Rural Indian culture

Shashikant Dhotre a humble and persevering young man whose passion for art made him into an artist whose paintings are awe inspiring. He comes from a remote village from Maharashtra State from a family of meager means. A childhood full of challenges he could afford to draw only with black paper and colored pencils. Yet his intensity and dedication to art bore fruit. His paintings are now considered so realistic and surreal and known to move people to tears. In his short journey his art has received acclaim and he has won several laurels including the coveted Indian Royal Academy and the Bombay Art Society awards.

I am sharing a few of his paintings which capture stunning cultural nuances of the simple village folk in their typical rural setting. The expressions of women and the finer details of their traditional dress are sheer magic.

Thanks to my friend TK who shared these painting.









For more details on Mr. Dhotre and his amazing story a link from Times of India is given below:



Namaste dear friends



MY PRAYER – A guest post

Hi folks Surinder Bonsor has graciously presented this guest presentation to share with you my friends. Surinder is a war veteran and enjoys a socially active life with keen a interest in philosophy and spirituality”. His words “This poem, flowing from the heart, seems to be a universal voice as we grow old and near our end. All souls, though unaware, want to meet their Real Creator, the Eternal Bliss.”

My Prayer

My Prayer

AS I grow old and old,
I want to behold,
THAT power that has a hold upon the young and old;
And holds together vast spaces, suns and all,
In perfect harmony,
To the wondrous amusement of all,
His creations big and small and infinite,
Go round and round in time and space with His command,
Not knowing the One behind this all.

AS I grow old and old,
I wonder what brought me here upon the firmament,
To toil and sweat for food and happiness.
My hunger was quenched with ease,
But happiness was not seen upon the land.
I struggled to find peace and happiness all through life,
But found suffering, pain and war.
Greed of man has snatched the Happiness away.
Each satisfaction brought delight, though pain followed in its way.
I know not what to do, to please my Soul,
In search for eternal Bliss and Happiness?

AS I grow old and old,
I realize this world is not what I want!
It is only a dance of light, energy and thoughts,
Moving around in forms, colours and sound,
To the delight of many and pain to victims of fate.
What use to toil when nothing I can take;
Leaving behind the Body here to merge in original state!
Dust to dust is the tale.

AS I grow old and old,
It dawns upon me what a fool I was!
The Body was given me to return home,
But I wasted it chasing the world of dreams.
Fleeting pleasures I got in plenty,
And thus got lost in the snare of desires, anger and greed
That bound me to the grave.
Not knowing, Real Happiness is not in the chase,
I gave away actions divine that please my Soul.

AS I grow old and old,
Many friends and associations I lose,
Tossed about, like driftwood, upon the turbulent river of life,
Drifting together for a while, we part to be seen no more.
What use it was to attach to things and beings,                        
That belonged not to me and taken away in a sway!
I came and leave without attachments,
That sure, is the way!

As I grow old and old,
I begin to realize, life is a game to play,
To play it well is all that I can do.
To win or lose is not to be thought about,
To the hidden Force within, I surrender,
And shoot the arrow towards my Goal.
That takes me to the Beholden!

Journey inwards!


I often ask myself what does Rumi mean by inward journey? Where is the destination? How far away is it? Is it the same for everyone?

I am sure our destination may not necessarily be somewhere high-up in the Himalayas nor in faraway ashrams. According to to Jaggi Sadhguru the revered spiritual leader “to make a journey you need a distance. What is the distance between you and yourself? How long would it take to make this journey? The word journey is used more as a device, otherwise people will just sit around …!”

So the destination has to be within our Being and one of the ways inwards can be through our breath. Mindful breathing exercises or Pranayama when practiced regularly the negative thoughts pass away and we slip into the present moment effortlessly. Yet I am sure there are several different paths though the destination is the same – a happy and joyful state of mind.

Dear friends do please share your thoughts and of course have a lovely day! :)



Beyond Mind

For most of us Liberation would mean becoming free from negative thinking, ego, anxiety, despair and unhappiness. To be free from the continuous chatter and unproductive thinking Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj tells us to find solace beyond the mind. But how does one become free from the conflicting thoughts in our mind? Its almost as if the mind connives with thoughts of our past and of future and keep us in a constant state of fear and uncertainty. Yet we do have our moments of joy, beauty, creativity and bliss though such moments may be few and rare.

Such deep happiness cannot be from the mind but from a source which is found in simple virtues such as nature, spontaneity, awareness, humour, simplicity, humility, empathy creativity, music and the arts and so on. I request you my friends to share your own experience. How do you detach yourselves from the mind, get centered and enjoy moments in peace and contentedness?

Namaste friends


The mythical Brahma Kamal blooms again!

I was thrilled to receive some exciting news from my good friend Brig. Chow a nature lover par excellence. In his own words “Monsoons are an exciting period for many reasons; one of them, for people like me, is the thrilling prospect of seeing the Brahma Kamals in their full glory. Well it was a full Moon on the 1st of July and dot at 9 at night we had a bonanza of these absolutely mesmerizing flowers, seven of them in a magnificent and literally blinding show of Natures charisma”.

Watching the Brahma Kamal bloom is sheer ecstasy more so as it only happens in the stillness of a dark night when nothing else is visible. And therefore it becomes easy to relate the magical effect of the Brahma Kamal’s bloom to the Divine! No wonder why a belief exists that anyone who sees the bloom of this mythical flower is blessed and will have all his or her wishes fulfilled. A Hindi quote I read seemed to convey this divine experience very well. Unfortunately it’s not easy for me to capture the essence of the quote in an English translation. So I request and invite some of my Hindi reader friends to make an attempt which I’d love to share with all our readers.

Well friends our blogger friend Raj (who blogs at has been kind enough to provide an excellent translation of the Hindi quote: Let me translate your Hindi couplet for you: “Who says Almighty is not visible? It is He who can be seen when everything else is invisible.,.”, very much like Brahma Kamal blooming in the dark, if we may say so…”!

Just bloomed

Just bloomed

Chow1 Though this rare phenomenon lasts only for a few hours for one night, it fills the home and heart of the faithful gardener with an abundance of joy and happiness. And as such Edna St. Vincent Millay quote which is also a favorite of Brig. Chow is perfect ~

“My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night, But Ah my friends and Oh my foes, it gives a lovely light”!

Cheers my dear friends :)

The magic of the Himalayas

The Himalayan range is home to over a hundred of the planet’s highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest. The mighty Himalayas command awe and reverence with many believing its magnificence to be a manifestation of the Supreme. No wonder the Himalayas have a deep spiritual ethos where many seekers, Rishis and Buddhist monks became enlightened after years of meditative practice.

Chaukori is a tiny hill station in the Pithoragarh district located in the lofty peaks of the western Himalayan Range in India. Chaukori’s offers a spectacular and panoramic views of snowy peaks of shimmering silver and mesmerizing sunsets and sunrises, verdant valleys and thick forests of pine and oak trees.

A good friend has shared some spectacular glimpses of the Himalayas as viewed from Chaukori and its neighboring points. Please do enjoy :)

Morning Glory

Morning Glory


The sentinel

Shimmering silver


An ocean of clouds

An ocean of clouds


View from Chaukori

Pine view


Chaukori 5jpg

Call of the Himalaya



The Sentinel

The Sentinel


Indian summer and the Golden Shower

“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven”! ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Come summer with temperatures soaring above 40 degree Celsius the “Golden Shower Tree” or the Amaltas dares the adverse conditions to bloom. The effect of the entire tree cloaked in yellow flowers delicately hanging downwards chandelier like pendants is sheer magic.

The rich yellow and golden flowers being showered from the tree top is truly a sight for the Gods. Thus inspiring Gerard Manley Hopkins to say ~ “The world is charged with the grandeur of God”

3 Wishing you my friends a bright sunshine and plenty of joy.

Cheers :)

Too busy for Meditation?

Even in the early times of St. Francis de Sales (August 16, 1567 – December 28, 1622) a peaceful and stress-free mind was given highest importance. His apt quote reveals a wisdom which is even more relevant to us in today’s hectic times.


In our world today stress hovers around us menacingly playing havoc into our mind. But its not only the external conditions which lowers our immunity but also the internal conditions such as ego, jealousy, attachment and possessiveness. We cannot always control the external conditions but the internal conditions can be made free from agitation and stress. Its all very well to say we need to remove our anger, and anxiety and let go. But the slippery mind quickly over-powers our resolutions and regains control to become our master instead of our servant.

The answer lies in regular Meditation. No matter which type of meditation we need to pick up the ones which suit us best depending on our age and physical limitations. Meditation must also include Pranayama or slow deep breathing exercises under a trained teacher. Yoga is a complementary practice which prepares our body to sit in proper postures for enhancing the benefits of meditation.

However busy we may be but to enjoy this beautiful life joyously and with enthusiasm lets listen to the advice of St. Francis de Sales and meditate. Our emotional stability will improve, anxiety will decrease and health will improve, creativity and clarity will increase, problems become smaller and above all the mind will become peaceful. But of course the proof is in the pudding.

Its only with regular practice that we will start feeling a sense of well-being and reach the state where we cannot imagine life without meditation.  So come lets all take a little time out to meditate daily and enjoy the bliss!





Yes that’s Confidence

A beautiful way to develop confidence is to practice humility. No person can always be right. To try and justify our actions knowing well we erred will make us feel guilty and uneasy. So why not admit the mistake and enjoy the feeling of mental relief? Owning responsibility will raise our esteem in the eyes of others. It also opens our minds to learning as people around us feel free to offer their suggestions and new and better solutions will emerge.


So lets we as teachers, leaders, friends and parents have no pretenses of being infallible by remembering Erza T. Benson’s words ~“Pride is concerned with who is right and Humility is concerned with what is right”!

Have a lovely weekend dear friends and lets all keep smiling :)


Power in Patience

“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world” ~ Helen Keller


A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, “I am devoted to studying your martial system. How long will it take me to master it?”

The teacher’s reply was casual, “Ten years”.

Impatiently, the student answered, “But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice every day, ten or more hours a day if I have to. How long will it take then”?

The teacher thought for a moment, “20 years”.

What’s the lesson in it for us?

The Kung Fu Master has conveyed a powerful message in a such a simple way to the warrior. In Hindi language Patience means धैर्य  (Dhairya) and Dhairya implies courage – it is patience in the face of danger. Even in our daily routine we get impatient and anxious that the outcome may not be as we want it to be. This means we do not have trust in the universal order of things to accept in grace the outcome. And so we take preemptive hurried action often resulting in a lesser result or failure.

Most of our educational and training institutions of learning and parents too miss out on teaching the virtues of patience and courage to students. Perhaps the teachers themselves are not aware of the intangible power of these virtues and believe in quick-fix short-term solutions. In corporate or in our personal life we are in a race to aggressively achieve goals often without a pause ~ to breathe and think. Those familiar with yoga will know all movements are gradual and graceful and yet they bring about a harmonious balance between mind and body.

In oriental philosophy too the sage Lao Tsu taught that all straining, all striving are not only vain but counterproductive. It does not literally mean to do nothing, but to discern with a quiet mind and follow the natural forces to follow and shape the flow of events and not to pit oneself against the natural order of things.

I am sure the student above would have bowed in humility and gratitude to the Master for this beautiful lesson.

 In Ernest Hemingway’s words ~ “Courage is grace under pressure”!
Have a lovely day dear friends :)