27
Feb
Vraja Bihari Das (Venugopal Acharya)

I write journals daily; but only recently shifted to an electronic version of the same. Since my travel has increased and I need to keep minimum possessions, I find it convenient to write on my laptop or smart phone. Ideally though, I’d prefer to write on paper- a practise that I have religiously followed for over twenty years- and if I find something worthwhile to share with the world, I type it out.

Writing on paper is slower and gives me more time to process my own thoughts and feelings. On the computer, it isn’t the same feeling. A pen and paper helps me access my own subconscious mind more often. And
the creative flow isn’t disrupted because, on my computer I tend to delete or correct typos, and that interrupts the outpouring of my heart.

Three reasons why I changed my writing/journalling

Last one year was hectic for me. Covid 19 ensured people travelled less but ironically, my travel and responsibilities increased and while taking care of some personal family matters, I had little time for myself. Still, I was committed to self-care. And I realized the best use of a bad bargain now would be to write on my computer.

Another significant development was earlier I wrote on my computer with an agenda to either eventually publish them or at least share with the world, even if it meant a small whatsapp group of friends. And this agenda led me to focus on the editing and presentation of my thoughts- sometimes the ‘presentation’ became so important for me that I overlooked the ‘authenticity’. But now I write my electronic journals for my own purification and therefore you’ll find this series bereft of any editorial finesse.

The most important change however is earlier I wrote journals the first thing in the morning. But now I write after spending time in spiritual activities first. I rise and immediately pray or study and
hear scriptures; I write later during the day. This, I believe will also influence my journaling and I can see they are not only unedited but also more spontaneous.

However, I do occasionally write on paper using different coloured pens. But the new normal is electronic writing.

If you are interested to receive these journals please do message me privately. I shall not unnecessarily add to your spam.

A sample of my new version of articles and journaling is as follows….

As I rushed for the morning prayers, a friend greeted me and I heard how he hasn’t been sleeping well at night for the last three weeks. Hearing about his knee and back pain, and seeing his determination to
rush for the 5.00 am prayers, impressed me and also made me aware of what lies ahead as time threatens to invade our lives more vigorously. Another friend has a frozen shoulder and the winter isn’t helping him.
He too, relentlessly pursues his services. I then chanted for over two hours with my monastery friends and felt inspired in prayer and worship of the deities. But I did reflect on the power of time and
felt humbled.

As I readied myself for the morning programme, I heard Srila Prabhupada’s class on humility, given in Mumbai, on 3rd of October’ 1973. He explained beautifully how humility is the test of one’s knowledge. If one has studied any subject well, he’d naturally be humble. Srila Prabhupada then quoted the father of science, Issac Newton, and appreciated his humility. He also explained how desire for fame and success is the modes of passion, and for humility, one needs to be situated in sattva state.

Lunch with gaur gopal pr, as always, was a life-enhancing experience. We discussed on toxic positivity- the obsession of our generation to be positive thinkers and how that has a detrimental effect on our
mental and physical health. To always be positive could also mean we live in denial and resisting the truth weakens us internally as we keep fighting a mental battle. And that also has an effect on our
physical well-being. It’s better to accept our frailties and vulnerability and then move on positively.

Sometimes we declare that spiritual activities are supremely powerful and instead of accepting our weaknesses, we try to supress them with spiritual rituals. Unfortunately however, those practises, instead of
healing us, distract us. So it’s a good question to ask ourselves: are my spiritual practises ‘healing’ me or ‘distracting’ me from my real self?

to be continued……

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