Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Children, the centre of life...

A child is the same, born to ourselves or anyone else...

I start with the above premise. Its now a premise. But I hope anyone who reads this would come to this as a conclusion at some time.

We all see the world now. For those who stop a moment to look at what's going on, there r different things that come to our mind. One would say "This age is a revolutionary one. In no consequetive ten / hundred years have so many scientific discoveries and inventions been made that have helped man". Another would say "Kaliyug has begun. Evil has outgrown its limits and a god mounted on a horse is coming to destroy all evil." Yet another would say "We humans are destroying the earth by polluting it, exploiting it..Wake up".Let me present another view point that comes to my mind..

I look not too far around the world. I look right here in India. Whats happening here? I look not what's happening up in our skies. I look whats up here on the ground. Whats happening all around us in India.

India despite witnessing the best ever economic growth in its history is not doing so well on another front. Most problems that our country is witnessing including lack of enough employment, poverty, internal caste based fights can all be traced to one factor, mostly if not fully. Thats the population! Causing a greater demand than supply.

Tell me which so called upper caste person would fight with so called lower caste persons if each had enough food, enough air around him, a house each, good jobs, a secure life, a loving partner and nice children. Fight is always between the limited, when demand exceeds supply. Thats when the stronger, either physically or mentally exerts his/her superiority over the rest and fights arise.

There are a multitude of reasons for the population being high. It has been seen that it is not necessarily the rich who have more children. Its mostly the poor who have more children. It intrigued me for quite some time as to how this could happen. Why would anyone bear a child if one has not enough resources to raise it. Two probable reasons. One is they know not how to prevent having one. That is being addressed to some extent by various state governmental agencies. But the other important reason I found was this.

A poor woman in Vidharba, a region of Maharashtra which has seen a spate of farmer suicides said this when asked the above question. "What gurarantee do I have that even one or two of these five children I have will survive and be able to support me in my old age?". This sums it up all. The state governments have failed miserably in maintaining basic public health. This has lead to a higher population and the spate of problems it brings along.

Looking at the other end of the spectrum where people are rich enough to be able to raise and support their children, what is happening? It could be agreed that most often in this generation, one does not see more than three children very often. Fine. They can support them all. So, who should have a problem? Our Indian government, unlike China has imposed no 2 child norm. So, everthing seems ok.

But put these two pictures together and do you not see a problem? On one side, there are poor children malnourished and not cared for, languishing somewhere. On the other hand, we have children playing with mobile phones and laptops from day one. This is the law of Capitalism. We live in an age of Capitalistic power. Democracy is the base that capitalism needs and that is more the reason George Bush is pushing for democracy. Not that he cares for human rights being violated in kingdoms or communist countries.

Given the fact that Capitalism and Democracy are unavoidable in today's circumstances, what can one do on the ground to address the issue? We can. Thats by allowing diffusion of energy at the lowermost ground levels that we exist in.

A child is born with no evil in it's mind. It has no religion, it has no caste, it has no nationality. Yes, it has a certain colour of the skin and it is either male / female. Those are the only differences you would find between any two children. A child is joy for one who has the eye to see it. A child is a re-affirmation of love and of humanity for the heart that can feel. A child is energy, a child is a symbol of inquisitiveness and innovation and spirit of enquiry...

If we have the eyes to see, with the above attributes common to all children, they are all the same. They only change as we bring them up, as the exposure that each gets. If they are our own blood, yes we would feel more attached. But thats our perception and it has nothing to do with the child. They are all the same...

They are our future. Its our duty to give to them what we got. To give to them the love and care we got. To give to them the oppurtunities that we got. To give to them the exposure that we got, the knowledge we got. And also the beautiful earth as we got it. To also give to them what we missed..

Why do I say all this? All theory stands nullified if not followed up by action. If anyone does feel that some truth exists in the above paragraphs and that one needs to do something to bring some parity among the children, we need to offer something that we can. One could probably just teach one of our maid servant's child. One could sponsor a child. One could Adopt a child... (the population also does not grow that way...) One sees many married couples run from pillar to post when they at times find out they cant have a child of their own for some reason. But not often does the idea of adopting a child come to them. Adopting a child is probably the best way of repaying to life, for what we have got...

Children are all the same... They are the centre from where life blooms... Help those in need.. They are going to keep our human race flourishing and evolving....

Sunday, December 31, 2006

I do not hate Saddam

I do not hate Saddam Hussein. Why should I?

Sounds shocking!! But it is true. I am neither a supporter of the terror that he unleashed nor of the terror that Bush is forcing Iraq into. Both are condemnable. Saddam had to be stopped and has been. Bush is yet to be stopped. Hope he too will be.

But why do I not hate Saddam? Simple. I did not love him. One cannot hate someone that one does not love.

Hate and love are traits of the mind, the mind that feels, not of the intellect that analyses and judges. On the intellectual level, I clearly understand that Saddam perpetrated crime and deserved the death penalty he got. But since he does not relate to me in any way, I neither loved him and hence neither do I hate him now.

So next time, do not say you hate Bush (or anyone for that matter) unless he interferes in your own life. His acts may be and should be condemned, protested against, driven by the intellectual judgment that his acts are bad. But he does not even deserve to be hated by your heart since he means nothing to you.

And next time when you think you feel hatred towards someone, realise first that you do love him or her. Tell them too that you hate them (for the moment) coz you take rights on them due to the love you have for them.

Let actions be driven by the intellect, though motivated by the heart.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Keys to a successful Marriage

Marriage is an institution. And all institutions are necessary evils....

The above is certainly not meant to frighten anyone. But it is a fact. The fact that it is necessary makes us to enter it and since it is evil, we have trouble with it... But it does not have to be always trouble prone. If entered into in the right sprit and understanding, it could bring heaven down to earth.

Dwelling on its depths, it can be seen that a marriage has four levels of existence and any or all may exist at a time between two persons. They are the mental, the legal, the social and the physical.

We have a society around us and they require us to have a legal level to it and a community around us, which acknowledges a marriage if and only if there is a social level to it.

The legal level is the simplest to enter and exit and exists mainly as a proof and aid for other societal institutions which issue insurance, visas etc. This level alone has a clear exit route, a divorce. On the other hand, the community in which we live has always attached importance only to the social marriage, which according to it has to be a grand function with friends and relatives as witnesses to certify and to bless the couple's union. Thereafter, the physical level of living together comes into play, with an authorisation from the community. These are the three levels, which are perceptible to the society, and what it defines marriage as.

Nature though, requires only the first, the mental and the last, the physical to exist. That’s precisely the only two levels that all animals work in, except us, the special species called human beings. Marriage is considered by us human beings as one of the corner stones of a civilized society, exclusive to us.

Careful attention needs to be paid to the first and the last levels, as these are the only two which matter to the couple on an every day basis given everything else that may or may not exist. The physical level needs no elucidation. It follows naturally once the mental level is firmly secured but can also unnaturally exist until then.

The mental marriage said plainly is the state of consciously accepting by choice, the other as your own. It is a belief in the individual that he/she belongs to the other and builds the emotional bond between the two. It is an acceptance that we would share most if not all of our life with them. It could and is quite often one-way but it needs to become two-way sometime, sooner the better. Experience of one living out memories of time spent together and mentally living out, the probable future association would not be new to many. That precisely is the mental marriage.

At the end of the day, what needs to be recognised is that it is the couple who need to live together through life's ups and downs every day. In order that their lives are made heavenly by the marriage, it is absolutely essential that the mental marriage be strong. This is the one force, which will take the couple through all rough weather. Being different human beings, differences, which have always existed, are bound to come to the fore. They can be ironed out if and only if the mental marriage is strong. Forming the mental marriage is thus very essential. Since neither the social nor the physical levels have exit routes, it would be wise to build the mental marriage first and then enter the other.

The "Arranged marriage" institution in the Indian context holds the social marriage first, and then leaves the couple to go ahead with absolutely no assurance and support. One would not be able to turn back to the community for help and ask if one finds a mental marriage not happening. There are no exit doors. Its one-way. One could escape through the legal trapdoor but reentry is heavily restricted. It says, "You are now married. You better live it out come what may. Our role is over. Now, its your headache.". It is society's way of trying to build societal good uncaring for the personal good of the individuals. It is precisely this carelessness of the community that ends up harming the couple. Many find themselves trapped at times. The community counts successes only on the basis of the existence of the physical level of living together of the couple in one house. It cares not that the couple may be emotionally or mentally separated.

The "Love marriages" on the other hand start technically correctly i.e. by forming first the very essential mental level marriage. Technically correct is to be seen as what is correct in accordance with the requirements of nature. It does not take much logic to see why the mental level should be the first to enter. Our primal instincts ask for the physical level first but true happiness and fulfillment comes only from a mental belonging that we see in someone. It is only natural that we meet many people in the course of our life. There are times when we would find a bonding building and a relationship getting stronger. One feels at one point that the next logical level is nothing but living together. This next step happens naturally among animals but as human beings, we somehow find ourselves surrounded by other fellow beings who believe that the other levels, legal and social requirements are to be fulfilled before we enter the physical level. For the fortunate, the other levels follow. God knows how many stop at this spot unable to proceed and end up in physical separation. The mental marriage though does not die. At worst, it could be said to have gone into coma. Such people may enter the other levels with other partners and a new mental marriage may build but it would never have the same intensity as the first.

Though the love marriages are based on the one good foundation, the mental marriage, it does not guarantee success. One obvious reason could be that the mental marriage could have been nothing more than self-hallucination based on very weak attachments or infatuations. This is quite often the case and hence the fear of the society to allow it. Even when the mental marriage is real enough, in the subjective mental realities of both individuals, success is not assured.

What is essential in addition to this is trust and maturity in both the individuals. A clear understanding that the two are essentially different human beings of different mental make-ups. An understanding that differences exist and would show up often. It needs a commitment to tide over the tough times and a belief that the marriage would emerge happier and stronger soon. A trust in the partner and the strength of the bond one has formed. These are the only ones that would finally ensure a strong successful marriage. And these are understandings, which should be learnt by individuals in thier dealings with other people they relate to as family, relatives, friends and colleagues as these relationships also dependent on the trust, and mental understanding. These are essentially true even for the arranged marriages.

Which level comes into existence first depends on circumstances and choices of individuals. Any one may happen first. But come what may, whatever be the sequence, unless the mental marriage is strong and the other qualities of trust and maturity are present, the marriage is bound to fail, either ending in divorce or a clear emotional separation yet keeping the physical level going since no exit routes exist or living for the children one already has by then.

Realise the truth. Build maturity and trust worthiness in yourself, choose to form a strong mental marriage and then enter other levels of marriage. Your relationship is bound to succeed, as it would have outgrown the institution called marriage. Marriage, for those who do not cross this level would remain the same old necessary evil.

May all find heaven on earth...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Principle of Life

The principle of life is simple.


As someone said, "Ask not what the society has given u, ask what u have given to the society"

The principle is aimed at the greatest goal of humanity, Evolution. Evolution can happen only if the gain for humanity is more than what it invests in creating an individual. Once an individual makes the “Principle of life” the “Principle in life”, he/she would be working for the greatest cause of humanity and can feel proud of it.

Contributions to humanity/society can be in very different ways, by ploughing land, by spreading love, by advancing science, by making pots, by building nuclear reactors, by painting, by dancing and so forth. Every role played by every section of the society is important for the whole of it.

What is important in life is this. To be a good human being and a good citizen of your country and society.

To be a good human, one should ensure that he/she does not intentionally harm any person/living being either physically or emotionally except in self-defence.

And to be a good citizen, one should uphold two central principles, "Sincerity and Commitment" in one's efforts to enhance the "Quality of life" in and around himself/herself.

Last but not the least, once these principles are imbibed in one, he/she should not be afraid of living by it, defending it and also spreading it.

These simple principles stated above when absorbed into oneself and lived out brings forth peace and happiness..

"Lokha samastha sukhino bavanthu", "May the whole world live in peace"

Revelations on Love and Relationships…

Said below are some very esoteric truths and some hard ground realities. Love is beautiful and all would love to read and spend time on it. But the hard truth about relationships is worth reading as man spends much of his time struggling with it. Lets see them both...

LOVE COMES IN ONLY ONE COLOUR. PURE WHITE. There is only one kind of love, if and when it exists. Be it between a mother and child, a brother and sister or between a young couple or between a husband and wife.

Astounding, as it may seem, it is true.

Then what is this thing between people that differs? That's relationship. Relationship is the sum total of rights and responsibilities with respect to one another.

Relationships are born out of contact. When two people come in contact, a relationship is born. It can vary widely from a mother-son relationship to a customer-supplier relationship.

One may wonder what a customer-supplier relationship has to do with love. No marks for guessing. It’s not based on love. Its based on need. Need for action, need for money. A relationship can exist even without love.

There are only three kinds of such relationships. They come as 'financial', 'forced' or 'immoral'. A financial relationship is more a partnership in productive action. Forced relationships are ones into which at least one of the two is forced. It may be a case of bonded labour or a marriage without consent, executed forcibly. An immoral relationship is born out of lust and is short lived.

Turning to the relationships based on love, how does one now substantiate the statement that only one kind of love exists between all???

Taking it slowly, if relationships based on love are analysed from their birth, we see this.

They are of course born when two people come in contact. Relationships thereafter grow in proportion to the time spent together. Relationships within the family have an edge over other in that time spent is most often higher. One is always imposed with familial relationships. When they also are accompanied by love, they are very heartening. they form the strong roots for success of a person in life.

Outside the family, relationships build once one starts moving out. Until about 3 years, our parents hold exclusive rights over us. As we move out, we build student-teacher relationships at school and the peer relationship, 'friendship'. Here we make choices. We spend more time with the ones we like. And slowly we start giving more rights to the other and take more responsibilities about the other. Rich friendships are built during school days.

But it’s in the youth the one is out for most of the time and builds most relationships. Love descends on most people during these times. Everyone always needs someone who they can see as their own and share their happiness / grief with. Sharing, spending time together and active with rights and responsibilities, one strengthens relationship. Its not necessary one finds comfort in just one other person. The society sitting quiet all the while suddenly wakes up with a scream calling slogans of immorality.

Love is unrestricted and can be distributed in as much abundance as we can imagine to as many people as we know. But relationships! No! They, though being the expressions of love, the perceptible part remain a limited resource. This is what the society seeks to restrict. Why? Simple. Society needs to sustain itself and continue to exist despite anything. It has existed so long and that is clear proof of its strength. It does not mind sacrificing individual good for societal good, which it sees as a higher good.

Sustainability is essential for any system. Society is one and it needs to survive. Smaller communities may exist flouting rules of the overall society but a society of 'large scale' always has to find stable rules for sustenance. The male / female population ratio on the earth remains roughly 'one'. This is the simple key to sustenance. Society holds any relationship undefined by it as 'immoral' and outcasts those who indulge in it.

The one relationship, which every society fears to define, is 'friendship' because it looks potentially dangerous and capable of flouting all rules and upsetting its rhythm. So, whenever a friendship grows dangerous i.e. in terms of time spent together and rights / responsibilities shared, society calls foul and intervenes. The only way of making society quiet and still keep the relationship is to give it a name known to it, which if the individuals in question are off the opposite sex is 'marriage'. Society happily rests. One more success to its count.

Societies have feared and still fear undefined relationships between individuals of the same sex. Unlike the case before, it does not have the option of 'forcing' a 'marriage' here. Any attempts to give a name and allow them will end up consuming that society in its entirety and lead to the death of that society. Fortunately they are controlled more by the genes and society does not have to worry much.

One can see very clearly that there arises no reason to define a second variety in love itself. The variety exists in its expressions and not in itself.

Love never binds. It sets free one's mind and the beloved too. It knows only to give and to think for the other. It runs by giving and being given, never by asking / demanding.

But to continue this expression of love, one has to choose a form, i.e. a relationship. And relationships work only if effort is from both sides. No relationship can be fully driven by one side. When it does run, driven by both, it still binds. Both remain bound and committed to it. They create constraints since the time the other has and the rights on them are limited resources, and a person wants to consume all of it for oneself.

While talking love, which is unseen, unheard, only felt, there is no society. The society has no power to limit it. But once given a form, society peeps in and monitors every relationship. It ensures sustenance by advising off, threatening and if required even by killing relationships which threaten it. Self-defence it is. It destroys the peace that existed in the lives of the individuals concerned. Its own way, the strongest attack on individuals. Steal his / her sleep, peace of mind and he / she will break or relent. Else force them into some other relationship.

The lesson goes this way. LOVE. But don’t expect that each relationship should prosper. Only those allowed by the society can flourish and keep your peace of mind intact. Don’t lose your peace for happiness. It’s a bad bargain, as happiness and joy can never exist without peace.

Love does not die when a relationship, which is its expression, is killed. It is indestructible. It is not explainable. It cannot be put into words. It comes, not after asking for your permission, and when it has come, you will know it has come and is there to stay.

Build strong relationships based on love, ones that society allows. If you dare to brave the society, you may win or you may lose. It’s your choice to fight. But remember. Love never dies.

May Life Live Long in LOVE…

Life on Earth

The more general a ‘rule’ is, the more powerful it is.

The large picture of 'LIFE ON EARTH' is this way. Life on earth consists of plants, animals and human beings. Plants live and probably communicate too but we do not know. They do not have enough control over their survival. They survive because they just grow in such large numbers and varieties and interest animals and human beings that we keep them alive.

Animals certainly do survive. They hunt or just pluck, eat and live. They do build some small community feelings. But the essence to their 'life on earth' is survival. They develop weapons and skills to defend themselves from enemies to ensure their survival. They do very little beyond that.

Human beings, though technically belonging to the class of mammals and hence animals, certainly are a different species. Not just because of the skills but WE are 'QUALITATIVELY DIFFERENT' from animals and not just 'QUANTITATIVELY'. Which goes to say that we not just have more number of skills in different forms than animals but our 'life on earth' has a totally different 'purpose' and 'perspective' which animals don’t even get the scent of.

Essentially, 'life on earth' for human beings 'goes beyond survival.' 'WE EVOLVE'.

We know that lions have remained lions since ages and monkeys, monkeys. We are not the same. Human beings have grown and evolved along multiple lines over the ages. We have become more and more equipped with better tools for survival, become more and more artistic, become more and more knowledgeable, more and more peaceful, have improved our quality of life substantially, gone beyond the earth too to the moon and the mars too.

We are getting better at the way we 'survive' on earth. We today are looking to avoid attacks from beyond earth too if they do come, in forms as simple as asteroids or may be some other living species. We are at a stage that we believe 'WE CAN FEND OFF OR AT LEAST GIVE A STRONG FIGHT TO ANY EVIL THAT MAY STRIKE HUMANITY'. That’s as good as it gets for 'SURVIVAL'.

But where is it that we have 'QUALITATIVELY DIFFERED' from animals? We started as 'good animals'. God had not gifted us with weapons like the 'claws of a lion' or the 'venom of a king cobra' or the 'thorns of a porcupine' or the 'electric impulse of an eel'. He gave us just one thing, 'a powerful brain' and asked us to build the tools and weapons that we needed ourselves. We did and managed to achieve supremacy over most animals. We even used it to hunt fellow human beings for some time, being cannibals. But we got over that. We started domesticating some animals for our benefit. We anyway easily learnt the art of growing plants and even animals for our food. We were supreme. No questions asked. But we did not just stop at that.

We had another big enemy, OURSELVES. Man has been a big enemy of man for a long time. The slightly more technically advanced men went and set rule over other men, enslaved them, treated them as animals and extracted benefit from them too. Could there be a lower point in human history that this 'IMPERIALISTIC AGE'? We had dictators who executed whole sections of society. We waged world wars for supremacy over each other.

But then we came of that too. Today, we stand and realize the principle of 'DEMOCRACY'. 'MILITARISTIC IMPERIALISM' can survive no more. Those who still practice it in some small scale will also 'lay down their weapons' soon. We would be a more 'peaceful society' soon.

Amidst all this, other things have happened. Humans like no other species started using their 'strong intellect' to 'query nature'. Science was born. We found out 'gravity', 'electricity' and what not. We could do a lot more in a lot more efficient manner than earlier. The fight for that continues, as can be seen from a simple example of communication. From the days of 'sending men on horse back with letters' to 'calling through mobile phones'. We have spent energy to reduce the 'effort' spent on 'maintenance functions' so that we can spend more time on what we see as our exclusive ability and our goal, 'EVOLUTION'.

Query of things outside of us as stated earlier came to be known as 'science'. These outside phenomenon could now be summed up with simple looking mathematical formulae having such profound implications and could help us immensely. But the men from the 'east' took a very different approach to ‘EVOLUTION’. They 'looked within'. Looked at aspects concerning the very reason, meaning and necessity for our 'existence on earth'. Looked at questions about how much control we had on our lives, knowing that turmoil has always existed in each of our personal lives despite all else. That was the birth of the 'eastern philosophy', that which the 'east' always valued more than 'science'. Concepts like 'liberation from life' and 'mukti' were unfolded and the 'east' has inarguably come to be accepted as the 'seat of evolution of philosophy'. Not to say that the 'west' never looked at philosophy. The 'west' had its share of 'philosophers' but there still existed an essential difference in the 'philosophy' of the 'east' and the 'west'.

Two essential facets of 'EVOLUTION' emerged from the above. The way of the 'west' which looked at the issues and problems on the ground as they seemed to the eye, resolution of the same, improving our 'quality of life' and being able to do more and more like 'computing the incidents at the beginning of the universe' to 'developing nuclear weapons', 'predicting earthquakes' and 'flying planes' across continents. The other ‘way of the east' which showed man the 'path to personal evolution' through meditation to 'reaching liberation from the grinds of life'. The 'essence' of the 'eastern philosophy' can be summarized as follows. It said that 'Man has four essential facets', the body, the mind, the intellect and the 'soul'. The first three make up his personality and that is what is seen outside by others and often mistakenly understood to be the whole. The body is subjected to 'birth and death'. The 'mind' and the 'intellect' cannot be expressed without a 'body' and hence are as good as 'dead' without a 'body'. But it’s the 'soul', which is never born and is never to be killed that 'WE ACTUALY ARE' and the goal is to 'REALISE' that. This realization is called by different names as 'mukti', 'Nirvana' etc.

We have thus seen that human beings have come a long way since the age of the ‘Homo erectus’ and that the ‘Homo sapiens’ that we are, while being masters at ‘survival’ are surely headed up the road of ‘EVOLUTION’.