I was born in a non-traditional Hindu family.
When I was nine I made my mother happy with a hand-made calendar with twelve illustrations.
For years I learnt Bharata Natyam and Kathak dances, and took painting lessons.
Once, a new girl in my class spoke to me in fluent English. She seemed to be saying something important. I looked into her eyes. I smiled when she smiled. I frowned when she frowned. At the end of the “conversation” she said, “Thank you;” the only words I understood.
During our summer vacations in the Himalayas, I collected leaves and flowers. I pressed them between blotting papers and kept them to dry under my father’s dictionaries and thesaurus. In eleventh grade, I made an album of the dried collection and made my biology teacher proud.
In Art College I learnt to write English.
In America I learnt to speak it.
In a “History of Christianity” class, a Christian friend said that he was worried about me. I explained there was nothing to worry about. I had two beautiful daughters, was married to a loving man and was constantly trying to improve myself, why the worry? “Precisely,” he said, “Despite leading a good life you’re going to end up in hell.” I tried to hide my shock and said, “Don’t worry about me. My god will take care of me.” Were we reading the same Bible?
During my doctoral program I focused on the sacred books of the east. The teachings began to affect my own life. What a relief it was to realize that to be religious I need not drown myself in the quagmire of meaningless rituals, beliefs and taboos.
On a voyage around the world, my students asked me what my religion was. I said, “I do not belong to any religion. All religions belong to me.” I said the fundamental teachings of the sacred books are similar. Their major focus is to help people lead good lives and heal emotionally unbalanced minds.
On the newly furbished spirituality-sparks.com I want to share with you the perennial wisdom of the world’s religions. I believe learning with understanding and curiosity can help alleviate fears and anxieties, and link us to a power within and without that is greater than ourselves. But why do we need a companion to get acquainted with these books? At first they sound esoteric and are hard to understand. After a few pages we tend to abandon the reading. By reading together we can undo the knots and smooth out the wrinkles through dialogue and discussion.
Starting from the next posting, we will peer at the sacred teachings under the “Readings” page. We will start reading the earliest text, Dao-de Ching (Daoism), Analects (Confucianism), Bhagavad-Gita (Hinduism), Dhammapada (Buddhism), Diamond and Heart Sutra (Zen), and end with the latest, Adi Granth (Sikhism).
I hope that you’ll log once a week to read the teachings of our collective legacy. Take time to read, ponder and then send your thoughts. If you like what you read please invite your friends to join us.
I look forward to our lively dialogues and fruitful discussions.