The good, The bad and The Ugly

There were times when Mahabharata was the most loved television program. You could not stop watching without a blink of an eye. I loved watching all the characters the heroes and villains, they all have especial traits. We used to mimic all the characters esp. sakuni’s famous dialogue starting with Bhanje. I was pretty bad whilst my friends were awesome.

One particular day I had an urge to read the most loved book Bhagavad Gita. I wanted to know what does the war between kaurava and pandava signify. Is it only a war between good, bad and the ugly or does it have more then what I have perceived watching tv a long time ago in my childhood. I googled and found that there were many interpretations of Bhagavad Gita. After couple of research I chose Paramhansa Yogananda’s interpretation edited by his disciple swami kriyananda.

As you start going though the chapters you will find that you are actually exploring yourself( your consciousness) in a deeper level. Bhagavad Gita which is a part of Mahabharata is an allegory which is woven upon a history. It is said that the main characters in the story actually did live but most of the characters are inventions which symbolizes psychological traits and states of consciousness.
The main characters of Mahabharata are:

King Dhritarashtra – the blind mind
Sanjaya -introspection
Prince Duryodhana – king of material desires
Dronacharya – habits/ mental tendencies/ past samskaras(Dronachaya is the guru of both pandavas and kuravas i.e. the good and the bad guys. we all have the habits that are good and bad- the upward qualities and downward tendencies.)
Bhisma – ego identiy(he has a power to die only when he himself wills it and so is with the ego. You can only relinquish your ego willingly no any other human can help you.). The commander in chief of kurava is Bhisma and they do every thing to protect bhisma(ego identity).

Draupadi – Draupadi is fated to marry all five pandava brothers. The five brother stands for the five chakras in the spine. It signifies the kundalini’s union with each chakra.

Before the war starts krishna drives  his chariot to a  point between the two armies.  Arjuna sees he is fighting against his own family, teacher and friends and replies to krishna:

O Slayer of madhu and destroyer of Foes( Krishna)! How can I make war, shooting arrows[of concentration] against Bhishma[my own deep-seated ego-reality] and against Drona[my own “preceptor” of past tendencies, which have always defined me as I was ( and perhaps am)]? Those great warriors deserve (only my) respect and reverence! I would find even a life of begging preferable to slaying( these, my ancient and self defining realities), preceptors of all that I have ever been and known. Even if they are wrong, they have nevertheless been my teachers. What happiness could I find if, in seeking it, I (stooped so low as) to shed their blood?

And Krishna’s teaching goes on and on….  Finally I found all these characters live inside me-the good, the bad and the ugly 😛

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Shine, Rise and Have Peace of Mind

One afternoon I was listening to Dire straits song “why worry” which is one of my personal favorite. The song is calm and soothing and the lines that I love most is
“there should be laughter after the pain
There should be sunshine after rain
These things have always been the same
So why worry now”.
I find these lines inspirational and with positive vibes. After listening to Dire Straits I picked my guitar and pulled a chair and sat facing towards the window. When I have nothing to do I mostly watch through the window, see people passing by and some times grab a book and read it facing towards the window. Recently, I finished reading Bob Dylan’s biography “Down the Highway”. It was awesome and loved reading it.
I was strumming guitar, giving a thought to life and suddenly happened to compose in a split of seconds. May be it was Dire Straits’s song or the Bob Dylan’s biography that was working in subconscious mind. what I found was words were coming spontaneously to me like a monsoon rain. I improvised it and the down below lines speaks the rest of the story… 🙂

The sun gonna rise everyday
No matter it’s cloudy or it’s gonna rain through out the day
What about your dreams
those diamond dreams
engrafted by society in your brain
which seems to be fading away
What have you done to your life
Did you live or died till today
Did you live or died every day
what you gonna say

The mother nature shines everyday
No matter what she nurtures you in every way
what about your smile
those golden smile which seem to be faking everyday
and your happiness is rapidly fading away
What have you done to your life
Did you live or died till today
Did you live or died everyday
what you gonna say

The sun rests in the west every day
No matter it’s lightning or the storm is on its way
What about your slumber
Those slumber nights you had in your childhood
seems to be tossing and turning
and your peace of mind is slowly fading away
Did you live or died till today
Did you live or died everyday
what you gonna say

A child is born in the neighborhood
How many life should he suffer in this race
And blessed are those who could rise and shine
Have peace of mind no matter what hurdles are on their way

The Road that Leads to Amaravati

Most of the time I locked myself inside my room as the mercury was sharply falling outside. I never knew when did the winter vacation pass away. It just flew away like a wind, like a bird; gave me a warm hug in this winter and promised never to come back again. I watched movies like The Shawshank Redemption, Harold and Mude, Requiem For a Dream, The Killing Fields and some few more.  Besides watching movies I went to visit Amaravati.

main temple

main temple

Amaravati is a Buddhist Monastery of  Theravadan Thai Forest tradition.  Amaravati means “Deathless Realm” in Pāli, the scriptural language of the ancient Buddhist Pali Canon.  The disciples of  Thai meditation  master Luang Por Chah(1918-1992) founded this temple. Its current abbot is Ajahn Sumedho. Amaravati has a retreat centre, where meditation retreats are held for lay people.  In addition to the monks’ and nuns’ residences, there are accommodations for long-term lay residents and shorter-term lay guests. Amaravati has a retreat centre, where meditation retreats of varying lengths are held for lay people. There is also a meditation workshop for lay people every Saturday afternoon from 2-4pm. Both the monastery and the retreat centre are run on dana.

There was a prediction made in local newspaper “Evening Standard” about the snow fall next day . Snow fall was supposed to obstruct public transportation. But  I had made my mind to visit Amaravati so I went with my plan. Next day, I woke up early in the morning.  As usual I had my Northface jacket, woollen cap and gloves to prevent myself from shivering cold. I checked my rucksack if I had left anything behind. I always do the final check while travelling.  There were some offerings given by my brother that I had brought from back home(Nepal). It was a buddha statue , some good incense sticks and a khada. So, I had these stuffs in my rucksack, I was glad that I was going to offer it to Ajahn Shumedho. It was the wish of my brother.

typical British house

typical British house

The very morning I went to Victoria coach station and took a couch to Hemel Hempstead. I was the only one who was inside the couch, there were no other passengers. On the way I saw a digital board which says -5 degree centigrade. It was snowing but stopped after a while. I reached Hemel Hempstead bus station at 10:30 am. I missed the bus to Nettleden just by few minutes. From Nettleden it’s a 15 minute walk to Amaravati. The next bus was at 1:30pm. I was wondering if there was other cheaper means of transport. I asked the officials in the bus station and found there were no other means of public transport beside buses which runs at every  3hrs. I picked a map of bus route from the bus station and went to see the town centre of Hemel Hempstead.  The town centre is pretty good. I was just hanging around the Town Centre then all of a sudden my mind said why won’t you have a hike to Amarawati. I checked the bus route map. I found that it’s a 15 minutes ride on a bus. So, I thought it would take about an hour on foot and decided to walk.  I walked through the town centre, passed the village and  lonely highways.  I felt like Alexander supertramp, walking alone on the highway.  Finally, I reached Amaravati with a little help from a woman in Nettleden. It took me almost 2 hrs to reach my destination.

Nettleden

Nettleden

As I was entering through the main gate, I saw a nun coming toward me. I just greeted her by joining my palms together and saying NAMASTE. I asked her name. She is known as Sister Shumedha and is a british citizen who has been practising dhamma for past 12 years. To my surprise, I found most of the monks and nuns are all white people and they are practising dhamma. She told me, Ajahn Shumedho was not in the monastery. So, I asked her to take the offerings. I gave her the statue, incense sticks and the khada. I did bandana to Buddha and sister Shumedha. She prayed for my brother, family and friends in return. Without any defilement in my mind , donated a little amount to the monastery that I earned by troubleshooting laptops.  She showed me the library and the meditation hall. I meditated for half an hour inside the temple. As I opened my eye, I saw a clock on the wall  ticking 2:30 pm and realised that I had a along way to go to London. By 7:00 pm I was in the centre of London, in the middle of crowd, in the rush. I am back again to same  rush, hustle and bustle of life. I wish I could enter  Deathless Realm and never be back again.

Highway that meets Horizon

Highway that meets Horizon

sister Sumedha

sister Sumedha

Buddha

Meditation hall

Meditation hall

Horses

Horses

fields