Life is no straight and easy corridor

“Life is no straight and easy corridor along
which we travel free and unhampered,
but a maze of passages,
through which we must seek our way,
lost and confused, now and again
checked in a blind alley.

But always, if we have faith,
a door  will open for us,
not perhaps one that we ourselves
would ever have thought of,
but one that will ultimately
prove good for us.”

— A. J. Cronin

rɪˈwɔːdɪŋ

Modern-ISKCON-LOGO

rewarding : something which is satisfactory, something that made you happy or feel good, gratifying.

This started a few days back when i was taking a walk in the Ber Sarai market, it was around 6:00 in the evening when I saw two Prabhus, they had put up a temporary portable stall where they were sharing their knowledge about Shri Krishna, about ISKCON foundation, about the meditation sessions etc. They were also selling books, and out of around 6-7 books which they had put up for selling the one book which sparked my interest was Bhagwat Gita.

Prabhu : Prabhu means master or the Prince in Sanskrit and many of the Indian languages; it is a name sometimes applied to God. The term is also used by male devotees of the Hindu God Lord Krishna/Vishnu as a title and form of address.

ISKCON : The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement or Hare Krishnas, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava Hindu religious organisation.

Bhagwat Gita : The Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit: भगवद्गीता, bhagavad-gītā in IAST, Sanskrit pronunciation: [ˈbʱəɡəʋəd̪ ɡiːˈt̪aː]; lit. “Song of the Lord”), often referred to as simply the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

So i stopped at their stall opened one of the Bhagwat Gita and asked myself HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE BOOK YOU’RE HOLDING IN YOUR HAND ? 

And the answer was : Nothing, Null, Nada, Zero !
I had no idea what Bhgawat Gita is, i felt so ashamed of myself.

There I was standing in front of their stall holding Bhagwat Gita in my hand and i was thinking how blessed i am that i was born in a family where we could easily afford all the basic needs, it was my parents and my grand parents hard work which they have done day and night coz of which i am living a tension/worry free life now, I got the best education and good exposure to everything i could ever imagine and more importantly i never had to think twice before spending money on anything. Even though I’ve never misused money for any bad cause coz i know the value of money and its my parents hard earned money not mine to spend, but deep down inside I think I have spent a lot of money on a few things which i shouldn’t have. I’ve got printers, servos, motors, thousands of electronic components shipped from all around India just coz i had plans of making a few things (my dream projects i used to call them), but i never got time to even start any of those and i know i’ve failed to use those components in an efficient way.

I was born in a Hindu (Non-Brahmin) family, and in my home we do follow a few religious practices (mostly my mom does pooja every morning after taking bath, and my dad does the same during festivals or special occasions only), but my parents they are chilled with us (me and my brother) not following any of these protocols, they never forced us to sit and sing prayers or worship or do anything in front of metal/wood/clay idols. They say that its not necessary that you have to do everything which they have done/doing. They always say only if you actually feel like doing things, only when your heart says that you should do it then do it, otherwise don’t, it’s completely up to you.

In Hindu Religion we have so many scriptures, there is a long list of Hindu scriptures which can be found in Wikipedia, but the three broadly accepted scriptures are the Vedas, the Upnishads and the Bhagwat Gita.

VedasThe Vedas (/ˈveɪdəz, ˈviː-/; Sanskrit: वेद véda, “knowledge”) are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means “not of a man, superhuman” and “impersonal, authorless”

UpnishadThe Upanishads (Sanskrit: Upaniṣad; IPA: [ʊpən̪ɪʂəd̪]) are a collection of texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts of Hinduism, some of which are shared with Buddhism and Jainism.The Upanishads are considered by Hindus to contain utterances (śruti) concerning the nature of ultimate reality (brahman) and describing the character of and path to human salvation (mokṣa or mukti).

Bhagwat Gita : The Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit: भगवद्गीता, bhagavad-gītā in IAST, Sanskrit pronunciation: [ˈbʱəɡəʋəd̪ ɡiːˈt̪aː]; lit. “Song of the Lord”), often referred to as simply the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

In every Hindu home you will find at-least one of these, even we have the big thick Hindi version of Bhagwat Gita at home which I have only seen, I am 24 now and i still haven’t even touched it, not even once. So finally I thought of getting an English version of Bhagwat Gita, in which shlokas were written in Sanskrit and the meaning was explained in English in short .

I bought the book, a fresh one, (i wanted to smell it to know how it feels) but it was seal packed so i couldn’t. I paid for the book and in that moment only i decided that i will try to use this to the most efficient way and not let that money get wasted. When i was about to leave the stall one of the Prabhu ji said that they are going to organize a short kirtan session plus an introductory session on the application of Bhagwat Gita, they said if you are free you can come and attend the session its free of cost (plus they said they are gonna give prasadam after the session), all you have to do is give them your name and contact number and they will send you the updates through message. I gave them my contact details then i left.

And three days later i got the message, that was the invitation for attending the session. (Monday, 18th Apr 2016, 07:45 was the reporting time)

I’ve been having a very rough time due to so many personal reasons and i am feeling quite lost since past few months due to the bad situations i got myself in to, or the things I’ve done or the things I shouldn’t have done or my actions you can say, so i thought if i go and attend this session it might help me in some way or other, and if not then this was a good excuse for me to go out of my room to get some fresh air.

So in the evening at around 7:30 i went,
This place (prayer/meditation hall) was in the basement of a corner building, i have crossed the same building every single day for 8 months now but i never noticed that there was actually a small ISKCON center there. So that said, i removed my slippers outside, took the stairs and went in and the moment i stepped inside i felt something, it was strange, it was something different for sure ! Was it the ambiance ? Or the Red carpet all over the room ? Or the sweet incense ? Or the beautiful looking shiny idols of Lord Krishna and Radharani with so many other idols which were there inside a temple kind of structure ? Or was it the huge posters on the other side of the wall that said ‘Hare Rama, Hare Krishna’ and a few others with Sanskrit shlokas and prayers. There was something strange but good about that place which i can’t really express in words.

MantraA mantra is mystical energy encased in a sound structure and each mantra contains within its vibrations a certain power. But of all mantras, the maha-mantra (the Hare Krishna mantra) has been prescribed as the easiest and surest way for attaining God Realization in this present age.— George Harrison (1943-2001), in his autobiography :’I, me and Mine’

This was my second visit to any ISKCON temple/centre. I remember my first time was a around an year back when i went to Banglore ISKCON with a friend of mine.

So I was there standing in the hall, there were other students just like me who had come to attend the session, they had reached there early so they were provided with Books to read. I am such a noob when it comes to prayers and stuffs, whenever i go to a temple i just remember my buddy (who is a born expert with these things, lol. :-P), We have visited so many temples together and she has always said to me that you don’t need to sing prayers or pray or do anything, just fold your hands, close your eyes and think about things that made you feel good, think about the happy moments, happy incidents that made you smile, if there is anything you wish for then silently pray for it, ask him for forgiveness if you have done anything wrong and if nothing then you can just give God a smile telling him everything is going perfect on your side and thank him for all the good that has happened in your life, thank him for giving you strength, thank him for his continuous 24x7x365 support. So that’s what i did, i followed my buddy’s protocol of how to make the first contact with God. And like always, i folded my hands, closed my eyes and did nothing but smiled at the God, and yes he smiled back at me !
And it felt good !

Then I stepped forward and sat next to other students, I was also given a book to read for some time, so by the time other students will come and join us and the session will begin.

Before the main session began one of the Prabhu ji gave a short briefing about the session and he said that we should do a small kirtan so that we all get in the same energy/mental/spiritual level, since we all had come from different work places, from different mental states and to get us all in the same mood we did the chanting of Krishna Maha Mantra, [First Kirtan (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) can be found in the sound cloud playlist]

And it felt good, even though that was for a short period, but after a very log time i felt that thing called satisfaction, i felt happy for chanting the maha mantra the name of the lord, the place, the pace, the sound, the repetition of that mantra, the loop, the instruments, the beats of cymbal and mridanga drum, it all made me feel alive, may be coz i’ve become too emotional since past few months or may be it was just coz of that feeling of getting lost in the spiritual peace, i had big drops of tears falling off my eyes and i was lucky that i had handkerchief in my pocket otherwise it would have been a messy situation for me. LOL !

After the first kirtan the main Prabhu ji who was supposed to take the session came, and to get ourselves more detached from the outside busy world and clam ourselves down we did another kirtan, this time it was different but over all it was the same “Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare” this time it was a little less messy for my eyes but still i was struggling to keep them in control.
[Another Kirtan (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) can be found in the sound cloud playlist]

And then the session started, the beginner session on “How to control your Mind” !

The complete recording of the session can be found in the link below, anyone who is free and is interested in listening to some spiritual talk then they can check the below link.

Session on Mind, Intelligence, Sense (English+Hindi) [Part I]
Session on Mind, Intelligence, Sense Continued…(English+Hindi) [Part II]

After the session ended we were given prashadam, Rice, Rajma and Kheer. (and i’m not kidding, that was yummy !)

And indeed it was a rewarding experience.

I don’t even remember the last time when i felt this calm before.
Even though this was for a short period, It was a really nice session, It felt good, I felt relieved from some of the tensions, things have been really quiet around me since past few months but finally for a short period only i got out of that box and I was Happy for all the good things that happened in my life. And i guess i was okay with that.

I know that tomorrow again i’ll be back to the same state in which i was before, but at-least for one day, for some time i wont be questioning myself or fighting with the self trying to find the answers to the unspoken questions, at-least for one day, for some time i felt alive, and for one night i can have a nice sleep, without having any bad dreams of innocent people haunting me for the things i have done/said or i shouldn’t have done/said.

It was good i guess,
It felt good to me.

What is the advantage of chanting Hare Krishna Maha Mantra?
(Answer taken from Someone else’s reply)

Chanting Hare Krishna awakens love of God.
Chanting Hare Krishna brings liberation as a side benefit along the way.
When you chant Hare Krishna, you automatically develop knowledge and detachment.
Chanting Hare Krishna gets you out of the endless cycle of birth and death.
It is the most effective means of self-realization in the present Age of Quarrel. Nothing else works nearly as well.
Chanting Hare Krishna cleanses the heart of all illusions and misunderstandings.
By chanting Hare Krishna, you become free from all anxieties.
Chanting Hare Krishna brings you to self-realization—and shows you how to act as a self-realized soul.
Chanting Hare Krishna keeps you ever mindful of Krishna, the reservoir of pleasure.
There are no hard and fast rules for chanting. You can chant anywhere, any time, under any circumstances.
Krishna Himself is fully present in the transcendental sound of His name. And the more you chant, the more you realize it.
All other Vedic mantras are included in the chanting of Hare Krishna. So just by chanting this mantra, you get the benefit of all others.
Chanting Hare Krishna purifies not only you but every living entity around you. Whoever hears the chanting gets spiritual benefit.
A person who chants Hare Krishna develops all good qualities.
You can chant Hare Krishna softly for personal meditation or loudly with your family or friends. Both ways work.
Srila Prabhupada chanted Hare Krishna, and so did great souls in the past. So why not you?
It’s free. Chanting Hare Krishna never costs you money.
Chanting Hare Krishna brings the highest states of ecstasy.
There are no previous qualifications needed for chanting Hare Krishna. Young or old, anyone can chant—from any race, any religion, or any country of the world.
Even if you don’t understand the language of the mantra, it works anyway.
Chanting Hare Krishna brings relief from all miseries.
Chanting Hare Krishna is easy. When the best way is also the easiest, why make life hard for yourself?
Chanting Hare Krishna invokes spiritual peace—for you and for those around you.
When you chant Hare Krishna, Krishna Himself becomes pleased.
When you chant Hare Krishna, Krishna dances on your tongue.
By chanting Hare Krishna you can return to Krishna’s world, the eternal abode of full happiness and knowledge.
Chanting Hare Krishna frees you from the reactions of all past karma. Chanting Krishna’s name even once, purely and sincerely, can free you from the reactions of more karma than you could possibly incur.
Chanting Hare Krishna counteracts the sinful atmosphere of Kali-yuga, the present Age of Hypocrisy and Quarrel.
By chanting Hare Krishna you can relish at every step the full nectar that’s the real thirst of the soul.
The more you chant Hare Krishna, the better it gets.
If you look through all the Vedic scriptures, you’ll find nothing higher than the chanting of Hare Krishna.

Below are the recordings from today’s session,
First two are the short Kirtans and then in the later part its the Prabhu’s spiritual session on how to control your Mind in which he talks about the basics of mind, intelligence, soul etc.
(volume might be a little less, so using earphones is recommended)

If there is anyone who has not attended any Kirtan before and wants to know how actually it feels to be present there in the prayer hall when they chant the Hare Krishna Hare Rama (maha mantra) Kirtan then you can check the  youtube video.

The Prabhu who is singing the Kirtan in the below youtube link is Prabhu Aindra Dasa (The emperor of Kirtan) if you want to read more about him then follow the link below, he has an interesting life story.

Lifeinterview of Prabhu Aindra Dasa

I know this was a little off from my usual posts, a little too much of spiritual contents i guess. After a long time i tried something new, something different, i hope you guys will like it. 

So overall this was the story of an evening well spent after a very long time !

“Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.”

:)

Some of the contents in the above post are taken from a number of internet sources like Wikipedia and a few websites including ISKON’s official website The Hare Krishna Movement.

19th March 2016, 03:00 PM

kwʌɪət

civil twilight.jpg

civil twilight – the time after sunset and before sunrise when the Sun is below the horizon but not more than 6° below it.

i remember when i saw this word for the very first time, the first thing i did was search google for its meaning, for its actual meaning.

i have always known the meaning of civil and twilight separately, but that was the first time i saw both words used at the same time like this and that got me in to thinking about how can be two separate words of completely different meaning or origin can be used together and can form a new meaning word.

civil – relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, as distinct from military or ecclesiastical matters. or it can also be used for courteous and polite.

twilight (1) – the soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the reflection of the sun’s rays from the atmosphere.

so from the above three definitions we can clearly see that civil twilight is nothing close to or related to the word civil, its just one of the phases of twilight.

twilight (2) – twilight is defined according to the solar elevation angle θs, which is the position of the geometric center of the sun relative to the horizon. 

as my head was already all in to this, i searched more and found that there are three established and widely accepted subcategories of twilight:
civil twilight (brightest), nautical twilight, and astronomical twilight (darkest).

Civil twilight : Civil twilight occurs when the Sun is less than 6 degrees below the horizon. In the morning, civil twilight begins when the Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon and ends at sunrise. In the evening, it begins at sunset and ends when the Sun reaches 6 degrees below the horizon.

Nautical Twilight : Nautical twilight occurs when the geometrical center of the Sun is between 6 degrees and 12 degrees below the horizon. This twilight period is less bright than civil twilight and artificial light is generally required for outdoor activities.

Astronomical Twilight : Astronomical twilight occurs when the Sun is between 12 degrees and 18 degrees below the horizon.

this was all the boring technical details about civil twilight, now coming to the good part !

I took this pic at Nandi Hills during one of my many Bangalore visits (which i always preferred calling as bangalore chapters) its been almost an year.

It was around same time of the year March 2015, I was at a friends place helping them with their final semester thesis project, and as things were not working properly we were getting bored so we started thinking what should we do, should we go somewhere, what all places we can go, where should we go ? and then after some time suddenly my buddy said we can go to Nandi Hills !

Nandi Hills : Nandi Hills or Nandidurg is an ancient hill fortress in southern India, in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. It is 10 km from Chickballapur town and approximately 60 km from the city of Bengaluru. [coordinates 13.3863° N, 77.7009° E]

When i checked the distance i found that Nandi Hills was around 65-70 km from my friends place and once we confirmed that we will go there, the next thing which we needed to finalize was how and when?

My buddy said we can go on her bike, she has got an old two wheeler which we both trusted a lot ( the bike had every basic things like indicator, light, horn and guess what ! the self start too but they were all just for show, none of them worked properly when we needed them. Also some or other part of the bike kept falling off every time we used to go out, plus i remember there was one incident during winter when a small snake was found on the luggage compartment where he was happily enjoying the warmth of the engine), even after all these we both loved that bike, so the moment when she said we can go on her bike i was shocked ! I stared at her and said “Are you out of your mind ? I don’t wanna die so soon ! ”
I said that not because i don’t trust the bike, me too would have loved going in that bike, but since I have known that bike for so long i knew it was not possible for that bike to take both of us that far and come back again in a single piece, plus in case if something breaks off mid way then there was no option for getting it repaired also. And that bike was the one and only way for us to roam around Bangalore and i never wanted anything bad/serious happening to it.

[i hope she doesn’t see this otherwise she’s definitely gonna kill me, if not that then she might forbid me or ban me from sitting on her bike, this wont’t be the first time of her saying/doing this though]
😛

Back to the trip, we went there by car with my friends mom and few other friends and overall it was an amazing experience.

“That cold, wind, clouds, sun, sun rise, walk, car, jacket, camera, your wala, our wala camera, the entrance, that short walks, that first spot, that first pic”, it was the best short trip ! Loads of pictures of priceless smiles, happy memories and so many unforgettable moments from that one short trip. It was truly one of the best trips ever.

Now coming back to the title again, this time with less technical details.

Civil Twilight (the Band) : Civil Twilight is a South African four-piece rock from Cape Town, South Africa consisting of the brothers Andrew and Steven McKeller, plus Richard Wouters, and Kevin Dailey. 

One day I was just randomly searching for some good indie rock bands and then stumbled upon these guys, i tried a few songs of theirs and loved them instantly. In some ways they are similar to Mogwai, but somewhat different. Almost all of their songs are nice, a few of them are really good, they have so deep meaning that takes you in to a complete new dimension, they are magical, pleasing and haunting at the same time. Their songs are soothing, calm, mellow and memoryful and just by listening the song a few times we can feel the stillness and quietness and experience a blast of emotions. One can easily relate the song to the past incidents, mistakes, blunders, someone’s loss, distance, remorse, so many weird feelings that’s trapped inside us all, and the repetition of the same bad feelings again and again. Something !

And like all my previous posts, for this post the song is “Quiet In My Town “ from their first album Civil Twillight !

“Today I heard that someone left this earth
That someone disappeared, left no mark here
Today I heard that someone just got up and left themselves
Lying on the ground

Today two boys disappeared without noise
And I wish that I was them
Flying somewhere over head
Tonight in silence
Two lovers they fight and one is bored, one is angry
But neither one of them is right

Today is, today is, today is
Quiet in my town
Quiet in my town”

There’s one more song which i like the most, “Letters from the Sky” from the same album Civil Twilight.

They are not just songs, there’s so much more in them. And as always i’d recommend everyone who comes and visits this post to try these two songs at-least once.

Have a great day !
:)

PS: Due to my busy schedule and other personal reasons i have been away from this blog, but after 2 years gap, exactly one month back from today i made a post which i took out a few days after publishing it, i hope no one has seen it, or if you were one of the few people who have seen that post then i am really sorry you had to see that, it was not meant to be published here, i was out of my mind and by mistake i published it in the wrong blog.

[Today is too Quiet in my town, 13 Mar 2106]

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