It all started on that beautiful Sunday morning, the 14th of January 2018. Looking back, our meeting was divinely ordained.
I shouldn’t have been in Mumbai that day. And if yes, certainly not in Gordon House Hotel in South Mumbai.
And Clau and Blanca told me, when I met them in Guatemala a year later, that they too had made the change of the hotel at the last moment.
And again it was a coincidence, that we were at the same long table at the same time for our breakfast.
Clau is a shy young lady, not like the extrovert Blanca! And when we met, a year after our first contact in that boutique hotel in Mumbai, Clau told me that she had heard a voice in her head telling her to talk to me!! She had said hello and told me that I had very peaceful aura about me! And then she asked me what do I do? And I told her about our YSS (Yogoda Satsanga Society of India) cruise the previous evening, my Guru – Paramahansa Yogananda, and the Autobiography of a Yogi. And that was the beginning of a beautiful and loving friendship, which eventually led to my visiting Guatemala a year later.
First and last I had heard of Guatemala, before this, was in my childhood when I used to collect stamps, about 55 years ago!! I love traveling but visiting this country wasn’t even at the bottom of my wish list. It just wasn’t there! But it happened. And I am so glad that it did.
It was such a beautiful and enriching trip around the world. Pune->Mumbai->Los Angeles->Guatemala->Los Angeles-Brisbane->Mumbai->Pune. Three very long flights and a very long stop over in Auckland. Every place I visited and every person I met was so different from the other. Australia and Guatemala are poles apart! 180 degrees!! And Los Angeles another story of divine love and friendship altogether!! But this trip strengthened the world view I have had for many years now. And that is:
People, at the core of their hearts, are same all over the world. Everyone wants some love, some respect, some appreciation…..every one wants to be happy …..they have similar fears, worries and insecurities…… However different people may look and whatever language they may speak; and whatever may be their food habits and lifestyles; essentially they are all same.
Lord Krishna has given mankind 26 soul qualities in the chapter XVI of Holy Geeta. I thought International Yoga Day is the right day to share the following with you! These have been taken from Gurudeva Paramahansa Yogananda’s commentary on Holy Geeta, called – God Talks With Arjuna! That is such a soul uplifting and divine work. Sri Paramahansa Yogananda has also written a commentary on Holy Bible – Second Coming of Christ. He had concluded that in their essence both these holy books give the same message!! Both these books are available online at the book store of : Yogananda.org outside India and yssofindia.org in India. You may also like to pick up a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi, which has been hailed as one of the most influential spiritual books of the last century.
Yoga means union – Union of soul with Spirit, with God! Yoga is not merely about body fitness, it is more about creating harmony and peace in body, mind and soul. I sincerely believe that absorbing these soul qualities in our hearts and minds would give us the peace, harmony, and God realisation we are seeking!!
SQ1: Fearlessness: The foundation of spiritual life: having faith in God’s protection, justice, wisdom, mercy, love and omnipresence.
SQ2: Purity of Heart: Transparency to truth. Freedom from attachment and repulsion to sense objects. “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God”
SQ3: Steadfastness: in seeking wisdom and practicing raj yoga. Applying scriptural wisdom and immersing oneself in the growing peace born of regular meditation.
SQ4: ALMSGIVING: Unselfishness and generosity to those in need and worthy
SQ5: SELF RESTRAINT: Repetition of unwise sense experiences creates strong and destructive bad habits.
SQ6: Religious Rites: One’s whole life should be a sacred rite, with every thought and act purified by reverence and offered to the divine.
SQ7: Right Study of Scriptures: Redemption comes not from intellectual knowledge but from what one becomes by integrating that knowledge.
SQ8: Self Discipline – Restraint of appetite, including celibacy; training the body to withstand bodily discomfort. Transmuting material desires into spiritual aspirations.
SQ9: Straightforwardness – A quality of honorable men. Striving to be sincere, free from deceit and guile, and open and candid.
SQ10: Non Injury – The avoidance of harm to any living creature in thought or deed, except when obstructing evil or upholding righteousness.
SQ11: Truth – Honesty: is the foundation stone of the universe. Honoring truth in thought, speech and action. Words should always be sweet, healing and beneficial to others.
SQ12: Absence of Wrath – The quickest way to peace of mind: being free from rage, animosity and resentment.
SQ13: Renunciation – Willingly give up passing sense pleasures for the sake of eternal joys. Living for truth without being emotionally attached in the drama of creation.
SQ14: Peace – is a divine quality. Tranquility is the nature of God and each soul.
SQ15: Non-Condemnation (Absence of Fault Finding) Not concentrating on the weakness of others and focusing on bettering oneself.
SQ16: Compassion Towards all Beings – The Divine Mother aspect of God is overflowing with this quality – Feeling the suffering of others and trying to alleviate it.
SQ17: Absence of Greed and Envy– Non-covetousness. Mastery of one’s senses, without desire for gross pleasures. Turning the mind to inner joys.
SQ18: Gentleness – Kind, forbearing, patient. Without ill will towards anyone. The Universal Spirit is ever gentle with Her erring children.
SQ19: Modesty – Feeling shame at wrong doing and correcting oneself. The purity of modesty attracts its own virtuous kinds.
SQ20: Absence of Restlessness– enables one to avoid physical and mental roamings and useless activities.
SQ21: Radiance of Character– comes from the cosmic fire of God’s supreme consciousness, the flame of awareness, within man and other sentient creatures.
SQ 22: FORGIVENESS (kshama) – in the man of God is not inflicting, or wishing to inflict, punishment on those who harm or wrong him.
SQ 23: PATIENCE, or fortitude (dhriti) – enables the devotee to bear misfortunes and insults with equilibrium.
SQ 24: CLEANNESS OF BODY AND PURITY OF MIND – is respect for the indwelling Taintless Spirit. It has been said that cleanliness is next to godliness.
SQ25: NONHATRED – should be practiced by everyone. A devotee who feels malice towards others loses the power to see God in all.
SQ26: LACK OF CONCEIT – signifies absence of excessive pride. The Lord doesn’t harbour pride, though His cosmic possession and powers are infinite.
Three years back I had worked on these 26 soul qualities for one whole year – two weeks on each quality. I had realised that even if we pick up one of these qualities and become that quality, the rest would fall in place easily and on their own!!
But Maya, Delusion, Satan too is very strong and tempts us away from our holy aspirations! I think it is time for me to revisit these and the Notes to Myself, I had written about a week or so ago! It is time to go within!!
So I intend taking a break from WordPress for sometime. If you start to miss me 😊 do get in touch with an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Divine Mother, teach me to live with delight. May I enjoy my earthly duties and the countless beauties of creation. Help me to train my senses to observe and appreciate Thy wondrous world of Nature. Let me savour with Thy zest all innocent pleasures. Save me from negation and unwarranted kill-joy attitudes.” — Paramahansa Yogananda
Am truly blessed that I have two traits of my Gurudeva, Paramahansa Yogananda — Love of Nature and travel 😊 Infinite gratitude for this blessing and grace of Divine Mother 🙏🙏
Yesterday, 12th of June, was one such blessed day. Am pleased to share some pics and video clips — glorious sunrise and sunset!! How I love monsoon 💖
All pics on my iPhone. Morning pics credit to my son. He gets up late usually but he hadn’t slept yesterday night – was busy watching Rafa – Djokovic semi final! An epic match!! But the dawn was more majestic!!
Last week Joyce nominated me for the vincent-ehindero-blogger-award. Thank you so much Joyce👏 One of the questions she had asked was: What gives you an inspiration to write or take pictures? What’s your muse?
It was this question which made me think and retrace my blogging journey of last two years.
When I had returned from my trip around the world in end January 2019, I wanted to write a book about my experiences, especially in Guatemala. My son told me that my book hadn’t happened for 15 years 😛 He suggested I start to blog first and then look at the book. Luckily I took his advice 😊 In the past 2+ years I have published 200+ posts and have also published my first book – 4 Pillars of Abundant Life!
I started with posts on my travel around the world. When I was not traveling I wrote about life, that is my understanding of life and it’s processes. The first year of blogging was amazing! I traveled and wrote nonstop. I visited 5 continents (All except Africa) and 4 new countries! I traveled a lot within the country too! And when I was in the midst of planning my next trip to the only continent I haven’t visited, Covid announced its arrival😅 Ashok proposes, God disposes😊🙏
Many of my friends and family thought lockdown would be tough for me as I was so fond of travel. Yes, I love people and new places! But I love myself equally or more 😊💖 So 2020 or my second year of blogging was all about travel within, thinking and writing about life, and my books! And it is continuing in 2021 too!
During this period I thought so often of quitting blogging. Musings of a Wanderer was growing pretty well but I wasn’t sure why I was continuing! I knew without me the world and WP would go on! My thoughts at those times were to focus on God/Meditation and my books! My first priority has been God for years and to experience God first hand takes effort! Blogging does take time and time is our most precious possession!
But then I would get one comment which would touch my heart. I would make one relationship which makes all the effort worth it. And I have been truly blessed: I have got one daughter and three grand daughters (Muslim, Hindu and Christian!!) and a bunch of nieces from the blog! And I have picked up some amazing friends from all over the world – black, white, brown, yellow, male, female, young and old!! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you 👏 All of you have a special place in my heart.
Last week I was pleasantly surprised when I got the notification from WP that I had crossed 100,000 views! My blog is all about love and joy and peace and nature. I was happy that our community and my blogging family does appreciate it! And my thought now is that even if I can touch one or two lives and bring more peace, love and joy in their lives, my effort would have been worth it. And I enjoy this effort of love ❤️ Though my initial intent and motive was to help others lead abundant lives, I have ended up learning so much from so many versatile and loving and kind bloggers. Am grateful and blessed👏
This dilemma of mine: To write or not to write, to share or not was not only limited to the blog; it was equally true for my WhatsApp messages! I am more regular on Whatsapp than WP!
I know I am a drop of the ocean. But together we make this amazing ocean – of love, joy, and peace; and universal brotherhood! I am grateful from the core of my heart for your love and friendship 💖🤗
It was my usual peaceful dawn. I was sitting in the balcony, sipping lime and honey in hot water and looking at the sky. The cloud formation usually gives me a good clue to how the dawn and sunrise is going to be! Early mornings are so divine. The best time of the day for me. Still. Quiet. Peaceful.
All of sudden a small white and grey feather came in my vision. It floated straight for a while and then it started to move up. Smooth, peaceful flight though there was hardly any wind. It was such a peaceful sight, watching the little feather in its flight.
Was it alive or was it dead? Was it cut off from life or was it flying to new life? Was it lost? Was it happy? Was it sad? Was it lonely? Was it at peace? I don’t know. But it left me in pure bliss.
Tuesday dawn was mesmerising. I wanted to sit for my morning meditation, but my eyes were glued to the changing colours of the sky and my feet were riveted to the floor in the balcony and my heart had stopped to beat!! Sometimes when we face nature at its breathtaking best, everything stands still. There is utter peace. It was that kind of dawn. 45 minutes of sheer bliss. Isn’t meditation all about loving God and merging in Him?
All pics on my iPhone between 5.25am and 6.10am on the 18th of May.
Hindus worship the Divine as a Mother too. That is so befitting. A mother is the closest human being to God. Her love is unconditional. I have seen that in my mother – she was pure love! And so was my dear wife 💖