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Two Switches!

6 Jan

Two Switches!

~a Swamystery Blog


Every being that’s alive has two switches within ~ the self-start and the self-destruct

The beings with supposedly lesser senses, i.e. all the beings other than humans,  naturally know how to access and use the self-start switch, as and when required, since they are aware of its necessity for their very existence.

They are certainly aware of the actions they need to take, on a day-to-day basis, such as fetching food, finding a reasonably safe place to rest and avoid skirmishes with beings that aren’t known to be kind to them (Homo Sapiens feature at the top of their ‘unkind list,’ unsurprisingly). Despite the dangers lurking in every corner (including but obviously not limited to being hit by a speeding vehicle driven or ridden madly by a human, who is always in a hurry, for no particular reason or worse – getting shot or maimed by them), threatening their survival, such beings seem to live a content life, quite joyfully, and then leave peacefully, when their time’s up.

Human beings who simply can’t stop boasting about their extra – ahem, sixth – sense, apparently don’t know how to use that unique faculty wisely, to access the self-start switch to live joyfully and seek liberation. Instead, they are easily seduced beyond redemption by the self-destruct switch (may be it’s in shiny red colour that’s simply irresistible, a la the one baby Groot tries to press repeatedly, simply driving Rocket mad), considering how tragically hilarious their survival has turned out to be.

Two Switches! ~a Swamystery blog

We compete for every damn thing, day in and day out, yet we forgot how fun and enjoyable competition can be. Why should all competitors be bitter rivals, always trying to cut each other’s throat, at the earliest available opportunity, is something race horse would never be able to comprehend.

We are obsessively focused on pleasing fellow humans by being nice to them, believing how others perceive us is the most important thing for our survival. But the ever-rising flame of desire to please others that continues to devour any semblance of kindness left in us, like the raging Australian bushfire, is something even the billions of animals affected by that fire won’t understand.

We imagine information as knowledge and consider ourselves to be wise, with ready access to the trove of information, thanks to big G (no, not that hard-to-find heavenly G, i.e. Godji, but the easy-to-access internet G, aka Googleji). Pretty much any other species that’s cursed to cross our paths will most certainly shake their heads, shrug and scramble away in a tearing hurry, when they discover first-hand our educated stupidity.

We keep acquiring things during the entire, albeit brief, lifetime – including different versions of things we may already have. A broken bucket or utensil certainly needs to be replaced. But why are people so crazy to keep replacing a cellphone or tv or car that’s still working fine is something that would confound even the Creator!

We have concluded that ours is the only inhabitable planet in the entire vast, still expanding, universe (despite the known fact that we don’t even have the means to check out the notional periphery of our own galaxy – which happens to be just one among possibly billions) and anointed ourselves as the smartest species in existence. Whenever we actually manage to do interstellar travel and reach another inhabitable planet in a galaxy far far away, and explain to beings like Leia, Luke or Rey that we had to come there because we practically destroyed the only tiny planet we ever inhabited, they will be well within their galactic rights to annihilate us – the aliens – then and there, in order to preserve their own existence.

Yeah, we actually turned out to be a despicable species, despite the fact that we happen to be only one of the millions of species inhabiting this single tiny planet in some nondescript corner of one galaxy. We are a threat to not only our own existence, but also to those other millions of species that are content with what they have got on this planet and don’t nurture purposeless daydreams about finding another green planet a few million nautical miles away, because they haven’t really done anything stupid to destroy their home. And they certainly don’t deserve to perish along with this planet, because of a single species’ immeasurable and incomprehensible self-destructive nature.

Here’s a question that’s worth pondering ~ “When was the last time you actually read the contents of the printed material that are stuffed within the package of any thingamajig you’ve ever bought?” The answer from six-sigma of human population that has bought something or other in their lifetime that comes packaged will be “Never!” Go on and ask yourself that question and ask everyone you know the same. The answer will invariably be the same.

All of those unread printed material require trees to be cut, to make the paper on which they are printed. Now take a moment and think how many billions of tress we would’ve cut so far, for this utterly useless stupidity. The cartons in which that product was packaged and the labels too consume trees. So are all the wooden furniture that we cherish possessing for generations and the copious amounts of wood used in all kinds of construction. And toothpicks, chopsticks, matchsticks, notebooks, nonsensical fiction, newspapers, magazines… The list of things that use murdered trees as their source is seemingly endless.

And that’s just the tip of the titanic iceberg of our wanton destruction of the precious natural resources that we obviously didn’t create, but chose to use anyway, without a break, from time immemorial. Oh yeah, we are a despicable species… we don’t need a PhD in any science to figure that out

You’re supposed to observe 2 minutes of silence, repenting for the inexcusable sin of cutting billions of trees so far, even though you may not have done so personally

There’s some hope for redemption though, even in this bleak scenario, which of course is self-created by the shenanigans of the beings with a sixth-sense. Saving the planet and restoring it to its original glorious state is clearly beyond our ability, but limiting our flagrant robbery of the natural resources this planet is endowed with is certainly within our ability.

If we can start with something as simple as not cutting any more trees, for any kind of needs, then the planet is quite capable of self-restoration. In fact, as consumers, we should force all manufacturers who create any goods for our consumption to take a pledge to offer all product information – manuals, installation guide, warranty and safety information, etc. – only digitally, from this year onwards. That would be a worthy start to preserve the green cover that’s so critical for the sustenance of life in this planet.

There are obviously other things all of us can do… Not buying new gadgets to replace those that are still functional would be on the top of the list (YouTube reviewers be damned). If your cell phone still does all the things that you ‘need’ (not ‘want’) it to do, then you actually don’t need another one with the latest and greatest processor. Same goes for your headphones, speakers, tv, motorcycle, car, shoes, watches, clothing, etc. It’s as simple as that.

Practice this restraint, i.e. not buying something new that you may want but don’t really need, at least for a few months. Then suddenly you’ll realise that you’ve a substantial amount of money in your savings bank account. And real money is always useful, isn’t it – irrespective of whether you’re someone stuck in the survival plane of existence or seeker on the spiritual path.

Now that you’re less needy, and hence not so greedy, you may also realise that you’re a little bit more gentler and kinder than before. This happens when you stop chasing things to acquire for yourself all the time and instead start observing life that’s vibrantly happening all around you. This is when you start to unknowingly expand the boundary of your kindness by doing simpler things such as feeding a stray or two, offering clean drinking water for birds, simply listening to fellow human beings without any prejudiced judgement, volunteering at some place – orphanage, old-age home, ashrams doing worthy charitable activities for human well being, schools for people with limited physical abilities, animal shelters, and so on – where kinder hearts, minds and limbs are always required, and useful. The trickle of kindness will eventually turn into a pond of compassion that you never realised was always within you, waiting for meaningful expression.

Along this journey of self-discovery, which could turn out to be life-altering for some, you may also discover the long suppressed desire to know the Truth – about the Creator, creation, existence, et al. For many humans, this desire would’ve been suppressed for many lifetimes, due to the nature of their karma (accumulated actions of the past and the present). When this desire to know becomes a seemingly unquenchable thirst, and you start to silently scream for some kind of guidance, a Guru (Realised Master) will appear to guide you, towards self-realisation, aka enlightenment or knowing the Truth as an intimate direct experience. S/he will not only show the path towards realisation but also Mukti, i.e. the ultimate liberation from the repetitive birth-death lifecycle. That, in a nutshell, is the purpose of being born as a human being. Not showing off the umpteenth iteration of a particular model of uber-expensive cellphone, every time a new model is launched!

Since many of us lack the innate wisdom to choose the self-start switch within and end up choosing the self-destruct switch instead, inadvertently or otherwise, the Guru performs the role of the kick-start (remember those things in your first motorcycle, which was most probably a humble functional model), to restart the engine (our life energy, which is the source of our existence) and steer us along the right path (towards the destination of mukti). Receiving the guidance of a Guru (Realised Master) in any given lifetime itself is a blessing. With Grace (of Guru and the Creator, who are in essence one and the same), may the purpose of your birth as a human being be realised in this lifetime itself. Shambho! 

Be joyful & spread the cheer…
~Swamy | ‘@PrakashSwamy

P.S: I could’ve published this post on New Year’s eve, making it a worthy New Year Resolution for a few readers (only a handful read such posts regularly anyway.. heh.. heh..) and garnered a bunch of likes and even a few comments. But, with my Guru’s Grace, I’ve realised that the purpose of my writing is to simply share ideas, insights and inputs, without getting attached to the outcome of publishing. In essence, he has taught me how to transform karma (action) into Karma Yoga (purposeful action performed with total involvement, while remaining absolutely detached from the outcomes). Shri GurubyO Namaha.

Thank you Bee!

29 Dec

Thank you Bee! ~a Swamystery nano blog

Why should one thank a bee for stinging him/er!”
(“கேள்வியும் நானே, பதிலும் நானே”ன்னு ஒரு புது blog series ஆரம்பிக்கலாம் போல இருக்கே..!


The two hands in this picture belong to the same person.
One easy conclusion anyone can arrive at is that the person certainly has two hands. ✌Hmmm… Now that you’ve figured that out quickly, let’s dig up some more details…

The left hand is how both hands look, almost bereft of any fat, pretty much any day.(oh, have you ever noticed that almost 95% of hand emojis depict the right hand )!
The right one isn’t infected by any யானைக்கால் வியாதி type disease and will return to its fat-free original state, probably in a day. Oh yeah, I can clearly hear your big sigh of relief!

If at all one has any morbid thoughts about how one may look while being obese (we all do, at some point in time, so you aren’t alone ), then there’s an easier way to find that out, instead of indulging in food.
*Just get stung by a tiny bee.*
Yep, it’s actually that simple!


The tiny (in comparison to our 6 feet mighty form, to which we inadvertently end up comparing every damn being we see ) bee one insect which shoots first and then asks  questions, a la the lone Clint Eastwood type weary (& wiry) westerner’s adversary. (is that a ‘toy gun’ emoji, ‘coz, I couldn’t find a real one, which is actually a wonderful thing – not just for emojis).
Okay, it stings first & then buzzes to issue a warning.☝


The bee is a live example of the dictum *மூர்த்தி சிறிது, கீர்த்தி பெரிது*, quite literally. The sting hurts terribly far a minute or two, starting with a burning sensation. There’s no a stung person can simply ignore it and continue the ‘ignorance is bliss’ (it isn’t, btw) BAUHumbug routine, since it’s fast and furious like a missile, actively seeking more skin surface targets to bombard, ummm… sting!


But the swelling and numbness stay for hours, to remind one about the folly of one’s misadventures, in no uncertain terms – such as clearing the dead leaves and branches in the home garden (even if the said garden is just a patch of green in the balcony), without checking for the presence of – stinging – insects, and perhaps snakes (one slithery being did end up somehow in our 4th floor apartment, a few years ago, which even the expert who came to catch & release it found hard to explain – especially since it was a young one, though at nearly 2 feet it was quite a grown up young snake).


Someone did exactly that today and got the message loud and clear!
That bee was probably annoyed at its home, a honeycomb few square inches in size, being disturbed and instantly stung the disturbing object – happens to be a hand of a silly human – to express its feelings, which obviously wasn’t that jubilant, on this particular Sunday morning. Phew…

Getting stung despite knowing the presence of a bunch of them, hidden away in the foliage, was a stupid thing to do. So, no complaints there… Really.

Anyway, the silver lining in the Sunday stinging episode is, the stung person now knows how he might be, if he were obese. That’s always a good thing to know, since it’ll keep him even more aware of the need for diligence and discipline in his Sadhana (spiritual practices) and sticking to the moderate intake of healthy food. And add a few kms of walking or cycling too to the stay-healthy daily to-do list, perhaps. A healthy body and clutter-free mind are as useful to a seeker as it is to a survivor.

So, the conclusion is *Thank you bee*… I guess..!

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

Swamusings ~ On A Different Note!

17 Nov

Swamusings ~ On A Different Note!

Most music aficionados stick to known types of music. Their daily commute, long drives out of town and private listening hours (if any) pretty much overflow with the same kind of music, if not the same performers too.

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Some are open to listening to different kinds of music. They explore and discover the odd gems, but still predominantly listen to the familiar ones.
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Few actually explore various genres of music and expand their sound scape, continuously…

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As a typical born-and-brought-up Madrasi (all South Indian people – from 4 vastly different states and a UT – are madrasis to the rest of India 🤣, all of which the madrasis simply refer to as North India, irrespective of whether it’s located in the east, north or west 🙄), Swamy’s terra firma in music is carnatic, naturally – both vocal & instrumental. But because of his slightly pronounced inclination towards instrumental music (thanks to legends such as Kunnakkudi, Kadri, Umayalpuram, etc.) 🎺🎻, simply due to his lack of multilingual skills (to comprehend the meaning of hymns, songs, bhajans) he also warmed up easily to western (yep, the videshi west) instrumental music as well (Kenny G, Yanni, Miles Davis, Joshua Bell, the Orchestras, Lindsey Sterling, etc.). 🎼🎹🎧
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Surprisingly, despite choosing to remain in his motherland after spending only a few years outside (unlike many of his pals who chose to settle down on the supposedly ‘developed’ side of the world 🤦‍♀️), his exposure to Hindustani music remained limited to the occasional sitar, santoor or flute album, mostly accompanied by Zakhir Hussein on the Tabla 😂. And then there’s Hariharan’s ghazals, of course (Hariharan is not only well known in the southern movie industry, but he himself happens to be a Madrasi, just like Shankar Mahadevan).

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All that changed, with his exploration – albeit a cautious one – into the hi-res audio space. While looking for hi-res / lossless audio to test his audio gadgets, Swamy ended up discovering quite a lot of musicians, from both sides of the world.

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Swamusings ~ Treading (with caution) into audiophile territory!

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Here are a few (ex)samples…
Swamy has never heard about Lorde, until listening to and getting instantly enchanted by her voice, on a song included in an audiophile music playlist, on YouTube (of all places)! She’s like Adele, yet different.
Madrasana was familiar territory but with a twist – a performer on his/her own, sans accompaniments, in a well organised setup. And this channel creator / patron is a former hotshot executive in the IT services industry, where Swamy too spent his entire career span.
And then there’s Darbar, which is the perfect gateway for someone like Swamy to explore the vast (and obviously enchanting) Hindustani music terrain. Filled with fantastic single tracks by a plethora of astoundingly talented performers (many of whom Swamy hasn’t even heard of until now), it’s a channel worth a watch, ummm… Listen (both, actually)!

Swamusings ~ Being a Vet is a Sure Bet to…

16 Nov

Swamusings ~ Being a Vet is a Sure Bet to…

Went to our friendly neighbourhood Vel’s Pet Hospital today for Maggy’s check-up 🐶 (Maggy alias Maragavalli is our beloved younger 4-legged daughter). We were the first and while we (Sr 🤓 + Jr 😎) waited for the Doc to arrive, we kept ourselves busy with our respective phones (you obviously know who holds a spanking new one and who makes do with a 2-year old model, which still functions fine btw 🤪), while stroking Maggy once in a while to keep her cool (pretty much all the dogs – except the massive breeds, perhaps – switch to ultra-alert mode when they are in the hospital and their entire behaviour changes drastically 🥶), a brand new red Kia Seltos 🚘 arrived and got parked in front of the hospital.
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Hmmm, must be a wealthy pet parent with a boxer or labrador or german shepherd… I thought 🤔. Surprise.. surprise.. it was the Doc himself. He must’ve upgraded from his sedan to this popular SUV from Hyundai’s sister co Kia recently! 🤙🏼
Swamusings_Being-a-vet
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By the time the Doc came, the dog (and thereby the pet parents as well) population has already quadrupled (from 1 to 4, heh.. heh.. 😂) in the hospital. Returning from a house-call (remember those days – the Doctor mama days 👨🏻‍🔬), he immediately got busy with his patients – a German Spitz (Maggy, of course), a Boxer (massive one but merely 5 years old – very friendly too, despite his imposing appearance + presence – one bite from that massive jaw and our arm will come off clean 👀), a baby Labrador (busy as ever – checking out both the people around and the Big Bro Boxer seated next to him), a polka-dot Mongrel (all of 3 months, brought in for vaccination, remaining very shy and vary of everyone) and a very hairy toy breed (forgot to ask the owner – may be a Shi-Tzu or something like that), all being brought in by passionate, caring (and needless to say very concerned) pet parents, for routine check-ups or treating some ailment. And this was just the beginning of a weekend day! 🤘
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The population of pet parents (and hence pets) seems to be skyrocketing nowadays. With a significant populace embracing everything western wholeheartedly, pet parents who visit pet hospitals and vet clinics to get their doted upon pets checked regularly has seen a steady increase as well. Add to this the increasing number of compassionate humans who bring even strays for vaccination or treating injuries caused by accidents on the roadside.
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Being a vet used to be a niche job in the medical field once upon a time. Not anymore, apparently. The fact that our long-term (almost a decade now) Vet Dr. Manivel has just bought a Kia is just an indication of how well they are doing now.👌 He has shifted his hospital to a larger space nearby, added plenty of food items and accessories for the pets (which invariably sell like hotcakes) and even started a Pet Shelter in the first floor recently. A grooming center and day-care may not be that far off. And this is at Pallikkaranai, which certainly isn’t Adyar, Mylapore, T.Nagar or Anna Nagar. Not even Velachery, for that matter. So one can only imagine how Vets in those residential locales (and OMR, ECR, etc.) must be doing. Looks like even the Corporation has sniffed an opportunity (pun very intended 🤣) to earn some tax revenue by getting the pets registered formally (compliance isn’t that great, but expected to pick up pace soon)!
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Anyway, the reason I’ve brought this up is that Veterinary Medicine is a very viable career option that can rake in not only the moolah but also significant amount of fame (கைராசி டாக்டர்). And it’s obviously a lot more fun to interact with a variety of animals (and their pet parents, inevitably), who hardly complain, compare or critique. Unlike successful physicians and surgeons, a Vet may actually be able to have a reasonably good personal life too. So, those in the family, friends circle and acquaintance space, with career aspirations in the medical field, may kindly take note (in addition to the other fast-growth sector of sports medicine ⛹🏻‍♂🏌🏻‍♂🏃🏻‍♀). Looks like Being a Vet is a Sure Bet for success, wealth and fame. And the competition will be much less compared to the NEET ravaged student crowd, at least for the time being!
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Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

Swamusings ~ Treading (with caution) into audiophile territory!

22 Oct

Swamusings ~ Treading (with caution) into audiophile territory!

One of (many, needless to say.. heh.. heh.. 😂) Swamy’s interests is music, of pretty much all kinds. Classical music (of the Bharat kind) & instrumental music (of the global kind) have always been a big draw, though an occasional new ARR movie composition or vocals such as Adele too are listened to with equal joy.🎧

SwamyDP-2019-2

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Despite all that, Swamy hasn’t ventured into audiophile territory for a long time, even when he was earning a reasonable amount of pay, primarily due to the cost (of listening equipment) and secondarily due to lack of awareness. Lately though, some (sizable, considering the limited financial inflow of an early retiree, but certainly not outrageous 👀) investment went into personal hi-res audio equipment.

Swamy’s entry-level audiophile equipment – all sourced through Amazon India, mostly during the innumerable number of sale events they keep hosting – consists of hi-res certified 1More Triple Driver earphones, the மூர்த்தி சிறிது கீர்த்தி பெரிது kind of KZ ES4 earphones, the uber popular AudioTechnica M50x headphones and a hi-res audio music player + DAC – the FiiO M3K. And of course, there’s the punching-way-above-its-size Signature Acoustics Phoenix Hi-res Bluetooth audio transmitter/receiver (yep, I’m fully aware of the jargon dropping here 🤷🏻‍♀🤪). Oh yeah, couple of Bose speakers are in the mix as well, though one of them is constantly on strike (one of those rare CD players) a la public sector bank employees and the other one suffers from the typical portable speaker limitations (how about one from Marshall sir – umm, frankly, the endless Amazon sales keep tempting me for a while)!

Audiophile1

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Equipment aside, the sad fact about hi-res audio is its availability & affordability, especially in MeraBharatMahan! 😳🤐 Tidal is a well-known streaming source but both availability & cost will be like those forbidden fruit company iThings. Also it may not have much of desi music selections. Locally available services such as Amazon Prime Music, Jio Saavn, Ghaana, et al don’t overtly specify the quality of audio, so one can never be sure.

The other choice is to be ultra patient and rip all the original audio CDs (remember those – like any true-blue music lover, Swamy too has plenty of originals!) at higher bit rates and create one’s own collection, which will obviously take a lot of time, considering the tremendous amount of manual intervention required and the not-so-fast speed of the USB connection to the external CD drive (many of the new laptops have entirely eliminated internal CD drives, a la the fast vanishing 3.5mm audio jack on modern smartphones). Let’s take a breather here… 😵

 

HiRes Equipment2

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So, Swamy was obviously delighted, when he came across a notable hi-res collection of well known (‘heard’ would be more apt) musicians such as AR Rehman, Ilayaraja & such, while looking for hi-res audio files to test the new USB DAC, the FiiO K3, connected to the Obage OE-2425 stereo speakers & of course the head/earphones, on… wait for it… YouTube! 😌🎼🎧

Here’s the channel that does something audio enthusiasts on this side of the world only dream about – a sizable hi-res collection of popular Indian music (no carnatic music yet… ah, man 🙄😖). There may be others, but this is a good place to begin the hi-res journey. Try it – preferably with a good quality head/earphone or pair of speakers & you’ll know what is being elucidated here.😌🤙

The Mastering Project – Hi-Res Indian Music

HiRes Audio Channel YouTubeC

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Oh btw, Swamy is practically an illiterate, when it comes to the nuances of music (despite much of the Dhinam Oru Padhigam hymns being musical, by flow).🙏But when has that ever stopped an enthusiast from exploration anyway! 🎧😌🤘

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Swamy listening on 1More Triple Driver earphones

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

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Swamusings ~ Pensioner Swamy!

6 Sep

Swamusings ~ Pensioner Swamy! 🤔👴🏻🙃

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Nearly five years (well, it’s a month shy of 4.5 years, to be precise) after his planned retirement👣, Swamy is now officially a pensioner, joining the league of his father, f-i-l & their ilk 👴🏻👵🏼, many of whom are still very much around, most certainly drawing a much better monthly pension (அரசாங்கம் வாழ்க). 🤣

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On this normal occasion (what, you were expecting some hyped up adjective like ‘momentous’ there, eh! 🙄), Swamy would like to express his sincere gratitude to his long term financial consultant Mr.E.Lakshminarayanan, for enabling the planned retirement to actually happen, and continuing to ensure Swamy stays retired, as desired. 💐🙏
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Needless to say, gratitude is also owed to Swamily 👪, who took his (earlier than) planned retirement, at a tender age of 45, in their stride, and for letting him do whatever he does 📚✍😌 (ahem, that would be ‘Read-Write-Meditate in mugglespeak), even though they aren’t quite sure as to what he does 🤷🏻‍♀, or if he does anything at all! 🤔😂🤘

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Anyway, here’s a piece of practical advise, for those of you who still nurture the dream of retirement, sometime in this lifetime…
☝If you don’t have a financial adviser/consultant yet, find one right away. Alternatively, you may simply call / text / WhatsApp Lakshminarayanan @ +918754468343 (don’t worry, he doesn’t pay any commission to me, at all).
✌️If you don’t have any of these among your existing financial products, viz. term insurance, health insurance and pension plan, start all three right away. Of course, all of them will fetch you some income tax deduction as well.
🖖 If you have not ventured into the markets yet (no sir/ma’ am, not the vegetable/fruit market that you frequent, but the equity market 🤦‍♀️), you shall forever remain unsure of your peaceful retirement. So get started right away with investment in mutual funds (the safer way for those who aren’t confident enough to directly invest in stocks), ideally through the SIP (systematic investment plan) route.
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You may have a well-paying job today and probably aren’t bothered much about your (and your family’s) future, which is the case with many professionals – including Swamy’s former colleagues. But there simply is no guarantee about a safer future, considering how outdated one can become so quickly, in terms of knowledge and skills, and how loyalty is a big sad joke, when it comes to organisations reciprocating that towards their employees. It’s imperative that you actively plan today, for a secure tomorrow, irrespective of however great yesterday was.

Just so you know, Swamy did all of the aforementioned investments (and then some), only during the later stages of his corporate career, starting from 2003/04, shortly after his decisive return from overseas. During the earlier stages of his budding career in the booming (at that time) IT services industry, he was routinely chided by his well-wisher boss (who eventually became his – only – mentor) about not investing a portion of his earnings, keeping the future in mind. Heeding to such sound advise then would have probably helped Swamy become financially safer much earlier in this lifetime, but one (hopefully) learns from experience and does necessary course corrections. As a matter of fact, a few SIPs are still continuing, long after Swamy has actually retired from his reasonably successful corporate career.

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Swamy isn’t rich by any stretch of imagination, and that was never his objective any way. But he is a content being, who isn’t unduly worried about the market fluctuations derailing his planned retirement, which is secure and stable, until this point in time. Of course, it helps that the indulgences of Swamily are very few and far between, which results in negligible discretionary expenses. But that doesn’t mean they live like misers. 4K TV, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and YouTube videos streaming via ACT Broadband, Airtel and Jio mobile subscriptions, occasional sweets & savouries from the likes of ‘The Grand Sweets & Snacks,’ automobiles with 2 and 4 wheels (with associated running & maintenance costs), a pet daughter (who is pushing 80s), donations to charity, frequent travel for Jr’s sports pursuit, feeding strays and birds, regular celebrations of festivals, seasonal online sale binges (mostly the gadget kind), unexpected (but rare, thankfully) medical expenses… all these and more are very much there at SwamyHome as well!

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A content way of living, with occasional indulgences but almost no impulsive expenses, simply helps stretch the safety net of one’s financial kitty, without having to start censoring the basic necessities for a decent urban standard of living. And that’s exactly what Swamily has been doing, from well before Swamy’s retirement. It certainly helps that all of us – the human beings in the family, that is – also happen to be meditators, following the guidance of our Guru, though only Swamy remains the serious seeker treading the spiritual path.

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Early or Planned Retirement is no black magic. It’s a possibility for anyone stuck in the survival plane of existence, provided there’s a focused financial plan, which gets implemented diligently, over a period of time, preferably with the guidance of a professional.

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If you aren’t even planning to retire at some point in time, in this lifetime, then when will you start doing what needs to be done to realise the real purpose of your life, as a human being… So, please Stop dreaming & just Start doing… Now!

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Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂
~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy
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Swamusings #1 ~ Ah, that fresh morning cuppa!

30 Jun

Swamusings ~ the new blog series by Swamy that’s a breeze to read, reminisce, reflect & relate/respond to…

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Swamusings #1 ~ Ah, that fresh morning cuppa!

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Was wondering for a while when this was going to happen… 🤔
And it finally did, today!👍

Ah, at last, an App for a very unique Indian need – that fresh morning cuppa…
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Living in MeraBharatMahan is an entirely different ball game compared to the western way of living, which most entrepreneurial ventures and their apps cater to. Implementing them as-is for akhand Bharat simply won’t work as expected, not just because of the extreme diversity, but also due to the nano cultural nuances, that date back to many a millennia, which the entrepreneurs of considerably young western societies (in terms of culture, not age of people) have no clue about and choose to ignore in their zest for rapid global expansion. 🙄 Oh, the twenty something millionaires and their billionaire dreams…
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Buying milk afresh and systematically preparing and enjoying copious cups of aromatic filter coffee or adharat chai, first thing in the morning (and many times a day, afterwards 😜), is a very unique Indian thing – practically a habit ingrained in the Indian psyche. From the long gone days of zero-carbon-footprint milkman who brought it in aluminium (oh yeah, it’s pronounced with an ‘i’ you ithings-obsessed forbidden fruit man’i’acs) cans and delivered it at every customer home to the reusable glass bottle days to the abominable single-use plastic sachet days of now (take that you – still – plastic-packet-delivering quasi-government entity that’s yet another commercial wing of the plastic-ban-implementation-attempting government), getting fresh (hopefully, who is going to check with the cows!) milk everyday is a must-do activity in many a middle class household, upper or otherwise.

Even today, in established residential localities, one can see uncles and grandpas buying milk sachets from the same vendor (for a few decades, at the minimum – despite the persistent ‘absolutely no customer service whatsoever’ motto of quite a few Aavin vendors, aka that quasi-government entity), during their morning walks. Who gives a damn about the walk – other than the family doc – it’s the current affairs chat with age-old pals and the fresh milk that’s important 😂.

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While this walking/talking/milk buying ritual is happening outside, there’ll be another ritual happening inside the houses to which the fresh milk is headed, in parallel (or is it simultaneously). With the ubiquitous M.S. Suprabhatham bgm (thou may upgrade the device that emits that enchanting evergreen voice to a smartphone+bluetooth speaker combo, but thou shalt not replace the song/chant, ever), lamp(s) get lit in the puja room, with a dash of fragrant smoke from agarbatti and/or sambrani, and the coffee maker starts the warm-up routine to delight the household souls, as unfailingly as the sun that rises to warm and light up the world.

The filter may be a generation or two old brass (பித்தளை) or eversilver (chrome) one or one of those electric coffee makers made by Preethi, Prestige, Philips and the like. The he elders disapprove of this modern thingamagig of course, but have grudgingly allowed it to take over the beloved kaapi filter’s place, in many households. But the coffee brand and the blend is so sacrosanct (Cothas in Swamily, at present – post the strong recommendation from Swamy’s Chithappa, who himself is a long term coffee connoisseur) to each family that even attempting to change it is tantamount to treason.

During his childhood, Swamy remembers visiting the friendly neighbourhood coffee (powder) maker ‘LR Swamy Coffee’ in SS Colony, Madurai, whenever the routine purchase of freshly ground coffee-chicory blend was done by some senior family member. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that a significant part of that entire street was always filled with the bewitching aroma of coffee, all day long. In fact, there was even a hand-operated mini-grinder at Swamy’s grandparents’ home (where his primary education years were spent), which was used to make freshly ground coffee powder at home. While many families in that neighborhood may’ve eventually moved on, it won’t be a surprise if LR Swamy Coffee is still around, grinding aromatic coffee afresh, for a handful of diehard nostalgic customer fans.

As soon as the milk arrives, it gets boiled with froth in a few quick minutes (when the walker impatiently scans the headlines of newspapers – full reading cannot proceed just yet) and a small cupful of milk is offered first to the family deity in the puja room. Next, the aromatic coffee decoction (which, in the western world, is called coffee, btw, heh.. heh..) gets mixed with the right proportion of milk, in multiple tumblers seated inside dabaras. Depending on each coffee connoisseur’s insulin generation capacity & capability, either excess or the right or less or no amount of sugar is added to each tumbler. Then the back and forth pouring between the tumbler and dabara happens a few times, before the piping hot first cup of frothy coffee of the day gets delivered to its connoisseur, who starts relishing it sip by sip. And thus, yet another day dawns in the (typically South, but mostly some parts of Tamilnadu and Karnataka) Indian household. A similar ritual happens in the chai consuming households, obviously.

Oh, for the uninitiated (in what’s collectively known as South Indian culture, which is obviously a misnomer, for the four South Indian states are as different as Madras Filter Kaapi and Kerala Kattanchai), traditional coffee preparation is on/near the very top of the must-learn things list of a new bride, who is keen on blending in with her new family (you are denied the opportunity to accuse Swamy of misogyny for he is the one who typically performs this morning ritual @ SwamyHome 😂). The manni / maatruppen (daughter-in-law) who masters the magical art of making the perfect family coffee is pretty much guaranteed to become the new superstar of a typical tradition-bound South Indian family, overnight, err… overday!

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Now that an app is available for home delivery of fresh packaged milk, daily, the uncles and thathas can have their daily morning cuppa, without having to venture out of the comfort of their abode – if they choose to, that is. To entice many of them, the SUPR app not only assures to deliver fresh milk (as fresh as processed milk can be, of course) daily but also throw in a few sachets of free milk. While Swamy can’t endorse the app without actually trying it (now you know for a fact why none of the SwamyView reviews can be fake), be assured that he is one of those South Indian coffee connoisseurs, for whom the daily morning fresh – and strong, and hot – cuppa is as important as the daily Kriya.

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P.S. The multitude of ‘Kumbakonam Degree Coffee’ food stalls that dot the GST (that would be ‘Grand Southern Trunk,’ not that notoriously popular all-encompassing tax) road aka NH47, at least until Vizhuppuram, that serve coffee in brass dabara-tumbler are mostly nondescript tea stalls that learnt to milk the decoction coffee nostalgia (pun very intended) of travellers,quite successfully. While some of them are quite good, others should just stick to selling chai and Bru coffee, instead of insulting genuine filter kaapi lovers.

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

What’s In A 1000 Names ~ musings on Sahasranamam!

2 Mar
What’s In A 1000 Names!

~ musings on Sahasranamam (LalithA & VishNu)

A recent share by a family member on conducting ‘VishNu SahasranhAmam PArAyaNam‘ session at their home triggered an interesting discussion thread. Sharing it here, which hopefully offers some enchanting insights into two of the most popular Sahasranhamam sthothrams, i.e. LalithA SahasranhAmam (1000 sacred names of DEvi LalithA ParamEswari) and VishNu SahasrahAmam (1000 sacred names of Lord MahAVishNu).
‘Vishnu SahasranhAmam’ (விஷ்ணு சஹஸ்ரநாமம் ~ 1000 sacred names of Lord MahAVishNu) chanting for Swamy was initiated by his Upa Guru Sohamanandaji, during the ChAr DhAm yAtrA (YamunOtri-GangOtri-KEdArnAth-BadhrinAth). 👣

A daily practice at many Vaishnavite households (along with the ubiquitous SuprabhAtham), Vishnnu SahasranhAmam chanting continues to happen at SwamyHome, which, per religious / social norms (and spiritual practices, needless to say) is a Shaivite household (with the help of ‘பெரிய எழுத்து’ ~ bold letters edition by Giri Trading Agency, of course) every Saturday, after the daily chanting for Lord SkandhaGurunhAthan (Swamy’s Kuladheivam [குலதெய்வம்] ~ worshipped in the form of VEl [வேல்]). 😌 On Fridays, it’s the turn of Sri LalithA Sahasranhamam (ஸ்ரீ லலிதா சஹஸ்ரநாமம்), needless to say 🔥🙏

Incidentally, ‘ஸ்ரீ லலிதா சஹஸ்ரநாமம்’ (Sri LalithA SahasranhAmam) is said to have been chanted by Lord Hayagreevar (ஹயக்ரீவர் ~ Horse-faced Lord), who is an amsam or manifestation of Lord VishNu (not an avatAr, like Sri RAmA or Sri KrishNA). So it’s essentially a sthOthram by the elder brother praising younger sister (who was given away in marriage to Adiyogi ShivA)🙌, which is practically unheard of, but truly awesome. For those on the path of ShAktham (சாக்தம் [அ] சக்தி வழிபாடு [அ] தேவி உபாசனை ~ worship of the supreme reality as Shakthi, i.e. Mother or DEvi), it’s the child praising its mother, as all three primary Gods (and their consorts as well) are said to be created by the Divine Mother, for the sake of creation, with specific responsibilities, viz. Creation (Lord BrahmA), Sustenance (Lord MahAVishNu) and Transformation / Salvation (Lord ShivA).

The place where Lord Hayagreevar is believed to have chanted LalithA Sahasranhamam is enroute to Mount KailAsh, along the trekking path from the base camp. 👣

Swamy’s Upa Guru Sohamanandaji is a DEvi upAsakar (the form worshipped by him is DEvi ChinnaMasthA ~ தேவி சின்னமஸ்தா), so he has naturally started chanting LalithA Sahasranhamam during the trek to KailAsh (he was part of the same Isha SacredWalks group as Swamy, but hasn’t yet become Swamy’s Upa Guru, then), while crossing a particular spot. A Buddhist Monk who was going the other way stopped for a moment and told him “Horse face God chanted it here,” and pointed to some form of identification at that spot. 🙌 ShambhO 🙏

However, the origin of LalithA Sahasranhamam is said to be DEvi herself 🔥, since it’s practically impossible for any other being in creation to express Adi ParAshakthi’s (ஆதி பராசக்தி) magnificence in full🙏. With the possible exception of her other half, of course! 😂

Naturally, there’s an enchanting sthOthram on DEvi by none other than Lord ShivA himself, which is known as ‘Soundharyalahari’ (சௌந்தர்யலஹரி), which is essentially a husband’s praise of the enchanting beauty and virtues of his wife, with intimate details about her physique, mind, nature, etc.

The version of Soundharyalahari sthOthram that we’ve now is said to be an abridged edition, offered to us by Jagadguru Adi ShankarAchArya ✍

According to mythical lore, when the Jagadguru had the privilege of listening to the entire hymn (while having the darshan of அம்மையப்பன், obviously), he wanted to naturally share it with humanity. But when he was leaving KailAsh with the entire hymn (in which form is unknown, but that’s just a trivial detail), NandhikEswara (நந்திகேஸ்வரர்) apparently intercepted him and removed a whole bunch of verses that are considered too privy to be shared with anyone else. That makes Lord Nandhi the first censor board official! 😂🙏🙌
Here’s an(other) enchanting tale about VishNu Sahasranamam…

A lot of devotees know that VishNu Sahasranamam was chanted by Bheeshma PithAmah (பீஷ்ம பிதாமஹர்) while waiting to leave his body at an auspicious time (there’s a tale related to the actual event – of his inability to leave, despite his boon – which is covered well in the insightful Ratha Sapthami video by ஆலயம் செல்வீர் ~ Aalayam Selveer YouTube channel).
But only after the chanting was completed by Bheeshmar, everyone present there realised the significance of the hymn and regretted that no one recorded it for posterity. So, Lord KrishNa himself offered them the solution.
The Lord, the eighth avatAr (incarnation) of MahAVishNu, pointed out that since SahAdEvA (or NakulA, not sure which one, but most likely the former, who is an expert in many ShAstrAs, including Astrology, which alludes to him being the chosen one) is the one wearing a Spatikha mAla (ஸ்படிக மணிமாலை), he should be able to recall the hymn, in its entirety.

Spatikha apparently has memory that enables it to absorb nhAdha (sound / vibrations), which is the insight one can gain from this. 😇 Our limited knowledge is only about the cooling property of the gem. That’s how we ended up getting the enchanting VishNu Sahasranamam sthOthram. 🙏
So, is it any surprise that most (all!) those who do Vedic chanting and chanting of hymns regularly wear Spatikha mAla, in addition to RudrAksha mAla (whose purpose is vastly different)! 🤔🤘

Disclaimer: Swamy is just a seeker on the spiritual path, blessed to be guided by the Grace of a Guru (Realised Master) and experiential wisdom of a Upa Guru, and never claimed to be an expert on SanAthana Dharma. So, if you know more about these Sahasranamam chants, kindly share as comment and Swamy would be glad to learn.

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

Lovely Emotion!

16 Dec

“But then what is the definition of love.. emotions reflect love ain’t it?”

The question was raised by an acquaintance, as a response to this quote by the Realised Master J Krishnamurti.

Since humans are proven masters in misunderstanding pretty much everything in existence due to their overt reliance on the grossly overrated extra sense, and it’s a question that might have arisen in quite a few minds, at some point in time, in their miserable existence on the survival plane, I’ve decided to share my response to that acquaintance, with anyone who still cares to read – to know!

Disclaimer: Swamy’s pov on emotions & love is primarily based on his Master’s (Sadhguru) teachings and contemplations based on his own personal experience 🙌😌🙏

When emotional, Humans react to events and people, don’t respond to the situation.

~Swamy

Reaction mostly tends to be harmful, both to the individual who is reacting to an incident or person(s) who may’ve caused it and those at the receiving end. This can be observed anywhere, by anyone, on the survival plane of existence.

Since humans are emotional beings by design, smarter humans effectively exploit this dimension to achieve whatever they desire, from the not-so smarter emotionally charged humans. Examples would be politicians amplifying communal passions to win elections and corporates exploiting employees’ desire for success to rake in profits and even family members getting whatever they want through emotional blackmail.

This is what JK is pointing to in the second part of the Quote.

An emotional person can be stirred to hatred, to war, to butchery.” ~JK

The love that we generally refer to is the filmy kind that is hilariously superficial, extremely subjective and obviously biased.

~Swamy

So, however emotionally attached a person is to those who s/he loves, it’ll always be limited to only those select set of people. If you find it hard to digest (it really is, trust me), let’s ask these questions to ourselves…

  • Will we ever treat a servant maid as an actual family member..?
  • Can we ever treat all the classmates of our children as our own..?
  • Is there even one instance in our lifetime, when we treated a street dog exactly as our own pet dog..?
For most humans, the answer to all those questions will be a resounding NO. That’s why, even though we may treat the servant maid respectfully as a fellow human and have fun with our child’s classmates during parties and never hurt a stray dog willfully (and may even feed them occasionally), this isn’t true love at all. Despite the significant emotional investment made by us, our love is always conditional, limited and subjective.

That what JK implies in the first part of the Quote. 🤘

However, on the spiritual plane, emotion can be effectively utilised as a path to liberation, known as Bakthi yoga. This Bakthi is not the puja performing, temple visiting kind that’s in practice today, but letting go of oneself in devotion to a God or Guru or even a cause. It’s essence is captured better in தமிழ், i.e. நான் என்ற உணர்வு முற்றிலுமாய்க் “கரைந்து போதல்.”

When one attains that identity-less state, then everything in existence becomes divine in one’s perception and the expression of love towards every being will be pure, unconditional and unbiased. This அன்பே சிவம் state is the true nature of the divine. That’s the kind of love seekers receive from a Realised Master (Guru), from time immemorial. 🙌😇🙏

On a related (and slightly lighter) note, here’s a blog Swamy has published a while ago, on Love of course, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, one of those typically silly western style day-based celebrations. 🙄

This was certainly after Swamy got initiated into Spirituality by his Master, 😌 but haven’t yet got fully immersed into seeking the Truth. 😂👇

http://prakashswamy.blogspot.com/2012/02/truly-madly-deeply.html

Oh btw, my Master repeatedly says that one of the Guru’s most important actions to the seekers is to constantly deflate their ego. Having experienced it first hand, many times, I know it’s a hard but very effective way to enable the seeker’s progress along the spiritual path. So, it’s no surprise that right after I’ve given my perspective on emotions and love, JK himself responded to not only clarify what he said about emotion and love (through the daily email I receive from the Krishnamurti Foundation), but also to ensure my ego isn’t inflated by my explanation of Lovely Emotion! 🤔😂🙌

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What role has emotion in life?

~J Krishnamurti

How do emotions come into being? Very simple. They come into being through stimuli, through the nerves. You put a pin into me, I jump; you flatter me and I am delighted; you insult me and I don’t like it. Through our senses emotions come into being. And most of us function through our emotion of pleasure; obviously, sir. You like to be recognized as a Hindu. Then you belong to a group, to a community, to a tradition, however old; and you like that, with the Gita, the Upanishads and the old traditions, mountain high. And the Muslim likes his and so on. Our emotions have come into being through stimuli, through environment, and so on. It is fairly obvious.

What role has emotion in life? Is emotion life? You understand? Is pleasure love? Is desire love? If emotion is love, there is something that changes all the time. Right? Don’t you know all that?

… So one has to realize that emotions, sentiment, enthusiasm, the feeling of being good, and all that have nothing whatsoever to do with real affection, compassion. All sentiment, emotions have to do with thought and therefore lead to pleasure and pain. Love has no pain, no sorrow, because it is not the outcome of pleasure or desire.

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So the next time you’re all set to explode into an emotionally charged destructive reaction, take a deep breath and contemplate for a moment what your constructive response could be, to that situation. You’ll be surprised that the outcome could be a ‘Lovely Emotion!

Be Joyful 😇 & Spread the Cheer 🌻

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

Rectal Analysis of Respect!

19 Nov

Rectal Analysis of Respect!

Rectal Analysis or examination is a particularly painful form of invasive medical examination. For many who undergo that, it’s also shameful, considering the fact one has to bare his/her bottom to a third person in a brightly lit public space! Don’t worry, this post isn’t meant to educate you on the process and outcome of the Rectal Analysis itself, but to use that as a metaphor for critical analysis of ‘Respect.’

In retrospect, this post could’ve been titled “Regression Analysis of Respect” or “Reciprocal Analysis of Respect,” both of which would’ve induced some curiosity but you’ll (hopefully!) understand why the title is what it is, by the time you finish reading the post in its entirety, i.e. from the crown of the head to the toenail, including the rectum, naturally 😀

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Human existence is filled with disappointments, in any given lifetime. Disappointment arises out of expectations not being met. Though this is the norm in the ultra-competitive success-obsessed society of present day, humans, who happen to be believers of miracles, continue to expect their expectations being met by fellow humans. Being respected – by others – is one such expectation.

Respect, though just a superficial expression that may not reveal the true emotions or feelings, remains one of the great expectations of the funny species known as the Homo Sapiens.                                                   ~Swamy

People in power, such as ministers of a(ny) government or officials who are on the higher rungs of bureaucracy naturally expect to be respected by everyone. Though much of what they say or do isn’t that honourable anymore, they get annoyed if they are not addressed as ‘honourable’ xyz. Such annoyance may result in a reprimand or even punishment (‘digital age’… what’s that!), which at times could completely ruin the rest of someone’s existence.

Politicians with bloated egos expect to be respected even when they are out of the orbit of power. Celebrities, who totally believe that their whole existence is such as blessing for humanity that they must be adored by one and all, too expect respect from even an anonymous troll. Teachers, preachers, coaches, bosses, elders, kids… the list of those who expect respect could easily be all of them or at least 80% of them (well, any writer worth his salt must use the 80-20% rule one way or another, if his/her writing needs to be respected.. ha.. ha..).

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Respect needs to be commanded, not demanded. But no one other than this writer seems to even think so! So anyone (which is basically everyone in the above para and anyone else like them, which will most probably include you as well) who demands respect is anyway bound to be disappointed because even when people actually respect them, it only seems so but not really so.

People are smart enough to put on the right facade for the right moron, because in the plane of survival, no one trusts their real personality for achieving desirable outcomes anymore. So when you are overjoyed by the 314 people who assembled for your some-nonsensical-recognition event, profusely congratulating you on your great achievement with broad smiles plastered on their face, they’re really there because either they don’t have a choice to not be there or they know full well they can save a tidy sum that day by gorging on the free food and beverages. It doesn’t cost them anything other than a silly smile and even sillier message to pump some more gas into your already bloated ego balloon.

The Mahatma was respected by the common people because he never demanded it, from anyone, despite his phenomenal, peerless achievement – of gaining freedom from a powerful foreign invader, without actually waging a war (through non-violent protest). Pretty much all his peers and those who followed them, despite the fact that many of them too have toiled hard for the same worthy cause, aren’t celebrated as much as he was and still is, simply because everyone of their actions was weighed against those of the father-of-the-nation and simply couldn’t match or exceed that exceptional benchmark.

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It took several decades for someone like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to emerge, in a different continent and country, and Mandela, who can be considered his true successor,  was humble enough to acknowledge the Gandhi connect and inspiration for his own struggle and eventual success in attaining freedom from oppression. Today’s politicians don’t stand a chance to earn the respect of even people of their own analog generation and can forget even dreaming about any such expectation from the present digital generation. What they unfailingly get from their acolytes and the sycophants surrounding them isn’t really respect but a pre-recorded (and well practised) act of respect that’s just repeated as many times as it needs to be, to ensure their own sustenance.

Still, even a nondescript member of a family or clan or organisation continues to expect respect from others, and feel hurt when they don’t get that from (m)any. This happens due to skewed notion of the act of respect itself, which is mostly learned through observation over years of one’s physical, psychological and social growth. An example or two would help comprehend this not-so-complex phenomenon.

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A family typically comprises of husband, wife, child(ren), parents/elders and siblings/younger members. There are a set of expectations that are almost etched on stone in the intricate social grouping known as family, as follows.

  • Parents / Elders must be respected by all, simply because they’ve been there and done that, i.e. their existence in this lifetime is longer than anyone else in the family, which automatically qualifies them for respect from everyone else. They naturally take offence when they’re not spoken to or bowed down to by everyone else.
  • Husband / Wife expect to be respected by children and siblings/younger members of the family, because they have taken over the responsibility of taking care of them, which makes them 2nd in the respect hierarchy 
  • Spouses expect respect from each other, because both of them contribute towards sustenance of the family significantly but neither of them are respected by either those above or below
  • Children / younger members of the family expect to be respected for their knowledge / exposure of the new world they belong to, which they know that the elders are clueless about and the parents aren’t conversant with.

So, in a reasonably smaller social group of family, everyone expects respect unconditionally but most are willing to offer respect only conditionally. Since the situation gets far more convoluted in larger social groups such as organisations, residential societies, religious organisations, charitable associations, etc, let’s limit the focus to the family and try to unravel this mysterious thing known as respect, which seems to have besotted every single member.

All relationships are transactional. If there’s a relationship between persons A and B, then very existence of the relationship is defined by the type of transactions that happen between them, irrespective of whether those transactions are regular / continuous or occasional. Human transactions are typically actions that are observed through the five senses (visual, auditory, olfactory, vocal/taste and touch) and comprehended with the sixth (intellect). While the first five senses are physical in nature, i.e. associated with the body, the sixth is psychological, i.e. associated with the mind.

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So when a family member expresses his/her opinion on a matter to anyone in the family, the physical senses convey their emotion through words (vocal), facial expressions or bodily movements (visual) and possibly physical action (touch) as well. The observer who is the receiving end utilises visual, auditory and touch to receive the expression. Both parties utilise their intellect (however limited it is) to craft the expression and comprehend it. This results in a reaction and/or response. This dramedy goes on and on, day in and day out, helping sustain the relationship, however thin (or strong) the strands that hold it together are.

The medium used by humans to communicate expression or convey an emotion is based on noise. One either speaks or writes to another using a language that’s common between them. For example, I’m writing this blog post to express my perspective on the pointless nature of respect. I could also speak about this and share it in the form of an audio or video clip. So, communication, in some form or another, is the standard template to convey expressions. As long as everyone adheres to this template, everything seems to be going fine. 

The challenge arises in the absence of noise, i.e. when someone chooses to be silent and not express anything. Without reciprocation of noise, the originator of noise doesn’t know what to do. Let’s say you accuse your spouse of forgetting your well-deserved (according to you, obviously) birthday gift. If s/he completely ignores the accusation and remains silent, you’re not only confused (because there’s no rebuttal or apology, which you were expecting) but also annoyed. Even if you know for a fact that your spouse is not a fan of celebrating the past and doesn’t celebrate his/her birthday either.

The simple fact that your expectation wasn’t met results in disappointment. And you’re left frustrated, because you feel that you’re not respected by your spouse anymore. Whereas in your spouse’s radar this may not even register as a blip, since s/he is known to be indifferent about celebrations of any kind of day. So it’s quite possible that s/he isn’t even aware that the mischievous monster known as respect is at play.

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This perennial problem continues to haunt families because of the following unresolved equations, which appear to be seamlessly connected, but in reality aren’t.

Relationship = Communication + Re/action

Present = Past + Future

Respect = Relationship + Present

All of them are incorrect as they’re based on assumptions.

When you ass-u-me something about me, you’re essentially making an ass of you and me.

And that itself is a very good reason for a rectal analysis (of respect, of course – I haven’t forgotten the title, yet).

Relationship between two distinct entities develop over a period of time, based on understanding and trust, both being mutual. For a husband and wife, the duration could be just a few weeks (pre or post marriage) or the entire lifespan (post wedding).

Marriage is an opportunity for two individuals to clearly understand that the religiously authorised and socially approved union doesn’t mean they’re not one unified person with singular stream of thoughts and actions but still two distinct personalities that agree to exist together for the well-being of themselves and everyone associated with them. 

It’ll obviously take a while for this understanding to dawn upon a newly wed pair of individuals, during which they’ll have to consciously invest time to understand – and, needless to say, appreciate and accept – their individual characteristics, behavioural traits, expressions, beliefs, mode of communication, preferences, perspectives, idiosyncrasies, etc. Such understanding will help build trust, between the two. Understanding and Trust together will enable the couple to act as one – to please the society which still absolutely believes that marriage is a holy union and continues to propagate that idea, though between them they know better and know which facade to put on, when, where and to whom.

So, Relationship = Understanding + Trust. Which means, one can have wonderful relationships with others even in the complete absence of communication or re/action. That’s why a Guru-Sishya relationship is far stronger than that of spouses.

Thoughts are rooted in the past, while Dreams (which too are thoughts, btw) are seeded in the future.

But Reality happens only in the present. By pondering about the long gone past and wondering about the yet-to-happen future, humans completely miss the possibilities of the present. Since Present becomes Past in Future, one actually misses out on living during the lifetime by not being focused on the present. Past is only a reference and its practical value is either limited or none. Future is only a probability as humans are incapable of time travel – especially ahead in time. Present is the only real possibility. But how do humans act in the present?

Family2While arguing about something with family members (which is happening in the present), one always remembers to amply quote similar incidences and others’ reactions in the past and predict a repeat in the future. This not only showcases how the arguer is rooted to the past and speculates about future, but also limits the listener / observer (those who are at the receiving end) to the past and future. With both parties entirely missing the present, can anything worthwhile be the outcome of such arguments.

So, Present = – Past – Future (mathematically, minus minus = plus). Which means, focus on the situation at hand, in the present, seeking options and solutions, from anyone who is present, instead of lamenting about past and postulating about future, thereby diminishing your presence.

Aha, that has eventually brought us to the final equation on Respect. And it’s inevitable Rectal Analysis!

Though the rectal analysis is performed externally on (or through) the rectum, it’s typical purpose is to identify the problem that’s internal. Like a prostate or appendix condition, for example. So, the rectal analysis of respect isn’t necessarily about respect itself, but things that are associated with it, but may not be clearly perceivable – especially using the 6 senses.

Relationship has nothing to do with respect. Respect can be there between any two beings – human or not. When one looks at how most birds wake up and retire on time, exactly at dawn and dusk (there are exceptions, of course), day after day, one can’t help but respect their discipline. One doesn’t know if they contemplate the outcome of not retiring at dusk on any given day or for that matter, sleeping for an extra hour after dawn. Nature has many such strictly adhered to cycles, including but not limited to sun and moon rise, tides, monsoon, migration of birds, collection of food by ants organised in neat rows, baby animals instinctively recognising their mothers and sticking to them, et al. But the forever busy humans perennially immersed in petty survival tasks don’t have time to observe and respect the order and resonance in nature, despite it’s complexity, diversity, intricacy and sheer expanse.

swamyray70_matterOn a cosmic scale, even a planet like Earth – the only one where the hilarious species of Homo Sapiens exists, along with possibly millions of other species – is like an imperceptible nondescript speck of dust. On such a tiny planet, in a particular continent, in one of the countries, in a state within the country, in a town or city, along some winding road or lane, within a residential area, inside a single dwelling unit, a few human beings exist. These individuals are identified collectively as a family. It is these puny beings in existence that expect respect from one another. Without having a clue about how the sun or pigeon or even the plant in the balcony swaying gently in the evening breeze wouldn’t even shrug if they cease to exist this day. Or the next. In other words, no other being on this cosmos either expects or offers respect, as if it’s a mandatory requirement to exist.

In case you still expect that funny thing called respect, from anyone, for anything you’ve done or doing or going to do, do ponder the following for a few moments.

  • When was the last time you’ve volunteered to help a stranger? 
  • What if you have chosen not to help him/her/it (the stranger could’ve been a tail-wagging friendly neighbourhood stray puppy)? Wouldn’t there be no one else to offer help?
  • What was your motivation to help – need, ability, capacity, kindness, compassion, anger, resentment or something else?
  • What was the expectation from that action – earning respect from someone (the recipient or an observer who has seen it or a friend or family member with whom you shared it) or to simply feeling good / happy?
  • What was your assessment of the situation – an opportunity (to offer help) or a random incident (when you ended up offering help)?
  • Would the physical appearance / condition of the being/person (a profusely bleeding accident victim vs a handicapped person or a dog with skin rashes vs a joyful puppy) influence your decision to help in any way?
  • What makes you think you’re the one who chose to and offered help? Have you ever wondered if you were simply destined to be there in that place at that exact moment?
  • What would’ve been your action, had you known up front that no one will respond or react to your action? Would it be the same or different?
  • What will you do if a similar situation arises, in the future, had your action in the past not been recognised or applauded by (m)any?
  • What would be a more appropriate feeling about the situation & action – a sense of gratitude (for the opportunity and ability to help another being) or that of pride (“I helped someone in need”)?

The situation need not be a public space and the recipient of help need not be a stranger. This situation prevails in every single residence, workplace and public space, where humans are omnipresent. Put yourself in the position of both the helper and the helped, in different environments, and observe your action (or the lack of it). The pondering of such possibilties can be cathartic and painful – not too different from a rectal analysis.

swamyray112a_knowIrrespective of whether one toils hard at something or not, one performs actions expecting a specific outcome. Hard working employees expect a reward – award, promotion or pay rise. Homemakers expect an occasional appreciation – words, gestures or gifts. Students expect a pass mark, rank and placement. Pets expect rubs and treats. Entrepreneurs expect growth and publicity. Business owners expect profits, quarter after quarter. Investors expect perennial growth of wealth. Celebrities expect worship from delirious followers. People in power expect respect from everyone. Essentially, everyone expects something out of everything and everyone else.

Respect is one such expectation. It isn’t really an outcome, but either a silly expression (saluting a higher ranking official) or a giggle-inducing gesture (an assembly of people rising for another person’s arrival) or downright ridiculous action (prostrating in front of a politician). Such acts may offer momentary pleasure or a fleeting moment of happiness to the recipient of respect. But it’s an addictive drug. The more and more one perceives it, the more and more one desires it. Irony is, nobody cares about those who offer respect anyway, because that’s what they’re expected to do.

DisappointmentCWhere there’s an expectation, there’s bound to be disappointment. Always. When one doesn’t get the expected respect, one gets annoyed, disappointed, frustrated and dejected. Such negative emotions will result in a reaction – spontaneous or delayed, which will invariably be destructive in nature. The alternative is not to have any expectation associated with any action, though actions are aimed at outcomes.

That’s obviously easier said than done. But considering that it has been communicated in a powerful environment by someone who is worshipped by millions (as God, no less) even today delivering maximum impact, that too many a millennia ago, it’s certainly worth considering.

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन । मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥

You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II, Verse 47

Yep, this powerful message about futility of having expectations has been communicated by none other than Lord Krishna himself, in the seminal treatise known as the Bhagavad Gita. It was his message to Arjuna (to whom he was friend, philosopher and guide until then, and God now, i.e. while delivering the Gita) who was worried about the outcome of the monstrous war of Mahabharata, which had become inevitable. Pretty much everyone facing him (and the Pandava army) were his relatives – both elder and younger, or acquaintances – including teachers. Krishna enabled Arjuna to focus on the action, which was his prescribed duty, by clarifying that neither was he the cause of action (waging war) nor was the outcome (victory) his entitlement. To reaffirm his words, he has also offered his Viswaroopa darshan to Arjuna, thereby making him aware that he – the Lord – is the be all and end all of all, including Arjuna himself.

BhagavadGita3In the present time, life resembles war and existence crawls onward, waging one battle a day. Neither are we Arjuna, willing to listen to someone even at the brink of war, nor are we Krishna, willing to offer clarity of insight, to empower someone with the right capability and enable appropriate action.

We’re simply one of those nondescript soldiers wielding a sword & spear (tools), expected to defeat an unknown opponent (ability/skills), hoping the shield will protect them (knowledge), so they can return in one piece to their family that’s worried sick. Or perhaps we’re one of the captains, expected to take a bunch of foot and mounted soldiers, to their almost inevitable death, for a cause that neither they nor we can even comprehend. The Bhagavad Gita is still around, of course, if at all anyone cares to understand it’s true meaning so one can lead a purposeful life and ultimately realise the Truth.

Irrespective of which battlefront we’re in, at any point in time, in the grand game of Life, whether we play or observe is a choice that’s entirely left to us. Many would love to play but aren’t equipped or lack the ability. To P.L.A.Y needs a lot of painstaking effort and to attain mastery takes a long time. Since humans are impatient, most choose to simply observe. But their observation is so superficial that they don’t feel connected to the game in a significant way. A few choose to officiate, because they love pointing out the mistakes or accomplishments of others. Even fewer choose to lend a helping hand to the players, and even the observers. They go unnoticed, but aren’t bothered about it. It’s those who choose to lend a helping hand to anyone in need, with nary a care about “what’s in it for me?,” are in reality the real players. But even they may not be aware of it.

SGQ1

A lifetime is a collection of precious moments, each pregnant with immense possibilities, awaiting the potential for purposeful action.                ~Swamy

And action can happen only in the present. Purpose driven action needs absolute involvement, from everyone who is part of the action. Involvement implies focus remaining on the action and nothing else. This is known as Sthithapragna, or single-mindedness aka one-pointed or singular focus. Sthithapragna is not possible if the focus gets diverted towards outcome as well, even if the diversion is only for a few fleeting moments. Sthithapragna is possible only when the performer (of action) is rooted in the present. It gets diluted when one looks at, or even thinks about, the past or future. Such dilution of focus makes the outcome a probability, not possibility.

sq-usefulWhichever is your playspace – home, workplace, charity, public arena, or the vast boundless space itself – as long as you remain focused on the action, which happens in the present, the desired outcome will always be a distinct possibility. But as soon as your attention gets diverted by expectations about both the action and outcome, you’ve already strayed into the past and/or future, thereby losing grip on the present. 

If you mop the floor of the house or prepare lunch for the family daily, your focus should be only on the action – preparation, execution and completion. Instead, if you expect appreciation from a family member for the spotless floor or the delicious sambar, you’re setting up yourself for disappointment.

It’s no different at workplace. A weekly report, project presentation or minutes-of-meeting may appear pointless to you, but is essential for business sustenance and growth. So focus on the action and give it your best shot. And then move on to the next action. The moment you expect an appreciation or reward for your action, you’ve set yourself up for disappointment.

If you happen to be a writer (like yours truly), then your focus should only be on writing something (like this hard-hitting post on Rectal Analysis – of you-know-what, heh.. heh..) and not on how many likes or comments this post may get from potential readers (zero, in all probability).

The rectum is an essential organ of the body. Without it, the fecal matter can’t be released from the body, which could lead to acute medical conditions that may even turn fatal. The ass (or arse, if you’re a proud practitioner of supposedly true English – of the British kind) itself is neither proud of its critical function in keeping the ass-owner alive nor feels repugnant about being the permanent outlet for excreta. It simply focuses on the action, as soon as it’s seated on the toilet, time after time, day after day. The ass is always focused on the action, remaining rooted in the present. It isn’t bothered about today’s shitting being a better or bitter experience compared to yesterday or improving the quality of shit by 0.01%, for the rest of the lifetime of the body it’s a part of. It’s actually the asshole to whom the ass belongs to that’s the cause of all such nonsense. 

That, dear reader, is the “Rectal Analysis of Respect!” 

Oh btw, the title that caught your imagination (and pushed you to read this far – to the very last line of the post) is known as Clickbait, in web or social lingo 😉 And no, the writer didn’t have outcome (of making you read the entire post) in mind while writing this blog. But you did it anyway, didn’t ya! So, why don’t you also be kind enough to like, comment and share this post with your social acquaintances (now that’s not an expectation, but a simple request, so it really doesn’t matter if you do or don’t). 

149c5-ad3c94c2-334c-499b-8d29-69ee802d7645Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

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