Not one, Not Two: Around Mother’s Day 2023

The Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has a beautiful meditation for one’s parents

“Breathing in , I see my father as a five-year-old child

 Breathing out, I smile to my father, a five-year-old

Breathing in, I see my father, five years old, fragile, wounded, vulnerable

Breathing out, I look at this wounded child with all my understanding and love”

Mumbai-June 2010- Sagar Sahil with Dadi-My mother-Mrs.Nirja Bhatt nee Uniyal

This meditation made me remember the walks in different mountain areas around Shimla and Rishikesh and what my parents told me about our spiritual traditions, our family legacy and the way things were in British India before independence.

Some other stories of our family I came to know from my aunts and older cousins, as I have no living memory of my paternal grandfather. Recently, when I went to Agra-UP to visit my uncle (Rakesh Chacha ji) he was generous to share and let me take pictures of many family photographs from his album. This added to the many stories about our family which I came to know- some of the most memorable talks being with Dear Guddu bhai-sitting in and around Lodhi gardens -Delhi over the years/decades.

Thich Nhat Hanh says that you and your father or mother are not entirely different people, even though, you are not exactly one and the same person either. This wonderful insight may be called  “Not one, not two” – neither exactly the same , nor different.

Notes on Not One, Not Two

This meditation reminded me of the many lessons I have been taught by my Uncle-Mausaji- (Dr.Ram Prasad Nawani-RPN)- (the person who taught me to make notes

Nizamuddin-2002-PB with Mausaji-Dr.RPN

 I remember the times in Pune 1970s when he would read books with me, make small notes (Purchi). As I went into the Benares of 1940s -just after India got Independence, and what life would have been for my mother in that time-around 1950, many conversations with my aunts came to mind, which helped me get a sense of the day in the life of our family then.

Mausaji (Dr.RPN) also helped me develop empathy and see different facets of life. Having grown up in cantonments, then lived in and around medical campuses I have had a relatively privileged blessed life and do not have the ground level knowledge of the hills, life in the villages and how the daily rhythm of life is in remote areas. 

It has been a long journey for me” he said, recalling his childhood days on the banks of one of the tributaries feeding the Ganga, in the hills beyond Rishikesh, where the waters are at times just a small stream flowing amidst the mighty mountains. Trickling down, slowly but steadily over kilometers and decades, one finds an edifice inspiring and educative.

The 3 G Filter- Generations, Gender, Geographies

Not One-Not Two is a meditation which helps develop Empathy. I also use the 3 G format to try to create a better understanding of situations- 3 G- Generations, Gender, Geography. When looking at things using the 3 G filter an added layer of empathy is added.

Looking back at some walks- in the past year

I remember my mother-in-law- (Mrs.Meena Karia) taking me to a small temple, next to the larger Jalaram Temple in a crowded Bhiwandi area -in Thane District, north east of Mumbai.

“Yahan pe humari shaadi hui thi” (We had got married here) She told the significance of this temple. We later went around some streets of Bhiwandi and she showed me the temple where they would come after school. She talked about some of her school teachers. Both my parents-in-law were born in Karachi-British India and have memories of living in what became Pakistan. Her cousin brother enthusiastically showed me a letter to his father from Karachi Academy- dated 1949, which told of his removal from the school register in 1947.

The meditation of Not One, Not Two, took me down some conversations and generous sharings.

Earlier perspectives

Thinking through letters-May 2019

Graydon Rock-Mississauga, 2022- Sahil studied in Gordon Graydon Memorial school-(2014-2018)

My parents instilled the love of nature in me. My mother was a trained Botanist

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Mountain Meditation

Mountain Meditation (MM)

A brief version is to meditate on going up the mountain(s) and remember all the persons who helped make you the person you are. And become one with the mountain

Extended version

pray to the mountain, the paths which go to it, the streams that flow from it , the trees , animals, who grow , live there. The many people who have gone through those paths. Their associations and aspirations. Meditate on the lessons of the mountain . Then become one with the mountain. Imagine you are a part of the mountain- what spiritual lessons are drawn from the mountain paths , rivers, streams, trees… 

MM is a great meditation to connect to the universal energies and specific memories

PRAYERS AT DHARI DEVI MANDIR (DDM) -Pauri Garhwal- Srinagar area

MM-DDM-Feb 09-2023

Dhari Devi Mandir (DDM)- Srinagar Pauri Garhwal Uttarakhand

Many generations of our family Bhatts of Uphalda Srinagar have prayed and reflected in the DDM over the centuries.

Bhatt family members shifted to Shimla- (United Punjab) in 1880s and then to Delhi-1930s.

My father-Prem Narain Bhatt joined the Indian Army after medical graduation from AIIMS-1958 batch. I went to Libya -2003 .

Our family shifted to Toronto-area in July 2012 after two years in Malta.

Went to DDM after paying respects of Sabu Bua ji (Savitri Thapliyal nee Bhatt) – and meeting Priti and Rahul in Dehradun. First time meeting them after passing away of Surendra Mama-ji (Aug 2022).

Earlier Perspectives- 2012- October- Reflections on Rememrance Rituals…

After prayers at DDM went to meet Manorma Mami – to pay respects first time meeting her after the passing of Umesh Mamaji (Umesh Mamgain-passed May 2021).

Earlier Perspectives-2011-October -Walks by Alaknanda…

We return again to DDM – to say our prayers, reflect on the times gone by and honour the memory of our ancestors


Remember When (RW) is a great way to build perspective. RW you first prayed at a mountain temple, who was with you, whom did you remember. For me, two temples stand out. One is the small Hanuman temple in the Hills of Lullanagar Pune- (see blog ) where we would go for morning walks in the 1970s. I had been introduced to praying in hill temples at Chattersinghi Temple of Khadki area Pune in the early 1970s when I would go to primary school- Loyola. After we shifted to Golibar Maidan-Pune, my parents would take me for morning walks. Lullanagar was one such place I remember.

In the Himalayas- the Kali Bari temple of Shimla was a place to remember our ancestors, pray and reflect on the times gone by. We would go to Kaithu Bazaar where our family stayed from 1880s, and then go for walks to the Hill temples in and around Shimla – Jakhu, Tara Devi, Naldera

MM- DDM- Mountain Meditation Dhari Devi Mandir

Shimla 1940s -Bhatt Family – Brahmi Bhatt (BB) with his three sons and their families- Sri Sri Krishan, Bhawani, Kali – my father PNB- Prem Narain Bhatt is seen on the lap of his mother- to the right of BB

I got this family photograph when I visited Rakesh Chacha-ji in Kamla Nagar Agra. The MM we had at Dhari Devi has many manifestations and gifts

Earlier Perspective : Early Morning at Lodhi- with Guddu Bhai- Yogendra Dobhal

Question: Which MM connected you with your roots, legacy, heritage?

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Visiting India after I finally finished my papers related to immigration. If one is not resilient, then one cannot survive as an immigrant.

During the first few days in Delhi, with the base in Jasola, we went to Palam and Vasant Kunj

The memories of coming to Jasola from Palam, when the children were in pre-school days (now have finished University) came back in many ways. 

Walks- with Mayank-Feb 21-2023 : Humayun Tomb

Mausa-ji- the person who taught me to make notes- was there with me on this trip to Palam. We paid respects to Saraswati Buaji- and I remembered the time in 2015, when after a long time I stayed overnight at Palam-the first time after my mother passed away-Mausaji was there with me, and later, on reflecting, I realized that night in Palam was so unique with so many memories and discussions. 

Shailu-ji’s birthday (10-Feb) was the occasion I chose to re-visit India. On the last day, went to dear Guddu bhai-Nirmal Bhabhi place in Lodhi colony.

“When we shift out of Lodhi to Sector 56 Gurgaon, it will be closing a chapter of over 70 plus years”

Guddu bhai told as we walked back to the Metro station and spent some moments at the tomb of Najaf Khan,  who was the highest commander of the Mughal army under Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II -from 1772 till his death in April 1782. Talked to Sabu buaji from the Garden tomb-just as we have done over the years. Whenever Guddu bhai and I would sit in Lodhi -and remember the times gone by- we would reach out to Sabu bua-ji.

Some pictures from Family Albums-Dear Guddu Bhai-Yogendra Dobhal-

The Dobhal Brothers-Guddu bhai, Ravi bhai, Sanju bhai-Delhi 1986

..Padma Bua-ji- (Padma Dobhal nee Bhatt)


Walks in Lodhi- with Guddu Bhai-2015

Museum walks with children-National Rail Museum-2008

Writing workshops with Mayank-2011-October

PURANA QUILA-2011-OCTOBER-Mayank Rolling

Devraj Bhai- at Palam 2016

BROTHERHOODS-Devraj Bhai Sahib-Palam-India

Memories of many meals and times together in B Block-Palam Vihar- the Dabral Family

2016-DECEMBER-PALAM- with Saraswati Buaji- The Sisterhoods

At B- Block Park with Saraswati Buaji – 2016-November

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