Friday, April 30, 2021

Inherited ‘Sankalpa’


My father was on deathbed. He wanted to spend his last moments at home with family members rather than looking at conventional ceiling of Intensive Care Unit of any reputed hospital. Keeping his wish in mind, my doc brother converted his room into ICU with all the necessary instruments and equipment. Patient monitor, ventilator and you name it and it was there!

Slowly his body was degenerating organ by organ. It was painful to see him going bit by bit. With our moist eyes, my brother and I who were standing beside his bed on either side were gently caressing his hands to soothe him. We were trying hard not to cry in front of him. The whole environment was gloomy. All of a sudden, my mother who was tenderly rubbing his feet told him, “You have distributed all your wealth and property between your children. Also make them heir of your ‘Sankalpa’!”

My brother and I were perplexed. 

She started explaining, “After retirement as an agriculture scientist, your father took a vow to plant 1000 trees per year. And you both must know how hard he was working for this noble cause! He had searched along the length and breadth of the semi arid area of North West India- nurseries, fields and forests to find the best varieties of trees. The brackish underground water had made the task harder as a few varieties of trees could only withstand that high amount of salinity. The harsh weather in both summer and winter would kill most of the saplings within one year of plantation. Even on withstanding these harsh conditions, many trees die because of termite attacks. The crickets, insects and nematodes attacks causes’ stunned growth and sometimes they even destroy the plant when the attack is severe. Even after such a high mortality rate of young trees that leads to frustration, he is determined and consistence towards his target. As you, both know he is unstoppable! No obstacle could compel him to quit from doing what he wishes to do.”  

Saddened eyes of my father now had a spark!

“Should we plant flowering or fruiting trees?” I asked controlling my tears.

Each species of trees in an ecosystem has a specific niche—a role to play. We all know, trees nourish soil, help in water conservation, ease carbon sequestration, improve biodiversity, and increase the number of pollinators and natural pest predators like birds. However, every tree has its own unique feature as peepal tree provides more oxygen or dry leaves of neem tree acts as organic pest controller, twisted stem of pelu tree acts as windbreaker, nodules present in khejadi roots enriches the soil with nitrogen or jungli beer provides food to many small sized birds.” She showered all her knowledge, accumulated from editing his agri-based research papers, presentations and books.

All ears were on her.

She continued,“Repeated irrigation of brackish water and frequent use of fertilizers has turned the fertile land into barren. Therefore, it will be better to go for native trees like babul, pelu, kher, frans, neem, mahaneem/ bakaan, khejadi, papdi, sahajan, karanj, shireesh, jungle jalebi etc. The locally indigenous trees can withstand scanty rainfall as well as foggy and misty weather. They are pest and disease resistant therefore they grow faster than ornamental trees. Not only their shade facilitates moisture conservation but also nutrient rich litter of dry leaves of these trees revitalises the soil each season which will help exotic trees to grow subsequently.”

It was his words from her mouth.

“Your father love flowering trees like gulmohar, amaltas, neeli gulmohar, bottle brush, balam khera as they all bloom in summers when they are leafless or have less leaves, which make flowers more conspicuous for pollinators and a beautiful magnificent site for us! Fruiting trees like bel, amala, imali, lehsuaa, toot, shahtoot, kajoor, kaith, cheeku and some citrus can be planted after checking the pH of soil. Nevertheless, remember one thing that does not pluck the fruits of any tree in the first fruiting season. Give them back to nature. Leave them for bulbul, myna and parrots.”

He nodded.

“As the rainfall is scanty near about 50 cm each year and all of it in almost one or two months of monsoon, you can not go for more varieties in ornamental trees however kachnar, devils tree, palm, kadamb and silver oak will survive.”

He held our hands firmly, put a light pressure and ordered, “Thousand trees every monsoon.”

His eyes were twinkling.

It was time to check his oxygen levels so my brother put the oximeter on his index finger.

We began to chant his favourite mantra.


After his demise, I planted more than 1000 trees. Because of drought like conditions and carelessness of my employee who did not bother to water, resulted in only 2% survival rate. My time, energy and money were wasted. My heart cried and a part of me died. Then, I decided to modify my ‘sankalpa’ to not only just plant trees but to nurture them until they become self sustainable.

From the past four years, I have invested my good amount of funds on planting, tending, watering, weeding and pruning of trees. Previous year, because of extreme shortage of funds, I had to sell my gold jewellery to fulfil my inherited ‘Sankalpa’.

Glittering of gold would not satisfy me, what a blooming of bottlebrush tree could!


Pic : A young babul tree with nest as thorny branches protect it from predators like cats, shikaras and snakes.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Feed others before you feed yourself


My mantra of life is to feed others before I feed myself. It is my way to express gratitude to nature for blessing me with delicious and nutritive food. It has been near about more than twenty years that I eat something only after I have feed someone else. Earlier my rules were very strict that I even did not drink water before feeding other living creature. Like many other kind heart people, it is my routine to feed cows, stray dogs and birds in the morning.

Down the memory lane, when I was in my mid-twenties, I was staying with my family at guesthouse in PUSA institute, Delhi. Instead of driving, my brother and I decided to go for a morning walk. I was holding a small jhola (bag) containing food items for cow, dog and birds. PUSA institute has huge shady and flowery trees of numerous varieties. On them, plenty of birds of all kinds lived. Under a shady tree, on a not so smooth slab I put some rice grains for feathered friends.

We walked and talked. He about the books, he had read and I about the movies that I had watched. He about the friends and I about the relatives. He about the dreams and I about the Truth.

He pointed towards a small black dog that was sniffing something in the heap of dry leaves. I went closed to it and fed it with biscuits. It was so hungry, it wanted more but there were no more biscuits left in the jhola. I instructed, “Enough for today. Excess of biscuits is harmful for health.”

The sun rose above the horizon and became brighter and warmer. We strolled on the road that seemed endless. Although we were, a bit tired as we had been walking for more than two hours but there was no place to sit and take rest. Therefore, we keep moving.

We reached the end of PUSA institute boundary, crossed the main road and entered the streets of nearby colony most probably it was Inderpuri. In search of a cow, we were roaming from one lane to another. My brother, who started feeling hungry by this time, noticed a halwai preparing hot bread pakodas. He wanted to have some but did not want to have it alone. Reluctantly he strolled a few more feet, noticed a calf at the far end of a narrow street.

He pleaded, “Di, ab isse se kam chal lo!” (Didi, now, feed this poor creature!)

Thinking if calf was here, so its mother would also be nearby, I moved further alone. Before I could reach it, I saw two cows standing in the side lane.

On returning, I saw him waiting for me holding a huge brown paper bag containing something fried and a Bisleri water bottle.

I took three sips of cold water to quench my thirst. We both started back munching steaming hot bread pakodas. I thanked nature for blessing me with delicious breakfast and a caring brother!

Pic : I am feeding a baby nilgai. :)

Monday, April 19, 2021

Thank you email to a stranger

Surf! Surf!! Surf!!!

As soon as I got time, I found myself searching internet with one single topic in my mind ‘Experiences in meditation’. I typed different related words in various search engines to explore a wider circle. After hours and hours of searching, what I got was irrelevant and junk information only.


After reading a book by Swami Sivananda, I made a firm decision that I wanted to awaken my Kundalini Energy. I tried a specific pranayama mentioned there to wake up the sleeping coiled serpent. Less than 10 times, I performed and I could feel the sensations in my Muladhara Chakra. Unbelievable but true!


The energy was moving, which I could feel while doing meditation or just before sleeping. It was behaving as a wild energy travelling across various body parts with different intensities. It was driving me crazy! To search out the reason for this bewilderment, I was searching net as the books I had didn’t contain much information about it.


It was 2013, my search continued until one day I landed on a site, which explained it so well. According to that, Kriyas are involuntary body movements, which happen after Kundalini Awakening. The spontaneous movements are the result of the Prana, the intense energy moving through 72,000 Nadis cleaning our spiritual and physiological blocks. They are integral part of Kundalini Yoga and they are different during different phases of spiritual growth. There are 125,000 types of spiritual experiences. The sole purpose of these experiences is the cleaning of our physical and subtle body. In short, we can call them ‘Broom’. (On the same topic, I watched Om Swamiji videos many years later here and here)

On subscribing, I received a newsletter from that site on 25th May, 2013. I wrote back though not sure for a human reply, “Thanks for creating such an informative website for beginners!

Hurray! I received ‘Thanks’.

Now, I wrote a detailed letter. I thanked him sincerely for clarifying my doubts, removing fear of future and showing me the right path. After exchange of few emails, he shared some useful resources for a seeker who were in search of God Realization.

1.      Yahoo group of Sivananda daily teachings (now inactive).

2.      Swami Anubhavanada who shares excellent practical view of life. Guru Shopping 1 of 6 @ Melb 2012 - YouTube

3.      OmSwami who writes blogs from his Ashram in Himachal Pradesh…wonderful thoughts: (now ) His view of what is God - What is God? - YouTube

I am sure there are many more. But as long as you read the above they will keep you on track to the Divine.

In Oct, 2020 there was a Black Lotus Task to express gratitude verbally or through email. I emailed him.

Thankyou for introducing Om Swamiji's teachings to me in 2013. I had a personal meeting with him in Nov, 2018 and June, 2019. He changed my life and helped me in becoming calmer and kinder. I have subscribed his teaching on and Black Lotus App. Hope you are good. 

He replied, “GREAT! I am happy about it. Thanks.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Stern faced woman

“She does so much charity- feeding stray dogs; provide water for birds and small animals but there is no happiness on her face. I never noticed her smiling!” I told my yoga students when I saw that stern faced woman passing through the pavement.

My students were fonder of gossiping than yoga after all they were like their teacher. :)

One elderly student narrated her story, “Many years back her husband accidentally fell in the water tank situated in their farm house. It was a deep tank, full of water. It was almost impossible to come out of that tank. Somehow, he came out. God saved him and he decided to devote his rest of life to God. He took sanyasa and constructed an ashram in the farmhouse. Now he lived there and never visited the city. She raised her children alone who were young at that time although they were financially sound but you know how hard it is being a single mother. Her children are now well settled. To keep a balance, half month she stayed with her children and other half in the ashram.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

When I became divine for a day ....... :)


It was Thursday, my fast day! Around 7:45am, I had my breakfast which include mostly fruits and dry fruits with my eyes glued on Om Swamiji’s Hindi discourse ‘Attainment of Siddhis Part -3’. I was chewing and swallowing food too slowly and of course somewhat mindfully. I was feeling that I was doing a yagya!


 At 12:15 pm, it was papaya time! On my fast days, most of the time I consume papaya in lunch. It is delicious and loaded with nutrients. Its vibrant ochre yellow colour made my dull fast plate attractive. Beside it, roasted channa, sweet samak, sautéed makhanas, apple, grapes, orange and a bowl full of aloo curd (without spices) were there. My philosophy of life is ‘Jindagi mein kuch achchhaa ho ya na ho per khanna badiya hona chahiye.’ (Whether life blessed with anything decent or not but food should always be pleasing!)  


I could not have my meals without watching cartoon or movie clippings but I had replaced this bad habit with watching YouTube videos and discourses by Om Swamiji. I watched and I ate, I ate and I watched. Once again, I was watching ‘Attainment of Siddhis Part-3’ during my lunchtime. My speed of consuming regular meals in 15 minutes slowed down to 30 minutes. It was the sweet taste of papaya that I was enjoying or relishing my meal like a God or both.


My third meal was also as if I was doing my trikal sandhya. I sipped mango shake little by little as if I was feeding divine in me very gently and patiently.


There was one person in my each circle – outer and inner who had given me good amount of tension and stress, with the result of that my mind on the slightest thought of theirs kept throwing arrows of negativity at them. They hurt me and I was hurting them with my powerful thoughts. Next day, it was different! I was divine. I was God. I felt no negativity for them instead the awakened divine in me wished to thank them for giving me so much stress and tension. If I were never so much stressed, I would have never meditated so hard. The continuous stress in my outer and inner circle mostly from them forced me to meditate incessant to calm my mind. I meditated. I meditated more. I had glimpse of MA! :)


The whole day I kept expressing my gratitude to both of them for being in my life! :)


I decided to make it my practice to eat mindfully and feel divine while having meals. However, that experience never repeated. Oh! That must be papaya magic!