The bent figure in a white saree

A dusty path meanders towards an ancient house. The door is half opened and leads to a dark hall room with mantels in every corner. On a chair to the right, sits a bent figure in a white saree, quietly contemplating.

She is absolutely still, as if a part of the decor. Nothing is exceptional about her wrinkled features and sagging form. There is more death in her than life.

What’s the value of such an existence…?

She turns her head gently and looks at me straight, as if reading my mind. A little smile alights on her lips, which widens into a gentle laugh.

Startled, for the first time I see her for what she is: a link to the past, and the future… an eternal memory.

She is the keeper of the ancestral line and carries so many ancestors inside her. Those wrinkles, movements, expressions, habits, patterns, are not just hers. They also belong to the ancient ones before her.

Behind her stretches a long chain of traditions, events, stories and beliefs, which she subconsciously wraps as gifts for those who will come later – those who will carry it forward. May be those are for someone like the mighty Bhagirath, who will appear down the line and liberate them all by bringing in Ganga like virtues.

Till then the treasures have to be safeguarded! She has learned to tap into the wisdom of the past, and into that collective consciousness of ancestors that watches over posterity like a guardian angel.

She knows the importance of waiting, stillness, life & death.

Her existence has value not just during her lifetime but beyond. She knows it. Her laughter says it all!

Image courtesy Google

A curious meeting in the Land of No Thoughts

It was a curious meeting where I was summoned – A gathering in the “Land of no thoughts”. I was sitting idly when someone whispered – “Come to the Land of No Thoughts where Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Jiddu Krishnamurti and Osho are present.”

This meeting was crucial because I had always wanted to know if there was a way out of unhappiness. And these great men could show me the perfect way. But first, how was I to reach the “Land of No Thoughts”?

My mind was clouded with thoughts. The moment I closed my eyes, even more thoughts poured in – some extremely urgent, some less relevant, and others irrelevant. But since I had to reach the no-thought stage, I began to suppress them. Unh-unh, wrong move!

The more I suppressed my thoughts, the stronger they became and blocked my path. But then an unknown, someone whispered, “Allow the thoughts” and “Just be”. I allowed and offered no resistance to whatever was coming to my mind and slowly but surely, the thoughts moved and gave way. And I reached the peaceful no-thought land.

There, I saw the luminous bodies of the revered men who had summoned me. They were all seated on rock-like structures. They motioned me to sit on a vacant structure and I sat down.

“What is your question”, seeker? They asked in unison.

“I want to know how to escape from the unhappiness, chaos, grief, evil and diseases of the world”.

They said in unison – “Just know who you are”.

“Who am I?”, I asked. But their answers were not in unison this time.

“What is this thing inside you that is aware of your thoughts? What is this thing inside you that claims it’s perceiving objects outside of yourself? Let come, what comes, and let go of what goes and see what remains”, sage Ramana Maharshi encouraged me to inquire myself.

Nisargadatta Maharaja, added, “As you watch your mind, you discover your self as the watcher. When you stand motionless, only watching, you discover your self as the light behind the watcher. The source of light is dark, unknown is the source of knowledge. That source alone is. Go back to that source and abide there. You are already that.”

Then, Jiddu Krishnamurti, the philosopher, hinted, “In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.”

Osho, the mystic spoke next. “Who am I?” has no answer to it; it is unanswerable. Your mind will supply many answers. Your mind will say, “You are the essence of life. You are the eternal soul. You are divine,” and so on and so forth. All those answers have to be rejected: NETI NETI – one has to go on saying, “Neither this nor that.”

He continued, “When you have denied all the possible answers that the mind can supply and devise when the question remains absolutely unanswerable, a miracle happens: suddenly the question also disappears. When all the answers have been rejected, the question has no props, no supports inside to stand on anymore. It simply flops, it collapses, it disappears. When the question also has disappeared, then you know. But that knowledge is not an answer: it is an existential experience.”

They were all talking in riddles. I knew they were pointing at the same thing, as so many great men have done since time immemorial. Artists have hinted at it through art, poets through poetry, and philosophers through theories – and every human has interpreted in their own limited ways, and mostly the understanding has been peripheral. I also felt miserable because I was only partially comprehending them. Before I could ask deeper questions, I was dismissed from the meeting. It was the next seeker’s turn.

I came back into the physical world, feeling worst than ever, and thoughts clouded my mind once again. I had lost the chance to know more.

Then, an unknown someone whispered again, “Who is a better person than you, yourself to answer the question about who you are? What is that center, which is thinking the thought? Who is noticing your life story? What is the source of your I? It is very simple – experiencing the source of “I”, and just being in that home, is the first step in the process of removal of misery. You are already residing in that home, but you don’t notice that since you believe that you live in a different home. This is the root cause of your struggle. Once you know your real home, every effort, and struggle dissolves while peace and guidance for living blessedly start coming to you, on their own.”

I noticed the Whisperer this time, his whispering had a peace-like quality, something that descends on you while holding a baby or watching a beautiful sunset.

I was still confused and had so many more questions to ask. But I was happy as well. Because I no longer felt lonely on my path. I had many guides and masters, including my very own Whisperer, showing me the way to meet my self.

#spiritual #story #Ramana #Nisargadutta #Oshoquotes #Jkrishnamurti

(Images courtesy Google)

Marvelous snow homes of Minnesota

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home”. Here are some absolutely gorgeous pictures of homes in the #winterwonderland called #Minnesota. Hope these marvels envelope you with a sense of wonder, magic, joy and peace.

Pics courtesy my phone.

5 Great Sanskrit Epigrams or Subhaashitas

Sanskrit Subhaashitas or Epigrams have been a guiding light for millions. The messages are conveyed to the reader in form of an aphorism, advice, truth-based lesson, or riddle. Here are 5 great Sanskrit literary Thought Quotes or Epigrams that were popularized through word of mouth and contain beautiful messages for everyone. The authors of most Subhaashitas are unknown.

The poetic style of a Subhaashita is referred to as muktaka (independent), as the meaning of couplets is complete and does not need additional explanation. This poetic form has been compared to Persian rubai or Japanese tanka by some authors. Go on, read these to absorb some great thoughts left to us by some amazing thinkers of the past.

5 Powerful Quotes on Willingness

Nothing can defeat you, if you have child-like willingness and enthusiasm to everything. If your heart says – “Go for it, get it done, explore, you can do it” then who can stop you? You will find a way! Soon. Here are 5 positive quotes on Willingness for a motivating start to whatever you have been planning to do.

Quotes courtesy Google

10 Magical Minnesota Winter Pictures

As Minnesota puts on a magical white snow-dress for Christmas, here are some beautiful pictures for you to enjoy the holiday season! These pictures are also a reminder that unexpected, amazing things can happen to you during this time of the year!

Enjoy the winter wonderland pictures from around my place and gear up for great beginnings!

Holiday lights enchant the child in us.

It is extraordinary how light dazzles when it interacts with darkness.

Sunset and snow make magic together.

Sometimes, we are so busy running to the next that we skip the wonders of now.

A picturesque house against the colorful sky.

Behold the blushing snow maiden!

Sky is an amazing canvas, creating masterpieces every moment!

The scenery changes when it snows!

Strings of illuminating light and a clear path for the joyous traveler.

Silent night, peaceful night, all decked up in the holiday spirit.

Hope you liked the winter photography of Minnesota. Which is your favorite photo?

A Happy Diwali Message to You!

Happy Diwali

This #Diwali, may you and I turn towards our inward light and walk on an illuminated path!!!

…A path cleaned up through self-observation, lit up with diyas of hope and decorated with rangolis of creativity….offering fireworks of laughter, sweetened with challenges of life… and leading us towards our highest Self.

#HappyDiwali to you and yours.

(Image courtesy Google)

The Man Who Sold Happiness – A Bedtime Tale

Story of a man selling happiness at a village - stories by shivangi

One day, an old turbaned man arrived at a colorful, bustling bazaar in India. He set up a signboard at a corner – I Sell Happiness for Two Paise.

Many dismissed him as a con man, but a lot came out of curiosity. A man selling happiness was rare! “Hmmm, happiness for two paise? Can you show me happiness?” One mustached man said sarcastically.

“Sure, come sit by me”, said the happiness seller. By now, a small crowd had gathered to see the “tamasha”.

The customer threw two paise at him. The seller took out a carved mirror from his “potli” and put it in front of the man. The customer’s face contorted at first, and then he burst out laughing.

“Bravo! It’s strange, but he does sell happiness!” The customer announced.

Bedtime Story - Graphics of a man selling happiness - stories by shivangi

Another customer came, and he went away laughing too. Some customers smiled, some laughed and, many rolled on the ground with laughter. Everyone thought the happiness seller was a magician.

One little orphan boy watched the seller from far, and thought – “The mirror seems magical, but what does it show?”

By evening, the crowd around the seller lessened, and he noticed the boy.

“Son, do you want to buy happiness, too?” he called out. The boy nodded but explained, he had no money.

“Well, I can always barter,” the seller said.

“Seller, I have just hardship and sadness to offer!” said the boy.

“Well, no harm in offering that to the magical mirror. Let’s see how it conjures happiness for you,” the seller said, kindly.

The boy sat and offered his hardship and sadness to the mirror…

What ensued was laughter… unrestrained laughter… from the child! His infectious laughter came from his pure heart, and soon, it spread all over the village. No one knew why everyone else was laughing.

Bedtime Story - Graphics of a boy experiencing happiness - stories by shivangi

The happiness seller had no idea the mirror could give THAT kind of happiness. After the boy stopped laughing, he asked – “Son, I am amazed. I am 100 years old now but I never saw anyone experiencing such BLISS! What happened, tell me?”

The boy smiled and said, “Dear seller, thank you for this great opportunity. Let me explain the reason.

The first man’s happiness came from jealousy. The mirror showed his enemy falling into the ditch. So, he laughed. The second man’s happiness came from ambition. He saw himself traveling to a new land and earning wealth. So, he laughed.

Everyone’s happiness came from something they wanted – their desire! They got happiness in the same proportion.

My happiness was based on the act of surrender – of my hardships and sadness. I let go of my burden, stress…and what stayed in me was …nothing…just peace. This inadvertently filled me with ecstatic laughter. The mirror showed me so free and joyful, and I laughed. And it spread everywhere.”

The turbaned man folded his hand and said – “My child, a divine being told me I will meet my successor here. And I found you! All my life, I sold happiness, became rich but never understood it. Today I saw it. So, will you be my companion in spreading real happiness…?”

The boy smiled and nodded.

The next morning, people from far and wide rushed to the bazaar to buy a fresh dose of happiness. Who doesn’t want happiness for two paise? What they didn’t understand was the priceless truth – real happiness does not come from what we GET but what we LET GO of…

Villagers desperately searched for the happiness seller. But he had already left with his successor.

Happiness Quote - Stories by Shivangi

Story & Images – @storiesbyshivangi

If you are a job seeker, do read the 5th tip!

Every day, millions of people sit in front of the computer searching for a job. With eyes scanning the screen, fingers typing that perfect cover letter, mind in a state of agitation and heart filled with prayer, every job seeker, searches for that Elusive Perfect Job. It is especially challenging to get a job, if you are trying after a gap or do not have professional connections.

For most, getting a job is a matter of bread and butter while others look in order to be in a better work situation …but whatever may be the reason – It’s disheartening to read the rejection letter after being extremely hopeful about getting a job.

“Unfortunately, you are no longer under consideration for this position…” – this line in a job rejection letter is terribly disheartening. It may ruin one’s entire day or maybe week! But the fact remains that the only way to finding a job is to be on the move… to explore! So, while the search is on, do remember some of these tips from your blogger friend!

  1. If you have applied for 40 jobs, aim for 400 – The higher the count, the better the chances are to get employment. Also, while searching, you will come across a variety of job requirements and explore new career avenues, which you never thought, existed. Job search is a great learning experience in itself.
  2. You are a job explorer rather than a job seeker – You did not lose that job, you have just been directed to a new path on your way to your job. Don’t take it personally, it’s not about you, it’s about their job requirements. You are a job explorer! You go find or create a new path!
  3. Add that element of fun to your job search – Tired, bored, exhausted from a job search? Why not add some element of fun to it. Make a peppy, off-beat resume or maybe, appear for on-the-spot hiring events (even though unrelated), just for the heck of it. You never know what you will come across.
  4. If you feel nervous about interviews, think this way! – You’ve got an opportunity to talk about yourself. In the world of social media, everyone is talking about their achievements. But here is a chance to talk about yourself to someone, who is so eager to listen. So, go ahead, be chatty and talk about yourself. Also, you get a bonus chance to interview the interviewer too. When you have the chance to ask questions, do ask – what qualities and skills are they looking for in an ideal candidate? And what are the daily challenges in the job? You will get many important answers from his response.
  5. The one quality that will get you through the most trying times is – Resilience. Don’t worry about dwindling confidence, lack of motivation, self-defeating thoughts or lack of connections. They are what they are – Just thoughts! Your job is to keep exploring and applying.
  6. Tap the Hidden Job Market- Be on the lookout for the Hidden Job market. It exists but does not get advertised. It’s potential can be tapped through networking, volunteering or reaching out to people.
  7. During the job search, take out a few hours to upskill yourself. Get certified or take a course. It helps!
  8. Raise the target as your search continues – If you have applied 400 times, make sure you raise the target. In the face of such tremendous willpower, how will the elusive job, stay elusive?
  9. Congratulations! We are pleased to offer you a job at our company. We think that your experience and skills will be a valuable asset to our company.” – Read these words and envision the joy associated with them. It will take you nearer to your goal!

Breathe, Believe and Good Luck! And, congratulations in advance.

Images courtesy Google

A Letter to You – Can Summer be far behind?

My Dear,

Not even for a moment, believe that the helplessness and depression of the moment would last forever. It will pass just like many challenging situations in the past did! Moments pass. It is us who hold on to such moments, thinking and predicting endless sorrow and disaster. And thereby, creating more gloom.

The problem is if we stick to gloom, we will not enjoy the good times which will come after! Acknowledge the loss, accept the problems, try your best to work it out and move on. And allow time to heal you. You will be healed!

But never for a moment, think that adversity will stay on…forever…it just cannot. It gives wanted and unwanted life lessons and makes way for ‘Sukh’.

Prosperity, joy and abundance are waiting around the corner to come into your life, for sure, because that is the law of nature. It may look impossible now when it is dark, but who can stop the dawn? If Winter is here, can ‘Summer’ be far behind?

So sow your seeds. Prepare, hope and wait for good things. And do let go of that overpowering gloom and negativity. The landscape will be brighter again, we will have great joyful moments and we will rise brighter and stronger than before.

Till then, keep going and do not forget to smile, my friend, just like that…! Bas yun hi…

With love.