Joy of Receiving 

22 10 2015

Somehow we have come to belive that the greatest act is the ‘act of giving’. We celebrate and glorify such ‘acts’, we legislate such ‘acts’ … We create modern fests like ‘joy of giving’. 

All that we have is a gathering of – food, air, sun & memory. Every bit of that which we ‘have’ has come to us. Meaning we are ‘giving’ that which we have merely gathered. Given this reality, isn’t it obscene to celebrate our ‘acts of giving’; coz what we can give away, of whatever magnitude, will always be miniscule in comparison to the receipts. 
We are fortunate that in this culture, in India , we have festivals n rituals that remind us of the above fact. And prompts us to show gratefulness and reverance towards all that one is receiving. A human being is a sum total of receipts from cosmos. And today, on #Vijayadashmi we celebrate the Receipts. A day that asks us to experience the JOY OF RECEIVING. 
And hence in this culture, we decorate and bow down, even to the inanimate tools and objects that contribute towards our life. Farmers worship farm tools, an entrepreneur worships the machines, an armyman worships his weaponry so on and so forth. The sheer joy of receiving. 
We should also not forget that the ultimate machine we have is the body and mind; lets celebrate and feel the JOY OF RECEIVING.
Now if we are receiving, some source is giving. And that source is existence itself. And so if we humans are a piece of existence than ‘giving’ has to be looked at as our nature and not as an ‘act’ to perform. The realisation of the immensity of receipts when leads to ‘giving’ , it ceases to be an ‘act’ and starts becoming your nature. That is the ultimate. 
Existence doesnt take ‘pride’ when it ‘gives’ us air to breathe; it just gives, its her nature. And thats how we should be. 
#dussera #vijayadashmi #gyanparab #bharat

Kadach.Shayad.Maybe – A soliloquy of despair : announcing the bilingual music video created for the World Without Rape Initiative.

14 01 2015

kadach poster2

My Dearest well wisher,

It is said that pain is the seed from which empathy germinates. Two years ago, the day after the ‘nirbhaya’ incident I read the description of it in the newspaper. It was appalling to even read through and I felt an immense pain within me. For many days my tears would not stop. That pain came out through me in the form of a poem. Encouraged by my teachers and friends, and good faith as my intent, I decide to make an attempt to reach out to you all with that poem.

It was impossible for me to digest the fact that in today’s time, the pride of all – 21st century- there still is a reality where a person can inflict unbearable violence upon other person. We all are aware about the presence and magnitude of such events in our society, but on that day I felt an empathy towards that pain. I am aware that neither will I be able to experience or know even a hint of that pain, which she had to go through, and I pray that no being has to go through it ever, having said that I feel it is important for us as a society to connect with this pain and develop sensitivity towards this reality.

Kadach. Shayad (Maybe) – a soliloquy of despair, is the cry of a victimized woman. If she were able to express, would she express anger or despair? ‘Kadach.Shayad’ is the expression of that despair. ‘Kadach.Shayad’ is asking  men to remember that he is nothing but a sum total of contributions that all the women in his life have made.

The shameful fact of the world is, that while a man victimizes a woman, he forgets that every contribution, he is unable to view the forms of mother, sister, friend, lover or daughter in every woman. The attempt to culminate this pain, despair and sorrow in the form of music, poetry and visuals is – ‘Kadach.Shayad’ (Maybe)

We hope that this attempt in creativity is able to sensitize the men and society at large and that a seed of empathy gets sowed in our collective minds, so as to be able to dream a dream where there is no violence, a dream of a World Without Rape.

Uttarayan essentially means movement, that brings in a change in earths position with respect to sun, in the cosmos. Starting now, for the next 6 months the earths tilt shall bring it closer to the sun. This is the time for new beginnings, it is time to aspire for and work towards a better world for us and for generations to come.

With a hope that, in my life time, I be able to see a world without rape, as an artist, this music video is my small contribution towards that aspiration.

This creation was made possible due to the contributions of some amazing and well-intended individuals that I met while on course. Today, at the point of Sankranti (19.34.43 IST 14th January, 2015) I make this offering to the world.

If our work touches your heart, than make an attempt to join other hearts with this message of sensitivity. Our only expectation is that our work becomes a medium to share and spread the message of sensitivity.

Yours and everyones,

Mihir Gajrawala

Below links shall take you to the video.

‘Kadach’ (Gujarati Version) :

‘Shayad’ (HIndi Version) :

Read this blog in Gujarati :

Read this blog in Hindi :

Kadach.Shayad.Maybe – A soliloquy of despair : announcing the Hindi music video

14 01 2015

kadach poster2

प्रिय स्वजन,

कहते है की वेदना में से ही संवेदना जनम लेती है। २ साल पहले, निर्भया अत्याचार के अगले दिन जब अख़बार में उस दुर्घटना के बारे में पढ़ा , तो एक असह्य पीडा का अनुभव हुआ। कई दिनों तक आँखों से आंसू निकलते रहे। वो पीड़ा , को वेदना मुझमे से एक काव्य के रूप में प्रकट हुई। मेरे शिक्षक और मेरे मित्रो के प्रोत्साहन से प्रेरित होके उस काव्य को एक अच्छे कारण केलिए आप सब तक पहुचने का प्रयास किया है।

हम जिस २१मि सदी का गर्व करते है, वही २१मि सदी में एक जीव दूसरे जीव पे इतना घिनौना अत्याचार कर सकता है , ये हकीकत को स्वीकार करना मेरे लिए असंभव था। हम सब जानते है, की इस कक्षा के अत्याचार समाज में सदियों से चलते आ रहे है, और काफी मात्रा में फैले भी है। पर उस दिन उस दुर्घटना को जान मैं वो वेदना से रूबरू हो सका। जानता हु के वो असह्य पीड़ा कैसी होगी, और उस जीव ने क्या सहन किया होगा उसका एक अंश भी मैं जान या समझ नहीं पाउँगा, और प्रार्थना करूँगा के किसी को भी ऐसी वेदना सहन न करनी पड़े ; पर ऐसे अत्याचार में से उमटती वेदना के साथ हम सबकी संवेदना मिले वो हमारे समाज केलिए बहुत ज़रूरी है।

‘शायद’ – अ सोलिलोकी ऑफ़ डिस्पेर (निराशा का आत्मभाषण), वो घिनौने अत्याचार गुज़ारा गया हो ऐसी एक स्त्री की वेदना का आत्मभाषण है। अगर वो पीड़ित स्त्री को शब्द मिले तो क्या वो गुस्सा होगी या अपनी निराशा बयान करेगी ? ‘शायद’ वो निराशा है. ‘शायद’ वो हर पुरुष को याद करवाता है, के वो उसके जीवन में होती हर एक स्त्री के पोषण का योगफल है।

लज्जाजनक हकीकत है की फिर भी स्त्री पे अत्याचार गुज़ारते वक़्त पुरुष उन स्त्रिओ का योगदान भूल जाता है , और स्त्री में माता, बहन, सखी, जीवनसंगिनी या बेटी का रूप देख नहीं पाता। ये पीड़ा, निराशा और वेदना से भरे काव्य को – संगीत और दृश्य के सहारे आप सब के सामने प्रस्तुत करने का हमारा प्रयत्न है – ‘शायद’

आशा है की इस वेदना को समझ के, शायद हम सब में संवेदना जनम ले और हम एक ऐसी दुनिया का सपना देखने सक्षम बने, के जिसमे कोई जीव दूसरे जीव पे हिंसा न करे।

उत्तरायन याने पृथ्वी की स्थिति में बदलाव। अगले ६ महीने पृथ्वी सूरज की तरफ ढली रहे ऐसी स्थिति बनी रहेगी। यही समय है नयी शरुआत का , नयी परिस्थिति का निर्माण करनेका।

मेरे जीवन काल में मैं हिंसा और अत्याचार से मुक्त दुनिया देख सकु उस उद्देश्य के साथ , एक कलाकार की हैसियत से , इस म्यूसिक विडिओ के रूपमे, मेरा एक छोटा सा योगदान।

बहुत ही उम्दा और समरुचिपूर्ण कलाकारों के साथ मिलके जो सर्जन किया है , वो संक्रांति के ये पल पर ( 19.34.43 IST 14 जनवरी 2015) दुनिया को अर्पित करता हु।

अगर आपके दिल तक हमारी बात पहोच सके तो दूसरे दिलो को भी इस संवेदना के अनुभव से जोड़े। हमारी प्रस्तुति एक नेक विचार के सिंचन का साधन बने वही अपेक्षा के साथ…

आपका और सबका,
मिहिर गजरवाला

नीचेकी लिंक पे क्लिक करने से विडिओ देख सकेंगे

‘शायद’ (Hindi version) :

Kadach.Shayad.Maybe – A soliloquy of despair : announcing the Gujarati music video.

14 01 2015

kadach poster2પ્રિય સ્વજન,

કહેવાય છે કે વેદના માંથીજ સંવેદના નો જનમ થાય છે. 2 વર્ષ અગાઉ, નિર્ભયા અત્યાચાર ના બીજા દિવસે જયારે સમાચાર પત્ર માં એ કૃત્ય નું વર્ણન વાચ્યું, તો જાણે  એક અસહ્ય પીડા અનુભવી. ઘણા દિવસો સુધી આંખ ના અશ્રુ ના સુકાયા.  એ પીડા એ વેદના મારા થકી  એક કાવ્ય સ્વરૂપે ઉત્પન્ન થઇ.  શિક્ષકો અને મિત્રો ના પ્રોત્સાહન થી પ્રેરાઈ ને એ કાવ્યને એક સારા હેતુસર આપ સૌ સુધી પહોચાડવાનો એક પ્રયત્ન કર્યો છે. 

આપણે જે 21મી સદી નું ગૌરવ કરીએ છીએ, એજ 21મી સદીમાં એક જીવ બીજા જીવ પર આટલો કારમો અત્યાચાર ગુજારી શકે છે , એ હકીકત પચાવી મારા માટે અશક્ય હતી.  આપણે જાણ્યે છીએ કે આ કક્ષા ના અત્યાચાર સમાજ માં ચાલતા આવ્યા છે, અને ઘણી માત્રા  માં વ્યાપક પણ છે. પણ એ દિવસે એ કિસ્સા ને જાણી હું એ વેદના સાથે જોડાયો. જાણું છું એ અસહ્ય પીડા શું હશે અને એ જીવે શું સહન કર્યું હશે એનું અંશ માત્ર પણ હું કદાચ જાણી કે અનુભવી નથી શકવાનો , અને ઈચ્છીશ કે કોઈએ પણ આ પ્રકાર ની વેદના ક્યારેય સહન ના કરવી પડે ; પણ આ અત્યાચાર  માંથી ઉત્પન્ન થતી વેદના સાથે આપણી  સંવેદના જોડાય એ આપણા સમાજ માટે જરૂરી છે.

‘કદાચ’ – અ સોલીલોકી ઓફ ડીસ્પેર (નિરાશા નું આત્મસંભાષણ) , એ કારમો અત્યાચાર ગુજારાયેલ એક સ્ત્રી ની વેદના નું આત્મસંભાષણ છે. જો એ પીડિત સ્ત્રી ને વાચા હોય તો શું એ ગુસ્સો કરે કે નિસાસો નાખે ? ‘કદાચ’ એ નિસાસો છે. ‘કદાચ’ એ દરેક પુરુષ ને યાદ કરાવે છે કે એ, એના જીવન માં રહેલી સ્ત્રીઓ એ કરેલા પોષણ નો  સરવાળો માત્ર  છે.

શરમજનક હકીકત છે કે છતાય અત્યાચાર ગુજારતી વખતે પુરુષ, સ્ત્રી નું યોગદાન ભૂલી, સ્ત્રી માં માતા, બેન, સખી, જીવનસંગીની  કે દીકરી નું સ્વરૂપ જોઈ શકતો નથી. આ પીડા, નિરાશા અને વેદના ભરેલ કાવ્ય – સંગીત અને દ્રશ્યો ના સહારે આપ સૌ ની સમક્ષ રજુ કરવાનો અમારો પ્રયત્ન એટલે – ‘કદાચ’

આશા એજ કે આ વેદના માંથી કદાચ આપણા સૌ માં સંવેદના જનમ લે અને આપણે એક એવી દુનિયા નું સ્વપ્ના જોવા સક્ષમ બનીએ  કે જેમાં કોઈ જીવ બીજા જીવ પર હિંસા ના આચરે.

ઉત્તરાયણ એટલે પૃથ્વી ની સ્થિતિ માં ફેરફાર. આવતા 6 મહિના પૃથ્વી સૂર્ય થી નજીક ઢળેલી રહે એવી એની સ્થિતિ થશે. આજ સમય છે નવી શરૂઆતનો, નવી પરિસ્થિતિ નું સર્જન કરવાનો.

મારા જીવન કાળ માં હિંસા  ને અત્યાચાર મુક્ત  દુનિયા જોઈ શકું એ આશા સાથે , એક  કલાકાર તરીકે , આ મ્યુસિક વિડીઓ ના સ્વરૂપમાં , મારું એક નાનકડું યોગદાન.

ઘણા ઉત્કૃષ્ટ અને સહૃદયી કલાકારો મળ્યા અને અમે સાથે મળી જે સર્જન કર્યું છે તે સંક્રાંતિ ની આ પળે (19.34.43 IST 14મી જાન્યુઆરી 2015) દુનિયા ને અર્પણ કરું છું.

જો તમારા હૃદય થી અમારી વાત જોડાય તો બીજા હૃદયોને આ સંવેદના ના અનુભવ  સાથે જોડશો. અમારી પ્રસ્તુતિ એક સારા વિચાર ના સિંચન નું સાધન બને એજ અમારી અપેક્ષા.

આપનો અને સૌનો,

મિહિર ગજરાવાલા

નીચેની લીંક પર ક્લિક કરવાથી વિડીઓ જોઈ શકાશે

Gujarati :

We all are responsible.

18 12 2014

we all are responsible_peopleBetween 1971 and 2011 cases of rape registered a 873 percent jump in India. That is the biggest among all categories of crime. Not just India, the entire world scenario is bleak in this regard. At around every 2 minutes a sexual offense gets registered somewhere in the world.

While me along with the team at Mindful Ventures is occupied with promoting the idea of a ‘World Without Rape’,  the question that keeps coming up from across is “what should I do about it? I haven’t done anything wrong, and so there is nothing I could do about it.”

My response, “If it is happening, we all are responsible”

The onus of change approaches us, the generation living today. If it happens, as a unit of this society, we must accept responsibility.

If we do not act now, it will be never.

More than 95% of cases of rape have men as the victimiser. To me this simply means us, as societies have not raised good sons. Two simple things that any man can do is a) be a good son and b) raise a good son.

Until we raise our sons to be good, to be sensitive, to be responsible and caring, we cannot contain this brutality.

Individuals, families, Institutes, organizations we all need to do our bit, and create a world without rape; for us and for generations to come.

Is it too much to aspire for? I don’t think so.

What am I doing about it? – Below is how I chose to respond.

A) As an individual : I make a promise ‘I will never let women around me feel insecure. I will act to provide for her safety.’

B) As an entrepreneur : To the best of my abilities I am working to mobilize resources so as to establish an enterprise which becomes a catalyst for change. Mindful Ventures has taken up the initiative ‘World without rape’ with the above intention. We are not activists, we are a team trying to be a catalyst. To create interventions which has the ability to plant the seeds of change in the collective mind of the community. Mindful Ventures aims to do its bit by using music, poetry and visuals to spread the message of sensitivity and hope. Music video ‘kadach/shaayad/maybe’ is scheduled to release on youtube on 14th of January, 2015.

C) As an artist : Art plays a tremendous role in shaping the collective conscience of a society, and at the same time art is the record of the cultural fabric of the society at that point in time. As a writer, visualizer and a spoken word artist I wish to influence the collective minds of the community in the best possible way.

Yes I take responsibility for the brutality that exists in the society; and above is how I choose to respond. I am sure any one who aspires for a world without rape, will find his/her own way to do their bit.

World Without Rape.

18 12 2014

We all want a better tomorrow. Don’t we? We all are working for a better tomorrow, at least for our own selves. Or that is what we want ourselves to believe.

As we look around we see tremendous achievements being made in the fields of Medicine, Engineering, Communication, Energy, Construction, Space exploration so on and so forth. We take pride in self-patronizing our generation as the one that belongs to the celebrated 21st century!

But than we fail to accept the harsh reality of our times – which is the widespread existence of the menace called ‘Rape’. Whether we accept it or not, we are still a race that can inflict devastating pain to a fellow being.

By the time you would have reached this paragraph, somewhere a woman’s modesty would have been compromised. And I am in no mood of exaggeration. As per the latest UNODC report of 2012, 243853 is the number of recorded rape offenses across the globe. This means an offense is made at about every 2 minutes!!

And we are still waiting for the right time????

For me all the progress and achievements stands null, if a woman has to think twice even for a simple act of walking down the road!! While we have progressed everywhere, HUMANITY seems to be the area where we need to do a lot of work.

Wise men have said, that your achievements can never be bigger than your aspirations. It is aspirations which lead to positive transformation. And I aspire to live into a world, where there is no rape, no violence.

And I wish that we all collectively aspire for a transformed world.

Nothing more, nothing less, all I want is a world without rape.

Join the intiative at

world without rape

Mindful Ventures offers this visual identity to combine and connect all those souls who have dedicated their energy towardsthe idea of a world without rape.

It is time.

7 12 2014

The thought that lead to ‘Mindful Ventures’. – Note from my diary.

From the earliest memories of my life, I dreamt of outer space, and wanted to be an astronomer. As I grew up listening to religious fables, the seed of idealism found its way in me. Further, as an adolescent, I loved reading stories, and dreamt of writing my own one day. Just like any enchanted teenager, I thought I would make a film one day. Also, I wrote plots in my diary.

In the undergraduate years, I read philosophy, and fancied myself a philosopher, giving sermons to society.  After my post-graduation, I thought a teacher dwelt within me. At one point, I thought I could be a singer. Well, I could not help daydreaming! Over time, my love for literature, arts and music kept growing.

As an entrepreneur, I understood the need for responsibility, so I aspired for responsibility as an entrepreneur. I truly aspired to become an agent of change. As I started graying, I found I could package my thoughts as a speech, and I thought I should be a speaker. My saga continues.

Until this time, I pursued none of these dreams, nor have I made efforts to achieve those aspirations. I hesitated.  I have always waited for the right time.

As a citizen, as a unit of the society I inhabit, I see a lot of pressing issues that are preventing the society to be just. Individually and collectively we all have gotten in us ingrained, the art of procrastination. ‘It’s ok to delay; the time shall come’ – has become the societal norm.

It took one third of my life to realize every moment is the right time and hesitation equals death. Now, I realize it is time to kill the hesitation. It is time to live all the dreams; it is time to be all I never tried to be. It is time.

It is time.

Guru’s position – a disciple’s perspective.

5 09 2014

Prologue : A teacher is one who wants to teach you, a ‘Guru’ is one who makes you learn. A students idea is ‘to be’, whereas a disciple (shishya) is the one who wants ‘to become’. In other words a student is looking for change while a disciple is aspiring to transform.

Whatever I say is with this context in mind.


Many years back, must be my secondary school days, if i remember it well, around my wonder years,  back in time when I was studying in 8th or 9th grade, I happened to read a story. This story has had a lasting impact on my thought process. I do not clearly remember that story and its context, but it is this one scene from the story which has stayed with me and shaped my understanding. It goes like this.

A young disciple, completely devoted to his guru, was someone who was committed to follow on the path shown by his guru. He had this habit of always going to his guru whenever in some critical decision making situation. And the Guru would readily guide him out during each such instance; in the process the guru would enlighten the disciple. One fine day, in a similar situation as the disciple reaches out to his Guru, the Guru doesn’t offer him any guidance. The disciple is astonished and couldn’t believe this fact. The Guru sends him back by saying “Son, I have given you enough, I leave you now to imbibe all of that, find your own path, and make your own experiences. Its time you take your decisions without me.”

Now this incident from the story found its way deep within myself. Over different periods of my existence this story has provided me different lessons. It started with me believing that a ‘guru’ can only take one this far. One cannot have a guide to eternity. At some later stages i realized the importance of ‘swadhyay’ or ‘learning by self’. Further ahead I understood that it will all be fruitless if one does not learn to take his/her own decisions.

Over many summers of my existence I was fortunate to come across many learned people and many loving teachers. It was quite later in my young life that i discovered a ‘Guru’. It was destined for me to get my greatest lessons from this one person. However the above story was always a part of me, and hence in spite of total surrender I never actually became dependent. That infinite love and reverence can thrive and still one remains boundless was a unique experience and a learning for me. Secondly I knew that the physical proximity and one-to-one transfer of knowledge with the ‘Guru’ can only happen till a limited period of time. This understanding fueled my urge to learn and make the most of those transactions. Many individuals close to me, around that period, sensed a transformation in me, they sensed an urgency in me; I could not explain it to them, than, but deep down i knew that i need to build myself to a level from where I can be on my own. Also I never wanted to come to a point, like the boy in that story had to, where my Guru feels that his disciple has not learned to be on his own.

Many Guru – Disciple relations end in agony and bitterness or in sheer blinded dependence. The crux of this eventuality is the non-realization of the fact that – a guru can only take you this far. With this dawned another important learning from that story and a whole new dimension of learning opened up for me. A disciple is the one who is aspiring to move to a higher destination, in every which way. A ‘guru’ is the form who takes the disciple to that destination. However if one remains focused on the destination and not the form, than ‘guru’ dissolves his form and becomes a part of your being. Somewhere within you the ‘guru’ is installed, and without any one-to-one interaction the transaction continues. Whenever in doubts or in crisis  I am able to talk with my ‘guru’ without even talking with him. In certain extraordinary situations i would have resorted to the one-to-one interactions, but largely I have come this far with the help of the ‘guru’ within. Many times while I ponder on all that I have received from my ‘guru’, I end up tearful. The enormity of the receipt is so huge that all the ego inside me is pushed out by way of tears.

And so I learn that the ‘guru’ in the story while denying his disciple the guidance, has actually given him the greatest lesson anyone can learn. That ‘without’ can be turned into ‘within’.

This has been my experience since a decade now, whereby the ‘Guru’ has found a position ‘within’. In his distinct  style he had shared something, which for me is the articulation of the above learning. He said to a few of us, “I do not want you to be learned, I want you to be learners’.

In whatever limited capacity, with pride, I can tell myself, that I have not stopped learning and I know, the ‘Guru’ within would not let me decay ever.

Six Essentials For Blissful Living.

28 08 2014

for blog








Six Essentials for Blissful Living

Based on Jaina Knowledge
An interpretation by Mihir Gajrawala

©Mihir Gajrawala
Published on on 28.8.14


Note : Many of the nouns and verbs used in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Ardhmagdhi do not have synonyms in English. Jaina knowledge documents exists in the above three languages. Historians and Translators (of English language) over centuries have created certain synonyms, which as per my understanding are misguiding. For eg. Vrat is made synonymous with fasting and Maya with magic or allure. Similarly Yoga is today a term which means Indian exercise system. There could be several such examples. To truly understand this words a lot of effort has to be put in understanding the context of the Indian knowledge base. However I wouldn’t say the same for vernacular translation works.

In my piece I have tried not to produce a translation. Instead the attempt is to share the crux of the subject in a totally new context. Wherever required I have made use of the original words.

Each one of us is aspiring to be contended. In other words each one wants a permanent state of happiness. Putting it simply we all aspire to be blissful. The current order of world has prescribed us a certain way of living, a certain set of activities to be done at specific times of our lives. We all have subscribed to this prescription of schooling, economic pursuits, material achievements, wealth accumulation etc. Our common sense is enough to tell us that this prescription is not working. Than what could be the way to blissful living? How does one achieve a permanent state of bliss?

Jaina knowledge has, many eons back, discovered SIX essential activities or rituals which if executed on regular basis with honesty and belief has the potential to lead each seeker to a blissful state of being. However such a suggestion has always garnered stiff resistance and it has peaked in the current era. Before getting on to the main subject let us take a small digression here.

The two main arguments in support of resistance are: 1) the feeling that ‘rituals’ are useless and 2) the importance of theory over practice, when it comes to the domain of traditional wisdom.

These can be argued against as follows: We fail to understand that whatever we are doing today, for our living is also a ritual. A Ritual is not about a religious practice, it is about a certain set of prescribed activities to be done in a certain specific manner.

Secondly ‘Knowing’ per se is not the path, but ‘conduct’ acquired from ‘knowing’ is the path to bliss! In other words it is not knowledge, but the conduct based on that knowledge that leads to blissful existence! The essence of all knowledge is conduct and essence of all conduct is liberation. Knowledge acquired without intent for good conduct is ignorance and any form of conduct executed without the intent of liberation is an illusion. Knowledge that does not lead to right conduct and conduct that does not lead to path of liberation are rendered fruitless and meaningless, in the pursuit of blissful living.
In other words if one practices certain prescribed conduct, it would lead the seeker to the fruits that are linked with that conduct.
Simply put, a ritual is knowledge in action.

This forms the base for all the prescribed activities that a seeker must subscribe too. For all those demanding an explanation for existence of rituals should consider the above.

Now let us come back to the point.

The activities or rituals which have the potential to lead a seeker to a blissful state of being are the SIX Essentials. Before we move further let us define ‘Blissful state’. From a spiritual perspective we are aiming at ‘liberation’ or ‘moksha’. From a more worldly perspective we mean Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy relations and healthy career, a combination of these can be considered as a blissful state of being. So the essentials are a way to attain and sustain the above mentioned four states.

In Sanskrit these essentials are referred as ‘shadavashyak’ (षडावश्यक ). Shad (षड)  means SIX and avashyak (आवश्यक)  means essential requirements. The six essentials prescribed are :

  1. Samayik – To experience equanimity
  2. Chauvisathao – To cultivate higher aspirations
  3. Vandana – To develop gratitude
  4. Pratikramana – To re-calibrate the self
  5. Kayotsarga – To treat a transgressed mind
  6. Pratyakhyan – To develop discipline

These six essentials are same for both the monks (who have renounced worldly life) and the commoner. The life style of a monk and a commoner is extremely different, yet the SIX Essentials are said to benefit both of them.

Let us understand one more fact before moving ahead. Any act has three parts, 1)object/goal 2) doer and 3) method. Certain eligibility of all the three is necessary for the successful accomplishment of any act. We shall try and understand each of the six essentials with respect to its objective and its method. The focus of this article is the ‘ritual’ and hence we shall not spend much time on the eligibility of the doer. Though it is of equal importance we shall not be able to touch upon it here.

The Six Essentials

1. Samayik
Objective: the installation of the doctrine ‘I am better than none and I am lesser to none’ on the seekers mind.

The root of all our conflicts is ‘fear’ and ‘insecurity’. Fear exists in mind as it is conditioned to believe in comparisons. Comparisons lead to feelings of superiority or inferiority. Unless one is freed of these complexes it is impossible to find success in the journey to discover bliss.

In management context, unless one gains equanimity a fair and objective analysis of work done is impossible. In an organization there are only a few who are eligible for objective analysis.

In other words to be in a state of a new born child is the objective of this act. All the tools, techniques, rituals and activities that could help the effort of being in this state are ‘Samayik’. Equanimity is the true nature of every being; it remains hidden in unawareness and ignorance. ‘Samayik’ is the ritual or method or technique to discover this nature of self.

समत्वं योग उच्यते    (bhavad gita, 2-48)
योग:कर्मसु – कौशलम् (bhagvad gita, 2-50)

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोध: (patanjali yogsutra, 1-2)

चतुर्वेगग्रनिर्मेक्षो योगस्तस्य च कारणम्।
ग्यान – श्रद्धां – चरित्ररूपम् रत्नत्रय च स:। ।  (Yogshastra, 1 – 15)

Many will find it radical when I say ‘Samayik’ is an equivalent of ‘Yoga’. To prove the point I have quoted three sages/scholars who are undisputed as far as their ability of comprehension is concerned. Sage Ved Vyasa in Bhagvad Gita has described ‘Yoga’ as equanimity and deftness of action; Sage Patanjali, helmed as father of ‘Yoga’ has described cessation of the perturbations of the mind as ‘Yoga’; Sage Hemchandracharya in his work ‘Yogashastra’ has described ‘Yoga’ as the technique to attain ‘moksha’ or Liberation. All these definitions of ‘Yoga’ are comparable to the concept of ‘Samayik’. To attain liberation, to learn right conduct, to develop equanimity, to free mind from presence of conflicts and develop stillness – both Samayik and Yoga have practically same results, which is transforming the mind of the doer.

Yoga has four types: Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Raja Yoga and Hath yoga. ‘Samayik’ falls under the ‘Rajayog’ category which focuses on mind by way of self-discipline.

To sum it up ‘Samayik’ is a form of Yoga called ‘Raja Yoga’; the practical form of ‘Raja Yoga’ is ‘Samayik’

2. Chauvisathao
Objective : To cultivate and install aspirations of higher degrees.

Men have the tendency to become what they believe in. So it is important to have right beliefs. If for someone, a small hilltop is the only peak to visit, s/he will only reach till there, but if someone knows about the existence of Mt. Everest, the highest peak, than s/he might strive to reach there. This means that the quality of one’s pursuit depends on the quality of one’s aspirations. Given this, each one should understand and imbibe the highest possible aspirations on one’s mind.

This leads us to the inquiry that what is the ‘peak’ of blissful living? The peak of blissful living are the 24 Tirtankaras, who had achieved the most any individual can ever comprehend. Hence knowing about them, and accepting them as peak of existence is the second essential to strive for. A Tirthankar is a being who has become ‘Arihant’ – devoid of all conflicts. There cannot be a higher state of being than this. Each of the 24 Tirthankaras have exhibited 12 distinct qualities. ‘Chauvisathao’ is the technique to know and develop those qualities within oneself.

I would here take another digression to explain a basic tenet of Jaina Knowledge. In Jaina knowledge there is no ‘creator’. It believes that universe was, is and will remain. In the most ancient of Jain Texts one would find reference to the term ‘Pudgal’. It is mentioned that he Universe is a ‘Pudgal’; ‘Pudgal’ means that which is created and destroyed simultaneously. Today, in modern science, the twenty first century description of vacuum states that in a vacuum state where there is supposed to be nothing, there is a constant eruption of particles and destruction of particles. Creation and Destruction are happening at the same time in a vacuum state. All these years we believed that a vacuum means total nothingness; that nothing happens there. But now we know a vacuum state is phenomenally dynamic. Creation and destruction is happening at the same time. Modern Science is saying that today. This is what Jaina Knowledge has been saying since thousands of years ago. Scientists now talk about black hole – something which is nothing yet powerful. This fundamental of physics is already discovered in the meaning of ‘Pudgal’. There is no creation and hence no creator. In Jaina School it is not about ‘being’ it is about ‘becoming’. And hence the entire focus shifts from ‘creator’ to the ‘doer’. In that perspective it is an atheist’s religion. In Jain school ‘Dharma’ is not the end, it is a means to an end; the end is becoming one’s own self, discovering one’s true nature, totally free of all influences and impressions. The Navkar mantra considered among the most powerful sound in universe never talks about any individual. It only talks about qualities and states of being. Same is applied in various suggestions from Jaina Knowledge.

Many think that ‘Chauvisanthao’ is about worshiping the Tirthankaras. That is a grave misunderstanding. The entire focus of this essential is to memorize the qualities that make a Tirthankara. AS discussed above if the reality is not about ‘being someone’ but ‘becoming someone’, the pursuit is to be more, to be deep and to be constantly turning into something more and more. We can be more only when we desire more, to be at the peak. a Tirthankar is the peark, and if the qualities of 24 Tirthankaras are remembered regularly it can have unfathomable impact on the aspirations of a seeker which eventually would positively impact the quality of life of the seeker. Science has proved that habitual doing of any act has an effect on the mind and belief system.

‘Chauvisathao’ is the ritual to do the same.

3. Vandana
Objective : To develop gratitude towards learned beings.

It is not possible to travel the path of bliss without the guidance of a ‘guru’. A guru means ‘dispeller of darkness’. In our society there are individuals who have dedicated their being to knowledge and attainment of the ultimate state of liberation. These individuals have given up on the worldly chores so that they focus all their energies in the single pursuit of liberation. We call them monks or ‘sadhu’ and ‘sadhvi’. The qualities of right knowledge, right perception, right conduct and penance are what define a monk. The practical form of it can be seen when an individual exhibits a coherence between his/her deeds, words and actions.

Respecting and surrender to such a monk is the first step to path of bliss. Gratitude is the greatest quality of a seeker, and ‘Vandana’ explores this quality of a being.

In today’s world, we ask children to celebrate Teachers Day. We ask them to develop gratitude for their teachers who impart knowledge to them. Same applies for a seeker who is set on a higher pursuit of blissful living.

‘Vandan’ or ‘Bowing’ is an act which prepares a seeker for surrender. Surrender means absence of struggle, just falling. Such a surrender can exponentially open the receptivity of the seeker and make him  imbibe the higher qualities.

Vandana is the ritual for the same.

4. Pratikramana
Objective: To recalibrate the self through introspection and retrospection.

Influenced by indifference(towards self) the soul gets displaced, the movement of soul from its displaced position to its original position is termed as ‘pratikramana’ in jain science. In simple terms the process of re-calibrating a self indulged in digressions or the process of bringing the self back to self is called ‘pratikramana’.

Many of us working in corporate environment would have struggled with frustration, resulting out of one’s inability to attain one’s goals. This happens because in every day activities we lose sight of our goals. Worse is when many of us have no goals. Such a self remains lost and dissatisfied, irrespective of one’s potential and ability. Management Gurus have formed a theory that every company and every individual should have their personal Vision and Mission statement, which on timely basis should be re-looked at, so that one doesn’t lose sight of where one is heading.

From other perspective, the main reason for this displacement is too much focus on ‘future’ or ‘tomorrow’. The goal lies in the future and hence we remain focused on future, forgetting that learning lies in the past. Learning happens from knowing what happened before, what happened yesterday. Unless this is done, one cannot gain experience. One just blindly keeps on doing. And in all possibility will keep on falling in the same puddle every day, because one has forgotten to retrospect, one has forgotten to introspect, to look within!

Such an effort of introspection and retrospection when done in a certain disciplined manner for life’s objective of attaining bliss is called ‘Pratikramana’.

5. Kayotsarga
Objective: treating a transgressed mind

In our every day routines we are focused only on our physical being. Jain knowledge says that state of bliss can be attained once the focus shifts from matter to non-matter. Self is made up of both the matter and non-matter; non-matter is trapped within the matter that is how a physical being is constructed. Matter is known as ‘ajiva’ and non-matter is termed as ‘jiva’. ‘Ajiva’ is that which will die and ‘Jiva’ is that which cannot die, it is infinite.

Kayotsarga word is combination of Kaya (body) + utsarga(upward movement, arising) , meaning the act to experience the self beyond the physical boundaries. If one is able to establish this belief that s/he is more than this body, a completely new set of possibilities would emerge.

Continuing from above example of frustration from corporate life, many times even after having a vision or mission statement, even after regularly re-looking at it, one finds unable to see any direction. This is due to extreme negative habitual patterns developed which hurt the individual’s ability and capacity. The modern Management guru’s have no great solution for such a state. The only solution offered are ‘taking a break’, ‘a sabbatical’ or ‘switch your job’ kind of non-descript acts.

However if one is focused on attaining a blissful state of living such a wandering soul is offered a technique to overcome such severe perturbations.

The ritual to do the same is termed ‘Kayotsarga’; wherein one is made to experience the non-physical part of self. Simply put it is a deeper form of meditation.

6. Pratyakhyan
Objective : To develop discipline

The path to bliss is the path to gradually ‘not do’. Slowly and silently as the seeker starts realizing the fruitlessness of his actions, he should start to ‘not do’ those actions. There are innumerable actions that a self performs. And this realization may happen over a certain breadth of time. Given this it is important to build tomorrow upon today’s realization. The method to do this is by way to taking vows of self control.

Even in modern corporate context, a management executive is asked to keep a log of his/her learning’s and build his/her future strategies based on those learning’s. Same if applied to spiritual context can take one ahead in his/her path to bliss.

‘Pratyakhyan’ is the ritual to build self-control. None of the essentials would give benefit unless discipline and self control is practiced. There are systematic tools provided to help one develop such discipline.
I haven’t gone into the details of the procedures of each ritual. As discussed above for successful accomplishment of any act – eligibility of the objective, the doer and the method – all three are important. In this piece we have attempted to understand the objective and know the concept behind the method. We are not touching the details of method nor are we discussing the eligibility of the doer.

Many will have question, that if above is done in ritualistic manner, will one attain bliss? The response to that is – apart from the efficiency of technology the eligibility of the user is also important. A tablet’s efficiency and utility changes from user to user, even if they all have the same operating system. Same applies to this bliss attainment technologies.

These six rituals are the six essential activities to be performed to attain a permanent state of blissful living. There could be other activities too, but these SIX are the essential most; the compulsory ones.

Let us sum it up :
1. Equanimity
2. Higher aspirations
3. Gratitude
4. Re-calibration
5. Meditation
6. Self-discipline.

These Six terms are to be tattooed on one’s mind. If these SIX words are incorporated in one’s life, there is no stopping to achieve a healthy body, a healthy mind, healthy relations and healthy career.

These actions (essentials) put together is what in layman terms we know as ‘pratikramana’. A ‘pratikramana’ is actually a combination of these six essential rituals to be performed in a sequential manner as part of a regular ritual practice.

It is suggested to perform this at following intervals :
• Every morning at dawn : Rayasi pratikramana
• Every evening after sunset : Devasi pratikramana
• Every month : Pakhi pratikramana
• Every four months : Chaumasi pratikramana (on full moon day of kartk, Fagun and ashadh months of Jain calendar)
• Every year : Samvatsari pratikramana

Importance is given to different essentials in this different pratikramana’s. It is a deep science; having said that more than scientific exploration, the better way to understand it would be the way of doing.

Each of this essential can also be performed individually. Important is discipline and regular execution.

In our work and businesses we do keep audits at regular intervals, in order to know where the business is going. Even employees go through appraisals at regular intervals. The point is regular check points are pre-requisite for successful goal achievement. Similarly if the goal is a permanent state of bliss, the above discussed rituals would act as check points, on the path of spiritual progression.

Post Script: I would not want to categorize the above as a piece of research. And hence I am not offering the bibliography. However the strength and quality of the interpretation attempted is capable to withstand severe critical analysis. There is no claim about my authority on the subject. The above piece is an outcome of various readings, various discussions with scholars and my own observation of ritual practices that I have been part of in my family tradition. Hence I call it an ‘Interpretation’ and not an essay. I have deliberately kept it concise to garner greater engagement. This piece shall form the basis of further research and analysis work which I intend to take up; whereby I shall look at each of these essentials in greater detail. With this I humbly accept my limited capacity of comprehension and apologize for any pertinent errors.

 सिद्धि : स्याद – वादात्।

(To accept infinite beings made from infinite expectations and infinite perceptions is ‘Syadvad’. This acceptance is what leads one to ultimate knowledge and glory )

‘hgang in dharamshala’ the film – now on Youtube!

5 08 2014

Director’s note.

Can you trek your way to Nirvana?

The above question is the result of an experience that we, as a lot, had during our trip to Dharamshala. Twelve friends, twelve entrepreneurs who set out for a petite get-together in this hilly town, returned as if they were reborn. And I am not exaggerating. It’s been almost 6 months since, and each one is showing a sustained attitudinal shift in their lives. What made this possible?

It all started with a letter we sent to His Holiness Dalai Lama’s office requesting a private audience with him. We shared the dilemmas bothering us and wished he sheds some light on it. Unfortunately(or fortunately!!) the meeting did not happen as HHDL was traveling during that period. But the fact of the matter is, we did get those answers without seeing HHDL; the events of the trip made us realize the answers to those dilemmas!!

The entire lot, each one of us, while returning, felt as if we were called to this place. We all believed,until this point, that the trip is our plan, but in the end we realized that we are all a part of a bigger plan.

This was felt in particular, at the trek of Triund. The trek that we took up just for kicks, made us sweat and battle like never before. With scarce resources as we ventured into the un-chartered, it took us to some mind-altering discoveries. Lasting for 9 hours, the trek tested our individual capacities and brought us face-to-face with values of togetherness and kinship along with courage and conviction. From being entrepreneurs fixated to the word ‘achievement’, we came back discovering a powerful agent called ‘letting go’.

As I came back home, I felt in me an uncontrollable desire to attempt to articulate this experience of ours in a visual medium. What I had with me were some thousand images and couple of hours of random video footage. I tried to put them all together in a manner that it makes some sense to the one who engages. I used voice over technique to narrate our mind state and have relied extensively on the songs to convey what we had felt. There is not much footage of the Triund trek which is of greater significance, but than that’s fine.

It may not make any sense to an unknown viewer, maybe. But anyone who knows this lot or any one from this lot, will definitely see some value in this effort. The discerning viewer will enjoy some breathtaking panoramic shots of the magnificent Dhauladhar range, taken right from the top of Triund.

Having said this I put forth the following disclaimer :
‘hgang in dharamshala’ is not a narrative film, nor it claims to be a document of a certain trip. It is a visual memoir of what we friends felt, experienced and realized during this 4 day period. To put it humbly it is just a home video, albeit with a difference.

The film is already shared with family and friends, but we have received lot of requests from many other friends, relatives and well-wishers who wished to engage themselves with this effort.

For them and for any one who ends up here, the film is made available on youtube. FYI the film is uploaded in two parts. Find below the links.

And yeah, watch it till the end the credits roll, it ends with an original poem recital by …

Yours truly,
Mihir Gajrwala