The Curious Tale of The Wandering Tube-light

Here lies a tale of an effeminate soul, older than the body it called home. Dropped from the heavens above, it found refuge in the womb of a woman it would soon call “amma”. It knew not where it came from, nor where it was going . All that it knew, was that it did not want to be born again. As it floated around the confines of it’s temporary home, it asked itself “Who am I?”. Asking thus, the new born babe made its dramatic entrance into the world, with firm resolve of answering this question by the end of its earthly sojourn.

Kabīrā jab ham paidā hue jaga hańse ham roye….. 

Saddened at leaving the heavenly abode from which it came, the infant cried. Around her, everyone smiled, eager to welcome the family’s newest member. As time passed, she began to smile too. After all, what was there to worry about? Before being born, she did not make arrangements for as to where her next meal was going to come from, nor where she would be sheltered. She did not choose the family that she was going to be born into and yet here she was, fully fed and clothed, with not a worry in the world. In this drama of life, with its pre-written script of pleasures and pains, triumphs and tribulations, she was merely a witness.

Of course, as she grew up, she sometimes forgot this reality, giving herself far more importance in her role of “planning her life” than she should have. She stressed over the outcomes of her efforts, walking around with the burden of her expectations lying heavily on her shoulders. She worried about bank account balances and future job prospects. She wondered where in the world life was going to take her. She cried over biochemistry and anatomy, over other mundane things of human reality, free-falling into the world of stress and worry.

prakrteh kriyamanani
gunaih karmani sarvasah
ahankara-vimudhatma
kartaham iti manyate

The confused soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks itself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by the Supreme.

Until one day,  she decided that she had had enough. “Who am I?” she asked. Who was I before all the stress, and who will I be after all the stress? That day, she chose the path of happiness. The kind that could not be shaken by the trials of life. That day, she chose the path of love. The kind that put God first, everyone else next and herself last. That day, she wore a smile that could not be wiped off under any circumstance. To the One who took care of her before she was born and the One that will continue to take care of her for time immemorial, she offered ultimate faith. She was no longer the doer.

She worried about nothing, she went with the flow and she took life as it came, one step at a time. Unfazed by calamity, she walked on her journey of life. Life was a game and she played it, laughing all the while. She knew she had God on her side. “Oh is this what we are doing now, life? Ok then! ” she chuckled as life took its own course. She still put in her best efforts into everything she undertook, but placed no expectations surrounding their outcomes. She stopped taking herself and life seriously. She was just a humble tube-light, floating her way about life. She was very happy and in the end, that’s all that mattered. Therein lied her satisfaction. Everything was perfect, just the way it was!

Purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udachyate purnasya purnamadaya purnam evavashishyate

The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete. And because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as a complete whole. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete by itself. And so everything that happens, is perfect in His eyes.

What is your “quest for happiness story”? Leave a comment down below!

I am a 21 year old University student living in Australia. As I have never lived in India, I am no expert in Indian culture. However, my love affair with this beautiful culture has been running strong for many years and I hope to share my passion with everyone this blog reaches:) Happy reading! 

 

 

The only caste I belong to is the caste of humanity

Nothing irritates me more than caste based discrimination. It is never okay to treat people as lesser beings based on their caste. It is never okay to think that we are better than other people just because we belong to a particular sect of society and above all, it is never okay to treat someone without love and respect.

There is no need to employ the usage of labels like “Shudra” or “Dalit” in our daily conversations, nor is there a need for us to mention caste at all, in light of the lifestyles we lead in the 21st century. Why  highlight something that divides people and creates conflict? To be honest, I think that caste based discrimination is an insult to Indian culture that is built upon the foundations of non-duality(i.e. seeing no difference between oneself and God, and seeing everything in the universe as a manifestation of God).

At the outset, we must realise that the Vedas assign people into castes based on their Gunas(qualities) and Karma(activities), NOT birth. If you take a look at verses from the Gita, you will notice that it says;

ekavarṇama idama pūrvam viśvama āsida yudhiśthira, karmakriyāviśesena caturvarṇyama pratiśthitama 

The whole world was originally of one class but was later divided into four divisions on account of specific duties.

chātur-varnyam mayā srishtaṁ guna-karma-vibhāgaśhahtasya kartāram api mām viddhyakartāram avyayam

The four categories of occupations were created  according to people’s qualities and activities.

In essence what this means is that the classes are based on innate temperament and role in society, not heredity! And really, this makes a lot of sense. I mean, you don’t become an engineer just because your father is an engineer. You can only become an engineer if you complete your degree and are qualified to take on the role right? Similarly, you can only assign yourself to a particular caste if your life reflects the activities that are associated with the caste.

So, let’s play a little game of “What Caste Do I Really Belong to?”

If Sattva(Divine) guna(quality) predominates your nature, and you live a life filled with acts performed in remembrance of God, then you are a Brahmin.

If your temperament is predominantly Rajasic(Passionate) with a tinge of Sattva guna and you are a brave warrior involved in upholding the safety of society, then you are a Kshatriya.

If your nature is predominantly Rajasic with a tinge of Tamas(inertia) and you are a trader or farmer, you are a Vaishya.

If Tamasic qualities predominate your character and Rajasic qualities are secondary and you are extremely efficient at serving others, you are a Shudra.

If you do not feel like you fit into any of the above categories, fear not! IT REALLY DOES NOT MATTER. Indian culture teaches us that divinity resides in the heart of ALL beings, and that we must respect and acknowledge this divinity in everyone (this is the significance of greeting people with Namaste). Love and respect is part of Indian culture, ignorance and hatred is not. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

And yes, we are all aware of the scriptural reference that describes Brahmins being born out God’s mouth and Shudras being born out of God’s feet, which creates much confusion in the minds of people who have misinterpreted this to mean that Brahmins belong at the top of a hierarchy and Shudras belong at the bottom. The reference is merely a METAPHOR. What it means is that all four classes have to work together for society to function efficiently, just like how all our body parts need to work together for us to operate!In all the fuss created around who belongs to what caste and what place each one should occupy in society, we seem to have forgotten what it means to be human.

Why do we forsake compassion for the sake of rigidity?It is time to let it go, it is time to be free. There is only one caste, the caste of humanity.

Goals of Human Existence: Lest We Forget

I’m quite new to Facebook. In fact, I’ve only had it for nine months, and so far  #cargoals, #housegoals, #makeupgoals and other related hashtags have been dominating my newsfeed. Which got me thinking: how much time do we spend thinking about the goals of human existence? If life is about eating, sleeping and gathering objects for survival, then aren’t we leading lives that are akin to those of animals? What makes human life so special?

I mean, let’s think about this seriously for a second. There are hundreds of thousands of species inhabiting the world and out of all the possibilities out there, we were born as humans. Texts of all religions converge on the fact that once man was created, there was nothing higher left to create. Which I think is pretty on point. Of all the species, man is the only one endowed with manas( mind), buddhi (intelligence), chittha(reasoning faculty) and ahamkaara(ego/identification of self with the body) whilst the ego aspect is predominant in animals. With all these extra endowments,  it’s pretty safe to say that man would be in a grave predicament if he too centred his life solely around needs and desires for survival, much like his animal co-habitants.

It is embedded so deeply within Indian culture that obtaining a human birth is the result of accumulated merit of millions of births, and not using it to discover our higher purpose is a travesty.This raises an important question: how do you survive in this world that requires you to earn money and pay  bills AND also think about your higher purpose in life?

According to Hinduism, the four goals of human existence are;

  1. Dharma: Righteousness
  2. Artha: Accumulation of wealth
  3. Kama: Fulfilment of desires
  4. Moksha: Liberation via knowing the nature of the self, termination of the cycle of birth and death

So the solution to this question is pretty simple, really: accumulate wealth only for the sake of upholding righteousness(i.e. providing for you self and your family) , and redirect desires you have for things that give you temporary happiness, to that which will give you everlasting bliss( liberation).

Hinduism also prescribes 4 stages of life, which makes accomplishing these goals a whole lot easier.

Stage 1: Bramhacharya(0-25 yrs)

Accumulation of knowledge and skills

Stage 2: Grihastha(25-50 yrs)

Marriage, raising righteous children and creating a household that is fit for God.

Stage 3: Vanaprastha(50-75 yrs)

Retirement

Stage 4: Sanyasam(75-100 yrs)

Giving up all attachments and desires and turning the mind fully towards God.

Combining the 4 goals with the 4 life stages, you can see that Stage 1 involves Dharma, Stage 2 involves Dharma, Artha and Kama while Stage 3&4 pertain to Moksha. Pretty cool right?

Every aspect of Indian culture is pretty much a chapter fit to be a part of a “Moksha for dummies” guide. It has literally all been laid out for us. All we have to do now is sit back, relax and follow the path so easily marked out for us by this beautiful culture. I suppose we could challenge the knowledge given to us by the ancients, and test the waters by going against what has already been prescribed for the sake of our own affirmations and fancies, but I’d much rather stick to the tried and tested method. Why lose energy digging up so many different holes for the sake of experimentation to strike gold when we can so easily strike the same by persistent digging in one spot? I don’t know about #cargoals and #housegoals, but I’m definitely all for #humanlifegoals :p

What do you think? Is it so easy to get caught up within the ephemeral in today’s day and age? Leave a comment down below!

I am a 20 year old University student living in Australia. I am no expert in Indian culture, but my love affair with this beautiful culture has been running strong for many years and I hope to share my passion with everyone this blog reaches:) Parts of this blog are fictional, while others are based on my own experiences and interactions with friends. Happy reading! – Divya