Monday, November 14, 2011

Chacha Nehru & Jyotiraditya's Perk

Today, Jyotiraditya, my son, told me out of the blue, "Amma, did you know today is Chacha Nehru's birthday? So, in school, there were programs. We all got chocolates too. I think I like Chacha Nehru but I wish he had send us some other chocolates, not Perk."

I couldnt help laughing out aloud. Trust my innocent little boy to say something so original about one of the world's most loved Statesmen! I told Adi that Chacha Nehru 's real name is Jawaharlal Nehru and he was the first Prime Minister of Independent India, which meant that he had to look after the welfare of the whole country.

So, Adi said, "The whole of India was his office?"

Hmmm, I said, "Not exactly but he had many big problems to solve for India. Though he was very busy and had tons of work, he loved kids. He used to try and spend time talking to kids. I've also read in a book that he always replied to kids who wrote to him personally. But I don't know how true that is."

"Amma, I'd like to see Chacha Nehru," says Adi, totally wide eyed and interested.
"I will show you some of his pictures and we can visit his house that he had in Delhi."
Adi was truly impressed. "Wow, he has a house in Delhi."

I wanted to say its a palatial mansion but I thought I'll keep it simple for Adi and let him delight in seeing it for sure.
"Tell you what, we have a deal. We will all go and check out his house."
Adi had another brilliant idea. "If I like the house, do you think we can stay there for some days?"

Ooops! I said, "Not really Adi. Because his house is like a memorial. People come to see how he lived, what he was like as a person and lots of kids come there too, just like you. So, its not a private house for us to go and stay in. He lived for the country so now every one gets a chance to show respect and to see how he lived. That doesnt mean we all have the right to stay there."

"I think I really like Chacha Nehru. But next time, I want to tell him to send us some other chocolates on his birthday. Not Perk. I mean, who even like Perk these days? Maybe he doesn't know that because he is old. What do you think amma?"

I didnt know what to think but I said in my mind, "Chacha Nehru, my son really likes you. So please bear with the Perk complaint and bear with him."

I am sure Chacha Nehru undestands:)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

7 Am Arivu (the Seventh Sense) - Why it is spiritually relevant



7 Am Arivu (the Seventh Sense) is a film that I was desperate to watch for two reasons. One, I am a Suriya fan and I had heard so much about his performance in this movie that I didn't want to settle for watching a CD of it and losing the actual cinematic experience. Second, I had read from various bloggers and their reviews that this film revolves around the story of Bodhidharman, a 16th century prince from Tamil Nadu who had mastered knowledge spanning multiple forms of art, and was sent to China to save the people from evil. Once he goes there, the transformation begins for himself and for the people there and he  goes on to become Damo, the father of Shaolin and Kung Fu and hypnotism and such other mystical yet spiritually relevant forms of mind mastery.

7 Am Arivu Goes Over the Top with the Dravidian Rhetoric
In 7 Am Arivu, there has been a lot of controversy created by the fact that nearly every character eulogizes about the importance of being Tamil and yes, the Dravidian rhetoric is not too subtle. However, I am looking at it positively. Why? Because taking pride in your mother tongue, the state or region that you belong to or even the way you adapt to contemporary life with a clear awareness of who you really are is important.

In this film, it is clear there was no attempt to draw a fine balance and thus, it goes a little over the top.

7 Am Arivu (the Seventh Sense) - The Story
Coming back, the story returns to the present era wherein a genetic engineering research student Subha Srinivasan (starring Shruthi Hassan who speaks terrible Tamil by the way and needs desperate coaching in Tamil accent) finds out that Arvind (starring Suriya) is a descendant of Bodhidharman has the same DNA as him. At the same, the top Chinese brass send their best student Dong Lee to kill this research student and start a biowar with India. What Dong Lee does is that he injects a dangerous virus into the body of a street dog. Note that this virus has the disease which occurred in China at the time when Bodhidharma went there and saved the people from being totally wiped out. So Subha's mission goes on fast track mode as the biowar spreads in India and people and children fall sick with the mysterious virus.


However, I don't want to look at this movie as an ordinary film because it has its basis in some spiritual truths that are of great importance and that got lost in the midst of chaotic action sequences, unnecessary songs and many cheesy dialogues.

7 Am Arivu has spiritual connotations that may interest seekers
For me, 7 Am Arivu (the Seventh Sense) is spiritually interesting. I am not going to delve into it from a ordinary film review perspective. I am trying to decode the clear spiritual message that underlied the story or the concept of the story.

Here are some basic elements of great spiritual truths that the film attempted to delve into:

To answer the fundamental question: Who ami?
Spiritual masters and religious texts say that God didn't create you and send you to earth so that you can simply eat, work, continue with life like any beast of burden. God did for a good reason. Have you ever wondered what that reason is?

Is it enough to go through life without answering a fundamental question "Who ami? Ami the name that my parents have given me? Ami the person that my friends and colleagues think I am? Ami as limited as my thoughts and actions make me out to be?"

The moment we ask ourselves these questions, the next inevitable question pops up. "What is my real mission on earth?"

To find the Plan of Action on Earth by knowing "What is my real mission on earth?"
No one can tell you what is your real mission on earth. You will have to ask your Higher Self to show you the truth for which you have been born. Your birth has to have real meaning for this earth. It is up to you to show whether you want to be like Steve Jobs and leave behind a legacy that changed the world or whether you want to be like Gaddhafi and have the whole world celebrating that you had been found in the drains. It's really up to each one of us to ask for guidance from the Higher Self to reveal to us what the real Mission on earth is. No two people will have the same mission. Each person will have something different, unique just as each person on earth is different and unique.

How to start? Pray very earnestly to God. Ask God to show you the truth about your real self when your spiritual soul is ready for it. But keep asking. Or else, you will pass through this life in blissful ignorance of who you really are.

Protect yourself and the world from evil forces no matter what it takes
No one has the right to take away your happiness. It is your birth right. If any one tries, fight it. Because their intentions are evil. And they are not worth your pain. In the Mahabharata, Arjuna decides to give up the fight because He doesnt want to take up arms against those whom he loves. They are his family members. He says to Krishna, "How can I hurt my family members and think that it is the right thing to do? How can I justify this to my own conscience?" Do we not, as ordinary human beings, encounter situations like what Arjuna faced - when we feel torn by what is right and perhaps what is being pressurized in our life by family members?

The Lord asked Him not to be a coward. Why did Lord Krishna ask Arjuna to fight? Why would God want us to fight?

The answer is simple - to protect ourselves and the world when there are evil souls/forces around. Every one has a right to happiness but those that are evil tend to destroy the happiness and peace of the world at large. They have no respect for God, for Dharma or for the welfare of the society. They squeeze out every inch of goodness from others and expect others to follow them. That is the situation in which you can't buckle under pressure just because you are related.

Krishna, in essence, is our conscience. When evil strikes, don't buckle under it. Fight it, not just for yourself but for generations of humanity that deserve to have a Dharmic life.

In this movie too, the principle is almost the same. Dong Lee is an evil soul who uses evil means to hurt, manipulate and get rid of people on the path that he is intent on. And only a good soul can fight evil. Those who have fear, hypocrisy or even doubt in their minds cannot strike back at evil. In fact, to fight evil, you have to have greater strength in mind and spirit. That is what Krishna tells Arjuna.

You cannot possess all latent wisdom without evolving for it spiritually
In the material world, you progress from playschool, nursery, kindergarten and so on to evolve your levels of conscious intelligence into something deeper and more useful for each level in your physical year. However, in the spiritual world, you need to constantly focus, work and re-affirm your commitment to your soul's spiritual evolution. Or else, you will not possess or be able to retrieve the latent wisdom that your soul has accumulated from birth to birth.

Just like the character of Arvind is slowly brought back to retrieve the knowledge of Bodhidharman, the spiritual masters say that each of us can do the same. We can retrieve a vast treasury of wisdom that the soul has by living a life that is true to ourselves. What worked for Arvind is that he had some one called Subha Srinivasan to trigger his spiritual evolution and retrieve the knowledge of His Higher soul.

In the real world, we can do that only through spiritual masters who will appear in our life only when we are open and ready to recieve their message. Till then, we will remain beasts of burden, carrying on our tasks, thinking that that alone is the purpose of this human life. What a waste!

 While this film 7 Am Arivu (the Seventh Sense) has many loopholes, I believe that it was constructed on some fundamental principles of spirituality. However, it failed to completely bring those across effectively because it has a commercial entertainment purpose to it. So the gaps were inevitable. Still, I liked the fact that some one out there made an effort and that an actor of Suriya's stature was convinced enough about these spiritual truths that he agreed to mouth some dialogues that may have seemed decidedly cheesy to a completely entertainment-oriented audience.

Good work, Suriya. Better luck next time, Shruti Hassan!

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