We are on Top of the World Because…

It is that time of the yet again, when things get a bit difficult, for I am lost for words to thank the Divine for the wonderful Gift who was sent down to the earth and to be my fellow passenger with me to celebrate her birthdays with me (this is 35th Birthday spent with me – No I am not going to reveal how many before that – I don’t want anything happening to me on a day like this)

For someone very very special, Dearest Aparna, May your Birthday be blessed with everything God wants to give you! Not everyone is lucky enough to have someone as special as you in one’s life… I’m one of the lucky few! May beauty and happiness surround you today and beyond. I hope your Birthday is awesome, wonderful, full of love and laughter… just like you!

When Cakes Come as Gift, You count it as Blessings and cut it at midnight.
Then it was a competition and choice for her to make. Who First! She found this way – Apple of our eyes. One Best gift she gave me apart from herself

 

The Formality got to be done!

 

My Share, after the Kids
Return Gift
Kiddo! Who made it special for her, apart from getting the new home in Order
Kiran, a permanent fixture – an invisible hand behind organizing every such celebration
Arun, she had to jump high to reach him!

We missed having Sindhu this year at the midnight, after nearly 13 or so birthdays. She is blissfully settled into her marital home and I am sure she terribly missed the evening too.

Now for my customary tribute! As always I have nothing else to add, year after year and after each birthday and wedding anniversary, except to say that it has only got better, like the wine. It has been an amazing journey for me with her presence. As they say in Mechanical Engineering, a perfect fit. People ask me how does it work, the relationship that kept blossoming, the love that multiplied, family and no of extended family getting larger and larger, yet what clicks and where do you find the time to nurture the relationship. My honest answer was “I don’t know! It is her and all credits to her”  For no rhyme or reason, it is simply working well and Thank Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji of the Art of Living and also the Divine who chose to shower infinite blessings on me, by bringing her into my life.

No blues for anyone, if this woman in blue is around. Ask anyone who knows her

What makes her so special? What is that we all see in her that makes her a fantastic soul? It is the way she lives every moment. A wonderful human being! A great mum to biological and huge number of manasik ones, a lovely friend and wife to me, great sister to her brothers and so on. All the kids could not have asked for a better and no Non-Sense Mum!

What is exemplary is her commitment to fulfil what she has resolved to achieve. Examples galore on the persistence and diligent efforts that she invests, that is worth emulating for anyone. That is the kind of infectious quality she brings to those in her circle of influence.

If I were to emulate and advise anyone else what would be the best she has – her ultimate clarity on the priority – Absolutely unshakeable, selfless loyalty to the family and all her near ones.  I have never seen her frown whenever anyone has sought out for any help. Be it within or outside the family. In a dog eat dog world that is not a quality anyone finds so often. Thank you Aparna for being an example that all the kids and friends and myself can look up to, to try and live!

Happy birthday dear one my darling wife. Someday I hope to match up to what you are! Until then Love you loads and May God and Gurudev bless you with health, peace, happiness in abundance.

To sign off! My usual song dedicated to you – Top of the World

Star you were, Star you are, Star you will be – Just shine

Cannot help but rewind to this day 26 years ago each time we reach this day on the calendar. It has been a exhilarating experience and a day of Gratitude reinforced each time to the Divine for He chose us to be your parents.

From that helpless tiny baby to an ‘I can do anything’ independent gem you are now, what a journey it has been! I recall the joy of that moment when the little gem was carefully gift wrapped and handed over to me and I will never tire looking at this photograph, again and again. Those blissful days when you snuggled in my arms are unforgettable. It is never easy task to express that feeling in words. You need to experience it to feel it.

A click that I cherish

They say, No father can realise the meaning of life or the world until he has children and once he has, everything changes and life is never the same again. When we have a daughter like Divya, it is doubly so. World becomes such a beautiful place to live and if you have any doubts on this, come and see it through my eyes.

Now for some Gyan 😛 without which I can never finish anything. Your large heartedness is a known thing and I am proud of what you have done for the society thus far. First thing I would like to say is to Love your self like no one else. Remember, as I keep telling people around me, you can never love anyone else if you don’t love yourself first. I learnt it along in my journey and I guess this is something you don’t have to live through all over to realise and hence this suggestion.

Never accept disrespect whoever it is from, including me of course. If you sell yourself low, society seeks a discount and bids even lower. You are far more precious than what you think. People will run you down and get close again, but one thing I learnt proudly from you is that fact that you lived with an unknown realisation that, you had yourself, at the end of the day, evident by how easily you forgave folks who roughshod you and moved on. That is something I am proud of quoting as a lesson for myself and others.

As you grow up, priorities change and many obvious things are overlooked. Remember! Love of all of us is always there, come rain or sun. Obviously you know this. I was proud when you took upon your broad shoulders to accompany your brother abroad all by yourself to settle him into University and the long emotional solo return journey that you strongly embarked upon. Let me confess, it would have been next to impossible for me to do that and taking up that humongous responsibility required a lovely soul like you. Be brave and count on family’s love to tide over any choppy seas and keep the boat sailing.

And I had to share a wonderful WA Family group message and the response your brother gave. That is what makes the family click. Ability to laugh under any circumstance. God Bless us all! And touch wood, we will retain that ability to laugh at, and with ourselves forever.

And thanking the Divine once again for the wonderful gift that you are for us. Happy Birthday dear one. Words alone are not enough to express my happiness that you are celebrating another year of your life! My wish for you on your birthday is that you are, and will always be, happy and healthy!

Happy birthday & Wish you many more to come, from all of us

Chase your dreams but always know the road that’ll lead you home again.
Go on, take on this whole world.
But to me you know you’ll always be, my little girl.

It could have been Worse is My Answer!

This post comes in the wake of recent medical incidents of some sincere seekers, who have been doing/done everything that materially every Jigyasu is expected to do – Sadhana, Seva, Satsangs etc. Yet when some tragedy or misfortune strikes, the obvious doubt is on the efficacy of God/Guru. The faith is terribly shaken and trust flies out of the window. Everything associated becomes a suspect and sadly some may even conclude on the futility of the spiritual journey itself.

Firstly, as Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji of The Art of Living says – Everyone dies, Good person dies, Bad person dies; Doctors die, Patients die; Rich die, Poor die; King dies so also subjects; So one thing that is truth at the time of birth, known to everyone is that one day a person born has to die some day. Yet there is a sense of non-acceptance of this irrefutable and unchangeable truth.  Immediate response of the near ones (I experienced it twice, when I lost my Father and recently my Elder brother, both departed quite young by today’s standards) Our trust and faith was shaken terribly (thankfully for not very long). Why us? is the obvious question (as if it is ok, if this were to happen to someone else). The first response was What is the point in worshiping God or having a Guru when they “ditch” us like this? (when they are actually carrying us to bear this pain) . Why couldn’t they stop this? (the inevitable truth is forgotten). Now, cut to the next set of examples 

We had examples of some ardent followers in the path, who never missed a day’s Sadhana, did their Seva at every opportunity presented, regular organised and conducted Satsangs, who fell seriously sick (I have been witnessing this in very close quarters in the recent months, one as late as 3 days ago in a Satsang). Again the faith of near ones and many observers was challenged. What is the point of all the 3Ss (Sadhana, Seva and Satsang) if they fall seriously sick (at the time of occurrence, some were even written off and even indicated by doctors that if they survived they would be vegetables all their lives. Much to the surprise of the thorough Medical professional and naysayers, they recovered miraculously. Certainly, I believe it is due to power of collective blessings just as those very rational Engineers and Medical Professionals who were around concede to it. To some who asked me, why did it happen in the first place, my answer as an ordinary mortal – it could have been worse!

Today Vadi is back to near normal and leading a life he lead before (yes after a Mid Brain Hemorrhage episode)
Atharv back home, as active as ever!!!
Miraculous and inexplicable arrest of Blood leakage in brain (Status as of today in this screenshot)

As Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar expounds during a Q&A session during a Satsang – Keep the faith intact

We often mistake our intense craving for our intense faith and try to manipulate the divine to fulfill our desires and get our work done. If you have faith in God only for the sake of having your desires fulfilled, then that will simply not work.

Which is greater: God, or your desire? Just think about it. You want to use God like currency for transactions, and you want to do the same with your Guru. Faith and devotion are needed to help you rise higher in life and go deeper within yourself.

Difficulties and unpleasant times come in everyone’s life. Is there anyone who does not have problems in their life? Lord Krishna faced so many obstacles during his lifetime. Lord Rama also faced many problems in his life. Mahatma Gandhi also faced many hurdles in his life. So difficulties come and go in life. When your faith and devotion remain intact and unshaken during those turbulent times, then you do not feel the unpleasantness of those situations. Faith becomes your anchor during these difficult times and keeps you steady.

On a completely dark night, even a flickering lamp can help you find your way and keep walking forward. But if you try to extinguish that very source of light, then it is no good. People who do this then try other ways to handle difficult situations, such as drinking alcohol, etc. Faith is a great wealth and gives you strength. Just because a few small things did not go in your favor, it does not mean that you should make your faith so fragile and delicate that it breaks every now and then.

That is why I said that it is good that you feel your faith is becoming weak and failing because something you wanted did not happen. It is alright. Eventually you will put your faith into someone or something.

Faith that is built in such a way surely will shake at some point of time. Every time your faith shakes, your devotion will be renewed from within once again. Truth never fails or gets shaken. True faith remains unshaken regardless of everything that happens. That which shakes is just some small belief at a very superficial level. It is your own expectations and desires which shake you

 

Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji in a knowledge sheet had put forth this profound thoughts for us to chew on. This is universal and eternally applicable.

Reason is reeling in the known. Faith is moving in the unknown. Reason is repetition. Faith is exploration. Reason is routine. Faith is adventure.

They are completely opposite, yet an integral part of life. Not having faith itself is misery; faith gives instant comfort. While reasoning keeps you sane and grounded, no miracle can happen without faith. Faith takes you beyond limitations. In faith you can transcend the laws of nature but it needs to be pure. Faith is beyond reason, yet you need to have faith in your own reasoning! Faith and reason cannot exist without each other. Every reason is based on some faith. Whenever reason or faith breaks, confusion and chaos prevails which is often a step for growth.

There are two types of faith. Faith out of fear, greed and insecurity; and faith born out of love like the faith between the mother and the child, the Master and disciple. Whereas the faith out of love cannot be broken, faith out of fear and greed is shaky.

An atheist bases himself on reason, and a believer on faith. A believer uses God as an insurance policy! He thinks he is special. In the eyes of God there is no “mine” and “others”; all are the same. An atheist rationalizes to keep his eyes shut to reality. Death shakes them both! When someone close dies, an atheist’s eyes are opened, and a believer’s faith cracks. Only a Yogi – a wise one – remains unshaken. For that person has transcended both reason and faith.

You need a balance between faith and reason.

Cut to the present, in both cases these distrust was soon overcome and life moved on. Back to going on pilgrimage to Sabarimala, for Darshan and blessings of Guru. The unpleasantness was taken in the stride using exactly whatever we lost trust on. We tend to lose faith or tend to distrust the only Truth, God or the Guru that is our real & eternal support, all other kind of supports are fleeting. Even the best of medicine will not work if we don’t trust the doctor and the medicine itself. Remember, Medicine Cures! Faith Heals!

One more learning! Faith and trust doesn’t mean rely on Blessings or healing process solely. Our part of the action is a prerequisite and understanding that just those actions may not guarantee results. We allow the Grace to work through our action by being in a state of Gratitude.

Come what may! Keep your faith up! It will hold you up!