They Came Flying From Far Away

It’s because of this doll-like thingy that she is holding and listening intently to — that’s why I chose this jigsaw puzzle that I’m doing these days.

No, it’s not about romanticizing depression. It’s about that tiny voice of light and guidance that comes and speaks to you from out of nowhere, within the deepest darkness.

(article continued below the image)

“They came flying from far away, now I’m under their spell
I love hearing the stories that they tell
They’ve seen places beyond my land and they’ve found new horizons
They speak strangely but I understand

As all good friends we talk all night, and we fly wing to wing
I have questions and they know everything”

(from the ABBA song “Eagle”, which is so very much my song)

They: Angels
(Angels are the thoughts of God ~ Marianne Williamson)

They: Who tell you, “You are valuable and beautiful irrespective of how things may seem to be.”

They: Who tell you, “You are lovable because you exist” (Louise Hay)

This is a huge sentence. Imbibe the depth and matter-of-fact truth of what it says. Read it slowly —

You are lovable because you exist.

You do not have to become a particular way to become lovable. You already are lovable. Irrespective of your thoughts, actions, and state.

You exist. That alone makes you lovable. Because every tiny iota of this universe is lovable and worth going into raptures over.

They: Who tell you, “I don’t get depressed about depression. Depression is a biological response, and the body’s mechanism for processing stress” (Vinod Tewary). They say, “you are pure”, when you unburden yourself about your problems and feelings about yourself. There by they free you, without minimizing or negating what you are experiencing.

And little by little, that tiny voice of light and guidance becomes a part of you. It always was in the first place. That is why what it said resonated with you, you listened to it intently and made the message your own.

And soon you are not scared to look at the darkness and barnacles of the remaining picture. You sit beside the morning window, and fresh morning air, and put the pieces together by sun light. The sun of our solar system, and the sun of our being.

The larger picture becomes more and more beautiful. You take breaks from putting the pieces together, simply to look at it in rapture.

When the picture is done, you spread your black wings
(as in the superb psychological movie The Black Swan), and acknowledge your darkness as a beautiful part of yourself.

Then, with the power of your mind, and the sun that shines on it, you soar
“Like an eagle that rides on the breeze”

The power of decision is my own

Tell me the LAL story.

This is a true story of a lady who founded an organisation to help people with psychological matters. You Yourself told me about her one day.

“There is an air pocket in your brain. It can go and block transmission any time. We don’t know how long you will live,” she was told.

That was the end of the matter.

She, her family members, went to a man for help. The kind of man who had acquired the reputation of being a go-to man when there were no other options left. At the time when this lady and her family members reached him, he was flying a kite.

They told their problem and asked for help.

He gave the lady the kite string and asked her to fly the kite.

She lost her cool.

“I’m talking of life and death here and you’re asking me to fly a kite? I don’t know how to fly a kite.”

“You don’t need to know how to fly a kite. Commit to flying the kite and you can fly the kite. It’s just a question of commitment. Commit to living and you shall live.”

What the man said, impacted the lady deeply. She lived.

The internal transformation she went through impacted her family members first, then she founded an organisation to share what she had discovered within.

Eventually, after several years, she did land up in the ICU. It was the air pocket that had acted up. She was writing a book at that time. Even in the ICU, she decided she will finish the book. So she did finish writing the book. Only then, she died.

Why have you been wanting to share this story?

It is this coronavirus thing going on. Obviously death must’ve crossed people’s minds. I see this as pralay in slow motion – a great time to become more aware of what we hold within. And that thing You said, “And no one dies without his own consent,”* rings true in me.

For me, how I came back to live in Kolkata with the family members is the most telling evidence that corroborates what You say — the power of decision is my own.

How did you come back to live in Kolkata with the family?

It’s a somewhat long story.

OK fine. You can tell me tomorrow. I’m glad you came for a walk.

I am too. Thanks for letting me go for today.

I never bind you.

I know.

You came because you wanted to, you wrote because you wanted to.

I know. And You know I am scared to write what is within me.

“No one dies without his own consent,”* is huge stuff. Who am I to write about such stuff.

It is huge if you consider it huge. Else, it is merely interesting – like physics, quantum computers, data visualization, coronavirus data… No difference whatsoever.

Yes.

Conversation (and discovery behind the mind)

So what did you discover behind the mind?

Myself.

It is thanks to Mummy and a tremendous conversation I had with her yesterday evening. But then who is Mummy and who am I? There is no place where Asha Murarka ends and Vani Murarka begins.

There is one place in our conversation yesterday (life happens in the synapses, in conversations) where she pointed to her third eye and then to mine meaning this communication is happening from here to here. That was so powerful.

What did Mummy say?

She said, “Use your mind.”

All this while I have been thinking that You have to use my mind. I tried aligning the scattered mind into a laser beam, but didn’t succeed. So I gave that responsibility to You too – conversion of the mind into a laser beam to be then wielded by You as You deem fit. But what Mummy told me yesterday, “I must use my mind,” puts me in the active role in my life. This clearly shows how passively I was approaching life till now. This ties so well with what You had said the other day –

“Accept your rightful place as co-creator of the Universe.” *

So behind the mind I discovered myself. The entity that must use the mind.

But I should also mention awareness here. When I discovered the very potent power and subtle existence of awareness, I used to think I am awareness. But that is not so.

Awareness is also a tool, a power given to me, to be used. So behind the mind there is awareness and behind awareness, there is me. Right now this is how it looks to me —

One might think awareness is a capability of the mind, but I would like to make a distinction. Awareness is far more subtle, far more powerful than the mind. Also, there is a non-doing in awareness, whereas the mind is all action (often frenzied, monkey-like)

Well so I have herewith used my mind and that is how I have walked this morning walk. This pen that Dhruv helped me buy is also much better.

And what was that Mummy said about maintaining a distance?

Oh that was utterly fantastic. It is the aliveness of the synapse. It is tomaaree mukh loibo cheene. It is snehaatirek se bachein. It is something that deserves a walk of its own.

In all of this, do I get any credit?

Listen, You know, I know, You came to me in the form of Mummy and said what I was ready to hear. Need that be said?

I like hearing it. Give credit where its due.

Talking of giving credit, I am really grateful for this direct interaction with this layer of Mummy, beyond her role as mother, caretaker of my physical well being.

OK enough. I don’t want to walk anymore. Over and out.


From the coronavirus, beyond the One Mind

The coronavirus has made all wars between all various names within humanity vanish. What is ours, what is theirs — all that silliness has vanished. Suddenly no dharma needs any upholding, sanaatan or otherwise, because indeed it never did.

Yes, now there is a war between one biological organism and another. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit…”

The difference between the mind and body is becoming more apparent as humanity learns to live all the more online. The One Mind became apparent to me pretty soon when the internet came into my life. Now I am feeling there is something beyond (behind) even this One Mind and myriad bodies.
 
There is no point latching onto words coined by thinkers without any direct appreciation for what the words refer to. So aatmaa, parmaatmaa, soul, God all get tossed out, not to be considered. 

Why does God get tossed out? We all have a sense of God, independent of what has been ‘taught’ (fed) into us. Forget about rituals and practices, we have all turned to God privately. The reason why God is also tossed out, not to be considered is because most of that turning to God is essentially a गिड़गिड़ाना — a beseeching out of fear – “I can’t handle this, ‘you’ please handle it”. Not out of any direct knowing.

Yes, we meditate. We all meditate. We all turn to some activity that soothes and eases our mind. Meditation is not just sitting cross legged with eyes closed. Sometimes in meditation we feel quieter, more peaceful. That is just a relief and respite from a frenzied mind. It is just a mind that has slowed down somewhat. Indeed that is valuable.

OK, so I come back to the proposition of seeing beyond the One Mind and myriad bodies. Point is, I don’t know how to see beyond this. Absolutely no clue whatsoever. The only option is to wait — to keep ‘seeing’, even if into what seems like nothingness, cluelessness. The one thing rooting for me in all of this is the power of intention. If you place your intention into something, it has direct impact. This I know for sure.

From My Office Window

Flowers abloom outside my office window today. 6th March 2020.

Take in the beauty. Let it nourish your heart. Come on, look at the photo just a bit longer, before you read on…

And then when you feel a bit stronger (Happier? Peaceful? Its all the same. All forms of strength) by that nourishment, laud not the flowers alone. For this is not an achievement of the flowers alone. This is the handiwork of the leaves, stems, tree trunk, roots, earth, rains, sun, air, space and time together. Each of them crucial in the scheme of things. None lesser or greater than the other. Each of them existing and dancing their dance together due to that same Intelligence and Life that permeates them all. Made complete by you who has appreciated the beauty of it all.

Savita, Jigsaw Puzzles, and I

I ordered a jigsaw puzzle today. Maybe you know that I like to do jigsaw puzzles. It is healing, peace inducing.

Savita liked to do jigsaw puzzles too. So that was one of the several things that we connected over. Today, when I decided to order a jigsaw puzzle, she came to mind.

She liked to remake the ones she owned (after some time gap). So she had some with her when I was in Manipal, and she lent them to me. That was good. When I do a jigsaw puzzle, I don’t like to do it again (even after a gap of several years). So I give them away, hoping that someone else will also experience the healing, peace, and beauty.

Now maybe I should tell you about the other things we connected over, Savita and I, some other things I found beautiful in her. Or maybe I should tell you about the jigsaw puzzle I ordered just now, and how black and white both play a significant role in that image, why I chose that image, what it speaks to me. But I don’t feel like doing either.

So just one closing note: why did Savita come to mind when I ordered the jigsaw puzzle today? Because a friend told me recently that Savita has passed away. Well, that is perfectly fine — that she has passed away. Then, when I got to know, and now, as I write, I wish her the best on her onward journey. And I look forward to receiving the puzzle I ordered.


Related post: a poem on jigsaw puzzles

Manaskriti’s Mission Statement

The fundamental creation of the mind is thoughts. Our mission is to live by and spread beautiful, nourishing thoughts. The core thoughts we aim to live by and spread —

The fundamental creation of the mind is thoughts. Thoughts are the fundamental creative force that humans possess. Our mission is to live by and spread beautiful, nourishing thoughts.

Our Core Values and Objectives

The core thoughts we aim to live by and spread

  • Interconnectedness
  • Beauty and Quality
  • Empowerment
  • Joy and Fun

What These Thoughts Mean To Us

Interconnectedness

That everything in the Universe is fundamentally the same, holy, and intrinsically crucially connected to everything else. This includes all humans on this planet, all beings, every particle of this Universe, and all entities (physical and non-physical)– past, present, and future.

Beauty

That which nourishes is beautiful.

Quality

Quality is intimately related to beauty, and the following thought, empowerment. Quality means removing that which does not nourish and empower, adding that which nourishes and empowers.

Empowerment

To move more and more towards living our true Self. Enable others to move more and more towards living their true Self. Empowerment means extension, safety and freedom. Empowerment is intimately related to service and value exchange – the primary objective and means of any business or engagement in society.

Joy and Fun

Joy is the unbridled expansive form of happiness. Fundamentally, this is what we all seek.
Fun is the active form of joy. When our means is in alignment with our goal (joy), it is fun.

Our vehicles to live by and spread these thoughts:

  • Software
  • Publishing
  • We ourselves in our thoughts, action, behavior

32 Women from 24 Countries, and One Beautifully Researched Book

It is easy to lay our hands on stories from USA, UK and the like – but what about stories from countries such as Chile, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Argentina, Belarus, Tunisia, Eritrea? Did you even know of a country called Eritrea? I did not. But that country and its people also play a crucial role in making our planet what it is.

Recently I had the good fortune of meeting 32 wonderful ladies from 24 countries thanks to a Hindi book Syaahee Kee Gamak (meaning The Fragrance of Ink) by Yadvendra Pandey. This is a collection of 32 short stories by 32 women authors from 24 countries translated into Hindi. These are writings by contemporary women authors who have been significant voices of protest against the status quo in their local societies and our collective global society. These are agents of change that we would not easily hear of for we don’t generally bother about these countries (other than to seek exotic holidays), or such voices. That this is a Hindi book, bringing this wide exposure to a Hindi audience, makes it even more significant and crucial.

As soon as one picks up the book and starts flipping through it, it becomes evident that immense hard work has gone into putting this book together – both in the prior research and finalization of stories and in the actual work of translating the final selection into Hindi. That Yadvendra ji has managed to create a beautiful bouquet of sense and coherence out of the cacophony of the internet and social media makes his work even more commendable. In doing so, he enabled me to connect to the heart-minds of ladies in far-flung countries writing in myriad languages. I am so grateful for that. I felt enriched. I feel that my horizons have expanded, and in doing so, it is not at all surprising to find, yet again, that we are all essentially the same.

Initially, the most rewarding thing about the book for me was the introduction text about each author that precedes each story. Each of them achievers in their societies and chosen fields. Reading about these women from these lands, it felt like I am connecting to them – this pulled me in to continue reading. The stories that have been selected are all excellent too. Most of these are second-order translations – i.e., the original language is not English and Yadvendra ji has translated the English translations into Hindi. Even then, the beauty of the language, structure, thought, plot, expression all shines through. This speaks to the skills of the first-order English translator, the second-order Hindi translator and the art and craft of the original writers.

What guided the selection of these stories? What ties them together? A short poem on the back cover of the book answers that question –

I am talking to you about poetry
and you say
when do we eat.
The worst of it is
I’m hungry too.
~ Alicia Partnoy (Argentina)

That is the thing – a simple message – that there is a lot else that women are also interested in, hungry for, other than food (and sex).

Yadvendra Pandey has, for years, been interested in creatives who protest the status quo – consuming content from literature, plays, film, social media, even spoken poetry and Black rap. What a fascinating change from his previous avatar as Chief Scientist at CBRI Roorkee! As he followed these creatives through various avenues on the internet, he was especially impressed by the thinking, expressiveness, decisiveness of women at a global level. He felt it was important to bring their voices to the Hindi world, especially since, in contrast, he felt that women authors in Hindi were largely restricted to writing only of freedom of the body. This is not the best representation of global female literature, Yadvendra Pandey makes sure he clarifies, just the best out of what he has read – vignettes of what world is, as seen through the eyes of (some) women.

Yes, some of these stories can be labelled as feminist, but they are just matter of fact (yet beautiful) accounts of how things are. They are not screaming out anything in opposition to anyone. I generally cringe from feminist writings because I dislike the chronic wearing of the victimhood cloak. Even then, many of the stories touched me. Then there are several stories which are not about the experience of women per se. There is a story about a man who works in a censors office during the height of political conflict (in Argentina). His initial objective is to make sure a letter that he has written gets through censorship, however, sincerity at work is so intrinsic to his personality that working diligently totally ends up brainwashing him! There is a story about a boy servant from rural Nigeria who has curious ways. When his domestic employer gives him the choice to go out into the world and make a life of his own, this boy chooses to join the army. However, his life steadily rots away, again due to political conflict and regimens making inhuman use of army personnel. His plight unfolds via letters he writes back to his boyhood employer.

One story that I especially liked – The Fear of Ghosts, from Myanmar, by San San Nweh – paints a poetic picture of an evening in a slum. It is hot and humid, there is load shedding, people are sitting out of their tiny dwellings to get some breeze. Children and young boys are playing, and a mother is apprehensive of mishaps via snakes or other dangers in the dark alleys and corners. She tells the children to go play in a newly constructed park nearby. The children refuse to go. Snakes and other dangers in dark alleys do not worry them, but they are petrified of going to that park. It is just round the corner but it is an alien and dangerous world nevertheless, because this park is a part of a more affluent society and they intuitively know that they are not welcome. In fact, they cannot forget a friend who had been killed there. They can still see his ghost near the park that reminds them that they must not go there. That simple, nice, new park of the city is not for them.

But net total, my takeaway from the book was one story – Woman and Cycle, by Bridgette Atkinson from Britain. A woman learns to ride a bicycle. This gives her a new freedom and she loves to go riding. Her husband is uncomfortable about this and follows her discreetly one day. He finds that she goes to a secluded rocky place nearby, very green, with a narrow stream flowing. He is suspicious of his wife. Who is she going to meet? However, he finds that she is dancing – alone, in total joy with herself and nature. Startled by what he sees, he quietly returns home.

One might take the message from this story that yes, see, husbands oppress their wives. Society is so cruel towards women. A simple joy of riding a bicycle is a hard-fought freedom for a woman. But the message I take from the story is that, yes, see, live your joy. The simple act of living your joy can transform people – for surely the man who returned seeing this beautiful, divine facet of his wife, must have gotten transformed. How did that seeing change him, we do not know, but he changed – this is for sure.

Read the book. It is totally worth the time and money to connect to the voices and minds of these ladies from distant lands. If you primarily read Hindi, then surely read it. If you know how to read Hindi, but do not primarily read content in Hindi, then give yourself a gift – visit Hindi once again via this book, for the language is easy. This way or that, it is worth it.

The Rewards and Challenges of Multiple Simultaneous Projects

And so I have been searching, what is that one path that I must walk on…

Ideas keep popping up in the mind. There are multiple projects in progress simultaneously. Everything moves forward slowly, often it feels like nothing is reaching anywhere, and the mind feels overloaded with so much in the RAM.

‘किस पथ से जाऊँ?’ असमंजस में है वह भोलाभाला,
अलग-अलग पथ बतलाते सब पर मैं यह बतलाता हूँ –
‘राह पकड़ तू एक चला चल, पा जाएगा मधुशाला।’।
(हरिवंशराय बच्चन)

And so I have been searching, what is that one path that I must walk on…

Ideas keep popping up in the mind. There are multiple projects in progress simultaneously. Everything moves forward slowly, often it feels like nothing is reaching anywhere, and the mind feels overloaded with so much in the RAM.

To counter this, Marie Forleo suggests that we must commit ourselves to one project at a time. Henry Miller suggests the same. But “they”, as in all the combined wisdom of the universe and all times past, also says we should look inwards for authentic answers.

The more I look inwards the more I find that I can’t work on just one project.

Right now, for 2019, my biggest agenda is the book that Kaavyaalaya is producing. That book is utterly crucial for myriad reasons. It will give me a deep sense of satisfaction when it reaches people’s hands. Even today as soon as I got up every bit of me was planning what the book landing page would contain. And so even though I had planned to devote Saturdays to writing, I thought that my inside is telling me to work on the book landing page today, so that is what I must do.

Then I reached the office, I liked the quiet and peace here, my inside again felt like writing. So here I am, writing instead of working on the book landing page.

Instead of writing or producing a book, this Thursday and Friday were spent doing something else altogether – software development: working on porting the Geet Gatiroop website to Laravel 5.4 – even though I had promised not to think about these things this year. I had promised myself to only focus on the book and sundry matters that are required to keep the show going on.

This book is being produced in collaboration with Dr. Tewary. He is not available right now. This made me tensed – there are so many things to discussed, planned, and executed. Frankly speaking, I am feeling tensed even now. But I have no option, but to wait patiently and trust higher powers.

For a few days, I used the empty time created by Dr. Tewary’s unavailability, to work on a bit of writing and software development. It felt good. It blurred the tension a bit. The sense of fun made an appearance again.

Producing the book with tension is no point at all. Fun during the journey is an integral part of the agenda and I felt having multiple projects of different kinds actually helps. It seems beauty and energy is reinforced by being reflected off of one project onto another.

And see, this is not just about a collaborator not being available. It’s my inside too. I try to be systematic, I plan things, and my inside goes on another trip altogether. I have experienced this again and again. It made me think about the book landing page, and now it is making me write.

However, my inside does not sabotage my intentions. What is to be done, gets done, but the true inner story turns out to be something else. For example, when I had gone to Iowa to study Masters in Computer Science, I got the fun of knowing other aspects of Computer Science that my work experience had not given me. Stuff like Computer Graphics; Embedded programming that powers elevators, microwaves and such; Geographical Information Systems and the unique fun of organizing and computing spatial data into data structures and algorithms; algorithms for Distributed Systems that power chat and messaging systems like Skype – all this the Master’s program gave me. My agenda was fulfilled. But unknown to me there was another agenda at play.

I had been accepted by Singapore and Iowa for the Masters, but I chose Iowa. Thanks to having landed up at Iowa, MS was diagnosed. Some sense was formed of perplexing issues I had been increasingly facing for the past few years. And I also got to know of Terry Wahls, I got to meet her – as an answer to that diagnosis. This seemed to be the hidden agenda my Inner Guide had planned.

One thing is for sure: my Inner Guide is a good sort. I am in safe hands.

So even though I have been typing this, and have been simultaneously thinking, “Stop typing! Work on the book landing page!” –the book is in good hands.

Since I have spent time typing all this, a bit more time will have to be invested to put it on the blog, put it in Mailchimp, put it on Facebook. Well ok, do whatever is to be done, and do it quickly, so you can get back to your main agenda for 2019.

The Meaning of the word Manaskriti

19 January 1998, manaskriti.com was born on the internet – the domain name for my firm Manaskriti Software Solutions. I had no desire to run a business, but things just transpired such. So I had to give a name to the business. I went to Mom for help to coin a name…

19 January 1998, manaskriti.com was born on the internet – the domain name for my firm Manaskriti Software Solutions.

I had no desire to run a business, but things just transpired such. So I had to give a name to the business. I went to Mom for help to coin a name. Those days, Indian software companies preferred names that their European and American customers could comprehend and pronounce. But that doesn’t make the name exotic and exclusive enough. After all, to say “Schlumberger” (the name of an European firm) feels like wine on the tongue. So I wanted a Sanskrit-Hindi name. I used to like “Mindware” – the name of a software firm those days – because indeed, that is what software is: mindware.

Mom, who is the Sanskrit dude of the family, suggested Manaskriti. She coined the name Kaavyaalaya too, by the way.

So it is manaskriti (मनस्कृति), not maanaskriti (मानस्कृति). Here’s how it’s pronounced:

Manaskriti is a combination of two words. Manas ( मनस् ) and kriti ( कृति ).

Manas means mind. Mom’s Sanskrit-English dictionary says this about manas :

मनस् noun.
1. The mind, heart, understanding, perception, intelligence
2. In philosophy: The mind or internal organs of perception and cognition, the instrument by which objects of sense affect the soul; (in Nyaaya philosophy, मनस् is regarded as a Dravya or substance and is distinct from आत्मन् or the soul)
3. Conscience, the faculty of discrimination or judgement
4. Thought, idea, fancy, imagination, conception
5. Design, purpose, intention.
6. Will, wish, desire, inclination
7. Reflection
8. Disposition, temper, mood.
9. Spirit, energy, mettle.
10. Of the lake called Maanas.
मन: कृ to fix the mind upon, direct the thoughts towards

Kriti means a created object. Again, in the Sanskriti-English dictionary, the entry for kriti is:
कृति:
1. Doing, manufacturing, making, performing
2. Action, deed.
3. Creation, work, composition
4. Magic, enchantment
5. Injuring, killing

So yes, Manaskriti is the Sanskrit for Mindware. It means “creation of the mind”, “created by the mind”. But with this expanded meaning of manas, I feel I am not the founder of Manaskriti. Manaskriti chose me. It gives me the message that I must focus my mind and energies — convert this mind’s Brownian motion into a laser beam that “He” can operate. But then, who am I to orchestrate that Brownian-motion-to-laser-beam conversion? That too is His department.