Tag Archives: meditation

A Tribute to Kamu Ayyar: Gone in a blaze of Brahmakamalams

My mother Kamakshi, alias Kamu Ayyar, reached her heavenly abode on Friday, August 24, 2018 after valiantly battling renal failure.

My Inspiration and first love

She has been my inspiration, my reason for writing. At times, I felt we were part of the same soul energy in two bodies. She was in my eyes the epitome of love, her love for me was not tied to any condition; it was selfless and didn’t waver no matter what I did or said. And I felt exactly the same way about her.

In 2008, I began writing When the Lotus Blooms to tell the world the story of her incredible birth, the outcome of a divine blessing from Parama Shankaracharya graced by magical Kamakshi Meru. During the writing process, I would have long conversations with her several times a day where she would bring to life the customs and traditions of the time, creating a beautiful painting in my head about all of my ancestors, some of whom I had never met. She was a natural storyteller and it is her stories that finally became the books I wrote in her honor.

In 2009, she fell ill. She was undiagnosed for several months and would call me unable to sleep or focus. I would sing to her, chant with her and guide her with meditation into slumber, night after night. There wasn’t a moment in the day when my thoughts were not filled with worries about her well being. It gave me physical pain to even think of her suffering and I focused all my energies willing her into better health. Then, in May of that year, I went to Bangalore determined to heal her with the power of my intention, the purity of my meditation and the universal force of my positive thoughts. For nine weeks I sat by her bedside editing my manuscript which I had then entitled Rajam. Having completed only half of it, there was a niggling fear within me that she may not live to read the completed book.

The Magical flower blooms

Then one night, nine Brahmakamalams bloomed in her garden and as I slipped out with a flashlight to witness its magical blooming, I knew in my heart that she would recover. And I had the title of my book; When the Lotus Blooms. I decided to create a myth about the blooming of this rare and beautiful flower and connect it to her birth. And thus was created the myth of the Brahmakamalam. So it was no surprise to me that she went out in a blaze of 11 Brahmakamalams blooming.

Her final days

For the last four months she was battling renal failure brought on by her heart condition. For six weeks that I was with her this summer, I tried to motivate her to fight and get back to her earlier health again as I had done over a dozen times in the last decade. But this time I knew in my heart that she was not going to recover. I persuaded my sister to prepone her ticket and come to care for her which she did, and was able to help Mummy get a lot better, able to speak and walk. For a while, she seemed to be recovering but in the last few weeks prior to her passing she was losing the ability to move her legs. She told me that every night my father was sleeping next to her. I knew then that I had to stop praying for her to live, but instead plead with the Universe to end her earthly suffering. She had lost the will to fight.

The Monday before she went, she told me she was tired of battling her illness and wanted to go. Lack of sleep, inability to eat and digest her food, open wounds in her leg and crippling body pain  combined with the strain of dialysis had depleted her strength. I listened to her and realized that we were all being selfish attempting to prolong her life when she was in so much discomfort. I then told her to give herself permission to die and ask Appa (my father) to help her release herself from earthly bondage. And she said “Kanchi can you teach me how to do that?” Unfortunately I had no clue.

The final blooming

That night, the first batch of flowers bloomed in my patio and I knew that she was going to pass on very soon. That afternoon in a dream, I saw my father taking her away. His face was blazing with tejas, beaming in joy. After several years he had appeared in a dream and I was at peace knowing she was finally going to be reunited with him. When she passed that Friday, August 24th on Varalakshmi Nombu, I knew that all her Devi Puja, the hundreds of songs she had written dedicated to Devi had finally borne fruit, and she had merged with the Divine.

I felt a wave of relief. She had passed, and her suffering was finally over.

Kamu’s story

Kamu, daughter of Parthasarathy and Rajam, was born on October 11, 1935 in Chidambaram. As I have described in my book she was a vivacious person and touched the hearts of anyone she came across. When she met Kandu at the age of 16, they fell deeply in love and remained that way for the next 44 years until his untimely death one Diwali night when he was hit on the forehead by a firecracker. I never thought she would survive his death, so deeply committed were they to one another, but her resilience astonished me. She learned to meditate and slowly started living once again. She had for twenty years run a

bhajan group called Shaankari, and the ladies came faithfully each week venerating her as their spiritual guru. Her love for music and her “Devi Kataaksham” (her aura as the divine mother) was perceivable, and resulted in 400 wonderful keertanamas and bhajans, compositions which will remain as her legacy. Karunai Pozhiyum Kanngal was written about Shankaracharya who had blessed her mother with Kamakshi Meru resulting in her miraculous birth. It has been popularized by the late Maharajapuram Santhanam, who was a family friend.

But it was the Internet that completely transformed her life. One day, she called the Help Line which is a directory inquiry, and told them she was 75 year old lady who wanted to learn to use the computer and could they help her. Young Syed came to the house twice a week and taught her to use Facebook and Gmail. She learned to upload pictures and for the longest time typed Like for every picture she liked on FB!! LOL. But her favorite was Whatsapp.  Every morning she sent a video or Vedio as she called it, and I really miss waking up to her messages.

In spite of not having a formal education she was a social butterfly, as much at ease throwing a formal dinner for the Chairman of Rolls Royce and shaking Prince Charles’ hand as she was conversing with her relatives in Mylapore. She had the uncanny knack of being able to discuss a wide variety of subjects (from her tamil Magazines) to people of all ages, talking to them at their level with what interested them. Her zest for life was apparent in her appearance. She took pride in dressing up and bought saris for each season. Malmals one year, kalamkari printed silks the next and when she walked into a room in a whiff of perfume, you had to stop and look at her. No one could ever ignore her. Her double Mookuthi, the silver keychain at her waist, her sari draped impeccably with matching necklaces and adornments. In her later years when she switched to colorful kaftans, she wore matching beads and plastic bangles and just last year forced my sister to buy colorful watchstraps to match.

And she took pride in her home. Everything was impeccably arranged. Each week she would bring out her collections. Bells from around the world one week, brass lamps the next, dolls from every country, quartz grapes and eggs from Mexico. She never lost her enthusiasm till the end.

Her devotion to God was admirable. She celebrated every festival  making Subbu the cook, make the necessary food items that were customarily prepared. Navarathri in our home was always spectacular with one room cordoned off for the Golu doll display. She initiated me into performing Varalakshmi Nombu and in our last conversation I told her about all of my preparations for the pooja including Maavu Kolam which I normally would skip. She had even given me the menu a few days before and even though she had passed, I still prepared each item in her honor. Instead of placing the Amman in the altar I had the misfortune of placing a photograph of Amma and worshipping her, for she was  daivam(God) for me. Always has been, always will be.

She lived a full life and enjoyed her six grandchildren and even saw great-grandchildren. She had a special relationship with each grandchild and many of her traits live on through them. She was the matriarch, the role model for all of us and we all miss her vibrant personality. All three daughters loved and cared for her in their own special way. My husband was the son she never had and he made sure that she never lacked anything. No expense was spared when it came to her comfort from getting her business class air tickets to the US to attend her grandchildren’s wedding, to buying her a bed, a TV and a computer and so much more. She only had to mention it and he would ask me to buy it.

When she lived I had the rare privilege of taking care of her completely and now I leave her in the loving care of my father, her one true love.


Her life has been immortalized in my two books, When the Lotus Blooms and A Rose from a Dream. If you haven’t already, please do buy a copy in her memory.

When the Lotus Blooms: 


A Rose from a Dream 
















Ten great reasons to meditate everyday

If you are on a spiritual path an important tool is meditation. Often, people take to meditation when they hit their down-cycle, and leave it by the wayside when things get better. While meditation is not for all, it is not because they cannot meditate but rather because they will not. Many believe they will begin after retirement when they have nothing else to do and to them I say don’t bother, because meditation is a tool to help you face life, and is better learned when you are young, before life’s difficulties hit you. Take to meditation, to pranayama and knowledge in the up-cycle. That way, the down-cycle will not affect you as deeply. Meditation is easy and effortless if you are guided into it skilfully and then, like any other technique it grows with practice. Here are some positive effects of meditation.

  1. It stops unnecessary mental chatter: Meditation clears the monkey brain and gets you less involved in thought ladders. Thoughts are very common in meditation, the crucial difference  is that you become aware of these linked thoughts.(thought ladders) Once you are aware and you break the cycle and climb back down into your meditation, you sink into peace. This has the dual effect of  calming agitated thought loops and creating awareness about the quality of thoughts that typically pop up.
  2. It fills you with enthusiasm:  Breath and prana must not be confused. While breathing begins in the nostrils, prana ascends from the base of the spine and on its journey upward through the 7 chakras it affects different emotions and energies.  Activity through the day causes prana to descend making a host of negative emotions reign supreme. Meditation causes a reversal of prana and this rising prana fills you with enthusiasm especially as it passes the Swadishthana (2nd) Chakra.
  3. It wipes out accumulated karma and prevents illness:  Negative emotions like jealousy, envy, greed, anger, lust, grief etc cause aural vibrations in the body which get absorbed by the chakras. In other words, chakras store accumulated stress and depending on which chakra we store stress, illness develops accordingly(a heart attack for one, pneumonia or cancer for another) Certain meditations that focus on chakra cleansing, clear out glitches within the system which translates to less illness. More importantly, connecting to the source automatically clears past impressions which are your karmic roots. If you think back before the onset of a cold or stomach flu, you can most often recall a period of mental disturbance and elevated stress.
  4. It energizes you through the day: Deep rest while fully awake refreshes and energizes you. Meditation is the fourth state of consciousness, the other three are wakefulness, sleep and dreaming. Meditation is a cleansing process that is the only true rest you can give to the mind. Through the day the senses receive hundreds of images and impressions which get embedded in the brain, revealing themselves as thoughts and emotions during wakefulness and dreams and nightmares at night. While sleep gives the necessary rest for the body, it does not give complete respite for the mind. The mind does get periods of involuntary rest during non-REM sleep,  different than meditation because it is rest with no awareness whereas meditation is rest with awareness. In deep REM sleep, the mind is most active and you are likely to awaken with elevated blood pressure and pulse rate. Meditation is as necessary for the mind as sleep is for the body. It rejuvenates and energizes the body and mind, allowing you to have an active and fruitful day.
  5. It makes you more responsible: To have thoughts and sensations and do nothing trains you for life situations, where you respond with full awareness rather than react. Measured response to a situation has shown better long term results, forging deeper and better alliances and relationships. It puts into practice many axioms one knows about changing situations, acceptance and surrender.
  6. It lowers blood pressure:  While the body is considered as being merely the instrument to access the mind. the act of relaxing the body completely has the physical consequence of lowering systolic blood pressure significantly almost as if you popped a calming pill. If one chooses to become the long-term meditator you can actually replace anti-anxiety pills with this much healthier option.
  7. It fills you with love therefore no hate or fear:  One of the real benefits of meditation is that it brings awareness of thought and once this understanding is sharp,  you cease to be a puppet of your mind. The mind continually throws habituated thoughts of past and future fears. As long as you buy into your conditioned mind you will live in constant fear with resultant anxiety. Hate is nothing other than a bi-product of fears as the mind grapples to protect its deepest fears. At your source there is only love and when you access love you cannot feel hate or fear at the same time. It’s that simple.
  8. It taps into your creative source: The period right after meditation can be your most creative as you tap into that silence; the birthplace for ideas. Studies have shown that meditation increases the density of grey matter in the brain which may result in clarity of thought and idea. The period right after meditation is usually your most creative, as concepts originate intuitively from your inner self; and most often those are the best ideas. In memoirs of all great inventors, their groundbreaking ideas were an expression arising from their source. Almost all of them express this spontaneous revelation of truth as sprouting from pure intuition.
  9. It brings balance into your life: All emotions begin as sensations within your body. The more you meditate, the more you realize your inner state seeks outer validation. If you feel angry, then you search for a situation outside of yourself to validate that emotion. Once you are aware of the continual rise and fall of emotions you are then able to merely observe them while maintaining an inner balance at all times. You understand that your outer reality is nothing other than a reflection of your inner feelings. This is how meditation keeps you free from the opposites: cravings/aversions, pleasure/pain and leaves you with a centered, balanced attitude crucial for decision -making.
  10. It allows abundance to flow in your life: Perhaps the most important side-effect of meditation is that of grace which flows like a river of honey in your life. No other spiritual practice can bring in this state of well being so quickly and so efficiently.  This happens because you slip into the present moment more easily  and this PMA(Present moment awareness) is like a flowing river going from moment to moment . As long as you sail down this river, you live free from the burden of life.  With PMA you realize that happiness is your birthright and in the moment all you need is a fistful of faith, courage and gratitude. The results can be life-changing.

The Art of decision Making


Decision-1All day, every day, we make decisions which vary in intensity and importance. Some are really small and inconsequential involving routine matters like what to wear and what to eat, and these are really first world decisions. We seamlessly make these based on our past conditioning, guided very powerfully by the strength of our desires. So we do what gives us pleasure and stay away from that which causes pain. Which is why it becomes extremely difficult to decide on something which doesn’t give us any pleasure and may even cause us some pain. Those are the tough resolutions we loathe but have to take while mired in stress. Breaking a ten-year long relationship, giving up a job with no alternative source of income, eliminating sweets from your diet because you have diabetes and the list goes on. Decisions are nothing other than life choices. Taking tough decisions is character building. It’s easy to decide when the repercussions are less earth shattering but we certainly need to pause and deliberate while making the tough choices and that inevitably leads to stress, especially in those that have a difficult time making hard decisions.Desicion-2

Categories of decision makers

  1. The Type A “My decision”

This type of person likes to be in charge and is the ‘decider’ in the group. We all have one of those in the family or in the office. They are the ones who have very good reasons for deciding everything from the next family vacation, to the airline they pick for business travel. They always take charge and know how to get things done. This person will never eat Chinese when the mood is for Indian cuisine especially if the suggestion comes from someone else. They need to have complete ownership of every decision. Highly strung and emotional, these individuals function at a very high level of anxiety and pass on their sense of urgency to others while continually reminding them who the decider was.

  1. The non-rufflers

This person loves someone else to take decisions and just follows suit without exerting any aspect of his personality. It doesn’t matter to him either way. He could eat Indian or Chinese or Azerbaijani food and it’s the same. It makes life easy when someone else is making the right decision leaving him with plenty of time to spare for other relaxing activities. Most often non-rufflers are easy going and relaxed, apparently unfazed by life situations. They live within their comfort zone and don’t take on any additional responsibility.

  1. The Flip floppers.

People in this category really suffer because they cannot take any decision and stick to it. They are convinced that their first choice was good but at the first hint of opposition fall deeply into the canyon of self-doubt and immediate back out of the decision, taking an opposing view. But that doesn’t last long either. Yo-Yoing constantly between doubt, regret and the other choice, they drive themselves and others around them crazy. They live in their heads all the time doubting their circumstances, their situation, people and events, and for sure suffer from continual elevated stress and lack of self-esteem.

Not Black and white categories

Each one of us moves fluidly between these categories depending on where our priorities lie. A person might decide very easily about financial decisions in the office but make everyone crazy as he sluggishly picks from a menu. Similarly, one might flip flop between career choices but may make very good, unwavering, healthy, food choices. A decision is not this gigantic, phantasmal, nebulous shroud hanging heavily over you; it is nothing but a choice.

 Types of decisions

Informed decisionsinfo

Decisions can be informed only when there is ample reaction time and one doesn’t have to act immediately. When you have to make important, life altering choices it is important to have some sort of mental map or plan. There is no substitute for due diligence which is the magic ingredient in creating the #marketingguru #greatdesicionmaker, great buzz words a.k.a. must-haves on one’s resume.

Gather information

Before making a choice gather as much information as possible. Begin by making a list of your requirements and priorities. This will help you organize your thoughts, your needs vs optional luxuries.

Have a Plan B

Inform yourself about the other options as well. A good decision is weighed against other routes where based on your needs you pick the best alternative. Such decisions are most often not entirely cerebral and often enter into the realm of intuitive decisions. Always have something to fall back on in case your first choice doesn’t pan out.

Time factor

Take a decision as quickly as possible. There is a direct relationship between time and stress. Quite understandably. The longer you take, the more time you have to chew the cud and the longer you stay in your head, the greater the stress. Give yourself a cut-off date which might increase the pressure in the short run but will be a relief looking back, once the choice is made.


Once you take the decision, commit to it. Take ownership of that decision. It was yours to make and was taken after measured thought and now you have to possess your situation completely. Second guessing your decision will lead to poor execution unhappiness and frustration.

Intuitive decisions.Desicion-3

All life situations can never be purely clinical and intellectual. There are many circumstances where we have to sink into our source and function from the heart rather than the brain. Decisions that are tough and life-changing usually have the best results if they sprout from the source. Intuitive choices do not have logic and rationale backing yet tend to have the best results as they stem from your source which most often is your best resource. Intuitive choices feel natural and right and align with universal energies. It is that feeling when you step into a house and know it was built for you although it may not satisfy your specific criteria. However, no decision is stress free.

Stress in decision-making

Stress arises while making decisions because we fear the unknown. What if it doesn’t go the way I want it to? What if I fail? What if this is the wrong thing to do? What if I lose all my money? And Family? What if they disapprove? Trying to please the whole world leaves you in state of utter confusion and shrouds you in stress, making you doubt every decision you make.

Fear paralyzes you.

Know that fear is nothing other than situations in your head about the future that may or may not happen. We don’t know the outcome for sure. Bring yourself back into the moment and do a fear check. Are they immediate or imagined? Awareness of fear reduces its intense hold over you and allows more balanced decision making.

Commit 100% to the choice and go with the flow of life.

Know that if this journey does not work for you there is always another choice. Life is filled with endless possibilities. And the Divine has filled you with deep reserves of abilities that only come up to the surface under pressure. At every turn there are hundreds of choices you could make. Pick one and go with it. Know that you are never in a situation you cannot deal with. There is never a problem without a solution.

Accept your situation

Sometimes the Universe decides which path you need to take and in the short run there is no alternative. In such situations acceptance is key.

Drop your doership.

Realize that life is just a series of events and experiences, all of which inform, educate and enlighten you. Live in the moment with faith that you can and will live up to the high standards of excellence the Divine expects from you. That makes any decision, intuitive or informed, so much easier. Lighten up a bit, it’s not so difficult to decide. “And if things get too much for you, just take a pillow and go to sleep.”