How often to you spend quality time with your family and friends?…a lot? Well, here is what it actually looks like (most of the time).
American photographer Eric Pickersgill photoshopped away the smartphones and digital devices from his portraits of everyday life. The results are -startling. Have a look for your yourself…
The very fact that you are alive and breathing, is a cause to celebrate, isn’t it?
The mesmerising moments captured at Pandharpur Wari, the annual pilgrimage to the town of Padharpur, which is the seat of Lord Vithoba in the Indian state of Maharashtra, in honour of the deity. Palakhis (palanquin processions) carrying the paduka (foot prints) of the deity and various saints, most notably Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram from the Varkari sect, are taken from their respective shrines to Pandharpur. Varkari or Warkari is a Marathi term which means “one who performs the Wari” or “one who venerates the Vithoba”. The tradition is more than 700 to 800 years old.
Belief is a strong emotion in itself. It can move mountains. Believe in yourself, and celebrate life. The world will begin to look like a much brighter place.
Life seems pretty unfair to a lot of us, doesn’t it?
Always be dissatisfied, claim some motivational speakers – it powers you ahead, they say.
And so we complain about money, work, family, where we live, the weather, even ourselves!
A great master once said – never look upwards – look downwards. You will always be thankful.
“Why have you followed the spiritual path for your whole life ?” There are many answers to this question, but a big one is, “It brings me freedom”. Freedom to change negative patterns that have kept me in their clutches, freedom to respond with calmness and kindness even when others are angry or challenging, freedom to enjoy whatever life brings.
Swami Kriyananda says, ” When you see a fault within yourself, don’t despair, but rejoice. It has been there all along, but now that you have seen it, you can start working to change it.” What are some spiritual tools that help us to break free of our Karmic patterns ? Karma is simply energy generated by past thoughts or actions that we have steered in a certain direction.
With conscious awareness and determination, replace a negative pattern with a positive one. Use affirmations repeatedly with deep concentration to change chronic patterns of thinking. Be patient. The deeper the Karma, the longer the time required to change it. Don’t constantly dig up the spiritual seeds you are sowing to see if they have taken root. Let them grow in their own time to become mighty plants.
Bring the problem to God in meditation and prayer. Our sincere efforts and desire to be free draw the grace that brings release. We have to do our little part, and then God steps in and unties the knots of Karma that have kept us bound.
—————– Nayaswami Devi.
NISHKAMA KARMA (State of No – Action) becomes possible only for a yogi at heart. Meditating on what is unimaginable is considered to be the ultimate sadhana. It is supposed to be beyond any conceptualisation. If we imagine light, that is also a kind of form. If the mind keeps thinking about the term ‘unthinkable’ to focus on, that is also limited in sphere. So it is a challenge, one has to overcome and the secret is that it can be attained by not pursuing anything with an intention to pursue, by becoming absolutely blank.
That is the state of ‘no – action’ in every sense (the state of Godhood) that supplies the energy for all action. Why do we need sadhana of the unthinkable ? We need the strength to pursue the most fruitful action. Ramakrishna talks about three thieves, representing three gunas : RAJAS (can make you exhausted), TAMAS (can completely destroy you ) and SATTVA (the thief that has a lot of compassion) SATTVA also guides you to the road that takes you safely home, the STATE OF NO – ACTION.
Kabir Das called this SAHAJA YOGA. If we can become completely blank even for a moment, that is the real state of GOD – REALISATION. In deep sleep, we may attain this stage. But from a spiritual point of view, this state has to be experienced when we are awake.
It is very difficult to become completely thoughtless. After remaining blank for a while, w may feel sleepy, but even then it is worth practising. The effort to make ourselves thoughtless is also an action. So, that action has to be discarded. But as a beginner, we may take some form or light and remain blank, which may ultimately lead to the state of nothingness and thoughtlessness .
A sage suggested, you may think of God’s feet to begin with, but do not try to perform anything on the feet. Just remain stable. A state will come when the feet will disappear ——- what would remain is ‘nothingness’. As one attains the state of ‘nothingness’ spontaneously, permanent peace prevails.
That is why it is said that BRAHMN is ‘unspeakable’. Even one who realises cannot utter a word about it. Buddha simply smiled and said nothing as He was asked to comment on NIRVANA. It is for individuals to experience it. Those who follow the path of sadhana and human welfare are able to perform this selflessly. Thus, NISHKAMA KARMA becomes possible for a yogi at heart.
———– Arup Mitra.
Once there were two frogs who lived in a well. One day one of the frogs jumped out of the well and disappeared. He was gone for several days, and when he returned, the other frog asked him where he had been.
“There is such a whole big world out there beyond the well”, said the first frog, and he began to describe all the sights and sounds he had heard. ” You must be making all this up”, said the second frog. “There is nothing but this well. You are imagining all the things you have told me. If there were all those things you describe, then surely they would be here in the well. I have not seen them. They cannot possibly exist”.
Often we are like the second frog We my think that because we have not seen all there is to see, that nothing else exists. We close our mind like the frog in the well. There was a time when people believed that the world was flat, until an explorer proved it was round There was a time when scientists believed that the Earth was the centre of the Universe and the Sun revolved around it, until they discovered this to be false. Throughout the ages, there have been visionaries who discovered their soul. They left behind accounts of their experiences in the form of scriptures and oral traditions, which were then recorded by their students. We are their beneficiaries and we can try these techniques for ourselves. We some practice, we can expand our inner vision.
We need a burning desire to find out who we really are. When we want something intensely, we become so focussed that we block out other distractions. When we desire to awaken our soul, it responds and its faint call can be heard. Its own power starts to stir and our attention can no longer ignore it. The stronger the cry, the more our attention is drawn to it. With time, the call of the world can become more and more faint as our attention is pulled irresistibly towards love, music and bliss of our soul.
——–Sant Rajinder Singhji.