The Gita Jayanti Poem

It is Gita Jayanti today and I penned this today afternoon!

The Radiant One
sang a song
so luminous;

a thousand suns
illuminating every
brightening the very life!

The Radiant One
sang a song
so melodious;

the music,
pulsating and
infusing life;

The Radiant One
sang a song
so indelible;

the words
permeating deep
in my
leaving an imprint
impossible to erase!



The Supreme Secret of Spiritual Life in One Word!

There are couple of shloka’s  from Gita that resonate deeply with me. One such is shloka 34 from chapter 9. It says:

manmana bhava mad-bhakto

mad-yaji mam namaskuru

mam evaisyasi yuktvaivam

atmanam mat-parayanah!!

and my heart danced with joy when Guruji sang this in a discourse last year.

I also like the translation of this shloka by Eknath Easwaran in his book “The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living – Vol 2“. He writes:

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Being in the world, but not of it!

This is a story that I tell usually at the end of the “Art of Living” programs that I facilitate and it lucidly illustrates the spiritual path.

One day, the king Akbar, asks his witty and clever minister, Birbal, to bring him someone who was “Here and not There”.

Not obeying the order would mean death.

Birbal thought deeply and brings a thief to the King and says “This thief lives here in this world and steals trying to grow his wealth Here. He has no concern for the other world. So he is fit to be one who qualifies for the one who is “Here and not There”.

Akbar, not to be outdone, then orders him to bring someone who is “There and not Here”.

Birbal, ponders and a while later brings an ascetic and tells Akbar: “Here is a person who is concerned only about the world beyond and has nothing to do with the world here. He qualifies for one who is “There and not Here”.

Impressed, Akbar now tells him to bring him someone who is “Neither Here nor There”. Birbal brings a beggar and tells the King that the beggar is neither Here nor There, because he is not participating in the world in any sense and has no concern for anything related to spiritual matters either.

Akbar, then asks Birbal if there is anyone in the world who is both Here and There?

Birbal, brings a simple household couple and says “The man and woman work in the world and tend to their family, but do everything in the world with God in their thoughts. Because they do the work of the world and allow their spiritual practices to carry them through both the good and the bad times, they are a man and woman who are both Here and There.”

Source: The Path of the Everyday Here by Lorna Catford.

The Game

Five Thousand years ago
in the midst of a battlefield,
the awareness having gone,
down in the dumps, Arjuna,
had the presence of mind
to ask The Lord this question:
How does one maintain a
constant awareness?
The Radiant Lord,
creator of this Universe,
compassionately enumerates
his presence in all things
animate and inanimate
in this magnificent creation
of His. 
As He lists out his omnipresence
one stops to savor and relish
every word uttered as the creator
talks of His awe-inspiring creation
and His underlying presence
behind the entirety, stirring 
unknown chords in my heart,
as one vaguely recognizes familiar
faces on the street.
Passing through the sands
of time, five thousand years later,
I wonder at the same question
as the awareness of the presence
dissipates in the humdrum of daily life.
All it takes is an email, 
a harsh exchange,
an unmet expectation,
a plan gone wrong,
tough life challenges,
and hundreds of things,
big and small 
enough to throw me 
out of equilibrium,
and for the presence to
vanish as the mind races
to abysmally low depths.
As I sit on the yoga mat
going through the sadhana,
so beautifully laid out by My Master
The practice becomes 
experiential as the breath
recharges the body and brings
the mind back to equilibrium.
The Lord tells Arjuna,
recognize My presence 
through My attributes and
in everything.
I struggle enormously
to recognize and
to make that Awareness
and Presence my own;
I want it – not just in flashes, 
not just in deep meditation,
not just as an intellectual understanding –
but in an unbroken continuum
all throughout, 
on and off the mat.
Till then, I have to 
make an effort to see
that presence
in that email,
in that harsh-exchange,
in that unmet expectations,
in life’s tough challenges
and in all the things
that throw me off balance…
The game, I guess is, 
to get thrown off balance,
and to get up and say
Gotcha! I caught you there!
and then the Lord will
smile for he would have
found a playmate willing
to play His game on His turf
with His rules!
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10. Guruji gave a commentary on this chapter this week and unfortunately haven’t been able to watch it yet. This poem came up today after the Sadhana and I thought I will share it with you. 
Don’t forget to pass around the word about my book “The Gita in My Homework“.

The way to security in good times or in bad times!

Via  the spring issue of Eknath Easwaran’s quarterly journal:

On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure. Even a little effort toward spiritual

awareness will yield protection from the greatest fear.

– Bhagavad gita, 2:40

For me this is one of the most memorable verses in the Gita, and it will take a lifetime on the spiritual path to appreciate its applicability to every aspect of human life. When we meditate on the Lord within for even a short time every day, this effort is not wasted. Even if we meditate only thirty minutes every morning, and try to practice the allied spiritual disciplines to a small extent during the day, this can go a long way in guarding us against many fears, known and unknown, which lurk in our consciousness. Most of us have fears of losing what we believe gives us security. Those who go after money are doing so under the impression that this is the way to become secure. They are the victim, the toy, of the stock exchange. There are others who are afraid of losing their youth. Beauty has nothing to do with age.

We can be beautiful in childhood, in youth, and in old age to the extent we are unselfish. To be secure, we must find the source of security within ourselves.

The advice given by Sri Krishna in the Gita is simple and profound: if times are bad today, try to contribute the best you can to the welfare of those around you. If times are good today, also try to contribute the best you can to the welfare of those around you. You can serve others no matter if times are good or bad. This is the choice we make in order to find security within ourselves.

Inner World of Silence and Truth to Outer World of Deceit and fraud!

I am back from the Ashram after a wonderful 4 days spent mostly in silence and lot of awareness of what is happening within my body-mind complex using the power of breath. It is interesting to observe this complex phenomena of mind-body complex with awareness.

After a point of time, as one starts observing the body with awareness, one gets to listen to the body and to all the small aches and pains…and then the mind.. one watches the hundreds and hundreds of thoughts coming in and going out in your mind and then your mind latches onto a thought that it finds fascinating and is out on a journey of its own, carrying you away into some fantasy land and then as long as one is with that thought, one begins to intently lead that life for that duration of time and then with a jolt, as if breaking the spell, the awarness comes back, taking you back to the breath and through the breath to the body and back to the mind. And then as this scene starts playing over and over again, un-noticeable in the begining and then slowly as the mist clears away, one gets to see, the whole drama from a spectators point of view.  

Slowly something magical starts happening, one starts re-establishing the connection with our own inner landscape. I am unable to put this in words, all I can say it is so refreshing and so rejenuvating….leaving one washed and cleansed from deep within. 

And then came back to the outer world of action and drama from an inner world of silence and observation where in a space of 4 days the whole corporate India has been thrown in disarray and disbelief by the actions and inactions of one organization! 

I will reserve my judgement till things become clearer and we know the extent of deceit and immoral behavior put on display by the so revered corporate leaders in this country! What a shame! What a disgrace! And then the race by other leaders to condemn and distance themselves from someone whom they used to hobnob with at every other media-do.

Srikumar Rao puts it across so nicely in his book “Are you ready to succeed?”

“The reality is that we have very few leaders in any of our major institutions. We don’t have them in education, or government or business or unions or not-for-profits. We have large number of people in positions of hierarchical authority. They wield great financial and social power, often unwisely. They can certainly impact your life for good or ill. But they are not leaders. They care not if you achieve your potential, and you matter a little to them except as a means of helping them achieve their objectives. They have neither overarching vision nor the intuitive knowledge of how this translates into the next step nor the manifest life force that wins dedicated converts to their vision. What they have is a small coterie of followers who have hitched their stars to them in a calculated bet that this is a route to personal advancement.”
It is probably imperative to revisit a riveting conversation that took place over 5000 years ago on a battlefiled between a prince torn admist his duties and his charioteer Lord Krishna and apply the teachings in of Shri Krishna in the context of the degenerative behavior seen on display. Some verses from Chapter 16 (all translations are from the book of Jack Hawley)
Look more closely at the degenerative behavior – not to dwell on negatives, but to guard against them.

Degenerate beings, because they have no sense of truth or right conduct (dharma) do not know what they should do  or should not do. There is no purity in them.

Without thinking of the consequences of their actions, they cause destruction and suffering. If left alone to their self- indulgence they would heedlessly destroy the world.

Stuffed with endless, insatiables desires, they are arrogant, vain, and prideful. They live in delusion and chase blindly  after evil (those things that lead to suffering).

They are blindly certain that gratifying their own lust is all is there to life.

They are bound on all sides by by scheming, greed and anger because, being hurtful themselves, they attract hurtful  people to themselves. They amass and hoard wealth for the sole purpose of indulging senses and whims. Grabbing for  riches governs their every thought and move.

They arrogantly proclaim “I wanted this or that and I got it! Tomorrow I will get more. These riches are mine and I will  spend my life making more and more. I  have destroyed this and that enemy and I will get rid of rest of them. I am indeed mighty. I am the ruler of my domain. I love having things of the world. I am successful, powerful and rich. Who  can compare to me? I will buy my way, making lavish contributions to the poor and the weak, and revel in my own  goodness” That is how far blindness and ignorance has eaten into their soul.

These degenerates, bewildered, trapped in their addiction to sense gratification, are stuck in the spiderweb of  delusion. They spiral downwards into the filthy painful hell of their own foul minds.

Stuffed until choking with pride and conceit, drunk with their own wealth, they pay mere lip service to Divinity. They make offerings to the deities only for name and fame, outward show and self-promotion.

The three main causes of this depravity are the so called three gates to hell: desire, greed and anger. Any one of  them in enough to bind you to this darkness, so abandon all three.

Jack writes,
Reading the Gita we come to a better understanding of life as an inner battle, a struggle for the mind, heart, body and spirit. And, make no mistake, it is a fight to the death. We learn that our real enemies are not outside, but within: our own desire, anger and greed. This is what makes it so hard. These archenemies have linked forces so powerfully that they are all but unbeatable. We’re losing. The Gita boldly declares that spirituality is the only winning solution. Turn inward, it directs us, and upward. Look no further than the True Self Within.
In the Satsang during the advanced course, I had the opportunity of writing out a question for Guruji to answer. I do not have the verbatim answer, but here is the essence of what he said “Sprituality is not against prosperity. What Spirituality is against is greed. Look at what happened at Satyam and with Madoff….This was because they did not follow Spirituality. If leaders do not have spiritual values, people will not have trust in them. Prosperity devoid of ethics and morality cannot be successful. What the Gita says is don’t be greedy. It is not against progress, you move, you progress, you prosper in life. Your needs will be taken care of…the world has enough for your needs but not for your greed…..We need to work towards bringing ethical and spiritual values in society at a faster pace. Only when human values come into play will frauds cease! 

How does one guard one’s against these degenrative tendencies? How does one not get carried away in the emotions of greed and desire to make more and more? How do we make sure that we are not acting on the impulse of the desires? 

The scriptures talk of several ways, the easiest of course, is the Sudarshan Kriya and practice of regular meditation and that is why it is important to take some time out for own selves, to understand who we are and where we are headed, so that we are not carried away, as I described in the first paragraph in the dust storms of thoughts. To start off on a personal journey head off to the nearest Art of Living course  To lead many, you need to be able to lead one! To start your team on a journey of authentic leadership, check out Apex Program.