Thursday, December 30, 2010


From 2004, I've had memorable New Year Eve's. In the sense, I was witnessing something different.
Let me see if my memory serves me right.
2004 - My first New Year in the US. Watched the fireworks in San Francisco. My first visit to this beautiful city too. :)
2005 - Hiked to see the Elephant seals in Ano Nuevo SP, Ca. High fever. But did not want to miss it at any cost.
2006 - Heard the fireworks from our tent. Camped in Anza Borrego State Park, Ca.
2007 - SF fireworks from Angel Island. We backpacked & camped in cold 37F.
2008 - Quiet time in Palm Springs, Ca.
2009 - A quiet night after returning from a trip to San Diego.
2010 - SF fireworks from Treasure Island sans all the crowd.

2011 will be different. Very different from what I had in mind as different earlier.
I find myself in extreme gratefulness. Extreme joy & love. For nothing in particular.
I feel thankful to witness another New Year. So, I AM in a different place this year too. Just a different dimension, that's all. :)
2010 has been a very memorable year for me.
-Lost 25lbs of fat. :)
-Learning to skate.
-Sledding!!! My new love. :)
-A for-good move from the US.
-Entering the relatively smaller city of Calgary.
-starting life from scratch.
-Driving a SUV.
-watching my very first snowfall from inside the house. :)
-my very first trip to Banff.
-And many more trips to the Canadian Rockies.
-my very first trip to Florida.
-A roadtrip to the subarctic Yellowknife.
-My trip to the TN Ashram.
Really. Cannot ask for more.

On the personal front: I've become less of a planner. I still plan. A lot, by some people's standards. Still a lot less by my own. I have learnt to go with the flow, thanks to some people who worked hard on me.
A new me...did some things, I've never done before.
Broke a few limitations.
Had a chance to experience motherhood in a totally different way.
Met some wonderful people.
Lost myself volunteering for 3 IE classes.
Managed to find best friends after not having the need for it all my life.
Completely awestruck seeing S grow. She has been my best teacher so far.
This year has had ups & downs way more than any year in my life. I am grateful for the confusion it created in me. Thanks to the clarity I've had afterwards.
Understood how limited words can be...(but still make futile attempts to put experiences in this blog)
Truly in touch with my inner self(way more than before).
Above all, found my Guru.

I am not comparing my life with someone else's. I am just grateful & touched with what I have right now. I feel truly blessed. For everything that is around me. More importantly, for everything that is not around me. :)

2011 is a year. Another year. Of 365 new days. Which can be made any way we make it.
A Very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Some man he!

So. I managed to read Robert Fischer's "Gandhi". For some reason, I did not want to read his autobiography(again). I wanted to read about him as a second person.
And since this book was the inspiration for the movie "Gandhi", I was able to relate to it better.
The whole book went all "Mahatma" about him. There were words that touched the heart.
"He did not want the British to have no strength to fight Indians; He wanted them to not have the heart to do so."

It may seem immaterial, but what touched me most about the Mahatma was that he was not born like one. He was a normal atman with all the crap like we all have.
In his younger years, he had told lies, got immensely furious on many things. But he rose over all of it. His vision made him do so.
What touched me even more was that he contradicted himself on many occasions. He never settled with one thing. He was constantly learning to do what is best for a given situation at that particular time.
And his blackmails to "fast unto death"...this man tortured nothing but his self. Whatever opinion I have about him would be an absolute understatement.

I used to wonder. No. I was sure. This man did not take up any post. He probably fell in the same timespan as Nehru or Patel & managed to get popular. But as the book said, his main tool was strength(and truth). And without him, now, I doubt if we'd have gotten independence via non-violence.
And, his diet...WOW! Really. Fruits, vegetables, nuts & goat milk? Call him crazy. But he walked 3-4miles a day at the verge of his 77th birthday. And he passed away one year later. That is something.

He accomplished so many things. So many. I just lost focus after sometime. Just the spirit of the man is haunting me now. I am so overwhelmed. How can someone be like this? Very difficult. No reason he stands as a statue at the Ferry Building in San Francisco.
But. As Sadhguru says, we don't need any more Hindus, Christians or Muslims. We need Krishnas. Christs. And Prophets. Loads of them.
This guy lived like one.
I don't want to cry. But something is deeply moved inside. Priorities may have been altered. I am yet to wait & watch. Phew!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Ashram Life

I have had a very different notion of what an Ashram is, all along. Or I am not sure. Did I care about to even think of one? If at all I did, I would have thought that an ashram is a dull & boring place where everyone thinks & speaks of God. No one tells lies. Everyone would(should)be morally Mr.correct. Again, I did not think women lived in an ashram.
An ashram would be a painfully demanding place where you are inflicted with misery. It would be secluded from the outside world.
With all these assumptions in mind, no doubt, I would conclude that an ashram is the last place you want to end up at. Ugh!

I had the privilege of "living" in an ashram recently. A couple days only. Still. All I could think of it right now is, those few days were THE most happiest days of my life so far. And that is saying something. I will consider myself as one of the fortunate ones whose life has been blessed with many a child-like happy moments.
I will not consider myself as a religious person. I've always found myself going in that line, differ a little, completely reject it all along my life. Still, my questions were unanswered. I've debated on God & Religion n number of times with so many people. I wasn't even close to compromising with anything others had to tell me.
But since last year, I have been diverting all these questions inward. And now, at this ashram, I found a secret tool to aid in this process: SILENCE.
Everything I could not understand with asking questions, Silence is constantly helping me to decipher my questions & answers.
This place is no ashram, in fact.
It is so full of life. From 5.00 am until 10.00 pm you constantly do Sometimes, there is no time to even walk. You got to run. And those times are many. Be it working in the kitchen or doing your practices or helping out in the various activities...there was always something to do. And this one day would be so eventful & productive that I hardly thought about yesterday or tomorrow. What a freedom! And two whole meals a day kept me healthy & awake every single day.

The part of the day I always looked forward to was 4.00pm. Volleyball Time!!! The last time I entered a Volleyball court was at school. And that was a long time ago. I had almost forgot how much I enjoyed playing VB.
There was so much to do that I did not have time to talk. So, all those silent moments added quickly & there was a new me. I was never really known for my silence. Not until now.
The ashram has around 40 residents on an average & this number would hugely expand during programs. Obviously, the work-to-be-done would also increase multi-fold. But the best part is, the amount of work, the sleeplessness of the volunteers & residents would be kept unaware from the participants. They were...I was treated specially when I was a participant. It is very easy & comfortable when I was the giver. But when I had to was so difficult. I struggled. I did not want to be special. I wanted to be one among them. But then, I learnt how to accept gracefully. It was not an easy lesson, to say the least.
Of course, the obvious one! All of the residents & volunteers looked the same. It was as if they all shared a common heart & mind and not to forget "focus". No one uttered one unnecessary word out of context. So much awareness.
They are ever-loving, ever-patient & ever-ready to help...whatever work they may have. What a privilege to be amongst them!
But then again, they are not the boring ashram people too. They enjoyed sharing a laugh at every chance they got. Which they did.
Again, it is not an ashram, for any of you who have trouble with that word. It is one big joint family, only that there are no differences as it is a like-minded group.
Now, how many of us would've dreamed of such a place? I know I have.:)
That is the Isha Institute of Inner Sciences for you.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Guru Pooja

Coming from a not-so-traditional-but-yet-conventional Brahmin family, Sanskrit always intrigued me. Though I did not learn it, I've learnt quite a bit of Sanskrit words in the name of slokas as a kid. But nothing really meant any sense to me & I definitely did not know the value of it.
Now, after all these years, I have received something from a very sacred place taught in a very traditional manner. Two days of just uttering those words with others, gives me the shivers even now. This is what a Gurukulam would have been like. When there was nothing to write down. You just listen & sing(about a hundred times) until your whole being gets it.
I heard the Guru pooja for the first time at my Inner Engineering. It felt like something but I managed not to give it too much thought. There was already too much going on in the class.
But every single time I've had the opportunity since then, I would find tears flood my eyes. The pooja itself, the words, the way it is done, will bring devotion even to the most logical person. It did. To me.
When I received it last pournami, I felt a strange way. So much gratitude at just uttering these words. I don't know what the words mean. I am not interested. But everyday, as I start my day with the pooja, every single day has been different. Good different. I did not know a mantra could do this to me until now.
The magnitude of the privilege of uttering these words is still beyond me. And I am so glad they did not give out the benefits explicitly. Now I just do it without wondering if something is happening or not.
I feel so grateful.