Monday, May 22, 2006

Where was one born like You?
Unique in physique, so handsome
Manners so winsome
Wit and wisdom You have in plenty
Both insight and intellect too
Child-like innocence
Born of love and devotion
No task is impossible
For you love for no reason
Such is your Love and devotion
Second to none
Even crossed a mighty ocean
And lifted a mountain
Your voice can be a gentle whisper
Or a roar like thunder
Kingdoms you possess none
Kings you created many
Yet You reign supreme
In the hearts of mankind
This heart sings joyfully
Jai Hanuman
Jai, Jai Hanuman

Monday, May 15, 2006


....a film of silence

Banaras was a film my friend wanted to go to, impressed by a newspaper review talking of its spiritual subject matter. But in a famous theatre in Chennai, we landed on the second day, thinking we could get tickets, but the show had already wound up as the manager said there were 419 vacant seats for the next day. It was not quite a disappointment, as we spent the rest of the evening walking through the caves of Ice House, converted as the Swami Vivekananda's memorial. And then drove to the Marina nearby.
Wanting to see the film anyway, I got it on a DVD and a beautiful film it was indeed. The mystic love story, directed by Pankuj Parashar, story and screenplay by L.C. Singh, music directed by Himesh Reshammiya and lyrics by Sameer, the film is about the relationship with humans, with god, the relationship of Buddha, Kabir, Tulsi and Shankaracharya, with the holy city of Banaras. The beautiful title song and the placid waters of the Ganga captured by the photographer, (whose name I cant find) and the overall silence of the film makes it meditative to watch.
It is about the relationship of Shwetambari (Urmilla Matondkar) who dotes on her rich Brahmin parents (Dimple Kapadia and Raj Babbar), studies science with passion at the University in Banaras. She meets Soham (Ashmit Patel,) a mystic believed by Banaraswasis to be born in a low caste, the protege of Babaji (Naseeruddin Shah), who puts in him the seed of the soul and grooms him in the knowledge of the self.
The story of their love, ends tragically for obvious reasons. Shattered and raging mad, Shwetambari turns her mind inward, moves on to become a Guru in an ashram in Mauritius. 17 years later, this world teacher returns to her home, with no anger, to see her father breathe his last.

The movie is sprinkled with the droplets from the essence of spirituality. The best is when Babaji gives a seed to Soham and tells him: This bij contains life. When nurtured with water, air, sunshine, soil and love, it grows into a big and beautiful tree, yielding fruits, flowers and shade. But if opened, there is nothing in it. And that's for life too....
- (Swahilya)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Success in Life

Success in Life

There was a talk on "What is Success in Life?" by Swami Dayananda Saraswathi yesterday at K.L.N. Prasad Auditorium, Hyderabad. I will try to articulate the 40-minute speech here. The learned and well-versed Swamiji laced his speech with characteristic humour and made it sound quite down-to-earth. Though I felt he could have avoided unnecessary swipes at other religions, as my uncle said after the speech, "Somebody needs to protect Hinduism too". Maybe it's true. I am thinking.

The Chief Guest of the evening, Hon'ble Justice L. Narasimha Reddy tried interpreting the topic in his way and gave his ideas on it. He said, "Success is something that is achieved on meeting Goals. An individual fixes a goal before starting out and at the end if he has achieved whatever he had set for himself, then success is achieved." Fair enough we thought. We applauded.

Then Swamiji began.

What is Success? You have a desire. You achieve it. If the means of achieving that desire are within the confines of Dharma, then it is a success. That's all. That's why you need people like hon'ble Justice! [Pointing to the chief guest of the day!Audience is impressed. Laughter all around. Appluase follows!]

In life, we play multiple roles. A father, an employee, a son, etc. There are homes in which "Father is coming" is announced as if some ghost is coming. And as if on cue, the children rush into their rooms hiding from their father. Everybody is running to take shelter somewhere. The only person to come out is 'the dog' of the house! Ah! What a success! [Audience is in splits! Applause follows!] In some cases, even the dog runs for shelter! [More laughter, more applause!] With the tail in between its legs! [Laughter! Applause!]

There are some religions where it is preached, "Don't have any desires. Be desire-less. The state of desireless-ness is happiness. Between the fulfilment of one desire and the beginning of another desire is defined as happiness."

Don't have any desires is like saying,"You are having an headache? Cut off your head!". Ha! Ha! Ha!

Now you laughed. What desire did you fulfill you tell me?! You were happy, you laughed. Sometimes, happiness can also be achieved by not fulfilling any desire.

Have desires. It is healthy to have desires. If you have desire you will experience failure. You will learn how to come out of it. You will grow as a person. But make sure the means to achieve your desire is within the confines of Dharma.

We, human beings, have two things to do. We have to survive, and take care of ourselves to follow Dharma. Because there are predators all around. Be careful. They are waiting to prey on you.

But we have one more thing to do. "Make-up". If we don't have hair, we do some farming on our head to help hair growth. If we have some hair left, then we need to comb it from one side to another. If we have to hear a swamiji speak we need to comb our hair, put on a good dress and come. So, that means we have three things to do. Survive, take care and make-up! [Audience is almost on the floor laughing!]

What is Dharma you might ask. The Dharma being referred to here is Samanya Dharma. Lord Krishna has said, "I manifest myself in the form of desire in you. I am desire". But before that he says, "I manifest myself in you as Samanya Dharma".

What is Samanya Dharma? In order to have a desire you need to examine if it falls under the confines of Samanya Dharma. It is something like the "Law of Gravitation" that a baby monkey knows. Have you ever seen a Mother monkey tell it's baby monkey, "See, you will need to hold on to me tightly. Otherwise gravitation will pull you down and you will fall". Have you ever seen a baby monkey ask, "What is gravitation?"!

Similar to the knowledge of gravitation to a monkey, is the Samanya Dharma to a Hindu. Why is it called "Samanya"? Because it is "Samana" to all. "Samana" means common to all. It exists in everybody. In Hinduism, ends does not justify means. Never. The means have to be as righteous as the end being achieved.

Finally, success is following Dharma to achieve a desire.
[Applause! Applause! Applause!]