Tag Archives: consciousness

Agni – Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya

Agni is the light that pulls us out of the abyss of ignorance, from darkness into light. It illuminates the path for the journey within. For the ancient sages the soul was the sacred fire. No philosophy was necessary to explain its self-evident luminosity. They lit its flames on their altars and in their hearts as the Divine consciousness coming forth from the material world.

Through it, they achieved a state of consciousness far beyond our current idea of intelligence as defined by the scientific mind and its interpretation of reality. Through it they touched the cosmic mind of which our human mind is but a spark.

Agni: The Flaming Godhead derives its name from a root whose quality of significance is a pre eminent force or intensity whether in state, action, sensation or movement. The sacred fire is the third eye of lord Shiva.  Agni melts, moulds and creates, never destroys but transforms. The fire was our first guru in the infancy of our species from which we learned the secrets of light and consciousness. The sacred fire, we could say, is the spiritual ancestor of all people of all races and continents. The religion of fire remains our natural religion—the very basis of our aspiration as a species to find the light.

Agni: Fire in the belly is the will to excel, to compete and emerge victorious. It propels the individual to acquire qualities needed for any transformation. He is the sheer will in the universe relentless in its pursuit. Whatever he does in his passion and power is guided by the light of the silent Truth within him. But then Agni is also merciless for it destroys those who don’t respond to its call. It propels us to destroy the ego we nurse so lovingly and transcend to a deeper consciousness. The sacred fire is the harbinger of the soul thereby delivering the “Aatma” to the “Paramatma”.

The other Gods awake with the dawn but Agni rises even in the night; he keeps his divine vision even in the darkness where there is no moon or star; the flame of divine will and knowledge is present in the densest obscurity. Even for the man sitting far off in the night enveloped by darkness of ignorance, this flame is the light which when perfectly kindled stirs the universe inside us and works its magic of growth and change. Time becomes a process of transformation, nourishing our inner light and ripening our souls.  In Dante’s “Purgatory”, fire signifies that every soul must wake through. Purgatory is the fire that purifies the process that forklifts the impurities out to leave the ‘Core Alloy” luminous.

Agni: The mysticism of the flames signify a stated condition of effective sacrifice, The sacrificial fire used in Hindu rituals is seen as an incarnation of Agni, so he serves as a conduit that “carries” the sacrifice of a worshiper to the gods or goddesses that are being worshiped. Transformations in a society, organization, family or an individual take place when the self sacrifices the ego; that is when the soul reincarnates. “Moksha” that we constantly seek is not of the other world, it exists in ours attained by our actions and thought.

Agni here being action and thought Vayu (Air). The divine force of Agni works through the vital energy of Vayu. Hand in hand they set the world on fire. All my life I’ve heard elders caution “ Don’t Play With Fire!!!”; but my life so far has been an ode to Agni which screams -”Lets Play”…!!!

…. AND YOURS???

Agni forms the first of a five-part series by Aanchal Sethi on the basic elements and how they manifest in our lives. The articles are an attempt to inspire the reader to introspect, recognize and draw strength from one’s inherent traits which seem to embody the characteristics of each of the five basic elements.  

By Aanchal Sethi

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Spir-IT Summit Coming Up: My Thoughts

India’s Transformation will depend upon three ITs :  Information Technology, Inspired Teaching and Inner Transformation.

India’s Transformation will show the way for International Transformation.

A closer  look at the IT Industry in India shows a pressing need for Inspiration, Integration and Innovation.

We need to see a thriving of Wellness in all areas.

At the heart of a thriving IT industry is thriving people. People who are  healthy, joyous and professionally excellent in their domains. They work in green and nourishing environments with some of the best talent you can find. The IT industry  also needs some people to collaborate across domains/ areas of expertise and traditional verticals.

Maybe even across different organisations which specialize in different areas.

This will enable them to co-create Innovative Solutions which deliver more value at lower costs for global clients.

Pragati Leadership has always believed that there are vast Inner resources in all of us which can be tapped.

Research on Meditation and Presence shows direct links to higher creativity, more equanimity and better health.

The SPIR-IT summit is an opportunity to listen to the wisdom of gathered CXOs from the IT Industry in Pune…what has worked for them, what is their vision, and what we can all do together.

When we all work together for the well-being of people in the IT Industry, Pune will come even closer to showing the rest of India, that there is more value in collaboration and co-creation than in competing.

by Arun Wakhlu

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Carpe Diem Mumbai 2015- Highlights

At Pragati Leadership’s flagship annual event, Carpe Diem, the first speaker was James Brook, Co-Founder and MD, Strengths Partnership. James spoke on the “Strengths Based Approach to Leadership”.

Mr. Brook began his talk with thoughts on the strengths based approach to leadership development, and how it challenges the traditional assumptions of leadership. He pointed out that organizations are investing so much into leadership development, that when combined, these investments equal the GDP of a small country. Yet there are not many promising leaders out there today. This is because employee engagement is deteriorating.  An indicator of failed leadership would be the many scandals that are unearthed regularly. There is a lack of longevity in the process of leadership. All this suggests that the development is not working in the right direction.

James BrookHe went on to question the audience:  ‘Is it necessary for a leader to be well rounded?’ and ‘What makes a good leader?’

He threw light on these issues by saying that it is not necessary for leaders to be well rounded. Effective leaders like Steve Jobs for example focus on their key strengths and work on them. Not all leaders have the same strengths, but the best ones build on their strengths and conquer their weaknesses to move forward.

He went on to discuss whether leaders are always right and do they know it all, then went further to say that this is not mandatory. A good leader is someone who appreciates and inculcates the importance of strengths, gives direction, goes beyond the usual and engages every team member.

From a psychology perspective, he shared that strengths are innate and developed mostly during childhood but behavior is something that can be learned and implemented strategically.

He also spoke of two very important qualities of a leader:

In conclusion he emphasized  that stretching strengths beyond the comfort zone will help a person to grow.

The second speaker, Arun Wakhlu (Founder and Executive Chairman, Pragati Leadership) spoke about “Exploring the Core Strength of Wholesome Leadership™”.

He commenced the session with his trademark ‘Namaste’, a traditional India greeting. He went on to emphasize the importance of understanding the kind of leadership that is needed for the good of the world, and the dangers facing the world not getting the necessary attention.

Arun Wakhlu“What kind of leaders, are needed to create a truly progressive world?” He questioned.

Arun went on to share that leaders who can inspire and energize, those who are fueled on passion and energy are needed. The one thing that is not given importance, is our strengths, this is the missing element that hinders our productivity on the path of Wholesome Leadership™. Two things that need focus are Context, ie., running a business holistically and looking at the bigger picture. The second is Consciousness, ie., living in the moment, taking each day and each opportunity, one at a time. It is pointless carrying the baggage of the past and anticipating the future, for our actions are determined on the basis of how we see things.

Arun raised the question “What are the effects of this ‘baggage’ on productivity?”.  A general consensus among the members of the audience was that it caused loss of energy, time and positivity.

Arun said that this realization would result in the leader being on fire! He went on to question, “Is it possible to put others on fire if you yourself aren’t on fire? There is no vitality in the motivation of others if you aren’t motivated yourself. Looking at it from the outside will lead to freedom and clarity of thought which in turn would lead to thriving innovation.”

According to him the problem lies in the attitude. He said, “there is no focus on, or nurturing of, strengths. Negative qualities are given more attention. Awareness which is ignored, is the deepest level of consciousness.”

He stressed on the concept of “Carpe Diem”, seizing the day.  “Seize the day” he said “as you never know what can happen to you tomorrow. “

He left the audience pondering with the parting thought, “It is all about taking calculated risks.”

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On a treasure hunt of Self

Yes….I Know it now….The power of my being resides in myself.    There is nowhere else to go.  I and I alone can access it.   For years I believed that the keys to this treasure were somewhere far, in some distant exotic land and inaccessible unless one crosses the towering mountain cliffs and battles the devilish seas.   Now I know the journey is simpler, maybe there is no journey at all.   And the treasure awaits me.

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So what is this treasure?  Why is still hidden?  And where are the keys? 

An ancient saying goes that God was often heckled by Man and his incessant requests.   Then God approached a wise Saint and wanted to know if there was someplace he could hide and be away from these constant demands.   Apparently wherever God went, Man would chase him and find him.  The saint advised God to take refuge in Man’s own heart.   That is one place he will never search for God!!

Aaah, so this treasure called Self or God is just there. In your heart and my heart…And so beautifully concealed that even with eyes wide open we just fail to notice.  And if and when we do, we might just dismiss is as irrational exalted state.   And then once again the doors shut and we wonder what next.

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Just like for any treasure hunt, Man has been looking for the clues to this treasure.  Many have found it, and some have come very close.  It is time millions find it too.   But unlike the treasures for which the kings explored lands, this one is endless and limitless.   This treasure is something everyone can have and yet it will grow.   So what are the clues?

First of all just know that it is just there waiting for you.   Recognize that.  And you are that treasure.  So it is not removed from you.  It is part of you and you are part of it.    And all that you require is to remember this!!  So simple!!   Yet the myriad schemes the mind will come up with will take you away from this.  That’s the fake treasure called Maya.   Remembrance of the real treasure was always there, and yet the wily mind made it sound unreal.

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Sage Ashtavakra told King Janaka in the Ashtawakra Gita –

muktabhimani mukto hi

baddho baddhabhimany api .

“You are what you think.”

If you think you are bound you are bound.

If you think you are free you are free.

The biggest fallacy is that the treasure is bound.  It is not.   Even the layers are illusionary.  The master sword of awareness of the supreme consciousness is all it takes to reach to this treasure.  The highest knowledge is the knowledge of the self.  And that is the treasure.

Jesus, Buddha and other enlightened Masters have shown the way to this treasure.

4 keys

Bhagwad Gita describes the four keys or ways to this treasure.   Gyan Marga,  Bhakti Marga,  Karma Marga and  Yoga Marga.   All Margas lead to the ultimate treasure of Kaivalya, freedom.  You can start anywhere and you are guaranteed this treasure.   Amazing isn’t it.    Where do you want to start?

By Vikas Bhatia 

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Jal

Aum Jalbimbaye Vvidmahe

Nila Purushaye Dhimahi
Tanno Varunah Prachodayat

The Translation:

Om, let us meditate on the reflection of water
O person of ocean blue, give me higher intellect
And let the God of water illuminate my mind

Jal is the nectar of life. Water is the original creator.  Sprinkle just a few drops of cool water on the parched earth and see how life germinates there without any external help. “Jal” symbolizes boundless energy of an original idea, which can be ruthless amidst the winds of chaos.

Jal constitutes the phenomenal energy contained by the clouds, swaying to the rhythmic vayu. The clouds personifying the dark soldiers straddling horizons, obscuring the mighty sun and then showering life all over “Prithvi” (the Earth).

Such is the power of that one thought or “winning idea” that circumvents thousands of hurdles and prevails.

Saraswati, the great river, awakens us to knowledge by the perception and shines in all our thoughts. Saraswti, the inspiration is full of her luminous plenitudes, rich in substance of thought. She upholds the sacrifice, the offering of the mortal being’s activities to the divine by awakening his consciousness so that the right states of emotion occur.

The Jal in the river has the patience of eons, of “Kalpas” because it inherently represents the truth of an honest idea which has the unfathomable patience and energy to defeat all falsehoods obstructing its way.

Jal is also the eternal calm ocean. Deep, silent and cool on the surface, hiding, like the mind of a meditative sage, thousands of storms within. The ocean is the human consciousness and is often compared to the mind, the thoughts and emotions being the waves.

The Churning of the Ocean is allegorical, symbolising the great fight in the human bosom between Virtue and Vice. The forces of Virtue, the celestials, the devas fight the forces of Vice, the demons, the asuras. In this fight Immortality is the end result and Immortality is nothing but Self Actualisation !

By Aanchal Sethi

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God and the WWW

God and the World Wide Web

By: Vikas Bhatia

Through the ages, humans have attempted in several ways to portray God. God has been represented in mythical figures, or sometimes as an abstract concept of the Supreme Consciousness. The representation of the self or ‘Atman’ has been even more abstract. In the Kathopanishad, it says ‘The Self being subtler than the subtle is not to be obtained by argument – Many are not even able to hear of the Self. Many even when they hear of Him, do not comprehend.’ So confusion persists in many minds about ‘what is the Self (Atman) and what is God (Parmataman)? What is the relationship between the Self and God? We are told that God exists within us and God exists everywhere. So what really is God?

The self on the similar lines is the very core of our being, and yet it is said to be universal and in its purest form is nothing but cosmic consciousness. The Self and God in many ways are indistinguishable and yet the human mind associates the Self as a small part residing in our bodies and God as a bigger, universal entity. This duality itself is illusionary, and leads us to believe that God is something beyond a common mind.

The relationship of the Self and God can be beautifully illustrated through the modern day example of the World Wide Web – or the Internet. The Internet was created for communication between the various labs of the US Defense but has evolved into a far broader and a universal utility. Internet can be broadly defined as collection of hundreds of millions of computer plugged into each other. This wide network has no real boundaries, no start and no end. It is has no fixed shape and continuously evolves. It does not even exist unless you plug into it. And the computers connecting to the Internet are part of the Internet and yet that is not the whole Internet, and the Internet would not be complete without these connecting computers. The same could be said about the human consciousness(The Self) and God.

When this human consciousness unites or connects to the Divine Consciousness, it then becomes part of God. God then is a part of the self and the Self itself is a manifestation of God. Thus the individual self and God become one in this divine unity. God can thus be represented as the universal web of consciousness. This vast consciousness spans everything in this universe. The Mandukyopanishad says ‘All this whatsoever is seen here, there and everywhere, is Brahman. This Atman, the very self is Brahman, the absolute reality.’ This connection between the Self and God though may seem to be external is in fact very internal.

We also have a God for various aspects of nature and life. We have gods/goddesses for education, money, health, rains, forest and so on. All these are part of this divine web. They are the various web servers from which you get all kind of blessings. It is the same web, just different parts or manifestations. Each manifestation is dependent on which blessings you want!!

Connecting to the Internet requires some kind of connection be it a dial-up type or that of broadband kind. Connecting to this divine web also requires to have a connection facility – this could be through prayers, meditation (Sadhana) or Seva. Through these activities, one realizes the power of the divine web. When truly connected to this web, one does not distinguish the difference between the self and the rest. The self is the whole, as the universe and the universe does not exist without the self. The quality and speed of connection increases as one engages more in these activities. The level of experience enhances and the self becomes inseparable from this web.

The role of a Guru in this context is akin to that of an ISP (Internet Service Provider). He is the gateway to this divine web. He brings you the power and the experience of the web to you. He is the troubleshooter if you experience any difficulties in the connection. Having realized and part of this divine web, he makes your journey enjoyable.

The World Wide Web is expanding and so is this divine web of consciousness. It is infinite, ever growing and from which everything springs and ends. There are no national boundaries, no religious boundaries in this divine web. It is formless and all encompassing.

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