The Inside Job

The ungrateful, inappropriate and irrational ways in which people act can infuriate us to no end. We deal with our anger by letting it loose (passionate and vengeful outbursts) or locking it up (emotionally disconnecting). Both expressions, however, are indicative of our own shortcomings. Allowing someone else’s negativity to displace our own consciousness, means there…

Timeless Possesions

Penny-wise, pound-foolish – that’s definitely me. I’m the kind of person who buys the cheapest goods, and then forks out double the amount to replace them. Whether its shoes, gadgets, clothes or cars, most things I buy seem to break down, play up or fall apart, costing me a small fortune in the process! One…

Comparitive Religion

It seems a natural instinct to measure success by comparing and competing with others. When Swami Prabhupada met a top Japanese manager at the Dai Nippon Press, he asked him what his goal in life was. Without saying a word, the corporate cat looked at a stack of business cards of all his acquaintances, carefully…

Divine Intervention

On recent travels around the country I met a lady who expressed frustration in her attempts to find God. She told me her story: two years of spiritual travels, countless nights of prayer, careful scriptural exploration and persistent introspection, but still no sign! “Will I ever find Him?” she asked. “I’m beginning to question whether…

Mechanics of Spirituality

At 4.30am each morning the monks commence their 4-hour spiritual workout. Each and every day, 365 days a year. To an onlooker it may seem like a monotonous and mechanical regime; somewhat of a holy ‘boot camp.’ Seasoned practitioners, however, will testify that these tried and tested external practices open up an internal world of…

The Missing Link

Last few days in India. With no local SIM card and patchy internet access, I’ve been ‘off the grid’ for the best part of the month. A blessing indeed. When the external world becomes a distant reality, it helps bring the internal life back into focus. Re-aligned and refreshed; reminded of what really matters, where…

Puzzle of Life

Progress on the spiritual journey is like putting a puzzle together. We pick up different pieces from different places. The people we contact, namely family, friends, colleagues, critics, mentors, managers, and others, are not simply there by chance. These individuals are strategically placed by providence to make a unique contribution to our development. They craft…

Don’t Look Back

Yesterday I went on Parikrama, which literally means to “walk around.” Circumambulation of holy places has a symbolic meaning – to always keep our spiritual aspirations central and close, regardless of where we are in life (whatever point on the circle, one is never further away from the centre). There is also a transcendental benefit:…

The Lone Mendicant

I’m back at home base – the holy town of Vrindavana. Here we periodically return to reassess, refine and refresh. This spiritual hub, almost inconspicuously, helps one shed the illusory layers of lamentation and hankering, reminding us of the real business in life. In 1958, while residing as a lone, penniless mendicant in this remote…

Advanced Insignificance

“For my personal sense gratification, I never reject any kind of sinful activity. I am not at all merciful, and I see only to my personal interest. When others are suffering I become very happy, I am always speaking lies, and if someone is suffering, that is very pleasant to me. Now in my old…

Me to We

A Rabbi was once asked to describe the difference between heaven and hell. By a wave of the hand he manifested a vision of hell; a group of hungry, emaciated men sitting at the dining table eagerly awaiting their lunch. The bowls of soup appeared. Problem was, their hands were shaped like unusually long spoons…

Character or Capability?

Scriptures are often replete with long lists of names, exalted personalities who most have never heard of, but who are nevertheless immortalised in the pages of history. In the material world people are remembered for what they do – their ground-breaking achievements, their high ranking positions of responsibility, and their impactful influence on others. In…