Friday, December 4, 2015

Life, Liberation and Company of the learned is Rare -Adi Shankara

दुर्लभं त्रयमेवैतत् दैवानुग्रहहेतुकम्
मनुष्यत्वं मुमुक्षुत्वं महापुरुषसंश्रयः
- विवेकचूडामणि

durlabhaM trayamevaitat daivaanugrahahetukam
manuShyatvaM mumukShutvaM mahaapuruShasaMshrayaH
- vivekachUDaamaNi

These 3 are hard to come and come only, with God's grace - human birth, desire for liberation, company of the learned and noble.


1. In this life, one takes so much for granted. What one does not realize is that, just being born as a human being is a rare blessing in itself. Amongst the multitudes of billions of organisms (living beings), only a few are given the opportunity of being born as humans. That by itself, should be considered as our privilege and utilized with utmost respect.

2. Even if one is born as a human, not everyone gets the desire or drive to work towards liberation (moksha). A very few of the few beings are inspired with this desire.

3. Inspite of being inspired to attain moksha, not everyone is lucky enough to get the company and proximity of the learned and enlightened. Those that are blessed with the above 3 are truely fortunate. They should make use of every ounce of it and count their blessings along the way.

The Vivekachudamani (Sanskrit: विवेकचूडामणि) is a famous Sanskrit poem ascribed to Adi Shankara in the eighth century. It expounds the Advaita Vedanta philosophy[2] and is in the form of 580 verses in the Shardula Vikridita metre. The Vivekachudamani describes developing Viveka, the human faculty of discrimination or discernment between real (unchanging, eternal) and unreal (changing, temporal), as the central task in the spiritual life, and calls it the crown jewel among the essentials for Moksha.[3] The titleVivekachudamani translates to Crest Jewel of Discrimination.[4] Through the centuries, theVivekachudamani has been translated into several languages and has been the topic of many commentaries and expositions.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Giftless - A poem


If you still think there is more than one
you have not understood the true essence
If oneness is not reflected in your actions
You are living in fear
You are living in conflict
You are a slave of time
You are going in circles
You are not yourself
You haven't found the Guru

Monday, September 21, 2015

Remind yourself that you are a student

A beautiful letter from Elizabeth Gilbert:

Dear Ones –

My friend Pastor Rob Bell once gave me this beautiful piece of advice, which I will now pass along to you.

He said that whenever he starts to beat himself up for not being good enough at life, he simply writes this word on his hand — STUDENT — and reminds himself to look at that word several times a day, and to meditate upon it.

He said that this one word — STUDENT — is his best defense against self-abuse, shame, perfectionism, failure, and regret. Whenever he fails himself, or falls short of his ideals, or doesn’t know how to handle a complicated situation, he just looks at that word — STUDENT — and then gently allows for self-forgiveness. Because we are all just students, after all.

We are all new at this.

We’ve never been here before — in these bodies, in this lifetime, in this world. We don’t always know how to handle things in the best way. We don’t want to suffer, but we don’t always know how to avoid it. We long for closeness and peace in our relationships, but we haven’t necessarily learned yet how to find it. We want meaning, but lose sight of it. We want revelation and transcendence, but don’t always know how to reach for it.

But we are learning.

We are always in the process of learning — and it’s not fair to expect that people who are in the process of learning should automatically always get things right. Nobody always gets things right during the learning process.

That’s OK.

We are merely students, after all, and students — by definition — are not masters. We will be students for as long as we live. We wake up every day and take a deep breath and back go to school in the world all over again. That’s what dedicated students do. Every. Single. Day.

This morning, I felt like I REALLY needed the reminder.

So I got out a sharpie, and wrote the word across on my palm of my right hand — my stronger hand — which I can then lay across my heart throughout the day, with hopes that the message will sink in: “It’s OK. You’re doing your best. You’re still learning.”


We are all teachers and students ...

Everyday is a new day, a new learning experience.  It is in our capacity to choose what kind of education we will have.  We can choose to adhere to principles of the best institutions in the world.  We can choose to all be learners and teachers.  Excellence is in the commitment to both teaching and scholarship.  

In a speech made to incoming students, Harvard President Drew Faust said the following: 

As you get started at Harvard, one thing to remember about a research university is this fundamental premise: we are all teachers and we are all learners. In every seminar and laboratory and archive, we cultivate the habits of civil and curious inquiry, of capacious mind and spirit, in order to reconstruct, re-vision, and reformulate what is known. Professors, graduate students, and undergraduates alike must believe in this double commitment of teaching and scholarship, and its continuum of discovery, and of learning.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I'm beautiful in my way, Cuz God makes no mistakes ...

To be beautiful one has to accept one's innate beauty.  Lady Gaga's song Born This Way encourages us to do that ... 

Born This Way - Lady Gaga Lyrics

It doesn't matter if you love him or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
'Cause you were born this way, baby

My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir

There's nothin' wrong with lovin' who you are
She said, 'cause He made you perfect, babe
So hold your head up,
girl and you'll go far
Listen to me when I say

I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way, born this way

Ooh, there ain't no other way, baby, I was born this way
Baby, I was born this way
Ooh, there ain't no other way, baby, I was born this way
I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way

Don't be a drag, just be a queen
Don't be a drag, just be a queen
Don't be a drag, just be a queen
Don't be

Give yourself prudence and love your friends
Subway kid, rejoice of truth
In the religion of the insecure
I must be myself, respect my youth

A different lover is not a sin
Believe capital H-I-M
I love my life, I love this record and
Mi amore vole fe yah

I'm beautiful in my way,
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don't hide yourself in regret,
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Ooh, there ain't no other way, baby, I was born this way
Baby, I was born this way
Ooh, there ain't no other way, baby, I was born this way
I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way

Don't be drag, just be a queen
Whether you're broke or evergreen
You're black, white, beige, chola descent
You're Lebanese, you're orient

Whether life's disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
'Cause baby, you were born this way

No matter gay, straight or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born to survive

No matter black, white or beige
Chola or orient made
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born to be brave

I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don't hide yourself in regret,
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way, yeah

Ooh, there ain't no other way, baby, I was born this way
Baby, I was born this way
Ooh, there ain't no other way, baby, I was born this way
I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way
I was born this way, hey
I was born this way, hey
I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way, hey

I was born this way, hey
I was born this way, hey
I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way, hey

Time Tested Beauty Tips by Sam Levenson

Sam Levenson, the teacher, author, and famed humorist, wrote a letter to his granddaughter when she was born. Mummy loved it so, she read selections from it this last Christmas Eve. From a line in the letter she entitled it:


For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

We leave you a tradition with a future.
The tender loving care of human beings will never become obsolete.
People even more than things have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed.
Never throw out anybody.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

Your “good old days” are still ahead of you, may you have many of them.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself. - Mark Twain

The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.  - Mark Twain

How to be beautiful - Lori Deschene

An excerpt from "35 simple ways of being beautiful"

Written by Lori Deschene 

There are times when, like Alexander, I’m having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Times when it seems like I might get swept into the tornado of chaos around me. Times when the voice in my head is unkind, and I interpret everything that happens through a negative filter. When I think the worst of people and complain about it; when I expect the worst of my day and lament it.

This admission might seem like the biggest possible acknowledgment of hypocrisy, but I have nothing to give if not my honesty. And the reality is I am imperfect. We all are. We all have moments of weakness—but they’ll only define us if they far surpass moments of kindness, compassion, love, and strength.

Being beautiful doesn’t mean adhering to some picture-perfect fantasy, or living every moment that way. It means realizing this moment is a new opportunity to be who you want to be, and making the effort to seize it.

Our true self is one with no labels - Victoria Ayres

Be Yourself

“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~Alan Watts

I’ve heard the statement “just be yourself” so much. It sounds like an amazing thing to do, and I have wished many times that I could just do that. What I’ve wondered, though, is what in the world does that mean?

What if someone is a jerk to other people? Is it okay for them to just be themselves and go on being a jerk to everyone? How about people who are fearful of being around others and live a hermit-like life, avoiding people?

In my quest for answers I’ve found that it is very much possible to just be yourself. The person who is a jerk to others and the person who is afraid of social situations are, in actuality, not being themselves. Their real self is just being covered up with conditioned, fear-based thinking.

Our true self is who we really are when we let go of all of the stories, labels, and judgments that we have placed upon ourselves. It is who we naturally are without the masks and pretentiousness. 

It is who we really are when we let fall to the floor the cloak of other people’s stuff that we have taken on.

Everything else that we claim to be when we say, “This is who I am!” is only a story.

Below are some steps that have helped me in uncovering my real nature, which is that being outside of the accumulated thoughts and beliefs that I have collected over a lifetime.

1. Get in touch with your inner child.

If you ever watch small children, you will notice just how free they are and how little they care about what other people think of them. They are happy and in the moment.

They are their true natures. They have not yet been socialized to “fit in” to a society that squashes that. They don’t care if people think that they are silly while they dance in the front yard for all of the neighbors to see.

Children are just pure love and light. If you really want to get in touch with your inner child, become freer. Play, have fun, enjoy the moment, do cartwheels in the front yard.

My son has taught me this more than anything. He has helped me to see just how stiff and serious I can be. Thanks to him, I have tapped back into something that was forgotten.

We play roles to fit into society and we suppress our true nature out of fear of what others think. If you find yourself worrying about being judged, remember that is merely just the socialized you, not the real you.

2. Become more aware of your thoughts.

You may be shocked by the number of negative thoughts that run through your mind on any given day. After so long, our reality begins to take shape based on all of these conditioned thinking patterns.

Become more aware of the quality of your thinking. Allow yourself to sit quietly every morning before starting your day for just five to ten minutes.

Yes, thoughts will come and go, but just allow them to do that without getting attached to them. Just observe them. When you are finished, continue observing the mind throughout your day.

We have so many unconscious beliefs that we have taken on over the years that were probably handed down to us from somebody else, and that we believed to be who we are. Becoming more aware of the quality of your thoughts, letting go of the old beliefs, and becoming more present can help in revealing your true nature.

We are all so much more than those old negative thinking patterns would ever allow us to believe.

3. Follow your intuition.

This is probably one of the most important factors in being yourself. I ignored my intuition for the longest time because I felt so obligated to others. Their happiness was more important than my own.

I lived at home until I was twenty-five, ignored my urges to move to a new city, and stayed in unfulfilling jobs because I was so afraid of what other people would think of me, of failing, and of stepping out of my comfort zone. Because of this, I was incredibly unhappy.

I will tell you this, from my own personal experience: When you start following the little nudges and urges that you get, you will have hopped onto the magic carpet ride of awesomeness.

It doesn’t mean that you will never have bumps in the road again, but when you are in alignment with your soul, you will always be steered in the best possible direction.

For me, it started when I followed my intuition out of a job where I was miserable, which was way out of character for me. I had nothing lined up, but thanks to my intuition, I landed back on my feet within a few months in an awesome new job.

Now, before you go quit your job, you can begin with small things, such as following through when you feel the urge to make a phone call, send an email, or take a different route to work. When you get into the habit of doing this with small things, it will make it easier to say yes to the big things, and to trust.

How do any of these things help you to just be yourself? Because they help you to be in alignment with your true nature.

Your authentic self is the real you that is beyond all of those conditioned beliefs and thinking patterns that you have accumulated throughout your life.

I was once a shy, reclusive, depressed, angry person—but I wasn’t “being myself.” While it is important to love and accept ourselves for where we are at the moment, looking back now, I see that I suppressed my true nature in order to please others and to fit in.

I began going within and doing spiritual study and practice in my late twenties, and have since become more aware of how much I was identified with my victim story, how I would play roles depending on who I was with, and just how much I cared about other people’s perceptions of me.

I had lost touch with my natural self and stuffed it away in a box. Whenever I would notice myself getting attached to the stories and labels in my head or would catch myself playing roles with others, I would just breathe and relax into the moment without any labels or judgments.

It was a challenge because I cared so much about being accepted by others. So I would ask myself, “How would I act right now if I had no cares of what others thought of me?” I realized that who I naturally am without anything else added is perfectly okay.

When you let go of the old ways of thinking, follow your bliss, and do what you love, you begin to align with happiness and peace. These are all indicators that you are connected with your true nature. You are then allowing your real self to shine forth in all its glory.

Monday, September 7, 2015

"My kids are my teachers" -Shahrukh Khan

"My kids r my teachers now. I learn Patience, Gentleness, New Songs & Trends, Unconditional love, Impudence & to Laugh without reason from them." -Shahrukh Khan

Friday, September 4, 2015

"To achieve something crazy, you have to do something crazy" - Eugenie Bouchard

"To do something crazy and to be amazing, to achieve something crazy, you have to do something crazy. You have to sacrifice and do something that's not normal, because you want to become not normal. To become a great champion, you can't do what the average Joe does. Because you're not going to get there." 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Do not think that I am myself someone great! -Vivekananda

You see, in my travels throughout India all these years, I have come across many a great soul, many a heart overflowing with loving kindness, sitting at whose feet I used to feel a mighty current of strength coursing into my heart, and the few words I speak to you are only through the force of that current gained by coming in contact with them. 

Do not think that I am myself someone great!

-Swami Vivekananda 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Take the middle path of the heart -Guru Tegh Bahadur

Renounce your heart's pride, dear saints. 
They are fortunate who renounce desire, anger and the company of those that are astray. 

Consider happiness and sorrow as the same 
Consider honor and dishonor as the same 
Stay away from depression and elation
Stay away from praising or criticizing 
Find the middle path 
Even though this is difficult
Renounce your heart's pride and 
find the middle path to Nirvana, dear saints. 

Fire and ice - A poem by Robert Frost

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

- Robert Frost 

The closer we get to desire we can get burnt in the heat. The farther we get from love we can get too cold. A balance of desire and love is required. The middle path. The right path. To live fully. 

Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. One of the most popular and critically respected American poets of the twentieth century, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He became one of America's rare "public literary figures, almost an artistic institution." He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 for his poetical works. On July 22, 1961, Frost was named Poet laureate of Vermont.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

See the stars mirrored in your own being

Pinar Akal (@PinarAkal1)
Let the waters settle & you will see the moon & the stars mirrored in your own being.


pic by İlhan Eroglu

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds -Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
     If this be error and upon me proved,
     I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Keep singing, keep living!

The night has a thousand eyes
And the day but one 
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying of the sun 

The mind has a thousand eyes
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies 
When love is done.

-Francis William Bourdillon

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Problems of the mind - Sant Singh Maskeen's Lecture

Here is a translation of the lecture by Sant Maskeen Singh (YouTube video below).  The gist is that problems of the mind cannot be solved with solutions for the body.  The problems of the mind can be solved by following the divine order; and that the divine order can be found within ("Naal").

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"Paristhiti" has to do with the environment. "Manisthiti" has to do with your own mind.  What prevents what we really want is because of the condition of our mind, not because of the condition of our life.  Outcomes can be changed just from a change in the mind, despite all the problems that might be because of the environment.

Mind generally has four problems:

1. Mind is dirty
2. Mind does not stop talking.
3. Mind does not get satisfied.
4. Mind makes the same mistake again and again.

So historically, sages from India came up with techniques to solve these problems:

1. Pilgrimage and washing one's body in holy river waters
2. Staying quiet for long periods of time
3. Making all pleasures available.
4. Comprehensive education

But these things could not fix humans' problems.

Guru Nanak gives the solution of all these problems in the first pauri of Japji Sahib:

1. Mind isn't cleaned by washing the body
2. Mind can't be quietened by keeping quiet
3. Mind's hunger cannot be fulfilled by fulfilling body's desires
4. Knowledge does not lead to wisdom
5. Accepting hukam, or the divine order, is the medicine to mind's diseases.

More excerpts from the lecture:

Many of the great people we have known historically went through bad times:
Guru Arjan
Guru Gobind Singh

The environment was not right for all of them.  But all of them had the right condition of mind.

1. Mind is dirty

Bhariye Mat Paapa kay Sang
Paap is from the mind. Apraadh is actually doing something bad. If you think about doing something bad -- like killing someone -- it is a paap; if you kill someone it is an apraadh.  There are not as many people who are apraadhi, there are many more paapi.  There are more sinners than criminals.

The seed of crime is sin.

Man apne te bura mitaana,
pekhe sagal srishta saajana.

We think bad only about "others."  If you see everyone as your own, you can't think bad any more.

Sochai Soch by Guru Arjan Dev:

Soch kare dinas ar raat
Man ki mail na tan te jaat

2. Mind does not stop talking

Jab lag duniya rahiyeh nanak
Kich suniyeh kich kahiyeh

3. Mind does not get satisfied

There are temples where alcohol is given as prasaad.  There are temples where meat is served as prasaad.  Give mind everything it wants.

4. Mind does not become mortal by knowledge and worldly wisdom.

64 types of knowledge.

Padeya murakh aakhiye.

Where is this Hukam?
It is written with you.  It is written inside.  It is not outside.

Terrorists who downed world trade center, were they not educated?

ik sajan sab sajanna, ik vairi sab baat

If you befriend the sun, all rays are your friend.
If you befriend the ocean, all waves are your friend.
If you befriend Nirankaar, everyone is your friend.

We do paath to wake our mind.
Simar Simar Prabh Soya Man Jagaye

As the mind wakes, it becomes closer to the highest echelon of spirituality.

Interesting to note how Sant Maskeen ji calls.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The first thing is you bow down -Sadhguru

When you see a person, whether it is in your workplace, on the street, at home or anywhere else, the nature of human intellect is such, the moment it sees, it will make a judgment – “this is okay in that person, this is not okay in that person. He is good, he is not good, he is beautiful, he is ugly” – all kinds of things. You don’t even have to consciously think all this. In a moment, these assessments and judgments are made. And your judgments may be completely wrong because they all are coming from your past experiences of life. They will not allow you to experience something or someone the way they are right now, which is very important.

If you want to work effectively in any field, one thing is, if someone comes in front of you, to be able to grasp them the way they are right now is most important. How they were yesterday does not matter. How they are this moment is important. So, the first thing is you bow down. Once you bow down, your likes and dislikes become mild, not strong, because you recognize the source of creation within them. This is the intention behind doing namaskaram.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Loving in the night - a poem by Rabi'a

[O my Lord]

BY rabi'A

Jane hirshfield

O my Lord, 
the stars glitter 
and the eyes of men are closed. 
Kings have locked their doors 
and each lover is alone with his love. 

Here, I am alone with You