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50 Healthy Resolutions That Aren't Losing Weight
It’s fair to say that 2016 wasn’t a popular year (to put it mildly).
But while we may be ready to embrace 2017 with open arms, there’s one mistake many of us will probably bring into the New Year: focusing on the wrong resolution.
If data published in 2015 is any indication, many of us will pledge to lose weight. However, the problem with focusing solely on the scale is that it isn’t necessarily beneficial or indicative of our well-being. Not to mention the fact that concentrating on a pants size may make us ignore all the other aspects of wellness (like self-esteem or empathy, for example).
Of course, if losing weight is imperative to your physical health, it’s necessary to complete those goals and follow a plan outlined by a doctor. But if you’re searching for a way to prioritize wellness, there are additional options.
We’ve rounded up some healthy resolutions that have nothing to do with dropping pounds. Check them out below and then vow to make 2017 your best year yet.
1. Sleep more.
Commit to those eight hours. Proper shuteye is linked to better mental health and a lower risk for physical health conditions.
2. Cut back on sugar.
It’s difficult but it can be life changing if you pull it off. Here are a few tips on how to give it up.
3. Limit sodium intake.
Dietary guidelines recommend consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams per day (but the average American may consume more than 3,400 milligrams in a day ― yikes!). Too much sodium is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and more.
4. Start meditating.
The benefits of a meditation practice are boundless, from improved mental health to better concentration to a lower risk for disease.
5. Pick up crafting.
Experts say activities like knitting can ease anxiety and put you in a meditative state. And you get a scarf in the process? Score.
6. Spend time alone.
Introverts are onto something. There’s power in a little “me time.”
7. Plan a trip.
You’ll boost your mood instantly. Research suggests planning a vacation can increase happiness ― and just think, you’ll have an adventurous city or a white sand beach to look forward to after you book it.
8. Keep a journal.
This could be a book that gives you prompts or just an empty place to scribble out your frustrations. Studies show journaling can be cathartic for your mental health.
9. Go for strolls more often.
It’s actually a really healthy exercise, according to science. Hit the pavement.
10. Cut back on complaining.
Negative thought patterns can increase stress levels. Try a mindful experiment where when you catch yourself complaining ― or thinking negatively ― you counteract it with something positive. Here’s a little inspiration to get started.
11. Give up diet soda.
Let’s face it: The zero-calorie coke alternative is not doing anyone any favors. It has the potential to hurt your health and studies have found it doesn’t help with losing weight.
12. Compliment someone once a day.
And not just on their appearance. Genuine compliments can go a long way for both you and the other person.
13. Practice gratitude.
Studies suggest that gratitude can improve overall well-being and may even boost physical health. Try keeping score of what you appreciate every day. Need some ideas to get started? Here are 100.
14. Go to therapy.
Therapy can be an incredibly useful tool for self discovery or as a way to work out life’s challenges. If you’re dealing with a particularly rough period ― or just want to know more about your inner world ― mental health professionals can help.
15. Volunteer regularly.
Donating your time to people or an organization in need can do a world of good. And if you needed more reason: Research shows volunteering can improve your health. It may also increase your happiness levels thanks to a circular effect. Kindness makes you happy, and happiness makes you kind.
16. Drink more water.
Forget what you were told about drinking eight glasses a day and aim for hydration instead. Here’s a handy guide to know when you’re actually feeling parched (it might be happening sooner than you realize).
17. Cook at home more frequently.
You’ll end up getting healthier in the process. Research says homemade meals can help you skip out on excess calories.
18. Commit to a strength-training routine.
Building muscle can help protect you against injury and even sharpen your cognitive skills. Start small ― even just using your body weight ― and increase as you get stronger.
19. Talk to more strangers.
It pays to make a little eye contact. Research shows smiling at someone you don’t know could help increase feelings of social connection.
20. Say “no” more often.
Burnout is real and it can happen in a blink of an eye. Make sure you’re prioritizing yourself and not saying “yes” to everything because it feels like an obligation. Self care isn’t selfish.
21. Handwrite letters instead of emailing people.
Make an effort to communicate via snail mail this year. Handwritten correspondence is a lost art form ― but there are real benefits to putting pen to paper, from better creativity to a smaller risk of multitasking.
22. Schedule walking meetings once a week.
You’ll get far more out of it than if you were holed up in the office. And that added physical activity may just get your creativity flowing.
23. Use all of your vacation days.
Those who are lucky enough to get vacation time often don’t put it to use. A recent survey found that 32 percent of people used zero of their allocated days last year. But taking a break is super important for your well-being. Don’t feel like taking a vacation? Try a mental health day, instead.
24. Call your family more often.
Chances are they’d love to hear from you and you can benefit from it, too. Research shows calling loved ones like your mom can ease stress.
25. Cut back on material spending.
Money does not buy happiness, according to science. Take your hard-earned cash and use it for an experience instead. There’s evidence it will bring you more joy.
26. Try team sports.
The camaraderie is great and you’ll pick up a new hobby in the process. Plus, it’s ― you guessed it ― good for your mental health.
27. Learn a language.
Say “hola” or “bonjour” to a new life skill. Research even supports the theory that it’ll boost your brain.
28. Forgive someone.
Anger and resentment is like holding onto internal poison and can even harm your physical health. Life’s too short to not move on.
29. Make regular doctors’ appointments.
Research shows that ― for the most part ― it’s okay to forgo annual physicals if you’re generally healthy individual. But that doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind and ignore your body. If you’re sick or something is off, see a doctor. That includes specialists like dermatologists and dentists.
30. Donate to an important cause.
That same kindness feedback loop that happens when you volunteer may also apply in this case as well. Here’s a list of organizations that may need your help right now, in particular.
31. Read one book a month.
Research shows reading can boost empathy and emotional intelligence. If you’re committed to diving into multiple novels this year, check out this list of tips and benefits that will help keep you motivated.
32. Bring your lunch to work every day.
Trust us, your wallet will thank you. Take a look at this breakdown to see just how much you’ll save.
33. Practice self-acceptance.
It’s actually a key to a happier life but it’s a habit people rarely practice. Make your internal dialogue as kind as it would be if you were talking to your best friend.
34. Say a mantra every day.
Mantras can keep you grounded in the moment, allowing you to reap the rewards of mindfulness, and they could help you actually believe what you’re saying after a while. (Yes, you are beautiful. And yes, you should repeat that to yourself every day if that’s what you need.)
35. Wear sunscreen.
Skin cancer is no joke. Luckily, there are tons of moisturizers that contain a little SPF.
36. Eat more (good!) carbohydrates.
Psst, the healthiest people in the world actually consume a lot of carbs. (Yep, you read that correctly.) Check out how to incorporate more of these important nutrients into your diet.
37. Cut back on alcohol.
Sure, a little is fine (who doesn’t love a good glass of Pinot Grigio?). But the negatives outweigh the positives in the long term in this case.
38. Go outside more often.
Not only does it improve your mood, you get the added perks of exercise. Win-win.
39. Give up the snooze button.
Seriously, you’ll feel much better for it. And maybe you’ll finally become one of those successful morning people.
40. Floss regularly.
There’s a reason your dentist nags you about that tiny string. Clearing your gums of bacteria is necessary for oral health, so do what you can to make sure they’re in good condition.
41. Make your bed every day.
No act of organization is too small. And it may make you happier.
42. Don’t use your smartphone before bed.
The type of light that’s emitted from screens can disrupt your sleep and keep you awake longer. Try ditching your device at least 30 minutes before you shut your eyes.
43. Do an activity outside of your comfort zone.
There’s a whole life to discover on the other side of your routine. Not to mention the fact that doing something different may boost creativity.
44. Pick a theme for the year.
If you’re starting to feel like this whole “resolution” thing isn’t for you, try sticking to a theme instead. Instead of picking a goal, pick a word you want to abide by for 2017. It could be “brave” or “confident” or “compassionate.” Whatever you want to start doing ― or being ― more of.
45. Fix your posture.
Straightening up is not only an instant confidence booster, it can also prevent back problems and reduce stress. Your future self may just thank you.
46. Sign up for a race.
There’s something satisfying about crossing a real finish line. Running comes with a lot of physical and mental health perks, from lower risk of disease to improved mood. Why not celebrate a running routine with a tangible medal of your accomplishments?
47. Marie Kondo your space.
Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is the champion of the tidying method where you only keep items that bring you joy. Since then, the trend has gained traction and for a good reason. Not only does it keep your home clutter-free, there’s also a psychological health component to focusing on the materials that make you happy.
48. Cut back on social media.
Research shows that constant scrolling through a newsfeed can lead to social comparison, or the need to stack your life up against someone else’s. This can then lead to depressive symptoms. Take a step back from all of it and live your life based on how you feel ― not on how cool it’s supposed to look with a filter.
49. Spend time with people who think differently than you do.
Empathy, or the ability to walk in another’s shoes, is the foundation for a lot of positive perks. The more you expand yourself and open your eyes to different perspectives, the more open minded you become.
50. Love yourself.
Because you’re all you’ve got ― no matter what
What is the difference of taste of movies or TV shows between an NRI and an original India-living-new-generation-progressive-Indian watching European and American movie or TV shows?
1. For NRI- multiculturalism is a must as they have to live everyday in those countries and continuously compete with their native people from those countries. So even if the Indian characters are stereo type and slightly racist, it is acceptable to them.
Whereas, in the case of people that are living in India- it is not quite so simple. We don't mind watching movies or TV shows where only white people are acting as long as the story is very good and interesting. As it doesn't try to potray Indian characters and messed it up even if the intention was positive. Because in 99% occasion potrayal of Indian characters are stereo type and racist. This is why, people from India tend to like those movies and TV shows too from 90s and late 80s when only white characters are shown. As most often Indian characters are not even there, thereby eliminating any chances of stereo typing. But I am only taking about the good ones as a lot of garbage was made too in that time period. This is why movies like Lion and Slumdog millionaire will never truly be popular in India whereas western people think these are great movies. For example- Friends which is popular for many reasons among Indians but obviously it doesn't have any such stereo type Indian characters.
2. This might shock most people but authentic India living Indians love more sex violence dark movies and TV shows than NRIs. For example- Game of thrones etc.
Because NRIs were probably living in those countries for a long time therefore they already established themselves as something different and foreign from native people so that they don't feel bad about themselves or become self assured. And in order to achieve that they already made themselves more rooted to the past Indian tradition than the group of people from India that has the option to watch foreign movies and TV shows.
3. Familiarity- NRIs are 24X7 living in those countries and therefore they kind of got bored with familiar environment. That's why they look for something that is different and not really that familiar from their everyday lives. This is why even those "Sas-Bahu" melodrama from India can be extremely popular among NRIs.
And this might shock most young people in India.
Kapil Sharma kickstarts 2017 with good news, announces two new comedy shows
The laughter dose just got multiplied. The funny man of our entertainment industry, Kapil Sharma is coming up with two new shows. Yes, you read that right. The comedian and actor, who rose to fame with his television show Comedy Nights With Kapil and presently hosts The Kapil Sharma Show on Sony, shared the good news as part of ringing in his New Year.He wrote, “First news of the year.. k9 is producing two comedy shows … hope u will like .. stay happy.” For Kapil, the year of 2016 has been a roller coaster ride. The actor got embroiled in controversies, his set was on fire and then his rift with a leading channel’s producer. However, as they say, all’s well that ends well. Kapil’s growth has been tremendous.
As per industry reports, Kapil is getting a whopping Rs 110 crore for his renewed year-long stint of the show with Sony. Considering The Kapil Sharma Show is one of the top TRP generators for not just the channel, but on the Indian television too, the comedian easily pockets around Rs 60-80 lakh per episode, becoming one of the top earning actors of small screen too.
Source: Indian Express
Five Golden Principles
Wherever you live, there you are living in your home. The significance is not in living in your home, but if you live in God's kingdom then there is much significance and greatness. This home (kingdom) you have called your own. But this home was from the very beginning belonging to God only. Even right now it is God's and later on also it will remain God's. If you die, then surely this house will not go with you. It belongs to God only. Therefore from today onwards, accept that I live in God's home. Really speaking you are living in God's home. When you come to Haridwar the you say - Oh ! this is gateway to God's home. When you come to Vrindavan you say that this is the place where God engaged in His divine loving pastimes. When you go to Ayodhya then you say we have come to God's palace. Accept it as God's kingdom or God's home, then this very house that you live in will become Vrindavan. At all times let that thought prevail, that I am living in God's home, and we are his very dear ones that belong to him. From today onwards accept this. All of you, do not consider your home as belonging to you. Oh' It is God's home! We have considered it our home in the middle somewhere. Before it was God's, and later on it will be God's then in the middle how can it become ours? Simply for no reason you have put a stamp on it. There is a point that you must pay close attention to - whatever work you do, accept it as God's work and then do it. Whether it is washing your clothes, taking a bath. This body is also God's, therefore to serve God you are doing it's work. Eating and drinking is also God's work. Office work and business is also God's work. The Master of this entire world is God, therefore the master of all the bodies is also God.Therefore work related to this body and to this world can be whose work? It is God's work only! What a wonderful thing this is! We live in God's kingdom and we are doing His work - these are two points. Now the third point is - All the things that are in the house, they too belong to God only. If the house belongs to God and you belong to God then can the things belong to someone else? Mothers and sisters should want that they should take those things that belong to God and cook with them. In the mind must be the thought that Oh! it is for offering food to God that I am cooking this meal. Now offer the foods prepared to God and thereafter however many people that are in the house, understand them to be God's people and offer them food.Understand them to be God's loving people, they are God's very loving and sweet children. I am feeding them. I am serving God. Just like if you love someone's child, then his mother will be very pleased, won't she? similarly, if you serve God's children, then God will be pleased. What a wonderful point this is! Cooked God's food, offered it to God and fed God's children with the prepared foods. When you eat yourself, then too think of it as God's "prasad" (partaking in the food offered and blessed by God). How very wonderful! "Tumhi nibedit bhojan karahin | Prabhu prasad pat bhooshan gharhin || (Manas 2/128/1) As discussed earlier, make everything an offering to the Lord; not just food. If you wear jewellery, offer it to God "Thakurji". Wear only those clothes that belong to Thakurji. Let all things be taken in as if it is "prasad" (offering to the Lord), then all things will get purified. Have you seen this or not, that when food is offered to Thakurji's as "prasad" and is later distributed to all, then every person will bring forth their hand to receive the "prasad". Even if the smallest portion is given, then too he will be happy. Whether he is a millionaire or a billionaire, he too will bring his hand forward, and if you give him a small piece of the "prasad", he will be happy. Is this person hungry for sweets? If some millionaire or a billionaire asks for "prasad" and if you tell him let us go to the market and I will buy it for you from the market, then he will not be happy. He will say, am I starved of sweets or what? I want "prasad". Now tell me the importance of "prasad"? It is Thakurji's (God's) "prasad" (offering to the Lord). Everything in the house belongs to the Lord. If you follow this, then I would like to share with you a very great point. Have mercy and simply do it, then it is very great thing and very beneficial. Place "tulsidal" (the sacred basil leaf) on all the money - wealth that you have at home. On all the jewellery, clothes on everything place "tulsidal." Even for the house, offer it. On all animals, place tulsidal. On all children, place "tulsidal" Now whose children are they? They are Thakurji's (God's) children.It is like magic. If you are able to do, then I will share, but do it from the heart, then it will be magical. Son is rebellious and does not listen. With a true heart, lift off the proprietary interest (sense of mine-ness) you have in him and say that he is not mine at all. He is only Thakurji's (God's). The son will become totally alright. Just as when food it offered to God it become sanctified and many great people revere it. Similarly, with a true heart, completely wipe off your proprietary interest and only consider him as belonging to Thakurji (God) then he will be purified. He will become sacred. Try it and see for yourself. The challenge is to completely lift off your proprietary interest. Just like another person's child, similar is this child. if he dies then too no affect on you. He is not our child, if he dies the it is Thakurji's, whereas Thakurji's never dies. If he dies here, then there he is born. He is never apart from Thakurji. By doing so, the son will be purified. It is the truth. Sense of mine-ness (mamta) itself is impurity. Sense of “mine-ness” (proprietary interest) is impurity. It is due to mine that there is impurity. If you give donation - charity, then have no relation with it. “Daatavyamiti yadaanam deeyatenupakaarine” (Gita 17/20) “Anupakaareene” does not mean that the other person does not do anything helpful. IT is an understanding that previously the person did nothing beneficial, and there is no expectation that he will oblige in the future. Give donation to such a one, with whom you have no self-interest. Give to such people. Do not keep a selfish relation with family members. Both will lead to the same, as in the end only one will remain. Serve where there is no sense of mine or where you serve there get rid of the feeling of mine. It will be the same thing. We are God’s. We live in His kingdom. We do His work. We receive his Prasad. And with his offering, we serve his children. I too am receiving his “Prasad”. This is true “Pamchaamrt” (Five Golden Principles). From today onwards, grab hold of these points. “Sarvabhaaven maam bhajati” and in all sentiments and feelings worship only the Lord, therefore have the sentiments that this body belongs to “Thakurji” (My Lord). I am doing my Lord’s work. Then you will be able to do a favor for the Lord that Maharaj! (Great One) I am doing your work. A Brahmin used to keep saying - daily I feed one Brahmin. He used to eat himself and have the sentiments that daily he is feeding a Brahmin. It is such a great thing! Similarly, the entire family and various families all belong to Thakurji (God). I am taking care of Thakurji’s family. Even Thakurji says that he is taking care of the family Brother! God will be touched that yes! It is true! He is taking care of my family. When there is no sense of mine-ness, when there is no attachment, then God says that He is taking care of my family.In all sentiments, let God’s work alone be done. This will turn into pure devotion “avyabhichaari bhakti” We want to take nothing, we have no sense of mine-ness. There is neither selfishness nor proprietary interest. Whether home members listen to you or not, whether they serve you or not, we have to serve Thakurji’s family. We have to serve him, Brother! If family members do not work, then we should be happy, it is a good thing! If they work and do everything according to our preference, then understand that our good deeds are getting exhausted. Therefore if they do nothing and further give us trouble and sorrow, then it is a good thing. Even if mother-in-law causes suffering, if daughter-in-law gives sorrow, if sister-in-law or any one give pain and sorrow then be happy, thinking we are greatly benefited. We have to serve, and if they give pain then we will be doubly benefited. On one hand there will be benefit of serving “seva” and if they give pain and sorrow then your sins will be reduced. When will suffering remain, tell me? Even on getting suffering, there will be joy. There will be no place remaining for sorrow and suffering. All roadways will be blocked, then that itself is “sarvavit”. Have you understood this well? If you are becoming happy and unhappy with this world, then you have not understood this well. We are living in ever bliss. We have not the least bit of unhappiness. God supports, protects and takes care of everyone. He takes care of all, then such a devotee of God does not experience any sorrow at all. They remain ever blissful, they remain so joyful that with their association you feel delighted and intoxicated. By remembering Thakurji (God), bondages break off. Simply by reciting the divine Name, by remembering the Lord, by listening to His divine plays (stories) sins are destroyed, He is that pure. “Pavitraanaam pavitram yo mangalaanaam cha mangalam" In essence what is the point? It is a small thing. “I am only God’s” not anyone elses. For serving I belong to the world, but for our own purpose, I am no one elses. I only belong to God, simply accept yourself as being God’s, then this house belongs to God, this kingdom belongs to God, this family belongs to God, the wealth and possessions belong to God, the work is God’s, the food is God’s everything will become God’s. This is the absolutely Truth.I am sharing based on my very experience. The child that the mother has accepted as her own, when he climbs into the mother’s lap then the mother is pleased and joyful. If he climbs from the back onto her shoulder, then too she laughs and if he intentionally pretends to cry ‘Um-Um-Um” the Maa smiles that look he is pretending with me. What is that action performed by a child that the mother does not like? The child is mine. Similarly being God’s if we do all work, then all our actions will become worship and adoration of God. What to speak of worship and adoration, it makes God pleased, happy. Whatever work you do, God continues to remain happy. He is my child. My child is playing. What delight! The point is only one, to become God’s. This is the truth. If I ask you that have you taken birth in this household knowingly? If you are living, then are you intentionally living? If knowingly you are living, then who would be dead? No one would die. If you are living in a healthy body, is it knowingly so? If you were knowingly living like this, then do not ever fall sick. Whatever strength and intelligence you have, has it been knowingly acquired? Then why get old? Don’t become dependent. But you are becoming dependent. Therefore this pride is your own, nothing else. Your are simply filled with pride. Therefore I am Thakurji’s (God’s). I am dependent on God. Whatever strength Thakurji (God) gives, that alone I do. How much work did Hanumanji do? When Ramji went to Lanka, he created a bridge and then crossed the bridge. But Hanumanji simply flew over to the other side. Whose strength does he have? The strength that Hanumanji has comes from Thakurji (the Lord). “Baar baar raghubeer sambhaari.” “prabisi nagar keeje sab kaaja. Hrdey raakhee kosalpur raja.” It comes in Valmiki Ramayan that Hanumanji roared that even if thousand Ravans come they cannot spoil anything of mine, I am servant of the Lord (Thakurji).The world is suffering due to pride. Therefore have mercy and leave the pride, offer it to God, that I am God’s. All our strength has to be applied in doing God’s work. “Tvadeeya vastu Govind tubhyameva samarpaye”, “Sarvabhaaven bhajati maam” - with all sentiments they worship and adore God. Divine Name recitation is adoration, chanting holy name is adoration, reciting various scriptures is worship and adoration, to listen, to share, is all worship. By “Sarvabhaavena bhajati”, getting up, sitting, eating, drinking, sleeping, waking up, all work is God’s work that we are doing. What an elevated thing this is. We have taken refuge in the Lord and we will do only His work. The work is not ours at all. This is not our house, therefore it is no our work. All work is Lord’s work. I have heard from saints, he who cannot regard anything as his own, neither the mind, nor the intellect, nor the body, nor the life breath, nor the senses, nor the house, nor the wealth. When all things belong to Thakurji (Lord), then wherever they live there is nothing but joy! Everything is given to the Lord. Therefore they remain ever blissful. We have heard one thing about a Saint. Saints are very unique. When they go to the market and see the various different sweet dishes that are displayed, fruits that are kept and stores that are well decorated. Wherever they see some great things, there they stand-by and in their mind say, Lord (Thakurji), please partake in this offering. Please take these sweets as an offering. Simply standing they blissfully offer it to the Lord. Similarly, you too offering everything to Thakurji, please accept this offering, then it all becomes an offering. You tell me, what is the difficulty in doing this? Then you too do this. Who is preventing you from doing so? Wherever you see anything wonderful, offering it to the Lord (Thakurji). Everything belongs to Thakurji. What should we do? We will simply rejoice. Now we have no work remaining. Now it is only Lord’s work, Lord’s Name, Lord’s contemplation, listening to Lord’s divine stories. What work is remaining for you to do? You are doing the Lord’s work. Lord is the master of all the work in this universe. By offering everything that belongs to the master at his lotus feet, how much do you have to exert, tell me? You tell me that this is mine, but for how many days? How many years will you continue to say that it is mine? As such it will eventually remain the Lord’s. Therefore while living, turn it over to Him from the heart, then it will be joyful! What an easy and what a deep well grounded point this is! Saints have said - “Ram naam ki sampada do anter tak dhoon | Yaa to gupatee baat hai kaho bataave koon" Who will tell such a great point? And how easy it is! What a high class point this is ! What a worriless, fearless, blissful point this is ! neither worry, nor fear, nor dejection, nor desire to live, nor desire to die. We have no desire whatsoever. May our desire be blended (one) with the Lord. Now however the Lord does, however he keeps us -
“Jaahi vidhi raakhe Ram, taahi vidhi rahiye |SitaRaam, SitaRaam, SitaRaam kahiye"
We have no demand, nor any wish. By this our troubles will be wiped out, and God will become pleased with us. By considering it as ours, there will be worries. It is my room. Certain things are lying there. Clothes are drying there. Someone will take them, then there will be worries. Now when it is all offered (turned over) to God, then what ecstacy ! If it goes away it is the Lord’s, if it remains it is the Lord’s ! Narayana! Narayana! Narayana!
From book in Hindi "Jeevan Upyogi Pravachan" by Swami Ramsukhdasji
It is human nature to take the support of one or the other. Every living being wants to get the shelter of someone, wants to make someone his support. Why is there this sort of nature? It is so because the being is the inseparable part (ansh) of the Supreme Lord (Paramatma). If he takes the support of only the Lord, then he will have no need for any other shelter. But till he gains resort of the Supreme Self, he goes on seeking shelters one after the other. He needs to take God’s shelter, but instead he takes the support of various others. He seeks the shelter of wealth, of his abilities, his strength, his family, his knowledge, his talent and skills, but these shelters do not last.
Only God’s shelter should be sought – this idea seems to make sense in mind and understanding, but we do not give up other shelters! Though you are not bound in giving up others shelters, rather you are altogether free, yet by taking special support and shelter of others, and by continuing to gain consolation and pleasures there from, an illusion has arisen in the heart that how without this support or how by giving up this shelter you will be in a position to live at all! How will you be able to sustain? How will you be able to manage your livelihood? By the surging of this kind of emotion, a sort of cowardice has taken root in the mind, that you cannot leave their shelter!
Whose support is there when we are under the spell of deep sleep? No one else’s dependency or support is there, not even of God’s! In that state, there is a certain sort of semi-unconsciousness, a kind of swoon. In that state, the shelter of the world is automatically given up, but that of ignorance (moodhataa) persists. Thus it is a sheer illusion that we cannot live without someone’s shelter. Or, else, tell me on whose support do you exist or live during deep sleep? In deep sleep “shushupti” you exist even without or in absence of world’s shelter or support.
Please be kind and do pay attention to this one point of great importance. We do not get as much happiness from depending on the world, as we get in sleep from leaving the dependence on the world. The extent of joy and freshness that we experience, the energy that we accumulate from leaving the dependency of the world, these do not come from taking the support of the world. What to speak of conservation of energy, it is exhausted away! By continuing to depend on wealth, family, intellect, abilities, etc. you become restless, tired, and exhausted. Your energy is used up, and then you leave every one and fall off asleep. And while sleeping you once again regain the energy. In this manner, by sundering of worldly shelters a distinctive and refreshing power will grow in you. And by taking the shelter of God, boundless will be the strength, so limitless will be the power that no fear or anxiety will ever haunt or trouble you! For this reason alone it is said -
“yam labdhvaa chaaparam laabham manyate naadhikam tatah.” (Gita 6/22).
“Higher than this there has been no real or great gain at all.” There is no higher gain than this, nor can, nor shall it ever be! But this will occur only on giving up all the ephemeral or perishable shelters of the world. The mistake which is often committed is that you do not give up the shelters which are believed and known to you as being perishable. You repeat and recite the Divine Name of God, you meditate, you sing God’s glory and contemplate on spiritual matters, but simultaneously you keep shelter of the perishable things! Without totally relinquishing the shelter of the perishable world, one cannot entirely and in toto take the shelter of God. Without seeking complete support (of God), total power cannot be secured.
There is no dearth or paucity from God’s side. To the extent you seek God’s shelter, to that very extent you will get consolation, power and gain. You will undoubtedly get illimitable power if by totally giving up the shelter of the world, you depend on God alone for everything.
Where is that God? In this regard, may I tell you one thing that He is in the heart of all beings’ – “sarvasya chaham hrdi samnivistah” (Gita 15/15); “isvarah sarvabhootaanaam hrddeserjuna tishthati (Gita 18/61). He is the Indwelling Spirit of all the beings; but the difficulty is that the being looks only outward, he does not look deep within. You regard yourself that “I am”. Of that “I-ness,” Atman (Self, Spirit) is the support; and God, the Supreme Self, Supreme Spirit is the shelter even of the Atman – mamaivaamso jivaloke (Gita 15/7). Your Atman is an inseparable part of the Paramatman. You (amsa) are in one “ksetra” i.e. body and your “amsi” (God) is in all the bodies (ksetras) - “ksetrajnam chaapi maam viddhi sarvaksetresu bhaarata.” (Gita 13/2). The Gopis said - “na khalu gopikaanandano bhavaanakhiladehinaa mantaraatmadrk” i.e., “you are not mere the child of Yashoda, you are the witness to the Inner Self of all the beings, of all the bodies in living and inert forms, whether they be gods, demons, ghosts, or spirits or be they the residents of hells or heavens, devotees or meditative and contemplative seeker of Truth or God-loving fellows. But how are You here, when you are all these?”
“Vikhanasaarthito vishvagupte sakh udeyivaan saatvataam kule” (Srimad Bhagwat 10/31/4) - “you appeared when Brahmani prayed to you”. Why did he pray? “Visvaguptaye”
i.e. he prayed for the protection of the universe. For, Thou alone are the saviour of Creation, none else has this power to protect. Besides, you have “appeared” – not born – in the Yadava clan “udeyivaan saatvataam kule”. When the sun rises, no body says that the sun is born, because the Sun is present even before it appears to rise in the eastern skies! Likewise God descends in divine ways. He is not born like our bodies are born.
Mind, intellect, senses, body, individuals, things, objects, money, wealth etc., nothing belongs to you, nothing stays with you; every moment it is parting from you, and yet you seek their shelter! Here in lies your mistake. Relinquishing the shelter of such things, please seek the shelter of God alone - “maamekam saranam vraja” (Gita 18/66). “Tameva saranam gaccha sarvabhaavena bhaarata, tatprasaadaatparaam saantim sthaanam praapsyasi saasvatam” (Gita 18/62).
Seek the shelter in Him alone, wholeheartedly. By His grace you shall attain supreme peace (total unconcern from worldliness) and eternal abode. We are all free in seeking the shelter of God, no one is dependent. None is incapable of taking His shelter and support.
This very moment you “can” seek the shelter and support of God, because He is with you and you are with Him. Neither He can ever be separated from you nor can you be ever separated from Him. If He parts from you, then there will be two Gods; one He, and the other one you. His indivisibility, omnipresence and supremacy will be disintegrated. His significance will not remain if he separates from you. He cannot, therefore, be separated from you. Nor can you be separated from Him. Yes, you may regard yourself separate from Him, but you cannot be separated from Him. Similarly, you can certainly regard yourself dependent on the world and seek shelter of worldly goods and materials, but cannot be dependent upon them for all time. You took the shelter of wealth, family, friends, intelligence, ability, power etc., but could you and can you really be dependent on them permanently? You know it, believe it and yet you seek their shelter. What an illusion! What an error! It is so because such supports will not last. Therefore, turn your back upon them all and seek only God’s shelter. Do not take the support of anyone or anything else. Make use of wealth in the best possible manner. Do all work but trust only in the ever-abiding shelter of Almighty and Eternal God. The Saints have said:
Pativrataa rahe pati ke paasaa
Yom saahiba ke dhiga rahe daasaa.
i.e. “Just as the chaste wife lives under the shelter of her husband, so also the devotees of the Lord live under God’s support and shelter only.”
Jagajjanani Janaki used to pay great respects to her parents-in-law much more than her regards for her parents-in-law much more than her regards for her own mother and father; but when her Lord Bhagavan Sri Ram left for the forests, she gave up even the in-laws. King Sri Dasharatha said to such an extent that if Janakadulaari stayed back in Ayodhyaa, his life would be saved; and yet she chose to live for and with Lord Sri Ram. She could not think of staying or living without Lord Sri Rama. How can moonlight remain in absence of the moon? How can the daylight remain without the sun? How can the bodily-shadow live without the body? So also, no Jiva (being) can ever live apart from God. But, since he seeks the shelter of the world, alienating himself from God, he time and again suffers misery. If he did not take the support of that which is going to separate, and takes the support of that which will stay forever with him, than he will undoubtedly be greatly benefited and joyful.
Please, decide right now and once and for all, that you will not take the shelter of the world. You earn money, do all the work that is to be done, but do not make wealth and world your life’s resort or shelter. So far you have taken much from the world, so you work for the world to repay your debt to it, not to seek it’s shelter now. As a matter of fact, the world is not worthy of being a shelter, for it is constantly changing. It changes with such dynamic speed, that we cannot see it twice. Only that which changes is called “samsara” - “sam sarati iti samsaarah”. As God is Mercy Incarnate – “prabhu murati krpaamayi hai” (Vinaya-Patrika 170/7), so is this world change incarnage. There is noting in it except change. You have wrongly regarded worldly as worthy of your shelter. Now turning away from it, only take shelter of the Lord’s Lotus feet, right now! Yes! Just now!
“Mere to Giridhar Gopa, dooseron na koyi”, “ek baani karunaanidhaan ki, so priya jaake gati na aan ki.” - Do not take the shelter of others. With complete sentiments take total refuge in the Lord. “Tameva sharanam gaccha sarvabhaavena” (Gita 18/62), “Sa sarvavidbhajati maam sarvabhaavena” (Gita 15/19); “Sarva bhaav bhaj kapat taji moho param priya soyi” (Manav 7/87 Ka). Verily indeed, your kinship with God is self-evident and profound. Yoke yourself not with the changing world – this is the entire thing. The only thing! That is all there is to it!
From book "Be Good" by Swami Ramsukhdasji
नारायण ! नारायण ! नारायण !