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.

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

In India why do we?

It is extremely important that we strengthen this cultural thread because if you destroy this culture, there will be no spiritual process on the planet. – Jaggi Vasudeva

Why do we light a lamp, do namaste, chant Om, do aarati, put tilaks, prostrate before elders, ring the bell? In my coming posts, I’ll be unravelling mysteries about the most ancient, scientific, time tested and still relevant culture and philosophy. Will be giving you a deep and sensitive insights into the India culture and Yogic science using simple words, lucid language and analogies that will appeal to your head and heart. I did my best to give the content a contemporary touch and make it interesting, which it already is! The content will deal with topics ranging from the basis of culture like why do we light the lamp? To fundamentals of scriptures, symbolism of deities, significant of festivals, role of temples, indicators of Dharma, understanding of the caste system and characters of the Mahabharata and will take you indepth of the Yogic science.

Are you ready for it?

Images: WordPress

Why did the Sages keep Hatha Yoga a secret?

Yogam Param Gopyam – Sage Patanjali

“Hatha yoga is the science of using the body to prepare oneself for the ultimate possibility.”

Anything that is sacred is kept a secret! In ancient times, Hatha Yogic techniques were kept secret and we’re never written down or exposed to public view. They were passed on from teacher or a guru to disciple by word of their mouth. In this way there was a clear understanding of their meaning and aim. Through personal experience, realised Yogis and Sages were able to guide sincere aspirants along the correct path, removing any confusion, misunderstanding and excessive intellectual contemplation.

Why is it kept secret? It is like a seed and seed sprout in secrecy. You put the seed under the ground and cover it with mud, then the seed sprouts and becomes a tree.

The ancient science of yoga which is kept secret grows and resonates within you. Any secret that you keep to yourself does not leave you but it takes you deeper to the subconscious layers.

The knowledge is given to another person, a disciple saying, ‘Keep it to yourself, it is yours, let it grow.’

This is the ancient way of doing it. Spiritual journey is considered very sacred, very personal and yet a matter of pride because it is sacred.

I am incapable of being depressed, otherwise I would be depressed looking at the way Hatha Yoga is being practiced around the world and people thinking that is what it is. The practice as you see it – the mechanics of it, is simply of the body. You have to breath life into it, otherwise it will not become alive. This is why traditionally, there has been so much stress on a live Guru – to make it alive. The Yogic system is a suitable manipulation of your system to allow it to rise to a different level. Yoga means that which allows you to attain to your higher nature. Every asana, every mudra, every way of breathing – everything – is focused towards this.

Images : isha.sadhguru. org
Reference : Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Misconceptions about Yoga

Even today Yogic knowledge is considered a mystical discipline. When people read and hear about the Yogi’s miracles and supernatural powers, they feel amazed. Even though they have respect for Yoga, they feel that yoga is not meant for ordinary people, and therefore they themselves keep away from it.

As the ancient Hathayogic text insist that Yogic knowledge be kept a well guarded secret (Hatha Vidya Parama Gaupya), the Yogis kept it secret for long. This promoted misconceptions about Hatha Yoga. Since the knowledge of Hatha Yoga has been kept secret, the erroneous notion has prevailed that Hatha Yoga is something which is done by forging oneself.

The original word ‘Hatha’ was misconstrued as ‘Hatta’ in Marathi and ‘Hatha’ in Hindi meaning obstinacy. Some think that Hatha Yoga involves painful fasts or the austerities.

Others think that it is an impossible means of God-realisation or self-realisation. Many believe that for gaining success in Yoga, one has necessarily to live in forests, shun society, have an awe-inspiring face with unkempt hair, wear a special costume, etc. However, all these are misgivings and do not have much of a scientific basis. Because of the present extensive propagation of Yoga as also the scientific attitude of looking towards it, the mystification and misconceptions about Yoga are waning.

Source : Yoga for health and peace by Sadashiv Nimbalkar.

Dhyana and Meditation? No it’s not like that!

Dhyana – The seventh limb of yoga.

Awakening your inner self is meditation. Always being in the state of thoughtlessness is, meditation. The Japanese word Zen and Chin describes this state. We refer this state as meditation but the word awareness is more close.

Meditation is a certain quality. It is not a certain act.

The moment we hear the word meditation all kinds of misconceptions pop up in our brain. Firstly the English word meditation doesn’t mean anything in true sense. Just by sitting with our eyes closed is not meditation. You can sit with your eyes closed and can do so many things, can’t you? There are many dimensions to it. You can imagine statue or idol of any deity, can do japa with mala or even tapas. Most often we are asked to close our eyes and worship the Lord but even that is not meditation it is just the act of recalling memories, isn’t it?

Then what is meditation? It means freedom from all the inner acts or thoughts and just observing the reality as it is without any filtration.

Sadhguru says, “The reason why most people who have tried meditation have concluded that it’s very difficult is because they are trying to do it. You cannot do meditation but you can become meditative.”

There are many thoughts, conflicts and battles going on in our mind at the present. The mind is always trapped in the memories of the past and worries about the future creating stinky chaos in the inner world. Even if we don’t desire it keeps on fluctuating. We are making ourselves weaker by constantly entering the zone of imaginary problems and fake illusions. Passively, just observe your thoughts.

Meditation means clearing these unnecessary thoughts and entering into the zone of complete silence and peace. The deeper we enter, no emotions, memories or thoughts can affect our mind in any way. We establish a strong control over it. Constant chattering inside and daydreaming is against meditation.

You can consciously make your mind a miraculous slave. If you understand this simplest trick to be fully aware in the present, you become meditative. You can observe things which others can’t. This isn’t rocket science it’s super easy, don’t you think so? Then why don’t you do it?

Images: Buddha Doodles by Molly
Content copyright is with the author please do not reproduce it in any form.

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

Enthralling Beauty – Poem

Just being a raindrop in the vast ocean and ocean in a raindrop.

IMG_20150427_182846

The mellow mildness of the leaves,

The sounds of the winds,

The freshness of the grass.

The coolness of the peaks,

The forests full of mystique,

The magic of ocean.

All make me sing,

They make me breathe.

And strike at the root of my heart’s penury,

And strike at the root of my heart’s penury.

IMG_20150304_084311

The alluring stars,

The madness of the breeze,

The love birds on the trees.

The brightness of the sun,

The chirping of the birds,

The morning fog on the beach.

All make me sing,

They make me breathe.

And strike at the root of my heart’s penury,

And strike at the root of my heart’s penury.

IMG_20150430_183245

The presence of the dawn,

The aroma of coffee,

The beating of my heart.

All of them awakens me,

They all make me sing,

They all make me breath,

They all give me wings.
And bring out your enthralling beauty.

0027

Copyrights: Aarya Life.