Tag Archives: Blogging

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.🎧



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)!



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


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


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! 🎧😌🤘


Swamy listening on 1More Triple Driver earphones

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

உயிர்மெய் (தமிழ் பதிவுகள்) | SwamyQuote | Swamystery | QuorAnswers by Swamy | Quoraவிடை by ஸ்வாமி | BeenThere, SeenThat  

The Sublime Sound of Salvation!

12 Apr

The Sublime Sound of Salvation!

~ insights on nhAdha (chants and mantras)


🙏 Namaskaram. Recently Swamy came across a WhatsApp share (forwarded, of course!) that went gaga about the ‘mathematical insights’ of Vedas. Here’s an excerpt…


Till I came across this posting, I was unaware of the significance of Rudram, Chamakam. High school students will greatly benefit from memorising  these, to help them in their study of Mathematics. If we  take a look at this excerpt from Chamakam of the Rudra Namaka Chamaka, we will get to know the mathematical genius in the Vedas.


By now, it’s quite obvious to anyone other than the exclusive (and downright abusive, needless to say, especially when it comes to any aspect of this very ancient culture) non-pseudo-secular pretentious intellectual blabbermouths that there are many dimensions and layers to pretty much anything in this ancient culture, which manages to thrive even after several destructive invasions and even more destructive rule by cringe-worthy politicos, post a hard fought and won (with nary a bloodshed – especially on the invaders’ side) independence.  Even the common citizens who weren’t privileged enough to go to branded scholastic institutions and work really hard daily to eke out a living in this unforgiving ultra-competitive success obsessed society know this, though they don’t get screen time on any media to speak about it. 

Swamy is no vedic expert, but as a voracious (at least once upon a time, reignited again recently, but more like carbureted than fuel-injected) reader, reasonably prolific writer (no formally published work yet, but plenty of 100% agmark original content on various social media platforms – including this one) and seeker (of Truth, not anything connected with mere survival, at least not anymore), he sure knows a thing or two about the breadth and depth of this culture (we never aspired for the height of greatness, hence no invasions by us to spread our culture anywhere else). So, here’s some insight that might be helpful in comprehending the essence of this newfound vedic insight (one of the many, obviously), than merely going gaga over it (which itself is a fundamental problem, as such marvelling and social sharing is so superficial that the same person will end up sharing in the same groups the same thing, sooner than later, without actually gaining any insight whatsoever)…


Vedas are essentially ‘sounds that were/are heard,‘ referred to as Sruti or Shruthi in SanAthana DharmA. Here’s a simple explanation from the ISKCON website. 


Hinduism has no single scripture but many. They include the Vedas and their corollaries sometimes called collectively “the Vedic scriptures.”

There are two main divisions:

shruti – that which is heard (revealed truth)

smriti – that which is remembered (realised truth)

Sanskrit is the language of most canonical texts, but many subsidiary texts are written in the vernacular.

Shruti is canonical, consisting of revelation and unquestionable truth, and is considered eternal. It refers mainly to the Vedas themselves.

Smriti is supplementary and may change over time. It is authoritative only to the extent that it conforms to the bedrock of shruti.


In a certain state of meditation, the sages / yogis of ancient times simply heard these sounds – most probably within themselves, than from anywhere outside. 

Then they started chanting those sounds, as they heard them (without any intellectual interpretation), observed certain outcomes and then started teaching the chanting of Shruthi to others. That’s why, even today, in this so-called digital yuga, students learn vedas through repetitive recitals and not by reading books and vomiting what’s read in exams (though printed and digital versions are certainly available now for reference – primarily for the armchair scholars and SoMe sharers).

In SanAtana Dharma (not to be confused with Hinduism, which is categorised as a religion – something done on purpose by the invaders), which is the core spiritual foundation of the ancient BhArath / Sindhu civilization, the Creator had been defined in many ways. While ancient scriptures such as the Upanishads (which too are part of the Vedas, but were crafted by humans, thereby belonging to the Smriti category) define the Creator aka God as Nirghuna Brahmam ~ நிர்குண பிரம்மம், i.e., an entity without form or attributes / characteristics. The same entity is worshipped in many forms as well, which is known as Saguna brahmam ~ சகுண பிரம்மம். 

Dhyanalinga2.jpgSince this is a Mukthi focused culture, anything and everything that aids one towards the ultimate liberation from the repetitive birth-death lifecycle, were effectively utilised by the seekers. This includes devices (YantrA), chants (MantrA), methods or techniques (TantrA), processes (KriyA, for example) and even Gods. This is quite possibly the only culture where the technology to craft one’s own version of God was in practice, which is known as PratishthA aka consecration. There are a few practitioners of this ancient God-making craft even now, such as Swamy’s Guru Sadhguru, who has created divine forms such as the DhyAnalinga and Devi Linga Bhairavi. This is the reason why everything from a plain-looking uncarved stone to tree to cow to many a phenomenally intrinsic idols being worshipped as God here, even today. The divine is also defined as pure light (exemplified by historical Realised Masters such as VaLLaLAr ~ வள்ளலார்) and also as pure Sound, i.e. NhAdha Brahmam ~ நாத பிரம்மம். 

In essence, the internal comprehension of everything in existence as a manifest form of the unmanifest divine by many a yogi / siddha / saint has led to that realisation being reflected in the various means and paths towards self-realisation. The fortunate people of BhArathavarsha never had any qualms about following one path or another, knowing full well that all of them lead to the realisation of the same Truth (about Creator, creation, existence, et al) and the ultimate liberation. Heck, we even had many a non-believer amidst the sea of believers, from time to time, whose philosophy too is available for anyone interested. And the best part is, they weren’t hunted or annihilated but simply allowed to co-exist in the same society!

Recently, scientists have arrived at conclusion (though in reality, nothing is ever conclusive – especially when it comes to science) that the entire existence is nothing but sound. Or vibrations / reverberation, to be precise. This is essentially science acknowledging what spirituality said a loooooong time ago. Anyway, when we say the entire existence is just sound, the essential question that will arise in our intellectual mind is, ‘then how come there are so many different forms – including humans, each of which is so vastly different from everything else in existence?‘ 


Now, each sound is said to have a form associated with it. This is the fundamental principle of NhAdha Yoga & Mantra Yoga. By reciting a certain sound, at a certain time, for a certain number of times, one can realise the form associated with that sound. This is why Devi UpAsakars ~ தேவி உபாஸகர் get darshan of Devi by chanting her Mantra, while devotees of Adiyogi Shiva get darshan of MahAdEva by chanting his moola mantra, and so on. Lord SubrahmaNya (or Muruga, ShaNmukha, KArthikEya, etc) in the form of BAla DhaNdAyudhapANi (பால தண்டாயுதபாணி) at Kumaramalai (குமரமலை) is Swamy’s kula dheivam (குல தெய்வம்). Created by Lord ShivA for the specific purpose of leading the Deva army (as it’s General) to annihilate the AsurAs, he is considered and worshipped as the form of the moola mantrA of creation itself, i.e. AUM, the supreme sound of all sounds.  

Since there are various mantrAs (a mantrA is essentially a collection or sequence of sounds, organised for a specific purpose, and associated with a specific divine form) for each deity, the darshans of the deity by the individuals who perform Mantra yoga or NhAdha yoga also vary accordingly. 

Om Swami, a young contemporary – living – Realised Master, has written about how the diligent practice of Mantra yoga led him to the actual darshan of Devi, in his autobiography “If Truth Be Told.” He now teaches the ancient practice of Mantra yOga to seekers. Swamy’s master Sadhguru had got the experience of the divine as NhAdha Brahmam at KAnti SarOvar, a lake located above (and beyond) KEdhArnAth, which is where Adiyogi Shiva is said to have transmitted his yogic Wisdom to Devi Shakthi, in absolute intimacy (the 112 ways to Realisation taught by him are available in ‘VignAna Bhairava TantrA). This experience happened much later than his actual enlightenment experience at ChAmundi Hills near Mysuru. 

Vedas, which are essentially a very structured way of chanting pure sound, the way it is in nature, and thereby resonating with the reverberations in creation in a certain way, can be considered as a method to define the nature of the divine, which is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. So when someone chants Sri Rudram ~ ஸ்ரீ ருத்ரம், what’s actually happening is the definition of the form of the divine as RudrA, in all its glory. 

And there’s a specific reason why vedas are in Sanskrit and not any other ancient language (e.g. Thamizh, which happens to be Swamy’s mother tongue, in which he writes classical hymns / poetry). Sanskrit is a language that’s entirely based on, and – needless to say – crafted from, sound. The syllables of Sanskrit are said to have emerged from Lord ShivA’s Damaru ~ உடுக்கை, which was listened to by his ever present companion NandhikEswara. This too has been mentioned by another contemporary Master Swami SukhabOdhAnanda (of ‘மனசே ரிலாக்ஸ் ப்ளீஸ்’ fame – he’s a disciple of Swami ChinmayAnanda) in one of his books. 

Anyway, the point is, both vedas and mantrAs being in Sanskrit is quite simply because the foundation of all of these is sound – in a multitude of variations, of course. Oh btw, there’s another very ancient language that’s spoken by rishis, yogis and Siddhars of yore, known as SandhyA bAsha ~ ஸந்த்யா பாஷை, which could even be dated before the advent of sanskrit or possibly a contemporary one to sanskrit. This language was quite possibly much closer in tune with the vibrations in nature and doesn’t seem to have a script. Without any active practitioners – at least in the limited field of perception of contemporary humans – it is not known to be known to anyone now. 

ClassicalMusicThose who follow any form of classical music know about the various precise measurements that make sound enchanting, and even purposeful beyond mere enchantment (e.g.: Music therapy). With this context, if one looks at the mathematical precision / definitions in vedas, it’s quite easy to comprehend that it is simply yet another way / method to define the form of the divine, and thereby the Creator, creation, existence, et al, through precise measurements, expressed as sound. 

From now on, whenever you chant a mantrA such as AUM Namah ShivAya or GAyathri, you may inherently be aware that it’s nothing but a nondescript creation’s (ahem, that would be you – on a cosmic scale!) feeble attempt to depict the form that’s associated with that mantrA, i.e. NhAdha / Sound. Just keep aside whatever you think you know, i.e. the intellectual aspect or acquired knowledge, and simply resonate with the sound of the mantrA, so you may realise the real purpose of that mantrA, whatever it is that you’ve been initiated into or have learnt to chant.

Fun Fact 1: In either Nhamakham ~ நமகம் or Chamakham ~ ச்சமகம் (as mentioned in the beginning, Swamy is a vedic illiterate, so his lack of knowledge in such nuances of vedas may kindly be forgiven), pretty much each chant or stanza will end with a mEh ~ மே. There’s an enchanting background tale about this (all ancient tales in this culture are not only enchanting, but have a deeper aspect of the Truth, well hidden beneath the superficial sheath if the tale itself). When Daksha PrajApathi was annihilated by VeerabadhrA (a fierce form created by Lord ShivA, with a single hair from his matted locks, for the sole purpose of destroying DakshA and his acolytes), post his insult of Lord ShivA (by refusing to invite him to his yagnA and refusing to offer the Ahuthi that’s due to him, which resulted in Devi Shakthi, in the form of of Sati – DakshA’s daughter, committing Atma hathyA and leaving her mortal form), he was beheaded by Lord VeerabadhrA. When he realised his unforgivable mortal error and surrendered to the Lord seeking salvation, he was revived back to life by Lord MahEswara who is the ocean of benevolent Grace, but with a goat’s head. Since goats are known to communicate with the sound mEh (மே), it’s believed that in this particular chant by him, worshipping the MahAdEva (God of Gods), every stanza ends with the basic sound of a goat! 

Fun Fact 2: Swamy has written and published (on Social Media, naturally) more than 230 hymns written in classical Thamizh, collectively known as Dhinam Oru Padhigam ~ தினம் ஒரு பதிகம், so far. In his experience, these hymns are written through him than by him. And invariably all of them come with a tune as well. Neither a trained musician nor a qualified poet, it’s truly an enchanting experience for Swamy to not just write these hymns down but also to sing them without having any idea about their musical nuances, i.e. rAga, thALa, et al. In a way, that too is an experience of being in resonance with sound, i.e. NhAdhabrahmA, without actually realising the nuances of it!

May the Grace of NhAdhabrahmA be with you for a purposeful Life, overflowing with resonant Joy. ShambhO. 

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

உயிர்மெய் (Tamil posts by Swamy) https://swamyuyirmei.wordpress.com/
Swamystery (#ThinkOpposite blog posts by Swamy) https://prakashswamy.wordpress.com/
SwamyQuote (quotes by Swamy) https://swamyray.wordpress.com/

What’s the Point!

13 May
No NhAladiyAr or Avvai KuRaL interpretations… 
No SwamyQuotes… 
No New – in the past 4 days…
Not No More… Certainly not yet..!
Heh.. Heh.. Heh… 

Anyway, despite no new – agmark original – content from Swamy,

the sky didn’t fall… 
  • the sun still promptly came up on east, shining at dawn… 
  • the birds still chirped merrily and flew around merrily… 
  • the strays keep finding many a hiding place in the concrete & steel jungle of compassionless humans to beat the boiling summer heat… 
  • the juicy news loving Indians somehow don’t seem to be bothered about the second coming of the loudest news anchor of them all, with his own channel now… 
  • the rain still doesn’t seem to be convinced that NammaChennai makkaL are worthy of at least a drizzle (when a downpour is the dire need)… 
  • the Americans – more than half of them, at least – still can’t believe their most unpopular President of all time (who they elected democratically only a few months ago) is running the nation like an arrogant game show host, making the unofficial, self-declared big brother of the world aka US of A, the butt of jokes, day after day… 
  • the other crazy despot ruling the rogue nation bordering the other big brother of the world hasn’t yet pressed that dreaded button, to ignite judgement day
  • the sad state of Tamilnadu that has lost its leader a few months ago and somehow trundles along miraculously as a headless body, is yet to wake up to the reality that there is practically no one around to fill her haloed position…

… wait a minute… this post itself is kinda like one of Swamy’s Nano blogs.. So, is he already back to what he does well – Write! That too, after a hiatus of just four days! Ha.. Ha..

1474812545607.jpgSo, since the post has anyway started flowing, why not explore this thought stream a little bit more and expand this to a Micro blog (don’t worry, this won’t be a Macro blong).

The reason why Swamy started writing this post is a truly humbling one. Despite having thousands of followers – all Social Media platforms combined, that is (he isn’t a celebrity after all – & he’ll never choose to be one, knowing how much he abhors BAUHumbug Template Living by the human herd), not one of them – yep, not even a single follower – seems to be perturbed about the absence of any posts from Swamy, in the past four days. Whoa! 
While a complete lack of response or reaction of any kind should be expected in this superfast paced world with a gazillion distractions, it had a telling effect on the person who continues to craft his ideas, thoughts, perspectives in the form of social media posts.
By asking himself “What’s the Point!” and contemplating the many possible intellectual explanations (ah, that bloody busy free mind is in action again) – in silence, if course – Swamy was had an awakening – that “he doesn’t matter!
img_0719.jpgWhile Swamy’s hymns, blogs, quotes, photos, comments, reflections, reviews, reminiscences, quips, jokes, clarifications, pointed answers & pertinent questions may resonate with a few fellow humans and may even matter to a few more, they might as well be from anyone else. Some random X, Y or Z, on social media!
Humans need information as much as they need oxygen.
Just as air – polluted or not – is everywhere, providing the necessary oxygen for people to breathe, content too is everywhere, providing the information – necessary or not – for people to consume.
Without information – useful or not – the mind can’t be active, since it needs information to keep churning thoughts.
If the mind isn’t active, there’s no individual identity.
Without the “i”dentity, there’s no existence. For anyone! 
As long as a creator (crafter) offers content (output),  in any form that a human being is familiar with (books, speech, art, music, etc), s/he will have fans / followers who will – passively, in all likelihood – await the next output from her/im. But,
In a world where quantity overwhelmingly outmaneuvers quality in pretty much everything, it really doesn’t matter who offers the content.
There’ll always be someone else. In fact, a lot more than one – for any type of content. 

That awakening really jolted Swamy out of his “I craft original content” stupor!

Because, it doesn’t really matter. At least not in the present reality – however much unreal it is. To anyone – friend, follower, fan or some nondescript human who stumbled across the original content, because big G (oh no, not the Creator G, but the Searcher G) led him/er to it. As soon as he stops crafting content, his fans / followers will always find some other source – who may or may not even craft any original content at all.
So, “What’s the Point?,” in creating anything, if it doesn’t matter at all!
Fact is – as hard it is to swallow, as any hard fact – only Content rules. And will continue to. Content creators just come and go. 
Lord KrishNA came & went. BhagawadgitA lives on. 
Gautama, the Buddha, came & went. DhammA, his path to nirvAnA, lives on.
ThiruValluvar came & went. ThirukkuraL lives on. 
Poets of the three Thamizh Sangam era came & went. The Sangam poetry collections like PadhiNenkeezhkaNakku live on. 
NhAyanmArs & AzhvArs came & went. Thirumurais & Dhivya Prabhandham live on. 
VAlmiki & Kambar came & went. Their RAmAyaN(am) live on. 
Adi ShankarA came & went. His bhAshyams, slOkAs, Stotrams & six paths of worship live on, as are the mutts, JyOthirlingA & Shakthi peetams he has created. 
AruNagirinhAdhar came & went. Thiruppugazh, VEl & Mayil viruttham live on. 
MahAkavi BhArathi came & went. His poetry & prose live on. 
ArutprakAsa RAmalinga VaLLaLAr came and went. Thousands of ThiruvAsagam hymns live on.
PAmban SwAmigaL came & went. His KumArasthavam & many other mantrA like hymns live on. 
img_1379.jpgParamahamsa YOgAnandA came & went. His “Autobiography of a YOgi” and the KriyA yOgA path he taught live on. 
Swami SivAnandA came & went. Hundreds of his books, offering amazing insights into the magnificent spiritual culture of BhArat live on. 
Bhagavan RamaNa Maharishi came & went. His “Who am I” self-enquiry and “AksharamaNamalai” and “ULLadhu nhARpadhu” live on.
KAnchi ParamAchAryA came & went. His “Deivaththin Kural” & many unrecorded, deeply insightful discourses live on.
Swami RAmA came and went. His path-breaking teachings, demonstrations and books – including the phenomenal “Living With The Himalayan Masters,” – that opened up the mystical world of Indian spirituality to the materialistic western world live on.
Osho came & went. Hundreds of his enchanting books – including “The Book of Secrets,” which expounds Lord ShivA’s teaching to DEvi Shakthi on the 112 ways to self-realization, and the myriad techniques he taught for self-realization live on.
Agastya muni, Pathanjali, AvvaiyAr, Aristotle, Plato, Rumi, KALidAsA, Kabir, Nietzsche, Whitman, Vivekananda, Tagore, ThyAgarAjA, KannadAsan, ChinmayAnandA, Watts… countless siddhars, saints, poets, realisd beings and masters came and went. The content they left behind, lives on.
img_0660.jpgThe list of great content creators – of past & present (including Swamy’s Master Sadhguru) – is pretty long, varied & impressive. And only their content – spoken, written, sung, performed, taught, transmitted – will live on. May be, forever. This has happened without fail, from time immemorial and will undoubtedly continue to happen, until there’s no time left (oh yeah, we’re a truly stupid species, endowed with one extra sense than other beings, that are very capable of crafting the total destruction of the only planet we inhabit in this incredibly vast, still expanding, universe). 
Humbled by this rude but real awakening, Swamy assured himself that he will continue to craft – and share – agmark original content. Of different kinds. As long as he can. Knowing full well that it’s his content that will live on. Not Swamy himself, who – the person(ality) known as @PrakashSwamy – will be consigned to the flames at some funeral place, when he must ease out of the mortal form, in which he remains trapped, in this lifetime. And that’s the only point of creating anything. For any creator. Perhaps, including “The Creator” of all creation that was, is & will be there!
adiyogi41s.jpgThank you Lord, for letting me realise that “I” don’t matter. Thanks to the awakening I had, the brand Swamy rests lightly on my shoulders now, with a lot lighter head than before! And with your boundless Grace guiding me for the rest of my existence, may valuable content continue to flow through me, if I’m worthy of being your instrument. PraNAm _/\_ 

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂



img_20161225_080543.jpgYou’re welcome to cherish other Swamy blog posts (SwamysteryBeen There Seen ThatSwamyviewSwamyverseSwamygraphy), Quotes (SwamyQuote) & Poems (Swamyem – including 200+ #DhinamOruPadhigam hymns), leave a comment and share it with your social circles.

You’re also welcome to stay connected to Swamy (@PrakashSwamy) on Social Media.

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy 

Chance for a Choice!

18 Feb

Three incidences that happened last week led to this blog post. First was a recurring meeting where curious souls connect and discuss about all things Life. Second was a rescue mission to save a pigeon. Third was an illness that revisited me after a long time.

In each of these incidences, choices were made by those involved. Swamy was obviously part of all three, and made a choice in each! And made another choice to share the incidences, choices and their consequences with dear readers J

Thinking1Incidence 1 – Mento Meeto. This was the bi-weekly meeting with my Mentos (aka cool mentees). As always, we discussed at length about heart & mind, good & bad, right & wrong, human & divine and conscience & awareness (oh don’t worry, we do discuss the boring BAU stuff too, occasionally). The discussion sprouted from a point one of them made about doing things and feeling bad about them, after they are done. The question was whether being conscientious good or bad and why is it that the conscience kicks in only after the action has happened!

Matchstick7Smoking cancer sticks can be an easy (not good or bad, just easy) example for analyzing this conundrum. One usually does it with a bunch of friends (aren’t friends supposed to care about each other’s wellbeing) or even complete strangers. All those who do are fully aware of the consequences of their action (which is why I’ve stopped advising even my friends against it a long time ago). When I feed stray dogs in front of tea shops, hundreds of them light up, then just stand and watch, amidst swirl of cancerous smoke. Who knows, those dogs might get cancer too, but at that point in time they made a choice to focus on their hunger and naturally the biscuits to sate it! Some of the smokers feel guilty after they’re done and some don’t. Some suffer the pang of guilt due to their inability to get rid of the habit. Getting drunk and substance abuse feature in the same league too.

Indiansweets2Same goes for food. We mostly eat food based on our craving for taste. The stomach never is particular about having lip smacking biryani or ghee masala roast or tandoori whatever or Grand Sweets ghee halwa or strong Coffee with extra sugar to sate hunger.  When there are options to choose, the tongue, needless to say driven by the mind, takes over. It doesn’t care a hoot about cholesterol or fat or how the human digestion system is not designed to handle the orgy of meat eating that humans have developed over time. Poor stomach (and in turn the whole body) ends up suffering due to the tongue’s insatiable appetite for unhealthy food.

Banner3aWhen one’s at the half-way mark of Life – which in today’s conditions is just around 40 – suddenly the conscience wakes up with a jolt and starts warning you on many things, usually done in excess, until then. The trigger could be a master health check-up or the sudden illness or even death of someone known or close to you or some glitterati. Some listen to the warning signal and take a diversion from the known path to live better lives. Some even become spiritual and wake up to an altogether different possibility of Life.

Rajinikath4When Kollywood superstar Rajinikanth flipped a biscuit or chewing gum in air instead of the usual cancer stick in Chandramukhi (he’s wildly popular for his style after all, besides spectacular one liners), his raving fans hardly noticed it. When he ended up in a Singapore hospital for treatment and his new movie hasn’t shined on the silver screens for almost two years now, everyone’s left wondering about his health. He made choices that resulted in consequences.

A friend of mine took the master health checkup recently. The doc told he had high blood pressure (anyone who knows him will laugh at it and find it incredulous) and was promptly put on a strict diet by his worried spouse. He chose to stick to the diet, doesn’t waver one bit from it and isn’t tempted by whatever others eat. He’ll most certainly get better soon due to the choice he made. There are others in the same group who are unable to make such a choice about what they eat!

PigeonRescue4Incidence 2 – Operation Pigeon Rescue. During the weekend, several individuals from diverse background tied only by the apartment complex they live in got involved in the act of rescuing a pigeon stuck in electric cable. Birds get stuck in the complex maze of electric wires near our home occasionally (why can’t these cables be laid underground is one of those questions sans answers). We instinctively know about such incidences when suddenly there’s a whole flock of birds flying around the one that got stuck, kawing and cooing loudly. Most die, almost instantaneously. This one was obviously an exception. It apparently hung there – upside down – for several hours, when I noticed it. I thought it was dead and was about to offer a prayer, when it appeared to flap its wings. Whoa, I thought, and immediately alerted my better half, who in turn rushed quickly to the apartment security guard and launched ‘Operation Pigeon Rescue’ in right earnest. Some of our neighbours joined soon. I also sent Jr. with a ladder. Eventually I too joined the rescue mission (the reason for delay is the third incidence).

PigeonRescue3bTo our horror we found that there was a baby pigeon too – most probably a new born – and their legs were entangled in the cable with a small rope, tied either by a heartless idiot or picked up by the bird somewhere to build a nest. A long stick was soon made from dry branches, with a cross shaped tip to pull or shake them off. We could see a bloody leg, but didn’t know if it was the mother’s or baby’s. They probably hung in there upside down for half-a-day in the scorching sun. And they were surprisingly still alive. When we tried shaking the wire, the baby cried in a feeble voice. After trying hard for nearly half-an-hour, the baby came off first. But it didn’t survive for long. While it was probably blessed to leave this world within a short duration without suffering an agonizing life of day-to-day survival with just one leg, we were left pondering why it had to endure such a painful ordeal soon after its birth L Another 10 minutes passed by before the mother came off the wire. It couldn’t walk, but managed to crawl into a nearby bush. We took it to the shade, splashed some water on it (thinking that would cool it off a bit after getting baked in the sun) and offered water and some grains. It was in a deep shock and didn’t take any, staying still instead. Eventually it flew away in the evening. It’ll hopefully recover from the shock of losing its baby and probably a broken leg and live to chirp the tale. It made a choice to live, not die on that day and help came its way – a bit late probably – to make it happen.

The incidence also showed how people make choices – alone or in a group – and how those choices could destroy or save lives. Everyone involved in it had the singular purpose of saving the bird(s). Situational leadership came to the fore and larger than life egos were subdued and social status was forgotten, at least for a short span of time. The choice we made on that day saved a Life, but couldn’t save two. Are we to feel good or bad about that remains a point to ponder for some!

Pills1bIncidence 3 – An illness and a process. The reason why I joined the rescue mission late was my illness, which is like a flu or viral fever, minus the temperature associated with it. I’ve suffered from this for a long time in this Life, time and again (almost once in a quarter). Several doctors were consulted, including a hematologist, but none figured out the cause. After I started walking the spiritual path through Isha Yoga with my Master’s boundless grace four years ago, it left me for good. Or so I thought. Until, it came back with a vengeance, a couple of days ago. The condition usually starts with cold and sore throat, then rips the body apart with pain from head to toe and saps away all energy. Paracetamol and cold medicine, combined with complete rest usually helps recover in about 3 days. So, I was obviously not in a shape to join the rescue mission. The situation was a bit more complicated by a new spiritual sadhana I’m undertaking.

ShivaThandavam6The Shivanga sadhana is a 42 day process I’ve chosen to go through. It started on Thaipoosam day and will conclude on Mahashivarathri day at the Isha Yoga Center. It requires strict adherence to multiple conditions such as waking up and doing a process called Shiva Namaskar before sunrise in empty stomach after taking bath. One must also take bath twice and do a chanting. Other than a few pepper and neem leaves soaked in honey, a handful of groundnuts soaked in water overnight and lemon juice with honey, no food – liquid or solid – can be consumed till noon. And only two meals can be had during the day. One mustn’t smoke, drink or eat meat during this period, which anyway isn’t a problem for a non-smoking, vegetarian, teetotaler like me. There are also a few more actions to be performed during this period, but these are the daily ones to be adhered to.

I had to make a choice to continue the sadhana (which pretty much tests each joint in the body and its overall flexibility), despite my body being not in the best shape to perform it. And I did. There was obviously much pain to be endured, but there wasn’t any suffering, while being part of this dance of Life. Pain is physical, directly related to the body and can be endured by the will of mind. Suffering is in the mind and the choice to suffer is made by us. Chances are, we combine pain with suffering and are left confused by the consequences.

Sadhguru_DevotionRamana Maharishi suffered from arthritis. He endured the physical pain but didn’t suffer. The Paramacharya of Kanchi is said to have underwent a cataract surgery, while being fully conscious. He would’ve certainly endured the physical pain but wouldn’t have suffered because of that. my Master Sadhguru once met with an accident that required multiple stitches on his leg. When the doctor in the nearby health center told him that he didn’t have the wherewithal for anesthesia, Sadhguru asked him to proceed with the stitches anyway, assuring him that the pain to the physical body will be endured without any suffering. I’m nowhere close to these illustrious enlightened beings, but could certainly relate to what they must’ve gone through.

Life is full of choices. Every one of us has to make those choices at each stage in Life. Many even each day of Life.

The choices made in personal Life will chart the course of the entire Life, in this lifetime. The choices made in professional Life – a generous mix of decisions and risks – will determine the arc of one’s career graph.

The choice of where and what you study – usually the dad’s – determines whether you live and prosper doing what you love to or end up pushing mails, staring at documents made with the ubiquitous MS Office endlessly and doze through countless BAU meetings, till you retire someday, by chance or choice.

OMG-MonkeybI made the choice to let go of a chance to do B.Arch in REC (now NIT) and joined a private engineering college (very good one, of course) in my home state instead. For a long time I blamed it on an uncle, who usually made choices about everyone’s Life in the family, until one fine day I realized it was my choice after all. Who knew at that time that I was destined to meet my lady love (who has been my better half for over 17 years now), who lived just a street away, while still in college!

In the college, I made another strange choice to study electronics & communication, instead of the new buzz called computer science that was offered to me on a platter. Friends can easily be blamed for that, but by now we know that it’s pretty pointless, don’t we! I still occasionally visit my alma mater for recruitment and joke about my choice!

KashGarden5sThe choice of who you marry – usually the mom’s, at least in this part of the world – decides how the rest of your Life is going to be. While moms are usually endearing, they nevertheless test your endurance almost unfailingly on this choice.

I, thankfully, chose who I’ll marry myself (and cajoled my parents to agree to arrange the marriage ;-)) and thereby don’t have any regrets. That she turned out be the better half of the whole made it sweeter! That my parents aren’t too amused by the fact that three of my four younger brothers took the love route for wedding bliss, following my lead, is a an altogether different matter! :O

Growth3The choice of who you work for or what you do for a living – usually the dad’s or an uncle’s – at least the first employer or business, decides how your career will shape up. The employers I chose to skip or the ones I decided to work for were all my choices. And I don’t regret any of my choices till date as each one had enriched my Life in their own way!

Sujatha1My first (and only till date) story was published in the Ananda Vikatan magazine in Dec 1990. It was a simple 1 page story about a caged parrot and a youngster’s (naturally, yours truly) angst against its suffering and his inability to do anything about it. I got a copy of the magazine and Rs.75 (a big amount at that time) for it. Another one was accepted for publication in Dhinamalar Kathai Malar, but the magazine itself didn’t get published. A poem also got published in another magazine. The significance of that achievement – especially for a small time youngster like me – didn’t register well in my mind to make me focus on my writing skill to emulate my idols such as the prolific, versatile and popular Sujatha. I didn’t have a mentor to guide my pursuit in that path (that I didn’t listen to many didn’t help either). I made a choice not to continue trying to get my writing published (I didn’t stop writing though), an obviously poor choice.

Bucket-list1Decades later, I made another choice to rekindle that fire within and started writing again, as a blogger this time. I also made another choice to stick to a schedule (that’s completely unlike me) and publish a post regularly, which earned the moniker of ‘Monday Morning Post’ from one of my avid readers. Those choices and the response my posts have received so far has motivated me to start the pursuit of getting my book(s) published, sooner than later. In retrospect, another choice I’ve made when I was very young – to read a lot (pretty much anything and everything) and watch Hollywood movies (of all kinds) helped shape my linguistic skills to such an extent that I can write and speak impromptu and express myself freely, when I want to, without pre-selecting a topic or preparing for it. Now, it won’t be preposterous to say “I write, therefore I am!

All the choices naturally have consequences (Merovingian’s speech on cuasality in the Matrix is a must watch). The choices that result in celebratory outcomes are hailed as wise and labeled good. The ones that result in failure or ignominy are howled at and branded bad. But good or bad are just subjective perspectives based one’s limited knowledge accumulated through the five senses in a given social milieu.

Gandhi3Mahatma Gandhi made a choice on a railway platform in South Africa that not only made him the Father of the Nation of his motherland, but also gave hope to many a leader world over such as Mandela that it is possible to gain freedom sans violence.

Abe Lincoln made a choice to abolish slavery that changed the course of history. Several decades later, another democrat named Barack Obama made a choice that elevated him to be the first African American President of that same nation. Two choices that made an indelible mark on a nation’s history and gave hope to a million aspirations.

stevejobsappleSteve Jobs made a choice to not toe the line of appliance makers and decided to make iThings that are an enchanting combination of form and function instead. His company named after a fruit became synonymous to design elegance and eventually became the most valuable technology company on earth. His choice to return to the company he founded (from which he was chucked out unceremoniously) turned out to be the greatest second act in the history of business!

Daniel Pink made a choice to question long standing notions about human thinking and motivation, dared to think different and write about his ideas. His radical and bold ideas have hope to millions of right brainers worldwide who were conditioned to believe that they’re destined to be the odd ones out. Swamy is one of them!

MSDhoni_Sixer_WCFinalMS Dhoni made a choice to hit a towering sixer to score the winning runs in a world cup final instead of inching towards victory safely and went on to become India’s only second captain to win that coveted prize, ever. His ascent to the top and way of play paved the way for many small town lads with big hopes make inroads into the glitzy world of cricket.

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas made the choice to stick to their original ideas instead of making run-of-the-mill movies, persisted until they got their break and ended up making the blockbusters Jaws and Star Wars respectively, each spawning their own successful series. Later they joined hands and went on to make another successful series with a laid back archaeologist wearing a hat and carrying a whip, going around the world looking for priceless artifacts while fighting countless baddies. Just mention ‘Indiana Jones’ and fan boys the world over will get goosebumps, even today.

The choices made by these distinguished individuals were like the third side of a coin and resulted in consequences that made an indelible impact in both their and our lives.

Of course, there are also those who made poor choices and ended up not only facing the consequences, but also let down millions who held them truly, madly, deeply at the high altar as role models. Intriguingly, many such poor choices are in the world of sports and business.

Love115Lance Armstrong made a choice to win by any means, denied all allegations vehemently, but ended up accepting and regretting it eventually. He let down all those who believed in him and stood by him.

Tiger Woods fell from grace and the top position he held for record time due to the choices he made in personal Life.

The awe inspiring blade runner Oscar Pistorius is the latest addition to this list, due to a poor choice he made a few days ago.

Screaming4Nokia, the world’s top cell phone maker once, made a choice to not join the popular and growing Android bandwagon and instead adopted the then unknown and still uncertain Windows platform and ceded its crown to Samsung, which made a smart choice to make phones for both platforms!

Many successful brick and mortar stores that didn’t heed the wakeup call for becoming click and mortar are now left ruing that choice.

Scores of financial behemoths made choices that ruined their name, fame and ended up in the pool of shame.

Cheering5The choices we make will also result in consequences that’ll define how we’re remembered by the world we live in.

While the choices in Life are many, the chances to make such choices aren’t that many. In fact, Life offers only one chance for each choice, whoever you are and whatever you do. Learn how to know that one Chance for a(ny) Choice!

P.S.: To comment and share this post after reading is a Choice you’ve to make!

Love + Gratitude = @PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer :-)
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