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Do you Feel Lost without HIS Presence?

To be a better spiritual being and to better even that with every step is the goal of every soul so it can then ultimately merge into The One . . .

Rudra is exactly where he wants to be-with his kind, loving BABA, talking about life and the laws of the spiritual realm. He is taken to various villages to see for himself what the right way to live and pray is.

As he serves his BABA and asks Him questions, much is revealed to him: ‘When you pray with such intensity that The One shall listen to your prayer, then your purity, intensity, devotion and yearning will get wings to reach The One’

BABA also talks about how we should be in life, how our relationships should be, how jealousy and anger are detrimental to the development of good karma and how conducting oneself without cribbing and complaining takes on to the higher plane.

Take the journey withing with The Fakir.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Very often baba would disappear for a few days and Rudra realized that on those days he was unusually preoccupied with some mundane things. Stuff that needed to be sorted out in the cottage or he was simply not in the zone to do anything and be dazed, all appointments cancelled, he preferred being by himself. He never understood how every time Baba would leave, Rudra’s days were either packed with worldly chores or just depressing.

On those days he drank far more than he should but always outside the cottage, never within its holy premises. He always made sure the oil lamps burnt twenty-four seven, and Baba would light a small fire, mainly burning embers, which Rudra would tend to in order to always keep the fire awake. Without Baba’s physical presence Rudra was lost, though he knew that he should not be as Baba was always with and within him.

Rudra always remembered Baba’s words to him. He had told him in the early days of their meeting, ‘Beta, heaven is filled with those who have failed but who have got back on their feet, dusted off their mistakes and follies, smiled and walked on with The Name on their lips and the comfort of a compassionate heaven in their hearts.’

Rudra missed serving Baba and massaging His feet. When Baba was physically with him Rudra’s day would be remarkably the same, making sure Baba was taken care of, from the innumerable cups of chai to hot bowls of soup to prayers and laughter and conversations ending the day with him massaging Baba’s feet. He loved to massage His feet.

The last time when Baba had left, there was a tremendous forest fire in California. Rudra always noticed that whenever Baba would leave the cottage, some place in the world would be going through unusual turmoil or devastation. It was as though He was needed and He had to be alone. Rudra never pried or questioned Baba. Rudra just served silently and joyously.

Blondie, Boy and Girl never left Rudra’s side when Baba was not present. It was as though they understood that he was alone and they rallied around him and sought his attention. On those days, Rudra would give them a bath and pedicures and pamper them as he needed to be active to prevent the ache felt in his heart because of Baba’s absence.

Heaven is filled with those who have failed but who have got back on their feet, dusted off their mistakes and follies, smiled and walked on with The Name on their lips and the comfort of a compassionate heaven in their hearts.

What other lessons can BABA teach you? Read The Fakir to find out!

A Story Worth (Re)Telling

The Ramcharitmanas is one of the most popular and celebrated devotional texts in India. It’s cultural and traditional significance stands even today.

Composed by the poet-saint Tulsidas in the sixteenth-century during a period of religious reforms, this text was instrumental in making the story of Ram, his feats against Ravan, and the values he stood for accessible to the common people as opposed to just the priestly class.

Rohini Chowdhury’s latest translation of the magnum opus makes it even more accessible to a new and wide readership. The story and its teachings are as relevant as ever in the world today.

Read on to find an excerpt from Rohini Chowdhury’s introduction, in which she conveys the enduring significance of this text and why she decided to translate it:


My own engagement with Tulsidas began one crisp autumn night fifty years ago in a small town by the banks of the Ganga, when I saw my first performance of the Ram Lila. The sky was sprinkled with stars but I had eyes only for the drama unfolding upon the crude wooden stage before me, where the story had reached a critical point: Hanuman’s tail was to be set on fire. The sets were crude, the costumes garish, the acting unsophisticated— but the story transcended all such concerns, such was its magic and power. I did not know it then, but that was also my first intimate encounter with the Ramcharitmanas, upon which the Ram Lila is based. Growing up, Tulsi’s poem was always around me—chanted in the homes of friends or neighbours, sung on the radio, or the theme of plays and dance dramas. So when the opportunity came to translate it into English for Penguin India, I accepted it with alacrity—and the last five years that I have spent walking behind Tulsi, one of the greatest literary minds of all time, have been a pleasure and a privilege. My translation does not do justice to Tulsi’s extraordinary poetic genius. His use of wordplay, his rhymes and alliteration, and the sheer musicality of his poem I have found impossible to capture in English. I have therefore contented myself with being as clear and accurate as possible in my translation, and to convey, to the best of my ability, the scale and grandeur of his great poem.

The Ramayana tradition

For at least the last two and a half thousand years, poets, writers, folk performers, and religious and social reformers have drawn upon the story of Ram as a source of inspiration. It has been told again and again in countless forms and dozens of languages, making it one of the most popular and enduring stories in the world. More than any other hero, Ram has been upheld as dharma personified, the epitome of righteousness, and his actions as the guide for right conduct. In recent times, the story has provided inspiration for films, novels, and in the late 1980s, a weekly television series watched by more than eighty million viewers.

The oldest and most influential surviving literary telling of the story of Ram is the Sanskrit epic called the Ramayana. Composed sometime during the first millennium bce, and consisting of some 50,000 lines in verse set in seven kands or books, it is attributed to the poet Valmiki, and is widely  regarded as the ‘original’. The influence of Valmiki’s Ramayana has been so profound that the title of his epic has come to denote the entire tradition, from oral and folk performances to literary texts and translations. Within this rich and varied tradition also lie the Ramayana songs from Telangana, the folk performances of the Ram Lila in northern India, the eleventh-century Tamil Iramavataram (‘The Incarnation of Ram’) by Kamban, and Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas.

Published across three volumes, this translation brings alive the story of Lord Ram like never before!

Did you know these facts about Guru Nanak?

The continuing reality of the First Sikh hinges on his historical memory, and though memories return to the past, they are vital to the making of the future. The Sikh community continues to be shaped and strengthened by Guru Nanak’s memories.

We are celebrating some of them by revisiting these facts from his life that you may not have known:

His mother, Tripta, was a pious woman, and his father, Kalyan Chand, worked as an accountant for the local Muslim landlord.


He was married to Sulakhni, and they had two sons, Sri Chand (b. 1494) and Lakhmi Das (b. 1497).


In his own lifetime, he appointed a successor, who was followed by eight more, culminating with the Tenth Guru, Gobind Singh (1666–1708)


The First Sikh’s compositions reveal his familiarity with the idioms and practices of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Yogis and Naths; importantly, they also relay his intention to reach out to a wide audience and relate closely with his diverse contemporaries.


His parents named him after their older daughter, Nanaki. When he grew up he went to live with his sister, Nanaki, and her husband, Jairam, in Sultanpur Lodi, to work for a Muslim employer.

Front Cover of The First Sikh
The First Sikh || Nikky Guninder Kaur Singh

In The First Sikh, Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh weaves together the various sources of the story of Guru Nanak with true interdisciplinary finesse—reading the earliest sources with aesthetic, philosophical, historical and textual sensitivity and skill. But important as this work is to the history of Indian spiritual traditions, do not mistake The First Sikh for a mere historical reassessment.

6 Things you Learn about Sikh Hymns from ‘Hymns of the Sikh Gurus’

The vision of Guru Nanak, the fifteenth-century founder of the Sikh faith, celebrated the oneness of the Divine that both dwells within and transcends the endless diversity of life. Guru Nanak’s immaculate vision inspired the rich and inclusive philosophy of Sikhism, which is reflected in this exquisite and highly acclaimed translation of poems,Hymns of the Sikh Gurus, from the religion’s most sacred texts: the Guru Granth Sahib, the principal sacred text of the Sikh religion, which consists of poems and hymns by Guru Nanak, his successors and Hindu and Islamic saints; and the Dasam Granth, a collection of devotional verses composed by the tenth Sikh Guru.

Here are 6 things you learn about Sikh hymns from this book:


JAP, respectfully known as Japji, was composed by Guru Nanak. It is the first prayer in the Guru Granth, and encapsulates the fundamental philosophical and ethical beliefs of the Sikhs.


SHABAD HAZARE, literally ‘Thousand Words’, is recited in the morning, along with the Jap. It is a combination of poetic pieces from different Gurus in different rags or melodic frameworks, which are therefore found in different sections of the Guru Granth.


JAAP (with a long a) is a poetic offering to the Ultimate Reality. It is the obeisance to the Transcendent One by the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, and is from the Dasam Granth (Book of the Tenth Guru).


SAVAYYE means quatrains. The ten Savayye that have been included in the Sikhs’ morning prayers are from Guru Gobind Singh’s Dasam Granth. They underscore devotion as the essence of religion.


RAHIRAS is part of the evening service. It consists of hymns by Guru Nanak (including, with a slight variation, stanza 27, Sodar, from the Jap), Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan.


ARDAS (‘Petition’) is the basic prayer of the Sikhs which evolved as an anonymous composition within the community of the eighteenth century. It is recited while standing up.

Poetry from this highly revered texts is heard daily and at rites of passage and celebration in Sikh homes and gurudwaras, carrying forward the Sikh belief in the oneness and equality of all humanity.Read Hymns of the Sikh Gurus to know more about these.

The Four Paws of Spiritual Success

When the Dalai Lama’s inner circle is set the task of providing His Holiness with a book that he can give his visitors, an unexpected volunteer stretches out her paws. The Dalai Lama’s Cat and The Four Paws of Spiritual Success summarises the four key elements of Tibetan Buddhism and, more importantly, communicates how it feels to be in the profoundly reassuring presence of His Holiness. And who better to do this than his much-loved feline?

Read on to know about what these four paws:

First Paw:
Without suffering there was no motivation to seek transcendence.

Our thoughts are like claws. They can be helpful when we turn our mind to things. Develop ideas. Set goals. Express emotions. But if we aren’t careful, these same thoughts can turn on us and become the sources of our greatest pain. They no longer help us take purposeful action, but instead become the cause of self- inflicted misery.

Second Paw:
Compassion has a calming effect on all those that it touched.

‘I am pleased she is offering love and compassion,’ the Dalai Lama continued. ‘Motivated by bodhicitta, this is one of the most important elements of our practice, is it not?’

Third Paw:
Wisdom eliminated the darkness of ignorance.

Wisdom is different. It involves the transmission of insights that have the capacity to change us.Only when we understand an insight deeply enough can it create change.At that point, knowledge becomes wisdom.’

Fourth Paw:
Everyone has the capacity for enlightenment.

 ‘Just to be born human is exceptional.’


If you have ever sought a summary of Tibetan Buddhist wisdom, albeit, from an unusual and whiskery source, The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Four Paws of Spiritual Success is just the book to get you purring!

So Many Gods! Richard Dawkins’ Quest into Faith and Spirituality

Author Richard Dawkins was fifteen when he stopped believing in God. Deeply impressed by the beauty and complexity of living things, he felt certain they must have had a designer. Learning about evolution changed his mind.

In Outgrowing God, Dawkins, as a bestselling science communicator, gives young and old readers the same opportunity to rethink the big questions.

Find an excerpt from the book below, where he introduces the historic and current frameworks of god and religion within which we need to rethink questions of faith, religion, and spirituality.


Do you believe in God?

Which god?

Thousands of gods have been worshipped throughout the world, throughout history. Polytheists believe in lots of gods all at the same time (theos is Greek for ‘god’ and poly is Greek for ‘many’). Wotan (or Odin) was the chief god of the Vikings. Other Viking gods were Baldr (god of beauty), Thor (the thunder god with his mighty hammer) and his daughter Throd. There were goddesses like Snotra (goddess of wisdom), Frigg (goddess of motherhood) and Ran (goddess of the sea).

The ancient Greeks and Romans were also polytheistic. Their gods, like the Viking ones, were very human-like, with powerful human lusts and emotions. The twelve Greek gods and goddesses are often paired with Roman equivalents who were thought to do the same jobs, such as Zeus (Roman Jupiter), king of the gods, with his thuderbolts; Hera, his wife (Juno); Poseidon (Neptune), god of the sea; Aphrodite (Venus), goddess of love; Hermes (Mercury), messenger of the gods, who flew on winged sandals; Dionysos (Bacchus), god of wine. Of the major religions that survive today, Hinduism is also polytheistic, with thousands of gods.

Countless Greeks and Romans thought their gods were real – prayed to them, sacrificed animals to them, thanked them for good fortune and blamed them when things went wrong. How do we know those ancient people weren’t right? Why does nobody believe in Zeus any more? We can’t know for sure, but most of us are confident enough to say we are ‘atheists’ with respect to those old gods (a ‘theist’ is somebody who believes in god(s) and an ‘atheist’ – a-theist, the ‘a’ meaning ‘not’ – is someone who doesn’t). Romans at one time said the early Christians were atheists because they didn’t believe in Jupiter or Neptune or any of that crowd. Nowadays we use the word for people who don’t believe in any gods at all.


Outgrowing God asks pertinent and highly relevant questions on life and human connection. Concise and provocative, it is a crucial guide to thinking for yourself.

Can Spirituality Take Us Towards True Liberation?

In his third book in the Spiritual Power series, author Gian Kumar delves deep into questions that bother us throughout our lives on the fundamental existence of God.  He unravels the complex issues that we remain entangled in till we become aware of the power of spiritual awakening. Gian Kumar writes, ‘To be spiritual is purely an internal relationship with oneself. It is how to make the mind consciously experience, realize and transform from one level to another.’

Spiritual Power: God and Beyond answers some of the most intricate and elusive questions known to man and in the process offers deeply meaningful life lessons that will enable you to unshackle your mind.

Read on for 5 lessons from the book that can change your perspective towards life:

Duality is the essence of life

An enlightened being has the power to rise above the eternal pursuit of desires and accept all that is good in life with the bad.

Can attitude alter our perception of life?

‘A positive attitude should be developed not by choice or selection in self-interest, but by an effortlessly balanced approach under awareness in any situation. A sense of appreciation settles, and you understand that the basic cause of all fears is nothing but your thoughts rising from your attachments and the means taken to attain those desires.’

Awareness is a weapon against negativity

The human mind is vulnerable to negative forces such as lust, greed, envy and jealousy that raise their ugly head in our relentless quest for more and better material pleasures.

Can these forces be vanquished?

Even strong efforts to think positively will only suppress those inner feelings of negativity, without eliminating them. Spirituality claims that you only need to become constantly aware and conscious of both positive and negative, and you shall effortlessly disengage from your negative urges.

Life affirming choices lead us to success

The imminent transition of the world of commerce, from a wholly material dimension towards a spiritually enriched corporate culture, can create a thriving work force.

How can we create a more evolved work space?

‘It is not your machines, stock, or computers that are your real assets; it is the people behind them who are the prime resource to drive them. It is your investment in social and environmental responsibility that enriches your material life, helping you to evolve and transform into wholeness, which in turn reflects your superiority over competitors.’

Life is all about this moment  

Seeking happiness in the future creates a distance from the ‘witnessing-self’ that lives and breathes in the present moment as the experiential mind. Looking inward to meet this self is a firm step outside the boundaries of the physical body.

Can we govern the wayward thoughts that disrupt our present?

 ‘If you wish to know how to be devoid of unnecessary thoughts, first get to know more about your own thoughts, because there is no such thing as a thoughtless mind. Awareness and consciousness both require thoughts to interpret their presence. Both insist that the mind be more in the present, rather than in the past or future.’

Change is essential to evolution

Blindly following outdated traditions can create a divide between man and God and in order to awaken to the essence of this relationship, man must find God, guru and the self within.

Can we awaken to our own God?

Nothing is fixed in the world. Everything changes, expands and evolves. We too need to evolve from antiquated religious scriptures and traditions into a more fluid and dynamic spiritual humanism.

Reflected in this deeply insightful and informative volume is author Gian Kumar’s approach to the inherent confusion and chaos underlying religion.  Spiritual Power: God and Beyond details a life defining move towards spirituality which not only offers a sanctuary of peace but also empowers the seeker to move away from the rigidity of archaic practices.

Read Spiritual PowerGod and Beyond to tap into the hidden power source within you!

4 Things that Distinguish “Dharma” from “Religion”

Chaturvedi Badrinath’s Dharma, edited by his daughter Tulsi Badrinath, is a comprehensive study on the concept of dharma. In this book, Badrinath actively dwells on the questions of Indian civilization, components of dharma and the contentious origin of the words ‘Hindu’ and ‘Hinduism’. Central to the perception of what substantiates dharma is the differentiation between ‘dharma’ and ‘religion’. The author iterates the error in the identification of the two terms that has come about over a span of time and emphasises that the two concepts have no point of intersection.

Here are a few pointers that illuminate how the question of religion is entirely different from that of dharma, in order to give you a head start into the book:


The author defines religion as a central belief system, where God is understood to be the creator of the universe and where there are scriptures and commandments illuminating the teachings of God. Dharma on the other hand, is unique in its understanding. It is the Indian understanding of Man and the way of the civilization that existed around him.


The terms ‘religion’ and ‘dharma’ are untranslatable as they both belong to different cultures. The concept of religion came with the Catholic missionaries of the sixteenth century whose minds were ingrained with the understanding that religion is a unified system of beliefs of a community. However, dharma carries with it, a comparatively freer flowing concept which is central to the Indian thought of exploring the identity of Man. The concept of a ‘Hindu’ religion and ‘Hinduism’ itself is a false one constructed by the western thought in an attempt to quantify the Indian way of life.


In the Atharva Veda, dharma is described as the “oldest customary order”. Unlike the concept of religion, dharma does not relate to a divine revelation or faith, it concerns itself with the questions of human life and the reality possessing it.


The concept of transcendence is quite central to the understanding of dharma as opposed to the understanding of religion. Following this principle, it is derived that dharma does not encourage the binaries of good and evil, natural and unnatural or even human or inhuman, as in the case of religion. All the binaries are transcended into the realisation that these are merely just experiences in the wholesome comprehension of human life.

Thought provoking, perceptive and challenging many long-held notions, Dharma is a must-read for anyone who is interested in India, the interaction of different religions over centuries in this land, and the underlying unity of all life.

A Guide To the Use of Colours and Their Symbolism- An Excerpt from ‘The Hidden Rainbow’

Kelly Dorji takes you on a spiritual journey through Buddhist symbolism to help find your inner peace. In our busy lives, The Hidden Rainbow is the perfect oasis.

Read an excerpt from the book below:



The main colours used in Buddhist art are blue, black, white,

red, green and yellow. With black as the exception, the other

five colours are representative of a specific Buddha in the

depiction of the five Wisdom Buddhas of the Vajrayana or

Tantric Tradition of Buddhism.


The colour B L U E is used to represent the Healing Buddha,

signifying calm, purity and healing.


W H I T E signifies purity and is the colour of knowledge

and longevity. The primordial Buddha ‘Vairocana’ is depicted

in white.


The Buddha Amitabha is shown in R E D, which symbolizes

life and holiness.


The Amoghasiddhi Buddha in G R E E N signifies

accomplishment and the elimination of envy.


Y E L L OW is the colour chosen to depict Ratnasambhava,

who is a symbol of balance and humility.


Through meditation, these colours may contribute to the

restorative process of the human condition by transforming human

delusions to original qualities as follows:

– Meditating on the colour blue can pacify aggression.

– White can transform ignorance into wisdom.

– Red turns attachment into selflessness and realization.

– Concentrating on green can eliminate jealousy.

– Meditation on the colour yellow can enrich the sense of self and

eliminate pride.


Keep calm and find your inner peace with The Hidden Rainbow.

The Belief of Oneness in Sikhism, Savayye: An Excerpt from ‘Hymns of the Sikh Gurus’

The vision of Guru Nanak, the fifteenth-century founder of the Sikh faith, celebrated the oneness of the Divine that both dwells within and transcends the endless diversity of life. Guru Nanak’s immaculate vision inspired the rich and inclusive philosophy of Sikhism, which is reflected in this exquisite and highly acclaimed translation of poems,Hymns of the Sikh Gurus, from the religion’s most sacred texts: the Guru Granth Sahib, the principal sacred text of the Sikh religion, which consists of poems and hymns by Guru Nanak, his successors and Hindu and Islamic saints; and the Dasam Granth, a collection of devotional verses composed by the tenth Sikh Guru.

Read an excerpt from this book this Gurpurab:



SAVAYYE means quatrains. The ten Savayye that have been included in the Sikhs’ morning prayers are from Guru Gobind Singh’s Dasam Granth (see p. 1). They underscore devotion as the essence of religion. They reject all forms of external worship and cast Guru Nanak’s message of internal love in beautiful undulating rhythm. These Savayye are also recited during the administration of amrita, the initiation ceremony of the Khalsa (the Sikh order).

There is One Being. Victory to the wonderful Guru.

The composition of the Tenth Guru.

My wonderful Guru, I recite the Savayye by Your grace.

I have seen hosts of purists and ascetics,
I have visited the homes of yogis and celibates.
Heroes and demons, practitioners of purity
and drinkers of ambrosia, hosts of saints
from countless religions, I have seen them all.
I have seen religions from all countries,
but I have yet to see followers of the Creator.
Without love for the Almighty,
without grace from the Almighty,
all practices are without a grain of worth.


Drunken elephants draped in gold,
first among giants in blazing colours,
Herds of horses, sprinting like gazelles,
swifter than the wind,
The people bow their heads to strong-armed rulers,
But what if they be such mighty owners;
at the last, they depart barefoot from the world.


Conquerors of the world march triumphant
to the beat of kettledrums.
Their herds of handsome elephants trumpet,
their royal steeds lustily neigh.

These rulers of past, future and present
can never be counted.
Without worshipping the supreme Sovereign,
all end in the house of death.

Pilgrimage, ablutions and charities, self-restraint
and countless rituals,
Study of Vedas, Puranas, Kateb and Qur’an,
of all scriptures from all times and places,
Ascetics subsisting on air, practising celibacy;
countless such have I seen and considered.
Without remembering the One, without love for the One,
all rulers and actions go to naught.


Inured and invincible warriors in shining armour,
determined to crush the enemy,
Proudly think, mountains may grow wings and fly away,
but never us.
They can shatter their enemy, they can wring their foe,
they can crush legions of drunken elephants,
But without the grace of the One,
they too must depart this world.


Countless heroes and doughty warriors
who stand fast against the blows of iron,
Who conquer lands and enemies,
who crush the pride of drunken elephants,
Who raze sturdy castles, who gain the world by words,
They are all beggars at the divine Portal,
the almighty Ruler is the only Giver.


Gods, demons, serpents, and ghosts contemplate
Your Name in all time—past, present, and future.

All creatures of land and sea,
You instantly create and destroy.
Their virtuous deeds are heartily celebrated,
their piles of misdeeds utterly eradicated.
The devout go happily in this world,
their enemies sink in shame.

Rulers of mortals and mighty elephants,
leaders of the three worlds,
Performers of endless rituals and charities,
winners of brides in countless swayamvara rites,
Like Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Sachi’s husband,
they all end at last in death.
They who touch the feet of the Transcendent One,
they alone are freed from the cycle of birth and death.


How futile to sit in contemplation,
like a stork with both eyes closed.
While trying to bathe in the seven seas,
we lose this world and the next.
How futile to sink in misdeeds,
we only waste away our life.
I tell the truth, do listen to me,
they alone who love, find the Beloved.


Some worship stones, some bear them on their heads;
some wear phalluses around their necks.
Some claim to see the One in the south;
some bow their heads to the west.
Some worship idols, some images of animals;
some run to worship the dead and their graves.
The entire world is lost in false ritual;
none knows the mystery of the Almighty One.

Poetry from these highly revered texts is heard daily and at rites of passage and celebration in Sikh homes and gurudwaras, carrying forward the Sikh belief in the oneness and equality of all humanity.Read Hymns of the Sikh Gurus to know more about these.

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