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Sufism in India: Rooted in Love, Sacrifice and Mysticism

My fascination with the Sufi way of life took root when I first read 'The Forty Rules of Love.' Various Sufism quotes in the book mesmerized me. In Bilquis Jehan Khan's memoir, A Song of Hyderabad, her valuable insights are elaborated in Chapter 21 titled, 'A Holy Man's Life and Works." [READ: What is True Knowledge? Dada Vaswani's teaching offers a valuable lesson!]

                      [Image: Pexels.com]
What is the most important belief in Sufism?
The author writes in her memoirs, "A Sufi should renounce himself, not others. My father used to say that while a man must stand in the water, his clothes should not get wet. Of course, this is an impossible ideal, but Sufis accept that the goal lies very far away."  
She quotes her father's words, "Everyone has a pure heart, but on all hearts you normally find a layer of black tarnish. Why? Because like silver, a heart needs to be polished! And the only way to polish it is to call upon God…
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Are overnight oats healthy? Easy, nutritious and super yummy for work day mornings!

I am not an oats fan. In fact, I have never liked oats. No wonder, my mother had a tough time forcing oats as part of my daily diet and it continued till college. These old school memories bring a big smile to my face, especially since now I am in the mom's role. [READ: Balanced diet for Ladies - Eat According to Your Age]
                   [Image: Pixabay]

Funny enough, I try to convince my 13 year old boy to try overnight oats, which has now become my favourite comfort-health food.  
As a busy working mom, I think and feel differently about oats now. On several food blogs, I happened to find overnights oats recipes, citing it as a super food as it comes power packed with nutrients. 
But that's not it. [DO READ: Why Salad is Good for You!]
You know, it is so easy to make. 
Plus, you can do so many experiments with flavours and textures.
You can create layers, which is something I enjoy doing.
Spice it up with a cinnamon stick and a dash of vanilla essence. Yummy!
Or plop mangoes bet…

Book Review: A Song of Hyderabad: Memories of a World Gone By

August has been a month of rains, which means more cups of tea and a stack of non-fiction books to read. A funny thing about me is that I am increasingly glued to old books that one rarely gets to know about on social media. This month, the book that caught my interest is 'A Song of Hyderabad: Memories of a World Gone By', written by Bilquis Jehan Khan, who refers to her place of birth as 'Hyderabad Deccan.' An interesting chapter titled 'How to Run a Palace' has  elaborate descriptions of their luxurious lifestyle as royals in Hyderabad and another chapter is titled 'The Jagir that Supported Us.'   [Book Review: Sounds of Silence]

Readers are introduced to the family of the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Pasha, whom the author describes as a 'servant of the people' because he built the 4000 bed Osmania Hospital, the State Central Library which was then known as the Asafiya Library , the High Court and many other public service buildings i…

Sikkim travel: My Kind of Paradise

Away from the rush-filled schedule, I reached Gangtok via Siliguri at night. Little shops were closing. No traffic snarls. No brash driving. Smiling, young faces all around. What a beautiful place![READ: Ring in the New Year with Jodhpur] and [Pune Visit: Should I buy a Pepper Spray?]


[Copyright: Swapna Raghu Sanand]

Just as a shop next door was about to shut, I rushed to a bakery located next to our hotel. I bought some fresh bread and pastries just in case the restaurant in our hotel had shut its kitchen early. Thankfully, this didn't happen but we munched on the yummy pastries and bread anyway after a delicious supper that was served at the restaurant. [DO read: Mithaiwale in Pune!]

We settled into our cozy room. It was past nine o clock in the night but the view from my window left me spell bound.

It was so quiet.
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Funny side up! Sathya Sai and the Artist whose poetry book was eaten by a cow!

Whenever I get time, I listen to the Samarpan series of talks on YouTube. I find it inspiring to listen to many devotees and former students share their experiences. One of my favourite speakers is Dr. U. Suma Rao, whose talks are funny and personal, in a way that I enjoy. [Do Read: Love's Journey, Swami's Blessings] [Image: Radio Sai on FB]
A candid devotee that she is, Dr. Suma Rao says she felt that she was the next Picasso! She is an artist and a talented one too, so she felt that an art career at JJ School of Arts was her true calling. Her father arranged a meeting for her with the Vice Chancellor of JJ Arts who said, "You will never be a fine artist because you draw with your mind. Forget pure art. You may opt for something else." When she got a chance to speak with Swami later, she again expressed her desire to study at JJ School of Arts. Swami said to her, "No!" "If you surrender, God can interfere in your life but not otherwise. God gives opportu…

Sathya Sai Bhajan singing: How Radio Sai inspires with Jyotsna Reddy video interviews

Love is Divine, so is Music. When you make a heart-to-heart connection with God, your world changes forever. When Swami came into my life, He brought the sounds of music into my heart. Now, my daily practice is to tune into Radio Sai's video interviews with celebrated lyricist and singer, Smt Jyotsna Reddy. She is a living legend, directly mentored and chosen by Swami from the time she was 19 years old to write and compose Sai bhajans. I adore her, let me tell you!
Her parents had been devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba, who told them that their daughter would become a noted singer. A beautiful singer, a remarkable lyricist and a humble devotee, her experiences with Swami are inspirational. Her innocence, simplicity and love for Swami can be experienced in every word that she speaks throughout the video series. World over, most bhajans that we sing today are composed by Smt Jyotsna Reddy.
To surrender is the highest form of love. If you have loved someone deeply, you are ready to put down …

What is the significance of Guru Purnima? A powerful lesson from Mahabharata

Wondering what is the significance of Guru Purnima? To offer gratitude to one's Guru is the highest form of worship. World over, Guru Purnima is observed as a most sacred day that marks one's devotion and gratitude to the Guru, the spiritual Master, Guide and God. Hinduism places utmost reverence to the 'Guru-Shishya' relationship. [READ: Gayatri Mantra - Why Chant it]

[Image: Pexels ]


Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, whose 'Autobiography of a Yogi' inspired millions of seekers worldwide to embrace the spiritual path with sincerity, reminds every seeker on the path: "Humility comes from seeing GOD as the Doer, not yourself. Humility lies in the heart. Whatever you may be doing, tell yourself constantly - 'God is doing all this through me.' "

A most powerful lesson from the Mahabharata serves as a gentle reminder of the importance of a Guru in a student's life. Drawn from the following Vedic mantra, there is a beautiful story that Swami has shared w…