Know Thyself

Above the entrance to the Oracle at Delphi were written the words, “Know Thyself.” Jesus came along and added a sense of urgency and consequence to the ancient idea when he said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

What Jesus is saying is that spirituality is serious business, with serious consequences. Your life hangs precariously in the balance, teetering between a state of unconscious sleepwalking and eyes-wide-open spiritual enlightenment. The fact that most people do not see life this way testifies to how deeply asleep and in denial they truly are.

Within each of our forms lies the existential mystery of being. Apart from one’s physical appearance, personality, gender, history, occupation, hopes and dreams, comings and goings, there lies an eerie silence, an abyss of stillness charged with an etheric presence. For all of our anxious business and obsession with triviality, we cannot completely deny this phantasmal essence at our core. And yet we do everything we can to avoid its stillness, its silence, its utter emptiness and intimate embrace.

To remain unconscious of being is to be trapped within an ego-driven wasteland of conflict, strife, and fear that only seems customary because we have been brainwashed into a state of suspended disbelief where a shocking amount of hate, dishonesty, ignorance, and greed are viewed as normal and sane. But it is not sane, not even close to being sane. Nor is it based in reality. In fact, nothing could be less real than what we human beings call reality.

By clinging to the mind in the form of memory and thought, we are held captive by the movement of our conditioned thinking and imagination, all the while believing that we are perfectly rational and sane. We therefore continue to justify the reality of what causes us, as well as others, immeasurable amounts of pain and suffering.

Deep down we all suspect that something is very wrong with the way we perceive life but we try very, very hard not to notice it. And the way we remain blind to our frightful condition is through an obsessive and pathological denial of being — as if some dreadful fate would overcome us if we were to face the pure light of truth and lay bare our fearful clinging to illusion.

The question of being is everything. Nothing could be more important or consequential — nothing where the stakes run so high. To remain unconscious of being is to remain asleep to our own reality and therefore asleep to reality at large. The choice is simple: awaken to being or sleep an endless sleep.

What a Bird Thought

I lived first in a little house,

And lived there very well ;

The world to me was small and round

And made of pale-blue shell.

I lived next in a little nest,

Nor needed any other ;

I thought the world was made of straw,

And covered by my mother.

One day I fluttered from the nest,

To see what I could find.

I said, “The word is made of leaves;

I have been very blind.”

At last I flew beyond the tree,

And saw the sky so blue;

Now, how the world is really made

I cannot tell – can you?

Undelivered letters (Book Review)

Undelivered letters is an Amazon Kindle bestseller by the author J. Alchem

J. Alchem is a voracious reader and a critically acclaimed author. He is the winner of StoryMirror- 2015 (a nationwide writing competition), NaNoWriMo-2015 & 2016, and superhero storyteller (2014).

Book: Undelivered Letters

Author: J Alchem

My Rating: 4.5/5

I cried at the end of the story!

An amazing piece of art, beautifully crafted. J Alchem has the potential to be India’s next bestselling author.

The story is about a postman named Aron who sets out to deliver 9 undelivered letters after 20 years and the mysterious stories he come across while delivering them are going to change his life.

Who are the receptions of the letter?
Do these letters still hold value?

Each stories associated with the letters touched me deeply and made an impact on my soul They strike deep inside the Heart and bring out the flood of emotions. They leave a huge impact as they are stuffed with wisdom in the most interesting and catchy way.

The writer of the book successfully delivers life wisdom in the most interesting way without a hint of boredom, in a way youngsters would enjoy reading.

A delightful story with 3 more back stories in it. The flow is very good, the language is simple and lucid yet effective! Story plot is also good.

It’s a short 1-2 hours quality reading. It keep the reader engaged till the end of the story as the takes the reader towards a new mystery at regular phases, you don’t feel like leaving it incomplete. I would love to read more such amazing stories from the author.

I recommend this book to the young generation who are waiting for a perfect chance or opportunities to do certain things, to convey what is there in their hearts and fall in love with the art of letter writing.

Inside the Heart of Hope (Book Review)

Rishabh Puri is an Indian business investor, entrepreneur, author and the executive director of Global Sterling Products Limited.

Book: Inside the Heart of Hope.

Author: Rishabh Puri

My Ratings: 3.5/5

We’re all a little broken and that’s okay!

A must read book if you are going through adversities. This book inspired me and made me wonder if sky is the limit.

The story revolves around the main character, Rick. Rick has a medical problem due to which his perception of life is entirely different. He tries to turns his trials into triumphs and goes on learning rather than regretting from all the bad experiences in his life.

Facing all the childhood problems, break up with girlfriend, visits to the hospitals make Rick more and more wise and he keeps growing when he applies what he has learned. He learns to deal with problems. Accidently, love happens and success follows.

The author pours his heart out into the story and tries to show the audience all the good and bad conditions as they are in the best way possible. People going through the same problem can relate to the story and can learn to value the importance of hope.

The author has beautifully narrated the situation and has used poetic language where required to make a deep impact on the readers heart. Ideas keep developing.

My favourite part is the one where Rick goes through a break up, his discription of all his emotions and thoughts and the ways he deals with it. Everyone who went through a break up can relate with it.

The ending could have been much better if it had some twists and turns, otherwise the story becomes predictable.


It’s a one time read and people going through medical or family problems and break ups should definitely read it.

Never give up and never lose hope, give your 100% till the end.

You are the tenth (Story)

By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Ten people were going from one village to another. On the way they had to cross a river. After crossing they wanted to be sure all were there. Each one started counting but counted only nine. They were very distraught and began to cry for the loss of the tenth.

A wise man came along and asked them “Oh my dear friends, why are you crying?”

“We were ten but now we are only nine,” they replied.

The wise man saw they were ten, so he asked them to count. Each counted nine but left out himself. Then the wise man made them stand and count, and he said to the last person, “You are the tenth!”

And they all rejoiced for having regained the tenth.

Similarly the five senses and the four inner faculties (mind, intellect, memory, ego) all lament when they lose sight of the Self. Then the Master comes and shows you that You are the tenth! Count, but never stop until you find the tenth. The joy is in finding the Ever Present.

With the knowledge of the Self inside everything is truly joyful.

Q: What did Brahma think when he made this creation?

Sri Sri: He didn’t think before doing. He didn’t take anyone’s suggestion — I would have given him a few.

Image copyright: Earth Porm

Why do we touch feet of our parents and elders?

Indians touch feet and bow down before their parents, elders, teachers and noble souls by touching their feet. The elder in turn blesses us by placing his or her hand on or over our heads. Such respectful salutations are done daily, when we meet elders and particularly on important occasions like the beginning of a new task, birthdays, festivals etc. In certain traditional circles, sashtanga namaskar is accompanied by abhivaadana, which serves to introduce one-self, announce one as family and social stature.

Man stands on his feet. Touching the feet is a sign of respect for the age, maturity, nobility and divinity that our elders personify. It symbolizes our recognition of their selfless love for us and the sacrifices they have done for our welfare. It is a way of humbly acknowledging the greatness of another. This tradition reflects the strong family ties, which has been one of India’s enduring strengths.

The good wishes (Sankalpa) and blessings (Aashirvaada) of elders are highly valued in India. We touch their feet and do namaskar to seek them. Good thoughts create positive vibrations. Good wishes springing from a heart full of love, divinity and nobility have a tremendous strength. When we touch their feet or bow down with humility and respect, we invoke the good wishes and blessings of elders, which flow in the form of positive energy to envelop us. This is why the posture assumed whether it is in the standing or prone position, enables the entire body to receive the energy thus received.

The different forms of showing respect are :

Pratuthana – rising to welcome a person.
Namaskaara – paying homage in the form of namaste
Upasangrahan – touching the feet of elders or teachers.
Shaashtaanga – prostrating fully with the feet, knees, stomach, chest, forehead and arms touching the ground in front of the elder.
Pratyabivaadana – returning a greeting.

Rules are prescribed in our scriptures as to who should prostrate to whom. Wealth, family name, age, moral strength and spiritual knowledge in ascending order of importance qualified men to receive respect. This is why a king though the ruler of the land, would prostrate before a spiritual master. Epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata have many stories highlighting this aspect.

Reference : Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Chinmaya Mission UK, www.chinmayauk.org (for awareness purpose only)
Images : PhotoTantra

Why do we light a lamp?

“In Indian Culture, Why Do We…” under the guidance of Swamini Vimalananda Radhika Krishna Kumar

In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. In some houses it is lit at dawn, in some, twice a day – at dawn and dusk – and in a few it is maintained continuously (Akhanda Deepa). All auspicious functions commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion.

Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. The Lord is the “Knowledge Principle” (Chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord himself.

Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.

Why not light a bulb or tube light? That too would remove darkness. But the traditional oil lamp has a further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our vaasanas or negative tendencies and the wick, the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards. Similarly we should acquire such knowledge as to take us towards higher ideals.

Whilst lighting the lamp we thus pray:
Deepajyothi parabrahma
Deepa sarva tamopahaha
Deepena saadhyate saram
Sandhyaa deepo namostute

I prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp; whose light is the Knowledge Principle (the Supreme Lord), which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can be achieved in life.

Copyright: Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Chinmaya Mission UK, www.chinmayauk.org
Photos copyrights with Aarya Life, Prarthana Khot

Conscious Immortality

I thank my Guruji, Rajesh Narayan for sending such beautiful wisdom in my inbox. I keenly wait for this beautiful knowledge every morning

Q. Yoga means union. But the union of what with which?

A. Exactly. Yoga implies division – union of one with another. Who is to be united with whom? You are the seeker seeking union with something. That something is apart from you. Your self is intimate to you. You are aware of the Self. Seek it and be it. That will expand as Infinity. Then there will be no question of yoga etc. Whose is viyoga (apart from yoga)? Find it. [Talk 211] ‘Stoppage of mental activities’ is applicable to all systems of yoga. The methods differ. So long as there is an effort made towards that goal, it is called yoga. The effort is the yoga. The cessation can be brought about in so many ways:

(i) By questing the mind itself. When the mind is sought, its activities cease automatically. This is the method of jnana. The pure mind is the Self.

(ii) Looking for the source of the mind is another method. The source may be said to be God or Self or Consciousness. 

(iii) Concentrating upon one thought, makes all other thoughts to disappear. Finally, that thought also disappears. [Talk 191] – Conscious Immortality

Yoga does have a dark side.

You know, we yoga fantastics tout the benefits of yoga like it is going out of style. For most of us, it is because yoga has so profoundly changed our lives that we want to shout about it from the rooftops.

Some of us actually do shout!

But the truth is, yoga does have a dark side. There are some legitimate reasons why someone may want to consider avoiding starting or maintaining a practice. In order to save you from any pain or suffering, here is a reason you should skip the practice.

1) It will ruin chilli cheese fries.

2) It will put down your late nights.

3) Love Drama? Skip Yoga.

4) It will make you have to take responsibility.

5) It will suck the fun out of judging people.

6) It will ruin your wardrobe.

7) It will make you cry in public.

8) It will make you feel your feelings.

9) It will open your hips, shoulders and of course your heart and mind.

10) It will ruin your relationship with anything that is Self Destructive.

Experienced!

I hope you got it :p

-Prarthana Khot

Photo Credits: Yoga Oxford

Rain and Divine Love

You would always be a storm and I would always be a girl who danced in rain.

Rainy days were never as beautiful as they are now. I would go on a long reading vacation for those 3-4 months. The mess that the rains created on the roads, the muddy water and the humidity, ewww. I used to lock myself up in my bedroom, lie on my bed, have coffee and read books. Books were my only companions. But then you entered my life and showed me this beautiful side of monsoon!

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Earlier it used to be books and coffee and now it is You and coffee.

Date: 2nd July, 2017.

My Dear,

Somehow I manage to get up at at 4.30 am. It is raining heavily outside but still I wake up just because I promised you last that we’ll meet. It is raining cats and dogs. Dad nags me and orders to sit at home but I don’t listen to him, like always :p

After battling with unpleasant situations, the wet trains, the puddles, the super clean streets, etc. I finally reached college. It’s 7.15 am. I sit on the 1st bench just in front of the door. Half awaken. The glittery green leaves are rustling and a perfect atmosphere is trying out my patience. Just come here fast and complete this beautiful masterpiece!

You swiftly enter the class and my happiness cross all the bounds. You hold my hand and take me to the late bench and say softly, “first benchers make scholars while the last benchers make memories.” I follow you without uttering a word. We sit on the late bench. “DAMN, please don’t wear that black shirt,” say’s the mini me. “My heart always skips a beat when I see you wearing that one. You make me shy and then you ask why do I always stay quite when I’m with you. Aagh, why don’t you understand?” The sound of the pouring rain and that glittery green around us will definitely give anyone a very romantic high.

We then listen to our favorite rain songs. The feeling that the songs bring along is wordless. Your soft cuddles energise me and takes away all the negative thoughts. But then I get fear attacks. Fear of losing you. Fear of attachment. What if I drown in the ocean of attachment and you take away your boat? But then I feel why ruin this charming moment with such negative illusions?

“No, no, no. I want to leave. You’ll lay a trap, please. Get away from here, just leave,” says the mini me and I get up. Fear starts consuming me.

Then suddenly it starts raining more heavily and I say,”I want to go home early.” you reply, “maybe I can’t stop the downpour, but I will always join you for a walk in the rain. We’ll go together.”

“What? Together? I’m trying to resist you but the more I do that the more close you come. I’m trying to resist your presence. Delete you even from my mind. I’m super scared. Scared of falling in love with you.” says mini me. This small piece of mass above always keeps on chattering. Will you please shut up and sleep for some time?

“Amm, okay. You can drop me till the railway platform,” I reply without making any eye contact.”

“I’ll not leave you so easily”

“How did you come to know what i’m thinking?”

” Lets have coffee first. I know a good cafe nearby. It’s on the way.”

We both start laughing and again I get mesmerized by your smile.

We share an umbrella and it is so cozy to walk with you under it. We gorge on street food. I happily share it with you which otherwise I hate doing. You start staring at me and i couldn’t resist myself further. I stare back at you knowing with certainty that I was falling in love.

“Why do you always put up with me?” my tears are just on their way, I get lumps in my troth. Somehow I try to control.

“Because you’re my fire and I’ve been cold my whole life.”

“What fire are you talking about”

“I love you”

“What? Why? How?”

“Yes, I LOVE YOU. Your divine love always supersedes. The closer I get, there is more charm and depth. Your Divine Love has comfort, enthusiasm and familiarity. There is never boredom and it keeps everyone on their toes. There is music in your silence and I treasure your silence as much as I treasure my music.

Worldly love can be like an ocean, yet an ocean has a bottom. The Divine Love is like the sky which is limitless, infinite. And I see that Divine Love in you. Will you please share it with me?”

A soft voice from behind breaks my sleep, “wake up Prarthana, how long will you sleep?”

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Images courtesy: Google.
Copyrights: Aaryalife.