Tag Archives: Business

Life Math!

23 Mar

Math is fun only for a select few, historically. Even for the great BhArathi, the MahAkavi, it was “கணக்கு, பிணக்கு, ஆமணக்கு,” something that was not just a struggle but even bitter. So, it isn’t that hard to imagine how Math is for lesser mortals. If it’s that complex a subject in the academic syllabus, then how complicated it should be in Life? Is it any wonder the species that never tires of boasting about it’s extra 6th sense, keeps on failing to score even the bare minimum pass score in “Life Math!”

1+1 is never equal to 1.
That’s why lovers who marry, even after several years of being in love, are shocked to find they are still 2 distinct individuals and can’t merge into 1 being, as they’ve imagined. Nor can business or any kind of partners. When neither is willing to let go of one’s distinct sense of identity, the individual will remain as 1 and 1+1 will always be 2.

1/2 + 1/2 = 1

Lord ShivA, aka the One (he’s Mahadeva, i.e. God of Gods, after all) knew this (obviously) and was prudent to merge his spouse (kind of hard to say who is the better half among the PurushA & Prakriti) into himself and become ArdhanhAreeswarA (part ShivA & part Shakthi), when it comes to walking the talk, i.e. offering an experiential learning opportunity on how the Life Math is done (he happens to be DakshiNAmUrthy, the Adi Guru, as well), but the Homo Sapiens aren’t capable learners, apparently.

But even if we take a few lifetimes to elevate ourselves to contemplate & comprehend the Adiyogi’s teachings, t

here are a couple of ways the life math can be made to work

, in this lifetime itself.

1×1 = 1.

But for this math to work in life, both the 1s have to collaborate & work together to create the force multiplier effect. Unfortunately, the individual 1s mostly stop with the force and keep multiplying it.

This works well, at least for a while, in business partnerships, since partners usually bring different skill sets and capabilities to the table. Remember the 2 Steves who created the fruit company (ahem, that would be Apple).

1/1 is also =1.

But for this equation to happen in life, either of the two 1s should be willing to go down, i.e. let go of their individual identity or ego. Every husband & wife knows – by experience, obviously – that’s just a fantasy or fantastic dream.

This is how a Guru-sishyA relationship works though. Neither does a real Guru (Realised Master) show of his Allness, ever, disseminating all that s/he knows to any sincere seeker, nor does the disciple mind getting chiselled pertinently, until s/he loses any sense of individual identity left.

1+0 is always equal to one.
The 1 is the individual, with many an identity, including but not limited to, name, education, status, title, religion, region, etc. S/he imagines being unique & distinct. That’s the mind trap, but it’s a very attractive & deceptive trap, in which the individual is willing to remain, for lifetimes.

Tonnes of Karma keeps piling up and the repetitive birth-death cycle goes on and on…

The 0 is the divine that’s within the individual, not a digit without any value, but one that’s absolute. That’s exactly why the 0 added after any numeral increases its value manifold.

That 0 waits patiently for the 1 to first realise it & then merge with it or dissolve into it. When that happens, when the realisation dawns upon the individual self, when the creation realises the magnificent presence of the creator glowing silently within the creation, every single being in existence – not just the individual, then the 1 becomes the 0. That’s also when, 1 and 0, which were 2 before, transform into 1, i.e. The One!

😇

AUM PUrNam-adah PUrNam-idam PUrNAt-PUrNam-udachyate
PUrNasya PUrNam-AdhAya PUrNam-Eva-avashissyate
AUM ShAntih ShAntih ShAntih

PUrNam-idam PUrNAt-PUrNam-udachyate
PUrNasya PUrNam-AdhAya PUrNam-Eva-avashissyate
AUM ShAntih ShAntih ShAntih

PUrNasya PUrNam-AdhAya PUrNam-Eva-avashissyate
AUM ShAntih ShAntih ShAntih

😇

AUM That (divine / creator / real Self) is complete / whole; This (individual / creation / non-real self) self is complete / whole; Everything (in existence) manifests from that which is complete / whole (all of creation are manifest forms of the unmanifest divine or NhirguNa Parabrahmam).
(even) When (this – individual) whole is taken from (that – divine) whole, that which remains is (still) whole (omnipresent divine that is infinite & all pervading in nature).
AUM peace.. peace.. peace..

Be Joyful 😌& Spread the Cheer 🌻

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

STOP to Start!

19 Sep

Swamy got a request to motivate students in a college recently. Swamy being what he is, a little bit of preliminary excavation happened, to understand the situation (not problem or challenge – always) better. What was supposed to be an hour or two long lecture on motivation (which, at least in Swamy’s view, is a sheer waste of time and energy on everyone’s part because motivating someone is near the top of the BAUHumbug list), may eventually blossom into a long-term intervention that will help the students get equipped to face the survival war zone called corporate career. But this post isn’t about that (though you’re welcome to avail Swamy’s Human Potential DISCovery + NURTURE offerings, for yourself or your organisation or institution). 

This kind of pointless flurry of activities happen all around us – especially so in the corporate training or learning & development space. 

80% of the training that’s offered to employees of corporates will remain ineffective because they don’t STOP before they start. 

Blinking..? Read on to know the Ws!

Anything a being – including silly humans – does in Life will be done better, if that being or the organization that the being is part of learns to STOP before they Start, well, anything in Life.

“S”trategy – What are you doing / going to do. To get to where you want to be. By when. 

Most people confuse Strategy with Why or How, but it is essentially the big What.

What do I / we want to be 10 years from now?

What will be the growth in our market cap 5 years from now?

What will our customers need 3 years from now?

What changes I / we must make to raise the bar of output / outcome by x% an year from now?

Consultants (yep, those suited, booted folks speaking jargolingo non-stop for hours to make you believe that your well-run business is doomed if you don’t adopt some vague cutting edge model with the tailored framework they’ll offer specifically to you for a pro fee of $300 / hour – oh, that’s a conservative estimate 😨) will vehemently raise their hands and voice that the last one isn’t strategy. Who gives a damn anyway, for it’s their business to survive on such hazy minutae .

In essense, if you don’t know what you want to be that’ll get you where you want to be in a certain amount of time – in future, obviously – whatever you’re about to start (or already doing) is going to sputter someway along like an automobile that ran out of fuel on a deserted road where your fancy mobile costing a bomb couldn’t find VoLTE signal to call for help!

Pic: The starting line-up for the 10km run, Chennai Marathon 2015 – Mrs & Jr Swamy are seen alongside the head of Isha Vidhya – a rural education initiative by Isha Foundation, to support which thousands of Isha Yoga meditators participate in the annual event. 

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“T”acticsHow are you going to do what you want to do to get where you want to be, by whenever (years or months or weeks or days or hours…).

Leaders (genuine ISI certified or generic ISO certified) spend tremendous amounts of time, effort & energy in Strategy, instead of Tactics, which is neither smart nor wise.

Contrary to popular belief, this is what leaders need to focus on and invest their energy, thoughts and action in, not the former one (though that’s important – to begin with), nor the latter (which we’ll get to know shortly anyway, won’t we). In fact, those who get immersed in the latter aren’t leaders at all, because they inadvertently cause more harm to realising their own vision. 

How will we become the No.2 player in our chosen space? (leave the No.1 to those who love high BP & excessive cholestrol & be joyful

How will we differentiate our product / service from the umpteen pretenders?

How can we navigate around the known roadblocks to get to where we want to go?

In a nutshell, this is the pacing of the marathon (Swamy’s long-distance runner bro & s-i-l will be delighted ;), without which, your chances of finishing the marathon (far more important than winning – ask any Olympian, if in doubt) are as slim as those models on the ramp with ridiculous waists that can’t hold that barely there clothing!

Pic: Swamy Jr Akash PC Iyer setting the pace in a segment of the 10km run, in the Chennai Marathon 2015. This was his first Marathon. 

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Operations – Ops is the Oops part of whatever you want to do, to get to wherever you want to be, by whenever.  

This is the breakdown of your S, i.e. What, based on the T, i.e. How, into actionable bits and pieces that can be comprehended, owned and acted upon by individuals and/or teams. Usually misunderstood as the plan, since Managers love to have as many plans as they can (isn’t that why they’re aka Damagers :O).

The crux of Oops, ahem, Ops is action, not the plan. 

In the IT services space (just as an example – other spaces aren’t that different), customers got so pissed off by the quantum of planning, which is grossly disproportionate to the quantum of action, they embraced a new model called Agile, almost en masse’ a few years ago. Reason is, Agile is all action – daily and hourly. Accountable action. That’s what Ops should be, not reviewing based on a plan what didn’t happen and why, a week or month or half-an-year later. But Agile is just an example. Ops is action. Period.

Pic: A sea of runners in action, in support of Isha Vidhya, at the Chennai Marathon 2015.

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, what the heck is the P then? Before that, let’s do a quick rewind to see if you’re ready to STO-P!

S(trategy) – What do you want to do / be, by when. S is envisioning (& articulating – for the benefit of believers / followers / doers to comprehend) the entire marathon, not just the start or stop.

  • Top-10 best-selling book in 3 years 
  • Medal at world championships 
  • 50% market share 
  • 100% placement for students

<fill your S here>

T(actics) – How do you go about where you want to be. T is comprehending (& detailing – for the rest of non-suit types to know) how to compete & complete the marathon.

  • Define the reader demography for the Top-10 bestselling book.
  • Will the style be third-person storytelling or first-person narration of events and facts. 
  • Ebooks or paperback or both. 
  • First of a trilogy or stand-alone. 

<detail your T here>

O(perations) – What are all the things that need to be done by when to get to where you want to be to be whatever you want to be. Oops, that’s how detailed Ops has to be, but not necessarily that confusing. 😀

  • What is the daily fitness routine? Each for how long? At what time?
  • What’s the change in daily diet? How many times to eat? What? When?
  • Which are the tournaments / competitions that are useful for progress? How to register? What’s the fee? Where will the registration fee come from? Who’ll do the travel & accommodation booking?
  • When do the reviews of progress happen? What will be reviewed? How to get instant feedback on changes to be made to the routine?

<list down your O here>

Pic: Wow, we’ve done it. Swamily, all 3 of them (their 2 charming 4-legged daughters couldn’t register to run along) have completed the 10km run in the Chennai Marathon 2015. Swamy & Mrs can’t run, due to major surgery in their left legs, so they walked the distance. Jr ran & walked the distance, for the first time in this lifetime. 
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You’re ready for P, only after filling the <your> segments of STO. No kidding! ✋

All right, you’ve now got the (aha, finally, something truly valuable, in this lifetime) Strategy, Tactics & Operations of something you want to accomplish. Is it time to start? Not so fast, dear reader.🙋

Do you know Why you want to do whatever you want to do to be wherever you want to be?

P is the Why. Big Why, i.e. Purpose.

Without clarity of Purpose, however fantastic your vision is, whatever level of insight your detailing has, whichever depth of detail your action plan has.. won’t still get you to wherever you want to be by when you want. 

Gandhi had clarity of Purpose. He got India freedom from the brits, once and for all.

Bolt had clarity of Purpose. He will remain a living legend, the greatest sprinter ever, for a long time.

Sadhguru had clarity of Purpose. His creation – the only Dhyanalinga on this planet – will sow the seed of liberation in all seekers who set foot in his space, for a very long time.

Pic: Swamily’s Purpose for participating in the Chennai Marathon – raise awareness about & support Isha Vidhya. 

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What’s your Purpose! Why do you want to do whatever you want to do?

That’s the P of STOP. The last but the most important piece of the puzzle. 

That’s Why you need to focus on the P first.👍

<fill your P here>.

That’s how you STOP before you Start – the Life Marathon!

Note: Isha Vidhya is an official Charity partner of the Chennai Marathon in 2016. Swamily will be participating to support Isha Vidhya, naturally. You too can!

Be joyful & spread the cheer 😃

~Swamy

@PrakashSwamy

Value of Values!

8 Sep

​Value of Values! ~ Swamystery Nano Blog #3

One of the most abused words in the long, never-ending corridors of corporate concrete (& steel & glass) jungles is Value.☝️

Every Ram, Durga & Hari (howzatt for the BAUHumbug Tom, Dick & Harry, eh 😁) will use it as 3rd bullet of every slide or 4th sentence of every conversation, especially in meetings where the corner cozy room suit types are sitting around, pretending to listen seriously when they’re actually forced to contain a parade of yawns. 😩

If you’re genuinely interested in creating (& offering) true value to your customers, the most important thing to do is not to dig around in the ruins of Mohanjo Daro to find something resembling it but to put yourself in the customers’ Skechers GoWalk 3 & contemplate what would be truly valuable for you (ahem.. them), if you choose to buy a product or avail a service from them (umm.. you). 

The outcome of such contemplation can make you (& the suit types) very uncomfortable, because what you thought of as great value may just be brushed away as a mere exotic (read ‘useless’) feature or unwanted attribute by the customer. Adding to your woes, what they truly value as true value, may require a complete redesign (& build & test) of your product or service, if at all it has to be of any value. Yikes, so much for creating Value! 

Well, before you throw that value-filled (but obviously not so valuable) deck away and storm out of the conference room (to the coffee shop, where else – it’s still work hours, after all),  there’s a unique (& often ignored) thing found deep within the jargon jungle, which can help you like a ‘Udukkai izhandhavan kaipOla’* (like your hands, when your pants slip 😕). It’s called Values.👌

If your Values (i.e. your business entity’s / service organisation’s) are right (driven by purpose), unwavering (what you commit to is what you do, no matter what) & intact (remain the same despite any & all pressure to change it to favour someone), then you’ll always be delivering only Value to the customer, because there’s no other agenda – hidden or otherwise. Simple as that.

If not, your colorful PowerPoint (or Keynote or GSlides) deck will lie among the Harappan ruins, i.e. bullshit stockpile of millions of such decks, docs & sheets, which were once thought to be valuable (only by their creator, obviously) but were exposed to be nothing but the Emperor’s new clothes! 

~Swamy

* Thirukkural 788

உடுக்கை இழந்தவன் கைபோல ஆங்கே 

இடுக்கண் களைவதாம் நட்பு. 

True friendship is removing the distress (of a friend) swiftly like a hand that rushes to hold the pants (clothing) when it slips (falls off). 

NATYA – a simple formula for success

25 Oct

On Vijayadasami day (Oct 22, 2015), considered auspicious for Vidhyarambham (initiation of learning, of all kinds, including performing arts) in Bharat, Swamy was invited to be one of the chief guests for a classical dance event. While Swamy doesn’t have any claim to be associated with dance in any way (he at least actively listens to many kinds of music, including the classical, and even sings & plays percussion instruments, though not formally trained in either), he chose to accept the invite as a mark of respect for the tremendous amount of effort that goes into learning an art or craft (or even sport for that matter, which Swamy has witnessed up-close-and-personal as he’s been part of the quest to raise Jr as a sports – Chess – champion) by all beings involved – the learner (usually an eager child), the learned (the teacher, trainer, coach or Guru, who trains many eager children), the learning enablers (usually parents and a few near & dear) and the learning itself, which is an excruciating, arduous & invariably long process that inevitably consumes a significant part of the childhood. But on any day, Swamy would gladly vote for children spending time learning a performing art, craft or sport, instead of wasting long hours pointlessly in rote learning.

wpid-20151022_181121.jpgThe event Swamy was invited to was a Salangai Puja, to mark the elevation of learners of classical dance from beginner to intermediate level, by letting them wear the salangai on their legs (around the ankle) for the first time, after a few years of learning the basics of classical dance – Bharatanatyam, in this case. The learners will continue to learn for a few more years under the Guru before they can do the Arangetram, i.e., first (typically public) solo performance, announcing to the world that s/he is ready to perform the dance independently anywhere.

SP31Four children – Adhira, Shailaja, Shivadarshini & Srujana – from Siva Natyalaya (the popular dance school of Mrs. Bhuvanadevi Karthikeyan located at Madambakkam, near the famed ancient Shiva temple) were elevated by their Guru to the next level on Vijayadasami & Swamy was one of the chief guests (the other two – Mrs. M.R.Lakshmi & Mrs. Krishnakumari Karthikeyan – were eminent persons from music & dance arenas respectively). This blog post is an excerpt of Swamy’s speech at the salangai puja (not his first public speech but certainly the first at a performing arts or cultural event).

NATYA – a simple formula for success

SP4Swamy’s speech at Siva Natyalaya’s Bharatanatyam Salangai Puja (சலங்கை பூஜை) event in Chennai on 22-Oct-2015 (the speech was in Tamizh தமிழ், which Swamy is quite conversant with, as it happens to be his mother tongue தாய்மொழி)

Namaskaram. After seeing my profession on the invitation (in chaste தமிழ், no less), you must’ve been wondering about what I really do for a living and what relationship do I’ve, if any, with dance!

பிரகாஷ் ராமஸ்வாமி – முழுமை வழிகாட்டி, மனித உள் ஆற்றல் கண்டறிதல் மற்றும் பேணி வளர்த்தல் வல்லுநர் 

SP14I too have wondered the same way about the dance part, as unlike the other two chief guests here – one from the classical music world (learning from none other than the great Semmangudi himself) & the other from the classical dance world (whose grandfather learned from the legendary Balasaraswathi), I’ve nothing to do with dance. Music has been a part of my Life but dance not so much. But as I also write (blogs now, books soon), it’s natural for me to ponder about things and wonder about connections between seemingly unrelated things. When I thought about me & dance, it dawned upon me that there indeed is a powerful connect. And that is Adiyogi (Swamy pointed to the bronze Nataraja statue on the stage that was decked up with flowers for the auspicious occasion).

SP2As someone on the spiritual path for the about 6 years now through Isha yoga, we’re deeply reverential to Adiyogi. Shiva is considered the first yogi in the yogic culture. Incidentally, he also happens to be the Lord of Dance, i.e. Nataraja. His famed dance is the Tandava – in Ananda & Rudra forms – and he’s also known as Thandavakkon in Tamizh because of this. So, now you know the connection between Swamy and dance (the audience chuckle). 

SP9Once that became clear, I’ve thought about what to say in this forum, where eminent persons from music & dance arena are there and children are performing the traditional Bharatanatyam dance beautifully with able guidance from their Guru & the accompanying musicians. Since children are familiar with formulas in many subjects they learn at school such as maths, physics & chemistry, it would be appropriate to give them a simple formula for achieving success in their quest to become eminent classical dancers. And that simple formula is NATYA. Very easy to remember (as the term itself means dance) and hopefully to follow & practice as well.

SP10N is Nada. Nada means sound. The universe that we’re part of is said to have originated from sound –  the primordial sound AUM. Recently, NASA scientists have managed to make the sound of Sun audible and it incredibly sounds as AUM (which isn’t surprising for our ancient culture as the many sages & enlightened beings have figured it out many centuries ago). All Creation is said to be just sound and the creator is also known as Nada Brahma. For dance too, the basis is sound. We’ve seen how beautifully the word Pankajam in a song was depicted as blossoming of lotus by the children. When we hear the word (sound) and see the depiction through gestures or mudras (movement or expression), we can connect with it easily and can comprehend better. 

What’s critical in this relationship is the alignment – between sound and movement in the case of dance. It could be something else for other types of Life pursuits. Alignment with a source, principle, goal or purpose. If your action is in alignment with a purpose, the result will be beautiful and the expreince will be joyful.

SP12A is Agnostic. In these turbulent times of religious intolerance, agnostic is a very sensitive world. But agnostic doesn’t just mean non-believer. It also means someone who is not biased – towards good or bad, like or dislike, progressive or regressive and so on. Shiva is also known as Aghori, someone for whom nothing is ghori or horrible. He accepts everything as it is. The people surrounding him are always depicted as demented beings, but he loves them the same way he would love any other being. He’s as comfortable being in the graveyard smeared in ash, wearing skeletons as he’s in his magnificent Somasundareswara form (worshipped in the famous Madurai Meenakshi temple, in Swamy’s home town). That’s why he symbolises Life the way it is. 

As a learner of dance (or anything for that matter), you shouldn’t be biased towards one or the other. I like this adavu or I don’t like that jathi. This song is more beatiful to perform than that song. I prefer that accompanying person to this one. Your focus should remain just the dance itself (performance or action). And you’ll just accept everything else around it as it is. Nothing is good or bad, no likes or dislikes. Everything just the way it is. That’s being agnostic.

SP21T is Transendence. Loosly translated (as Swamy was speaking in Tamizh – a far deeper, more delightful & meaningful classical language), it is elevating oneself from the present state to a state that’s many levels above or beyond. In the yogic path, it is achieving the state of Samadhi – an eternal state of bliss, which enlightened beings are said to be in, all the time. 

In dance (or any performance or action), Transendence is not just for the dancer (to go from a learner to a spectacular performer) but for the spectators too (going from hmmm to wow). You should reach a level of performance where there’s no stage, no accompanying artists, no spectators, not even the dancer but just the dance. That kind of a dance would bring tears flooding from the eyes of anyone blessed to be present. Tandava certainly would’ve done that to the sages and celestial beings who may’ve witnessed it, as Tandava is the dance of transendence. Both at cosmic and atomic level as creation is also known as the dance of Shiva.

SP28Y is Yearning. Not earning, which unfortunately is the focus of many star performers in any performing art today. Without yearning for something, it’s not possible to achieve the state of transendence. The sages who’ve become enlightened have performed yoga or tapas for many years. The saptarishis have spent not one or two but 84 years in preparing themselves to receive the grace of Adiyogi, who after observing their diligent preparation has become the benevolent Adi Guru (first Guru or Master) as the benevolent Dakshinamurthi to transmit his yogic knowledge to them, several thousands of years ago.

SP23As a dancer (or anyone performing a purposeful action), you must have immense interest and expend tremendous effort to be someone that people line up to see, not because you follow the principles of dance to the T but because being part of your performance lets them transcend to a different level. That’s how you’ll be known as a Balasaraswathi, Rukmini Devi, Padma Subramaniam or Alarmelvalli. In classical music, Bho Shambho belongs to Maharajapuram Santhanam. One can’t think beyond Madurai Mani Iyer when it comes to rendering Ka Vaa Vaa. Suprabatham is synonymous with MS. The same holds true for Kanda Sashti Kavacham and Sulamangalam sisters. Such astonishing levels of achievement is possible for you too, if you truly yearn for it.

SP17A is Absolute. Adiyogi is depicted as either an ascetic in a blissed out state of meditation or ecstatic state of tandava. He’s not partially in either state but absolute in both states. Whenever you perform dance (or any other purposeful action), your intent, focus and intensity has to be absolute. Such a state is not possible if you are performing for others. The performance or action will naturally flow from within and encompass all those who are touched by the performance or action in some way, only when it is absolute. If every moment of our Life is absolute, there’s no other choice for us but to be joyful.

So, that’s the simple formula of NATYA
Nada – action in alignment with a purpose.
Agnostic – accepting Life the way it is, without any kind of bias.
Transendence – elevating oneself & others from the mundane routine to an eternal state of bliss.
Yearning – immense interest and effort to achieve peak performance.
Absolute – intent, focus & intensity to achive transendence.

SP35Nataraja’s (Shiva in the form of Lord of Dance) dance Tandava is said to depict or embody the 5 thatvasSrishti (ஆக்கல் அல்லது படைத்தல்), Sthiti (காத்தல் அல்லது பொறுத்தல்), Samhara (அழித்தல் அல்லது மாற்றல்), Tirobhava (மறைத்தல் அல்லது மாயை விளையாடல்) & Anugraha (அருளல் அல்லது விடுவித்தல்).

It’s easy to see the NATYA formula is directly associated with the 5 Tandava thatvas (தாண்டவ தத்துவம்). But if I start explaining that now, the organisers may open their Netrikkan (third eye), as we’re running out of time. So, let me conclude by requesting you to use the NATYA formula for success in your pursuit of Dance. May Nataraja’s Grace be with you for a purposeful Life of dance overflowing with Joy.

The following is an extension to the speech (not shared at the event due to paucity of time), connecting the dots between NATYA & Tandava.

SP29Nada = Srishti (creation or Shiva as the source of creation) – Life of creation (humans inclusive) in alignment with the creator.
Agnostic = Sthiti (existence or Shiva as the preserver of creation) – Accepting Life the way it is, without any personal bias.
Transendence = Samhara (transformation or Shiva as the transformer of creation) – Elevating oneself (& others in one’s presence) from the mundane routine to an eternal state of bliss
Yearning = Tirobhava (maya or Shiva as the master who plays with the ignorance of his creation) – Having immense interest and willing to expend any amount of effort to know the Truth or purpose of Life.
Absolute = Anugraha (enlightenment or Shiva as the Guru who benevolently enables one to achieve and remain in the state of eternal bliss) – Having absolute clarity of intent/purpose, total focus and burning intensity to achive self-realization.

SP34As there is Nada Yoga (yoga of sound), there is also Natya Yoga (yoga of dance or movement). Dance, when performed as an offering to the ultimate (Shiva as Nataraja) and not as a mere performance, has the potential to let the performer transcend to the state of bliss. Just the way being in the mere presence of a realized being (like Sadhguru) can elevate a seeker to a different state of Life experience (beyond the known physical, limited to the five senses), being present during the perormance of a dancer whose dance is an offering to the Lord of Dance can and will let the participants transcend to a different level of experience – akin to being present during Nataraja’s Tandava itself.

NATYA(Oct-15)May Adiyogi’s grace be with you to immerse yourself in and experience the joyful dance of Life!

@PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

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The truth about Truth!

25 Sep

The hardest thing about Truth is, 80% – at least – humans will be confused, shocked, disappointed or disillusioned when they experience it.

OMG-KirabWhen you didn’t get that bike with gears for your birthday, it wasn’t because your dad didn’t love you, but he couldn’t afford it, at that time. He still got you a cycle though.

 

When you didn’t score the highest mark in your favourite subject, it wasn’t because the teacher didn’t teach well, but you didn’t reproduce exactly what was taught. The  evaluator doesn’t know or care about your linguistic prowess & has to correct hundreds of answer sheets with similar answers.

OMG-MonkeybWhen you didn’t ace your first job interview, it wasn’t because the interviewer was satan’s incarnation, but you were too cocky about your theoretical knowledge. She could easily pick a better one, who was humbler too.

 

When your couldn’t buy the motorcycle or car of your dreams with your annual bonus, it wasn’t because the vehicle was overpriced, but you had other expenses or debt to be paid off. Your friend bought it without breaking the bank because he had the sense to invest a % of his pay, every month.

 

OMG-A-BranchbWhen you couldn’t marry the love of your Life, it wasn’t because he ditched you for a fairer, richer girl, but you expected him to relocate. He was willing to do that after an year though, since his current project was his ticket to a raise or promotion or both.

When your kid couldn’t get a seat in the marquee school that charges a hefty fee, it wasn’t because the school was communal, but you lived farther & they didn’t have transport. He loved going to the neighbourhood school anyway as he could spend more time having fun with grandparents than sitting in a van full of tired kids.

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When you couldn’t buy that villa you desired, it wasn’t because you couldn’t afford, but because that would’ve hit your plan to get your kid coached professionally in the sport he loved. Your choice to buy an apartment in the neighbourhood where you live paid off big time anyway as the real estate price soared.

When your parents refused to leave your home town to live with you in the big bad city, it wasn’t because they abhorred your family, but because they were comfortable with the idyllic slow-paced Life of the small town where everyone knows everyone else & care to stop by & enquire about wellbeing – including yours. You used to love that place & parents too, while you were growing up!

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Experience of Truth is cathartic. It’s hard to accept, because most of your living is a facade, which, unfortunately, you’ve started liking & enjoying.

Truth even hurts most times because you can’t do anything about it. So, you inevitably end up doing all kinds of drama, pointing fingers at others & blaming them for what’s essentially your doing. In short, you’re stuck in your own maze.

There are three choices when it comes to Truth.

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First is “It’s not my fault!“, i.e. denial & running away.
That’s what you do most of your Life. And you know it sucks.
Second is “So what!”, i.e. defiance & resisting change.
That’s what your ego does to you many times. And you know that hurts.
Third is “Now what!”, i.e. acceptance & taking action.
That’s the way to comprehend the truth about Truth!

Be joyful 😌 & spread the cheer 👌
@PrakashSwamy

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The Witness!

2 Jul

AK_TNEA2015A more than decade long quest – against odds, obviously – crossed a significant milestone this week, when Akash. PC. Iyer, aka Swamy Jr., a professional Chess player of international repute, ranked 2nd in the TNEA sports category overall, secured a seat at the prestigious CEG campus of Anna University.

20150628_140411While heaving a huge sigh of relief, Swamy couldn’t help ponder about the challenging journey itself (which started amidst a number of raised eyebrows and wide open mouths 11 years ago, with only TeamAK – Mr & Mrs Swamy, Jr & Coach SA Krishna – being true believers of this improbable quest, which is all set to continue, with Jr. aiming to become a GrandMaster before he graduates) and the many travellers of varied hue (including dark gray), size (of ego) and shape (of ambition, subversion or submission) who kept joining, trespassing, leaving, misdirecting or helping & guiding along the way. His pondering led him to an interesting destination (at least, an interim one) called UG (coincidental with what Jr. is going to pursue at the university, i.e., UG), where he got astounding insights about why in the enchanting Game of Life, things are the way they were and we still are the way we were!

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The conversation between Lord Krishna and Uddhava, known as Uddhava Gita, is quite possibly the most insightful conversation on Life, Karma, Human nature, the need for & purpose of Guru (or Coach, in case of material Life pursuits) and the ultimate Truth, aka Self-realization.

Krishna_UddhavaUddhava was a favorite devotee of Lord Krishna and served him as a charioteer his entire life. Despite being a charioteer’s charioteer (Lord Krishna was Arjuna’s charioteer during the epic Mahabharata war), he never demanded anything and served his Master with utmost faith.

He is no different from millions of humans who slog daily for an employer (individual or organization) with acquired skill, available knowledge and utmost commitment, expecting just to be paid for whatever they do (job or service), and not much more.

After the Mahabharata war, Krishna insisted that Uddhava ask for boons (wishes) that he can grant & fulfill as his Master.

This is akin to a supervisor or boss asking a loyal employee to request for a raise (in pay or grade or both) or release (to pursue one’s own interest – if that’s different from what one does for a living).

uddhava-gitaInstead of asking for boons or wishing for wealth, Uddhava sought to have a conversation with Lord Krishna based on a few questions he had & the Lord readily agreed. The all-seeing, all-knowing & all-being Lord Krishna also declared that this conversation shall be regarded asUddhava Gita“.

This is not too different from a mentoring conversation that helps a Mentee gain information, insight and wisdom from the Mentor.

Here is a part of the conversation between Uddhava and Lord Krishna.

Aside from the not-so-obvious spiritual context, this conversation is assured to offer deep insights into the human psyche, our wayward way of Life full of quirks and incorrigible acts and desolation leading to utter despair in many aspects. Though all the situations in our Life are a result of our own thoughts and actions, we usually neither acknowledge that (which could lead to introspection resulting in possible ways out of the quagmire) nor accept that (which will lead to moving ahead, instead of being stuck in the self-pit(y) forever) and end up blaming every unexpected outcome, that’s far from desired, on others – including, but certainly not limited to, gigantic planets far off from ours!

Lord-Krishna-In-a-Forest-With-Cow-Natural-ImageUddhava: Who is the real friend?

Krishna: A person who stands by his close ones in need, even without being called.

That pretty much means you gotta be around the near and dear, anytime and all the time. Not necessarily being physically present (an instantaneous human assumption – obviously incorrect like any assumption) but available nevertheless. Also, the expectation is for you to stand by, i.e., support them like a rock, come what may. There goes ‘Pride & Prejudice’, thrown out of the umpteenth floor, sea view balcony!

70 Bhagavatha - Uddhava Gita

70 Bhagavatha – Uddhava Gita

Uddhava: Excellent!

For all the years, the Pandavas treated you as their beloved friend, as ‘apathbandhava’. But,
Why did you not stop the gambling game?
Why did you let the Pandavas lose, even as you had every power in your hand to turn that situation and stop this whole war?
What forced you to not act?

Uddhava_Gita2Krishna: The rule of this world is, one who has viveka (true wisdom or awareness) wins the game. In this case Duryodhana had wisdom, so he won the game.

Life’s a game. Unfortunately, like any game we have an opportunity to play, we misunderstand, mishandle and miss the fun in this one too. And like in any game, even the best players can commit the worst mistakes (just in terms of playing). This is exemplified by Dharmaputra’s compulsive gambling (demonstrating a shockingly obvious lack of any kind of wisdom) that led to him losing everything, blindsided to the point where there was nothing else to pledge, and resulting in pawning his (& his 4 brothers’) wife. Considered to be one of the wisest humans (of that time), Yudishtra doesn’t appear to be the smartest (not just at that time). His choice(s) led the Pandavas to a life of misery, suffering and even loss of identity (for the last one year of their life in exile).

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Uddhava: was astounded beyond belief and asked,

How is that even possible? Weren’t the Pandavas on the side of Truth? How can Duryodhana be right?
Krishna: Duryodhana was not completely aware of dice game, its tricks and rules. He made a smart call to seek uncle Shakuni’s help to play the game. Now that is viveka.
Yudhishtra, on the other hand, not only did not invite me to the game but also informed his people to not let me know about the game.
The Pandavas even prayed to not seek help and bet everything against the odds.
Had they invited me, and had I played against Shakuni, the game and its outcome would have been entirely different. Perhaps we would not even have fought the war, as you said.

The joy of any game isn’t in winning it (nor is the sorrow in losing it), but in playing it – wholeheartedly, with utmost vigor and absolute involvement. Knowing how to play certainly helps (Dhuryodhana may not have known how to play well, but certainly seems to knew how to win – using uncle Shakuni, who was not just an exponent of the game of dice, but apparently also with a personal agenda to bring both sides down), but how you play it determines the state you’re and will be. And one must be open to seeking and getting as much help as possible to play.

Most top sportspersons have a Coach, who typically is a former professional player him/herself, offering deeper insights and course corrections that may not be obvious to the player. Many top business leaders have a Mentor or Coach to, not because they are incapable or don’t believe in themselves, but because objective insights, guidance and direction from someone else are respected for the value they bring to accelerate their own growth.

Uddhava_Gita4Uddhava: May be. But if they are your devotees, was it not your responsibility to help them in their need and not wait until they request you to do so? Do you really need prayers or an invitation to help your devotees?
Krishna: This entire creation runs on karma.
Everyone has to abide by it and accept what comes out of their acts in this creation.
I don’t act on it.
I am the ‘witness.’
I stay close with my creation all the time and observe. This is the law for the creator.

Most humans relish success and believe it’s self-created. But when things don’t go the way they expect and the prospect of failure taunts them, the blame games and finger pointing starts in a flurry. ‘The launch wasn’t done at an auspicious time’… ‘Didn’t have a capable team’… ‘Partner cheated and led to the failure’… ‘No one’s willing to help’… ‘Been there, done that’… et al. Whether we play the game (which invariably has rules & procedures), we can either be a player, referee, organiser, mediaperson or spectator. Or all of them. While not believing the illusion that we’re actually any of them.

Uddhava_Gita3Uddhava: If you observe, then how can you let all the evil things prevail in this world.

How can people do bad things, how can there be murders, killings, injustice and all the wrong doings that we come across while you are standing right next to it, watching it happen.
Krishna: I am entitled to be the ‘witness’. I am therefore always present.
But in the middle of admiring this creation, people, out of ignorance or attachment, forget my existence before them and start doing things.
In case of Yudhishtra, he knew I was aware of the game, he knew he wasn’t capable of winning the game, he knew it was bad to bet everything in the game, but he still went ahead, without inviting me.

Though I am always present with them as ‘witness’, people forget my presence and act out of delusion. 

This adds to karmic cycle and they are entitled to continue in that cycle.
Should they choose to act differently, realise my existence and notice that I am ever present, their actions shall differ and hence the results will be different as well.

They will then be able to break the karmic cycle and move to self-realisation.

VishwaroopaDarshanFact is, each one of us is just another happening in this vast creation. But because of our inherent stupidity (despite being endowed with a grossly overrated 6th sense), we firmly believe we know things and are better at doing them than anyone else. At some point in our miserable life, our ego becomes so bloated that it won’t let us seek help even when we know clearly that things are about to go horrendously wrong. Yet, we fail to learn from our failures, and simply take the easy way out of blaming them on other factors or people and continue to slide down the self-destructive path. Thinking, imagining, dreaming only about I-me-myself. Non-stop for 24×365. Lifetime after lifetime!

Grace is the way to break out of this tragic trajectory and enjoy the escape into eternal nothingness, which essentially is everything! And a Guru is someone who can engulf one in boundless Grace and enable the sail – not necessarily smooth – towards Oneness or Allness*!

This classic conversation between Krishna & Uddhava eloquently (and needless to say, eminently) captures the big dilemma most of the people suffer, while trying to comprehend the absurdity of existence such as what is creation, creator and the purpose of Life!

AgentSmith1The rut that has set in the lives of humans, by doing the same things the same way forever, is inevitably binding them to the seemingly never ending karmic cycle, lifetime after lifetime. The rut is so deeply engraved in our lifeline, we don’t even know what we do is so repetitive, replete with actions that we’ll laugh at ourselves, if only we had the sense (where is that extra 6th, when one needs it dearly) to understand and accept the pointlessness of all things we think we know (& invariably do), but obviously don’t have a clue about. If and when we realize that, we may just end up exclaiming Holy cow, mo(o)ral of the Life story!

Sadhguru_Quote3Interestingly, a Guru (and even a Coach) also play the role of a Witness (don’t get jittery – there is no comparison with the Lord himself, but just a reference to the role he plays).

Their presence is always there, but they’ll never interfere nor influence the actions taken by the Sishya (disciple) or Coachee (client) directly.

They pretty much know all about Life but would still let the seekers explore & experience Life for themselves, and in the process become a better being, doing things better & living a better Life, joyfully. 

May Grace be with you for a purposeful Life – with less ‘i’ & more ‘why’ & ‘why not’ – overflowing with Joy – not a result of mere wealth or mirth, but of selfless sharing & willful caring!

.

CoachSwamy_Banner5bn@PrakashSwamy
Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂
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Swamystery in 2014!

31 Dec Realization

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for Swamystery blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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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5-Why!

15 May

ImageMost of us know and probably used 5-Why analysis for identifying the root cause of problems at work and to find the right solution. It is interesting that we associate problem solving tools such a 5-Why, Ishikawa, Johari, 6 Hats, SWOT, Mind Map, et al with solving only business problems.

Life’s fraught with problems too, in varying hues and proportion, for every one of us, who in many cases end up becoming a part of the problem than the solution! So, why not apply these tools to solving Life’s problems? Let’s begin with applying 5-Why, shall we?

Problem: No one seems to be happy with what they have or do in Life and are always aspiring or wishing for something more in anything and everything!

  1. Why are people unhappy? Because people always compare with someone or something else. My neighbor has a bigger car. My peer got more incentive. My cousin’s son got admission in a better college. KKR gets more crowd & star support than RCB… It is no different from kids comparing their toys!
  2. Why do people compare? Because that’s how they’re conditioned from when they were born till now. But while people accept comparison as a way of life to decide which one’s better, bigger, more, they don’t know whether what or who they compare with is the right benchmark. Your neighbor may’ve bought a brand new Hyundai Sonata, but a BMW 320D has a much better snob value at the Taj parking lot any day. Your cousin’s son may’ve got admission in VIT but he’s probably unhappy that he couldn’t get into IIT!
  3. Why don’t comparisons yield the desired result? Because people don’t know what they should really compare. What’s the point in comparing Sambrani and Agarbatti, when either will do just fine for prayer? If your need is to upgrade from that huge old 10 year old gray CRT box accumulating dust, then does it really matter that your neighbor has a 32” LED but your brother has a 42” Plasma. A basic HD ready LCD of any size is better than what you’ve today! Your battered old Santro and your boss’ swanky Skoda are both going to crawl in OMR at only 20 km/h and wait for 20 minutes in that toll plaza, daily! Only the business of belief thrives on such comparisons!
  4. Why do people persist with wrong comparisons that invariably result in misery? Because people really don’t know what they want. In the first 3 years of their career, everyone wants to Lead and be CEO of the company, someday, somehow. After 3 years, most realize that they may not even get to meet the company’s CEO in their entire tenure in the company and Follow the routine like thousand others. Retire at 40 or continue till 60? Just one more Property (‘ah, in those days we had an open terrace just for ourselves, which we don’t have in this flat’) or enough is enough? Become a Blogger or Bestselling author? ?s… ?s… more unanswered ?s.
    Forget Life’s mysteries like ‘what women want’ or ‘why does
    CSK always drag a match till the last ball’, which may eventually force you to rush to the neighborhood Trichologist. Fact is, we don’t even really know what we want, simply because we’re perennially short of valuable knowledge or validated information to anticipate, understand, evaluate and decide. About time we realized this isn’t fine and learn to appreciate what we’ve already got instead.
  5. Why are people unable to figure out the real problem? No, We Can’t, because we’re truly, madly, deeply stuck with I, me, mine, myself!

“Know Thyself to be wise, the unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates knew what he philosophized!

“What have you lost, that was yours? What have you brought, that you can lose?” Krishna knew what he advised!

“Fool! The thirst for wealth is never quenched – Quench instead your desire for contentment!
Learn to be joyous, to be totally satisfied – With the fruit that your work will always provide!” Adi Sankara knew what he preached.

Looking back at the 5-Why, we clearly know that we don’t know. So the least we could do is to learn from those who knew.

Who am I’? is probably a good place to start the quest to find the root cause of all problems, for Ramana Maharishi sure knew the answer for that one! And this Life will become more meaningful, purposeful and blissful, if spent pondering that singular question!

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