Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Back to the roots

I am back from a trip to India. So there has been a huge gap in posting on my blog. My last post... made yesterday was in Marathi (my mothertongue). It seems that now I can post in Marathi... or devanagari script using unicode compatible fonts! I am thinking of starting another blog to post exlusively in Marathi. trip to India was really amazing. We were there for 2 months. We went around a lot... ate a lot of mangoes... enjoyed(!) the scorching summer... enjoyed a little bit of the monsoon (we got back before it REALLY poured and caused all the flooding and damage in Mumbai and other areas). It was refreshing to meet family and friends after almost two and a half years.

My trip was more important because it gave me direction in a way!! I have posted my thoughts on how I want to get organized better and improve my productivity and efficiency and all that schmear. I realized during and after my trip that the best way to do that was to "go back to the roots". I realized that no amount of philosophy, techniques, seven habits (or more)... can work for me unless the philosophy, the techniques, the WAY comes from my roots... things with which I grew up... things which I can relate to... things which had an influence on me.

I grew up in a middleclass Marathi brahmin family in a small town - Kirloskarwadi. When I was in 3rd grade... I had my Upanayan Sanskar - a ritual which was originally intended to begin the student life with the Guru (teacher). After that my grandfather taught me the Sandhya-vandan (a prayer from the Rigveda). I used to perform the Sandhya-vandan pretty regularly till I was in 8th or 9th grade. I didn't know the meaning of the sanskrit prayer... but I used to do it faithfully.

My father is very active in the Swadhyaya movement started by Pandurang Shastri Athavale. (more about Swadhyaya sometime else...) When I went back this time I read a few inspiring books by Pandurang Shastri Athavale. I also went with my father to visit the small villages of Male and Disli is Mulshi Taluka in Pune. My father goes to these villages to visit the people, learn about their life, be a part of them and then give them the message of swadhyaya. I saw how people have been transformed by a simple message of selfhelp. All this had a fairly big impact on me. I decided to try it out for myself... starting with Trikaal Sandhya (or prayers three times a day).

So far I have found that it helps... it is helping me in many different ways. How? Why? I do not fully understand. But I feel that it definitely has got something to do with my roots. The things that I have learned as a child... not in the school... but informally... from my grandfather, from my mother... all of them have come from the Indian philosophy. Their origins were in the various philosophies, mythologies, stories and traditions that form the core of what is popularly known as Hindu religion (which in my opinion is not really a religion... its more like a way of life... but more about it later sometime). The problems I was facing needed self-help and the best inspiration for self-help 'for me' (and I qualify it this way because I don't think this is true for everyone) is my own roots... the philosophy of my ancestors.

Since then I have read a lot. Primarily I read books by Pandurang shastri Athavale. I always liked reading books by Swami Vivekananda. I read some more of his works. Most important of all... I read the complete Bhagwad Geeta. I have found a lot of help, inspiration and direction from these readings. The effect that these have had in such a small time have deepened my belief that the answer to my questions lies in my roots...

There is a lot that I still need to learn... but I feel that I have taken the right road... the road back to my roots.

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Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that you have started doing Trikal Sandhya, it is way of saying thank you to GOD. We do it when we wake up, before eating food and before we go to bed and there are good reasons behind it. There are lot of things in our culture that we are not aware of. Questions like why we need temples, what are reasons behind idol worship, what is meaning of yagna etc.. need to be answered. Swadhyay can definately help you. I have similar background as you. I started out reading Swami Vivekananda and then came in touch with Swadhyay. In swadhyay you can practice Philosophy, it wont just stay in books.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of Swadhyay kendras and Swadhyay folks in USA. If you need to get in touch with Swadhyay in USA, send email to