The Empowering “Why” Behind What You Do

Hari Om! Welcome back to the voyage inward. 🙂 

Today’s blog is a reminder to myself and many of us – who want to do so much, do a lot,  leave some things halfway and keep going with some others and sometimes get frustrated due to dead ends! Read on. 🙂 

“What is the why behind everything that you do? When we know this in life or design it is very empowering and the path is clear.”

Jack Canfield 

On the path of life, each of us have various destinations we wish to reach at different points in time. 

But how many times do we pause to ask, “Why am I doing what I am doing?”

How many times do we pause to look at all those incomplete tasks we had begun with great enthusiasm and ask, “Why did I let all that drop off?” 

The answer lies in how strongly we hold on to the “Why” of what we do! If we lose sight of the reason behind what we have started, ultimately we lose sight of both the path and the goal. A strong sense of purpose and unbreakable determination can keep us walking without tiring!

If we look carefully at every personality who has achieved or have been achieving their dreams against all odds : We will know that they never lose sight of their “Whys”. What would happen to a company that goes against its vision and mission? It will fall into absolute chaos isn’t it? 

Lord Krishna knew the reason for every step in his life : to uphold and restore Dharma throughout the land of Bharatavarsha. Thus, he remained unperturbed in the face of every obstacle, even if they came from his own kin. 

For, “when you know the why behind what you do, you can bear with almost any how” says one of those people who inspires me! 

That is – when you remain steadfast in the principle that drove you to chase a dream, you can tackle every challenge that arises! 

A simple word – “Why”. But such layers of thought behind it. 

In today’s times of constant distractions, it becomes all the more important to stay in tune with the essence of our goals, to keep going back to why we began what we did. 

A good trick in the book would be to write your purpose down and keep re-visiting it from time to time. That is what I have recently discovered is an extremely fulfilling and reflective exercise which led to this blog piece. 

For example, if you are a dancer caught in self-doubt, go back to understanding why you are practicing this art form. 

If you have hit a roadblock in a new venture, remind yourself about your passion for it. 

When that energy floods your veins again, when the fire of purpose lights up your lives – no obstacle is too big and no victory too small. Every moment becomes a celebration, every goal worth striving hard for!

Just remember, to know why! 🙂

See you Next Sunday,

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 😀

Meditation – The Person You Want To Become

Hari Om! Welcome back to the voyage inward. 🙂 My heart can never thank all of you enough for the love and encouragement you’ll pour upon the blog. Thank You so much! 

The science of Vedanta advises the treatment of meditation for making a genius out of an ordinary man.

Swami Chinmayananda

Recently in a talk on the Hamsa Gita (from Shrimad Bhagavatam) by Swami Tejomayananda of Chinmaya Mission I heard of a different interpretation of meditation which led to this blog. 🙂 

Most of us are familiar with meditation as a concept and practise even if it has different types. But are we aware that all of us practise meditation even in daily life? That if we pay a little more attention, it can become a transforming experience? 

What is meditation? It is a single-pointed flow of thought towards our object of contemplation. At the highest level it is meditation upon the formless Self, the Divinity that pervades all. 

In another popular aspect, one meditates upon various forms of the Lord like Rama, Krishna, Shiva and so on. When one meditates upon Shri Krishna for instance, when our thoughts flow single-pointedly towards Him, our mind imbibes the ideals He stands for – of equanimity, purity, joy and so on. 

Thus it becomes Sattvic Dhyanam. What does that mean? Sattva is one of the Three Gunas or qualities – the other two being Rajas and Tamas. 

Yes meditation while living can be Rajasic and Tamasic too! For example, directing our energy in simply earning money or self-centered activities with zero regard for anything else is Rajasic. A mind turned towards activities like terrorism or calculatively destroying another person’s life is Tamasic. Think, don’t these activities also require single-pointed focus? 

Whereas, Sattva stands for purity, where the mind is completely calm, ready for a flight to the Self. Dhyanam is meditation. Sattvic Dhyanam purifies, it uplifts and transforms us! 

How can we translate this into our daily life? If we look closely – each of us summons this ability of single-pointedness at different points in our lifetime. Whether it is pursuing our goals or simple household chores. 

The question is how does it become self-transforming? How does it become Sattvic Dhyanam? 

For that we need to take our mind away from everything we want to pursue and look at, “What kind of person do we want to become?” 

For unless you build your life upon the ideals of integrity and goodness, no matter what you build, it will never be truly fulfilling! Of utmost importance is to be a good if not a great human being. 

Thoughts channelized towards our goal is Dhyanam. When our goal is high, when we are inspired to become good human beings with each passing day, the most simple actions naturally become inspired and brilliant – be it managing a company or taking care of your family! 🙂 

Look at the life of India’s former President, Bharat Ratna Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. A great scientist, teacher, writer and patriot. At the core lay a humble, brilliant human being standing on the foundation of strong yet simple spiritual values. He was both a scientist and a saint. 

There are countless such examples. Thus before becoming anything else ask yourself, “What kind of a person do you want to become?” 

The direction in which your thoughts flow – here lies the secret to a lifetime of goodness and brilliance. 

I would like to conclude with this befitting statement by late Actor Sushant Singh Rajput –

For those of you who would like to listen to that particular talk by Swami Tejomayananda – https://youtu.be/_hh2hMGMlLw

Here’s a beautiful compilation of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s speeches that I leave you with – https://youtu.be/-7TwMUyWSE0

See You Next Sunday,

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 🙂

Lord Ganesha – The Hidden Messages in His Form Part 2

Hari Om! Welcome back to the journey with Bappa. 🙂 Thank You so much for all the love your poured in for the first chapter in the series. It really means a lot. 😀

Before we begin the concluding chapter, I have this deep urge to start a blog series exclusively on Lord Shiva – do suggest anything on Him that you would like to read about! 🙂

“Haha. My dear, the Lord is the very origin of this world. So forget about so-called right sizes. Think. After an evolved intellect goes beyond the pairs of opposites and remains established in the Infinite, what does life become like?” Bhagawan counter-questioned her. 

“Eh? Life would be all calm and joyful. Nothing can affect us anymore, because we would have realized that all of it is actually an illusion. This is my understanding so far,” she replied. 

“You got that somewhat right. This has layers to it, so we will see in the future. For now his large stomach tells us how a Rishi can digest all the experiences that life has to offer with a smile on his face. Established in the Truth, he has an unbeatable appetite for life! Because he knows that no problem is unsolvable and life itself is to be lived fully until you are here on this plane,” Bhagawan smile widely, quite satisfied with his explanation, watching the light dawn on his little seeker’s face. 

“No wonder everyone becomes so happy on seeing Ganesha! Because Ganesha symbolises a calm and happy life,” she exclaimed. 

“Haha totally. Now before you ask I have a question for you. Why do you think the Lord rides a mouse?” Bhagawan raised a brow. 

“Hawww! You beat me to this. Not fair. Umm, so the mouse is small. Maybe it represents that for a wise man, his desires which are troublesome for most of us – for him they become small?” She was thinking out loud. 

“Aha. Perfectly put. If you notice, the mouse looks up at the Lord with devotion in his heart. The mouse is small but its teeth are very powerful. They can nibble away at anything and cause destruction. So too our desires in the beginning are small, but when our insistence on their fulfillment goes beyond control – they spell disaster in our lives. Then greed, anger, etc come into the picture.” He paused to let Devika absorb this. 

“But aren’t desires also necessary if we are to live a successful life?” she questioned hesitantly. 

“They are. But like Mooshik surrenders to Ganesha, when our desires and the root cause of it – the mind surrenders to the Lord or to a Higher goal – its potential is turned in the right direction. That passionate insistence on the result vanishes. All that remains is a calm intellect which works with single-pointed devotion. Thus a wise man sublimates his desire and becomes an instrument to work for the welfare of all.” Bhagawan concluded. 

“Amazing this is Ayyappa. Truly amazing. Such depth,” Devika was speechless. 

“Now we have three elements left for the day. The axe, the rope and the modak that he holds. Quickly go and get your materials for your eco-friendly Ganesha. Give me your answer when you get back.” Bhagawan said and went into a meditative posture. 

Devika admired him for a few moments and ran away to get the material, simultaneously thinking about the three elements. 

She got back after a while and saw that Bhagawan was still immersed in meditation. She did not know how to call him back so she quietly sat next to him and wrote down her thoughts about the axe, the rope and the modak. As soon as she was done, Bhagawan opened his eyes much to her delight. 

“So what have you come up with?” He was back to his teasing mood. 

Devika giggled, her mind felt quite fresh after the reflections. “Ayyappa, don’t underestimate me okay. Have some faith in your little girl,” she admonished him. 

Bhagawan shook his head at her innocence while she went on. 

“Bappa tells all of us, 

With the axe when you cut off

your attachments and fears,

With the rope when you reign in

Your past regrets,

Your fanciful future imaginations and distress,

Then you serve the world with love and joy, 

You receive from me Modaks of Peace and Abundance!”  (Thank You Aravind Bhaiya for inspiring me to write this! )

“Wow. A poetess in the making it seems.” Bhagawan exclaimed with pride. 

Devika went red in her face after hearing that from Him. 

“Beautiful my little girl. Keep reflecting, keep walking. I will always be here with you. So will my dear elder brother, Bappa!” He patted her head lovingly before going. 

Devika grinned. She felt like dancing around but decided to sit down and make her Ganesha with all the love she had for Him in her heart. 

As she was finishing she realized her Lord was right all along. It was all about merging into the form to go beyond to the formless!

Ganapati Bappa Morya! May Bappa bestow upon the world all the health and happiness. 🙂 

I leave you with this serene and sublime chant of the Ganapati Atharvashirsha Upanishad – https://youtu.be/ZMRH8KFlHRU

See You Next Sunday with a new blog!

Love and Om,

Lakshmi.

Lord Ganesha – The Hidden Messages in His Form

Hari Om! Welcome back. 🙂 Thank You for all your love and support for the previous blogs.

This one is a celebration of the magical form of our favourite Lord Ganesha. Happy Reading and Happy Ganesh Chaturthi! 😀

Ganesh Chaturthi as a festive celebration was introduced by Shri Bal Gangadhar Tilak as a means of unifying the Indian society during the Independence movement. Today, more than ever before India’s countless communities celebrate this joyous festival with great enthusiasm. 

I have always been fascinated by the mysticism in the literature and traditions of Sanatana Dharma. With this story, I hope to take you through yet another beautiful journey! 🙂 

ऊँ गम गणपतये नमः

Little Devika watched as an enigmatic idol of Lord Ganesha made its way into her society – accompanied by loud cheers and songs of happiness from all members. She smiled as she looked at His form adoringly. 

Then she frowned, deep in thought. She had a penchant for wanting to know the symbolism behind Hinduism’s mystical forms and traditions. As she looked closely at Ganesha’s statue, beyond the happy and friendly Lord – she wondered what was it that his form represented? 

Now, this little girl had a special gift. She could converse with the Lord of her heart whenever she wanted! As if he had heard her confused mind, Lord Ayyappa appeared right next to her, smiling his divine smile. 

“Fascinated by my elder brother’s form?” He whispered, jolting her out of her thoughts. 

“Ayyappa!!” she exclaimed happily, surprised. 

Bhagawan giggled while she composed herself to launch a tirade of questions. “Yes yes. You know whenever I look at Ganesha I can’t help but feel happy because he brings such joy and peace! But then his form is so different, like most unique in all of our culture. Outsiders, even our own people might find it weird because no one knows what he represents. I can’t help but wonder..” She rattled off. 

“Well, firstly every form is an indication of the formless. Beyond the form, lies the formless.” Bhagawan said as he gazed at Lord Ganesha’s form with deep reverence in his heart. 

“But let us go step by step.” He chuckled looking at Devika’s confused face.

“What do you think of when you look at Lord Ganesha’s huge head?” He asked her. 

“Umm…well its an elephant’s head. And an elephant is one of the most powerful animals, always leads from the front. So leadership?” 

“Most certainly. Primarily his head represents the evolved intellect of what we call a Man of Perfection or a Rishi. This is the pinnacle that every man aspires to reach after a period of continuous sadhana and reflection. This intellect is rooted in the powers of knowledge and discrimination. It helps man take the right decisions in the world outside and unravel the layers of his own inner personality too.” Bhagawan replied impressed with her line of thought. 

“Wow. That is intense. What about his trunk? I know an elephant’s trunk can pick the tiniest blade of grass and uproot the mightiest tree,” she pondered. 

“Perfect. Similarly a wise man can perform the most difficult task with ease and go into the tiniest of details. He does not get perturbed by either. His focus is unbreakable.” Bhagawan smilingly shrugged. 

Devika paused to absorb this message before launching her next question. “And his broken tusk? I can’t wrap my mind around what that could tell us,” she complained. 

Bhagwan laughed at her expression. “My Dear, what does the power of knowledge and discrimination give you? Tremendous inner strength and understanding is it not?” He questioned. 

She nodded eager to know more. 

“With this understanding you go beyond the pairs of opposites. As in, look the world is made up of heat and cold, joy and sorrow and so on. That is its nature. Can you help it? No. But what you can certainly help is how you react to it. Right?” He searched her face for an understanding. 

“Yes. I can slowly get my mind to not complain about these things because they are what they are. They are not going away..But I can live happily despite that if I have the right understanding,” she was quick to reply. 

“On point. Perhaps this duality does not even exist, but that is for another day. Now Lord Ganesha’s broken tusk represents he who has gone beyond this duality and remains established in that subtle oneness which pervades this entire universe. The vision of love. There is no hatred or anger left in him. He is full of love and calm alone,” he explained making Devika wonder what that state would be like. 

“Such large ears he has! He can listen to all the love the entire world has for him na?” She asked. 

“That’s exactly what his super-large ears are for. To listen keenly. A wise man listens to all those who come to him with compassion, with a keen sense of being present in the moment – not allowing any prejudice to colour the mind. When he listens keenly, he makes the right decisions, when he does that he acts well and finally lives well!” Bhagawan winked. 

“Wow..quite a skill to pick up from Ganesha.” She smiled. “Now, in this stupid world of perceived right sizes, what about his large stomach?” She quizzed sheepishly. 

To Be Continued…

I’ll be back next Sunday with Part 2 (the concluding part) of the story!

I am leaving you with this soothing bhajan by Shri Shankar Mahadevan on Bappa. Do listen – https://youtu.be/nwmaPaf6Bac

Ganapati Bappa Morya! 

Love and Om,

Lakshmi.