The search for Yoga

The following question from Deepak R is very valid : who is saying it (yoga) is higher? does the one who says it has a higher goal experience life from a lower place? is such a higher goal which draws compassion from us momentarily the one to chase? do we chase another fleeting experience in an attempt to freeze it forever? did you meet the one who experienced and reported this?did you find the yogi?
Fascinating question you are asking Deepak R. In fact you are questioning whether any spiritual goal is just another addiction and an illusion in itself. Another manifestation of fear of ageing and dying. And I really love to way you put it – “do we chase another fleeting experience in an attempt to freeze it ?”
I can only answer for me. First I agree. Lets assume there is nothing about us that is higher, and that what we aspire to is nothing but an illusion/desire for some form of immortality. Of course there is nothing higher. But nor lower for for the lower to be perceived as real there must be a ‘higher’ ? The descriptions can only exist in context of each other. So nothing lower and nothing higher. Everything just is. Nothing immortal, but then nothing mortal either. In fact a vast nothingness. No individuality, no time, no distance. Nothing measurable except in out own imagination. No beginings and no ends.
Now to Yoga. What I was trying to say is that Yoga is greater if one aspires to do just that. To lose ones individuality. To pass into a vast nothingness. And to be in harmony with the vibrations of the Universe. To do any form of Yoga for mere benefits to health is to lose the essence of it. Health is a side benefit.
Like how children play games. The focus is play. the side benefits are learning social role playing skill sets and physical excersise.
Your last question : “did I find the Yogi ?” I am not sure I have the tools yet to do so. How would I recognize one ? I may pass a Yogi that sits on the streets of Mumbai in the form of a beggar – how would I know ? And I ask myself, if I really had the tools to find a Yogi, why can’t I search for one within myself ?

Isha and Disneyland, what a contrast !

Having spent a fascinating week of yoga, meditation and ayurveda at Isha ( Sadhguru’s fabulous centre), which I need to write in more detail about, I flew off to Hong Kong with my 9 year old daughter the day I finished at Isha. A greater contrast I could not have !
In any case for those of you contemplating going to learn yoga more seriously, and provided your golas are highe than just being healthy, I have one suggestion. Do it now. I am amazed I did not do it before. There may be many places in India to do Yoga, and each one of us is destined to go where we do, I went to Isha at the invitation of Sadhguru, and am hooked. There was not a single morning or evening session of Yoga that I did not hope would get cancelled, but then there was not a single session that I did not come out a different nd more compassionate human being. Yoga, if done with goals that are higher than health, is a life changing experience. I know most of you have done it already and am probably preaching to the converted, but for me this was a first. I am going back.
And Disneyland ? If anyone plans to come here, a warning. There is not that much in Disneyland to do. Kaveri and I finished the whole theme park in one straight 9 hour session. Thankfully the next day I explored Hong Kong through the eyes of a none year old. That was beautiful.
The real pleasure for kids though (and for adults too) is Ocean Park. If you are here, do not forget to atke your kids there. The rides are better (read frightening), and there is a wonderful accent on the sea, it’s beautiful life and how we must preserve it’s beauty.
And they do NOT sell you blonde american fairy princesses as a concept of beauty like Disney does. How do they get away with that ?

India’s shameful Legacy

The legacy that left 1 million dead and 10 million displaced from their ancestral homes. The partition of India.The folowing comment from Abdul Munim is such resonance on the day we are remembering Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi :
I am a Muslim for 1400 years….
A Punjabi for 2500 years…
A Pakistani only for 55 years…
I am an Indian since last 3300 years…
Where should my loyalties lie?
With Islam?Punjab?PAKISTAN? Or INDIA?
Partition is India’s legacy of shame, a wound that never heals, an event so scarring that it will never truly be removed until every Hindu and Muslim accepts it as a “COLLECTIVE FAILURE” and a “COLLECTIVE SHAME”….

World Habitat Day

Liza Peiffer, On behalf of Habitat for Humanity writes in to inform about the World Habitat Day on October 05, 2009 as chosen by United Nations.
World Habitat Day is a day for everyone to stand up and let it be known that affordable, adequate housing should be a priority everywhere.
What can you do for the World Habitat Day?
Advocate, Educate & Donate. For more information, photos and videos, you can visit

Images from a lost Glacier

Rubbish at Rohtang. Did they destroy the glacier by ZZ category explosives ?

me trying to be bird

Message on ‘Gobal Warming and Glaciers retreating’ gets accross

This is from an old friend I have not met in years, who saw my speech to the UN live in a screening in Seattle. When you have something passionate and from the heart to say, the Universe ensures the message gets accross to the people :
In a film screening in Seattle, I saw you on the mountaintop with a message to raise our voices regarding climate change. Very powerful and it reminded me once again how much I admire your dedication to what matters most in life. Stay well my friend,
Reagan ”
Thank you, Reagan, and I hope people like will carry the message forward. For we need to save our planet despite the politicians, not through them

Rohtang Pass, lost Glaciers and the hut that saved my life

i thought it was a dream. A fantasy of my mind.
I was in high pass that was completely iced up, snow was thigh deep. The afternoon winds had picked up, and though we were warned not to go to the pass in the afternoon, we were foolhardy boys looking for any challenge that even nature could throw at us.
The wind was so high that it threatened to blow us off our feet. Temperatures dropped dramatically. It started to snow and visiblity was merely two or three feet. We realized that we had challenged nature to our cost and were now panicking. Then mysteriously we saw a hut which we thought first was an illusion. Then as we struggled through the thigh deep snow, every breath made to count, the hut turned from illusion to reality.
Once inside we struggled to keep each other warm. The threat of freezing to death in this hut in the middle of nowhere loomed large in our minds. Darkness was not far away, as exhaustion set in, and we fought the overwhelming desire to sleep by telling each other of fantastical sexual experiences that were complete fabrications of the hormonal fantasies of 16 year old minds.
Then this much older man came in. I do not remember him as a mountain man. He looked like he was from the plains, as he carried something that looked like a briefcase. He sat down and huddled next to us for warmth, and we were happy to have an extra warm body.
The man opened what looked like a brief case and brought out a half bottle of very cheap whiskey. I remember that clearly, for I was surprised it was not rum. In all my fantasies, the drink that somehow turned up magically to save you was not whiskey, but rum. In any case we were happy to share it, the mind being numbed to the fear and the cold. And then I remember the man doing the most extraordinary thing.
He started laugh. A kind of senseless laugh that we had heard was part of mountain sickness. A light headedness that came through the starvation of oxygen in the brain. And as he laughed, the man suddenly opened the creaking and half broken wooden door and ran out. The cold hit us like a hammer as the below freezing wind came howling in. The temperatures below a figure where it ceases to matter. We were not covered or prepared for anything under minus 2 or 3 max. Wind factor must have dropped it to minus 20 at least.
The man ran out laughing and trying to dance in the wind. We looked aghast and shocked. I think bravery only happens when you have no time to think or consider the results of our actions. Foolishly we ran out after him as he ran further and further away from us. Exhausted and our bodies stinging from the cold we finally brought him down in a tackle that even professional Rugby players would be proud of. Dragged him back to the hut, while he kicked out struggling to get away. The laughter giving way to a peculiar wail. The mountain sickness had got him. It could kill him inside an hour.
I do not remember more. I know we must have been rescued. I cannot even remember who the friend was with me. And often thought that this was a “fantasy’ ‘adventure young men often make up about their ‘adventurous’ past.
And then as I went to Rohtang Pass two days ago. To speak live to the UN conference on climate change from the Rohtang, I saw the hut. It struck me like an emotional bolt. It was not a fantasy. The hut now in ruins, was still there. Exactly as I remembered it.
But gone was the ice, the freezing cold. The Glaciers we struggled with, the ice that was an essential part of the landscape. I asked my guide why the hut was in ruins, and he said that there was no longer needed as the thickness of the ice never formed to danger levels. He said that he never saw the Rohtang without glacial ice on it till a few years ago. Now it was bone dry.
He told me that many years ago a man was found frozen to death clutching a brief case. He had apparently been in that position throughout the winter. Had we forsaken him ? Did we walk away from him saving our own lives ? I cannot remember, and maybe somewhere the friend with me will read this and complete the story for me. Did my mind just block out a great act of cowardice that we both committed by leaving a man behind to die ? I cannot tell,
But one thing is certain. The Glaciers are disappearing. We are killing our planet.

Swarovski’s Passage by Shekhar Kapur and A R Rahman : “Feel aya, boss, feel aya”

Kedar has been one of my severest critics on this blog. And is never never afraid to express his point of view. So it’s nice to see that he really appreciated Passage, a short film I made for Swarovski Entertainment with a score by AR Rahman, and starring Julia Stiles, Lily Cole and Haley Bennet. Here is Kedar review ::
“Dude…just saw PASSAGE…mind blowing visuals…after a long time i saw FEEL expressed visually…
didnt get the story but fortunately saw ur interview on the same web page…and great u were not trying to tell a story…now i can derive my own personal story out of it every time i will see it…
one small point- i also saw the making and in the dance sequence shoot what were you doing running here and there? hahahahhaahaha…were you motivating the actors or were guiding them?…u are just amazing…
please talk more about PASSAGE not in terms of THOUGHT or THEME…but in terms of MAKING!…( how u designed it once the thought was in place? how many days? budget if allowed? shooting ratio? post production? anything everything…i learned so many things just by watching film then interview then making…i always refused to go to film school…because experiences like PASSAGE is like a special course…thanks)
THE VISUALS are stunning…
and this time i was mesmerized by the MUSIC and Sound design…wow…just wow…
i am so overwhelmed that now i dont know what to type…
FEEL aya boss…FEEL aya…
thanks again…”
Kedar, I promise to write about the experience of making the film.

Raise your voice against Climate Change at the UN for the 22nd onwards

Do you want to send the political leaders at the UN that are dithering about making the most fundamental changes that are required to save our planet ? If you do, then write back on this blog asap and I will make sure that all the messages are sent to the UN before or during their conference on Climate Change.
Be sure that the rich and powerful will not give up their need for greed and political imperative. Be sure that the interests of short term politics will fight hard against legislation that hurts their positions of power. Also be sure that the common claim that ” Climate change is something that the original polluters of plant (read : the West) have caused and therefore must be responsible to clean up” is stupid.
Climate change will affect Asia the most. Our populations are far far larger here. We need more water from our rivers, more food from our land to sustain us. Our Glaciers are in retreat, and so will be our rivers. Our Forest cover is almost gone, as is our sustainable ground water. Uncertain monsoon patterns are/will wreak havoc with our crop growing patterns and bring down our overall growth.
Be realistic and think. We stand on the brink of social upheavals over water. This is something none of us can ignore as it will be hitting faster than most people realize.
Write, shout, make your voice heard ! Our lives depend on it.