September 5, 2008

Don't look at the Moon!

This is post I am copying from Bawa, a briliant Art of Living teacher. This is what he said..

On the day (night) of Ganesh Chathurti, we are warned not to look at the moon... Mythology says that if you look at the moon on this night, then you will get blamed for something you didn't do!

So don't look at the moon!!!

This particular belief sounds quite odd... What if the rays of the moon touch you? Will you still get blamed? If you look at the reflection of the moon in water: You are not looking up at the sky, you are looking down and there it is... in the puddle of water! What then?!

Well, at least this Ganesh Chathurti, we in Bangalore Ashram were spared from the naughtiness of the moon... the sky was overcast and there was no chance to see the moon... but no one was taking any chances, everyone was walking about focused intently on the ground :)

Is there some deeper meaning to this? You bet there is!

The moon symbolizes the mind... Just as the moon waxes and wanes, the mind goes up and down... Some days it makes you feel good, other times it can drag you down into the pits of despair for the smallest of reasons... The mind is what constantly gets you into trouble...

Ganesha is the Lord of Wisdom and it is He who teaches us how to get over the vagrancies of the mind, how to be established firmly in Knowledge and let nothing shake us out from the Bliss of the Being. And so on the day when we are going to celebrate Lord Ganesha, we don't look at the moon... meaning Follow Knowledge, not your little mind!

Don't look at the moon! Don't let that small mind of yours rule you... Be in Knowledge, Be wise, Be happy!

Brilliant, isn't it??

September 4, 2008

Gems from Yes Minister

I have always been a huge fan of Yes Minister. I was doing some digging of some old Word files and here's a small peek of best bits of YM. They are so relevant even amongst today's politicians and civil servants

Bernard's Longest sentence...

Apparently, the fact that you needed to know was not known at the time that the now known need to know was known, therefore those that needed to advise and inform the Home Secretary perhaps felt the information he needed as to whether to inform the highest authority of the known information was not yet known and therefore there was no authority for the authority to be informed because the need to know was not, at that time, known or needed.

Sir Humphrey's longest sentence...

Well, it's clear that the committee has agreed that your new policy is a really excellent plan but in view of some ofthe doubts being expressed, may I propose that I recall that after careful consideration, the considered view of the committee was that while they considered that the proposal met with broad approval in principle, that some of the principles were sufficiently fundamental in principle and some of the considerations so complex and finely balanced in practice, that, in principle, it was proposed that the sensible and prudent practice would be to submit the proposal for more detailed consideration, laying stress on the essential continuity of the new proposal with existing principles, and the principle of the principle arguments which the proposal proposes and propounds for their approval, in principle.

This file contains the complete set of available papers except for:

  1. a small number of secret documents
  2. a few documents which are part of still active files
  3. some correspondence lost in the flood of 1967
  4. some records which went astray in the move to London
  5. other records that went astray when the War Office was incorporated into the Ministry of Defence.
  6. the normal withdrawl of papers whose publication could give grounds for an action for libel or breach of confidence or cause embarrassment to friendly governments.

This was not a cover was responsible discretion exercised in the national interest to prevent unnecessary disclosure of eminently justifiable procedures in which untimely revelation would severely impair public confidence. This was not a cover was responsible discretion exercised in the national interest to prevent unnecessary disclosure of eminently justifiable procedures in which untimely revelation would severely impair public confidence.

Sir Humphrey's System for stalling- Creative Inertia

Stage 1- Humphrey will say that the administration is in its early months and there's an awful lot of other things to get on with.

Stage 2- ...Humphrey will say"...something certainly ought to be done- but is this the right way to achieve it?"

Stage 3- "Minister, this is not the time, for all sorts of reasons."

Stage 4- Humphrey will say that the policy has run into difficulties- technical, political and/or legal. Legal are the best because they can be made totally incomprehensible and can go on for ever.

Stage 5- The first four stages have taken up to three years and the last stage is to say that we are getting too close to a general election and we can't be sure of getting the policy through.

Three Types of Civil Service Silence-

1. Discreet Silence: The silence when they do not want to tell you the facts.

2. Stubborn Silence: The silence when they do not intend to take any action.

3. Courageous Silence: The silence when you catch them out and they haven't a leg to stand on.

Significance of the Ganesha Form & Ganesh Tatwa

After a break, I am back to posting on the blog; what can be a better way than to start on Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head is supposed to denote wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.
The broken tusk that Ganesha holds like a pen in his lower right hand is a symbol of sacrifice, which he broke for writing the Mahabharat. The rosary in his other hand suggests that the pursuit of knowledge should be continuous. The laddoo (sweet) he holds in his trunk indicates that one must discover the sweetness of the Atman. His fan-like ears convey that he is all ears to our petition. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms. And he is humble enough to ride the lowest of creatures, a mouse.

H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji has given a beautiful explanation of Ganesh Tatwa...

The essence of Ganeshji is brought out beautifully by Adi Shankara. Though Ganeshji is worshiped as the elephant-headed God, the form (swaroop) is just to bring out its parabrahma roopa. Ganeshji is described as Ajam Nirvikalpam Niraakaaramekam. This means that Ganeshji is never born.
He is Ajam (unborn), he is Niraakaar (formless) and he is Nirvikalpa (attributeless). Ganeshji symbolises the consciousness which is omnipresent. Ganeshji is the same energy which is the reason for this universe, from which everything is manifested and it's the same energy in which the whole world will be dissolved. Ganeshji is not somewhere outside of us, but the very centre of our life. But this is very subtle knowledge. Not everybody can perceive the formless without the form. Our ancient Rishis and Munis knew this; so they created the form for the benefit and understanding of people at all levels.
Those who can't experience the formless, over a period of sustained experience of manifested form reach the formless Brahman.
So in reality, Ganeshji is formless; yet there is a form to which Adi Shankara prayed and that form carries the message of the formlessness of Ganeshji. Thus, the form serves as the starting point and gradually the formless consciousness begins to manifest.
Ganesh Chaturthi marks a unique art of reaching formless Paramatma called Lord Ganesh by repeated worship of the manifest form of Ganesha.
Even the Ganesh Stotram, the prayers recited in the praise of Ganeshji, conveys the same. We pray to Ganeshji in our consciousness to come out and sit in the idol for us for a while so that we can play with him. And after the puja, we again pray asking him to go back to where he comes from; that's our consciousness. While he is in the idol, we offer back whatever God has given us through the puja of the idol.
The ritual of immersing (visaran) the idols after few days of worship reinforces the understanding that God is not in the idol, it's inside us. So experiencing the omnipresent in the form and deriving joy out of the form is the essence of the Ganesha Chaturthi festival. In a way such organized festivity and worships lead to an upsurge in enthusiasm and devotion.
Ganeshji is the lord of all the good qualities in us. So when we worship him, all the good qualities will blossom in us. He is also the lord of knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge dawns only when we become aware of the Self. When there is inertia, there is no knowledge, no wisdom, nor is there any liveliness (Chaitanya) or progress in life. So the consciousness has to be awakened and the presiding deity of consciousness is Ganeshji. That’s why before every puja, the Lord Ganesha is worshiped to awaken the consciousness.
Therefore, install the idol, worship it with infinite love, meditate and experience Lord Ganesha from within. This is the symbolic essence of Ganesh Chaturti festival, to awaken the Ganesha tatva which is masked inside us.