Tag Archives: Thinking

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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4 Types of Slavery and How To MOTIvate Yourself To Gain Freedom From Them!

27 Dec

4 Types of Slavery and How To MOTIvate Yourself To Gain Freedom From Them!

During the entire lifetime on this tiny planet in this vast boundaryless universe (or multiverse, if you’re as much in awe of that enchanting idea as this writer), humans continue to feel they’re slaves, one way or another. Having Been there & Seen that for 4-1/2 decades now, almost half of that as a paid-servant of corporates (a socially accepted form of slavery), Swamy not only has pondered about this for a long time but also figured out there’s not just one or two types of slavery for humans, but four in all. He has already managed to wriggle out of 2 and in pursuit of freeing himself from the remaining two as well.

Vaikunda Ekadasi 01012015-0012As a Gardener – of the human kind – it’s natural for Swamy to seed the ideas from his thought fruit, so fellow humans can first know what the 4 Types of Slavery are, and then MOTIvate themselves from gaining freedom, eventually, in this lifetime or the many others to follow (not much of a choice there, even if you’ve gone thru the Swarga vaasal (சொர்க்க வாசல் i.e. heaven’s entrance) unfailingly at the dawn of every single Vaikunda Ekadasi (வைகுண்ட ஏகாதசி) from your birth and prayed to the Lord of the Milkyway (பாற்கடல்) for a no-visa-required direct teleportation to his domain, despite all the nonsense you’ve been doing here & now, harming many knowingly or inadvertently)!

4. Money

This is where it all starts. And sadly for many, ends too.

Maskmovie4You start earning to fulfill material needs, which are no doubt essential for your livelihood. Then you get entangled with material needs of yourself, near & dear and earn some more. And then you get enamoured by the possibilities of elevating your status in the eyes of society and then earn even more.

Intriguingly, that’s exactly what your parents did and probably their parents as well – at least one of them, because even a few decades ago, any sensible person would’ve balked at the mention of a working mother, because there was no such person. But things do change.. quite rapidly.

In a nutshell, the work-earn-workmore-earnmore-worksomemore-earnsomemore-workevenmore-earnevenmore-workalot-earnalot chase down the rabbit hole keeps going like a never ending one-way trip and you inevitably end up a Slave of Money.

3. Ownership

You were born bare without owning anything (doesn’t matter even if your dad is the richest dude on the planet) and that’s exactly the way you’ll be when Life decides it had enough trapped in your frail body (doesn’t matter again, even if you happen to be the richest dude on the same tiny planet).

Baahubali_babyimageYet, between the two helpless stages of Life, you strive to own anything and everything, including many things that you don’t even need for a living. Like an acre wide mansion with 18 bathrooms, when all you need is a bed and a bathroom to do your daily thing. 

Then the list of things starts to include people. And the dividing line between things fade fast, making it so confusing that people around you wonder why they’re being treated like things (when you routinely break them or try to fix them) and things around you are perplexed why you were lusting them (like that truck sized SUV with a gazillion features you hardly use during the daily commute on a narrow lane).

And to amplify the misery, you fail to realize the magnificent Life throbbing not only within you but all around, because your focus is on ownership of things and not the owner of those things.

Gadgets, Cars, Houses, Yachts & Planes are for starters as the list of things you desire to own is as long as the noisy Indian parliament sessions that fail to result in anything useful for anyone, exactly as the endless list of things & beings that make you a Slave of Ownership.

Time

From the moment you’re packed off to a school to study (forget learning – if that happens anytime during your brief lifetime, you’re deemed lucky) or – with most working parents – even before you’re ready to go to school, your Life journey is driven firmly forward by the two handles ticking tirelessly on a clock. Any clock.

Clock2Many clocks, actually. At school, home, workplace, public places, malls, concert halls, shops, service centers, ATMs, online… And they keep ticking relentlessly.

As the clocks keep ticking, you keep doing something or other, exasperating yourself as you’re always scurrying around to meet some deadline – important or not. And the ticking clock never lets you to even do what you really love to do (like spending time with your adorable German Spitz, who has already figured out that stern looking security guard is a better bet than you for petting her).

The moment you submit to a way of Life governed by the clock (or a watch – smart or otherwise), willingly or not (is there a choice, you may shudder), you become a Slave of Time.

Identity

You were named, probably before you were born. You were called that name (not that utterly stupid but adorably cute nick name you’re called on a daily basis, but something sounding like your great grandfather), immediately after you were born. And then, forever.

FacelessYou studied (pointlessly for a long time, completely letting go of the charm of being a nonchalant child filled with wonder to know everything around, each of which appeared marvelous); got a job (or started your own thing); fell in love (many times over, or may be not even once); got married (and almost instantly rued it); started a family (and hated it, may be not openly); raised kids (not too different from how you were raised as a kid); earned a lot (becoming a Slave of Money); repeatedly bough stuff (becoming a Slave of Ownership); kept chugging along (becoming Slave of Time)…

…until that stroke (or accident or firing or loss) left you devastated; semi-retired (sulking all along); became obsolete (even to still-near & once-dear); died and got a tombstone carrying that name along with production & expiry dates (and may be a tacky tagline, if you had been accidentally nice to someone during the short time you called Life).

From that first wail of yours (with a little slap by a nondescript but caring nurse) to the final wail of others (they loved the money for sure, but you… may not be that much) – neither of which you hear anyway – you remain a Slave of Identity.

That sums up the 4 Types of Slavery, viz

Slave of Money

Slave of Ownership

Slave of Time

Slave of Identity

Monkay1Hmmm… Whatever you’ve (tried to) become in this lifetime – popular or notorious or nondescript – it doesn’t sound like it was worth it at all, isn’t it! Remaining a slave, four times over, after all these supposedly slavery free years!

So you ponder (yep, that unique ability called “thinking” was endowed upon your species exactly for this very purpose) and wonder (that too is probably unique to your species) if there’s any bloody way out of the
4 Types of Slavery. Glad you’ve asked!

The pondering & wondering started swirling in Swamy’s mind too a few years ago, especially when his career path seemed utterly pointless (despite the money & recognition) and the longing to know the purpose of Life – not the one we know & live but Life the way it is – deepened.

Thinking2Aided not only by an active thinking mind (which keeps churning out these blog posts & hopefully a bunch of books too, sooner than later) that dared to question any and all BAUHumbug, but also by an entirely different type of Life pursuit (not new at all but one that’s been around a long long time in this vibrant liberated culture) that started a few years ago to comprehend the nature of that mind itself (needless to say, silently but steadily guided by the boundless Grace of his Guru), Swamy realized the 5 Levels of Freedom that helped him gain freedom from 2 of the 4 types slavery already and confidently nudging him ahead to gain freedom from the remaining 2 as well soon, so that he can focus on the pursuit of the ultimate 5th Level of Freedom!

But you, dear reader, still enslaved by the MOTI (without even realizing it, probably) just have to wait for a day or two to learn about the “5 Levels of Freedom!” to know 4 Types of Slavery and How To MOTIvate Yourself To Gain Freedom From Them, which may well be Swamy’s New Year blog for 2016! Until then, keep pondering & wondering…

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

@PrakashSwamy

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NATYA – a simple formula for success

25 Oct

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

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

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

NATYA – a simple formula for success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

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Mystic Nation 1 – The God Conundrum!

18 Sep

ArtistSwamy6Swamy is fully aware of the pitfall of choosing a topic that’s pretty much guaranteed to raise passionate (and possibly violent – going by the recent murders of learned rationalists) reactions from fellow sheep, umm… humans, for the first post in the new seriesMystic Nation” (#MysticNation on social media) on demystifying the great #Bharat culture and encouraging + enabling it’s much needed revival. But having been born and brought up in this colourful milieu that survived not just one or two but many attempts at annihilation, century after century, it’s but natural for Swamy to pick a topic that exemplifies the truly liberal nature of this ancient culture.

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Bharat, aka India isn’t just a country of Gods (and Goddesses, of course – it’s important to be genetically correct in these neo-liberal days when fashionistas, feminists and femme fatales are quite vocal about gender equality – especially on primetime media, while remaining nonchalantly ignorant about daily reports on rape and other dire statistics that imperil their ilk), but a nation where you’ve the liberty to pick and choose a God. Any God, for that matter.

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KamadhenuStarting from the benevolent cow, worshipped as Gomata – mother cow, a benign being that’s quite shaken lately by finding itself suddenly on top of the TRP & trending lists, instead of its humble abode of Goshala – cowshed, because the argumentative Indian who worships the Holy Cow and drinks its milk by the litre everyday also wants to assert his right to butcher and eat her! What can one say, other than Mera Bharat Mahan!

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ArtistSwamy10Where were we… Oh, starting with the holy cow, you’re free to worship any plant (Tulsi – Basil), tree (Vembu – Neem), animal (Hanuman – Lord Monkey, Nandi – Bull), snake (many from Adisesha & Vasuki, and its abode, Putru that’s custom built by, umm… Ants), bird (Garuda – eagle), mountain (Kailash), stone (Saligram or Saalagram), geometric form (Linga – an ellipsoid), hybrid of human & animal (Ganapathy / Ganesha / Vinayaka /Vigneswara… – human form with an elephant head, Narasimhahuman form with a lion head, Hayagreeva – human form with a horse head), eerie looking beings (Kaaval deivam or deities of protection), king (Rama – Lord Ram), cowherd (Lord Krishna), female in a variety of moods wielding dreadful weapons or delightful instruments (Durga, Kali, Saraswathy, Lakshmi & a thousand other Devis – Ammans), beings with non-human features & superhuman abilities (Muruga / Karthikeya / Skandha with 6 heads & 12 arms who, as the General of Devas, extinguished Asuras like Surapadman), part male & female (Ardhanareeswara – talk about gender equality) and last but not the least, an alien being who wouldn’t fit into any kind of definition yet seem to encompass everything, even those beyond human beings’ feeble imagination, surrounded by dreadful looking demented beings (Ganas) and equally at ease in absolute silence or ecstatic dance or absolute annihilation or total bliss (Adiyogi Shiva)… The long list of Gods & Goddesses you can choose to follow and worship in Bharat is limited only by your imagination!

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ArtistSwamy9This idea of anything or anyone as God is certainly incomprehensible for those who grew up in any western civilisation, who from their childhood are brought up on a strict single God diet, eerily similar to some of those they despise and continue to wage war at – the other omnipotent God believers in the middle east, who would erase you from the face of earth without batting an eyelid, if you even dare to talk about their God. And of course, there are those who proclaim with pride their non-belief in a or any God – the atheists. And then there are also the antitheists who will beat any believer up black & blue with their vehement argument because according to them there’s not only no God, but there cannot be any!

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ArtistSwamy1But Bharat being what it was, is & will be, in typical chaotic fashion, one-ups all those binary (only mine, 1 or none, i.e. 0) believers with even more options. First, despite having a plethora of God/desses to choose from, you’re free to remain a non believer too (take that a/ntitheists), with Charvaka being a noteworthy example of this tribe. Second – and this one really takes the cake (modhak or pooran poli is more appropriate, considering today is Vinayaka Chathurti) – you can also learn how to create a God/dess! :O

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ArtistSwamy11Yep, you read that right! This is possibly the only culture with not only an in-depth science of Spirituality but also a practical technology called Consecration (no, not the Mantra-based one done every 12 or 14 years at popular temples with great publicity these days, but the Praana Pratistha process founded by Agastya muni who is considered to be one of the 7 disciples of Adiyogi Shiva, known as the Saptharishis) to create God/desses. That turns the whole Creator (supposedly somewhere way high up) creating the Creation, including us obviously, at will and basically hands over the power of creating the Creator to the Creation itself!

Know more about the science of creation from Sadhguru, a present day yogi, mystic & practitioner, in the references section below.

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… You may take a pause here, long enough to pick your fallen jaw from that Italian marble floor.
ArtistSwamy16As this is only the beginning of a – hopefully & sincerely – blog series (might become a book/s as well, who knows), instead of diving deeper into each and every God/dess mentioned here & then some, let’s look at the idea of God instead. An auspicious starting point would be none other than Ganesha or Vinayaka, Adiyogi Shiva & mother goddess Parvathi’s elder son (there are those who say Ganesha is younger to the younger son Muruga or Karthikeya, considered to be an accomplished Yogi as his illustrious mystic father), who is celebrated & worshipped across this Mystic Nation today – the auspicious day of Vinayaka Chaturthi.
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There are many interpretations of Lord Ganesha, aka Vigneswara, Vinayaka, Ganapathy, Modhakapriya, et al. Devdutt Pattanaik‘s ‘Decoding Ganeshais a good one to start with and can be found in the references section below. In a nutshell, Ganapathy (Lord of Ganas – dreadful looking celestial beings who are always found in the company Adiyogi Shiva) prepares you for the following, if you’re open enough:
ArtistSwamy31. Acceptance – By being depicted as someone who would typically be despised or laughed at in physical form (rotund human form with a pot belly & big elephant head), Ganesha symbolizes acceptance that goes beyond form, shape, hue, et al. Obviously, a valuable example in these troubled times of racial angst and outbursts the world over.
ArtistSwamy182. Equality – The little mouse that’s at Ganesha’s feet depicts even the meek or not-so-equals are accepted as company and taken care of. A useful insight for all supervisors, managers and, ahem, bosses.
3. Physicality – Vinayaka’s form & associated ornaments – snake being one of them, gadgets (axe & ankusa) & delicious food (modhak & pooran poli) depict the material aspects of Life that hold us back from pursuit of Truth, i.e., Who am I? Something worth remembering before you sign the EMI forms for the 2nd house or 4th car.
ArtistSwamy144. Possibility The little mouse (Devdutt enchantingly calls it a ferocious bandicoot) is even depicted as Ganesha’s vehicle – just imagine that! Well, that too is a depiction in typical Bharat style, indicating one must learn to look beyond the obvious. The mouse’s depiction as vehicle of the rotund God possibly depicts size doesn’t matter and nothing is impossible. In fact, Ganesha’s creation (first by Parvathi and then by Adiyogi Shiva – both accomplished Yogis with absolute mastery over all realms & forms) itself is a depiction of the possibilities of creation. An energising thought to ponder before you go back to the BAUHumbug routine job.
ArtistSwamy45. Truth – By nature, humans are tuned to sense the physical form, with their 5 senses (seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting & feeling by touching) and hardly use the 6th sense (thinking) to go beyond the physical realm. Considering Vigneswara is the eradicator of all hurdles, if one learns to see past Ganesha’s form (which itself is many layered and enchanting to know – depicting our desire to know & be with fellow humans, who too are many layered), he depicts none other than the Truth itself, i.e., Aham Brahmasmi or I am Brahman (the source of creation). It won’t be far from truth to say this is the precedent to the long-winding talks about ‘Beyond the obvious’ & ‘Thinking out of the box’ by many modern management & leadership gurus! 
ArtistSwamy7Now that dear reader – the freedom to seek & experience the Truth, going beyond the myriad forms of God/desses (one or many), is the sacred thread that still holds this ancient culture intact, even after many mighty warriors tried to plunder, destroy, rule and annihilate Bharat, over many centuries. In this Mystic Nation, God was never a conundrum, but a potent idea. Not just an enchanting idea about esoteric superhuman beings who looked like humans (because we sketched / crafted them from our limited imagination), but about beings who depict a higher possibility for humans to attain. To transcend the physical limitation and be free… be one with the eternal source of creation.
ArtistSwamy2Not only this Mystic Nation has many God/desses, it also had/s possibly the most number of enlightened beings (the yogis & mystics who have experienced the Truth & attained a state of eternal bliss, transcending the physical) that graced this planet, have devised mechanisms & paths for any and every human being to seek liberation, which was considered the ultimate goal of human existence, not reaching esoteric places like heaven or hell, after death!
ArtistSwamy5aSuch benevolent beings – starting from Adiyogi Shiva himself (celebrated and worshipped as one of the Trimurti, i.e. triumvirate of Gods, along with Vishnu & Brahma), who as Adi Guru Dakshinamurthy transmitted his knowing to Devi first (expounded as the 112 ways to liberation in Vigyan Bhairav Tantra) and then seven disciples known as the Saptharishis on the auspicious Guru Purnima, the pantheon of enlightened beings is long, including but not limited to Lord Muruga (who is said to have left his physical form in a rare standing posture at the Kumaraparvata mountain), Lord Krishna (considered one of the greatest yogis ever to tread this land), Gautama the Buddha (founder of Buddhism who at a point in time is said to have had thousands of enlightened beings as disciples), Rishabha (presumed to be the founder of Jainism), Goraknath, Akkamadevi, Sadasiva Brahmendra, Sri Palani Swami, Sadhguru Sri BrahmaLahiri MahasayaSri Yukteswar Giri, Paramahamsa Yogananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Sivananda, Ramana Maharishi, Osho, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta MaharajRamalinga Vallalar and many more.
Sadhguru_Quote3Such beings are still among us – a few well known and many unknown. One such is Swamy’s Master Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, founder of Isha Foundation. And with deep reverence, Swamy submits this first post of his new “Mystic Nation” (#MysticNation) series at the lotus feet of his enlightened Master, whose boundless grace will shine the light on this new path Swamy has chosen to tread, with limited experience but unlimited enthusiasm. Shambho _/\_
… enchantment will flow…
@PrakashSwamy
Note: All sketches & paintings (except Kamadhenu) are Swamy’s own creations – out of imagination or inspired by other skilled artists – drawn during his youth.
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edited_1442284271572References:
Decoding Ganesha – Devdutt Pattanaik

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…

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

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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.

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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…
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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.
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Invent loans & EMI.
Raise covetousness & greed to an art form.
Trap all sheep in debt for a lifetime.
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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.
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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…
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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…
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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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Unequally Equal!

8 Sep

Anticipate = Anxiety.

Believe = Disenchantment.

Compete = Despair.

Dare = Roadblock.

Expect = Disappointment.

Fun = Annoyance.

Give = Indifference.

Happy = Jealousy.

Innovate = Demean.

Joke = Hurt.

Know = Suspicion.

Love = Rejection.

Mediate = Mistrust.

New = Resistance.

Objective = Merciless.

Praise = Resentment.

Question = Fear.

Rise = Revolt.

Share = Arrogance.

Trust = Shock.

Unite = Divisive.

Verve = Deflation.

Wow = Whoa.

Xpress = Vague.

Yearn = Discouragement.

Zest = Apathy.

20120625_143222When you try to do or be any of the words on the left, the typical reaction or response from one or more fellow humans will be the ones on right. They are not equal nor are they reciprocative. Which is sad considering all your actions seem to be positive and all the reactions invariably seem negative.

Take a moment and imagine yourself being on the right hand side instead. A fellow human – friend, colleague, family member, partner, boss, shopkeeper, salesperson, service personnel, student, traffic cop, chaiwallah, coachee, crew member…

Would you react that way (words on the right) or be different?

Are both your actions and reactions positive? Always? No matter what, who, when, where or why!

It’s said “What goes around comes around.” Going by that, if you try to “Be joyful & spread the cheer,” even if there’s only a 50-50 chance of it being reciprocated, isn’t it worth if the cheer comes around 😀

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@PrakashSwamy

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Because You Can!

31 Aug

Here are a few choices in Life worth exploring, experimenting and enjoying, not just alone but along with fellow humans as well.

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Thinking2Brainy over bravura…

Eclectic over esoteric…

Concise over convoluted…

Authentic over artful…

Unassuming over uber…

Sensible over sentimental…

Empathy over eminence…

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Gandhi3Yearn over yarn…

Overt over ostentatious…

Useful over unique…

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Monkay1Care over can-do…

Amuse over amaze…

No-bull over nonsense…

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…Not because it’s possible, but Because You Can!

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@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
.swamyray100_truth

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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