Symphony and Cacaphony

Let me set this blog to music with what His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has to say about “Music”

HH Gurudev Sri Sri Playing the Veena during Navratri
HH Gurudev Sri Sri Playing the Veena during Navratri

“Spirituality and music, together, can uplift people, get them out of depression and help them start a new life with enthusiasm. For a stress-free life, you have to embrace both these facets (spirituality and music).”

The Art of Living has laid a foundation stone for unity and harmony through a series of events.

He also said “In a place where there is music, where there is art, where there is dance, where there is meditation and yoga, how can there be violence there? Read more here

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Now that the piece is set to Music, let me not sing the old tune and get into brass tacks right away … with a small Note of warning (LOL! No Warning Bells as yet)

You are Warned
You are Warned

When someone pointed out that it was quite a while since I blogged,  I tweeted about what would my next theme. Me who is always fit as a fiddle decided to be blow my horn with this Operatic effort & include all that jazz. A small inadvertent break for unfortunate reasons  (reasons explained later).

Musical Restroom
Musical Rest Room

And Lo! a blog idea came when I heard a TV Panelist (who is supposed to run some blog in support of a party) who  is capable of making chin music for hours at a time. And when he was recently relegated from Prime Channels to some side-kick ones it was music to my ears. Even there this guy incessant blabber is like an Elevator music and heard that the other panelists are not Bells on when he is on the drone and tries to pass it off as a Symphony.  While we all know clearly who calls the tune in his case 🙂

Music All Over
Music All Over

And when my thoughts were clear as a bell and almost ready to be published come the news of Hyderabad Blasts. I stopped the music and stopped the (word)Press  & decided to fine tune this blog and launch it today after pulling out all stops.  I could not afford to be seen as a person Fiddling while Rome burnt like our Home Minister who keeps changing the tune and together with his bosses have decided to sell our Nation for a song.  Media and these politicos decided to march to their own drum beat with no sense of order giving a damn to us despite they playing a jarring note. The entire opposition also seem to play a second fiddle and did they strike a chord with sentiments of nation at this crucial hour? A big No. A whistle-stop tour to the blast site, some sound-bytes to the media channels and then a curt “Whistle for peace” message to gullible public.

No Music this
No Music this

Did Music-Deaf authorities forget that on matters of national security, they cannot be whistling in the dark or issue cannot be played by the ear. It has to be an orchestra where every Note has to be Scripted in the sheet to create a symphony.

Despite all this the eternal Optimist that I am, I still keep whistling Dixie and still kiss my kids goodnight saying “See you on the big drum

Signing off with this lovely musical video Foo Fighters-Learn to Fly

PS: Photographs used in this piece belong to Respective Owners. If in any copyright infringement please let me know 

True Mantra

Couldn’t avoid reacting (though my Master Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of Art of Living says it is a bad habit in the spiritual path) to a few characters for no rhyme and reasons keep harping on some stupid problem of theirs on another of my favourite discussion forum and a spiritual community. It is said some people have simply decided to revel and enjoy being miserable and here is one person who fits this example to the “T”. As a timely reconfirmation and the reasons why I should recover and move on I received a nice story which I am posting here for the sake of retaining it for posterity. A story with loads of hidden and obvious messages equally applicable to both proponents and skeptics. Here we go…

Once there was a king who was very fond of flowers. He had bought a lot of expensive pots with beautiful & fragrant flowers. He had them arranged in the courtyard just next to his bedroom & hired a person to take proper care of them.

Once that fellow broke one pot by mistake while arranging them. The king became furious to hear about this. He was a cruel & senseless king. He sentenced his servant to death for this pity mistake. He was ordered to be hanged after two months. The king’s minister pleaded mercy for the poor fellow but he did not listen. To find death inevitable, the poor servant started praying to God.

 

5895478-broken-flower-in-pot

Meawhile the king declared a reward for anyone who could repair the broken pot & make it exactly same as it used to be. Many people came & tried their luck but in vain.

How could a broken pot be repaired exactly like before? How could any doctor bring back life to a dead person? This mortal human body also is irrepairable. Even if a surgeon tries his best to put back the broken parts, it can never be the same; there is always some imperfection remaining. Similarly a kite when torn apart can never be made to look like before even if one applies all kind of glues. How could anyone ever do this?

The servant on the other hand was counting his days. He would every now & then pray to God to somehow make king’s mind change so that his life is spared.

A month passed by like this. Then a saint visited that city. He heard about this reward which the king had declared for anyone who could repair the broken flower pot. He also learnt about the death sentence given to the poor servant who broke it.

That saintly person went to the king’s court & said “I take the responsibilty of joining back your broken pot. Show it to me” The king took the saint to his palace where all the flower pots were kept. The saint looked deeply at the broken pot. He also looked at all the other two dozen unbroken pots. He passed a divine smile towards the king. Then he asked for a stick. The servant brought him one. As soon as he got it, he started breaking all other flower pots. For sometime, the king totally confused at this scene kept wondering what is this way of repairing. May be this saintly person knows some new method. Then he looked at the saint who was standing fearlessly after having broken all the pots. He yelled “O saint! what have you done?”

The saint replied “I saved the life of two dozen poor people who at some point in time would have broken these pots.”

The king became furious & ordered that the saint be trampled under the feet of an elephant. The saint was a spiritually enlightened person. He had deeply experienced the teachings of the Vedas. He believed firmly in the universality of the soul & its oneness with GOD. He knew that the physical body is bound to be destroyed someday while the inner soul can never ever die. He’d never get frightened by even the worst of the worst situations since he was beyound death & birth.

An elephant was brought in front of him. The saint peacefully lied down on the ground & meditating on “So..hum.. Shivo..hum” (I am That.. I am Shiva ..The supreme lord) “Supreme Lord is prevalent all around. The elephant is also the supreme lord & so is its master. The king who ordered this execution is also the supreme lord & the one lying down on the ground is also the same supreme lord.” “The lord itself is playing with its own various forms. So..hum” “The minister standing in the corner is also the dear lord & the soldier holding a sword in the hand is also the same lord. The whole public watching this is also the supreme lord having taken various forms from tiny kids to veiled women.”

The blissful saint continued meditating like this visualizing the presence of supreme lord in every body around him. The master of the elephant whipped it hard but the elephant simply refused to go near the saint. Another elephant was brought in. But he also stopped within two feet of the meditating saint. His master also tried hard but in vain. The king finally gave up & asked the saint “Do you know any kind of mantra which brings every elephant under your control?” The saint smiled & said ” I do not know any mantra to control an elephant but I do know the mantra to control the self. I know the mantra of love”

No matter how bad one may think of you or make plans to hurt you, but if you do not think bad about him, then nothing in the world has the power to do bad to you. He may keep cursing you in his heart but he will never be able to do bad to you.

The saint said: “Oh King! When I lay straight then thinking about the Dear God in the elephant, you & me, I started loving Him & thought of good things to happen to the elephant. I thought of welfare of the elephant & you.

If I would have thought bad for you, then your bad qualities could have become powerful. If I would have felt jealous of you, then jealousy could have become powerful inside you. If I would have felt hatred for you, then hatred could have become powerful inside you. But friend! why should I pollute my heart by having hatred & jealousy for you?

I have got over ignorance by the grace of my Guruji. That is why the elephant could not hurt me even when it was pecked to do so again & again. If the destiny of the body would have been to die in this way, then nobody could have stopped the death. In that case even if you were protecting this body, it would not have lived longer. If destiny did not have this kind of death, then how does it matter if ten kings like you get annoyed! What harm can anybody do? Even if you get pleased how does it matter! I’ve done the work that I intended to do.

This body can die any second. It cannot become immortal. When this body is mortal then how can the pots become immortal. These will get destroyed & will vanish one day. The plant shall also die. You are taking the life of a servant for a plant which will anyway die soon. Therefore using the stick I broke all pots to give you a lesson that these are mortal objects. Do not ruin the kindness of your heart by having attraction for these immortal things.”

The king was highly influenced by the words of the saint. He came down his throne & begged for forgiveness. He cancelled the death sentence on the servant. Then he took “Guru Mantra” from the saint & set his journey on the road to God.

PS: The picture above is of His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji in one of those playful moments with Maheshwara, the Ashram Elephant

Be Yourself – The biggest gift

A lot of people I meet seem to be overcome by desire and seem to revel in misery where none exist. Even when they get something for gratis they wished they got something better especially if someone else got it better.  “People seem to enjoy things more when they know a lot of others have been left out of the pleasure”  We don’t realize that we are blessed as you are till something hits you hard…Wearing other’s shoes’ pinches harder is a lesson that we seem to learn the hard way. Read on

Once upon a time there lived a stone-cutter, who went every day to a great rock in the side of a big mountain and cut out slabs for gravestones or for houses. He understood very well the kinds of stones wanted for the different purposes, and as he was a careful workman he had plenty of customers. For a long time he was quite happy and contented, and asked for nothing better than what he had.

Now in the mountain dwelt a spirit which now and then appeared to men, and helped them in many ways to become rich and prosperous. The stone-cutter, however, had never seen this spirit, and only shook his head, with an unbelieving air, when anyone spoke of it. But a time was coming when he learned to change his opinion.

One day the stone-cutter carried a gravestone to the house of a rich man, and saw there all sorts of beautiful things, of which he had never even dreamed. Suddenly his daily work seemed to grow harder and heavier, and he said to himself: ‘Oh, if only I were a rich man, and could sleep in a bed with silken curtains and golden tassels, how happy I should be!’

And a voice answered him: ‘Your wish is heard; a rich man you shall be!’

At the sound of the voice the stone-cutter looked round, but could see nobody. He thought it was all his fancy, and picked up his tools and went home, for he did not feel inclined to do any more work that day. But when he reached the little house where he lived, he stood still with amazement, for instead of his wooden hut was a stately palace filled with splendid furniture, and most splendid of all was the bed, in every respect like the one he had envied. He was nearly beside himself with joy, and in his new life the old one was soon forgotten.

It was now the beginning of summer, and each day the sun blazed more fiercely. One morning the heat was so great that the stone-cutter could scarcely breathe, and he determined he would stay at home till the evening. He was rather dull, for he had never learned how to amuse himself, and was peeping through the closed blinds to see what was going on in the street, when a little carriage passed by, drawn by servants dressed in blue and silver. In the carriage sat a prince, and over his head a golden umbrella was held, to protect him from the sun’s rays.

‘Oh, if I were only a prince!’ said the stone-cutter to himself, as the carriage vanished round the corner. ‘Oh, if I were only a prince, and could go in such a carriage and have a golden umbrella held over me, how happy I should be!’

And the voice of the mountain spirit answered: ‘Your wish is heard; a prince you shall be.’

And a prince he was. Before his carriage rode one company of men and another behind it; servants dressed in scarlet and gold bore him along, the coveted umbrella was held over his head, everything heart could desire was his. But yet it was not enough. He looked round still for something to wish for, and when he saw that in spite of the water he poured on his grass the rays of the sun scorched it, and that in spite of the umbrella held over his head each day his face grew browner and browner, he cried in his anger: ‘The sun is mightier than I; oh, if I were only the sun!’

And the mountain spirit answered: ‘Your wish is heard; the sun you shall be.’

And the sun he was, and felt himself proud in his power. He shot his beams above and below, on earth and in heaven; he burnt up the grass in the fields and scorched the faces of princesas well as of poorer folk.

But in a short time he began to grow tired of his might, for there seemed nothing left for him to do. Discontent once more filled his soul, and when a cloud covered his face, and hid the earth from him, he cried in his anger: ‘Does the cloud hold captive my rays, and is it mightier than I? Oh, that I were a cloud, and mightier than any!’

And the mountain spirit answered: ‘Your wish is heard; a cloud you shall be!’

And a cloud he was, and lay between the sun and the earth. He caught the sun’s beams and held them, and to his joy the earth grew green again and flowers blossomed. But that was not enough for him, and for days and weeks he poured forth rain till the rivers overflowed their banks, and the crops of rice stood in water. Towns and villages were destroyed by the power of the rain, only the great rock on the mountain side remained unmoved. The cloud was amazed at the sight, and cried in wonder: ‘Is the rock, then, mightier than I? Oh, if I were only the rock!’

And the mountain spirit answered: ‘Your wish is heard; the rock you shall be!

And the rock he was, and gloried in his power. Proudly he stood, and neither the heat of the sun nor the force of the rain could move him. ‘This is better than all!’ he said to himself. But one day he heard a strange noise at his feet, and when he looked down to see what it could be, he saw a stone-cutter driving tools into his surface. Even while he looked a trembling feeling ran all through him, and a great block broke off and fell upon the ground. Then he cried in his wrath: ‘Is a mere child of earth mightier than a rock? Oh, if I were only a man!’

And the mountain spirit answered: ‘Your wish is heard. A man once more you shall be!’

And a man he was, and in the sweat of his brow he toiled again at his trade of stone-cutting. His bed was hard and his food scanty, but he had learned to be satisfied with it, and did not long to be something or somebody else. And as he never asked for things he had not got, or desired to be greater and mightier than other people, he was happy at last, and heard the voice of the mountain spirit no longer.

As His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji of  The Art of Living says “Accept People and situation as they are” – it includes accepting ourselves the way we are too.