Seeing Us With Wonder

I have seen how vast and wondrous you are and that is a permanent. Your present behavior does not change that in any way. You are hitting out wildly in the dark. That will not dent me because I am vast and wondrous myself. I am light. Hitting wildly at light does nothing.

It gives me joy to perceive myself as vast and wondrous. It connects me to something gentle to even glimpse you as something more than your present behavior – something that permeates this whole universe. This joy, this gentle feeling is mine. I will not trade this for any other victory.

Do you wish to be my friend? Tell me of your feelings. Tell me of yourself. Tell me what pains you, what gives you joy. Do not tell me who behaved how. Do not tell me what is right or wrong. That conversation does not go anywhere.

Friendship means equality. The exalted goal of *every* relationship. Only when we know we are equal can we be one. If there is something other than equality, it means there is something other than love that is also present in the relationship (love is always present). That something else must be removed, for only love to remain.

Irrespective of when you were born and when I was born, we are equal. Even if this body came out of that body, we are equal. Irrespective of our earnings, achievements, occupation, education, irrespective of even words and thoughts we are equal. Irrespective of how you spend your day and how I spend my day, we are equal.

You may be my nephew or niece, you may be my parent or brother, or a stranger who left a lasting impression of whichever kind, but we are equal.

To my niece, nephews, to all friends younger than me – how can I ask you to touch my feet? You are vast, wondrous, infinite! I do not need you to touch my feet for me to feel love for you. I wish only to see your vast, wondrous beauty. I would much rather you stand up for yourself, as my equal. It’s much more fun that way. I love and respect you. I cannot ask you to bow down to me. Please know that you are lesser to no one.

To my parents, brothers and all friends whose bodies took shape before this body – sooner or later it gets rather stale, being ‘elder’. I am sure you have experienced that. It’s much more fun to have a friend. I do not need to touch your feet for me to feel love for you. I would much rather hug you than perform robotic compliance. I would much rather see your vast and wondrous beauty.

I am the wind, you are sunshine. We can only hug each other.

Let us meet and see each other with wonder and child-like curiosity. As a flower is meant to be seen.


Image credit: Pixabay.com

The Lotus Cannot Be Condescending

Lotuses are found in white and pink colors in general and they grow in shallow and murky waters. ~ theflowerexpert.com

The lotus cannot have a condescending attitude towards the waters it grows in. If it does that, it will not be able to grow and bloom. It won’t be any fun either.

Lotus – called by many names in Hindi/Sanskrit is considered to be kind of an ideal to aspire to. One of the words for the lotus is “pankaj” – that which is born of muck. Pank means keechad, muck. The “j” in pankaj means “born of”. That which can grow, bloom, be beautiful even in the midst of murky waters, that whose leaves are such that the water rolls off it without wetting the leaves (i.e., it does not absorb stuff from this world) – sure, sounds like a nice ideal.

But the lotus, the pankaj, cannot look upon its murky waters as muck. If the lotus is feeling happy (which, going by the fact that it is blooming and smiling with the wind, it must be feeling) it must be feeling only gratitude towards the waters it is growing in – it cannot look at it as muck. It must be surely realizing and acknowledging that the water and muck is holding it in place, giving it a place to grow, bloom and share its beauty with the world.

It is aware that it draws crucial nourishment from the murky waters to feed its stem, leaves, petals. It is aware that a lot beyond the murky waters also sustains it. The winds, the sun, the night and that which powers all of this, powers the lotus too. Even then, even though its true source is something more than the minerals from the murky waters, it can only feel gratitude towards the waters it grows in.

It cannot be a Lotus and be condescending of, nor contemptuous of where it grows.


P.S.: Blue and purple lotuses exist too. Our world is beautiful and wondrous.

neelkamal-3

I had saved the white lotus pic as a wallpaper from the internet many days back. The purple/blue lotus is thanks to a friend, from his visit to Thailand.

My Niece Unlimited

A conversation transpired with my niece recently. She was pulling at my swimming goggles.

“Don’t. It will break.”, I said.

“It’s elastic.”, she replied.

“It is rubber.”

“But it stretches.”

“Sure. But everything has a limit.”

“What is my limit?”, she asked.

“You would have to find that out.”
Then I added, “Actually you are infinite.”

“What do you mean by infinite?”

“Unlimited.”

“How is something unlimited?”

“When it has no beginning or end.”

“So I will not have an end?”

“No. You are unlimited.”

“So I will not go to heaven?”

“Why not? Of course you will go to heaven. But you do not have to end to go to heaven. To go somewhere you just have to go there. To go to Bhopal you just go to Bhopal. You don’t have to end to go to Bhopal.”

“I didn’t know I am unlimited.”

“Now you know.”

“Then you too are unlimited.”

“Yes. Indeed I am.”


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Image credit: Pixabay.com

Dear World, Why Are You So Scared?

earth-from-moon

Dear world,

Why are you so scared?

That was a rhetorical question. No need to analyse fear to give me a well thought out answer. No need to tell me about Amygdala, Hippocampus, fight or flight programming and all that jazz.

Dear world, see how beautiful you are. I mean really. Come on. With so much of beauty around where is the time or space to be scared?

Why are you so dissatisfied with yourself, dear world?

Yes. You guessed right. Rhetorical question.

Hunger? Fear of a depleting body? Fear of death? Someone might kill you? Even if someone does not kill you physically, someone might stab you with words?

But there is no one else out here other than you dear world. And there are no aliens either. Those ‘aliens’ are a part of you. All that there is, that is you dear world.

World implies all that there is.

An ever present cauldron of transformation, change, metamorphosis – dear world, your transformations are so fascinating. How come you do not marvel at it?

“People are dying”, I hear you say ardently.

No. Cells in a body are transforming. Lava is forming. Like it does. That is what is happening with you these days dear world.

People are not dying. There are no ‘people’ here.

Dear Person,

I can hear you say indignantly – “I exist! How can you just negate my existence?! How can you say there are no people here??”

Yes my friend, I totally agree. You exist. And you always will. You who are reading this perplexing post right now – you. You exist and you will always exist. Your body will transform, your mind will transform, but you – you will always exist. That is so fantastic isn’t it?

And as your body transforms, as your mind transforms, you will get to touch different parts of the world, you will get to travel to different parts of the universe. You will do this physically. You will do this mentally. Same difference really. And wherever you go, whatever you touch, you will become that. And soon you will become the world.

How wonderful is that, isn’t it? This expansion.

“BAM!!!” Some body just pressed a gun and shot a bullet through your body. “BAM!!” Another shot. One more hole in your body. Its not your body really, its ‘a’ body. Anyhow, we will figure out the ownership claim later. Some body shot this body and there is blood pouring out, and intestines, and all kinds of muck. The body has fallen down.

Well, that is what happens. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. That’s the way the body disintegrates when some body shoots some body. Actually mind rather. It’s the mind that directed the body to shoot the body. But we will figure that one out too later. Important question is – what about you? You still exist. Some body shot your body but you still exist.

Check once. No, don’t look down at your body to check. Check your mind. Do you in your deepest self still sense that you still exist?

The body associated with the label ‘Vani Murarka’ has fallen down. You, you dear reader, the one who is processing this information, you still exist.

So dear reader, why are you so sad?

Your body has fallen down (well you still believe it is your body, so ok fine) and now you get to see firsthand, you get to experience firsthand, what happens when a body ‘dies’.

How utterly superb!

Well granted. Being shot at must be a very very unpleasant experience. To consciously die, peacefully, with full awareness, must surely be much much better. I too would much rather be Vivekanand than Gandhiji or Martin Luther King. But whatever the kind of cookie crumbling you got to experience, it is mighty fascinating, no doubt about that.

“You lack compassion! How can you trivialize people dying and all the violence in the word!”. Is that what you said?

Nope, my friend. I am not trying to trivialize people dying and all the violence in the world.

It matters to me that you are sad. It matters to me that the world is sad. When I am sad, that matters to me (don’t ask who I am – that right now is a zillion dollar question).

It is because the world is sad that people are dying and there is violence all around. Sad is not bad though. Sad is part of the “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” ball game – the system so to speak. Certain thoughts create sadness. That is just the way the system functions. Thoughts are powerful. Thoughts create. Certain thoughts create joy. Certain thoughts create sadness. The thought that creates sadness has been thought a lot in the world, so there is a lot of sadness in the world. Sad by itself is not bad.

But coming back to what matters to me. You dear friend, you matter to me. You do not gush at your own beauty – your super awesome utterly fantastic infinite beauty. That matters to me.

When I can see how utterly beautiful you are and I come and tell you and you do not really receive it and you continue to be frustrated with yourself – that matters to me.

When I see your beauty, I feel joy. But then when you don’t accept your beauty, my joy is diminished. You’ll agree won’t you – no one likes their joy to be diminished, do they?

You are beautiful. I see your beauty and I feel joyful. Why should it matter to me that you cannot see your beauty? I am joyful. Why is that not sufficient?

Because we are connected. Because we are one. Because the moment I saw your beauty, I became you.

In you I dwell.

I am you.

I am love.


Image credit: Earth from Moon wallpaper.

The Science of Shiva – My Favorite Thin Spiritual Book

कहें न तुमसे तुम्हारी बात तो किससे कहें हम?

Shivji is one heck of a cool dude. You see, I have a teenage crush on Shivji that endures. So when he says, “O Beloved, put attention neither on pleasure or pain but between these, I feel this warm glow all inside.

He’s addressing me as beloved! Oh how nice!

What are you talking about Vani??

My favorite thin (ultra-thin) spiritual book. It’s called “Vigyaan Bhairav”, which means “Science of Shiva”.

The original is in Sanskrit, but hold on, don’t go away yet. We aren’t going to get all high brow, scholarly and stuff. In fact it’s because of its utter simplicity that I love this book – and there are many kind and sweet ways that it is accessible to us without having to bother about the Sanskrit.

Shakti (Durga, Parvati, The Supreme Feminine Force) poses a question –

“O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
Who centers this universal wheel?
How may we enter it fully, above space and time, names and descriptions?”

Essentially she is asking him to spill the beans. She is asking him to tell us “the theory of everything”, the one final answer to all questions anyone may ever have.

And then Shiva answers –

He gives 112 short simple ways whereby we may know the answer ourselves by experiencing it. In short, his answer just boils down to this –

Be aware. Experience completely. Receive fully.

He does not directly answer the question ‘What is your reality? Who centers the universal wheel?’ – for if we just heard that, bereft of experience it would just be information and theory to us. He tells us ways in which we can enter his reality, ways in which we can arrive at the center of the universal wheel – above space and time, names and descriptions – and thereby we can directly reach the answer experientially. Nowhere in the book does he say, “I center the universal wheel. This is my reality. Worship me (or anyone or anything for that matter)”. I told you, he’s a cool dude.

.

Observe. That is the bedrock of science. Observe as much as you can, as minutely as clearly as you can. On a personal level that converts to – be aware, experience completely. Be as acutely aware, of as much in you, around you, as you can.

Scientists use various instruments to observe – be it the grand Hadron Collider at CERN or the hapless rickety Voltmeter in the school lab. We too have been bestowed with superb instruments to observe with. The grandest, big daddy of them all being – our mind. And a plethora of other superb instruments too – eyes, ears, skin…

We just have to tune our instruments and use it completely. When we do that, we directly reach the reality of what is Shiva, along with resolutions to life problems required enroute.

To solve a problem, we have to know the problem. To know the problem, we have to observe the problem. And that applies to whatever hassle we may be experiencing. And even if everything is hunky dory and you are filled with wonder at our wondrous universe and want to know what drives it all – the ultimate question of science, “the theory of everything” – Shiva tells us how you can straight away, bang on, arrive at it. At the center of it all. Not only do you get to know the theory of everything, you get to directly connect with everything, you get to become everything.

It all boils down to tuning our instruments and using it. One simple way that Shivji gives to tune our big daddy instrument, our mind, is – be aware of your breath.

The first four verses of his answer are all different ways of saying, be aware of your breath. Here is the first –

1. Radiant one, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out) – the beneficence.

Whenever I do that, whenever I choose to become aware of my breath, I feel a sense of calm. Ok, relative calm. Things do not feel as overwhelming. I feel his presence. Be aware of your breath.

Imagine a rickety voltmeter gone rogue, jumping all over the lab. That’s what our mind is like most of the time. What kind of an answer to anything will we get using that instrument? What kind of problem solving will it manage to do? Even if someone is blaring the answer we seek at top volume, we won’t be able to hear it. Cause the voltmeter (which has a radio transmission receiver built into it) won’t be able to receive any radio transmission. We gotta tune the radio.

A way to do it – be aware of your breath.

Dear reader, I invite you – pause a second, become aware of your breathing – no need to close your eyes, take on a posture or any such thing – be aware of the movement in your chest, or your tummy – whichever moves more. Just five breaths. In and out.

Being aware of just five breaths, in and out, being aware of just one breath, has tremendous power.

Then Shivji, in Vigyaan Bhairav, gives some further ways to arrive at the center of the universal wheel, above space and time. Here are some that I particularly like. It all boils down to – Use your instruments! See! Listen! When eating something, taste it completely. When having sex, experience it so completely that the fire burns in you forever. Feeling like a rag doll? Well experience that completely.

16. In the beginning and gradual refinement of the sound of any letter, awake.

17. While listening to stringed instruments, hear their composite central sound; thus omnipresence.

22. Consider any area of your present form as limitlessly spacious.

27. When in worldly activity, keep attentive between two breaths, and so practicing, in a few days be born anew.

37. Look lovingly on some object. Do not go on to another object. Here, in the middle of this object – the blessing.

41. While being caressed, sweet princess, enter the caressing as everlasting life.

43. At the start of sexual union, keep attentive in the beginning, and so continuing, avoid the embers in the end.

45. Ever remembering union, without embrace, the transformation.

46. On joyously seeing a long-absent friend, permeate this joy.

47. When eating or drinking, become the taste of the food or drink, and be filled.

50. At the point of sleep when sleep has not yet come and external wakefulness vanishes, at this point being is revealed.

51. In summer when you see the entire sky, endlessly clear, enter such clarity.

52. Lie down as dead. Engaged in wrath, stay so. Or stare without moving an eyelash. Or suck something and become the sucking.

59. Simply by looking into the blue sky beyond clouds, the serenity.

62. In rain during a black night, enter that blackness as the form of forms.

67. Feel yourself pervading all directions, far, near.

79. Toss attachment for body aside, realizing I am everywhere. One who is everywhere is joyous.

82. Feel the consciousness of each person as your own consciousness. So, leaving aside concern for self, become each being.

91. Wherever your mind is wandering, internally or externally, this.

92. When vividly aware through some particular sense, keep in the awareness.

96. Devotion frees.

98. The purity of other teachings is as impurity to us. In reality know nothing as pure or impure.

100. Be the unsame same to friend as to stranger, in honor and dishonor.

101. When the mood against someone or for someone arises, do not place it on the person in question, but remain centered.

104. Wherever your attention alights, at this very point, experience.

108. Here is a sphere of change, change, change. Through change consume change.

109. As a hen mothers her chicks, mother particular knowings, particular doings, in reality.

110. Since, in truth, bondage and freedom are relative, these words are only for those terrified with the universe.
This universe is a reflection of minds. As you see many suns in water from one sun, so see bondage and liberation.

112. Beloved, at this moment let mind, knowing, breath, form, be included.

.

.

Did you sense a deep silence and wide expanse in those words?

There is tremendous transformative power in receiving our experiences completely. As we do it (even if just sometimes) over time it creates a shift, a transformation within. We start seeing the same things that have been in our life all along, in subtle but significantly different ways. There is power shining everywhere and every once in a while we are able to connect to it. A wide expanse opens up and our mind gets transformed in unimaginably gorgeous ways. We feel unlimited. We become unlimited.

Then, in the original Sanskrit, at the end of all his answers, Durga “कण्ठे लग्ना” – i.e. filled with gratitude, she embraces him, she hugs him tight.

That is exactly what happens. We are overcome by gratitude.

That sure is what happens to me. उनके बस गले लग जाना, ज़ोर से – और क्या चाह सकती हूँ मैं?

विस्तृत होकर मन मुस्काया
छा जाती नभ सी यह काया
मैं बस वाणी – मन भरमाया
मैं तो हूँ ब्रह्माण्ड समाया


Zen Flesh Zen BonesDear reader, the excerpts that I have shared with you here are from the book Zen Flesh Zen Bones which consists of four parts (it is not 4 parts as in 4 printed separate books – there are 4 parts within this one book Zen Flesh Zen Bones).

This, a very simple, extremely pared down translation of Vigyaan Bhairav is the last, 4th part of Zen Flesh Zen Bones titled “Centering”. 18 printed pages. That’s all.

There are other ways in which Vigyaan Bhairav is accessible to you too. There is a version available from Bihar School of Yoga / Bihar Yoga Bharati where the original Sanskrit is given with short explanations in English after each shloka. Osho Rajneesh has written a commentary on Vigyaan Bhairav where he has extensively expanded on each of the 112 shlokas and ways of going beyond space and time that Shivji gives. I have cursorily glanced at both these versions. Both are very nice. There are others too.

Sri_Vijnana_Bhairava_Tantra
Book of Secrets - Osho
Vijnana Bhairav - Lakshmanjoo

Personally, I am satisfied with these 18 pages in Zen Flesh Zen Bones and do not feel the need to delve into other more scholarly discourses. I really like the way the authors of Zen Flesh Zen Bones (with the help of a teacher Lakshmanjoo, in Kashmir), have pared down the verses to bare minimum words. It makes the spirit of the message that much more accessible to me. It enables me to stay near silence, near him – unentangled with words and form.

The Science of Shiva – Observe. Experience. Receive fully.


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Image credit: Shiv Shakti by Updendra Ratra

Beauty is Everywhere. Sitting Quietly, Waiting To Be Seen.

“How do you define beauty?” my friend asked.

“I don’t. I experience it”, I answered.

That still is the best I can say – I don’t define beauty, I experience it. Nevertheless, I see her question as gently asking “tell me more about beauty”.

Beauty emerges from the womb of awareness. Beauty is a seeing. When it happens, it brings with it a sense of expanse. ‘Vani Murarka’ blurs away somewhat and unseen I penetrate the ‘thing’ being seen as beautiful and drink in the beauty a bit. A certain oneness occurs, a feeling of having been nourished.

“I love you.”

Love is a verb in this sentence. This means that love involves some action. What action does love involve? Seeing beauty. To love someone or something is to perceive beauty in that person / thing. Seeing beauty is to perceive the very being of that thing / person, and by that seeing we are expanded.

What have I loved in the purest way in my life so far?

The sky.

Whenever I have loved the sky, I have never wanted anything from it. I did not ask it to acknowledge my love for it. Nor did I want to make it my own. I have simply been enamored by it. I have wanted to be immersed in it and by that wanting itself, felt expanded.

I have loved some people deeply too. There are times when I perceive the person I love deeply to be existing in every atom of this universe. At those times the same thing occurs, I am enamored by their beauty, by their very being. The result is, I feel expanded and grateful for being able to perceive that way.

To see someone somewhere (say 19 Park Street for example) requires us to go there (to 19 Park Street) – either physically, or by technological means such as the television, or simply by our mind. When I have seen the person I have loved in every particle of the universe, that seeing has taken *me* to every particle of the universe – and by that I have been blessed.

Beauty is a blessing. It is a blessing that exists everywhere, every moment, available to us to partake of. When we are not feeling expansive, our mind is focused on something where we do not perceive beauty – but right beside that something, beauty is sitting quietly, ever present to be seen.

So here we are on Facebook, reading posts about cow slaughter, or protection, or Donald Trump or Modi or whatever else that disturbs us – and right beside that post, in that post, beauty is sitting quietly waiting to be seen.

For the screen on which we read is beautiful – lit by its numerous tiny bulbs hidden inside and all its wonderful technology and science, every aspect of which is *so* grand, which powers the screen and the whole internet. Be enamored by the screen – the material it is made of, the manner in which text and images are transmitted to it for display, the collective human action present past (and future), and every atom and every zero and one that dances together to make it all happen. Sublime.

And beauty exists in the text that we read. Every letter is beautiful. See one letter carefully. Its shape is beautiful. Its typography is beautiful. That letter encapsulates a sound – that is so fascinating. Each word of the post you read, *whichever* post, is beautiful. They may have been strung together to convey a thought of hate, but each of those words can be used to convey a thought of love too. What we choose to receive, the thought of hate or the seeing of beauty, is our choice.

Pause a second. See a letter. This last one – “e”. Look at its shape – e. The way it loops around and then points us to the next letter. Feel that movement and its sound – ee. See the word it was in – one, or shape. Each word so fascinating and wondrous –

one

shape

Ponder a second on the meaning of those words, “one”, “shape” – each has the capability to take us to a wide open place in our mind. I just happened to pick these two words at random. They came my way as I was writing. Any word that we may pick up holds within itself a wide open expanse, if we enter it.

Within letters and words the stream of humanity itself is hidden – all our forefathers, known unknown. For how does language evolve and emerge? These letters and words just got made, naturally over time, organically, by the power of a great natural collective mind. No law was passed, “one” shall mean this, and it shall be pronounced thus, for which these letters that hold these sounds will be used. No law was passed. It evolved under the skilled chisel of a grand collective mind that flows across time. This same grand, wondrous, sublime mind has been gifted to each one of us too.

And these words created by this grand mind empower me to reach out to you. These words empower you to receive my thoughts. And in this moment, we are one.

What did I do here? I saw the beauty of the screen on which I see what I type. I saw the beauty of the letters and words I use. Pause a second and see anything, there is beauty sitting quietly in there.

What is beauty, but a seeing.

What is beauty, but a receiving.

But The Colors Could Not See The Grand Picture

It is out of its inherent throbbing joy that white burst into a myriad colors. It is out of its inherent throbbing joy that the land danced and there were highs and lows. As the land was high and low, the colors flowed. And so a grand picture was formed.

And the colors loved themselves. The green was proud of itself, and rightly so, for it was beautiful. The blue was proud of itself, and rightly so, for it was beautiful. And the colors flowed. Little particles of joy were embedded into the colors which made them move ahead.

But the colors could not see the grand picture. As one color flowed into the other, the other felt threatened. Its identity was threatened. Its territory was threatened. The deep flaming red would turn into a milder orange if the yellow flowed into it. That was not acceptable. And the yellow did not like it at all either, that its natural flow was being inhibited. The whole land was his to explore after all. Its inner joy particles were asking it to move forward.

So some colors flowed, some did not. And there was a muddy pool. For the colors could not see the grand picture. They could not see the big orchestrated dance and be in awe at what they were creating together.

But the force that was there in the colors, was there in the colors, whether they liked it or not. So they continued to dance and flow, albeit reluctantly. Their reluctance made them heavy. And as as they danced and flowed, they mixed together and turned into black. A deep velvety never-ending black.

And white was filled with amazement. This is also a form of me? A reverse side of me? For white had seen the whole dance, the beauty and the resistance. It knew the black emerged from its own self. There was a deep wisdom that seemed to emanate from the quiet all-absorbing black, that white found so beautiful.

And it felt a kind-of peace, resting in its own black reverse self. And it rested there for long. It felt good. The black held the same power that white had. As white rested, black kept nourishing it, black kept nourishing its own reverse self. That felt good. A smile spread on the lips of the sleeping white. As it was nourished more, it was energized. The smile converted into a fountain of joy. Then out of its inherent throbbing joy white burst into a myriad colors.

Where Ideas Interconnect

Two days in February, people gather in Goa. Ideas gather in Goa. In total camaraderie, zero competition, zero cynicism.

This is thanks totally to Imtiaz Ali’s movie Tamasha. Right through the movie there was this throbbing voice telling me again and again, ‘Go to The Goa Project this year. Go!’

So, I went. To #TGP2016

IMG_20160219_102704562_lrTwo days in February, people gather in Goa. Ideas gather in Goa. In total camaraderie, zero competition, zero cynicism. To enable each other, to share what positive they have discovered in their profession, creativity, life. People from the age range of 20s to 50s (maybe more) interacting seamlessly. How come? Because it is ideas interacting. For ideas don’t have an age. They are simultaneously age old and fresh new.

Ideas do not have any gender either. Nor does The Goa Project.

While elsewhere the issue is discussed threadbare about the inequal gender participation in science, technology, corporates, parliament – TGP simply just achieves it. Probably without even trying (I should ask the organizers).

No other professional / creative gathering have I encountered where the presence and interaction of men and women is so equal normal natural as at The Goa Project. Be it amongst the organisers, speakers or delegates.

IMG_20160219_151517648The Goa Project is an unconference. Unconference because it is not about any discipline in particular. Which means probably every idea belongs, depending on how you present it (remember camaraderie, positive energy, enabling each other). There were talks and workshops related to ambient music, being a voice-over artist, storytelling, performing arts, set design, impacting social change through positive news, poetry, sexual lifestyle, entrepreneurship, photography, mythology, writing your first (tech) book, cake making (this last one was in some previous year) … – i.e. a place where diverse ideas naturally co-habitate, interconnect and integrate.

While sessions are so widely varied, they are carefully curated.

The Goa Project is an unconference because it is informal. It is perfectly OK to get up and walk out of a session to some other session running simultaneously in the other tents.

Yes, tents. Out in the open. The event is very tastefully designed and organised (totally by volunteers) in an elegant secluded venue at the edge of the waters.IMG_20160220_162629182_lr

First I used to feel bad that I am interested in so many things that I am unable to raah pakad ke ek chalaa chal paa jaayegaa madhushala. Then I declared to my counselor – I am a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none and that precisely is my gift to the world – interconnectedness. Then I found the people of my tribe. I found the madhushala called TGP.

And while TGP loves to guzzle beer maybe next year it will be more unconference and unmadhushala by additional ly guzzling tons of nariyal pani!

Wannabe coconut water sponsors for TGP 2017 please contact Udhay Shankar!

Learning to Love Marketing

Why marketing is spiritual and how I learned to love it –

If you have a product or service you believe in and you don't do everything you can to market the heck out of it, you're stealing from those who need you most. ~ Marie Forleo

Wow. That totally flips things, doesn’t it? This is what my teacher Marie Forleo told me in her B-School program this year.

bschoolB-School is an 8-week online course focusing on online marketing. I enrolled in it to receive guidance to market my project MeULib: The Public Library by Me and You. The program consisted of 6 modules –

  • Profit Plan
  • Website
  • Communication
  • List Building
  • Offerings
  • Marketing

The first and last were POWER-packs. Everything that B-School contained requires fermentation- repeated cycles of contemplation-implementation-re-evaluation on the canvases of one’s business and heart. The nice thing is that the way that Marie taught (crystal-clear thought, excellently structured, compassionately delivered), I am feeling as-if that practice of contemplation-implementation-re-evaluation is seeping inside me and may well become my innate nature!

The Public Library by Me and You
The Public Library by Me and You

At such an early stage, maybe it is not very wise to say this. It is sounding rather premature and pompous. Specially when I have no results (read $$$) to show for it, but then “Start before you are ready” is another thing she said. 🙂

No, not start being pompous before you have reason for being pompous (you never will!) – but, in this case, start sharing your feelings of success before you are successful. 🙂

From the exercises given in each module, I am here to share with you my output of one exercise. I felt so good with what I wrote. That good feeling is still rippling inside me.

Many of us cringe from marketing. That sure has been the case with me. So it is important to revisit those words she said –
If you have a product or service you believe in and you don’t do everything you can to market the heck out of it, you’re stealing from those who need you most.

The key here is “product or service you believe in”. This requires self-belief. That I am a worthwhile entity in this world. And it requires belief in what I am doing. That it is of value, it is a meaningful contribution in this world.

Yet, self-doubt and that cringing from speaking-out remains, doesn’t it? 🙂

So she asks in an exercise:
What fears, beliefs or misconceptions will you need to let go of in order to be a top-level marketer and make the income and impact you deserve?

The answer that flowed naturally from me:
The fear of looking stupid.

That is it. That is the one single inhibition that holds me back. The answer seems so complete I feel no need to add anything to it. In its exactness, it feels freeing. It is after all, a form of explicit self-communication.

And then she continued on to say –
Whenever you change a negative belief, it’s vital you replace it with something more aligned with the life you want, and stay connected to why it’s important. This will help you anchor in your new belief and reach your goal. In the space below, create ten powerful reasons why gaining a new level of mastery in modern marketing will create a positive change in your life, and in the world.

And this is what naturally flowed from me –


  1. To connect with the world – for that is fulfilling. 
  2. To voice my voice – for that is fulfilling. 
  3. To exercise my creativity. For marketing provides a wonderful canvas on which I can unleash all my creativity. 
  4. To offer myself to serve – for to serve is fulling. 
  5. To have fun. Aah! That is just so beautiful. To have fun. Just that one reason itself makes me feel so satisfied. What more can one want? 
  6. To expand myself, my capabilities – it feels good to stretch. Challenges are tasty. 
  7. To learn to be humble. When I genuinely connect and interact with the world, it makes me widen my perspectives. That brings in a humility as well as a gratitude for being part of this big wonderful Universe. 
  8. “Why are you kissing me? Go kiss the world” (Mother Teresa). To go kiss the world. To get up and step out and stand openly in my world with my arms stretched out – to give and to receive. 
  9. To be One. 
  10. To do what He has asked me to do.

Looks like I am already in love with marketing! Exactly what she had said will happen. 🙂

If you dear reader are contemplating starting your own business or already have one and need guidance, I recommend you check Marie out. It will resonate with you specially if you are a woman, but it is in no way restricted to women. I spied a male dentist running his own clinic among the students of this year.

And dear reader, make sure you visit MeULib: The Public Library by Me and You. An unlimited library in the making and the root cause of this post!
meulib_screen_top

song of the software developer – 1

dear faceless bro of mine
i talk to you silenty
through the software
that i write

dear faceless bro of mine
i talk to you silently
through the software
that i write

i strive to reach silently
to you through the
code i write

at times i swim in one small box
a pixel high a pixel wide
and i am lost
semi lost colon lost
dark color coded screens
breaks in code
error screams

i forget

there is a human on that side
my bro my user
he gets lost
from my mind

UI UX they remind
and i rewind

why am i doing this?

to be one
with you faceless bro of mine
to be one
an interwoven world divine
to be one
with my own soul that shines

~ vani murarka