Soul Mates

We all need friends. On the journey of life there are twists and turns, ditches and dead ends, obstacles and opposition. But as John Lennon sang “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Those who embark on the spiritual journey are brave indeed. They strive for purity in a world of degradation,…

Ambassador of Goodwill

Life in this world is very calculative. Before we give something we calculate what we’ll get back. Before we take a risk we calculate what we could lose. Before we invest in a relationship we calculate what benefits it will bring us. Before we extend ourselves for someone else we calculate how worthy they are…

Access Denied

Although I had heard of the Bhagavad-gita since childhood, I never really felt impelled to read it. I considered that religious study was for old people, and that such literature would have little or no relevance to my life. Over the years, however, I became more and more curious to understand the world in a…

Window Shopping?

Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie, Eckhart Tolle, Depak Chopra, Anthony Robbins… the list of self development gurus of the age is endless. These insightful thinkers have shaped today’s world of organizations and relationships, offering a wholesome alternative to the mechanistic trends of consumerism. Recently, while reading some self-help literature, the perspectives stressing positivity and selflessness definitely…

In times of need…

The devastating tsunami in Japan is yet another reminder of the unpredictable might of Mother Nature. Immediate estimates report nearly 2000 deaths and 300,000 homeless. Thousands of troops are also being mobilized in the area to minimize further chaos. We all react differently to such stories of suffering. Some try to shut it out and…

The Dancing God

Frederick Nietzsche is famous for his audacious proclamation “God is Dead”. Interestingly, the German philosopher did say something further, albeit in jest. Walter Kaufman translates Nietzsche’s quip – “I should believe only in a God who understood how to dance.” Clearly, the philosopher had a particular picture of God in his mind’s eye. Nowadays I…

Soft, cozy beds

My alarm went off at 3.45am this morning. It was cold… I was tired… and I had a hard decision to make. Luckily there are no soft cozy beds in our monastery, just simple mats on floors. I finally decided to jump out of my sleeping bag and scramble into the shower. As usual, I…

Further Apart…

We drive a hundred miles away to see a friend, but often neglect to greet our neighbours every morning. On the Underground everyone is buried in a newspaper or plugged into an mp3, glancing occasionally at the reflection of someone in the window but quickly turning away before the eyes meet. As I write, a…

News of the World

Stepping onto a late-evening central line train I saw a familiar sight – old newspapers lying around everywhere. Nobody wanted a second look. The world is constantly changing, new information surfaces, and what we heard yesterday (or even earlier today) no longer stimulates the mind. We need new revelations to hold our attention. Even bestselling…

Conservative or Liberal?

From a layman’s point of view, the Vedic culture may seem to delineate quite conservative social boundaries for women. Some may call this restriction, oppression, even subjugation, but one could also see it as a symbol of respect. The woman plays one of the most important roles in society. They are giving birth to and…

Decisions… Decisions…

Ever been in a dilemma? Making decisions can be a painstaking process. In the first chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna makes the decision not to fight the battle. His line of thinking is as follows. He fears that if he kills elders, the family tradition will be vanquished. This will cause a rise in irreligion…

Absolute Knowledge

Life is hectic. I like to read spiritual literature on a daily basis but quite often it’s just not possible. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna uses a number of metaphors to describe the power of transcendental knowledge (jnana). Jnana-agni – “The fire of knowledge”. The Vedic literatures explain how we enter this world with a karmic…