Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A RARE CONVERSATION BETWEEN RAMAKRISHNA PARAMAHAMSA AND SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

 

Swami Vivekanand:- I can’t find free time. Life has become hectic.
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you free.
Swami Vivekanand:- Why has life become complicated now?
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Stop analyzing life.. It makes it complicated. Just live it.
Swami Vivekanand:- Why are we then constantly unhappy?
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Worrying has become your habit. That’s why you are not happy.
Swami Vivekanand:- Why do good people always suffer?
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don’t suffer. With that experience their life becomes better, not bitter.
Swami Vivekanand:- You mean to say such experience is useful?
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.
Swami Vivekanand:- Because of so many problems, we don’t know where we are heading…
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides the way.
Swami Vivekanand:- Does failure hurt more than moving in the right direction?
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you.
Swami Vivekanand:- In tough times, how do you stay motivated?
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.
Swami Vivekanand:- What surprises you about people?
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- When they suffer they ask, “why me?” When they prosper, they never ask “Why me?”
Swami Vivekanand:- How can I get the best out of life?
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.
Swami Vivekanand:- One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- There are no unanswered prayers. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.

Monday, March 31, 2014

THE POT OF INTELLIGENCE

Here comes one more interesting story from my school book.
Akbar and Birbal stories and folk tales are featured in Amar chitra katha and Chandamma.

Akbar had great confidence in Birbal. But once, for some unknown reason, the Emperor was not very happy with him. Sensing this, Birbal decided to stay away from the Emperor for few days. He went to a small village and started living there.

One day, Akbar got a letter. One of his vassals, Raja Samant, had written, "Please send me a pot full of intelligence."

Akbar could not comprehend what it meant. He thought," If only Birbal was here, he would have explained it in a minute."

The Emperor came up with an idea to find out where Birbal might be. He invited the heads of the village and said, "I shall give a goat to each one of you. You must feed them well. Take good care of them. The cost is my responsibility. You must return the goats after one month. But when you return, the goats should weigh the same as they are today."

The village heads wondered how this would be possible.

Somehow, Birbal came to know about this. He went to see the Patel (village head).

"Patelji, do not worry about what the Emperor has said. Just take good care of the goat," said Birbal.

"In that case, the goat will grow fat."

"There is a solution for that. On the outskirts of the village, there is a lion in the cage. Tie up this goat just a little way of from the lion. Due to fear and insecurity, the goat will not gain an ounce of weight," said Birbal.

The Patel followed Birbal's instruction. After a month all goats were brought to the Emperor. Only one goat had not gained any weight. Akbar guessed that this was possible only with Birbal's help. He sent for Birbal and pacified him. Then he said, "Birbal, I need your advice. How can I sent a pot full of intelligence to someone?"

Birbal started working on it. First, he got a pot, filled it with soil and sowed a pumpkin seed in it. It sprouted and a pumpkin grew inside the pot. When the pumpkin filled the pot, Birbal cut of the plant. The pumpkin remained inside the pot. Birbal tied a cloth and covered the pot. He showed this to Akbar..

Then Akbar ordered his messenger to send this to Raja Samant with a letter by mentioning, that this is full of intelligence. Take it out carefully. While removing the pumpkin, the pot should not break and the container should not get damaged. If anything contrary to this happens, you will have to pay a very heavy penalty."

The vassal received the pot and the letter. He realized what an impossible task it was. He came to Akbar's Court and apologized. He realized what a fool he was to ask for a pot of intelligence from an Emperor in whose kingdom a man like Birbal lived!"

Moral: Most problems have solutions. Just we have to think with a calm peace of mind for solutions. If you can't find them yourself, find someone who can! 

MY UGADI KOLAM HAPPY UGADI TO ALL








Friday, March 28, 2014

BE A GOOD LISTENER

                                                   
To be a ‘good listener’ is a vital trait that anyone from any sphere of life must have. It is easy to dispense advice, and everyone likes doing that. However, in many circumstances, more beneficial than advising someone is listening with all your heart to what he or she has to say. Not everyone will be able to help others financially. But when someone is trying to unburden his or her heart, we can try to listen with an open heart. Doing so is great service.

Where there is love, there will be proper listening, too. Listening is of utmost importance in both family and professional life. There is no better way to avoid mutual misunderstanding and avoid complications in life. One of the biggest drawbacks today in the relationship between spouses is the inability to patiently hear each other out.

There are three types of ‘listening’: listening with the intellect, with the mind, and with the heart.

It is impossible to listen intellectually. One might even say that there is no listening involved when one ‘listens’ with the intellect only.

Here is a story. A philosopher went to see a mahatma (spiritually enlightened being). As soon as he arrived, the philosopher started speaking non-stop. The mahatma listened to him silently. After talking uninterruptedly for a very long time, the philosopher told the mahatma, “Please give me some advice”.

The mahatma said, “I’ll bring some tea first. The advice can come after that.” He came back shortly with some tea. He placed a cup before the philosopher and started pouring the tea from the teapot. Soon the cup was full and began to overflow. But the mahatma did not stop pouring. Seeing this, the philosopher exclaimed, “What’s this? The cup is full. It cannot contain even one more drop of tea!”

Hearing this, the mahatma chuckled and said, “So, you know very well that once the cup is full, it cannot take in even one more drop of tea, don’t you? In the same way, your mind and intellect are crammed with many types of thoughts and information. There is not even an iota of space left for advice. First, create a tiny space for it. The advice can come later.”

Listening with the mind is partial listening. Our preconceived ideas will be an obstacle to assimilating fully what we hear. But when we listen with the heart, it is the power of love that is most actively operating. Here, one gives full attention to the other person. Such listening helps the speaker as well as the listener and brings about a change in both.

There are four ways of communicating properly: reading, writing, speaking and listening. We receive training in the first three from childhood itself. To a large extent, we are well-versed in reading what is necessary, speaking when the need arises, and writing. However, we have not acquired sufficient skills in listening properly. That is why most people are bad listeners.

God has given us two ears and one mouth. So, we should listen twice as much to others as we speak to them. But at present, we are doing the very opposite. We talk non-stop, and do not try to listen to anyone. When someone else is speaking, instead of paying attention, we are thinking about what we are going to say next.

When we listen with the intellect alone, the differentiating attitude — ‘you’ and ‘I’ — will always be there. Knowingly or unknowingly, when we talk, we strive to express the feeling, “I’m great; you’re inferior.” Problems cease and life becomes pleasant when we understand the heart of another person,  and  not when we air our own greatness.

It is said, “It’s not enough to have eyes; one should see.” In a similar vein, it is not enough to have ears; one should listen properly. Being a good listener is a great asset in life. The ability to listen with love and patience will help to make the person speaking to us happy, show us how to behave in any given situation, and help us see the right solutions to problems.


Article Courtesy: The New Indian Express

Thursday, February 20, 2014

HOLY BOOK




I like this story holy book from Akbar and birbal.

Akbar once called Birbal and said to him, "Birbal it is said in one of your Hindu Holy Books that Lord Vishnu one day heard the agonised cry of one of His elephants and rushed to his aid. Why would a God with so many servants at his disposal, himself rush to the succour of the elephant?"

Birbal replied, "Your Majesty, give me few days to answer your question."

The Emperor granted him the request.

Birbal made a wax model of the Emperor's grandson and dressed him up in the grandson's clothes. He then told the servant in charge of the grandson to carry the doll out where the Emperor could see him and pretend to fall to the ground and throw the doll into the pond nearby, uttering a cry to draw the Emperor's attention. "If you do so, I shall reward you greatly."



The servant followed Birbal's instruction threw the doll into the pond and himself pretended to fall to the ground, uttering a plaintive cry.

When the Emperor heard the cry and saw his grandson fall into the pond, he rushed and jumped into the pond to rescue him.

Birbal stepped out of the bushes and lent a helping hand to the Emperor as he came out of the pond, asking him, "How did Your Majesty jump to the rescue of your grandson when you have so many servants to do this job for you? For the same reason Lord Vishnu rushes to save whoever seeks His help, because in his eyes all creatures are equally precious."


Sunday, February 16, 2014

MAHASHIVRATHRI ON 27TH FEBRUARY 2014

Maha shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated in an austere manner-fasting and remaining awake the whole night in remembrance of God. Sivaratri, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is celebrated on the moonless night of the month of Maagh masam of Telugu and kumba masam of malayalam calender, which is the fourteenth day in the krishnapaksha or dark half. Owing to a special planetary conjunction, spiritual practices done on this day are considered to be especially auspicious and beneficial. The Pradosham pooja on February 27, 2014 is also highly meritorious as Pradosham and Mahashivratri coincides on the day. There is a reference to this in one of the Puranas, where Shiva himself tells Parvati Devi that this day is particularly dear to him, and that those who perform the prescribed austerities on this day will be freed from all sins.
Many stories are there about the shivrathri. Some says that the first Shivaling originated in the night of Shivaraatri. Some says that it on this night that Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. This is why the day is also called Shiv Gouri Divas. Its a day that Shiva married Parvathi. Parvathi who was the most ardent devotee of Shiva and wanted to marry him. Her earlier efforts to win him over with her physical beauty failed as Shiva simply reduced Lord Kamadeva (who assisted her) to ashes and simply turned his back on her without seeing at  second look. In doing so he made her understand that it takes more than physical beauty and passion to win him. She then finally won him not by her tremendous physical beauty but by her austerity, love and devotion and the intense spiritual longing to unite with her Lord.
My Amma says that Shivaratri does not mean just keeping awake the whole night. Many people wish to keep a night long vigil, and spend the nights merely by playing cards the whole night and some people Keeping awake by watching three to four movies but my amma says that it cannot amount to Vigil. Shivarathri means spending the whole night by chanting Lord shiva’s name keeping vigil.According to the Shiva Purana, the Mahashivaratri worship should incorporate six items: offering bilva leaves to the deity after giving it a ceremonial bath, which represents purification of the soul; applying vermilion paste on the linga after bathing it, which represents virtue; offering food, which is conducive to longevity and the gratification of desires; lighting incense, which yields wealth; lighting an oil lamp, which signifies the attainment of knowledge; and offering betel leaves, which marks satisfaction with worldly pleasures. These six items form an indispensable part of the Mahashivaratri worship, be it a simple ceremony at home or grand temple worship.
Lord Shiva is the god, to whom most Hindus turn to for good spouse and for a harmonious family life; especially women worship him for the welfare of the family. It is said that Shiva showers all his blessings on people, who remember him with an honest and true heart. There is a story that old timers nar­rate. In the olden days if you went to a vil­lage and asked anyone to direct to the house where daily shiva puja takes place the bystanders will tell you to look for the house in front of which an ele­phant is tied. Lord Shiva is known to be very generous giving away boons, although, he would test his devotees to the core. Shiva not only finds no faults with oth­ers, but if some­one has even a lit­tle good qual­ity, he mag­ni­fies it greatly.That is why Shiva is glo­ri­fied as one who imme­di­ately ful­fils every ones desires.
It is in fact to be noted that Lord shiva is worshipped by the devas like Vishnu, Brahma, Indra, by asuras like bana, ravana, tripura, surapadma, by humans like shankara bhagavatpada, by other creatures like eagles, monkey, snakes and the list goes on and on. One finds in the puranas the variety of people of different backgrounds and qualities worship the Lord shiva. There are many histories of temples which talk of the cranes, bees, elephants, spiders, snakes worshipping the Lord and getting blessed. So the Lord as the Supreme blesses anyone who worships in sincere devotion. There is no discrimination on who the seeker is. The Lord is so merciful that He showers the boons one look for when there is a determination to seek Him. It is evident from the history of asura bana who attained a great fame of his valor and got the place in the abode of Lord shiva all due to his determined worship of the Lord. So anybody who worships the Lord sincerely could get blessed with Its Grace irrespective of the caste, creed, race, power, status and qualities.
Mahashivratri has immense significance in Hindu religion. While there are many festivals in India celebrated with great pomp and gaiety shivarathri is a festival celebrated by fasting and vigil. It is a night of vigil – vigil over our thoughts, words and actions. It is a night where in we should try to awaken the divinity within us.Its a day that celebrates these three qualities of austerity devotion and love. These are of immense importance in our lives, be it family life or spiritual progress. Anyone who cutivates these qualities is bound to suceed.
Dedicating this post to my Amma Redhi Vallikatri Bhaskaran.



Monday, February 10, 2014

WHAT DO WE ASK GOD

I asked God to send me a friend - He sent you.

I asked God to take away my pain - God said NO.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to grant me patience - God said NO.
Patience is a by-product of tribulations; it is not granted, it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness. God said NO.
I give you blessings, happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me suffering - God said NO.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow - God said NO.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life - God said NO.
I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others as much as He loves me.
God said - Ahhh, finally, you have the idea.

A Simple Prayer to God:

Lord, when my soul is weary and my heart is tired and sore, and I have that failing feeling that I cannot take anymore, then let me know the freshening found in the childlike prayer, when the kneeling soul knows surely that the Listening Lord is there !