lets write ours. How does one write a novel? The masala formula. Or, the nine rasas.

The kind of education we have had, the information overload, the media inputs, have made intellectual zombies out of us. We think with our brains, not with our minds.

Which is why, the first step is to become aware of what 'rasa' one goes through when writing something. Writing is a lonely job. Words have to become alive, they have to gain the power, a power more intense than a human ear, a sense of fulfillment more satisfying than an orgasm.

Where do novels come from? What is the essence of the novel?

Characterization: The back bone of story telling. Class will read out the characters and discuss their difficulties in creating an imaginary human being from words.

Exercises: Three different approaches to creating your character.

The purpose of all these exercises will be for all the participants to complete a short story.

And to fuel the love of writing towards a natural and intense discipline of sitting with a pen and paper.

Call me at 9945192862 for further questions. To enroll, write a comment on this post that mentions your email address. Do not expect an answer. We will answer only if and when the class is full and we have to ask you to attend the next workshop.

This is the event's page on facebook. You can also register by going here and adding yourself to the guest list.

Author's profile :

I am a recently published novelist of A Grasshopper's Pilgrimage. This book should be available in most of the Crosswords and Landmarks. You can read reviews of this book on this blog. Just type the title in the search box.

I am also a film maker. I was trained at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune in Film Editing. I have made several documentary films, and taught the various aspects of film making at NID (National Institute of Design), Ahemedabad and also at the FTII. I have conducted a creative writing workshop at the Srishti School of Art and Design last year.

I write for the creative outlet, deep fulfillment and clarity of mind that sometimes comes as a gift with a good session of writing.

Mein aur meri tanhai

a poem in hindi by a freind's freind.

Main Aur mere roommate
aksar Yeh Baatain Karte Hain
Ghar saaf hota to kaisa hota
Main kitchen saaf karta,tum bathrooom dhote
main hall saaf karta, tum balcony dekhte
Log is baat pe hairaan hote
aur us baat pe haste....
Main aur mere roommate ,
aksar Yeh Baatain Karte Hain

Yeh hara bhara sink hai
ya bartanon ki jung chidi hui hai
Yeh colour full kitchen hai
ya masalon se holi kheli hai
Hai farsh ki nayi design
ya doodh,beer se dhuli hui hain

Yeh cellphone hai ya dhakkan,
sleeping bag ya kisika aanchal,
ye airfreshner ka naya flavour hai,
ya trash bag se ati badboo
Yeh pattiyon ki hai sarsarahut
ke heater phirse kharab hua hai
Yeh sonchta hai roommate kab se gum sum -
Ke jab ke usko bhi yeh khabar hai
Ke macchhar nahi hai, kaheen nahi hai
magar uska dil hai ke kah raha hai
machar yaheen hai, yaheen kaheen hai !

Tond ( pet ) ki ye haalat, meri bhi hai, uski bhi,
dil mein ek tasvir idhar bhi hai, udhar bhi
Karne ko bohot kuch hai magar kab kare hum
Iske liye time idhar bhi nahi hai, udhar bhi nahi hai

Dil kahta hai Walmart se koi vaccum cleaner la de
ye Carpet jo jine ko zoonz raha hai, fikwa de
Hum saaf rahe sakte hai, logon ko bata dain,
Haan hum roommates hai - roommates hai - roommates hai
Ab dil main yehi baaaat, idhar bhi hai udhar bhi......

Monday, August 3, 2009

thank you, Water,

I love you, Water,

I respect you, Water.

Japanese Scientist Dr. Masaru Emoto: Smoking is bad, but the frightening notice on the packet is worse.

If love had a shape, it would look like this...

(Those of you who don't have speakers or earphones, please watch these videos silent, they still communicate the wonder that is our universe.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

friendship band wrapped up in a kiss

'Ai, can I have some money to buy friendship bands?' My little one gets me my purse.

'Depends. Do I get one too?'

'Of course. You are also my friend only.' I get a kiss.

'Here's twenty bucks.'

'Thank you, Ai.' And out of the house he runs.

Three and half minutes later, he is back again.

'Ai, I got only seven friendship bands. If any are left, I will give you also one, Ok?' I get another kiss.

And the prattle of the feet takes him out of sight.

Happy friendship day, all of you. I forward one kiss out to the blogosphere, one I keep for myself.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Inspired by Love aaj kal: Soulmates talk

We see the late night show of Love aaj kal with friends and then stay overnight at their place. Eyes heavy with sleep, we yapp into the night.
'How did you like the movie?' I ask her.

'Oh, I loved it. I was deeply touched.' she says. I laugh.

'No, seriously. I love the concept of soul-mates. Paulo Cohelo gives a nice explanation in Brida. It seems one soul actually splits into two and becomes two persons. And everyone gets one chance in their lifetime to meet there soul mate. The way you recognize your soulmate is that through him you can see eternity.'


'So do you believe in soul mates?'

'Well, from an advaitic point of view, there is only one soul, so every one is a soul mate. From a creative writers point of view, of course, where would we go for stories if we are to do away with love.'

'And what about the romantic point of view?'

'Oh, I have found my soul mate. (Although I must admit here that God shows me eternity through several other forms all the time, both human and mountain).'

'You did? Where?'

'There on the laptop, the one who is listening to our conversation and pretending to work.'

Hubby walks in and joins us ladies.

'Do you also feel the same way?' my friend asks my hub.

I wait with bated breath for his reply. Meri laaj rakhna, I pray to Rabba.

'Not exactly. We are connected in many ways. But life is too complex nowadays to live with that concept.'

'Like in the movie, it takes a lot of maturity to accept the person in your life as a soulmate. Guys specially, have to undergo a lot of suffering before they surrender.'

Even as I say it, I want to bite my tongue. I spend the entire next day thinking about what hubby said about soulmates. He needs some loving attention, I decide. And walk him to the bus stop the next afternoon.

'Why do you feel that we are not soul mates?' I ask lightly.

'I did not say that we are not soul mates. I just think that this concept is meant for the enlightened types.'

'But Papa, enlightened people are everyones soulmates. Or they can be. It is grihastas like us who need each other to be life long friends.'

'Friend to you are. You are my bestest friend. About that no doubt.' he says, as we near the bus stop.


'Same thing, isn't it? A soul mate is a best friend, no?'

'Well, call it what ever.'

'There comes your big ten.' I point out. Big ten is his favorite bus.

'I'll take the next one. Lets have an ice-cream.'

'Ok. We will share one.'

'We should do this more often.' he says, as I pull the cone off his hand.

'What? Ice-cream? No need, we are both overweight.'

'I meant, you should always come and drop me to the bustop. Everyday.'

Oh, I am so sorry. This was meant to be a review of Love Aaj kal. The frame is too crowded, the editor seems to be paid by Saif to keep him in the frame constantly, the casting director couldnt find a better man to play Rishi Kapoors younger self than Saif, but the structure somehow works.

The new girl opposite the young Rishi- Saif is a wonderful find. Make up man has done well by giving the Sardar Saif a paunch.

Sets are nice. Thankfully there are enough Indian bits, like cycle rickshaws and Trams in Calcutta, to keep us happy back home. Dialogues are also fresh. Situations keep you interested.

Most important, a big thank you to Imtiaz Ali for getting us in the Shringar Rasa and the renewal of dosti on the busstop.