Sunday, August 01, 2010

Calibrating Life

This post is going to be a follow on from the previous post on Love. I mentioned Platonic "ideas" in it, so let's begin by a quick introduction to it. Plato is considered to be one of the greatest philosopher ever, and was a student of an even greater mind we know by the name of Socrates. Plato's theory was that everything we see around is just a reflection of the ideal and perfect original thing in the world of ideas. Basically, he said that all there are, are ideas, which gives the world the meaning. I do not intend to write about the world of ideas and Plato but just some of those ideas which I feel form the core of our humanity, around which everything revolves.

I was having this discussion today with a close member of my family (cannot disclose who) about heavy stuff such as morality, ethics, righteousness and principles. I can't quite remember from what this stemmed out of. According to him, the way we live our life must be dictated by circumstantial desires. For instance, if a person feels like having a chocolate, just have one. If he feels like sleeping, sleep. You name it. This, according to him, is freedom. I guess I wrote about freedom earlier so won't go into details here. I am just curious to know what your thoughts are about this and if you agree or disagree. If you disagree, then why and what is your alternative explanation.

I have come to believe from experiences thus far, that I do not agree with this. I am certain that life is worth a lot more than being treated as a puppet of desires. It is absolutely essential to have regards about concepts of morality, rights and wrongs. It sure is a risky business, where boundaries blur and human intellect may fall short of change. However, just like there is always a standard for measurements and things, there is a standard framework, which if followed, ensures that most certainly, life will be a pleasurable experience. I am not concerned with what people think about life, some may feel there is only one life, others may believe in the concept of a cycle of births and deaths. This, I feel applies to all. It's a standard after all, which by default must be universally adaptable and applicable. So then, I believe this standard comprises of a few important ingredients, namely - Truth, Morality, Righteousness, Discrimination power and Integrity. Truth is the root of all. Without truth, there is no standard model. Whatever is truth is moral and righteous. If one takes to truth, one without any effort starts acting in a moral and righteous fashion. This can only be achieved by the power of discrimination between what is good and what is bad. What one does is never good or bad, only the intentions behind doing it are good or bad. This polar duality is simply an expansion of truth, which can only be non dual. Finally, if one lives life in line with this standard framework, truthfully, morally and rightly, one develops integrity of character. This is a big thing. It makes the person worthy of imitation. What such a man does, others tend to follow.

This brings us to a question of who decides what is moral, what is right, what is true? Surely truths can't be multiple. For now, my conclusion is that anything which promotes the well being of self and others around, must be encouraged and done, rest must be rejected. Anything which takes us a step closer to our ultimate goal, liberation must be done. Anything which spreads love, reduce divisions and increases unity must never be given up. All else, which is divisive in nature, is to be loathed. What we seem to ignore is the fact that if we wish to see the change in world, the change must begin with ourself. We should become what we want others to be. Simply put, only those actions which encourage Truth, Love and Compassion must be performed, as they lead to knowledge.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Today I shall blog about Love. I know I still have to write about my trip to Venice long long ago, Italian food, etc. However, that's the joy about blogging/creative writing I guess. The writer is, or generally should only be motivated by such apparently random motivations, as they are the only things capable of enabling a genuine insight into the workings of his mind and heart. It surely offers a window to the readers about the writer and perhaps even an opportunity to think about the topic if it interests them. I always wanted to write about Love, but never came to manage to do so. Finally now I hope I can, well it shall be seen how the post unfolds.

Love is probably the most overused, abused, clichéd and misunderstood word ever. Not just in English but most of the languages. Everyone has their own concept of love, and most likely it is created by the environment, to be precise, media in today's world. Usually it can be seen that Love is only associated with a few things and these few things tend to make up the general idea about love that the public holds. I personally don't like to use the word public as to me it gives somewhat negative connotations about the people referred to as the "public". Anyhow, for the purpose of this topic, it is essential to separate the population into this public and the rest. Public are all the people who conform readily to whatever is perceived to be the "standard" or the "norm". Their opinions of course, change with the changing norms and perceptions of what is ok and what is not ok. For them, social recognition and acceptance is the only factor which drives any process of creating opinions. So then, having laid the foundation of the argument, I will now try to put in words what I feel about this idea. It may sound Platonic with the overuse of words like "idea" and all, but being a language with limits, English fails in this matter.

Love then, I feel is the most complex emotion, and hence, most misunderstood. If anyone has read Paulo Coelho's "The Pilgrimage", they would be aware of the different forms of love he describes. In fact I would like to credit him for being the inspiration of this post, or rather his book. Love is of different types. Each type is great in it's own right. In the broadest sense, there are 3 types. Love between a mother and a child, two lovers and unconditional love for everything in the universe. A mother loves her child without any reservations. Two lovers, truly in love, are like two bodies and one soul. Unconditional love is the love which one MAY feel for the entire existence and whatever it consists of, without being judgemental. I feel this is the highest kind of Love. However, if we look at this as a pyramid, then looking at our lives, lets assume this unconditional love to be the ultimate goal of humankind. Most never reach it and more worryingly, neither feel the need to do so. However, in our life we are touched by love for the first time in the form of the love of our Mother. A child grows up with the Mother's care and attention, devotion and love. This love is the foundation of the pyramid of love in our lives. The next level is when one falls in love with another individual and makes them a part of his/her life. This is when we take the love we experienced to a totally new level. Those who are genuinely in love would experience a deep feeling of oneness. It can never be expressed in any way. It can only be experienced. This love, if deep enough, can make the lovers one with each other. Its building blocks are faith, care, devotion and respect. They are equal. There is no difference of status or no question of an "upper hand". Such love is rare, but still some fortunate souls may just get a chance to feel it. If you notice, Love really is all about devotion and surrender. Love dissolves the boundaries of false ego. When two lovers surrender their self to each other, they unite in mind and thought. Their actions are in sync with each other. Their progeny is happy and at peace. Such love founded on surrender and devotion introduces a thorough grounding in our lives. This feeling of being well grounded ensures that our actions are righteous, as any unrighteous action disturbs this peace and as that peace and oneness is the original nature of our self, we automatically avoid anything which disturbs this peace. In an ideal world, families which are produced by such responsible couples united in love form a society which then stands on truth, justice and love. If enough people understand this, it won't be long before world becomes a happier and peaceful place. Thus, love alone has the potential to heal the malaise suffered by humanity. This leads us to our third type of love. When one is touched by love to such an extent, a feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction is established in that person. This gives birth to compassion. Compassion is the mother of this unconditional love. Ones it takes root, the tree of unconditional love for the entire existence begins to blossom. Full circle. It surely isn't that hard to understand, if only one realises the need to understand it.

After all life begins with love, then why not end it with love too?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Free Run, Hamsters and Learned Helplessness.

It has been a while since I posted, and also been a while since I felt the need to begin a blogpost with this line (as I have to every so often). I don't know whether it is a case of writer's block or what, perhaps not, but I had developed a complete aversion to even thinking about my blog, let alone posting. Albeit temporary, it had kind of left a weird block in my mind, where I would constantly feel the need to blog, but no desire to do it. This entry is essentially going to be a free run. I shall type whatever that comes to the mind, with an aim to empty it so that I can fill it with fresh new trash! Which brings me to the two words mentioned earlier - Need and Desire. How do we determine what is needed and what is simply desired? We face several situations where we feel we need to have something, but it really is nothing more than a desire. It is not just a need or desire for physical objects but also experiences, reply of certain experiences or maybe just new ones. Over a period of past few years, I have developed this rather annoying habit of "mind-watching". Annoying because after a while it happens automatically. This made me realise something. We are no different than a hamster on a treadmill. I think it is safe to assume this is a universal phenomenon and not just limited to myself. When we understand what makes us happy, we inadvertently tend to recreate or seek new opportunities which brings back that feeling of joy. When we understand what makes us sad, we tend to avoid or manoeuvre around things which cause this sorrow. Finally, when from past experience we categorise certain situations as those where we are helpless, we tend to assume our inability to overcome it and thus, stop taking efforts to come out of those situations. I remember from my IB time when I studied Psychology, that there is a phenomenon in behavioural theories called 'Learned Helplessness'. According to this, when we assume we can't help ourself, we can't. This is because we just don't try. This theory was proved by experiments which would be considered abominable today. The behaviourists got some rats into cages. The floor of the cage was connected to a battery pack and every few minutes the current would be passed through the metal floor. The poor rat would get slightly electrocuted and would run around looking for an escape. Being in a cage, there won't be any to be found. After repeated cycles of electrocution over a number of days or even weeks, the rat would then be put in another cage-like box but with an open gate on one side. The floor would be electrocuted again. However, the rat, having "learnt" that there is no escape, assumes there is no escape and suffers by self victimisation. It doesn't even look around to see if there is an escape this time, when there is one right behind it. Humans are similar I feel. We wallow in self pity due to this "learned helplessness" and give up. This is one thing. On close observation, one can see that our lives are really a series of events which repeat in a constant loop. The loop gets us in a soup, which is really imprisonment. People have these concepts of freedom. Some feel they are free when they have a lot of money, some when they can indulge in their senses indiscriminately, some feel freedom when they sleep or eat, others have an anarchist idea of freedom. No matter what our ideas of freedom are, isn't it really just that freedom we all seek? We all seek freedom in one way or another. Regardless of our backgrounds, cultures, upbringing, desires or ambitions, freedom is what we crave. I read a quote the other day, and it left a deep impression on my mind.

"The only man one needs to conquer is oneself, and the only freedom one should seek is from oneself. The self binds, and the self releases".

If we somehow just manage to step out of the treadmill, we realise that we can switch off this crazy loop, that is the real freedom. Not being enslaved by our own mind. If we learn to keep our balance in happiness and despair, we reach that state of freedom. Easier said than done, but not too hard with a bit of a "learned helpFULness".

Friday, June 25, 2010

A late addition to an old post: Hare and the Tortoise

I wrote about a film I watched some time back under a post titled 'Hare and the Tortoise'. I just wanted to add something which is a perfect conclusion for that post and what I was trying to express in it. I read a quotation yesterday, can't remember by whom but it said:

'The worst thing about the rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat!"

Thursday, February 04, 2010


It was a mid-summer morning, British summer so nothing exotic. I had finished over one year of IB and of living in the UK. It felt different. There was a change in me, I could feel it. I might as well call this a transformation, or metamorphosis to be more precise. I was sitting in my window, looking at and talking to the clouds (which is only my second love in life). There was a sense of renewal, freshness and fragrant joy. It may just be that first I was looking at clouds, had just finished my Epistemology essay and a sudden realisation of the change in me...but I was new. This is the first time in my memory, that I actually gave some serious thought to this concept of 'birth'. Is it just the day we were born? If it were then there wouldn't have been so much fuss about it with regards to the essence of this word. We are born every moment. Everything there is, is too. Whether it be the leaves of trees which are born again every spring, the cells of our body, drops of rain or even our very thoughts. Everything.

It really is all about change. Like the day mentioned above when I was feeling all new, challenges, obstacles and moments of truth in life kill and renew us every moment. There are three parts to it - Conception, Birth and Renewal. Conception or the seed of life, once sowed, will leave an impression. If it survives and is actually is born, then it leaves a greater impression. Finally if it survives to mature and realise the mystery of renewal, then it leaves the highest possible imprint. Impression on what, one may ask. It's simply the impression that's left on the mirror of our self. Most of what is conceived is not born. Most of what is born, does not reach renewal. However, once the renewal is achieved one can be sure to have found the right path. It is possible to forget these moments of renewal and the lessons learnt, no harm done there. Slowly though, the sincere one realises the immense power of these renewals. Essentially, I believe that having born is not the ultimate thing in the hierarchy of importance. We all get a chance to renew, to start again, to make a new beginning. Life is kind. The problem is, however, that we are clinging on the that which was lost so much that we find it hard to embrace this renewal. We are not able to celebrate this moment of birth! Every moment when you unravel a deeper layer of yourself, you are born anew.

There are two very important things I'd like to mention at this point. These are just the lessons I've learnt so far which made me reach this conclusion. First, the book by Paulo Coelho, 'The Pilgrimage'. In this, the author has related a pilgrim's journey to the journey of life. One of the things he talks about is How to be born again. The elaborate procedure is not of relevance here, but to summarise, it's all about digging deep within, rather than reaching out farther and farther. The farther you stretch, the sooner you'll snap. The deeper you dig, the more easy it becomes to access that immense potential within. So, if one is determined, it's never that hard to be born again. Second thing is what I learn't from a Gypsy's Tarot deck. Cards XXVIII (18) - Conception, XIX (19) - Birth and XX (20) - Renewal of the Major Arcana, contain the secrets to what may be the first lessons of life. She said one thing which I can never forget, "Everyone who is born, dies; but everyone who has born again by renewal, is immortal! For him, there is no death. His body may go back to earth from where it came, but the deeds he does, and seeds he sows are never wasted. They always bear sweet fruit." It was profound.

If we realise these moments of renewal and seize them, then we can enjoy them all and celebrate the birth. Every such moment can then become a flash of enlightenment, and numerous such flashes are bright enough to drive away the thick darkness which dwells in our minds. Darkness has no existence of it's own. It is simply the absence of light. Ignorance has no existence of itself, it is just the absence of knowledge. Death has no existence of it's own, it only comes in the absence of birth; death of the body, a thought, or that of renewal. It's the same state as stagnation at one level. Whatever stagnates, is destroyed...for good!

P.S.: It's been over a month since some of my blogger friends and I decided to begin group-blogging. We decided the first topic to be this, for obvious reasons, and since then had been making excuses every time the topic of not having posted yet comes up. Having said that, time has now come to really begin. So to introduce this quickly, me and my friends Introspective Blogger andMystery of Life will choose a topic for every week, on which we will all post. This will be open to comments and any further debates.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Clarification about the previous post, 'Hare and The Tortoise'

Following my previous post, a reader asked a few questions about the validity of my argument. While replying I realised that the explanation is too long for a comment. So here it is as a blogpost. All follow up comments can be posted on here or the previous post. So referring to Nukul's argument, it's all a matter of how you look at the matter. One can either take a reductionist, rationalist, pragmatic or an inclusive view. The only way to try and answer your question would be to go deeper still and start from the beginning.

A reductionist will simply say, there is race, there are good and bad guys and there is a carrot at the end. I want the carrot, rest can do as they please. Rationalist will analyse every aspect of the argument and in the end will say, well, each to his own. Pragmatic people will think of this as an unrealistic thing and would say that as long as you get that carrot, nobody really cares how you managed to get it. The one with an inclusive view, however, would say that ok the fact is that there is a race, there are good and bad people, there is carrot and there is the need to attain that illusive state of detachment. How shall I go about it? Firstly, the fact that I am suffering due to this stress of rat race implies my own deeds in the past which brought me here. Now that I am here, there are two things I must do. Identify how to be detached while being a part of this world and master that thing in a way that once you are successful, you can lead by example. Nobody takes a looser seriously. A winner, on the other hand gets accolades even the court of fools.

So if one is intelligent enough to ponder over these complicated concepts of detachment, eternal happiness, etc. then one must consider himself lucky, become a winner in the material sense and while doing all this, still remaining calm, detached, peaceful and have a humble attitude of surrender.

Simply put, the answer to your question is, you can't escape the need to work in this world, then do it in a way that you don't get entangled at least. So that you are a part of the race, but not stressed out like the rest. You can then even concentrate upon enjoying the race itself and learning along the way. It's like Mario...he has to cross levels and collect gems on his way to the final stage after which he is happy. It's the same with us. We are helpless only so long as we resist the flow of destiny, and make the mistake of thinking that the doer and enjoyer is "I"...the moment one realises what the real "I" is, questions simply dissolve. Pragmatists, reductionists and rationalists should try this approach. There is no harm in trying. If one is still not convinced after experiencing this for thmselves, then so be it. All izz well, regardless of the outcome. We change, truth doesn't. Only that which is stable despite changes can be real.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Hare and the Tortoise

I've been thinking for a while about the topic for my next blog post. While a friend was visiting for dinner tonight, he recommended me to watch a 1970's hit bollywood flick called 'Katha' (which means 'story'). It was inspired by the popular bed time tale of the Hare and the Tortoise, the one where the tortoise (who is slow and steady) wins the race...!BUT!...adapted to the modern society and how things have changed since then. The moral of this story was bit of a double entendré, so you decide. This post is not going to be a film review, but rather a narration of how another piece of puzzle fell in it's place in my mind after introspection.

Before I begin though, the nature of this post necessitates that I briefly introduce the plot and characters. Usual spoiler warning applies. So then, it begins with a stereotypical "nice" guy living in a big city, possessing the usual typical traits of excessive honesty, altruism, overly principled life, rigid notions of rights and wrongs, unambitious nature and a general inability to understand the machinations of this big bad world! He loves the girl who lives next door but can't gather the courage to tell her. One fine day, along comes one of his smart, forward-thinking, open minded, fast-talking friends who quickly makes himself at home. Mr. Nice Guy obliges and does not resist. Using his quick wit and charm, Mr. Friend manages to land a very good job at Mr. Nice Guy's company, that too as his manager. Effectively, Mr. Friend is a "bluffmaster", a conman who always manages to find his way by fooling vulnerable folks. Eventually he manages to woo the company owner's wife AND daughter at the same time, and while demonstrating his excellent multi-tasking abilities, he ALSO manages to woo the girl next door who Mr. Nice Guy loves like anything. Finally, he fools them all, and fooling an Arab Sheikh, flees to Dubai ready to carry on his business there. The girl next door is deeply saddened, but Mr. Nice Guy marries her. The film ends with a cartoon...the tortoise did win the race after all, but the hare arrived sitting on the tortoise's back and took away all the limelight, making the tortoise look like the hare's slave. Tortoise did get awarded with a bouquet, but of dead flowers, while the hare got fresh ones. Quite suggestive.

Apparently the script writer wanted to suggest that if one has to win in this competitive world then one has to be cunning, yes that's the word I was looking for. Perhaps honesty, polity, kindness, etc. are better left in the past, like museum specimens where the world could laugh at them. This is open to interpretation.

However, what difference does winning, indeed even loosing makes if all one is doing, is playing just for the joy of it? After all, the most successful sportsmen are always those who don't play to win but for the sheer love of the sport! Somebody's victory is another's defeat, and vice versa. Who looses now, may gain tomorrow. Change is the very nature of life. Just think for a moment, is it really needed to participate in this race? What we are experiencing right now, is an effect of what we did in the past. For instance, I am still not able to sleep because I drank too much coffee today. Then why create more causes and invite more effects and keep being obliged to participate in these races? What's the point anyway? I am not trying to say that being ambitious is wrong, but I strongly believe that it's not WHAT you do, but WHY you do it that matters. Intentions determine consequences.

¬¬Time and again I can't help but feel helpless for having to write in's such a dead and superficial language! No offences intended but I feel so fortunate to have a mother tongue in which at most times, a single word is enough to express the deepest feelings of the heart! ¬¬

Anyhow, back to the point, and taking this at a deeper level of understanding, I feel that the excitement of victory or the lamentations of defeat only affect those who are rigidly attached to these concepts. Concepts, that's all they are. Would we ever trust a fickle friend? Then why do we trust our mind, who is not only fickle but only pretends to be a friend?

It's funny to be a bystander sometimes and observe life. We tend to complicate it so much! It's always those thoughts which arise from passion or ignorance which complicate things and create suffering. Why not just be a free bird and make the entire existence a part of our being? The infinite joy of that feeling of oneness is beyond words; its brilliance outshines a million suns! Is it really that hard to be innocent? Is it really that hard to be righteous? It's only being cunning that takes more effort. When one experiences detachment even while living in this short transitionary world, which is inherently unfair; then alone one understands, in fact experiences even the futility of this rat race. Then alone, shall the hundred petalled lotus bloom! Lifetimes after lifetimes, we keep running like a guinea pig on a treadmill, never even sighting the perceived finish line, let alone reach it! All it really takes is simply realising that if I want to reach it indeed, then I simply need to get down from the treadmill and just take a real step ahead. The freedom one experiences thus, is truly incomparable. We just feel that these little victories make us happy. In reality, however, they are just pushing us deeper and deeper into the quick sand of suffering. There is only one way out, reaching out to those who have succeeded before you, they are right there beside you...just ask them!

There are over 7 billion people in this world, I wonder how many think out of the box, how many understand the need to wake up! People always run after objects of sense gratification...some are mad for more money, some simply want to eat, some are crazy in lust, while others still are haunted by the desire to achieve material success which they guise under the term, ambition; some others are just too lazy to be even bothered to wake up from their slumber! If I had one wish to ask for, then all I would want is to never become a part of that group of people, and for this feeling of detachment to deepen and blossom. Sadly due to recession most types of genie lamps are out of stock, so looks like I'll have to fend for myself. So be it.

P.S: If anybody is interested in watching the movie, then you can click here to go to the link on YouTube. There are 14 parts, but definitely worth it I'd say.