Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sun Gazing Progress -- 1st Jan 2009

I reached 3 minutes 40 seconds of Sun Gazing today.

I don't remember the exact date when I started. It was sometime during 30th Nov or 1st December.

Waking up early is the biggest challenge of my life. So I do Sun Gazing only during the evenings. The Sunrise and Sunset timings are available on many websites. Initial weeks were a bit frustrating because of the cloudy Bangalore weather. I would run to my office terrace and be disappointed to find the Sun hidden behind the clouds. But now-a-days, especially since last one week, the sky is pretty clear and Sun is brightly visible. So I hope to make more progress in the new few weeks.

I did derive some benefits from the practice so far. Nothing remarkable. Just a few observations below:

1. Up until a few weeks ago, I would do all I can to avoid the Sun. Wear Sun glasses all the time to "protect" my eyes. But now I realize what I have been missing. I still use dark Glasses while driving at noon or when the Sun is too bright. But at other times I take them off and I don't feel any strain whatsoever.

2. I felt very energetic after doing SG the first few days.

3. Some days I had headaches which vanished in a few hours time.

4. One important thing I realized is that Sun Gazing really is safe. If you can look at your computer monitor for 8 hours a day, then you can look at the Sun too. Especially when the Sun is close to horizon it becomes deep orange in colour and is very mild. It feels as though I can stare at the Sun for as long as I want and not feel any burning or watering in my eyes. But as HRM rightly says, "Don't hurry. Go slow. Sunlight is not fast food!!" So I make it a point to increase the duration by only 10 seconds per day.

5. Another thing I noticed is that the ability of my eyes to look at brightness has improved. Earlier, thanks to my habit of wearing Sun Glasses all the time while driving and while out in the Sun, my eyes couldn't handle too much brightness. Now it's better.

The best is this:
Since last few days, almost immediately after I finish the process, my mind becomes silent. The usual mental noise and clutter reduces at least for an hour or so.

They say: "The only creature on earth capable of conscious thinking is human being. But unfortunately, most human beings don't think. Thoughts happen to them". For most of us, thinking is an involuntary activity. Thoughts just happen and we have no control over what goes on in our own minds. How about having some silence in your mind for a change? "Silence is golden". Well, Silence in your surroundings is definitely Golden. But silence inside of you is much more valuable. What if one could have a utterly silent mind all the time and thinking becomes a process one can do as per one's own will ? After all, we experience our world only through our thoughts. Everything we see, experience, feel is ultimately converted to a thought. Imagine having absolute control over how we feel and think no matter what happens around us. Wow !

I will get my eyes tested by end of January. Lets see how it goes...will post again when I have more to say...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Life is too short for the wrong job

Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive." --- Harold Whitman

I once happened to be introduced to an old man. I said "Hello Uncle", shook hands etc etc. Next came a question from him which took me a little by surprise. "What are you?"

"Well, can't you see??? I am a Man. And if you didn't know, Man is a subset of the species called Human Beings" I wanted to answer. But that would be rude. So I said "I am a Software Engineer". I understood that by "What are you?" he meant to ask "What is your profession? What do you do for a living."

I realized how deeply ingrained it is in our psyches this concept of "What I do" being synonymous with "What I Am".

Can't we think about our work/profession as one leg of the table than the table itself? Why can't we keep ourselves, our family and friends at the center of our lives and let the other things like work, travel, hobbies revolve around us rather than keeping our work in the center of our lives and design our lives around it?

I like this quote from Napolean Hill : "Neglecting to broaden their view has kept some people doing the same thing all their lives"

Some more ideas here.

It's all in the SUN

The weekend of 29Th and 30Th Nov 2008 were two memorable and glorious days for me and my friends Tanmoy, Muntuli, Jay and Nimmoo.

While Mumbai was burning under the after effects of the terror attacks, 5 of us drove down from Bangalore to Calicut to meet up with a delightful 72 yr old "young" man. Mr. Hira Ratan Manek.

Believe me, I don't Hero-Worship anyone. I don't believe in it and I think it's foolish. However, this man is really special and we ought to listen carefully to what he has to say. Read on to know what's so special about him that he finds a place on my blog :)

All was not well before the trip began. I had just got my car back few days ago after having left her for 15 days at a workshop in Mysore following a messy highway accident. I was still a bit shaken up about the whole thing and little scared to drive on the highways. No train tickets were available and bus was not feasible because we wanted to take a break in Mysore. And I hate traveling by bus. Its too tiring. Chennai was under threat of cyclone and some part of the city was experiencing water logging. What if the same story applies to the Calicut coast too? Mysore(en route to Calicut) had heavy rains. Bangalore hadn't seen sunlight almost the entire week. The weather was really gloomy. I was not sure how the roads of Kerala would be. From my past experience, during rains, Kerala ends up with more potholes than roads. One of my friends who was to travel with us was not well. I gave her time till 5 PM on Friday to recover from her illness and join the rest of us :). Dad was very angry and disappointed that I was making a "fun trip" when India was in a state of war with the terrorists.

I was really upset the whole of Friday. To go or not to go was the question. Lots of things going against us. What if its heavily raining on the ghats. What if the roads are blocked? Was it wise to travel when there have been massive terror attacks just a few days back in Mumbai? What if this, what if that. My usual broken record of negative thinking and doubts.

Like they say "There can be 100 reasons to stop you from doing a thing. Just one reason is enough for you to go ahead and do it". And that one reason was this question I had running in my mind all this while: What if all that this old man is going to tell us is really true? What if it works? I really wanted to see this man in flesh and blood before I make a decision.

I called my friends and asked if they wanted to drop the plan considering the unfortunate events happening around us. Everyone was ready to go. Everyone had the same question in mind. What if it works and is true ? Lets meet the man "in real" and see what he looks like. BTW, Jay who was ill till afternoon was all set to travel by evening. She complied with my get-well deadline. :) (Read The Power Of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer. It works).

So off we went.

Mr. Hira Ratan Manek.

That's the man. HRM, as the Western world calls him. I heard about him almost 3 years back from a good friend Chaitanya. I didn't believe Chaitanya when he told me that Hira Ratan Manek lives only on Sunlight. Later I learnt he drinks water too. So Mr. HRM has only water and Sunlight on his daily menu :). And occasional tea, coffee etc to satisfy others. If that's not enough, he claims that he can teach others also to do that. Well, actually living on sunlight is not the real purpose. The real purpose is to achieve absolute 100% health of mind and body using Sunlight through a process called Sun Gazing or Solar Healing or Sun Yoga.

Don't you already think that this is too good to be true and I am a fool to believe this and write it on my blog ?? Same pinch !! I had the same opinion in the beginning. I thought HRM is just another "Guru" misleading people in the name of health and spirituality like many do in India. But I am glad I was wrong.

Well, remember, very smart people said things like "There's no need for more than 5 computers in this world" , "Why would anyone want to use a telephone to talk to someone far away. Telephone is a useless invention" etc etc. And what's the truth about these statements now, which looked very true when they were made? You get my point, don't you? So hang on a while before you pass Sun Gazing off as quackery.

You might wonder why I am making this look like a big event. 5 people met one old man over a weekend. So what ? Is it such a big deal?

Our meeting him is not a big deal at all. But in "today's world" having people like HRM around us is for sure a big deal. He has one quality (which actually is a summation of many other qualities) I greatly admire and respect him for. "You can't corrupt him". HRM doesn't want money, he doesn't want fame, he doesn't want followers, he doesn't want to establish an organization or institution on his name, he doesn't want to write and publish fat books. His only purpose is to propagate the Science of Sun Gazing (also called Solar Healing) to as many people as possible. His single minded dedication and devotion to this one cause without expecting anything in return is worthy of praise. How can you corrupt such a person?

Now, why do I call HRM an old young man? You have to meet him to know why. Old because he has lived 72 years. Young because age hasn't caught up with him yet. (Except for his bald head and white hair). :)

To know more about what this is all about, visit his website
You can also watch his videos on YouTube. Just search for "Sun Gazing" or "Hira Ratan Manek" on

The 2 hours we spend with him and his family will remain fresh in our memories for a long long time. Down to earth, generous, happy, genuine, graceful are some of the adjectives we would give to Mr HRM and his family. It was surprising to see that all 5 of us who were tired after the journey were bubbling with energy by the time we finished talking to HRM.

Having said that, the big question : Are we going to do Sun Gazing as suggested by HRM ? Isn't it dangerous to look at the Sun? Well, we've decided to go against "popular opinion", risk our retinas and give this a try for 6 months. We have already started.

And we have fallen in love with the Sun already !!

If you are interested to know the results, ask me one year from now. Or watch out for my upcoming posts.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Coolest Village in Town

It's been my experience that most decisions you make that end up being very good for you are usually made against "expert public opinion". It's like that Ad which comes on TV channels now a days starring Abhinav,A.R Rehman etc "Apne dil ki suno"

I think one of the wisest decision I have taken ever since I landed in Bangalore (apart from deciding not to migrate to US) was to buy a flat in National Games Village, Koramangala. (Well to be honest, I was just being obedient. It was my dad who made the suggestion).

I am not flaunting my priced possession. Its not such a big deal after all. But I am trying to make this very important point:

When you have a very important decison to make and what the deep-subtle-voice-coming-from-your-gut tells you to do is very different from what people around you suggest to be right, be very careful before you silence yourself and follow the crowd.

The "public opinion" in my case was: "These are Govt. constructed buildings. Not worth it, Quality is not good, There will be water leakages(this ones true for some flats but nothing which warrants holding an umbrella to keep yourself from getting wet while watching TV), not worth investing your money, the buildings might just crumble and fall down etc etc".

Fast forward a few years from the time these opinions were made and now I have some of those very people regretting not buying one themselves. People come from nearby areas come just to take a walk in the NGV garden or the compound itself. It's a refreshing experience to sit on a bench under the cool share of a tree and watch children play, people jog, vehicles pass by, older generation take walks or just read a book.

There's no other apartment complex in Bangalore which is in the heart of Bangalore city, has a swimming pool, a club house, badminton courts, tennis courts, a gym, basketball court, football ground, flood-lit garden with walking tracks, a BSNL office, 2 banks, Bangalore-One, a medical store, a computer hardware store, grocery shops, barber shops, Nandini outlet, Hopcoms outlet, a school, chai-cigarette joints, lots of trees, open spaces, wide roads, ample parking, and which costed the original buyers only 1000 Rs per sq feet !!

So that makes it the coolest village in town. I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here so far.

There's been one more very big decision I made which has met with opposition and a lot of ridicule from my friends and well wishers. This time too I went against "intelligent and convincing opinions" and followed my unrealistic looking dream. I will blog about it when I have some tangible results coming out of that decision. And this time as well, not with the intent to self-glorify, but to add some meat to my theory of "listening to your intuition".

I don't trust myself all the time. But whenever I have done so, I have been delighted with the results :)

So, when in Rome, you don't "have" to do what Romans do. Listen to what your heart tells you to do.

Next time someone tells you "don't do that because it won't work", "you are being a fool", "listen to me, I know better", what will you do? Who will you listen to?

Take a chill pill. This time around, why don't you believe in your dream, trust your intuition ,give your inner voice a chance and let the experts be what they really are : ex-perts?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Paradigm Shift

I had a not-so-good opinion/experience of salesmen, credit card sellers etc. I usually consider most of what they say to be untrue, said just so they can make the sale. I had one experience years ago which I can say resulted into a "Paradigm Shift" (to quote from 7 habits book). Paradigm shift is a fundamental change in the way we see things, a fundamental shift in our perception of the world around us or the people we interact with.

This happened when I bought my car from Maruti's Mandovi Motors Lavelle road. After almost a month and a half from the time I took delivery of the car, I got a call from the car salesman @ Mandovi who processed my papers.

I think his name is Sachin. After exchanging the usual greetings, he said "Sir, I have a surprise for you. Can I come to your place and meet you?". I asked him what it is. But he insisted on meeting me in person. So I called him home.

He came home and handed me a cheque of 10,000 Rs. I asked in surprise what it is for. He said that I being a Wipro employee am eligible for a corporate discount while buying a car from Maruti. I didn't avail it while buying the car. When he realized this while filing my papers to be sent to Maruti, (I had given my Wipro ID card for Id proof), he spoke to his boss and arranged for the money to be returned to me.

Now, I am not sure if this was an initiative in honesty from his side or it is a part of Maruti's process. Maybe when my documents were being sent to Maruti, there must have been a check-list or something to be filled up. And one of the items might have been whether the customer has been given the corporate discount. And if not maybe Maruti will penalize the dealer for it.

Whatever the case, this experience made me realize that I was judging all salesmen alike based on my "image" of them based on my past experience. I also remembered this same guy had driven my car to my house on the evening of the delivery since I didn't know driving then. And he even refused to take a tip from my dad. I was unexpectedly impressed.

I engaged him in a conversation to get to know him better. He turned out to be a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from RV college of Engineering, Bangalore. I was stunned. "You are a B.E Mechanical from RV?? Why the hell are you wasting your career selling cars?". He mentioned that he is a fresher, didn't get a job in campus, is looking for a better job and will quit once he gets it. He is as qualified as I was when I finished Engg. And here I was treating him like a not-so-educated, not-so-honest salesman !!

So much for my preconceived ideas about people.

Triple Filter Test

Someone sent this on Blore Vipassana mailing list. Worth reading and following ....

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, " Do you know what I just heard about your friend ?" " Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. " Before telling me anything, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

" Triple filter ?"

" That's right," Socrates continued. " Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the Triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true ?"

" No," the man said, " Actually I just heard about it and…" "All right," said Socrates. " So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good ?" " No, on the contrary…" " So," Socrates continued, " You want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left : the filter of usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me? " " No, not really." " Well," concluded Socrates, " If what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all ?"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Silence Is Golden

The traffic jams in Bangalore are a favorite tea-time topic of discussion. But hardly do we hear people talk about the noise levels in Bangalore. Except for a few passing remarks here and there in the media about "Noise Pollution".

A few months ago, I had given my car for servicing and ended up taking the auto to office. And what happened during this auto-ride to office made me realize that we are living in a highly noise-polluted environment. We don't notice it simply because we have got used to it.

I got into the auto from near Sony World signal in Koramangala. Just out of boredom, I pulled out my Ipod and plugged in the Shure earphones. Now the Shures are unique in that they are noise-isolating earphones. Noise isolating earphones fit tightly into your ear canal and effectively cut out all the outside noise so you can hear only music. This gives you a better listening experience and also you can listen at a much lower volume since you don't have to raise the sound level of the music higher than the surrounding noise to hear it clearly.

It was a good 30 mins, "noise-less" ride to my office. When I reached near my office building in Shanthi Nagar, I pulled out the earphones. The very next moment, I was startled at the surrounding noise. For a few moments I felt as if something went wrong around me.. as if I have been dumped into a battlefield with loud guns firing from all sides. I even thought engine of the auto I was in was unusually loud.

After having sat in relative silence for 30 mins, the ordinary traffic noise was almost unbearable for a few moments. Made me realize for the first time how noise polluted Bangalore is or any other crowded city for that matter.

Makes me wonder is Bangalore traffic jam a bigger menace or the resulting Bangalore traffic noise?

Maybe we ought to take a few days off once in a while and run off to a nearby jungle or a village and bask in one of the simplest and greatest pleasures of life : the experience of silence. And give some rest to our over-burdened ears !