“The Extra of the Ordinary”

Dr. Taposhri Ganguly :

I don’t feel there is anything wrong in not knowing where the destination lies or in not knowing where the road leads you because on these journeys, I find and have always found life’s most beautiful lessons and reasons to move and to continue.Years later, when I thought of restarting Dhi, I just had an inner voice that was loud enough for me to honour it and I had no idea where this was going to take me. I had no format, but I did know that I wanted to connect; connect humanity, connect experiences, connect thoughts because I feel everything is dependent and connected, even us, as (self-proclaimed independent) humans.Dhiis a hindu thought as Wikipedia describes it and it has many definitions including intellect, wisdom, speech and so on.

My reason for calling this connection Dhi is very personal. My eldest maternal uncle, Mr Prabir K Roy, who was also my first spiritual guide and an ardent Rishi Aurobindo follower, gave me this name and though he is no longer with me today when I decided to work on something other than my core day job as a statistician, I decided to use the name, Dhi.I began on March 28, 2020 and my friends, Dr Vikram Dravid and Dr Priya Gopal, designed the page logo and recorded the Gayatri Mantrarespectively for this page.

Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ
Tat-savitur Vareñyaṃ
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt

My first guest in the series The Extra of the Ordinary, was also the individual who I had called on when I decided to restart.Ms Rumela Kundu, is an individual par excellence and she created the social media accounts for Dhi. She started off Dhi, Edition II, like I called it, by giving me quality time of hers and discussed her life, her Buddhist practice, faith, belief and trust that lead her and keep her balanced in life. On our very first session, she spoke to us on how the practice had helped her overcome her fears, inhibitions and that now when she looks back at the individual that she was ten years ago, she would have said “Well Done, Rumela”. 

On March 28, I also had Dr Priya Gopal, who is a trained biotechnologist by profession, update us on COVID19. She was generous enough to provide us with research materials and papers that are available on this page and group (if you would like a copy, please give us a shout and we’ll send it to you).

Rumela’s chat paved the way for Dhi and my inner voice wanted to discuss ‘CONSCIOUSNESS’. I called on Dr Vikram Dravid who is an Ayurvedic practitioner and also holds an MBBS degree. Vikram was gracious enough to explain consciousness through Ayurveda; the need for the system of the human body to function well and in a healthy manner. He further explained the need for a discipline that one must adhere to, in order to protect the ojas of organs and also the habit of meditation that one must adopt in order to live a balanced, healthy life. Vikram provided us a document on ‘the three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are bioenergetic principles described in Ayurveda that enliven, animate, nurture and sustain the body’, which is available to download and if you would like to have your own copy. Just message us at Dhi and we’ll send you a copy.

As it happens with most things in life, the first few contact points are always friends and family so Rumela, asked her friend, Mr Swapnil Dhall, to be our guest and Swapnil, with a day job as a manager, managing global corporate partnerships, was kind enough to share his life experiences that a regular Buddhist chanting practice bestowed upon him. Whether it is his outlook towards life, people in general, he too, like his fellow practitioner and friend, Rumela, touched upon the need for discipline and a routine embedded in compassion and care.

While Dhi was alright this far, something was not adding up. Where am I connecting? What exactly am I getting at? I still had no answers. But in the exact same token, in a deep sense, I wanted to talk to someone about ‘Reality’. I wanted to ask what is it and why is it that a majority feel that what we see, feel, touch and smell is real and not even wonder about something that is a little wider than this reality that is sense driven? At this point, Vikram asked his scholar friend, Dr Vishal Dhingra, who has been studying Vedanta for the past 20+ years and is a professional medic and a professor, if he would be interested in being our guest and he agreed.

Dhi had its fourth session on REALITY with a Vedanta scholar who took us on a journey covering and touching upon perceptions of reality to reality itself. He too, like all our previous guests touched upon the need for discipline and added dedication and the desire to explore and learn. Although, the caveat in this was the role of karma that plays through the desires in every body that exist and the desire to go beyond that perception.

This was a session that got Dhi its maximum views and also a point when I zeroed in on spirituality and/or occultism (hidden knowledge) as the road that Dhi was going to travel on. Where this was going to lead us to, was still not clear and I make no qualms in saying that the destination for Dhi, to me, was never important and even today as I am sitting down to put this together, it is the last thing where my mind travels to.Session five on Dhi was an extraordinary session in itself. Vikram, out of the blue, was contacted by someone who lives two lives in parallel; someone who balances materials and occult practices beautifully and possibly has explanations for everything that one would want to know. This guest was none other than Mr Subhash Avasare. A trained architect by profession and having been taught by a great lineage of gurus, Mr Avasare even sang for us in our session. Which to me was one of the most beautiful things to be a witness to. I remember saying in this session that if Dhi was to have a face, it would be him and I fondly call him Guru Baba.

This was also a session where I admitted to being taught by the great master himself in bits and pieces. The session prior to this had me admit to awakening at the age of 21 where in life really opened up onto a dimension that is hard to pinpoint and explain but I would just leave it as living with my SELF.

The Sunday after Mr Avasare’s talk, I felt as though I wanted to invite someone who would talk to us about SCIENCE & SPIRITUALITY. That’s a very broad topic if you come to think of it but I didn’t know what it would be or who I would ask. However, I had briefly chatted to Dr Manish Pandit way back in 2014 (if I remember the year correctly). At that time, the chat was around homas and discipline, so something triggered me to write to him and ask if he would like to be our guest and he agreed.Dr Pandit wears many hats; a medic by profession, a filmmaker, writer and a spiritualist. Manish gracefully combined astronomy and the epic war of Mahabharata; he had no idea on my thoughts prior to agreeing to be our guest, however, he had finished working on his book and was more than happy to share his knowledge and wisdom with us, which, in essence combined one crucial dimension of science and spirituality.

In the meantime, I had also booked our seventh speaker who is a friend and I invited him to discuss SADHANA & TANTRA very briefly, more like an overview which we did on the seventh session of Dhi.

Our guest was Mr Rajarshi Nandy who is an author, sadhak par excellence and someone who has practiced and still practices spirituality with rigour, grace and faith. He is an institution of knowledge in himself and holds nothing when it comes to talking and discussing truth. He is one of those rare souls, who speaks as it is, thus giving you a mirror each and every time you need it or ask for it. I am immensely grateful that he agreed to be a part of Dhi.

I joined the Theosophical society in January 2020 as an associate. The reason I joined is two folds; One because I have had many chance meetings over a span of five years with individuals, writings and incidents, which have directed me towards Helena Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner, that I had to figure out who they are to start with and then their work drew me towards the society. Two, because Steiner’s house was the second place besides my Kundalini yoga practice where talking about awakening and stages of a man felt home. I do regret having not joined the society before, but things have their own way of manifesting, you just need to trust, I believe.

Through my association and following the society’s activities on Facebook, I came across Ms Anne Kelly who runs a network sharing Theosophical teachings, learnings and knowledge and calls this network Living Theosophy. She has a dedicated webpage and YouTube channel where she holds her live talks and reading sessions. I decided to write to her and ask if she would like to be our guest. While we were discussing dates, times and other things, it led me to realise that Anne was a fellow traveller on the road like I was and that we both had a lot in common than we knew. Like I said ‘it felt home’ – this exact statement resonated with her and we decided to book two sessions; one where she comes on Dhi and talks to us and one where I go and talk to her on Living Theosophy.

At this very point when we were finalising this, I just knew that I had to pause and say ‘Thank You’ to this very universe for showing me and letting me meet individuals who believed in what I believed in, who knew what pain was, struggle was but they themselves were embodiments of LOVE, COMPASSION and CARE.

A kind of love that you wouldn’t feel unless you have been broken several times. A kind of compassion that you wouldn’t become unless you have felt the pain in each and every cell of your existence and a kind of care that you couldn’t pretend and fake unless it came from your heart.

Ms Anne Kelly and Living Theosophy were our guest on session eight of Dhi and this was a session where a lot of people heard and learned about Theosophy for the first time. It was a beautiful session where we got an insight into Anne’s life and her journey into theosophy. In my view, this session, in particular, summed up the very core of the series ‘The Extra of the Ordinary’ where Anne clearly said that we all have the potential to reach and connect to our own higher selves and then we just need to become that and be that for us and for our universe.

The Extra of the Ordinary, the search, the torchlight that I picked back in the last week of March 2020, looked through the lenses that each of these individuals came with and they connected. They connected in discipline, in duality, in existence and in love. I have said in some sessions, not all, that no two sessions at Dhi are similar and they have never been. Each session had its own unique story and each session gave all our guests a chance to interact with the participants and the listeners. On May 30, 2020, we shall have our last session of this particular series and this session will be a wrap of one of our previous sessions.

The series, The Extra of the Ordinary, as a part of Dhi, Edition II, ends on a 10-session comprehensive note where we just scratched the surface of knowledge, and of experience. Starting June, Dhi, will immerse in the depths of these giant knowledge bases and continue its journey without a destination because that is something I still don’t know but the road is what I still feel like travelling on and I am sure some of you will stay on as well.

The core mission of Dhi is to connect, to weave a net of ONE.

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