Happy Birthday Vishnu – Threshold of Jordan Year

For the uninitiated, Jordan year is the year of being 23 years old (especially in the USA). Basket Superhero Michael Jordan wore number 23 for the Chicago Bulls and hence the reference.

It helps to do what I just did (to start with some Tidbit like the paragraph above) when one is lost for word to begin writing and looking for that creative juices to flow to start the opening lines about someone about whom anyone has so much to write.

It may be passe to keep repeating that time just flew away, but it remains a fact. When we held him for the first time on a chilly January morning in Bengaluru, India, 23 winters ago – we were excited no doubt, but never knew he would turn out to be such an amazing young man, a hero, fending for himself, all alone, far away, across Seven seas, one who keeps us excited every moment (on tenterhooks and on our feet sometimes). Whole lot of things is now ticked off his “Life’s To-do” bucket list. While on this amazing journey, he has made us all very proud presenting us with pleasant surprises galore (sometimes shockingly pleasant, like his scores in 10th or 12th Grade), today you have arrived at the threshold of an important phase of your life (not the kind that Amma keeps telling during your examination of every grade in School). And yes while you hit that milestone and as has become the norm – another pleasant surprise awaited us. Thank you Vishnu, you made us all very proud and soared to cloud nine with this one.

Congratulations on adding yet another feather in your cap and another stripe on the shoulders of every member of the family and a reason for celebration. Contrary to what you keep saying, it is not just another day in the University. This is no mean achievement. It was indeed such a Cloud-Nice moment was when Di spotted this on the University Portal

The Eureka Moment when Di Spotted this on University Website
Proud (is an understatement) to see you here on the 55-foot display in the CSU Hearth Lounge created for Boasting Exceptional StudentTalent.

Lest the significance not be lost on all of us (including you), I am reproducing the background of what this achievement means (in the University’s words)
Centennial Student Union crafted the means for Boasting Exceptional Student Talent among those evolving leaders. Each semester since then, the BEST Board display in the CSU Hearth Lounge spotlights eight students selected for campus student leadership and CSU student staff excellence.
The faces and words of these BEST students exemplify both active and quiet leadership that enhances campus life at Minnesota State Mankato.
This site is dedicated to the continuing BEST Board tradition. It recognizes those students who, each semester, graced the BEST Board and welcomed visitors to the CSU. Each became the face of leadership and the example of personal reward that comes from accepting the challenge.
As the tradition continues so does exemplary leadership for other students to emulate”

It is not that everyday, anyone gets to be there. You have made us all very Proud and your Jordan Birthday become even more special for us

As you head towards the home run in this phase of your Education – as always a heartfelt wishes to you and a sincere prayer to the Divine to bless you in abundance ensuring success in your chosen path.

While most would end up dishing out unwarranted advises when you turn 23, I envy the maturity you show at every step and any advice is misplaced one. You know what is to be done better than most of us and I only repeat what I said when you turned 21
“It is reassuring that you are also past advises that we can give. You grew up, learnt many lessons the hard way and any advice to you would be almost redundant. It is a happy feeling for any parent or elder sisters, to get wise counsel from the apple of their eyes who grew right from baby in cradle to a handsome 23 year old, gym going, sports loving lad”

No advice to the one who has a great head on his shoulder and stands shoulder to shoulder with his Dad.
Happy Birthday Dude!

Happy Birthday Vishnu (Ashrit), Young Handsome Man, We have tremendous faith in your abilities and you will make it big. May the year ahead bring you great news, oodles of opportunities, meaningful friendships, and a great network to help you achieve big things in life. We pray you continue to be the Gentle, every Helpful and Great Human Being. Keep exploring, stay curious, and enjoy the journey ahead.

Let me tell you, it is not easy to bid goodbye when you go back after every holiday. I am sure it is equally bad for you too. Notwithstanding technological advances that helps us be in touch unlike our days, nothing like having you around in flesh and blood. It is a huge consolation having that shoulder around us

Tough moment after previous Holiday. Miss you Dear One
Happy Birthday Mama – I am missing you

Happy 37th Birthday Aparna

Yes! 37th Birthday since we met and 31st as my better half and partner-in-crime. To say that it got better and better each year, would be stating the obvious or maybe an understatement. Looking back I can say that I don’t mind getting stranded on an uninhabited island after a ship wreck if she is around (so that she keeps reminding me that it was my fault 🤪)

If I were to list, Aparna has so many qualities that make her a very special person. But right on top that I have seen since 1993 every second of the day is what a wonderful mum she is. Not just to biological children but also to our manasik kids – “DaMaKis” gang. The ownership, the care, the rebukes and concern makes it so evident.

As some wise man said, I was lucky enough to have been blessed to be married to someone, not whom I can live with but whom I cannot live without. For no particular reason we have hit off. If someone asks me how, I always say, It just does. God has been Kind. Nothing else explains it. To be honest, it’s just perfect. It is a dream that is being lived every moment, thanks to her. An epitome who live the adage “Love like no other and you feel happy beyond your wildest dreams.”

The Chinese Virus screwed up and adversely affected all kinds of celebrations, some developments in some kids’ personal lives, celebrating as whole gang is now over Video calls. Nevertheless celebrating her existence in our lives never stopped.

Prayers to the Divine! And Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji to bless her with long, healthy, happy and joyful life ahead. May every moment of the year ahead be as special or better than today.

Today’s Birthday Gang
Your Birthday is a special moment for me. Let’s celebrate to treasure these memories forever.

Grace & its ways

I had written this down in response to a query (it was more a challenge) on twitter. Thought it is a good piece that is worth having it on this site with some additional experiences and learning gained ever since I tweeted them 4 years ago. By no means I claim this to be the ideal learning nor even as a prescription, it is just a scrawl of an avid Jigyaasu. I am blessed to be guided on this path, not just by way of various courses and discourses but learning from the Enlightened Master, Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living, whose unmatchable persona embodies all these virtues that is worthy of emulation.

PC: Peter Hershey (Unsplash)

Grace as explained by Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar :
When you receive a lot without making efforts for it, then it is said that you are blessed with anugraha. Usually you work hard at your job and then receive your salary. So you say, ‘I have earned my money’. But if someone gives you a gift, you do not say, ‘I have earned these gifts’. Can something that is earned be called a gift? No. You receive gifts without any efforts. So when you receive a great gift or an award that you feel you did not deserve, then that is called anugraha. When we receive something that we are not deserving of, or which exceeds our capabilities, then that is what is called Grace. When we see that in our life, we have received far more than what we deserve or are capable of, then gratitude dawns in us. We become thankful, complaints disappear and abundance grows.

My two pennies based on experience, generally reproduction of my tweets that were as explanation to a query. The tweet thread is here (at this time.)

Guru’s Grace & Blessings on His/Her Shishya(s) is infinite & is like a blank cheque that we can encash, provided we write our name on it in right (worthy) manner

Shishyas should satisfy two conditions:
1) Our Attitude and Mindset should be like an empty cup (if we think we are already full, then nothing can be poured in the cup)
2) Cup should be in right orientation. Empty cup face down cannot receive anything

Tumbler in Right Direction can accept Water Poured
Tumbler upside down can only mess the place

Grace can/will work only when used in Right Direction. So we as Shishya should have that viveka to ensure it is right. (If door opens inwards and you apply force in the wrong direction you shut it). Even the best of Guru’s Grace cannot work when your work is for wrong purpose

Applying efforts the wrong way
PC: Adobe Stock Photo

Guru’s grace though Free, it is not a Gift. Shishyas should have Arhata (deserving), Viveka (to use it for right reasons), know the Sannivesha (Context) and most importantly Sharanagati (state of surrender). The moment we think we are the Doers, we are DOOMED (Click on the link what “We are not the Doers mean)

As I experienced in various Paramparas, one important aspect they propagate is to refrain from Daiva/Guru Ninda (Defaming God/Guru) or anyone for that matter failing which the Good Karmic balance drastically reduces.

Wishing you loads of Divine, Guru and Elders’ Grace