My diaries on introspection 25/10/2008

The journey from bachelorhood to family has been very smooth for me. I keep hearing comments from either side talking about advantages and disadvantages. As usual, I have a different spin to share.

In my scheme of things or rather the way I understand different states in the life of a man or a woman is that of a Brahmacharya, Grihasta, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa. Though a lot of people interpret it literally, I think they are way off the mark in understanding it and more importantly in applying themselves and making it relevant for our present. 

The way the mind functions when one is born is that of innocent selfishness and the child can only think of itself and nothing else. The most important priorities for a child is oral and anal gratification. They are either hungry/ thirsty and need oral gratification or their bladder/ rectum if full and they need to relieve themselves. So there is a development of the ego complex (or super ego-whatver you want to call it) and this continues to grow with societal influences thrown in to help it grown even further. It is my humble opinion that all action that one undertakes in life is built upon this superstructure of ego. This according to me is the explanation of brahmacharya as compared to the simplistic expression of being single.

When the same individual moves into Grihastha there is the first socially driven challenge to this ego complex when one is egged into considering the larger ramifications of his/ her actions on the interests of the spouse and ensuing children. The individual becomes suppliant to the family structure. The thinking process is changed from an selfish, self-gratifying individual to that of a ‘Grihastha’. Common interests supersed individual fancies and ambitions. There could be a lot of arguments about it’s effect on different individuals, but the moot point remains that it seems to have some well thought out intentions. Additionally it serves the purpose of perpetuation of species.

While to path thus far is clear, the path ahead is very hazy. It is difficult to define the time when one can move out of grihastha and move into vanaprastha. Typically people tend to breathe their last in grihastha. There is never any enquiry into the actual construct of the ego on the mental plane. Most people never venture any further into self-enquiry and are blissfully happy/ tortured by the frolick of the mind and most people blame it on fate. Personal progress literally stops and people breathe their last with their last few years spent in ruminating what they had done so far, why they had done it and interestingly they have very few answers.

Just to digress a bit, this is like worrying about a destination when your fuel is about to get over. Ideally one should have planned when the tank was full. Very simple, ain’t it?

A few people who plan it so, complete their social responsibilities and move into the jungle of the mind, the vanaprastha. Without going into complicated discussions about transcedental meditation, the metaphor used here-‘jungle’ can signify the fact that the person is moving away from what he/ she has been used to, to a totally new place where he is unable to predict what will happen and he alone has to figure out things. 

The knowledge that he gains in this process is what makes him a sanyasin. Sanyasin is not necessarily a destination and rather means a culmination of this process. The primitive ego gets nurtured by the society and gets challenged by the same society. The job of the society ends there and it is up to each individual to carry that process forward towards a journey of self-discovery.

Though this thought on marriage has also subsumed philosophic aspects, an interesting concept which I want to elaborate upon is that philosophy is not necessarily abstract. It has been made abstract by poor teachers. Will write about this pretty soon.

Review-in the rearview mirror

It has been close to 6 years now that I have been practising ‘Kundalini Gnanam’ . A lot of times I am asked questions which are very simple at first glance, but to give a satisfactory answer is actually not that easy. the first question is ‘Why do you do it?’ Sounds very simple. But the answer is not. 

Let me explain with an example. When you are bad in physics, your objective is to get good marks in the subject. When you have got good marks in physics, you want to get the best marks in physics. when you have the best marks in physics, you want to score a good rank in class. The point is that objectives change in relation to milestones reached. And there is no satisfaction reached in this ever evolving process.

To be honest, this is only one point of the problem is answering the question. The next problem is something like this. Imagine that you are in 10th standard or any similar grade. How do you explain 10th standard chemistry to somebody who is in elementary classes? I face a similar problem when people ask me why I am doing so and so and what do I gain out of the whole exercise. I would like to take a portion of the blame in that I am not able to put into words. But the more important thing is that it cannot be explained. 

In such situations, all I offer is some cliche’d , but very relevant aphorims about meditation and my style of meditation. What is more important is the person’s interest in learning meditation and the amount of faith that is playing out in my relationship with the person.

Again I am falling short of words. I would still say that I made a decent attempt.

My diaries on introspection 14102008

I have written a previous post about the importance of systematic and consistent habits in my life. I would like to take this forward in a different thread.

It is common knowledge that we have a lot of festivals. For that matter India is a country with a lot of festivals and this is multiplied by the fact that different sects in India have different dates for an event which has the same cultural explanation to it.

The thing is that these festivals have a very practical significance which bears relevance to habit making. Most of the festivals emphasise on remembrance of concepts like ‘good over evil’, ‘repentance’ and ‘fresh beginning’. an example of event which would fall in the first ctaegory would be ‘Diwali’, that of the second category would be ‘Sabarimala pilgrimage’ and that of the third category would be ‘new year celebrations’.

The reason why I am quoting these examples would be the fact that they repeat once in a year and to me they are more like the reminders that we have in our outlook calendar. They are spiritual reminders which have very interesting significance. The festivals in the first category seem to be pusing us in the direction of ‘supposed’ socially good practises. The festivals in the second category seem to give us a chance to make ado for what is ‘supposed’ socially unacceptable practises through activities which esentiallly focus on controlling the senses/ immediate gratification. While the festivals which fall in the third category are meant to help us tide over crises. 

Let me digress for a brief moment and talk about habits now. It is common knowledge that we are a bundle of habits. Given that we took atleast 20 odd years to mould ourselves, we cannot bid to change ourselves overnight. It will take time and the path to work on our habits will be a path strewn with obstacles and personal set-backs. the moot point is to never lose heart in this personal and emotional journey.

Now come back to festivals and particularly those of the third category and it is easy to realise that they help when there are repeated failures when we work on ourselves and our habits. When all is else is lost, the best to do would be toi forget the past and open a fresh chapter in life. This, I believe is a very interesting way to look at festivals in our country.

The festivals are meant to remind us of such concepts to egg us forward on our spiritual journey. But things seem very different in the popular space with commercial elements and abject superstition taking the place of reason. Think about it the nect time you celebrate a festival. It really adds a spin to something which you might have been doing mechanically for all your life.

Nice!

My diaries on introspection 13102008

My focus on self-discipline is taking on greater imprtance in the last few months. I have led a nomadic existence for a long period of time, for the past 4 years to be precise. I was in college before that. Everything related to studies, food and general activity were more or less in a haphhazard manner. I would try something like let’s say physical activity in the morning, for about a week or two and then it would just die out. similar attempts at having a vegetarian diet, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes would more or less meet with a similar fate.

While a familiar and likely reason would be laziness, it was mostly not the case. In my small span of life, what I have noticed about myself is that I need a compelling reason to do something. Now, additional characteristics about this compelling reason would be that the reason should have to do something with an intrinsic drive rather than an externally inflicted/ forced course of action. To offer examples, if my mother asks me to avoid eating non-vegetarian food, I would probably do it for a couple of weeks and when I know that my mother would no longer mind or if I notice that my drive to have non-vegetarian food is more or less bigger than my fear that my mother would scold me, then I just go ahead and have a chicken briyani. 

The moot point is that I was never convinced about why I have to avoid non-vegetarian food in the first place. There was some internal resistance in following a vegetarian diet, to start with. This resistance seemed to build up everytime I saw people consuming meat and I felt that I was being forced to avoid something I enjoyed for no apparent reason. This feeling of suppression built up like a dam and then when the dam would no longer take the load, i.e., when the feeling to have meat over rides the negative fall-out of having meat, I go ahead and have a chicken briyani.

Given that this has played out more than once, I try not indulge in any activity which does not offer me a compelling reasont to do it. This is particularly true of activities which are recurrent and have a tendency to repeat themselves in my daily routine.

I need a reasont to act and my mission nowadays in to find that reason. The reason in the case of my emphasis on discipline is simple. I have my hand full with my family, work and Kundalini Gnanam. I need to do justice to each and in this case I have to increase my personal level of efficiency. And discipline is a key ingredient in increasing both efficiency and potency of habits. Even if you are walking just half a kilometre per day, doing it everyday will add up to a lot of miles. 

Discipline and consistency are two habits which have never let me down.

My Bullet 500 with a custom-made silencer

Enuf has been said. Ride it to believe it.

Bullet diaries-A new muffler from the Goldie lineage

The first time I set sight on my Royal Enfield Bullet Machismo 500, there was one turn-down which got the better of me sooner or later. It was the dull note emnating from the stock silencer which really silenced everything. This takes me to the time I got hooked to the bullet.

It was Varun’s black bullet. Due to strange circumstances, his bullet was left in my custody for a few days. How could I resist riding a bullet. I got onto the bullet and hit a highway pretty soon. The experience is something that I have recounted in a previous post and the point is that the ‘Thump’ ( this is a common lingo among bulleteers/ thumpers/ bulls) was very much part of the experience. It is the thump which sort of makes one feel the engine. The thump makes one aware that the engine is very much alive and it is a strange kind of feeling when you feel the torque rush up your arm as you twist the throttle and the beat of engine making itself apparent after it’s exit from the muffler is something which is like poetry of a more aggressive kind.

The beats are set apart when the engine is idle and go

‘Gup…gup…Gup…gup’

When you twist the throttle they go

‘Gup.Gup.Gup.Gup’

When you really twist the throttle, it is one continous roar.

‘GuUuUuUuUuUuUuUuUuUuUuUu…’

It is like a drug and the more you have of it, the more you need it and you can never have enough of it.

The long days in office have sometimes left me yearning to jump on my bike and go thundering away.

And now I have it. A decent custom-made, Goldie type muffler. Now, the thump is slow and the roar on the highway is rousing. Make way brothers. My 500 is on it’s way and the only thing on my mind is torque.

*Haughty grin

My diaries on introspection 09102008

I am more or less in a nit-picking mode where I see the world around me as a set of processes and I more or less look at problem points and try to look at why such problems happen.

One of my favoutir examples would be the fact that we lack tolerance.

I had a conversation with my mother and it went thus.

Me: I had a very restless mind yesterday and I strangely wanted to have non-vegetarian food yesterday

Amma: How could you have such thoughts? We are fasting the whole month.

Me: I am not worried about fasting or anything else. I am looking at avoiding non-vegetarian food for good and this thought was strangely without any explanation. I do not understand why I had this urge.

Amma: How can you say that you do not care for the fact that we are supposed to be fasting this whole month?

Me: Why cannot you independantly tolerate the fact that I am trying to avoid non-vegetarian food for good? Why does it even have to be tied to religion? Why canot we tolerate each tolerate each other’s religious views in a non-biased manner?

The conversation then meandered into tangential discussions which did not mean much.

The moot point is that we lack the ability to tolerate each tolerate each other’s belief systems without being personally affected by it. We kind of take ourselves and our beliefs too seriously. We also seemt to lack the ability to respect the individual and their own set of motives for a particular direction of thought and actions. Most of the skirmishes in the personal space, I believe, happen because of this lack of tolerance, generally. 

I believ we should take ourselves less seriously and be more tolerant.