Archive for the ‘Indian Culture’ Category

You Have To Have It to Give It

In this world, if you are going to give somebody a present, you must first have the gift, before you can give it. Though the focus of the contemplation is of “mental” giving, the same rule applies. To offer a thought to someone, it first must be in your mind before you can give it. You have to have it to give it. It must come from you. Even though someone else triggers the thought, you are the source.

We want to make the outside world our “cause” and thus its “effect” becomes its responsibility. That stance is easy for the negative situations; you can be quite comfortable with other people or situations making you upset, but what about the love. What about those loving thoughts don’t they come from the same place?

The contemplation has great power. Watch yourself and notice what you give and where it source is located. You consider taking ownership of your mood, your state of mind. Consider letting go of blaming the world for what is really going on inside of you. Consider that you have the power to change what you give it.

Let us see what happens when we play with this idea of contemplation, when we work with it, when we use it. The one thought that would be really quite powerful is, “To give, you must first have.” Now that is a very obvious thing to say. In our world, if you are going to give somebody a birthday present, first of all you have the gift, wrapped up or not wrapped up; you have to have the gift, before you can give it. This is not really what the focus is here. The focus is if you have a loving thought that you are offering to someone, or if you have joy that you are offering to someone, or are extending, or if you have anger and any of the negative feelings, it first must be in your self before you can give it. You have to have it to give it.

So that is a contemplation that takes you in a lot of directions. Somebody cuts you off in traffic, and you feel so angry at them, so upset with them, and you think, to give that anger, to give get upset, I first must have had it inside of me. It must already have been there. You know that is true because there are times when somebody cuts you off in a line, or butts in – any of those things – and many, many, many times you just look at them and let it happen and it is of no consequence. Then, there are those times when you are in traffic or somebody cuts you off and it is of consequence. Thinking about the fact that the anger was already present, is a very helpful thing. To extend that anger, to give it, it must already have been present within you. You take ownership of your mood, your state of mind. You cannot blame that other person or that other situation for what is really going on inside of you.

It is also great when you find that you are filled with a wonderful state of peace or love or joy or all three of them together, for when you are filled with that, you realize that you are just radiating it like the sun radiates light and heat. You radiate it. So that means, to give it, to give it off, to extend it, it must already be inside of you.

That is a wonderful contemplation. Just be with it; to give you must have, you must first have it. To realize that the times you have been upset, the times you have been triggered by someone, you must already have had the state within you, for that to come out of you. At the same time, and I have seen this a lot in Reiki, when someone comes for a Reiki session they are upset over some big, deep trauma or some major thing happening in their life, they are feeling very sad. They get Reiki. You put your hands all over their body and give them Reiki energy and balance them out, it balances them out. Then they just exude a sweet peacefulness. Well we didn’t give them peacefulness. Reiki didn’t give them peacefulness. All Reiki did was balance and clear out the fog bank that was over-top of the true state of the person; the true state that we all carry.

The negative state and the love are already present for you to give it. What you want to get rid of is all that negativity, just release it. Own it as yours and let it go. Let it go so that the inner darkness is moved out and what rises up, that you give and radiate, just by being yourself, is already present.

To give it, you must have it. I hope this is helpful. Peace to you.


Women in India

Traditionally in India, a woman has been addressed as a Devi, a goddess. This might seem like a very noble gesture; however, actually this contradicts an underlying expectation of lifelong sacrifices for others. This selfish motive is disguised with alleged reverence and results in a never-ending exploitation of women.

Quite a few girls end up entering college to just get away from their homes, to enjoy their temporary freedom but have no objective in life other than getting married. Indeed, often education is viewed only as a means to landing a sought after groom. Marriage cannot be the sole objective of any woman’s life. Marriage itself brings in a truckload of responsibilities and expectations. Unfortunately, this urge for marriage is further intensified sometimes when the girl sees her own mother being maltreated. She simply wants to escape this unhappy environment; little realizing that she is jumping from the hot pan right on to the fire.

It is not that all girls lack a will, a motivation to better their lives by education. It is a fact of today’s society that all the seemingly innocuous acts of girls ‘dating’ boys, going to the cinema, coffee shops; most of these apparently platonic encounters end up being an extended foreplay to sex. How would a girl know that the boy is a ‘safe’ boy? This is the reality and we cannot ignore it.

Because of the age, because of the hormonal changes, it is natural for a girl to experience sexual urges and they should not feel guilty about that. However, they have to take a level headed decision as to what will be the right time and right way to explore these urges. Romanticism is fine, but it has to be balanced by a composed, rational thinking. Friendship between the opposite sexes is absolutely fine, nothing wrong there. However, a girl should have a sharp sense of judgment; the boy should not end up taking advantage of her. Girls are emotionally more sensitive than boys; this is a well-known fact. Hence, they find it difficult to get over a broken relationship. This hampers their concentration on their education and also leaves a deleterious impact on their future life as well. This brings to the paramount question; why are woman studying? Just to get a license of eligibility to get married? What after marriage?

Education is not just about procuring degrees, which is going to impart with the qualities of fortitude, tenacity and self-belief. It is important to cultivate mental strength and resilience. Women need to examine themselves and see where they stand on this front, to deal with failures, with lack of fulfillment of desires, the prevalent cut-throat competitiveness. Girls need to become strong willed, independent individuals; this refers to both, financial and emotional independence. Acquisition of a mere degree is not enough. It certainly helps, but is not sufficient on its own. Those who don’t have an aptitude for higher education or professional careers should undergo some kind of a vocational training so that they can earn a livelihood.

It is every woman’s fundamental right to live a dignified life, be treated as a human being and work towards the fulfillment of her aspirations. Nobody should allow anyone to take this away. It should be a girl’s choice when to get married. Nobody should get married unless they want to and are well prepared for it. Look at the way marriages are being arranged today; the only compatibility people seem to be interested in sorting is wealth, prestige, physical appearance, social standing, and ability to give an enormous dowry.

Girls should not only be concerned with their physical appearance, after all no one needs to tell a woman on how to beautify her. However, it is more important to enhance and beautify one’s mental and intellectual abilities. The more knowledge one seeks, the more knowledge is gained, the more beautiful one becomes. All girls, all women should make it a priority to ‘beautify’ their brain, their mind. Reading gives the wings to soar high above the skies. They should cultivate some creative hobbies, like dancing. Dance is the best stress buster, best way to diffuse stress, anger. Dream and take efforts to fulfill those dreams. But this will not happen by simply praying to God. You will have to work diligently towards this goal, only then will they get divine blessings. Some people complain that despite working hard they don’t get success and then they blame God. However, it is not God but one’s previous karmas, which result in failure.

No one can negate the karma theory just because some Hindu sage or seer has expounded it. It is a law of life. Our own karma becomes an obstructive wall and we don’t get what we are looking for, but never be disheartened, always be grateful that one is alive and as long as one is alive, one can create more opportunities for oneself. So, why be disheartened? Never get discouraged by failures. One needs to remain optimistic, remain balanced, as there will be many more golden opportunities, which will enrich you. If you remain positive and calm, other doors will open; otherwise the negativity and depression will prevent one from seeing the other opportunities that have sprung up. So never ever be disheartened for anything. The only time tears should roll down one’s eyes is when one is ecstatic, delirious in love or as an expression of gratitude.

It is always mind over matter; hence believe in positive thinking and affirmations. Positive thinking combined with appropriate action brings in good karma. I hope I inspire zeal and zest for living life to its fullest, with dignity and freedom.

Posted May 13, 2013 by dranilj1 in Indian Culture

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Triple Gem

Triple Gem in Buddhism implies: The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

Buddha is the ‘Enlightened One’ who rediscovered for himself the liberating path of Dhamma, after a long period of its having been forgotten by the world. According to tradition, a long line of Buddhas stretches off into the distant past. The most recent Buddha was born Sidhartha Gautama in India in the sixth century BCE. A well educated and wealthy young man, he relinquished his family and his princely inheritance in the prime of his life to search for true freedom and an end to suffering (dukkha). After seven years of austerities in the forest, he rediscovered the "middle way" and achieved his goal, becoming Buddha.

Dharma in Sanskrit, Dhamma in Pali are universal laws that govern human existence and is usually regarded as law, truth, or anything Buddhist. It is used in the sense of all things, visible or invisible. In Buddhist tradition, it is generally referred to as the teaching of the Buddha. It is the teachings of the Buddhas in totality. Damma connotes Duty, law, doctrine. Dhamma is things, events, phenomena, and everything.

Sangha literally suggests harmonious community. In the Buddhadharma, Sangha means the order of Bhiksus, Bhiksunis, Sramaneras and Sramanerikas. Another meaning is the Arya Sangha, made up of those individuals, lay or monastic, who have attained one of the four stages of sanctity. Sangha also suggests the Bodhisattva Sangha.

Posted April 8, 2013 by dranilj1 in Indian Culture

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Just Do It And Do Not Let Go Until It Becomes A Reality

To be successful, you must acquire a vision. A vision is a clearly articulated picture of the future you intend to create for yourself. It’s a dream. If the dream does not have direction, it will always remain a dream; will never become a reality. The vision creates passion within you, a love for what you do and the benefit it will bring to others as well as yourself.

Your vision must be very specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and tangible. When you believe you have chosen an appropriate career goal, look at it very specifically and measure your progress. How will you know you are progressing in the right direction? This is where the development of short-term objectives comes in. You will know you are on the right path as you accomplish each short-term objective. Appraise strictly; is the goal achievable considering your current life situation and circumstances? Is what you want to do is really realistic? What will you specifically have at the end? What will you be exactly? You must be very specific. You must establish a strict tangible time frame with deadlines. The time frame creates sense of urgency; which will limit the possibility of procrastination.

Get this vision first and your path will become clear. Still, you will need a mentor, counselor, or coach who will be able to help you develop a road map embedded with short-term objectives leading to your overall career goals and objectives. The achievement of short-term objectives will indicate you are moving in the correct direction, and will also give you energy and excitement to carry on towards your overall career goal. It demands serious research, but you most likely have some basic ideas already. Follow them through, look at the nature of your field, the everyday routine, the required education, the salary, the occupational demand in the related field.

When a career sparks an interest, try to shadow an individual who is actually doing what you think you might like to do. You can pick up valuable information by shadowing individual who is actually doing what you think you might like to do. Acquire the will to change circumstances. Acquire the vision or dream. Develop a road-map embedded with short-term objectives leading to your overall goal and objective. Just do it and do not let go until it becomes a reality.

Touch of Gypsy

Gypsy Woman


The word gypsy means a laborer who moves from place to place as demanded by employment a member of a nomadic, Caucasoid people of generally swarthy complexion, who migrated originally from India, settling in various parts of Asia, Europe, and, most recently, North America. Romany is the language of the Gypsies, gypsy is a person held to resemble a gypsy, especially in physical characteristics or in a traditionally ascribed freedom or inclination to move from place to place, also means informal like gypsy cab, an independent, usually nonunion trucker, hauler, operator, etc.

When I think of gypsies I can’t help but picture a cloaked fortune teller or dancer like Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame or maybe you think of a band of traveling musicians and dancers in colorfully decorated wagons. The truth about gypsies is, of course, much more complex than a few outdated stereotypes. Because gypsies, also known as Roma, have been persecuted worldwide for much of their existence, they don’t typically trust outsiders and haven’t shared much of their story. But today, more gypsies are speaking up so the rest of the world can understand and appreciate their culture. Let us take a peek at their contemporary lives.

Gypsy Persecution: Gypsies have been harassed and persecuted throughout their history, but most people don’t know the Turks specifically executed gypsies during World War I, while Hitler wiped out more than 1 million during World War II. During WWII, not only were gypsies killed, they were also subject to medical experiments and sterilized. Those still alive in concentration camps were often blamed for crimes committed by others.

Gypsy Origins: Many people believe gypsies originally came from Romania, or perhaps Hungary. Not so. Research shows ethnic gypsies actually came from a group of diverse military people who gathered centuries ago in the Punjab region of northern India to fight Muslim invaders. Over time, the group drifted northwest to Persia and Armenia, then into the Balkan Peninsula, where Serbian and Romanian words and phrases crept into their language. Eventually, they split into smaller groups and spread throughout Europe and northern Africa, where several subsets developed, including the Romnichals in England, the Rom in Eastern Europe, the Ludar in Romania and the Black Dutch in Germany. There were also groups in Hungary and the former Soviet Union. Today, there are gypsies in countries throughout the world. When the gypsies began their migration, they weren’t welcomed by people in other countries because they looked and spoke differently, and they were often harassed or even physically harmed. This likely contributed to the development of their wandering lifestyle.

Typical Gypsy Jobs: Over the centuries, gypsies tended to work at occupations they could perform independently, that required little overhead, that appealed to people everywhere and that weren’t negatively affected by frequent travel. Some of these jobs included metalworking, woodworking, carpentry and horse trading. Often, jobs were tied to a sect. Many Ludar, for example, were animal trainers and show people, while many Rom were fortune-tellers. Gypsies worldwide are famed for their singing, dancing and musical skills; they’re credited with creating flamenco in Spain, while many Hungarian gypsies are musicians. As the times changed, so did the gypsies’ traditional occupations. Horse traders became used car dealers and repairmen, while metalworkers began hawking items like watches and jewelry. Members of the Kalderash clan, once Romanian slaves who worked as coppersmiths, now work in the scrap metal business.

Gypsy Taboo System: Ethnic gypsies have a very strong taboo system. Basically, gypsies consider the upper half of the body as pure, and the lower half — mainly the feet and genitalia — as contaminated. Pollute yourself, and you just might be ostracized for up to a year — or even expelled from the community. In practice, this means if a gypsy touches his lower body, he must wash his hands and anything your feet touch is considered perpetually contaminated. So there’s no such thing as the three-second rule when it comes to dropping food on the floor, and don’t even think about washing your underwear with, say, a tablecloth. While young children and the elderly are allowed some leniency when it comes to taboo situations, they’re strictly enforced on adults, especially married adults. Like in other traditional cultures, gypsy women who give birth are considered totally contaminated, as is the child being born, so both are temporarily isolated from the rest of the family.

Gypsy Attitudes Toward Schooling and the Sexes: Gypsies have a strong family and community focus. They neither want their children to learn foreign, non-gypsy ways, nor become polluted from contact with non-gypsies. Historically, only friends or relatives watch gypsies’ kids (through babysitting or day care), and kids only attend public school until age 10 or 11. Most of the gypsies’ education, then, comes from the home and community. Like other traditional cultures, gypsy women serve their men and defer to them in general, but women have some power and social standing. They’re respected for their money-making ability, for one thing. Fortune-tellers, who are all female, are sometimes the main source of income, so the husband serves as support staff, and a woman can pollute a man through various actions, sometimes resulting in his expulsion from the community.

Importance of Family in Gypsy Life: Family is paramount to gypsies. Those who still move about frequently tend to travel as an extended family, along with several other similar groups. Although family members often have their own homes, they’re still in constant contact with one another, often because the extended family works together as an economic unit. Marriages are typically arranged by the parents, with many couples marrying in their mid-to-late-teens and then joining the family business. New couples live with the husband’s parents for at least the first year or two, or until the first child is born. Most families have three or four kids, who are often part of adult conversations and endeavors, as children are expected to learn from and emulate their elders.

Whenever there’s a major event, such as a wedding or funeral, family members from all over gather, sometimes numbering in the hundreds or even thousands. Will we ever really know the gypsies? They’ve proved their resiliency through centuries of persecution, and many are proud they’ve never lost their strong cultural identity by assimilating into any of the countries they live in now. Perhaps the answer lies within a crystal ball — held by a gypsy, of course. If gypsies came from an assortment of people gathered in northern India, where did they get their name? The name gypsy is derived from the word Egyptian. At some point in their early history, people thought the Roma band hailed from Egypt, and thus assigned them that nickname, which stuck, and was used for all gypsies.

Gypsy or gipsy refer to Ethnic Groups of Romani people, a group widely dispersed throughout Europe; Dom people, an Indo-Aryan group; Lyuli, a Dom subgroup from Central Asia; Lom people, a group from East Anatolia and Armenia; Banjara, a group from India; Irish Travellers, Scottish Travellers; Yeniche people, a group from Europe, living mostly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France; Sri Lankan Gypsy people.

The Romani ethnic group should not be confused with Romanians, an unrelated ethnic group and nation. The Romani are an ethnic group living mostly in Europe, who have been traced genetically to a group migrating from the northwestern Indian Subcontinent about 1500 years ago. Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world by the exonym; Gypsies or Gipsies. They are known collectively in the Romani language as Romane or Rromane depending on the dialect concerned and also as Romany, Romanies, Romanis, Roma or Roms. Romani are widely dispersed, with their largest concentrated populations in Europe, especially the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe and Anatolia, followed by the Kale of Iberia and Southern France.

The Americas are also home to large numbers of Romani. There are an estimated one million Roma in the United States; and 800,000 in Brazil, most of whose ancestors emigrated in the nineteenth century from Eastern Europe. Brazil also includes Romani descended from people deported by the government of Portugal during the Inquisition in the colonial era. In migrations since the late nineteenth century, Romani have also moved to Canada and countries in South America. The Romani language is divided into several dialects, which add up to an estimated number of speakers larger than two million. The total number of Romani people is at least twice or as large several times as large according to high estimates. Many Romani are native speakers of the language current in their country of residence, or of mixed languages combining the two.

The Romani people—once known as “gypsies” or Roma—have been objects of both curiosity and persecution for centuries. Today, some 11 million Romani, with a variety of cultures, languages and lifestyles, live in Europe—and beyond. But where did they come from? Earlier studies of their language and cursory analysis of genetic patterns pinpointed India as the group’s place of origin and a later influence of Middle Eastern and Central Asian linguistics. But a new study uses genome-wide sequencing to point to a single group’s departure from northwestern Indian some 1,500 years ago and has also revealed various subsequent population changes as the population spread throughout Europe.

Understanding the Romani’s genetic legacy is necessary to complete the genetic characterization of Europeans as a whole, with implications for various fields, from human evolution to the health sciences says Manfred Kayser, of Erasmus University in Rotterdam and paper co-author, in a prepared statement.

To begin the study, a team of European researchers collected data on some 800,000 genetic variants (single nucleotides polymorphisms) in 152 Romani people from 13 different Romani groups in Europe. The team then contrasted the Romani sequences with those already known for more than 4,500 Europeans as well as samples from the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and the Middle East.

According to the analysis, the initial founding group of Romani likely departed from what is now the Punjab state in northwestern India close to the year 500 CE. From there, they likely traveled through Central Asia and the Middle East but appear to have mingled only moderately with local populations there. The subsequent doorway to Europe seems to have been the Balkan area—specifically Bulgaria—from which the Romani began dispersing around 1,100 CE. These travels, however, were not always easy. For example, after the initial group left India, their numbers took a dive, with less than half of the population surviving; some 47 percent, according to the genetic analysis. Once groups of Romani that would go on to settle Western Europe left the Balkan region, they suffered another population bottleneck, losing some 30 percent of their population. The findings were published online December 6 in Current Biology.

The researchers were also able to examine the dynamics of various Romani populations as they established themselves in different parts of Europe. The defined geographic enclaves appear to have remained largely isolated from other populations of European Romani over recent centuries, and the Romani show more evidence of marriage among blood relatives than do Indians or non-Romani Europeans in the analysis, but the Romani did not always keep to themselves. As they moved through Europe and set up settlements, they invariably met—and paired off with—local Europeans, and some groups, such as the Welsh Romani, show a relatively high rate of bringing locals—and their genetics—into their families.

Local mixing was not constant over the past several centuries—even in the same groups. The genetic history, as told through this genome-wide analysis, reveals different social mores at different times. For example, Romani populations in Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Croatia show genetic patterns that suggest a limited pairing with local populations until recently. Whereas Romani populations in Portugal, Spain and Lithuania have genetic sequences that suggest they had previously mixed with local European populations more frequently but have “higher levels of recent genetic isolation from non-Romani Europeans.

The Romani have often been omitted from larger genetic studies, as many populations are still somewhat transient and or do not participate in formal institutions such as government programs and banking. They constitute an important fraction of the European population, but their marginalized situation in many countries also seems to have affected their visibility in scientific studies says David Comas, of the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain.

Finer genetic analysis of various Romani populations as well as those from the putative founder region of India will help establish more concrete population dynamics and possibly uncover new clues to social and cultural traditions in these groups that have not kept historical written records.


Posted February 26, 2013 by dranilj1 in Indian Culture

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A Beginning, Middle, and an End

According to the Vedic view of creation, there are three fundamental principles that control everything: birth, life, and death. Everything has a beginning, middle, and an end. The Vedas call these three fundamental principles namely principles of creation, principles of maintaining, and principles of concluding or ending. These tendencies are seen in our personalities. Some people like to create ideas, food, or companies. Some like to manage and keep an idea or business alive. Still others have the task of removing old, broken, unworkable things, ideas or institutions. Just as food grows and stays fresh for a time and then becomes inedible, so too are people are born, live, and die. Careers begin and end.

Everything in creation is under the influence of these three laws. The secret to peace and spiritual bliss is to go beyond the three fundamental principles. What does this mean? How can a person go beyond something that controls all material existence? The answer is to switch one’s focus from material life to one’s spiritual nature. While principles of creation create all of material life, it is God who has created the three fundamental principles. In the beginning there was God, and He said, let there be creation. So God created the three fundamental principles to sustain creation and remove those things that would get in the way of maintaining it.

One may wonder how a person, who is composed of matter, can go beyond the three principles of matter. Here, we are speaking of the person as the Soul. The person is not merely the matter that houses the Soul, but is the Soul. Imagine three brothers; Sat, Roger, and Tom Goona. They want to start a computer software company named Goo-Na. It was Sat’s idea, and he did all the groundwork to get the company up and going. He got Good Ol’ Dad (G.O.D.), venture capitalists, to loan them the startup funds. But since Sat loses interest in the daily activities and likes to move on to create some more dot-com startup companies, Roger was the perfect choice to run the company. Roger doesn’t have much creative sense, so he was happy that Sat started the company; Roger’s God-gifts lie in management and organization skills. So he runs the day-to-day operation. Sat and Roger talked Tom into leaving his job at his salvage company and use his cleanup skills for their new company. Some of Tom’s responsibilities will be clearing out old computers, furniture, cell phones, cars, software, and so on, since the company must stay on the leading edge of technology and fashion to impress the clients. Tom also has the personality to compassionately deal with people when they must be let go. He is also in charge of disbanding parts of companies that their company takes over.

The people who work at Goo-Na have enjoyed their jobs, their salaries support their families, and everything runs smoothly. As the company becomes larger and more powerful, the brothers, human nature being what it is, begin to lose their idealistic focus. Roger becomes power hungry, that is to say, busy with hostile takeover attempts. Tom has become lazy and sloppy, not clearing out old inventory, not showing up for work, preferring to sit and watch plasma screen TV 28 all day and Sat, well, he spends all of his time either creating new companies or reading scripture and meditating.

As a result, corporate ethics has slipped and customers are not getting quality products. Creative ideas to serve humanity have fallen by the wayside. Other companies are being harassed where they were previously community partners, and there are even some financial scandals afoot. There remains one employee, Archie, who joined the company, and who is still inspired by its idealistic mission statement; however, he is quite upset that the company is not allowing him to truly help society. No one listens to his creative ideas. When he tries to talk to any of the brothers, they ignore him. Archie is stuck, trapped by the three brothers. The only way to get out of this predicament is to go over the heads of the three brothers. For this, he has to go to the only place that has influence on Brothers, that is to say, venture capitalists. Venture capitalists hold the purse strings and decide whether to continue funding this company. Since Archie alerted Venture capitalists about the loss of vision at the company, Venture capitalists may be able to bring integrity, ethics, and compassion back into this company by threatening to close them down; that is to say, stop funding them. As a result of Archie’s devotion to helping people, Venture capitalists succeeded in putting the company back on track.

This story gives a brief idea of how the three principles of matter work. Satwa creates life. Rajas keep things going. Tamas concludes the life cycle. To avoid getting caught up in material life and really know the eternal, non-changing Divine bliss, we are advised to go beyond the three principles of matter and to directly seek God. It may be easier to understand the value of spiritual devotion versus material ideas, through another analogy. A person can have a pile of wood, a box of iron, various tools, some plot of earth. They can even assemble these materials into a living structure. But only when a person, couple or family lives there, does the structure begin to feel like a home, a place filled with love and something beyond a mere object.

The other important point is, we need not unduly strain to achieve the results of our action, while simultaneously avoiding under-acting or being inactive. Merely sitting doing nothing, keeps one from being involved on an external level only; it does not free the mind and feelings from such desires. There is a myth that the path to Self-Realization is one of renouncing action, but this is incorrect. It is renouncing the desire for the result of action and not acting in itself. One has to release the desire for rewards of our actions culminating in Self-Realization.

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Posted January 3, 2013 by dranilj1 in Indian Culture

Unselfish Giving

The relationship between working including intellectual work and experiencing eternity; a state of no boundaries, (often called a state of non-action) and the insight is that a person has the right to work to help others or to perform devotional work. But one is not to work to achieve the results or to get something personal from the action as the reason for working. That would be working for a greedy or selfish motive. So there is something uplifting, something spiritual about working for the sake of working. There is honor in doing your best, honor in selfless work.

This is very similar to the story of the Garden of Eden where God admonishes Adam and Eve to not eat the fruits of the tree of knowledge. God says, avoid trying to get or use or enjoy the fruits of intellect and stick to the experience of God’s grace; that is to say, the garden, the spirit. Because, when you put intellectual knowledge over the innocence of living and enjoying God’s world, believing that you can know more than God, then suffering comes.

Working for rewards results in an inferior form of work than does working to help; a more utopian attitude, so even if we do good work but expect some reward in return, that work becomes inferior owing to our lesser intent. Clearly it is better than not doing good works, but in this context, we are examining various types of good works only. For example, if the ABC Company decides to work or donate to help feed and clothe the children of poverty, that is good. But if they flaunt their results to look good in their community, then this becomes something-for-something giving agenda that diminishes their actions.

This is already clear to us when a company has done something dishonorable in the community such as mistreating workers, harming the environment, stealing from investors, etc. The response to being found out is often a public relations effort to appear good, such as airing a commercial that highlights the supposed good actions of the company. Many people do see through this façade. We are into something higher, about an already reputable person. How many of you remember doing something just for doing it? Helping for no reason? Giving without anyone knowing about it, or giving without wanting anything in return? How has that made you feel? Most people I have spoken with say it is the best feeling in the world; better than earning salary. Do your best to do good…that is all a person need to do. Success is in God’s hands; so just try your best, but do not try to make something happen. Otherwise the ego gets in the way and proclaims itself The Doer. The value of doing your best, or stated another way, act out of love, removes fear and guilt of failure from the picture.

There is a Vedic tale of how the god Indra tried to hurt the villagers who stopped worshipping him and instead worshipped the one almighty God. Indra hurled a storm of objects down on the village. Lord Krishna lifted a mountain over the village to protect the people. In their gratitude and enthusiasm, the villagers all gathered poles and pushed the mountain up as if they were helping Krishna lift the mountain. They were overjoyed to think they were helping Krishna; but in reality, Krishna was doing all the lifting. So it is in life: we only need to hold our pole up in love and goodness. If it succeeds, it is because God is protecting the people.

There are people who do spiritual acts, expecting to receive certain results. For example, they donate to their religious group to get a bronze plaque, or to show off to their friends how much money they have given; they offer prayers to give birth to a male child; or give money or do some charity and expect a favor in return. Lord Krishna warns us to be aware of this kind of egotism. In the Upanishads, it also says there are two paths to Self-Realization; the lower and higher paths. The first is doing good deeds for some reward including a ticket to heaven. The higher path is doing good deeds just for the sake of doing them. The deed itself makes the person feel grateful to be allowed to do the good deed; and that is reward enough for them. It is the higher path that more quickly brings one to Self-Realization.

A deeper, more complex, yet simple idea is devotional action frees one from the bonds of this limited relative world to experience the eternal nature of one’s Soul. Divine love allows a person to be free from the tendencies and the various opposites in life. This means that even concepts, such as good and evil, pleasure and pain, winning and losing, are all of little importance, because they are all relative ideas; they do not relate to, nor can they compare to the value of experiencing eternal life. We can obtain insight into how one becomes unaffected by worldly issues using an analogy of being in love with your spouse. There is the saying that love is blind. People do not see the faults of someone they love and as the worldly love disengages our mind from normally troubling issues, so too Divine love allows a person to feel free without being troubled by smaller worldly matters.

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Posted January 3, 2013 by dranilj1 in Indian Culture

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