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Forever Happy Now! Posts


Much fanfare has been made and much more has been written about Yuval Harari’s book called Sapiens. This post isn’t about that book at all. I wish it could be, but I haven’t read it.

This post is simply about the word itself. Sapiens.

I’ve always read “homo-sapiens” in so many places and never thought about it much. What does it mean? Oh it means human beings. That’s what we learned in school, and that’s what I remember. End of story.

Until I accidentally highlighted the word on my Kindle last night. The Kindle has a nifty feature where a highlighted word is immediately and automatically defined using the in-built dictionary.

And it threw up the meaning of the word sapien. “Wise”, it said. Wow. Wise. We have named ourselves wise. We are wise, at times. But mostly we are angry, cranky, greedy, jealous, scared, anxious… the list is endless.

We should live up to our biological name better.

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Wealth transfer

Family office advisors and wealth managers around the world are seeing an incredible boom in their businesses. Why? Because more and more rich and well to do families are setting up their inheritance and wealth transfer processes.

They want the transfer to be as smooth as possible, and rightly so. It is estimated that the boomer generation is currently transferring $68 trillion dollars of wealth to their spouses and children. What an incredibly large number. Insane almost.

But you know what happens when people who haven’t worked hard to earn money end up with ridiculously large sums of inheritance money? Surely you do.

Here’s a nice quote I came across:

“Parents are good at preparing the money for the person, they are often less good at preparing the person for the money.”

Jess McGawley
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It’s a holi-holi-day!

Came across a super WhatsApp forward today – on Holi-day. The Indian festival of colors, and where a huge bonfire is lit.

Step out of home in the morning for a walk, and there’s a zero chance that you can come back without having some color splashed on your face, or clothes!

But what is all this color and the fire for?

The color put on one another helps us forget our differences. Once colored, everyone is the same.

The fire or bonfire, isn’t to burn material things, but rather to burn our ego and feelings of I, me, mine.

So profound, isn’t it?

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Arguably the greatest and most famous scientist of all time is Albert Einstein. Many of the pseudo-intellectuals of today would look at him in awe and conclude that science trumps spirituality and that logic and intellect reign supreme.

But here are some words by Einstein himself, from his essay titled “What I believe”:

"To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the centre of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men."

Clearly, the man behind e=mc2 was onto something…

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Everyone wants something. The world indeed does run on incentives only. In the very funny and niche TV series called Clarkson’s Farm, Jeremy Clarkson, the famous ex-host of Top Gear runs into some trouble with the local villagers.

As an aside, when they said “villagers” on the show, I thought of villages like those in India. But boy were those villages in the UK so modern and citylike. No skyscrapers, but everything looked so nice! Anyway, back to the point. Jeremy ran into trouble because the villagers didn’t like the fact that him farming and selling his produce and recording all this into a TV show was bringing too much traffic and noise to the otherwise quiet village.

So he decides to setup a meeting with the village community. Everyone brings up some issue or the other. Jeremy patiently replies to each one, saying he will try his best. But the clincher? Someone asked for a VIP pass to his farm-to-fork restaurant, and a special discount for the villagers. Everyone chimed in. And when Jeremy said “yes of course”, everything was sorted out instantly – meeting over! It’s all about “what’s in it for me?” ????

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Raising the bat

Raising the bat is common in cricket, when the batsman scores a 100 runs. A century.

The batters raise their bats if they score 200 or 300 as well, or even more.

But there was one occasion where a batter raised his bat after scoring just 1 run.

Yes, your read that right, one, not one hundred.


Because in his prior 6 innings, he had got out for a duck, i.e. a grand score of zero.

It would have been a problem only if this guy didn’t come out to bat the 7th time around. But he did. And he celebrated that 1 run with aplomb!

A great lesson for me in persistence, and in self-deprecating humor. ????

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Most of us, maybe all of us, are perennial wanters.

Who is a wanter? Someone who wants, of course!

I don’t think a word like ‘wanter’ even exists in the dictionary, but that’s who we are!

We want more money, more pleasure, more vacations, more fame, more cars and houses, more travel, and so much more of this and that. Everything material, we want.

Lord Krishna in the Gita says though that there is only one thing worth wanting. And that is Self Realization. How many of us pray for this in our daily prayer wantlist?

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Freuden Schaden – part 2 of 2

While schadenfreude we (now) know, it also has a happier cousin, called freudenfreud. What is this?

Enjoying someone else’s success or happiness is what is referred to as “freudenfreude” by social scientists. This term, derived from the German word for joy, refers to the happiness we experience when someone else achieves something, even if it has no direct impact on us. According to psychologists, freudenfreude acts like a social bonding agent, making relationships more enjoyable and intimate.

Some call this positive empathy, ie. the ability to feel and experience someone else’s positive emotions.

Studies have shown that experiencing freudenfreude can foster strong relationships and increase our sense of belonging. For example, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that people who experienced freudenfreude in response to their friends’ successes reported higher levels of life satisfaction and more meaningful relationships.

This is all no different from what the Gita or my Guru says. Just live for others, and dedicate our lives to helping those around us.

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Freuden Schaden – part 1 of 2

Most people would have studied about Schadenfreude in school. The term refers to the happiness that people feel at the pain of someone else. One may think that it is a bad word, and that it has nothing to do with themselves. But the reality is, that every single action of ours in our lives involves schadenfreude in some form or manner. Really?

Like if we get a promotion at work. This comes at the expense of someone else’s promotion that same cycle, because it is not possible for the entire organization to get promoted at the same time. If we’ve got the promotion, we are happy, at someone else’s expense. Or even in simple things like taking a walk. How many insects have got crushed under our feet, just so we can enjoy the fresh air? Or when we let the tap run, how many others are deprived of water? The list can go on and on, but living thinking like this can be very defeatist and fatalistic. What to do then?

Concluded tomorrow…

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Work leader vs life leader

People often suggest that one must keep their ‘work’ lives separate from their ‘life’ lives. Yes you can perhaps keep the work itself separate. Don’t do your office work at home, or don’t take your office calls from home, etc. But mentally, is it possible to separate this work and life this way? Not easy.

For example, if you are someone that is cool, calm and composed at home, it’s unlikely you’ll fly off the handle at work. And vice versa too. While we might be put in different situations (work vs home), we are the same people that are going through the various different scenarios. If I get angry easily, then it’s likely to come through irrespective of the surrounding.

Apparently (and hence), leadership is no different. Leadership requires self-awareness. To be a successful leader, it’s important to understand and work on one’s own personality traits. Personal mastery is the key to becoming a great leader

The focus of the leader is hence first not on his team or followers, but on him/herself.

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Classification of men

Came across an interesting classification of men as per Tantra Sadhana.

1. Pashu – which means animal. Man as an animal. No brains, not evolved, just doing some random stuff. Zero interest in spirituality. Purely materialistic life.

2. Vir – which means brave. This is the type of person that does tantra Sadhana. Such a person is not brave or heroic because he is doing tantra Sadhana, but because he is valiantly fighting his own bad tendencies (anger lust, greed, jealousy etc).

3. Divya – which means divine being. Once one has achieved this state, there are no more rules (unlike the prior stage), because divinity has already been attained.

Thought provoking, no?

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Avec plaisir

This is the French way of saying “with pleasure”.

“Will you be able to help me with this please?”

“Oh mais oui, avec plaisir!”

That’s all the French I know, but the word plaisir triggered a thought about what the great Swami Chinmayananda once said in response to a question.

A devotee asked him why he was unable to be happy.

Pat came Swami C’s reply, “Because you think you are happy, and looking for happiness, but actually all you are looking for is pleasure.”

Pleasure comes from ephemeral things. Happiness or the true state of Ananda is a permanent state, and cannot be linked to material temporary objects.

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How can a comedy be a tragedy? We just need to look at our own lives and the lives of others around us. Everything we experience is a karmic cycle, or maybe even a karmic circus.

We hear or see something terrible. Somebody lost their child to an unfortunate accident, or their own limbs, or lost all their money, or their reputation. All sorts of unbelievable unimaginable things are happening around us. This is the tragedy.

Every Guru and Saint and realized master and spiritual expert realizes that everything is action = reaction. Nothing is without consequence. Today’s eaten becomes tomorrow’s eater, who then becomes day after’s eaten and so on.

Today’s alarming tragedy hence when seen from a detached vantage point, is some play of karma only. We see disasters all around us, and yet we behave like we are immune, constantly taking, taking and taking more.

When and how will be restore the karmic balance this way? What if our karmic store of goodness, runs out? We act without realizing that there is no perfect-er accountant and re-balancer that Creation. This is the tragicomedy.

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Only someone living under the proverbial rock would not know about ChatGPT now. This AI tool has taken the world by storm, providing instant answers to insane questions in the blink of an eye.

Sure enough, there’s now not one but at least 5 (and more are coming surely!) GitaGPTs as well. It’s almost like we are Arjuna and we are seeking advice from Lord Krishna himself. You can Google for GitaGPT and give it a try.

Here’s a question I asked. “Dear Krishna, How can I write about this GitaGPT tool on my blog on spirituality?”

Here’s the answer from KrishnAI: “Oh Arjuna, If your blog is about spirituality, you can use the GPT tool to help your readers understand the Bhagavad Gita. You can use the tool to explain the concepts of karma, dharma, and reincarnation. You can also use the tool to discuss the importance of yoga and meditation.”

Another one, “Hi Krishna, How can I be happy at work?” Pat came the answer: “Oh Arjuna, the secret to happiness at work is to find delight in your tasks, no matter how mundane they may be. Work becomes worship when it is done with love and attention. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that we should see the Divine in all things, including our work. When we view our work as an offering to the Divine, we can find happiness and satisfaction even in the most menial of tasks.”

How cool is that!

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What comes out of…

Came across this cool clip of Mahatira ji, where he speaks of some superb advice his father-in-law gave him. It relates to what comes out of us human beings.

Everything that comes out of a human, stinks.
Our breath, it stinks.
Our sweat, it stinks.
Our excrement, it stinks.
Our saliva, it stinks.
Our blood, it stinks.
But we can't control any of these.
There's one other thing that does come out of humans which we can control. Our words. 
And most of the time, our words stink too. 

True isn’t it? Is that what we want? Can’t we speak such that we energize others, empower others, encourage others and empathize with others?

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Was reading an interesting article today. Apparently there are 3 ways in which power can influence us.

  1. “Power within”: refers to a person’s sense of self-worth and self-knowledge, allowing them to recognize their strength and believe they can make a difference.
  2. “Power to”: refers to the productive and generative potential of power, or the new possibilities and actions that can be created, without any relationship of domination.
  3. “Power over”: is built on force, coercion, domination and control, and motivates largely through fear. This type of power is held by individuals and is finite.

There’s actually also a 4th type of power. I didn’t mention it before, because then I’d have to change the title to pow4r 🙂

This 4th power is called “power with”. “Power with”: is shared power that grows out of collaboration and relationships, built on respect, mutual support, solidarity, and influence. This type of power helps build bridges with groups and across differences. It is this 4th power that is truly powerful.

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Leadership Secrets – part 5

Concluding post today, of a series revealing very important secrets!

The first thought that usually comes to mind when one talks of a leader, at least in a business context, is the role of CEO. What is a CEO’s job really? The E in CEO is a bit of a giveaway. But does the CEO him/herself execute? Hardly.

Guy Raz interviewed a guy named Mark King – who once ran TaylorMade golf, was the North America CEO of Adidas, and then ran Taco Bell. What did Mr. King have to say about his own role as CEO? Something simple, yet profound. “My job as the CEO is not to have the answers; my talent is to find the people who have the answers.”

How to do this in a workplace setting? What happens in companies with great leaders? Here’s what Guy says.

Successful companies are those that create a collaborative environment where new ideas are valued and encouraged. To foster collaboration, it’s important to enable people to throw out radical ideas, even if they may not be actionable. However, in team meetings, often only 5-10% of people dominate the conversation due to fear of judgment for their ideas. To encourage more participation, it’s important to create an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their worst or silly ideas, as this can spark new conversations and lead to innovative solutions.

Time to practise and implement the leadership secrets wherever and whenever we can!

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Leadership Secrets – part 4

Back to leadership today after a short Mahashivratri interlude! We all know there is no shortcut to success. And that it is hardwork that leads to success. Yes yes, true true. But there is a shortcut! Know what that is?

It is simply the ability to learn from mistakes. Not just our own, but also the mistakes of others. This is the true tried and tested shortcut to success. Incredibly, this works in spirituality as well! The Guru has gone through the exact process, and doesn’t want us to make the mistakes He was once aware of.

How does making and learning from mistakes link to leadership? Well, the third secret of leadership success is being open and willing to fail. Why? Because failure not only brings out the best in us, but it also teaches us the most important lessons in the path we are pursuing.

A nice example is that of a toy company called Spin Master. It’s first product was “Earth Buddy”, a minor hit. But the founder Ronnen Harary didn’t want to stop there. He realized that kids can be fickle consumers, and their toys may only be popular for a short period of time. In order to build a multi-generational brand, Ronnen gathered insights from experts in various fields, including video, animation, and apparel. He specifically learned from the mistakes of everyone in the field. This led to the creation of “Paw Patrol”, a brand based on anthropomorphic puppies as emergency rescue workers. Since its introduction in 2014, “Paw Patrol” has generated $10 billion in global revenue and become one of the most successful multi-generational children’s brands in the past two decades, with a presence in over 40 languages!

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Every year this date goes by, with several devotees making pilgrimages to Lord Shiva’s temples.

A part of the critical God trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh, or Creator-Sustainer-Destroyer, a foreign view point is always “Oh why do you need a destroyer?”

Stories from our scriptures speak of destruction of various worlds, and pralaya, and of all creation and what not. And all that is great.

But what is it that truly needs destruction? Our ego of course! And that is where Lord Shiva excels par none. He opened his 3rd eye and destroyed Kamadeva, the God of lust aka desires. How incredible is that!

That is why The Destroyer is so important. Let us pray to Him on this wonderful Mahashivratri day, so that we reduce our desires or at least keep them in check, and make huge progress on the path of spirituality. Om namah shivayah ??

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Leadership Secrets – part 3

Collaboration was secret #1 of leadership. What was secret #2? Encouraging risk-taking.

Is risk-taking useful? Yes, massively so. This is precisely where innovation comes from. If we just sit and do the same thing over and over, it will likely not lead to anything new or radical. But risk-taking needs to be calculated, not random, not just for the heck of it.

A super story is that of James Dyson, a born entrepreneur, and also a huge risk taker.

He once created a product called the Ballbarrow, a wheelbarrow with a low center of gravity, like a giant yoga ball in front of a wheelbarrow, making it easier to work in gardens and construction sites. Unfortunately, the product didn’t sell and he was ousted from the company he founded.

However, James’ failed invention led to his greatest success story. While working on the Ballbarrow, he noticed the powerful suction of the turbine fans used to clean up the paint factory and he wondered why home vacuum cleaners couldn’t be that effective. This sparked his curiosity and he set out to create a vacuum cleaner without a bag, which was the root cause of lost suction in traditional vacuums. It took him 7 years and 5000 prototypes, but eventually, he created the game-changing Dyson vacuum cleaner. After launching the product at a mid-size retailer in Britain, it quickly gained popularity through word of mouth.

Today, James Dyson is one of the richest people in Britain and the success of his company is a result of its willingness to take risks and constantly push boundaries. Continued tomorrow…

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