Sreenath Sreenivasan

Thriving Mindfully

Tag: Man’s search for meaning (page 1 of 5)

The relevance of a drifter

Swelling with, a vanity vain
There burnt, a proud little flame
High from its heat, haughty, unmasked,
To the blowing wind, it jeered and asked

‘Hey, you wayward wind’ it slew
‘You aimless drifter without a clue’
‘On a fruitless search of lands new’
‘I wonder, how relevant are you?’

Solemn, silent, saintly, the breeze
Flew past quietly, with graceful ease
It left behind an answer, much to the flame’s ire
The breeze whispered, and the flame was a raging fire…

How deep is your love?

Can one
ever live
A Life,
Deeply

If he
hasn’t learned
To Love,
Deeply enough?

 

 

When Faiths Unite

Situated side by side
Sharing a wall
There stand
Two shrines

In the morning
The temple prays
In the shadow of the mosque

In the evening
The mosque prays
In the shadow of the temple

At night
Both shrines, they hum
And watch each other’s back
For they share,
The same spine

The temple’s bell
A muezzin’s call
How elegantly
Do faiths entwine

We wear different caps
But should we ever fight
For what’s yours
And what’s mine?

So shall we stand
In each other’s shadow
When tomorrow,
The sun shines?

Caps aside,
Can sing a few lines?
In a rhythm divine
Of this elegant design?

 


 

The Sky is Blue and Love is Blind

All day, Every day,
Ever since time,
The sky has been saying
That it is not the color blue
Yet,
Have your eyes ever listened?
Can they?

And one fine day,
Ever since our fight,
You have been saying,
‘I do not love you anymore’
Yet, would my eyes ever listen?
Would they?

That’s the blindness man is blessed with,

The sky is not blue,
The love has gone sour,
Yet,
All we would see is Blue
And I would see is Love…

Riddled in riddles of reality
Removed from rationalisation

How do I explain this blindness?

If the sky is blue to you,
Why is my love such a surprise?

Perhaps, you will only know,
When you look into your eyes,
Through my eyes.

 


Photo : By Na Inho via Unsplash

A Conversation with God

Like every morning, I went to the temple,
To make my wishes

Dear God, I said, grant me health and all of life’s riches.

And finally after all these years, gently he spoke,
Slowly he opened his eyes, as his pious spirit awoke.

Overjoyed, in anticipation, for his sermon I awaited,
Lovingly he looked at me, as I sat with a breath bated.

 

Don’t deify me, He said, don’t glorify me to No end,
Just treat me as a humble and caring, everlasting friend.

Open your ears, listen to your prayers, and find that subtle sign,
Devote yourself and fulfil the purpose, of you life divine.

So, don’t pray and scoot away, don’t pass the baton to me,
I am only as powerful as you allow yourself to be.

Next time, don’t bring me a prayer, just bring me good news,
Of all the difference you made, of every responsibility you choose.

And I realised –

My prayers were only a direction to myself, for what I should do
I stepped out of the temple with an understanding new,

The next time I visit God, I will come with my report card,
That’s when I will treat my divinity in its highest regard.


 

Picture : Jason Cooper via Unsplash

 

Juggling Joy and Sorrow

A candle needs, air to burn,
But along comes the breeze
For the sake of light, it puts up a fight,
Never looking for ease.

In wishing for Joy and running from sorrow,
Man makes up a mess.
For there to be light, shouldn’t there exist,
A blinding darkness?

As you run, into life’s arena,
Let Joy and Sorrow be either stride,
With a balance such, it isn’t a challenge much,
To perfect laughter shall your instincts guide.

Not in running away, but in running into
The battlefield shall you thrive,
For only in moments of battle, does a soldier feel,
Truly Alive.

Trust the stars, and  frown not,
When life calls for a fight.
For would the sun ever set,
If there wasn’t beauty in the night?

Cultivate a farmer’s trust, and sow your deeds in the soil,
And fate shall blossom, from the beads of sweat,
Of all your toil.

Find equanimity in Joy, and courage in sorrow,
Let crystal clear be your sight.

Find the fuel, deep in you heart,
And with resolution, set it alight.

Set out in this journey, enthused,
With all you might,

And then, life shall enter your heart,
With all of its light.

 

Continue reading

A Poem for all Mothers

Conception winds
A mother’s clock
To care for life.

The Proust Questionnaire

Today, I would like to share an interesting questionnaire with you. It is called the ‘Proust Questionnaire’ named after the French writer, Marcel Proust.

Proust believed that foremost, a person must develop a thorough understanding of his own self. Only then would he be able to understand others.

He developed a list of questions that he felt would help people to reflect upon their own present beliefs and understand their true self. 

While some questions might require a few moments of reflection, most others are best answered spontaneously.

Today, I would like to share my answers to the Questionnaire with you. I hope by the end of it, you also  challenge yourself to answer the Proust Questionnaire.

My Answers to the Proust Questionnaire:

 

Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A: Having the wisdom to realize how perfect each moment is.
Q: What is your greatest fear?

A: Living an unfulfilled life devoid of meaning.
Q: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A: The tendency to procrastinate and not take initiative.
Q: What is the trait you most deplore in others?

A: Indifference

Q: Which living person do you most admire?

A: My Grandmother

Q: What is your greatest extravagance?

A: Flying in Airplanes.
Q: What is your current state of mind?

A: An excitement that comes with the gradual unfolding of a heart that’s ready to give and receive as dictated by the Universe.

Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

A: Idealism
Q: On what occasion do you lie?

A: When I am not ready to share my state of mind.
Q: What do you most dislike about your appearance?

A: I have a frown on my forehead at all times. It is involuntary and unintentional. I wish I could change that.

Q: Which living person do you most despise?

A: —

Q: What is the quality you most like in a man?

A: The quality of taking responsibility.
Q: What is the quality you most like in a woman?

A: Compassion

Q: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

A: Theek hai na yaar (It is okay my friend) usually to pacify a friend who is struggling with a narrow perspective in that moment.
Q: What or who is the greatest love of your life?

A: The gift of life itself.
Q: When and where were you happiest?

A: At all points in my life when I embodied the spirit of a child.

Q: Which talent would you most like to have?

A: The talent of singing.
Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

A: I would like to have a better sense of humor.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A: To have always listened to my heart.

Q: If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

A: A Dolphin.
Q: Where would you most like to live?

A: Amid the chirrup of birds, in nature, in a community my friends and I build with our own hands.

Q: What is your most treasured possession?

A: My body.

Q: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

A: When a person ignores his ability to help. (Himself or someone else in need)

Q: What is your favorite occupation?

A: Tidying things up.

 

Q: What is your most marked characteristic?

A: Honesty
Q: What do you most value in your friends?

A: They care for my growth just as much as their own.
Q: Who are your favourite writers?

A: Kahlil Gibran, Gregory David Roberts, George Orwell

Q: Who is your hero of fiction?

A: Swami (From Malgudi Days)

Q: Which historical figure do you most identify with?

A: M. K. Gandhi

Q: Who are your heroes in real life?

A: Anyone who does what truly matters to them when nobody is watching.

Q: What are your favourite names?

A: Maya, Sreenivasan

Q: What is it that you most dislike?

A: Loss of Freedom
Q: What is your greatest regret?

A: Not apologizing at the right time.
Q: How would you like to die?

A: While working, as I am engaged in doing something I care about.

Q: What is your motto?

A: Be the change you wish to see in the world.

 

 

Hope you find time to answer these questions for yourself. It is a great self reflection activity that doesn’t take much of your time.

Good luck with finding your answers 🙂

 

 

 

A tale about a Mango tree

In the village of Karmapur, there stood a young mango tree in a small farm. In the ten years of its life, the mango tree had never flowered and borne fruit. It was deemed an an infertile tree by the villagers. Nobody paid attention to it after a point, and it grew forlorn at the edge of a farm.

The farm belonged to a young farmer named Ramakant. He was facing a difficult time in his life. Repeated crop failures and famines had forced him to borrow from moneylenders at a huge interest. In hope that monsoon arrived on time, he sowed his crop and waited patiently. This was his last chance to get himself out of the debt trap.

The monsoon was delayed by two weeks already. Every passing day robbed him of a little hope. One evening, as he was strolling on his farm, he looked at the parched earth on his land. He looked to the sky but there wasn’t a single cloud in sight. The mango tree on his farm stood at a corner witnessing all of this.
A dejected Ramakant went to his house and got a rope. He climbed onto a branch of the mango tree and tied one end of the rope to it. He made a noose out of the other end and slid it around his neck. Tears were streaming down his eyes. He thought he had no other choice.
He had decided to end his life.

He jumped down from the branch he was sitting on, hoping to hang himself to death. But as soon as the rope got tense, the branch of the mango tree snapped. Ramakant fell down on the grown, injured his ankle and lost consciousness.

Soon, the villagers found Ramakant and rushed him to the hospital. He was unconscious for the whole night. The next morning, he woke up to the sound of deafening thunder and rain. Even though he found himself with a plastered foot in a hospital bed, he was happy to be alive.
The rain gave him hope.

After two weeks, he was able to walk on his feet again. He strutted slowly to his farm. To his delight, all the seeds he had planted had germinated after the rain. His little farm was bursting with a hundred shades of green.
He walked a bit further and stood under the Mango tree from where he had jumped.

What he saw took him by surprise. At the place of the broken branch where he had fallen from, ten new branches had shot out with great vigor. Tender leaves had appeared in place of the wound. The tree displayed the spirit of fighting to the very end.

Ramakant bowed down to the tree in gratitude. He had learned a profound lesson. As a mark of respect, he started to water the mango tree everyday.

Owing to a good monsoon spell that season, Ramakant’s farm got a bountiful harvest. He was able to start repaying his debts little by little.

In spring time, he got another wonderful surprise at his farm. The mango tree that was thought to be diseased and infertile by the whole village, bloomed with flowers for the first time ever in its life !

Ramakant was delighted to watch his mango tree flower. That summer, when he harvested the first mangoes from his tree, he was taken over by a deep, satisfying happiness.

Thank you my mango tree’ he said sitting on a branch.

The mango tree swayed with the summer breeze. It only sacrificed one branch to save Ramakant’s life. But that was enough to trigger a favourable turn of events.

For the rest of its life the mango tree gave plenty of shade and bore thousands of mangoes every summer. Ramakant watered it everyday and enjoyed its reassuring presence.

 

 

My New Year Theme for 2019

It is the first day of 2019 !
Foremost, I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year.

A few days ago, I had shared an idea about why we should aim to have a New Year theme and not a list of resolutions for the New Year.

Following my own advice, I have come up with a year theme for the year 2019.

The theme for this year is :

PUTTING MY BELIEFS TO TEST

On a personal level, I have always felt that the way I lead my life might not always reflect the values I think I have.

Because, a belief has to go through the test of life to become a living value in a person’s character. It is easy to advertise or assume a set of beliefs as our own, but to truly live by them in each moment is a challenge.

For example,
I might believe that Non-Violence should be a philosophy I must adhere to. But in order for it to become a value I live by, I must practice it with great deliberation for years and put it through the test of life.

Each brick in the foundation of my values has to be cured by the kiln of life.

A few beliefs I have at this stage are:

1) TRUST IN THE UNIVERSE

I believe that the Universe has an exquisite design. Each action has a consequence, no matter how oblivious I might be of it. In that light, I believe in doing the best I can with the gift of Life.

Will Karma take care of the rest?

2) NON-DUALITY

I believe all of existence to be One.
We dwell in a cosmic pool of consciousness, infinite in every dimension.
If all of existence is One, whatever I do to someone else, is akin to doing the same thing to myself.

Then, what must I do with my time and my life?

3) CREATING GIFTS AND PRACTICING GIFT ECONOMY

This belief is a natural extension of the two that precede it.
As a human being, I must make the best use of my creative energy and share it with the world. The gift of life must beget more gifts for the world around me.

No matter how much I have, I must always be willing to share.

As rosy as it sounds,
Is there an inherent fairness in this parallel economy?

I will only know when the belief has been through the test of life.

I am mentioning just three of my current beliefs to drive home the point of why I am choosing to put them to test in this New Year.

How shall I do it?

By living mindfully, in practical adherence to all my beliefs.

My beliefs cannot remain cerebral concepts to be availed during discussions with friends. They have to be tested through.

This year I want to have an empirical existence.
Maybe an year is too short a time to test my beliefs.
But it is still a start.

I feel a nervous excitement inside me.
It is a good sign !

Have you thought of a New Year theme yet?
I hope you have.

This is going to be quite a wild ride.

Let the adventure begin !

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