Spread Ripples Of Love


Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once visited Vrindavan, where he observed the Holi festival. After his return to bengal, he pondered deeply and decided to introduce the festival but in a different form. It came to be known as Dolyatra.
What is the significance of Dolyatra? Winter is over, and people are active once again. They plan to do so many things for the benefit of society. Similarly, when they think of Krishna, their minds are filled with joy. The very thought of Krishna produces ripples of joy in people’s minds, and these vibrations of joy also produce a corresponding vibration in Krishna’s mind. They think, “Oh Krishna, i love you – but you also loveme, that i know.” In this way the ripples of joy in their own minds also create vibrations of joy in His mind.
Shri Chaitanya said to his followers, “Go to the Krishna temple on that day, and apply red powder and red colour to Krishna. Then you should play with the red powder and colour amongst yourselves.” And those who gave red powder and colour to others would also feed them with malpoa, the delectable sweet. So it is neither Holi festival nor Phaguya – it is the Dolyatra of Shri Krishna.
In the days of Mahaprabhu, the prevailing rule was to seek the prior permission of the person to whom you were going to give the red powder. If that person gave permission, then only could you smear him with coloured powder, and then treat them to malpoa.
In Sanskrit there are two similar words: varna and raga. Though the meanings are approximately the same, they are not completely synonymous. Varna means colour, what is called rang in Bengali. But the word varna does not indicate the colour which will colour other objects as well; an object has its own colour but its colour may not necessarily dye other objects. But the word raga menas that particular colour which can dye other objects also. So the inner spirit of the science of colour in Vaishnavi Tantra is this – that each and every expression of this universe has its own rhythm, its own vibration, its own sound, and its own colour, and thus it has its own form as well. And as it has its own sound, it has a particular sweetness of its own.
When Tantra was first formulated, there was only one science of tantra; but later various cults emerged according to their respective philosophical viewpoints. Each had a different name although their inner spirit was the same: for instance, Buddha tantra, Jaina tantra and, in later times, Shaiva tantra, Shakta tantra, Ganapatiya tantra and Vaishnaviya tantra. The inner idea of Vaishnaviya tantra is that there is form and colour – both raga and varna – in the rhythmic expressioins of Param Purusha, and those cosmic rhythms also have a sweet sonic vibration.
The sonic vibration is instrmental in giving expression to various other forms in this universe as well. To find the answer to questions of “why”, just as the devotees run towards His sonic expression which the Vaishnavas call His flute sound, they also run towards the expressions of His colour. They thin, i will colour my mind with the same colour in which He manifests Himself before me, and move towards Him. If i can colour my mind in His colour, i will be very close to Him.

The Speaking Tree, Page: 18, 19, March, 2011

Mullah Nasrudin…


Philosophers, logicians and doctors of law had come to court to examine Mullah Nasrudin. It was a serious case, because Mullah had admitted going from village to village saying: “The so-called wise men are ignorant, irresolute, and confused.” He was charged with undermining the security of the state. “You may speak first,” said the king. “Bring pen and paper,” said the Mullah.

Paper and pens were brought. “Give some to each of the first seven savants.” The pens were distributed. “Have them separately write an answer to this question:” “What is bread?” This was done. The papers were handed to the king who read them out:

The first said: “Bread is a food.” The second: “It is flour and water.” The third: “A gift of God.” The fourth: “Baked dough.” The fifth: “Changeable, according to how you mean ‘bread'”. The Sixth: “A nutritious substance.” The seventh: “Nobody really knows.” “When they decide what bread is, ” said Nasrudin, “it will be possible for them to decide other things.” Is it not strange that they cannot agree about something which they eat each day, yet are unanimous that I am a heretic?”

-Idries Shah

The Speaking Tree, Page: 03, 6, June, 2010


It Adds Up…


Little Zachary was doing very badly in math. His parents had tried everything: tutors, mentors, flash cards, special learning centres. Finally, in a last-ditch effort, they enrolled him in the local Catholic school. After the first day, little Zachary came home with a very serious look on his face. He didn’t even kiss his mother or say “Hello”. Instead, he went straight to his room and started studying. Books and papers were soon spread out all over the room while little Zachary applied himself, hard at work.


His mother was amazed. She called him down to dinner. The minute he was done, he marched back to his room without a word, and in no time, he was back hitting the books as hard as before.

This went on for some time, day after day, and finally little Zachary brought home his report card. He put it on the table, and then went up to his room to study. His mom looked at the report card, and found Zachary had an ‘A’ in math. She went to his room and said, “Son, what was it? Was it the nuns?” The little boy shook his head. “Well, then,” she replied, “was it the books, the discipline, the uniforms?”Zachary looked at his mother and said, “No. It was the first day of school when I saw that guy nailed to the plus signed; I knew they weren’t fooling around”.

The Speaking Tree, Page: 06, 23, Jan, 2011


Its’ All About Love, Really


If the youth finds spiritual teachings uninteresting, it is perhaps not their fault. Maybe we need to reinvent the way we impart to them spiritual values, says Swami Sukhabodhananda.

For every minute that you are unhappy, you lose 60 seconds of joy. The ability to be happy is a part of spiritual living. Spiritual means to heighten the spirit and on ehas to look to enhancing the spirit.

Worldly life is never opposed to spiritual living as long as one is aware and committed to growth. If you learn the art of learning, then one door of spirituality is open and hence music or movies could help one in that direction. A spiritual affirmation is: Always be a student of life. Learn to listen to music in a way your heart opens. Sant Kabir said: “By reading books one does not become wise but if one learns to love one is truly wise”. The heart of education is education of the heart.

Let us take an analogy from the recently released movie 3 Idiots. The hero has a heart and knows how to love life, to enjoy and to serve. The movie so beautifully and entertainingly conveys this great spiritual learning. Love is more important than sheer success is the strong message. Success without joy and love is an empty achievement. This echoes the management saying: “Most of us are busy climbing the ladder of success only to find it is leaning on the wrong wall.”

The film 3 Idiots revolves around goodness rather then the rat race to reach the top. Is not goodness the foundation of spirituality? Helping people in need is a great quality. Is not being caught up in ego a spiritual derailment? The chief protagonist in the film convinces us that he is not caught in an ego trip of being on top and being appreciated — he just does what is right and good, and what is the need of the moment. The trap to beware is : “Whatever is mine is good and the great awakening is to ask, whatever is good, can it be mine?”

In the film Kurban one comes out with the feeling that a terrorist also has a heart. Even thought the terrorist “falls in love” for his personal agenda, later on, true love triumphs when he does his best to save his pregnant wife. In every one there is both goodness and badness. Which aspect we choose to activate is what will determine the outcome, good or bad.

So often one becomes a victim of others’ mischief, but to negotiate with their goodness is a spiritual art.

Well-made films with good themes could impart valuable spiritual lessons but one needs to decode them wisely. Entertainment can be a great source of learning. All you need is an open heart and mind to grasp it. Enjoy as you learn.


Reflect on this

A young boy loves his dog so he spends his entire pocket money in nursing the dog when it is sick. While he is trying to push the medicine down the dog’s throat, the dog pushes the boy and the medicine falls down. The litttle boy gets angry and says: “I will not waste my money on you”. As he was turning away he sees the dog licking the medicine on the ground. Then he realises that it is not the medicine the dog rejected but the way it was being administered. If the youth finds spiritual teachings uninteresting, it is perhaps not their fault. Maybe we need to reinvent the way we impart to them spiritual values. And maybe the gap is, in a way, being bridged by the world of entertainment in the form of good films that are rich in positive content and implication.

If you listen deeply to music, if your heart is openand mind still, music can be a great spiritual learning. The problem has never been love but love that is not directed in the right direction. Music opens up your heart and your heart is guided with a calm mind. Both are achieved throught music. In fact it is said music is next to meditation.

The Speaking Tree, Page: 02, 28, Feb, 2010