Friendship Lives In The Heart

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My dad who is 89 year old was recently recovering from pneumonia at home, after about a week of hospitalization. One day when I entered his room to give him medicines, what I saw made me really emotional. He was staring at a photograph, with tears silently rolling down his cheeks. When I went closer, I saw that my dad was staring at the picture of his best friend Mr. Gill, who passed away almost eight years back. He used to lovingly address him as Sardarji. They must have been friends for only a decade, but they bonded instantly because of their common interest, game of cricket. If they were not able to watch the match together, both our phone lines would be continuously engaged, as a parallel commentary and analysis of the match would go on between the two.

That day, my dad was terribly missing his dear friend. It was an unusual sight for me as I had never seen tears in my dad’s eyes. I could feel the intensity of his emotions. We all were there with him, but none could fill the vacuum that was created by a friend who left this world.

That is the role of friends in our life. They are a real treasure. Friends are the ones with whom you can share anything under the sun, be it your first crush, an argument with your father, your failure, or your success. They know most of your secrets. You know that your friend will not judge you by any of these things and continue to love you unconditionally. A true friend will stand by you even during your roughest and toughest times, fight with the entire world for you, and just be there for you. Their sheer presence gives you strength and comfort. A friend is an extended part of your own self.

When I think about friends and friendship, my childhood memories suddenly come alive. Since technology had not taken over our lives that time, playing outdoor games with friends was quite prevalent. I remember coming back from school, flinging the school bag, quickly changing the school uniform and running to play with friends. We would have fights on the playground both physical and verbal but everything was forgotten the moment we left the play ground. When it got too late in the evening, one of the moms would come and drive us all back home. Back then, we would just barge into our friends house any time, have food with them or demand something to eat, which the friend’s mother would lovingly cook. Even the simplest of foods would taste like nectar in the company of a friend. All this created an everlasting bond between friends. It created such a beautiful space that allowed you to be yourself. Thanks to the technology that kept that has kept the bond alive even today.

Relationships have always been the focus of my life. And I feel if you have even a few true friends in life, you are amongst the richest people. However, friendships do not happen overnight. You need to invest a lot of time and energy into it. I am fortunate and blessed to have wonderful friends. Some of my friendships have lasted for ages while some for a short period of time, but all of them have been truly soul-nourishing, something that I will cherish until my last breath.

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Every person has his/her own ways of developing friendship, but I would like to share few secrets from my life that may help you develop an everlasting, genuine and amazing friendship.

  1. Always Be There For Your Friend : Being there for a friend in need and during challenging times, deepens the bond. Sometimes you may need to go out of your way, walk an extra mile, do a little sacrifice, put others before you; but trust me it always pays in the long run. A relationship is always two-way. You receive what you give.
  2. Never Let Ego Come In Between : Remember, your friendship is much greater and valuable than your ego. Whenever you have an argument with your best friend and it impairs your relationship, try to mend it even if you think that you were not wrong. These kind of skirmishes are small to begin with but have the potential of becoming big spoilers and in breaking the relationships.
  3. Forgive Easily : ‘To err is human’, so forgive easily, as one small mistake or incident cannot have the power to ruin your friendship. Change your perspective of looking at the situation. Empathise with your friend and understand why he/she behaved the way they did. Putting yourself in that situation will make it easy for you to forgive.
  4. Spend Quality Time : Friendships are nurtured in the heart. In today’s technological world we are in touch with or friends on social media and phones. But on these platforms, we generally put up a façade and do not reveal our true feelings. To develop a deeper, genuine and authentic friendship, we need to break free from the façade and develop a heart to heart connection. This is only possible when we spend quality time with friends. Going out for a movie, or dinner or an outing or doing something of common interest works wonders
  5. Never Be Judgemental : Never form a judgement about your friend and assume things based on hearsay. Sometimes we can easily get carried away by an incident, or someone telling us something about our friend. That is the real test. Instead of believing them and being judgemental about him/her it is best to clear any misunderstanding there and then.

Wishing you a happy and enduring friendship, now and forever.

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Touch Your Inner Core Through Authentic Relationships

MITS-3“The only way to have a friend is to be one…” –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently we had a silver jubilee meet of 1990 batch of our engineering college, MITS Gwalior. The preparations started six months back; whatsapp group was formed, messages were sent, extensive plans were being discussed and so on. Everyone was charged up with excitement. It was as if all of us had travelled back in time and were experiencing the youth again. I am sure you will agree with me that the college days are the most memorable days in anyone’s life. It had been two and a half decades, and some of us had not been in touch until the world was blessed with mobile phones and social media networks. However each one of us was superlatively excited. It was as if the 1990 batch of engineering had taken a re-birth and we were back in college again.MITS-2

From our batch, some had achieved great heights in their career, some were very close to their goals, while others were still struggling to make a mark. But nothing seemed to really affect the close bond we once shared.

I was one of the very few, from my batch who had completely changed the course of life. I was a bit sceptical of how my work and I would be looked at and accepted by my alumni. Of course, some of them knew what I was doing.

I was deeply touched and pleasantly surprised, when one of my dear friends, got the 60 copies of my first book KEYS to be distributed amongst everyone present as a gift from him. My friends said that they were so happy for me and that they proudly tell their children about my achievements and what I am doing.

Those two days of the reunion we had, happened to be the most precious moments of my life. Each one of us connected at the same level where we had left. Some of the batch-mates who did not interact during the college days met each other like the best buddies. There was so much of love and respect we all shared for each other.MITS-4

Everyone present there had clearly dropped their respective status, their accomplishments and their egos the moment they boarded the flight/train to Gwalior. It was a home-coming moment for all us, as if the whole big family had united once again. We were in a space which was totally non-judgemental and non-threatening. We could be our true selves, make fun of each other, share silly jokes and burst out laughing.

I realized that I had not had a laugh from my belly since ages. Those two days of our reunion were a totally healing, empowering and enriching experience for me. We all parted from Gwalior with a strengthened bond, with a promise to be there for each other and to meet again soon.

We get so absorbed in our day to day lives, that we lose connection with ourselves. We may be connected to the whole world through the electronic media, but they also come with lot of ‘Terms & Conditions’. Most of those relationships are formal or superficial. Though the social media grants the biggest advantage of re-establishing the connections that are lost in the sands of time, it does not necessarily assure authentic relationships. I remember, when we were children, we would just barge in our friend’s house at any time and also share a meal. Needless to say, those relations have really stood strong through all the adversities. In today’s scenario, even the best friends have to plan and meet. Sometimes we don’t even meet them for ages giving the excuse of being connected electronically. But let me tell you it is highly important to meet in person. It is important to share the space and energy with people who mean a lot to you and with the people you love. It is a soulful experience.

Since we are all emotional beings, it is the need of the soul to connect to the authentic relationships. And when we do that we automatically connect to our inner core. These relationships give us the space to just be; which is important for the nourishment of the soul. As they say, no man is a failure who has friends…

Let us resolve to build and nurture such authentic relationships this year onwards….. MITS-1

Launch of my second book – MANY LIVES ONE SOUL on 11th Sep 2015

It gives me great pleasure to invite you to the launch of my second book – MANY LIVES ONE SOUL on 11th September at CROSSWORD.

This book is about Past Life Regression and promises to answer the questions that bother us such as, “Why Me?, Why Relationship issues?, Why Bad Things Happen To Good people?, Why there is Disparity in the world?” and so on based on the theory of Reincarnation and karma.

Many Lives One Soul

Book – Many Lives One Soul

Many Lives One Soul Pre Launch Offer

Many Lives One Soul Pre Launch Offer

I sincerely hope that you like the book.

Thanks for always being there and for contributing to my life’s journey.

Gratefully yours

Santosh Joshi

Meeting with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam – A spiritual experience

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22nd October 2013, will be ever etched on my mind. Afterall, You don’t meet a person of the stature of Abdul Kalam every day. I distinctly remember, there were butterflies in my stomach, while Aruna and I were waiting in his office for our 8pm appointment. We were there to present my first book KEYS to him. He was my hero and I had painted a particular image of him in my mind. Already anxious, my mind was crowded with thoughts… ‘how will he greet us?, what will he say about my book?, will he really entertain us as we had no real agenda for the meeting?’, ‘what if a cold response from him shatters the image I have so lovingly nurtured.’

My chain of thoughts was interrupted, when his secretary called out our names. He ushered us in APJ’s office.

His office reflected his persona – simple, warm and welcoming. He got up from his chair to greet us.

“So Mr. Santosh Joshi, what brings you here?” He asked with a bright smile, signalling us to sit. Sitting in front of a person who was the people’s president, a recipient of Bharat Ratna, a scientist, a teacher and above all a favourite leader of one and all, did make me nervous.

However, slowly the anxiety I was experiencing, started to dissolve in his sublime presence. His friendly voice and infectious smile drove away all our discomforts.

“Sir, you are a great inspiration in our life and it has been our long cherished dream to meet you in person, hence we are here.” I said trying hard to put the words together. I gave him the book and a sketch I had drawn of him.

“Oh, I am glad to meet you as well” he replied modestly. Then I briefed him about what I was doing and how I wished to present him my first book and seek his blessings. He patiently flipped through the book, asking questions with lot of interest. He said he was pleased with the way the book has come up.

“You have given me the book. What should I give you?”, saying this he got up from the chair, fetched a copy of ‘Ignited Minds’ from his cupboard and wrote a beautiful message, “If God for us, who can be against us”, and with his autograph gifted it to me. He wished me luck and said, “You are doing a good job. Inspire as many people as you can”.

We requested him for a picture, which he readily agreed. The whole experience was so overwhelming, that we got goose bumps and our eyes moistened. We touched his feet and left his office with a heart filled with gratitude and amplified love and respect for this adorable human being. We were bowled over by his humility, simplicity and greatness. It was feeling one gets in the presence of a spiritually evolved soul. No wonder today when he has left his body, every Indian is grieved. Only a divine incarnate can impact and inspire so many lives. In my view, he was truly a modern spiritual guru.

Rest in Peace APJ… We will miss you…

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Set to Rise

As a child I had the privilege of being raised in a small city, which has its own advantages. I remember crazily riding my bicycle to the top of the hill every evening to get the glimpse of the most incredible sight – the Sunset. I would park my bicycle under the tree and get soaked in the mesmerizing hues of yellows and oranges….. Soon the Sun would just disappear and I would go back… sad, tending my heart with hope for the next day, when the sun will rise again. I used to think, “why does the sun have to set at all if it has to rise again…?”
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As I grew up I became more aware of the infallible ways of Nature. If the Sun doesn’t set, how will it rise…? And how will we experience the most marvelous phenomenon of the universe….?

It’s a beautiful law of Nature, “Set to Rise”. Most often, when we fail in life we get dejected, we lose hope, we start feeling that this is how life is. But let me tell you, that we are only experiencing the Sunset; and Sunrise is definitely going to follow. As per this law “Set to Rise”, if we fail in life, be assured that we will rise. Similarly, if we let our ego, fears, guilt, frustration “Set”… something more beautiful is surely going to “Rise” in their place… much more amazing, miraculous and wonderful.. which will take our life to a new dimension….

AWAY FROM HOME, AT YOUR SERVICE

A TRIBUTE TO INDIAN ARMY

Have you ever consciously acknowledged the comfort of being home, sleeping on your own bed, sharing meals with your loved ones….? Well, honestly I seldom did till a few years back when I changed the course of my life. That’s when I started looking at everything in life with grateful eyes. But the workshop I did in August 2014 stirred something deep within me, pushing me, reminding me again, to look at life with eyes of gratitude….grateful even about the smallest things in life . We take everything for granted not realizing the value of those until we are deprived of it.

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It was in the first week of July while I was preparing for a SKY Healing workshop scheduled in Delhi, I got a call from a the Commanding Officer (CO) of one of the units in Indian Army. He got my contact number through someone who had attended one of my motivational talks. He also came to know about   the SKY Healing technique, that I teach. The CO wanted me to do a workshop for the Jawans of his unit who were feeling de-motivated and also teach them SKY to help them handle their stresses. I was more than thrilled. It was a great honour to have been invited by Indian Army to conduct a workshop for them. I was extremely grateful for this opportunity universe had given me.

This workshop happened in August 2014. I was literally transported to a different world for 3 days. A world of discipline, sacrifice and patriotism but devoid of emotions….a world very different from what we live in. I addressed about 500 Jawans, taught them SKY and also did some personal counseling. During these sessions , I came across various heart touching stories, some of them literally brought tears in my eyes. I would like to share one of those stories here.

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Mahesh (name changed) belongs to Andhra Pradesh. His village is almost 6 hours by train from Hyderabad. Mahesh got married few years back. Within a few months of marriage it was announced that his unit is being posted at the border. At the same time he got the news that his wife was expecting. Mahesh left his home with a heavy heart. But the training in the Army makes the Jawans really tough. Within no time he got engrossed in his job. After about nine months, he got the news that he had become a proud father of a baby boy. His happiness knew no bounds. He celebrated this news with the fellow Jawans. Mahesh was longing to cuddle his baby and play with him, but unfortunately his leave was not sanctioned. After about eighteen months of his posting there, one fine day, he got the news that his son had some heart problem and had to be hospitalized. As a special case, Mahesh was granted leave and so he set off for his village. He took 2 days for him to reach Hyderabad from where he needed to take a train to his village. Every passing minute seemed like a year. While he was waiting at Hyderabad railway station, Mahesh got the news that his son has passed away in the hospital. He was inconsolable. He could only reach his village in time for the funeral of his son.

“The first time I saw my son was on the funeral pyre, saabji” Mahesh started sobbing as he told me his story. I just could not hold my tears back. I was at loss of words to console him and just gave him a tight hug.

Friends, this is our Indian army. They happily give away the comfortable life and stay thousands of miles away from home, so that we can be at ease and safe. I dedicate this blog to each and every jawan of Indian Army and I salute them.

I would like to end this blog with a stanza from the famous song, that still gives goose-bumps to each Indian every single time one hears it.

“Aye mere vatan ke logon, jara aankh me bhar lo paani,

Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani

Jab desh me thi diwali, woh khel rahe the holi,

Jab ham baithe the gharon me, woh jhel rahe the goli

The dhanya javaan woh aapane, thee dhanya woh unaki javaani,

Jo shahid huye hain unaki, jara yaad karo kurbaani…”

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JAI HIND ….. !!!

BEYOND THE CONFINES OF RELIGION

Our maid Shabana, has been working with us since last 6 years. As the name obviously suggests, she is a Muslim by religion. My Mom who is 80 year old and belongs to the old school of thought, was not quite happy with a Muslim maid working at our home. But within no time Shabana won everybody’s hearts and became an integral part of our family. Her enormously positive and happy disposition, with a bright smile always radiating from her face made her much loved amongst our friends and relatives. She would always lovingly cater to everybody’s needs. She would fully participate in all the Hindu festivals with equal fervor. During  Ganapati clebrations, Shabana would help my wife in making prasad items and very enthusiastically participate and sing aarti.

However her personal life was in deep contrast to her disposition. Her husband was a drunkard. At times she didn’t even have money to buy the groceries. Her in-laws ill-treated her. She underwent two miscarriages.  But Shabana would leave everything behind when she entered our house. She was a living example of how to be happy under any circumstances. Rather she was happiness personified.

Shabana took a break of one and half years when she was  expecting again, as she was advised complete bed rest. She resumed work just two months back, when her daughter Sofia turned 6 months. Now she comes to our house with her cute little daughter. Like mother like daughter. Sofia enchanted all of us with her charm and captivating smile in no time. My 80 year old mom and 8 month Sofia play with each other happily chatting and laughing while Shabana attends to all the chores. My mom makes Sofia sit besides her when she is performing her pooja, gives her Aarti, puts kumkum on her forehead, following all the Hindu rituals. The mother and the daughter have brought a wave of happiness and positivity in our home.

Shabana and her cute daughter Sofia..Two Divine Souls

Today when I jokingly said, ” Shabana your daughter will turn into a Hindu very soon!”

I was astounded by her reply, “How does it matter Bhau…?(thats what she calls me..it means brother in marathi). Even my inlaws often taunt me,’ you are turning into a Hindu’, I tell them, “sirf Allah Allah karne se koi Musalman nahi banta! Insaan toh insaan hota hai na”(meaning one does not become a Muslim just by chanting Allah’s name. One is first a human being)

What a wisdom ! That too coming from a so called uneducated person like her…Isnt it amazing..?

Our religious leaders, on the name of religion create a divide in the minds of people; who very easily get influenced by them. But each of us needs to use our intellect to decide whether we want to live within the confines of religion created by a few or choose to be a part of a greater religion called Humanity. Once we decide to choose the latter, I can assure you, we will create heaven on Earth.

God Bless Shabana and Sofia…!