Skip to content

Forever Happy Now! Posts

Slider

You probably know the story of the 3 old men who were invited into a home. They were love, wealth and success. But they refused to all go in together. So the house owner had to choose which one he wanted. And he chose well, i.e. he picked love. Automatically, the 2 men representing wealth and success followed as well. If he had chosen either of the other two, the home would have only had that chosen one.

This is a nice story, and is probably very true. My thoughts are of a sliding scale, with spiritual success at one end, and economic success at the other.

No doubt, most of us are hankering for economic success. Our every breath is directed towards earning more or reaching higher. While such focus is admirable, does it really give us peace of mind? Even if we wanted a way out, do we have any time left for a spiritual search?

The alternative, at the other end of the sliding scale is better. If we are steeped in spirituality, if we understand the non-permanence of it all, if we realize that all that we seek is within, then the scale itself will disappear. Much like the 3 old men who all traipsed in together, spiritual success automatically brings all other successes with it. But no other success will matter much at that time. Win-win!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Arrivals

Surely you’ve heard of that neighbor’s son who’s so successful right?

We all live in different apartments, towns, cities, countries and even continents. Yet we all have those “neighbour’s sons / daughters” that we are invariably compared with.

This is not about comparing with others, as much as it is about our own definitions of success. But can we really define our success?

Were we successful when we cleared first grade? Or weren’t we?

How about when we cleared grade 12? How about when we graduated? When we got a job? Or when we got another job, and then another and another? How about when we were promoted to head of a department? Or when we started our own company? Or when we donated a decent sum to the charity of our choice? Or when we were able to use our ‘influence’ to recommend a friend to a good job? Or when we got to the Board of Directors? Or CEO or Chairman of a small company? Of a large company? Of a Fortune 500?

Who decides if we are successful or not? Is it really us? Or is it an arbitrary line in the sand, drawn by someone else, that declares that you have arrived?

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

5 point program

In chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna provides an interesting break-up of karma yoga.

This comes in verse 30. Here is how we could break it down for daily application:

1. “Renounce everything to the Lord” = make spirituality a priority in life, which will make life peaceful and content. Let it not just be a 5 minute activity, but the substratum of every waking moment.

2. “Quality matters” = Work in the best way possible; treating it like worship, with the knowledge that this is the highest offering there is. The benefit? We wont slack off or cut corners, irrespective of whether someone is inspecting or not.

3. Niraashi = no aasha, no expectation or hope of a specific outcome = receive the result with grace.

4. Nirmama = no mamakaar = no ‘i’ness = work with the attitude of custodianship; i.e. none of my achievements are possible without the support of those around me.

5. vigata-jJwara = “without fever” = this is not body temperature, but the fever of the mind, i.e. stress and anxiety, which can be eradicated if the above points are followed.

Such a nice and implementable way to live, isn’t it?

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Me me me

No today’s post is not about meme stocks or meme cryptos or meme NFTs. Although it is interesting that the word meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book called The Selfish Gene, and the book title has a clue!

But here’s a really short story you may have come across.

An exceptional doctor was nearing his end. He didn’t want to die though. So he created another version of himself, right down to the tiniest detail. Both him and his alter-image were laid down on beds side by side, absolutely still, not a movement. When Death approach, it got confused, because the two were impossible to tell apart. So then Death played a trick. It said, “I know which of you is the real doctor, because the real one made a mistake.”

The real doctor blurted out, “That’s impossible, there’s no mistake.” And Death immediately said, “There you go, that’s the mistake!”, obviously referring to the man’s me-me-me, aka ego.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Runaway success

Remember those movies which were underdogs?

So many of them. Unheard of. The lead actors are practically unknown.

The movies? Least expected to do well.

Next thing you know, they become huuuuuge hits.

Massive runaway successes!

There’s a runaway success in the Bhagawad Gita as well.

For example, shlokas 19 to 23 in chapter 4.

They talk about giving up desires, giving up attachments, and maintaining equanimity in all situations of duality (like pleasure or pain, joy or sorrow).

These kinds of shlokas are absolutely successful in making even the staunchest of karma yogis runaway.

Runaway success of a different kind!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Memory power

As a kid, my memorization skills were terrible. We used to have those competitions in school where we’d be blindfolded, taken into a room, showed a number of objects, and then brought back into our classroom to write within two minutes everything that we could remember from that visit.

I would hardly get 7 or 8 right, while kids around me easily did 30 or more.

Even to today, I struggle with names, places, birthdays (shhh, don’t tell my wife!), faces, events and everything else. How I cleared exams, especially engineering, where I didn’t understand so many of the most basic concepts, really befuddles me to this date.

But you know the best part of having a poor memory? It extends to all walks of life. If someone tells me something rude or hurtful, I forget that as well. If someone passed some nasty comment – poof, a few weeks later I often have no recall of the event. It sucks when there are fights, if I need to prove a point, then I can barely connect past events to make my case.

But in the long run, does it really matter? Once the ego clash is taken out of the equation, is there really a winner or loser? There likely isn’t, and which is why to me personally, a bad memory isn’t a problem, it is a divine gift!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Can we give up desires?

A tough aspect of spirituality is not in reading what is said, but in actually understanding and implementing it.

For instance, Lord Krishna in the Gita often asks Arjuna to give up desires.

Is this practical? If I give up all my desires, I wouldn’t even be able to get up from my bed on a Sunday, let alone on a Monday morning!

Maybe there is something deeper and subtler. This is my Guru’s amazing interpretation.

When Krishna says ‘give up desires’, he actually means ‘give up the cravings in your mind’. Having dharmic desires is fine, but it is critical to cut the umbilical cord between desire and happiness.

Our happiness is always linked to the fulfilment of desires. “Think of a time when you were happy” tends to be accomplishments like “when I won the game, or topped the class, or got married, or had kids, or got promoted”.

But what if everything we did, could start from happiness, rather than end in it? This is possible, and it (too) starts with gratitude.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

#filterout

“Land sales tops US$ 100 million in one week”

This was the headline that grabbed my attention recently. I thought about it for a split second. Come on, 100 million is big, but not that big. Surely many billionaire businessmen and celebrities would have many mansions all over the world and 100 million would be consumed in an instant. And that’s when I noticed the land sales happened in the… metaverse. Wow.

Yes, we’ve all been reading more and more about the metaverse these past several months. Some virtual reality world where avatars can come together to do various things. I don’t understand this stuff well, but a 100 million bucks for land in the virtual world? Wow that sounds like a lot of people have gone cuckoo.

But still, these transactions happened, and many years later, I’ll probably have to eat my words as well.

Indeed, everything has become virtual now. People don’t even speak to each other, greet other or see eye to eye. It’s all done on social media. Nothing wrong with this of course. Except that life on SM is totally filtered. All bad stuff is filtered out. And all good stuff (including every imperfection being neutralized) is amplified. Much like Hollywood kissing scenes right after waking up in the morning, because their mouths presumably auto-brush themselves when their eyes open.

It’s important to periodically remind ourselves what constitutes reality and what doesn’t.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Thirsty fish

The poet Kabir has an outstanding line:

The fish in the water is thirsty, and every time I see that, it makes me laugh!

What does this mean?

Well, we are the fish!

Aren’t we always wanting something or the other? What we have, never seems to be enough. There are people who would do 2x our work at 1/10th the salary. And still we are unhappy and want more. Compared to the poor and destitute, we are nothing but kings and queens!

Yet we are thirsty for more. We have all the water around us, yet not a drop to drink will quench this thirst šŸ˜…

Is there anything that can quench this thirst? Yes there is, and you know all about it already. It is called gratitude.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Are you a leader? – part 2 of 2

As a leader, what is expected of us? In verse 21 of chapter 3 of the Gita, Lord Krishna says the following.

"Whatever a great man does, other men also do. Whichever standard he sets, the world follows it."

This is a very interesting shloka, and it seems like a motivational quote for one’s goal setting, doesn’t it? We should all have great goals, be great leaders, so that people follow in our footsteps. But that’s not all.

Krishna in this verse is also talking about Himself. Is he subjected to the same rules? He says he is! Isn’t He also constantly working to keep the universe running? Brahma creating, Vishnu sustaining, Shiva destroying, in a sense?

My Guru would be another example – an already-realized soul, but why is he working so hard? Why would he need to do aarti thrice a day? Why would he choose to live his life in a rural setting to help educate the poor? Why would he need to wake up at 5 am daily to do yoga? Why does he work 7 days a week 365 days a year?

Because as Krishna says, “whatever a great man does, other men also do. Whichever standard he sets, the world follows it.” What are each one of us doing? What are we striving to achieve? It is a question we need to answers for ourselves, and honestly.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Are you a leader? – part 1 of 2

Yes you are. One way or another. How, you ask?

Because you are a son/daughter/mother/father/brother/sister/colleague/friend, and that too a one of a kind.

As a parent, your kids look up to you as their leader.

As the one running the household, your spouse looks up to you.

As the one running the family, your family members look up to you.

As a guide for life, your siblings look up to you.

As a mentor, your employees look up to you.

As a shoulder to rest upon, your friends rely on you.

Aren’t you thus a born leader? Aren’t we all?

Now that we understand this, how should we conduct ourselves? Lord Krishna has a clear directive for each one of us. Coming tomorrow… stay tuned!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Lingo creep

“All well?” “Yes, yes all well.”
“What about you, all well?” “Yes, yes all well here too.”

This seems to be a very standard greeting exchange nowadays. Wasn’t like this say a decade ago. Wonder how it crept in.

“No worries” is another one that people use a lot. Probably came from hakunamatata as taught in Disney’s The Lion King.

A more recent one that I’m becoming increasingly exposed to is “Correct me if I am wrong.”

It might have started off on a nice note. Someone didn’t want to sound haughty or a know-it-all, and so prefixed their statement with ‘Please correct me if I am wrong.” All good till here.

Except that now everyone uses it all the time. I counted 10 of these in a 20 minute conference call yesterday! And the worst part?

People actually butt in and say “Yes you are wrong, let me correct you here.” <facepalm>. In a group of 10 people. Seniors, juniors middlers, everyone. Just unbelievable how self-obsessed people can be, never wanting to lose the opportunity to give someone a hard time, or make themselves look good.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Sunken

“But I am like this only.”

“But this is how I’ve always been doing it.”

“This is how it has been since… forever!”

Heard such statements before? You surely have. Do such statements leave a good impression on you? Probably not. Why? Because we all know, that if we want to get ahead, to improve, we need to adapt and change. But sentences like the ones above, indicate exactly the opposite. Something has been done a particular way, and there is no way I’ll change that.

This actually has a name. It’s called the sunk-cost fallacy. It is also called the Concorde fallacy. That second name was a bit of a giveaway wasn’t it?

This refers to the stubbornness of the governments that made the Concorde. They kept drowning it in cash even after it was clear that it was a commercial disaster. They had already put in so much money and effort, i.e. ‘sunk costs’, that they were just unwilling to change.

We all know the ultimate fate of the Concorde. Would we want to end up like that?

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Laptop delivery

Here’s an incident which happened a while ago, but quickly taught me the importance of being humble.

In a previous avatar, I was once called by someone from the tech support team. This person told me that my superboss had asked for me to bring his laptop to him, from his desk, to a meeting room where he was sitting then.

Surely this was not my job – delivering laptops!

But (luckily) I didn’t think twice about it, walked across the room, picked up his laptop, and took it to the meeting room where he was. When I knocked and went in, my superboss was surprised too, and said, “Hey, you’re here? I’m so sorry, I didn’t ask you to bring my laptop over, I think the tech support guy misunderstood me. I told him to have someone get my laptop to me, and then have it sent to you for the specific task we discussed today morning.”

I quickly replied, “Not at all a problem sir…”, and then he cut me off and motioned towards another gentleman seated in the meeting room, “Please meet Mr. ABC, who is the owner of a large chain of jewellery stores.” And he invited me to sit down. Turned out that we both spoke the same mother tongue, which led to an interesting conversation. My superboss invited me back to the room a while later as his guest wanted to convey something only in the mother tongue, which he was unable to translate otherwise.

If I’d just thought “What the heck, why should I be the laptop courier?”, surely such an interesting experience wouldn’t have transpired!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Real duty

Remember our discussion on verse 35 from the Gita? One of those often misunderstood shlokas. Why should I do my own duty badly when I can do someone else’s well?

Surely you remember. They key is to understand one’s duty well.

The word in Sanskrit, is swadharma. This too comes a summation of dharma and swabhava. Dharma we know, duty, which for human beings is to attain moksha. Swabhava is our internal innate quality. Whatever we naturally gravitate towards.

Here’s a nice story that drives home the point. A watchman sees his building owner leaving for the airport. He immediately warns the owner not to take the flight that day. Why? Because in his afternoon siesta, the watchman saw a dream that the flight would meet with an accident. The building owner heeds his watchman’s prophetic advice and stays home. A few hours later, indeed the flight meets with a fatal accident. The watchman is elated, thinking that he will now be showered with gifts from the owner. The owner comes up to him, thanks him profusely, but also does not give the watchman any money. Instead, he tells the watchman, that he needs to do his duty more alertly, instead of sleeping in the afternoon on his watch!

This story is just for fun, not for nitpicking, but it underscores the importance of sticking to our swadharma in the long run.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Tree wood

Know the saying “Don’t miss the forest for the trees”? You have surely come across it.

Here’s some forest-for-the-trees questions we get regularly in the satsang.

  1. Did Ravana really have 10 heads?
  2. Is there really a heaven and a hell?
  3. Are there really 7 worlds above and below?
  4. Did Krishna really explain the Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield? What were the others doing then?
  5. Did Rama really cross over to Lanka by walking on floating rocks put together by monkeys?
  6. Did Ravana actually fly to India?
  7. Is it possible that the Vishwaroopa darshanam actually happened?
  8. How did Creation happen?

All of these are amazing questions. However, even the most amazing answers to these questions will not help us transform ourselves and progress on the spiritual path.

When the real transformation begins (work selflessly as worship, i.e. karma yoga), the questions will automatically fall away.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Religious matters

World over, people are fighting over religious issues.

Theists fights atheists. But also atheists fight atheists, and theists fight theists!

Followers of one religion fight, abuse and slaughter those of another religion.

But equally, followers within the same religion might fight, abuse and slaughter one another due to perceived ideological differences.

It seems as though one just needs a reason to fight, abuse and slaughter.

Here’s another perspective. What if religion is not about God, but about work. Not any work, but about the work each one of us does.

If we can do our work selflessly, and without expectation of the result, wouldn’t that be the pinnacle of all work? Maybe that’s why work is called worship.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Call centric

We’ve all had to call customer care at some point. Something breaks, something is not working, something needs to be returned, some parcel needs to be tracked, some refund needs to be appropriated – the reasons are many.

But do you really like speaking to customer care?

Most of us hate it, don’t we?

But those folks are so polite no?

They say “please”, they say “thank you for calling, have a nice day”, they also say “sorry to keep you waiting for such a long time”

So very polite. But we still don’t like most customer care experiences. Why?

Because these are mostly empty words. The commanding language or flowery vocabulary really doesn’t matter.

The only thing that does matter, is the deep desire to help the other person. If that is there, then nothing else is necessary.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Dying opportunity

Here’s a trend I’ve been noticing on social media off-late.

If someone famous passes away (old age, disease etc.), people post condolence messages.

This is great – a wonderful way to remember someone who made a mark on society.

But the crazy part? These condolence messages are rarely about the one who passed away.

Rather, they start with a joint photo of the person posting the note along with the deceased, maybe a holiday they took together, or a business meeting or family dinner or such.

And then the focus shifts entirely to the one posting the condolence message! Starts with how they met that person, and then moves to how they built their own career, their own business, their own wealth, their own destiny, with links to their products and where to buy etc etc.

There’s so much of commerce in such posts, and even in the wake of someone passing away, these are only seen as an opportunity for self-promotion.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Memento mori

How did the Ancient Romans manage triumph? Did they let it get to their head? Such a weird question isn’t it?

No, because they actually had a process around it. The process was such, that a victorious general or commander could only enter his home city during a special parade. All the loot and plunder and slaves would be displayed amid great pomp and show.

Bringing up the end of the parade, would be the victorious commander, riding in a chariot.

However, he would not be alone. He would be accompanied in the chariot by an auriga, a slave.

This auriga’s only role during this lavish cavalcade? To continuously whisper the title phrase into the commander’s ears.

“Memento mori, memento mori, memento mori, memento mori…”

“Remember you are mortal, remember you are mortal, remember you are mortal, remember you are mortal…”

What a lesson to be reminded of, at the peak of one’s glory!

And then there are some who gloat, even without achieving any glory… <facepalm>

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment