Kashmir - The Perfect Getaway

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27, 2014 Mumbai, IndiaKashmir was our most awaited holiday destination for a long time and it was only in November of 2013 when it turned into a reality. A Paradise as it is generally referred to; we were more than excited to experience the bliss and some great surprises it claimed to offer us. Winter had just begun and the temperatures in Mumbai had already started to drop. We knew it would be challenging as far as the weather conditions were concerned and this made us power pack our bags with lots and lots of body warmers, jackets and sweaters. Here we were all set to freak out our minds with the enchanting beauty of the only Paradise on the planet.

We started at 11 AM in the morning to board a direct flight to Srinagar from Mumbai. The first two hours of the flight were pretty usual until we flew over the majestic snow capped mountains of the Himalayan ranges. It was the first time we experienced such a breath taking view from a commercial airplane. It was partly cloudy outside the flight on that sunny afternoon which initially made us hard to believe what we saw over the mountain peaks was actually snow. But soon enough all our doubts were clarified and our minds accepted this surprise as a reality. It was pretty cool and comfortable 21 degree Celsius inside the aircraft. However, we had no clues that our comfort was short-lived and that it would last only until the cabin crew had bid us a Good Bye.

Aerial View of Kashmir
A chill of cold wave entered our ears as we landed on the Srinagar airport. Soon as we claimed our baggage we had them wide open to pull out our jackets, scarves and body warmers. It was 8 degree Celsius at the Srinagar airport. After a warm welcome from our trip organizers, we headed towards the beautiful Dal Lake which was a short 45 minutes ride from the airport. It was rather unusual for a Metropolitan person like me to see so many Indian Army soldiers appointed at every hundered meters distance. It was also unusual to see most of the roads sparingly crowded and most shops outside the airport closed down. This gave us and our fellow tourists an uncomfortable feeling about the city.  However, soon after a conversation with our local chauffer and our tour guide, we learnt that the shops remain closed on Sundays. That was weird, we thought. Srinagar is a city of tourism. Tourists are the sole means of bread and butter for a majority of the localities in the city. They are pretty professional when it comes to handling tourists and of course, they hold some expectations in return. It’s better to plan your tour in advance in order to avoid last minute bargains.

We reached the Ghat No. 12 at the famous Dal Lake where our own Shikara (boat) was waiting for us. The Shikara ride has a special significance due to it’s glamorization in Indian movies and their popular songs. Shikara is a narrow boat with a comfortable sitting arrangement, a small one will carry up to 5 persons including the driver. 1 hour of a Shikara ride charged us INR 400. The most interesting part of the Shikara ride was that the person riding us was a beautiful Kashmiri singer. “We are naturally like this. We do not need cosmetics unlike your movie stars”, I recollect his words and his pink-cheeked face that has remained green in my memory. We spent rest of the evening singing songs with him over the beautiful Lake enjoying it’s floral and scenic beauty. Having a cup of tea at a floating shop on the Lake in such a cold weather was an experience of it’s kind. We also visited a few garment shops at the Meena Bazaar - floating market over the lake but as the evening approached, the cold was almost unbearable. Soon it was dark and we checked in at our House Boat where our cook served us a sumptuous dinner.  

Dal Lake
The next day we headed towards Gulmarg which is around 52 kms from Srinagar. It was almost a straight drive and took us around a couple of hours to reach. However, the later part of the drive was a twisted uphill drive towards Gulmarg. The famous Gondola ride through the snow capped mountains is the only attraction for most of the tourists visiting Gulmarg. It is one of the largest Gondolas in Asia. On our way, we rented snow jackets and gum boots that later proved our saviors. After lunch at our hotel, we started towards the Gondola ride. The ride is covered in two phases. It is not advisable for people with medical problems or heart ailments to visit the Phase 2 of the ride. During heavy snow fall or poor climatic conditions, Phase 2 remains closed for tourists. Tickets for the Gondola ride can be booked in advanced over the Internet or can be booked on the spot early in the morning. The Gondola car gave us a beautiful view of the pine trees wrapped with the snow. The 10 minutes ride to Phase 1 was remarkable and the experience was permanently captured in our memories. We reached Phase 1 and walked over the slippery snow bed. To our dismay, Phase 2 was closed down due to a heavy snowfall on the mountain. We had the liberty to hire the pony and enjoy skiing and other sports. Enjoying a Snicker Bar to kill the hunger after falling down a couple of times on the snow was unforgettable. We came down to our hotels before it was dark and spent the rest of the evening battling the ruthless cold.

Aru Valley, Pehalgam
We started for Pahalgam the very next morning which was a long 6 hours drive via. Srinagar. Kashmir is known as the land of Chinaars due to the abundant plantation of the Chinaar trees all around the State. Driving through the roads, making a way ahead through these trees is a beautiful experience. Some Chinaar trees are so shady on the roads that one does not feel like moving ahead from it’s very own shady grace. On the way we had a stopover at the Saffron (Kesar) Gardens and had an opportunity to buy the real Saffron from the very source – the farms. As we headed towards Pahalgam, the wide open highway roads started becoming steeper until it made us realize why it must have got it’s name. The wide open green grazing lands between the valleys and the snow capped mountains across the roads were enchanting us. The Periodic view of the serene, peaceful grazing herds of wool coated sheep added to the beauty of the place. The innocent looks of the Kashmiri villagers looking at the tourists peeping out of the windows felt like they were welcoming us to their Paradise. We reached our hotel at Pahalgam late in the afternoon. After lunch, we spent the evening at the local Pahalgam Market.

The very next day was dedicated to explore the beauty of Pahalgam. The famous Betaab Valley was the first to visit. The valley has got it’s name from the famous Hindi Movie Betaab which was shot in this Valley in the early 1980s. Even after several decades, the place has maintained it’s sanctity and there is almost no change in it’s beauty or ambience. Personally, I find myself out of words to describe the charisma of the place and this valley is one of the best places I have ever experienced in my life till date. After spending an hour at the place, it was hard to bid an adieu. We headed towards Chandanwadi which is where the famous Amarnath Temple Journey starts. Amarnath Journey has a religious significance amongst the Hindus and Lord Shiva devotees. This journey of approximately 30 kms. through the snow starts from Chandanwadi and we had the privilege of stepping on the steps that headed towards the Temple. After spending some quiet moments, we headed towards the Aru Valley which is a few minutes drive through the breathtaking views of the mountains and lush green Valleys systematically designed and nurtured by Mother Nature. Aru Valley seemed like just another Nature’s marvel. This is why it is also known as the mini Switzerland, a destination that it’s best. Way back to our hotel in Pahalgam, we stopped over a few scenic locations to get our cameras in action just to realize that these spots were familiar to us and were already featured in many Indian movies and famous songs. The time we had spent at the hotel that evening was exhilarating and filled with numerous memories of the day – a holiday spent at it’s best.

Betaab Valley, Pehalgam
We came back to Srinagar the next day which was around 95 kms. drive. On the way towards Srinagar, we halted at Bijbehara, the village of apple gardens surrounded by beautiful Chinaar trees. Plucking an apple and enjoying it’s sweetness as it quickly melted in my mouth was something I had never done before. Those were the freshest apples we ever ate. A few minutes before Srinagar, we also visited the Avantipura Temple just on the road towards the city. The ancient sculpture and craftsmanship of this Old Hindu Temple is indeed notable. At Srinagar we visited the Shankaracharya Temple which is located at the highest point in the city. Climbing the steps towards the Temple was a good exercise and also worth the view. It gave a spectacular glimpse of the Srinagar city beside the beautiful Dal Lake. The numerous stationery house boats on the Lake looked like a beautiful garland around the City. After a late lunch at our hotel, we visited the renowned Mughal Gardens and Chasmeshahi Garden. This is the second best way to spend an evening in Srinagar. The best still remains the Shikara ride on the Dal Lake.

Sonmarg is a few hours drive from Srinagar. Reaching there is another treat to the eyes and experiencing the snowy atmosphere in there is another. Sonmarg is probably the only tourist place in Kashmir where one can find snow at almost any part of the year. After we reached Sonmarg, we had the liberty to choose a pony ride or a local car. However, me and a fellow tourist decided to walk into the wilderness of the snow. This is something very adventurous and one of the most memorable thing I have done in the Paradise. When we returned back from the mountains, we had returned with two big balls of snow which were generously gifted to our spouses as a token of love. That was memorable too. After spending such a blissful time in the Paradise, we unanimously felt sad to leave the place. The white snow had by now became permanently green in our memories. We headed back to the Srinagar airport with a promise to visit Kashmir again.

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Life Is All About... Knowing Your Purpose

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014 Pune, India - I am sharing my most recent experiences with Falun Dafa in this post.

Introduction to Dafa

The Fa is enormous and the most profound thing I have come across in my life. I wholeheartedly thank our revered Master for this pre-destined opportunity provided to me. The biggest hurdle I experience in my cultivation practice is that I am surrounded by everyday people all around me. Way back in the year 2011 when I was introduced by a friend to Falun Dafa, I firstly ignored him. But he continued to introduce me to this Great Law wheel and the principles of the Universe. This happened several times and the level of resistance I had in listening to him came down steadily every time we spoke. I knew that whatever I got to know from this friend was truth and something that demanded a high level of character standard. There was some shortcoming within me that was stopping me to open up. Today, I am enlightened to the fact that this friend was a messenger of the Master. This is since our meeting was arranged by the Master which was indeed pre-destined. What really worked well was this friend’s dedication, sincerity in clarifying the truth and above all the genuineness in his own cultivation practice. Today, I have realized that without putting emphasis on our own cultivation practice, it is very hard to make everyday people believe or get them introduced to Dafa.

Early Days

It is not at all easy being a Dafa practitioner. Being in this world of everyday people, it feels like a real test. When I am practicing the meditation exercises or studying the Master’s lectures, I find myself closer to the truth. I feel lighter and even more when I get involved into any of the three things. Many a times, I get carried away by the worldly things around me. This is a very difficult situation. When this happens, I feel ashamed. I know that I am answerable to no one but myself. When I was new to the practice, there were too many interferences encountered from outside. For example, whenever I thought of performing the exercises at home, one of my family members would bring up an issue which would make me disturbed. My spouse would start an argument which would make reading the book very difficult. This is just to name a few. In almost all of such situations, the first few minutes were full of hurdles. But when I was successful in overcoming these hurdles, things were very easy. If I could make it through the first ten minutes of reading Zhuan Falun, I could reach into a different realm of thoughts. When I continued reading further, I used to get the answers to all the problems. It was then when I realized that all that happened was so paltry. I was able to identify my own mistakes instantly. It helped me improve every single time.

I was introduced to the exercises first by few of the practitioners at a Practice site near my home in Pune. It took me some time to understand the implied meaning of the hand movements of the five exercises. It is a common tendency of new practitioners to seek benefits in terms of mental peace, health etc. and I was a no exception to it. But yes, I was very keen to understand the principles behind the practice. That is when I started reading the book Zhuan Falun. The first read took around three months and that was pretty casual. A practitioner suggested me to go for a second read and interestingly this time the book did not seen the same. I was not able to recollect if I had read the same lines before. This pulled in my interest and I was able to understand the lines even better. Every time I read Master’s lectures it took me in a different realm of thought. It has an immense power to soothe any situation. The guiding principle in all the teachings given by the Master is Truth, Compassion and Benevolence. No other book has had such an effect on me.

Soon after I started practicing the Fa regularly and genuinely, there were significant changes in my home atmosphere. There were no arguments at home anymore. I had improved and was continually progressing. My spouse with whom I am sharing a karmic relationship had by now became my strongest supporter. She almost always started telling me to exercise and read the book when I had a free time. This was a drastically changed situation.

Cultivation is a continuous process

Cultivation was never a piece of cake several centuries back. Falun Dafa allows me to practice amongst the everyday people. This not only allows me to possess worldly things such as, wealth, material property, relationships etc. but isat the same time allows me to improve in my cultivation which is by far the sole purpose of my life. I am sure that no other practice today, can guide practitioners in such a way. The Fa taught by the Master helps me ascend in my cultivation level. This is the reason why I always get answers to my problems whenever I randomly open any page and start reading Zhuan Falun. The book is truly a torch bearer in my life. The answers I get from Dafa are supernatural and demand a very high level of personal standard. Even an everyday person will accept that being truthful, kind and tolerant is a good thing. Since an everyday person is filled with worldly attachments, desires and ambitions he will ignore these fundamental characteristics of the Universe. I understand that this is the source of all his problems. Certainly, it is too difficult to change ones thinking overnight. Dafa helps me do that steadily and continuously. Even when I am not practising, I am practising. While at workplace or on the street, when I come across a tricky or difficult situation, it is the Fa that I am recollect. The principles I have been learning are from the heart and they are closely linked to my conscience. This always happens spontaneously while I just need to treat myself as a true practitioner. I am very sure that I can confront any tribulation or situation by following some simple standards Master has set for the practitioners. The principles of Falun Dafa are very transparent and open to everyday people with an open mind and a willing heart.

I recollect Master’s words:
“As a matter of fact, no matter how many more scriptures we publish, they are
merely complementary materials to Zhuan Falun. Only Zhuan Falun can truly
guide a person’s cultivation. It contains inner meanings that go from the level of ordinary people to incomparable heights. As long as you continue to cultivate, Zhuan Falun will always guide your elevation in cultivation.”—Li Hongzhi

No matter how many times I read the book I feel like there is always something more that I have missed in my last read. Putting the Dafa principles at work every single moment amongst everyday people is what makes life challenging and helps me learn from my past mistakes. Being on such a path of continuous improvement makes me feel like I am born newly every day I wake up from sleep.

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Cultivation in Falun Dafa

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Jan 06, 2013 Pune, India - Another year has passed by and another one stands ahead with its arms wide open to embrace me, giving me another moment for my cultivation. It’s been two short years I have been cultivating myself in Falun Dafa. Short since it is now when I realize how long the process of self-cultivation really is! And I am quite sure that my tenure of this life time will seem just a moment when I review myself back. And I am sure that my genuineness and diligence is what would count in the long term. 


My Life has changed a lot after I have started cultivating myself in Dafa in early 2011. Before that, I was just another everyday man who used to quibble over every day issues, the one who lost his temper over petty issues and the one with a zillion attachments of personal gain and interpersonal conflicts. Getting rid of these attachments does need an initiation of a divine thought. Just one thought – to change ones conventional thinking. All it takes is to have a fresh look at the universe, the environment around us. And when I state so, it’s meaning is truly profound. It is almost not so easy for an everyday person to develop this thought. When one reads Zhuan Falun for the very first time, believe me that is the greatest part of it all. Someone who might find it too hard to accept, would find it too hard to continue. But, loosening oneself by giving up our conventional understandings and way of thinking, will simply make things easier. 

There has been several ups and downs in my cultivation but Dafa acts as a torch bearer in my life. Every moment in my life is an opportunity to validate the Dafa and thanking the Master.

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The Science of Spirituality

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22, 2011 Pune, India - The so called scientific advances and technological innovations have gifted us many things in the recent years - from smarter modes of communication, to high configuration personal computers and smarter cell phones to name a few. Being an everyday person, it is very easy to adore these technological advances and adopt them into our day to day lives. They are to make our lives easy and easier with every single passing day. Certainly, it is obvious for an everyday person to continually strive to gather ease in leading a modern human life and technology has been instrumental in achieving this goal to a certain extent. This is a general notion we have of Science today. It is about all that we could feel, see, touch and reap benefits out of. If one comes across something which is difficult to comprehend, he would immediately reject it, terming it as superstitious or unscientific. As for the phenomena which objectively exist around us and impact our lives, people do not dare speak about them. However, some people have very rigid mentalities and pass reckless opinions about subjects they do not comprehend. Whereas, the phenomena that are tangible are all labeled as topics of science. No seeing, no believing - this is how the world sees it today. It is indeed sad that spiritualism is still categorized as a philosophical topic. And when it comes to philosophy, modern people have a petty casual approach towards the subject. This is a big hurdle in the enlightenment of common humankind.

No matter how far a spaceship can fly, no matter how long medical science can prolong your life, no matter how many technological innovations man could make, it is too much confined to our physical materialistic world. The so called progress of humankind is a mere notion when it comes to the high level truths which greatly impact our lives. It is just too easy to not believe them and this is the reason why despite so many scientific advancements, modern human is still not able to figure out how a brain functions, from where feelings originate and how the mind works. Opinionated people find it very easy to categorize all such topics as paranormal or within areas of future explorations. The fact is that, with the present approach of science and with the current set of notions, it is impossible for humankind to know the truths of the universe.

Spirituality is still a mystery to many. Some are not clear enough with their correlation with religions. There are so many religions and so many practices in society today. So much so that people just do not understand as to why really they exist. On the contrary, everyday people have extremely strong notions about their religion or sect. Some people may fall prey to some serious sins like killing in the name of religion. Religions have been instrumental in shaping the lives of human society since an ancient time. However today, religions fail to provide their real teachings anymore and their real purpose of establishment has itself become obsolete. This is primarily because human society has changed and so are the standards that discern the good and the bad.

It is no doubt that our world today has become too much materialistic and most of our notions are greatly influenced by various pursuits of personal gain. This is common in the world of everyday people. People are just too much confused when it comes to social interactions and leading a life. The same applies to any spiritual practice. For most of the people, spiritualism is meditation. There are many theories and books available in the market that teach various techniques of meditation. They are written by everyday people bearing various pursuits for fame and personal gains. They cannot really teach a genuine way towards enlightenment. With various pursuits and everyday people desires in mind, one cannot progress. This is absolutely true.

Spirituality is a cultivation practice in the real sense. A genuine cultivation practice involves cultivation of both mind and body. Meditation is a form of physical exercise which supplements the cultivation of mind, providing spiritual energy to unveil the mysteries of the universe and self improvement. I understand that today there are a zillion practices present with various masters that provide their teachings. Almost all of them provide their teachings with a pursuit of healing and fitness. This includes Yoga, Reiki and many more. In the midst of so many things, it is very important that a person remains single minded and stick to one practice. A person who just keeps on studying theories without practicing them will ultimately land up doing nothing. This would be a very difficult situation since his mind will be too messed up. Single minded-ness is the key towards advancement in cultivation and spiritualism.

So far, only the Buddha Fa has been able to provide a complete insight into the mysteries of the Universe. Now what exactly is the Buddha Fa? Let me highlight that it is not related to Buddhist religion since the original teachings of several religions have now become obsolete. Falun Dafa or Falun Gong is a spiritual practice which truly allows its practitioners to ascend towards higher levels of cultivation. There are over ten crore practitioners worldwide. As of today, only Falun Dafa is able to provide the true teachings of the Buddha Fa. The practice consists of five set of physical exercises which includes energizing the physical channels of our body and meditation. All these exercises are easy to learn and the instructions can be freely downloaded from the Internet. Zhuan Falun is the book which is a complete teaching of Falun Dafa which could also be downloaded free of charge. Truly, a genuine practice is always selfless and regardless of any pursuits.

Spirituality is all about complying oneself to the characteristics of the universe under any adverse circumstances. Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance are the fundamental characteristics of the universe and conforming to them is the ultimate requirement of a cultivation practice. Exercises and meditation are supplementary. If humankind is able to have a fresh look at the universe and the things around him, science will get a better definition.

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Accept What You Cannot Change, Change What You Cannot Accept

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21, 2011 Pune, India - If someone walks into the middle of your life and tells you that your life isn't really the entire truth of the universe, what would your reaction be? As an everyday person, you would reject him instantly. You would call such a person, mysterious, superstitious, insane and so on. The same is the case with our Falun Dafa or Dafa or Fa. The extent to which you study and practice the Fa, the closer you would progress towards the truth of the universe. Unfortunately, for an everyday person it is very difficult to give up his rigid mentality, prejudiced views and his past learnings. This contradicts with my current knowledge and beliefs, he would protest. This all seems hypothetical theory which is hard, way too hard to believe and follow. As the Fa says, humankind must fundamentally change its conventional thinking and open up their minds to accept new ideas and approaches. Otherwise the current civilization will forever continue to crawl in between the boundaries which is delimited by its own ignorance and prejudices.

Imagine the world in which we live today, our interpretations of progress is confined to what we refer to as scientific advances, technological progressions and the amenities of the modern human lifestyle. If a couple of hundred years back, if someone said that man would be able to walk on the moon, then he would definitely be declared a fool, superstitious or an idiot. Without even having a spacecraft invented, how can a person really talk about a theory of man reaching on the moon? It would sound like a joke. The mentality of accepting unforeseen facts, possibilities or a form of existence entirely depends on the mind-set of human beings. I have seen several people around who do not understand the facts but have a very strong opinions about some unforeseen truths. Instantly, they reject things that does not make sense to them, they do not comprehend or they are unable to understand.

One of the biggest problem in the humankind of today is their rigid mentality. They believe only those things that they have seen and experienced. They are not willing to change or experience new things for a simple reason that they do not comprehend it, find it too hard to believe. Their channels are blocked and minds are locked. If technology is what can be seen, felt and heard they gather a firm belief in it. They wholeheartedly accept it as the absolute truth of the universe. Modern man call it science or technology and has made it a way of life. This is how they fail to realize that this is just a small part of the entire truth of the universe. They are confined to believe this way and the various dimensions of life are not even thought to explore. This is what is happening with the Fa.

The understanding of modern man is restricted to the knowledge and experiences that occur between his birth and the so called death. Right since his birth, he gathers numerous attachments to matter. Food, water, land, shelter, garments, property, money etc. are all various forms of matter. With his pair of eyes, all he can see is various forms of matter. He sees what his eyes reflect back on his brain. The pair of eyes he owns is pretty much confined to see matter in this dimension of the universe. If one says, there exists a third eye in between ones eye brows, it is quite possible that many of us would straight away reject this concept. Even modern scientists have accepted that there exists an aperture (tianmu) in between ones forehead. But they are just not able to explain it. Their rigid mentality is a hurdle in order to get a better understanding of the human life. This is the reason why even today, everyday person is not able to comprehend how human brain works, whether there really exists something called as a mind, from where thoughts originate - do they have any material existence and so on. Humankind is unwilling to believe anything beyond what they can comprehend in this physical dimension filled with matter. The largest thing they know are planets and the smallest one is a cell, an atom, a proton, an electron or a neutron. They have not been able to build such a microscope which could foresee beyond this physical dimension.

Such rigid thinking is a huge hurdle in self improvement and cultivation. We have raised ourselves to think at a very low level and thus our understanding of life is very tiny and restricted. Everyday people find it so easy to fool others, bully them and commit serious sins. With a very shallow understanding of life, it is very difficult to grow up and become enlightened.

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Falun Gong - An Open Mind And A Willing Heart

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 27, 2011 Pune, India - One of the noblest thought that could come to a mind of a genuine Falun Gong practitioner is to introduce the practice amongst the everyday people he comes across during his course of cultivation. I am definitely sure that this thought in the practitioner’s mind is a result of profound compassion towards the people around him and that it has been cultivated by him through the practice itself.

Most of the everyday people, to whom Falun Gong practice is being introduced, think about what he is really going to gain out of it. Being an everyday person, it is very easy for them to expect for something they are investing, time in this case. Why should I practice Falun Gong? It’s a very obvious question that comes to the mind of a non-practitioner. They relate it to other practices viz. Qigong, Yoga, Art of Living etc. which is primarily done for healing and fitness by everyday people. It sometimes makes me feel too difficult to explain people that Falun Gong is not pursued for physical fitness or curing illnesses. As our Master Li (founder of Falun Gong) illustrates, people with illnesses are not really meant to practice Falun Gong. It is for a simple reason that not everybody can practice it. In fact, if such a person tries to practice it, he won’t be allowed to do it. One of my school friends recently admitted to me that he is not able to practice for a simple reason that it is too difficult to follow. Of course, it is difficult to follow just for a simple reason that it is just too difficult to give up your conventional thinking in the present human society. It is as difficult to practice as thinking good about the person who has been unfair to you. Probably, this is the very reason why a majority people to whom I tell about the practice do not turn up for the Falun Gong exercise sessions.

We have been practicing Falun Gong in some of the public places, parks etc. in our vicinity for several days. We have been distributing information brochures and sometimes, printed copies of Zhuan Falun to people who really show interest. Most of the people enquire about the details of the practice and get intrigued by the characteristics of Zhen-Shan-Ren i.e. Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. Some of them truly manifest that the practice is based on some divine principles of morality but they are just reluctant to change their present life. They express a sense of failure and complain that this practice is not practical. They simply ignore that facts and try to sneak away towards their everyday life. Some people really want to give it a try and turn up for the exercise sessions. However, they are very reluctant to read the teachings and principles on which these exercises are based upon. Falun Gong consists of five slow moving exercises which includes both standing and sitting meditation exercises. The very first exercise is primarily done to open up and unblock the energy channels within our human bodies. Non-practitioners, who are reluctant to open up their minds and understand the facts behind the exercises, will find it very difficult to stay with and continue the practice. For the ones, who genuinely read and manifest the principles of the Fa, would genuinely realize that they have been blessed to be a Falun Gong practitioner.

Falun Gong is not primarily for healing and fitness, but all such benefits are mere by-products of the practice. Falun Gong is a practice based on high level principles and as per our Master Li Hongzhi, such a practice is being openly introduced to the public for the very first time in the history of human civilization. There are crores of practitioners today all over the world who have been trying seamlessly to cultivate the good and righteous thoughts during this Dharma ending period. Numerous Falun Gong practitioners have experienced slow aging just by getting their virtues correct. One of my fellow Falun Gong practitioner who has been practicing for around seven years, do not remember if he has taken any pill or fallen ill during this period. This practice has built up a strong belief in my mind that the treatments done by doctors merely transform or postpone illnesses. The root cause of all the miseries and illnesses is truly not being dealt with by the everyday people. They have been too much busy with their so called personal lives, which generically comprises of inter-personal conflicts, jealousy, egoism, addictions and attachments. I just feel nothing but concerned.

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Is One Day Good Enough?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

March 08, 2011 Pune, India - It's the International Women's Day again and it's time to review again the state where we stand. One of the greatest woman in my life, my wife delivered a baby girl on 28th Feb last week. This is our first baby and we now feel blessed for being the proud parents of a baby girl. However, it sometimes makes me feel too down when I come across people with a very low level thoughts when it comes to a girl child. Our society has deteriorated to a very low extent. Merely observing a commemorative day for women has no meaning when they are disrespected over the rest of the year. The society must cultivate itself to celebrate womanhood and learn to treat women with dignity and compassion.

Nonetheless, this time I couldn't think better and more beautiful than composing a poem to express my recent experience on being a father of a baby girl in this male obsessed wicked world.

I wished for a girl
She wanted a boy
A thought across my mind
How impatient was I

I was going to be a father
In a moment or three
How I cared for the little one
And for the mommy to be

Staring at the labour room
There stood me
A thousand prayers I groomed
For a soothing delivery to be

Lengthy moments of wait
Vanished like a gale
As the nurses stood at the gate
Deplorable and pale

Is everything alright sister?
I waited for a sigh
The doctor will answer you mister
It shouldn't be I

Congratulations, said the doctor
As he wore a grim dark smile
Of a girl you're now a father
Said he, in his very own style

Leaving the tender soul in my hand
There walked away the squad
Sneaked a tear of compassion
As I caressed my child

Get us all some sweets sir
I heard a voice behind
Bravo, it's a boy, said the sister
To an another man beside

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A Journey Through Nothingness...

Friday, February 25, 2011

February 25, 2011 Pune, India - Nothing in the world can take away from a man, who has nothing; Nothing in the world can hurt a man who wants nothing. I thought about the plight of a multi millionaire man resting on his death bed. If riches is what could fetch one happiness, he must have lived a life of the happiest man in the world. Today, this is the notion of happiness amongst everyday people - you and me. An everyday person often mistakes excitement for happiness. To be able to fetch your favorite ice-cream, winning a few hundred dollar lottery or meeting your favorite person are various forms of excitement. This feeling brings the mind of an everyday person to it's highest emotional peak. Similarly, there is a lowest emotional peak - fear. Then what happiness really is? Some say it's contentment or satisfaction. Some say that happiness is stability of mind. For me, happiness is nothingness - to be able to stick to nothingness in adverse everyday situations. And that is the path of cultivation - our practice of Falun Dafa.

Our conventional thinking about our materialistic attachments is the biggest hurdle to our cultivation practice of body and mind. As a new practitioner, I wonder how many of us can really stay away from our materialistic thoughts while performing the Falun Gong exercises. Oh! my friend owes a thousand rupees to me, I haven't paid my electricity bill yet; when is the due date? My neighbor has got a new car; I wish to buy a better one than him! I must rush home after the exercises lest I would be late for office. Although you think that you are practicing cultivation, the mind is cultivating evil deep within. But to say, we are still practicing cultivation. And we know that cultivation is good. Isn't this contradicting somewhere? Definitely, this is evil cultivation. With a mind filled with various kinds of attachments, it is very difficult to practice nothingness and cultivation.

In order to be a practitioner in the real sense, one must be very loosely connected to our possessions. Thinking too much about our possessions create an evil called attachment. There are various forms of attachments which will restrict your growth in the course of cultivation practice. Attachments need not always bear a monetary value. Feelings like jealousy, anger, hatred and even love is a form of attachment. Being attached to the human society, one is bound to gather various feelings, relationships and materialistic possessions. In our Falun Dafa, one is permitted to possess riches and materialistic properties. If a practitioner gives away everything, he won't be any different from a monk or a sanyasi. We are permitted to carry and manage our money and possessions since we are still practicing amongst everyday people. The crux is how lightly we take and pursue interpersonal conflicts, preferences of self interest and our attachments.

The path of cultivation is good and difficult at the same time. Good and bad is relative in the dimension of everyday people. What one person thinks good might be bad from the perspective of another everyday person. Similarly, what one thinks bad might be good from the perspective of another everyday person. So far our thoughts and actions comply with Zen-Shan-Ren (Truth, Benevolence and Forbearance) which are the characteristics of the universe, it can be termed as good. Cultivating mind and body is by adopting righteous thoughts and conforming to these characteristics of the universe. The path of cultivation passes through nothingness and for a everyday person, this seems to be the most difficult thing to do. The higher a man progresses through his path of cultivation, the closer he is to the truth of the universe.

Accolades: This post was chosen as the Best Post from the Indian Blogosphere by BlogAdda - their topmost pick on 26th February, 2011

Who : Neeraj Shinde
What : A Journey Through Nothingness…
Spicy : Neeraj informs us about the journey of nothingness through the path of cultivation, a practice of Falun Dafa. In today’s world we are too much attached to our materialistic things. The practice of Falun Dafa is about being loosely connected to those things. Get closer to the truth of the universe through Neeraj’s post!

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Falun Gong - An Open Secret

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February 12, 2011 Pune, India - I attended a centenary lecture of a CEO of one of the greatest multinational organizations in the world this week and must admit that it got me nothing but disappointment. I would have had a drastically opposite perspective about it, if I were not a Falun Gong practitioner. Is making money the real purpose of our existence? Certainly not! I am not really criticizing anyone here. I am not permitted to do that. I mean it. But it really makes me feel sad to manifest the fact that several people in the world with able capabilities talk like mere businessmen. That is just one of the zillion aspects of the modern life.

Where is the modern world heading towards? Just sit back and relax, turn on your television set – your favorite news channel. Watch it. Sons killing their mothers, father raping their daughters, thefts, betrayals, kidnappings, domestic violence, social unrest, intolerance, hatred, extra marital affairs, gambling, addictions, religious conflicts – is there an end to all of these varied forms of Karma. An ignorant person would take it as granted as a part of life and switch the channel. That’s the way it is. I am a no person to have control over it. A few, with a sadistic bent of mind would like to entertain themselves over the grief of their fellow beings. Again, I am not criticizing anyone here since I am not permitted to do that. That’s an undeniable fact of our current lives. We are into the dimension of the everyday people. We have attachments which are hard to resist, we fume up very easily and almost always make things worse in a fit. These are the characteristics of everyday people – you and me.

I have seen people killing each other over religion or the so called religious sentiments, whatsoever. Let me ask a very simple question here. What has the person who killed another man in a rage really understood about religion? What did he protect when he intentionally committed such a grave Karma? This is complete lack of forbearance. Amongst the everyday people, prejudices and reactions without a thought are so common that they are now a part of our so called DNA. In this course, the facts behind the truth of the universe are casually overlooked. And the funniest part of it is that we are almost unaware of this loss - our own loss.

All the illnesses and sufferings are the aftermaths of our bad deeds – the karma. I know most of you will find this statement ridiculous; some might neglect it by terming it plain philosophy. For most, philosophy is not practicality – remember that we all think from a dimension of an everyday person. The universe is not confined to a single dimension. Being an everyday person we have deviated from our true selves, the characteristics of the universe – Truthfulness, Benevolence (Compassion) and Forbearance (Tolerance). Since we are a part of the universe, we must comply with these characteristics of the universe. Every matter in the universe possesses these characteristics. The ‘true self’ within us possesses these qualities. While committing a bad deed, haven’t you felt it deep within your mind, your conscience? The life amongst the everyday people isn’t that easy. Especially, in the world of today when there is ‘karma’ all over it has become way too difficult to stick to your true self. It is like a war within. You need to inculcate the qualities of the universe in order to understand the truth of the universe. This is the path of salvation.

What is Falun Gong? Firstly, Falun Gong or Falun Dafa is not a religion – I am just trying to clear the notion of the everyday people here. It is an ancient cultivation practice which is indeed a science by itself. Falun Gong was introduced to the public in the year 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Dafa is today practiced by over 10 crore people in more than 114 countries. It comprises of a five set of simple exercises which are easy to learn and suitable for all age groups. As a practitioner, I would say that it is a practice to inculcate the righteous by purification of our everyday bodies and mind. For new practitioners I would strongly recommend to read Zhuan Falun. However, this post of mine is not really to credit myself or advertise any one. It is rather meant to 'hint' my fellow human beings with whom I share a predestined relationship. In order to start with the practice, you need to possess an open mind and a willing heart. That is a mandate. In fact, that is the first step towards enlightenment, believe me. This is absolute truth.

It is never too late. You will realize it only when you start. Please note that Falun Dafa is free and practitioners all over the world are volunteers. Please feel free to contact any of the volunteer contacts at your nearest site locations. I will feel privileged to assist you with any help that might be needed.

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LOST Imparts a Strong Message

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22, 2010 Pune, India - The chaos and confusion occurring in the mind of the viewers for almost 6 long years has ended recently with the LOST finale coming to a conclusion. Whether or not it is a real conclusion is a debatable topic but it is undoubtedly true that this TV series has set up a bar too high in the field of television entertainment. LOST had hosted 5 seasons until 2009 and this year hosted the final season i.e. LOST - the final season. With the final season coming to an end, I personally feel that the producers have left us wandering for the answers to the questions that engulfed our gray cells from Season 1 through Season 5 last year. The way this series was shaping up, I had great expectations from the producers and I am really happy to say that the final season ended in an interestingly unusual manner. Right from the first frame of the series, when Jack Shepherd opens up his eye in the Island, the story has made us think. Unusual things like the smoke monster, time traveling, electromagnetism and it's effects on human mind, destiny, fate compelled us to think from a scientific perspective. Some great scientists do believe that time traveling can be explained using the theory of relativity which is duly based on the relation between speed, distance, time and energy. Well, that's just one perspective I used to understand the entire story. But, it fails to answer all of the questions that are being raised by the producers of LOST.

After studying the entire story, I then turned up to a different perspective. The makers of LOST have made a brilliant attempt to portray a story which is awesomely entertaining, mind boggling, intelligent and above all imparting a great message to an ordinary viewer. I believe that the makers have intentionally made sure that they do not provide specific answers to all the questions a casual viewer might raise. In order to understand the message, it is very important to change your bent of mind from a viewer with straight line of thinking to a viewer with lucidly free flowing thoughts and a stream of understanding. I know that is difficult to understand but that is all what getting LOST is all about. Well, in this post, let me explain the gist of the story in my very own way and perspective.

Using my perspective, I have built a few theorems that explains and answers most of the important questions raised. However, this won't answer all of the questions that are specific to the character of the story. The makers of the story have made sure that they leave some questions unanswered for the viewers to figure out. One of the reasons why I loved the way LOST concluded is that it didn't end up like a conventional, single threaded story - ones like the happily ever after or the ones with a straight conclusion. I love the way it progressed and the way in which it ended. Although the series ended with the 6th season, it has imparted a very strong message and that is to - 'Let Go' and 'Move On'.

Often in our lives, we come across situations wherein we feel so bad about our existing life situation. We just get carried away by these situations so much so that we build confines amongst ourselves and get trapped in it.

The story of LOST starts with the Oceanic flight 815 getting crashed on an island. Now, whether or not the passengers actually died in the plane crash is left to the viewers discretion. What's more important here is to understand that most of the people on the plane which includes the main characters of the story viz. Jack, Hugo, Kate, James or Sawyer, Sayid and so on were very much trapped within the confines of their personal worldly problems. That is the reason why they were chosen up for the Island in the first place. Who really chose them? Was it Jacob or the makers of the story is again left to the viewer's discretion.

The Island is actually an epitome of the source of life within every human being. To say we are different entities, different bodies, getting born in different forms and time period. But, the source of life is one thing that binds us all. And that is what we call the Island. The source of life has two distinct perspectives, the good and the evil. Nevertheless, there is a superpower that safeguards this source or the heart of the Island. Jacob - the character who enacts as the protector of the Island plays this role.

The Island is timeless. It has the power to heal every problem associated with life. When the flight 815 crashed on the Island, the passengers were almost in the transition process from life to death. And then there is re-birth. The Island has the potential to give it all. The entire story that took place is between this transition phase. When one says that he had a near death experience, he actually reaches the Island, the source of life. When the Oceanic 6 (the six survivors of the flight 815 air-crash) escaped from the Island, they resumed their mundane normal lives which were same as their lives before the accident. There wasn't really any change in their situations. That is the reason why they were needed back on the Island. It is not actually, Benjamin Linus or Charles Widmore summoning them or provoking them to come back; it is the call of the destiny. They actually figure out a means to come back to the Island when they meet Dan Faraday's mother - another near death experience.

The exact moments when all the main characters of the story died is not distinctly specified but it is true that they died at different points in time. But it is more important for us to realize that it was on the Island that all of these characters came out of their confines of worldly issues. For instance, Jack who had issues with his father Christian only realized the situation of a father when he actually became a father of a fictional son David. Jin changed his perspective towards his wife Sun. However, some like Michael committed grave sins which eventually restricted them from moving out of their own confines - they remained trapped on the Island. The final season of the story is all about imparting good messages. But that is possible only when we change our perspectives towards difficult life situations. It is utmost important that it is love that binds us all as humans in the long run. Eventually, the characters of the story build up relationships amongst themselves in order to lead a better life ahead. Life and death is a continuous journey and there doesn't really exist anything like 'Now' in this course. It is important for us all to realize that we have come up from the same source - the Island.

Good and evil are relative and they can change forms. Jacob, the protector of the Island and the Man in Black were identical twins. However, the Man in Black came across the fact that their actual mother was killed by the lady who enacted their fake mother. Jacob was reluctant to accept this fact. The truth was hidden and this gave rise to an evil situation wherein Jacob killed his own brother. This is when the evil black smoke (monster) came out of the source and started corrupting the Island inhabitants. It's only when we devote a reasonable time to understand the truth, and the people around us we can actually stop the growth of the evil. This was probably, the mistake which Jacob referred to during his brief conversations.

The story, in a nutshell, tells us to 'move on' with every difficult situation in life and 'let go' certain things rather than constraining ourselves or quibbling over the problems. Everything in life exists for a purpose. It only ends once, everything that happens before that is just progress.

This is just my personal interpretation of the story, if you think otherwise, move on...


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