Tag Archives: Focus

Rectal Analysis of Respect!

19 Nov

Rectal Analysis of Respect!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prostration1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relationship = Communication + Re/action

Present = Past + Future

Respect = Relationship + Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन । मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥

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

~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II, Verse 47

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

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5 Stages of Freedom ~ 1/5

6 Apr

5 Stages of Freedom and the Framework to Attain Them ~ 1/5

It has been three years since Swamy chose to bid goodbye to corporate survival, on his own terms. The 3rd annivesary of freedom from servitude passed quite inconspicuously, when Swamy was at the Isha Foundation Ashram (Velliangiri foothills, near Poondi) to perform the KAla Bhairava Karma for his mother-in-law, who has passed away peacefully, recently

(

the post-death process / ritual was performed by his better-half and Swamy’s role was only supportive – take that armchair feminists)

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Swamy’s was a planned departure, from the BAUHumbug paid-servant routine, to focus on his spiritual journey, with the purpose of realising the Truth (about creator, creation, existence, liberation, et al), in this lifetime itself. With Guru’s grace, the journey is progressing steadily.
There are quite a few pals (and relatives & acquaintances) who are still perplexed about Swamy’s choice to leave a well-paying career, which, for any success-focused human on the survival plane of existence, will appear seriously stupid. But for the handful of seekers, who were fortunate to get a glimpse of “Life, the way it is,” the choice of a fellow seeker to walk away from a reasonably successful career in the 40s, that too willingly, may not be a surprise at all. Of course, there are many seekers who balance both survival and spiritual pursuits and do well in at least one of them, if not both, so, Swamy’s choice isn’t recommended for all.
As the curiosity of the few still remains unsated, it’s not a bad idea to share how anyone can take a shot at attaining the freedom from what they have to do (to sustain a living) to pursue what they love to do (to explore inherent talent or seek ultimate liberation). Irrespective of whether a person is one’s own boss (self-employed or entrepreneur or creative professional) or works for some boss (salaried employee or partnering with others or performing artist), the freedom to be free of employment (of any kind) is a possibility for anyone who is keen. And such Freedom happens in five stages, as follows.
MUlAdhAra ~ Stage 1

~ Essential or Fundamental Freedom

SwAdhishtAna ~ Stage 2

~ Financial Freedom

MaNipUraka ~ Stage 3

~ Dependency Freedom

Anahata ~ Stage 4

~ Identity Freedom

Vishuddhi ~ Stage 5

~ Knowledge Freedom

The 5 Stages of Freedom

MUlAdhAra ~ Stage 1

~ Essential or Fundamental Freedom

All living beings eat, sleep and procreate, after being born and before they die. Humans are no exceptions to this universal rule.

In order to do this peacefully, one needs food, clothing and shelter. Since these are essential or fundamental needs for survival, a significant amount of time and effort – almost or even more than 2/3rds of one’s lifetime – are spent on procuring and safeguarding these essentials. This is the MUlAdhAra (root chakra) existence.

It is essential for a human being to gain freedom from the fundamental (pun intended) needs, in order to progress further in life. It is imperative that this first stage of freedom, which can be ignited while one is still in the learning stage of lifetime, i.e. during the pursuit of academic excellence, is attained within the first few years of one’s career pursuit itself. Otherwise, one may simply be stuck in MUlAdhAra for most part (or all) of one’s lifetime, which isn’t too long for an average human.

Succinctly put, Stage 1 or MUlAdhAra Freedom is eliminating one’s dependency on one’s pay (salary, fee, etc that’s earned periodically) for the basic needs of living, including food, clothing & shelter. Even if one doesn’t get paid for a month or two, none of the basic needs should be affected adversely.

The simplest and most practical way to push oneself from MUlAdhAra towards SwAdhishtAna is to be aware of needs (must have) vs wants (nice to have) and focus on fulfilling the needs (e.g. two healthy meals a day) rather than chasing the wants (e.g. dining out every weekend).

Exercise:

Since Stage 1 or MUlAdhAra existence is applicable to all beings (not just human), observe how other beings go about fulfilling their food & shelter (clothing is very specific to humans & hence excluded). Some of the easy to observe beings are ants, bees, birds & stray dogs.

Contemplation:

What would happen to your fundamental needs – including food, clothing & shelter – if you don’t get any earnings for the next six months?

How long do you think it would take for you to not be bothered about the above question!

With clarity and discipline, gaining essential or fundamental freedom is certainly a possibility than a probability.

The next stages, viz.

SwAdhishtAna ~ Stage 2 ~ Financial Freedom and
MaNipUraka ~ Stage 3 ~ Dependency Freedom, will be analysed in the next part of this blog post. Stay tuned…

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

Stop before you Start!

18 Aug

Stop before you Start! 

~ the amber light for all spiritual aspirants, to pause before they start the journey

So you’re bitten by the proverbial spiritual bug. As soon as you’ve listened to a mesmerising Master eloquently explaining what enlightenment is, on YouTube, and soothingly assuring it’s a possibility for everyone – that includes, ahem, you! Or when you’ve seen your BFF lose weight miraculously, a mere month after s/he started a new yOgA practice, which s/he learned in your workplace itself. Or when you simply couldn’t put down the book on the methods for self-realisation that you picked up at the airport (at double the cost of Amazon, no less) during one of those pointless business trips. Or when your fav celebrity – one of the many, obviously, since there are one too many now – gushed about how her recent initiation into mindfulness has transformed her as a person overnight (though there is no proof of any such transformation, other than her own assurance to famished fans like you)!

Anyway, one or all of the above happened to you within the last fortnight and you’re all fired up to start the journey to know. Umm, you don’t know yet what you really want to know, but who cares about such nuances anyway. If your fav celebrity got transformed, you, her die-hard fan, too will most certainly get the transformation. And how could the bestselling book be wrong, you ask yourself. And the weight-loss too is a dangling carrot that’s hard to ignore. And, if in doubt, you can always check with the YouTube Guru, who seems to know about everything under the sun! So you can hardly wait and are all set to press the ignition button.

Wait… wait… wait… Hold on for one moment please. Consider this the amber light that may actually prevent you from wrecking not only your #MakeInIndia superbike by jumping the Red, but also potentially wrecking those around you – on the road or at home or even at work, for that matter. Please Stop, just for a moment, before you Start that journey, which might be inevitable, who knows.

The long journey to self-realisation is a lonely pursuit. And a very selfish one!

What the h#!!?,” you may baulk. “Aren’t there millions of seekers, like me, who are on the path, being part of so many spiritual organisations!,” you might marvel. Yes, but…

IMG_20170712_093824There may be many fellow seekers along the path, or on a different path, to the same destination. They may even be part of the same spiritual organisation that you chose to be a part of and may do all the same programs that you do and do all the daily practices that you are supposed to do.

But, rest assured, each journey is different and every seeker has to pursue the journey alone, even if s/he is part of a group of seekers. And because you are aligned with a group of seekers who are all guided by the same Guru doesn’t mean you are all going to work together for everyone’s enlightenment. Tsk.. tsk.. Self-realisation is such a self-explanatory term that one should never get lost in any imagination about it’s self-centered nature. There is no getting around the hard-to-swallow fact that it’s about you and you alone.

sp1.jpgIf I become a better person, as a result of my spiritual practices, won’t the people connected with me be thrilled?,” you may wonder. Indeed, they will be. And the weight loss would certainly earn a few more admirers as well. But…

There will be many spectators along the path – loving family, caring friends, acerbic critics, unqualified self-proclaimed masters, et al. All of them are but mere spectators, who haven’t started (or concluded – especially the half-baked masters) their own journey yet. In fact, many of them won’t even have a clue about the existence of such a journey. They are so entangled in survival that they may not even be interesting in knowing about it, let alone support you in pursuing it. So, don’t be surprised if the beloved ones end up being the befuddled ones, not being able to comprehend what’s going on with you, i.e. the person they thought they knew all along!

I’ve got a fantastic Guru guiding me man… someone so popular that everyone from politicians to celebrities to industrialists line up to be at his events that happen all over the nation!,” you may protest. Well…

Guru_Swamy3

If you’re blessed, you may actually have a Guru (Spiritual Master, not the head of some religious establishment), with boundless compassion to guide seekers like you, shining the light along the path. But even s/he isn’t going to literally hold hands, till you reach the destination.

Not only that, the Guru will strip you clean of all the pretensions of your very existence, including the facade of personality that you’re hiding behind, in order to eke out a living in this man-eat-dog mad mad world that’s hell-bent on self-destructing the only planet it has got to live, so far, in this vast, still expanding, universe. Be assured, it won’t be a pretty sight, when you’ve no other choice but to look at yourself, in all your true-self g(l)ory… eeew! And that’s exactly what a real Guru does to you, because Guru is the light that annihilates the darkness of your hilarious ignorance, which you presumed to be intelligence, until the tables are turned, upside down.

adiyogi41s.jpgAll right, now that your iMax sized imaginary world of spirituality is shaken a bit with shattering Dolby Atmos sound, you better pause for a moment at this Amber sign (umm, Amber is the warning sign, in case you routinely fail to notice or jump at the sight of it on the roads), before speeding away into the unknown, but not uncharted, long winding path of spirituality.

Oh hey, you’re totally free to proceed on the well-known path of religion, which is the always available alternative, which most humans find very comfortable to tread, during any part of their existence. But that’s not going to take you to where you may actually want to go, since, most unfortunately, all the savvy preachers, heavy tomes and slick videos and impressive social media posts won’t bother differentiating one from the other, i.e. religion from spirituality. They are distinct and almost diametrically opposite.

The journey to realise the Truth isn’t a fun tourist trip that anyone curious can undertake. It’s a challenging yAtrA (pilgrimage) that not many get to complete, within a lifetime.

Yet, it’s been diligently undertaken by many, willingly, from time immemorial. And most of them did (and still do) have a Guru to guide them along.

Of course, anyone can start it. Even you, who loves whistle-worthy silly dialogues like “ரிஸ்க்ன்னா எனக்கு ரஸ்க் சாப்பிடற மாதிரி!” (“Taking risk is just like eating rusk for me!”) can. No one’s going to stop you from starting. And no one’s going to be there to ensure you sustain it. Or even complete it. You’ll be on your own. All the way, from start to finish. Hard to swallow but hey, that’s how Truth is.

Fun fact: The spiritual journey neither has a fixed schedule nor predetermined levels of difficulty.

RealizationBoth the length and difficulty of the journey is determined by you, not anyone else. So, if at all you don’t make it all the way, or you take a very long time to make it – may be a few lifetimes, the only being you can blame is yourself. And the “I told you so!” spectators will still be around to rub some salt on your wounded ego.

Along the path, there will be…

  • a number of tempting side attractions that will distract you from continuing the journey.
  • many a roadblock that will test your resolve to continue the journey.
  • a multitude of moments when you will be so exasperated that you just want to drop everything and run all the way back to where you started.

Naturally, there will be a number of fellow seekers too, who will pat you on the back, saying “Well, we’re on the same boat sis (or bro)!” hoping to cheer you up.

With plethora of content and myriad media to consume it, there are any number of aids available to a seeker, who should know how to utilise them, to progress further, along the path. The YouTube video that ignited the fire in you is one of them. That overpriced book full of practical methods is another. And it’s quite possible to be so enamoured by such aides that you may be stuck right where you are, without even realising it. After all, more videos and books are getting published every day. From everyone who thinks s/he has figured it all out!

CDD9-3And, if and when you make it to the destination, in this birth or another, you may be utterly baffled to realise that the journey is indeed the destination and you didn’t even have to undertake the gruelling journey in the first place, to realise what has always been there, right within you. Bummer!

Yet, upon the conclusion of the journey, you will end up immersed in the state of eternal bliss, overflowing with compassion, just like those who have attained self-realisation, before you. From time immemorial. And here’s the best part. There’s absolutely no obligation whatsoever for you to even share the experience with anyone, let alone shine the light of your hard-earned gnAnA (wisdom).

For every Agasthya Muni or Adi ShankarA or RamaNa Maharishi or Sadhguru, there have been thousands of other realised beings who simply chose to remain in the state of bliss, finding no compelling need to share it with anyone else. It’s certainly possible for you to be like one of them. Seems like a very tempting bargain, eh!

GuruPurnima1All said and done, there is a reason why there have been and are only a handful of realised beings and Masters, even as the human population kept on growing relentlessly. They are the only ones who walked the path all alone, all the way, consciously avoiding the distractions, and reached the ultimate destination, with or without the guidance of a Guru. They are the ones who have seen the glorious light of Truth, shining forever, within themselves. They are the truly blessed ones who had the glorious darshan of the Ananda ThANdavA (dance of bliss or ecstacy), with their eyes closed. And only a few of them, in an outpouring of compassion, chose to guide others along the path, as Guru.

So, before you choose to get on the path of spirituality, which btw – just to reiterate, because it’s extremely important to know – has nothing to do with religion, simply because someone known to you has done so or some social media post has fired you up, do take a moment to assess yourself. And be honest with yourself in accepting the fact that you may not be ready yet.

20120625_143222The humility to accept your lack of readiness to even begin the spiritual journey in pursuit of Truth, is indeed the starting point of the enchanting journey to everlasting realisation of the Self! Your humble acknowledgement of “I don’t know,” will eventually become such an unbearable thirst that it can be quenched only by the one(s) who has been there and seen that. Who knows, s/he may happen to you in this lifetime itself (don’t ever try going around shopping for a Guru – it just doesn’t work that way), to nudge you along the path.

Well, the Green light is on. It’s up to you now to Pause your Start or Continue unwaveringly. Happy journey fellow seeker!

May Grace be with you for a purposeful Life overflowing with Joy.

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

SG1

Swamy aka @PrakashSwamy is a seeker (full-time may sound funny, but that’s a fact) whose seeking was on-and-off from his teens (when a maternal uncle took him to a Transcendental Meditation program) and switched gears upward in 2009, when his Master Sadhguru (Mystic, Yogi and visionary founder of Isha Foundation, awarded the Padma Vibhushan by Indian Government in 2017 for the remarkable social endevours of his spiritual organisation) initiated him into the ancient Kriya of Shambhavi Maha Mudra. A few more advanced Isha Yoga programs followed, culminating in Samyama, the 7-day Silence program, in 2013. With Shivanga, the yatra to Velliangiri Mountains, aka Kailash of the south and the yatra to Kailash itself (in Tibet) happening in the same year (2013), Life, as he knew it until then, took a decisive turn. Swamy eventually bid farewell to his lucrative, and reasonably successful, corporate career in 2015, which he assures is a planned retirement, to pursue the VAnaprastha phase and experience Life, the way it is, with a definitive purpose – of attaining self-realisation.

UpaGuru1Swamy considers himself twice-blessed, since, apart from being guide by the boundless Grace of his Master, from within, his ongoing journey is also being actively guided now by his Upa Guru Shri Sohamanandaji (the other bearded one, in the above pics), who is kind enough to not only to dispel his ignorant assumptions about spirituality from time to time, but also to take him along on the life-altering yatras to spiritually charged spaces such as Pancha Bhuta Sthalas (sacred spaces of Lord Shiva, associated with the five elements) & Sabarimala (both in South India) and Char Dham, comprising of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedharnath and Bhadrinath (on the mighty Himalayas). These days, in his own words, Swamy’s existence – one day at a time -is focused only on “Read, Write, Meditate!,” not necessarily in that order.

Oh, in case you are curious, Swamy hasn’t attained self-realisation, yet.. ha.. ha.!

img_20161225_080543.jpgYou may enjoy knowing more about Swamy‘s spiritual journey and experience of Life the way it is in his poetry (Dhinam Oru Padhigam hymns – 218 and counting…), blogs, quotes and social media posts (links to all given below).

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

Follow Swamy Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Explore Swamy’s creation (blogs, quotes, poetry, reviews, photography…)

Been there, Seen that | Swamystery | Swamyverse | SwamyQuote

Swamyem | SwamyView | Swamygraphy

 

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 🙂

~Swamy

@PrakashSwamy

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 

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 Sheep, Sheepdog & Shepherd!

13 Aug

Sheep5Sheep are cute beings, with fluffy coat, marble eyes and a near monosyllable bleat. Mammals that are born, grown, fed, led, reared and sheared in a farm by another 2-legged mammal, which not only raises them to make a living but also eventually kills and consumes them.

Happy to be with their herd during their entire short lifespan of 10-12 years and content with what nature offers them – grass to graze, for example – and offer far more in return, namely milk, wool, manure and meat. Despite spending most of their lifetime in the open, roaming freely to graze, they appear to be completely ignorant of something their herders crave, fight and willing to die for – freedom.

Sheep1Sheepdogs are the guardians of sheep that keep the flock together. Alone in the herd, with the unenviable job of herding and protecting the flock, daily, in varying weather, they live their entire lifespan – only slightly longer than the sheep they herd, about 12-14 years – in the same farm as sheep, but fully aware that they are different.

Extremely loyal to their master, they are devoted to their assigned responsibility, despite the known fact that their master may never reciprocate their absolute loyalty and unconditional love, the same way they do.

Sheep8Shepherds are the masters – at least to the sheep and sheepdog. Though they may’ve their own masters – farm owners, businessmen who make and sell cheese, wool and meat for profit, et al – as far as the sheep and sheepdog are concerned, they’re the lords of the lawns.

One of a kind human beings who spend most of their nomadic lifetime in solitude in vast open spaces offered for free by Mother Nature, monotonously watching over a herd for most part of their waking time.

Sheep12At least one shepherd is renowned for expanding his herd to include the human kind, eventually spawning a new religion over two millennia ago, with millions of followers spread worldwide till date. Another, much younger, shepherd was immortalized in a magical fable by a goatee (no pun intended) toting author whose book continues to inspire millions.

Sri_Krishnas_CowIn Bharat, of course, we do have a cowherd who is revered, celebrated and worshiped as a God, whose Life is filled with miracles, mirth, mischief, myth, mellifluous music and mystic love. His treatise, given in the middle of a battleground, at the start of the mother of all wars, to his warrior friend and disciple – aptly named ‘Song of the Divine’ – is still considered and reverently followed as the definitive gospel of Life.Sheep14

All three – the sheep, sheepdog & shepherd – are always together yet alone all the time.

They are connected forever yet separated by nature, physiology, needs, attitude and lifestyle.

They live together for a lifetime yet are so apart in their thoughts and actions at all times.

Sheep13Imagine a farm with all three for a moment. An idyllic landscape painted in vivid shades of green, blue and brown, bathed in warm rays from the sun and dotted with sheep in white, brown and black.

The sheep are grazing or lazing and occasionally bleating. The sheepdog is focused and attentive, totally alert yet absolutely silent. The shepherd is resting under the cool shade of a huge tree standing tall and firm on that grassy knoll that has observed many generations of sheep, sheepdogs and shepherds, silently.

Sheep18Any and all of the sheep’s actions are essential but limited, and always monitored. They’re free to do what they can within the clearly defined limits. They’re constantly aware of the danger of straying away from the herd and are comforted by the fact that they’re safe with their herd, safeguarded by the ever watchful sheepdog and of course, the shepherd. And they obviously don’t seem to have any qualms about doing repetitive things, along with fellow sheep in the flock, day in and day out, on and on, until the end of their lifespan – naturally or by necessity.

Sheep17The sheepdog does what’s necessary and can be pretty meticulous and ruthless about it. It’s obviously the master of the sheep, answerable only to its master, the shepherd. Whether it is kind towards the sheep it protects or scorns at their herd mindset is a secret known only to itself. Despite being a completely different being, different from both the sheep and shepherd, it is absolutely committed to its assigned task and unquestionably loyal to its master. Though it’s free and fully capable of running away from the repetitive boredom of herding anytime, it willingly suppresses its natural instinct and spends the lifetime in service and servitude.

Sheep9The shepherd, as the only being in the flock with ability to think, imagine, observe, analyze, contemplate, comprehend, deduce and express, has infinite possibilities in Life like any of his kind, but chooses to spend a long lifetime in doing something so limited and repetitive, yet with a specific purpose. Most of his nomadic Life is spent with beings of a different kind that are thought to have at least one sense less than his own kind. And he too doesn’t seem to be bothered too much about a monochromatic Life, amidst the most colorful landscape, filled with curious beings doing their own things.

Sheep10Do the sheep, sheepdog, shepherd and farm appear and sound familiar?

Is a home or workplace so different from a farm?

Is a family or team so different from a herd of sheep?

Is a sibling or supervisor so different from a sheepdog?

Is a family elder or leader so different from a shepherd?

Is our Life – the way we know and live it – any different from that of the sheep, sheepdog or shepherd?

Sheep19Are you happy and content with being one of the three, living your Life alone among the herd, confined within set limitations, doing repetitive things throughout the Life and herded by others who decide what and how you will do?

Have you ever pondered about how such a monochromatic Life’s limitations can easily be overcome but is probably never done during this lifetime, due to reasons known only to you?

Has that additional sense endowed to you – the only known species on this planet – been ever tapped to wonder if it is time to at least start comprehending about Life beyond the repetitive, defined, monochromatic and known?

Sheep21So, what are you, dear reader – the sheep, sheepdog or shepherd?

Or, are you someone willing to step beyond the known into the realm of the unknown, to know and live Life, the way it is!

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Love + Gratitude > @PrakashSwamy
Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂
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HMV!

3 Jun

HMV_Logo5HMV stands for “His Master’s Voice“, the iconic music brand with an adorable logo. While this post isn’t about music, it’s certainly about “His Master’s Voice.” Just <Ctrl-H> “His” with “Swamy!

As Jr.’s tournament schedule started immediately after his class X exams (with a short break at the Isha Yoga center thrown in between – Sr. & Jr. attended the Hata Yoga program also together during that :), Swamy thought it would be a good idea to keep him motivated to perform well in his games by sending a daily motivational message. And what better messages than “His Master’s Voice“, i.e., Sadhguru‘s quotes, published in the Isha Yoga daily calendar, to perk Jr.’s spirit up! Of course, Swamy couldn’t help adding his own twist to the daily messages 😉 Don’t be surprised at the recurring theme of joy, for that’s Swamy’s mantra for understanding and living Life the way it is!

HMV_Logo6As ever, the best piece of wisdom came from my better-half. She felt the messages were valuable (she should know as she accompanies Jr. to the tournaments) and wondered why a blog post isn’t yet published with those messages. And so here we are dear reader with “HMV!”, a post beaded together with the timeless wisdom from “His Master’s Voice!”

AK_CommonwealthJust think of any reference to game or tournament (Jr. is a professional Chess player of some repute after all) as referring to the Game of Life, and the messages will be relevant to whatever you do or like. And valuable, needless to say! Let’s start with today’s message first…

Monkay1If we keep thinking about unnecessary things again and again, there is a high possibility that they may actually happen. So, one must handle the mind instrument carefully!

Don’t keep thinking about past games or known opponents again and again. Focus your mind on today’s game and play it the best way you can.

Read “Saying Yes to Know!” to know how to keep thinking about unnecessary things at bay!

Child-creativeFirst understand how to live happily. Then you can think about understanding God!

First play happily and enjoy your game. Then you can think about understanding bigger things like World Champion.

Learn how to “Light up Your Life!” with happiness.

Death is just the end of a chapter. It isn’t the gateway for Moksha (salvation)!

Loss in a game is like a closed chapter. Open a new page to script victory again.

Read “Middle of the Endless Beginning!” to learn more about the inevitable, which incidentally isn’t the end! 

mountain_climbingLet every step you take be for yourself, not against others. Only then, until you reach your summit, your journey will be joyful!

Your summit is becoming the World Champion some day. Make that trek joyful by taking one happy step at a time. Be joyful and enjoy your game today.

Read “Expressway to Excellence!” to know how to reach the pinnacle of what you’ve chosen to and love to do!

Thinking2Instead of getting stuck with the same problem, sometimes not thinking about the problem itself could lead to a solution!

Our problem is always that we’re stuck with the past – last game or tournament for example. Looking ahead to the future, i.e., next game, could be the solution.

Read “What’s your EMM!” to know about the magical moments when the mind goes blank.

BhagavadGitaSpirituality is meant for a person to break his boundaries and attain full potential. Not for just identifying with beliefs or rituals!

Sport is spiritual, if the sportsperson breaks boundaries or limitations to achieve his/her full potential! This is known as Karma Yoga. Be a Karma Yogi and play with joy.

Read “Shambho & the 7th Hill!” to know how Swamy has overcome physical and mental constraints to complete the Shivanga sadhana with his Master’s grace!

MSDhoni_Sixer_WCFinalBrushing teeth, bathing, opening a pen, putting signature… Try doing all of these with focus and you’ll realize a new energy springing within you!

If you play the game with unwavering focus, then you’ll have tremendous amount of energy to go for a decisive result. Focus and enjoy your game.

Read “Be an Ikeator!” to know how anyone can do anything better and enchant customers, readers, viewers, et al.

Those who’re unable to find fulfillment are the ones who try to control others!

Find fulfillment in your game by immersing in it with focus and clarity.

Read “Less is More!” to understand how, well, less is more!

Akash_Bronze_MedalWhen nothing happens, there is nothing called Life for you. When something unexpected happens, that’s called Life!

When you play the game on expected lines like business as usual, it may not be lively at all. Play an unexpected game today and have fun.

Read “Fifty 50!” to know the probability of nothing or something to happen in your Life!

Seesaw1Without knowing the self, it is useless trying to know about the entire world!

Know your strengths first and then use that knowledge in your games, rather than trying hard to know about everyone else’s.

Read “I Write, therefore I am!” to know how Swamy chose to leverage his strength to get loyal readers like you!

The only way to get rid of any habit is to be fully aware of what is happening now!

Be fully aware of each move in the game for a wonderful result.

Read “The Skill Pill!” to know the right pill to get rid of your habits!

Tom&Jerry1If your heart is full of tension and grief, then you can’t create happiness for those around you!

If you are tense and worried during a game, the result may not be a happy one. Be joyful when you play and spread the cheer.

Read “Beat Stress Away with SISA Yoga!” and laugh out loud to be less stressful and more happy.

The human mind is an instrument that needs to be handled skillfully. Without feeding the right thoughts into it, it can’t be operated well!

Indiansweets2Craving for tasty foods is due to our inability to handle the mind. Eat healthy food in small portions to stay healthy and focus on the game. Cheer up champ.

Read all about cravings and control in “Forty+ and the Four Letter Words!” Was it a coincidence that this message appeared on the calendar on the day when Jr. was down with food poisoning? Nope, it was providence!

BuddhaStop boring God by always asking for something. Instead listen to him when you pray. That’s meditation!

Listen within you when you play the game, instead of asking God to help you win a game.

Read “Joy Drops!” to know how deeply prayerful moments can reveal God to you!

Life is waiting for you with its treasures. It could appear as a little smile or big victory!

Every game is waiting for you with knowledge treasures. Play to win with a smile. Be great and victorious today.

Read “Living Life!” to know all about living Life the way it is!

Gayle_stormOnly when people learn how to be peaceful within themselves, world peace can happen!

Be peaceful inside, but play like a Gayle storm outside. (Needless to say, this was sent the day after the biggest Gayle storm hit IPL 2013)!

Read “20 Life Lessons from IPL!“, which shows there’s a positive side to IPL too!

Whatever you call as love, hatred, lust, kindness, they’re all an expression of the same power!

Win, loss, draw are all an outcome from the same player in any game. Channel the power within for desired result. Focus, relax and enjoy the game. Be great today.

Read “Element of Truth!” to comprehend the truth about that omnipresent power! 

Sadhguru_DevotionBeing prayerful is very deep. But when praying is like seeking alms (begging) it is pitiful. Most prayers in the world are like that only!

Don’t pray for result, but pray for inner strength and clarity of mind. Then you won’t be worried about result, but will focus on the game instead. Be prayerful and great today champ.

Read “From Ordinary to Extraordinary!” to know how tapping the inner strength can elevate you to the summit you seek to scale!

kung-fu-panda-2When you’re unhappy, you behave like a horrible person. Whenever you’re happy, you’re a wonderful person!

Be joyful and spread the cheer. That’s the way to be a wonderful champion.

Know all about “A-Z of Life!” and be joyful!

If we think all our problems are because of others, there will be only anger and hatred, which will turn us into despicable people!

Win, loss or draw in a game isn’t because of others, but only because of ourselves. Take charge of yourself and your game for sweet results. Have fun while be(at)ing the best.

Read “No, We Can’t!” to stop thinking about what we can’t and start doing what we can!

Death2Self pity, anxiety, disinterest and sadness are more powerful than demons. These can do the damage that even real monsters can’t!

Don’t have self pity when you lose, don’t be anxious about today’s game, don’t ever lose interest and don’t feel sad about past performance. Be joyful, enjoy your game today and have fun.

Read “Toys R Us!” to understand how we’re mere toys in the hands of such demons and how to overcome them by being playful!

Tortoise_Hare1Showing your power against the weaker ones or those who can’t oppose you is the most despicable act!

Show your power and prowess against all kind of opponents in the game and play to win.

Read “Never & Always!” to know how to say never to oppression and always show compassion!

And as a bonus, here are two more, directly from Swamy – needless to say inspired by His Master’s Voice!

cwc-2011-final-yuvraj-cryingIf you lose a game after playing it hard, that’s fine. If you lose because you’ve lost interest in the game, that’s not fine. Play the game you love hard.

Read “The Difference of 11 & 12 is 13!” to learn 13 ideas to play the Life game hard! 

Yesterday is past. It’s only for reference, not for remembrance. Today is a present and you can aim for greatness. Be great today, Be Joyful and Spread the Cheer 🙂

Read “Present is Past in Future!” to understand and appreciate why the present is a gift!

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Love + Gratitude = @PrakashSwamy
Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂
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