Saturday, December 30, 2006

I was speaking with my daughter yesterday and philosophising on the fact that we cannot judge...We do not really know ourselves, so how to know what makes others behave the way they do...We leave judgements to God...Thank God we are not politicians! But someone has to be...and we can only pray that the the good Lord guides them in their decisions!
And then....this morning newspapers headline:
Saddam Hussein has been hanged!

Alongside photo: Shopped at the mall yesterday and had a cosy mother/daughter lunch...bonded...Felt great! Leaving for the hills (Monteagle)today with Daughter, her husband and children...It should be lovely and closer to God...Is it? Since He is omnipresent? Well the mind stops its chatter and so the Mind hears the ever speaking voice of the Lord clearer and that makes us feel closer to our true nature...that of peace! I think that is the reason...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Yesterday enjoyed a 'gyros' kind of a naam with salad and a daal kachori...quite delicious actually, with my daughter and student/spiritual/daughter and families at the Mediterranean cuisine. Alongside you will find a view of a lake from one of the houses in Hendersonville that I was invited out for lunch! Remember I told you that Nashville is picture perfect!

So I had a great Christmas at Opryland...and a great Birthday fondue at the Melting Pot...pls see the photos..!
On the 27th of Dec went to the Hindu Ganesh Temple. It is spectacular! has got priests who chant their mantras 'divinely' (if there is such a word) and Balaji is beautiful! I prayed for all that I have and all that I shall receive through His Benign Grace!
Read about Balaji, Click:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hey, today is my birthday...or was it yesterday? or is it tomorrow? or is it on the 4th of jan? who cares, I was born and always felt very loved!even though my mother did not remember exactly! i know today's children wd make a very big deal of it! I don't! I have a full week to celebrate...taking my children out for lunch and they taking me out for dinner! have 2 presents to open when the children wake up! Got calls from Bombay, who were celebrating in my called and sent me cute cards! My gifts will probably be waiting when I return home! Even if not, I bask in the love and blessings of so many...The Living and the gone!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Last night (Christmas eve) went to Opryland (Nashville)...have been there and it was just heavenly!
Talking about Heaven, watched a tv show of Barbara Walters (2 hrs duration)of what various faiths think of heaven...Some people will kill to get there and some people will give their life (live for others in a positive manner)to get there...Some said that Heaven is here and now (depending upon your attitudes) Some did not believe in an after life...
I know that even if there is no heaven I cannot deliberately hurt another human being as I cannot then sleep in peace...So greater joy is derived by loving...and living for the moment...and I believe in heaven and miracles and myself and blessings and love...
Merry Christmas
Visit Opryland with us,
Click slide is really beautiful!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

My daughter Madhavi and her gorgeous sons...God bless them!

Today saw a great movie! 'Black diamond' Thought provoking!Had dinner at Chengis Grill, a Mongolian restaurant, where you choose your ingredients, your sauces, it is cooked for you and you add the toppings. It is quite yummy because it is made to your taste.
had lunch with a Spiritual daughter/student and her family...I had taught her (pompous statement!) correction: She learned the Geeta from me and she teaches my grandchildren...the Universe compensates!

Vimla Patil (ex Editor, friend of Femina) writes:
Dear Shakun, you are really painting the world red for Christmas. Have a blast and enjoy your blessedness. You are a special person and deserve every joy brought to you by your family, your work and the Grace of God. Carry on into 2007 and live a rich and fruitful life. Love and hugs Vimla Patil

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Went shopping and had great icecream at Maggie Moos. The icecream was delicious, but what was interesting is the icecream was like putty which the sales lady kind of kneaded and stuffed with your favourite filling. I chose a Cinnamoo with Irish coffee filled with pecans...mmmm I mean moooo

Friday, December 22, 2006

Enjoying my grandsons as you will see in the photographs...
Reading a beautiful book called 'Daughter of the Ganges' (The book is also available in Spanish, I am told) It is by Asha Miro. It is about an Indian girl child who was adopted by a Barcelona couple...Since I was brought up in Spain and have a very good spanish friend who lives in Barcelona and am also familiar with Nasik and of course Bombay...I am thoughly enjoying it...
If you wish to read about my interesting friendship with my Spanish friend, do click:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Today visited the Parthenon in Nashville and saw the replica of Athena Parthenos, goddess of war and wisdom and patron goddess of the city of Athens. The Parthenon is the world's only full scale replica of the Ancient Greek Parthenon...What beauties!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Last time I was in Nashville for Christmas was a few years ago...I find so many more lights and so much more traffic!I was almost happy to see so much reminded me of home...It is really beautiful, the decorated houses, the cheer, the gifts...not too different from Diwali, but then America is a richer country!
But the feeling of cheer and 'wanting to connect' is the different can humans be? Last night met old loved friends and had dinner at the Olive Garden and felt happy and loved and blessed...

I read the following in a local paper...Gov Phil Bredesen has 'marked a Christian holiday with a card depicting a Musim girl' Bredesen states on the back of the card "While it may seem odd to put a portrait of a young Muslim woman on a Christmas card, this season reminds us that He loves His children most of all"...The back of the card closes with "May the miracle of Christmas help bring peace to this young woman and her wounded land'
Spokesman for the Islamic Center of Nashville said that partially uncovered head is not Muslim dress code...
...Before I sign off I endorse Jesus Christ's message to love all people...Merry Christmas...I am a Hindu and I love Christ...and Krishna...

I received the following comment from a reader...

Hey - what exactly am I commenting on?? On Gov Bredesen?- it is all true so no problem there - I mean there is certainly an underlying tug of war between the Muslims and Christians as to who is the "right" God - so every blessing is usually accompanied by a wish that the "other" will realize that they need to pray to the "real" God in order to be put out of their misery.... but that is an old story - a story of all evangelists - nothing new. But I am sure it ruffled some feathers that a Christian was praying for peace for a Muslim girl - maybe that was the problem in the first place but since that would have been really tacky to highlight, the Islamic center zeroed in on the uncovered hair. Who knows?

There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading in the same direction, so it doesn't matter which path you take. The only one wasting time is the one who runs around and around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

My daughter has been receiving some very interesting Christmas gifts (among regular ones)from friends...Thought that I should share the ideas with you :)
Correct ingredients to cook a meal, bake a cake along with the recipe...A ticket to a movie along with popcorn and icecream (paid for)...Gift card to hire a video along with a meal...meal for family at a great resturant...various coupons for coffee...nice no?

Friday, December 15, 2006


Weather has been absolutely great...sunny and moving around in a sweater...not very jet lagged as rested in Amsterdam before taking the rest of the flight...
2 interesting things...watched Anne Frank's house from outside as did not hv time to explore within and today 'Diary of Anne Frank was on tv...Anne says "She wd like to live after she dies!" She has lived and how! "The diary of Anne Frank' has been read by almost everybody...another interesting observation...watched Oprah where she discusses a program called 'Challenge' which aims at seeing the pain that people/students go through due to rejection/ridicule because you may be different in colour, caste, creed, preferances...In the group discussion people ask each other; If you knew me better, you would know that....I hurt when you say this...I hv a troubled marriage...childhood...It was an eye opener...everyone hurts...and we are not aware why or how many times we inflict the hurt...
more later...

Nashville never stops to amaze me...
It is picture perfect. Any view from any window you can turn into a postcard.
Amsterdam was also gorgeous, shall post photos soon....I am glad I rested my back in a good hotel before taking the rest of the flight...My beautiful children are so happy to see me and I them! There is already a gift for me under the Christmas tree! God bless them and all of you...
Shall keep in do too!
much love,

Sunday, December 10, 2006

On the 18th of November 2006 we had a talk by Laxmi Dhaul on the Chishti Dargahs of North India at the Times of India bldg, Mumbai. Laxmi is a multi-faceted person, a good speaker and has written two books on the Sufi shrines at Ajmer and Delhi. In the above picture the book that she holds, is entitled: The Dargahs of Nizamuddin Auliya. She also has other books to her credit.

She shared with us many slides which she had prepared during the process of putting these books together.


Sufis and Sufism

A merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you!
Do check out the following articles on: (Copy/paste to browser)

01-jan-07 Happy New Year
25-Dec-06 Merry Christmas
04-Dec-06 Sri Dattatreya Jayanti
01-Dec-06 Geeta Jayanti
25-Nov-06 Agnihotra
25-Nov-06 Magic of Mantras and Prayers
22-Nov-06 Thanksgiving
05-Nov-06 Guru Nanak
05-Nov-06 Guru Aarti
04-Oct-06 Gems from Morari Bapu's discourses
17-Sept-06 My Mid-day article on karmas

Gautama Buddha says:

Believe nothing, O monks merely because you have been told it...or because it is traditional, or because you yourselves have imagined it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings-that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

On the 2nd of December 2006 Lord Balaji and Padmavati came together in Holy Matrimony in Bombay (Aamchi Mumbai)
I was also invited to attend another wedding on the same day, same time.
Which one shall I go to, I asked myself?
When I don't know what to do, I do nothing and allow events to flow.
I was offered a VIP pass and a ride to Bandra Kurla Complex...So I decided that the Lord wanted me to attend His wedding!
And I did!I attended (as Times of India, front page put it) a Match made in Heaven solemnised at Bandra!
Devotees from all over India, politicians,film stars in their best Kanjeevarams showed up!
The Utsava Murthis were brought to Mumbai from Tirupathi.
This is the first time that Lord Balaji has wed Padmavati outside the South Indian States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
In Tirupati devotees must pay a few thousand rupees to watch the wedding in the temple but entry to the Mumbai event was free.
The South Indian Education Society and the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam were instrumental in bringing the wedding to Mumbai.
I have read that five lakh ladoos were prepared for a 2 day event.
SIES chairman V Shankar prayed that the visit of the Lord to Bombay would bring to an end the natural and man made calamities to the city!
I personally sat transfixed and mesmerised by the perfect rendition of the Mantras...they followed me all the way home and I do hope that their vibrations have found a permanent place in the depth of my mind body and soul.
To see a picture and read more about Balaji and Padmavati, click or copy/paste to browser:

To read about the Heavenly Hills of Tirupati
Click or copy/paste to browser:

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tomorrow, the 1st of December is Gita Jayanti. It is the day on which Sri Krishna sang the Divine Song for the benefit of His dear friend Arjuna...and Mankind
Click or copy/paste to browser:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Parents in India, sons and daughters in other countries!

The above article by Vimla Patil appeared in 'The International Indian' (NRI families) Year 2006

The above photograph of Narain and myself taken on our Silver Wedding Anniversary appeared midst the article amongst those of others, who were interviewed

Click or copy/paste to browser

Friday, November 24, 2006

Our Body - A Temple

The Scriptures claim that ‘Maanav Shareer ko tarsey Dev’

Which means that the Devtas ( Angelic Beings) yearn for the Human body.
Read more. Click or copy/paste to browser:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


We attended a three hour presentation by a Peak Performance Strategist
where we learned some of the Peak Performance/Communication/Relationship
Strategies, how to manage Mind and Emotions...
the most interesting part was the 'walking on broken glass' by some of those who attended...No cuts, blood...
They made her say 'Yes!' reaching for the skies...then look towards the goal not looking at the glass . Right body language and attitude :)
Most imp. if u walk on glass u can walk through almost anything!
My friend Aarti actually performed the feat!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happy Children's Day
Subjects like Interfaith, Peace and Ethics must be included in the Education System.

I agree with Ameeta Mulla (Principal, Springdales School, Pusa Rd, New Delhi, March 2005) when she writes:

…Children (must be taught) to make life an ‘offering’ by learning to:

Sing, dance, weep and sweat life;

Sleep, eat, paint, sculpt, hammer and read life;

Wash, iron, sew and pickle life;

Compute, touch, bend and fold life;

Learn and play, work and rest, fast and feast life

Argue and talk, whisper and shout, swim, cook and digest life;

Relax and Recover life, breathe and become life but never ever delete or mutilate life, for life is an offering; life is a prayer.


We cheat death not by living forever, but by bearing and educating children to keep our souls, our values and even our names alive.


Click or copy/paste to browser:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November.

Every day should be a day to give thanks to God for all that He has provided for us.

There is an interesting story connected with 'Thanksgiving' which I am about to share with you. In the year 1609 a group of people left England for Holland. After having lived in Holland for a while, they decided to travel to America. They sailed in a ship called 'Mayflower' The trip was long and cold and it took them 65 days to reach.Read more, click or paste to browser

I could be talking about Kabir, Shirdi Sai Baba, Jalaluddin Rumi, Bulleh Shah …and I would be speaking about Sufis and Sufism They were/are all Mystic Men of God.

A Sufi is a Dervish standing at the threshold…a Fakir devoid of all attachments and ignorance…

They strive to remove the veils of ignorance and unite with their Beloved.
Read more, click or paste to browser:

On the 1st of November 2006 we had a lecture at Times of India Building by Shibendu Lahiri Mahashay

I am quite sure that most of you have read Sri Yogananda's 'Autobiography of a Yogi'

Shri.Shibenduji Lahiri is the great-grandson of Yogiraj Shyamacharan Lahiri (Lahiri Mahashay).

In other words Sri Shibenduji's great grand-father Sri Lahiri Mahashay was a disciple of Babaji, probably one of the 1st ones...

and he was the one who propagated Kriya Yoga in India. He died in 1895.

If you want to see the picture, please click (copy/paste to browser)and scroll down:

To help the victims of the Mumbai Blasts (7/11), Times Foundation had appealed to the citizens to contribute to the cause. Generous contributions were made by individuals, groups and corporates.

Actor Viveik Oberoi graciously accepted to be the Chief Guest for the event and handovered the cheques to the children.


Also see photo of Ms Maya Shahani and Ms Irene Miller in above link

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

On the 5th of November we celebrate the birthday of Guru Nanak

During the year 2004 we celebrated the 400th Anniversary of the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib in the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

The disciples of Guru Gobind Singh were full of grief when the Guru was about to leave the body. They asked the Guru, Who would guide them to find God, when Guru Gobind Singh was gone?

Guru Gobind Singh replied that the Great Book of the Sikhs: The Guru Granth Sahib, would become a Living Guru for the disciples. The Guru said that whenever they (the disciples) were troubled, or they missed him, they could open and read the Guru Granth Sahib, and the answer would be revealed to them.

The Guru Granth Sahib (The Guru in the book form) has since been regarded as the Living Guru, for the Sikhs.

According to Ma Indira Devi, a guru is one who you can love trust and say 'yes' to. He is on the path that you are most comfortable in, just ahead of you, lighting the way, with your hand firmly in his/hers.

Many believe that ones real Guru resides within oneself.

Just like one requires a teacher for anything in life that one wishes to learn. It makes it easier rather than experiment by trial and error, especially in the Spiritual path. But most importantly he/she is one who is able to point out where you are straying from your god-given mission.

Faith, Love

Let us celebrate and bring joy to our hearts. Why? Because we have been fortunate to find our guru, without much effort.

Let us sing (Click or copy/paste to browser):

Do scroll down...Lots to read!

Guru's Aarti


Monday, October 23, 2006

Dreams Can Come True

This article of mine appeared in the 'Femina' dated Feb 23-1990

No! Life is not a fairytale.

We could believe that it is. Then we will have to wait for some fairy godmother to materialize, wave her wand and produce custom tailored gowns and princes for us.

The truth however, is that we have to base our lives on something more solid than day-dreaming. If we want something from life we must pay for it in terms of faith, hard work and perseverance.

Robert Schuller in 'Discover your possibilities' says: "When faced with a mountain I will not quit, I will keep on striving until I climb over, find a pass through, tunnel underneath or simply stay and turn the mountain into a goldmine."

I read somewhere that there are two tragedies in life. One is not to get our heart's desire and the other one is to get it. No! it is not a misprint. the tragic part about achieving what we had so much set our hearts upon is that we are sometimes unaware of the price tag that comes along with the prize. More often than not it is dearer than we had anticipated.

The above does not mean that we put our dreams to rust in the attic. It only means that we should first test our dreams, only then must we push relentlessly towards our goal. We have to rejoice at our best efforts and make sure not to miss the sunshine, butterflies and breeze on the way. One has to learn to encounter life with an adventurous spirit that finds magic in everyday things. Happiness is not a constant emotional fireworks show. It is contentment and faith that helps to discover God's plan even when our dreams do not come true.

Life is a beautiful journey for those who know to traverse the ups and downs of it.

The journey is inevitable so it would be a tragedy if we did not learn how to enjoy the trip.


Excerpts from a msg from the internet

Dear God,
I want to thank You for what you have already done.
I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards;
I am thanking You right now.
I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better;
I am thanking You right now.
I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed;
I am going to thank You right now.
I am thanking you because I made it through the day's difficulties.
I am thanking you because I have walked around the obstacles.
I am thanking you because I have the ability and the opportunity to do more and do better.
I am thanking you God..because you haven't given up on me.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Today, the 21st of October 2006 is Diwali...Happy Diwali
Rozas are on and Id is next week
A few days ago I went to an Iftaar party (Iftar is the meal taken at the time of breaking the fast for the day)...only women...It was wonderful to interact with Beautiful Intelligent Muslim women who generally are burqa clad.
As we spoke I reconfirmed to myself what I always knew...that under the outside coverings we are essentially 'mothers, sisters, friends...'
The highlight of the evening is that I tasted the zam zam water...and I felt as honored as when the good Lord gave me the opportunity during this lifetime to not only drink but take a complete 'dubkee' in the Gangotri, up in the mountains...where Ganga descends...
I feel blessed!
Read more:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

TOO OFTEN ...Too often we underestimate the powerof a touch. a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
~ Leo Buscaglia~

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If the only prayer you ever said was "Thank You"that would be enough.
~Meister Eckhart~
Sharing the following that came to me from the Internet.
Look at these words as gifts and as 'diyas' that spread light around...this Deepawali!

The Most Powerful ' Three - Words
'The following three-word phrases can enrich every relationship.
These are just three little BUT VERY POWERFUL words !!!
I'll Be There
I Miss You
I Respect You
I Trust You
Maybe You're Right
Please Forgive Me
I Thank You
Count On Me
Let Me Help
I Understand You
Go For It
We are all unique individuals.
Don't try to get your friends to conform to your ideals.
Support them in pursuing their interests, no matter how weird they seem to you.
Everyone has dreams, dreams that are unique to that person only.
Support and encourage your friends to follow their dreams.
Tell them to "go for it."


The photographs are all about having fun!
Life is so short for keeping grudges!
I bet the photograph will make you laugh...and that is the idea in this world full of so much ho ho ho:)
Happy Diwali!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

For the upcoming Festive season,
Click on/copy and paste to browser...
to take you to the following articles.

Laxmi-Goddess of wealth
Sindhis Diwali Puja Vidhee
Gems from Sri Morari Bapu discourses
Diwali (Dadi Nani ki Kahaani
Karva Chauth

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dear Friends,
The 7th of October was Sharad Poornima...and I was invited to Chowpatty for a Rasleela program. I particularly enjoyed the 'peacock dance' ...Rasleela is the day when Sri Krishna had/played/enjoyed the mystic Rasleela...Most of you may not be aware of the conversation that ensued between Sri Krishna and the Gopis before the great dance...Click:
Please read it. I think that every Hindu (at least) should know about it.

Tuesday, the 10th of October was Karva Chauth...

Karwa Chauth
I personally like what the ‘Greeting Cards’ people in India are calling ‘Karva Chauth Day’. They are calling it the ‘Husband’s Day’
What about the wife’s day, you might ask?
It is heartening to know that Hindus have always believed in worshipping the Male and Female aspect of God together. And that Sri Ram was a staunch Pati-Vrat (devoted) husband...
Read more, Click:


Thursday, October 05, 2006


Just because we all know how to breathe it does not mean that we know how to live. Just because most of us get married it does not mean that we know how to be a good spouse. Just because, we have children it does not mean that we know how to be good parents. Living, marrying and Parenting require 'Sadhana'.
There are no universal answers to the meaning of life. I like to believe that it is a journey to the Source...its ups and downs are a lesson...Yet all journeys start with the first step...the first step towards the philosophic quest is the enquiry: "Athato Brahmn Jignasa"...
Read more:

Monday, October 02, 2006

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near
Dundee, Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any
value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions,
they found this poem.
Read it, and see your 'old' relatives in a new light.
I have always said, it is not possible for any of us to be 'Mother Teresa' but we can at least look after our aging relatives and offer them a dignified old age and death...that much we owe them!



Crabby Old Woman
What do you see, nurses ......... What do you see?
What are you thinking ............. When you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman ................ Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, ................. With faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food .............. And makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice, .. "I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice ......... The things that you do,
And forever is losing ................ A stocking or shoe?
Who, resisting or not, .............. Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, ........ The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? ..... Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse, .......You're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am ............... As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, ........... As I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten ...........With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters ................ Who love one another.
A young girl of sixteen ..............With wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now ......... A lover she'll meet.
A bride soon at twenty, ............. My heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows .......... That I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now, ................ I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide .............. And a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, ................... My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other ................. With ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons ............ Have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me ........... To see I don't mourn
At fifty once more, ................... Babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, ........... My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, ........... My husband is dead,
I look at the future, ................. I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .......Young of their own,
And I think of the years ............. And the love that I've known.
I'm now an old woman................ And nature is cruel;
Tis jest to make old age .......... Look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, ............... Grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone ................. Where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass ......... A young girl still dwells,
And now and again, .................. My battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, ................. I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living ............ Life over again.
I think of the years ................. All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact ........... That nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people, ...... Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; ............ Look closer....see, ME!!
Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might
brush aside without looking at the young soul within.....we will all, one day,
be there, too!

...And a 'friend' who has known me since childhood wrote this:

My dear Vimlu (my maiden name),
I see YOU.
Images and mannerisms may change but
the eternal heart never grows.

......... A young girl still dwells,
And now and again, .................. My battered
heart swells.
I remember the joys, ................. I remember the
I think of the years ................. All too few,
gone too fast,

So open your eyes, people, ...... Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; ............ Look
closer....see, ME!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dear Friends,
Navratras started on the 23rd of September.
Please click:

Rozas are on.

Dussehra falls on the 2nd of October

karwa Chauth

Gam ki andheri raat mein
Dil ko na bekarar kar
Subah zaroor aayegi
Subah ka intezaar kar
Which means:
Do not despair as you go 'through' the dark unhappy night.
Morning will surely break in! Wait for it!
Read more, Click:

Saturday, September 16, 2006

This article appeared on Thursday, September 14, 2006
On pg B16 Mid Day Mumbai

Karma in the practical world Shakun Kimatrai, women’s movement for peace and prosperity Chairperson
Shakun conducts Bhagwad Gita classes and aims at spreading religious awareness and Gita gyaan through her website, — an obviously Indianised version of the “chicken soup for the soul” series. She explains how the concept of karma is pertinent in the modern world. “There are two schools of thought followed by believers. The first doesn’t believe in free will. I subscribe to the second, which means that I allow room for the possibility that our actions, and hence, our destiny, lies in our hands to an extent.” Shakun is of the firm belief that destiny is greatly affected by actions, prayers and deeds. “The results of your karma can be categorised into three groups,” says Shakun, who simplifies the definitions by means of metaphors. “The first is time bound, like a passing virus,” Shakun explains, adding that in this case, problems would last over a certain period of time and then disappear almost miraculously once that duration has passed. This can be seen in cases where relations that have been strained over lengths of time, suddenly improve.Shakun compares the second type of results that one’s karam may result in, to a “bacterial infection.” In this case, she says, “just as medication would offer relief for an infection, so also would prayers or good deeds help ease the pain or problems a person is experiencing at the time.” The third case is more serious, and can be compared to a serious illness; no amount of prayer may be able to tip the scales in one’s favour. But, Shakun insists, “As it is impossible make out which of these three categories one’s circumstances fall into while experiencing them, one can hope to find relief for the effects of their past karma, through prayers and good deeds through their lives.” Shakun adds, “In retrospect however, one can place almost every experience they have had in life into one of these three categories.”
Karma for a businessperson: According to Shakun, Hinduism is liberal — it allows for shades of grey, rather than viewing things as black or white. It allows room for actions that are required in order to achieve one’s dharma without being judged too harshly for it. Although Shakun is very clear on the fact that bribing officials or “stealing” in any manner, way or form creates bad karma, she explains that every circumstance is different. “It would be wrong for a boy to steal food even if he was starving, but his circumstances and the fact that he was acting on his survival instinct, may result in him being judged less harshly for that crime, when compared to a person who steals out of greed.”
Karma for a partner: When one person in a relationship commits a “crime”, the other person may also have to account for the misdeed. Shakun explains, “In olden times, when women were not allowed to work, and had no way to contribute to the collective income of the household, or may not have had any say in what their husband did for a living, women would have been less accountable for their husband’s deeds.” However, Shakun feels that the dharma of the modern woman has changed, and despite this, when a woman makes demands for jewellery or contributes to her husband’s greed, then, such a woman would definitely be judged as a partner in whatever crimes her husband commits in order to get her the lifestyle she wants.
Karma for the criminal lawyer: Shakun feels that some criminal lawyers are performing their dharma by defending even the guilty, and hence would not be accountable for that act. “It is then the dharma of the prosecuting attorney to present the argument.
Karma in affairs of the heart: According to the Gita, it is the intention behind one’s deeds that separates the good from the bad. Shakun says that it important to be true to oneself and to strive to keep from hurting anyone. “If genuine love is the driving force behind the break-up of a relationship or marriage, the party responsible would only accrue bad karma if he or she has acted in a way to cause deliberate harm and hurt to others, without a thought for anyone but himself or herself.”“If, however, a person is in a loveless marriage and finds himself/herself unable to control his/her feelings for another person, then it is better to release the spouse from the bonds of such a sad situation,” Shakun explains, cautiously adding, “But each case is relative and every set of circumstances is different. So, the only person who can really tell what the intention was behind any deed, and therefore, distinguish between good and bad deeds, is the person who commits them. Their heart is the best judge.”

PS To know what else I have written on karma, Click:

To read what other personalities have to say about karma, on the mid-dayclick:

Monday, September 11, 2006


A forwarded email message that I received has adhered to my mind.
It stated that ‘not forgiving’ was like carrying a sack of potatoes, wherever one went. The potatoes rot and stink, but one goes on with the horrible task.
How terrible!
But we all do it!
Because one holds on to emotions of self pity and resentment.
Also one gets identified with the unhappy feelings of emotional wounds inflicted in the past. And that is not all, one keeps the process alive by compulsive thinking.

The irony is, that if one lets go of these negative feelings, one lets go of grief.
If grief leaves, a torrent of Life energy floods, and there, emotional, spiritual and physical disease cannot enter.
Easier said than done.
Arjuna told Krishna just that. That it was not easy to follow the Spiritual Truths (that Krishna taught) which lead to Enlightenment and Freedom.
Krishna answered that what is difficult, can be attained with practice and perseverance.
Sometimes one needs to forgive oneself.
Some circumstances, from the past make one feel unworthy and not deserving of forgiveness.
Read more. Click:

Read: My Trip to Sindh, A journey to my roots. Click:


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On the 2nd September 2006:
Women's Movement for Peace and Prosperity (an initiative of the Times Foundation) and Dharma Rain Centre oganised a public talk on Meditation in Everyday Life by Dharmacharya Shantum Seth at the Times of India Building.

Dharmacharya Shantum Seth is an ordained teacher in the Zen (Dhyana) tradition of the Vietnamese Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He teaches in India and abroad and has been leading pilgrimages 'In the Footsteps of the Buddha' since 1988
Shantum said: Become aware of the miracle of each breath. Walking, talking, even the disturbing sound of the cell phone during a talk can be used to meditate...A bell should 'bring' you in touch with yourself...

Thich Nhat Hanh says:
Walking meditation is like eating. With each step, we nourish our body and our spirit. When we walk with anxiety and sorrow, it is a kind of junk food. The food of walking meditation should be of a higher quality. Just walk slowly and enjoy a banquet of peace...

Our house in Hyderabad Sindh and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
Read: My Trip to Sindh, A journey to my roots. Click:

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Last month we completed reading and pondering upon the wisdom of the Bhagavad Geeta...after that we celebrated by having lunch at 'Govinda' the restaurant in Iskcon...Let me share with you 2 verses from the Scripure.

Two Geeta Verses
Before rushing helter skelter to find God, let us start the search, by looking within ourselves.
What we find is sometimes not very pleasant.
Most people complain that they cannot change themselves.
What I feel and say to them is, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Look back! Do you react less to circumstances, than you used to, a few years ago?
If yes, then you are on the right track.
If one learns to communicate with oneself, one progresses spiritually, and one is never lonely.
If one learns to really meditate, one will look for only one boon, that of ‘peace’
And that happens when one accepts, that things are, the way they are.
See! No one is asking you to give up trying to change circumstances; to the way you would like them to be.
You can study hard and you may be a very bright student, but you could fall ill and fail the examinations.
One has to renounce oneself to the above outcome.
A more common example is about people who ‘kill’ themselves to please others, and end up being criticized.
To such people I advise: Enjoy the ‘service’ let that, be your reward, not the result of your action.
We will be, eventually judged by our true intentions, when we ‘acted’.
Not by what people ‘spoke’ about us.
This is what Krishna means, when he states, in the 47th verse of the 2nd Chapter in the Geeta, that our right is only over our actions, not over the fruits (outcome) of the actions.
He said:
Karmanyey Vaadhikaa rastey, Maa phaleshu KadaachanaaMaa karma phala hetur bhoor, Maa tey sangotswa, akarmanee
There is another verse in the Bhagvad Geeta, which I really like.
It is the 12th verse of the 12th chapter.
Krishna says:
Shreyo hi jnaanam abhyaasaat,jnaanaa dhyaanam vishishyateDhyaanaat karma phala tyaagasTyaagaat chhaantiranantaram
Which I would interpret thus:
Better than (ritual) practice is Knowledge (Gyaan)Better than knowledge is meditation,Better than meditation is, to renounce the fruit of your actions,
Note: Krishna does not ask you to renounce ‘actions’. He is asking to renounce its fruits.
(If one does the above) Peace immediately follows.

It was Radhashtami on the 1st of September...if you would like to know more about it, click:

To read some points about an alternative Education Vision, Click and scroll down on:


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Let me tell you a story that happened 500 yrs ago in Dakor (A short distance from Ahmedabad in Gujarat)
There was an old man called Bodana who would travel all the way to Dwarika every year to see (Do darshan) his Krishna (Dwarkadheesh)
On his last trip there Bodana told Krishna that he had become too old so this was probably his last trip there! Bodana had a dream at night where Krishna told him to take Him (Krishna) away with him. Bodana did as he was told and he was accused of stealing the Idol by the King...When Bodana told the king his version of the story the king in order to humor the poor man said that they would weigh the idol of Krishna...They would put the Idol on one scale and posessions on the other) and whoever's turned out heavier would get to keep 'Krishna' have guessed right...Bodana only put the only posession that he and his wife possessed (a nose ring) and the scale tipped in Bodana's favour!

Anyway the point that I am making is that I used to go to the Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple in Juhu on Janmashtami and now an Iskcon temple has 'come' very near to my house near Babulnath Temple...
...And I am cordially invited and taken care see now I am older and need a little extra comfort...and my Krishna gives it to me...Koun kehat hai Bhagwan aatey naheen tum Meera ke jaisey bulaatey nahin!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We had a book release on the 19th of Aug 2006 at the Times of India Bldg
The book: 'Shiva to Shankara' by Dr Devdutt Pattanaik published by Indus Source Books was released by Mr Sudarshan Shetty whose sculpture adorns the Hyatt Grand at Santa Cruz, Bombay
In the picture above, from left: Dr Devdutt Patanaik, Ms Sonavi Desai, Sudarshan Shetty and myself speaking about the necessity of not only understanding and appreciating our own faith but that of others...
Shiva to Shankara is a praiseworthy effort to decode symbols and mythology connected with MahaDeva. It is a must read for those who want to make an effort to understand the 'subjective truth of a people or a culture'
Read 'Hindu Customs and Beliefs' Click:

and Symbolisms in the Ramayana, Click:

Ganeshji comes back to our homes on the 27th of Aug 2006
Those conversant with Yoga would know that the 'Kundalini Shakti' or primordial energy, rises in a zigzag manner through the Spinal chord, culminating in the third eye, which resides in between the eye-brows. When the trunk of Ganeshji is facing straight forward, it signifies that the passage, though the Spinal chord, or 'Sushumna' is entirely open. When the trunk of Ganeshji is swung right in the air, it means that the 'Kundalini Shakti' has reached the Sahasraar' or the Region of the third eye, permanently.
When Ganeshji's trunk is curved to the right. He is called Siddhi Vinaayak. The left side, represents the Moon. The right side represents the Sun. When the Trunk of ones Ganeshji leans towards the Right, It would require special worship.

Read more about Him, Click:

Read out to your children, Click:

Ganpati bappa Morya!
Much love during this festive season,

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Amongst the Sindhis during the ceremony of 'Datar', salt is exchanged from the bride's hands to the groom's hands three times. The bride also does the same with all the relatives from the in-law's side. It is commonly believed that if you do the above there will be no arguments or fights between the bride and the in-laws. When salt mixes with food, it mingles totally with the ingredients of the meal. However the presence of the salt is felt because it gives the food taste. By exchanging salt, the family subtly tells the bride that she is going to be part of the new family and she should mingle with them like salt does with food.

Amongst the Hindus it is also believed that if you eat the salt of anybody's house, you ought always to be faithful to that family. Exchanging salt is also symbolic of the above.

In the above photograph you will see me exchanging salt with my father-in-law and years later my husband performing the ceremony with our bahu-rani (daughter-in-law)
Some time back, I had an interesting visitor. She is getting married soon and hence wanted to know about the significance of Hindu Wedding Rituals. She and her fiancée would like to have a marriage ceremony with a difference. They feel that they would both be contributing equally towards the working of their marriage. Therefore the to-be groom is inclined towards the desire to perform 'datar' with his in-laws, just like the to-be bride is required to enact with hers.
The bride-to-be would like her sister to participate in the marriage ceremony as much as her brother and uncles would be required to do. She asked me whether she was breaking any Religious rules thereby. I assured her that the above ceremony was relevant to those times when it was only important that the bride adjust with her new family. I laud the bride and groom's spirit . I appreciate their desire to modify the Rituals and follow what their hearts proclaim is the truth of the day.

12th of August was Sheetla Saptami...Click:

20th of Aug is Parsi New Year. Click:

Smt. Jaya Row will be touring the US and UK to take the universal message of Vedanta to more people across the globe. If you have benefited from Vedanta and would like your family & friends in the US and UK to avail of it too, you might want to share Smt. Row's US/UK itinerary with them.
Below is a link that takes you to Smt. Jaya Row's itinerary:

12th of August was Sheetla Saptami...Click:

20th of Aug is Parsi New Year. Click:

Smt. Jaya Row will be touring the US and UK to take the universal message of Vedanta to more people across the globe. If you have benefited from Vedanta and would like your family & friends in the US and UK to avail of it too, you might want to share Smt. Row's US/UK itinerary with them.
Below is a link that takes you to Smt. Jaya Row's itinerary:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The birth of Lord Krishna which we Hindus call Janamashtami falls on the 15th of August this year.
Krishna is the most worshipped deity as well as the most controversial one. We Hindus believe that Krishna was a true yogi. He did everything in life, but with total detachment. In fact, in the Gita, He states that there is nothing to be renounced in this world, but attachment to the senses and desires. Yet it seems He lived His life to a point of absurdity, marrying 16,108 women, stealing but­ter while he was a child and bothering and teasing the gopis (ladies) in the village.
However through His pranks, one message comes out clear-Love/Playfulness. His profound Intellect is proven later in the philosophy that He expounds to Arjuna on the battlefield, which Is known as the Bhagavad Gita.
In the Srimad Bhagavat. Krishna freed 16100 women who were Jarasandha’s prisoners. Jarasandha was planning to sacrifice them and Krishna gave them refuge. During those days women would consider it below, their dignity to live under the protection of a man unless they were married to him. Maybe that is the reason why Lard Krishna had to make them His wives.
Let us not forget that morality differs with time. What may have been perfectly ethical during those days may not be so today: but we have to live according to the rules prevailing during the age that we live in.
The symbolic aspect is that Krishna’s main wives were actually his two hands, two legs, two ears and two eyes. The rest of the 16,100 wives were the veins in His body. This means that just like a wife is (was? ;) supposed to be under the husband’s care and protection so was Sri Krishna the Lord of His sense organs to the extent of even being in control of the blood that flowed within His veins.
My notes are short and to the point. I love Krishna! Do get to know Him through my pen....ooops keyboard...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Raksha Bandhan
It is a beautiful festival and falls on the 9th of August this year...I say that because the date changes every year according to the Hindu calender...Raksha Bandhan transcends faiths it has Universal appeal...
Raksha means 'protection' This Raksha' is considered two-fold. The sister ties a colored thread called raakhi (like a friendship band) on the brother's wrist to remind him that he is to protect her during times of adversity, and it is believed that the sister protects her brother by virtue of the fact that she prays that her brother is always saved from harm's way always, and in every way. Indrani tied it on Lord Indra's wrist to protect him while He warred with the Demons...

Read more, click:

Friday, July 28, 2006

Have been speaking on 'Gems of Faiths' at various clubs and organizations...
Earlier I used to suggest that topic and the clubs would show reluctance as they said it is a 'sensitive subject' but if we have to survive and this planet has to live on we have to understand each religion in its pure form...One must not eulogize ones faith by bringing down another...
One must remove misconceptions like those of 'Idol worship', 'Jihaad', 'caste syste',or/and 'talaaq'...
The time has come for 'not to take an eye for an eye' as that will make the whole world blind!
The time has to come, for the older ones to die with their prejudices if they must...but not to pass the prejudice to their children...Allow the children to learn to appreciate the best in each faith so that they may survive in this beautiful planet of ours...
Anyway, the beauty of yesterday, is that I was asked to specially speak on Gems of faiths...and that was a breakthrough...We had a wonderful turnout and all agreed with what I had to say...

If you would like to read about some of the points, click:

Also look into:

Sufi poet Rumi has said:
“Keep knocking and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who is there”
Have the courage to stand in the mystery of your life, and you’ll be advancing nicely along the path.
The more you stop worrying about the way your life should turn out, the more your life will turn out just fine.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I had gone to Bangkok! Met my son and his wonderful family for a vacation...Sharing my happy moments with you! Happy moments give birth to gratitude which in turn makes you one happy person!

I saw beautiful temples...specially the one of the sleeping Buddha...
I saw an indian lady frying samosas on the street and I witnessed the dignity of labor...and I am convinced that one day she will own a restaurant!

I also saw an old (beggar) lady who was singing on the street...but there was a difference...she carried a mike with her!...Profitable to move with technology...Good investment! Don't you think?

If you would like to see more of my photographs, click:

View Bangkok 2006-07-24

If you would like to read more about my travel experience, click:

Then click on your left for the places that you would like to visit with me :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

School children at Mahim Stn in Bombay after bomb blast. (Courtesy: Me Mumbaikar)

12th July 2006
I was on my way back from Pune to Bombay,after the Gur Poornima Celebration on the 11th of July. It was about 6.30pm.
As my train scheduled to arrive to arrive at Victoria (Chhatrapati Shivaji) Terminus in another 50 mnts or so, my daughter Anuja called. She did not wish to alarm me at first so she said there had been some trouble in the city...then she said that there were some bomb blasts in trains...and then as she watched the TV screen she exclaimed: Oh my God another and yet another...and yet another...She said get off at Dadar station, then she said, No don't! It is a sensitive area...speak with me until your train leaves Dadar! The phone connection was difficult to get connected again...I said to my cousin sister Manju, who I love dearly: Do you have any loose ends to tie? But I said that with a smile! I thought to myself, do I? Have any loose ends to tie? Not really. I tell everyone at regular intervals that I love them and I do say sorry if I feel that I am in the wrong.
There were 3 more people with us. One, a lady who got a frantic call from her daughter in the States who said: 'Dont leave the train???!!! Of course she alighted at Dadar. I offered my help by telling her that she could come with us upto CST and my car could drop her at Worli, which is where she lived...but the decision had to be hers. There was a Parsi gentleman who tried to cheer my daughter on the phone by telling her: "Dont worry, we are about to open a bubbly"
Then there was a third gentleman who was connected to powerful politicians...but how could he help? I realized there is only a certain amount that a person can do, however powerful he may be, in situations like this! They helped by making sure that my car had come to receive me at the station, before going home!
I learned a few valuable lessons yesterday...that I am not really afraid to die (Yesterday I was not, who knows about another day?)...and I learned who are the people who truly care for me...those who continued to try calling and enquire about my safety despite horrible internet connections.
Love you all, who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Much love always,

I received this by an email:
"Look Back....And Be Grateful to God"
"Look Ahead ...And Trust in God"
"Look Inside...And See God"
"Look Around ...And Serve God"....

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Behind: lata Jagtiani holding the book
From left: Anup Jalota and myself

Dear friends,
Last Saturday,the 8th of July 2006, the Spiritual desk of the Women's Movement for Peace and Prosperity launched Lata Jagtiani's book: BHAGAVAD GITA IN 365 DAYS at the Times of India Building in Bombay.
Anup Jalota, the famous bhajan singer released it.

Follows what Lata had to say about her book and herself:

What prompted me to choose to work on a simple Bhagavad Gita was the fact that I felt that it was an idea whose time had come.
Many years ago I looked for a 365 day Gita but while there was a 365 day Bible, sadly, there was no 365 day Gita… There was a crying need for somebody to demystify Hindu philosophy, to free it from the fetters of copious explanations, scholarly notes and high-sounding bombast. As aspiritually inclined person who has been a lecturer in English I felt that I had to do this bit for my buddy Krishna, who has always winked at me as he has guided my steps through life…

To make this Gita as user-friendly as possible, I needed to make it a daily read of a minute for anybody above fourteen perplexed about the purpose and direction of his life. I condensed the verses from the original 700to 365.

This was a serious challenge before me: Make it user-friendly, leave its spiritual purity one hundred percent intact,anybody whether Hindu or not must turn to it, these were the real concerns as I worked. I worked and re-worked the verses, sometimes despairing, sometimes elated. I wrote in blank verse with an impish rhyme here and there.

Simplify, simplify, simplify, the words shouted to me from my soul and so I condensed and simplified at the sametime. The mountain stood before me, it was the moutain I had toclimb, it was my dharma. Thus, I learnt that doing one's own dharma is often difficult but without it life is like dinner without salt!

...It took me 9 years to complete this project...

...I thought of how I could get the people there to read this spiritual book which holds the key to a life of stress-free living. Iwanted to ask for something even the Prime Minister of India cannot refuse: just one minute a day in return for a lifetime oftension-free living! Can there be a better bargain than this, it beats buy one, get one free hollow!

...This is the most important work that I will everdo in my whole life, trying to be a bucket( without holes!) between a well of wisdom and thirsty people. I had to remain true in spirit and yet simplify, and so I was never satisfied! I wanted to make it shine and kept polishing it removing a speck here and a dot there. Very simply put, this book was my dharma. Finally I could polish it nomore and gave the go-ahead, I was done. Now I am happy that thecommon man has a Gita he can turn to in the twenty-first century.

... Have you seen the unhappiness around you? The loneliness, the angst, the bullies, the victims, the drugs, the suicides, theviolence. ..The oneminute reading is for those that have time or work pressures andcannot spare longer periods to the Gita on any one day. But by its very nature, Krishna's flute is so enchanting that it makes people carry on listening to him without a stop! Secondly, some verses are so profound that they will take you more than three minutes to fully comprehend their depth. You will speed up on the days where there is simple narration but on other days when Lord Krishna offers you his wise counsel you will need time to ponder, absorb and internalize.

...Happily, the response has surprised me. A couple of people said that when they read it they felt calmer. The real success of thisGita is that it is reaching convent-educated people who have thus far been so alienated from Hinduism that they would never read a religious book. Many have been brainwashed into thinking that Hinduism is something primitive wheras it is something astounding!
... I amreminded of the gopis and how they were enchanted by Krishna's flute!If we make Krishna's wisdom the song of our lives can the result be anything but peace and joy?

Contact Lata for more information: