Sunday, April 30, 2006
Left: Arup, Niru and me (2006)
Ashok Kumar and me (2001)
The world knew him as Ashok Kumar, a fine artist of enormous talent.
I believe that he worked in over 250 movies, for over 6 decades!
People affectionately called him DadaMoni.
Which means: A jewel of a brother.
I called him Baba, like his children did. You see, I was a college classmate of his son Arup and we still enjoy a close friendship.
Over the years, his wife Niru has become one of my closest Spiritual confidants.
I go and visit this beautiful family often.
Sometimes I would go and visit Baba with them.
Baba Ashok Kumar’s personality fascinated me.
He seemed self-sufficient and appeared to derive pleasure from simple things.
He had a certain number of Classic books on his mantelpiece, which he read from cover to cover, over and over again.
He confided that he enjoyed them more, the more he read them.
He was fun! It was a treat to hear him sing! Yes, he could!
Once at a dinner he entertained us with a song that he had recorded:
‘Rail gaadi, Rail gaadi, chook chook chook!’
Baba was a private person, yet he would go out of his way for those who loved him.
I remember, once I had guests from oversees, who told me that one of their greatest ‘armaan’ (desire) was to meet Ashok Kumar.
My husband and myself smiled. We may not know many celluloid personalities, but somehow there seemed to be a possibility that we may be able to fulfill our friends’ wish.
I called Arup, who asked his father who graciously agreed to convene with my guests.
Needless to say, my friends were delighted and I am quite sure that their meeting with this wonderful human being from Bollywood was the highlight of their visit to India.
Over the years I have learned that people love to have their ego fed.
Once the adulation of a film star wanes, I have seen them joining politics, and then taking to philanthropy. The salient reason, more often than not, is to remain in the limelight.
Baba was different. He would win trophies, and he would refuse to take calls, because he did not want to go anywhere to receive the award.
He was a true Karmayogi. I believe, that he loved his work, but was unconcerned about the fruits.
Those who are familiar with the Bhagvad Geeta will recognize that the above is one of the most important tenets that Krishna taught Arjuna.
Ashok Kumar lived a dignified life and passed away peacefully at the age of 90 years.(2001)
I went for the condolence meeting.
There were prayers and speeches. But the highlight was a song that he had wanted played, when he passed on. It was sung by him.
‘Na jaaney kidhar aaj meree naav chali re…’
Which means: ‘My boat moves on, one knows not, to which destination…’
And the curtain went down.
The illustrious drama of Ashok Kumar’s life may be over; but he will continue to live in the hearts of millions who adored him, me included...
Arup, Niru and myself still enjoy a warm friendship. I love spending time with them!
The house where Baba lived has been converted into a building. Arup and Niru have a beautiful apartment in it, where they claim one room is for me, to unwind whenever I wish.
It is wonderful to have friends like this...I often wonder...why people do not nurture friendships when all it takes is 'true love and caring' and
An understanding friend is better than a therapist;And cheaper...
Above Arup, Niru and myself (2006)
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The minute I read in the papers that there is a Monolith Rock in Bombay that dates back to the Dinosaur Age (It is in Andheri, Gilbert Hill), I decided that I had to rush and have a look at it before it is replaced by a concrete building! We walked up the rock and found a beautiful temple called Gamdevi. What can I say? If such a place existed anywhere else in the world we would have traveled miles to have a look at it.
I can bet that you did not know about it until now.
Do I win the bet?
Saturday, April 22, 2006
"Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing." - Oscar Wilde
Whatever happens in my life, I believe that ‘God’ is speaking with me…ghat ghat mein panchhee bolta…I like to believe that every situation teaches and one learns from all…
It was a tumultuous period in my life, when my life could be affected, through no fault of mine…
I was at the airport and suddenly I found myself limping…why? There was no pain ???
I looked down and realized that my heel had broken…I stood behind a pillar, while I examined the shoe…
A decent looking man came from nowhere, gave me a brand new tube of glue and said: “Ma’am you need this” and disappeared…did not wait for a ‘thankyou’ or ‘you may keep it’ …
I found it odd…everyman likes ‘the feel good’ factor that one gets from a doing a good deed and feels a ‘high’ from a word of ‘gratitude’
Could not find the man! Stuck the heel and moved on without limping.
Asked myself for meaning: It was the Lord telling me: “If I can look after you for such a small reason and make you walk straight with your head held high…you think I will let you be ‘touched’ by the vicissitudes of life?I was going through a very hard period where My Being was ‘hurt’ but No, I sailed through it without a scratch and my boat was anchored ashore…
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
When you have faith Miracles do happen
Who does not wish to have a desire fulfilled?…The fact is the 'million to one' situations, which you may call miracles, are staring us in the face in our every day occurrences, if we will only turn our attention to the open door instead of the one that closed in our face!
I had always wanted a column in a newspaper, I had so much to say…One day I just sat behind a computer and started to write and send it to my friends across the globe, today I have a very active website: http://www.dalsabzi.com/ and my blog.
Essence of Bhagvad Geeta as explained by Paramhansa Yogananda:
1) When Krishna agreed to be Arjuna’s charioteer on the condition that He Himself would take no active part in the battle, Arjuna gladly accepted this condition, for he realized correctly that, whether active or not, Krishna’s mere presence would in some way guarantee victory in the end. That indeed was what finally happened. And it is what happens in the private “war of Kurukshetra” within every individual.
2) God is impersonal, yet He dwells in everyone of us (In fact HE IS US (Shakun)
He wants nothing from us except love, Sweet foolish sentiments don’t win Him.
Earnest complete self offering does.
By appealing to the Mother of the Universe, people do receive Her loving response.
The condition for forming this relationship with her is utter childlike trust, and absence of selfish desire.
When all sound reasoning has been done, however, and the final tally is in, we find that despite everything the universe is more loving more caring, more interested in us than even our fore-fathers believed.
Friday, April 14, 2006
I believe that Prayer is Universal...
The Language of the heart never varies...
By this, we acknowledge that God is one, and he is above us all. We also understand that we spring from him, hence we address him as Father. This also brings us closer to him, as we now look to him as our parent, and we can have our inner dialogues with him for our answers. Even Guru Nanak, in the Japji prayer, refers to Ek Onkar, which means one God.
Who art in heaven
We understand he is in a realm which is currently beyond us, but for which we all strive to be in. Heaven is always referred to a place of joy , tranquility and bliss
Hallowed be thy name
By hallowed, we state that his name is sacred. His name is special. As Guru Nanak says in the Japji, Satnam, which means the true name. Here, we can even say that the name can be Om. What is important to understand is that God's name is sacred.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,On Earth, as it is Heaven.
We acknowledge that all is His, in expressing that it is His kingdom, and that all happens as per His wishes (will), both here and in Heaven. This is similar Spiritual beliefs that all is God's doing.
Give us this day our daily bread
Here, we ask God for his blessings and grace.
And forgive us of our trespasses,As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Here we ask God for forgiveness for all the wrong that we do. In this, we see that law of giving and receiving, for if we cannot learn how to forgive others, how can we get the forgiveness from God. As God forgives us, we must also forgive all those who have hurt us, in any way, irrespective of what we feel for them. In the Quran, the prophet says "Forgive your servant 70 times a day". Only by forgiveness, can we let the love of the Lord flow through us.
And lead us not into temptation,
This tells us that God is testing us, making us face challenges, so as to make us better people. We ask him to help us succeed in our challenges, and not "fall into temptation" (to fail in the test). But the paradox here is that God also is the creator of temptations, so what does one do? The ultimate answer is to surrender all actions to the Lord, and he will do best for us.
But deliver us from evil
We acknowledge God to be the Protector and Defender of all that is good. We know he can, with his grace, put us on the right path to him.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
We acknowledge that God is the universe, the energy (prana) and the beauty. By doing so, we realise that all is God, everything stems from him, and all ends with him. In Hinduism, we learn that all starts from God, and one day, all will end with Him.
For ever and ever
God is eternal, with no beginning and no end. This is the basic Hindu concept of the timelessness of God.
We end the prayer by saying a word symbolising God, be it Amen, Om, Allah, Krishna, etc. Here, it is the final acknowledgement that it is God, and only God.
This prayer can be applied to all, and does not necessarily have to be only a Christian prayer. God is one, and for all of us. In whatever form we call him or believe in him, as long as we follow his principles of love, compassion, devotion, service above self and forgiveness, we will always be in his Grace.
Written by - Suneel Utamchandani
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I believe in prayer any time and everytime...after the death of a loved one, I think that it is good to mourn and grieve and pray, before one moves on and states that 'Life goes on'
Prayer is beyond religions. It is the language of the heart...
Is there a correct way to pray? People often ask me 'Doesn't God know what I need? So then, where is the need for prayer?
Sometimes, please note, I said 'sometimes' that is the voice of the ego, because we depend too much on ourselves and exhaust ourselves in the process.
Prayer will make us grow wings and fly because our heavily laden ego falls away.
I have heard 'knock and you shall receive'
I tell the Lord if it requires only a knock for you to answer my prayers then hear me knocking. However you are my Chief Accountant . You know my past and present karmas. You know what, and how much I need to learn from these experiences. So if it be best for me, grant me what I desire.
I have heard that ones prayers are always answered. Sometimes God says: 'Yes' Sometimes 'No' Sometimes 'Wait!'. So I cling on to the fact that no matter what the outcome, God is with me, Why shouldn't He be? He is Love and I cannot believe that He would want me to suffer. He does His best according to my karmas, and I am convinced that karmas are there to teach not to punish.
Prayer is transformation. Transformation does not follow the prayer, it happens in the prayer itself.
If one is not totally absorbed in prayer, then it remains a superficial act. Tremendous energy is hidden in the small atoms of prayer.
If our prayers are answered, let us remember that it was mostly due to the Lord's grace. Because His Grace is perpetually raining. Let us learn to keep our pitcher upright to receive It.
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Sunday, April 09, 2006
I have only one sibling. An elder sister, who I lost 2 days ago!
Did I really lose her?
I have a lifetime of great memories, which will always remain with me!
And I feel a warm glow everytime I think of them!
She was a wonderful human being and had done nothing (in this life) to deserve the amount of physical afflictions that life bestowed on her.
I like to believe that she is free of that cage, we call the body...and is happy and around me, telling me...See, I am free and healthy and beautiful...
The last time I told her daughter to give her a hug from me and to tell her that I love her, she smiled and said to her: " Tell her I love her too and that I will come to India".
I listened to the little voice inside my heart, and It did not let me down!
I managed to go and visit her all the way in Spain when she was at her best, and was able to recognize me and give me all the love that we have shared!
11th of April (4 days later)
Thankyou for all the letters I have received praying for my sister's wellbeing in the 'Other world'.
I am also feeling better...I suppose the heavy feeling that one experiences after one loses a loved one is that a part of us also dies along with a loved one...in my case I ceased to be a sister now, and a daughter when my parents passed on...but then that is life...
But you must read what I was reading...
WALKING IN THE GARDEN OF SOULS
There is a Garden of Souls…It is a place where we once lived and it is also where we will return…The Garden waits for all of us who have the courage to travel the bumpy and crooked roads of the earth until they eventually broaden, smooth out, and lead us there. ..
Read more, click:
Udayraj Anant Gadnis states:
Once you understand a situation fully and know what needs to be done. You are free from what you have understood. The rest unfolds by itself, to a large extent, unconsciously. If your response is directed towards the universe, the universe will respond right back. The heart of matter is always at peace.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
I have read that once there was a saint whose disciple pestered him to make his mother rid of a physical affliction that she was suffering from.
The Saint refused until he could do so no longer, and said: May your mother be healed!
And so, it happened. Another disciple wondered why the saint, if he had so much power, did not remove all the misery from the world. The saint replied that in this case, he could not really remove the affliction, he could only postpone it for another time or another life!
I believe that 'hard times' come not to punish but to teach.
Have you read: Many Lives Many Masters? If not you should!
My way of praying, is to ask for forgiveness and for the ability to learn the lesson from the painful experience as soon as possible!
And yes! The attitude of Gratitude is most effective!
If you like to know more about the Karma Theory, Click:
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Left: These are the same Thakurs, I spoke about in my last blog, dressed in all their finery in my home temple!
I am not saying that all your wishes come true at the precise time that you want them to.
I believe in the Karma theory.
Some karmas are time bound. eg: You were not on speaking terms with someone...you tried hard to repair the relationship...nothing happens...and suddenly your friend come and speaks with you...and tells you to forget about what happened....In Osho's words: Spring comes and the grass grows by itself.
Another Karma is bound by 'efforts and/or prayers...
The third type of karma whatever you do, nothing happens...you just have to go through it...
Since while you are going through the 'karma' you do not know which type you are dealing with...you have to put in your efforts and prayers.
Sometimes you come under the Law of Grace and your 'one chance in a million' comes to pass
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Left: Ma Indira Devi praying to the Thakurs before giving Them to me
If God wants to come to you. He does!
A friend of mine possessed a marble 'Krishna' which was ever so exquisite. I had always heard that Krishna was blue. And I wondered how a 'Blue Krishna' could be beautiful? But the 'Krishna' that my friend owned had a bluish hue and was gorgeous!
I wanted to have one, sculptured by the same artist. So I enquired.
They told me that they had acquired 'Blue Krishna' from Jaipur.
So the next time I visited Jaipur, I visited most studios with no luck.
Some time later, a friend of mine called saying that he had a 'Radha Krishna' sculpted by the artist I was looking for.
I promised that I would pass by and see Them.
However Ma Indira Devi (My Guru, she is no more in the body) was in Mumbai and as, I was going to visit her, most of my free time, I was unable to go and see the 'Thakurs'.
My friend called to enquire when I was going to see the 'Thakurs' as he was holding on to them for me. Since I was not sure when I would be able to go, and I figured that it was not fair, that I ask him to wait, I said "You show Them to anyone who might be interested in Them, if They are meant for me They will come to me.
Pompous statement! Did I really believe that? But I said it with conviction. And you know what? The blue Krishna and Radha did find their way to me.
A few days later, as I went to visit Ma, someone said that Ma was presenting me with the Thakurs that I had wanted. I was confused, how did that happen?
I was explained that someone had presented the Thakurs to Ma, and had told her: "Shakun was very keen on having them". So Ma had said "These are for Shakun!"
I had tears in my eyes. Those tears were of joy, love, gratitude and the strange ways of God!
I felt so fortunate. Others receive a mantra from their Guru, and I was being given My Thakurs!
Ma asked me to bring a silk cloth piece during the evening, so that she could give Them to me. She prayed, performed Puja and Aarti and placed Them in my receiving arms.
Today They are in my temple and in my heart. And They constantly remind me of my Ma.
Someone asked me: "Don't you already own a pair of Thakurs of marble Radha Krishna?"
I answered: "Do you stop at one diamond, if you are offered another exquisite pair?
Read about Ma from my book: Remembering Ma, through the pages of my diary.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
I like to write about miracles in my life…increases my faith and probably yours (the readers') too…Some people feel that talking about 'A million in one chance happenings' in your life, increase the ego…but I have read somewhere:
Record your proud moments. Share them. Engage in a little brag time. It will keep you motivated and energized as you move confidently in the direction of your dream.
People often say that God is Just and Merciful.
If one analyses the two adjectives, one will realize that if one relies on justice, one cannot always be merciful and if one shows Mercy, one probably cannot exercise proper justice.
The theory of karma is based on justice.
Forgiveness is a gift of Mercy.
If you will only bear with me, I would like to explain to you a theory which explains the above a bit better.
On the earth and for some miles around it we experience the Law of Gravity. The Law of gravity does not exist in Space. Similarly while we are bound by human knowledge, the Laws of karma apply. Once we transcend through love. We break the barriers and we enter the Law of Grace, compassion and mercy. We have then entered the realm of miracles. Now we can use our thoughts, feelings, words and actions to co-create with God our own reality.
I will not write further on the above subject. Will you re-read what I have written and ponder upon it?
Below is a mail I send out to update friends on the various festivals this month and what is the message that they convey.
Go to the links if you want to know more...or stop reading right now... :)
DAL-SABZI for the AATMAN- Shakun Narain
Festivals & Miracles
Navratras are on. Ramnaomi (Birthday of Sri Ram) is on the 6th of April. It is auspicious to read the Ramayana during these days. Read it in short, along with its symbolisms. Click:
Read about the Parsi New Year, Navratras, Gudi Padwa, Jhulelal, Cheti Chand and more festivals this month. The links to all these festivals is in the following link. Click:
Record and feel your proud moments. Share them. It will keep you motivated and energized as you move confidently in the direction of your dream.
Read more, click:
When you feel an emotional pain...Trust that ache…only when you face the inner feelings, fears and longings, will you find your greatest answers…I have heard that deep fulfillment comes through the window of your pain and lack.
I shall continue to update my website, so do visit www.dalsabzi.com whenever you think of me :)
There are various other occasions to celebrate during the month of February/March.Would you like to know briefly what these occasions are?
Women's Movement for Peace andProsperity
For personal messages and inspiring messages to Shakun Narain, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dadi Nani Ki Kahaani can be read at her web-site