Saturday, November 05, 2016
Nature and other little things
Nature is the closest you can get physically to the divine!
The wind blowing on your face, the water under your bare feet, hiking mountains that graciously let you step on them, the tranquil emptiness inside canyons, the sun's rays hitting your face on a really cold day - these are experiences nature gives us on a daily basis. I still love stepping on puddles, dancing in the rain and getting into a conversation with the moon. I love how one gaze at the night sky can open and fill us with a vast expanse of nothingness that we don't comprehend at an intellectual level, but still feel one with.
Getting out with the plants, sowing seeds in the soil, getting all muddy and then seeing the miracle of life as they sprout right in front of us is another dimension of nature's magnanimity. The smell of fresh rain, the colors of fall and snow, the sun's soothing heat, the chirping birds and other animal sounds, plants and trees that hear and respond as we speak to them - glorious nature that satiates all of our senses! While nature is part of us and we are a creation of nature, the aspects that we can view and appreciate with all our senses leaves us with nothing but wonder.
It rained last evening. It poured. My immediate instinct was to dash into the rain dragging my three year old along with me. Playing in the rain. A simple thing to do. But it's the little things that make you happy from within. It has always been that way. My bare feet on the ground below, my eyes peering upward through the water droplets into the sky, drenched in Rain God's overflowing grace and protected by Mother Earth below, how else could one feel but secure, thrilled, ecstatic and abundantly grateful.
So, what other little things make me happy? Lemon and orange sour candies. Yes, you read it right. They are little drops of heaven! As they land in my mouth, they curve my lips into a smile, shut my eyelids as if it were a meditative yoga lesson and I start savoring every instant of the extreme taste.
Jasmines! No perfume, no fragrance, no flower, no nothing smells like the Queen Jasmine. One whiff and I feel teleported to the garden of the gods, sometimes to a serene island with pristine blue waters and at other times to an ancient temple in Southern India. The smell of jasmines is an instant relaxation to the soul. This fragrant relationship has made such an impact that, when I miss my home back in India, my mind summons the fragrance of jasmines right away!
These are pleasures for the senses. But I see how my heart opens up to embrace the entire sky when I look up at the rain, or how I close my eyes to dive deep into my self with the sour entrada in my mouth, or how a simple fragrance enlightens the soul even if it is just for a brief moment. Happiness is when - in that moment - my heart explodes in volcanic joy and spreads the vapor of smile all around for a short while. And then after that, all I need is another little act of joy! Life's joys are really just in a bunch of simple little things!
Posted by Bharani - 11:25 am -
Friday, October 10, 2014
Time stands still when you look in my eyes
With twinkling joy and yet just nothingness fills me
Time stands still when you act out your pranks
With sheer abandon and yet charm fills me
Time stands still when you dance and falter
With little tiny feet and yet energy fills me
Time stands still when you yearn for my presence
With genuine love and yet longing fills me
Time stands still when you drive me insane
With your annoyances and yet smile fills me
Time stands still when you join your sister
In sibling camaraderie and mother fills me
Time stands still when I hear your laughter echo
With your father's and family fills me
Time stands still when you are yourself
With bare innocence and I fill me
Time stands still when I live the moment
Posted by Bharani - 11:52 am -
Friday, September 19, 2014
In the process of raising my girls, I am blessed with day-to-day moments of spiritual insight. When I deck them up in silks, when I braid and adorn their hair with jasmine flowers, when I teach them shlokas, when I cook or bake with them, at times even when the three of us dance to mindless Bollywood music - at those moments I feel a completeness - both as a mother and as a soul.
But the outstanding moment has to be when I give my toddler Ambal a bath. When I massage her head with Sesame oil as I sing Gowri Kalyanam, then use Kasthuri Manjal and Kadalai Maavu to gently scrub her baby skin and pour water on her like an Abhishekam, I feel a renewed fullness. Sometimes my eyes well up in happy tears. I sing Kalankah Kasthuri, a shloka from Adi Shankaracharya's Soundaryalahari as I dry her, dress her up, apply a bindi on her forehead, kajal on her eyes and finish off with a kiss!
Kalankah kasthuri rajani-kara-bimbham jalamayam
Kalabhih karpurair marakatha-karandam nibiditam;
Athas thvad-bhogena prahti-dinam idam riktha-kuharam
Vidhir bhuyo bhuyo nibidayathi nunam thava krithe., 94
When I was taught this shloka, I was explained the meaning as well. I was told that Ambal presides over her gathering (Sabhai) every 15 days which are the days when the moon grows, depicting a emerald studded water canister that gets filled with camphor and incense scented water. And for the next 15 days, when the moon wanes, Ambal enjoys the water for her bath, while the gathering is adjourned.
Well again, there are days when bath-time is an out-of-control, tug-of-war experience, with me yelling at the girls and the girls splashing water in all directions, with me almost slipping and falling off, and the older one almost drowning the younger one by jumping in the tub.
I will have to remind myself to read this post on those days!! ;)
Posted by Bharani - 12:31 pm -
Friday, September 10, 2010
Parenthood can be quite a ride. There are moments of intuition, flashes of wisdom, exhausting weeks, exciting moments and interesting milestones with the baby. I know there are more of those pleasant and not-so-pleasant experiences coming up on the parenthood channel. For now, I am content looking back at the how far I have come and thanking God for all the blessings.
It is no big thing that a child is affectionate towards its mother - after all, we carry them around as a foetus for almost a year and nurse them for another long year. But with the father, it is different. Despite not having the closeness a mother shares with her child, the father still is such a huge influence on the little one. I look in wonder when my daughter looks up at her father. I remember the day my daughter was born. She was crying as I held her in my arms. My mother picked her up and she was crying, she was crying when my father held her. She kept crying as she was passed from one pair of hands to another. Then my mother gave her to my husband, her father. She stopped crying instantly. I know I was pretty harmonal at that point of time. But still it was way too touching. I think she felt her father's warmth and love. All through the first few months of her life, she continued to do that. She would be crying uncontrollably and the moment dad walked close to her, she would feel comforted. The bonding was unbelievable. She is now in her twos and nothing has changed. Mom is the bad cop and dad is the good one. She rushes to him the minute he is back from work. She offers to carry his bag and put it in its place. She loves playing toddler tennis with her dad. She hangs on to every word that he says. On days that she is really grumpy and would not want even a bite of food, she will willingly eat if her father feeds her. She misses him when he is out of town. Most days, the first word in the morning after she wakes up is "appa"!
I can only feel wonder at this bonding. Well, since motherhood came by, wonder is all that I feel most of the time.
Posted by Bharani - 12:17 pm -
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
There is a song deep inside you. You are born to sing a song and you are preparing. You are moving around in the stage with your dresses, but you are forgetting to sing---holding the mike, too, but you are keeping silent. 'Til that time, you'll be restless---until you can sing that song which you have come on the stage to sing. Doesn't matter if you feel a little out of tune for one minute or two. Go ahead. Sing. - Sri Sri Ravishankar
Posted by Bharani - 10:08 am -
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sanskrit is a divine language that evolved from sounds in nature. From birds, from rivers, from planets, from space, from air, from land, from the entire cosmos.
Sanskrit is a language built to last, even when people will hardly speak or understand the language. The reason is, the vibration of Sanskrit words do not need understanding at an intellectual level - they reach the being at a subtler level. This is again because the language is in harmony with the universe. It makes the being within us vibrate in resonance. Now we know why sitting amidst Vedic chanting calms down the mind and uplifts us. I have also noticed that as you keep chanting, the meaning just comes to you at the intellectual level too!
Sanskrit is also a language friendly to the modern computers. Well, it was the language of the omniscient Gods, people who had transcended time.
Posted by Bharani - 09:20 am -
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Google has made our otherwise monotonous lives so peppy! First it was the intuitive search results, and now it is the clutter free, light and friendly gmail! Very soon we will be saying gmail me, not email me :-).
I am now a big fan of the Planets theme! For the uninitiated, Gmail themes can be accessed from the Settings link that appears on the top right corner when signed into gmail. You can choose the theme that you want to see as a backdrop when you are gmailing, chatting or exploring. Planets is my favorite. I love the way the backdrop changes, almost makes it like a trip to space. I love the beautiful deep colors of the lunar craters, the saturn rings and the bright blue stars. If I gaze at it for long enough, I feel transported to far off and can almost feel the vast expanse of space around me with a meteor shooting by.
I know the whole last paragraph sounds a little too dramatic. But that is exactly my point. Gmail has infused more color and pep into my otherwise monotonous life. Atleast my mind wanders further from my laptop now. And wow, it shoots right into space!!
Thank you Google. Your efforts are appreciated and creativity admired!
Posted by Bharani - 01:27 pm -
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
What are the signs of a Guru ?
The five signs of a Guru are :
Dukhakshaya: Misery disappears.
Sukha avirvhava: Joy swells up in His presence.
Gyanaraksha: Knowledge dawns.
Sarva Samvardhana: You become more talented.
Samriddhi: You will have plenty.
Posted by Bharani - 08:24 am -
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
If I could treat both happiness and sadness just the same...
I used to love Hindi poetry classes in school and Dohas used to be my favorite. I used to like pretty much all poems with rhyme, but Dohas had the extra attraction of a deep meaning in a concise couplet. I was always impressed by them, be it Rahim, Kabir, Soor or Tulsi ke dohe - they all influenced a lot of my ideas during my growing-up years.
One such couplet is the one above. When I first learnt this Doha in 8th or 9th grade, I loved it instantly. I tried to practise it and do so even now. In moments of extreme joy, I bring the Divine in my thoughts. And of course, thoughts of the Divine is all that we have in moments of difficulties.
But of late, a different dimension to this Doha has been working on my mind. I no longer think Kabir is talking about thinking of God at moments of Joy. I think he is talking about being centered and stable even in extreme joy. Isn't that what Divinity is ? A vast expanse of serene cosmic calmness. Bringing in that tranquilness in our minds when we are faced with any extreme emotion, or for that matter in every single moment, is the essence of spirituality.
That centeredness, that stability is carried over at moments of sadness and difficulties. That way, we eventually develop equanimity towards happiness and sadness. Everything comes by practice. Being centered at all times also comes out of practice. Practice makes it a habit eventually, almost part of your nature. And realizing that the Divine is part of our nature....even a remote glimpse of that realization takes us much closer to our goal.
Posted by Bharani - 10:53 am -
Saturday, March 01, 2008
The world belongs to you. Pleasure or pain is an intense sensation in the four to six and half foot body. When we are not caught up in this, then we are truly and sincerely able to say, "I belong to you." That is when all the cravings and aversions, desires and doubts fall off—and in a moment the world belongs to you.
All your miseries surround the "I, I, I, . . . " - "I want this, I like that, I don't like this . . ." Just let go. The sun rises and sets, the grass grows, the river flows, the moon shines and I am here forever!
How do you feel if someone praises you?
Answer: "Shy, happy, great, embarrassed . . . "
It does something to you, doesn't it? It doesn't do anything to me! When you praise the moon, the mountains, Lake Lucerne , the Black Forest, it doesn't do anything to them. They remain the same.
Just like that I am part of nature. If you enjoy praising me, you may do so. In fact, you have no choice! (Laughter)
You can do with me whatever you like. I am there for you. I am your toy! (Laughter)
For more - http://gurukripa.wordpress.com
Posted by Bharani - 08:50 am -