Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hobbit - A Soaring Triumph

A soaring triumph18 December 2012
The Hobbit brings Middle Earth alive in ways not seen during the preceding LOTR trilogy. Peter Jackson seems to be getting better in serving grand spectacles with every iteration. At 48 GPS, the difference is clear - no more judder, no more awkward CGI transitions no restrictive camera views, the Camera-work never loses its fluidity through the entire breakneck pacing and gorgeously choreographed action sequences. Some of the vistas simply take your breath away. This is cinema meant for the big screen.

The acting is absolutely top notch. Martin Freeman portrays the Hobbit's' spirit of adventure, their love for home and hearth, self-doubt, courage and above all, their hardiness well above what Elijah Wood could ever do. And the dwarves are played to rugged perfection by the 13 actors with all their pride, toughness and merriment. Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond are all splendid. Azog the pale Orc is truly menacing. IMO, though, Andy Serkis is the biggest triumph in the presentation, for he takes the challenge of meeting his own exceptional standards from movies past, and gleefully, malevolently raises the bar even higher. This is a Gollum far more visceral than you have seen before - more raw, more menacing, more confused, more playful and more vulnerable all at the same time.

Hardcore fans of Tolkien's fiction would revel in the abundant references to races and legends of the Middle Earth - from Gondolin to Rivendell. Just this first part of the Hobbit trilogy deepens your appreciation of the LOTR saga even more.

Strap yourself in, for this is the journey through Middle Earth that we have been waiting for ever since the movie was announced.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happiness at Work - the Zappos Way

"I wake up and can't wait to come into work!" - Sounds too good to be true?

Well believe it, for according to, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, and billionaire at 38, "For great customer experience, focus first and foremost on employee happiness." Lofty ideals made real - Halloween costumes, toys at work et al. This is one interesting video on how happiness is shaping an iconic brand - 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

RT: The Beauty of Spirituality lies in its subtlety @SriSriSpeaks

Gurudev's Twitter feed is a constant source of inspiration and warmth. You can find him @SriSriSpeaks.

I had a lot of fun reading them in order and they all seemed to make so much sense, even together! Guurji's Tweets, like Him, seem individually brilliant and collectively sublime. What do you think?

Title: The Beauty of Spirituality lies in its subtlety
11/4/12, 7:22 AM

Life works on strange laws of nature (Karma). One never knows when a friend turns enemy or vice-versa. Rely on your self reliance (11/3/12 7:36 AM). Just be happy and do whatever you can to make others happy. Serve and Smile; Have Serenity and Sensitivity; Do Sadhana and Seva (11/3/12; 7:27 AM).

Don't run away from emotions. Remain strong and centred in the midst of changing emotions. (11/2/12, 7:23 AM).Consistent practice for a long period of time with a sense of honor is needed to get established in the present moment. (11/3/12 8:02 PM)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Living Fully

“I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catch­ing fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my liv­ing to open me, to make me less afraid, more acces­si­ble, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my sig­nif­i­cance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blos­som and that which comes to me as blos­som, goes on as fruit.” ~ Dawna Markova

I stumbled upon this precious post by Lance Ekum here

Awaken to the music within your heart, and keep singing Your song.

Happy weekend!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dealing with Regret

In my earlier post, Dealing with Anger, I shared one of Guruji's quotes that helps protect the mind from anger. But what if anger still happens? What if, once anger has passed, the mind is entangled regret or guilt? What if you wish to 'purify' yourself?

Gurudev's path is filled with with so much love and heartwarming wisdom. Like a mother who warns a child against mistakes, but lovingly nurses it back should it still make them - Guruji reveals this beautiful sutra to deal with guilt or impurity -

"What should be done to free oneself from the feeling of guilt? We have to discover our purity. We do not have to go somewhere in order to get our purity. You should bring this awareness in your mind, 'I am pure'. For this awareness to exist deep inside you you have to increases your prana shakti or the life force energy. Sudarshan Kriya, meditation, bhajans, pranayama and everything else is done to increase the life force. Mind becomes pure and lighter. If some dirt comes and settles down on it and the mind becomes impure again, then waht should be done? We shoudl never forget:'my nature is pure'."

Picture courtesy - PrabuVijayan 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gossip and Satsang

I am confused.

Most gossip makes no sense. Let me share a typical scenario -
Person A: "Heyyy B, hows it going??"
Person B - "Doing alright. What about you?"
A - "Been crazy busy lately. Been working long hours on blah. Its that time of the year again. The whole family is busy doing blah. And in the middle of all this, person C is giving me so much blah. Can you believe what happened yesterday with C? Blah Blah. I just don't see how..."
B (interrupting) - "My boss is being a total pain.blah.  Have been insanely busy  too. Blah. And C is a total schmuck. I can't believe he said that to you."
A - "Am so stressed out with all this crap"
B - "Totally sucks dude"

And A and B manage to replay this scenario again and again with D, E, F and G. Where's the fun in being miserable and sharing the misery? Instead why not make those precious few moments count and raise the spirit?

I loved this snippet from Guruji, "In the satsang, if each one of you begins sharing all the great experiences you have begun experiencing in your lives and share all the noble thoughts, what happens? Your self-confidence and sincerity becomes stronger. You can go forward if you have faith. The more faith you have have, the further you can progress. In order to strengthen your belief, you should keep on participating in satsangs. You should also keep participating in celebrations. Not just sit in a dull manner. Are you getting this?"


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dealing with Anger

So many times, in our lives, we get overwhelmed with hatred or frustration. The mind tends to cling to the negative, and our emotions slide down a slippery slope - starting with Anger, which leads to sadness, to hatred, to jealousy,to dullness/inertia.

I read a beautiful Sutra today from "Know Your Mind" by Sri Sri -

"To calm the mind be friendly and compassionate, and finally ignore if needed. Ignore the imperfections and keep your mind calm. Hating somebody is like drinking poison and do not ever hate a wise person. Patanjali says, "Awake the opposite emotion". This is Sadhana. If anger arises, awake compassion, a new chemical process will initiate."

Such a blessing to have the Sudarshan Kriya and these rarest of Sutras, that can reverse the swing of emotions and restore our natural, beautiful, joyous state.

May our minds be strong and bloom in this wisdom.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What is Brahman?

Navaratri 2012

"When your heart truly makes a wish, it comes true"

Just posted the note on Navaratri 2011 and what an year it has been since then. While the struggles remain, there is a growing awareness that most of it stems from within and I have the tools and th strength to turn the tide. Some things that have helped me raise my energy and spirit -

1. Walking by the Pacific - Quoting Guruji, the ocean is an abode of Vasus and does amazing things for removing negativity.

2. Swimming and Biking - Taken these up to recover from the ACL sprain i suffered last year. Swimming is a study in spiritual awareness - whether you thrash and struggle to go faster, or float lazily, you are always floating and suspended in the medium. And Hermosa beach has gorgeous biking trails, from the Pier up to Santa Monica.

3. Seva and Sangha - This is hands-down the most important commitment I have taken - to immerse myself in more knowledge and make myself more useful. Organizing the Upanishads, Guru Purnima and engaging in outreach have done wonders for opening up my heart and the flow of wisdom. I have discovered a like for traveling, seeing new places and reading.

Can't wait for what the next year brings!

Navaratri, Hollywood and three years in the US (2011)

Had this draft in my inbox for almost an year.

Navaratri is a time to be oneself, to dive into the cave of one's heart and come out refreshed, to abstain form sense pleasures. So please stop ogling that blonde now. Done? Great!

In celebrating Navaratri for the first time in 3 years at the LA Art of Living center, I am reminded of how timeless the wisdom, the peace and the joy within. The last couple of years have been a bit of a struggle coming to terms with a society that is very accomplishment and possession focused. I have been struggling to express myself, and stand up alone on my feet, trying to get in-the-know in America. The new culture has brought in its wake challenges I am still coping with -

Not knowing what works and being judgemental to defend myself.
1. Dealing with people who are completely extroverted and no sense of inhibition in expressing their dislikes and wants.
2. Finding meaningful and true depth in relationships and people, when it seems that everyone is completely consumed with their own lives, needs and priorities.
3. A new way of socializing - where the emphasis is not on advising the you but on expressing the I, where the most important things are those that I did and not what you did. It is an honest way of looking at life.
4. Dealing with arrogance, every person is their own trumpet and though polite, Americans do not hold back from expounding and defending their ideals. See the sports for instance, so much pride on local teams and aggression on winning.
5. The sense of incompetence at being confronted with language skills way superior - great metaphors, complete sentences, excited and animated conversations, man it makes me feel inadequate sometimes.
And so the challenge has been twofold -learning to love my voice and hoping to weave a story around my views. I have often given up, overwhelmed by the complexity of the challenge, but then Navaratri brings it all back.

Because, despite the WTF-do-i-do-to-deal-with-it, the answer is simple, enjoy the moment, breathe easy and relax. And not forget to do my kriya, sadhana and navaratri meets. Because life, is beautiful.

Guruji continues to be the most value, love and fulfillment bringing force in my life. Everytime I engage in seva, make it to a gathering, I come back with more. Just on Friday, I came home with so much food from the office and rasmalai at the center (no questions asked, just like that). Whatever I commit -time wise, effort wise, the returns are always greater.Everything else seems tiring, i find it hard to focus at work - to sustain my focus in any activity. Maybe thats partly because of becoming fatter - getting fatter certainly slows the brain down and saps away the desire for adventure. I have been deferring my attempts at writing, hoping to magically unlock the fount of sparkling clarity and wit by tenaciously reading more.

Anyways back to the point, Navaratri has made me happy like nothing before - every cell of my being feels charged with towering bliss - a delicious point between thrill and vibrance and complete equanimity. And now that I have been eating less, I feel clearer, more lucid, more focused and more confident of my coherence.

Sorry about the long introspective ramble, but thanks for reading :)