A year back, on 28-Jan-2019, I got the rudest shock of my life. I say rudest because I thought I had a healthy lifestyle. I had been a vegetarian all my life. Since 2003, I almost never consumed fried foods of any nature. I stayed away from carbohydrates (except in my pasta and bread), I ate only wholesome foods and I exercised at least three times a week. In fact, I barely ate (if ever) any processed food of any kind, certainly not in the last 15 years. Nothing out of a can, box, or a packet, in other words.
In 1973, four-year-old Susan opened the cupboard of their guest room and saw many chess pieces fell out of a small bag. Just next to them was a rolled-up chess mat. She took the mat out and looked at the pieces with the intrigue comparable to any other child of her age.
“What are these, Mummy?” Susan asked innocently, holding a piece in her hand and examining it.
“These are chess pieces, Zsuzsa,” she said, careful to not sound too enthusiastic, worried it might just kill Susan’s excitement. When parents are too excited to introduce something to a child, almost…
Once upon a time, a king got up in the morning with three questions on his mind.
Who is the most important person? What is the most important time? What is the most important karma?
In the royal court, he asked his ministers and other courtiers. Some said the king was the most important person, the time of one’s death was the most important time, and serving one’s religion was the most worthwhile karma. Many others had different answers like one’s child or one’s parent was the most important person, the time of birth was the most important time and…
There was this person in Canada — and I am telling you his real-life story, which I witnessed over a period of time. When I first met him in India, he was a devout worshipper of the Gayatri mantra. He was the first one whom I saw who actually had Gayatri siddhi. Siddhi is when a mantra becomes your own and you become the mantra; the energy of the mantra works through you, lives in you, benefitting other people. He blessed and helped many people sail through difficult circumstances in life.
When I first met him, this man’s radiance was…
I remember as a child two books I enjoyed reading were Hitopdesha and Panchtantra, the Indian versions of Aesop’s Fables if you will, written some 2000 years ago. I’ve been trying to look for a particular story to share with you when I came across something similar in You Don’t Eat A Lion Doesn’t Mean The Lion Won’t Eat You by Udaylal Pai. I’ve paraphrased it a bit (umm…quite a lot, actually; almost entirely, in fact):
Once upon a time, in a certain village, a young boy was walking alone by the riverside when he heard desperate cries for help.
Mark Twain once said, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."
Though, it's debatable whether he actually said something like this. Nevertheless, if you can get past the visual, this little piece of advice is priceless.
Brian Tracy in his book, Eat That Frog, talks more about this proverbial croaker.
Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. …
Some folk singers were on their way to perform in a village fair. They were about to cross a river and paid no attention to Buddha who lay there emaciated, almost lifeless.
“You are always tinkering your lute,” one of the bards chastised his companion who was fixing the strings of his veena (lute). “Either you make the strings so tight that they snap or you make them so loose that they are out of tune. Only if you leave them the way they are supposed to be, will you be able to produce melodious music.”
These words fell upon…
A few days back a reader, Saurabh Anand, wrote a question in Swaminar, a feature in the Black Lotus app where any user can ask me a question, view others’ queries and see my responses in the app itself. He wrote:
Can you tell me in detail your exercise/yogasana routine and diet regimen to keep our body healthy and shaped like you?
Now, this is a flattering question because my body isn’t exactly chiseled like Hercules or some ancient Greek god, but yes, mostly I’m on top of my fitness, which in my view exists at three levels: emotional, physical…
The ministers were singing glories of their king, Krishnadevaraya, who was the emperor of Vijaynagara. The king was swelling in joy and pride. After all, it was his able rulership that the prisons were nearly empty, his treasury and granaries full and the citizens paid their taxes.
“Since I’m a loving, upright and an honest person at heart,” the king said, “it is but natural that my subjects are like me.”
The courtiers agreed wholeheartedly and spoke at length of the virtues of their king. The special advisor to the king, Tenali Rama, however, kept quiet throughout.
“Why, Tenali Rama,”…
There’s a beautiful story in Srimad Bhagavatam. Impressed by his knowledge, King Yadu enquires an avadhuta, an enlightened master, about his guru who answers that he had many gurus including a prostitute.
“A Prostitute?” the king scorned.
“Yes, why not?” The avadhuta said. “Hear what I learned from her.” And he went onto narrate the story of Pingala.
Pingala was a glamorous courtesan in the ancient city of Videha. With her red lips like freshly-cut strawberries, beautiful, buxom and seductive, she smelled of exotic flowers. Her sight was enough to evoke desire. Indeed, her stunning beauty was the reason why…