Tag Archives: Leader

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).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

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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.

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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An Ode’ to a Leader who truly Led by example!

12 Jun

My tread down the poetry lane after a very long time is an Ode’ to a Leader who truly Led by example with his impeccable professionalism and textbook Leadership style!

I return to chime…
After a very long time!
With this blog post as an Ode’
To a Leader who taught Leadership with Lime!

He can sprint with ease a Marathon,
Juggling a million things in parallel with the attitude of bring it on!
He will leave many a follower gasping for breath
Making them wonder what the heck is going on!

He always runs a tight ship,
While keenly watching out for that odd blip!
Never letting go anything unnoticed
His phenomenal eye for detail provides a firm grip!

With his focus always fixed on the bird’s eye,
He can raise the bar for everyone else so high!
An exceptional strategist who can also
Analyze with consummate ease operational details like 5-Why!

A down to Earth Leader with knowledge deep as Ocean and bountiful as a mine,
His Fiery passion lets anything he touches shine!
With no Airs he occupies any functional  with ease
And creates value as worthy as vintage wine!

I’m elated to dedicate this blog post,
To the One who truly Led by example, as the Academy’s provost!
The ‘5 Elements of Leadership‘ is my Ode’
To a Leader whose association I’ll cherish the most!


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