Guru’s position – a disciple’s perspective.

5 09 2014

Prologue : A teacher is one who wants to teach you, a ‘Guru’ is one who makes you learn. A students idea is ‘to be’, whereas a disciple (shishya) is the one who wants ‘to become’. In other words a student is looking for change while a disciple is aspiring to transform.

Whatever I say is with this context in mind.

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Many years back, must be my secondary school days, if i remember it well, around my wonder years,  back in time when I was studying in 8th or 9th grade, I happened to read a story. This story has had a lasting impact on my thought process. I do not clearly remember that story and its context, but it is this one scene from the story which has stayed with me and shaped my understanding. It goes like this.

A young disciple, completely devoted to his guru, was someone who was committed to follow on the path shown by his guru. He had this habit of always going to his guru whenever in some critical decision making situation. And the Guru would readily guide him out during each such instance; in the process the guru would enlighten the disciple. One fine day, in a similar situation as the disciple reaches out to his Guru, the Guru doesn’t offer him any guidance. The disciple is astonished and couldn’t believe this fact. The Guru sends him back by saying “Son, I have given you enough, I leave you now to imbibe all of that, find your own path, and make your own experiences. Its time you take your decisions without me.”

Now this incident from the story found its way deep within myself. Over different periods of my existence this story has provided me different lessons. It started with me believing that a ‘guru’ can only take one this far. One cannot have a guide to eternity. At some later stages i realized the importance of ‘swadhyay’ or ‘learning by self’. Further ahead I understood that it will all be fruitless if one does not learn to take his/her own decisions.

Over many summers of my existence I was fortunate to come across many learned people and many loving teachers. It was quite later in my young life that i discovered a ‘Guru’. It was destined for me to get my greatest lessons from this one person. However the above story was always a part of me, and hence in spite of total surrender I never actually became dependent. That infinite love and reverence can thrive and still one remains boundless was a unique experience and a learning for me. Secondly I knew that the physical proximity and one-to-one transfer of knowledge with the ‘Guru’ can only happen till a limited period of time. This understanding fueled my urge to learn and make the most of those transactions. Many individuals close to me, around that period, sensed a transformation in me, they sensed an urgency in me; I could not explain it to them, than, but deep down i knew that i need to build myself to a level from where I can be on my own. Also I never wanted to come to a point, like the boy in that story had to, where my Guru feels that his disciple has not learned to be on his own.

Many Guru – Disciple relations end in agony and bitterness or in sheer blinded dependence. The crux of this eventuality is the non-realization of the fact that – a guru can only take you this far. With this dawned another important learning from that story and a whole new dimension of learning opened up for me. A disciple is the one who is aspiring to move to a higher destination, in every which way. A ‘guru’ is the form who takes the disciple to that destination. However if one remains focused on the destination and not the form, than ‘guru’ dissolves his form and becomes a part of your being. Somewhere within you the ‘guru’ is installed, and without any one-to-one interaction the transaction continues. Whenever in doubts or in crisis  I am able to talk with my ‘guru’ without even talking with him. In certain extraordinary situations i would have resorted to the one-to-one interactions, but largely I have come this far with the help of the ‘guru’ within. Many times while I ponder on all that I have received from my ‘guru’, I end up tearful. The enormity of the receipt is so huge that all the ego inside me is pushed out by way of tears.

And so I learn that the ‘guru’ in the story while denying his disciple the guidance, has actually given him the greatest lesson anyone can learn. That ‘without’ can be turned into ‘within’.

This has been my experience since a decade now, whereby the ‘Guru’ has found a position ‘within’. In his distinct  style he had shared something, which for me is the articulation of the above learning. He said to a few of us, “I do not want you to be learned, I want you to be learners’.

In whatever limited capacity, with pride, I can tell myself, that I have not stopped learning and I know, the ‘Guru’ within would not let me decay ever.





કોની શોધ ? / search for whom?

26 11 2013

We all are searching for something/someone. We are constantly in look out for something/someone. The search is so passionate that while we remain elusive the feeling of ‘missing out’ engrosses us perpetually. We regret not being able to find that which we are looking for. But do we know what we are looking for? What is this mad search for? The irony is we have no clue of what we are searching for. Ignorant of a goal, we make this search, the anchor of our lives. Isn’t this a fatal waste?
How weird it is to feel eluded of that which we do not even know. And how this pointlessness has become a celebration of life remains to be comprehended. Also this craving that we harbour – is it giving us ‘love’ or making us ‘hateful’. Happiness seems to be equated with the preference to be ignorant.

Below verses are a poetic depiction of the above observations.
 
ઘણા સમય થી તને યાદ કરું છું 
વૈશાખ ની લુ માં ગોતતા ગોતતા 
શિશિર ના વાયરા થકી આવી પહોચ્યો છું.
 
મને ના મળવાની તારી જીદ અપરંપાર છે 
ધસમસતા વંટોળ માં શોધતા શોધતા 
તને પામી લેવાની મારી હઠ બેમિસાલ છે.
 
તું શું છે તું કોણ છે તું ક્યાં છે 
વિચાર કરું ગુલાબ ની પાંખડી તોડતા તોડતા 
તારી ના મળવાની પીડા કેમ પારાવાર છે.

તું છે પ્રેમ કે પછી તિરસ્કાર છે 
જીવન ની કેડી પર ખોવાતા ખોવાતા 
તને ના જાણવાની મજા બેશુમાર છે.

 

 

  





Fan Mail to Devdutt Pattanaik

9 10 2013

Respected Sir,

I have been following your articles, blogs and quite a few books since last 3 years now. And it is having a profound impact on me as an individual. From what i could analyse myself, i think the qualities and empathy and sensitivity have increased substantially in me.

Along side the way I see/perceive mythology and everyday rituals have gone through a complete change. In that sense I credit you in instilling belief in me. We may not know what is the ‘correct’ way, and that is actually not the idea; but having a belief system is a mandatory anchor for a content life.

Being born in a Jain family a lot of Jain traditions and rituals have always intrigued me; I read and enriched myself about some of them, but mostly I was indifferent. But over time I am able to form better response to those rituals. Not just myself I also am able to help family and some friends in comprehending the same and making them aware of their indifference. This aspect is having a very positive impact on my character.

I have interacted with you earleir too, over your blog on here on fb or on mails; but today I write particularly to thank you for the role you are playing in the TV series Mahabharata. I have studied Jaya, but going through it visually, with Krishna as the ‘sutradhar’ or ‘summariser’…is a wonderful and enriching experience.

I see how wonderfully it is engaging a lot of my friends, family and colleagues in a positive manner. I have witnessed some other mythology series being turned into soap operaish narratives. Frankly when Mahabharata was announced i was skeptical about the same effect. But the result is pleasantly different. And i see a lot of your perceptions being presented both in dialogues and in what Krishna discusses every day.

Along with the entire team of the series, and specifically you, I take this opportunity to thank you for bringing such wisdom on Television.

I am hopeful of this having a positive impact on the societal mindset at large.

Regards,

MIhir





Hey rains, i really need you to be with me today!

1 05 2013

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There is a unique relation between man and nature. Science is struggling to comprehend it, religion has baptized it and commoners are neglecting it. It is left to us poets to explore this beautiful relation. For me nature exists, every aspect of it is a being for me. I often talk with it, walk with it; sometimes just watch it and sometimes listen to it. I had a little chat with rains yesterday. A hopelessly romantic individual that i am, I made the chat a little dramatic. Sharing that little chat I had with rain, in the form of a poem.
વરસાદ આજે તારી ખુબ જરૂર છે
વૈશાખ ની હજી તો માત્ર  બે – ચાર સાંજ પસાર થઇ છે,
તારા આગમન ને એમતો હજી ઘણી વાર છે ,
જાણું છું છતાય મારી આ જીદ છે ,
વરસાદ તારી મને આજે ખુબ જરૂર છે।
ધરતીને ઉનાળા ના તાપ ની જરૂર છે
ખેતર ને તું ભીંજવે એ પેહલા એને પણ સેકાવાની ઘણી જરૂર છે ,
સ્વાર્થી બની રહ્યો છું હે એની મને ખબર છે,
વરસાદ તારી મને આજે ખુબ જરૂર છે।
સૌ ને હોય એમ મને પણ એક સથવારા ની જરૂર છે,
કહી દઉં છું તને જે સર્વેથી મૈ  છુપાયેલું છે
હાસ્ય ની પાછળ મારા, એક મજાનું દર્દ પ્રસરાઇ ગયું  છે,
વરસાદ તારી મને આજે ખુબ જરૂર છે।
વરસ, તારા આલિંગન માં મને આવરવા વરસ,
વરસ, ઊભરાયેલા મારા રુદન ને લુછવા વરસ,
વરસ, આ ખાલીપાને ભરી નાખવા વરસ,
વરસ, કોઈ ના જુવે એમ, છાનું છપનું,  મને સ્પર્શી  જવા વરસ।
જાણું છું હું નિર્દોશ કે મને સમજે છે તું ,
છતાય સ્પષ્ટ કરું છું,
વરસાદ તારી આંજે મને ખુબ જરૂર છે
વરસાદ તારી આજે મને ખુબ જરૂર છે।

 





Hidden Love / અવ્યક્ત પ્રેમ

18 03 2013

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We all have stories inside us. Within us is a mix of sketchy emotions, which we often feel, but never let out. Even if they are let out , they come veiled under worldly gestures. Yes, love exists within us, it resides inside us somewhere. Subdued by our fear and ignorance we are unable to embrace the existence of an unadulterated passionate love within us. We remain inhibited. And the love stays inside us like an unformed story. Thus i say we all have stories inside us.

The inhibited feelings that we carry manifests themselves in our sensitivity towards nature, music, arts, poetry etc. This could be the seed of romanticism.

The poem below is an expression of my experiences with my own feelings.

હૈયા ની અંદર, અંતર માં ક્યાંક
એક વાર્તા સંતાયેલી પડી લાગે છે ;

વસંત ની વેળા એ,કેસુડા નું આગમન થતા
મન નું પારેવું બની ઉડવા લાગવું  ,
સુમધુર સંગીત ના તરંગો કાને પડતાની સાથેજ
હૃદયનું ધબકારો લેવાનું ચુકી જવું ,
ટમટમતા તારલાઓ ને ચૌદસ ની રાત્રિ મા રમતા જોઈ
ચક્ષુ ના ખૂણામાં ઉલ્લાસ ભરેલ ટશીઓ નું ફૂટવું ,
નદી ને કિનારે ફફડતી પાંખોનો  સમૂહગાન સાંભળતા
મુખે થી સોહામણા છંદો નું છલક્વા માંડવું ,
વગર કોઈ કારણે ક્યારેક રાહ પર ઉભા ઉભા
ચેહરા પર નિર્દોષ  સ્મિત નું ફેલાઈ જવું  ,
આ નિશાનીઓ માં તારી હાજરી છતી થાય છે
મારા હૈયા ની અંદર,મારા અંતર માં ક્યાંક
એક અવ્યક્ત વાર્તા બની તું રહી જાય છે।

~ મિહીર





Why GOD exists? ~ an atheists anthropological narration.

2 09 2010

On the day of ‘Janmashtmi’ ~ the day celebrated by Hindus all around as Lord Krishna’s birthday; I find myself occupied by thoughts that bring me here. On this auspicious day Devotees express their love for Lord Krishna in a manner as varied and as weird as it can get. From luxurious fasts to mindless gambling; from joining mad rush at midnight at Krishna temples to touch the symbolic ‘cradle’ to taking an extended weekend off from work. Faith manifests itself in myriad forms.

Over last 5000-6000 years of human civilization the GODS have changed with changing times. Earlier, during the pre-historic times, during the period when humans were wanderers like animals there were no GODS. The basis of life was survival and not significance. Gradually with passage of time ‘culture’ started building up. ‘Culture’ is what a human society conceives as its values of significance for that period of time and for that geographical region. Families, Small colonies, housing and  more importantly agriculture showed up first. During this era the humans started realising their dependence on nature. Rains, soil, rivers, winds, fire etc. But they never could understand the methodology to control these elements. And hence the concept of ‘worship’ came into existence. What humans can’t control they either worship it or forsake it depending on their need at that point of time. If the uncontrollable element is needed than worship it and if it can be tamed or could be done away with, than gladly forsake it. During this times the elements of nature like Trees, Rivers, Winds, Rains, Forests, Sun, animals etc. were worshiped.

This quality of human nature led to evolution of culture and new concepts of property, irrigation technologies, animal husbandry and eventually trading and economics. And a new element called WEALTH came into existence. Across all times, most human race has been lazy intellectually; and they never put in efforts to understand and meditate upon any happening. And so understandable and controllable man-made concepts start becoming in-comprehensible and intriguing and uncontrollable. Same happened with the so-called evolved human race. The elements of wealth, property, technology etc. that came into existence to reduce their dependence actually made them more dependent. The human race became less dependent on older elements of nature and became more dependent on newer elements of economics (the function of which was to make them independent in the first place!!) And this obviously needed new sets of GOD’s.

It is important to note that by this time ‘language’ had developed and with it the never ending human imagination.  This led to creation of stories and legends of Great Men and Women, which we today refer to as mythology. So came Laxmi, Saraswati, Durga, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh etc. With trade, economics and human population flourishing the conflicts of human race also increased manifold. Earlier  only physical strength was the medium and antidote for conflicts; but now with human imagination flying physical strength no longer was mighty enough. Something more mightier had come into force. And that was MORALS. Morals are guidelines created by a society/culture to get desired behavior from a large section of people. Aristocracy and morals came in almost at the same time. The people who weren’t intellectually lazy realised the need for dependence of the human race and so they utilised the power of language and imagination to create stories of GODS that preached moral values. Those intellectually powerful people were Kings and Aristocrats and rest all were mere subjects.

With passing time people realised that moral values ain’t holding true always. Even after subscribing to moral values they are not able to experience happiness. Be content with what you have, do not be greedy, do not look at others property, love your spouse, be obedient to elders, kindness, generosity, patriotism and many more such morals were on the verge of destruction. The aristocrats  realised it and so they had to come up with a sustainable format for allowing to maintain and manage morals. This led to the inception of the concept of ‘organised religion’. An aristocrat backed by a Religion can control the subjects in a much smoother fashion. The intellectually lazy subjects fell into the trap and diverted energies into the reciting of hymns and carrying out of religious rituals while the Intellectuals enjoyed being in control. With this another power center came into existence. A natural corollary of fostering Organised religion – the powerful religious leaders came into existence. With this came the era of Religion and ‘Bhakti’ as often referred in Indian history. Language and Literature and education all laced with the thoughts and concepts of religion- wherein it was talked about the world being created by GOD and GOD being the ‘All MIGHTY’. And so naturally the caretakers of ‘All MIGHTY’ viz. the Priests and Popes and Sadhus became more and more powerful. This era saw the beginning of worship of a ‘living human’ be it in the form of a Yogi or a Sadhu or a Priest or a Pope.

With passage of time Aristocracy lost its power to Religion. Religion could tweak Morals as per the needs of different times, and human race had already subscribed to Religious Morals. And so gradually KINGS died and Temples and Shrines took over. But Religion was not capable of managing peoples aspiration for wealth and ‘good life’ and so a new order, a new force was required. Society now had Haves and Have nots. People with wealth and property and People devoid of wealth and property. Conflicts arose. But religion kept them at bay. Growing trade led to the need of an entity which would uphold religion and also manage the arising conflicts. This led to invention of Democracy. The formation of GOVERNMENT. A body whose function is to take care of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ both and yet can never go above religion. Basically a care taker. By now this element has also become a force that wants to control rather than take care. And a totally new dynamic is formed. Political leaders and Preachers of Democracy became New GODs. World got Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and likes. This led the seed of the modern human society as we see it today. There is Government, there is Organised religion, there are Haves and there are Have nots. The four segments of the modern Human Race.

During this modern time, both human population and technological advancement are growing manifold. Globalisation and Internet have created a mixture of cultures. We have in our belief system our database of GODS and along with it modern education and globlisation are subjecting us to different stories and life styles. We earlier used to celebrate our GOD’s birthday with fast, but new western culture tells us that celebration has to be luxurious; and so came in Luxury fasts. The way they are done now. Where you have tons of options of eating even during fasts. The concept of introspection and meditation got transgressed into noise, luxury and show off. And this takes us to the brand new element of this modern era, which the human race is dependent on  FAME. After Nature, Wealth, Morals, Religious Gurus, Political leaders it is the era of CELEBRITY. In every possible field FAME is what the human race is trying to achieve. Hence Capitalism, Glamour, Fashion, Sexuality, modern Spirituality are the forces that rule the world. A new set of GOD’s which include the highest achievers of each of his forces are into existence. Each one has his/her own GOD. A Bill Clinton or a Dhirubhai Ambani for some; An Amitabh Bachchan or Shakira for some; An Armani or Versace for some; a Michael Jackson or a Lata Mangeshkar for few while a Osho or an Amma for others.

Religion is still sustaining. It has included FAME and CELEBRITY craving in its constitution in an implicit manner. Religion accepts charity, philanthropy, religious investments and donations as neutralizers for some other sins that you may  incur. The problem that is created is that under this arrangement only ‘haves’ of the society can get rid of their sins. What about those who cannot afford charity or philanthropy?? For the first time since its inception Religion is increasingly becoming distant from the ‘have nots’ of the society. What the ‘haves’ can control ‘have nots’ cant. And so the ‘have nots’ need an element which  they can worship inorder to express their dependence. This seems to be calling for a new order; a new set of GOD’s.

If at all I have to forecast. The answer to this last question will define the next age of human race. If I am correct than the signals are already showing up of this new element. An offshoot of Organised Religion – It is Religious extremism. And mind you the four segments of human race viz. The government, The Religion, The Haves and The Have nots they all are so intricately intertwined that  they all will together create a new set of GOD’s. This new GOD could be anybody from an Osama to a lesser known Wangari Mathai (noble laureate environmentalist)

From merely being an un-understandable element of dependency to being a complex caricature of Morals and lifestyle dependence the GOD has constantly changed. But the fact is GOD will always remain. Earlier human race was based on the value of ‘survival’ but now it is thriving on the value of ‘significance’. And so instead of being grateful or loving towards GOD;  we now Fear GOD.

Whatever we do or aspire to do is to feel significant. We study to give us a label, we choose a university which has some brand value, we wear clothes that says things about our status and attitudes, we follow religions that benefit us, we marry the one whom we can claim as our property, we build homes, businesses, relations …every damn endeavour is to feel significant. The fight for survival ends with life. But the craving for significance have made us believe that our ‘properties’ out live us. The more assets (both material and relationships) we have that could out live us, makes us feel more significant and more happy.

I do not believe in GOD. (maybe this statement is what makes me feel ‘significant’)





I wish to die, NOW.

19 05 2010

Some recent talks and incidents around me :

  • A gentleman in his mid fifties; goes merrily to the park for his every day routine morning walk. While in his routine, some unknown thing happens inside his heart; the medical terminology terms it as a heart stroke.  He passes away. All that he might have planned to do on that day after the walk remains undone.
  • A young lad, barely 21 graduates and receives his engineering degree. A hint of relaxation coupled with a whiff of anxiety; dreaming about his future he returns to his native. The chap loved biking. It was the 3rd day after his graduation and his mind must have been filled with  lots of plans as to what choice of job and/or further education would ensure him a secure future. Like any routine evening he sets off on his bike to roam around. His bike hits a passing car, he skids, hits the road and some thing unknown happens inside his skull; the medical terminology terms it as a severe hemorrhage and skull fracture. He does not survive to reach hospital. All his faint thoughts and loose plans about his ‘tomorrow’ remains undone.
  • An elderly lady, an octogenarian , lives with her son and his family. Reasonably healthy she passes on each day performing the basics that the body requires. A very secured life she has. All possible eventualities (mostly) can be taken care by her son. She does not have much to look forward too. There is nothing left for her to hope. All that routine hopes of  ‘seeing your grand children and great grand children’ are also satisfied. Her days go by and she awaits…
  • A couple, in their early sixties. Childless, they live on their own. Economic struggles over past one- one and half decade have taken the gleam out of their eyes. They have  in their banks a sum lying which is taking care of their survival. However to secure the eventualities that might confront them; which is quite plausible; they live frugally. The intelligence of planning for security is making them save their capital. Eventually when they would not be mortal the beneficiaries would be the ones who have no great connection with them. The couple however are feeling reasonably secured today.
  • He’s in his early thirties. Started his employment career pretty early in life. Tried his hand in all sorts of employment options, but almost every now and them he finds himself jobless. What has he earned over these years? – dunno; but he lost something precious over these years of ensuring-employment-planning. That precious something is his passion and skill for music. Even the tangible remains of his passion viz. the equipment does not exist any more. He’s still searching for that breakthrough employment that shall secure the rest of his life.

These are not one-off or rare examples. Millions exist who fall close  to either of this situations. The point I am trying to make is “Are we living for something?” or we just “Dying for nothing?” To make it more narrower “Are we living or dying?”

I believe that Life is the duration between two accidents namely Birth and Death. If that is the case, there is no way anyone can secure / control this duration. It is absolutely out of bounds. If the first accident namely Birth has occurred it is a mandate that the second accident namely Death has to occur. That is it. But no one that I know (including my own self) want to believe this simple fact. And hence may be this entire cycle of securing and fear fullness occurs. We are out to secure something which is impossible and we know that, and hence we are in constant fear. And we double that fear by making hectic choices ,which generally speaking, take care of our insecurity. Short lived that they are, to keep us in a continuous and unending struggle towards death.

You go to school to find a decent employment. You take up a job to settle down and marry. You marry to secure your need for companionship in later years. You have kids so that you have someone to inherit your crap. You retire because you have collected enough money by now. And now you wait for life to end because maybe now the world around considers you useless. The society has made a template; and we all download this template into our lives and rut accordingly. And so most people alive are already dead!

Why can’t one go to school just to study and learn? Why can’t one take up a job that s/he’s good at or simply enjoys doing it? Why can’t one find companionship without marriage? Why can’t one have kids if they really wish to rear a life, otherwise don’t? Why do you have to leave stuff for someone to inherit? Why the hell should anyone retire ? If retirement is all one was waiting for , why the hell were they working for all these years? Why is it that we equate our worth to the money we are generating or have already generated?

The moment one becomes conscious of his/her existence the only choice s/he makes is to secure/control tomorrow. In spite of being witness to thousands of incidents where a dying person has left all his/her plans undone, we simply reject that reality. In our entire lifetimes we hardly have even a day when we can pronounce boldly that THIS IS HOW I WOULD BE IF TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF MY LIFE.

WHY so?

The only reason I could see is we are all so fearful of END. The manner in which we are programmed we are made to feel that END is bad.Fear it.  And so dumb we are, that out of the fear of END we hardly ever begin. We never begin to LEARN!(all we want is a degree) We never really pursue a hobby?(all we want is a job)We never really fall in love? (marriage is available) We never really begin a venture we believe in?(failures are not acceptable) and WE NEVER REALLY BEGIN TO LIVE! ( as death is always around the corner)

I wish to die now! Die not to end, but to begin. Die in order to live and not just survive. Die with fear so as to live without any fear. Instead of dying every moment until death, Die now!. Die now so as to awaken to life. A life full of love and passion, a life where I work to ‘do’ something and not to ‘become’ something, a life to find myself, a life to know myself, a life just to live.

For this, I wish to die, NOW.