Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In search of the King!

This is a very interesting story which I heard first from my spouse. This story provides us a metaphor for how we may feel when we reach the deep state of meditation. Let's get on with the story...

Once upon a time there was a poor man living in a great kingdom. He one day decided to travel across far away lands and visit the king's court to meet the king. He thought that if he met the king all his problems would be resolved.

So he set out one fine morning and after walking for several days encountered a man who was dressed in rich robes. He thought, "Oh, this may be the king! But I am not too sure, let me ask somebody!". So he asked a passerby, "Is this the king?". For this the passerby laughed and said, "No, he is just an ordinary sentry who works for the king". Next he saw a man on a horse with 4 soldier's following him. He thought this might be the king and he again inquired with a passerby who said he was one of the king's Senadhipati (aka Defense Minister). Disappointed he walked further and came across a man going in a palaquin (aka caravan) followed by several foot and mounted soldiers. "Wow, this surely is the king", thought the man to himself. But alas another person on the street told him, "Nope, he's not the king, he is just the king's minister."

By this time the poor fellow was crestfallen and was thinking of returning back to his village. But then he thought of giving one last try. After walking for several more days, he entered a grand palace and after entering through several sentry guarded gates came upon a grand court where several bedecked Senadhipatis and Ministers were seated. At the head of the court was a throne made of gold and adorned with several gem stones. On that throne there was a man seated in all glory wearing the most expensive clothing and the most glittering ornaments. The man just had one look at the man on the throne and exclaimed aloud, "O Great King...I get to meet you finally!"

So the underlying moral of this story is that when we can feel that we have achieved the absolute greatest right for us then we will not need a third party endorsement to believe it. This kind of an achievement may be at a worldly level like securing a high paying job or scoring a top rank in an exam. But the true doubtless truth which we can all achieve and know and trust that it is the absolute, is the state achieved via meditation. In the meditative state, we know that we are there in the present, we know that we have tasted the greatest nectar of them all...we just know! So try meditating and enjoy meeting 'the king'.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My world is different from your world

Today I will be telling the story about Lord Ganesha and Karthikeya which many of you must have heard at one point or the other during your childhood years. This story is based on the basic philosophy that a person's ego ultimately leads to their downfall. This story also gives an interesting angle about different perspectives, i.e, even if two people are given the same object they may take it differently because their line of thought is entirely different. So without further ado let us get on with the story...

Long, long ago when Lord Shiva and his wife Parvathi were bored as the administration on Earth was being handled well, they called their two children Lord Ganesha and Karthikeya. When they arrived their parents told them that they would give them a competition and whoever comes first would be given a special prize. Both the children got excited and asked their parents what they were supposed to do. For this Lord Parvathi said, "Whichever one of you goes around the world three times and comes back first will the declared the winner". Lord Karthikeya possessed a very quick moving peacock and so hearing this he was very thrilled since he knew that all that his brother Ganesha had was a small little mouse. So off he went on his peacock to revolve around the Earth. Ganesha on the other hand was confused. He kept thinking for a while and he had a flash of brilliant idea. He smiled to himself and he started walking around his parents. Lord Shiva and Parvathi were also confused. Lord Ganesha quickly finished his three rounds around his parents and then held out his hand for the prize. Lord Shiva and Parvathi looked at each other and understood what their little son Ganesha just did, smiled at each other and handed him the prize.

When Karthikeya arrived he was flabbergasted to see the prize already in Ganesha's hands and he couldn't understand what had happened. Ganesha quickly explained to him saying that for him his 'world' were his parents and hence he decided to just go around them.

This story talks about perspectives. Say for instance, for Person A, a rock may mean just a rock but for another person B it may signify a deity. In today's world as we have exposure to so many different ideas, thoughts thanks to the advancement in communication media. This also creates room for plenty of confusion and friction in a variety of relationships be it personal, formal or informal. To avoid such delicate situations, it is always good to not jump to conclusions but be patient. Also try to put yourself in the other person's shoes to understand how you would view the same situation...that's enough dose for today...

The emperor's new clothes...

This is a story that many of us may have heard several times in our younger days.

A vain and egotistical Emperor who cared for nothing but his appearance hires two tailors who are con men that promise him the finest suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or "just hopelessly stupid". The Emperor cannot see the cloth himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing unfit for his position; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor then marches in procession before his subjects, who play along with the pretense. The Emperor rewards the duo handsomely for their remarkable 'craftsmanship'. Suddenly, a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but holds himself up proudly and continues the procession, deciding never to be so vain again and to take his position more seriously.

Hmmm....find anything similar between the emperor's pitiful situation and yours...??? So many of us today are trying to keep up with so many pretenses just like the foolish emperor. Some of them we do knowingly and some even unknowingly. The key word here is 'ego'. Today we are all muddled under layers and layers of expressions of our ego that we have forgotten our own self, we have completely lost track of who we are...deep down. Deep down we are the 'Pure Spirit' and as a spirit the first and foremost thing on our minds should be to venerate the Divine. But instead the first and foremost thing on most of the people's mind today is money, lust, revenge, hunger for more. People today identify themselves with something they do or some idea they have in mind. If you are a Doctor then you are just that, you develop an ego based on your profession. If you are an investment banker then you are just that. There is no other identity for you! You start thinking that based on your position you need to get a certain amount of money, certain amount of respect, interact with only such and such type of people, do only such and such chores...today everything going wrong with the world is because of man's ego, is because man is not able to see beyond himself. If you for a moment come out and see all the modern world setups you will realize how people have built establishments based not on just their ego but also on the past ego of so many others.

Today the state is such that only 'Money' gives a man security, only 'Sex' satisfies a man, only 'Scientific Know-How' quenches a man's thirst for knowledge...in the name of progress man has driven himself deeper and deeper into the realms of self-destruction because all his activities today are anti-Divine. if you refer to my previous post about old Doordarshan serials then we see that most of the programs airing on TV those days were 'family oriented' but today there are individual channels even for a toddler...then where is the question of sitting and watching a program together as a family??? When we are unable to get over our egos even at the level of a family setting then how will we get over our regional and national problems without letting go of our ego and thinking of the greater good? Today a wife is too ego-oriented to depend on the husband for money or vice-versa, today everybody wants to be independent in everything and all modern day amenities are directed towards that. What we do not realize is that the burgeoning world population and the gradual failure of all man-made edifices go to prove that only a collective community living in harmony without imposing individual egos on one another is going to succeed. It is only a matter of time when this truth will prevail. Until then, try not to be like the foolish emperor but like the innocent child who sees the world as-is...without the weight of his ego! Oh and I know it is very difficult to get rid of Mr. Ego because that is the bane of human civilization but still there is a very hard-to-believe-it-is-so-simple-and-actually-works technique called Sahaja meditation...try it and see if you can bring your Mr. Ego under control and enjoy the change in your perspective....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Raja Janaka and Narada

My New Year's first blog...I am still continuing with the series of stories with a moral...Today I am going to write about Raja Janaka's story. He was the father of Sita.

Raja Janaka was a great king who ruled over a great kingdom. One day Narada, the messenger of Gods came down to him and said, "O Great King...I have heard so much about your greatness. I have heard that you are a powerful and generous king. At the same time I have heard that you are a 'Vidhehi' (one who is above everything)...How can it be possible as you are such a powerful king having so many responsibilities, have so many luxuries, have so many things to worry about and still how can you be above all this? "

For this Raja Janaka responded, "Narad, I will answer your question in the evening. But please do me a favor. Can you please hold this pot filled with milk to the brim and not allow even a drop to spill. Please have this pot with you and return it back to me in the evening."

The sage Narada came back in the evening and was looking all irritated. Raja Janaka asked him what happened. To that Narada retorted, "I have been carrying this pot all day and have not been able to do anything else lest the milk spill from it. All my attention has been on this pot. I didn't see anyone, talk to anyone or do anything else."

Raja Janaka said, "My friend, that is exactly how my attention is. My attention is all the time on my spirit and hence I do not get bothered with any mundane things. My attention is always at a higher level."

Narada said, "O Great one, you have opened my eyes. I now understand the importance of attention. Long live King Janaka!"

This story talks about the importance of attention in our daily lives. If we keep our attention on something pure, then we rise above all other evils. So always keep your attention on good things and remember attention is different from concentration. You may ask how can we keep our attention on pure things when there is so much evil around us. We keep hearing, watching and reading so much negative stuff. That is very true, so to help improve your attention power, try meditating. This will take away all the negative thoughts and ideas and help focus your attention only on the positive.

So until next time, be purely attentive ;-)