Tuesday, March 27, 2018


This is an old subject, yet many strings hanging lose. It is quite simple by arrangement, but made very complex in practice. People take this very seriously while they also crack jokes about it endlessly. There are more myths about it than facts. Further, the current generation has tweaked it, turned it and twisted it to suit their lifestyles.

I am married for 10 years now. Being adventurous in nature, I am loving it. But as the word "adventure" goes, it is not a smooth sail. And who says that life is one! When I slice that rough time-period and see- is it my life not a smooth sail or is it my my marriage; is it my marriage not a smooth sail in my life or is it my life not a smooth sail in my marriage? There I am, messed-up already!

Therefore, let's get to basics.

The man is the Purusha and the woman is the Prakriti. The nature in the woman enables her to grow a life inside her. However, Purusha the man should sow the seed of life to sprout inside her. The nature is designed in such a way that the woman cannot create life all by herself. There should be a man to sow the seed. Once the seed is sown it is not in her control of the growth of life inside her. The nature takes care of it. In contrary, Purusha the man has the control whether to sow the seed or not. Though the force of nature inside him keeps pushing him to sow seeds inside Prakriti the woman; it is the consciousness of the man that really chooses when to sow the seed in the woman. Man and the Woman have their unique roles to play here. They are not equal but they are exclusive.

Marriage is a social arrangement where Purusha the man and Prakriti the woman come together to create a new life. Prior to their marriage, it becomes paramount that the man is super clear why he wants to marry. It is the man’s responsibility to be conscious and be aware of his decision. For the man’s consciousness is the one that sows the seed of life, in fact. The woman’s consciousness does not become essentially paramount in being super clear whether or not to be married. For the nature inside her is such. However, it becomes paramount for her to be super clear on whom she is choosing to sow the seed of life inside her. Once chosen, it is not in her conscious limits of when to grow a new life. For it is the man who decides. That's nature.

Essential questions to be answered prior marriage-
Man-      WHY should I marry?
Woman- WHOM should I marry?

"WHY" should be his question. "WHO" should be her question.

This also implies that one need not marry at all if both do not find a reason to do so. It is absolutely fair to stay unmarried, rather that marrying without clarity and create children without clarity. And the classic example of such is the current scenario of the world where there are thousands of us living not knowing what to do with our lives. We will discuss more about the impact later.

Once the man and the woman have their questions sorted, only then they should have them married. For these questions become the corner stones of their forthcoming married life.

Analogy- a piece of land does not have control on which plant to grow. The nature of the land is to sprout life out of the seed sown by the gardener. Regardless of the fertility of the land, it cannot grow life until there is a seed sown. The gardener chooses when to sow the seed. It is the consciousness of the gardener that matters when he wants to sow the seed in the land. Once the seed is sown, the land pours life into the seed and germinates a plant out of it. Land is the Prakriti and the gardener is the Purusha.

The woman’s responsibility
In the married life, the woman bears the man’s child and gives birth to a new life. Therefore, she is wholly entitled to grow the life into an independent being. It is her responsibility to provide the child the necessary physical and emotional inputs for the child’s growth. Nobody has the authority to question her  parenting style. Irrespective of the man’s support, the woman is naturally designed to carry out everything in her capacity to grow the child into an adult. Her man’s support in this is only a bonus, of course would add value as well. Analogous to the gardener pouring manure and water for better growth of the plant.
It is also her responsibility in providing everything in her capacity to ensure that her man is getting what he wanted in that marriage. Be it physical-emotional companionship and his children growing healthy.

The man’s responsibility
In the married life, his responsibility is to ensure that the woman is kept completely satisfied in all respects. This is his paramount responsibility. During his married life, the man shall take all or most actions only in the path to satisfy the needs of his woman. He has no other responsibilities than this one. If he is potential to take-on more responsibilities such as taking care of some more people including his parents, his siblings etc., he could. However, they are all his added responsibilities. There could be situations where the parents or his siblings need additional support. The woman may choose to support and not the man. For the man, it is to take care of his woman only. If these additional responsibilities are so overwhelming that he is pulled into this more than his primary responsibility, then he should review his earlier decision of “why he wanted to marry” while he already has enough and more duties to perform as a son, a brother and so on. Men with such overwhelming responsibilities should choose not to marry and fully focus on taking care of people in their lives. Sailing on two boats unnecessarily breeds stress that further spills into the life of his child.

Therefore, not every man gets to marry, unlike woman. Only those men who are confident on fully satisfying his woman's needs for large periods of time (like 30+ years) should marry. Else you are simply kidding with lives.

Another prime responsibility of the man is to impart sufficient awareness to his child to lead a consciousness life. For the man’s consciousness is the source of the child’s birth, it is he who must forward this consciousness to his child. The mother grew the child physically inside her and then outside of her, and therefore the physical growth of the child is what is expected out of the mother. The mother imparting consciousness is a bonus; however, it is the prime responsibility of the father.

The Impact
The man’s sole responsibility being to satisfy his woman, the woman stays focused at her man’s requirements à there is no irrational expectations from each other. This is an off-shoot from the questions that are sorted before getting into the arrangement of marriage (the WHY and the WHO questions).

When the man’s complete focus is to satisfy all the needs of his woman, the woman turns ecstatic in her relationship. Once the woman is happy and fully satisfied, she doesn’t turn to another man for anything. When women in the society are satisfied inside their marriages, no woman is available for any other man. When the woman focuses on providing everything in her capacity to her man, the man is not seeking anything outside his marriage à no extra-marital affairs in the society.

Such a marriage creates healthy and conscious children. Further, such human beings would only breed a conscious society. It shows-up in how people dress, talk, eat, interact and live their lives.

When the marriage gets older
The social agreement of the Marriage is till the death of either the man or the woman. However, the nature inside the woman and the man gradually over time gets inefficient in creating a new life. The woman reaches menopause earlier than her man. That could be considered as the nature’s mark for the man and woman’s marriage at the physical level. Or the both can reach a mutual agreement about it when all their children reach their adulthood (21 years)

Analogy- when the land in which the gardener was sowing seeds and raising plants has over time lost its fertility completely, their relationship cannot be the same and it must be reviewed and reinvented.

The woman has successfully completed her duty of raising her children physically into adults and the man has successfully imparted all the required consciousness to them. Post that phase, the man and woman could mutually part for a certain predetermined time (if they wish to do so in isolation) to recreate the rest of their lives and plan individually, considering their current physical and emotional conditions. The lives must be considered again as individuals now (like those two man and woman who individually sorted the WHY and the WHO questions before marriage).
Sufficient time must be taken by both to plan the rest of their lives. Their rest of the life unfolds in two phases until death, which are: (1) Dedicating themselves to the society and (2) Self-awareness; both in proportions of their choice. They would go ahead and execute their plans individually or together depending on the overlap in their plans and their willingness to be and do it together.

Using the fundamental design of man and woman as raw materials, it is simpler to decipher the marriage "Institution".

However, there is jinx to use this understanding and operate in a marriage in the current societal structure. This is because of the myths, beliefs and the dogma prevailing in the society and we usually derail from performing the fundamental duties in our marriage. But there is a good news as well, which is- there is only one person who should resonate with this thought along with you in this whole world. And it is your SPOUSE.

End of the day- this is purely my thought and analysis to bring peace into my life and my marriage. The reader is free to either trash it or embrace it.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A week in Aarohi

It has been close to two years that I have been associated with Aarohi, but never had a chance to live there. Come on a morning of Manthan, jump around the whole day, play with the kids and go back home and nothing more.

Lakshmi kept pushing me to live Aarohi in the O-campus; not simply for a day or two, but a whole work week.

I had procrastinated it sufficiently and ran out of valid reasons. I quickly browsed through my calendar and blocked the whole of Feb 12th to 16th to spend in Aarohi. Applied leave in the office and everyone in office started checking on my vacation plans and surprised to learn that I am going on a vacation to my child’s school! Like… “what kind of a vacation is that??!!”

Now vacation for an outdoor guy starts with dusting the ruck sack. Lakshmi gave me “what-are-carrying-in-such-a-big-sack” looks. Plan changes, I pick the kit bag that Lakshmi takes every week to Aarohi. However, everything else needed for a trek was still a part of the kit- besides a couple of pairs of clothes, head torch, sleeping mat, climbing shoes and running gear. Another thing that Lakshmi carefully advised me is to carry a book and a pen; very important! Without this, it is like walking to cricket crease without a bat.

My car team arrived at Aarohi at 10am along with Avani, Sammedh and Vaibhavi. Realized that I was already tired playing chit-chat games with the kids by the time I reached Aarohi. But soon to realize that once you enter into the green gates of O-campus, there is a new gush of energy awaiting you.

I had already planned three things for the week- Climbing-wall planning, Pasta cooking, one Jatre.

I took a whole day to absorb the Aarohi schedule-

6AM -       Wake-up (love the songs kids play as morning alarm, reminds me of Big-Boss wake-up)
6:30AM -  Sunshine (basically it is my time to give my gyan on how to run better)
7:30AM - Active ME (from not even able to mount to almost walking three full steps on the crazy slack-line)
8:30AM -   Get ready (mostly a finer face wash and combing)
9:15AM -   Planning in Apollo/ Dome (you better do this. Else, I will tell you what happens)
10AM -      Breakfast (the only time in the day you feel a pinch of hunger. Rest of the day you are mostly over-fed)
11AM -      Self time (here comes the bomber. If you have not planned well, you are vulnerable to be challenged for doing something unnecessary. This is when the real stuff happens in Aarohi)
1PM -     Lunch (another delicious meal just after 2 hours of breakfast. But if you delay this, be ready to get harassed from the washing area clean-up team)
3PM -        Jatre (very good sessions, I was a child myself in this time)
4PM -      Campus care (this is when you contribute to the campus. I was given the Biogas work. I totally loved it. A big shout to Chetan and Asavari for getting me onboard on this. This work could get dirty but it is very technical- weigh the waste, dump it in the biogas hopper, ram the waste in, pour an equivalent amount of water, ensure the gas tank gulps the whole of it without spitting on you. Trust me, it’s technical and challenging)
5PM -       Sports (if you do not have a pair of shoes, run to Kelamangalam and pick one)
6PM -       Get ready (this is when you really get ready after a tough day)
6:30PM -  Dinner (so early? NO! it is just you who have practiced dining along with the bats)
7:15PM -  Journal writing (reflect on the whole day and pen it down)
7:30PM -  Thought club (Hurray-Norray-Sorray- I loved it; and next day's announcements)
10PM -      Lights off

Coming to my plans...

Climbing wall
Ratnesh and I had a conversation and I had learnt his plans of building a heavy structure that could have a climbing wall, a squash room and a table-tennis room. So, I had made a mental plan to at least achieve finalizing the location in the campus and complete the marking of the structure layout. To my surprise in the first sitting itself, the children completely squashed the original plan. Basically we reinvented the context of climbing inside the campus. The 20ft climbing wall transformed into a 8ft bouldering wall. So, this could be done on any of the existing walls in the campus. After debating the structural stability of the eco-friendly walls inside the campus, we dramatically moved our eyes on the library bus. Coming to climbing holds, we decided to collect all the junk wood from the resources and transform them into climbing holds. There was a fountain of ideas and concerns erupting inside me considering the excitement of having a real climbing wall by the end of my week’s stay and the real challenges of not completing it. As a blessing we had a guest Shahzad that week who got excited just by the idea of punching climbing holds on the bus. We took close to 8 hours to put up our first climbing hold. Had to setup the wiring for the drill, discover that our government has invested enormous money to slap three sheets of shear metal rake to build a bus with book racks, super long bolts to be newly procured to pierce through three layers, and scout for holds out of virgin scrap.

First prototype hold right above the wheel

By end of Monday, we had a plan on paper. End of Tuesday, we had one prototype climbing hold punched on the bus. End of Wednesday, we had put up about 12 holds but had exactly knew the structure of the bus. End of Thursday, we had a charming 34 holds and our climbing wall ready to get torn by the kids.

Achilesh trying to fix a climbing hold sitting on Shahzad

Completed BBW (Bus Bouldering Wall)
Shahzad, who did all the heavy lifting on Thursday

On Friday, we had a dramatic inauguration arranged by Aparna and Lakshmi with the inaugural speech by Shahzad and a soulful Bharatanatyam performance by Aparna.

Now switching gears to Pasta cooking- cooking in Aarohi is not like cooking in your kitchen; you can’t simply appear in the kitchen and start cooking. Everything must be declared on that day’s planning time. Anything inside the kitchen should have the blessing of the kitchen manager. Pasta cooking is not a big deal if you have diligently watched the 2-minute video on YouTube. However, the video would not show how to cook for 25 people! That’s my challenge. Took help from Lakshmi to gauge the proportions for salt and spice and ended-up with a glamorous Tomato sauce Indian style pasta. I think it was not bad and boosted my confidence in cooking. So, Aarohi is a great training ground not just for kids.

Red sauce (Indian style) paste

In Jatre- I tried introducing myself elaborately of what I do in my office as an engineer. To start with we watched a couple of videos of gas turbine powered automobiles, and ended up almost designing power plant to setup inside Aarohi. In fact, a couple of kids asked for discount on a Rs.16 crore machine. What audacity! And that’s the beauty of Aarohi kids.

A week in Aarohi in a nutshell- You have daily rhythm, you are free to do what you want, you are responsible for the outcomes of what you are doing, your body is well nourished with good food, your brain is tickled at every step reasoning out why you are doing whatever you are doing, your soul is nourished being in a rustic ecosystem and a mindful crowd- be it the akkas, annas, kids or the facilitators. Everyone simply is in raw action.

As Prapulla reiterated once “the spelling of Aarohi is D-O-I-N-G”.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Visiting a school for the blind

Lakshmi was always suggesting visiting a school for the under-privileged along with Avani. There was no calling from my end to do that but since she wanted to do it, I let her take all the required initiative and do all needed work. I simply had to tag along.
Through her father she got an appointment to visit the School for the blind run BGS institutions on Bangelore-Mysore road (NH275), just before Janapada loka near Kamat Lokaruchi, Ramanagara. This is a free residential school for the blind run by BGS. Most of the children are from the villages around Ramanagar, Bangalore, Mandya and Kanakapura. Their parents would visit them once in awhile. Some children are orphans.
Saturday evening, the 20th February was the day. Lakshmi, Avani, my mother, my parents-in-law and I were in the school at 4.30PM. Lakshmi planned to give an orange and a biscuit pack for all the children through Avani. I was neutral about that as well. The warden there suggested distributing the stuff at 5PM when the children have their evening coffee.
The moment we parked our car outside the school inside their campus, few children who were playing came running to us and holding our hands asking questions and trying to stare inside our car. I am not fully aware yet what are they peeping in as they are blind. Moreover I was not comfortable they touching me as they were not “clean”. I realized what a jackass I am! They fiddled with my watch. I realize that that they can’t see much. I made them press one of the buttons that made a beep every time pressed. Children were so amused by that sound! They were not ready to leave my hand or the watch. Few children were only partially blind and few fully. Nobody used walking sticks inside the school and the hostel and they were walking as though they could see everything. It was hard for me to make out they could not see and all of a sudden few bump into me as they walk. I realize that they can’t see me and I am not a usual object in their school.
One significant thing that I recognized was that all children were very happy. All were smiling, laughing and playing. And some were being intentional about their chores of the day- washing clothes and so on. No one looked like having a complaint of boredom. On talking to few small ones, they sang film songs, patriotic songs and non-filmy songs, and everything with a smile.
Avani got comfortable with the new children and the surroundings. She started distributing the oranges and she soon realized that they are not taking while she simply having the hand with the orange in front of them. They cannot know unless they were called upon to take the fruit. Every simple activity is different here. It is a different world here. They simply keep walking; I have got to watch my step here.
After this event, all children proceeded to the prayer hall for evening prayer. A blind teacher with her harmonium started the bhajans and all chorused. They sung beautifully. I simply could not control myself. There were bursts of emotions every few minutes. I was simply watching myself through this. I could not figure out the reason for my emotions bursting out. May be I was empathizing with their situation. Very small children of age four years were there without their parents and with minimal support. It was very hard for me to imagine Avani like that, but life is too uncertain. On the other hand, why do I pity them while they were so happy! They have food to eat, safe place to live, education at their doorstep, peaceful sleep. They have everything in their world. Was I feeling something missing in my life that they were having? I don’t know. Some moments I felt like giving off all that I have earned to this place. Then even that felt insufficient. I felt like coming and joining this institution and working there myself. Even that seemed insufficient. May be I can’t ever solve anything as there is no problem at all! May be I simply have to be with them and nothing else is actually needed for them. May be, that’s what I was doing and that could be cause for all those emotional outbursts.
It was a very touching experience of my life. Realizing that those children touching my hands is their way to communicate with me; as some were even deaf and dumb. I would love to keep going back there. I am happy that Avani was with me there. I thank Lakshmi for this initiative.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Rain on Mother earth

I consider rains very divine. It's kind of a bath for mother earth after all the activities that has happened till then. Like we take bath ourselves after going through a day of turmoil and various activities the body is subjected to. Rain on earth is similar to cleaning ourselves.
In this context, there is also a blame the man has put on himself. That is, there is a lot of dirt that man has been generating as a virtue of his activities; as a consequence of which there has been lesser rains in the recent past.
However, I could not completely believe that. On surface level that's what it looks like. Let's look at it like this- When I allow some insects or living organisms to breed on my body and generate dirt on me (for example-lice in the hair or parasitic insects on few animals), isn't it my responsibility to wash and cleanse myself? Likewise while we are a creation from the mother earth herself, and while we create dirt on her, isn't it mother earth's responsibility to cleanse it for keeping herself clean? Probably, the earth is allowing herself to have the dirt on her by not having sufficient rainfall. Probably she's having some other plans to counter it, which we mere humans cannot contemplate or imagine. In that sense I feel the dirt that humans are generating on this earth is a part of the grand plan of creation, maintenance and destruction.
Further, it's superb that some groups of people are also taking actions to reduce the dirt they are generating by being responsible. It's similar to the parasite breeding on my body itself feeling responsible for it's living on my body. But would that make a game-changing difference on me? No! Because I'm still allowing it to breed on my body.
Therefore, in the end whatever is supposed to happen shall happen exactly at the right time and in the right form and that which is defined as right at that moment. And that is not what man created for the earth; rather that's what was destined to happen at that time. And man was simply a pawn in this whole game.

Understanding my Gods

I am born a Vaishnavite and been worshipping Lord Venkateshwara all my life. But since my childhood I have also been fed with stories of Lord Shiva being the original deity in India long before the Aryan race came in propagating Vishnu being the supreme God-head. In fact there are some movies depicting the demon-king (Bhasmasura) who got powerful with the boon given by his deity Shiva, and the former trying to bully Lord Shiva himself. And Shiva fearfully running to seek help from Vishnu, and Vishnu smartly and cunningly killing the demon. Showing that Vishnu is powerful than Shiva. Such stories from Puranas were pointing towards Shiva being side-lined by Vishnu promoters. As a child, I pitied Shiva. In parallel I am also aware from puranas, which say that Shiva’s abode is Mt.Kailash (Himalayas) that is present in real. But there is no such physically identifiable location for Vishnu. For Vishnu who sleeps on Shesha Shayana (the serpent) floating in Ksheerasagara (ocean of milk), which is fictitious. This could be indicating towards Vishnu’s stories are cooked-up and Shiva’s stories are real. As a child I feared this thought as I am used to relating Vishnu as my god! As I grew-up, I started to realize that these are all my interpretations of the stories I had heard. I wanted to understand some facts and find some answers though. Who came first? Who is the ultimate? Why so many created? Why the supreme is a male and not feminine? What is Brahma’s role in between the two stalwarts? Where does Indra fit-in amidst all this drama?
Over years of listening to stories from people, reading, researching and analyzing, I could come to some understanding of my Gods. And these might change as well as time and my analysis progresses.

When the early man started being conscious about his surroundings, the things that he saw were the Pancha Bhootas (the five elements)- Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Ether/ space. So, the man worshiped these five elements and named a character to be the lord of these five elements. He named him Indra. People did worship Lord Indra in ancient India. While time progressed, man started to see that all these five elements are within him; within the boundaries of his own body. His body itself is made up of these five elements. Then who is this inside him who is able to see, feel and experience his physical body. Then man thought that there should be somebody or some higher energy that created this body comprised of the five elements. That’s when Indra was insufficient for the man to manifest him as God.

Then man started to think that these are the thoughts that are emerging in the mind since the stomach is full. When the man is hungry, he is busy looking for food. Once hunger is taken care, his search for life starts. Whereas in case of animals, once hunger is taken care the life ends till the hunger kicks-in again. Then man thought that there should be some link between hunger and God. Then he created the character Shiva. Lord Shiva is one who has outgrown hunger. He who can generate stillness in his mind while the sensory organs are active and seeking attention! He is the Adi-yogi (first guru) who taught Yoga to mankind. Yoga is the technology that tames and synchronizes the body and mind, which enables man to attain higher knowledge of life. Then the man conceived the idea of Lord Shiva being on the top of the coldest mountain the Kailash in the Himalayas. He is made to sit bare chested, for He could generate sufficient agni (heat) inside Him through dhyana (meditation) without being afraid of having His fingers and toes frostbitten. For He who has outgrown hunger, the same prevails around Him. The snake around His neck is not worried about the peacock, which is Shiva’s son Subramanya’s vehicle. The rat, Ganesha’s vehicle is not bothered about the Shiva’s snake being its predator and the same between Shiva’s vehicle the bull and Parvati’s vehicle lion. Having outgrown hunger, there is no prey-predator act. Lord Shiva hence taught to outgrow hunger and bring in peace and stillness in the mind.
The 12th century philosopher from northern Karnataka Sri Basaveshwara, who is the staunch follower of Shiva promoted the philosophy of “work is worship”. Simply do your karma and the life takes care of you.
However, there was still something missing for the man. Man was still struggling with other factors creeping in as family, society, good-bad, right-wrong etc. The concept of Lord Shiva also was getting insufficient to him. Living like a hermit and hermit being a householder was not fitting in all circumstances of life and hence to attain higher knowledge of life or attain Moksha (salvation). And these were way beyond the hunger.

That’s when man created the character of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu is a householder, but thinks like a hermit! He is always draped in silk and bedecked in gold. He is always in peace at the same time fully conscious. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth sits at His feet. He does not seek her, but she follows Him. He does not resist her. He keeps Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge (or peace) in His head, indicating that while peace is in the mind, wealth at His feet. The vice-versa is not true. Through Vishnu, man realized the importance of balancing the duality that prevails; divine-evil, good-bad, right-wrong, light-darkness, freedom-responsibility etc. The man created Lord Vishnu to realize his current state of evolution of both his body and mind, through Vishnu’s Dashavataara (ten incarnations). Starting from the life in water (Matsyavataara), life being amphibious (Kurmavataara), life outside water with least intelligence (Varaahavataara), life as half human-half animal (Narasimhavataara), life as human but not fully grown (Vaamanavatara), life as full grown man with a beastly mind (Parashurama), life with a matured mind but struggles with dharma (Ramavataara), life who defined Dharma for mankind (Krishnavataara), then the present day man (Buddha/ Kalki).
With these, man finally realized the laws of karma, the complexities of dharma and ultimately attained higher knowledge of life across various eras of mankind.

Indra is the primary form of God within the boundaries of earth, Shiva conquers the bodily senses and Vishnu teaches how to balance duality while practicing dharma.

Neither Vishnu is powerful, as he comes after the realization of Shiva. Nor Shiva is greater as Vishnu is the evolved version. Since there is an evolution of human consciousness, all these characters helped man to stand on ground and play life.

Be it cars, be it computers or be it Gods; Evolution taught man the same theory. Newer one came from the older one. The latter is not better than the former. All played their roles. Space and time is limited.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Auroville belongs to humanity

And that’s what the Mother had declared in the August of 1954. The “City of the Dawn” which was the idea conceived by both the Mother and Sri.Aurobindo of a place where a group of men and women could freely live where the sky is the limit for their creation and expansion. Although numerous attempts were made in the past to create one such habitat by people around the world, it was never successful until the advent of Auroville.
I had longed to stay there, experience and discover the life in Auroville when I ran the Auroville marathon for the first time last year February. Auroville marathon 2015 appeared not more than a reason for me to visit Auroville this year. Along with Lakshmi and Avani, twelve of my friends decided to have a vacation in Auroville after the marathon this February.
Auroville marathon “Runners Adda”
Though the neighborhood I live in Bangalore is pretty much of the same age of Auroville, although our family house in my native has seen more generations growing up, Auroville has a charm that no other mundane township has. I was mistaken initially for the Europeans living there who might have brought about that charm or charisma amidst the rustic muddy roads and greenery, but I was wrong. It is simply the intention behind the creation of Auroville. Mirra Iffassa who is dearly called the Mother had defined the intention:
“Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville one must be the willing servitor of the divine Consciousness.”

This gave way for a barren land about 20kms north of Pondicherry that had nothing but a big banyan tree and a few palm trees to grow into 25sq.kms of thick forest. It is a self sustained township that produces various kinds of fashion accessories, incense sticks, herbal/ organic products, home decors, toys, handicrafts etc. It is a city where humanity takes over currency. For the Aurovillians, there is a currency card (Auro-Card) that is provided, which works like a debit card for all their transactions in the Auroville city. An outsider should pay currency to avail the same.
The Auroville is characterized by the lush green man-made forest, muddy roads, artistic earthen buildings and Matri Mandir. Aurovillians have planted close to 4 million saplings over the past 6 decades that houses numerous species of birds now. Peacocks are no special birds in Auroville.

the muddy roads

Auroville city is designed for 50,000 people, however only about 2,000 currently live. There is an organization created and people employed to manage all the financial transactions, tax payments, registrations of people as newcomers or as citizens of Auroville etc.
I have heard that no Aurovillian fully owns any piece of land inside Auroville. It is all a part of the Auroville trust and the citizens use them to generate revenue for their sustenance. There are guesthouses, homestays, apartments, boutiques, restaurants, bakeries and art galleries. Most of them are focused to cater the European people’s needs as you could hardly see Indian dwellers inside Auroville.
Except for Matri Mandir and an audio-visual show about Auroville and Matri Mandir, there are no other tourist attractions. Since the common philosophy of a common Indian tourist is to watch lot of places during a holiday, a large chunk does not consider visiting Auroville. However, there is a world of its own to discover being in Auroville.
Matri Mandir
We stayed in Auroville for six nights and enjoyed every moment living there. It’s like living in a forest and yet in a civilization. The big banyan tree that is about a kilometer away from Matri Mandir is the geographical center of Auroville, and the Matri Mandir is believed as the soul of Auroville. Designed by a French architect, Matri Mandir has in its center a crystal ball mounted on a lotus made of white marble with twelve petals in a pond of water. Aurovillians strongly believe that all the energy of Auroville is focused in there and is constantly radiating. Though Matri Mandir is free to view from a distance by anyone, one has to take an appointment to visit Matri Mandir. Only 75 visitors are permitted in a day for an hour in two slots where one may choose to sit and meditate.

A host of events, workshops, different forms of art performances and film shows keep happening in various parts of Auroville. Men and women and their families from all over the world come and live in Auroville both on temporary and permanent basis. Life is as laid back as it is in any of our villages yet as forwardly thought as in any of the metropolitan cities in the world.
While busily engaged in the mundane routine of life in the dusty streets of Bangalore, a week’s stay in solitude inside Auroville; woken by peacocks, morning walks in the dense forest trails, our children running through them without being scared of traffic, is an enchanting experience for a blissful holiday.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Purpose of Life

It’s been about nine years since I started practicing rock climbing. Sooner, I was sucked in to climbing, and there was a time when I also started to realize that rock climbing is my Dharma and I climbing is my Karma. Similar to a Kshatriya’s Karma is to protect the society, in-line with his Dharma. In the meantime, I introduced numerous people into climbing and few took it forward but most simply discontinued. However, I’ve the satisfaction that I made something available for a few, when they didn’t even knew that such a thing existed.

Alongside I started long-distance running too. It’s been about six years since I’m doing performance-running. That is- training for the run, timing my runs and keeping track of my personal best runs and improving on them. Over years my training rigor was also increasing, consult experts advise for my training and read literature too.

I used to balance my various physical activities- rock climbing, running, working out in the gym and all other outdoor activities like trail biking, hiking etc. However, everything was still circling around the central core being rock-climbing; until it took a drastic turn somewhere during the mid of last year.

In July 2013, I and my running partner (Abhilash Reddy) took on training about nine of our friends for a 10kms long-run. This is when our running schedules took a definitive program. I started running more and more, and coach more and more. There was also a definitive structure for me to train myself and coach others. That’s when I came cross a point when I preferred running and coaching over rock-climbing. When it repeated a couple of times, I had a genuine concern over my preferences. Just a few months back I strongly believed that climbing is the most exciting activity, which had the potential to engage me for my whole life; it was “then” my expression of life; my Purpose of Life. This entire theory began to shake when I chose to run, over climb! I felt uncomfortable making that choice, as I was seeing that my purpose of life is shaking because of my running. My purpose of life was starting to change from climbing to running and from running to coaching. That was not a comfortable-few-weeks of my life.

When I inquired more into it; something opened-up for me. I engaging in rock climbing or running or coaching people in running were all simply different mediums for me to be in action to recognize the real purpose of my life. When I recognized it, I experienced complete freedom and excitement. Excitement to be in action. Excitement to live. The purpose of my life that I identified was that of “people being healthy around me”. This very statement connected all the dots over years of my climbing and running. In both these activities what I identified was that I was consistently introducing more and more people into the sport, putting them into action and making them physically active and physical fit. Irrespective of the sport I was engaged in, what I was doing was the same; putting people into action and positively impacting their physical health.

What was surprising in this inquiry was, I observed that my purpose of life kept changing or evolving over time- first it was rock climbing, then it was running and then people being healthy around me. While the former was in play, the latter was still non-existent.

It was still itching for me to validate my theory of evolving purpose of life. To find peace in this theory, I took on to observe the life history of Mahatma Gandhi. I was not comparing here but wanted to get settled with the evolving purposes of ones life.

For Gandhi, when he founded the Indian Congress or Pheonix settlement in South Africa, the purpose of life for him could have been merely bringingforth equality for colored citizens in the Victorian Empire. When he returned to India and Gokhale asked him to go around the country, his purpose of life might have got evolved to Freedom for India then. By the latter part of his life, the freedom for India might have got evolved to spreading the message of non-violence to the humanity! Probably if the great man had lived for some more time, something else might have got evolved as his purpose of life and something bigger might have got caused in the world.

In all this inquiry inside me, the one thing that struck me was the fancy-worded Purpose of Life did not get defined clearly unless the service to the other human being or contribution to the community began. Now, I stay excited for the next-bigger purpose of my life to crystallize. However, the key for this is simply to be in action fulfilling my current purpose of my life.

So, come, let’s run. :)