The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Saturday 31 October 2009


It was a day of positive co-incidents. I would to like share this one. It was a day like any other with a notable differentiator. Some days ago while starting for my work place for the evening shift; I was mentally prepared to yet another round of irritating arguments with some more auto drivers before I could find someone who could ask for somewhat fair fare amount, i.e., Rs 50-55 or if I had the better luck, I could find some autowalla who would give me a paid ride using meter.

But for a pleasant surprise, as soon as I hit the spot where I stand and wait for auto rickshaws, I found one approaching. As usual, I asked whether he would take me to the Jhandewalan. He said yes. A good beginning as most of them say no to go Jhandewalan due to traffic chaos at Azad market and Kamla Nagar. Now I was waiting to negotiate with him on mode of the fare amount. But he said to sit inside and turned the meter on. It made me feel good. So we both started our ride to my work place. He took the wheel control and I let loose control of my mind and senses to read as much of the ethereal as I could, a favourite when I use public transport; to think and to think, about the myriad called life.

The next positive was the traffic was not chaotic that day especially at places like Azad market. So we were on our way. Meanwhile the driver smoked twice. Generally I object to someone smoking near me as I feel uncomfortable by the fume. I was in my thoughts but not so lost that I could not say no the driver but somehow I didn’t intervene, why, I don’t know.

We had covered the most part of the track when suddenly the driver started slowing down and veering his auto to the side. I didn’t bother much as I had ample time at my hand to reach and so didn’t notice it initially.

But, lo, what I see. Instead of stopping his auto, he took it behind a hand trolley which an old-age person was pulling on feet, not able to rotate the paddles. It was upslope of the road near the Idgah and the trolley puller was finding it difficult to pull the 50 Kg+ of the commercial gas cylinder. The auto driver extended the natural yet strikingly humane and touchy gesture. He came very near to the trolley, placed himself in a slanting angle in his driving seat, put his left leg over the protruding edge of the gas cylinder and sped up his auto rickshaw. The trolley puller suddenly felt acceleration. He looked back and without uttering a word, rushed to his driving seat to take control of the direction.

I felt captivated at this beauty of silent communication and spontaneous synapse. My thoughts were quickly re-aligned to such unspoken yet subtle symbolism. I tried to catch the moment but my camera couldn’t catch it properly. I could take some snaps only when the auto rickshaw reached the downward stretch of the road and the auto driver regained his normal driving seat position. He continued driving silently as if he was used to of it and nothing particular had happened. But for me, it was an experience that I do not witness so often in my sphere of life. Even today, I had to go through the grilling process to pick an auto at the New Delhi Railway Station’s prepaid booth even after having the slip and assistance of the traffic police.

Here it is ironical. We have made natural human tendencies special. I know there would be many more people like this auto driver who take these natural ways of life and living just as natural and so don’t go on expressing and reacting on such gestures, be it the giver or the taker.

But we need to accept the uniformity is largely gone or suppressed. We need to think why we have caged ourselves in these narrow by-lanes of dependent and parasitic thoughts. It has left me thinking since then. It was yet another ‘larger than Life yet very Life like’ moment. We have microcosmos of these. We need to have macrocosmos of these. Let’s see if the macro comes here before it is too late. Personally, I have become less skeptical of Delhi autowallas after the incident. 



Being your true self, being your true nature, is different than experiencing it with thought. Realize that you are the mystery, and that you can’t really look at the mystery because you are only capable of looking from the mystery. There is a very awake, alive, and loving mystery, and that’s what is seeing through your eyes at this moment. That’s what is hearing through your ears at this moment. Instead of trying to figure it all out, which is impossible, I suggest you ask, "What’s ultimately behind this set of eyes?" Turn around to see what is looking. Encounter pure mystery, which is pure spirit, and wake up to what you are.

The mystery always takes care of itself -- as long as we are not addicted to following concepts. This addiction cuts off your access to the mystery. It’s like having a jewel in your pocket but you can’t get your hand into the pocket to pull it out. When you deeply know that you are the mystery experiencing itself, you realize that’s all that is ever happening. Whether you call an experience a me or a you, a good day or a rotten day, beauty or ugliness, compassion or cruelty -- it’s all still the mystery experiencing itself, extending itself into time and form. That’s all that is happening.

If this understanding is held only in your head, you can know it but you are not being it. The head is saying, "Oh, I know, I’m the mystery," and yet your body is acting like it didn’t get the message. It’s saying, "I’m still somebody, and I’ve got all these anxious thoughts and wants and desires." When we are being it knowingly, the whole being receives the message. And when the whole body receives the message, it’s like air going out of a balloon. When all the contradiction, turmoil, and searching for this and that deflates, there is the experience that the body is an extension of the mystery. Then the body can easily be moved by the mystery, by pure spirit.

Charity Focus

Tuesday 13 October 2009


Genuine love and kindness is desperately needed in this world. It comes from appreciating the object, and rejoicing in the object, wanting the object to be happy and well, but holding it lightly, not tightly. And this goes for possessions too. You are in an extremely materialistic society in which the possession of more and bigger and better is held up as the total criteria for being happy.

What we own is not the problem, it's our attitude towards our possessions. If we have something and we enjoy it, that's fine. If we lose it, then that's OK. But if we lose it and we are very attached to it in our heart, then that's not fine. It doesn't matter what the object is, because it's not the object which is the problem. The problem is our own inner grasping mind that keeps us bound to the wheel, and keeps us suffering. If our mind was open and could just let things flow naturally, there would be no pain. Do you understand? We need our everyday life to work on this, to really begin to see the greed of attachment in the mind and gradually begin to lessen and lessen it.

There's a famous story of a coconut, which is said to be used in India to catch monkeys. People take a coconut and make a little hole just big enough for a monkey to put its paw through. And inside the coconut, which is nailed to a tree, they have put something sweet. So the monkey comes along, sees the coconut, smells something nice inside, and he puts his hand in. He catches hold of the sweet inside, so now he has a fist. But the hole is too small for the fist to get out. When the hunters come back, the monkey's caught. But of course, all the monkey has to do is let go. Nobody's holding the monkey except the monkey's grasping greedy mind. Nobody is holding us on the wheel, we are clinging to it ourselves. There are no chains on this wheel. We can jump off any time. But we cling. And clinging causes the pain.

--Tenzin Palmo

Monday 12 October 2009


The five-member Nobel Committee for Peace Prize has delivered a decision based on its own circle of reasons which they would find mired in circle of unreason if they look back into logics of their most famous omissions in the list so far.

Post World War II Peace Nobel decisions were made more and more dependent on future aspirations that a person and his agenda would raise; and on domestic and internal matters of countries and regions rather than what the Alfred Nobel’s will had wished - "A Peace Nobel to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." The will does not deliberate extensively on defining peace, a pragmatic step, as peace has always has contemporary dwellings and connotations.

This scope by Nobel has been used by the various Nobel committees over the years to make political underpinnings associated with the Peace Nobel just not a stated but functional aspect of decisions as stated by Francis Sejersted, the chairman of the Nobel Committee in the 1990s - "The prize is not only for past achievement. The committee also takes the possible positive effects of its choices into account. Nobel wanted the prize to have political effects. Awarding a peace prize is, to put it bluntly, a political act."

And so a Peace Nobel to Obama can be justified for he has lifted aspirations of billions across the globe; he dared to speak a different tune in a country largely secular but still dogmatic; he embarked on to change hostile maneuvers into more acceptable ‘guns and ‘roses’ sort of policy – thus raising hopes. The Nobel committee is banking on Obamamania, something that has started to test the roughness of the calm waters of authoritative diplomacy externally and persuasive diplomacy internally. After assuming the office his popularity ratings were constantly dropping until recently but concerns of family, health and war continue to persist strongly as an Associated Press-Gfk study reveals. But if studies are parameters then Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking poll for October 9 showed 35% of nation’s voters strongly disapproved on how Obama was performing while 29% rated him positively. The day when Peace Nobel was announced for Obama, the Presidential Approval Rating Index for Obama was -6, the lowest level of strong disapproval for the President since mid-July. Agreed, outcome of popularity ratings are debatable. But the debate on Obama’s Peace Nobel has some inherent ingredients of logic.

If we scan through the pages of Nobel Foundation website and Nobel committees’ rationale behind awarding the Peace variant, we will find prominence of candidates working on issues related to human development; on issues ranging from environment to genocide to insurgency to gender equality. Obama Nobel may be in line with policy shift of awarding Peace Nobel focused more on subtle dimensions of peace away from inter-nation and global areas of trouble and conflict in the post World War II period. The face of global dominance has adopted a larger shade of economic supremacy and military might is the supplementary factor for expanding domination now. This basic change has led to the emergence of stronger domestic voices in well-to-do countries concerned more with policies on economy. That is why a US President, the most powerful man in the world, is working hard to earn domestic goodwill for a further troop surge in Afghanistan; is reducing troops in Iraq. We cannot expect then the larger than life figures who would complement to the idea of dominating a wave to bring inter-nation peace year after year. This has to be ‘once-in-a-while’ phenomenon now.

But at this point, the decision to award the Peace Nobel to Obama becomes questionable. More or less, the recipients till date have a quantum of work and time into their work before they were considered for and were awarded the coveted work on gold. Though Obama has raised hopes and we all wish for him to deliver, he is yet to prove. He needs time to prove himself and worth of his agenda. Certainly the body of achievements that he has doesn’t qualify him for the Nobel. He has been given the Prize for his policies that can change the world, but, certainly, a Nobel cannot and should not be given merely on propounding policies of change and initiating on their implementation. Any Nobel consideration for Obama was to be in after seeds of his ideas had germinated.

Now we come to the graver irony in the face of Nobel. The most famous omission that it has in list of Peace Nobel recipients. The Nobel Foundation has devoted a page on its website explaining why Mahatma Gandhi was not given the Nobel Peace Prize. Gandhi was nominated thrice, in 1937, 1947 and in 1948.

• Mahatma Gandhi could not be awarded the Nobel due to his dual role a peace activist and political leader of an independence movement. The committee advisor had written – “he is frequently a Christ, but then, suddenly, an ordinary politician.”
A US President, that Barack Obama is, can never be a peace activist given the country’s global geo-strategic stakes. Meddling in matters of other countries in name of promoting democracy and liberating masses, while resulting in innumerable casualties, can never be part of peace initiatives. Obama has inherited it and he is bound to act on it as evident from his mulling over on Af-Pak policy for major policy shift. We need to remember a war kills and kills only.
• Gandhi led India and Pakistan to independence in 1947. The Nobel committee opined that he could not be awarded the Peace variant as he was closely identified with combatants in the aftermath of communal violence that followed India-Pakistan partition.
As US is engaged in fighting in many parts of the world to liberate people, to crush terrorism, then Obama should be identified as someone with one of the combatants and should be denied even a nomination.

There cannot be any argument when Mahatma Gandhi was considered posthumously for Peace Nobel in 1948 but could not be given as it was against clearly mentioned tenets of Alfred Nobel’s will.

Peace Nobel has had a debated, controversial history deeply buried in political and regional biases. Omission of Mahatma Gandhi’s name is the most debated one but we Indians know Gandhi was much above the likes of Nobel. Something so politically biased never and cannot deserve a figure like Gandhi. And Mahatma Gandhi is not the standalone case of omission. The list is quite long and is certainly not listless. In the same vein, Barack Obama is not the standalone case, just one more addition to a long list of Nobel ironies, ironies that fuel debates that go on and on.

Saturday 10 October 2009


The day when Francis Enduwar’s beheaded body was found and the subsequent day, we all witnessed something truly larger than life. Here was a son who had lost his father, a wife who had lost his husband, a police force that had lost its colleague, a state that had lost one of its innumerable faceless warriors. The way the family reacted to this gravest crisis of its life differentiates the ordinary Indian from its confused state which has made it a benchmark to take any tough decision after sacrificing many lives like Enduwar. The mother-son duo has once again made the ordinary Indian a larger than life figure, something we all can see all around us but do not or cannot see.

The day when the news of Francis Enduwar’s killing came, a devastated son was seen saying he would grow up to become someone like his father and would complete his work by killing the militants who killed his father. It was the natural outrage of a son on brutal killing of his father by some dastards. Next day, this same boy reacted on the tragedy saying he would like to become his father but when asked about avenging his father’s killing, he said he would forgive them as his father would have wished.

In all hype and hoopla, on all the debate of our people vs. extremists, in all the dilemma of action and consequences, this indeed is a glowing tribute to the immortal spirit of survival to fight; to embrace the vagaries of life to outdo them; to stand once again. This nine-year old has shown a mirror to all of us. The irony is almost of us are bound to dust it off.

• How many big names bothered to pay tribute to Francis during his last rites? None!
• Initial reaction of his department on his disappearance – he would have gone on some pleasure trip!
• The police were aware of his whereabouts after second day of his abduction yet couldn’t dare to venture in the woods to save a life. Life of a common man!
• The way we treat our saviours! Apparently Enduwar was not being paid for last six months, again due to some petty administrative reasons.

(After all he was just another non-existential entity for the system. When Mr E Sreedharan has to fight for his pension, who is this Francis and many more like him, who belong to the lower wrung.)

The naxal menace is growing and engulfing larger geographical areas. Government’s dilemma in formulating and implement a plan including better mix of rehabilitation and offensive measures are proving a boon for the militant elements who have distorted the naxal ideology of Naxalbari completely.

Once a movement based on ideology, now a bane for humanity. Yet there is a wife who rejected naxal’s demand of swap of his husband with Kobad Ghandy and some other top Maoist ideologues (or mercenaries of death who knows!) If we go back and try to put a little pressure on our grey cells, we would come across the most famous yet starkly paradoxical example when some dreaded terrorists were swapped for a famous political figure of J&K and her family now claims to be the liberator of the people of the state from the claws of an imperialist India! Yet we listen to them. We give them the space they don’t deserve.

Indeed what the Enduwars have done, right from the beginning of the crisis is truly remarkable. The way Sunita Enduwar reacted on the swap demand; her approach on dignity of her martyred husband; and poise of her son a day after the body was found, is truly unmatched.

Can we learn something? Can our policymakers learn something? Probably not!

The life of Francis Enduwar was not just another life and so of many other warriors of the state, who play their role quietly, ignored by the state and the system. Everyone needs to realize it. Government was debating and still debating to contain the naxal menace. The result, another 17 commandos massacred and two informers beheaded in Gadchiroli. Government is still not sure on scale of its firepower use against spread of the red corridor. But a Sunita Enduwar and an Abhishek Enduwar are guiding beacons that an ordinary Indian, fed up of political blitzkrieg, needs. An ordinary Indian now needs ‘larger than life yet ordinary figures’ to correlate, to idolize, to follow, and not marquees of red carpets and practitioners of elitist dogmas.

Wednesday 7 October 2009


Be wide in me, O Varuna;
Be mighty in me, O Indra;
O Sun, be very bright and luminous;
O Moon, be full of charm and sweetness.
Be fierce and terrible, O Rudra;
Be impetuous and swift, O Maruts;
Be strong and bold, O Aryama;
Be voluptuous and pleasurable, O Bhaga;
Be tender and kind and loving and passionate, O Mitra.
Be bright and revealing, O Dawn;
O Night, be solemn and pregnant.
O Life, be full, ready and buoyant;
O Death, lead my steps from mansion to mansion.
Harmonise all these, O Brahmanaspati.
Let me not be subject to these gods, O Kali.

Sri Aurobindo

Tuesday 6 October 2009


There is a very famous poem written by the third patriarch of Zen, Seng-ts’an, called the Hsin-Hsin Ming, which translates as Verses in Faith Mind. In this poem Seng-ts’an writes these lines: “Do not seek the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.” This is a reversal of the way most people go about trying to realize absolute truth. Most people seek truth, but Seng-ts’an is saying not to seek truth. This sounds very strange indeed. How will you find truth if you don’t seek it? How will you find happiness if you do not seek it? How will you find God if you do not seek God? Everyone seems to be seeking something. In spirituality seeking is highly honored and respected, and here comes Seng-ts’an saying not to seek.

In order to seek, you must first have an idea, ideal, or an image, what it is you are seeking. That idea may not even be very conscious or clear but it must be there in order for you to seek. Being an idea it cannot be real. That’s why Seng-ts’an says “only cease to cherish opinions.” By opinions he means ideas, ideals, beliefs, and images, as well as personal opinions. This sounds easy but it is rarely as easy as it seems. Seng-ts’an is not saying you should never have a thought in your head, he is saying not to cherish the thoughts in your head. To cherish implies an emotional attachment and holding on to. When you cherish something, you place value on it because you think that it is real or because it defines who you think you are. This cherishing of thoughts and opinions is what the false self thrives on. It is what the false self is made of. When you realize that none of your ideas about truth are real, it is quite a shock to your system. It is an unexpected blow to the seeker and the seeking.

This is why I sometimes ask people, “Are you ready to lose your world?” Because true awakening will not fit into the world as you imagine it or the self you imagine yourself to be. Reality is not something that you integrate into your personal view of things. Reality is life without your distorting stories, ideas, and beliefs. It is perfect unity free of all reference points, with nowhere to stand and nothing to grab hold of. It has never been spoken, never been written, never been imagined. It is not hidden, but in plain view. Cease to cherish opinions and it stands before your very eyes.

Charity Focus

Saturday 3 October 2009


Strange is the word
So familiar now
Yet to be the bizarre
The saving grace that is
The grace would go
When the higher reincarnation
Would swallow the soul
The wait has to be
To the next level of predictability
For now
The Strange is mundane
Though no burden yet
The saving grace that is
The chaos runs deep
Words transform
To disappear
Somewhere in the
Courtyard of the hollow
When the black fed the ‘complete’
Did you say ‘strange’?
Strange is the word
So familiar now
Strange was the moment
When it all started..