Winning Path

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Lord's Doing


Doctors can treat but
Healing comes from the Lord!

Engineers can build a house but
Family is made by the Lord!

Teachers can teach but
Wisdom and Knowledge come from the Lord!

Social workers can counsel but
Peace comes from the lord!

Designers can draw but 
Plans come from the Lord!

Farmers can sow, plant and water but
Rain and Reaping come from the Lord!

Preachers can minister but
Conviction and Revelation come from the Lord!

Musicians can provide soothing music but
Anointing and Deliverance come from the Lord!

Leaders can discuss and suggest but
Decision and Guidance come from the Lord!

Man can work but
Blessings come from the lord!

Yes Lord, without you we can do nothing!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The 'Picasso' of India

The 'Picasso' of India - M.F.Hussain.

I couldn't resist the temptation of putting up a second post today, setting aside the numerous other things I had to attend to. Today being Ganesh Chaturthi, my previous post was about the lessons we can learn from Lord Ganesh which will assist us towards a full and happy life. 

Today is also the 100th birth anniversary of the late Indian artist, M.F. Hussain. His huge celebrity status and the popularity of his paintings led Forbes Magazine to give him the sobriquet - 'The Picasso of India'.

Both Ganesha and Hussain have their birthdays today. But we want to look beyond the obvious. How did Hussain craft out a glorious life? Did he apply the teachings of Ganesha? Ofcourse, these teachings are common to all faiths.

At the tender age of one, Hussain lost his mother and by the time he was 6, he lost his grandfather to whom he was very attached. He was sent to an islamic boarding school but couldn't continue for long due to poor grades. He tried his hands at various vocational skills but in vain. Through all these years, he exhibited a passion for drawing which his father supported. 

By age 20, Hussain moved to Mumbai and was admitted into the prestigious J.J.School of Art. To support himself, he painted movie hoardings. Movie hoardings in Mumbai were painted even in my childhood years. I have seen painters precariously perched on simple scaffoldings, above the bustling streets and under the burning sun. To further augment his income, he travelled to other cities to paint landscapes, and also worked at designing furniture.

After years of struggle and hardship, one of Hussain's paintings was exhibited in Mumbai. That same year - the year of Indian independence - he formed the Progressive Artists' Group along with another famous artist, Souza. After this came Hussain's first solo exhibition in Zurich. 

From here, there was no looking back, and M.F. Hussain  re-wrote his life script. There followed a series of successful exhibitions across Europe and the U.S. The Indian Government awarded him the three highest civilian awards, the Padma Shree, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan for distinguished contribution in the field of Art.. He was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha. 

In his later years, Hussain was embroiled in several controversies when objections were raised to his potrayal of Indian Gods and Goddesses. It reached a point of no return and he chose to accept asylum abroad. 

What then do we make of M.F. Hussain's life? 

Ganesha's lesson of Thinking Big is something he took to heart. It got him from the scaffolding in front of the street hoarding to the auction house of Christie's where one of his paintings sold for $ 1.6 million, breaking a record of sorts. 

Hussain was focused on his goals. He was aware of his god-given talent and was sure of what he wanted to do. With this goal firmly established in his mind, he never wavered. All difficulties that blocked his path were challenges to be met and overcome. He did not give up on his dream.

He employed out-of-the-box thinking when he learnt to read Shakespeare and John Ruskin from a neighbour and read up on British painters. He would often be seen outside the Jehangir Art Gallery, drawing on the pavement with coloured chalk while observing all the discerning art lovers who went into the gallery. This kept his motivation high. More importantly, it gave him some exposure and he became a familiar face to the art loving fraternity. A few years later, his paintings were regularly showing at the same gallery. I had an opportunity to go for one of them, and it was an amazing experience. The sheer size and vibrancy of his paintings are incredible. The images pop out of the canvas and mesmerize you.   

Hussain believed in dignity of labour. Even while studying at a prestigious school of art, he was willing to paint hoardings to earn a living. If he didn't have the money to go into art galleries, he was willing to hang outside and draw on the pavement. 

Hussain was committed to helping other artists. This led to the formation of the Progressive Artists' Group of which he was the Secretary. He worked to improve the professional lives of his fellow artists. 

At the height of the protests and vandalism against him, Hussain chose to leave India and accept asylum abroad. He continued to maintain a cheerful attitude and continued to paint. When he died in London, he was half-way through a large painting. Perhaps he had mastered Ganesha's teaching of surrendering all attachments.

Is it any wonder then that M.F. Hussain was blessed abundantly!

"God helps those who help themselves." 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

What have we learnt from Lord Ganesh?

What have we learnt from Lord Ganesh?

Today is Ganesh Chaturthi, and I spent some part of my morning reading up on the lessons and values to be learnt from our much loved, elephant headed God. It turned out to be a refresher course for me. 

Lord Ganesh has an impressive following, and yet ask his devotees what He means to them and there is a good chance they will talk only about removing obstacles and conferring professional and material success. He is like this jolly santa distributing gifts. What is forgotten is that He also encourages us to have attitudes and beliefs that lead us to success. We have a role to play too. This is in keeping with the lessons taught through the scriptures of every faith. 

I came across this beautiful illustration which tells us how to live our daily lives. 

When we think big and live simple, when we manage our situations with out of the box thinking, when we focus and concentrate on our work, when we talk less and listen more, when we stomach and digest the ups and downs of life, when we separate the chaff from the grain, when we discard the unwanted and retain only the necessary, when we keep desires in check, we will be blessed with success and joy. Problems and obstacles will begin to melt away.

Are we applying these lessons to our life situations? Or are we blindly praying to Lord Ganesha and expecting Him to do everything for us.

"God helps those who help themselves"

Friday, 7 August 2015

The Knots Prayer

The Knots Prayer

Please untie the knots
that are in my mind, my heart and my life.
Remove the have-nots, the can-nots, the do-nots
that I have in my mind.

Erase the will-nots, may-nots, might-nots
that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the could-nots, 
would-nots and should-nots
that obstruct my life.

And most of all
I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life
all of the "am-nots"
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought that
I am not good enough.

So may it be.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Life Is A Journey

Life Is A Journey
~by John Ruskin

Life is a journey. Who would set upon a vacation trip to one of our National Parks and close his eyes to all the beauty, all the fun and happiness on the journey to and from the park?

Our happiness should never be reserved to the realisation of an object. It should be found in every golden moment along the road to accomplishment. 

Each of life's goals should be but stepping stones to something higher and nobler in the development of self. We should never cease, never stop, this eternal growth.

Let every dawn of the morning be to you as the beginning of life. and let every setting of the sun be to you as its close. Then let every one of these short lives leave its sure record of some kindly thing done for others; some good strength or knowledge gained for yourself.