Bliss is celebrating and loving Life’s design!


In Life, everything is predetermined. And yet everything is up to you!

No, I am not contradicting myself. On the other hand I am merely summing up what Life really is. It is, essentially, what you experience between two ends of this paradox __ where you are born without your asking for it, you are given a lifetime without your inability to control anything that happens to you and at the same time, you have the opportunity, the choice, to live your Life fully, in bliss!

So, is there a destiny? A friend raised this question after the ghastly manner in which a 20-year-old girl died in an accident on Sunday. The news made headlines in the papers and left all of us shocked. The girl, with a gaggle of friends, was at a place which is more that 25 km from the accident spot. For no earthly reason, these girls, seem to have ventured out for a drive in the wee hours of Sunday morning and were on a highway on the outskirts of Chennai when the accident happened. All other occupants of the car survived the crash, except this one girl. So, someone who knew her and was shocked therefore beyond description said, ‘She literally walked into her death trap. It was destined.” That prompted my friend to ping me for a perspective.

Destiny is a subject that I too have often tried to understand. I don’t claim I have the answer that you may relate to. But I will share what I have learned through my Life and experiences__and what I find acceptable to me as an intelligent perspective!

Hard as it may appear to instantly believe, given our scientific grooming and our temperament for logical inquiry, our entire Life is in the hands of a Universal energy that is at the same time inscrutable and marvelous. At once compassionate and cruel. Totally understandable and yet completely incomprehensible. This is the energy that powers us all __ the breath that we take, and so does every living organism. From birth to death, of this lifetime in human form, we live to a pre-ordinance which we are completely unaware of. To that extent, it is all pre-determined. Even so, we do have the opportunity, the free will, to respond to Life as it happens to us.

Since none of us has seen God, in the manner in which each of our religions insist he or she exists, I would like to conclude that God, Fate, Destiny are excuses that mankind has invented to take the easy way out of remaining accountable in Life! We abdicate our responsibility towards our lives by dumping the blame on a God, an unknown Fate and an inscrutable Destiny. Osho, the Master, explains this well, in his trademark, in-the-face style: “There is no fate, no destiny. You are just trying to dump your responsibility on something that does not exist.  And because it does not exist, it cannot resist you; it cannot say, “Please don’t dump your responsibility on me!” God is silent, you can dump anything on him __ no resistance, because there is nobody to resist. Fate is again the same. You fail in love, you fail in other matters. It hurts that you have failed. You need some kind of ointment for your wounded heart. “Fate” is a beautiful ointment and freely available. You don’t have to pay for it. You can say, “What can I do?  Everything is decided by fate.” Success or failure, richness or poverty,  sickness or health, Life or death,  everything is in the hands of an unknown power called fate “I am doing my best,  still I go on failing. I am following all the moral principles preached to me, still I am poor. And I see all kinds of immoral people becoming richer,  getting ahead, becoming famous. It is all fate.” It gives you solace.  It gives you solace that you are not reaching your goals. It also gives you solace that if others have achieved success, there is nothing much in it, it is just decided by fate. So, on the one hand, you are saved from feeling inferior; on the other hand, your jealousy enjoys the idea that the successful person is successful only because fate has determined it that way: “It has nothing to do with him; he’s not superior to me.” God,  fate, destiny–they are all in the same category: throwing your responsibility onto something that does not exist.

My understanding is an extension of Osho’s point of view: If there is birth, there will be death. So, what’s so intelligent about calling someone’s death, a well-known, inevitable reality, his or her destiny? What’s the point in sulking and blaming your fate__when things go wrong, when we know for sure that things WILL go wrong? What is the point in calling a God, who you fear, unkind? Isn’t it obvious that you will fear something only when it does not meet your expectations in some manner __ being unkind being one of them!? I would, for the same reason, want to find someone who loves__not fears__God, call God unkind!

So, the moot point is Life will keep happening to you, the way it wants. You can accept it and be happy and content or you can resist it and sulk. This act of responding to your Life is what is free will all about. And that free will is within your control, even if your own Life is not!

Let’s take two examples of two exemplary women to understand how deployment of free will really impacts the quality of one’s Life:

Chitra Singh
Chitra Singh, the ghazal singer and maestro Jagjit Singh’s wife, came out of her self-imposed exile to pay tribute to her husband. She has been interviewed in the latest issue of People magazine. 22 years ago she had lost her son Vivek in a car crash, then her daughter Monica committed suicide in 2010 and Jagjit himself passed away in 2011. She admits to Dhaval Roy that she made repeated attempts at finding her voice again, but failed each time: “Life has been so kind and unkind to me at the same time that singing doesn’t come to me anymore. One’s voice is a very delicate mechanism. I just choked up and stopped singing. So, I did not leave music, it left me.” So, that is her response, employing her free will, her way, to living, to a predetermined Life design.

Shagufta Rafique
In the same issue of People, I encountered the amazing story of Shagufta Rafique, who once was a dancer in bars in Dubai and a prostitute, who has not become a screenwriter, dishing out hits like Raaz 3 and Murder 2, in Hindi cinema. She tells Divya Unny: ‘My stories are cheap and melodramatic like me. I am not a trained writer. A course cannot teach you how to tell stories. You need to have a flame burning within you which translates into something relatable. Life has taught me that. I have been a whore too long to erase that part of my Life. I have always dreamt of telling my story. And my own film will be the biggest test of my strength.” And, that, dear friends, is her response, employing her free will, her way, to living to a predetermined Life design.

Bliss is what happens when you choose, through your free will, to accept, celebrate and love, your Life’s design, or destiny. When you rue your design, blaming your fate, you will suffer. When you live your Life lovingly, you will meet God __ your God! And that God is bliss!

‘Ahimsa’ by you is the way forward for the world!



The way forward for the world is ahimsa. And it begins with you and me.

When something like the Connecticut killings happen, you stop for a brief while, shocked and numb. You mourn and then move on. Your own Life demands you attention and then the next big news story takes over. The candlelight vigils and the debates of gun control abate, while you return to the job of earning a living. It is not that you don’t relate to something that happened several thousand miles away, but you feel you are helpless.

This is precisely where you, me, all of us, must think differently. We are not helpless. We can do something. Beginning first with each of us.

That first step is understanding ‘ahimsa’. In his phenomenally insightful book, ‘Gandhi The Man’, published first in 1973, spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, invites us to consider ‘ahimsa’ in terms of our world family. He goes deep into Gandhi’s thinking and discovers that both Gandhi’s personal transformation, from man to Mahatma, and the key to his political strategy to oust the British from India were built on ‘ahimsa’. Easwaran writes: “’Ahimsa’ is not the crude thing it has been made to appear,” Gandhi tells us. “Not to hurt any living thing is no doubt a part of ‘ahimsa’. But it is its least expression. The principle of ‘ahimsa’ is hurt by every evil thought, by undue haste, by lying, by hatred, by wishing ill to anybody. It is also violated by our holding on to what the world needs.” So beautiful. Understanding ‘ahimsa’, therefore means, knowing that we must expunge every violent thought and emotion when it rises within us.

To do this, take the second step. Of using ‘ahimsa’ to further the flowering of inner awareness of continuously being loving – a state that each of us is capable of being in. Osho, the Master, says we are unable to be in that state forever, though each of us at various times in our lives will attain that state for a brief while, because we are busy holding on, possessing__things, opinions, negative emotions and debilitating memories of past hurts! Says Osho, “The more you possess, the less you can love. And love is the door. Or, the less you can love, the more you start possessing.” So, the trick really is to let go of anything which is a violent thought. For instance, someone betrays you and you want to get even. Every living moment of your becomes violent because your thoughts are full of anger, revenge, hurt and suffering. ‘Ahimsa’ gives you the ability to forgive, to let go and to become love.

The third step is to take your love and share your love with everyone you connect with. Which goes beyond your immediate family, your immediate circle of friends, your immediate community. Be love and loving to everyone you see, meet, speak to __ at work, on the metro, in the line at the grocers. To everyone, everywhere. When each of us can be this way, be love and be loving, we will be able to change the world too. From possessing to letting go. From hatred to love. From anger to peace.

Enforcing gun control laws and hanging terrorists may only address the problem or perhaps just its symptoms. Only love, and a world that is loving, can address what causes people, and therefore the world, to go violent.  Speaking to students at Danbury, Connecticut, a few weeks ago, the venerable Dalai Lama delivered precisely the same message. “Prayer and meditation without action is not enough to bring peace to a hurting world. Happiness very much depends on inner peace. Inner peace very much depends on happiness. And change in the world begins with each person. “Who should start” to bring peace to the world? The “individual person” … not religious leaders, not the United Nations, but each of us,” he said. “Then, from one person to 10 persons, 100 persons, 1,000. So I think any sort of movement among humanity … must start from the individual.”

Simply, therefore, if the Connecticut killings shocked you too, then let’s go do something about it. Through understanding and practicing ‘ahimsa’, let’s nail every violent thought that may arise in us. Through doing that consistently, let us allow our true loving self to flower from within. And let that love bathe our world in a new light!

Relating is more important than relationships!


Relating is more important than relationships. The day people understand this there will really, seriously, be no problem between people.
What a relationship does is to make anything a quid pro quo. There is an unstated contractual arrangement. So then it becomes business.
This is why people break up, marriages fail and families suffer. Because a business arrangement has failed.
What does the business arrangement say? That I will be faithful as long as you are faithful. If you breach my set code of conduct, my terms, then it is off. Love between people cannot be conditional. An overwhelming proportion of marriages break up because the spouse “strayed” in the relationship! But that assessment of love is based on passion and not compassion. A physical yearning to try out a different partner is only an expression of a bodily urge. Sex is just pure passion. But love is about compassion. It is perfectly possible to satiate a physical urge and still be relating compassionately to another. But that is not the way the world sees it.
Society loves link-ups, extra-marital affairs and juicy tales of passion. The General Petraeus scandal or the Monica Lewinsky one titillates public sensibilities. People love hearing of others’ exploits. So the whole theory of relationships has acquired an unwarranted ring of morality to it! For no earthly reason! Judgments are passed and people are ostracized.
Nehru and Edwina
There’s still so much talk about the interest that former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had in Edwina Mountbatten (the wife of British India’s last Viceroy Lord Mountbatten). Edwina Mountbatten enjoyed a close and warm relationship with Jawaharlal Nehru but it was spiritual and intellectual, not a sexual one, says the lady’s daughter Pamela Hicks. Excerpts from her just released book Daughter of Empire published in Friday’s Daily Mail say Lord Mountbatten was aware of his wife’s fondness for Nehru but did not interfere. Edwina fell madly in love with the country and with Pandit Nehru, the first Prime Minister after Indian independence, says Hicks, now 83. From the start, there was a profound connection between them, she said. “She found in Panditji the companionship and equality of spirit and intellect that she craved. Each helped overcome loneliness in the other.”
That’s what relating is all about. Mountbatten’s decision to not interfere is commendable. It is that maturity which we need to bring into our lives and associations with people. Seriously, if they did have a physical dimension to their affair, so what? It is between two adults. Why judge their desire to explore and enjoy each other privately?
Osho, the Master, says,”Relationship means something complete, finished, closed. Love is never a relationship; love is relating. It is always a river, flowing, unending. Love knows no full stop. It is an ongoing phenomenon. Lovers end, love continues. It is a continuum. It is a verb, not a noun. And why do we reduce the beauty of relating to a relationship?”.
Think about it. If you are having pain in a relationship__any relationship: brother-sister, boss-subordinate, husband-wife, lovers, neighbors, parent-child__then the simple truth is that YOU BOTH, whoever you may be, have stopped relating to each other! If you want to experience joy, then the only way you can have that happen between two people is when they relate to each other. So, in which context in your Life are you finding the river of love flowing and in which one are you finding the relationship stagnating? You know what you must do. Only when you do that, will you find the happiness that you seek!