Immortals of Meluha: The hidden messages | The inner anti-matter

I picked up the book last week, because I heard a lot about it. The idea of Mythology + Fiction did not seem too exciting, but I was in for a surprise. Amish Tripathi places the book at a breathtaking pace. The story is about a man Shiva who as per legend is the savior. If you are looking for a review, I found a good one here.

Last 3 chapters – “A Stunning Revelation”, “Island of the Individual” and “The Question of Questions” are by far the most gripping ones and pass on several messages. I started to narrate this story to my 4 year old who insists on hearing bedtime stories and on reflection I find that the book all along the way holds several messages that are resonate with how the world is today. I found another blog that talks about the fusion of faith of fusion being a best seller and also bring into notice the work by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code on these categories. On the whole I agree with the author but there are subtitles where I will disagree. I am not a reviewer as the author may be, so I am going to stay away from that discussion. However, I will bring out the messages that I found relevant to our current society.

via Immortals of Meluha: The hidden messages | The inner anti-matter

Beautiful Question to God

Teri is duniya me ye manjar kyun hai? (Why is Your World like this?)

Kahin zakhm to kahin peeth me khanzar kyun hai? (Someplace there is pain and people are backstabbing others)

Suna hai ki tu har zarre me hai rahta, (We hear You are everywhere)

To fir zami par kahi Maszid Kahi Mandir kyun hai? (Then why we see Mosques and Temples)

Jab rehne wale is duniya ke hai tere hi bande, (When we all are you Your people)

To fir koi kisi ka dost, aur koi dusman kyun hai. (Why are some people friends and other foes)

Tu hi likhta h sab logo ka mukaddr, (You write everyone’s destiny)

To fir koi badnasib aur koi mukaddr ka sikandar kyun hai? (Then why are some unlucky and others so lucky)

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http://blog.kapilvirenahuja.com

 

Expectations and happiness are inversely proportional

Are you happy? Why?

I started to read about this topic today, when I saw a FaceBook post by my sister-in-law. She has just finished college and has started to take up her job. She wrote – “There is nothing more depressing to have everything and still be sad…”. My reply was simple – “You got this wrong kiddo”.

My thoughts were revolving around needs and necessity and how they impact ones “Happiness Quotient”. But, when I started to read around, I did encounter a better word for the same – Expectations. I am going to quote a website that I came across while I was reading and trying to find out what others might say on this topic. However, Wikipedia has a very interesting way of describing it.

An expectation is a mental prediction of what will happen in the future when we don’t know for sure. If what does actually happen matches or exceeds our expectation of it we experience positive emotions such as satisfaction, joy, surprise, or gratification. If, on the other hand, what occurs is different from what we expected or is less than what we expected, we experience negative emotions such as disappointment, anger, or frustration.

No matter what I read and where I read, everyone talks about one thing – “Expectations and happiness are inversely proportional”. I am going to use a 4-quadrant matrix to explain how. Let’s spend a few minutes looking at the image below.

Happiness and Expectations

Happiness and Expectations

The first thing that you would have noticed that I have introduced the concept of Resources. I have not really explained that before this depiction, and will do it as we move along. A quick definition as the name itself suggests is “Resource is any physical or virtual entity that can be consumed to obtain benefit from. It can be money, time, or influence over people. Another key aspect of resource is that it is always limited“. Also, a resource sometimes will be within our control and other times not. Like, we expect a raise in Salary, but we do not control it; we expect live happily ever after with our loved ones, but they have their own plans. So, in a way those are also resources that if in our favor are in abundance and other times not in abundance.

With definitions taken care of, let’s start looking at each quadrant at a time.

Quadrant 1: World of a Child

I believe that this Quadrant only exists when we are kids. As kids, we do not have many expectations and our resources are limited and dependent on what our parents give us. Also, when I say “kids”, I mean the age of under 5-7. Kids, just want a few things – play, have fun and some toys. If kids get those just enough, they are happy otherwise they are crappy.

Quadrant 2: Kingdom of Dreams

I call this so, because I don’t think this quadrant actually exists. More resources and not so many expectations is a stage everyone would like to be. This is the only quadrant where one can be in state of happiness and can think of moving towards higher goals in life like spirituality. As we grow in life, we move straight into Quadrants 3 or 4. Which quadrant we move into is a matter of how we manage ourselves and our expectations. A lot of it is also dependent on what our society around us teaches us.

Quadrant 3: Steps to Sadness

While Quadrant reflects us that we have adequate resources and same number of expectations, this is not really where we are happy, or not for a long time. This Quadrant is actually a transient phase in our lives and we stay in this Quadrant for very short durations – like birth of our child, a success in career, festivals, family functions etc. Sometimes in our lives we get just enough resources to make ends meet and it is then that we make some of our expectations come true, but as we fulfill that expectation we right away increase our expectations and we go about ensuring we have resources to meet that one too.

Quadrant 4: The Pandora’s Box

This is the Quadrant where we spend most time of our lives. We spend time struggling through resources and people and events to make sure we have resources to make our expectations and dreams come true. You would have read in the earlier Quadrant that we can sometimes make some dreams come true, but them immediately our expectations from ourselves and other’s expectations from us increase. How happy we are, is dependent on how successful we are in keeping those expectations close to our resources. Most desperate and sad people are those who actually let their expectations overtake their emotions. It then that we spend our lives in earning resources to make those “dreams” come true.

Summary

As you may read in some of the related articles, and also in the text above – you may be thinking – “Do we have to lower our expectations to be happy?”. “Do we need to let go our aspirations to be happy?”.

I do not say that. All, I say is that you need to know what expectations you have from your life and how you are going to keep up the balance. The more you live your life in the 4th Quadrant, the more dissatisfied you will be in your life. I do not want to infer or plan to let go of all of my goals in life and the good things I want for my family. However, over time, I have started to realize and categorize in which areas do I need to have my expectations run high. And, in which areas do I have to start with a lower set of expectations and hence do not set myself up for a disappointment.

It is not easy to do, and all I can say is “Best of Luck!” (and remember there is no such thing as Luck – it is eventually your choice).

Related articles

Karma

In last few months, I have adopted a belief and have strongly moved towards the existence of Karma. That means that I no longer believe in Fate, Luck or Destiny. Before I go about explaining how and why I arrived at this thought process, let me start off by explaining to you all what I understand of these words. If you want to learn more about it, I have provided links to all of these. My viewpoints mentioned in this post are just a summary of the concept and they closely follow what Brahmins follow in Hindu. I am not going to digress into Jainism, Buddhism or any other religions and debate what they each mean/infer of these divine words.

Karma can be summarized from a theist viewpoint as “God does not make one suffer for no reason nor does He make one happy for no reason. God is very fair and gives you exactly what you deserve.”

Luck is either a good or bad fortune in life caused by accident or chance, and attributed by some to reasons of faith or superstition, which happens beyond a person’s control.

Destiny refers to a predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual. It is a concept based on the belief that a fixed natural order to the cosmos. Destiny and Fate may be used interchangeably.

Now to tie things up – about a month ago, I wrote about Destiny and why it has me confused. As you read that post, you will find me conflicted, but I do make a point that it seems my existence is purposeless. I have to exist to fulfill a purpose just like any other object in the universe be it Sun or be it an Ant or a pebble. We all play our roles in the environment around us. So, if everything has to be pre-determined or Destined, that all of this is simply pointless. Why would God create such a world where everything is pre-decided. Do we create a game where we know what is going to happen. Will we enjoy it?

Decision 1: There is no such thing as Destiny.

Just like Destiny, Luck is something that happens for no reason. Now, we all know that it is a proven fact of life a scientific principle proven – “every action has a reaction”. Hence, there has to be an action for an event to happen. Things do not happen for no reason. Everything has a reason, just we don’t understand what that is. Read this post here; and you will see that I was able to find a few reason about why the chain of events took place. It also ties to our responsibilities and we are given a chance for God to fix things that we may have done wrong.

Decision 2: There is no such thing as Luck.

That leaves me with just one reason – Does Karma has a very big role to play in our lives? It is all based on what decisions we make. God provides is with options in every aspect of our life, He asks us to make choice and decide what we are going to do in every single moment. Sometimes, those decisions are just easy to make as they are trivial like eat what at a diner; buy a car. There are other times when these decisions are very difficult to make and are life-altering like this one. But, the choice is ours – we have our free will. Two people in same situation have the capability to think and choose what they are going to do. One of them may chose to pardon sins of another while the other may turn to terrorism or depression. But, the decision is theirs to make. It the sum-total of these decisions that lead to the events in our life.

Hinduism believes in after-life and reincarnation; while Christianity believes in one life. However, in both the religions and some others that I have read about (I am no expert in Atheism or religions and my knowledge is limited) do talk about the sins of your earlier life or your ancestors are carried over to you and you have to pay for it. I have never heard of a religion talk about a good deed to be carried over.That is one reason why I do not believe in a religion, but do believe in God. Religions talk about bad things and then they ask people to come to the Divine shelter of God i.e. the Holy Place. I feel it is self-marketing.. I have arrived at this theory for Karma. Now, I have not read it anywhere, so if someone comes across a text where there is written somewhere, please point it out and I will pass on the credit/links. However, I do want to announce that I did come up with his all by myself.

Rule: Your Karma decides what you get back in life.

God, maintains a balance scorecard for us. It all starts with a ZERO (0) at some point. As we live our life, we are provided with choices – some of those choices are right and other are wrong (how is another topic I will cover later; lets assume to be right an wrong for this conversation). We have to decide what we would do in such a scenario. Based on our decisions, we are awarded points or points are taken away from us. Now, when we go t God and pray for something, or want something in our life, God sees what is our Scorecard and gives is what we deserve. We either get what we asked for or we don’t or we get something in between; but all that is based on what our scorecard is at that time. Once we have been awarded, our scores neutralizes back – it is like earning “Game Points” and spending those in the game for powers to do bigger things.

So, you may be asking yourself, how do I explain the exceptional people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sachin Tendulkar who were born with talent. My answer to that is that those people had their scores carries from a earlier life. They did some good things and they were rewarded with a head-start. Now, we have people like them with exceptional leadership skills, and then we also have people like Osama bin Ladin who also had exception leadership skills. What they chose to do with those leadership skills was their decisions. A few decided to do good to the world, while other decided otherwise. They will have been rewarded as per their actions.

Now, Karma becomes more complicated when you put people together. Have you ever heard a husband say “My wife is lucky for me” (I have ben saying that for 5 years now) or a father say “My daughter/son is lucky for me”. Remember, we have established that there is Luck. So what is this? It is two people’s Karma’s coming together. We do not decide our Spouse based on their good fortunes, but we try to choose based on what we know of them – what good they have done (or what bad they are capable of if we are negative people to begin with). But, we essentially try to match up. Based on our decisions, we get chances to do more good together and it is our way to build up that balance scorecard. Who we are blessed with (our kids) is a direct result of what do and what scorecard we have. And, it is our chance to make a difference with that kid. God entrusts that child to us and what we make out of him/her is our Karma. How good are parents is a head-start that a kid gets based on their earlier balance scorecard that is a carry forwarded.

 

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Death and Faith

It has been a while since I have thought about this topic. For some reason that I am not aware of, I have been hesitant to write about this or discuss this with anyone else. I vaguely brought this up with Preeti early 2011 when I was about to travel to USA in March. However, I did discuss this with Samita Thakur on length. I just was unable to discuss this with Preeti because I knew she would be completely psyched about it and just didn’t want her to get upset.

For a decade (2000-2010) I have maintained the place that “I am not afraid of death”. I believed that everyone has to die one day and once I die it is over for me. Death will not affect me because I am gone. I have always wanted a swift death; didn’t want to suffer. I don’t know when, but my thinking changed and I realized it when I started to travel so often to Hyderabad for office assignments. This was in the year 2010 itself (January to March). And, then later that year I had to travel to USA for office work. I had 2 trips planned in that duration and flying just made me so stressed out. I was paranoid about flying and the second time (March 2011), I was just over the top. It was so much so that my blood pressure was up to 130/100. It was that time when I discussed it with Preeti and Samita.

Of course, they both did mention the same thing that I had believed for almost a decade – why do you care? you can’t control it; if it happens it happens. If something bad has to happen it can happen anytime anywhere. I knew all that, yet air-travel has just been so stressful. Around time of travel, I would find reason in everything about why it happened this time and why not last time. A few examples:

  • Aparna’s mother-in-law asked to come to meet me especially in March just before travel and I was thinking – “why now? why not last time?”. Preeti told me she wanted to last time too and I was relieved;
  • I didn’t want to pick up a flight and just wanted to be assigned a flight to travel.

And there were more. It was a huge thing – I was challenging every event in March just before travel. Yet, I did travel and did arrive in Plymouth safely and now I am sitting today writing this on the eve of my travel. This time the travel plans have changed unplanned and once more I am asking myself the same question.

However, some part of me has always asked me this question – “Why would God bother to kill me in such an unusual way?” I don’t travel much, so why make all this trip on work assignment just to kill me in an air accident or put me through a misery. He can do this when, where and how He wishes it. I can’t explain myself why would he do this now; I have a daughter to take care of, a wife who thinks of me as her life and two parents who would be devastated if anything would happen to me (I just can’t imagine what would happen to them).

To top it all, I feel so sad just thinking about this. As I write this post, I am trembling from inside and I have a feeling that I have never had before – I can’t describe it. The saddest part is my realization that I am not trusting God and His decisions. Where I have faith in Him, I still think about this and in a way challenge His actions. He has done so many good things for me, and if He has decided to do this to me then who am I to question His deeds. I never questioned when good things happened; why about this. This is something out of my control and if it has to happen it will happen. I just can’t do anything about it.

I just need to find peace around this topic – if I continue to think about this that I am letting go of my Faith in Him; my faith in Him that he will take care of me; my Faith in Him to take care of my family. For a very long time, when I pray, I asked for one thing and one thing only – “Please do what is best for me”. When I start to think of all this, I let go of my faith in Him and his decisions around me.

<side-thought>Next few lines should help me understand and put this topic to rest for ever</side-thought>.

I have started to believe in Karma more strongly in recent times and believe that what we get is a result of our actions. I believe that God keeps a score for us – good deeds give us points and bad deeds take away points. What happens with us is a result of what our score is. I believe that Death comes when we have fulfilled our purpose in this life. I don’t know the purpose of my life, but whatever I do is in that direction – I just don’t know it. I don’t want to digress from topic, so I am going to end it by accepting my Faith over my fear.

I want to carry on with my life believing that God is going keep a watch over me as He has done in the past and He is going to do the same for my family too. I will just go about doing my stuff and try to do the right thing. I will try to choose my purpose and make people around me happy. Rest I will leave to God. He has brought us to existence and He will do what is best for us. Death is just another way of tempting me to let go of my Faith, but I will not. I will not stop doing what I am should do (Karma), and I will do it using my best judgement. God will judge me for my actions.

I have had doubts if this I should share this thought and what is the right way to share these thoughts with my parents, siblings, wife and children. So, after thinking for a long time, I am going to publish this post, because this is the easiest way for them to know what I believe in and what I have gone through for last 2 years. This is the best way for me to pass on my Faith to them especially in times when God is testing us. I just want everyone to know that I don’t think of death all the time, and I want to be around to fulfill my purpose of a son, a brother, a husband and a father. But, based upon my actions God will decide when I have served my purpose. And to let you know, as I end this post, I feel much lighter that I was a while ago. I know now, that I need to fix a few things in my life and do it while I have the time.

It happens for a reason and that too a good one

Last month has been a different one for me. Three things happened for me and all those were that are completely against my first nature.:

  1. I took a road-trip to Wisconsin, Chicago and Indiana all by myself. For someone who never goes alone anywhere it was a big deal. People close to me would know that I don’t like to travel much let alone go some place all by myself. This was a trip that happened all of a sudden and in the end it was a one to remember. When I started the trip I did not realize that I would be seeing one of the most amazing things I have ever heard of or seen – The House on the Rock. As the trip ended, I did realize that it was for the good;
  2. A couple of weeks after that, I went on another road-trip to Mt. Rushmore and neighboring areas. This trip I guess was another one out of impulse. I have not yet written about it, but in this trip I did drive though the most beautiful country side ever. I never thought I would do it and thought that my best would be the drive from house on the rock to Plymouth a few weeks earlier. But, this was even better (I will write about this soon);
  3. Another week gone by and I had yet another string of events on the day of travel back to India.

This is not the first time that things have happened around me that I can not explain. While I have a strong belief in “the choices we make are the basis of what happens with us”; yet there are several times where I just can’t explain why it happened. Like today, when I had to cancel my plans, I lost my passport only to find it 30 minutes later. I never wanted any of that to happen yet it all that happened.

I am still trying to understand the events and decipher the reasons behind all of it. I can not  decipher any of that until next few days till the time I reach home safely and I am with my family or till the time I get my bags. The question arises at the point when all of it has happened as it should have happened – “Why did it all happened in a different way if the result was the same?”. Unless, something changes during next 36-40 hours.

I just spent last 5 minutes thinking what to write next and I came up blank – I just don’t know how to think on this. I just am blank on this. I just feel – that things happen for a reason and that too a good one. Few more hours to find the reason behind all this and realize what was good in that.

Faith isn’t an Argument

Faith Happens

Image via Wikipedia

Theism is based on Faith and by its simple definition “Faith” is belief in something that can not been seen or proven. So, when people ask me to prove to them Who is God and Where is your God or why did God do something – I do not know how to answer. I just know it in my heart that He is out there somewhere watching me and providing me with opportunities to do good things. He is out there paving my path with temptations but trusts me to do the right thing. He is out there trying to understand me and forgive me for my sins and take care of me

I just know.