Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Sri Ramana Maharshi-The Supreme Guru

March 1, 2011

I prefer to read books on spirituality at the end of the day. I like if the books are thinner, the font size is big enough and space between the lines is reasonable. Ofcourse, the content should do justice to the main story. This biographical book on Sri Ramana Maharshi, by Alan Jacobs, is all the above and more. I had already read (a lot) about Maharshi and yet liked going through his life story. The story of Maharshi preparing his mother for self realisation, about his ability to attend to problems of animals, about the cow Laxmi, about the white peacock are covered.

Visits of westerners and their conversations with Maharshi are also there. I had known about Paul Brunton’s visit but had never read about Somerset Maugham’s visit.  This book recounts both their  experience and includes a question answer session between the former and Maharshi.  There is also a Q&A session between SivaPrakasam Pillai and Maharshi.   Apparently Maugham ‘attempted to ask questions but did not speak.  (to which) Maharshi said  “All finished. Heart talk is all talk. All talk must end in silence only.” ‘ Apparently, in the book ‘The Razor’s edge’ Maugham has modeled the fictional guru on Maharshi.

The book has got plenty of full page length pictures of Maharshi, his surroundings and people who flocked to him. On the whole i enjoyed reading this book. However, i must admit i skipped through the poem by the author and the english translation from the Sanskrit of  the 40 verses in praise of Ramana.

My experience at Dr. Batra’s-2

February 2, 2011

This is a follow up from a previous post that talked about my first two visits to dr. batra’s clinic.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th visits were short and similar in content. The doctors were different. So 4 different doctors had seen me in 5 visits. I was asked if the hair fall had reduced. After the first visit i was asked to shampoo every 2 days. So there was no way i could compare the extent of hair fall with the time when i would shampoo once in 7 days.  Then i would be asked if i had increased the intake of protein. The answer is no because i was living in a cousin’s house and it was not feasible.  The doc would then ask me to continue the medicine i was taking. End of consultation! Before taking leave i would ask if the fungus had reduced. One of the doctors said that he couldn’t comment on that because that would need the microscope.  The doctor on the 5th visit said that the hair had become stable(don’t know what that meant) and that i needed to continue medication for another year or two for complete recovery.

The receptionist informed me that if i renewed treatment time by an year or two now i would get a discount! I asked if i could renew it by 6 months.  The receptionist sounded so much like a salesman that i heard myself saying NO.

In the past 5 months my personal observation is that hair is growing at a relatively faster rate. I know this because i visited the hair cutting saloon earlier than i normally do.  But the density of hair has not increased, i.e. new hair has not come up in areas where there was little or no hair.  I think that shampooing once every 2 days is a good idea.

I have one last visit left.

Nisargadatta Maharaj Mandir Mumbai

January 31, 2011

I had been to Mumbai (Bombay) for the weekend. I had arranged with my friend’s family for a visit to Elephanta Caves. (Read here about my trip to Elephanta Caves.) I had also decided to visit Nisargadatta Maharaj Mandir. The same day because i had to leave for Bangalore the next day by noon. I asked a couple of Mumbai-ites about Nisargadatta Maharaj but none of them new about it. I had read literature on him and knew that he had a tobacco shop and lived in Bombay.  I googled for Nisaragadatta Maharaj and after a couple clicks i reached the blog that mentioned about the Nisargadatta Spiritual Center and gave its address as:

“Siddhashram” , Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj Samadhi Mandir, Nisarga Society, Pathare Wadi, Bapu Bhagwe Marg, Dahisar (west), Mumbai-400 068

Books and tapes on Nisargadatta Maharaj are available here. I also came to know from blog-world that the house in which he lived had been sold. The new owners apparently re-modeled the house!

I bought return ticket from CST to Dahisar.   It was around 5 in the evening when i took the local from CST (VT station) to Dadar.  Dadar is on the central line and Dahisar is on the western line. So at Dadar i changed over to the western line to Virar.  However, i discovered later that this was a fast local and that i would have to get down at Borivilli and take a slow local to Dahisar. Dahisar is just one stop away from Borivilli. The total journey from CST to Dahisar lasted  an hour and 45 minutes . At Dahisar I walked out of the station (keeping the west) and asked a cigarette shop wallah for Bapu Barve road and he directed me to a nearby shop owner.  This guy asked me to walk along the road until the road turns left.  At the cross road there was a tailor shop. I asked the lady at the tailor shop for Bapu Barve road and she asked me to follow the road and cross the bridge. This bridge is over a nullah.  I took the left after the bridge and walked a couple of minutes. The Nisarg society is an apartment complex. A young chap at the gate guessed my purpose and showed me to the Nisargadatta Mandir. Its on the first floor. One has to leave the shoes in a rack at the ground floor.

There is a larger than life size idol of Nisargadatta Maharaj in a big hall.  The statue is whitish-must be in marble. There are framed photographs of his guru and several other saints behind the idol. The hall appears to be a part of an apartment. Indeed an old (50 ish) lady and her son take care of the house. There is a book rack on the wall adjacent to the stairs. I picked a book in Marathi on Siddarameshwar Maharaj’s life and a DVD on Nisargadatta Maharaj. I could have bought more but only cash is accepted.

The lady asked me about my whereabouts and then offered me tea!  When i resisted another person nearby asked me take it as prasad.  I took. After what seemed like an hour i took leave.  Tracing the road back to the station was easier. There is another bridge right opposite Nisarga Society.  I crossed the bridge and asked a few people.  The station was a few minutes away.  When i reached the station i realized i had forgotten to take a picture of Maharaj!

My experience at Dr. Batra’s-1

October 28, 2010

A cousin forwarded me the number. I had to sms and my appointment would be arranged. I sms’d and was flooded by phone calls, apparently from a call center.  I was given the date and time.  The place was neat and tidy and had a number of people (patients) waiting. The payment counter and medicines counter are on either side of the waiting hall and in the middle were two receptionists.  The receptionist asked me to fill up a form that asked for contact address, phone number, profession and such other details.  I was on time but had to wait for two and half hours for my turn to come!

The doctor spoke well and cared to explain the problem with my hair, scalp rather.  The interesting part was when he focused a pointed torch and showed me the problem on the monitor.  There was some white  matter (fungus?!) surrounding the hair at its root ( i.e. the visible end of the hair on the scalp).  I was asked to collect the medicine from the counter. Before that i was to meet another doctor in a nearby room. This doctor asked me a number of questions trying to figure out my nature (constitution).  I was even asked if i had ever been angry! I felt compelled to ask her if she was psychologist. I knew that homoe-medicine depends a lot on the persons nature but i thought she had gone overboard.   This went on for ~15-20 min-she typed, in their software app.(?)  my answers to all her questions! I was then asked to go for laser treatment.  This facility was in an adjacent room. A person who appeared to be an operator (not a doctor) did the laser treatment.  He first applied some liquid that wet my hair. Then he moved a pointed torch kind of a thing over my scalp. This lasted about 5 minutes. Apparently, the treatment is supposed to increase the blood circulation to the scalp!

That was the end of the consultation and treatment. I collected the medicines, paid for a treatment for 6 months. I was also asked not to use strong shampoos.  Instead, they asked me to buy dr. batra’s shampoo and conditioner. Johnson’s baby shampoo would also be ok. I was asked to shampoo on alternate days.

After about 3 weeks or so i was asked to visit again.  I did not book an appointment. I walked into the clinic and asked how much time it would take.   Just ahead of me an aged patient was arguing about the doctors not being the same. Probably he was fed up of  explaining his problem and answering the same questions over and over.   I got to see the doctor in less than an hour. But the doctor was  not the one i had met the first time! However, to my relief he was already going through, i suppose, the notes left by the previous doctors in their software.  He had a look at my hair lead his fingers through it and said the fungus was still there. Hair was weak and improvement had yet to happen.  He recommended some more medicine (i hadn’t finished the first set yet) and a liquid. The person at the medicine counter explained that i was to mix the liquid with dr. batra’s hair oil and apply it (gently) to the scalp once a week. The liquid and oil are to be mixed in a 1:3 ratio.

Its now more than 4 weeks. I will wait and see if there is improvement. The treatment is supposed to stop hair fall. It wont stimulate new hair growth; i.e. dead follicles wont sprout again 😦

Will update this post until the end of 6 months.


2nd Oct 2013

To make the long story short, I discontinued the treatment. For details read the other parts of this post: part 2, part 3 and part 4.

Tired of Japa?

February 26, 2010

Japa? …read about it and all. Even if one discards all the magical things that those practising japa are supposed to experience, there is certainly one ‘beneficial’ outcome: concentration. One will have greater clarity of thought. Having a greater focus is equivalent to having a higher resolution. So you can see, hear or feel things more things much better.

A must for those who have very low attention span.  

Here is what Swami Vivekananda had to say on Japa:

Q:Sometimes i get tired of Japa. Should i continue or read a book instead?
Vivekananda: One gets tired of japa for two reasons. Sometimes one’s brain is fatigued, sometimes it is the result of idleness. If the former, then one should give up japa for the time being, for persistence in it at the time results in seeing hallucinations, or in lunacy etc. But if the latter, the mind should be forced to continue japa.

I got this quote from this site on Swami Vivekananda.

However, with the mind being what it is its a tough battle.

Procrastination? or lack of interest

February 22, 2010

When time is available in plenty I end up doing much less than what i would if there was little time. 

When there is no work pressure and when no body cares what I do, I end up doing very little or nothing.

Even the non-academic books that i read, once my hobby, is now more of a way to fall asleep at night. I read so many books that i cant name even the one i read a week ago. The content of book too doesn’t stay in memory. I only remember those that left an impression, i.e. something about the story or the writing lingered in the mind.  Coincidentally, the books that have that lingering effect are the ones written by big shots: Steinbeck, Dorris Lessing, Hemmingway…  These guys must be really good that they leave an impression even in my disinterested reading.

Hiking. I like very much. But now I have to find motivation to hike. The internet and the endless stream of movies and news that it offers hogs my weekends and any or all the spare time i  have.

Possibly no interest lasts forever.

Meditation too depends on mood, surroundings and what not. The ‘happiness’ that comes after meditation is probably a carrot offered by those who themselves were lost and didn’t want to be left alone.  With no signs of ‘benefit’, meditations slips from once a day to once in long while.

When in India i used to think that Indians working abroad with all the free time  and no one to disturb would end up doing so much more. Now i know…

I now believe that a group of like minded people is a must for self improvement. Then, possibly, irrespective of where one stays one would surely utilise the time fruitfully. ‘Satsang’ as the scriptures say seems to be the only way.

the common question

October 16, 2009

most spiritual aspirants doubt if anything indeed is changing in them. any number of Guru’s have been asked this question. The answer lies in belief. Belief in the path chosen and the Guru. What else can be said?…If the destination is ‘realisation’ which can only be realised and not explained…how could one motivate oneself?
Once a spiritual aspirant asked Ramana. “I have been coming to you, Swami, many times, hoping that something will happen and I shall be changed. So far I do not see any change in me. I am as I was: a weakling of a man, an inveterate sinner.”

To which Ramana replied “On this road there are no milestones”. “How can you know which direction you are going? Why don’t you do what the first-class railway passenger does? He tells the guard his destination, locks the doors and goes to sleep. The rest is done by the guard, If you could trust your guru as much as you trust the railway guard, it would be quite enough to make you reach your destination. Your business is to shut the door and windows and sleep. The guard will wake you up at your destination.”  (from this link)
The answer appeals intellectually. However, can one hang on to belief forever ?

In the presence of Sri Sri Ravishankar

October 15, 2009

About 13 years ago i heard of Art of Living and Sri Sri (as he is reverently addressed) while i was still at Bangalore. There was the initial skepticism but soon it turned into reverence and admiration. I got to see him and also hear him in the ‘Science and Spirituality’ meeting in IISc, Bangalore. But i never really got to see and meet him at one to one distance as i did here in Seoul. I even asked him a question after his lecture. Also got to do the half sAshTAng namaskar to him.

It was only his second visit to Seoul. I am indeed fortunate. The meeting was arranged on two days in YMCA, Gangnam. Nearly 200 people turned up. On the first day Sri Sri started with meditation and then gave a short lecture. Before starting meditation he made us do simple exercises like straightening the brows, nose and cheek. He says they are stress relievers. And indeed i felt very fresh after 2-3 minutes of that exercise. He never announced that it was meditation (just close your eyes and let go) but i soon found myself in a state where the number of thoughts were either zero or one. For a moment i even dozed.  And then he said take a deep breath and say OM. This was done 3 times. A little while later he said “now slowly open your eyes”. It was 23 minutes since we had started meditation. Its the first time in years that i experienced this state of mind. There was something nice about it. However, i must admit that when we started chanting OM the mind was disturbed and i opened my eyes. Nevertheless…i felt fresh and happy. He then gave the lecture followed by questions. I asked how i could make myself focus on one thing without the interference of other thoughts. He said something that was a non-answer. My friend asked how he could deal with negative feelings. To which he said “just embrace them”. Not satisfactory but what else can anyone answer. Thats the age old question. If pressed he would most likely say practice Sudarshan Kriya and you will benefit immensely. But we were still in awe of him and the meditation that we had just experienced.

The second day was the basic course which lasted 3 hours. He came an hour late. He took us through the simple exercise routine but this time in some more detail. And then the meditation (for 26 minutes). However, this day my mind was adamant and it was not any different from when i practice on my own. My guess is that the exercise was a bit too much for me. Even before he arrived we had done some exercises. He left soon after-he was scheduled to be in Japan and then in Israel!

Art of Living is yet to really take off in Seoul. Infact an year ago i had to do serious google-search for art of living in Seoul. I found a webpage and a center. With some difficulty i located it. It was the home of Sylvain (a french gentleman) who asked me in and we had a chat. He also offered me Tea! (a courtesy so common in India but rare in Korea-its more than 2 years for me here). But now i learn that they have an office.  The name card of the person who is the contact for the center says,

Hyeon Ju Oh, #205, 547-7, Banpo-Dong, Seocho-Gu,Seoul.

Alas! The mind

October 5, 2009

Meditation, Introspection, Spiritual practise, Good company…do all this and more…The mind will always win.
 In the beginning there were too many diverse things the mind ran after. Later i focussed on one thing only to find that that one thing is made up of many other things which are equally diverse. Now stuck at sorting out that one thing which will have fewer diversions. This is the case when carrying out scientific research.

 How much more difficult it would be if the mind itself were ones object of research.

Astrology and blame!

September 8, 2009

Sri Sri Ravishankar (Art of Living) makes interesting listening, thanx to his wits, even for a non-follower. Here is the explaination he gives for Astrology.  Whenever, there is a problem the usual tendency of the people is to find someone/something to blame.  Astrology shifts the blame that you would put on other people to the cosmos.  In case of some loss you would say “because of the saturn being retrograde i had the loss”….listen to the video.

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