My thoughts, Personal, Philosophy

ध्यान क्या है?

एक दिन मैं अपनी माँ से शिकायत कर रही थी जैसा कि आमतौर पर बच्चे करते हैं। मैं कॉलेज की छुट्टियों में घर वापस आ गयी थी । मेरा काम का बोझ बढ़ रहा था, और मैं इसे ठीक से मैनेज नहीं कर पा रही थी , इसलिए मैं थोड़ा तनाव में थी। मैं बस ये सब अपनी माँ को बता रही थी “कोई काम नहीं हो रहा है” “मैं मैनेज नहीं कर पा रही हूँ”। फिर मेरी माँ ने अचानक थोड़े जोर से कहा “आओ यहाँ बैठो, ध्यान से देखो, मैं तुम्हें दिखाती हूँ कि काम कैसे किया जाता है।” फिर उनहोने एक कटोरी में गाढ़ा सरसों का तेल लिया और खाली बजाज आलमंडल आयल की बोतल ली। उस शीशी के उपर ऐक छोटा सा छेद था, जैसे जयादतर केशमार्जन शीशीओ के ढकनो में होता है। जिसने भी कोशिश की है उसे पता है की इसके माध्यम से अंदर पानी डालना भी नामुम्किन के बराबर है। मेरी माँ ने देकते-देकते वह कटोरी उठाई और वो गारा सरसौ का तेल एक ही धारा में उस छेद के अंदर दाल दिया। में शब्दहीन रहे गया, एक बूंद भी इदर-उदर नहीं हाई थी। फिर मेरी माँ ने कहा ” यह, ऐसे होता है कोई भी काम, इस एकाग्रता से, और इसे ही ध्यान कहते है।

Chess, My thoughts, Personal

 Unschooling Diaries #13:- Something about chess and life

There is a phase that chess players go through in which instead of creating play of their own they just react to their opponent’s and if he is playing without one they just make waiting moves until he comes up with one. But the problem with this approach is you will either draw or lose, you can’t win. I can’t speak for everyone but there are a number of reasons this happens. One of them is fear – ‘I can’t mess up if I don’t do anything.’ Another one is laziness- ‘this requires too much brain. Let him do the hard work of coming up with something.’ 

And I certainly know what it feels like, because I am going through the same phase. Well it is better than before:- now I can make plans, take initiative, etc earlier to win I would solely rely on the opponent to mess up. But the problem, tournament class players almost never blunder big time. Plus, chess is a game of war, you need to trick your opponent, take him by surprise, you need to be one step ahead, which you can’t if he has the lead. He is in control, he is literally making you play the moves. There is another saying in chess:-  Every move you make should have a positive base and be geared to increasing the advantages you already possess. It is so true, and so amazing how these two things connect in chess as well in life. In chess if you lay back and give free rein to your opponent, you will get knocked down in no time, same way in life if you keep waiting for something to happen, one day you will be beaten up and disappointed. I mean that is what I have learned about life from chess and my dad would be a great example about this. Because he started learning guitar recently, at this age he left his job and started a business, he started meditating two years ago, he also started dieting and exercising completely turned his health around. Now did he have some kind of divine revelation or anything else like that- No. He just decided to take the lead. We can do the same for ourselves:- you know instead of waiting for something amazing to happen, we make those things happen like doing at least one new thing every week, taking control of our health, working with our fears, etc. And just like that we are in control…

My thoughts, Travelling, Volunteering

What Difference Can a 15-Minute Video Call Make?

Well, to these widow mothers of Vrindavan it can mean the world. Yearly thousands of widows flock to Vrindavan in seek of shelter and refuge. They are socially prejudiced against and are abandoned by their families. They have no means of making money, but in this city, they are at least guaranteed one meal a day. Unfortunately, their living conditions are awful, and very few have access to good medical care. On the bright side, there are many devoted NGOs who are determined to change this. They have set up refuges for them in the form of ashrams, where they provide food, clothes, and medical care. One such NGO is the Paramhansa Yogananda Public Charitable Trust. I visited them 2 months ago, and today I would like to share my experience with all of you. 

Paramhansa Yogananda Trust takes care of almost 5000 out of the 10,000 widows of Vrindavan. 

They provide them with food, and medical assistance, they have even set up ashrams for them to stay. 

Out of all the organizations, I have visited, this one just felt very special. Probably because they have a very loving, and joyful atmosphere. Even the sevaks who work there are always smiling and joyful. It is like you can see the materialization of the famous principle, “ What goes, comes around.” They are serving but I can see they are getting so much in return because they are abundant with love, joy, and bliss. It is because they are serving with expecting nothing in return. It is like they have become channels through whom the divine is actually helping the Mothers. Somebody I know used this analogy when “water flows through the pipe, the pipe cannot help but get wet.” One of my other friends, who is a Brahmachari and has been meditating for several years, said ‘I can see the reflection of the divine on their faces.’ 

Jayeeta Mam who runs the trust and overlooks everything is a wonderful and loving soul. I had the honor of staying with her the entire week.

Jayeeta Aunty(Left) with Divya JI

I think I should tell you a bit of a backstop also of how I ended up there in the first place. I had attended a ‘Seva retreat’  and Jayeeta mam had come to give a talk there about their work in Vrindavan. And also to invite everybody to a Seva Pilgrimage which they were conducting on Janmashtami. So a seva Pilgrimage is like a group of volunteers will go there for like a week, and there will be activities like visiting the ashrams, the mothers, talking to them, sitting with them, etc.

There will also be a little bit of Pilgrimage like visiting the temples, kirtan, satsangs, etc.

Anyways, coming back to the story, I just felt so inspired, and I knew I had to ask my dad for permission. I had no hopes though, he would say yes, since it is very far, and I would be traveling alone, my exams were coming, etc. But he was very excited, even more than me! We talked to Jayeeta Aunty, I call her aunty, and she was just so welcoming, that we booked the ticket instantly after reaching home. I stayed in her house the entire time as I mentioned earlier and she looked after me like a mother, I didn’t feel like once I was in a stranger’s house. Not to mention, she also fed me like a mother, I gained weight in only a week! Anyways I am getting distracted again Jayeeta mam is a kind, magnetic, and wonderful soul.  Some other people who are part of the team, Radha Mam, Rama mam, Tripti Mam, Rajesh Sir, so many more, but the amazing thing about these people are some of them have terrible backstories, almost all of them face domestic violence, some of them are single mothers, coming from poverty, but not once you will hear them complaint. Jayeeta Mam was once telling us a story of a sevak, she was holding a dirty diaper in her hand. Some of our mothers who are paralyzed are dependent for everything on the staff. So this sevak she was on her way out to throw the diaper. Jayeeta Mam was visiting the Ashram then, so as soon as the sevak saw her, there came a huge smile on her face, and greeted her with a very excited greeting. Completely oblivious to the diaper in her hand.

When it comes to resilience nobody beats the Widow Mothers. These are people who have lost everything in their lives, thrown out by their children, faced extreme poverty and social discrimination, but they stand strong. In fact one of the mothers, the trust found, was living in a box! Then there is the story of Pushpa Dasi MA who was also found by our staff in extremely bad condition. But when you meet these mothers in the Ashram, how can I even describe it, they were just so blissful. Like not a single tear, no complaints, no reminiscing of the past. You sit and talk with them, they will talk very happily, they will feel very grateful if you give them a massage. 

The motto of the Trust is ‘ Restoring the dignity and divinity of widow mothers’ ; they have taken up numerous initiatives to do so. Some of them are organizing regular kirtan with the mothers, reading scriptures with them, doing early morning exercises, coloring, etc. They are not only providing them with a place and food but also helping in their spiritual and emotional upliftment. Plus, they are also fighting the social stereotypes attached to widows for so long. 

One such initiative in which you can help out is the ‘Circle of Love’. Circle of love is a weekly 15-minute Whatsapp video call, with one of our mothers. The main aim of this is to provide the mothers with loving companionship but also to promote the spiritual upliftment of all the volunteers doing the call. How does this help the mothers you might ask, these mothers have experienced abandonment, humiliation, and loneliness. This call helps them emotionally, they feel less lonely and are happier. In fact they look forward to it a lot. Jayeeta aunty once told me they will fix their hair and stress about their appearance. Another question you might ask is what will I say to them, actually there are many things, you can read to them, sing bhajans with them, they will share stories of Krishna with you, some recipes they love, etc. I was a bit hesitant to do this call too since I am not that great 🙄 when it comes to talking to people. But I had absolutely no problem talking to Pushpa MA, we clicked instantly, she is always so cheerful and talkative. In fact I cannot skip it now! 

Circle of Love is a perfect name because that is exactly how I felt, when I went there, when I do my calls, I feel surrounded by a Circle of Love. I invite you🙏to be a part of it too, So what do you say, can you spare 15 minutes weekly? 

Some Important Links

Widows Of Vrindavan – Feminisation Of Old Age In India Rekha Pande :- https://tehqeeqat.org/downloadpdf/9260

Status of Widows of Vrindavan and Varanasi : A Comparative Study By The Guild of Service :- https://griefandrenewal.com/widows_study.htm

Forgotten Widows of Vrindavan by Soumya Pillai in The Hindu :- https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/forgotten-widows-of-vrindavan/article19574277.ece

Paramhansa Yogananda Public Charitable Trust :- https://www.yoganandatrust.org/

Circle of Love :- https://yoganandatrust.org/seva

My thoughts, Parenting, Personal

First Human Beings..

Today, my nose was paining, my head was throbbing, I probably pulled a muscle in my right leg, and my throat was croaky with the cold. Sorry guys for starting this blog with such a gloomy line, but when I thought about the major things happening with me today, I wanted to share this with you. After all life is a mix of sweet and sour. Despite all this going on I will say today was a great day, because I managed to beat a chess coach in an offline classical game, and I helped a old lady cross the road. It makes me really happy when I get to help other people, even though it’s just small things. There are many other things that I wish I could change, For example, when I saw an adolescent boy selling corn on the street to make a living. Or, when I see so many hungry and injured dogs on the street daily.  I know the saying – “ Be the change you want to see in the world” . I believe in this saying, but I don’t believe one person is enough to set everything right. I believe it takes joint awareness and conscious action to bring a significant change. Even if everyone contributes just a little, we can change the world, for example, maybe teaching a poor kid near your house, taking in sick and hurt animals, etc. 

I hope to be that change, If not now at least when I grow up. 

I had met a special needs teacher, who runs his own Waldorf School. He told me the first and foremost principle of any educational model should be to first make human beings out of the children. Beautiful, isn’t it? I will never forget that line. If not in schools at least in our homes are we first making human beings out of our children or not?

My thoughts, Parenting, Personal, Well being

Unschooling Diaries #12 :- Clashing Dates, Evening Cycle Rides, and Apartment Cats…

This has been such a great week, with many ups and downs and twists and turns.

At the start of the week, I had submitted my form for an Ameutur Boxing Championship to be held in Banglore. It was an inter-club tournament and I was so excited, it was going to be a lot of fun. But, here is the plot twist, the boxing tournament was to be held on 1-2 October, but it got postponed to 8-9 October, and I have the State Women Open Chess Championship on those days😔.  I definitely cannot miss it because I already missed the U15 girls one. However, it was fun preparing for the boxing tournament. It has given me motivation to work harder for the next one👍.

Meanwhile I would like to state some things which made me really happy this week. 

  1. Coming home by my cycle in the evening after boxing class


It is a wonderful feeling to return home by cycle in the evening. The air will be blowing in my face, and the weather will be nice and cool. We all agree that two wheelers in the evening is just a different mood. Yes, that time there is a lot of traffic, pollution, and the roads are not good, but sometimes when I get to see a sunset followed by beautiful twilight, I forget all about the rest.

  1. The confidence and fitness boxing has given me

I am so happy and really grateful to my parents for making me join this boxing class. Because it has given me a level of fitness I never had before, and that makes me feel nice and confident.

  1. Feeding my apartment cats

I am glad, my parents don’t keep my schedule very packed and I have time to do a lot of other stuff. Like feeding the cats near my apartment. 

  1. The confidence I have to talk to people now

This week I just noticed how confident I have now become to talk to people. Before (pre-covid) I had literally had no idea how to, if some guest had come or we had gone out, I would just become speechless ( in a literal way). But now when I go to people’s houses I can talk nicely, I can entertain the guests whenever they come. In fact I am hosting a chess meetup at my place tomorrow, and I feel so proud that I have the confidence to host the entire thing on my own now.

This is the second one, we had hosted one more last week also. Don’t forget to tune in to find out what happens tomorrow. 

Please send me a few things that made you too  happy this week, I would love to hear them.