Monday, December 31, 2012

Bye bye 2012: Looking back with Gratitude to God and Guru

Bye bye 2012. I am grateful to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, my beloved lord, guru and best friend, for all His love and blessings throughout the year. I offer my humble pranams  to Bhagawan for His love, constant presence and protection in my life and for my family members. I am equally grateful to you, Bhagawan, for the wonderful friends you have brought into my life at the right time and the many ways in which you are taking care of me and my family. The year 2o12 also marks my 25th year at the lotus feet of Bhagawan Baba. 


Bye bye 2012, Welcome 2013





Many things make 2012 one of the happiest years in my personal life. My husband's law firm Axess Legal Corp opened its second office at Lajpat Nagar in May 2012. This is also the year I visited many new places that I hadn't visited before: Ooty, Gavi, Coonoor, Manali, Pune, Hrishikesh, Haridwar. These trips are far more precious and priceless to me because those I love and respect and revere were with me. The experience of being with them is in itself a great blessing because I learn from great spiritual truths from them and that time or that moment cannot be bought with any amount of money or any degree of desire. It has to simply manifest itself as a blessing. And it did. And hey, don't miss reading the birthday surprise that I gave my mom.  My dad and my sister Geethu pampered me and Adi a lot by sending some beautiful gifts from Australia. Adi got his first professional sports kit, thanks to 'Geemaa' as he cals her. I got some fabulous winter clothes that she chose painstakingly and it suits me perfectly. I couldn't have chosen better. Dad got me tons of stuff too and I loved it all. I shared some tiny knick knacks that he brought from Australia with my close buddies. The yummy chocolates didn't stand a chance as Adi and Sanand finished it. :) 

It was also wonderful to be there for my mom-in-law's birthday too and we celebrated that as well in a sweet way and I was excited to be there for her. I also feel that these blessings are God's will to a great extent. Thank you Baba for making it happen.


My best friends Juhi, Anu and Neelam are the ones who give me a reason to smile every day. They are full of love, positive energy and goodness that I am beginning to feel that it is contagious and spreading to me. They are practically like family and I feel very blessed to have them in my life because they love, pamper and care for me so deeply that I can't imagine what I would do without them. I pray to God to bless them with all happiness in 2013. 

A dear friend called Sree is joining a new organization and I am so happy for her. 2013 will bring a tremendous change in her life and I pray for her success too.

Another good friend Michu from Twitter is getting married on January 1st 2013 and my heartfelt wishes and thoughts go to him and his better half as they begin a wonderful chapter in their lives. To all my friends and colleagues, I pray that God brings them lots of happy moments, great opportunities to excel and many fun filled occasions to celebrate throughout 2013.

But wait, I am not over yet with 2012 at least. 

My greatest joy remains my son Jyotiraditya, whom I call as Adi. That goes without saying, doesn't it? My 6 year old son Adi who began to learn mantras at the age of 2, is now mastering mantras with minimal help from me and on his own initiative. Learning mantras has sharpened his concentration, speed in thought and his teachers say that he finishes answering questions within minutes and that too correctly. 

I have seen and heard of many moms with Hitler-like schedules when it comes to their kids studies and homework. I am proud of not being a mom who works on her kid's homework as if the world depended on it. 

Adi is the owner of his studies, we revise, do everything we can to discuss projects, prepare for performances at school and so on. But ultimately I am proud to say that Adi studies on his own, takes his own growth very seriously, asks for help only when he feels stuck and he is very proud of the fact that he is not spoon fed into doing homework or class work. I am told by his class teacher that he is the best reader in his class. Also, for Dusshera celebrations, he represened his class and spoke about the spiritual and cultural importance of Dusshera celebrations. 

Adi's school-teacher at The Millenium School, Noida, told me, "He is a pleasure to have in the class not just because he is the brightest and among the best students but because of his personality and he is very well-behaved. He is that rare type of child who will be missed by teachers and students if he is not in class even for a day."

What more can I ask from God? Nothing but constant omnipresence and loving divine protection in my life. 

Prayer to Ganga Maa
Two days back, I was at Rishikesh and I had bowed before the Ganga aarti, I prayed to Ganga Maa, "This is my first darshan of you here. Nothing in this world can be as beautiful as you, Ganga Maa - flowing so serenely yet with an inner zeal, a ferocious depth that no mortal like me can ever fathom, the icy coldness is what hits the logical minded perhaps. But I have come as your daughter. The dirt that les in the minds and actions of others - how serenely you take it on yourself without complaint, without expectations that we will change our ways and realize what we are doing is a grave sin. To throw you into the pit of dirt is not possible because it is divine energy that courses through you. You are Ganga Maa - my mother. Bless me for I have sinned unknowingly. Cleanse my Karma so that in my spiritual sadhana I can be strengthened to move ahead. Forgive me for not coming to you earlier. Forgive me for an iota of doubt that had lodged itself in my mind that perhaps you are just another river. Before you, I surrender my ego. All I want is to experience my oneness with the divine energy that you are carrying. All I want is to stand here and experience the sheer ambrosia of Ganga." 

The Ganga darshan is how I am ending  the year 2012. I bow before Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for the year 2012. I pray that all of you, dear readers, bloggers and friends, may be blessed in 2013 with God's abundant grace, love and divine energy. By following the path of God, we learn to respect the divine nature in ourselves and in every living being around us. 

Samasthaa lokah sukhino bhavanthu
Samasthaa lokah sukhino bhavanthu
Samasthaa lokah sukhino bhavanthu



Happy New Year to all of you. God bless you all.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Why I started Petals! blog


Six years ago, I began to blog on ‘Petals’ with no idea about what blogging was all about. My only reason for blogging was to document the little milestones, the highs and the lows of an ordinary woman’s life, in a way that perhaps decades later, my son would be able to read and understand about the person that his mother was and struggled to be.
My son’s journey into my heart would probably tell him more about who his mother was as a person and as a spiritual seeker than as a mother – which is truthfully a very miniscule part of me.
At some point of time, my writings would also convey to him how deeply his mother cared and loved him even when she had to leave him when he was just three months old to get back to work.
It may tell him about a mother’s inner conflicts, her core beliefs and her little joys in ways that he may not have known about her directly as her son. This is the reason I began to blog – to share my world with him, to leave a trace of myself for my son and his children and their children to experience in a way that I had not experienced with my grandparents.
But the whole experience that blogging brought me completely transformed my little world. I found bloggers who enjoyed reading the scraps that I wrote for myself. Across the world, I received interesting responses to what I wrote from people who liked reading my blogposts. The maximum traffic that I get on my blog comes from the US, the UK, India, Australia and the UAE. That itself is interesting to me because I never write with an expectation of getting an international audience. Most of the time I write for my son.  
Among the blogposts that I have written, the one that got me tremendous appreciation was the one on the Ramayana and the Gayatri mantra. People from across the world wrote to me saying that they had never been interested in reading the Ramayana but after reading my post, they want to do so with a different perspective. The same thing about Gayatri mantra.
This year, I was deeply touched when three very different people e-mailed to me to convey why they liked reading Petals! No one had emailed me before to let me know this so it really meant a lot to me. Also, I did not personally know them too closely.
I read each of their e-mails over and over again because it touched me deeply that these strangers who are not a part of my life have somehow connected to the real me.
And when I go through some really bad days like everyone else, I read these three e-mails because they bring me a sliver of hope and joy. Everytime I read them, tears flow because each word, so warmly etched, fills me with a happiness that I cannot begin to describe. Like a child, I read each of these emails like a gift that is waiting to be unwrapped. And for the first time, I want to share it here with you because now, you are the one I am writing for on this blog called Petals!

First email reads like this:
Hello, 

Hope all well at your end. I was reading through your blog on petalsfromtheheart.. I really liked it and ended up reading most of your posts.. Great thought and Keep rocking.. Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts through posts especially on prayer, tradition and family values. 
Best,
S.


Second email:
Hi Swapna,

I crashed into your blog while googling for Sai Baba's words on the Gayatri
Mantra, for a Muslim colleague who works on the same Production Platform as
me in Offshore Qatar.

Your posts reads like poetry. Fluid like water over pebbles in a mountain
stream.

Thought of dropping a word to say I liked the style & pls keep the stream
flowing.

There might be many petals among the flowers in the flowerbed of your heart, but hardly any time to look at them. I guess Malayalees have difficulty expressing appreciation to one among their own. Maybe that could be one of the reasons, few bother to appreciate your work.

The content in your blog is definitely one among the best, especially the fluidity and the way you connect the sentences like a string & make an offering of a garland with your petals. I like the fact some of them are as short & simple as those subjects deserve to be (unless you are researching on it). A balance in the writing is a welcome relief, especially coming from a woman.

The creativity in your words do not reflect in the layout & design of the blog. A few images and color thrown in can make it a pleasure to visit more often. Even for you. 

We can't fathom, the number of blog-like posts people make & share on a daily basis with apps like these. Pls add photos to posts Swapna. Lets accept it we're all visual to some degree.

Kind regards,
A.

Third e-mail: 

Hi Swapna,

I’ve bookmarked your blog because I really like the Malayalam movie reviews on your blog. Keep writing.

Regards,
V.

Thank you friends for writing in to me and giving me a real purpose to keep writing the way I do. 

Whatever said and done, a good word brightens up everyone’s day. Who are the people who have brightened your life with good words? 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gayatri Mantra as Panchamukhi: Get it right or let it go

Most people do not understand the importance of chanting the Gayatri mantra because they are not aware of its power. It is only when I began to read Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that I learned how sacred and powerful the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is.  

The Vedas represent the breath of God. The Gayatri mantra is the very basis of the Vedas. Try not to undertake chanting the Gayatri mantra as a light endeavor or as a hobby. It has to be chanted with faith, discipline and purity of mind and body. Be steady with your sadhana if you want to reap the spiritual dividend associated with the Gayatri mantra  and never once hesitate once you decide to do it.

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the Gayatri Mantra is referred to as Pancha Mukhi, the Goddess with five faces that represent the five pranas or life forces. Here's more on it.



Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly: Pause Five Times
Here are some important things to keep in mind while chanting the Gayatri mantra:

1. When we recite the Gayatri mantra, we pause five times and take five breaths representing the five pranas. The five pranas comprise of the Panchabhuthas (Akasa, Vayu, Agni, Jala and Prithvi) and the Panchakosas or the five sheaths of the body.

The pause should be as given below and with understanding that it represents the five pranas:
Aum (pause)
Bhur Bhuvah Suvah (pause)
Tat Savitur Varenyam (pause)
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi (pause)
Dhiyo yo nah prachodhayat (pause)

2. The Gayatri mantra must be chanted with faith and enthusiasm thrice a day at dawn, noon and dusk. This is called 'Trikala sandhya' because it is a mantra that purifies all the karma done by a person during the day i.e. karmendriyas. You should chant it when having a bath, before eating food and so on. The Gayatri mantra can be repeated at any time by one who practices it regularly and with devotion. 

3.  Traditionally, the Gayatri mantra must be chanted 108 times. But Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says that when a target is fixed, the tendency of the mind is to repeat it mechanically. So,  you shouldn't fix a target to tame the mind. You can chant the Gayatri mantra three, nine or eleven times or more based on your level of concentration and interest. Stick to odd number recitation - that is the right way.

4. Women worry whether they can chant the Gayatri mantra when they are having their periods. Spiritual masters say that women can chant any mantra at any time. There is no restriction on it. Whatever restrictions have been placed are artificial and not valid from a spiritual perspective. 

5. Teach children how to chant the Gayatri mantra at the earliest. You should make sure that they understand the meaning before they learn to chant the mantra. This will boost their concentration power, their memory and illumine their intellect at gross and subtle level. The energy field that they will be able to create for themselves by chanting the Gayatri mantra will protect them from disease and danger at the most critical times.  

6. While chanting the Gayatri mantra, every word should be clear as crystal. Don't mumble it or rush through it. Enjoy it slowly as you would eat a delicious pastry, experiencing its texture as it crumbles on your tongue. 

God bless you all.



♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all those who chant the Gayatri mantra. REQUEST: Please SHARE this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people whose lives can be made better and happier by chanting the Gayatri mantra with divine awareness of its true power. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥

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