I have been reading this book since 8 months now, with my job, blog, artwork and a lot of cooking cleaning I could only do 5-10 pages a day. Srimad Bhagavatam is a book from the Vedic Literature. The original text is in Sanskrit language which I tried to learn but couldn’t make it. So I picked the easier path of reading the English translation by Kamala Subramaniam. Her summary is in simple yet appealing language yet she uncompromisingly managed to maintain the essence of the book.
As mentioned in the book it helps seekers get rid of all that is troublesome to the heart.
The cover page inspired me to use mandala for my various art work.
The phrase, “you are what you eat” is literally true. Nutrients from the foods you eat food provide the foundation of the structure, function, and integrity of every little cell in your body, from your skin and hair to your muscles, bones, and your brain.
So shouldn’t you be concerned about what you are feeding your brain?Why do they say that people who eat lots of chilies get angry very fast? Why does eating chocolate get us into good mood?
In my opinion the food-mood link is very real, so we should always be careful of what we stuff ourselves with.According to research, lack of omega-3 has already been linked with depression and antisocial behavior and the brain’s neurons need the essential fatty acids to keep us bright and snappy.
Yogic Jogging an effective way to energize and vitalize your whole body into action.
In this video Swami Ramdev shows how 10-12 minutes of Yogic Jogging consisting of 12 simple poses gives full exercise to the body, you’ll feel calm, relaxed and rejuvenated. Plus, yoga provides an array of health benefits that improve your daily life. Like; Yoga reduces inflammation and oxidative stress (which helps minimize signs of aging), boosts “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, strengthen immunity, improves posture, combats depression, and increases energy levels.
Yogic jogging is my vacation and travel yoga routine and looks like its my lockdown routine as well. Just after just 10 minutes of yoga, I have more energy, my concentration improves, overall I feel lighter and most importantly guilt free that I didn’t skip yoga.
A mouse was in constant distress because of his fear of the cat and went to a magician, he took pity on him and turned him into a cat. But then he became afraid of the dog. So the magician turned him into a dog. Then he began to fear the panther, so the magician turned him into a panther. After which he was fearful of the hunter. At this point, the magician gave up. He turned him into a mouse again saying, “Nothing I do for you is going to be of any help because you have the heart of a mouse.”
External change and appearance will not matter if you don’t change your inner self and mind.
We all long for a sense of belonging and in the quest some of us forget to check if the place we are in is truly where we belong. Some are very comfortable where they are but have you give this a thought: Is it worthwhile to just “fit in” because it is easy and comfortable?
It took me a long time to recognize the intense veil of naivety under which I was during my early life. It is easy to fit in, it is easy to blend in and hide your outrageousness but it is also the easiest way to lose the precious parts of you. In an actual sense, usually we are greater than how we view ourselves or where we fit. For most, it’s just about taking a step further or changing some strategies to lead us to a better place where we belong.
So stop taking the easy way out. Stop trying to fit in. You deserve to be seen. You deserve to be heard. You deserve to be known for the real deal that you are.
Learn your Strengths- Live your Values – Lead the Change!
“Cheating isn’t a mistake, it’s a choice” – Unknown
I had once read a quote “You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice”. So why am I talking about it here. Hmmm … I started this painting some 4-5 months back when I was looking for a job. Then I got one and got busy … very busy. Finally when I got time to complete it I had lost interest but true to my nature I can’t abandon it and move to the next one so I finish doing the entire outline using a pen instead of paint. I had done the same with my other painting – Self-torture , instead of painting I used the pen to finish the detail. On one side I am glad I am through with this one and can move onto the other but I am not proud of myself. the artist in me screamed “cheater” the whole time but in my defense I had lost patience, interest and wanted to just finish this one and move on.
This got me into thinking – are we trying to pass on our bad choices as mistakes? My bad choice got the job done faster and easier but if I get used to it, it will prove fatal in the long run. It will always leave me feeling bad at the end and I will regret the road I have taken.
So this time I am going to challenge myself – to be true to myself no matter what. If I love painting so much I will have to make the time and effort to complete it so that I am not left feeling guilty at the end of it. My next ones going to be all detail oriented. So wish me luck !!!
“The best project you will ever work on is you” – Sonny Franco
For the first time in my life I wished for a relaxing trip. Go into the jungles – visit a few temples, waterfalls, enjoy the local food and back to business. BTW I changed my job again and hence the gap. I have been working like a donkey so wanted to wonder in the woods like a lion. Little did I know – once a donkey – always a donkey; and you will know why, by the end of the trip.
Through the dense Nallamala forest and washed-off roads we reached a small town called Ahobilam where Vishnu incarnated in the form a lion-man; Narasimha avatar to kill the demon Hiranyakashipu.
This place is divided into two: Lower and Upper Ahobilam. We will visit the Lower Ahobilam temple for the evening where the Lord got married.
There are lots of interesting stories related to this place. First – how did the demon Hiranyakashipu came into existence and Second – how he got killed?
The first story – how did the demon Hiranyakashipu came into existence
Jaya and Vijaya were the gatekeepers of Vaikunta the abode of Lord Vishnu. Four Sanat Kumars – sons of Lord Brahma once went to visit Lord Vishnu and were stopped by Jaya and Vijaya which led to a rift between the parties and angered the Kumaras. Kumaras then cursed Jaya and Vijaya to loose their divinity and take birth as mortals for 3 life times. At this point Lord Vishnu intervened. Jaya and Vijaya asked him to lift off the curse to which he replied that he cannot do that but instead he assured that in their three life’s Vishnu himself will come and kill them so that they attain moksha and return back to their rightful place. In their first birth as enemies to Vishnu they were born as
Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu in Satya Yuga.
Ravana and Kumbhakarna in Treta Yuga.
Shishupal and Dantavakra in Dwapara Yuga; (good luck pronouncing all the names)
Second story – how Hiranyakashipu got killed
The story starts when Hiranyaksha, his brother got killed by Lord Vishnu in his Varaha avatar. Hiranyakashipu swore revenge that he would, in turn, destroy Vishnu. He decided to undertake penance to earn the grace of Lord Brahma. Brahma pleased with his austerities, appeared before him and told him to ask for a boon. When Hiranyakashipu demanded immortality, though, Brahma refused, saying that anything that was born on Earth had to die someday. So he told him to ask for another boon. Hiranyakashipu thought for a while and asked that nobody killed him under the following circumstances: Neither by an entity, living or nonliving; nor by any weapon. Neither by a demigod nor by a demon. Neither by a human nor by an animal. Neither within nor outside his residence. Neither during day nor nighttime. Neither on the ground nor in the sky.
Brahma granted him all of the above, blessed Hiranyakashipu and left. This newly found power made the Asura drunk with his power. He decided that it was time he showed off his powers and established his superior status, even as compared to the Devas.
When Hiranyakashipu was in penance, Indra and the other Devas decided to attack his home. At that point, sage Narada intervened to protect Kayadhu, the devout and pure-hearted wife of the demon. He took her under his wing, until the time Prahlada, the child she was carrying, was born. Right from the womb, Prahlada would hear Narada sing praises of Lord Vishnu. Thus, he became a great bhakta (devotee) of Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu resented his son’s leaning and extreme devotion toward Vishnu. When things became unbearable for him, he decided to kill Prahlada. However, he failed each time he tried to kill the boy.
Prahlada refused to acknowledge his father as the supreme power and would instead keep praying to Vishnu. One day, Hiranyakashipu led his son to a pillar and asked him if Vishnu would be residing in there. Prahlada answered in the affirmative and said that his Lord resided everywhere. In a fit of rage, he lifted his mace and banged it hard against the pillar.
The pillar shattered and from inside it, jumped out Narasimha, a fearsome entity who was half-man and half-lion. This was actually the 4th avatar of Lord Vishnu. He had manifested to destroy the arrogant asura and also to protect his young devotee, Prahlada. Narasimha then proceeded to attack Hiranyakashipu.
As per the asura’s conditions for death, Narasimha was neither a human nor a Deva nor an animal. He manifested at twilight (a time which was neither day nor night); on the threshold of the courtyard (this was neither inside nor outside the palace). He put the asura across his thighs (this was neither on the ground nor in the sky) and, using his sharp claws (not weapons of any kind), he tore the demon open, disemboweling him; killing him instantly.
So today we will be trekking to to the pillar from which Narasimha manifested which again goes through forests and rocky terrain.
Seriously, he couldn’t pick a simpler pillar to smash…
We definitely needed a guide for this one and I am glad we got one as it had started to rain. Everyone one around us advised us not to climb. But our guide was like – it’s a piece of cake, I’ll take you there, don’t worry. And that was all I needed to move forward.
I pray this bridge stays intact till I come back.
This is the path, if you can call it a path, which freaked me out. We climbed almost 5kms through this rocky jungle with just a stick to support us.
My guide was my photographer for this trek, I couldn’t manage to hold on to anything but my stick and had to crawl like a monkey all the way up.
I have no idea how I climbed this….. however as if this wasn’t enough !!! Now I have to climb down to reach there……
And just go down those loosely held life risking ladder… one slip and I would have had a direct audience with God today !!!!
And I am finally there… Oh Gods!!! Now getting down from here will be an achievement in itself.
I was tired, but it was the good tired feeling that you have after doing something worthwhile. The gentle breeze, the sunlight, the chirping of the birds, the calmness – I was soaking it all in. This is by far the toughest hike we have done which left me euphoric for long. Given a chance I would like to be born in one of these isolated places – worrying about nothing but daily bread n butter and enjoying the nature in its fullest. For this life I am not sure I can go back to a life like that after seeing what money can buy. I have had this dilemma for a while now – will I be able to give up on material things to live a nomadic life? Having that money in my pocket is what gives me the strength and confidence to plan random trips like these, will I be peaceful knowing I don’t have that bank balance or in other words “safety”? With these thoughts in mind I start my descend back.
We took a different route while coming down – thank God or thank Shivanna(our guide). He took us through the dense forest and that was awesome. There was always a risk of a wild animal pouncing on us or a snake getting angry with us, but these thoughts didn’t occur to me until we crossed the forest safely.
After a long nearly 5 kms walk or more…. I lost all sense of position. Happy to see some ground where I can relax. We had to keep walking – walking – walking while we were in the jungle, the minute we stopped we were surrounded by the over enthusiastic mosquitoes who wanted the taste of some human blood. Sitting by the stream I got myself a little free fish spa 🙂 There were others there who had packed some food and were enjoying it – I wish I had packed some snacks as suggested by my guide. I can’t wait for the walk to be over and eat something appetizing.
The place where we sat is where Prahalad – the son of the demon studied Vedas. He must have also walked through the jungle daily to get to this place. No wonder why he wanted his dad dead 🙂
On our way down we visited some other Narasihma temples. I am way beyond exhausted. All I care for now is some good food and a nice bed and its my job that pays for these two so I am going to hang on to it for a while 🙂 and leave it to nature to fulfill all my desires…
“Extinction is the rule, survival is the exception” – Carl Sagan
I have been watching a crow family who have made the pine tree in front of my house their home. Perched on the top the Mama crow sat on her eggs and perched in my balcony drinking tea I watched over them. I had also bought a new DSLR so they were my muse for a while. I prayed for them every time there was a thunderstorm and the tree swayed left and right in the wind or whenever I saw the eagle hovering above.
Crow scouting the trees
And then came the day….. when I saw something I never thought I would see and which broke my heart.
Seemed like the eggs had hatched and the babies wanted food. The papa crow and mama crow cawed at each other(I had no clue what they talked then) and after the conversation papa crow perched near the nest while the mama crow went to the nearby pigeon colony. She tried to get near some pigeon nests but one pigeon family gave her a fight, however there was a lonely pigeon mama sitting on her eggs in one corner. The crow went there and started attacking the pigeon, the brave pigeon never gave up so the papa crow pitched and both started attacking the pigeon. They were so quick and dexterous that finally the mama pigeon couldn’t take it anymore and left the nest. Then the crows took the pigeon eggs to feed their babies. The pigeon came back to her nest to see the damage, I am not sure if they have feeling but to me it looked like she was heartbroken.
Like a curious cat I watched nature at work – my tea got cold…..BUT this got me into thinking –
Is survival the only purpose of life?
If YES – then there is no good and bad, they are mere perceptions – what is good to me could be evil to others and vice versa. There can be a justification for everything we do and the action could be right as long as our conscious is clear !!!
If NO – then should we just succumb to the bad and be grateful for the good and live life thinking – everything happens for a reason !!!
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Recently I was reading this book, “The One Thing” by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan; and got into thinking about priorities and choices. As adults when we have a choice and everything is at our discretion, is there a clear formula for making decisions so that we can make the best decisions for us and not trade them for just any decision?
I found my answer in PRIORITY, as long as we pause and think what really matters to us and let that drive our day/decisions we will have a sense of progress and can avoid getting trapped in busyness.
This painting was inspired by two thoughts –
How important our environment is – we should make all effort to keep the earth beautiful as it should be so that we can enjoy living in it.
How important our environment is – we should surround ourselves with people who add value to our life’s so that we can stay positive, productive and happy.
How do you guys feel about taking short-cuts? Be it while crossing the road, accomplishing a task or for bigger things in life.
I take short-cuts every now&then – only to realize again and again they are beneficial in the short run and are short-sighted too.
A few months back when I had booked my trip to Bali, I also decided to climb my first volcanic mountain. As I had no experience and thought I needed stamina, I abandoned my time taking and slow yoga asanas (but still I did my pranayamas religiously) and replaced it with the quick resulting cardio. I don’t know where it all went wrong – I have gained a few pounds, my body is all stiff, I had severe muscle aches, my craving for food increased and I get easily tired.
I have done enough trekking and climbing hills without any preparation like this and I was fine. But this short-cut called cardio didn’t work that well for me and now I am back to my yoga, no more short-cuts for a while 🙂
On the brighter side – I pampered myself with too many massages during that time 🙂 🙂
Last week I went to watch horse racing, yeah I just watched I didn’t win 😐
I was too excited and thrilled to go as this is on my bucket list, and finally I would be ticking it off. After a couple of races I started thinking about all the whipping the horses had to take in the effort to win. Maybe I was losing and hence the thought …hmmm……but on a serious note is it really necessary for the jockey to keep whipping the poor thing so that some people or the house could win. I went online and googled it and found that there are laws to fine/suspend jockeys for excessive whipping but how do you define “excessive”, definitely you don’t ask the horse, “Have you been whipped excessively, do you want to press charges? ”
I felt bad that I paid to see this and also that I lost…hmmm …..I don’t know which one triggered the feeling. It just happened once , never to happen again.
Now I am going to concentrate on the next item in my bucket list – watch the animals in their natural habitat running free and wild AND finish my next painting (this one’s not on the bucket list) 🙂
I remember saying, “I love travelling” NOT “I love relocating”.
I have been a “potential” immigrant for 2 years, then a local for a year and now I am an expat.
Almost around the globe… sounds awesome !!! But I am tired of setting up camp after every 1 year or so.
The good side to all this relocating is as you all know – seeing new places and living among different people and many more….
BUT one of the biggest challenge (at least for me) apart from the others which I felt like mentioning today is trying to find my beauty and health products. By the time I research and adjust to new products, I seem to migrate, aannnnnnddddd again its the whole cycle all over again
– search online where you will get your products.
– see where there are located, locate it and go to shops
– now there are three scenarios here;
1. you find your product, you take it – simple and happy; but your mind going back to the other products ; “should I try that one”, “maybe its better”, “lets check it’s price”, “I think its made for this climate, I should try this”, “what if it doesn’t suit me”, “it(my original product) was cheaper in my currency, I should have brought it from there”, “the luggage limit they give on these planes is bulls**t”
2. you find your product but there are better looking similar products on the shelves, and you want to try them – complicated&costly but happy; “WOW there are so many options, lets check these out”, “OMG – it contains methyl**** (don’t even know what it is but worried)”, “lets try this, if it fails I’ll buy my original product”
3. you don’t find your product and nothing similar to what you have used is available – frustrating and online research starts again; “S**t, what!!! you call this a developed country – they don’t even have this”; “I should never have come here”; “I should have packed it”; more SWEARING…… “now I have to figure out an alternative, check online and forums, SWEARING SWEARING”.
And by the time you have wasted so much money and effort on all this, all you feel is bad about misusing the money on something so stupid, instead of using it for seeing the place and what it has got to offer.
So finally Gods, add more travelling to my catalog, than relocating. Relocating is fine – keep it coming, but more travelling pls :).
Oh!!! I forgot to mention this …… I miss painting 😦 I am yet to buy an easel which I’ll have to postpone to next month if I don’t get my relocation allowance soon.
A couple of years back I watched the movie “Two Brothers”. For those who haven’t seen the movie, it’s about two tiger clubs who get separated when they were young and are bred in captivity after that. Sangha is the timid and shy one, whereas Kumhal is fearless, naughty and playful. After being captured, Sangha, the lucky star ends up staying in the kings palace, where he grows up to be strong, fearless and ferocious, whereas Kumhal, is sold to a zoo and learns to play tricks on the masters commands. He loses his spirit and becomes meek and docile.
Watching this movie got me thinking about our own surroundings.
How much does our surrounding affects us?
Unlike Sangha and Kumhal who were animals and did not have much of a choice, we humans, the high breeds do have the liberty of choosing who we surround ourselves with. I read somewhere that “you are the average of five people around you”, if that is the case I’d rather have people who increase my average.
Since I saw the movie, I became quite choosy, more than adding good people to my list, I also started a cleanup process – started eliminating negative people from my list(social media and likewise) – people who decrease my average 🙂
Now my surrounding looks a bit clean and green. It does need a bit more cleaning up, but I’ll get there in a couple of years.
The impacts – a happier and motivated me, I started my blog instead of just chatting with people, I think more about what I want to do Vs what I am not able to do.
This also reminds me of the book I read, “What to say when you talk to your self” by Shad Helmstetter.
If you want to have a positive lifestyle you need to get rid of negativity around you which influences your mind. As stated in the book your brain is an apartment with old furniture. Take out the old furniture and throw it away, which is the negative thinking and replace it with new furniture, which is positive thinking – a great springboard to improving ones life.
I have been trying to get up early at 6am daily since Jan01,2014. It is one of my New Year resolutions…and has been since a decade. But I end up waking at any time after 6am.
6am -> “Oh I should get up, just 15 mins more, no harm done” so me and my phone are both on SNOOZE
6.15am -> “Oh Gods, 15 mins over … really…. 15 mins more” SNOOZE
6:30am -> “What do I have to do getting up so early, the day would be too long” but because of some weird feeling, hit SNOOZE
6:45am-> “OK tomorrow” STOP
Whenever I get up, say 9am -> “I should have made a little more effort” J
This daily drill got me into thinking -> ‘Is Learning tough or is Unlearning tough”
In the above case both seem to be tough, not able to tell my mind to unlearn to get up at 9am and at the same time make it to learn to get up at 6am.
To ‘unlearn’ a habit or a thought process – What is it that is required?
How do you get disciplined?
–By making it(the goal) a HABIT.
How do you make it a habit?
Where you need commitment and discipline to learn new things, you need more commitment and more discipline to unlearn the existing things, because it has been with us for quite some time and the mind finds all the excuses it can to resist that change. Yeah for now let’s blame it on the mind!!!
And I will try to be more committed to my cause of unlearning – to get up at 9am, as that might speed up the process of learning – waking up at 6.