Friday, November 18, 2011

Anto Rocked!

It is good to be back here. And from now on, you can call me by my new name: Ananth.
Finally the notion of writing a blog named "antorocks" seemed so absurdly self-congratulatory. I have been wanting to right it for sometime but i could'nt. I guess now, it will be much easier. This will be my last post in this blog. This blog has chronicled my every step with Isha. Along the way i had met a lot of friends through this blog who continue to support me in so many ways. And for that: Thanks!
I always thought I wanted to create some poignant literature. Something which is a little bigger than myself. Call me an immodest prick if you want to, but right now the experience of my life is poignant enough. This is the end of this blog. However I hope i continue to take those small steps in the 'face of all that life throws at me'.
Anto Rocked. Anto is dead. Long live Anto.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. - Steve Jobs ended his Commencement address at Stanford on 2005 thus.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Parched and dry I was, Devoid of abandon,
Graced my life she did, with precision and passion wanton,
Love at first sight it was not,
Devious was the plot,
The seduction slow.

A whiff of her is all that it takes
for me to lose myself in placid lakes.
When I touch her, everything in me dies
Yet, I never felt more alive.
Am I courting the elixir or the poison??
Or am i just naive?
to play with my life without a sigh...

A play it is, a twilight game.
She the hound, me the hare.
Mind you, no blood sport this.
"Just Life longing for itself"
Try as I might to run away,
I rather be the meat on the Hunter's plate.

She is there in my every breath,
well sometimes I do lose her scent,
and then I remember her.
Unjudging she is, unrepentant i am.
Poets may describe her fragrance primrose or ivy.
My Beloved One simply calls her Shambhavi..

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Blues

Christmas Blues

"The Jingle bells are jingling The streets are white with snow
The happy crowds are mingling But there's no one that I know

I'm sure that you'll forgive me If I don't enthuze
I guess I've got the Christmas blues

I've done my window shopping There's not a store I've missed
But what's the use of stopping when there's no one on your list

You know the way I'm feeling when you love and you lose
I guess I got the Christmas Blues.

When somebody wants you When somebody needs you
Christmas is a joy of joys
But oh when you're lonely You'll find that its only
A thing for little girls, and boys

May all your days be merry Your season full of cheer
But til its January I'll just go and disappear

Santa might have brought you some stars for your shoes
But Santa only brought me the blues
Those brightly packages tinselled covered
Christmas blues"

Till now my blog has always been a place where I could express my most exuberant experiences...But this particular post will be a first of its kind. Sadhguru's program in Delhi was an amazing blowout. Being with the volunteers and throwing myself into the activity with such blatant abandon was so great! I am so longing to start taking Inner Engineering classes again. I miss the silence which comes with standing on my tired legs for 9 hours a day. But this post is not about that. This post is because suddenly i feel a need to express my sense of sadness. There could a variety of reasons to which i can attribute my sadness. Christmas is always a tough time for me after relocating to the ashram. I hate to admit it but I love Christmas time. My childhood memories are full of Christmas carols visiting our houses, Christmas trees, the sudden crispness in the Chennai air, being in close contact with family even if i am constantly bickering about how boring the sermon was. So like a sudden bolt of the blue sky, pangs of melancholy hit me. I am somewhere so far away from home..(well what is home you might ask...??)I have barely talked to my parents and each of my conversations have always ended with me disconnecting the call in mid-sentence. So today after so much cajoling, i finally called my family to wish them Merry Christmas and after the usual torrent of pleas/threats etc, finally I told my mother that i am tired of having a relationship over phone. Either they accept me for who i am or just stop calling me. I told them that the biggest disgrace to a human being is having people constantly telling him that he/she might have done something totally wrong. My mother said of course i accept you and then she started crying. I asked her if you accept me why are you crying. She said and i quote: "Can't a mother cry to her son". Such cliched one-liners straight from tamil family-drama movies would not have got me. But with the electricity in the air, me being alone in a new city and of course my struggle to grow, suddenly i too started crying. This vulnerability shocked me. But it is a remainder of just how many things within me are beyond me...
Anyways thanks for reading. That's exactly what i needed a shoulder to lean on and time to move on...

Friday, June 18, 2010

No ordinary bootcamp this!

What I feel within myself right now is a tug-of-war between gratitude, nervousness and resolve.
When I was much younger, while I was discovering the Gospel, sometimes I remember feeling forlorn. The Christ, the way I saw him through the gospel seemed to connect with me somehow. This is in spite of the fact that I had always felt going to Church to be a nauseating and stifling experience. I could not attribute all the nonsense that was happening around me in the name of Christianity to this one elusive being who resided only within myself. Whenever somebody asked a question to Jesus in the gospel, I remember feeling so exhilarated after reading Christ's answer. How much I had wished that Christ was there for me to answer the nagging questions that I had as a disquieted teenager.
Eureka! That's how I felt after I did the Isha yoga program. I was really wowed that even now it is possible to wow'ed after all. And it piqued my complacency that such wisdom could be alive even while we exist now. This one year that I spent in teacher's training in the Isha yoga center, I had always felt cloaked by Him. It was not easy all the time. It was heartless at times. Sometimes I just wanted to bolt back to Seattle just so that I could eat that fabled pasta and bread from Maggiano's. And so it has come a full circle. For me this is what is really overwhelming: something that is so valuable, so potent has been given to my hands. That's how I felt when I received the shawl. It was my dream that I should spend the days of my life being in touch with that which I hold as the highest. In some ways I feel this is like driving on a one-way street. I had exited that highway that leads to nowhere. No Thanks, I rather be parked in a dead-end rather than stepping on the gas just once more.
I will stop my ramble here, I just felt i should document this step that I am taking. I can't believe it all started with this!
P.S: My teachers training is over (but never really over...). I received the shawl this week. I will be starting to take the classes quite soon.
P.S1: While I am shaking with anxiety by the sheer enormity of it all, I remember Neo reckoning "There is no spoon!"

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

New Kid on the block!

I did it! One year in the ashram...Don't know why this sounds like bragging..but i don't care. I am very happy that I made this happen for myself. In addition to this chronological milestone, there is another one coming along. And I am just not ready to consider that it just might come to pass..More about that in another post..
For now let me say "THANK YOU" to everyone...
Thanking these people IS obnoxious but still...
1) Thanks Lokanetra anna for the Isha Yoga program that you conducted for us some 6 years back. That class shook not just my life but also lives around me. What started as a spiritual experiment for two clueless buggers slowly started spreading like wild fire for all our friends.
2) Thanks to all my friends with whom i share this journey. The original members of the now defunct 'Madhapur-Kondapur' Hyderabad gang, Rams, Vimal, Arun, Sw. Taporati, JP, Bala, Karthik, Sharma, Naresh, Raghu, Cheziyen, etc etc..And also the gang at Seattle..What an exhilarating experience! This made-to-order sangha at home..Some of them did not my share this new-found zest but still offered me so much support.
3) Thanks Namath for everything that happened in the US for the two years I stayed there... Being with her challenged me to see myself in her shoes...I don't know whether I would be here if not for her.
4) The folks in the vault office who had to put up with so many calls which came to the ashram after i landed here.
5) Thanks to Sw. Vibodha who heads the kitchen team here for providing such wholesome food for this whole year. It is amazing to hear him address everyone irrespective of their ages as 'kannu'. That means apple-of-the-eye, usually reserved for calling small children in Tamil.
6) Thanks to everyone at the teachers training for baby-sitting me all this while.
7) And finally thanks to all those people who contributed to my cause. Thanks a ton. 439$ was raised via facebook. Another 20K INR donated via
This list is not complete and can never be completed...I have to stop now. I have to shutdown the machine because Swami Rithambara is going to kick me out if I don't! :D

Monday, May 03, 2010

My Birthday Wish

It's been almost a year since i have been living in the ashram. As the previous 're-post' says, deciding to move to the Isha Yoga Center has been one of my proudest decisions ever. Looking back however this decision seems to be quite rudimentary. In fact for anyone who has tasted this, I presume it must be. This impending anniversary of my stay in the ashram has made me look within and see whether I have been sincere about my goals and the direction in which I am leading my life. As much as the last year has been incredible (a more detailed post will follow), I feel sometimes I had been taking this ashram life for granted. On some rare occasions, to my horror, I have noticed my seeking and my sadhana were more feverish when I was hopelessly coding away in Microsoft. How easy it is to settle down..i have noticed. When I was in Seattle, one of the things that really drove me nuts was the possibility that one day when Sadhguru decides to leave us physically, that day i don't want my futile tears to be the only recourse. I feel if I don't make use of what he is offering when he is here and to shed a tear when he is gone, then that tear is a lie..A Bloddy lie. And i don't want to lie that lie. As I continue to soak in the overwhelming energy of this space, the possibility of what He is offering seems more and more real.And I hope i am conscious every day of why I am here and doing the things that i am doing.
The fact that i had to pay a high price for my decision in terms of family and social alienation is a boon as well. Every time i feel the pain that i am causing to people around me who are 'affected' by my decision, I get an opportunity to see if I am making use of that one decision that i took. And almost masochistically that simple introspection works. I wish I could write I have found what i have been looking for. But i cannot.
But what i can claim is the following:
1) I can most definitely state is that this last year has been very fruitful to me personally and also to people around me.
2) I cannot claim to the ultimate but i can claim that it is in the cusp of the ultimate that i have been basking.
3) I feel really blessed that I had the opportunity to be here in the presence of the master. Been able to live in a sangha and a lifestyle where everything has been looked at in such mind-numbing detail by Sadhguru himself.
4) Overall, I can also claim that I am doing the best thing that i think is needed for the world. What I have experienced as the ultimate is what i am dishing out everyday to the people whom i come in contact with. (That's why teachers training is such awesomeness!)

So that's about it! I have wanted to share this for so long..Am glad that it is finally out...
And before i leave, I have one request to all my friends and all my readers. My birthday is coming up in almost a month. In the years before i have relocated, i had the luck to be with people who thought I am as much as their own family and we had such great birthday parties. Personally birthdays don't mean anything to me but if it is about people acknowledging their friends and having fun, then i am in! This birthday I want to give the gift of education to someone. Why I am bringing this thing up in a supposedly introspective post? I feel this is directly related to whatever I have been saying. If there is a reason why I could dare to quit my job and be here, it is because i never had to worry about money. Somehow I had caught the bus to economic security. I know I would not be like this if i had to worry about my next meal. As Sadhguru mentioned sometime, it is indeed vulgar to talk about spirituality when there is a hungry mouth around.
And there are a lot of hungry mouths around where i am right now. I had the opportunity to visit the local Isha Vidhya school here in Sandhegoundampalayam more than once. I am touched by the work done by the volunteers there. Started as an educational initiative of Isha Foundation, Isha Vidhya aims to provide the children of economically disadvantaged families a fair chance in the global arena. The model is to set up schools in the each taluk which will serve the local rural children. Scholarships are provided by a network of Isha meditators around the world to the academically proficient children. I visited the schools here and it is quite overwhelming. The pedagogy is uniquely designed to impart English and computer skills to the children. I talked with some of the children and mind you almost all the children are from really rural background and it is amazing to watch the 8 and 9 year olds speak impeccable english and flaunt their computer skills...Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of this project is that it is set up as a way for people to express their inclusiveness. All the volunteers in the Isha Vidhya are people who have been touched by Sadhguru's message and as an expression of their spirituality, they are doing what they are doing. Case in point? The project leader of Isha Vidhya itself. Venkat was the archetypical  fortune 500 consultant in the US who relocated back to India to volunteer full-time. It is amazing to watch him explain how he had to get the first students of the first Isha Vidhya school to go home after their first day at school. Watching these people work, I have no mixed feelings about what i want this birthday. I want to sponsor a child's education for one year.
What this entails? 250$ or Rs.10,000.
To Learn more about Isha Vidhya:
Watch the videos here.
To Donate: I have created a facebook cause. You can donate with your credit card there or you can directly donate at the Isha Vidhya site. Both sites are safe for your credit card.