Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Parable of the Farmer and his two Sons

Once there was a farmer who had two good looking sons. The farmer and his wife worked hard for several years on the farm and saved enough to send their sons to a very good school on top of the mountain behind the village. It was an expensive residential school but very well known for its excellent training and education. Students from far off lands came to study there.

When the two boys were nine and ten year old, the farmer and his wife admitted them to the school with the help of the Principal by the name of Lew who had become an acquaintance. Lew used to come down the mountain for walks on holidays, to visit the farms and for a picnic in the nearby Sherwood Forest.

The older boy did not like the hard discipline of school at all. He found study hours hard and physical training classes tiresome and complained about it endlessly. It was so much nicer with the freedom to play and do as one liked at home.

The younger boy, however, was grateful to his parents for having worked hard to make this education possible. He took interest in all of the programs at school and as he became good at them he began to enjoy the education.

After a few years, both boys graduated from school together and went on to find jobs in the city. The older boy had to spend an extra year at school because he had failed in one of the classes and was held back. As one can imagine, the younger boy did much better in his career later because of excellent training at Sherwood College but the older one did not do well at all and was often miserable.

Dear friends is this not how it with us? The Lord, our loving Father and Mother has sent us into this school of life. If we fail to be grateful for what we have, we remain miserable. But if we develop gratitude, we recognize the blessings and develop contentment; from this arises happiness and our time in the school of life is a happier one as is our hereafter.

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Fresh New Blog

On a boat in Nainital
When a blog is an old one like the present one, it tends to get unwieldy and gathers a lot of unnecessary baggage. It is then time to start a new one. I did precisely that a few days ago. The new blog is simpler in structure and confined exclusively to spirituality unlike the present one that contains a lot else on life, from food to trees; economy to policy; poetry to humor, some even a bit ribald.

Much of the content of the new blog is selected from this one and some of my other blogs. However, while the original was often published in a hurry, now it has the benefit of editing as well as the benefit of experience. If you have been a follower of this blog please do check out the new one too. I have put a link for follow there in the left side bar so your image would then be displayed if you follow. Please do. I will continue to post in this blog from time to time but more frequently over there now perhaps. If you leave a comment there suggesting improvements that would be great. Check out today’s post there at:


Monday, February 20, 2017

Lazy, Stupid and the Blessed

These are the majority. They may not do much good for others but they do not harm others much either, at least not intentionally. They strive not enough but are quick to fold their hands and lie down to rest. This day shall pass and another shall come and so shall their poverty. The universe shall do them no great harm since they harm none. The harm they do themselves suffices. Yet there are days of song and dance that shall bring some joy to their weary days.

There is a minority of the opposite kind too, those who strive and struggle much. They rest not. As days pass they accumulate much wealth,  enough to pass their days in peace, in beauty and joy, for as long as they remain upon the face of the earth. Yet most are stupid. Instead of enjoying the song of birds and the song of loved ones, lending a helping hand to a fellow human, to the birds and the forests, they continue to struggle. They got enamored of false pleasures, of trying to have yet more. So overpowering is their greed that they do not stop to think twice as they walk over fellow humans in their pursuits. Their misery increases by the day just as their wealth does, until one day, the Lord puts an end to it all even as he pushes them into their graves. Yet not all graves lead to a  bottomless pit. They may yet get another chance, in a new life, to think things afresh.

Few are the blessed who pass their days in peace and joy for long as they walk upon the face of the earth, doing the right thing by themselves and the world. When the dress they wear now, their flesh and bones wears out, the Lord awaits them with a fresh new dress, to lead them into a yet more joyous garden of bliss.
If you are poor, live wisely
If you have riches, live wisely
It’s not your station in life but your heart that brings blessings

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mix herbs and vegetables in the flower garden

Spinach mixed with Balsam flowers growing against a  boundary wall in author's home
An earlier post had described that if one had space indoors and light through windows then it is a lovely idea to grow herbs and other things indoors in pots. However, if the season is right and you have some space to garden outdoors then mixing in leafy vegetables like spinach, celery, goosefoot, lettuce etc. is a wonderful idea in flower beds. They look wonderful as shown in the picture from my garden. It shows spinach growing in with balsam flowers in a small strip against a boundary wall. Then one can go on to add small fruit trees and berry bushes in the garden too. Just a bit of a lemon tree is visible on the right of the picture. One may also include herbal bushes like basil, sage and curry leaf in the garden. I have several in mine.

When there are edible things growing around the garden, then one can make any meal delightful by adding some fresh organic green things picked right from home. Do not forget to pick up some edible flowers too if you are inviting people over. They are just great to decorate the desert after the meal... Leaves and flowers of many of these plants can be dried and stored for use later and some such as sage make an excellent cup of tea. A tea of balsam flowers, fresh or dried will help newly married couples to start a family sooner as described in detail in an older post ( Older posts can be searched by using search tool in left side bar)

"A pretty garden is nice, one producing edibles is even nicer; the first heals the soul, the second the body as well"

Monday, February 13, 2017

The contented shall be given more

The sun is barely up

We have one here who is ready to begin a new day. Just now though there is a little time to sit down over a cup of coffee, to worry about so many things humans have to worry about every day of their lives, to deal with their fears and to make plans to escape them, plans against so many different problems that can arise in a life. Soon he must dress up and rush to work. The work shall be weary, that daily grind, but it will serve to distract from worries, fears and insecurities for a while.

But today he is greeted by Babaji,

“Son you are worrying about so many things but you are forgetting the most important one. Soon these weary days shall become to an end, suddenly, unexpectedly. While your flesh and bones returns to the Earth from whence it arose, your soul shall escape. It shall look down at your body and say,

“Look at this pitiable body that lies here in the ground, soon it shall rot and the stench shall be unbearable, or the maggots will get to it. Its days were spent in worries, fears and insecurities while it walked the land. A sorry end to a sorry life indeed! Then the soul shall rise up and escape to a place from whence it came.”

“But tell me son, do you have enough bread for the day.”
“I do’”
”Do you have a clean dress for the day to wear.”
“Yes, I do.”
“And a roof over your head for the night!?”
 “Yes, Sir. I sure do.”
 “Is the air fresh enough to breathe and the sun warm enough to touch your soul?”
“It sure is Babaji.”
“Then pray tell me, is there a pain in your behind?”
“No, not in the least Babaji.”

“Then be happy and immerse yourself in the magic of a new day. If there is a concern or two to handle today, then go ahead and deal with that, why are you adding those of tomorrow to it? When tomorrow comes it will take care of itself. Let your day be a celebration of life not a distraction from your worries. Soon the body shall be in the grave. Make the most of it while it still dwells upon the earth in a spirit of gratitude. Be contented with what you have for,

“The contented shall be given more and whatever they presently have shall be taken away from those who lack gratitude.”

Is this not the story of so many of us dear readers?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Karma is a Sweet Rose

Karma is a pain

We have one here whose life is nothing but pain and suffering. People he could have counted on - spouse, siblings even children and friends provide no solace but add to his woes. There is pain in the body and there is pain in the pocket as financial worries trouble. He tosses and turns in his bed at night as anguish, trauma and memories of injustices torment his soul. There is neither good food to eat nor a good place to live. He has lost all hope in this world. He looks upward and beyond, is there a god up there who might help? He learns of the value of truth as from his suffering compassion and wisdom. His troubles may be steep but he finds solace in lending a helping hand to a fellow human, in little deeds of kindness.

The Unseen Eye watches all. Time and forgiveness wipes out his anguish and tears. His traumas are lost in the mists of time and history. People around him become sweet again and there is good money and profits that have begun to pour in even as the pain and tiredness in his body disappears.

Karma is a sweet Rose

Life is full of happiness; there is enough for good food, a nice place to live and more. There is a spring in his step and laughter in his moments. World is full of so many wonderful things to enjoy he says as he rests on his comfortable bed at night and drops of to sleep. The day’s entertainment has been tiring. He shall wake up to another day of celebration. Who is watching if he cheats a bit? It is so much sweeter to increase one’s gain and profits. Look at those poor vermin and bums on the streets he says. He must talk to the mayor to declare such eyesores illegal on the streets. Look, that guy is talking of God! Has anyone ever seen Him? This talk of ethics and morality, just made up stuff to keep the gullible controlled and in their place. You can’t call anyone a thief if no one is watching or knows!

The Unseen Eye watches all. With time and deeds good karma has come to an end, but there is a lot of another other kind to take care of now, for an education of the soul through practical experience of how it feels to be on the other side

Karma is a pain,


Friday, February 10, 2017

Joy of Indoor Plants

If you have windows in your home through which sunlight comes in for a part of the day and if there is some space beside it to spare, then indoor potted plants are a wonderful addition, especially in places where the winter is freezing and there is snow outdoors for a part of the season. Such plants do not spread dirt inside as long as there are trays beneath the pots to catch water that drains out.

The plants can be those with decorative foliage, flowers, herbs or even young trees that you rear indoor for planting outdoors in spring and summer. Such pots can be moved outdoors or indoors according to the season.

If you grow herbs like celery there shall always be fresh green leaves on your dinner plate whenever you wish. The leaves are the healthiest parts and this is what is eaten in Arab countries where the plant originates and not the stalk, roots, oil or salt as in West because that can lead to severe allergies for some. Even the leaves might cause allergy for a few but the chance is much reduced and there is hardly a food out there that does not cause allergy to someone or the other.

Many young trees are extremely beautiful when young and in pots indoors in cold winters. One can develop these from seed too. When they grow too tall for the pot and it a season to picnic outside in the countryside, carry the potted trees with you and some gardening implements to plant it outdoors. Return to picnic around the same spot a few times during the season and water these if necessary. Mother Earth has become desperately short of her green cover over the last century or so and in doing so, you shall not only contribute to improving the environment of the planet but give something back to Mother Earth that gives us  food from a vast selection every day of our life and every breath we breathe.

If you find a nice wild flower or fern sapling nearby when you go to plant the trees,  you can dig it out to fill up the pot again to take home. It shall be a gift of gratitude of the forest to you, a rare plant that is not found in plant nurseries. In the entire process of planting do take care that roots are disturbed or damaged as little as possible and water the area around the planting to start the plants off. 
“One who gives to the world shall be returned more from the Universe but all shall be taken away from the one who only takes when the time for it comes and pray it is not a time when it hurts most.”

NOTE:  Babaji Ashok has been a Professional Engineer, Scientist as well as a spiritual seeker in the Himalayan mystic tradition, hence his ideas on things to do often contain a spiritual message. This approach is best illustrated in his Novella – Mystic and the Blossoms – that involves the transformation of an entire backward village into a place of immense beauty and prosperity. It can be found easily at Amazon and other places online through a google search.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Babaji, what is in a name!

Jai Ma Nanda, Jai Sunanda Nanda Devi and Sunanda Devi: Main and East Summits (photo: Alex Moran) With permission from http://www.moran-mountain.co.uk/moran-mountaineering/Nanda%20Devi%20East.htm  

Just as there is little substance in dress one wears but more in real worth of a person;. a crooked rascal may wear a fine suit and tie and make silly putty of others, so it is with high sounding names and titles.

Nevertheless, despite this fault, one has to put on the right dress to suit one’s mission in life, for a door may shut because of a wrong dress even before someone has had a chance to take a good look. It is just as a fine book may go unread because it has a poor cover. So it with names and titles too, albeit it is a superficial thing

It was mentioned in an earlier post that I have been guided much in life by spiritual guidance for many years, both in my not-so-spiritual days and now when it has become more spiritual. Back in early nineties, an eminent personality, a former Prime Minister of India, Shri Chandra Shekhar had suggested a similar title but I had declined then even though I regarded him as a father figure and he reciprocated similarly. It was indeed an honor to have been associated with such an eminent person for over a decade. At that time I did not consult spiritual mentors for the many choices one has to make in one’s journey through life, that began a few years later, but felt that firstly I still had some professional career to pursue where a title of Dr. or Professor is more appropriate, moreover I suffered from many human weaknesses not fitting the role. Not that CS may not have not known of them but you know how politicians are. Most care less for substance than impression.

I had come in association with the former Prime Minister due to a family connection and also because of a developmental activity but as our association proceeded he discovered my understanding of the spiritual side from a scientifically logical perspective and had many queries. One question that had troubled him was that a seer had predicted with precision when he would become the Prime Minister of India and he was troubled that if things are predestined there may be no such thing as free will.

I explained to him that free will is real and he can choose what to eat tonight for example. However so is prophecy and the way it works is this. All beings are subject to two forces, actions arising from free will and those predestined by Karma that are external events which influence our lives. Karma is of different strengths according to its influence on the world. Thus because choosing what to have for dinner has little impact on the world what ever was chosen by karma can be altered easily by ones own free will and effort. However, when it comes to someone becoming the leader of one sixth of humanity, it is a weighty karma; it is not within the power of individual effort to change that. Hence one can say it is a predestined event and therefore foreseeable by a seer.

The PM was delighted by the explanation and perhaps because of this felt that I would do better as a spiritual teacher than a Professor of Engineering. However, I am glad I declined his suggestion because I would have been a disgrace to spirituality with my behavior in subsequent years, some of which, around seven, were spent with heavy consumption of alcohol. I did give up on alcohol around ten years ago when I felt that it had reached an unacceptable limit. I had brushed away the suggestion of CS in a lighter vein by remarking, then I would have to grow a long beard also. He had replied, no that is not necessary.

Essentially, to don any sort of spiritual mantle implies becoming a servant or loving child of the Ultimate reality and to do His bidding i.e. to make that the prime purpose of existence rather than their own will. Many such beings require neither any direct communication with the masses nor any recognition of this from them. Some of the evolved beings serve as His messengers while some merely assist in that task. For any such role, it seems, there must be sufficient lack of personal desire, ambition, and a reduced karmic baggage in order for God the Almighty and not just a human, howsoever elevated in the eyes of man,  to accept one in such a role and then to be able to execute that role with any degree of satisfaction.  

I have been interested in the spiritual side of life, for as long as memory stretches, even marveling at the infinite extent of universe as an infant, my career was a scientific and professional one.  That is how I made a living. Up until 2010, seven years ago, professional interests dominated spiritual ones and here I was variously called just Ashok by colleagues and friends or as Dr, Sir or Professor by others. In my spiritual breaks and forays into the Himalayas, some called me Babaji at times, perhaps spiritually charged during such episodes, the title was appropriate for those brief periods but not otherwise.

Therefore on blogger I simply used the name Ashok on my profile.  However, since 2010, it seems my spiritual contributions to the world appear to have dominated over scientific ones and now I would use the name Babaji in some of my works written to share my understanding on spiritual knowledge as well as some of my activity devoted exclusively to spiritual progress. This may give more confidence to sincere spiritual seekers when they read through many of  spiritually inspired posts in my blogs and elsewhere. Of this I have no doubt that it will do much to improve lives.


The author visited the Valley of flowers in the summer of 1980, The Novella - Mystic and the Blossoms - was inspired by this visit. If you are interested just search for it on google.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

How to find peace and beauty


As you look around the world through readily accessible media, you would find entire regions from Libya to Afghanistan through Gaza, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia are disrupted. Millions of humans, children are fleeing for their lives leaving home and all behind. Never before in the history of mankind have there been so many refugees in the world. While some of these drown in the oceans while escaping, some of the others that reach safety of countries like Australia or America stand a good chance of being captured and imprisoned in inhumane conditions, even children, even for years together. One discovers that child poverty is rampant in the richest countries of the world like USA and UK and there are homeless persons dying on the streets. 

When one reflects on the situation, one would perhaps arrive at the conclusion that at the root of so much human misery is nothing other than evil. It is not lack of resources that prevent any country from providing shelter to the homeless but lack of compassion and good human values. Even the poorest of Sikh communities in each and every part of the world had neither homeless nor a single beggar for hundreds of years because the community shelters them in their temples that include free kitchens. This blog has has had plans and designs for shelters that save communities money rather than cause an expenditure (search for HISA in the left side bar search tool)

How can sensitive humans find peace and beauty in such a world? While even the best of individuals can do little to improve the world for these are not things in his or her control, all have full control on their own attitudes and inclinations. When any human increases virtues of love, truth, simplicity and beauty in their own lives then the world around them changes and surrounds them with peace and beauty. Even in the worst of times on the planet, there have always been parts of great peace and beauty as there have been individuals filled with goodness

This does not mean one should ignore the rest of the world and let it bask in its own misery. It is incumbent upon every good human to make whatever little contribution they can to make the world in their reach a better place. Those who are comfortable financially would easily find a child in need or a family in hunger to help. Those without much money also have some assets they can share with the world. All can raise tree saplings from seeds and then plant them out on any barren land in their vicinity. This not only helps Mother Earth but also the planet as a whole, making it a better place for all life that dwells upon it because at the present time the planet has been depleted much of its green cover.

Those who are well educated and have access to the internet as most do nowadays can access anyone in the world through social media. If through this they assert their support for good human values and express disgust for poor and evil ones, violence, hate and lies then they contribute to a general opinion pool for greater good. However, much involvement with the dark side of the planet can also impact negatively for whatever a mind focuses on tends to become a part of one’s life. Therefore, this latter involvement has to be done with care to the extent that it does not disrupt one’s own serenity for that would make one less capable of helping even oneself leave alone any one else.

One shall find peace if one reserves time for communing with nature and meditation on the Universal consciousness. May the Lord add much peace and beauty in the lives of all readers of this blog.

Know Thy Life, Know Thy Self

In our journey through life we confront good and bad times for such is the nature of life. Troubles arise from a whole range of issues varying from natural disasters, accidents, health, financial or legal etc. A very large proportion of our problems are due to other humans. While some help us forward in our journey through life or are just joyous companions, there are others who spare no effort to make it miserable.

One can move away from people who are not helpful or even evil but there are some one cannot move from in a hurry. These are people one works with in a job or members of one’s family if they turn out to be the difficult ones. The best one can do at such times is to cope with difficulties, the best one can, as they arise while hoping and working towards better days ahead.

Quite often humans add another dimension to the problem. When they are wronged by other humans, they carry with them feelings of hurt or anger towards such persons. While difficulties when they arise have to be dealt with, these latter are completely avoidable. It is best to forgive, forget or ignore and move on. Nature shall deal with the karma of such of those individuals in the best possible way and even punish them if necessary. There is no need for us to interfere.

My mother was a peace loving, cheerful, hard working and extremely social lady who made affectionate relationships with almost everyone she ran into in life. On the other hand, our father was a difficult stressed out personality of the type that is forever creating confrontations with almost everyone including the rest of his family. Undoubtedly this was difficult for my mother all through her life but she had the unusual ability to deal with difficulties as and when they arose and then revert to her natural cheerful self as soon as it was over. It is abilities such as these that help to make life happier.  If mosquitoes or other troublesome creatures annoy us, we just brush them aside and move on. We do not carry a grudge against them with us. If a storm damages our home, we fix it as soon as we can but we do not carry a feeling of anger in our heart against storms. A similar attitude towards other humans who create difficulties for us through our journey in life goes a long way towards making us more joyous.

When humans encounter injustice and suffering or see it elsewhere, some adopt an attitude that there is no God or else why the suffering? But this attitude is held by them only as long as the going is good. The moment trouble strikes they remember God again just as little children yell out for Mama the moment they get hurt while busy in play. 

There shall be good times in life just as there will be bad times. If one continues to remember and honor God even in good times, the incidence of bad times in life reduce, for as the Saint Kabir said in Hindi language (translation also given)

Dukh main simran sab kare, Sukh main kare ni koye,
Sukh main simran jo kare, dukh kahe ko hoye?

All remember God in times of sorrow, none in good times
If one remembers God when times are good, why would sorrow come?

One interpretation of this couplet is that humans accumulate most bad karma in good times and that is at the root of hard times that follow. However wise souls remain even minded in both good and bad times recognizing them as the changing seasons of life.

Saints have advised since ancient times that we must continue to work towards our evolution at all times and this can be done best when we are in comfortable circumstances not when we are dealing with difficulties. One essential task suggested by saints is Swadhyaya (Sanskrit) or:

Know Thyself

At the most elementary level this means to reflect on oneself, to know ones weaknesses and strengths and to work towards removing the weaknesses while using our strengths to make not just our own lives and that of family meaningful for even the lowliest of animals do that but also for others and the world around.

At a deeper level,

Be still and know thyself

When the mind is still and perception returns to the innermost self you realize,

I am not this skin, I am not this hair, this is merely temporary clothing for my soul, one day this clothing will wear out and the lord shall give me another one just as he gave me this one

It is then that you see the ups and downs of life with just as much detachment or relevance as one sees scenes in a play. The actors are not allowed to take the robes and gold used in the act when the show is over. An entire lifetime is just one day in the life of a soul. When night comes it shall go to sleep. It shall then wake up to a new day, when mother Earth and Papa Universe shall dress it in a new suit  and wave it to school to face the magic of a new day.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Forests and Mother Earth


Mother Earth has a varied topography across the globe from fertile plains, arid lands, deserts, hills and mountains. Some parts are covered with snow while others are grasslands and forests. On this dwells a huge variety of life ranging from tiny bacteria to humans with Mother Earth providing food and sustenance for all. A huge role is played by forests in keeping the planet healthy. While forests provide food and shelter for many wild animals and birds, they are also a source of energy and building materials for humans.

Over the last century and a half, as human population has grown exponentially, humans have caused huge damage to forests. Some have been cleared for agriculture and others to utilize wood for construction and industrial activity without replacing with new trees. While both fossil fuel emissions and deforestation contributes to climate change, it is the belief of this author, as explained in several other blog posts that in the main deforestation is a major cause of global warming. Although this is not currently the main stream view, all agree that forests contribute to a better climate and a healthier planet.

Forested lands are cooler than deforested ones because of evaporation, reflection and shading by tree leaves. If forests are removed, a rise in temperature on the planet as a whole is expected. Moreover, forests also slow down winds that rage across the planet and contribute to arresting climate extremes. If humans desire a better, more secure environment, then it is essential that they make every possible effort to restore a healthy forest cover on the planet as soon as possible besides planting more trees on farm boundaries, in cities and villages.

At the present time, food producing trees are an ideal choice for forests so as to meet some of the food needs of a huge human population and reduce pressure to clear forests for food productions. When oil plantations or orchards are planted on agricultural land or cleared forests, it is best to introduce bio-diversity within it by say planting 20% trees different from the main crop but natural to the area in order to maintain health of the plantation and the planet.

Humans have established villages, towns and cities on the vast and varied landscape of Mother Earth. While fertile plains are best suited for agriculture, arid ones are good for industrial and mining activities. Towns and villages also exist on mountains and while these are some of the most scenic and idyllic locations on earth, towns are needed all across the planet, wherever humans dwell for their livelihood. Some of the most heavenly places to live on Earth are areas that have some level ground, a lake and surrounded by green forested mountains. However such areas are neither suited for agriculture nor industry and it is best to reserve such towns for tourists, educational institutions and dwellings for retired persons. There are several such places within mountains on the planet. Some do not have a lake but if not and they have a river flowing through it, one can be created easily by erecting a dam on its lower side.

Whether it is deserts or green mountains, humans have created lovely places to live when ever goodness has prevailed. On the other hand, some of the best of locations to live on the planet have been turned into a living hell when greed, corruption and violence stalk the land. Africa and Latin America are prime example of this latter state at the present time. South America has some of the loveliest and greenest of locations on the planet but people there do not have the best quality of life because it seems corruption is rampant in its governance and violence among some its people.

Wherever humans live, there is enough water to plant trees within the habitation and to develop forests in portions of surrounding countryside. This task needs an active involvement of all humans. There was a time when much of Earth was covered by forests and humans did not feel the need to plant more trees. Therefore, systematic tree planting has not been a strong part of human culture. However the time has arrived for humans to make it so. Mother Earth is extremely generous but her generosity is not infinite. If humans continue to take from her without giving back, she would undoubtedly create condition to make life difficult for such of her children and then remove them if necessary so that she may work once again in peace to restore her pristine glory over a thousand years. “Be gone’ she will say, “I have to make the place fit for living again.
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