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Month: October 2023

A-song of a-sanga

In the Bhagavad Gita’s Chapter 15, there lies solid wisdom on achieving inner peace and happiness. This chapter introduces us to ‘samsara’, a term denoting our attachments.

We often hinge our inner tranquility on three things: VVP – Vyakti (people), Vastu (objects), and Paristhithi (circumstances).

However, this dependence is a double-edged sword, leading to impermanent joy and potential suffering.

The antidote?

‘Asanga’, which translates to detachment.

Contrary to popular belief, detachment isn’t about negating emotions or connections. Instead, it’s about cultivating an intelligent relationship with our surroundings, including our very own bodies. By understanding the inherent value in everything, yet recognizing that none can offer everlasting peace or happiness, we find our way to a balanced existence.

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How hard can it be?

That’s exactly what goes on in the mind of tech titan Jensen Huang, the founder and CEO of Nvidia. In a recent interview, when asked if he’d start a company again in 2023, he chuckled and said, “Building Nvidia was a million times harder than any of us expected.”

But here’s the kicker. Despite knowing the difficulty involved, he’d constantly trick his brain by asking, “How hard can it be?”

Jensen candidly shared the rollercoaster of emotions – vulnerability, embarrassment, shame, and the endless challenges. But would he do it again? “Nobody in their right mind would,” he quips. Yet, the superpower of an entrepreneur is blissful ignorance. They dive in, thinking, “How hard can it be?”

Jensen’s secret sauce? A rock-solid support system. Surrounded by those who’ve been with him for decades, he says, “They never gave up on me.”

The next time we’re facing a challenge, we could channel our inner Jensen and ask, “How hard can it be?”

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Swami Chinmayananda said that when desire is fulfilled – the left hand side gate opens. That gate is called Greed.

Desire fulfilled = Greed.

When desire is unfulfilled – the right hand side gate is opened.

That is called Anger.

Desire Unfulfilled = Anger.

So the main gate leading to both these gates is desire.

The triple gates to hell.

So we must close these three gates all together. That is the only prescription.

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Focused Wisdomism

  • Life’s journey: Sometimes we take detours from the divine roadmap.
  • Scriptures shoutout for: Compassion, humility, and selfless love vibes.
  • Beware! Greed and fear: peace stealers on the prowl.
  • Universal truth alert: Judgment day awaits, not as one day, but as a continuous karmic tracker so deeds don’t lie.
  • Bhagwad Gita wisdom drop: Arjuna’s quest & Krishna’s focus mantra?
  • Focus mantra: Think divine, act in line, and the universe will align.
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3 means of devotion

According to saint Gondavalekar Maharaj, there are 3 methods of devotion:

  1. Words of the scriptures
  2. Words of the saints (seniors / Guru)
  3. inward search by oneself

Which one do you like, and which one do you think works best for you?

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Babaji’s powers

A lot of spiritual seekers today run after anyone who can show off some siddhis (aka powers). A name that is used by many is that of purportedly one of the greatest Gurus and mystics of all – Mahavtar Babaji.

My knowledge about him is just from various books – not least of which is the famous “An autobiography of a Yogi”.

With so many people running after mystical experiences and opening up their kundalinis and all sorts of occult practices, spirituality almost feels like a lost cause to one who does not experience any of these.

What does Babaji himself say?

“Believe me my child when I say, that the man who loves others, who is devout and who lives the life of self-surrender is many times more powerful, even in altering his own circumstances, environments and tendencies, than the man who has learned all the Scriptures, who has mortified himself by sitting in the midst of five fires, who has mastered pranayama, who has shut himself in caves, who has awakened his kundalini and who has repeated millions of mantras millions of times and who has performed the most mysterious and elaborate ceremonies for the fulfillment of different specific desires.”

Aum Namaha Babaji Maha -Vishuddhi (I bow to Babaji, the Great Purity). An Excerpt from ‘The Voice Of Babaji’.

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Belling the chef

In a quaint little restaurant we visited recently, a bell hung aloof in the corner behind the door. It had a note attached to it which read, “Ring if you liked the experience!”

While there was a lot of cheer and laughter, no one bothered to ring the bell, as they exited the restaurant with full bellies and preoccupied minds.

After several entries and exits, one little child pressurized his father to pick him up so that he could reach the bell.

With great gusto, the little boy rang the bell more than once and the smile on his face was wide as a mile.

What was wider though? The smiles on the faces of the chefs in the kitchen, all of whom stood in a line, with their palms folded in gratitude for the recognition.

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Analogical – part 5 of 5

Concluding post today – with another lovely set of outstanding analogies, enabling us to intimately understand the depths suggested by our scriptures:

25. The Mirror and the Reflection: Just as a polished mirror reflects accurately, a purified mind mirrors our true nature.

26. The Artist and the Artwork: Similar to artists crafting masterpieces, the divine orchestrates our lives with intricate care.

27. The Guest and the Host: Much like guests finding solace in hosts’ homes, our souls discover refuge in the embrace of the divine.

28. The Raindrop and Ocean: Just as raindrops merge into oceans, our individuality merges into the expanse of universal consciousness.

29. The Jewel and the Light: Similar to jewels sparkling in the light, the soul radiates brilliance in the presence of divine knowledge.

30. The Wind and the Sky: Just as wind moves through the sky, experiences flow through the canvas of our awareness.

These analogies, like facets of a diamond, reflect the sophisticated-yet-simplistic wisdom of our ancients. By embracing these insights, we can embark on a transformative journey towards self-discovery and everlasting contentment.

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Analogical – part 4 of 5

More brilliant analogies from the wise ones, continued below:

18. The Sailing Boat and Wind: Like boats sailing with the wind, we journey through life with the divine wind of grace.

19. The Firefly and the Sun: As the sun dims fireflies, ego diminishes in the radiance of spiritual awareness.

20. The Needle and Thread: Similar to threading a needle, enlightenment requires focused awareness and effort.

21. The Seed and the Tree: Just as a tiny seed contains the promise of a mighty tree, our souls hold latent potential for spiritual growth.

22. The Pot and Space: Much like pots occupy space, the soul resides within the body while transcending its limits.

23. The Ocean and Waves: Just as waves emerge from oceans, our experiences arise from the boundless sea of Reality.

24. The Gem and the Dirt: Like a gem’s brilliance unaffected by dirt, the soul remains pure amidst life’s impurities.

Final set of analogies concluded tomorrow!

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Analogical – part 3 of 5

Continuing our voyage of scriptural wisdom seen through the lens of popular analogies:

12. The Musical Instrument and Musician: Much like musicians draw melodies from instruments, the divine orchestrates our lives, weaving together the symphony of existence.

13. The Honeybee and Flowers: Just as bees extract nectar without harm, we are required to engage with the world while preserving harmony.

14. The Fire and Fuel: As fire purifies through consumption, the soul burns ignorance and attachments to reveal its radiant essence.

15. The Child and Mother: Akin to a child’s solace in a mother’s arms, we seek refuge in the nurturing embrace of the divine.

16. The Silkworm and Cocoon: Like silkworms breaking cocoons, the Gita guides us to transcend self-imposed limits.

17. The Moon and Reflection: A tranquil mind reflects brilliance, akin to the moon mirrored in a still pond. And even if the pond has ripples, the moon itself is unaffected.

More analogies tomorrow!

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Analogical – part 2 of 5

More common analogies continued today:

7. The Sun and Clouds: Like clouds momentarily veiling the sun, ignorance can obscure our inherent brilliance.

8. The River and Ocean: As rivers merge into oceans, the soul dissolves into boundless consciousness.

9. The Garden and Weeds: Just as a garden thrives with weeding, we nurture positivity while uprooting negativity.

10. The Dream and Wakefulness: The Gita’s wisdom unveils the illusory nature of the material world, much like dreams upon awakening.

11. The Fish in Water: Just as fish thrive in water, souls flourish in the vast expanse of divine consciousness, revealing our inherent connection.

Analogies continued, tomorrow!

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Analogical – part 1 of 5

A journey through the Bhagavad Gita is best undertaken via analogies. They guide us like torches in the night, bridging ancient teachings with contemporary understanding. Here are some illuminating analogies used by several saints and Gurus across various books:

1. The Cow and Its Calf: Just as a cow tends to its calf without attachment, the Gita teaches performing duties without fixating on outcomes.

2. The Potter’s Wheel: Like a potter molding clay, divine forces shape our lives. Surrendering to the Lord aligns us with cosmic rhythms.

3. The Water Drop and Ocean: A drop merges with the ocean, echoing unity; like the individual dissolving into universal consciousness.

4. The Lamp and the Wind: A windless place doesn’t disturb a lamp’s flame. The mind too should remain undisturbed amid sensory distractions.

5. The Snake and the Rope: The Gita warns against confusing the transient with the eternal, akin to mistaking a rope for a snake.

6. The Lotus in Mud: A lotus rises pure from muddy waters, teaching purity amidst life’s challenges.

More analogies tomorrow!

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Tank half empty or half full?

In the realm of sports, moments of extraordinary tenacity often emerge, leaving an indelible mark on our hearts. Recently, I came across a riveting YouTube video that encapsulates this spirit in its purest form.

Picture this: A car race of paramount importance, with victory within arm’s reach. Max Orida, the leader, finds himself agonizingly close to the finish line when destiny throws a curveball. His fuel gauge reads empty, threatening to shatter his dreams.

Rather than surrendering to despair, Max’s spirit ignites a fire within him. With unwavering resolve, he leaps out from the car, and begins pushing his vehicle, every muscle straining against the odds. The crowd holds its breath, witnessing a testament to human willpower.

In that heart-stopping moment, Max transcends mere competition. He embodies the essence of perseverance, transforming a potential loss into a triumphant narrative. His actions remind us that when passion meets determination, even the most daunting challenges can be conquered.

Let Max Orida’s incredible feat be a beacon for us all. In the face of adversity, may we summon the fortitude to push forward, no matter how dire the circumstances. For it is in these moments that we forge our own path to victory, leaving an indomitable legacy for generations to come.

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Naturally patient

In the rush of modern life, nature whispers a vital lesson – patience. Much like a blooming flower unfurls its petals slowly, we too can find strength in moving at our own pace. The river carves its path patiently, shaping landscapes over time. Likewise, patience allows us to mold our experiences, creating meaningful stories.

Nature’s examples abound: majestic Redwood Trees grow slowly, standing tall for centuries, teaching us the power of steadfast growth. Caterpillars transform into butterflies, reminding us that change takes time, but the end result is worth the wait. Geodes, crystal-filled rocks formed over millions of years, show that true beauty emerges from patient, gradual processes. The Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado River over eons, teaches us that persistence creates breathtaking masterpieces. Watch a spider construct its intricate web, showcasing the power of patience in achieving a goal. Coral reefs’ slow growth over thousands of years reminds us that small, consistent efforts lead to immense beauty and resilience.

Rushing seldom leads to lasting success.

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Mother necessity

“Look for the, bare necessities, the simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife!” croons the ever-happy Baloo the bear in The Jungle Book cartoon classic.

The bare necessities is absolutely right. We don’t need much more than that to be happy, because happiness, as we know, is simply a state of mind.

But, necessity is the mother of invention. And as our necessities grow from bare sized to bear sized, inventions and gadgetry around us have proliferated.

Has happiness also proliferated? Hardly.

What might be the mother of necessity itself then?

Perhaps God, or chanting his name. When we are thinking of Him all the time, nothing else becomes important, and He will take care of everything else.

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Formulaic Godliness

At the core of our spiritual journey lies a delicate interplay between God, mind, and man, elegantly captured by two poignant equations:

  1. God + Mind = Man
  2. Man – Mind = God

These formulas encapsulate the essence of our quest for spiritual enlightenment.

To bridge the gap between ourselves and the divine, we must first understand the profound influence of our own minds.

Through dedicated concentration, a practitioner seeks to calm the ceaseless waves of thought, offering the mind a steady foundation.

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Which one are you?

An optimist. A pessimist. Or a realist.

The world loves optimists. Absolutely glorifies them.

Pessimists are always given the stick.

Realists? Do they even exist?

Here’s what Swami Swaroopananda says.

Be a realist. Why? Because an optimist never sees a problem, while the pessimis sees nothing but the problem. A realist approaches the situation with full awareness, mindful that things can go wrong and also the courage to see it through. 
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Quick change

You must have seen those magic shows where there’s a person that can change their dress really bloody quick. Like blink-of-the-eye quick.

The Gita says that our bodies are like clothes only. That death just results in the soul discarding one body to don another.

Within this life itself, we may change clothes multiple times each day, and a few hundred-thousand times through our lives.

The toughest clothes to change into would undoubtedly be ochre robes. Most people don’t even attempt to change into them.

But the irony is, that even after changing into ochre robes, if the mind is not tamed, outside clothes are of little use.

Clothes can be changed very fast. But the mind?

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Mission statement

We come across many mission and vision statements of large organizations, and famous people too.

What are the 4 steps to crafting these, and more so for oneself, according to Arthur Brooks, the creator of the concept of Happier-ness?

  1. Does whatever is being done glorify God? If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t matter what the other 3 steps are.
  2. Serve others.
  3. Have an adventure.
  4. Make a living.

These are the 4 steps to be followed to achieve any goal, and to be followed in the same order.

It’s ironic that most people follow the same order, but usually in reverse!

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Peanut butter and jelly. Batman and Robin. Yin and yang. You just can’t separate these two out right? Just like 2 sides of a coin.

Here’s another. Desire and attachment. They’re always together.

Desire something deeply? In no time, you’ll be attached to it.

Attached to something deeply? It’ll lead you to desiring for that very thing or even other things for longer and longer.

To cut one is to cut none. To cut both is to find growth. Spiritual growth.

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Born loser

This is what Sadhguru begins one of his talks with. He says we are all “born losers”.

Wow, a scathing attack from a spiritual leader, one would think?

But is he wrong?


He proceeds to explain. We are all born losers because the moment we are born, we each begin to lose the most important thing we have: time!

What are we doing with this time? Are we maximising it in our service of others and our quest for the Self? Or are we simply whiling it away, living as egomaniacs and fueling this gross body that will anyway whither away soon?

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Learn to learn from

In a lovely podcast of Marlene Puffer, the Chief Investment Officer of a Canadian pension fund, I found a golden nugget.

She was describing how she began her career as an outsider. She was always in academia, with multiple degrees and what not.

And one day, at the grand old age of 29, she found herself in a teaching job as a professor of finance.

Her problem? She was all theory and no practice. Why? Because she hadn’t had the opportunity to work at Wall Street or other financial firms.

While she did suffer from imposter syndrome at first, she came up with an excellent solution. She knew she had very good theoretical knowledge and was very well read. Instead of feeling insecure in front of her much older and much more experienced students, she learned to learn from them instead, and layered it on top of her theoretical prowess.

“Hey Mike, you’ve got 15 years of experience working in FX derivatives, why don’t you share your perspective and learnings on how you did things at Morgan Stanley?”… and so on… Pretty cool no?!

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In the lovely book called Discourses by Shri Gondavalekar Maharaj, there are innumerable outstanding nuggets of wisdom.

One of them asks us to focus on the present, which we know. And not worry about the past or future, which also we know.

As a corollary, what he says (paraphrased) is, “On a daily basis, what are you using the prapancha (sense objects) for? If prapancha are being used simply to gain happiness, then clearly that happiness will never last. So what to do then? Use the prapancha as a playground to simply perform your duty. Then see the magic unfolding.”

So lovely!

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The real cause of burnout

On a cool interview of Bjørn Gulden, the global CEO of Adidas, one amazing insight came about. So much so that the interviewer (none other than CEO of Norges Bank, Nicolai Tangen) came back to the same point a few minutes later, even though the conversation had meandered to something else by then.

What is the real cause of burnout then, according to Mr. Gulden?

He says that since day 1 of his job, he has always been himself. He has never put on a pretense about anything. Since he doesn’t have to pretend, and doesn’t have to appear to be someone he is not, he carries no excess baggage on his head.

In his view, the reason for burnout is simply that people are constantly having to artifically put on a guise of who they aren’t. Maybe appear sharper, speak cooler, engage as though more knowledgeable etc. And doing so, say 12 hours every day, day after day, is what causes one to get burned out. Without it? One would enjoy working!

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Reverse bucket list

How many items are there in our bucket lists?

100s if not 1000s?

Wanting to have multiple experiences, to traveling across multiple countries, to trying out all sorts of fancy restaurants and what not.

The list can go on forever.

And that’s exactly why a “reverse” bucket list is such a great idea!

In a normal bucket list, as you complete one activity and check it off, you still see several hundreds left undone, leading to dissatisfaction.

But in a reverse bucket list, we only put things once they get done. This way, everything is always checked, and gives us the opportunity to be always happy!

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Picture time as an expansive, black canvas. The saints saw that it’s not time that moves; rather it is we that traverse its expanse. We begin our journey at one point and conclude it at another, creating the illusion that time commences here and culminates there.

Yet, time is an undivided continuum, an unbroken whole. We transition from birth through childhood, youth, middle age, and into old age, painting our existence across this canvas. Therefore perception of time’s movement stems from our own progression. In truth, time remains an immutable, encompassing unity, ever-static in its entirety. But do we truly comprehend the profound nature of time, or are we merely skimming the surface of its profundity?

Colloquially, we refer to “timepass” when are whiling away time, not putting it to productive use. But what is truly happening? Is time passing us by, or are we passing by time?

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A company called WeWork has been in the news for the last many years. First for revolutionizing co-working office spaces, and more recently, for the fall of its valuations from the billions to the millions.

But WeWork is one thing. And WhyWork is another. No, it’s not a startup that you haven’t heard of, but a simple query to the universe.

Why work, when we are anyway asked to give up the results, and give up doership? If it ain’t gonna matter, then why work even a smatter?

Well the answer to that is simply because work needs to be seen as a means to an end (purification of the mind), not the end itself. The work is simply a journey, which is why the Gita never cares about the work itself, but only about “how” the work is done (with full surrender to the divine)!

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Praying in future tense

We’re probably always wanting something out there in the future.

When this want becomes fervent, it may morph into a prayer even.

With every cell hoping for a magical future.

But do we realize that many years ago and many prayers ago…

…we asked for things, that have become a reality, even if it may not seem so.

A comfy life, some travel, some family time, decent money and status, good health. Many of these we may have wished for, and indeed got, but do we remember? Or are the prayers of yesteryear simply replaced by new prayers hoping for even more cheer?

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Nobody likes corrupt people. Not even the corrupt ones themselves.

But everyone has weaknesses.

And exploiting a weakness in someone could be the first step to corruption.

Offer them something to solve a serious problem, and they will forever be indebted, leaving open the possibility of crossing a line as a favour.

But there exists only one person who is incorruptible. The one who is a jnani. The one who wants only mukti and nothing else.

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Dancing confusion

In the realm of spirituality, seekers often ponder the art of engaging wholeheartedly with the world’s ups and downs, versus withdrawing into a state of inner calm and detachment. Can one gracefully transition between these two states? To immerse ourselves in life’s vivid experiences, yet also find solace in a serene, desireless state.

An analogy could be pertinent.

Imagine playing a role in a romantic flick alongside our favorite hero or heroine. In those scenes, we’re fully present, singing songs and reveling in the joy of the moment. But once the scene wraps, if we hold onto that role too tightly, we might be at the receiving end of a tight hand-to-face from said actor playing the favorite hero / heroine. There’s a delicate balance here. By recognizing it is only a role, we remain untangled, fully present in the day-to-day world, yet with a tranquil, uncluttered mind.

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Business-personal solutions

Here’s a thought provoking tweet by one Justin Welsh.

“Every problem in business can be solved in 1 of 2 ways. 1) Looking at your company data. 2) Speaking to your customers.”

I found this quite profound, and realized that this is not just the solution to business problems, but also applicable to our own personal and professional lives.

How can we look at our own data? By doing a quick self-audit. What are we doing right or wrong? How much time are we wasting. What are the pain points in our lives?

And who are our customers? Everyone we interact with regularly perhaps. And we can surely ask those who we are close with for self-improvement feedback!

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