Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spirituality, Organizations and the Gurus

The term spirituality or being spiritual is used quite frequently these days, but what exactly does it mean? Many people like to tell others they are a 'spiritual' person probably to let them know they are not materialistic or superficial and that they 'get it'. That's fine if we all understand and agree on what we are talking about. I consider spirituality to be a state in which we feel connected to God/Nature, each other, and the deepest part of ourselves.

One can experience 'that' connection through various things - listening to a beautiful piece of music, a stroll in the woods, painting, reading, playing a sport, helping others/social service, prayers, yoga, meditation and the list goes on.

Spiritual Organizations:
I learned meditation from one of the organizations in India. Meditative state is the best state that I have experienced so far. It helped me come out from one of the most difficult phase. I came out of it stronger and feeling more confident than ever.  

Is a person born spiritual or becomes spiritual after experiencing life or can he be taught to be spiritual?  There are organizations who aim and claim to teach spirituality. I feel these organizations are supermarkets of spirituality. Supermarkets provide easy availability to everything - from fruits to electronics. If you decide to buy an electronic item in a supermarket then you will find some people who are there to buy the same and others who are just taking a stroll in the same isle. There are salesmen who are trying to sell various products making their attempts at rising in the ladder and making the business profitable.

In a
spiritual organization one gets easy availability (as they have branches everywhere) to beautiful things in life like learning yoga/meditation techniques. There are genuine seekers who are part of these organizations and there are others who are looking at it as a stress management tool. I wonder if most of the genuine seekers will eventually realize that the organizations are impediments in what they are seeking.
One of the members I know (who happens to find his meditative state in money and alcohol) called a person X (who is very spiritual and the most beautiful being I have met). According to him X was going away from the path of spirituality as she was no longer a part of the organization

Is being part of an organization same as being on the spiritual journey?

Spiritual Gurus:
Of course you will find a Guru/the Master in the organization. In the scripture it is said that Guru is here to provide inner strength, he is here to connect to formless by taking a form. I have seen people using a Guru for various things - from using him as a ladder to climb and expand the consciousness or ask him mundane questions like which city I should live in/ whom should I marry and what should I name my baby? 

You must have experienced presence of a graceful being at least once. They may not consider themselves Gurus, but they appear to attract people to their calm; their inner peace permeate the air around them. For me a guru is this presence who is offering me the guidance and wisdom to understand my own mind and self. They may not look or dress like the typical Gurus (so you might not be able to brag or post your pictures with him/her on Facebook) but they could be equally spiritual as the famous, bearded and the saffron masters. 

This post is dedicated to all such graceful and reclusive presences in the world...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The ‘Meaty’ story

She was more than a friend to me, she was the elder sister I never had. I was immensely attached to her emotionally. When she was in pain I felt the pain too. I cared a lot for her. We talked about everything under the sky. I loved her talkative, bubbly nature. Admired the courage and strength with which she fought the misfortunes in her life. Adored her quality to smile and joke around even when in pain. We had a lot of common interests and one difference. I thought that my relationship with her has much more substance to it than the petty difference. But I was wrong.

She stopped inviting or mingling with me... reason? I am a vegetarian. 
What happened after that is a history but that made me think can the relationships we build in our lives be affected by food choice? Veg and non veg both have equal pros and cons. As long as we do not feel any sort of stigma, guilt or pressure in what we consume and also enjoy each bite thoroughly it shouldn’t really matter.

So tell me do you select friends, foes, colleagues, partners based on what they put in their own bodies?   

I think more than what people eat it has to do with the attitude that we have towards the other faculty. Why should one feel conscious to say they are vegetarian and why should anyone contrite for eating meat? In my observation both streams have an opinion of the other.

A non-vegetarian’s perspective - You are arid, traditional and bound by religious fetters. You are uncool and we are broad minded. You miss on this great thing in life while we get to explore the culinary gratification.

My take on it:  We can not have, learn or enjoy everything that the world has to offer. When we make a choice we are always missing on the other. A lot of vegetarians are grossed out by the idea of eating flesh of the other animal and are not conservative or non-interesting.

A vegetarian’s opinion
- You are barbaric; cruel, we are humane and compassionate. Humans are not made to eat meat, it is not digested for days and rots in the stomach.

My take on it: There are lot of good nutrients in meat/fish which are absent in most of the vegetarian options. Not eating meat is neither Holier nor morally superior. Think about it... if everyone starts eating plants then can the planet Earth produce and feed us all? No!

They are just food choices and none of them is better than the other and it should definitely not be a factor in deciding who gets invited to your daughter’s birthday party!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Missing Magicians

One of my cousin is an absolutely amazing painter. She does magic with colors. Her profession? - she works at a PR firm and hardly ever takes a brush in her hand. And then there are people like me who do ten paintings and then get one apple right.

A lot of people who have immense amount of talent for something lack the drive to do it and people like me lack any sort of talent but the only thing that keeps them going is the passion.

Very few people have the combination of innate skill and passion to do the same. Those become Sachin Tendulkars.

Do majority of the people that we see around us be it painters, actors or IT professionals are the ones who merely happen to have the interest in the field of their working whose drive kept them going? and the real expertise of painting/ acting/ programming are actually hidden somewhere and just does not have the thrill about the field (other reasons affect of course like financial aspects).

Should one satiate their aptitude or their curiosities?

Good will hunting happens to be one of my favorite films -  Story of a genius mathematician who lacks the stimulus to accept any job offers in that field (I won't mention the reason in case you haven't watched the movie).

How would the world be if everyone of us realized our actual gifts and had the inclination towards working in the same area?

Are we missing those magicians who would turn around the world of science/arts because they never realized the magical powers that they have or then had no liking for the spells that they know...?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Midnight's Children By Salman Rushdie

I was too curious to know why this book won booker prize and then Booker of booker awards twice. So I read it.
The book is part history and part fantasy. The language and flow of the book is complex. Every sentence has a metaphor and symbolism. I provide an example here, see for yourself if you happen to grasp what is going on:
From the chapter "At the Pioneer Café" --

No colours except green and black the walls are green the sky is black (there is no roof) the stars are green the Widow is green but her hair is black as black. The Widow sits on a high high chair the chair is green the seat is black the Widow's hair has a centre-parting it is green on the left and on the right black. High as the sky the chair is green the seat is black the Widow's arm is long as death its skin is green the fingernails are long and sharp and black. Between the walls the children green the walls are green the Widow's arm comes snaking down the snake is green the children scream the fingernails are black the scratch the Widow's arm is hunting see the children run and scream the Widow's hand curls round them green and black.

It took me a long time (3 days to be precise) to figure out the meaning. The widow in the paragraph is Indira Gandhi.

After failing miserably to understand the awarded beauty of the book I am still curious to know why this book won the booker of booker twice.....?