Friday, June 23, 2017

1041. Professional Skill to Lead & Manage!!!

In a profession to lead and to manage is like the two sides of a same coin. There is a collegial relationship between those leading a workforce and those managing the work within it. While managers can certainly lead and leaders can certainly manage, the skills required to be excellent at either one of them is separate and distinct too.

Our epics Ramayana and Mahabharata provide ample examples where the epic heroes Shri Rama and Sri Krishna very well managed and led their team to fight Adharma. In both the epics the quintessence was victory of good over the evil. In Ramayana, Shri Rama led his army against Ravana who had abducted His wife Sitadevi. In the second epic Sri Krishna managed to help Pandavas regain their Kingdom from Kauravas.

Shri Rama as a leader took up the weapons and was the Apratima Yodha (unparalleled soldier) in the troupe. He led the Vanara Sena (army of monkeys) and had Lakshmana, Hanuman, Jambavan, Sugriva and Vibheeshana to assist Him to carry out the strategies. It was a team work with a leader and the army was happy to follow the orders from its leader. Shri Rama set an example by taking on the enemy head on while He also had to tell the army what to do during the time of crisis. He had to think and consult to counter the strategies of the opponent group and set a flowchart to execute the plan. Ultimately all those skills paid off and finally the enemy was brought down and the war was won.

In Mahabharata it was not so, Sri Krishna had promised that He would not pick up any weapon. He was there in the battlefield only as a charioteer to Arjuna. He was not a leader in the war. In fact He drew the chariot wherever Arjuna asked Him to take it. Yet the war was won because of Sri Krishna.

The observations to be made in both the wars were that the type of army that was being led in the war. Shri Rama was leading an army of monkey not the regular soldiers who were trained in warfare. Obviously the army wanted someone to lead them and expected that leader to fight alongside them. Shri Rama a skilled warrior lead the monkey, He was emotionally involved with every one participating in the war. He gave precise roles and instruction, motivated the army to fight for His cause. Army too was reciprocating to the emotions of Shri Rama.      

Sri Krishna played the role of an instructor who made sure that the mind of Arjuna is not clogged with unwanted thoughts which induce superficial doubts. Sri Krishna advised Arjuna to see things from a different perspective. He had the best of the best archers, swordsmen, spearmen and mace-wielders to manage with. He just had to provide the strategic clarity and the members took the lead and fought for the team cause. Sri Krishna did not get emotionally involved in the war.

Now in this modern era of corporate, it is important to know beforehand if the members in the team you are handling are amateurs or experts in the field. If they are amateurs you lead them, if they are experts you just have to instruct them. Those who are unskilled have their blackboard clean and it is easy to write anything fresh on it. If the members in the team are experts there is no need to write over it just a bit of revision is sufficient.

The problem is with those members who are neither armatures nor experts, it will be a tough job to erase the existing data and reload the new one. Such a member needs the combination of both Shri Rama and Sri Krishna in one......Isn’t it???          

Thursday, June 22, 2017

1040. Prosperity or Posterity???

One of the Purusharthas (Object of human pursuit) mentions about Artha (Wealth). The Purusharthas were called Trivarga (Three Categories) with Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Aim) and Kama (Desire) in the Vedic period. It is important to note that the Vedic sense of Artha was not wealth but aim. However in the Upanishad era the Purusharthas got upgraded to Chaturvarga (Four Categories) with the addition of Moksha (Liberation) and it was in this period the meaning of Artha too advanced from “Aim” to “Wealth”.

Mimamsa school of thought which emphasizes more on rituals looks at Artha as not just Purushartha (Pursuit) but as Dhayitvatha (Responsibility). This Dhayitva is the social responsibility which we lack now. In the present world Artha is to make wealth from any means irrespective of how it might reflect on the society. We keep in mind that one of the Purusharthas is Artha and we need to earn money but we fail to comprehend that in the approach we have to include Dharma (Righteousness) also. Hence Jaimini, the founder of Mimamsa Dharshana said, Human Pursuit and Human Aim are not separate. The Phala (Fruit) of the Karma (Action) is inherent in the Artha (Aim) itself. 

This story which many of us know will help understand better. It was quite common in ancient times for the King and his minister to disguise themselves as common citizens and take a tour around the kingdom. The intention was to find out how the administrative decisions were accepted by the public. 

In one such spree the King and his minister happened to see an old man drawing water from a well. King and the minister observed from a distance the old man was making the trip to the well many times. He was weak and tired but continued to fetch water from the well. The King and his minister wanted to know what this old man was doing with the water he drew from the well. They found out that the old man was watering the mango saplings. 

The King spoke to the old man, “The seedlings have just sprouted and become saplings. You are fetching water from the far away well for them. You are already very old; do you really believe that you will live to relish the fruits from them?”

The old man smiled at the King and said, “I am not just old but wise too. I know by the time these saplings grow and yield mangoes I would probably not be alive. Fortunately I did experience the taste of mangoes, if you can look at those big trees there with mangoes they were the trees planted by my grandfather. I have planted these saplings so that my grandchildren will enjoy the fruits from them. I work for Posterity also not for Prosperity alone.”

The old man knew that his prosperity is when he does something for the posterity. Posterity and Prosperity are the interleaved aim in Artha. The old man knows that the nature which is yielding all the vegetation is the loan he has indebted from the younger generation. It is his social responsibility to return it back to them after enjoying the dividends from it.   

The real prosperity is when our posterity is not left out high and dry..... What say??? 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1039. Astanga Yoga, the Eight limbs of Yoga....!

Today is “International Yoga Day” and Yoga is going places and beyond control too. Sage Patanjali might not have imagined that the sutras formulated by him would have so many wings and flutter in such unimaginable directions. In the first place the version of “Yoga” which Maharshi Patanjali has put forth in Patanajala Yoga Sutras is entirely different from what we have understood/ misunderstood.  

Yoga has its roots in Sanskrit word “Yuj” which translate to “Join.”  Now the question is “Join” with what???

Yoga is an ancient science to comprehend the true identity of “Self” and get aligned with it. Here we need to understand that one joining the other or aligning with the other translate to duality, the “Higher Self and Lower self”. The Higher Self is the Chaitanya (Consciousness) present in all of us which is termed “Paramatma” and the lower self is the Manas and Buddhi (Mind and Intellect) index which is termed as Jeevatma.

Yoga guides the Jeevatma to join with the Paramatma by transcending the mind and intellect realm. Maharshi Patanjali gives the eight limbs known as Astaanga for this purpose. They are:
YAMA (the five restraints): This is on how a Jeevi should conduct with society. In this part there is mention of Ahimsa where it is encouraged to develop the attitude of harmlessness to get the feel of universal benevolence. Satya is to adhere to truthfulness, Astheya not to steal, Brahmacharya walk on the path of Brahman, Aparigraha is to stay away from avariciousness. 
NIYAMA (the five observances): This is on how a Jeevi should conduct for his own good. Saucha is maintain purity in the body as well as mind, Santosha to be contented always, Tapas to have self discipline, Svadhyaya is to introspect, Iswara Pranidhana is to surrender to the Cosmic will.

This ten constitute to Yama and Niyama which is the prerequisite to ASANA which are various postures to make the body flexible and agile. Then comes PRANAYAMA the control and expansion of Prana (vital breath) followed by PRATYAHARA which is not just dieting but having control over senses. DHARANA, DHYANA and SAMADHI are concentration, meditation and self realization respectively which sum up to eight limbs.

Today we have lots of Yoga classes where only the ASANA part is taught or a few some might even glance at PRANAYAMA too. I can say without batting my eyelids that none of them ever talk about YAMA & NIYAMA which are most important for the lower self to get aligned with Higher Self. The flexible and agile body can only cater to the fitness of the body but it will never work on the ailments of the mind. Without the practice of YAMA & NIYAMA the DHARANA, DHYANA and SAMADHI is impossible. 

Yoga has now gone global but the worrying factor is it has come back to my country with added attributes to it. There is “Power Yoga” which is similar to aerobic “Hot Yoga” where yoga asana are done in steam and finally “Beer Yoga” yoga under influence of alcohol.

Power Yoga claims to be a vigorous form of doing the Asanas in a stipulated time. Asanas are to be done with grace and without being aware of time. In Hot Yoga there is sauna and steam which has reduced Yoga to spa culture. Beer Yoga is a new fitness trend which allows you to sip beer. I do not know how you can concentrate on the hip while doing Katiaasana when you are let to sip???   

Anyways not being too cynical I wish everyone to be in the pick of heath both in body and mind on this International Yoga Day....! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

1038. Half Empty or Half Full.....!

Every person in the world has experienced the ups and downs of life. Life is a roller-coaster ride and at every given stage he is provided with valuable lessons whether he takes it or not.

We are learning valuable lessons not by the setback alone but by the influence it has over our life and the ability to react to the negative situation. It is indeed very difficult to make a negative experience into something more positive and helpful. In fact it seems so since some of the most catastrophic moments in our life never end if it starts happening. However, there is always a way to take a worst situation and extract something positive from it.

The most important mantra is to think that the catastrophic moment is not here to stay “This too will pass on.” And some people believe that everything happens for a reason. While some may not buy that philosophy, we can at least give each experience a purpose and try to learn from that experience. There is no hard and fast rule that a good experience is the one that can give us lessons for life.

There is a story of two brothers. The elder brother was a drunker who frequently quarreled with his wife. The younger one was a businessman who was respected in society and had a wonderful family. The neighbours were very eager to know how the two brothers of the same parents, brought up in the same environment, could be so different.

The elder one was asked, “How come you are living your life like this? You drink a lot have frequent quarrel with your wife and children. What is the reason?”

He said, “My father was an alcoholic he would come home late night and beat my mother. What can you expect if one is brought up in such an environment? That is what I am.”

They went to the younger brother asked him the same question. “How come you are successful in life and doing everything right? Who is the source of your motivation?”

And guess what he said???

“My father, when I was a little boy I used to see my father come home drunk and beat my mother. That was the time I made up my mind, when I grow up I would not be like him.”

Here both were deriving their strength and motivation from the same source, but one was using it positively and the other negatively. Negative motivation brings the desire to take the easier way which ends up being the tougher way. If we seriously think we will know that there were many such avenues of learning we missed everyday by looking at the trouble with a negative viewpoint. Every experience whether it is good or bad should be actually a learning experience. A wise person looks for the lesson in every experience, failure, victory and challenge so he can learn from it and choose to do more of the same if it is laudable or make adjustments to create a desirable outcome if it is dreadful.

If there are important lessons to be learnt from Pandavas as to how one has to live, there are lessons too from Kauravas how not to.   

1037. Empathy, the Mother of Compassion!!!

To understand the perspective of another person it is important to think as that person at least for a moment, this act is Empathy. Empathy should not be confused to Sympathy; sympathy is only a feel, while we are still our self. Empathy calls for getting into other persons shoe, a sympathizer will never get into another person’s shoes. It is easy to sympathies but to walk in other persons shoes and feel what they feel is a little difficult.  

Every individual thinks unique hence we have different experiences, habituation and attitude. It is near to impossible for two people to have the same opinion on all points. If we see the comments posted for a write up we get the proof of this happening every day. A person who does not believe in empathy is the one who stand to judge and criticize others. In this regard he feels that others person’s perspective is not acceptable as it does not agree with his point of view. Such a person is inclined to see only through the glasses he is wearing, and does not bother about what other think. 

Empathy also helps us to understand others and develop our self-awareness. In this society everyone play various roles in life like that of father, spouse, child, employee, employer etc. It is required to know about ourselves by looking at ourselves dispassionately from the perspective point of our counterparts in the roles we are playing. Empathy should develop in us as a great quality. Communication becomes better to a person with empathy as he is not partial to his own views. Empathy teaches us to be self-aware, receptive to the wants of others, liberal on other person’s points of view, and results in building a harmonious relationship with others. To have empathy is concern for others and living with more wisdom.

The most common hindrance to empathy is our failure to marginal our own pain to walk in the steps of others. When we are engrossed in our own pain, it makes us hard to feel the pain of others, or to understand them deeply from heart. There are many ways to develop empathy, one way is to do so by mentally and emotionally using our imagination to step into the other person’s shoes, just as actors gets into the character in a play. Yet another way to develop empathy is to remember the situation we had been in similar circumstances to the situation the other person is now in. If the other person feels egoistic we have to remember when we had been egoistic before and what the consequences were then. Other methods also include meditating and to keep clam and learn to listen about the person’s inner voice, look for kindness, and initiating values such as caring and a sense of responsibility. 

1036. Puranas and Willing Suspension of Disbelief!!!!!!

The stories from Puranas can be viewed from different viewpoints like that of a folklorist, anthropologist, sociologist, and psychologist. Though we do not agree many consider them as Mythology. Myth is understood on the basis of the perspective we apply. The folklorist observes the migrations of peoples and the folklore attached to it. An anthropologist wants to know about the culture of the people. The sociologist watches how the society on the whole gets the advantage from it. The psychologist studies its effects on the mind of people and their aspired approach to live in the society. For an occultist and spiritualist it is regarded as a tool to help them achieve their goal, whether it is union with the divine or self realization from within.
Mythology is a part in the history of most, if not all, human traditions and communities, and is a basic ingredient of human culture. It helps a community to have a common agenda in understanding the most mysterious and unanswered question like why the world is the way it is. It also advices them as to how one should behave in certain situation and why they should behave in that manner; why their society is structured the way it is, and what will happen if one break cultural prohibitions.

Mythology provides the moral values of the culture. Many of our moral values come from the mythology, for example: The story of Druva points out the requirement of endurance to achieve the goal. The story of Satya Harishchandra inspired Mahatma Gandhi to be truthful in life; likewise the Mahabharata and Ramayana are great epics that are even today emitting the fragrance of motivation and inspiration in many lives.

Mythology can yield lessons to lead a wonderful life if we drop arguing about its logic. It is advised to keep our intellect at a respectable distance when we read mythology. Logic becomes a hindrance to the reader and will delude him. If we shun arrogance and vanity and show a bit of love towards imaginations and appreciate the deep flow of poetic feel, with a free heart we become childlike and will embrace the stories of mythology. We can grasp the great truths revealed in mythology by penetrating into the hearts of the Rishis and Munis who wrote them. We will really enjoy it then. As per human psychology a statements is better understood and remembered if it is in the form of a story or a poem.

Mythology answers all the questions of mysteries, though it may look little bit fancy, if the process is kept in willing suspension of disbelief then the core of the mystery gets unfolded. For example: if one has doubt as to how could Lord Krishna, right in the middle of battle field give lecture to Arjuna, and what were others doing at that time, then the person will never get to know the important aspects of Bhagavad-Gita and he is stuck there. He can understand Gita if he keeps all those questions in willing suspension of disbelief.

Mythology works in transforming an individual and shedding him from his confined historical and cultural condition, and leading him to some kind of inexpressible experience. It provides a direct bridge between an individual’s consciousness and universal consciousness and closes the gap between him and Godhead, providing a path that one may use to become aware of the Absolute Truth.

If a person on spiritual journey questions the need of mythology, it would be like a Calculus professor disapproving the need of Tables book. Yes to talk about Calculus one has to go beyond the Tables book. But there are many who need them as they have just started to explore………… Right???

Sunday, June 18, 2017

1035. Father or Dad???

On this father's day in one of my WhatsApp Group there was a question asked, "Is there a difference between  Father and Dad??? In the vocabulary sense it said that one who has provided his sperm to be eligible to be the biological connection is the Father while the one who takes the responsibility to provide good care in the form of food, shelter and clothing is a Dad.

This could be in other countries but in my country almost in every family the Father is the Dad too. In a family it was he who would take the oath to take care of the all the members dependent in him. (Note: I am using this word dependents which is not reality in the broader sense as we all know who the real provider is). 

According to our ancient thought marriage was to continue the progeny and at the same time for the Jeevatma (Individual Consciousness) to get back into the world through the womb of the mother. The purpose of the union of the man and his consort has its fulfilment not in experiencing the ecstasy alone but creating the overlap of the mortal to make the mankind on the whole immortal.

In that sense if the man and his wife are a part of the noble venture they have done with the purpose of life. Now if one asks what about providing them the basic amenities and bringing up them to be a better citizen by good parenting, that is another issue. A man cannot just be a means to bring a Jeeva to the world, if that act is Prarabdha the Agami of him is to take care of the progeny.

From the progeny point of view the vouchsafe is in the Father bringing them to this earth plane. That is more than sufficient as it is by itself a virtue considering the fact that many in the recent time are reluctant to bring the progeny to this wonderful world.

A father is not just Dad but a friend for life... Am I right???

Saturday, June 17, 2017

1034. Saplings and Seedling care...!

A successful businessman got enrolled in a week long spiritual retreat camp conducted by an ashrama in the outskirts of the city. The reputation of the ashrama had crosses the shores and many followers from abroad were also participating in the camp. Though the gathering was huge the Guru in the ashrama made sure that he interacted with everyone and gave them points to ponder.          

Our businessman was a go easy type guy who had son who was a brat. Being a successful businessman his influence would get the kid out of trouble always. While one such discussion on parenting, this businessman who would always listen to the discourse of the Guru made his stands clear. He said, “As Gurudeva had quoted Bhagavad-Gita and told that every individuals life is the continuation of his previous life so our previous interests carry over from that life to this. So as parents we do not have control over it. Our kids have in them the ability and capability to know what has to be done.”

Many of them were confused while a few agreed with him, but none wished to continue the debate on the topic. The essence of the discussion reached the ears of the Guru. Guru sent a word to the businessman asking him to join him for a stroll in the community garden nearby the next morning.    

Guru and the businessman walked past many flowering plants which were pleasantly blooming displaying their lovely colours. At one quarter there were small saplings which were razed by cattle and a few seedlings were dried up. Looking at the entire landscape with captivating flora and fauna, the businessman was uncomfortable with the carelessness of the gardener for not having the saplings secured by providing fence and a few seedlings were invaded by weeds. He said, “How can this gardener be so slapdash he has destroyed the saplings and the seedlings.”

Guru smiled at him and said, “The seed which sprouted out to be the seedling and the sapling has the plant survival instinct which has come from the plant which has produced the seed. It has inherited the endurance skills from its mother the tree. You need not worry about it.”

Businessman was shocked at the words of the Guru he protested, “Gurudeva, the seed has just sprouted and some of it is hardly reached a foot long height. The plant has to be taken care until some stage if not it will be eaten away by cattle or they get infested by pests. No regular weed out has weakened the seedlings.”

Guru then stopped walking, turned towards the businessman and resting his hand on the shoulder of the businessman he said, “Correct I agree with what you have told. One has to take care of the saplings and seedlings till they have reached certain stage. The gardener has to be blamed if they get destroyed by any means. Don’t you think the same is true with kids? They might have great ethos which can make them a better citizen, will it not be the responsibility of the parents like the gardener to safeguard them from unwanted insects and weeds. The young kids are prone to get into bad association. The intuition and instincts get easily swabbed at that age. Gardening and parenting is similar constant management of weeds and periodic pruning is necessary for both. Most importantly providing adequate support is crucial.”               
The businessman understood where his Guru was leading him to.

Friday, June 16, 2017

1033. Experience or Education......which is better???

There was a video I watched yesterday. It was of our Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modi having a chat with college students. One of the students wants to know from him “Which according to him is important in life Anubhava (Experience) or Shiksha (Education)?

Modi ji initially says it is a difficult question to answer but he clarifies the doubt of the young girl. He says, “Though undeniably Experience is most important it makes us confront with two kinds of situation and to choose between the two one has to have Education (Note: the word is shiksha it is not to be viewed as academic knowledge alone).

He further says, “Along with Shiksha one has to have Ache Sanskar (Good Virtues) which aids the Shiksha obtained so that it is easy to get the better of the Anubhava.”

He gives an example to make the students understand better. “Suppose you are in a market and your purse is pick pocketed. It is an experience which brings you two dimensions, one is you know how easy it is to make money (Charvaka Thought; I need to gratify my senses and I do not mind grabbing others wallet to do so). The other thought is, How can I rob other persons hard earned money? Moreover I need to be alert and safeguard my wallet henceforth.

Here the experience is one that is, you have lost the wallet but the thought process is different. The Sanskar which Modi ji is talking about is so significant that if one has it, every Anubhava in life can give him Shiksha.    

Sanskar is mental impressions which can be modified and to modify them one has to adhere to the “Word of Guru”. The word of Guru is in the form of Shiksha. So in order to get the better of the Experience we need to have ability to discriminate and absorb the good which is the base and this base is obtained from Education.

Now can a Guru change the Sanskar of an individual???

Guru can only guide the path, the words of the Guru is just a pointer and one has to thread the path all by himself. The Guru Shiksha was same to both Siddhartha and his cousin Ananda, one was compassionate towards the wounded Swan while the other caused injury to it. Pandavas and Kauravas got the lessons from the same Guru but had developed different attitude.  

Sanskar plays an important role here than Shiksha and Anubhava, but with a determination to use Shiksha to excel one can change the Sanskar too. Human life is a play of impressions developed by repeated actions. Those actions could be good or not good also; while one is constructive the other could be destructive. The repeated actions would have etched a groove which needs to be taken care. It is better to wipe off those impressions which may lead us to destruction.

What say???      

Thursday, June 15, 2017

1032. Mountains Ranges of Bharata...!

Himalayan Mountain Range and Vindhya Mountain Range along with Aravalli, Eastern and Western Ghats make the chain of mountain ridges in India. The Himalayan Mountain Range shares its domain with Nepal, China and Tibet. In this range the most talked peaks are Mount Everest and Mount Kailasa. Mount Everest grabs the title of the world’s highest peak while Mount Kailasa is undoubtedly the holiest peak.

Mount Everest which stands at 8848 metre (29,029 ft) in height has been scaled by over 4,000 people. Mount Kailasa is 6638 metre (21778 ft) it is short by 2210 metre (7250 ft) compare to Mount Everest yet none could reach its summit. We Indians know the reason; it is the abode of Maharudradeva. The mountaineers across the globe are baffled by this.      

An ancient Tibetan writing says thus: “No mortal can ever be able to walk atop Mount Kailasa, which is the abode of the Divine Beings. He who dares to scale the Holy Mount and come face to face with Gods will not survive!”

Colonel R. C Wilson, one of the many mountaineers who tried to climb the summit of Mount Kailasa explained, “Just when I discovered an easy walk to the summit of the mountain, heavy snow began to fall, making the ascent impossible.”

Mount Kailasa is believed to be the Axis Mundi, literally the ‘Axis’ of the world that provides a connection between the land of mortal and the Divine Land. It is a link to the physical realm and spiritual realm and the holiest place of the world. Legend says that the Mount Kailasa is the earthly manifestation of Sumeru parvatha mentioned in Puranas.


Interestingly our puranas tell us that mountains had wings and could fly and were causing havoc. Indra, the king of Devas chopped of the wings of the mountains with his Vajrayudha. The problem of flying mountains was stopped forever, but there was one mountain Vindhya which grew exorbitantly. Its towering height obstructed the movement of people on either side to cross over to the other side. Surya, the Sun god too had problem as the mountain would block and his movement.

 Agastya was assigned to do something to stop the growth of Vindhya. The Sage who lived in Himalayas started to go towards the southern part of Bharata. When he was to cross the central part Vindhya Mountain saw him and as a respectful gesture bowed down to him. Sage Agastya blessed Vindhya and told him that he was going down south and would return after sometime. Being a short man, it was difficult for him to climb and move to the other side. Due to the respect the Sage commanded, Vindhya promised that it would stay in bowed form, thus shortening his height till the Sage returned back. The Sage was happy and went south and settled down in south forever. Vindhya is still waiting for him to return from South of Bharata.

It was because of the Vindhya that Tamil speaking region of the south of Bharata are rich with the “Rasavattam” (Siddha Alchemy
Sage Agastya is considered the Guru of all Siddhas, and the Siddha medicine system is believed to have been handed over to him by Karthikeya, the son of Maharudradeva. Siddhas are the followers of Maharudradeva and Sage Agastya is the first among them. His disciples and other siddhas have contributed thousands of texts on Siddha literatures which are mainly on naturopathy. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

1031. Donate Blood....Save Life!

Today I had been to Rashtrotthana Blood Bank, a wing of Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Yes, it was to donate blood. The day was special as it was "World Blood Donor Day". It is a routine for me to donate blood twice a year. Basamma and Hemanth who work as phlebotomists know me and some times they do make a call when there is an emergency. There are many blood banks doing a great job by providing blood for the needy undergoing surgery.

RSS which is labeled as right wing organisation have taken the initiative to collect, separate and store blood and provide them to hospitals and patients. Amazingly the Hindu thought does not approve the donations of any part of the body including blood. Though there is no mention of this kind in any of our scriptures, some do believe that donation may lead to karmic distribution. This is a mere misconception.

Moreover our sect is not like the one which sticks to whatever is said in the scriptures. We are those seekers who give a rational thought and decide the best to be done. If donation of any part of the body can help others why not donate??? We know about Kannappa, the devotee who donated his eye to Maharudradeva and became the "first eye donor" of the universe. We have heard of Sage Dadhichi who gave his backbone to make Vajrayudha, the thunder weapon of Indra.

Karma Siddhantha and donations of any part of the body including blood is miles apart. Yes, there is a concept which states that the karmic debt is spread to the whole body including blood and if we donate the karmic debt could get infused into the body of the recipient (we do have the case of a heart transplant in U.S.A where the aged lady who received the heart of a young man who was brain dead, started to feel the urge to drink beer and eat fried chicken. It was later found that the young man was addicted to drinking beer and eating fried chicken.)

Karmic debt as I understand is just in our cluster of thoughts, I mean in the way we keep it in our memory crest. Blood donation hardly took half an hour. If I can think that the blood I am donating should help the recipient will it not be the thought that is infused in the blood???

When I entered the blood bank to donate the blood Hemanth who is a regular reader of my posts wanted me to write on the blood donation. He even clicked a snap and insisted I post it too. I told him that it is Raktha Daana and in our culture it is said that one should never publicize that which is give as Daana. Hemanth gave me a grin and said, "Sir, why don't you spread the word  as an inspiration or motivation?"

I do not know how many get motivated as I feel the only motivator is Sri Hari who motivates me to donate. However it is a nice feel to give 350 ml of blood every 6 months and help save some lives.......Donate Blood and Save Lives.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

1030. Material attachment is first rung to Clinging on for Life......

When I was a kid I had a racing car toy which I was very fond of. I kept it with me even when I went to bed. I would not allow anyone to touch it, everyone who came home would tease me telling that they would take it away and I would cry. My mother would pacify me with her tender words. One day the wheels of the racing car toy broke, I had to discard it.

When I joined middle school my father presented me a “Hero” fountain pen. I was obsessed with it and had concluded that it was because of that pen my handwriting was pretty. I would not allow anyone to use it I had secured it in my geometry box. One day the tip of the pen broke, I had to discard it.

When I was in high school I purchased a watch from the saving I had. It had a leather belt wand the frame was golden with the numbers in Roman numeral. I was very proud of that watch. I had my full arm sleeves school uniform shirt folded so that my watch is visible. One day the watch stopped working and it had gone beyond repair, I had to discard it.

When I joined Pre-University College, I had a bicycle to go to my college. Every Sunday I used to wash it and oil the chain. Check the breaks adjust the seat height and after a few years the bicycle chain sprocket developed problems and I had to discard it.

When I joined engineering college I persisted to have a two wheeler and my father got me one when I was in the second year of my engineering course. Very few in my class drove into the college with a two wheeler at those times. I had the privilege with the other few and we had a good time doing all sorts of tricks with the bike. Whenever there was a period off we would hit the playground on our bikes and try to test our capabilities of handling the machine.

After I finished my engineering and thought of venturing into doing business, I started an industry. I was thinking that a car would be better than my old bike it would fit my status, I brought a car. I hardly used the bike and had to discard it.

Then from an old car to new car and life has been going on with discarding the old and taking up new as and when the old did not have strength to move on. This has been and should be the way, discard that which is not of use and replace it with a brand new one.

We have all experienced this in our lives. We all know that one day even our body will cease to function and so there is no point in getting attached to it so much that taking up a new body would become a terrible idea.

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna “As a person exchanges old clothes for new, so does the soul abandon old bodies to enter new ones.” Then why does it become a hindrance to discard this body when it is finding difficult to perform??? Could it be due to our attachment towards our body???

Sage Patanjali while explaining the five Kleshas (Afflictions) of Mind points out to this tendency as Abhinivesha (clinging on for life). This is due to extreme obsession with body which would have stared from attachment towards material objects.

An Understanding on what we had been doing all our life with the things that does not work anymore, will give us confidence to overcome Abhinivesha ….. Just discard!!!

Monday, June 12, 2017

1029. Atma, Paramatma and Jeevatma….!

In Bhagavad-Gita we hear the terms like Atma, Paramatma and Jeevatma being used. 

What is Atma, Paramatma and Jeevatma??? 

How are they interrelated??? 

In Hindu Dharma there are many schools of thought which explain the three in an explicit way. This variety of thought has an equally enormous variety of approaches to the three. I am an ordinary seeker who wish to share my understanding with you hence what I write here may seem to be a contradiction to what you understanding of these three. If it is so, we can hope to start a discussion, let’s try to comprehend by bringing up questions. I wish to clarify that the discussion is not because I claim to know about the three.

Bhagavad-Gita classifies the beings as two categories, the Kshara (Perishable) in material world and Aksara (Imperishable) in the spiritual world. Besides these two, there is the greatest living personality, the Paramatma Himself, who permeates into the universe and is sustaining it. He is seated in the heart of every being and from Him comes Smriti (Memory), Jnana (Wisdom) and Apohana (Forgetfulness).

From the illustration from Gita, Paramatma is present in each and every living being. When an entity incarnates as a present reality (just as you and I are at this moment) three essential attributes arise from Paramatma, They are memory, knowledge, and forgetfulness. 

By memory He bestow us the ability to recall not only that which has happened in this present birth but also a deeper memory of that which has happened in our previous births. This helps us on the subtle level to work on what is needed to be done to fructify the purpose of this particular birth.

Wisdom conferred by Paramatma again has two forms. Initially it is a gift to perceive this particular birth, which could also be interpreted as Prajna (Intelligence) which allows our mind to work at the higher level of Consciousness. Furthermore, it is the wisdom of Vedas that can route us back to the source; Union with the Divine.

Forgetfulness is forgetting the past births, in order to enable ourselves to focus on the work to be done in this current birth.

Jeevatma is the self with a small “s.” It is that which maintains a sense of identity by carrying with it the Vasanas (Tendencies) and Samskrara (Impressions) of previous many births. The striking difference between Jeevatma and Paramatma is the catastrophic ability of Jeevatma to get entangled with Maya (Illusion).

Atma is the Self with a capital “S” it can neither be burnt in fire nor will it get wet by water, there is no birth or death to it. It is unborn, eternal and primeval. It is not slain when the body is slain. It is the all-pervasive, the broad concept that envelops Jeevatma and Paramatma alike. The Param in Paramatma translates from Sanskrit as highest or best. The Jeeva in Jeevatma refers to an incarnated being, specifically one who has become identified with the body. Thus, Paramatma is the highest Soul; Jeevatma is the incarnated Soul, while Atma refers to the Soul in a broad sense. Kind of like high school and primary school are both school, but distinct in and of themselves.

Since the Atma is permanent, and Paramatma is permanent they are reality. However, anything that I see, touch, taste, etc., is subject to change or cause illusion, hence they are unreal. However, if I can recognise the presence of Paramatma in everything, beyond the change and illusion, I begin to recognise the importance of focusing on that which further illuminates Divinity. That Divinity which is surrounding me with beauty, love and truth, instead of looking at hatred, anger and lies. The more I cultivate the former in my life; the Jeevatma in me is closer to Paramatma…….What say???

Saturday, June 10, 2017

1028. Soham and Hamsa……!

In Sandhyavandana or even in a simple ritual it is first advised to do Achamana (sip water thrice) and then perform the Pranayama. Pranayama is done to regulate the vital breath called Prana.

Why is it important to regulate the breath???

To know about it let us assume an incidence. A person is in the office looking at files to be cleared and his desk phone rings. He picks up the call his brother is on the line, he says, “Anna, Appa had a fall in the bathroom we have brought him to the hospital, an urgent surgery is required, can you come?” The person now has to go to his boss and get the permission. He reaches the cabin and he knocks the door and enters. He is unable to tell him as he is breathing heavy; the boss asks him to sit down and gives him some water. Why did his breathing become abnormal??? The shocking news he got over the phone made his mind restless and it affected his breathing pattern. We all have experienced it when we are shocked our mind gets restless and our breathing becomes abnormal.             
Manas and Prana are interconnected hence when mind is agitated our breathing pattern is altered. Manas (Mind) and Prana (Breath) are like a see saw plank pivoted on the single source called Chaitanya (Consciousness). Mind is seated on one side of the plank in the see saw is very volatile and is hard to control. But on the opposite side is the Breath. By holding the one side of the see saw plank the other can be controlled in the same manner it is easy to have control on Mind by regulating the breath, this observation of Breath is in the method called Pranayama. Pranayama is a unique way of Mind Control.

There is a dualistic movement in the breath, inhalation and exhalation. Thus mind too is dualistic in nature having attraction and repulsion as its dance. This dance of the mind happens only till the vital breath is present in the body. As soon as the Prana leaves the body the Manas also follows. If we observe as the breath enters and leaves the body in the form of inhalation and exhalation there is a natural resonance with the flow of air.

As the air enters there is an unheard sound “So” and as the air exit it is “Ham” the combination of both is “Soham.” This Soham is a mantra which is constantly uttered without our involvement. Soham has two words Sah (That) and Aham (I) which make it “That I am”. Now the continues cycle of Soham which happen unconsciously tend to make it Aham (I) Sah (That) also which is “I am That” and the combination of those two become “Hamsa”

When “Soham” is happening within our body “Hamsa” is happening to the planet we live. Last year NASA released a GIF image of Earth breathing. The vegetation growth depicted the inhalation and exhalation of our earth. In both our body as well as this planet the harmony of “So” and “Ham” can be observed. This harmony is the balance between Shiva and Shakti called Ardhanareeshwara which is reason behind this Soura Mandala (Solar System) to float in the infinite Brahmanada (Cosmos). 

This harmonious balance depicted as Ardhanreeshwara in our scriptures, is the unitary Prana, the state of Bliss. If we can merge into that unitary Prana which pervades space and time, we can transcend beyond the breath, which is going beyond the duality of life and death.  

1027. What makes the Druva Bera at Tirumala so Attractive??????


Tirumala temple as an average gets about 75,000 to 1,00,000 devotees per day and on festival and holidays it goes up. Devotees wait in queue for hours to have a glimpse of the Lord for a few minutes. To tackle the huge rush the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam) board is contemplating on rationing one visit per year to devotees. Why is it that so many devotees throng to this particular temple???

The answer is in the magnificent and mesmerizing image at the sanctum. The image of the Lord is different from the sculptural theory as it is “Swayambhu” (Self-manifested). On a closer examination of the Lord’s image, one finds that the Druva Bera as it is called is about 9.35 feet (285 cms) tall and stands on a lotus platform of about 18 inches (45.72 cms). Just a few inches below the foot of the image flows Viraja River.

The face of the image has exquisite features the nose neither flat nor prominent and the eyes are prominent and are partially closed with clear eyebrows. On the forehead there is an outline of “Nama” though it is not projected out of the image. Head is covered with long locks of hair that projects out of the crown and rest on the broad shoulders. The chest is estimated to be between 36 to 40 inches in width and the waist would be between 24 to 27 inches, though there has never been a formal measurement of these statistics.

This beautiful image has four ever brilliant hands in different postures. In the right upper hand there is “Sudarsana” (disc) and in the left upper hand there is a “Panchajanya” (conch), while the lower right hand is known as “Varada Hastha” (granting boons) and the lower left hand is known as “Kati Hastha” as it is placed on the “Kati” (Hip). The lower part of the waist appears to be tilted to the left while the right knee appear to bent a little as in Tribhanga pose. This glorious posture of the Lord is very unique, attractive and decent. The bluish tinged body of the Lord has his consort Mahalakshmi seated on his chest and hence the sparkle in his heart.

The image is mostly adorned with jewellery and the combined weight of the ornaments and the image is about 350 Kg any day. A image which is so huge and adored with so much of ornaments has to have a back support of some sort otherwise there are chances of the image to gradually lean on one side as it is said that the image stands on a river flowing below. There is no support to this image as He is the support to the entire universe. Any sculpture has a life span but this particular image has been tested by many artisans and they have not been able to make out the origin. The devotees believe that Lord Maha Vishnu is Himself standing there and hence it is not an idol.

I am a firm believer of the Chandogya Upanishad statement "Sarvam Kalvidam Brahmaa" (Verily all this that is, is Brahman). Many ask me supporting such a thought how could I say that Absolute has manifested in Tirumala alone. The logic is that there is electric current passing through the entire PVC insulated copper wire which has been drawn for my all electric home, but it is only when a bulb is connected to it will one know by seeing the glow in the bulb that there is power supply in it. Likewise there is Brahman in everything and everywhere but according to my belief He is there at Tirumala blessing the entire universe in a manifested form.

This is the reason I believe the three Acharyas have mentioned about the Lord of Seven Hills and have had darshana of the Lord. And Srimad Ramanuja the founder of Visistadvaitha philosophy equates Srinivasa to Brahman in the Mangala Sloka of his Sri Bhashya, the commentary on Brahma Sutras.

The verse is as follows:

akhila bhuvana janma sthema bhangaadi leele
vinata vividha bhuta vrata rakshaika dikshe |
Sruti sirasi vidipte brahmani Srinivase
bhavatu mama parasmin semushi bhakti rupa ||

The drama of stability and instability of the living things in the whole universe and protection of the good deeds of the humble beings are taken care by Him.|
Destiny has proclaimed at the crown of the all scriptures that SRINIVASA is the Brahman. May I attain that Supreme through knowledge and devotion.||

But do I need I go to Tirumala to have His darshana? No, I can just close my eyes and visualize the Druva Bera which I never forget and experience the delightment wherever I am.

Such is His grace.....

Friday, June 9, 2017

1026. The First ever Data Transfer…….!

My CPU had some problem and I replace it with a new one a few days back. The Local Disk (D :) had many documents which I had to copy to a Pen Drive before connecting my new CPU. I brought a new Pen Drive and copied the 30 GB content. It hardly took less than 10 minutes to transfer the data from the computer to the pen drive. There were lots and lots of articles in Microsoft Word Document, our entire prospective buyers list in Microsoft Excel Worksheet, many presentation of our factory work flow chart in Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation, music mp3 files and video files too. I was amazed at the speed the data was transferred which I had taken enormous hours to pile. That’s technology for us, it has made transfer of data from one system to another so easy if they both have the USB port. One such data transfer did happen thousands of years ago.

Gurukula (House of Guru) was the place where students used to study Shastras (Scriptures) and at the same time carry out of mundane chores such as cleaning the ashram, gazing the cattle, washing clothes, fetching firewood etc. The disciples in the ashram were given lesson on subjects depending on the interest they had, every disciple would get lesson according to their aptitude. Guru would know what should be taught to a student and how much, depending upon his capacity to receive and retain knowledge.  

One such Gurukul belonged to Rishi Ayodha Dhaumya who had a disciple named Aruni. Aruni was an average student but his willingness to learn and devotion towards his Guru was immense. Any work assigned to him he would finish in such a way that it required none to put their hands into it again. Thus even though he did not progress in his learning, he continued to be in the Gurukula unmindful of other things.

One day it started raining heavily with heavy thunder and lightning. The paddy crop was just finished its flowering stage and was entering into the milk stage, Guru was worried that the crop would be flooded. There was a tank and any chance of breach in the tank would wash away the crop. That paddy crop was the main source to feed the students for the whole year. He wanted somebody to go over there and see if there was anything to prevent the tank from breaching.  As usual the task was given to Aruni who immediately took the Palm leaves umbrella and set out towards the tank. The heavy rain did not bother him as his mind was occupied to save the crop.

Whole night the little boy was lying along the tank bed to prevent it from breaching. Unable to control the flow of water by making heap mound of mud he deemed it fit to cover the breach with his body. His body became a reservoir to stop water from entering the field. In the morning Guru found him lying cold with other student’s help he filled the breach and lifted the boy and embraced him for saving the crop.

At the Gurukula in the morning after bath Guru asked Aruni to come and sit before him. He placed his right hand on his head and by invoking all his spiritual powers transferred the entire knowledge he had to the boy. Aruni who was an average student suddenly became as knowledgeable as the Guru himself.  From then on he was called “Uddalaka” (one who stopped the water). Uddalaka was the one who explained his son and disciple Svetaketu meaning of “Tat Tvam Asi” in Chandogya Upanishad. His daughter Sujata was the mother of Ahstavakra. 
Knowledge transfer from the Guru to Shishya was as the same as the data transfer from my CPU to my Pen Drive. Both had the USB. While the Guru had the Universal Sharing Brain and the Shishya had the Universal Seeking Brain…..the first Data Transfer happened!!!