What we all crave for from inside is a simpler and meaningful life but our every desire every action is to grab more than we need. In such a process instead of having a simpler life, we create labyrinth around ourselves, and more we try to move away from the deeper in its web we get lost.
How hard can it be to take life and all that comes with it, easily?
Why is it so hard, to do easy?
The first brick of this labyrinth’s foundation is laid the moment we are born and given a sense of identity. We start moving to try to grasp each corner, trying to figure out everyone and everything in our life. There are no walls yet, just foundations of these walls. I can still see you; you can still talk to real me. We play, we dance, we fight, we cry, we laugh, we have no walls between us. This was easy. It didn’t look easy then, but now it looked like simpler times. Oh, our gone childhood.
With each step further, we put more and more layers of identity on ourselves. First, it was just my name which you asked, and we became best friends. Then………….
Today, I was cleaning my laptop. Removing unnecessary files and deleting all superfluous selfies of mine, to make some space for, quite possibly, some new selfies; when I discovered this. I am not writing much nowadays, but when I was, I used to write about anything and just anything that would come to my mind and store it in a temporary document until I get the time to finish it and publish it. This above piece, ‘Is it easy to live life easily? ‘of a somewhat probable future article that I wrote a year back, was lying hidden in plain sight on my laptop and today I visited it while accidentally trying to delete it.
It’s not a big deal. We all do such things when we write something down and forget about it later until we see it again. But, the big deal for me was, that even after reading it and re-reading it, I couldn’t recollect that why and when I wrote it. So, there you see, it is just sitting here in front of my eyes as some unfinished story which I forgot how I wanted to complete it. I have no recollection of how I wanted to end it, or what was the idea behind this piece. I had to read it twice just to make sure that these are my own words… memory is a funny thing, indeed.
I am still perplexed at this thought about living an easy life. Maybe in a day or so, I will be able to remember and get this answer, or maybe its time to find some new answers. Right now, my mind is like too many tabs of a browser opened at the same time. Multitasking and multidirectional. Too chaotic. Too much to process. Too much to complete. So, on second thought, I may let this one slide. Time to close one tab.
The marketed meaning of this word has become – Breathing and Stretching Exercises.
We celebrated International Yoga Day Yesterday on 21st June 2019. Something which originated in India centuries ago has now widespread on an International level. Its popularity has gained a stronghold, especially in western countries. By declaring 21st June as International Yoga Day, we are now celebrating this rich heritage of India worldwide. The most profound thing here is that Yoga is accepted everywhere by all age groups and ethnicities. Despite the fact that some people confuse it with Hindu Religion and try to deter non-Hindus in accepting this healthy way of living; its positive life-altering experiences has credited in its success and popularity among masses.
But, my question over here is -The Yoga that we are celebrating and promoting, is this the true Yoga in its complete form?
If you google yoga types, you will find Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, Hybrid Yoga, Power Yoga, etc… I couldn’t comprehend how did we reach here from a simple word which meant – Union.
Yoga is as simple as the word Union, its literal meaning.
It is a union of you with your higher self. You may call it God, Universe, Existence, Non -Existence, Nothingness, Everlastingness, or just a union with your true self. Once you will understand the Union aspect of it, then you will also realize that you are never apart. So, why the Union? How can we unite with something from which we were never apart? This union is not physical. This is spiritual and psychological. This is more like a realization through self-discovery.
What we see today everywhere is more of Aasans and Pranaayam; which on a broad level can be categorized as body exercises/postures and breathing techniques to attain a healthy physical body for a healthy mind and in turn, they help you in progressing towards spiritual union(the true Yoga). We certainly need to go step by step and thus this is the most important step to lay the foundation upon which you can climb higher in your spiritual growth. It is as important as a baby’s first step. But, we also need to keep that in mind that purpose of teaching a baby how to walk is not limited to him taking a walk but also teaching him a way of life where he knows what he should be walking towards to.
There are various paths given to achieve this self-realization from Raaj Yoga to Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hath Yoga, etc. There are ‘Yama’ and ‘Niyams’ to be followed like Ahimsa, Asteya, Aparigraha, Santosha, etc. The intent is not to just clean your body of toxins but also your mind, your actions, and your thoughts. We need to integrate it into our behavior and our actions if we want to call it Yoga; otherwise what most of us are doing are just aasans and pranaayaam. This should be the role and responsibility of Yoga teachers who when opening up Yoga Studios and Yoga Workshop teach their disciple that Yoga is done by integrating a way of life where not only our physical body but we also take care of our psychological and Spiritual well being.
In Yoga, we talk about harmony. We talk about our connection with each other. We talk about how we are connected to nature. We talk about how we are one with everything around us. How we are one with The One. It is much much much larger than what we have shown to the world so far. I know with time, we will teach our young generation that how they can start with Aasans and Pranayams and progress through Meditation and a Yoga Path to reach to their full potential and live a life which is filled with joy and compassion.
I am not that sort of person to ask such question, but just for my curiosity can you answer this question. When you are answering it, you must be going through all the compliments that you have received for your food so far. Compliments on how delicious that particular dish was, how mouth-watering your gravy was on that day, how yummy that cake looked which you made on your kid’s birthday…. Did any of compliments mentioned, how great you cook in comparison to a restaurant/hotel?
A guy in my office, who basically is of European origin, asked me in a very serious tone, “Can I ask you a question about what an Indian guy said to me one time?
Me: yeah, sure.
We were at the lunch table, eating and talking about various cultures when suddenly he asked me this question. By the way, he is a great cook, at least that’s what he claims. I have yet to find proof of his claim.
He: Once I had an Indian friend over at my place for dinner, and about my food, he said to me, “It tastes just like restaurant food”.
He: why did he say such a thing? I just don’t understand, was he trying to insult my food?
That was the time I laugh so hard that I almost choked on my food. All of us present on the table were laughing, except my European friend.
He: and, while he was insulting my food, he was smiling and nodding his head, like it was an acceptable thing to say.
Me: (still laughing) don’t worry, treat it as the highest compliment for your food. He was complimenting your food, not insulting it.
He: but, who compares home-cooked meal to a hotel food. Home cooked is special. I put so much effort into it. It was not at all comparable with a hotel food.
Before our laugh riot could go further, I felt the need to explain.
We(Indians) usually eat homemade food, daily. Occasionally we go to restaurants and order something special. Unlike, most of the people here, who eat outside food daily, and cook at home seldom.
For you, cooking at home is special, as you do it rarely, with family. When you are cooking, your whole family is cooking with you in the kitchen. It is a family celebration. It is special. For us, when we cook, we (woman) cook alone in our kitchen; and most of the time, it is a mundane daily activity for us. But, when we go outside to eat; our whole family goes together to eat and enjoy. That is special for us.
When you are doing something daily, even when it is an important work; with time it loses its importance. We take the breath every second of our life, but we value it when we have to struggle to take it. Food that we are cooking and eating daily loses its charm after a while, but we realize love and effort put into it, once we don’t have that luxury of eating a home-cooked meal. We appreciate only those things which are hard to get.
After talking to him, I realized how important that food is which I am making with my own hands. It has care and love in it. It is special. It can never be like a hotel food.
Now, my husband needs to find a better compliment than saying, “oh, this tastes so good, just like a restaurant.”
Padmavati this name which was the epitome of valor and Rajput pride. This same name has now turned into a controversy where no one knows what they are fighting for? Do they just want to stop the release of a movie, or is there any real cause behind this movement?
Padmavati was a Hindu Queen, a Rajput king’s wife. Ironically, she first came to light in the poetic imagination of a Muslim poet. She was fiction or real, that does not matter anymore, as we have seen a lot of Hindu culture and literature changed when Mughals took over. Without any historical claim, it is hard to say what was fact and which part was fiction; and now there is no way to find out the truth. One thing that I could be sure of, however, would be to treat a talking parrot singing praises of Padmavati beauty and guiding Ratan Singh the way to reach her; as merely a fiction. But as I said, now it does not matter which part of this story was real and which was not. The only thing that matters now is – what are we trying to defend by protesting Padmavati Movie.
I tried hard to not say anything about this controversy but being me, it is a task near to impossible. So, I jotted down a few points of my own, that I want to share with you all. Before I write them, I must tell you that I am not on any side, in fact, there are no sides here.
First, let me ask you, how many of you have talked about Padmavati before this movie was announced. How many of you have remembered her, or have told her stories to your kids? Do your kids know Padmavati? If they know her, what do they know about her – her beauty, her suicide, or there was something more to her that you have taught your kids about?
Those who are opposing a movie without watching it; what are your grounds for protest? I have heard few people say that “They should not have made a movie on a Hindu Queen, why don’t they make films on Muslim ladies?” Seriously, do you think that they are making these films to honor/dishonor anyone? It is a business? They are doing it to make money out of it? Which will generate more revenue, a Padmavati, or a plain love story? Also, free publicity, which you guys are giving them. A movie maker is not thinking of religion when it comes to making movies. He is doing a business; same way when you are running a business it does not bother you if your client is a Hindu or a Muslim.
If they are making a movie, they should not hurt anyone’s sentiments. This is true. No one should ever hurt other’s sentiments, through their movies, or their words, posts on social media or comments. But are we living in an ideal world? A movie who evokes sentiments in a large section of people will obviously generate more profit. In fact, more controversial a movie is; more people try to watch it.
The story of Padmavati was about how she chose to burn herself in the fire over accepting the illicit proposal of a man. It will be a blot to her memory and dignity if any movie/story shows her with that man in any scenario (even in a dream). This kind of thing could hurt sentiments of people who have heard the story of Padmavati and have found solace in her sacrifice. But without watching this movie, how can anyone come to this conclusion, that this scene is there in the movie?
I totally agree that we should have a governing body who should stop a movie from releasing if that movie has some hidden agenda, and can hurt religious sentiments. In past, we have seen such movie coming into light who have put a particular Religion and its followers in question. We should have a government agency to identify such movies and scenes, and stop them from releasing until they fit the standards.
But wait? Don’t we already have that system in place. It’s called, censor board, right? And above that, you also have your legal system, courts, who have right to stop the release of a movie if it shows one community/person in the bad light and hurt someone’s sentiments.
What I doubt here is, who are these men, whose sentiments can get hurt through this movie? Rajput? Or, Politicians?
There was one Padmavati who died to save a Rajput’s king pride, and now a Padmavati is marked to be beheaded as she has hurt sentiments of a Rajput tribe.
Those who talk of Rajput’s pride here, do you know that Raja Ratan Singh was already married and still he attacked another kingdom so that he can marry king’s daughter Padmavati; all because he has heard from a singing parrot that Padmavati’s beauty was beyond explanation. What would you call it, Love or Lust? What would you say about the character of that person who marries one woman after another, because he finds that next one is more beautiful.
Polygamy was common among Kings of India at that time; it was common for kings to have more than one wife; then why are you questioning the character of Alauddin Khilji only?
Do you know that Khilji was married to Rajput’s Queens? We have already romanticized Jodha a Hindu Princess marrying Akbar the Mughal Emperor in a movie, even though we know that it was a forced marriage and there was no other option for Jodha.
What is illicit in this case is that Padmavati was a married woman. It was an illicit proposal of Khilji to a married woman. He was famous for his brutality and his lust and this kind of proposal proves his immoral thinking. What troubles me here the most is, if Khilji was already known for such kind of behavior; then why Ratan Singh agreed to show Padmavati’s face to him in a mirror? If a known rapist and characterless person come to you asking to show your wife’s face, would you oblige him? Would you oblige him if he threatens to kill you, or your family?
What would have Ratan Singh done; if instead of Padmavati, his Queen, Khilji had asked for a village girl or a maid of Padmavati? Would he had sacrificed that girl, to save his kingdom and life of thousands of people?
If Rani Padmavati, would have been just a wife, and not a Queen of people; what would she have done if she could have saved his husband’s life by giving herself to Khilji? What would you do, if you must choose between this proposal and life of your husband? What is life without honor? What is honor without life? What is honor without love? And, does this honor lies in your body? Where exactly does your honor lie?
Isn’t it the same mentality which force rape victims to rather stay quiet and attempt suicide than to speak out the culprit’s name?
These questions reflect our changing time, and how we value life now and then?
The most important question that I have here is, if suicide by Rani was worth Rajput’s pride?
Was it suicide? or forced suicide? We have all heard stories of how women were supposed to burn themselves in the fire when their husband died. Was she not another victim of ‘Sati Pratha’? she died after her husband, Ratan Singh, was killed by another neighboring Rajput Devpal Singh; ironically Devpal wanted Padmavati too. How degraded can a man be to kill another man so that he can sleep with his wife? Value of life is more than this.
She killed herself in the fire. She chose suicide. In her last moments, she didn’t have a sword in her hand. She was a Rajput Queen. She was supposed to be a warrior, a fighter. Was she? She chose to kill herself instead of fighting till her last breath. Thousands died with her, what if each of these thousand hands had a sword in them; they could have at least killed hundreds more.
If this was an example of bravery, I rather not teach my kids this lesson. If this is what you are defending, I rather not defend that. What I do defend is her right to her will. If she has willfully married Ratan Singh if she has willfully shown her face to Khilji, if she has willfully jumped in that fire to end her life. If not, what is left to defend here?
I would rather choose one Jhansi ki Rani over these thousand Padmavatis.
Durga Puja is going on, and today is the Navmi, the 9th and the last day of Devi worshipping. For these nine days of Sharada Navratri every year, we pray to Durga, the Mahashakti, dedicating each of these nine days to her nine forms.
• Shailaputri (Daughter of the Himalayas)
• Brahmachariṇi (one who practices devout austerity)
• Chandraghanta (One who bears the moon in her necklace)
• Kushmanda (the creator of the universe)
• Skanda Mata (The mother of Skanda/Karthikeya)
• Katyayani (The daughter of sage Katyayana, who incarnated to help the Devas)
• Kalaratri (black as night, destroyer of evil)
• Mahagauri (doing great penance)
• Siddhidatri (Provider of Siddhis, giver of mystic powers)
These all nine forms have emerged from one Devi Durga, and they also merged back into her. Other than these none forms, Devi, or Adi Shakti also manifests herself in Tridevi; three forms of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati/Kali; The Creator, The Preserver, and The Destroyer respectively. Each of these three represents the Shakti, energy of their respective masculine Trimurti. Saraswati as the energy of Brahma; Lakshmi of Vishnu; and Parvati of Shiva. In true sense, God is neither a male nor a female. So, these are just their forms, or to put in more cosmic sense a unification of inactive and active, Nirgun and Sargun.
Why am I giving you a brief upon Hindu Goddesses?
Because if you see closely, all the forms of Devi, whether the nine forms worshipped during Navratri or the Tridevi; they all are so diverse and yet so uniform. Devi has taken so many forms, and still, She is One.
She is One.
She has everything inside her and she uses each of her forms when the need arises and then each form of her again merge back into her. Have you seen anyone doing that in the real world? Look closely around you.
She is like each of us, or to put it correctly, each of the superwoman that you see around, handling home, kitchen, work, you, kids, parents, society, world, and sometimes themselves; each of us is like a Devi.
Yet, I wonder, why we do not worship Devi in her purest form of as a woman.
We worship her as a Kumari (virgin). We fed kanchaka, little girls, (non-menstruating/virgin) after the completion of Navratri fasts. We wash and touch their feet for blessings.
We worship her as Mother, Maa. We see her as our own mother, one who has given birth to us. In this form too, she is pure, a motherly figure, older than us, a giver, a protector.
But, there is nothing in between a Kumari and Maa.
She could either be a virgin or a mother. We do not worship any female figure who is not either one of these. Even when Goddess in most of her Avatars is neither a mother nor a virgin. She is just a woman, a female figure.
Here I do not want to say that we should see a Goddess as a woman, and not as a mother. But, my mere implication is that, when we transfer the image of this Goddess in our real life; when we say, Every Mother is a Devi, “Maa Bhagavan samaan hai” (Mother is equivalent to God), or, “betiyaan to Devi ka roop hoti hain” (Daughters are the form of Devi); why we do not extend this respect to in general all the ladies out there?
She could be your friend, your wife, your daughter in law, your neighbor or just a girl walking on the road. No matter who she is, she is a form of Devi. If your mother or daughter is equivalent to a Devi, I bet your wife deserve the same respect too.
Why is it so hard to respect a woman who is in somewhat equal stature to us?
This is not only applicable to males, but also for females. We ourselves do not see the divine in other females. We are the ones who try to diminish and degrade other women. As a woman, we all know what the word ‘Respect’ means for our tribe; still, it will be the first thing that we will tarnish in another woman we don’t like.
Before you disrespect a woman physically, or emotionally, just try to remind yourself that there is a Parvati, a Lakshmi, and a Saraswati inside her watching each of your deeds. Be kind. Be respectful.