Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Holy Sex

There are not many words in English language that can match the range of emotional reactions evoked by or outnumber the adjectives attached to the word ‘sex.’ Lip smacking, fascinating, fist pumping, anticipation, ecstasy, joy, winking, smugliness, curiosity, eyes opening wider, agape, surprise, shock, denouncing, shame, hatred, satanic, sacrilegious to list a few. What is it about sex that evokes so extreme reactions from different factions, genders, age group and so on?

I always wonder what is it about sex that human society has always tried to keep it under wraps but it still resurfaces? Why the values like honesty and integrity taught everywhere but found nowhere? Ironically, sex is not taught anywhere but is found everywhere. Why is this multi-billion dollar porn industry thriving in-spite of so many moral, statutory, technological, societal curbs around the world? Why were Indians – who pride themselves on their spirituality – the people whose most googled word in 2007 was ‘sex?’

I was convinced that there is more to sex than its physicality; that it is not as abominable as our society has made it out to be. On the contrary, I felt there was something divine about it – why else would sex be the source of creation of new life? My search led me to Osho and his book ‘From Sex to Superconsciousness.’

Osho says that our apparent yearning for sex is not actually a yearning for sex. It is a yearning for something way beyond. Sex is one of the channels to reach there. Sex culminates into an orgasmic climax. This orgasm we experience for a fleeting moment has two innate states that we actually yearn for. They are Egolessness and Timelessness. In the moment of orgasmic ecstasy, there is no ‘I’ or ego and no sense of time. It is in that condition that our consciousness is closest to God. Any wonder then that we can create a new life only when we pass through that state wherein we are closest to God.

Osho adds that it was only in the moments of love making that human beings realized for the first time that so much bliss was achievable. Those who introspected on the phenomenon of sex saw that in the moments of love making mind becomes free of thoughts. For a moment, all thoughts disappear. And this emptiness of the mind, the no-thought, is the cause of showering of the divine bliss. What mankind has all along been calling ‘the original sin’ was actually the first doorway to divinity. Man also discovered that if through some other process the same no-thought state could be achieved then the same bliss could be attained. This was the origin of the idea of yoga and meditation.

God is that orgasmic ecstasy multiplied many times. Imagine this: with a fleeting experience of this bliss we can create a new life. What would happen if we can practice and learn to be in blissful state for as long as we want? Self realized saints live in this state and hence can refrain from sex. That condition is true celibacy. Celibacy is not avoidance of sex; it is rising above sex.

Sex is no less a truth than hunger or thirst. At our current level of existence, God is still far away. By not accepting the existing fact of our life, we are not getting any closer to God. An average human being cannot pray to God if he is denied water and food for days. So it is with sex. Only when we accept sex will we open a doorway to rise above sex. If we force a person to stay hungry, someday he will steal food. Similarly, when sex is denied to someone, the person 'steals' sex from any source - resulting in sex crimes. Our own society is the real creator of sex crimes. By denying the naturalness of sex, we are denying the design of God. There is no bigger sacrilege than calling sex anti-religious or sinful. This world will only be free of sex crimes when we become capable of having a normal and healthy dialogue about it. Only by accepting sex as a natural phenomenon we will be able to understand it. Only by fully understanding sex, we will be able to transcend it. Only by transcending sex, we will be able to knock on doors of divinity.

Think of the contradictions we have built within our lives. From childhood we are taught that sex is sinful. Girls are also taught that their husbands are their Gods. So when the husband tries to have sex with his wife, she is confused; how could her God lead her into sinful act? We are also taught that children are a gift of God. This complicates the contradiction even more. God is leading her into a sinful act and giving her a divine gift. All these contradictions hinder a wholehearted acceptance of sex. These contradictions might not matter so much, if not for a deeper truth. The kind of soul that chooses to take birth through you, depends on your state of mind during the sexual intercourse. The more accepting, serene and positive you feel about sex, the more evolved soul will choose to experience its life with you. Similarly, the more negative you feel during sex, the more negatively oriented soul will choose you. Do we now see why, generations after generations, we have only given birth to same type of men? Do we now see why there are so few spiritually evolved souls that visit earth? Our sexual contradictions do not create an inviting atmosphere for them to uplift our own experiences. Hence, resolving this contradiction is very important.

Lightning in the sky is a wild force capable of killing people. But we did not antagonize or try to stop its power. Rather, we befriended that power, tried to understand it and now we have used it so wonderfully to light our houses. Similarly, only when we understand sex, we will be able to realize its true potential.

Our antagonism to sex is so deep and widespread that the recovery has to be gradual. The first and the foremost step is to drop this antagonism to it and develop an acceptance. Accept your children’s sexual curiosity as normally as you accept their hunger. Nothing in nature happens without a reason and before time. A flower blooms when it is ready to pollinate. Children get curious about sex when nature wants them to. Treat their sexual discovery with acceptance. Once the coming generation befriends sex, there will a downpour of spiritual evolution in the generation thereafter. There is no peace in this world in-spite of so many revolutions: industrial, technological, social, renaissance. This is because we have not allowed a spiritual revolution. Only after a spiritual revolution, the world will become a much better place to live.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ever lifted a person with your finger?

'Is this possible at all?' you might wonder. The answer is yes, it is. And I did this on 28 oct, 2009.

A spiritual Guru called 'Nithya Shanti' was visiting our company this day. He was explaining to us the power of the mind when he asked five volunteers to get on stage for an experiment. I was one of the five enthusiastic volunteers.

He then asked us to join our palms (like a namaste) and then have only the index fingers standing upright, with the remaining fingers interleaved to form a fist. He then asked one of the volunteer - a man weighing 85 to 90 kgs - to sit on a chair and asked the remaining four to lift him only with the index fingers. Two volunteers standing in front of him had to put their fingers under his knee and the two behind him had to squeeze in the fingers in his armpits.

We tried but we failed to even lift him an inch. I even had to crack my knuckles after it since I had never subjected my fingers to such experiments before and it started paining.

So then he made us all put our hands over the sitting volunteer's head and made us close our eyes. He then started saying some affirmations and asked us to start believing that his body is getting lighter for our fingers to lift him and our fingers are getting strong enough to lift him. After about one and half minute of this affirmation, he made us take three slow and deep breaths.

Then he asked us to try lifting him. As we four tried lifting him, I could hear gasps of disbelief in the crowd and some mute shock in the volunteers breath as we were all left agape. We had lifted this person well over two feet from the chair with only our index fingers.

That is the power of our mind. In one moment, the Spiritual Guru, turned over its head the age old saying 'Seeing is believing.' For now we saw what we first started to believe and not the other way round.

Below I embed the video of Nithya Shanti proving the same with a different group of people.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Gandhi - a Sublime Failure

The title of this article is inspired from the book of the same name written by S. S. Gill. I have yet to read the book but what attracts me to it is the title, which so succinctly packs the contradiction that Gandhi’s life was.

Not many Indian leaders have done as much for the Muslims as the Mahatma did through the Khilafat movement and during the post-independence riots; yet not many Muslims rate him highly as their leader.

Not many Indian ‘upper caste’ leaders have done so much for eradicating untouchability and fought so diligently for the upliftment of lower-castes; yet the so called ‘lower-caste’ communities have completely ignored Gandhi as someone who contributed to their wellbeing.

As a saint who loved humanity beyond the divisions of religion, caste or race, he did so much for entire humanity – which benefited the Hindus as well – but the current Hindu youth hardly consider Gandhi their benefactor. In fact, they consider Gandhi almost the sole reason for India’s partition and the strife that followed.

What could be the gap that explains his lack of credit-worthiness in the minds of those he fought for? Why doesn’t a single community, caste or religion accept that Gandhi was with them?

The answer to this is two-fold. Firstly, the humanity as we know it has deep rooted insecurity and secondly because Gandhi – the Mahatma – was spiritually way ahead of the times we still live in.

The insecurity has evolved from a deep rooted fear called ‘survival of the fittest.’ Man has always been fighting a battle for supremacy because of his inherent fears that he will be killed if he doesn’t kill, and trampled if he doesn’t trample. He wiped out forests and built civilizations to lessen his fear of animals. Concomitantly, his thoughts and concepts developed into religions and castes and various other forms that divided man from his fellow-men. As he outgrew the fears of basic security from animals, his mind started feeling the threat of a different race, religion and so on. And hence the religions and castes started the battle for survival. Some of the biggest conflicts in the world have been fought for such supremacies. The human mind is so insecure that anything good you do to a man’s adversary is not good for the man himself. There lies the inherent contradiction of Gandhi’s life.

Everytime he helped a Muslim, the insecure Hindu felt the pinch. Everytime he toiled for an untouchable, the upper class Hindu became circumspect. Not to mention that the Muslims could never accept Gandhi over someone from their own religion (Jinnah) and so did the lower-castes that gave him the boot in favour of Ambedkar; Gandhi, to them, was still the significant ‘other.’ The fact that none of these communities could make Gandhi their hero due to the limitations of their own insecurity remains irrelevant.

Secondly, not many true saints have made politics their bastion. In a field where ‘winning’ is the only thing that matters at any cost, it ran in a direct conflict with a man to whom the means mattered as much as the end.

To him, Independence as an end had no value if it was attained through blood-shed. Independence with partition was like freeing a person from jail after amputating his limbs. To us, no price was big enough to achieve independence. So what if we had to stain hands with the blood of the perpetrators if that ensured a quick freedom?

He was against the British rule but had the capacity to love the British. To most of us, the British deserve as much hatred as their tyrannical government. He was capable of separating the real bad from the real good and was not scared of praising the good in the aggressor while denouncing the bad.

We have always believed in ‘tooth for a tooth.’ It is anybody’s guess what a common man would advise a Hindu father whose child gets killed by Muslims in riots? When approached by one such man, Gandhi asked him to find and ‘adopt a Muslim boy orphaned by Hindus in the same riots’ so one Muslim’s faith in the goodness of Hindus and vice versa remains intact – and love gets a chance to bloom again.

He was the messenger of unconditional love – we are very far from there yet. Hence Gandhi can never be our hero. Inspite of his subliminal love, he will remain a failure for all of us.

It wasn’t Gandhi that failed us, but mankind that failed this Mahatma.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


In a world bent on winning over others,
a quest for winning over yourself - is ambition.

In a world passionate about knowing the outside,
a passion for exploring the inside - is ambition.

In a world ruled by subjectivity,
maintaining objectivity - is ambition.

In a world possessed with strife and sorrow,
keeping a smile - is ambition.

In a world seeking things for happiness,
seeking happiness sans things - is ambition.

In a world that magnifies strengths and hides weaknesses,
acceptance of both - is ambition.

In a world chasing infinite power,
chasing the infinite – is ambition.

In a world preferring one over the other,
living without preferences – is ambition.

In a world seeking scapegoats in others,
acceptance of what is – is ambition.

In a world burdened by past and worried about the future,
living in the moment – is ambition.

In a world seeking control to allay its own fears,
letting freedom take control – is ambition.

In a world swearing by judgmental observation,
simply observing – is ambition.

In a world obsessed with beautifying what is seen,
beautification of the unseen – is ambition.

In a world believing only in ‘either or’,
considering ‘and also’ – is ambition.

In a world ruled by the mind,
enslaving the mind – is ambition.

In a world fighting noise pollution,
silencing the inner voices – is ambition.

In a world seeking providence,
being that providence – is ambition.

In a world projecting forgiveness as a favour to others,
believing it to be a favour to oneself – is ambition.

In a world worrying so much despite faith,
believing that worrying is lack of faith – is ambition.

In a world that doesn’t care for any of these,
valuing them all – is ambition.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Rise of Jain Practice in Pune

Jain saints follow an ancient practice of tying mask around their mouths.

Pune seems to have caught up to that fancy lately as the picture below proves.

The only difference is that the jain saints wear the masks to prevent the germs from getting killed while the pune citizens wear the masks to prevent themselves from getting killed.

Thanks to the Swine Flu.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Office Office

This was part 2 of the first assignment at Writers Bureau.

I have written a short description of my office and some colleagues in the office. I’ve titled this description ‘Office Office’ after a famous TV series in India.


I scan my access card to unlock the door of my office. The door opens into big AC hall twice the size of a basketball court. In the centre of the hall are five rows of five rectangular cubicles each. The rows collectively form a big rectangle equidistant from the peripheries of the hall. Employees sit in the corners of the cubicles, facing the corners. An aisle runs through the longer sides of the cubicles. The wall bang opposite the main door and the one to its right are made of stained glass that makes even a hot sunny day look pleasant. Small shrubs line up at regular intervals along the glass walls. To the left of the main door is a cabin, a printer, a small pantry, washrooms, a meeting room and a cabin, in that order. To the right of the door are one more cabin and a few cubicles.

There are three balding men occupying three corner cubicles each in central set of cubicles. All three are also the tallest men in the hall. Thanks to their heights, we can see the shining scalps just above the partitions even as they recline on their chairs. Each has a distinct peculiarity: one who sits closest to the door has a smiling visage that frequently reveals two of his central teeth pushed back to give way to protruding canines and a baritone voice that more than makes his presence felt, the second one has the largest of paunches that cannot hold the trousers if they slide below the navel causing him to keep pulling it up frequently. The third one is so quiet it sometimes takes effort to know his presence.

On the farthest left corner from the entrance sits the big boss in a makeshift one-meter-high polymer enclosure that forms his cabin. His chair is cleverly positioned facing the main entrance of the hall to keep a watch on his team. He is a diminutive, mustachioed man in his early forties. He has jet black hair, sharp nose, dimpled smile and a slight paunch. I sit on the farthest row from him so it is very inconvenient to go all the way to his cabin only to find him busy on phone. So if I wish to know – without getting up from my seat - whether he is on phone, I just look at his cabin and check whether his head or elbow is visible above the partition. When on phone, he reclines as far back as possible, one hand on the phone and the free hand stroking the hair at the back of his head or caressing his upper back inside the collars with his elbow raised high. Consequently, I see either his hair if he is glued to the laptop or his elbow if he is on a call, never both simultaneously. I choose to get up or continue working based on that information.

Why do I write?

This was the part one of the first assignment at Writers Bureau.
The word limit was 300 words:
I was in sixth grade when I first wrote a very forgettable poem on God. I never knew then that the act was actually a precursor to something I would enjoy immensely as an adult.
Years rolled after that poetic escapade. Long dry spells of non writing were punctuated by sporadic bursts of creativity through writing greeting cards on friends’ birthdays, writing witty four-liners for friends during parties and so on. Time flew. On my younger sister’s twenty third birthday, I wrote a poem for her. I then performed an encore for her next birthday; the time in between, however, was a literary drought.
What characterized these impulsive spurts of writings was an immense sense of satisfaction and calm I rarely felt doing anything else. The feeling was surreal, almost like home coming, as if that was where I belonged. That was something I was made for – and vice versa. My soul quenched its astral thirst every time I penned something.
On December 31st, 2003, I wrote a poem that I thought catapulted my writing to the next league and forced me to consider writing seriously. I haven’t looked back since. I wrote scores of poetry, articles, short stories and blogs.
I send my work to various websites, magazines, newspapers etc. with occasional success, most of which is non-remunerative. My biggest success so far is a short story that got selected for ‘Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul.’ Other than this, I’ve not come close to being paid for my work. As a writer, I’ve matured as much as I can on my own and feel that I need professional help to leapfrog into the next level.
The world is seldom seen through the prism of words; I want to change that.
This is where I need Writer’s Bureau; not just to hone my writing skills but also to develop in me the art of approaching a publisher or an editor with reasonable or assured success.

Will this give me the break?

As most you know, I am writing for a few years now. I have had intermittent successes with each holding its sweet little place in my heart. However, what was missing was a ‘wow factor’ of success.

In order to take my writing to the next level, I enrolled for ‘The Writers Bureau.’ This is a correspondence school designed specifically for people who need professional help in improving their writing skills and taking it to publishable standards and dare to more than just eke out a living out of writing.

I have been asked to submit two assignments to begin with.

1. Why do I write? and

2. Go to any market, soccer match, or any place of your liking and describe the place in your own words. Make the author feel the place.

Next I will blog assignments that I submit and would eagerly wait for your feedback. Please review and help me improve through this course.

Thanks a lot in anticipation.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Is Spirituality bad for economic growth?

What in the world would spirituality have to do with economic growth? Shouldn’t spirituality be disconnected from money and hence the economy?

Economic growth is studied and analyzed by economists. One of the tools that most of the economists use to track growth is called Gross Domestic Product (GDP.) GDP for a country is defined as the ‘total market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country in a year.’ This definition shows that existence of a market – a place where people gather, physically or logically, to buy and sell - is a prerequisite to analyzing growth. A country is called a growing economy if its GDP keeps growing. Getting a little mathematical might just be handy here.

The most common approach to measuring and understanding GDP is the expenditure method:

GDP = personal Consumption + private Investment + Government spending + (eXports − iMports),
GDP = C + I + G + (X-M).

All above activities happen at a market-place. The basic tenet of this ‘growth’ perspective is that the more willing customers are to spend (C), the more willing producers will be to produce and sell things for profit. This willingness drives businessmen to take the risk of private investments (I) and governments to spend (G) on providing the required infrastructure. The willingness of international consumers drives exports(X) and that of national consumers drives local industries and imports (M).

How did the US become the largest economy in the world? US society made ‘living off credit’ and ‘spending beyond the means’ a way of life. The spending propensity of US citizens almost single handedly gives a reason to the rest of the world to keep producing. Credit cards were mainly introduced to induce a willingness to spend – to own more than you can immediately afford. The result: the spending power of the world grows, increasing with it the willingness to produce, in turn increasing investments and hence employment, which again increases the spending power, thus completing the circle. So the more we spend, the more we drive the world economy. And the single biggest tool to make us spend is to inculcate a feeling of wanting something which is not yours until you spend to own it. Thus the whole corporate world out there is creating a feeling of a lack of something and hence a wanting within you. True spirituality does the direct opposite to you. It attacks at the root of wanting from the outside world by creating a sense of completeness within. By connecting you to your happiness within, it reduces your needs from the outside world, through the fulfillment of which you seek your happiness. The more spiritual you become, the more you tend to live without most of the things you normally can’t live without. Most of the necessities start to look like luxuries. So you reduce your wasteful spending and that slows down the wheel of development. Hence, spirituality is bad for the economic growth of world.

I once came across an interesting ideology which I would call ‘Five why’s’ concept. It states that if you ask a series of ‘why’ to find the reason for a person’s action, and subsequently to his answers, then latest by the fifth ‘why’, his reply would be ‘He did it to be happy.’ This shows that the root cause for any action of a man is a desire for happiness. Every intermediate answer to a ‘why’ is a different path to the same end. And in these intermediate answers lies the unlimited selling potential for all the companies in the world. And boy! Haven’t they done a good job exploiting this? Think of all that makes you happy and then just imagine how many people are out there to exploit this desire of yours just to sell their product or service.

The problem with this whole cycle is that every source of your happiness is outside you. Eating a decent meal at home was very satisfying until you saw someone doing a candle light dinner in a five star hotel.

However, the real question to ask is not whether spirituality is good or bad for the economic development but whether GDP is the correct method of tracking growth. Does the monetary exchange of currencies mean everything – even more than the happiness, seeking which people exchange money at the markets? GDP was not created to be a measure of societal well being, but it is often used as an indicator for just that because it is the best available measure so far. It has served well for a good number of years, but not any more. GDP is all about money and as it is with money, GDP can keep track of food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; soft beds, but not sleep; glitter, but not comfort; fun, but not happiness; the shell of all things, but not the kernel. As economics moves away from monetary value towards happiness index, more policy makers realize that GDP cannot be the only basis when deciding and devising an economic policy in today's society.

A person’s intelligence can be gauged from the answers he gives but his wisdom can be gauged from the questions he asks. There comes a stage in evolution where wisdom should win over intelligence. We’ve reached a stage in the evolution where we need to ask ourselves some of the most basic, wise questions that shake the very fundamental premise on which the intelligent human society is built. Is ‘survival of the fittest’ the right ideology? All through our long process of evolution, mankind has either controlled or eliminated anything that threatened its existence. It all began with wild animals, harmful plants and unruly weather. And now that these three are more or less tamed, the word ‘survival’ has added an extra dimension to itself. Survival not only means living and breathing but also means material progress, lifestyle and status to name a few. And in the new avatar of the word ‘survival,’ the above ideology pits man against man. Our basic premise has made our own fellows our enemies.

Hence the right question is not whether spirituality is bad for economic development but whether development, as we see it, is the right path? Probably for the first time in human history, more people worldwide are living in cities than in villages and thousands more are migrating to cities daily. What has this done to our lifestyles? Most of the cities worldwide are crowded, congested, polluted, crime-ridden, badly managed and much more. If, as deduced above, happiness is our final aim, then are our concerted efforts towards the so-called ‘development’ taking us towards that happiness? Where are we going wrong here? Where is the missing link? Aren’t all news on TV or newspaper a result brought about by a mankind that has ‘survival of the fittest’ as its deepest fears? If I don’t trick, cheat, beat or kill my adversary, he will trick, cheat, beat or kill me; unless I’m the best, I’ll be trampled upon by others who would use me as a stepping stone on their way to success.

Where is the solution to this? Slowly, we need to start living a life that rejects the established notion of ‘survival of the fittest’ and we can then gradually change the very definition of development. Let us stop hoarding and start sharing. Let us not celebrate without making somebody’s life better. No good news should cross our lives without doing charity. We need to start living a simpler life so we save more for the needy people. Once these simple ideas become our basis for living, we would see that the tenets of spirituality and the parameters of development are not contradictory but complementary.

Spirituality is the deepest core in all of us. Millions of years of misguided ideologies have taken us away from it. And the human soul, having tried it all, is hankering for the inner essence that has been denied to it for eons. We humans get drawn towards anything that has been denied to us. Is it any surprise then that in 2006, the most googled word in Pakistan was ‘sex’ and that in the US was ‘God?’