Get your daily dose of health and happiness

  How many of us read our Gita or the Koran or the Bible daily? How many of us place implicit faith in these time-tested books instead of turning outward for solutions? I recently attended the Gita Jayanthi function organized by ISKCON Kochi and was stunned by the simplicity of Bhakthi Vinod Swami Maharaj’s message – read the Gita everyday. If not an entire page, at least a line. If not a line, at least a word. Leave religion, and its myriad confusions and misinterpretations alone. Get into spirituality. Get into yourself.

 I still remember the fiasco over Varun Gandhi and his reference to the Bhagavad Gita. And Priyanka Gandhi’s rejoinder to it – if he has really read the Gita, he would not have spoken like this. For someone like me who is against politics and all politicians, this sentence conveys simply the power of the written word, especially if it is from our God.

 In summary, read your Gita. Or your Koran or Bible or the Granth. It does not matter which, but do read. Then start thinking how you want to apply the highest ideals laid out by your God into your life. Let the swamis and the preachers talk. And pontificate. You read. And think. And live your life the way your God wants you to – with love, patience and simplicity.

Come on – let’s get healthy and happy every day of our life.

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Religion religion everywhere, not a soul who thinks

I am sick and tired of the abuse of religion in our public life. Today religion is touted as the best and most succesful business around the world. And as I write this, another religious TV channel goes live; another Swami is offering the “moksha of life” for just Rs.695 plus tax.

And what do we do? We sing, we listen, we talk, and we discuss. Vehemently and passionately. In our lifelong search for salvation, do we really stop to think if these kriyas and yogas and mantras have the power to transcend our soul? Sure, most of it is faith you say. And blind belief – if this worked for my parents, this will work for me.

Instead let me ask you to think about this. Religion is an outward manifestation, a manual which helps us with our relationship with the outside world, including our God. How do I view my relationships, how do I deal with this situation, who will help me and so on. Spirituality is an inward turning into the divine spark that is within all of us. It teaches us to make that giant leap of faith (yes, faith) into an unknown world where only 2 people exist. You, and your God (or your concept of God).

Logically then, who and what you believe in should necessarily be between you and you! No other person can comment, coerce, convince you on what or who you should pray to. In fact, no one else has the right (or the ability) to tell you or teach you about your God. Everything you need to know is inside you already, awaiting your arrival.

Well then, how do I get there, you ask. Simple – meditation and reading your Holy Book – whether it is the Gita, the Koran, the Bible or the Granth. Read and then think. Reflect. Meditate. Read again. Try it out – it really works. You do not need anything, or anyone.

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Take a morning walk with me

Since I claim to be a health freak, I try to walk as often as I can. Seeing myself in the mirror every morning is enough to motivate anyone to get out there and burn some calories, so I head out once the kids are safely on their way to school.

So most weekday mornings, if you live in Kadavanthara in Kochi, KERALA (yes, God’s Own Country), you can see me power walk around 8 AM. For those of you who think walking is a safe and enjoyable routine, I beg to differ. Read on to find out why…

Walking in India is more hazardous than being a Christian Missionary in Taliban Afghanistan. If I can dodge the herd of cows as they amble past me, the fighting street dogs take over. One morning I had the dual pleasure of being chased by an angry bull and a snarling dog. Once you get past the four-legged animals, you run into the lady drivers who are learning to drive. Certainly not for the weak-hearted. As the instructor hurls abuse and curses at his students who can barely figure out left from right and the brake from the accelarator, I start praying and quickly start a jog that would put Usain Bolt to shame.

Hold on, my walk is not done yet. The neighboring construction workers start walking in and start staring at me as if they have never ever seen a human being. Some of the braver ones start humming old Malayalam songs from movies. Do these roadside Casanovas really think humming a tune created 40 years ago would melt our heart and turn us into instant admirers? Really?

Past the four legged and the two legged animals, I come now to the most dangerous part of my walk. These old men who are sitting and smoking beedis suddenly jump up and have this instant urge to pee as I walk past by. Enough said about that!

So why don’t you just go to the gym, pointed out my friend. Nah, too lame! For sheer adrenalin surges and adventure, give me a morning walk in India any day….

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