Sunday, August 26, 2007

Understanding Rituals and Spirituality

Tomorrow is Ammniyavatam, when the many Brahmins will put on a new sacred thread and throw away the old one. To me this day will bring to fore one more day of clash of thoughts and beliefs and thus actions within the family. Those who believe in the ritual will try to force those who do not believe in the ritual and practice. Emotions will fly. People will be upset with one another.

During my reading of discourses of the Bhagavad Gita, I cam across a concept which was propounded therein. The concept is of sruti and smriti. Sruti, I understand is a temporal law. Wheras, Smriti is an eternal truth. What it means, in my undertanding but definite belief, is that the truth does not change and is applicable to all and all at times. Wheras relgious practices and rituals change in accordance with change in time and place. They are not permanent or applicable to all, always and everywhere. They are contextual.

Whether my understanding is right or wrong, I believe in the above. The relevance of It. The governance by It. The connection of everyone to It. The behaviour of It and our own relationship with It are all true and ever prevailing.

Let me deivate a bit and try to empahsise on the need for every individual to experiment with It. If a rule, law, theorem is true. No matter who or how we experiment with it, it will prove to be true. if Newton's lawas of physics are true. It will proven true in any context. There is nothing to fear in allowing anyone to experiment with the laws. Because whatever the epxeriment it will prove to be true. Thus it will build a conviction even the intial doubters of the law or truth. Why should be this be different in spirituality. If It is true, then people should be allowed to experiement it. It should be argued against, qaurelled about, negated, tested in different contexts, questioned with regard to the day to day life. If It is true then no matter what it will prevail. The truth will conquer. It will remove all doubts in the doubters. Human being will evolve a developed and stroner person by having been convinced by experimentation.

Unfortunately, we force rituals on the individuals, who then find flaws in the rituals and the practices posing questions from ones experience and perspectives of self and the world. When there is nothing scientific to be posited agains these arguments, we resort to age old practice of putting fear into the human being to control him/her. We tend to the argument that we will be punished because we do not follow the ritual. This will only weaken the human being, make him revolt, make him doubt things more than ever.

Lets allow for experimentation of the individual with It without any fear. Satyamevajayate. If It is true, he or she will see the truth and accept it.

Rituals and practices are transitory, temporal. Instead of emphasis on following of the rituals and practices we will better of if we guide and be guided towards the pursuit of the truth and It. Why should someone be forced to play football when he or she like to play cricket. why should one be forced to learn music when one likes to draw. We cannot force rituals and practices which are agains the nature of the person in particular and human being in general. We need to allow the natural behaviour of the individual to prevail. We teach sscience to all from childhood as it is eternal and universal. Spirituality is eternal and universal and thus it can be something which is taught and will be accepted. Rituals and practices are neither eternal nor universal. Thus for it be accepted will be difficult for a person unless it comes from within. Need for physical fitness is an universal and eternal. The form of it i.e. whether football or cricket is contextual, contextual to the person's nature and environmental circumstances. You cannot force one to play football when his nature pushes him to cricket. We need to realise the distintion between religion and spirituality. Spirituality is universal and eternal. Religion is contextual to space and time.

Why the World needs a Positive Newspaper

We need to have a new kind of newspaper. A newspaper which evokes and propogates positive energy in individuals and society. Imagine a newspaper where we read the following:

- the project of creating a new highway between City A and City B was completed today. This project was completed 3 months ahead of schedule and within the budget. Interview the various people who were involved with the project. (Contrast this with the aplenty news of new projects being announced with great fanfare and which are often forgotten afterwards. Either they do not get completed or overrun their time and cost schedules)

- the co-operative society in village A which was formed around twenty years back with the aim of bringing together the farmers of the village to educate them on the new practices, and improve productivity celebrated its 20th anniversary. The highlight of the function was a presentation by one of the children of the village member who went to the US to do higher studies and now has patents in biological sciences. In the presentation the scientist brought to the forum the new developments in biological sciences which can be practised by farmers across the world to improve the productivity.

- Village C was given an award by the United Nations for its effort to conserve water through water harvesting. This was a totally domestic efforts with participation of members from the village with no monetary support of the government or agencies from outside.

- story of a mother and daughter who are working as conductor and driver for the state transport corporation. Both are educated upto graduation. Mother got the job on copassionate grounds after the death of her husband who was an employee of the corporation. The duagther chose to pick up the job of a driver in the corporation. She was selected to the job going through the normal process of selection.

The idea is simple - present stories which are positive and thus build positive energy. These are not fictious stories. There are many many true stories of this nature. It is just that the media does not focus on these. they do not investigate them - it takes much more time and effort. Bombing, corruption, stalling of parliaments, verbal deul between politicians, stock market crash etc. gain precendence.

We need to bring out the positives in the society in order to create positive energy and thereby overcome the negative energies. Just highlighting negative events will not help us overcome the negative energies.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Building Relationship with the Divine

There is a big problem with God. When we mention God immediately the association is to God prescribed by our religion. I have a problem with people being asked and told what their religion is.

People become something only when they demonstrate, inculcate or believe in something. For example a Doctor is a doctor because he is qualified, trained and is practising medicine. One spends time or effort in watching or playing football because he realises an interest within him for football. He has chosen, mostly unconciosuly, football to other games. One may believe he is rightist politically because he thinks he understands the ideology of the right and believes in them. One is an Indian because he starts associating himself with the cultures and norms of an Indian. In fact people tend to start understanding why they are told they are Indian. Initially it is only a geographical or demographic meaning.

None of these are true in the case of when one calls himself a Christian, Hindu or a Muslim. One is stamped in one of these categories. This also to an extent is fine like in the case of a citizenship. However, the problem is that they are forced into the rituals of these categories, they are told to discriminate themselves and others in terms of the categorisation.

This is unfair. No one should be christened into a particular category. It should be ones own choice. A choice which one makes at whatever time one chooses in ones life.

Now coming to "It". I read somewhere that we need to do away with the term God. Whenever we say God it is immediately connoted to my God, your God. Whereas God is one. Also by giving it some form of human form to the God we start relating to qualities of a human being into the God.

What matters is not a God but It. It is the Divine. The Divine which is common to all. Irrespective of the religion. It is common to all forms of energy - organic, inorganic. It is applicable to all form of energy expression - space, love, hatred etc. Somewhere along by God we are unable to relate Him to everything and anything. Thus starts the discrimination for the application of the God. If there is one It which is universal to anyone and everyone, anything and everything, it can be so much better. After all It is Divine, universal and eternal.

What is the meaning of befriending It? We need to build a love for It in people from the early stages. Like we guide a child to start loving its family members starting with the mother and father. we need to include It as a friend of the child at the early stages. Today we introduce a child to God as someone who will punish or give. But in the process we have distanced him so far away from the child. We need to bring It closer to the child. when the child realises a friend in It and builds this friendship over the years as it grows and develops it will be a much more healthier human being.

What would be one great desire of a human being. It is that they wish they had someone who will solve all the problems for them. Fulfill all the wishes of theirs. Which will guide them through their life. Which remove all the miseries for them. Such a thing they are not able to find in any of the human beings they relate to - mother, father, husband, wife, children, teacher, friend - any one. Finally they come to Him and think he will solve all of them for him. Then they get into ritualistic contracts and transactions. Then when they do not get what they have desired they doubt him or change the ritual (instead of one Guru go to another Guru, add a new temple to go to from now on, introduce a new prayer...). Such contracts do not work and thus he is disillusioned.

Now if they were told that there is It relating to whom all problems will get solved, how nice and blissful will it be. There cannot be a better friend than the It which is supreme, universal, eternal, all knowing, all guiding. But the realisation of the presence of It needs practice like anything else - like learning to play football, football being a game of interest to me; becoming a Doctor, getting educated, trained and practising medicine; becoming a good son, learning the whats and what-nots from parents; becoming a good lover, expressing ones feelings truly and sincerely. The connection to It is there in everything and anything. We need to guide the connection into the human being right from the birth of the child so that it builds a healthy relationship with It from the very beginning. Not in the form of God who is to be feared or kept in the skies but It is to be like a teddy bear to the child close to it which it relates to, cuddles, and finds succor in.

It is a big relief. It just needs us to go beyond or maybe shun the Gods in the way they have been described to us and are made to relate to. An education where the characteristics of It are explained. At some time we are allowed to experiment the relationship with It. Like any friendship it will get strengthened by going through the motions of the relationships dictated by the emotions, thoughts, feelings expressed, accepted or unaccepted. When one is allowed to experiment with It he or she will discover the true friendship with It. He or she will find oneself in a much better mental, emotional state because that is what a good friendship does. One becomes a better person and develops to become a better human being. After all he or she has a superb friend who rids of all the problems, shows possibilities, strengthens possibilities, gives hope, and makes life blissful.

We need to get beyond God. We need to relate to It. It which is universal and eternal. It should be exposed to a child as someone one can befriend. We should allow the friendship to develop through the tests and tribulations of any relationship. We will realise we have a true friend who is there to make everyone of us better.

A Different kind of Punishment for Celebrities

We see that the jail terms announced as punishment to Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt have attracted lot of attention.

Maybe we could use this attraction to make the society better not just by putting them in jail. Here are some ideas:
Salman could be asked to work with the forest authorities for the next one year to safegurad the forest resources. Or made to campaign to protect wildlife. This way he will be doing sort of penance (by keeping him out of things which he would otherwsie love doing). And also the activities which they will evoke people interest due to their celebrity status.

What about Sanjay Dutt? He could be made to campaign for non violence. Let him preach Gandhian philosophy.
We could leverage their clebrity status to make society a better place.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Why Is First Love Unforgettable?

First love is always unforgettable because of many happy reasons. The thrill of the first flush of romance feels like fresh dewdrops falling on an untouched leaf. It makes hearts beat faster, the birds sing sweeter and the world feel happier!

First love comes unbidden and hits you like a ton of bricks. This happy surprise is the most enjoyable thing about it. Before you realize it, the object of your affection become the most important thing in your life. You adore, praise and wax eloquent over your beloved, you also find moments when you turn an impromptu poet or break into a jig!

The magic of first love can sweep you off your feet. First love has also been the inspiration for many poets, movie makers, artists and creative people whose expressions frequently draw into their earth-shattering experience of first love.

The funny thing about first love is that in many cases it's a strong crush and the target could be anyone ranging from a favorite teacher, painter, preacher or the good-looking neighbor next door.

The first time your beloved expresses love is something very special. It can be as subtle as a soft 'I Love You' whispered in your years or as flamboyant as hiring a hoarding to declare love! Love expressed as a cute little love poem, a mushy card or with a heart-warming teddy-bear are some of the popular means of expressing this emotion. Love mugs, love flowers, heart-shaped chocolates, heart stationery and love song CDS are just a few of the ideal gifts to gift someone you love when you want them to know you love him or her.

First love takes the young lovers to another world oblivious to what happens around them. A world where just the two of them exist, moonlit walks, romantic dinners, long drives, dance and such couple activities feature high on the agenda. Friends might find that they begin to take a back-seat but most good-naturedly understand.

First love is a mix of both a physical and emotional rush of feelings with both running high. With both partners being young, the stirrings of desire awaken and both feel the throbbing physical need. The period is marked by lots of kissing, petting and making out.

First love packs in fine memories of the first experience with the opposite sex. If you are in the throes of it, enjoy every moment, for it's to be cherished for a lifetime.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Famous Britney Spears Quotes

Don't treat me like a little girl.

I think the whole problem was letting too many people into my life. You never know another person's intentions or what another person wants.

Britney Spears, after a brief rehabitation this year.

It’s very simple. Women complicate everything. He’s so simple. His simplicity and just he’s like a boy. He just, you know, and he cares. He cares so much and his heart is awesome. He has a really big heart and I love that.

To NBC’s Matt Lauer on why she loved Kevin

I'm attracted to guys who are really confident and make conversation.

When you're comfortable with someone you love, the silence is the best. And, that's how me and J. are. When we're in a room together, we don't have to say anything. It's for real.

I don't allow anybody to change me. I still walk outta my house in rollers and I take walks. I do not care what people think.

Britney Spears

I didn't know it was going to be that long and everything.

After kissing the Material Girl at MTV's Music Video Awards 2003

I don't like big things. A guy doesn't have to do all that for me as long as I can be with the person that I love and be intimate with him and have a good conversation - I find that romantic.

On what is romance to the iconic pop singer.

With love, you should go ahead and take the risk of getting hurt... because love is an amazing feeling.

I want to wait to have sex until I'm married.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Short Love Songs

A few sweet short love songs I liked.

I want you to want me

I need you to need me

I'd love you to love me

I'm beggin' you to beg me

Cheap Trick

your soft breathing

as I drift into sleep,

your soft breathing

as I wake to birdsong

and our rhythm of love

Amelia Fielden

Love, you're such a sweet thing,

Good enough to eat thing

And that's just a-what I'm gonna do.

Ohio Express

IN the spring I asked the daisies

If his words were true,

And the clever, clear-eyed daisies

Always knew.

Now the fields are brown and barren,

Bitter autumn blows,

And of all the stupid asters

Not one knows.