Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nepal Tragedy …… The aftermath

 What a tragedy? Over five thousand people killed, over ten thousand injured and hundreds of thousands suffered after losing their homes and loved ones.

Then there are some amazing stories too; like a 4 months old baby rescued from the ruins 22 hours after the earthquake and another man rescued eighty hours after being buried under the rubbles. There are many more such miraculous stories too.

Strange are the ways of Nature and yet stranger is the nature of man. It is interesting to see how different people react differently to such situations. There are many who out of compassion left everything and rushed to Nepal to help the needy people physically according to their professional expertise. Many have and are continuously sending money and donations over there to help cope with this devastating situation while some others simply sit and talk about it.

Unfortunately, many opportunists even try to take advantage of these situations.  Many, who do not really want to help, give some strange reasoning and try to explain every situation as it suits to them and serves their own interest in some way. 

Some Non-Hindus, after seeing some Hindu temples destroyed during the quake, cheerfully announced that it was God’s way to warn them about their wrong religious practices.

Some people said that those who were in the middle of the affected areas but survived and did not get hurt, or those fortunate ones who were rescued later, is because God is great; that God was kind to them and was on their side.

Does that mean God was not so great and not so kind to those who died or suffered? Does He choose and discriminate? At the same time, are we questioning or even insulting the integrity of those who suffered?

Sadly, I have also received few such ‘WhatsApp’ messages over the past few days.

One such message said “O’ God! Please send another such quake to demolish the walls that divide people”.

The person who sent this message probably had good intention, but it did not sit well with one of my Nepali friends whose family has severely suffered in his native country. Instead of compassion for loss of his people, he saw mockery in this message.

Another message said “Occasionally nature sends these earthquakes to shake and to remind us that this world is just a rented place, not permanent.”

Isn’t it unfortunate that we think that everything is about us?

That ‘we’ are so important that the nature would kill several thousand and injure hundreds of thousands just to send a message, a reminder to ‘few of us’; the chosen ones?

Does the whole universe revolve around us?

Where is the compassion?

‘Rajan Sachdeva’

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nepal Tragedy

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this devastating earthquake in Nepal that reached so far as to India and Tibet which killed and injured so many and hurt so many families.
Unfortunately, the tragedy does not end here. As we all know, one thing leads to another and becomes a continuous chain of reactions and further events. Here is some aftermath anticipated by the UN.
The UN children's agency says nearly one million children in Nepal urgently need humanitarian assistance as they were particularly vulnerable.
The country is running out of water and food, and there are frequent power cuts, the UN says.
Heavy rain earlier on Saturday further worsened conditions with UN officials expressing concern that thunderstorms that could harm people staying outdoors and lead to a shortage of vaccines against disease including diarrhea and measles.
 There are 14 international medical teams on the way to Nepal, the UN says, and up to 15 international search-and-rescue teams have been sent.

Now, this is the time to show our compassion that we always talk about. This is the time to reach out and try to help; whatever and however we can.
May God help them to cope with this devastating situation, but at the same time, we should try to do our part as fellow human beings.

The good you do today will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

‘Rajan Sachdeva’

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Do it anyway

Do it anyway
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have…and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

(From the wall of Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta) 
Note: This poem was originally written by Dr. Kent Keith in 1968, when he was 19 years old, a sophomore at Harvard College.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

अंतर्मन का दरवाजा

क्या देख सकते हैं किसी के भीतर जा कर हम 
कि उसके मन में क्या है ?

या कोई भला कर सकता  है प्रवेश 
मेरे अन्तर्मन में ?

स्वयं हमें ही खोलना होगा 
अपने भीतर जा कर 
अपने अन्तर्मन का दरवाजा 

 लेकिन शोरो-गुल में  नहीं 
ख़ामोशी में ही मिलेगा रास्ता 
घर में दाखिल होने का 
          " 'मैं' ही रास्ता हूँ 
         ' मैं ' ही हूँ स्वर्ग का प्रवेश द्वार
         ('I' am the way, I am the gate) (बाईबल  )

          "मुझ ' को जान कर - ' मुझ ' में स्थित हो जाओ "   (भगवद् गीता)

जिस दिन ये बयान किसी और का नहीं 
बल्कि  मेरा हो जायेगा 
तो खुलने लगेगा रास्ता भी मंज़िल का 

सो बाहर भटक भटक कर 
थक  हार कर 
जब "निज घर" को  पाने की चाह जगे 
तो चुपके से अपने भीतर जाकर 
खोल लेना स्वयं ही अपने अंतर्मन का दरवाजा 

और ये सब कुछ बे-आवाज़ होगा 
किसी को ख़बर तक ना होगी 

क्योंकि तुम …
कोई और नहीं .... केवल तुम  …… 
बस  तुम ही खोल सकते हो 
अपने अंतर्मन का दरवाजा 
          "राजन सचदेव "


मैं' ही रास्ता हूँ    ('I' am the way, I am the gate )
"मुझ ' को जान कर - ' मुझ ' में स्थित हो जाओ "

इन पँक्तियों में  " I , मैं एवं मुझ "  से अभिप्राय जीसस या कृष्ण से  नहीं बल्कि  'स्वयं ' से  है।  

The English Teacher

A high school student developed a crush on her English teacher. Eventually she gathered the courage to send him a love letter. A few days later she was thrilled to receive a response from him. With great enthusiasm and trembling hands, she opened the envelope.
However, she found that the paper was filled with red marks. The teacher had simply corrected the spellings and grammar of her letter, but made no response to her communication.
He analyzed the letter, but missed the message completely.

When we go to listen to the Guru or Saints, or read the scriptures, do we try to understand the message or just analyze their words?

                                                              ‘Rajan Sachdeva’

पुष्प या पत्थर ?

एक मंदिर में स्थापित प्रस्तर प्रतिमा पर चढ़ाए गए पुष्प ने क्रोधित होकर पुजारी से कहा,
"तुम प्रतिदिन इस प्रस्तर प्रतिमा पर मुझे चढ़ाकर इस
​ पत्थर ​की पूजा करते हो। यह मुझे कतई पसंद नहीं है। पूजा मेरी होनी चाहिये क्योंकि मैं 
सुंदर, कोमल और ​सुवासित​-​​सुगन्धित ​हूँ। यह तो मात्र पत्थर की​ निर्जीव ​मूर्ति है।

मंदिर के पुजारी ने हँसते हुए कहा​ ....
हे पुष्प, तुम कोमल, सुंदर​ तथा ​सुवासित अवश्य हो पर तुम्हें ईश्वर ने ​ही ​ऐसा बनाया है। ये गुण तुम्हें सहजता से प्राप्त हुए हैं। इनके लिये तुम्हें कोई श्रम नहीं करना पड़ा है पर देवत्व प्राप्त करना बड़ा कठिन काम है। इस देव प्रतिमा का निर्माण बड़ी कठिनाई से किया जाता है। एक कठोर पत्थर को देव प्रतिमा बनने के लिये हजारों चोटें सहनी पड़ती है। चोट लगते ही अगर यह टूट कर बिखर जाता तो शायद यह कभी देव प्रतिमा नहीं बन सकता था। एक बार कठोर पत्थर देव प्रतिमा में ढल जाए तो लोग उसे बड़े आदर भाव से मंदिर में स्थापित कर प्रतिदिन उसकी पूजा अर्चना करते हैं। इस प्रस्तर​ (पत्थर)​ की सहनशीलता ने ही इसे देव प्रतिमा के रूप में पूजनीय तथा वंदनीय बना दिया है।यह सुनकर पुष्प मुस्कुरा दिया। वह समझ गया कि सहनशीलता की कठिन परीक्षा को सफलता पूर्वक पार करनेवाला ही देवत्व प्राप्त करता है।

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Zen Story.

There is an interesting story in the Zen tradition.

A disciple went to see the Master. It was raining, so he brought an umbrella with him. Before entering the Master’s house, he left his wet umbrella and shoes in the verandah. Later, in the middle of some serious conversation, Master suddenly asked “did you put your shoes on the left side of the umbrella or on the right side?”
The disciple was astonished and could not understand the relevance of this question in the middle of such a serious spiritual dialogue. Confused, he said “I don’t remember. But Master! Why is it important? What difference does it make if the shoes are on the right or left side of the umbrella?”

“Awareness”, the Master said.

“You need to be aware of your Self; every nook and corner of the inside of your mind, of every thought and desire. To practice this, you can start by being aware of your surroundings”.

This is true for most of us. Isn’t it? We hardly pay attention to our surroundings. We may walk few miles without noticing any trees or buildings or people on the way. Once in a while, some extraordinary thing may attract our attention momentarily but we hardly remember any details later.  The difference between ordinary people and the scientists and philosophers is that the later pay detailed attention to the ordinary things. For thousands of years, man had seen the fruits falling from the trees. It is an ordinary natural phenomenon so no one ever paid any attention to it. But Isaac Newton was different. When an apple fell on is head, he did not see it as an ordinary phenomenon. He looked at it seriously, thought about it deeply, over and over, and discovered the law of gravity.

 We can also learn to pay proper attention by looking, rather than seeing; by listening, rather than hearing; by analyzing rather than assuming.  
By practicing the ‘mindfulness’ of our outer surroundings, we can eventually learn to be aware of our ‘inside’ also.

“Be aware of your thoughts”, the Upanishad says.

The Zen Master wanted to know if the disciple placed his shoes on the left or the right side of the umbrella.  

We should ask ourselves on which side we have placed God; before or after the ‘Maya’, the materialistic world.

In our mind, does the world revolve around God, or the thoughts and Sumiran of God circles around our worldly needs and desires.

                                             ‘Rajan Sachdeva’

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Flies and mosquitoes do not sit on ice

हिमालय पर मक्खियाँ नहीं होतीं
बर्फ के ऊपर मक्खी, मच्छर  इत्यादि कभी नहीं बैठते। 

यदि मन अभिमान की गर्मी से रहित हो कर शीतल हो जाए तो वहाँ भी विकार रुपी मक्खियाँ नहीं ठहर सकतीं। 

ज्ञानी एवं गुरमुख लोगों को अगर ऐसी जगह रहना भी पड़ जाए जहां निंदा रुपी मच्छर कान में झिनझिना रहे हों, तो वे ज्ञान की मच्छरदानी ओढ़ कर सुख - शान्ति की नींद सो जाते हैं।  
                                                                         "राजन सचदेव"

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Letter from Bhai Veer Singh ji

Yesterday, I was reading an old Punjabi book "Pyaare Jio", a collection of Bhai Veer Singh ji's letters to his family and friends. I was amazed when I saw this letter dated 13-12-72 after the death of young Jai Raj Singh. I don't know who Jai Raj Singh ji was but I guess he must be a close family member because Bhai Veer Singh ji says that his "work and responsibilities have increased". 

The depth of devotion and acceptance expressed in this letter is remarkable. 

                                                      'Rajan Sachdeva'

English Translation:

Yesterday I wrote a letter to you in a hurry. You need not to worry. I am happy and seeing my beloved’s (God’s) love in this distressful time.  Jai Raj Singh ji has not died, he has simply become unaltered ('Poore' or Perfect) and has reached to a higher place. He had spent his whole life with purity, full of love and engrossed in devotion and Sumiran. His life of twenty eight years is better than twenty eight thousand years. Therefore I have no grievance. Yes: my work and responsibilities have increased. But if this is what my beloved Lord wanted, then it’s all good and I just have to work. Whatever Lord sends my way, it is His wish, and doing that is my duty. Why complain while performing a duty? Just pray that my Lord, my Guru’s love stays in my soul, and my mind does not interfere. May I always be thankful and look at my beloved Lord, not at his doings.
    Signed   - Veer Singh

Note: I am little confused about the year posted on this letter's date. The year is said to be '72 in this book. It could neither be 1872 nor 1972 since his life span was from 1872 to 1957.
Does anyone know?  
Rajan Sachdeva

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Seek No Path

‘O' Seeker, seek no path, because all paths lead somewhere, truth is right here.’
          "Lao Tzu"

There is an interesting story about Raman Maharshi, a highly respected saint of the recent times. While visiting southern India, a famous Christian priest heard of his fame and went to meet him. During the conversation, the priest asked “How do you know that your path is right. Have you found God? Have you reached ‘There’?”

Raman Maharshi asked in return “Reached where? Where do I need to go to find Him? God is everywhere. There is nowhere to go, you are already there. A path is needed if you are going somewhere. If you are already there then the path is not needed at all. Now, the very word ‘path’ is meaningless. You just need to be aware, that's all”.

Guru Ramanad ji, Sant Kabeer ji’s guru also says:

 ऊआं तउ जाइये जउ इहाँ ना होइ 

“Uaan tau jaaiye, jau ihaan na hoye”

“I would go there, only if the Lord were not here”
                                                        (SGGS page 1195)

Baba Avtar Singh ji also used to say the same: 
“Path is required for something that is somewhere else, somewhere far away. For example: there could be a few different paths to reach, to touch this microphone in front of me. But what path do I need to reach myself? There are no paths.
God is everywhere, and right here, then what paths do we need? And similarly, Mukti (Salvation) can also be achieved ‘right now and right here’.

You just need awareness. You need to be aware, that's all”.
Sometimes he would hold his scarf in front of his face and say: “Do you think I am not here anymore?
No, I have not gone anywhere. You don’t see me because of this veil. And if I remove the veil, you can see me again.

God is also right here. We don’t see Him because there is a veil of ignorance, the ego. We don’t need to go anywhere to find Him. All we need to do is, to remove the veil of ignorance. And he would add a quote:

“Ghar mahin ghar dikhlaye de, So Satguru purkh sujaan"
Satguru simply removes that veil; gives awareness, the Gyana to see the Almighty all around and within.”

He also used to tell a story of a lion's pub whose mother died after giving birth. The pub was raised by a sheep. While living and growing among the herd of sheep, this lion's pub also thought of himself as a sheep. One day, seeing a big lion, out of fear, he also started running along with all other sheep. The big Lion was surprised and instead of chasing the sheep, he grabbed this pub and asked why he was scared and running away. The pub said “Because I am a sheep and you are a lion"
The lion said “No. You are not a sheep. You are one of us."
He took him to a river and asked him to look into the water and see if he resembled him or the sheep? Looking at his image and comparing with that of the lion, he immediately realized who he was. 
Nothing was changed, only his ignorance was removed. No path or effort was required, just the awareness.
After realizing God, one can immediately realize the 'self ' as well.
                                                        ‘Rajan Sachdeva’

Angel or Criminal

 No child is born a criminal,
No child is born an angel. 
He is just born. 

His circumstances, influence of his companions and his understanding of the surrounding world makes him a criminal or an angel. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

हरि बोलया, हरि ने सुनया The Formless spoke and the Formless heard

हरि बोलिया, हरि ने सुनया, हरि आया हरि कै पास 

हरि तो हरि महिं मिल गया, जन उठ चलया उदास 

Hari boleya, Hari ne suneya, Hari aaya Hari kai paas 
Hari to Hari mahin mil gayaa, Jan uth chaleya udaas  

“The Formless (God) spoke and the Formless (spirit) heard when the Formless came to the Formless.

The Formless merged into the Formless and the 'Form', (body) came back sad (for not experiencing the 'Truth')”

Truth is experienced by the soul, not the body. 

As Guru Nanak said:
“Shabad Guru, Surat dhun chelaa"
Neither Guru nor the seeker, the disciple is at the physical plane when it comes to enlightenment.  
If we go as a body to seek Truth from the Guru, while considering him also as a body, we may come back sad and empty handed; without receiving anything.
'Formless' can only be experienced by the Formless Soul, not thru physical senses or intellect. 
It is the Formless who hears when the Formless speaks, and it is the Formless that merges with the Formless. 

हरि आपे सबदु सुरति धुनि आपे ॥ हरि आपे वेखै विगसै आपे

Hari aape Shabad, Surat dhun aape, Hari aape vekhai, Vigasay aape
“The Lord Himself is the Word. He Himself is the awareness.
The Lord Himself sees, and He Himself enjoys.”
                                                                      (SGGS Page 165)

“I (God) am indeed the enjoyer as also the Lord of all actions; but since they (ignorant) do not know me in Reality, so they fail.”
                                                                (Bhagavad Gita 9:24)

“Fools and ignorant do not understand me (God) seeing me in a human form, not realizing my Higher being as the Lord of all beings.”
                                                                           (Bhagavad Gita 9:11)

We must look at the Guru beyond the body to be able to receive the real experience of truth.

                              ‘Rajan Sachdeva’

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Is God active or inactive?

Kartaa or Akartaa? Doer or the Witness?
Is God active or inactive?
He is both at the same time.
God is the Supreme energy; a life force that pervades the universe in such a way that without it, not even the slightest movement can take place. But this life force does not create any obstacle in the way of human beings who enjoy the freedom of action. 

In this way, God is ‘inactive' in-spite of being the Master of every action. 

                                        (Dr. S. Radhakrishnan)

​हाथ ​तो उसके भी दुखे होंगे Haath to us kay be dukhay hongay​

​हाथ ​तो उसके  भी  दुखे  होंगे ज़रूर  ​जिसने मेरी राह में काँटे बिछाए होंगे ​ Haath to uskay be dukhay hongay​ zaroor  Jisne meri ...