Banaras, A Mystic Love Story

Banaras is not a destination its a journey of our lives. If you go to watch this movie for a ready-made solution or only to "kill" two hours, you may get disappointed. Banaras is aimed to create a thirst for something one is generally uncomfortable to explore.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Buddha's first sermon

I was to write a detailed “thesis” on the first sermon of Buddha, instead I decided to write a summary.
Derived from the original text, is the essence of Buddha’s first sermon.

The First Sermon:

Life is suffering; Birth is suffering; decay is suffering; illness is suffering; death is suffering. Presence of objects we hate, is suffering; separation from objects we love, is suffering; not to obtain what we desire, is suffering. In short… clinging to existence is suffering.

The cause for all suffering is the craving for pleasure, prosperity and existence and the same may be caused to cease by giving up every passion and every desire.

The Truth of the Path which leads to the cessation of suffering is the eightfold Path: Right Belief, Right Aspiration, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Means of Livelihood, Right Endeavor, Right Memory and Right Meditation.

I was very tempted to replace the word “right” by “simple” from the above text which would have taken away the “judgment” part from the world “right”, but I leave it to my readers to do that, if they so please

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sarnath: The first sermon of Buddha ..contd

Soon after enlightenment, Buddha sat in solitude when a thought occurred to him: "The Dhamma (Dharma) I have realized is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, beyond mere reasoning, subtle, and intelligible to the wise but this generation delights, revels, and rejoices in sensual pleasures. It is hard for such a generation to understand the knowledge have I attained."

(Imagine, what Buddha said 2500 yrs back still sounds so true)

Thinking thus, Buddha became determined not to teach the Dhamma, but on surveying the world with his mental eye, he saw beings in acute pain and suffering. The Master then declared his readiness to proclaim the Dhamma in this solemn utterance:

"Open are the doors of the Deathless.
Let those that have ears repose trust."

Buddha then began his journey to Banaras (Sarnath) to give the first sermon to his one time ascetic friends.He ravelled 150 miles for 60 days to reach the dear park, where they used to live.

The five ascetics, seeing the Buddha from afar, discussed among themselves: "Friends, here comes the ascetic Gotama who gave up the struggle and turned to a life of abundance and luxury. Let us ignore him."

But when the Buddha approached them, they were struck by his dignified presence and they failed in their resolve. One went to meet him and took his alms bowl and robe, another prepared a seat, and still another brought him water. The Buddha sat on the seat prepared for him, and then delivered his first sermon.

First continue

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon

The stream of Buddha's teachings first flowed at this sacred spot in the deer park. For 1500 years thereafter, monastic traditions are known to have flourished at this sacred site.

In the 3rd. Century Emperor Ashoka is known to have erected the 15.24m high column, with four lions: symbolizing Ashoka's imperial reign and Buddha's religious rule.

Sarnath is home to the 6th Century "Dharmekha" stupa. Dhamekh stupa is a cylindrical tower, 143 feet x 93 feet. The stones in each layer were held together by iron clamps, the tower itself, dating back to the Gupta period. Sarnath was razed to the ground in 1194 by Qutbuddin Aibak. Dhamekha stupa houses a stone tablet, to mark the site where Buddha delivered his first sermon. The stupa stands tall at 31.3 m high and 28.3m. in diameter, with finely chiseled lotus wreaths, running over carved swastikas.

If you remember the movie Banaras, you would remember the visual importance given to this stupa. The most dramatic use of the stupa was done, when Babaji is shown playing flute, on the death of Soham, symbolising the liberation of the soul and complete Nirvana state attained by him.

We shall continue the ...first sermon....

courtesy... The history of Buddha....

Monday, September 18, 2006

The path to magnificence is paved with pain

Life is synonym to pain. As long as there is life, there is pain.
Tulsidas said, "Janamat marat dusah dukh hoi",..meaning that living and dying, both are extremely painful.

It is certain that one who is born shall die. We all know it in theory. We understnad it intellectually, yet we never believe in it. We all would like to somehow evade it. Death is for others.... Pain is for others.... I am invincible. Somehow, for me everything would turn out diferently.

We are never prepared for the death.

However, one among billions, who have the courage to look into the eyes of the death and embrace it smiling, achieve the splendor of immortality.

Likes of Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Sohams, choose to walk on the path of such magnificence even though in complete knowledge of the "pain".

I bow to such spirit.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The birds are now my neighbours

Some time back, I mentioned about the pair of birds (bulbuls), who have been trying to speak to me.

Well finally, I must have communicated to them something that they have decided to trust me :) I say this because just outside my office window, in my roof garden, on top of a christmas tree, they decided to make their nest.I noticed that yesterday, when among a lot of commotion (between them), they began to build their nest and since my office has are very large glass windows, I decided to keep them opened. It was a beautiful sight just watching them accomplish the half way mark by the end of day, yesteday.

Today, they began the work very early and by noon, the nest was ready. My excitement was infectious as that must have affected others. Someone went out to actually see and touch the nest just to look at the marvel creation of this amazing pair.The birds were obviously not happy that someone touched their nest and decided to lodge a complaint with me.

The male (I guess) came and sat a feet away from me and said things. I don't think I have mastered their language yet, yet, I more or less understood the underlying complaint, and instructed all including the gardener, not to go near their nest.

The pictures were taken with my mobile.

It was a beautiful feeling that I was filled with for the whole day. What a beautiful life. All they have to worry is to build a nest and reproduce beautiful loving children not unlike themselves.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Upanishads Vs Science.......contd.

Let's now turn towards science. Giant leaps have we taken in the last century. The progress in electronics, genetics, communications and cosmology have been of unimaginable proportions. Every now and then science discovers something so profound, that, our life transforms for ever.

Yet there is something which worries me and I am sure worries you.

Where are we being led to?

Among the expanding cosmos, billions of Galaxies, trillions of stars separated by billion light-years of distance, hanging on to the surface of an obscure planet rotating at a speed of 75000 miles' hour, what are we doing here?

Can science ever reach the truth?
Let us examine the limitations of science.

The very first law of thermodynamics says that mass and eneregy can't be created or destroyed, they can only be changed from one state to the other. It's a very profound theory of science. In summary it means that despite all the progress that we may make in future, we would not be able to CREATE or DESTROY even one obscure(?) atom.

All we do is discover and manipulate what is already inherent in the nature.

The beauty of the world is that it is not a result of some accident, but a well conceived and miraculously executed, intricately designed unfathomable reality
where evrything is connected in a manner that the whole creation is a single living entity. Every particle of the universe is aware, complete (Purnam) and alive (conscious) and the creator of this miracle, is none other than you (Tat Twam Asi).

The truth is that you are lost in your creation.

The whole world is created out of your intentionality only because you wanted to be
and thus the Shloka from the Upanishad .. Purnamidah purnamidam...which defines the whole creation and its relationship with you and God

Let's now put in context the reason that Babaji changed Sohan's name to Soham.

Sohan means what’s pleasing to the senses referring to this, idam.
Soham refers to I, the Brahm, that, Adah.

Thus, we see Sohan’s name being changed to Soham, signifying that the truth was to be found inside one’s own self.

Jab tum ho to yeh shrishti hai
Jab tum nanhi to kuchh bhi nahni

(Because you are, there is creation,
When you are not, there is no creation)

Here the first you is meant to be referring to the Brahm ( Thou Art That ),
meaning because of you ( the Brahm) there is creation (the corporeal world).
The second you refers to your physical existence clarifying that, when you ( equipped with your sensory and cognitive abilities) are not here (in the world), creation disappears, signifying the world to be a mere illusion.

The text above needs to be read very carefully and meditated upon.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Upanishads Vs Science

Meeta asks me to tell more about how the Upanishads' gyan would be tomorrow's science, as stated in the movie Banaras.

Some people may have wrongly interpreted it to be my mere enthusiam towards Upnishads and now, fotunately for me, Meeta gives me the chance to explain.

I am going to introduce you to the first Shloka of
Ishavasya Upanishad, which is a kind of prayer, to demonstrate the deep understanding of the creators of Upanishads.Even though they must have lacked the research facilities of today to be able to make statements on their understanding of the creation, the Shloka clearly demonstrates their ability to have been able to overcome their limitations, by ways unfamiliar to us today, and understand the truth that we yet struggle to comprehend.

purnamadah purnamidam purnaat purnamudachyate
purnasya purnaamadaya purnameva vashishyate.

There was this Englishman, who was something of a scholar, asked a pundit to teach him the Upanishads. The pundit, agreeing, began the course of study with Ishavasya Upanishad, the text traditionally studied first by a new student. The text begins with the prayer verse: "Om purnamadah purnamidam….."

The pundit carefully translated the opening verse into English:

That is whole; this is whole;
From that whole this whole came;
From that whole, this whole removed,
What remains is whole.

The Englishman stopped his study at that point and did not go
further! He said that the Upanisads are the "prattlings of an
infantile mind."

The incident was not very unlike the movie Banaras. If you look at the mere surface and make a judgment, it too is “"prattling of an infantile mind."

The first two lines of the verse reads:

Purnam adah - completeness is I, the subject Atma, whose truth is
Brahman ("Soundles, touchless, colourless, immutable and also tasteless, timefree,odourless is that (which is Brahman)

Purnam idam - completeness is all objects, all things known

purnat - from (adah) purnam, completeness, which is limitless
Brahman, the content of aham-I, the efficient and material cause of

purnam - (idam) purnam, completeness, which is the known and
knowable objects comprising the world, idam jagat, the effect called

udacyate - comes forth.

Purnasya purnam AdAya - taking away purnam from purnam, adding
purnam to purnam
Puruam eva avashishyate - purnam alone remains

I am Purnam. ( Aham Brahashmi)

The reality of I is limitless purnam. I, as the observer of a stone, am
but an appearance, no more real than the stone I see. In reality I
am limitlessness alone, one nondual existent boundless consciousness -
purnam. Subject and object are nothing but passing projections
superimposed upon I; they neither add to I, nor take anything away
from I. I, unconnected to any appearance, am the one unchanging,
non-negatable formless reality - Purnam - into which all appearances

I am Purnam, completeness, a brimful ocean, which nothing disturbs.
Nothing limits me. I am limitless. Waves appear to
dance upon my surface but are only forms of me, briefly manifest.
They do not disturb or limit me. They are my glory - my fullness
manifest in the form of waves. Though the Waves may seem
to be many and different but I know them as appearances only; they
impose no limitation upon me - their agitation is but my fullness
manifest as agitation; they are my glory, which resolves in me.

In me, the brimful ocean, all resolves. I, Purnam, completeness, alone

To be continued...

(ref: Swami Dayanand Sarswati's commentary)

Monday, September 04, 2006

To die for love:: To love for ever:

"Respected Mr Singh,

There is one thing I want to ask. While, watching the movie I felt as if Soham knew that there is some threat to his life and still he accepted it the way it came.

Looking forward for your reply


"Jo dil ko achha lage uske liye to jaan dena bhi achha lagta hai".

In the quest for the truth, there comes a time, when awareness transcends the boundary between life and death. On the scale of eternity, what is the significance of a few lives, especially when those are given away in the path of love!

Remember, Laila-Majnu, Siri-Farhad and Romeo-Juliet?
They all knew what they were doing and yet, they did what was the only thing they ought to.

Love is a feeling which dissolves our physical world giving birth to a new dawn of blissful reality, where death seems like a miniscule gift for someone you love.

Destiny of all:
The place where Soham was cremated

Urmila on the Premier

That made my day:

On the day of the premier Urmila and Matondkar family sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers which said all that needed to be said. I feel like sharing that with all of you.

I would like to take this opportunity to laud her efforts and wish her the best in life.