Life lessons

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Life teaches us a lot and learning is a continuous process. From the womb to the grave we learn.

If we are a bit aware, plants teach us a lot. From a seed to a tree, if we observe how the growth happens, we could learn what life is all about.

Life is a flow of events, incidents, experiences. Physically and mentally we grow. But do we evolve? Does our consciousness evolve or do we just live through life and finally just die one day?

A small tiny seed when planted, sprouts and then a small sapling and then a tree. A bit of sun, a bit of shade, little water, some fertilizer and the seed grows.

A branch laden with fruits will be bent with the weight of the fruits, while one without fruits will be standing high and tall.

Are we the bent branch or the straight one? One with experience, love, surrender will be bent and humble while the one standing tall would be without attributes and full of ego.

Live life totally as experiences make us richer and mature. A fruit which is ripe and perfectly mature tastes perfect.

Just like the tree that gives flowers and fruits unconditionally, without any expectation, we too must learn to give unconditionally.

We must learn to share whatever we have…It could be money, food, clothes, experiences, love, knowledge and so on.

Just like the trees, let us open up our branches to all and live a complete life wherein we share, we give, we love, we care, we support, we involve, we EVOLVE…

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Hide and seek

The waves lashing away

As the waves rolled by the shore, they disappeared in the sand. The waves dissolved, while many more raced one after the other and they too dissolved.

Where-from were the waves coming? What happened to the ones that died on the shore? They receded back and with the motion became a wave again and rushed to the shore to die again!

It was like the fountain! The same water was recycled again and again. So are we! Time and again we appear and diet to reappear and this game is going on for a while now!

At times we play the hide and seek, by appearing, hiding and then re-appearing but never disappearing. Life is like that…

Yet I wonder, who is witnessing the game?

Wonderful Creation

Perceptions

The Nature of a woman can be found amidst nature and in the change of seasons and is as sustaining and lasting as the Universe.

The person from whom life springs and flows and waters many a child who crosses paths with her in the many journeys of life.

Her love is the rain that falls upon parched faces eager to soak it all up.

Her correcting rebuke is like the wind which is a turmoil at first followed by a caress for us to understand our wrong doing.

She plays multiple roles and assumes diverse forms and is the last resort for her children to cry for help when trapped in the quicksands of life.

She happens to be the Oasis which a man mirages in the desert of life.

She happens to be the Sun who sustains life in all who is under her shadow.

As a mother…

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Vaikhari

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At times expression happens through speech, laughter, dance and music. The laptop takes a backseat and sits silently on the table, awaiting its turn.

Today when I looked at the laptop, I felt sad that it looked lonely! So I quickly picked it up and decided to give my entire attention to it.

(Lame excuses above 🙂 for not writing anything on the blog 🙂 )

Well, writing is a pretty good way of expression our thoughts, emotions and ideas. That’s how I named the blog Musings. Thankfully, there are no instant reactions like we receive when we talk face to face!

There are different types of vani – sound (different stages of sound).

Para vani – This is the base sound, yet unheard by many. Its origin lies in the Muladhara chakra. This is the divine voice.

Pashyanti – This is from the Manipura chakra and so it is felt, like a gut feeling. in higher state of awareness, yogis can access this sound.

Madhyama – This is from the heart chakra and is heard, yet unspoken. Though unexpressed it is experienced.

Vaikhari – Is the sound or speech that is uttered/spoken. Its origin is the throat and mouth. This is the gross expression of the divine.

Besides the above is the universal sound that resounds and can be heard in complete awareness. The yogis and masters hear it. If simply silent with a receptive heart, one can hear the subtle vibrations of the universal sound.

The gross is needed to express on the physical plane. Expression also happens through Para vani in complete silence, awareness and receptivity…

 

 

Joy & Sorrow- Yoga sutras

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मैत्री करुणा मुदितोपेक्षाणांसुखदुःख पुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातः चित्तप्रसादनम् ॥३३॥

maitrī karuṇā mudito-pekṣāṇāṁ-sukha-duḥkha puṇya-apuṇya-viṣayāṇāṁ bhāvanātaḥ citta-prasādanam ॥33॥

The above sutra is giving us the methods to tackle the mind that is always bringing forth obstacles. The nine obstacles are mentioned in the earlier verse number 30.

Here there are four objects – sukha dukha punya apunya – basically happiness sadness meritorious non-meritorious.
When we face the above four, we need to maintain a particular state of mind to avoid sadness, depression and so on as mentioned in verse 31.

1. We need to handle sukha/happiness of others with friendliness/maitri. It may not always be easy as when we see others happy it is easy to be friendly if we are happy too. But in case we are sad and facing some challenges, it becomes difficult to be friendly to others who are happy. So this state of mind of being friendly to others who are happy will bring peace for us.

2. We need to handle dukha/sadness of others with compassion/karuna. When we see others in a sad state many a times we end up making them feel worse by relating to them our own sad issues. Unknowingly we end up making them sadder. At times we are happy but we spend time and embrace their state of mind and become sad too. Here we need to be alert and feel compassion for them and yet not compromise our state of mind. So in the most positive manner we must manage sadness.

3. We need to handle punya/merit with grace by being happy/mudita. It is not easy to be happy for others who are succeeding as many times it brings jealousy. To avoid this negative emotion, we need to appreciate and be happy for all the meritorious works the other is doing. There are times when we become jealous and start looking for the negative traits of such a person and try to defame them or blame them for the same. This will bring demerit to us and later result in guilt and sorrow. Instead if we are happy for their punya we become peaceful.

4. We need to handle apunya/demerit by simply ignoring/upekshanam. Ignore here does not mean that we are indifferent. But instead we can give our positive guidance and after trying once to reform the demerit, we must ignore it. Usually we end up thinking of the person and their demerits and waste time in criticizing them. All this will make the mind turbulent. So instead it is best to manage demerit with indifference by remaining stable and unaffected.

As mentioned by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the Gita, to remain sthith prajna ( one with a stable unwavering mind ) is the best way to manage this.

So the four methods to deal with four types of people or situations are very clearly stated by Rishi Patanjali here.
The entire purpose of yoga is to make our mind stable and calm. An unwavering mind, calm and serene is what yoga is. To attain this state we must read and understand all the sutras and work in applying this knowledge.

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We need to know that it is not simply about being able to read the words or just understand the meaning. One needs to also apply this knowledge in order to tackle the obstacles brought up by the mind.
The sutras are actually threads leading us to enlightenment. In the very first chapter itself a lot is revealed and if understood well and applied, life becomes simple and one naturally becomes a yogi!

More on this in further posts.

Challenges in Yoga – Yoga sutra

दुःखदौर्मनस्याङ्गमेजयत्वश्वासप्रश्वासाः विक्षेप सहभुवः ॥३१॥

duḥkha-daurmanasya-aṅgamejayatva-śvāsapraśvāsāḥ vikṣepa sahabhuvaḥ ॥31॥

Sorrow, depression, anxiety, and irregular breathing are signs of this lack of clarity. 

Am I walking the path without an issue and am I able to face the challenges that come up? Are the obstacles cleared?

As mentioned in the previous verse, there are obstacles that come up on the path. When these obstacles arise and one is unable to face the same in a positive manner, it leads to the above issues.

Dukha – Sorrow As one strives and is unable to reach, one may feel sad and many a times will drop the practice. As all of us are oriented towards fruits for our action we tend to face sorrow when fruits are not received or not up to our expectations. Hoping for results even before it is time is another reason for sorrow.
Daurmanasya- Mentally feeling low and depressed. This happens when one is not focused and is unable to continue the abhyasa. Constant practice with focus is required. Laziness or tamas will also deter one from the practice and eventually it leads to depression.
Angamejayatva- Anxious or nervous. When one wants to know what will happen in advance one becomes nervous. What will be the result? How am I doing? Am I right or wrong? All these self doubts will lead to anxiousness.
Svashaprashvasaha- irregular breathing. When one is angry, one breathes heavily and has short breaths. When one is sad, the breath pattern changes. In positive and happy moods, the breath changes again. Irregular breathing is the outcome of uncontrolled emotions. This could be due to disease, discomfort, mental agitation, desires and so on.

All the above changes happen due to the obstacles. In the next few verses, simple methods to overcome all the above are mentioned.

Will be posting them soon.

Obstacles on the path -Yoga sutras

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व्याधि स्त्यान संशय प्रमादाअलस्याविरति भ्रान्तिदर्शनालब्धभूमिकत्वानवस्थितत्वानि चित्तविक्षेपाः ते अन्तरायाः ॥३०॥

vyādhi styāna saṁśaya pramāda-ālasya-avirati bhrāntidarśana-alabdha-bhūmikatva-anavasthitatvāni citta-vikṣepāḥ te antarāyāḥ ॥30॥

These obstacles – (illness, inertia, doubt, carelessness, laziness, obsession with desires, illusion, lack of focus and failure in achieving, irregularity) are the inner distractions of the mind.

What are the obstacles on the path of a yogi? What deters him on the path? How does one striving to be a yogi manage the obstacles? How will he recognize the obstacles?

So here Sage Patanjali very clearly mentions the nine obstacles a yogi will face.

1. Vyaadhi/Illness – Any kind of physical discomfort or disease will be the biggest obstacle on the path. One has to be physically capable to be able to do the asanas and pranayama. Certain disciplines have to be maintained and all that needs a basic healthy body.
2. Styaana/Inertia – One on the path will also face difficulty in motivating the self to do the asanas and maintain the discipline. The inertia in a person pulls the person down and makes reasons for lack of interest and thereby deters the person from moving ahead. Inertia is basically inaction or inactivity which takes one lower and lower into the lower energies and depression. It is basically a mental low.
3. Samshaya/Doubt – This is another big obstacle as it will keep creating confusion and in the end will lead to inaction. Whether I should do this or that? If I do this how will it benefit me? Such questions will arise leaving one in doubt about his doing or non doing both. Doubting the path, the master and the results attained all these are major obstacles.
4. Pramada/Carelessness– Here the person will know what he is supposed to do and yet not do it. Also it is possible that he will know he is wrong and yet he will not change it. This is another obstacle.
5. Aalasya/Laziness– This is the main issue in most people as the motivation to do something will be missing. The non doing nature will be supreme and to bring oneself up and do something either for the self or for others will be difficult. It brings down one’s energy levels and promotes tamas
6. Avirati/obsession with desires – We all have desires and the desires are due to the past impressions. If one likes a particular fragrance, one can smell it for some time. 24/7 one cannot do it or keep thinking about it. The five senses and their objects leads the yogi away from the path. So one must be aware that fulfilling a desire is not a problem but getting obsessed about the same and thinking of the same all through will be a very big obstacle for the yogi.
7. Branthidarshana /illusions– This is a tricky one as getting caught up in something that ‘is not’ is like a blind man on the path. Many times we get entangled in the illusions and start thinking its all real. Everything that changes cannot be real as its not permanent. When everything is changing, everything is by default an illusion.
8. Alabdha bhumikatva/lack of focus and failure in achieving – Without focus, one wavers on the path. One pointed focus if missing then one will quickly get confused and lose focus and concentration. Having a goal will make the focus happen. One day I will do this, one day I will do that and if we try digging wells every day on a different spot, there will never be a well, but just pits. So select one and stay focused, if not it will be an obstacle.
9. Anaavasthitavaani/Irregularity– Unable to be regular and consistent in one’s efforts and wavering here and there is another obstacle.

These are the nine obstacles on the path and further to this the Sage explains to us how to overcome these obstacles in the following verses.

Obstacles will always be there on any path we walk on. If we understand them as challenges and face them with the right knowledge, they no longer remain obstacles, but turn into steps to move upwards.

So it is how we look at it, whether we know about it or not, do we acknowledge it and then do we work on it…

Will be posting more on this soon…