Tag Archives: Planet

Swamystery 2.0!

18 Apr

It’s been a while since Swamy published a blog post (don’t worry, he won’t be surprised at all if you haven’t read even one of his hundreds of posts – to err is human, after all :O). The triggers to start writing one were many, as ever…

  • the sparrow that fell into the paint bucket but survived & accepted living in the SwamyHome balcony floor, while relentlessly trying to free its wings to fly away again
  • the crossing of 1st year milestone of freedom from 9-x BAUHumbug survival that went without a hiccup, despite a hiccup stricken stock market
  • the incomprehensible human reaction of ‘why are you doing this?’ when you finally manage to do exactly what they wished for (but never expressed openly)
  • yet another magnificent celebration of Adiyogi that turned out to be totally different (& intensely memorable) from the previous years, due to the little Sadhana twist given by Sadhguru
  • the utterly pointless exercise of trying to make a non-corporate entity process-centric (whoa, some learning that)
  • the first-hand (possibly first-time as well) experience of the physical form getting acutely impacted by an energy manifestation, the prolonged recovery process that followed & the realisation of ‘pain is real but suffering is optional’
  • the intriguing insight on why ThinkOpposite & ThinkDifferent are always interesting to discuss / learn but seldom easy to implement / practice
  • rediscovering the ‘Joy of driving’ with 2 long drives in his new Ciaz (yep, that’s Swamy’s first Maruti, simply because it’s very unMaruti :P)
  • the mind-bending chain of activities called ‘renovating a home while living in it’ that shreds all project management principles (which Swamy has pretty much always laughed at, anyway – no offense to fellow humans who make a living diligently managing projects)  and taunts one to throw up hands in despair every other day, while knowing fully well pausing or stopping is impossible
  • the election comedy that just kicked off in multiple states across MeraBharatMahan

… and so on and on and on.

But Swamy consciously chose not to transform any of those triggers into a blog post. That too for several weeks.

160417082334Since most humans are still driven (mad! ha.. ha..) by numbers (you may be an exception though, which is perfectly fine ;), let’s start with some delectable blog stats (feel free to click on all the links, please ;)…

Been there, Seen that ~ 100 (yep, that’s a ton, thank you – the one to browse if things like daily grind, sports, humour, career, education, et al are your kind of things)

Swamyverse ~ 22 (primarily the 2KYOT series – a modern interpretation of millennia old wisdom treasure Thirukkural for Millennials – so this one can cross a 1000 posts some day, possibly)

Swamyem ~ 34 (poems – in English & தமிழ், when thoughts just flow & expression can’t wait to be verbose)

Swamystery ~ 63 (considered a healthy neuron workout by even the most loyal readers, this one’s pretty much the opposite pole of BTST – highly recommended if you love to ponder whatever you read; Swamy’s spiritual journey with the boundless grace-filled guidance of his Master Sadhguru can also be followed, if you follow this one)

SwamyView ~ 4 (specifically for reviews, obviously not doing as many as he possibly could)

SwamyRay ~ 113 (Quotes – original Rays of kLight from Swamy’s active, rational, non-conformist, think opposite, constantly connecting-the-abstract-dots & marveling at myriad forms & hue of Life mind)

Swamygraphy ~ 3 (Photography, a subdued passion that’s slowly springing its head again, supposedly to capture the beauty of the moments instead of boring technicalities – need a much faster shutter speed, obviously)

That’s 329 posts. In 5 years. On extremely diverse topics.

Not written to achieve anything – including accolades from readers like you, but because there’s a medium to express one’s original thoughts, ideas & povs, for Free! And in this marvelous nation that has excelled in tolerance from time immemorial, one doesn’t get prosecuted or persecuted for expressing one’s views in the public domain (take that pseudo secular intellectual elite award wapsi intolerant brigade members)

FB_IMG_1459682231154Swamy took a pause in 2016, despite having a perennial spring of ideas to write about and no pestering boss to worry about (read about that earned freedom in 21 changes to ponder 21 days later) and pondered a while the following… 

Who am Swamy writing for!

It’s way too obvious that the current readership – and the response, if any – is almost negligible for the effort that goes into each post. Curious about the intense effort that’s the linguistic equivalent of a woman delivering a baby to be promoted to the worshipful position of Mother? Click I Write, Therefore I am!

FB_IMG_1459696662107What’s the big idea Swamy is writing about!

The topics are so broad in scope that it’ll be well nigh impossible to put a finger on the big idea – he certainly has that constantly firing on one of those neurons though. Check this list for a taste of the variety on offer…

Why does Swamy write!

FB_IMG_1459696652251That’s an easy one – because he loves sharing ideas, thoughts, points if view, frameworks, et al and can handle the communication craft with ease. But the billion rupee question is ‘can he wield the pen (aah, proverbs…) more mightily’? Indeed & obviously he should.

What other idea spaces can Swamy explore!

It’s time for that bloody first book, isn’t it. That, once out, for the wor(d)shippers to relish, ponder & marvel, will probably answer all the above questions. Maybe not. Either way, it’s gotta be out of his head, into others’ heads. And the sooner the better.

Cutting the long tale short (that’s another significant change – to keep the posts as short as a chapter of a book), Swamy applied his fav MAP model (enjoy learning it from Daniel Pink’s awesome tome ‘Drive’ or hire Swamy for an experiential learning program to MAP anything) to decide the way forward for his wordsmithing.

Mastery – check. If in doubt, go check the links above or any of the 329 posts out there – all in the public domain, accessible by anyone curious.

Autonomy – check. A fervently independent soul even while trapped in the corporate golden cage, it’s been an year since his well-earned freedom from 9-x programmed paid-servant survival, making him free to pursue the Life pursuits that are truly worth pursuing. Like consciously trying to ‘Just Be!’

Purpose -…….. Well.. Ummm..

FB_IMG_1459696657299Aha, so that’s where the challenge is! He thought he had very clearly thought thru what he intended to do post his 9-x freedom. And did take a few steps to pursue that path. Then the stark BAUHumbug realization struck him – in more ways than one. It was hilarious and Swamy is known to be able to laugh at himself, for the silly song & dance routines one is expected to do, to humour & please various denizens of this world, who grossly overrate themselves and brazenly underrate anyone else. And Swamy is surely & certainly done with the sucking business. For good.

Hmm.. So, the Purpose needs to be chiseled again. And that’s exactly is what Swamy will address in Swamystery 2.0, aka the way forward for his being, in this (& final – the boundless grace of his Master & conscious avoidance of karma pile-up by Swamy ensuring this one) lifetime. And 2.0 will expand his horizon beyond writing (which remains an existential part of the Purpose still, so followers rejoice :D), including but not limited to the to-be launched Swamystery YouTube channel!

It’s not like he doesn’t care about his current readership (that certainly includes you, dear reader – thank you), but he aims for your treasured loyalty to be a part of the much broader base of seekers who are open to exploring far wider spaces of living, going deeper into the BAUHumbug existence that we ass-u-me to be Life. And not just read, watch & ponder, but also learn, practice & experience the Joy of Living (that’s a substantial hint, ain’t it) – from none other than Swamy himself!

Swamystery1fThere’ll certainly be blogs, but maybe not that many as in the past.

There’s gonna be the Swamystery YouTube channel, which won’t be mere mouthing of his own writing. It’ll be interesting, intriguing, insightful & inevitable. And you too can be a part of it!

You will also soon be able to browse & buy his published words (again, including but not limited to)…

  1. The Gardener
  2. P.L.A.Y. ~ The Gardener’s Way (tssk.. they’re both connected & there’ll be a series, you know)
  3. BAUHumbug ~ Why living sucks & what can be done about it!
  4. CowDung Manifesto ~ how to be incorrect – socially & politically and still survive the madness
  5. Answers Sans Questions!
  6. WTF ~ the definitive guide to a shining corporate career
  7. Swamyems ~ Garland 1
  8. REV ~ accelerating Life on the Joyway
  9. Lifescape ~ crafting joy spaces anywhere you want
  10. 3rd Side of the Coin ~ the ThinkOpposite way to success
  11. HR – dead & cremated ~ what to do with people now!
  12. 2000 Years Old Tweets – bite sized Life lessons from the Mylai Monk
  13. Life Matrix
  14. Allness ~ the natural way to nurture a fulfilling Life
  15. No You Can ~ how to say No to survival & Yes to living
  16. SKANDA ~ the 6-in-1 prodigal son of the first Guru
  17. Accidental Seeker ~ the inward journey of an intrepid soul

or something even more interesting in Amazon or Flipkart or Hudsons or StarMark or Sarvodhaya Ilakkiyap Pannai (he’s equally fluent in his mother tongue as well, in case you’re scratching your head) or anywhere wo/man’s best friend – no, not the tailwagger but the pageturner in print, digital or analog – is available!

CoachSwamyDo remember to cherish, like, wow, comment, mention, recommend, +, * & share, whenever & however you access Swamy. Each and every time. It’s perfectly fine if you happen to post a pic with Swamy or mention you’re a SwamyPal (that may even get you a discount ;).

While you wait for the launch (not for long, hopefully), there’s ample time to check the 330 posts (& do your social thing).

So there it is… the way forward for the Gardener aka @PrakashSwamy.

Calling it Swamystery 2.0 isn’t far fetched!

Stay tuned (& interested)…

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer!

@PrakashSwamy

P.S. You can connect with Swamy to explore his offerings for individuals, teams, organizations that include speech, thinking sessions, experiential learning programs & individual explorations focused on Human Potential DISCovery + NURTURE, for joyful living!

Mentor or Coach – 8 valuable insights for making the most useful choice!

18 Feb CoachSwamy

Mentor or Coach – 8 valuable insights for making the most useful choice!

CoachSwamyPeople who approach Swamy seeking guidance, help, counsel, direction, advice, et al, are not clear if they need him to be a Coach or Mentor (or Gardener – but let’s park that enchanting role for the time being). Having spent over two decades of his life span in the corporate corridors (the much coveted corner room wasn’t on his radar, ever), playing both roles for helping many, he’s both amused and amazed at this lack of clarity, especially in this digital space overflowing with digital natives.

While the lack of clarity about these two roles may be caused by multiple factors that still plague most of the systems – including but not limited to education and work, the primary one is not doing one’s own research to make an informed choice, despite the biG (for the uninitiated, that would be big G, aka Google – your active & pious mind is forgiven for interpreting that as the other big G, aka God) waiting eagerly on a plethora of devices to help with tons of information on the subject.

So, Swamy decided to make it easier for you to choose, irrespective of whether you choose him as your Coach or Mentor (or Gardener :)). Here are the 8 valuable insights for making the useful choice!

Both Coaching & Mentoring are about caring, but only Mentoring is about sharing.

Seven-movie-image-3Mentoring is about leveraging one’s own ‘been there, done that‘ survival past. A Mentor usually is a subject matter expert with on field experience, who lets you learn by sharing personal experiences, way of thinking and decisions taken, which you can reuse.

Coaching is about the other person’s ‘how to get there & do that’ living future. A Coach need not be a domain expert, doesn’t share how s/he will approach a situation and enables thinking & decision making happen in you, which you learn to use!

Coaching is a fast paced action movie. Mentoring is a soap that moves along at a leisurely pace for long.

Po-and-Shifu-po-and-master-shifu-25978929-970-823Action movies race from start to finish driven by a hero(ine) who doesn’t even know how to race like a maniac on traffic heavy city roads. If you want short term results, prefer following a framework and need precise direction, then pick a Coach who will steer you towards a specific time bound goals.

Soaps move along at a leisurely pace for a long time, have many colourful characters and are filled with a plethora of wow & whoa moments in each episode. If you need long term outcomes, ready to disentangle yourself from firm beliefs & willing to tread a path shown by someone, choose a Mentor who will walk you along a growth bound career.

Mentor is a teacher, helping you learn. Coach is a trainer, letting you know.

KarateKid4Mentoring is teaching someone what one already knows. If you prefer learning from others – from their experience and knowledge – choose a Mentor, who will help you learn how to navigate externally.

Coaching is letting someone learn what even one may not know. If you want to know yourself better, and discover what you’re capable of – choose a Coach, who will let you know how to navigate internally.

Primary communication skill of a Coach is listening. For a Mentor it’s speaking.

The_Oracle_and_Neo_on_BenchA Mentor speaks a lot to share knowledge & experience so Mentee can learn by listening & questioning. If you love listening to discourses and have annoyed your parents by questioning everything, you’ll benefit from a Mentor who loves to speak and share.

A Coach listens and questions a lot so Coachee can learn from speaking & thinking. If you don’t mind opening up about yourself and willing to discover your true self – warts and all – then you’ll benefit from a Coach who lets the cat see itself on the mirror in all its furry glory and lets it discover how to become the lion with a majestic mane and menacing roar, from deep within.

Coaching is a craft. Mentoring is an art.

silence-of-the-lambsAnyone can learn a craft, because the building blocks of any craft are tools & skills. Natural aptitude helps but isn’t essential. Coaching isn’t a model to solve this tiny planet’s huge problems, though it can be used for that purpose too. It’s a methodical way used by a Coach to enable humans think and act on solutions.

Not everyone can be an artist, otherwise the world will be full of artists and not art lovers & admirers. Mentoring is like starting with a blank canvas, cans of paint, variety of brushes and learning how to use all of them. A Mentor shows how to paint and helps you paint your own masterpiece.

Mentor need not be a stakeholder in your success. Coach has to be.

Dumbledore_HarryPotter1From the moment you were born, many have helped you learn the what’s, why’s & how’s of Life. All parents, most teachers, many friends, few relatives, an odd boss, would’ve shared their own experiences & knowledge gained over time to help you learn from their successes and failures. The one who taught you how to ride a bicycle didn’t do it to make you a world champion rider. Their purpose is simply to share what they knew. They are Mentors who need not be a stakeholder in your success.

When you wanted to achieve specific goals or results, the people you approached or the expertise you sought after were different. The superfit neighbourhood marathoner who helped you reduce weight just in time for the gala wedding; the yoga practitioner brother who guided you to remain stress-free despite having to survive a nagging boss; the lab assistant who helped you nail arc welding; the lithe banker who opened your nostrils wide to the abundance of nutrition in traditional vegetarian diet & tickled your taste buds …these are Coaches – not known experts in those areas – who enabled you discover things even you didn’t know about yourself and helped you achieve specific results you desired.

Coaching is an essential Leadership skill. Mentoring need not be.

Gandalf1A Mentor needs experience & knowledge gained over a span of time to help others by sharing dos & don’ts, but doesn’t necessarily require the ability to personally lead change and achieve results.

A Coach needs an open mind, patience, perspective, humility, presence & persistence – all essential leadership skills, but unknown to many who love to call themselves leaders – to guide others to achieve desired results within specific time.

Mentor lets you know how s/he has done it. Coach lets you discover what you must do and how.

Thor_The_Dark_World_Thor_and_OdinMentoring is reliving material experience by fetching pails of incidences from the memory well and offering it to all thirsty ones. A Mentor who has mastered the art of seamlessly drawing necessary quantity of memory anytime is like a friendly kiranawala (neighbourhood shopkeeper) who offers exactly what & how much you need, when you need it.

Coaching happens when you set your know-it-all self aside and listen to someone as if hearing it for the first time in Life! It’s the closest spiritual experience one can have in this overwhelmingly material world by letting go of oneself while helping someone else. A Coach who has mastered the art of setting one’s own self aside while letting you discover yourself is akin to a Guru who has no self left anytime!

men-in-black

In the enchanting epic of Mahabharat, Krishna is omnipresent, playing different roles at different times. A cowherd who is neither king nor peasant, neither hero nor villain, neither the seen nor the told in reality, the sheer presence of this contemporary Yogi (of that time) ensures there is no tale without him.

Lord-Krishna-In-a-Forest-With-Cow-Natural-ImageIf you’re just happy listening to enchanting tales of Krishna stealing butter with brother Balarama & friends, mesmerizing mother Yashoda by showing the vast universe in his tiny mouth, playfully destroying demons like Bhutana, skillfully playing the flute and dancing with Gopikas, elevating love to an altogether different devotional level with Radhe, benevolently helping childhood friend Kusela… then all you need is a Mentor like Ved Vyas who authored the epic or Thirumuruga Kripananda Vaariar (திருமுருக கிருபானந்த வாரியார்) who can make you go whoa and wow thru his discourses of the epic. Eventually, you may even end up using some of his tricks for plying your trade!

VishwaroopaDarshanOn the other hand, if you’re enticed by the master strategist Krishna, who was always present with the Pandavas but didn’t actually lead them to victory over the Kauravas; enabled Draupati to save her modesty in Dhuryodhana’s court without really teaching her how to; certainly guided them to make the precise moves that led to the decisive victory in the war at Kurukshetra, without actually sharing with them how he destroyed Kamsa, overpowered Kaalinga or lifted the Govardhan mountain with his little finger to save the yadavas from the fury of the mighty Indra… then you must seek a Coach like Krishna. But then, you must also be willing to discover the master archer Arjuna within you, who didn’t have the courage to wage war against his own kin and elders, while at the battlefield, despite all of them being on the wrong side of Dharma. It took a magnificent Vishwaroop slap from Krishna to shake him up and eventually do what he must do – let go of himself to realize what he’s really capable of!

May grace be with you to choose a Mentor or Coach, using Swamy’s 8 valuable insights for making the most useful choice!

P.S. Swamy, Gardener of the human kind, has both the experience and credential to play either Mentor or Coach (or a proportionate mix of both), for anyone keen 😀

@PrakashSwamy

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Thou art Homo sapien!

13 Sep

charles-darwinCirca 314 AA*

A member of Homo dumbus tribe stares at a gray aluminium tablet, trying hard to comprehend what that thing is. It was rectangular in shape, measuring about 14.9″ across and had a single dimple at the bottom center. The Homo dumbus holding the tablet appeared to be a female. She turned the tablet upside down and around and tried to wipe it clean with a piece of cloth torn from whatever covered her frail frame. She was obviously curious about the half-bitten apple etched at the rear of that shiny thing and kept pointing it to the other members of the tribe, who, surprisingly, didn’t make any noise!  

Of course the Hodo dumbus had no idea of either the tablet or the fruit. If only she could find a power outlet and manage to switch it on, this is what the tablet she just excavated from what appeared to be a humongous pile of debris full of concrete, wood, metal & wires would have displayed, in 24 MyriadPro…

OMG-MonkeybTHOU SHALL NOT COVET
THOU SHALL NOT PLUNDER 
THOU SHALL NOT KILL
THOU SHALL NOT WASTE
THOU SHALL NOT RULE
THOU SHALL NOT COWER
THOU SHALL NOT STUDY 
THOU SHALL NOT FOLLOW ROUTINE
THOU ART NOT SHEEP, NOR ART THOU SHEEPDOG. 
THOU ART THINKING, CARING, SHARING, SEEKING HOMO SAPIEN!

Homo nalediIn all probability, (re)inventing electricity to power the tablet could potentially take 3 or 4 centuries for the Homo dumbus. Or more… Or never! 

Circa 2015 AD, umm… Now. 

As the world goes gaga over the discovery of Home naledi in South Africa, it’s hard not to look at the irony of Home sapiens, ahem, us humans, supposedly an evolved (yep, past tense intended) species, compared to our many ancestors Neanderthals, Denisovans, Sima people, Homo heidelbergensis, Home erectus & more (including those yet to be discovered).

Over several millennia of evolution from one or more of them, here’s what we’ve managed to do…

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Be curious, explore, farm, share & live together in harmony.

Not a bad start for a unique species that tread a planet teeming with plethora of species in many shapes, size, hue & ability. But then the first slip happened…

.

ShifuOogwayLose trust & migrate.
Invent weapons. 
Kill our own species. 
Kill & consume pretty much every other species. 
And then the slip continued… 
.
Invent power.
Invade, control, torment, crush, divide & rule our own species. 
Plunder wealth & art, crush culture & craft.
And then the slide started…
.
Matrix7Invent religion.
Grow, spread & enforce religion. 
Conquer, convert and rule more land & people.

.

Invent education. 
Destroy intelligence, feed nonsense & nurture obedience.
Methodically turn people into sheep.
And then the slide became a spiral…
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Sheep9Invent Government.
Crush intelligence, independence & culture and convert more people to sheep.
Tax the sheep repeatedly so they forget they are intelligent and can think.

.

Invent money & economy. 
Plunder, spoil & erode everything nature – above, on & all around.
Dig the only planet we’ve got & suck out everything beneath is surface. 

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Invent Companies / Organisations.
Make people obey & follow routine and believe they are sheep. 
Become greedy to be wealthier & more powerful than everyone known & unknown.
And then it became a never-ending downward spiral…
.
Spider18Invent HR, supervisor & manager (the sheepdog).
Transform all thinking Homo sapiens (the sheep) into robots, zombies or one of our ancestors.
Bury sheep deep in moronic routines so they eventually forget to think.
.
Invent loans & EMI.
Raise covetousness & greed to an art form.
Trap all sheep in debt for a lifetime.
.
Invent entertainment & make sheep believe is art.
Insult art by corrupting creativity using economy.
Feed & grow Ego to be higher than Everest, deeper than oceans and broader than sky.
.
Invent governance & management.
Make people follow, praise & worship the elected & elite as their Shepherds. 
And then came the fall…
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Achiever1Invent ways to make more of everything with the sheep, supervised by the sheepdog, making the shepherds more powerful & wealthy, every passing moment. 
Invent performance appraisal & promotion to ensure sheep never become shepherds (the few who manage to get promoted can only become sheepdogs).
Make superficial things like colour, accent, dress & objects the focus of prosperity & superiority. 
Invent marketing & advertising to make the sheep buy more than what they need & remain happily in debt
Invent media to sell more debt to debt ridden sheep by using entertainers as experts.
And then came the mighty final fall…
.
Matrix2(re)Invent education as exceptionally profitable business. 
Force curious children to study, study & study some more.
Force studious children to write tests, score marks and be ranked to highlight their inferiority.
Force playful children to compete and entirely lose the enchanting possibilities of childhood.
JabbaHutt2(re)Invent wellness by shifting focus of healthcare from health & care to boundless profit.
Sell food and goods to make sheep unhealthy.
Sell health insurance to make sheep believe they will be helped in time of need.
Sell health products & services to sheep to make them feel healthy.
Sell healthcare services to sheep to fix their health, when they inevitably become unhealthy.
Keep the vicious cycle going to keep the shepherds wealthy.
And then came the end…
.

Refugees1Stop caring and staunchly believe ‘Ignorance is Bliss!’
Deify & promote hilarious & obnoxious celebrities as icons & role models to keep sheep in a trance.
Invent shame to tame the intelligent sheep who dare to think & defy the sheepdogs.
Monitor and destroy any attempt to question the shepherds & prevent it from happening again, ever. 
Shun awareness & demonise spirituality to prevent curious sheep from seeking the truth awakening from the stupor.


Tsk… Tsk… Tsk…

Thinking2Sometime in the middle of the 22nd century, the Homo sapiens finally managed to do the predictable and inevitable…

… the annihilation of their own existence!

Out of the mounds of dust and debris of that self-destruction emerged the Homo dumbus – a meek, fickle & insecure species that had no idea about anything and was unsure about everything. In 314 AA*, one of them found that tablet, which might have told them all about their illustrious ancestors… including us…

Thou art Homo sapien!

*AA – Anno Annihili, i.e., After Annihilation.
 
@PrakashSwamy
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Inspiration, Inside-out!

18 Aug
A number of people known to us talk about how someone has inspired them to do something great or wonderful or both. Frequently. Often, the oft-quoted (and hence, very clichéd)
“Success is 99% Perspiration & 1% inspiration” 

is used as the full stop to conclude such conversation, leaving an amused expression on either face.

3Monkeys3Upon hearing such soul stirring sharing of personal success, you too get inspired (doesn’t matter by what or why) and promptly share it with someone else. Over a hot cuppa or lunch or dinner or during a walk or in a social do. In no time, the same inspirational story is shared with you by someone else, again. And again. And again. Until one of you hear the next inspirational story (or get irrevocably bored with the current one). Then the cycle starts all over again.

Now you wonder (it can easily be figured out from the angle of the raised brow and relative position of the pupil in your eye w.r.t the periphery) if inspiration was never really meant to, umm… inspire people, which all those wildly popular (and very wealthy) bestselling authors of motivational books that are supposed to inspire all and sundry? Stop right there, as such serious thought could inspire perspiration, because thinking isn’t something you do seriously, often. Please allow Swamy to bead together his simple explanation for this apparently complex conundrum
“To be (inspired) or Not to be!”
20120625_143222In order to comprehend why inspiration can’t come from outside, i.e., someone else, one may start with the famous 5-Why way of finding the root cause (without digging mother earth, of course, for there’s hardly any part of her left to dig). If that sounds even more complex, which it indeed is and will continue to be, then one may simply look at what else can make things happen inside one’s head from outside. Other than your spouse and boss, naturally. Hmmm… how about Motivation?
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You may have been motivated by a teacher at your primary or high school (after that point of no return in the obnoxiously long, needlessly winding and utterly pointless studious path, nobody cares anyway). Swamy still recalls his Tamizh (his mother tongue, in which too he writes both prose & poetry), English and History & Geography teachers from various stages of his school Life. Not because of their wizardry of the subject (which they obviously possessed and demonstrated) but because of the way they motivated those interested in their subjects (& even those who weren’t) by hooking eager students (ahem, including Swamy, inevitably) with enchanting tales and activities, instead of just sticking to the book and black (or white or green) board, which inarguably kept their students from getting bored. Of course there ware also teachers in whose dictionary the meaning of motivation was published (erroneously, of course, but not for them) as beating the kids black and blue, with a cane, no less (needless to say, Swamy never had any interest in weaving, ever, after his high school days)!
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Swamily11You must have been motivated by your dear(est) friend (at any point in time) to do what you love to do (including loving your dear friend). And you may’ve tried to do just that, for the sake of that friend, for a while, before finding your next true love or friend (both terms are always relative and never objective). Some of Swamy‘s college friends motivated him to pick ECE (Electronics & Communication Engineering) during his graduation, instead of CSE (Computer Science Engineering – don’t get him started on how something can be both Science and Engineering, puhleeezzzzz), which was apparently the hottest new stream at that time (and was offered on a platter by the college management because of his academic standing in the 1st year). Their reasoning was probably simple – electronics is about what is tangible inside the computer, so the smarter ones (read Day-scholars – see how that title itself is so self-explanatory, with a scholarly ring to it) should learn about that, instead of the intangible software thingy. Talk about missing the plane (to the US of A, way too obviously) and be the Sundar Pichai of some tech company in the silicon valley (the original, not the pseudo one in Swamy’s neighbouring state). It’s truly an indescribable miracle that Swamy still managed to secure an University rank in ECE! Talk about motivation, heh… heh…
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20131102_140219You could have been motivated by an elder in the family (sometimes they not so pleasantly surprise themselves doing so) to become someone respectable in the society. Which happened to be (at their time, not yours) an accountant (or banker), engineer (really working in a real industry, mind you) or doctor (friendly neighbourhood type with miraculous ability to detect the illness accurately from any kind of symptom, by virtue of knowing you from the time you weren’t wearing pants – under or over, not the uber specialist who will look at just a single nerve in your vast nervous system or part of a single part in your entire body machinery, not from your history but from the fresh blood+urine+stool+x-ray+mri++++++ report). Let’s catch our breath here, otherwise we may end up with all those aforesaid reports in front of the Pulmonologist in the nearby Super speciality hospital, spread over 150 acres (invariably with a meteor size hole in the wallet)! 
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You may have been motivated by a scrawny man with scraggly beard, feeding the mongrels on your street with biscuits or rice or some edible thing, daily at 7pm sharp. It may be hard for you to recall, but he did smile at you as well. Every single day!
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Or the traffic policeman who appeared totally selfless in ensuring some semblance of sanity among the obviously insane humans pretending to ride 2/4/6 or more wheels (who obviously have no idea about how to ride any of those contraptions on wheels, without making a fellow human being or the more polite dogs and buffalos, scream and run for the non-existent cover), while inhaling the entire lifetime quota of cancerous smoke billowing from a thousand exhaust pipes, every day.
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3Monkeys27In some action of yours, even today, the effect of such motivation can be seen. At least a shadow of it. For such is the effect of right dose of motivation, administered at the right time, even in a wrong place (c’mon reader, that doesn’t mean your home or office, really, even though you strongly believe that way, about both places).
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If at all you stop promptly before a signal turns red (for which you’ll be honked at, if you happen to ride or drive in Swamy’s once-great motherland, where he chose to reside, neither because of his mother nor because of any land), that probably could be attributed to your sympathy for that smoke inhaling sane traffic policeman (until one of them flags you down one fine day, for not wearing that damn helmet, which you never bothered to remove from its box).
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If and when you buy a few 3 rupees Tiger or Parle Glucose biscuit packets and fed a few strays in the neighbourhood (watch out for their wagging tail, without fail, even if you’ve fed them only once in your entire lifetime), that most probably could be attributed to that scrawny unknown man, who unfailingly smiled at your younger version (when you might have been a better person too).
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Pills1bIf at all you step out of a clinic or hospital with a smile on your face (though 80-20 rule strictly states that’s not possible – in Bold, Underline, Capital letter, and in blood red colour – not just in your case, but in every case, because in any hospital, everyone including you is just that, a case), that must be attributed to that friendly neighbourhood doctor who took good care of your entire family – grandparents included – at a negligible cost (even that was sometimes waived – especially for grandmas, who promptly remembered to pack the home-made sweet delicacy for the doc, while going for the Diabetes check up).
 
If at all you’ve sustained your linguistic, historic or geographic pursuits (your official trips all over the world at your employer’s expense don’t count), that absolutely must be attributed to that teacher who had the knack of making students fall in love (strictly plutonic – of the planet kind, not platonic) with the subject (ahem, subject doesn’t mean person, even if you interpret it that way, with your imagination running wild), unfailingly, year after year.
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Screaming2But it won’t be accurate to say, even such wonderful people have inspired you. “WHY?”, you may scream, aloud, within (everyone knows it’s been eons since you’ve actually dared to scream, aloud, audibly, despite the ample opportunities provided by bosses and family members, every single day of your monochromatic 9-x bau existence)!
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Let’s dissect the word Inspire to see why (earnestly hoping you haven’t studied biology, or at least neither fainted nor vomited while dissecting those poor live[ly] frogs).
 
Thinking_ChimpThough a long word like Inspiration can be dissected in many different (doesn’t many clearly indicate different… umm… never mind) ways, because of our limited ability to comprehend (finely honed over a long period of ‘no questions asked’ timidity at both schools and workplaces) anything, we’ll limit it to only 3 parts (yep, it’s the number that comes after 2 and before 4, indicating it’s only slightly greater than 2 and incredibly lesser than 4).
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Banner3The very first part of the word is “In” and Swamy somehow believes that you know the meaning of that part of the word. Anyway, It, i.e., In, means inside, within or something similar (be advised – don’t check Thesaurus.com, or you’ll be very confused – In more ways than one). That negates the possibility of it, err.. In, coming from outside (thanks for not further increasing the arc angle of at least one of your raised brows – much appreciated). For simplicity (thank you… thank you…), let’s take this as the ‘In’put (pun very much intended ;).
 
Kailash8The middle part of the word is “Spire”, which means peak, apex, pinnacle or summit (among other – more spine tingling – meanings). Again, for simplicity (thank you… thank you… once again), let’s take this as the (desired or expected, but not both, because it can’t be and will never be both, since they are intended to be very different, by design) Output. Or Outcome, which sounds more snobbish and could fetch a sliver of approving smile (millennial equivalent of a pat in the back – considered Jurassic in these Digital days) from your uber successful boss (no gender bias there), who understandably is your chosen God(dess), when it comes to carreligion (which, in case you must know, is career+religion – much more such enchanting terms, which are obviously love children of dictionary and thesaurus, and thereby not present in either, can be cherished in Swamyctionary and Swamysaurus – not to be confused with that whitish dinosaur from the new Jurassic World movie, which is neither as engaging nor as entertaining as the old Jurassic Park movie, despite having the cool-as-a-cucumber Chris ‘StarLord’ Pratt onboard and in control of the even more cool and smart Velociraptor quadruples – if and when it’s published).
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Child-creativeThe last part of the word (which to our amazement makes it the 3rd part of the 3 parts too), according to the venerable Oxford, Cambridge and other such famed dictionaries as Sura, doesn’t mean anything. But, of course, it does. “ation” is nothing but the abridged version of elation, after a haircut (oops, tress styling) at Javed Habib or Tony & Guy outlet in the neighbourhood mall (the world knows you go week on the knees when it comes to western brands, which includes Peter England, Van Heusen and Allen Solly, all of which are actually manufactured in towns like Madurai, which when last checked was very much part of Southern India, which itself is on the Eastern part of the world). When convenient (which is anytime), it can also be used as the abridged version of nation. But for now we’ll stick to the former and leave the latter to the ultra noisy Newshour (haven’t you seen the advertisement before 9pm “Listening is injurious to health. Listening could cause irreparable loss to hearing. Listening could kill. Wearing noise-cancelling headphones is strongly recommended by the respective health authority!”) and its self-proclaimed emperor His Newsness (you may be reading it as Nuisance, on purpose, you wicked reader, but Swamy‘s ear canal is already ruptured and so he didn’t hear that) Arnab Goswami. 
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Puppy_PotpourriSo, there it is. The meaning (and sole – if not soul – purpose) of the word Inspiration. By virtue of its meaning (induced, not deduced – maintaining unwavering focus on the “In” part is the in thing, especially when it comes to success, which is obviously the only thing sheeps, err.. humans chase, these days – blame it on Global Warming)…
“Inspiration is something that ceaselessly springs from deep within you,
making you do something worthy that you truly love to,
letting you achieve the desired outcome of reaching the pinnacle in whatever you choose to do,
resulting in an exultant expression of joy that lasts.”
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Whatever makes you joyful, is worth pursuing. And persisting. And perspiring. Inspiration falls under that category, naturally. So, go on. Throw that dictionary away. And learn to ignite that elusive thingamajig called Inspiration. Inside-out!
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@PrakashSwamy
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Prominent or Significant!

11 Aug Google

There are many prominent humans out there. We keep knowing about them all the time, through multiple media that continue to bombard our senses with news, insights, visuals and comments about them.

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Sometimes we wonder how in the world are they considered prominent – at least many of them, who also happen to be notorious, one way or another! Unfortunately, the sheep that we are, we keep getting attracted to their prominence, helplessly and hopelessly. We s/elect them to power or adore, worship and make them even more popular – and sometimes far more powerful – than they deserve to be.

Mask2Most celebrities fall under this category. They are prominent, irrespective of whether they have made any meaningful contributions to fellow humans – on wellbeing or wisdom or whatever. We adore them and feel gratified when they are feted and given a vast amount of publicity, as if all that is meant for ourselves. And repeat it, over and over again. The silent philanthropists – including but not limited to movie stars – who take time out to make a difference in people’s lives are an exception.

There were and are many humans out there who have made significant contributions to humankind. On science, medicine, technology, spirituality, education, wealth, politics and so on. We get to know about them either when their contribution is celebrated or debated. Or when they leave the mortal coil. And during their anniversaries.

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Fortunately, because they are significant, their contributions continue to live on, long after they are gone. Despite the fact that we don’t adore or worship them for their significant contribution to making humankind better, which they certainly deserve but hardly receive, at least when they are alive. 

charles-darwinMany scientists (whose discovery or invention translated into something that functions), thinkers (those who also happen to be articulate), authors (not the pulp-fiction type) and even politicians (certainly not the ones who rush to the well of the parliament and shout slogans, shaming not just themselves but the thousands who voted them to power and the nation itself) belong to this category. Most may not be celebrities, which doesn’t diminish their contributions in any way. Popular scientists like Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins are an exception.

We all have the choice to seek either prominence or significance in Life. In whatever we do. Or plan to. Or seek to be.

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The celebrities (and wannabes) choose the former, i.e. prominence, invariably. It’s a choice and they do have the liberty to make that choice in a democratic nation or culture. Many get entrenched in the popularity trap, until it takes a huge toll on their Life. That doesn’t prevent the rest to tag along, despite their notoriety and at times blatantly stupid acts.

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Celebrity1A million followers on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc, shows that prominent humans are wildly popular, notoriety and stupidity notwithstanding. This inevitably misleads millions of young followers to mimic their lives, thereby destroying their own. Sad, but true.

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The knowledge seekers and value makers choose the latter, aka significance, always. They don’t give a hoot about publicity popularity – during their lifetime or after. Their focus is on translating an idea or thought into reality, for making something better, faster or easier. Or creating something new out of the blue. Many of them end up spending a lifetime pursuing just one thing. That doesn’t mean the rest has to ignore them, despite their abject disregard for any kind of acknowledgement or high praise.

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APJ18And then there are a few who managed to remain prominent, while making significant contributions. The late APJ Abdul Kalam became the most prominent citizen – the 11th President of India, and became popular as the beloved People’s President – but has also managed to make significant contributions on a variety of fields such as rocket science (that made India a prominent player on satellite launch space), nation building (a magnificent vision for this once-great nation’s bright & better future), healthcare (lightweight prosthetic leg and a cheaper coronary stent) and education (teaching & guiding University students and inspiring children & youth nationwide). Unarguably an exception, he is certainly not alone in the march of humankind through the long pages of evolutionary history.

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Thinking2Prominence doesn’t last. Significance does. Time and time again. Even the prominent People’s President was denied a well-deserved second term of presidency by the wily politicians (intriguingly, another powerful nation – also democratic – offered a second term to a not-so popular President, pretty much on a platter, not so long ago in history). But his significant contributions in many spaces shall outlast several generations (not so intriguingly, the other 2-term President of that other powerful nation, remains insignificant now, ignored by his own ilk, despite being very much alive).

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Whatever you’ve been trying to accomplish in Life (hazarding an assumption that you indeed are trying, still!), take a long hard look at what do you seek to be – Prominent or Significant? Your choice is as important to you as it is to the rest of human species, as you never know what significant impact your work can have on others.

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Spider1None of us may know (and probably the entire human species never will) who the inventor of the wheel (yep, that simple circular thingamajig that moves all kinds of – not just -vehicles) was. Despite the lack of his/her prominence, the shape of the wheel is so significant that it not only hasn’t been tinkered with by any, even after many a century, but also gave us an oft-repeated phrase “Don’t reinvent the Wheel!”

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Irrespective of whether you end up becoming prominent in your chosen space or not, make sure whatever you do is significant. Prominence tempts, but significance triumphs. Life is full of choices. When it comes to doing and being (and needless to say, living), the most prominent choice of yours could very well turn out to be the most significant!

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GoogleP.S. When Swamy published the blog post “Prominent or Significant!” on 11-Aug-2015, he didn’t expect it to be validated swiftly, by the rise of a humble person from #NammaChennai, with a conscious low profile persona, to a very prominent position, way high up in the#technology space 🌏- propelled primarily by his significant contributions to not just the growth of the tech behemoth 📈 (which is obvious) but also due to the widespread adoption of his implemented ideas 💭🔮 by the vast masses of users, worldwide. 👌 Swamy, for instance, useas an Android Phone (LG G3), Tablet (Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1) & Chrome browser – not just on his PCs running Microsoft Windows 10, but even on his Apple Macbook Pro. All of them, have been under this gentleman’s leadership for a while now!
Kudos #SundarPichai for your elevation as #CEO 👑of the big G, aka#Google. 👏May Grace 🙌 be with you for a purposeful #Lifeoverflowing with novel ideas that make #Life better & joyful for everyone, everywhere. 😌
And one more thing👆… Thanks for being the proof-of-concept for @PrakashSwamy‘s ‘Prominent or Significant’ #idea, which most certainly will propel his own thoughts & ideas for “Human Potential DISCovery + NURTURE©“, further & farther. 👍

@PrakashSwamy

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The Witness!

2 Jul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

70 Bhagavatha - Uddhava Gita

70 Bhagavatha – Uddhava Gita

Uddhava: Excellent!

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

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

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

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.

So, What About You?

29 Apr

So, What About You?

– a Mjolnir blow to wake you up from your Rip Van Winklish slumber!

Disclaimer: Any reference to ‘You’ here isn’t about ‘you’ per se’, but about human beings as a species. So, while reading or upon completion of this (full) post, please don’t get so cooked up to retort with a vehement comment against the poor author! You (this time, it’s indeed you) are most welcome to leave your pov / reflection as a comment, of course 🙂

You’re the leader of a team; boss of a unit; owner of a shop; or leader of a company, on the professional front. You may probably be someone else, but you get the drift.

You probably also are the head of a family; the first or last born; the favorite son or daughter (or the unfavorite in-law, if you happen to be an avid soap watcher who firmly believes such clichés are forever) on the personal front.

Achiever1That naturally makes you think you’re somebody – important, powerful, indispensable, inevitable, etc., which bloats your ego to a larger than XXXL size. Some call it ‘headweight’, appropriate perhaps, as that’s how it feels when you start thinking too much about yourself. This obviously makes you feel extremely good about your job or family, as you find shepherding the minions at professional and personal front both amusing and rewarding. You thoroughly enjoy pulling up people for their incompetence, give an earful of “If I were you” advice – irrespective of whether they need it or not and compare one person to another as if they’re oranges stacked up in the shelves of Pazhamuthir Nilayam or Kroger. It won’t be too far fetched to say occasionally (or often, depending on how severe your self infliction is) you feel like having the world on your palm, controlling which way it spins.

Seesaw1Of course, the oranges, aka, others who’re in the ambit of your influence may quite possibly be thinking that you’re an unbearable pain-in-the-@$$ who’s perennially drunk on power but in reality worse than a used dispensable tissue and a curse in their Life that they’ve to just live with. But like 80% of their own species, they don’t express it but instead grin and praise you as their lord and savior, whenever you grace them with your inglorious presence. That makes you do more and more of such nonsense. Deep inside the crevices of their heart (we humans are deeply emotional beings, after all) they’re hiding the truth that they’ll probably take the day off and celebrate if you’re hit by a truck enroute to work tomorrow morning!

Ahem, once you recover from this shocking truth (rest assured, it is) that just hit you hard like a blow from Mjolnir, aka Thor’s hammer, that appeared from nowhere but appears to have been directed specifically at your head all the way from Asgard, it’s time to get some perspective on who you really are… Shall we get started?

Thinking_ChimpYou’re some X or Y – yep, the chromosome too did its part in determining who you’re

You’re part of some team – one way or other, both professionally and personally

Your team is part of some organization – either your own with you at the helm or someone else’s

Your organization is part of an industry – they all are, supposedly to compete in a healthy way and offer better products and services to customers. Whether they really do so is one of those ‘big why’ questions…

Earth_Lights_from_SpaceYour industry is one among the many industries that dot any nation – irrespective of whether you’re already perched atop Maslow’s hierarchy or not…

You’re located in just one nation (local business) or happen to be a multi-national (global conglomerate) – they say it depends on your ambition but it appears to be more of greed, not just to your competitors but consumers too…

Earth_from_SpaceYour nation(s) is part of this tiny planet called Earth – yep, the only planet inhabited by our species certainly isn’t as big as your ego and you’ll know why in about 14 seconds…

The Earth is part of a bunch of planets located in the Solar System – come to think of it, your planet circles the Sun and without it’s light you and your bloated ego are doomed, almost instantaneously…

Galaxy_AndromedaBtw, did you notice it’s already no more ‘your’ something anymore…

The Solar System is part of the Milky Way Galaxy – ahem, it’s just one of the planetary systems that dot that galaxy…

The Milky Way is one of the many galaxies that are spread far and wide in the space – it’s a fact that we still have no clue about how many such galaxies are there…

The Galaxies dot the deep Space that seem to exist all around and beyond – it’s true that Space is all pervading and we can’t even imagine if there’s a boundary or logical endpoint to space…

Take a deep breath. A few more please. Get hold of your senses. Take a short walk to clear that stunned head of yours. Slowly sipping your favorite brew (not that brew bozo, it’s the caffeine kind we’re talking here) while staring at that striking blue sky might help!

Cosmos2Hmmm… looks like you suddenly appear to be tinier than a speck of dust on the road in front of your home. And most certainly there won’t be even a rumble or tremor in the Cosmos tomorrow morning, if you’re actually hit by a truck enroute to work, to torment the poor fellow humans who just happen to work for or with you. They at least have a choice to walk away, but your poor family… tsk.. tsk..

In the cosmic scale of things, you don’t seem to matter – to anyone or anything. Let’s see if at least some of your so called creations matter…

Screaming4You’ve documented your history proudly – a mere account of individuals and events, predominantly from the victor’s perspective, which is reduced to reams of paper that not many are keen on learning anymore…

You’ve created a fierce national identity – a mere geographical divide of the same race on the same planet, which is extremely effective in dividing the human race than uniting…

You’ve created languages to communicate – a mere arrangement of sounds to convey your ideas and thoughts, which are so many that a single human would never be able to learn all of them in a lifetime…

You’ve created religion to herd people by faith – an organized path to realization, which has been reduced to a mere model that binds people more by hatred than love and led by those who neither are realized nor have true knowledge…

You’ve created many thingamajigs of material nature – a way to make living easy, which is only Life the way you know it, i.e., the absurdity of existence, and not Life the way it is

Monkay1All of your creations seem to have forgotten the essential (& existential) truth of Life – especially in these troubled times. That we’re just one of the millions (billions?) of connected creations that adorn this tiny planet in myriad hues, forms, shapes and size. And all those marvelous beings are certainly not a human creation and perennially beyond most human comprehension!

Whoa, you still aren’t ready to scream “alright, that’s enough… I get it!” Well then, here’s the last salvo to burst that thick bubble of yours…

5Elements1The earth you tread on and live on seems to be far more firm to withstand the mindless human onslaught to destroy it, yet endlessly forgiving to nurture all kinds of Life, including yours…

The fire you create and use seems to be far more capable in making things – from food to tools – yet fiercely powerful beyond belief, when it chooses to burn down everything in its sight…

The water you fetch and consume seems to be far more humble to stay in oceans or flow in rivers, yet incredulously powerful to wash away all of your creations whenever it decides to wash ashore as a flood or tsunami…

The wind you let in and leverage seems to be far more gentle, caressing the frail bodies of all beings and let them live with an endless supply of air to breathe, yet menacingly powerful to smash to smithereens anything and everything in its path when it transforms into a typhoon…

Flowers3The sunlight you await every single dawn seems to be far brighter and longer lasting energy source than any of the light sources you’ve invented…

The lightening you witness unfailingly during rains seem to be the most powerful source of power than any you’ve imagined, yet you’ve absolutely no idea on how to tap it for your own never-ending needs for more power (of the electric kind, not political)…

The flora you somehow still let flourish seems to be far more capable of survival by staying in tune with the nature and not working against it…

The fauna you push towards near extinction by rabid consumption and habitual destruction of their habitat seems to be far more content to ‘Just Be’ the way they’re meant to be than trying to think hard for those ‘aha’ moments to find ways for a better Life only to end up screwing it big time, time and again, like the amusing (and needless to say, annoying) two legged human creatures that roam this planet proudly, as if they created everything…

OMG_AnimalsHeck, even the tiny birds seem to be far more agile and efficient to endure (and in all probability enjoy as well) airborne journeys longer than your largest airplane… the miniscule ants seem to be far more capable of movement on multiple axes and lifting weights that are many times their own… the mountains seem to be far more sturdy than any structure you’ve created… the fragile blades of grass seem to be far more durable than the toughest fabric you’ve discovered…

Mjolnir1The list of things and beings you’ve taken for granted all seem to be better than you, in more ways than one…

But, it’s still hard for you to accept that there are things better than you. Well, you get what you wish for – here’s that Mjolnir blow to wake you up from your Rip Van Winklish slumber that you just seem incapable of getting out yourself.

Take your time to do just one thing to assure yourself that you’re a greater being. Find a nice, cozy place that you prefer as your personal space for ideation, creation, and other such blah. Think hard or brainstorm with the minions under your purview to do just this one task…

“Create a single blade of grass that’s better in form, shape, hue, texture, durability and ability to blend in as part of a large community (of fellow blades of grass).”

Thinking2That’s it. Simple as that – create a single blade of better grass. Or a myrtle green Leaf. Perhaps a fragrant Flower. May be a buzzing Bee. Or a fluttering monarch Butterfly. How about that cute cuddly Puppy? A gentle Giraffe? A massive blue Whale? Oh btw, in case you’re scheming to fall back into your typical human ways of finding wily alternatives to doing the right thing, strictly no cloning business here – just an elegant original creation!

Knock, knock (a couple of firm taps on your block head). Hello, anybody home?

Why have you suddenly become so quiet? What happened to that stronger-than-steel belief of you being superior to any other earthling? Where has that non-stop “i-me-mine” chatter gone? When are you going to stop staring at the vast emptiness that suddenly seem to be all pervading and all encompassing?

Huh, contemplating Life… are we! Suddenly (and inevitably) it dawns upon you… whatever big ideas you’ve had about yourself in that big head of yours seem to be just ‘bah humbug’ that you created. That carefully crafted and tirelessly practiced I-me-mine routine seem to be totally pointless. And you comprehend that you are completely clueless about the meaning and purpose of what you call as your Life!

Dhyana1It’s alright dear fellow human… Truth is never meant to be nice, pleasant or easily digestible. Truth hurts first; systematically demolishes the thick “i” wall you’ve built brick by brick next; obliterates any shards of “me” still left then; and spotlessly washes away whatever remnants of “mine” that remains at last. Truth eventually leaves you stark naked in the perennial glow of reality, so there are no illusory shadows about yourself left anymore. At that point, accepting your true ‘self’ appears to be the only choice left.

If you, at long last, choose to be humble and willing to accepting the choice (instead of your usual choosing a preferred choice), then you’re ready to take the first step on the path to self-realization. And it’s a long way to go before realization actually dawns upon you – could even be a journey of many lifetimes. Perhaps during that enchanting journey, you’ll also come to know, eventually, the journey is the destination!

Keeping all that in perspective, just for a single moment, think about yourself all over again. So, What About You?

Note: The “What about you”, i.e., core message of this post, came from Swamy’s Master Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, who doesn’t mince words when it comes to pricking the ego balloon of all seekers who chose to be drenched in his boundless grace. When Swamy heard it from his Master, whatever remnants of ego that still remained were shredded to bits. And the message did hit one like a a Mjolnir blow to wake oneself up from one’s Rip Van Winklish slumber!

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SwamyProfileLove + Gratitude > @PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

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Fortuna Favi Actus!

10 Feb

Sports4We’re all players. Many at work, some in sport, few in creative fields and a handful in the endless beginning called Life. Shakespeare seems to have known as he wrote “All the world’s a stage…!”

The outcome of anything we perform- activity, game, thinking, communication, creation, expression, etc. – depends on what your focus is & what type of player you’re.

Masks9If your focus is success, then you’ll be competitive (& possibly combative) player. The outcome could be elation in achieving success or deflation in failing to do so.

Neither is lasting but either could impact how you play and perform further.

Screaming4If your focus is avoid failure, then you’ll be a cautious (& possibly passive) player. The outcome could be satisfaction in not failing or relief in not being blamed for failure.

Neither will help you grow (real growth isn’t about promotion, new title or higher pay) but either can prevent you from growing.

Orchestra6If your focus is participation, then you’ll be an active (& possibly selfless) player. The outcome could only be joy because you’re just keen on playing and not too flustered by the result.

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kung-fu-panda-2As an active participant, you derive joy from participating and performing with the best of your ability. You’ll gladly celebrate someone else’s success. You’ll empathize with someone else’s failure and probably mentor, coach and guide them. You’ll eventually see people flocking around you because, unknown to you, your circle of influence has expanded. Joy begets joy and you spread the cheer, even if you don’t do it consciously. Over time, you end up becoming the selfless but glorious Sun that planets orbit than some nondescript planet that receives sunlight probably for a fraction of its existence.

Thinking_ChimpThe choice to eclipse your existence as yet another nondescript planet in this vast cosmos and become the Sun that nourishes Life in many such planets in the universe is yours.

Fortuna Favi Fortus is passe’. It’s a brave new world and Fortuna Favi Actus is here, now & hip. Choose living Life over the absurdity of mere existence, experience the grand Game of Life citius, altius, fortius and Glow even in afterlife!

P.S.: Swamy dedicates this blog post to Sudharsan, a young achiever who’s made a mark in the sport of his choice, practically on his own (as a planet, he too had a few suns, of course)! Bravo buddy, keep raising the bar, be joyful & spread the cheer 🙂

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Love + Gratitude > @PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

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Fifty 50!

10 Dec

Asura_BookJust completed reading Asura by Anand Neelakantan, an interesting tale on Ravana’s perspective of the Ramayana epic. Ravana’s tale was all the more interesting to me as I’ve already reminisced about the near complete absence of this great King of Lanka in the Sri Lankan history. Devouring 500 pages in 4 days transmogrified me to much younger days, when I used to borrow many a novel from my uncle, who was a member of the prestigious Victoria Edward Hall library in my hometown. I had to finish the books quickly so that he can return them and borrow new ones, which in turn I could borrow (is that borrow2 or 2borrow!). Worked very well for me as those books and a weekly dose of Hollywood flicks shaped my linguistic and communication skills better than what was taught in school and college (I did have fantastic English and Tamil teachers, btw). Sadly, the focus of schools and colleges pretty much remains on studying and not learning, even today!

ThevarMaganWhile writing the review of the book (read Swamy’s review of Asura here), my mind wandered off (just doing its job, that’s all), introspecting human nature and Life (my favorite subject of all time) as we know and live. And I ended up concluding that each one of us are part Asura and part Deva, irrespective of whether we like this hard hitting fact or not (which is the case with all hard hitting facts anyway). Interestingly, the thespian Kamal Haasan tried emphasizing the same thing in more than one of his movies like Thevar Magan (my favorite, not just for Kamal’s stellar transformational performance but also the great Sivaji Ganesan’s first and probably only opportunity to showcase his real acting prowess – ah man, what have the directors denied us all along!), Nayagan (fan favorite, Wow, what a performance!), Anbe Sivam (critics’ favorite – hard to believe it was directed by Sundar C!) and Aalavandan (everybody’s joke, despite his awesome take on playing the villain, which his other avatar as Director messed up big time). Well, before we transcend to the suspended reality of mythology and movies, let’s spend some time on dissecting the AsuraDeva mix of genes in us.

Gardening1When the seed is sown, every one of them has the same, if not equal, chance to grow into something valuable, purposeful and memorable. The eternal rule remains the same for Flora, Fauna, Humans or the multitude of other beings whose existence we don’t even know about or incapable of perceiving in the realms beyond the physical.

KashGarden22sEach flora seed can grow into a plant blossoming with vibrant flowers in myriad colors, attracting honeybees and butterflies that get drunk on pure honey and romance them for an endless supply of that elixir. In return, they also help seed more plants through pollination. Some seeds grow into plants that bear grains, fruits and vegetables, which other creatures consume for their survival. And a few other seeds grow into magnificent trees offering shelter to birds and other tree living creatures and shade to humans and other land beings.

KashGarden26sThe Gardener who shaped and nurtured the flora certainly has taste. And patience. But humans, needless to say, have neither. We will pluck the flowers from the plant and make garlands out of them to decorate our hair or favorite deity, as a daily offering along with Camphor, Sambrani and Agarbatti. How many times have we restrained ourselves from plucking them and spent time instead marveling at their vibrant colors, intricate shapes and delicate texture? While animals take only what they need from plants, we try to make them produce more by dumping chemical fertilizers because we always want more of everything. A lot more than what we really need. We also promptly saw the huge trees off to craft furniture, carve musical instruments and build houses!

OMG-LionbEach fauna seed can emerge into a marvelous creature that’ll coexist peacefully with Mother Nature, living Life the way it is. From the mighty Lion to the exceptionally fast Cheetah to the chirpy Sparrow to the gentle giant Elephant to the mammoth Whale to the slippery Seal to the magnificent Peacock to the slithery Snake to the busy Ants to the majestic Eagle to the chatty Parrot to the cheerful Squirrel to the clever Crow to the agile Ape (oh, we’ve lost all that agility in the name of evolution brother) to the mesmerizing Cobra to the friendly Dog to the curious Cat to the spirited Rabbit to the motherly Cow and a million other known and unknown species, they all play the Game of Life by the law of Nature and go through the 3 stage cycle without needing a 5-Why analysis on Living Life!

OMG-MonkeybEnter the all knowing all conquering human and instantly their absurdity of existence comes to the fore. Lions and Cheetahs are caged in zoos (a treatment meted out to convicted human criminals); Sparrows are chased away by towering skyscrapers and cellular transmission towers (all they need is a tiny box or hole); Elephants are chained in temples and murdered for their tusks (how would it feel when someone plucks out our gleaming white teeth for decoration); Whales and Seals are either hunted mercilessly or haunted by the slimy and lethal deposits dumped into their abode, the ocean; Peacocks are defeathered to be used as decoration (will we ever hang our hair and nails on the wall!); Apes are cut open or injected with chemicals in the name of evolution research (we’ve evolved into something monstrous that they’ll never want to be!); Cobras are captured repeatedly for extracting venom or beaten to death (how does one pray to yet kill the same thing!); Dogs are stoned and chased away or instructed to behave and win contests for their proud owners (which is the same we do with our children as well); Cats are associated with bad omen (bah, humbug!) and will be lucky to have even the 2nd of their 9 lives; Cows are milked and then slaughtered for meat (hard to imagine even the hard core criminal among the beef lovers having cannibalistic tendencies towards their mothers!). And invariably all fauna are cooked and eaten, by humans the world over!

LordShivaThe Creator who has given shape to the fauna from the endless beginning would never have imagined how his magnificent creations would someday end up as toys or playthings in the hands of his most puny and meek creation, that is truly, madly, deeply, hell bent on proclaiming that the only business of belief left is the mindless destruction of nature and it’s way of Life, which sadly is the polar opposite of how Life is supposed to be!

Thinking_ChimpAnd do we even have to get started on ourselves? The less said the better, for obvious reasons. Right from (pro)creation, we want to live Life on our terms, i.e., the way we want to live and not the way it is meant to be. Children are selected and given birth (boys outnumber girls, despite the well known fact that only women can give birth, still) at the time of our choice (the birth star and sun or moon sign is critical for their success in Life – some idiots even go for fancy dates such as 11-11-11 or the up and coming 12-12-12, supposedly our judgment day and also happens to be the birthday of a Superstar, which is no different from getting a fancy number plate for their car by paying a premium). They’re enrolled in premier educational institutions (which is one of the most thriving businesses, in case you finally realize that your monochromatic job sucks and look for an alternate career) that are totally focused on the output (100% pass) than outcome (inherently good, intelligent citizens who can raise the standard of living for all – including themselves – and make this once great planet great again). They’re advised to pursue multiple co/extra-curricular activities that’ll improve their earning capacity or popularity (irrespective of whether the child actually has a natural affinity or aptitude for any of them). If they manage to grow up and find their footing in this planet despite all this nonsense, their natural attraction to the opposite sex will be opposed vehemently by the so called elders, citing social and economical status. And if and when they’re finally married and start their own family and mind their own business, the whole vicious cycle starts repeating itself for the next generation.

Galaxy_AndromedaWe don’t fare any better when it comes to stepping beyond ourselves as individuals and looking at how we are in the larger context of society or nation or planet or universe (merely imagining our existence at that magnitude will result in the Zen moment of realizing our insignificance in Nature’s scale and scheme). We compete, compare, consume, loot, rape, kill, dump waste, wage war, insult, grow jealous, get angry, curse, scream, cry, wallow in sorrow, complain, point fingers, fail to accept failure, crave for more, celebrate success than contribution, ignore wisdom while trying to acquire knowledge, don’t care or share, pity ourselves rather than believing in the self and live forever in darkness while light is just a window or doorway away and not at the end of the tunnel as it always presumed to be. All it takes is lifting the veil of the ignorance curtain to let the light of Life in, but since we’ve been taught ‘Ignorance is Bliss’, how would we even strive to know what true bliss is! Unfortunately, we never really understood the true meaning of simple but profound quotes such as ‘Old is Gold’! In reality, Gray hair doesn’t necessarily assure wisdom, for our choice is always to react and not re-act in Life!

Crying_GirlOur biggest – and probably only – problem is that, despite having mountains of literature and mines full of scriptures that tell us in black and white about Life the way it is, we won’t listen! We are so focused on winning at all costs by driving our Life on the fast lane in the expressway to excellence that we’ve totally forgotten that Life on the slow lane is far more joyful, and can also help us realize that the Journey is the Destination and Joy Drops from exhilaration are far more valuable than tear drops from exhaustion. Our skulls are so thick and ego so swollen that we won’t spend even a single quiet moment to comprehend what many a Yogi, Guru, Mystic, Spiritual Master and Philosopher have tried telling us about Life, from time immemorial. They keep trying till this moment however, but we keep following them blindly without really listening to their message!

Human neither understands FINE isn’t Fine, nor knows that when Life recycles Time, the Present becomes the Past in the Future! And No, we can’t go on like this forever and still expect to evolve further. I realized the folly just in time before joining the ranks of the Forty+ fools and chose to communicate about the most precious four letter word – Life, the way it is – as often as I can, to open wide as many eyes I could, to the possibility Life offers to all, without any discrimination or disproportion. And my Master’s grace is the guiding light in this second – hopefully better – half of my Life journey, in which I write, therefore I am.

Puppy_PotpourriOur survival in the long run is so bleak that I would say we’ve about an 80-20 chance – Eighty for self-destruction and Twenty for self-realization! Wish you will listen and change for the better now, before it is too late. If we steadfastly refuse to change our ways even now – despite harsh reminders from nature in the form of a tantalizing Tsunami or rapidly melting Polar ice or even an uncontrollable Contagion – the difference of 11 and 12 won’t be 13, but zero. Even the cup-is-eternally-half-full compulsive optimist in me wouldn’t give us a chance of Fifty 50!

Love + Gratitude = @PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer!

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