Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Can Character and Competence Coexist?

Here is a lively story from the Great Epic “Mahabharata”. I fondly recollect this particular recital – ‘
‘Dronacharya, the great Guru taught skills of archery to the Pandavas and Kauravas, the two royal family groups. Arjuna of the Pandavas was his favorite student. In the modern days, we talk of the inter-continental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads and all that. In those days the missiles in the form of arrows, backed by proper chanting of hymns would annihilate the targets. These chants to go with the astras were taught only to a select few by the Guru.  The yardstick to identify the deserving was far different from what that our children face today as entrance tests.
The guru’s son Aswathama also studied with the royals and was as skilled in archery as Arjun. These classes used to be conducted at the Guru’s home, as these young students had to stay with the guru on a 24 by 7 basis and learn.
During one such practice sessions, Guru Dronacharya took Arjuna separately to a nearby forest and started teaching him the most powerful ‘Brahmastra’. It was the most powerful archery tool ever.
Dronacharya’s favoritism towards Arjuna aroused lot of curiosity in the Guru’s friend, ‘Why would he not teach of Brahmastra to his own son, Aswathama who demonstrated equal skill, perception and speed in learning?’ Unable to resist, the friend asked Drona the reason for his action.
What was interesting was Drona’s reply.  He said, ‘My dear friend, I am not surprised that such a thought occurred to you. My son has all my competence too. But that is not just enough to use this astra. A balanced mind alone makes the astra work. Aswathama, in my humble opinion, lacks such balanced mind and ability to time.

Character without competence is an empty paradise, competence without character is a crook’s paradise. Charater with competence alone is the real paradise.
God bless


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Results may crown you or crucify you...

We hear this too often..
work is virtue, work is worship, do your duty without any attachment thereof. Does that mean that we have a right to our duty and not to its fruits thereof?
A student works hard to get a top rank. A farmer works hard to get a good harvest. An executive works hard to go up the corporate ladder. Without an objective there is no incentive to work hard. How is it possible to work without attachment?

Please note that the verse does not say that you have no right to the fruits of labor! It urges you to do your duty but learn to accept the result. You may expect but you should have the realization to accept the result of whichever nature. You cannot control the result. Hence give priority to your duty and not to the result. The same thing was said by Confucicus (551 BC – 479 BC), ‘The mind of the superior man is conversant with righteousness, the mind of the mean man is conversant with gain’.

Being dedicated to work has to mean ‘working for the sake of work, generating excellence for its own sake’. If we are always calculating the date of promotion or the rate of commission before putting in our efforts, then such work is not detached. It is no ‘generating excellence for its own sake’, but working only for the extrinsic reward that may (or may not) come by. Working with an eye on anticipated benefits, means that the quality of performance of the current job or duty suffers – through anxiety for the future. In fact, events may not always respond positively to our calculations and hence expected fruits may not always be forthcoming. We should not mortgage our present commitments to an uncertain future.

It has been held that this principle of detachment leads to lack of incentive for effort, striking at the very root of work ethics. To the contrary, concentration on the task for its own sake leads to the achievement of excellence – and indeed to the true mental happiness of the worker. Thus, while commonplace theories of motivation may be said to lead us to the bondage of extrinsic rewards, the detachment principle leads us to the intrinsic rewards of mental and indeed moral satisfaction.

The result can crown you with a kingdom or can crucify you on a cross. You should have the readiness to accept the result, while doing your duty.
Chase as far as the input / effort phase is concerned, and learn to face as far as the result phase is concerned. To put it in another way – ‘Do your duty and be prepared to face the result of whatsoever nature, don’t give up!’ Since there always seems an affirming view coming from the Western world on anything that the East propagates, let me quote from William Shakespeare. He said, “Three sentences for achieving success: know more than others; work more than others; expect less than others.” Therefore you should stay focused on the purpose not on outcome.”
Stay on purpose, not on outcome

God bless


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Count your blessings , not your curses

When we face successive failures, it is difficult to regain optimism. The lectures on positive thinking may have a soothing effect for a day. The shelf-life of a lecture on positive thinking can be at best one or two days. Many could not even get out of the bad phase till their death despite intensive efforts. Only 1% of them end up being successful. Is that destiny?

“Dwelling only on your destiny deprives you of your dues . The unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates). The problem with most of us is that we always brood over the closed doors of opportunities. We never see so many windows of opportunities open for us. A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity: an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty (Winston Churchill). We need to have the courage and conviction to face adversities.
Don’t jump to conclusions on destiny and give up. You might have faced difficulties, Premature pregnancy is dangerous for the baby. A prolonged pregnancy is dangerous for the mother. Hence don’t jump to conclusions too fast nor delay your realization. Evaluate yourself calmly.

We forgot the flower’s aroma amidst the perfumes we developed. We forgot the full moon’s light amidst our mercury lamps. Devoid of courage, we stay content at safe positions and face unseen retardation. Without doing things with full conviction, we call ourselves unlucky and brood over our failures.

When the world was believed to be flat, Galileo challenged it. In the same way, the Wright brothers proved that humans could also fly like birds. Any society operating with an urge to grow will always look ahead.
You are what your deepest nature is.
As your nature, so is your will.
As your will, so is your deed.
As your deed, so is your destiny.

Difficulty is a part of life. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

One day a software engineer travelled in a first class compartment of a train from Chennai to Bangalore. He used to grumble that as Project Manager he had too many things to do. Looking at his brand new hi-tech laptop and highly casual attire, his co-passenger asked, ‘Are you from the software industry, sir?’ The co-passenger greatly admired the software industry. The software engineer irritatingly replied that they have to go through several complicated processes in their field and it is not easy. He also complained that as Project Manager he had to face ever-changing requirements from customers, users always cribbing about information deficiencies and the boss always complaining about overruns. “You don’t know my friend, what it is to be in the line of fire!” he blurted.

The co-passenger patiently listened and said, “I definitely know what it is to be in the line of fire, young man! There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture point 4875 in Kargil during the war between India and Pakistan – in the cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top. There was no knowing where the next bullet would come from and hit whom. In the morning when we finally hoisted the tri-color flag at the top, only four of us were alive. In the army we took the first pledge – the safety of the nation first followed by the safety of the men we commanded, and lastly our personal safety. I have surely faced the line of fire in the army too often sir,” he said. The software engineer felt ashamed of his constant cribbing and bowed to the Army man.

There are so many people around us who face harder battles than us; we should understand this. When something negative happens, we need time and support to deal with the consequences. With time, things heal and we move on. We should not keep brooding on the wounds and failures, as we need energy to move in a positive direction. Nurturing the wounds would only buttress our failures.

When one works for a goal, even if victory is not achieved, he will be happy for having made honest attempts. Mental fatigue and the loss of drive to achieve are the foes that kill us.

Stay hungry,stay fresh, chase your passion unmindful of the outcome
God bless


Thursday, 27 December 2018

Don’t Deny Yourself the Life Blaming your Destiny..

Does this difference in the lives of human beings arise due to what the East calls Karma and the West calls the Golden Rule and Justice. The Karma theory says, ‘What goes around comes around’ and ‘What you give is what you get’. How do we explain this
These are works of nature. I do not wish to enter into the spiritual dilemmas of the Karma theory. Let me make it simple. Though growing on the same earth and same soil, two plants from the same mother plant have different characteristics. Even if the seed of the same plant is sown with the same fertilizer and the same water, there will still be some difference between them. Water is not the same H2O everywhere. The same paddy seed grown in the waters of Godavari produces a different grain when nourished with the waters of Kaveri or Narmada or Ganges given the same soil and inputs. Water is the main ingredient for the paddy crop. So for man: the way one absorbs the same knowledge from the same teacher and same parents and the way one assimilates and utilizes it, is what distinguishes one person from the other. A living thing is not a plastic piece of mass production. A living thing goes through changes from time to time. These are works of nature. These are nature’s wonders.
Man is made by his own beliefs. ‘As he believes, so is he.’ (Bhagvat Gita). The same is stated in the West in different words – ‘What a man thinks of himself: that is what determines, or rather indicates his fate.’ (Henry David Thoreau). Unless you perceive yourself to be worth, you cannot achieve.
Two men look through the prison bars. One sees the mud, the other sees stars. Your thoughts are the architect of your destiny. A positive mind emits harmonious waves of thoughts, a negative mind sends out discordant thoughts.
The lock is outside the prison while the lock is inside the house for many. It is ‘thoughts’ that lock you in. When you want to reach the top of a mountain, your attention should be focused at it even when you cross the foot of the hill. If you get irritated by the garbage at the foothill your focus is not on reaching the top of the mountain
Your Attitude determines your altitude
The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of the mind. It is 85% attitude; the rest covers knowledge, facts and figures. Everyone has talent. Everyone on the planet is a wonder of the world! Everyone has the potential for extraordinary achievement! Even the great wonders of the world were built block by block, one day at a time. Small achievements lead to great victories. Positive habits create results. Opportunity is under one’s feet. We do not have to keep brooding that we are less fortunate. All we need is to recognize the opportunity.
Many a time, people complain of noise without knowing that it is actually opportunity that is knocking at the door. They recognize the opportunities only when these are leaving rather than when these are coming. It is similar to the story of a person having diamonds buried deep in his own land which he sold and then searched for the diamonds everywhere else and then blamed his fate when he couldn’t find them. This is life. We need to build a positive attitude rather than complain about temporary stress and uncertainties of change. We dig the gold mine for gold and not dust. We dig the land deep, unmindful of the dust but focusing on gold.

How do we know that there is gold if we keep on collecting the dust? Till when do we keep digging? Will we not lose our patience at some time? Can we keep digging the dust till the end of our life?
My worry is for those who put in their best efforts but do not succeed. We all talk about heroes who are less than 1% of the global population. There are so many unsung heroes in history who toiled but never found glory. They never made it big in the world. What is their sin? They tried in earnest and even worked hard, but did not make it big.
Many were born to win but conditioned to lose. If an eagle’s egg is placed in the nest of a chicken, the eagle will grow thinking it is a chicken. The conditioning of the mind is catastrophe for many. If you don’t try you will never know. You may be disappointed if you fail, but you will be doomed if you don’t try (Beverly Hills). Most people give up at the last minute, just a foot from a winning touchdown. Count your blessings, not your troubles as many of our blessings are hidden treasures. The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed as Lloyd Jones once said.
What we do to chase our goals?
Galileo Galilei is famous for having said ‘You cannot teach a man anything — you can only help him to discover it himself’. Whether a man makes it or not is a matter of his application. Nobody can do it for him.
Let me state a few tips for you to discover yourself: Realising your dream will be based on your awakening.
- Great minds have purposes; others have wishes – be a man of purpose.
- The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of expertise; hence he has to remain committed.
- The only limit to our realization tomorrow will be our doubts of today (Franklin D. Roosevelt). Hence don’t doubt your own self, learn to be positive.
- When you want success as intensely as you want air under water, then you will have it (Socrates). Therefore be focused on your success.
- Bernard Shaw says ‘Some men see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’. Be a person with unceasing intellectual curiosity.
- What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us (Oliver Holmes). Hence look inwards and realize yourself.
- Life is strife, if you rest you rust, if you rust you wear out. So shed your laziness.
- The only limits on your life are those that you set for yourself. Hence you should come out of your comfort zone and explore the unknown.
- Interest, Enthusiasm, Positive, Optimistic and Co-operative attitude will take you to dizzying heights.
- Keep trying without slack or being half-hearted.
- Abundance of will power and discipline offer you the inner power to achieve.
- God has put, for example, inside the sugarcane - both juice and energy. The sweet sugar-based juice provides tremendous energy to man and when the juice is sucked out, the cane still leaves bagasse – which is capable of generating energy of different kind. It is man who has to bring the energy out of the sugarcane. The same way God has put enough energy into the man and he has to bring the best out.
- The uniqueness of each individual has to be recognized. You cannot live the other man’s life. Your life should be based on your own uniqueness. You cannot live like the cat that applied hot strips to its body to aquire stripes to look like a tiger – the cat never became a tiger. Do not try to live like others, be yourself. Live your life.
Take these tips and discover your own inner self. No one can teach you how to reach your goals , but they can only enable you to reach them yourself. You should attempt to do so.
Your awakening is a matter of your own inner engineering..
Finally i can only request you ..
“Don’t Deny Yourself the Life Blaming your Destiny”
God bless 


Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Leaders realize the ideal, the followers idealize the real’. Do you want to be a leader or follower?

The so-called philosophical mind automatically comes to you as the biological clock ticks. Is it right?I read somewhere that our life span can be divided into these phases:


I disagree here. We are being over-simplistic in everything that we see. Your ethics &. values are not driven by a biological clock. Ramana maharishi threw the ten rupees on his hand and bacame a saint at the age of fourteen. Even at a very young age, Gandhi struck to the set of values that he believed in. He never lied in his legal profession just to mint money. He did not pursue conviction towards values only in later stages of his life. He stuck to his values throughout his life.

Ordinary people come together to do extraordinary things.

Gandhi was born as an ordinary person;He ended up doing so much and changed the world just by the power of his ethics & values . For him, the truth is his God and non-violence is the means of realizing Him. In the words of Napolean Hill, “A person is judged not by what he knows but what he does”. Hence it is not the extraordinary knowledge of a superman but exemplary conduct of an ordinary man that gives the leadership

The countless inventions of Edison, the comic genius of Charlie Chaplin, the magic of boundless compassion of Mother Teresa, the charisma of Mahatma Gandhi — all of them seem awe-inspiring to us. Yet to the leaders themselves their action was spontaneous and a natural expression.”

Leaders realize the ideal, the followers idealize the real’. Do you want to be a leader or follower? The call is yours.


Sunday, 16 December 2018

Stress is our way of life

Office stress, kitchen stress, traffic stress...few of my friends are adding meditation stress, mantra stress....
When the mind, body & soul r not aligned the result is stress
Physical stress: metabolic stress, body misslignment (destressing strategy: body healing techniques)
Mental stress
the inner voices that criticize you, push you, and hold you captive to the traumas of the past and worries about the future: misalignment of mind(destressing strategy: meditation)
Spiritual stress:
Spiritual issues occur when you are out of alignment with your inner truth and your true Self(destressing strategy:spritual healing techniques)
Spirit is the life, mind is the builder, and the physique is the result

Feed yr soul, fuel yr body, expand yr mind - create balance.
The world recognizes yr performance but not yr passion. Therefore performance ( outcome) based metrics is pursued by most of us.
But a passion based approach where we show passion at input phase( attachment) and philosophical outlook ( detachment) at output phase, then we can attain congruence between mind, soul & body. That will be stress free...
Again we come back to this “ stay on purpose & not on outcome”
PS: in our life time v keep trying these. Attaining excellence is always a journey , not a destination. I also keep trying with u.


Tuesday, 4 December 2018

In Kali Yuga are idealistic people a rare species?

Many complain that most of us today go only after money. Is wealth or ambition a sin?
Some see through Negative lens-
- Gautama Buddha came out of the palace and went into the forests in pursuit of peace. Today most of the Swamiji's came out of forests and enter into their own palaces in the name of the same peace!
- Most Middle class going after money, most elderly people still under attachment phase and all go after money & fame.
We have to see through the Positive lens-
- The transparency gap has come down and people have information at their finger tips. This raises their ambition levels. Awareness levels increased across the board
- " We can win" feeling has been raised in the minds of youngsters who are not rich. Young minds wear dreams on their sleeves even though they may be from poor backgrounds. Such people have made it big.
- Materialistic comforts have increased all over.
- New fields of inventions keep revolutionary changes to human life
Is wealth or ambition a sin? Is sinless wealth an optic illusion? In Kali Yuga are idealistic people a rare species?
- Let's us start with first remedy.
Artha, Kama, Dharma . Indian scholars recognized and debated the inherent tension between active pursuit of wealth (Artha ) and pleasure (Kama), They proposed "Artha " & “ Kama” are to be exercised with dharmic means. -dharma-driven action", also called Nishkam Karma as a possible solution to the tension.
- the second remedy: scarcity of idealistic people:
The countless inventions of Edison, cosmic genius of Charlie Chaplin, the magic of boundless compassion of Mother Teresa , the charisma of mahatma Gandhi - all of them seem awe inspiring to us. Yet to the leaders themselves their reaction was spontaneous and natural expression. It is not extra ordinary knowledge of a super man , but only an exemplary conduct of an ordinary man that gave the leadership status to them. Leaders realize the ideal,the followers idealize the real. We need more leaders to realize the ideal and we do not alienate ourselves from the leaders on the ground of idealism, while many leaders lived a simple living.
Do you want to be a leader or a follower?
The choice is yours...
Bottom line:
True learning is like lightening a lamp. You can light fire from the same first lamp without diminishing the original flame. You can be the first lamp lightening millions of lamps around you with the of hope & positivity , without diminishing the original flame.
- Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, to lead but not manipulate, to win without sin".
Will you be the one?
Are we the generators of hope & positivity for the young generation? Or we the ever brooding defeated souls dragging philosophy as our companion in our downfall?
The choice is yours


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Are u the Alexander? Or Are u the sage?

Here is a story familiar to many-

On the threshhold of his passage to india,Alexander the Great encountered a sage in a loin cloth meditating for hours in a secluded place. For the emperor, the sage looked like a lazy man ,a recluse who had dropped out of life’s race. “ don’t u have anything to do besides sitting & day dreaming?Tell me what yr goal in life is?” He asked the sage
The sage asked the emperor about his goal. He went on questioning the emperor- after conquest, after getting all gold, after getting all men as slaves and so on finally what will he do? The emperor said “i will sit on my throne, relax and enjoy myself” the sage smiled and replied- “ sir, that is precisely what i am doing now. Why r u bothering me? Leave me alone and go ahead with yr conquests”
Human mind is in constant oscillation between the two questions that ring in our consciousness-
Alexander thinks “ how much more i need to be happy?” The sage thinks “ how much less can i have and still be happy?”
The sage and Alexander live within all of us. They represent the two fundamental states of human consciousness.
There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something. Both Alexander & the sage felt happy that they accomplished something. Their interpretation of the term happiness varies. Success is not the key to happiness. But happiness is the key to success. If u love what u r doing , u will be successful. Peace of mind is a mental condition in which u have accepted the worst. Let me repeat- life is not about how to survive in the storm but to dance in the rain..
Are u the Alexander? Or Are u the sage?
The level of consciousness varies between us. That diversity is making life/world interesting..


Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Benchmarking: Comparing with Others

We ask questions like these-
“I compare myself with many of my batch mates. Some of them are placed ten times better than me, some of them at par with me and some of them worse-off. I get jealous when I look at those who are better placed than me. Are they ten times smarter than I? Their IQ levels were lower than mine. Why am I victimized? Should I stop comparing? Is comparison bad?”
Your concscience will answer-
“you are so special, your finger prints are unique and specific only to you. There is no one else like you. And mind you, I do not speak merely out of affection! Why are people unhappy and wanting to possess what someone else has? Fair people want to have a tanned skin and vice versa. We constantly compare ourselves with others. It is human nature to measure each one of them in comparison to others.

Comparisons are not bad. If you can compare, you can compete and if you compete, you can win. The competitor’s present status and performance invigorates you. Comparisons can be used to motivate or correct you. These comparisons become a problem when they are used for all the wrong reasons like branding or making oneself superior to others or when one compares thereby eliciting a wrong response like admitting a sense of defeat etc. It is only then, that the problem arises. In these cases, they destroy the souls. Then what do we do with comparison?’ A positive benchmarking leading to positive thoughts are fine, but do not get into negative benchmarking leading to nefarious thoughts. Here is a sample for you for negative benchmarking.
There was a hunter who bought an amazing bird dog. It could walk on water, and even hunt for ducks running on water. He showed the dog to his friend praising its efficiency in hunting on water. His friend did not compliment but found fault with the dog saying that this dog cannot swim, while his dog can swim. This is clearly negative benchmarking. See the positive side of such comparisons.
Here is a small poem for you –

“If you compare yourself with others,
You may become vain or bitter,
For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
It is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”
(Max Ehrmann in the 1920’s)
The creator, expects each one to do what one is capable of, at any point at any time. He does not expect an ant to haul logs of timber as the elephant in a forest. The ant should not compare itself with an elephant and start complaining. There is an ancient Indian story about a mouse that was constantly distressed because it was afraid of cats. A magician took pity on it and turned it into a cat. Immediately, it started fearing dogs. The magician, therefore, turned it into a dog. Now the dog began to fear the tiger. So the magician turned it into a tiger. Right away, it began to fear the hunter. Finally, the magician was so disgusted that he turned the tiger back into a mouse and said, “You’ve got the heart of a mouse. That’s what you are and therefore you shall remain just that.” Hence we need to know what to look at and what to overlook.
You cannot put your legs into another man’s shoes and walk. Live your life. There is an old proverb: ‘If you compare yourself with you, then you are living. If you constantly keep comparing yourself with others, then you are only existing and not living your life.’
The issue isn’t whether we’ll compare ourselves with others – we will! – But to whom we compare ourselves is what matters. We should only compare ourselves with ourselves.

If we do that, we can walk with joy and purpose through the mountains and valleys of life, without comparing ourselves to what others are doing, or how they’re doing it. Not only is that healthy, it is emotionally and spiritually liberating and energizing!

Let me end this section on benchmarking with this real life story. In the 1976 Olympics, a runner from Haiti, competing in the 10,000 meter race, was lapped three times by the rest of the competitors. While many of us would have been happy to give up, he kept going. In fact, he ran three complete laps alone, dodging the men who were setting up the track for the next race. And when he finally crossed the finish line, he’d set a new personal best and a Haitian national record.
We don’t need to concern ourselves as to where the others are. These are not our concerns. We only stop running when we have finished the race. Until then, we keep running the race set out before us. That way, when we cross the finish line, all encomiums will fall on us.
Think about it ....