Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Present - It really is a Present!

Present is nothing but this moment, unbiased, unsolicited, neutral and fully spiritual. For it signifies the NOW, HERE where all time stands still and you are just there. But how easy to think of being here in the NOW and how difficult it is, right? Yes, indeed...we are pulled and pushed or rather tossed by the vagaries of the mind; which knows no NOW, and only runs to the past and the future which is its nature.
 It reminds me of the reason for this, as stated by A renowned Dr. at a Yoga Therapy institute called SVYASA (Bangalore), where I stayed some time ago for treatment, She said:

"Speed & Greed are the two reasons for suffering and misery in today's world."

She precisely indicated that the mind is the entity, which uses these attributes for fueling further misery. And that results in all kinds of psychosomatic diseases associated with stress in today's city life. :)

I saw a beautiful Malayalam movie today on TV, which I'd seen before. But, had not paid attention to the dialogue at the end of the movie relating to this article. Today it so happened that as I was in the middle of this blog, I was called for lunch by my wife. As was watching the movie, got lost in it for the beautiful messages it was delivering all through out. At the climax of the movie, one of the actresses who embarks on travel is questioned by a foreigner as to how can she be so detached in life shaving her head and wandering. To this the actress says - "I'm not detached, i just love my life. I've not regrets of the past and no anxiety for the future, because I just Love the PRESENT!"

Maybe it was a coincidence for me to remember the truth again.

So, let me quote few quotes from the famous Eckhart Tolle who is the author of POWER OF NOW:

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” 
― Eckhart TolleThe Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” 
― Eckhart TolleThe Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love - even the most simple action.” 
― Eckhart TolleThe Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

So, all the above talk of the same supreme truth, but then it always is an eluding phenomenon we succeed only few times consciously, not owing to our not wanting it, but the illusory spell of the mind we are under.
So, truly her says that -
“It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.” 

Now how to go about it in a simple way? Maybe the below can help-

The Present Principle is a 7-step model for getting our days off to a better start. It’s a model which can be used to better hack our mornings, and I hope it will inspire you to build a better morning routine that sets you up for success. Here’s how it works:
(I start my days with a cup of tea in hand, and a quick prayer of guidance, thanks, and direction. if prayer isn’t your thing, then just take a moment to PAUSE. take in life, and breath out your woes)
(After prayer, my mornings start with reading. A bible, a devotional, and a a bit of motivating reading are my tools of choice.)
(Following time in reading and prayer, I express my own thoughts. Use a journal, a post-it, and put pen to paper to share your thoughts and expressions.)
(Check in your day, and scan your week at large. I spend 5-10 minutes doing both in this time.)
(Moving is key. Even if it doesn’t happen in the morning, getting in exercise of some sort into your day is essential to be happy, healthy, and grounded.)
(Do one thing today that truly nourishes you. Take a bath. Read a novel. Play with a baby. Do it for you.)
(How did you do? How many of the seven steps were you able to complete today? Can you do better tomorrow?)

SO -

“Your outer journey may contain a million steps; your inner journey only has one: the step you are taking right now.”


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How Lord Shiva became NEELKANTH!

The story of Shiva consuming the deadly poison to save the Universe and establishing the new doctrine –

He who has a power; has a responsibility

Brahma created the Universe, the mother earth and lives, Gods (The Good power) and Demons (The Evil powers) and their most beautiful creation of all – humans. The humans often offered prayers and yagnas to God, which were known to boost their powers. Demons with the aim of conquering the universe and control earth (where human lived) and Swarg lok (heaven the abode of Gods) often attacked and tortured humans (who were their natural victim as humans supported God). To save themselves, humans would inevitably
turn to Gods and this would give rise to Deva-sur Sangram (Battle between Gods and Demons). More often than not Demons would emerge victorious over the God. The secret lies in the hand of the Demon Guru (Teacher and adviser) Sukracharya (A great devotee to Lord Shiva) who got a power from Shiva called Mrita-Sanjivini (That can bring a dead back to life). This ensured that no demon would ever be killed. In absence of such a power God always had a loosing hand. The solution? Were the miseries insufficient
for Gods to incur another curse? It so happened that once the king of Gods, Indra was traveling on his elephant when he met saint Durvasa. Durvasa offered him a flower garland which Indra in light vein placed on his elephants head and the animal threw it on the ground. Durvasa, who was well known for his short tempers, took the incident as an insult and the arrogance of Gods. He cursed Gods “Let all richness and power of yours be gone”. The Godess of prosperity Laxmi at once vanished in the depth of ocean.
What could be a better opportunity for demons? They forced the Gods out of the heaven.
Gods, cursed, defeated and demoralised, turned to their deity – Lord Vishnu, The Protector. Vishnu suggested a solution – Sagar Manthan (Churning the ocean to get precious elements out) to get the most precious of all resource – Amrit  or nectar (A Drink to make one immortal.) But the task was too difficult to be accomplished by Gods alone, in other words without the joint effort of the natural rivals Gods and Demons.

Demons were invited for joint venture and to share whatever comes out of the great ocean. Sukracharya was first reluctant as they never needed Amrit. But when pointed out that the demons power would collapse once Sukracharya dies since he is the only person who could bring others to lives but not himself. The Sagar Manthan was agreed upon. It was decided that the mountain called Mandrachal would be used as pivot and the great snake Vasuki (the garland or Lord Shiva) as the rope to turn the pivot. The Gods and Demons would pull the snake from either side to stir the ocean. But the Big question… who will face the snake and the deadly venoms? Narad, played the trick and flattered the demons to accept the head portion.
The efforts started, and Sagar yielded many valuable elements, jewels, treasures etc. which were divided among Gods and Demons. Then came Godess Laxmi from the ocean whom Lord Vishnu took as his wife. At the end came the much desired Amrit (nectar), which Lord Vishnu by his trick ensured only for Gods. But churning of ocean is not the story of obtaining the nectar. So let us go back to the real story. Before Amrit, came the deadly poison. The  poison was so deadly it became a danger to the extend of  finishing the entire creation. It was named kaalkut – the manifestation of death. It was growing uncontrollable and causing unrest to the entire universe. Whom then, God and demons turn to? Who had the ability to control this weapon of devastation? Who except Maha-mrityunjay (Lord Shiva) himself? All turned to Bhole-nath (Shiva). Shiva
took the universe under his guardianship and swallowed the entire poison. The poison of course couldn’t bring any harm to Mahadev Shiva, but so deadly was the poison that it got accumulated in his throat and turned it blue… and Ashutosh Shiva got a new name Neelkanth (God with blue throat).

The episode of churning of ocean is not really about getting the nectar (amrit) but it the story about Shiva’s consuming the poison. It is the story of establishing a tradition:

He who has the power has got a responsibility.

When others were fighting over getting Amrit, Lord Shiva swallowed the poison. Nilkantha aspect of Shiva continues to inspire Indian culture from ancient times where people have put themselves in trouble to save and support those in need. In many a cases the reason was capability and not a matter of duty.