Friday, April 29, 2016

Light of Yoga - Book by BKS Iyengar - Ancient solution to modern day psychiatric problems

Till I came across a pdf titled Light of Yoga, there was not much clarity on what is self. BKS Iyengar, the author, has given an introduction to ancient philosopher Patanjali's thoughts about the different states of mind.

While reading about the types of distractions/obstacles to a person's well being, I came across certain Sanskrit terms used by Patanjali which very clearly illustrated modern day psychiatric issues we see daily. Some of the below are what caught my attention and prompted to pen a blog:

1. Pramaada - I had known the word to mean some danger. But never had I imagined it to mean a person who believes that he alone is wise (suffers from lack of humility or is full of self importance). Gosh. Though I was falsely thinking that I am kind to other human beings, I think I can co-relate circumstances wherein I have thought I alone was wise. It came as a shock to know that this aspect is one of the hindrances to spiritual progress. Below is another quote that stunned me-
"No doubt he knows what is right or wrong, but he persists in his indifference to the right and chooses what is pleasant"
This reminds me of Justin Bieber's song titled "Love yourself". This is what we do all the time. A task ahead may be hard, but we still choose to go with the pleasant side (which may be wrong) than choose to do the painful part (the right way). Below is the continuation of the quote -
"To satisfy his selfish passions and dreams of personal glory, he will deliberately  and without scruple, sacrifice everyone who stands in his way"

2. Samshaya - meaning doubt.  I remember the 66th Verse of the 18th Chapter of Gita, whenever I read the word doubt. This verse is considered to be climax or epitome of Bhagavad Gita, where Lord Krishna asks for surrender of our soul without an iota of doubt. The book says that a person cannot be happy as the faithless/doubter destroy themselves. The words used are very moving.

3. Aalasya - meaning laziness. Though my mom and my wife agree on one thing- that I am lazy, I would not have agreed till I came to know that surprisingly there are two types of laziness : that of the body and that of the mind. I know I am not a lazy body, but a lazy mind? Well, its food for thought, because my body and mind is very active during office hours [otherwise we would be kicked out lol :) ], but does seem a bit lazy when I am at home [like wishing to read a fiction rather than non-fiction, or being averse to household chores]. To overcome laziness, the tool suggested in the book is to have hope as shield and courage as sword {too much over the head? then see below quote}.
"Unflagging Enthusiasm (virya) is needed to remove laziness ..... attitude of the aspirant is like that of a lover ever yearning to meet the beloved but never giving way to despair"

4. Avirati - tremendous craving for sensory objects after they have been consciously abandoned. The solution suggested to become emancipated from desire and to achieve tranquility is the practice of "Pratyaahaara" (whatever it is?  need to delve deeper into the subject)

5. Bhraanti Darshana - person with a powerful intellect but lacks humility and makes a show of wisdom. Everyone I have met in office tell that I have a powerful intellect. But my family feel that I make a show of wisdom. The article further says that its a weakness which can be overcome by remaining in the company of great souls. So I am coming to know that there may exist a weakness in me to show off (like in this blogging) but where shall I find GREAT SOULs?  I have been volunteering to translate some English version of spiritual texts to Kannada from past month and I think my association with this group of translators over the internet may help me, as I personally feel that these people are greater souls than myself.

Enough of discussion on problems. Coming to the ancient solutions prescribed by Patanjali, they are four simple tasks:
1. Maitri- friendliness - turning enemies into friends, being malice towards none
2. Karunya- showing pity (not by words, but through use of physical resources)
3. Muditha - feeling delighted at others' work (avoiding jealousy, save heart-burn by not showing anger)
4. Upeksha - self study of a man fallen in vice (understanding the faults of others by seeing and studying the faults first by oneself)

The final crux of the chapter is to do above 4, one needs a peaceful mind and that can be achieved by rhythmic breath control (praanaayaama).

Post script: Thanks to this blogging activity at 2-30 am, I realised some common spelling errors of words I had only read but never had an opportunity to write- Rhythm (not Rythm), Jealousy (not Jealosy), Conscious (not Concious), Tremendous (not Tremandous), etc.

Monday, October 26, 2015

No Pain- No Gain - Bangalore to Chennai Bike Road Trip on Honda Stunner

On the occasion of birthday of Mudal Alwars, had an occasion to participate in  temple festivals around Kanchi
Honda Stunner, the bike is a real stunner and very capable of long distance road trips.  We got the bike on rent from

One caution before you embark on a long road trip - always remember no pain - no gain.  After riding a few kilometers, you get cramps in your neck and shoulders.  To avoid it, change the position of your back and arms every few minutes. This is what gymnasts do.  They work out in the gymnasium trying to put their body in pain and the outcome is for the world to see- 6 packs or whatever. Similarly, to have a smooth long distance road trip on a bike, one needs to be ready to suffer pain for short intervals by riding alternatively with straight back and bent back.

The best road to take will always be the Hosur-Krishnagiri-Kanchipuram route between Chennai and Bangalore, as there is six lane highway- easy to drive in and out.

Biggest plus point? No toll charges for two wheelers at any toll plazas- just be sure to ride on the foot paths meant for two/three wheelers towards the left of the toll plazas.

Petrol is cheaper in Tamil Nadu than Karnataka.  So be sure to fill up the tanks in Tamil Nadu (however, bunks in outskirts do not accept plastic money- only hard cash). Card payment was possible at petrol pumps only the cities of Bangalore and Chennai.

Honda Stunner is 125 cc engine but the out put it gives is above 11 bhp. Gosh- you should rent a bike to see the awesome power on highways. Please note that highways in Tamil Nadu is the best while the roads in Bangalore are the worst.  Out of the total distance of 350 kilometers between Chennai and Bangalore, only about 25 kms are in Karnataka while 300 and above kms are in Tamil Nadu.  So, except the torture on Bangalore roads, you will sail very smoothly during the whole journey.

I will not suggest Chittoor route because it does not have 6-lane highway all the way.  At many times you will have to travel behind lorries at snail pace because of single roads catering for two way traffic.  Hence please avoid NH-4 and stick to NH-46/48.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Himavad Gopala Swamy Hill - Gundlupet, Chamarajanagar District bordering Kerala State

My cousin brother Narasimha had planned a family outing to Himavad Gopalaswamy Hill this Sunday (August 9, 2015).

We left in a tempo traveler - 16 seater from Bangalore around 7-30 am and returned at around 11 pm.

Himavad Gopalaswamy Hill is under the forest cover area bordering Kerala (I got an SMS from Airtel welcoming me to Kerala, while we never left Karnataka).
We reached the temple around 2-30 pm and had food inside the temple.  When we came out of the temple at 3-30 pm,  it was covered in mist due to heavy cloud movement.
 The trip was also managed by my sister Pankajamani, an advocate at Bangalore.
 Narasimha, my cousin brother si standing with his father/my uncle (my father's younger brother)
My uncles's two daughters with their husbands along with my uncle's four grand children took the strength of relatives to 10 members.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Driving a Mercedes Benz A Class car to Decathlon

My first impressions about driving a Merc better be heard from my wife, who was narrating the pros and cons of her first merc ride to my mother-in-law:

1. The car is too small- very tight fit
2. Just like a scooter,there are no gears- only brake and accelerator
3. The seat belt holders prick the skin in the rear seat
4. It has a video feeder showing the sorroundings while reversing or parking
5. the engine roars to life like a race car making lotsa sound

I replied to her what gyan I had about her 5th point- the A class comes with 2100 cc diesel engine whereas most cars on Indian road come with 800 to 1200 cubic capacity and hence the sound like a railway engine ;)

Though her first point was true at first look, the buttons on the door make the seat go low and stretch like a recliner.  With no room for clutch, one can drive a merc even in reclining position.  Though at first, my head was almost touching the roof of the car, after adjusting the back and height of the seat, it was pretty comfortable.

Thank god I asked the Zoomcar guy about the controls of the car.  Otherwise, I would not have been able to move even a single inch. Really.

Like in my Ford Figo drive from Zoomcar (please click here for my trip to Alpha Race by Wildcraft Blog for Ford Figo Drive), the left and right indicators are to the left of the steering wheel, unlike in regular cars.

The horns are way too distant from the steering wheel - you need a lot of horn to make way for the luxurious car on Bangalore Roads.

To start the car, one needs to know about 4 buttons available on the right side of steering wheel (a handle which is used for lighting and indicators in regular cars).
P: Parking - Makes the car engine stop
R: Reverse
D: Drive

Be sure to hold on to brake when changing the status of car from parking to Drive. The break also acts as half clutch.  (Biggest positive point is there is no risk of the vehicle stopping for failure to apply proper gears- there is no stopping of the car at all unless you switch off or go into parking mode).

Pickup is ABSOLUTELY crazy. Try it after passing a road bump (speed breaker). While cars near you will be trying to shift gears from second to third to gain pickup, the merc shoots like an arrow past with so much power under the automatic accelerator.  But the craze is short lived, as in Bangalore Roads, you need to always keep your control on break pedal. (One good thing the Zoom car driver advised me was not to use the left leg for driving at all- so that the right leg alternates between the brake as well as the accelerator.

Since there is no gear shifting, one can rest their left hand- virtually- there is a pad provided for resting your left hand so that your right hand is made free- lovely know? There is even a handle bar near the top to catch hold by your right hand ;)

Coming to the top, please see below photo which shows that I am driving an open convertible-

The button on the top makes the top slide open and the glass top opens a little to allow air to flow inside the car. With no work for the left hand and leg, taking selfies while driving is a piece of cake ;)

Its fun to drive a merc. It boosts your ego.  Below is the shot of a FM screen which doubles up as video screen showing the rear and front camera pictures while reversing the car.

Below picture shows how perfectly parked is my Zoomcar at the parking lot at the Decathlon.

At Decathlon, my colleague Praveen took a few photos of me with my first merc ride

Below pictures show how happy I was travelling in a Zoomcar with my family

 Though drove to Decathlon from Indiranagar in 30 minutes, the return journey took nearly 100 minutes. that was when I decided that the merc was only meant to be driven outside Bangalore ;)
Thanks to Zoomcar for offering me an opportunity to drive the most coveted car with my wife and kid.