Saturday, July 25, 2015

Religion - Holy or Evil?

Everytime we read the news of a terror attack in the middle east or an ISIS or Al Qaida engineered massacre etc., one question that comes up is whether any religion is responsible for this. People are quick to blame the religion and find fault with it for encouraging the violence. Some say that as the moderates are either not protesting against it or are not actively taking steps to curb it, they are also involved.

This seems to be a general trend. We are quick to generalise and tend to put labels to things. Perhaps, it makes us comfortable to look at everything in black and white and not have any shades of grey. The fact, of course, is that generalisation is factually incorrect and misleading.

The question that we should ask whenever we come across any act is whether that act is good or bad, holy or evil, right or wrong. Instead of focusing on the act or the event, we move away from the subject and attempt to find answers by branding the people of that region or religion to be all of one kind. Such a tendency results in defensive reaction from the people concerned and they too end up defending themselves, and sometimes even the perpetrators, rather than condemning the act.

In today's world, we find that good and evil co-exists in every society, region and religion. In fact, every individual has an element of good and bad in them. Should we not therefore, at every occasion, seek to identify only what is right and what is wrong? Should we not stop generalising? Should we not encourage good and discourage bad by using a carrot & stick approach?

Let us remember that the 'holier than thou' approach is counter-productive. Let us focus on our quest to improve ourselves and rid ourselves of any traces of evil that exists in us. Let us create more trust, faith & love in our world and make it a wonderful place to live.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Growth - Good or Evil?

One of the most common pursuits of every individual & society is growth. Everyone desires that one should gain in life in terms of wealth, income, possessions etc. We want to be richer than we are and all our pursuits are directed towards that aspiration. We also evaluate people, corporations & societies in terms of how they are growing.

This quest for growth comes with a steady feeling of dissatisfaction with the present circumstances and a strong desire to be bigger, better etc. In this quest for growth, we end up seeking or acquiring bigger houses, bigger vehicles, consuming more expensive articles etc. Some of us even pretend thus to make an impression.

What we do not realise is that the resources of this world are limited. If each of us a propelled by this quest for growth, we are in effect consuming more and more of the limited resources. In a way, we are depriving the less privileged by making things more expensive for them. We are also not leaving much for our future generations.

This is one thing that we need to learn from animals. They only consume as much as necessary to satisfy their immediate requirement. They usually do not store or save something for future - and certainly never for future generations.

Clearly this mad chase of growth is leading the world into a downward spiral. The global warming and destruction of habitats are all clear examples of this. It is time we redefine our priorities. It is time we realise that dissatisfaction is the wrong driver to be used. Lets change that to satisfaction and restate the real meaning of growth.

The Power to Digest

Recently I had lunch in a fancy restaurant with some friends. The food was expensive and tasty. Later, after I reached home, I started feeling a strange sensation in my stomach. It seemed like it was on fire. Drinking water didn't stop the sensation. That night, I couldn't sleep due to this nauseating feeling. Finally, I had a bout of vomiting and loose motions and it took me two days to recover.

This incident set me thinking. What if I had a stronger power of digestion? What if my stomach could process anything thrown in and not protest as it did? Wouldn't that be a blessing? Shouldn't we all pray to God to give us that power of digestion?

We all need a power to digest not just what we consume but everything that life throws at us. Sweet moments, bitter moments et al. It is not just our stomachs but also our minds that needs that power. To remain unaffected by good things or bad.

Let's pray God to give us that power, that strength that helps us cope with and enjoy life and everything that comes our way.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Law of Reincarnation

Hinduism believes in reincarnation. It believes that the soul of a person is distinct from the body and the soul moves from one body to another across countless lives. It believes that the soul may move across different geographies and across different species too. Depending on the thoughts, actions and tendencies of an individual, one may evolve into a higher being or go down lower.

This theory may be debated by non-believers or people with scientific mind-set who demand evidence or proof for everything. But the objective of this blog is not to establish whether the theory is correct or not. 

The Theory or Law of reincarnation is very interesting and useful. If all species and creatures are indeed linked in this manner, does it not make it easy to love one another? Will we not think twice before hurting another being who could have been our close relative or friend from some previous birth? Will we not become more compassionate and caring if we believe in reincarnation?

This, perhaps, could be one reason for this theory to have come up. The idea of one world where all souls exist in different bodies but all linked to each other is a very powerful idea indeed. Who can deny that this idea promotes values, ethics, morals among people who accept it?

I believe this one theory is the panacea for the evils and the problems that the world faces today. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What is your view?

From the time we were very young, we observed things around us and started forming views. Some things we liked and they made us happy. Some other things we disliked and we tried to avoid them.

In this age of IT revolution, we are overloaded with information of various kinds. At every moment, we are exposed to news and developments from around the world. Thanks to our fertile minds, we end up forming a view on each of these events.

If there are 10 people in a room and a topic comes up for discussion, we will end up having at least half a dozen views. There is merit in variety & diversity and these differing views help us take a well thought through decision. The real problem comes up when some people cling obstinately to their views and refuse to change it. Such a stand (many a times without logic) results in stalemate or sub-optimal decisions.

So, should one have a view or not? And, should one be flexible enough to change it when presented with a better logic? These are two questions to ponder upon.

My own take on this is as follows. We should form a view on subjects which we are well aware of. We should have the honesty and the humility to confess that we do not know enough of a topic to form a view. And we should have an open mind to let others influence us with a better reasoning. Many a times, we realise later that our views are biased based on our own experiences & expectations.

By refusing the temptation of forming a view, we are actually freeing up our mind space. When we form views, we become attached to them as well as agitated. By not forming views, we are going into a meditative state of merely observing things as facts. When we don't have a view, we are becoming non-judgemental about things. We are reaching a state of Nirvana. Isn't that great?

What is your view?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Look inward

Over the years, we have seen a steady deterioration of human values. Propelled by a lack of fear of the law and fear of sin, people tend to break rules and behave with impunity. Thanks to the focus on the negative news by the media, we are exposed to such stories all the time.

When we read about such blatant violations of the law and of brazen display of unethical behaviour, we tend to feel upset and begin to ponder on what can be done to improve the state of affairs. Should we introduce new laws? Should we improve our judiciary system? Should we focus on the policing? Should we enhance our education system and start inculcating moral values at a young age? Should we name and shame the violators?

Many such questions come up and get debated all the time. We start blaming the leaders, the society etc. Sometimes, we are filled with hope and sometimes anguish extinguishes our faith. It truly seems that the onslaught is never ending.

When we think deeply about this we realize that we need not despair. There is hope. We can make a difference by bringing about change. The change that we seek has to be nurtured and groomed within ourselves, as Mahatma Gandhi used to say. If we expect the world to be better, we can start with ourselves first.

The solution to all issues lies within ourselves. We can only control and change ourselves. It is futile and pointless to look elsewhere. The external world will reflect our internal world. By making ourselves more compassionate, more understanding, more selfless, more tolerant and more gentle, we can create a more peaceful world. We have the power and the ability to become more honest, more balanced and simpler.

When we change ourselves, our actions and character begins to multiply. Others get influenced by us. They emulate us. They propagate and spread the word. We attract like minded people towards us. People begin to realize the importance of values.

Remember this. Each one of us can influence the world to change by changing ourselves. We can make a start by looking inwards and discovering what we can do to improve our world.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

God in everyday life

Here is a simple answer to the question of how to remember God at all times.

First, treat your work as worship. Work means anything that you do - be it play, love, work etc. As you work (worship), keep thinking of it as an offering to the Lord within you. Look at work as a service to Him (or Her if you please). Do it as best as you can and say this mentally "O Lord, I offer this work at your lotus feet."

Second, look at everything that happens to you and around you as a treat / blessing from Him. It could be good & pleasant things or it could be nasty & painful things. Relish each of these as a treat from the Lord and thank Him for the same. Tell Him of what you think of each treat.

If one is able to tune oneself in this manner, life becomes beautiful and wonderful. One does not get affected by the ups and downs of life. One is forever blissful and peaceful.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Learning from Breathing

Everyday events if observed thoughtfully can give us extraordinary learning. We can learn from everyone and anyone. All it takes is an open minded approach, keen observation and introspection.

The other day I tried to meditate. I was told that one can meditate in more than a hundred different ways. I decided to meditate by closing my eyes and silently observing my breathing. If you do this exercise for as little as 15-20 minutes a day, you can have a healthier mind and body. When you start observing your breath, it automatically becomes deep and relaxes you. The mind becomes less agitated and more calm. Consequently, the rest of the organs & constituents of the body gets more organised and less chaotic.

While I was thus meditating, I came across a startling observation. For every breath that we take in, we feel energized. For every breath that we release, we feel relaxed. We cannot have a state where we do only one thing - breathing in or breathing out. Both must necessarily follow one another.

Breathing in can be equated to receiving from the Universe. And breathing out can be equated to giving back to the Universe. Breathing in is like getting and breathing out is like giving. We get only to give back. We give in order to be eligible to get. We cannot get unless we give. We grow only when we follow this cycle religiously.

Nature is teaching us to give. Lets learn and practice it. We will be rewarded.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gratitude reflects attitude

Each of us owes our lives, our success & our achievements to the support we have received from countless others. The support we receive from others starts much before we are born and continues much after our deaths. Most of the time we are blissfully unaware of this and sometimes falsely believe that we alone are responsible for everything.

In a typical day, we wake up to the alarm invented by others, manufactured by others and sold by others to us. The battery that runs it is manufactured by others and the components that go into the clock and the battery are manufactured by others. Likewise, every single thing that we do or enjoy has the hidden hand of others.

Once we realise this, wouldn't our thoughts be full of gratitude? It is childish to think that if we have paid the price or the taxes, we are entitled to enjoy life and need not be grateful.

We also receive unconditional love and care from our loved ones. Our parents who care for us, nurture us and shape our lives deserve nothing but our choicest gratitude and love in return. They sacrifice their own pleasures for our sake. They go to great lengths to make our lives secure and comfortable. Shouldn't we be overwhelmed with all this? Yet, some of us ignore them or complain about some or other blemish in their affection.

Gratitude reflects attitude. If we have it, it shows in all aspects of our lives !!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Create happy memories

When you think back of your childhood, what kind of memories come back? Do you remember joyful moments spent in the company of loved ones? Do memories of happy days spent in carefree laughter and silly games flash past your eyes? Do you remember your childhood as one great picnic? Or do you remember angry, sad, painful times spent agonising and hurting?

Every moment of our lives, we are creating memories. It is up to us to make them happy. Not just for ourselves, but for people around us. We owe it ourselves to be happy. We cannot let momentary issues make us forget the larger purpose of our lives - which is to be happy.

Our positive mindset can make everything positive. Summers can be fun days to let our hair down and enjoy. The rainy days can be fun too in a very different way. Winters can be the time to marvel in the beauty of nature and the change of seasons. Each day can be a day to look forward to with relish and anticipation.

When we live such lives, we end up creating happy memories. It is something like an album of our lives in which every picture showcases the smiles, the glee and the joy. When our present is so wonderful and so is our past, can the future be any less exciting?

Create happy memories !!