Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My golden soul

No, it ain't his birthday. And neither is it his death anniversary.

Perhaps that which is in me which was in his essence is making its presence felt, and I am up from the bed at midnight. Memories of my grandfather are flashing in me, and dissolving into images: ones I have seen and the ones I have oft heard about. And they are asking to be penned.

He was a high school teacher. He used to cycle to school. He taught Maths and Physics. He loved teaching. He used to smile a lot in the class. Once, when he entered a classroom, the black board was full of these words, written again and again, by each and every student in the class: Smiling Sharma. Smiling Sharma. Smiling Sharma.

So that was his name. The Smiling Sharma.

Smiling Sharma had a definition for a good teacher: 'A good teacher is one who makes himself less and less necessary for a student.'

He had immense patience with the slow learner. He knew to be quiet when the student was thinking. He gave his presence generously, not distracted by a computer/ newspaper/ radio. 'Solve the problem', he would say. And he would wait quietly. He knew to wait with the gentle attitude of a good meditator.

He did two things in his school that gave it a quantum jump and brought it in the limelight (read number of the merit students went up).
  1. He took five hundred bucks from the headmaster and brought some books on science and compiled a library.
  2. He forbade the girls from holding a hankerchief in one hand while doing the experiments in the science lab.

But yes, he had a weakness. He had a favorite student. She was tall, beautiful and brilliant. I cannot reveal her name, but I shall tell that she was a south Indian. Let us call her Sonmani. Sonmani was so smart, that when he taught a difficult equation that nobody in the class could answer, he would simply say, 'Yes, Sonmani?' and turn to the board and write whatever she dictated. Not once did she err. She was always correct.

And then, once they all went out. For a picnic. Grandpa told me this bit himself. Sonmani was sitting on the green grass, eating lunch and gossiping with her friends.
On all her freinds, the sun was shining. But Sonmani was enjoying a shade. How? Her favourite teacher was standing between her and the star, facing away from her, trying to wipe off the hint of a stupid smile on his face.

'I hope none noticed, but if someone did, they did not comment. I stood like that for about twenty minutes, till she finished eating.'

So that was the gene of devotion. Grandpa never entered a temple but he worshiped Sarswati Ma. He saught the goddess in his students.

I love you, Grandpa. Always and forever.

what all He is upto

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

love heals : a doctors explaination

a zen story

If you have been with the master long enough and

If the Master has not created enough confusion to scare daylights out of your mind,


Either he is not enlightened or you are also enlightened.

The real Question is, is the disciple scared or enlightened.

Very simple.

here is another:

A flower falls even though we love it and a weed grows even though we do not love it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

the silence talks

Its a beautiful night. Three of us are walking back home through the back lanes. There is hardly any traffic, the air is balmy. The boy keeps yapping. Papa is tired, and he is quiet. I am tired of balancing the act.

'You know, Pavan, you have to learn to let others talk sometimes. If you talk continuously, it is called hogging the space.'

'What is hogging?'

'Eating it all up by yourself.'

'How hogging? Everyone can talk.'

'If everyone talks, no-one will listen. See, there is a thing called silence. All of us have a right to it. In fact, it is our only right. And it is the most beautiful, the most vast gift God has given us.'



We walk two steps.

Before he can talk, I make the offer. 'You wanna try using it? This right of silence?'


'Then just listen. Listen to all the different sounds of the night. We will all be very quiet. Later you can tell me which sounds you heard. Ok?'


We walk silently. Papa's flipflops flip and flop. Pavans sandals tut tut. I am barefoot. But my skirt rustles, ever so softly.

An ambulance hoots in the distance. Pavan's eyes glow with the recognition of the sound. I signal to him to tell me later, a finger on my lips. A bird chirps. Pavan stops to 'hear' the direction, a finger on his smiling lips.

Papa holds my hand. Pavan holds my other hand.

As we turn into our street, the power is cut off. Silence and darkness embrace lovingly and kiss long and slow. They are meeting after such a long long time. In fact, in this country they are meeting for the first time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

the half-barefoot hippie

One man got onto a bus and sat down next to a young man. He could see that the man was a hippy. He was wearing only one shoe.
He asked him, ‘You have lost one shoe?’
The young man replied, ‘No, I have found one shoe.’

Saturday, March 13, 2010

my sweetheart meets me in a book

the heart of the devotee is the abode of god.

he dwells, no doubt, in all beings, but he especially manifests himself in the heart of the devotee.

a landlord may at one time or other move about and visit all the parts in his estate, but people say that he is generally found in one drawing room.

the heart of the devotee is the drawing room of god.

-Shree Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, page 133, the gospel of shree ramakrishna, volume 1.

then, on page 139, I find what I have been hunting for, what I have been yearning for, since the last few days:

'To my divine mother,' says the Paramhamsa, ' I pray only for pure love. I offer flowers at her crimson feet and pray to her ,

'Mother, here is thy virtue, here is thy vice. Take them both and give me pure love for thee.

Here is thy Knowledge, here is thy Ignorance. Take them both and give me only pure love for thee.

Here is thy purity, and here is thy impurity. Take them both and give me only pure love for thee.

Here is thy dharma and here is they adharma. Take them both and give me only pure love for thee.'

and then, on page 140, he says to the brahmo devotees,

'Whether you accept Radha and Krishna, or not, please accept their attraction for each other. Try to create the same yearning in your heart for god. Yearning is all you need to realize him.'

Thursday, March 11, 2010


One day the great saint Gorakhnath thought that he was greater than his Guru. He contracted this feeling due to the influence of pride. But his Guru Matsyendranath immediately saw through the disciple's affliction.

He called the disciple to his side and said: “My dear Gorakhnath, I intend to leave the external world and take recourse to the habitation within for some time - please guard gross body. Thus saying he left the body. Gorakhnath looked after his Master's body thereafter.

As time passed, one day Gorakhnath heard that Matsyendranath has become a bhogi and he is revelling in sensual pleasures with beautiful women, arranging by day and night various sports, song and music. It was said he has fallen from his high state and sunk in the ocean of pleasures. Hearing this Gorakhnath became extremely angry: " He told me I am retiring within, has he forgotten that? Lost in senses...what a pity!"

Gorakhnath immediately reflected; it would be best for his Guru to return to Yogashram and give up the lowly attachment. Or else he was sure to be insinuated and condemned in the saintly society.

Forthwith he left for Simhaldweep where his Guru was. It was a clandestine visit and he could not have gotten there without some skill in singing or music. " I know how to play tabla" said he and entered the assembly.

He saw his Gurudev revelling in the midst of song and music. Gorakhnath too began to play on the tabla: " JAAG MACCHINDAR GORAKH AYAA, JAAG MACCHINDAR GORAKH AYAA..." he sang.

Guru heard this and turned to him: " Gorakhnath how come you are here?" The disciple replied, " Master you had promised to stay in the domain of the soul for some time. Now, what rest do I see here ? What a sadhana indeed !"

Gurudev realised that the disciple's pride had not yet been subdued .Gorakhnath did not know that the high Yogis can assume many bodies. Matsyendranath said: " Gorakh why do you talk like this ?" Gorakhnath said: " Enough Gurudeva, enough of this! People are saying to me, you are sitting here perfecting yoga while your Guru is enjoying Rajbhog in Simhaldweep. I have had to hear many insulting things indeed."

At this Matsyendranath thought for a while and said, " Allright, let's return to Yogashram." Gorakhnath's pride swelled further, in thinking that he was instrumental in conducting the Guru back to Hermitage. They set out to go, but when Gorakhnath turned back he did not see his Gurudeva. His Jholi and Chimta were very much there, but Matsyendranath had disappeared. Gorakhnath thought this had to be - Gurudeva had probably disappeared from a sense of severe embarassment.

He called a Gurubhai to his side and said: " Wake up and look for Gurudeva. He has gone far away. Make haste. Look for him."

Gurubhai was astounded, " Nathji, what has happened to you? Don't you know that Sri Guru Matsyendranathji has quit the external world immediately after the Godavari Kumbh, and is now immersed in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. If you want, you can instantly go to Bhramara cave and get glimpse of his Murti."

Gorakhnath was shocked to hear this: " What's happened to me today? Am I dreaming ? " he murmured.

Gurubhai reassured him: " This is not a dream. It's the Krupa of Guru Maharaj. You were full of pride concerning performance of great austerities, and you thought you were greater in the skill of Yoga than Sri Matsyendranath himself. To destroy this pride Gurudev worked this illusion. This Maya will be widely known as MAYA MACCHINDAR.

This then is MAYA MACCHINDAR, it needs hardly be added that Gorakhnath, his pride fully subdued, sought the dust of his Guru's feet.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Guru is a principle

It is not for us to judge a Guru, such a provision never exists.
And Guru will remain a Guru, no matter what he does.
The conditional, negotiable, intellectual faith cannot lead one to unconditional, non-negotiable, unthinkable Truth.
Present concerns are conditional, negotiable, intellectual.
My advise is that you give up judging; it's a shame devotees and disciples are shying away.
Guru remains what he is irrespective of anything; mind you that's the only kind of faith that can lead us anywhere. Rest is conditional and doomed to the finite.
Guru is a principle, not a human being.
We don't revere Guru as a person, we revere Him as a Higher Divine Principle, why judge him then like a mortal? Jai Guru!

so said a mail in my inbox today. Thank you. Thank you for resonating with my deepest feelings, for articulating my thoughts.

In other words, Once you have looked into the eyes of a master, once you have recognized that you are a seeker, YOUR HEAD IS IN THE TIGERS MOUTH. - Ramana Maharishi

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


After QMP, I have ventured to teach Maths to my kid.

'How much is the bill, Pavan?'

'Rs 110.'

'110? How? Whats the breakup?'

'Rs, 57 for the sandwich and Rs 41 for the coffee.'

'57 + 41 = 110?'

'No. Total is 98! They are charging 12 bucks extra! This is cheating! Shall I go and tell them?'

'No, darling. The 12 bucks is for Tax.'

'What is Tax?'

As usual, I am dumbfounded at his question. As usual, he helps me out.

'Oh, I know! Tax is the sauce!'