Thursday, November 22, 2012

The festive spirit - Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful occasion - it gives one the time to look back at the year that has passed, and be thankful to the divine power above - God, Bhagwaan, Allah, Waheguru - for the many experiences that the year has enriched you with, with His blessings and grace.

It also allows you to be thankful to many of His embodiments in flesh that have graced your life and made it more meaningful and, well, full of life :). I'd like to take this occasion to thank everyone who
I've had the pleasure of having known in my life. Each and every one of you have impacted me in more ways that I can possibly pen down.

Be it playing games of dice with my Nanaji , eating sumptuous gaajar-ka-halwa prepared by Nani, or the tangy kheere-ka-raita by Dadi, the proud walks on the farm organized by Dadaji, all have gone a long way in shaping my personality to what it is today. Thank you for passing on your words of wisdom and showering me with unadulterated love.

The Panchtantra stories taped down by my Mom for me to listen to while a child, the Hero Ranger cycle that was gifted by Dad, the innumerable times I've fallen back on my brother for guidance and support (boy that was hard to admit!) - I've actually come to take all of you for granted. Thank you always being there for me, through thick and thin .

The wonderful teachers that I've been blessed with, throughout my life, who've served as my mentors and guides. Teachers who would actually cook up aalo-paranthas for all hostelers when they won an inter-class elocution, teachers who'd make you appreciate literature, by reading Enid Blyton, teachers who were completely invested in just making you better people - I don't think we can put a salary on such a job. Highly indebted indeed. Guru Govind dono khade kake lagu paay. Balihari Guru aapki Govind diyo batay - Sant Kabirdas

And if this was not blessing enough, extraordinary friends, strangers I just happened to share the same space to begin with and have come to share the unique bond of trust and affection, and who have become the go-to people for some quality time-pass :). Thanks a lot Semites, Columbans, NSITitans, Microsoftians and fellow Georgia Tech students for making the journey, that much more fun and fulfilling.

Needless to say, whatever shortcomings I demonstrate today, stem from not exactly embodying the ideals that you all have espoused for me, and are thus, due to my own shortcomings. Forgive me for some non-ideal behavior that I might have exhibited :( - I'll try to improve, and with your company, I shall :).

Here's wishing you all, all the very best for the year ahead, and a big THANK YOU for being His embodiment in my life!

The times go by; caught in this busy world,
Carrying out our little tasks you and I,
There shall be times, when we do not meet,
When, for long, each other, we do not greet,
Yet, forever in my thoughts, you will remain,
You are the only thing in life I did gain,
You pushed me when I needed a lift,

Held me back, when you felt I needed restrain,
And gave me love and affection without refrain.
There have been times when I've this fact hid,
But not today - thank you for all the things that you did!

-With love,

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Straight from the heart

Straight from the heart

Ok, if that's too sensational a title, might I suggest - "Jottings on thoughts that are presently swirling in my mind in matters pertaining to live, love, studies and work?" :). I approach this from a somewhat different setting, writing down things that just flow from me, instead of framing stuff to cater to a more literary inclined audience .

Karmanye vadhikaraste
ma phalesu kadachana

In his discourse to Arjuna, Lord Krishna, mentions this to Arjuna to ease his doubts on the battlefield: You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action.

I still continue to be amazed how this thought pervades life as we live it, and governs to a large extent the happiness that we experience in it.
Work, studies, love - look back at instances in your life, related to each of these three, that were the source of sleepless nights and bouts of sadness.

The night before the exams, you realize that your preparation is not sufficient. Thoughts of not performing well creep in. If instead, one were to put in the best effort, without pondering on the possible outcomes , it sure will turn out to be better than all odds

Extrapolate this, and you notice shades of yoga creeping in here as well - single minded unflinching unwavering concentration on the task at hand - what will it lead to, what next, etc, these are questions that just don't arise. I think yoga flows naturally from the above mentioned philosophy of "karm kar phal ki ichha mat kar".

This is not just applicable to times when you are lagging behind. You are a diligent worker. What drives you? Is it an upcoming promotion, respect of team-mates? Expecting one of these, only to have your dreams fade away, is bound to be the cause of major grief . In-fact any place where you interact with any other human, the only way to avoid grief due to expectations not being met is to undertake, the proverbial Nishkam karma - action without the desire for results, culling the very beast that might bite you back - expectation.

The attitude is also closely related to the pursuit and acquisition of "true" knowledge. There it is, right before you - knowledge. It is not a means to an end. It is not even an end in itself. Its just itself - knowledge. The karma is to acquire it, immerse yourself deeply in understanding it, without concern for how "good" will it make you as a result of you gaining it.

Now, this is where we get tricky, and I'm not sure I have all of what follows figured out in my head.  This is also the portion that, as a Capricorn, I think I should be having the maximum of troubles :P - personal relationships . So these are mostly in the form of questions - swirling thoughts in my head, bubbling around till I have the 'eureka' moment, and see the light:

Detachment from expectations doesn't need to imply an emotional detachment from a person? - I think if one were to just give without any expectation, you are essentially failing to single out a set of persons, who are "special" to you. Can we form bonds of friendship and love in such cases? What is the "spark" if you get what I mean? Does this make us to mechanical? Free from hurt yes - but also deprived of the sheer happiness of seeing your loved one bend down on her knees and propose to you, from the sheer joy of hearing "aaj meri treat" from you friends? The jubilation of when you do get that promotion? The euphoria of when you finally bring home the Nobel?