Monday, November 12, 2007


Wise show a narrow winding path into the woods and claim that it leads to heaven. When I look into their eyes and ask again, they say that you told them.
But they are sure that I shall go to hell when I die if I do not walk their chosen path.
They tell me you shall inflict terrible punishment on me if I do not obey.
Where shall I seek heaven, when you are everywhere;
Verily this world becomes hell when I don't see you here.
Lord! I am not schooled enough to be afraid of you.
I utter your name in joy as a child calls its mother purposelessly.
I do not desire to barter a life in heaven with your place in my heart, dear friend.
I seek no forgiveness for my sins my Lord!
I want nothing in return as there is nothing I own.
What can I give you, the one who created the worlds; Even these thoughts belong to you.
In the moments of silent solitude, you show me glimpses of your majestic vastness.
Yet, in a childish attempt, I sing your glory like a lamp in the sun.
I wonder if this offering colored with prejudice, wickedness and coldness of heart is worth a place in your home.
Smiling innocently you whisper that this world is in your home and tell me to move on feeling your presence in every step of this journey.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Tomorrow... It is 60th year of Indian independence. It also marks four years since I came to this country. Lot has changed. Back then, I was witnessing the growing IT revolution first hand. As another one of millions of confident Indian youth striving to do something, I still remember the mail from our CEO announcing that TCS breached the $1 billion revenue mark. Now their revenues are four times that figure and employee base three times as large. Urban India is witnessing unprecedented growth rates, at the same time distance between cities and villages is growing. In the mean time, we have seen two successful GSLV launches while Antrix ventures into commercial satellite launching business. Away from the limelight, numerous Indians,... software engineers in Bangalore to Tea garden workers in Assam go about their daily livestrying to meet their aspirations. It is they, the people who make this miracle that is India today. Unassuming people, who never utter catchy slogans on the television but toil to better their lives and those of people around them. The great nation is slowly shaking off its deep slumber of a millennium to wake up to its original glory of a strong and benevolent nation.
There is one unmistakable shift in the attitudes of people earlier generation was cautious...content with a university degree and a govt. job. But todays generation is not. I was pleasantly surprised to find a definite purpose in the voices of many young men and women. Confident in their capabilities, they reach for the best. And this bodes well for a young nation.
We have a lot to accomplish and obstacles are indeed immense. It is a fitting challenge to a country where the sages proclaimed: Be strong- physically, mentally and spiritually. And I am confident we shall overcome.
[Originally written on 14th aug,2007]

Everyone is unique

Some of the most profound insights can come from the most ordinary experiences. Looking at the world, I always marvel its uniqueness. The only similarity between all of us seems to be the our uniqueness. The world is different to every person, animal and all other living things. Our world view is unique....There is no one in the world who has the same experience as I have. it is true for me just as it is true for everyone else. I had known (or rather read ) the uniqueness of our being. ..yet this wisdom eluded me for long as I never experienced it.
It was during a stretch in a martial arts class, the realization dawned on me. That regardless of physical and mental proximity, how unique our worlds are. There was nothing special about the circumstances. I had been through the same place many times. But it was different and wonderful. What did it change? I am not sure. But I can at least see the impossibility of one faith or idea that could work for everyone. This I hope will help me in trying to understand others from their perspective and cease to be judgmental.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


While you played the heavenly song on this piece of reed, I was lost in your song of life. I thought the piece of dead wood to be the source your music, that enchants the world. You paused between the notes. Somewhere in the silence between the notes, I realized that it is your breath that transforms a reed into a flute. It didn't last long. You being ever playful, started the music again. And we start this game of hide and seek again.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Holding you in my heart, a song came forth for you. The song floated as the spring time scent in the air. Gladding the heart as the swaying flowers in bright sunshine. Cheerful as a mountain stream, they came...the words of my song for you. The tune was set by the nightingales and chorus by the countless chirping birds.
The night carried the song in the scent of jasmine. Delicate as the lightning and deep as the rumble that follows it. looked beautiful.
Now that you are here, I cannot sing it anymore. I stringed and unstringed the instrument to set the tune right. My voice is hoarse and hands shaky. But there are birds, spring time air and the mountain stream still flows. Listen to my song in silence. If in doubt, listen to it through my eyes that linger for a few extra moments before they look away from your eyes.

I wrote this after reading Rabindranath Tagore's Poem:

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Animal Planet and Shankara.

The documentary on Animal planet showed how the great migration takes place every year on the plains of Africa. There it focused on a calf that could not make the crossing, which the mother wilder beast could . The lonely calf, stuck on the wrong side of the river, was trying to be a friend with the lonely deer which also had lost its mother on the river crossing. There were hungry cheetahs that were lurking nearby. The mother watched for her calf on the other side of the river and when she could not find it among the teeming masses that did the seemingly unthinkable. It actually crossed the river again looking for here calf, braving the powerful crocodiles waiting to pounce on her. (Finally they both make it to the other side, after a brief encounter with a cheetah)

The other day, I watched a child in a railway station. the child was playing with something at a distance from her mother. Soon, with a thundering noise, a train came on to another platform. The child both confused and afraid, left all the toys and ran back to her mother and held on to her.

I was reminded of the meaning of a hymn that Adi Shankaracharya had written in the praise of divine mother .
He said," O mother, there are bad children in this world but a bad mother..the world has seen none."
In another verse,
"O mother! I do not know any sacred chants nor do I perform any holy rituals. I am not well versed in the philosophical intricacies or the language of the intelligent. I just know that whenever I face difficulties, whenever I am afraid, I can run to you with outstretched hands and you will protect."
I think I had a fleeting glimpse of the depths in these verses of shankara.

Life.. does it hint at something?

The bus sped through the beautiful landscape ad0rned with colorful flowers, the flock of geese flying across sky with dark but enchanting clouds. There is a lot of different variety of life around me, right from the microscopic ones to giants...everyone of them unique in their own way. Complete understanding of such diversity and scope of this kaleidoscope of life is beyond my capabilities...I am like that proverbial blind man judging an elephant.
Each and every form of life around me has some ability that makes their place so special in world they live in...Be it the ultraviolet vision in bees or the sensory system in a hammer head whale that can detect a billionth of a volt or the flight dynamics of a fly which confounds and is the envy of all aerospace engineers or the extremely well organized societies of the ants and termites.

Yes, they all play an important role in their ecosystems and are integral parts of the ecosystem...and I think I understand their importance from a biology point of view. But I wonder in a more philosophical way(in my thinking at least!) as to what is their place in this world? What exactly is the place of humans in relation to each of them?

I do not think that they are inferior to us in any way or less evolved nor do I think that we can justify their existence as being there to serve us or meet our needs. I see in them perfection of many kinds. Each of them looks as an example of perfection of some facet of life... some can see what we cannot, while others can hear what we cannot. But amongst all of the life, perhaps humans are the only ones with a mind that can perceive this and yet have a body that is utterly incapable of matching any of these amazing abilities. Perhaps we are watching the divinity inherent in each one of us from different perspective at a time. Perhaps through this knowledge of parts, we may try to comprehend the whole. Just as Kathopanshad says,
Neither by the light of sun nor the moon does it shine*.
Lightening is not the source of its light, then what to speak of fire.
It alone shines and all others reflect that light.
Indeed by its light alone everything in this creation shines.
That source of light, that wisdom of the whole may the quest. And this wonderful creation, play of life is just a divine hint for us to realize that divinity in ourselves and others.
*Shine is a poor translation of what the verse actually says. The exact word 'bhaati' has many meanings in sanskrit and I do not know its english equivalent.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Digital Duality

"You are either with us or with them", thunders a president.
"Non believers shall die" says a fanatic.
"God is supposed to do good, how can you justify existence of god when there is so much evil?" asks another agnostic friend.
The problem as anyone can recognize with little thought is not as much in not being able to finding answers to these questions. It actually lies in the way the questions themselves are posed. Everything when seen in terms of a digital reality..a hard Yes or No, good vs evil, believer vs non believer hides the kaleidoscope of colors that creation is. It fails to distinguish the subtle shades of dawn from the night that it follows and the day it precedes. As I read somewhere, light and darkness are not two opposite concepts. Darkness is not an independent entity. It is just the absence of light. Just as silence an absence of sound. Cold an absence of heat.
Perhaps this was the reason why the sages of yesteryears compared knowledge to light. Ignorance just as darkness is absence of knowledge. And curiously enough, light, heat and sound are all various forms of energy. And knowledge is power.
Then why do we all see this duality? Why can't our knowledge of these concepts give us the supreme bliss of nonduality?
Engineer in me points that man is critically dependent on senses to perceive the world. His very existence is defined by the senses that create the perception of the world around him. But then the senses are just like any other sensors we build. Every sensor has a limit of detection. Below or above that threshold it cannot detect any change. Therefore, even thought we live in a continuum we perceive things in a dualistic way after a point. We see things as light and dark, sounds and silence, right or wrong whereas in reality none of these differences exist on any scale.
Perhaps this is what is meant by the vedantic tradition that insists that the existence of man is dependent on his perception of dualism. The moment it ceases, he ceases to exist. Perhaps the quest is to go to the find the horizon where the dualism meets the non dualistic ocean of bliss.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Where am I going?

As I drive on the flatlands of Midwest at night, and listen to a song about travel I am carried away.
The song talks of a traveler lost on a long journey. It talks of the futility of running away from ones own fears, searching in temples for peace while all that could be found there is just a mirage. The oasis of peace is in the mind it says.
I agree..


The hotel lobby was almost empty . It would have been a surprise if it was otherwise. Being in a small town of few hundred people, the hotel mostly saw travelers staying for the night. Despite the chill outside, there was a freshness that the early morning snow brought to the cold air. As I walked in to have a cup of coffee, the only people there were the woman and the child in the children's chair. I poured some coffee (despite everything, coffee has caffeine in it , one of essential nutrients for any I needed my daily dose in the absence of my tea) , put bread in the toaster and as I waited I couldn't help from overhearing the woman talking to her baby.
Happy birthday girl, happy birthday...she was trying to sing to her. The child clapped her hands and thumped the table. The woman was speaking to her about not being able to have a party because of the long drive they had to take. She was promising the child that they would have a nice dinner that evening. The child too young to understand words, perhaps understood the love in her mother's voice. She was smiling broadly, as I looked towards them.
Despite the concern of being looked at as being impolite for overhearing hearing their words, I turned and asked about her child's age. She told me it was the first birthday of her daughter. I bent down, wished the little girl. She looked at me through her beautiful blue glassy eyes and smiled as I blew air on her face. I held out my hand and grasped it with her little fingers. I spent a few minutes with the baby making some faces much to the amusement of the baby. Then went back to put another bread in toaster ass the previous one had charred.
On the way back to my room, the mother was at the other end of the corridor and the baby was crawling towards her. As I stopped, the baby looked at me and smiled, before crawling back to her mother.
That made my day