Friday, December 17, 2010

It's there already....

You want to sail?

What else you need?

You have a sail boat. Winds are what they are. Already blowing. Same for all.

All you need to do it to adjust your sails properly so that you can sail. Can you do that?

You have a piece of land.

You want to get the best possible harvest.

What do you do?

Prep the land properly, buy best seeds possible, get best fertilizers and hope that it rains well. If possible, make alternate arrangements for water.

Divine winds are always blowing. Divine rain falls same on all fields.

It's our level of preparation, that determines how far we go and what kind of harvest we can get.

So, start working on your sails and patch of land.

Keep it absolutely at its best.

Rest will be taken care of divinity. Everybody gets the same.


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Roasted seeds

Do roasted seeds ever sprout?

No, correct?

Regardless of best soil, fertilizer, water etc., roasted seed has lost the life in it. So, it can not sprout.

Similarly, if 'karmic' seed can be roasted, then we are free from 'karma'. Right? That's what spiritual laws say.

So, if we want to roast our 'karmic' seed, we need a mechanism and equipment.

It's all there in one. That is MEDITATION.

This is not a claim from an ordinary person like me. This is a claim and assurance from God to spiritual masters like Paramahansa Yogananda.

The process of roasting of 'karmic' seed  may be long and arduous, but it can be done and well worth it even if we manage to roast only part of it.

As far as I can say, once you start roasting the seed, you will start seeing the benefits right away.

It's like you start roasting coffee seeds. Even before the seeds are completely roasted, aroma starts wafting and you can enjoy that. This is similar. When you start roasting your karmic seed using meditation, you start smelling the aroma of roasting. In case of meditation, your worries will reduce, you feel less stressed, you will feel light, you will find it very easy to forgive but not forget to help those who did wrong to you, your patience will increase. Basically, all your rough edges will be smoothened.

Start roasting your karmic seed. Else, it will be planted again and sprout. That  means you will reincarnate again, read blogs and wonder 'what?' :)


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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Laws of nature

Do you really need to know law of gravity?

I mean - is it necessary to know details of law of gravity? Whether you know the details of law of gravity, you will soon come to know by trial and error that things fall down to the ground and if you jump from the height, you will go down. Without understanding all the details behind the law of gravity, you will at least become sensible enough  not to jump off from a tall building.

There are still millions of people who live comfortably without knowing law of gravity. They are able to manage their lives just fine. OK, none of them work for NASA and can not even  imagine about rockets and what all science and engineering you need to know about launching rockets, putting satellites in orbit, concept of escape velocity (i.e. velocity needed to escape from the gravity) etc.

Whether anyone knows about the law of gravity or for that matter any law of nature, those laws continue to operate. The key difference between the people who know and people who do not know is -  the people who know can put their knowledge to good use - Similar to scientists and engineers who started off with basics and then proceeded to learn advanced techniques. By learning about the laws of nature, they came to know how to use their knowledge to advance  human race. Same with medicine, science, technology etc. What we discover year after year has existed for millions of years, it is just now that we are beginning to understand and put to good use. For example, cure of cancer is there. We just have not found it.

So, if we become clear about this analogy. Nature, laws of nature, learning them and how to use that knowledge to better ourselves, there arises an interesting question on 'other' laws of nature. I say 'other' because they do not fit into conventional science framework. For example, LAW of KARMA. It's very simple - AS YOU SOW, SO SHALL YOU REAP. What's complex in it? Everyone can understand the concept. But, when you say law, karma and say it's one of the most fundamental laws of nature, people begin to object. They want to know how you prove it. There is no easy way. This is because these laws of nature like law of karma are beyond our mind and intellect to understand. They are understood only by our soul which drives other instruments like mind and intellect. You can use a pair of tongs to grab something lying on the ground. But, can you use the same pair of tongs to grab the hand that is holding it? You can not understand using mind and intellect 'that something' which is in fact the driving force behind mind and intellect.

Anyway, why is it important to understand spiritual laws as we understand scientific laws like law of gravity? For the exact same reason. To harness that knowledge to better ourselves. If we can put our understanding of law of gravity to launch satellites to know more about outer space in the universe, we can use the knowledge of spiritual laws to know more about our inner space. If  understanding the laws of nature helps our external (material) evolution, understanding of spiritual laws of the same nature helps our inner evolution which is equally if not more important than evolution on the material plane.

People who do not know even advanced arithmetic seem to be convinced about law of relativity (both special and general) when someone who does not even understand basics of physics quotes late professor Einstein and describes the greatness of the scientist and his contribution. Same people argue mindlessly with you if you bring up spiritual laws. You can quote all great spiritual figures from Ramakrishna Paramahansa to Swami Vivekanda, it makes no sense to them. Moreover since spiritual laws can only be understood on a different dimension altogether, you just can not explain to them at all. Woody Allen put it best in his inimitable wit- People talk about understanding the universe when they can not even find their way out of China town.

In fact, this need to understand spiritual laws using inadequate tools like mind and intellect went so far that, a great sage called Kapila chose to explain it using what he called 'Sankhya philosppohpy'. In fact, he did a great job. If you really want to try understanding immutable laws of spirituality using your tiny brain, you can try understanding it using 'Sankhya'. If you do succeed understanding 'Sankhya', it will not be because of your intellect but due to divine grace which provided you that knowledge in the background. 'Sankhya' got so complex that joke is - if you need Sankhya, you will not understand it. If you understand it, you did not need it in the first place.

Only way to understand spiritual laws is to observe and go deep inside yourself. As you use teachers, books, notes, study guides, various studying techniques to learn about the physical laws, you learn about spiritual laws in the similar fashion. You first generate interest in them. Then you bring an open mind and insatiable curiosity about spirituality. Then you read extensively from people who have been validated as spiritual masters. Some may appeal to you and some may not. It's like you know you may like books on physics by one author and not by another author. As long as they are able to teach you physics, it does not matter. Same with spiritual  knowledge as well. Just learn. Then you have to get into the lab and put your knowledge into practice. The main experimental technique is - meditation. The main purpose is to slow the mind and make it observe and not merely see. Slow mind is healthy and still mind is divine. Fast mind is SICK. As your mind starts slowing down, it is able to see more clearly and experience some of the complex truths. Then you will start learning about laws of spirituality. There is one great thing about this knowledge. As little nuggets of spiritual wisdom start becoming obvious to you, your personality changes for better. If you were very impatient, you will start becoming patient. If you could not get along with people, you will start getting along better. These changes vary from person to person. But, rest assured they will be for the better. They can not be anything else. By learning spiritual laws, you are filling in the gaps. Gaps are different in different people. So, don't be concerned if your personality changes for better.

Bottom line is -  if you agree or disagree, learn or not learn, spiritual laws of nature are immutable and they are there and will be there. If we choose, we can learn them, put that knowledge to good use and take our own evolution in our hands and expedite it. If we choose not, no problems. There are still cannibalistic tribes in Papua New Guinea who continue to exist for several thousands of years. Let alone law of gravity, they do not even know how to grow their own food. What do you want to be like?


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Friday, December 10, 2010

God became man...

"God became man so that he could show man how to become  God."

Mythology of all religions has God appear in various forms. In Hinduism, God even becomes animals and in some cases animal-human mixed form.

Sometimes this creates confusion at its worst or humor at its best. A lot people can not understand monkey god, snake god etc.

The concept behind all this seeming paradox is the unity in the universe. As this universe came out of singleness, so did all plants and animals. At the core, we are all the same. Cut from the same fabric. Purpose of life is to realize this unity. Knowingly or unknowingly we are all on the same path.

So, what better way to show the how-to's of that process than for God to become a man or animal as needed and use that as the example.

Rama, most commonly referred God or God-incarnate in Hinduism, went through normal life, made his share of mistakes, learnt all lessons and in the process helped people write 'Ramayana' one of the most important epics of Hinduism. The story in itself is a very beautiful and engaging story. On top of its literary beauty, it sends very important spiritual messages in a very simple form.

Same with Krishna, another common God or God-incarnate. He too was born as a normal person. Showed extraordinary abilities right from the early age. Helped shape the destiny of thousands of people during his lifetime through his very practical role. The role he played was a master stroke. His life and example helped create another epic Mahabharata. Bhagvadgita is the essence of Mahabarata distilled. If brandy is distilled wine, Bhagvadgita is distilled Mahabharata.

Animals have been used so beautifully in Hindu mythology that some stories illustrate really good values. A famous king (Yudhistira) went to heaven after he shed his material body. On his way, he made friends with a nice and friendly dog which followed him all the way to the gates of the heaven. The gatekeeper was not willing to allow the dog to accompany the very accomplished king. King's love for his animal friend was so much  that he said he was giving up heaven and was willing to go back to earth or hell or wherever he could be with his animal friend. That shows mutual respect and trust.


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Wednesday, December 08, 2010


All your questions about reincarnation answered.

The answers are in the classic - Swami Abhedananda's little book.

This little book if read and understood well should clear any doubts about reincarnation.

Not that you can explain intricacies to everyone but Swami Abhedananda, who was the disciple of Swami Brahmananda who was the direct disciple of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, has written a classic.

One of the pestering questions about reincarnation is - if the soul reincarnates and takes a new body, why don't we remember memories of from our previous lives?

Swami Abhedananda illustrates this with a beautiful yet a very simple example.

Imagine you are projecting a movie from projector in a darkened room. As long as the room is nicely dark, you will see the pictures well on the screen.

Now start opening the windows and start letting the light into the room, what happens? Slowly the images start to blur. When you let enough light from outside, you will stop seeing the images all together. What happened? Projector continued to project but glare from the outside light obscured the image. You see outside more clearly than the inside.

This is exactly happens with humans too. The memories from the past lives are very much there. But, with human body, we are sense stimulated. The stimuli come from outside. They have masked the inner picture. If we manage to successfully withdraw senses, we are doing similar to darkening the room and we will start seeing the pictures. As simple as that in theory. But, hard to practices because we are not able to withdraw our sense so easily and still the mind.

Even accomplished spiritual masters recommend that we should not concern ourselves too much about our past lives. It's interesting but not very useful. Even after a lot of spiritual practice, if you manage to look into your past, you may not like it at all. It certainly was not as good as you have it now. Because, every human life is evolving towards the better.

Focus on taking control of the evolution of this life.

For academically inclined people, this book has several such illustrations to drive point home.

For people who can not resist the ideas of regressing back in life, Denise Lim offer classes and courses. She is the author of 'Past lives and Present Miracles'.


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Sunday, December 05, 2010


Emptiness is good. Why? Unless there is any empty space, new stuff can not get in there.

Once Lord Sri Krishna was playing his flute which was his favorite pastime. Radha, one of  many girl friends of Sri Krishna, was sitting near by sulking. Lord did not know what her problem was. So, Lord asked her - Radha, why are you so unhappy? What's the problem?

Radha said - Lord, I envy your flute. It has the good fortune of having your lips all the time on it. Looking at that, I feel jealous. (She was saying she was not getting enough attention of the Lord)

Lord Krishna thought there was a lesson to be taught to Radha and everybody else.

Lord smiled beautifully and stopped playing his flute for a moment.

He called out Radha and asked her to take a close look at the flute.

Lord Krishna - Radha, what do you see?

Radha- what is there to see Lord? It's empty.

Lord Krishna - See, that's the difference. This flute is empty. That's why I am able to fill it with my divine music. Look at people. They are full of themselves, their wants, their plans, their wishes, their schemes. It's I, ME and MINE. How can I fill them with my divinity?

Radha got the message and stopped being jealous. She became more devoted in her love to Lord Krishna.

So, empty yourself of your own hot air. That's all that you are full of. Hot air about yourself, your wants, your wishes and your plans. Once you empty yourself, you are enabling Lord to fill you up with his divine music. There shall be no doubt it.

Cheers to emptying yourself!

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The power of simplicity.

Simplicity - the art of doing less and less to make something more and more complete.

Creativity - Making complex things simple - Einstein.

Once upon a time there was a man. He was a very brilliant man with multiple doctorates from top universities. He also had special occult abilities. After practicing very hard using those occult abilities, he had gained some special powers. His spiritual guru had granted him a special power.

The special power granted to him was like this. Anytime he could command the services of a 'good' ghost which would appear and do anything he asked without  any questions. There was only one string attached to that. The ghost had to be kept busy all the time. If not, the ghost would eat our brilliant man and everybody with him.

Knowing the power of the ghost and knowing how difficult it would be to keep the ghost fully busy, our brilliant scientist had stayed away from calling out for the ghost to appear and do anything for him. He kept that option open only for some real purpose.

After a while, our brilliant scientist married a very beautiful but very simpleton girl from the country. She was not very well schooled like her husband. She was a simple village lass with very beautiful features and curly hair.

After the marriage, the couple left for their honeymoon. They were going to a beautiful seaside beach resort. It was a fairly long drive. It was rainy season. Unfortunately for them, there was a massive landslide and roads were all closed. So, newly married couple got stuck in between. They could neither go forward to their destination nor could they return home. They were stuck.

This is when the scientist thought he should ask the ghost to show up and do some work for him. He was thoroughly convinced that things that he wanted to get done were only possible by somebody with superhuman powers. Ghost was the only thing he could think of. He did consider the condition that ghost had to be continuously kept busy once it was summoned. Knowing the enormity of his wish and all other tasks he could give to the ghost, he felt fairly confident that  he could summon the ghost and keep it busy without much problem.

So, he did what he had to do to summon the ghost. Within seconds, a scary looking and giant ghost with menacing features appeared in front of them. Despite its scary features, ghost saluted him and his wife just like the way a slave may salute his master. With folded hands the ghost asked our scientist - what are my orders, sir?

The scientist told the ghost to create a beautiful sea resort right where there were. They were stuck in the middle of nowhere and he was asking the ghost to create for them a seaside resort out of no where.

True to its much feared reputation,the ghost rendered a beautiful seaside resort with all facilities and personnel in seconds. It was a transformation hard to believe.

The couple checked into their beautiful suite, specially done for their honeymoon.

In the excitement of possibility to consummate their marriage, the scientist had forgotten that he had to keep the ghost busy. So, he was somewhat surprised and annoyed when the ghost was not leaving their suite. He then remembered the condition.

So, he thought of a challenge for the ghost. He told the ghost - ghost, thanks for constructing this marvelous seaside resort. Now, go and count the number of fish in the ocean.

The scientist and his wife thought the ghost will be gone at least for few hours. To their dismay and horror, the ghost disappeared may be for a few seconds and came back. It gave the number of fish in the ocean. Also gave their rate of increase and decrease and provided a formula so that scientist could find out the number of fish in the ocean at any given time.

Now the scientist was getting worried because he saw what that condition meant. Ghost had to be kept continuously busy else it would eat him and his wife alive. Ghost simply had to be working 24x7 once it was summoned. No alternative.

Then the scientist asked the ghost to go and count the number of leaves on all trees anywhere and everywhere. This, he thought, would be far more difficult task because leaves are not only on trees but also on plants, shrubs, bushes etc.

He was wrong. It took no more time for the ghost than it had taken it to count the number of fish in the ocean. The ghost appeared in no time and told him the number of leaves. Not only that, it gave the scientist a formula to find out the total number of leaves using a complex formula.

After that it again respectfully asked for it's next order. Now scientist was in panic. He had underestimated the power of this ghost. Gruesome possibility of becoming ghost's food was very much real possibility now and he was totally freaking out without knowing how to keep the ghost busy.

His wife, despite being a simple village belle, understood what the problem was. She asked her husband if she could talk to ghost and try giving it the work that would keep the ghost busy for a while. The scientist did not think much of his wife but since he had no other option he was willing to try anything. He was willing to try anything even if it meant keeping the ghost away and them alive even for few more minutes.

The wife took the ghost away for a few minutes. From the distance, the scientist saw his wife giving something to the ghost. He saw ghost taking what she gave and carefully looking it. Then, he saw his wife giving the ghost careful instructions. Mostly about the job, he thought.

After giving the job the wife returned. There was a smile of jubilation over her face. She told her husband that the ghost was going to be busy for a long time and they could enjoy their marital bliss. The husband was not all convinced. He could not imagine any task more complex than the ones he had given the ghost without them becoming complex at all for the ghost. He felt bad for his simpleton wife and said with remorse that their end was near and they should get ready to be devoured by the ghost.

Despite his wife reassuring him, he did not budge. He was immobilized by panic of the ghost appearing into their suite at any moment and then asking for new work or eating them alive. An hour passed and then two. After a couple of hours, husband had developed a faint belief that his wife could be right.

He looked outside and saw ghost busy at work. He could not make out what it was doing. From the far, it seemed the ghost was trying desperately to do something. Every time, the ghost felt it accomplished the task, it seemed frustrated that the job was undone. The scientist did not care what was going on. He felt reasonably sure that ghost was not going to be able to complete the job in anytime soon.

So, he switched back to the original plan. The couple had a lot of fun for days together. They had a memorable time. It was time for them to leave.

While enjoying marital bliss, they had totally forgotten about the ghost. Now it was like days, the ghost was busy with something. He felt immensely proud of his wife. She had managed to give some sort of humongous task to the ghost that it kept ghost busy for days.

He asked his wife - what kind of work you gave to the ghost? What kind of complex work which is more complex than the two seemingly impossible tasks I had given to the ghost before?

Wife answered - nothing very complex. But, close to impossible. I just a pulled a long strand of my curly hair and gave it the ghost and asked it to straighten it out. That's all.

That's all - the husband wondered. You say that's all. He was very impressed by her creativity. He was awed by the simplicity. The solution was so simple. But at the same time so ingenious and practical. They had to come up with an impossible challenge to keep the ghost busy. Straightening a strand of curly hair is impossible.

When they were ready to leave, the ghost was still busy with the task. It gave them a very sad look. It was in tears. It begged them relieve it from this task which it knew it would not be able to complete at all. The couple took pity on the ghost. But, before they could cancel the assignment, they had to make sure that the ghost would not eat them for not keeping it busy all the time. So, the scientist prayed for the guidance of his spiritual master. The master blessed the ghost and it was relieved of its ghost state and disappeared.

The couple lived happily ever after.

The moral of the story - sometimes even for seemingly very complex problems the solutions are very simple. We just need to think out of the box to find the simplest solution. Sometimes changing the definition of the problem helps.

Simple is better than complex. Complex is better than complicated.

There is also an excellent book titled 'The power of simplicity' by Jack Trout. Great read.

Cheers to simplicity.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Degrees - Bachelors, Masters, Doctorates, Honorary degrees, (un)honorary degrees, earned degrees, stolen degrees - how many kinds of degrees one can get?!

While growing up in India, it used to fascinate me to see long list of degrees against the names of prominent people like famous doctors, lawyers, professors etc. People used to spell out degrees, subjects, universities in such detail that their names used to be totally obscured from all that mumbo jumbo.

"Universities give you degree. Not necessarily education."

"Life is a teacher which gives tests first and lessons there after."

Best university in the world - UHK. Not university of Hong Kong. But, University of HARD KNOCKS. (aka LIFE).

"Only degree that really matters is the degree to which you help others."

Do we have this degree? Are we even working on this degree? How often we can say that we have helped someone with no selfish motives at all?

No wonder one of the best stanzas from Bhagvadgita says - They are forever free who break away from the ego cage of I, ME and MINE. Another verse says - They live in wisdom who see themselves in all and all in them.

Mere data is not information. Mere information is not knowledge. Mere knowledge is not wisdom.

Cheers to getting the only degree that really matter.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010


"Burden on your shoulders is exactly right the amount for you. Not one pound more than you can carry. Not one pound less than you are able to carry."

I think the above quote is from Bible.

Sometimes when I hear people grieving about their losses, problems in their lives and so on and so forth, this is the saying that comes to my mind. It's easy to say to them. However, it's better if you follow this up with little more information.

Repeating this quote mechanically does not bring any comfort to the people / friends who are going through some problems. You are telling them that -" too bad. Your life is a mess. Hang in there. Things will get better." Not too sensitive. Right? Their reaction will be - "I hoped you would just hear me and provide me some comfort. Instead you preached me dry philosophy which only make me more mad because it seemed so insensitive."

Some famous Malayalam Poet (I think Panicker) wrote a beautiful poem on this topic.

The essence of the poem is like this.

In India, especially in rural areas, there are some elevated platforms built on the shoulder of the roads. They are called 'athani' in Malayalam, it seems. The whole idea of those raised platforms is for people to put down the loads they are carrying on their heads, rest for a while, then easily pick up the loads and continue on their journey to market to deliver their goods.

Look at the practicality of these raised platforms or 'athanis'. They are at perfect height for a normal man. All the man has to do is to position himself correctly around it and slightly tilt the load from his head or back. Whatever he is carrying slowly falls and rests on the platform. When he is ready to pick it up, all he has to do is to adjust the position of his load on athani, move himself closer and then slowly drag the load on his head or shoulder. Although I have not personally seen it being done. From the description, it seems like a great mechanism for people to load and unload stuff on their head or back without requiring much assistance from others. On desolate rural roads, it will be impossible to find someone to help load the stuff on your back or head if you put it on the ground. Sheer height (say 5 to 6 feet) that load has to rise from the ground and then come on your head or back is impossible for one man to do. Raised platforms like 'athani' make it possible for a man to be on his own.

This is a beautiful illustration. The poem says we have the best 'athani' to put our load of burden when we are very tired. God is the best 'athani' we have. Whenever we are tired, we can just find God anywhere and put all our burdens on him. During the time we have put our burdens with him, he will let us rest. Of course, we will have to complete the journey with the regular quota of load but we know that whenever we need rest or feel that burden is too much and we are on the verge of collapsing, we do not need to look too far. The best athani custom made just for us and our load of burden is right near us. It's up to us to use it to take rest.

How do we make use of this divine 'athani'? By repeatedly calling the Lord with his holy name. People who remember to always repeat the holy name have ready access to vital energy to counter any of their problems.

So, next time, when you have to counsel friends going through tremendous problems, feel free to use the quote from Bible but do not just stop there. Help them understand the concept of 'athani' also. That will be more soothing. That will give them some comfort than mere dry philosophy.

Of course, if you think they are not in a position to understand and appreciate anything you will say. Just shut up and listen. Many times people just need someone who can listen to them and their problems without any prejudice. If you can be that for a few people, you can rest assured that you have done it for this year.

Henry Ford said -"I do not worry about anything. I leave worrying to God. I just do my job. Worrying about my problems is his job."


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Ego to God

"They are forever free who break away from the ego cage of I, Me and Mine. To be united with the Lord of love. This is the supreme state. Attain to this and move from death to immortality."

This is one of the stanzas from 2nd chapter of Bhagvadgita.

I, Me, Mine - three legs on which EGO rests. Reduce focus on I, Me and Mine and you automatically reduce self-will. As you reduce self-will, you feel lighter and better overall.

EGO - Eliminate E and add D (as in Devotion) and you get GOD.

Cheers on this Thanksgiving day!

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Let Nothing Upset You

Let nothing upset you;
Let nothing frighten you.
Everything is changing;
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the goal.
Who has God lacks nothing;
God alone fills every need.

 - Saint Teresa of Avila

There is a lot said about 'finding your center.' It has become as common as 'touching all bases', 'looping in', 'take it offline' etc.

So, what can people  do to find their centers?

May be use this beautiful prayer of St. Teresa of Avila.

Look at the simplicity.

I think this is one of the few prayers which highlights the very underappreciated virtue - PATIENCE.

I think Sura 8 of Quran is another place which describes Patience in detail. Search for 'Patient' on the page. (Not patience)

Patience  saves a lot of energy. If you get provoked at every little thing, then you are going run out of gas in no time. Knowing that we all have a long journey, it makes sense to drive carefully and conserve as much gas as possible.

"Life is a war won by carefully selecting all the battles NOT to fight."

Another line that is full of meaning is - Who has God lacks nothing.

Just change words a bit and other meaning is equally profound - Who lacks God has nothing.


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Some of you commented about sudden spike in my blog posts.

What happened, you asked? How come all this activity after a few months of lull?

Well, looks like I have been reading far more than I used to. Read a lot. Did not take much time to reflect, distill and write.

Blame it on Kindle. So much easy to read. So much easy to so many books around. Happy to have read so much in one last year. Thanks to kindle for that.

An excellent quote from Einstein was a nice kick to get back to writing from time to time.

"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking." - Albert Einstein.

Not sure what to make out of this.

Gandhi said - "Live as though you will die tomorrow. Learn as though you are going to live forever."

Einstein and Gandhi need not be contradictory. Although Gandhi said you should learn a lot. He did not say learn only from reading. Probably life's experiences are better teachers than bookish knowledge.

One piece of probably useless trivia - Einstein was one of the founding members of my alma mater - Brandeis University. The quarrel he got in with others on the future of Brandeis and left it is a different story .:)


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Likes and wants

"If you stop doing what you like, you will have all the time to do what you want."

Makes sense?

For example - you like to read a lot. But, what you want to do is to get some physical exercise. If you reduce the time you spend on doing what you like then you can use that time to do what you want to.

Likes are like dead fish. They are the only fish that flow with the current.

Wants are like live fish, they flow against the current.

If you look closely, most of  your wants require a jolt of energy to be acted upon. On the other hand, likes seem to require no additional energy or barely minimum. It is like a boulder on the top of the hill. Just a light touch will suffice. Gravity will do the rest. Such are likes. What it takes to watch TV hour after hour? Little or nothing. But, it takes some will and energy to go out and get some exercise.

Make 2 lists. One list of all that you like to do. Second is a list of all that you want to do. Then see how much time you spend on each item on likes and wants. For every like you can possibly remove, you will find time to do something you want to.

Always remember the golden rule of 21. For anything to become a routine, it takes 21 days. So, just persist for that long. Say to yourself that if you do not wish to continue after 21 days, you can revisit and renegotiate with yourself.

This wisdom is better explained by Sri Eknath Easwaran in his very important book - Mediation. Read page 115. Link is -


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Saturday, November 20, 2010


From the book - The complete works of Swami Vivekananda - Vol. 2

Every religion has three parts. Philosophy, Mythology and Ritual.

Although all religions say the same truth, since they are cater to people of different regions, beliefs, lifestyles and tastes, they have to be delivered in different  fashions. Mythology and Rituals are the vehicles by which philosophy of the religion is delivered to the masses.

Swami Vivekananda provides a fantastic example. Take example of rice. Indians consume it with variety of curries and they use their fingers in a very artistic form to delicately mix a small portion of rice with different curries and enjoy each morsel thoroughly. After a couple of morsels, they take a bit of relish or some condiment to change taste as an alien beat is inserted in the music. It's an elaborate ritual.

When you provide the same bowl of rice to Asians, they prepare it differently for consumption. They will probably throw in vegetables and meat and stir fry it. Then they will use chopsticks to eat it. Their condiments are different.

Now give the same rice to westerners. They will use spoon and fork to eat the rice. They will consume it in variety of ways too.

So, Swami Vivekananda says, in this way, different people consume the same rice in different ways using different utensils and condiments. They all consumed the same rice and it is going to nourish them. Same thing with religion, they all teach the same thing. But, their philosophy, mythology and rituals are different the way fingers are different than chopsticks and chopsticks are different than forks.


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Vacuum cleaner,toaster, microwave, TV - which is greater?

Imagine how it will be if electrical appliances in your house start talking about each other and start arguing which is more superior.

Vacuum cleaner may say it is the greatest, because without it, the house is just not habitable at all. If you can not live in the house, other appliances there do not matter at all.

Toaster may say - even after God answers your 'God, give us this day our daily bread.', you are not going to enjoy a piece of toast if the toaster can not toast the God given bread.

Microwave may say some other point of self importance.

TV may say that you all will go nuts if I do not keep you glued to something to get over your boredom.

Do you see the ludicrousness of such an argument?

If you do see that, then you can also see similar argument when we differentiate one human from the other and treat one is better than the other because of what he does, because of his external features, because of his outside worth and so on.

All these appliances are driven by the same energy. It's the same electricity which drives them all. It's the same energy which manifests into different form. If we can agree to this and make it part of our psyche then most of our problems with other go away.

Let's say, there is a person who is doing something that we do not like. Because of  it we start hating that person. For example,  I do not like the sound of leaf blowers. They are very noisy. When the yard workers blow it non-stop just outside my patio it drives my crazy. But, in the fall they have to do it.

I can not become resentful of the leaf blower or the person operating it. Same with other people and what they may be doing. People who annoy may be like leaf blowers. But, even those people with all their annoyances are serving some purpose. We may or may not understand the purpose but the person who is operating the leaf blower understands it well. So, instead of getting all aggravated, let's learn to live with it.


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Who is checking out your gold? Goldsmith or blacksmith?

If you take a block of gold to a blacksmith and ask him to check it out for quality, what will he do? He will shrug his shoulders and will tell you that you have come to the wrong person.

You may have the best of the best gold with you. But, if you do not find a right goldsmith, it is not going to get a fair value or even fair interest and evaluation.

I was reading some book. The author gave this as an illustration to deal with 'perceived' slights and injustice. 'Perceived' is the key word here. Because, if you take gold to blacksmith and if he nonchalantly says he does not know about gold or does not see you quickly enough or does not treat you with all fan fare, it was not his mistake. It is your mistake to have taken your gold to the wrong person. So, any following feelings of disappointment etc. are solely due to your misjudgment. So, do not be angry about the person who could not see gold for what's it worth. He is not qualified.

If this is so simple, then why we feel let down when someone does not evaluate us (i.e. gold) as we should be? People complain that their bosses do not see their worth. People complain that their spouses and kids do not see their worth and so on. So question is - are those whom you seem to be pissed about goldsmiths or blacksmiths? Have you put your heart (or career or life) of gold in the hands of a blacksmith instead of a goldsmith?

Even after you give your gold to goldsmith. Be patient. It's the very nature of gold smithy that it takes long time to do anything. Even simple things like checking out the purity of gold takes good amount fine work. So, even after seeing a goldsmith, give him enough time to check out your gold and give you back his evaluation. It will be worth the wait when he gives you an excellent feedback about your gold. It will be even better when he offer a great value for your gold. This all will take time.

In life, it's the same. We are all gold but we do not always get to meet right goldsmiths who can value us fairly and treat us fairly. Sooner we realize it and take back our gold carefully from the hands of blacksmiths, better we will be. This means if you work for a poor boss, he is like a blacksmith who is not able to appreciate a golden employee. Get out of it if you care about gold (i.e. yourself and your career). Same thing in other relationships too.

Once you find a good goldsmith, give them time to evaluate your gold and treat you fairly. As said before, anything with gold smithy takes tremendous amount of time due to all the fine work involved. So, be patient. If you are convinced the your counterpart in any relationship is a genuine and qualified goldsmith, entrust your gold (career, heart, life) in their able hands and pray for the best. Things will work out.

This metaphor applies to you as well from the standpoint of you being the goldsmith. As a human being, as your gold is being evaluated by all sorts of people for all sorts of purposes from employment to relationships, you are also evaluating gold of other people for similar reasons. For some people you will come across as goldsmith and for some others you are going to surely come across as a blacksmith.  That's fine. Just do not try to be what you are not.

In Hindi, there are a couple of great sayings to illustrate the differences between blacksmiths and gold smiths.

"Sonar ka sau maar aur lohaar ka ek maar." - This means that it takes hundreds of delicate and intricate strokes of artwork it will take a goldsmith to craft a beautiful jewel. But, it will take just one hit of heavy hammer from blacksmith to destroy that fine piece of jewelry.

"Zhaveri hee jane khare sone ka kimat. Lohaar nahin." - Only the best jeweler knows the value of pure gold. Not the blacksmith.

Cheers to being a golden person and finding the right goldsmith who appreciates your gold.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Which 50%?

"In advertising we know only 50% of the budget (money) spent produces any effect. We do not know which 50% is that. So, we need to continue to spend full 100%."

Took some time to make sense. It would be nice if we can 'isolate' that 50% which produces results and spend only that. Do you see the irony in that? It's like saying - in the world out there, there is a woman who delivers a baby every 6 seconds in the world. In order to control population, all we need to do is to, find THAT woman and stop her. :)

Advertising budget mention was made in some self-help book. The author was saying - we do not know which of our efforts will produce good results. As with adverting budget, probably only 50% of our efforts produce any result. But, we do not know which 50% is that. So, in order to maximize the output, we have to keep on putting in our 100% effort day in and day out. Many times it's very frustrating to see none of our effort producing any result at all. But, if we broaden the horizon and see, we realize that we have been paid back for at least of 50% of efforts. So, you put in $100, you got back $50. If you put in $100,000, then you got back $50,000.

This probably the reason, Gandhi said  - Full effort, full victory.

Also the main message of Bhagvadgita. "You have right to work. But, not the fruits of your work."


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Fake it

"Fake it till you make it."

Is faking all that bad?

For a refreshing perspective on 'faking', you may want to read excepts from Sri Eknath Easwaran's commentary on Bhagvadgita.

Read pages 395 and 396 and more if you like.

Fake it till you make it is a perfectly good strategy when you are working on perfecting good qualities such as patience,compassion etc.

Read it for yourself and I am sure many will have an 'aha' moment!

Cheers to faking!

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Darkness to Light

Lead me from the  unreal to the real.

Lead from darkness to light.

Lead from death to immortality.

With our ears, may we hear what is good.

With our eyes, may we see your goodness.

Tranquil in body, we me who worship you find rest in you.

Om! Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Om! Hail to the supreme self.

Translation of the famous verse 'Asatoma.....'  from Brihadarnyaka Upanishad.

This is probably one of the best passages for meditation.

The message or the core of the verse is so positive. It is sure to stir up all your inner wisdom and make the cream rise to the top.

Call it meditation or self fulfilling prophecy, if you want to be thinking about over and over again, may be we should be thinking on these line.


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Peace of mind

"I tell you one thing.

If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with the world.

Rather learn to see your own faults.

Learn to make the whole world your own.

No one is a stranger my son.

The whole world is your own. "

These were the famous parting words of Sri Sarada Devi, wife of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa - famous mystic of 19th  century in India.

There is so much meaning in these few lines.

"If you expect anything from the world, world may give it you. Like a giving some small change to a beggar. But, you will miss the real treasure by focusing on trivialities."

Another line that stands-out is - No one is a stranger my child. When everybody else is paranoid about meeting someone else, this should come very reassuring. "There are no strangers. Only friends that we have not met yet."


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wise and....

"Some people are wise. Some are otherwise."


"You can know how clever a person is by his/her answers. You can know how wise a person is by his/her questions."

"Questions get answers. Statements get resentments."

"Leaders do not have to know all answers. They should know most of the right questions to ask."

"It is better to be approximately right than absolutely wrong."

"Two wrongs do not make one right. But, three LEFTs do make one right."

Cheers to being wise.

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Emotions - from repression to expression

"Controlling the emotions is repressing them. Transforming the emotions is expressing them." - Osho Rajneesh

Bear with me on this not-so-pleasant analogy. Or bear with Osho because he is the one who used it. If you feel like vomiting due to some food poisoning or something else, do you just go and puke on somebody? or puke on the restaurant waiter or owner where you think you had the meal that gave you this food poisoning? Most likely, you do not. Like any normal person, you go to bathroom/toilet bury your head into the pot, relieve yourself and come out feeling  the relief of getting the bad stuff out of your system.

Osho asks, then why do we vomit our anger on somebody for wrongs or what we think as wrongs? Anger is nothing but mental food poisoning. You took some bad ingredients, your restless mind processed it and could not withstand it, so it is giving you that equivalent sensation to go and puke. If that's the case, go and puke in private and not on somebody else. Osho says, go and run around your house for seven times and sit down under a tree and see where the anger has disappeared. Sri Eknath Easwaran says go for a brisk walk repeating your mantra.

"You are not punished for your anger. You are punished by your anger." - Buddha. Anger and other negative emotions are THE punishments. There is not any separate punishment for feeling angry or being nasty. Just see how you feel afterwards, you just feel terrible - even if you feel you stuck it up well into the other person. As they say - "in war, victors are vanquished. Defeated are destroyed." Both are lost.

"Forgiveness is the highest form of revenge."

"If you want to take revenge, dig two graves. One for the other and one for yourself."

Cheers to tranquility.

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

Desire To Will To Deed to Destiny

You are what your deep driving desire is.

As your desire is, so is your will.

As your will is, so is your deed.

As your deed is, so is your destiny.

                - Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

Upanishads (Indian spiritual classics) are worth our time to read and understand for these kind of wonderful nuggets full of practical wisdom.

It's not hard to see the truth in this eternal truth. How our life is just our deep driving desire?


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"Life is only 10% what others do to you. It's 90% how YOU react to what others do to you."

You can not control what others do to you. You can only control how you respond. Many times our response are either wrong or at wrong level. Over reacting is the common word we hear many times. That's the wrong level. Many times, just letting things cool down takes care of many of the things. As they say, "everything will fall in place with time and patience."


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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Live & Learn

"Live as though you are going to die tomorrow. Learn as if you are going to live forever." - Gandhi

Got some really important things to take care of? Take care of them today and now. Tomorrow or even later today may be way too late. Some people mistake it for something else and indulge in all sorts of sensual pleasures. Then, next morning they will have only hangover and related maladies but nothing else. Probably that feels  worse than death. It's like slow death if you implement living for today wrongly.

Live as if you are going to die tomorrow means only one thing, speed up your own evolution by following the right path. As Indian philosophy says, we are bound to reincarnate again and again till we all evolve to the highest level that we are meant to. By hook or crook, that will happen. But, at what price? Do you really need to and want to go through all these trial and tribulations of petty life over and over again? If not, get on the right path now and get real and take your evolution in your own hands. Spiritual practices are just meant for that.

Stop doing all unnecessary things and activities and focus on only those that really matter. If you are going to die tomorrow, what all will you do?

Then learning. That's the beauty. Learn and keep your mind and body sharp. It's all muscles. Use it or lose it. Easiest way to keep learning is - Read and read and read. Do not like reading? Then absorb new information and knowledge in any other form. Listen to audio tapes, watch education programs. Basically, you should know at least one or two things totally new everyday. If it is related to your career, well-being, more the better. Even if you learn something that is not really useful but interesting that's good too.

Why is learning new things on daily basis important? It helps exercise the brain. Builds new neural circuits. Make you think and reminisce. Strengthens intuition. Keeps you busy. And it's fun.

Cheers to living and learning!

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Saturday, August 28, 2010


"Angels are able to fly because they take themselves lightly."

Taking lightly (as opposed to taking seriously) is very important. This quote made sense. Angels are at the far end of the spectrum of goodness. They are not really gods but have improved upon usual human weaknesses and overcome many of them. They still are probably far away from being totally realized souls. So, if they are able to fly despite being like us - humans - then they have figured out a way to take themselves lightly. That reduces the weight and they can fly while we normal human beings weighted down by all our petty issues, concerns and problems have to crawl most of the times and may be walk and run at the best of our times. Are we not missing some serious fun here? We are crawling when we could be flying and having fun.

So, do not take yourself too seriously. Some people seem to take themselves too seriously and in the process forget what they should be taking seriously. Take your job, health, money, life seriously but not yourself. If you are bogged down with taking yourself seriously, then career, job, money, health and everything else goes for a toss.

"Do not take everything personally. But, put your unique personality into everything you do."

"Take your job seriously. But, not take yourself so seriously."

Take yourself lightly and soon you will see you are also able to fly once you are free of trivial things that used to hold you down.


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Sunday, July 25, 2010


How to succeed and make your team successful?

"Cherish and we all will flourish. Neglect and we all will perish."


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Sunday, July 18, 2010


"Success does not come from random combustion. Success comes from setting oneself on fire."

Not literally :) If you are burned there is no you or your success. Metaphorically....the fire.

Let's leave success. Chase excellence. Success is a slave of excellence.


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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Soar and get sucked into death

"Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines." - John Benfield

Is it always good to be a high-achiever? Yes. Is it always good to be a 'visible' high-achiever? Probably not.

It is good to be eagle but know where the jet engines are. Don't just soar too high too soon before you know the paths of jet engines around you.

Do not get too much exposure for yourself and your achievements before you know the political landscape. There are many people who will feel jealous of you for no good reason. For them being jealous is part of their constitution. They want to see others take a fall all the time. So, if you are a high-achiever and soar high very soon, chances are sometimes you get sucked into jet engines set up for you by these people.

They say, there are 2 ways to enter a swimming pool. One is do a deep dive. If lucky, you will make a gracious dive, make a big flash and everybody  will be awed. If not, you will make a big splash, get everybody around you soaking wet and if the depth is not enough, you may not come up after breaking your skull.

There is another way too to enter a pool. That is to slowly enter in the shallow end by testing the water for depth, warmth and quality. Get into the pool slowly, check out who all are swimming, get your laps done, get exercise, feel good and get out without much noise.

Question is - is it necessary for you to ensure that others  notice you? More attention you crave for, more energy you will need to manage the attention you get. If you do well, demand attention, rest assured you will get far more attention than you may have originally hoped for. But, for what? Why do you need unnecessary attention and all the headaches that come with it? Is it not better to devote the energy that goes in managing the attention to achieve more and more. In a quiet fashion.

Anonymity is very good. Crave for it. People who crave for popularity get it relatively easily. Then either they get hooked to it and their worth depends on how others feel about them or they start hating the publicity and associated headaches. Soar like eagles but stay out of jet engines. 'I rather soar in the company of eagles than walk in the company of ducks."


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Friday, July 16, 2010

Newton's thrid law - corporate version

Corporate version of Newton's third law....

"For every action, there is equal and opposite CRITICISM."

Who criticizes? Not the people who are playing the game. They do not have time and energy. They are focused on the game. It's the watchers. They never play a game, let alone a good game. All they do is to criticize.

You do one way, they criticize. They do other way, they criticize. There is no way to please them. Ask them to do it themselves or show you how to do, they do not. They are not there. Sometimes they come to play. When they are unable to play well, they just say - 'We just came to watch and you made us play. We are going back.'

It's amazing that people can spend days, years and their careers criticizing others. You know what happens if you keep doing that for too long? You become a hopeless cynic. You see value in nothing. You become defeatist. You become an apathetic worm. Nobody ever wants to have you on their team. 'If you do not feel good, at least look good.'

"More people have been fired for bad attitude than poor aptitude."

"If you are not fired up with enthusiasm. You will be fired with enthusiasm."

"Your attitude determines your altitude."

C-Level acronyms.

CIO  - Career Is Over

CEO - Career Evidently Over

CMO - Career Mostly Over (Chief Marketing Officer)

CPO - Career Pathetically Over (Chief People's Officer)


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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Life - English Grammer

"Life is present perfect. Not future tense."

Relax. Present is perfect. Don't tense about the future.

1 - "These days, nobody speaks proper English."

2 - "Yes, yes. The days of good English are certainly WENT."



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Friday, July 09, 2010

Mind control

"There was once a minister to a great king. The king, displeased with the minister, ordered him to be confined in the top of a very high tower. This was done, and the minister was left there to perish.His wife came to the tower at night and called to her husband. The minister said to her, "No use weeping." He told her to take a little honey, a beetle, silken thread, a pack of fine thread, a ball of twine and a rope. She tied the silk  thread to one of the legs of the beetle and put honey on top of its head and let it go with its head up. The beetle slowly crept onwards, in the hope of reaching the honey, until at last it reached the top of the tower, when the minister grasped the beetle, and got possession of the silken thread, then the pack thread, then the stout twine and lastly the rope. The minister descended from the tower by the means of the rope and made his escape.

In this body of ours the breath motion is the "silken thread"; by laying hold of it we grasp the pack thread of nerve currents, and from these stout twine of our thoughts, and lastly the rope of Prana, controlling which we reach freedom."

From the book - The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda: vol. 1 pb by Swami Vivekananda

This illustration is so good that I chose to copy it verbatim. Great way to understand the complex theories behind controlling  thoughts and mind.

The whole book is full of such wisdom.

Highly recommended.

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Sunday, July 04, 2010


"The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place." - George Bernard Shaw

What more can you say?

"Listen to understand. Understand to respond."

I think most of the people start thinking about how to respond as soon as you start saying something. That's why they do not get even a fraction of what you said. And some are of course hopeless cases of multitasking victims.

Communicate in very small bits. Wait to make sure what you communicated has been understood and proceed only afterwards.


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Sunday, June 27, 2010

One, None and Two

"One is none. Two is one."

Above is the much-repeated quote of elite Navy SEALs commandos.

Always have a back-up.

Nature gave all important things in pairs. Just so that there is at least one if the other one fails.

This quote appeared in the book "Warrior Soul: The Memoir of a Navy Seal" by Chuck Pfarrer. Very interesting book by former SEAL commando.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Promised land - from Moses to FDR to Kennedy

Moses - "Pick up your shovels. Mount on your asses and camels. I will lead you to the promised land."

FDR - "Lay down your shovels. Sit on your ass. Light up a camel. This is the promised land."

Kennedy  - "will take away your shovels, kick your ass, raise the price of camels and take over your promised land."


From Chuck Helppie's historical novel based on Kennedy assassination - "Kennedy must be killed."

Fantastic book a great read. Distills tonnes of information around Kennedy assassination and conspiracy and weaves into a nice novel.


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Monday, June 14, 2010

Reflect the goodness

Moon does not have it's own light. Moon reflects the light of  sun. Stars have their own light. What do you see on a new-moon day? Is it darker or brighter without moon?  It's darker. Right?

Moon does not have its own light. Merely reflecting sun's light, moon keeps the night that much brighter. Stars have their own light but still on a new-moon night, all stars together do not match up to moon's light.

So, what to learn? Reflect the goodness. Original goodness in us is amplified by many  times, when we first start reflecting the goodness. If you do not know what to do, just do the same things the other people do that made you happy. If somebody was good to you, be good to others. If somebody was patient with you, develop more patience. If someone gave a lot of their time to help you, give more of your time to help somebody else too.

Just by starting to reflect goodness in ourselves, we start to get more and more better ideas to become a better human being. To start off, just reflecting is good.

What's very important to reflect? The surface should be clean. A dusty mirror does not reflect as well as a shiny clean one. Clean up your mind and soul. Then start reflecting the original goodness.

Cheers to reflecting the original goodness!

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Succeeding with Agile - Mike Cohn's new book and course

Mike Cohn wrote a new book while back - 'Succeeding with Agile'.

He has recently started delivering a 2-day course based on this book.

I recently happen to take this course. As usual, great course. I had read the book a while back. It was great to learn finer elements of Agile Development from one of the best in the industry - Mike Cohn.

It's a pretty intense class. The class does not deal with basics of agile. It's expected that you know the basics. So, it also depends on other attendees too. If they are also seasoned agile professionals, you all will have a very lively class. Discussions from industry peers make this kind of classes good.

Great book, great class. Go take it. You will become a better agile project manager. It's good for other senior managers too.


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Friday, May 21, 2010

Swami Sivananda's books available online

Swami Sivananda was a famous spiritual figure in India in the last century.

He wrote more than 250 excellent books and booklets. His books are really good.

His followers and organizations found by him have made most of his books available online at -

Hope you enjoy reading them.


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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Computers make things easy

"Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done." - Andy Roony

Yes. Example - Computers makes it very easy to blog (like this). But, blogging like this need not be done:)


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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Some good books

Adaptive Project Framework: Managing Complexity in the Face of Uncertainty by Robert K. Wysocki - A good book describing managing high-risk projects using adaptive framework.

Bloody Treason: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by Noel H. Twyman - One hell of a massive book. 900 odd pages. Probably one of the best pieces of investigative work on JFK assassination. Well researched and well written.

Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide by David S. Linthicum - A very good that explains how two emerging trends, cloud computing and SOA, are complementary and what you need to harness their collective power for your enterprise.

Googled: The End of the World As We Know It by Ken Auletta - Good book looking at Google and its short but very interesting history. Fast read.

On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System by Henry M. Paulson - From the man who tried to clean up the economic mess of 2008. Or as some critics say he too added his value by creating more mess and helping his cronies make more moolah. Hear from horse's mouth - from former treasury secretary Paulson. Writes in a simple and interesting style. Brings the characters out really well without offending them. His take on Sarah Palin is funny at  best. Everybody can see how irritating ignorant people can be when they pick up the phone call someone like Paulson who is trying to do 1000 things in a crisis mode. During such situation a person like Palin can test anybody's patience. It's impressing that Paulson did not blow his gasket on the governor.

Renewal: A Little Book of Courage and Hope by Eknath Easwaran - Little book of timeless wisdom by master Sri Eknath Easwaran. Great gift idea.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Juggler, Juggling, Balls of Rubber and Glass

Imagine yourself to be a juggler juggling in bare foot. Keep in mind - bare foot on a hard cement floor. You got 5 balls to juggle. They are - work, family, friends, health and spirit.

Of the 5 balls, work is made up of rubber. Rest of the 4 balls - family, friends, health and spirit  - are all made up of glass.

While juggling these balls, if you miss the work, it will hit the ground. Since it is made of up of rubber, it will bounce right back. But, if you miss any of the balls made of glass, they break into pieces and it won't be fun to juggle while stepping on the broken glass on a hard floor. Once any of the glass ball is broken and starts hurting your feet, even if the rubber ball (i.e. work) keeps bouncing back, you can not pick that up again and continue juggling.

Moral of the story is take care of the glass balls carefully and the rubber ball can take care of itself. It will keep bouncing back up all the time. If you need more time, give it one good smack and it will keep bouncing back up again and again till you finish juggling other balls. This is not to say that you should ignore your work. Work smart not just hard.

Another possibility is to get out of the juggling game. Or keep lesser number of balls in air at any given time. Delegate a lot of work so that you only have to juggle 4 glass balls. Looking at 4 glass balls, actually only one is really unpredictable. That is family. Rest three - friends, health, spirit are actually easy to juggle if you keep plugging along. Unpredictable things happen mainly with family stuff. With friends, we have a good understanding and protocol. So, you can manage friends well. Health is the easiest to juggle if you stick to basics and firmly believe that prevention is better than cure. Spirit is also easy. It will come on its own when time is right. So, basically you have two major balls to juggle - one is work and the other is family. With only two balls, it should be simple enough.

Many times we do not see all the five balls this way and start juggling mindlessly even when they do not need to be all juggled at the same time. In the process, we drop work. Worse is we worry as though we dropped one of the glass balls even when we know that work, being made of rubber, will bounce back.

Key take always  - ball made up of rubber will bounce back. All glass balls are not equally hard to juggle. Family is probably the hardest. Health is probably the second hardest. Friends are easy if you have good ones. Anyway, you do not want to have bad ones. Spirit is the easiest. Do not even worry about it. When the divine grace smiles on you, you will know how to juggle the ball of spirit without even  worrying about it.

Cheers to juggling!

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Saturday, March 27, 2010


"You can know how clever a person by his answers. You can know how wise a person is by his questions."

"Statements get resentments. Questions get answers."

"When in doubt, ask."

"Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups."

Cheers to asking questions!

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"When alligators are up to your ass, it is hard to remember that your original intent was to drain the swamp."

How true? Example - Yes, quality matters. When it's end of the quarter and that most important customer is screaming at the top of his voice, improving quality is the last thing on anyone's mind even if they preached that mantra all along. At that point, it's a matter of survival. So, let's give it to the customer and deal with the consequences later.

What to do when this happens? What can you possibly do? Nothing much. Forgive yourself. Do not beat yourself up very much. Pray more. Generate more positive karma and be happy. You are not the cause and not the effect. When you know that, all your worries disappear.


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"There are no strangers in this world. Just the friends that we have not met yet."

Very beautiful. If we keep this quote in mind, how easy it becomes to warm up to new people. They are not strangers at all but just the friends that we have not met before.

There may not be strangers but there are indeed strange people. One may be you (and everyone else). :)

Cheers to meeting new strange friends!

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Sunday, March 14, 2010


"Discovery is seeing that everyone sees but thinking no one has thought." Makes sense? Yes. Everybody saw apple falling to the ground and not going up. Very few bothered to ask why. Even fewer bothered to find out the reason behind apples falling down. Newton was one and for that reason he became immortal.

"Successful people see something and ask why. Genius imagine what does not exist and ask why not."

"Ask not speculate."

"Ask and thou shall be given."

Cheers to creative imagination and asking more why!

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What we do with our PRESENT?

"With one foot on the past and other foot on the future, what ELSE we can do with/on the PRESENT?"

Well, if you think you are unhappy, then you can guess what you may be doing with or on the present. May be with one foot on the past and one on the future, you may be PISSING on the present.

"Past is history. Future is mystery. Only present is certainty. It's a gift. That's why it's called PRESENT."

One of the important aspects Dale Carnegie's "Stop worrying and start living" is to "live in day tight compartments." Stop worrying about the future. Stop having resentments about the past. Live fully in the present savoring every moment.

Cheers to happy PRESENT!

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Thursday, March 11, 2010


"The only degree that matters is the degree to which you help others."

So, all those bachelor, master, doctorate, post-doctorate degrees won't get you anywhere unless you have the degree to help others.

"When you are good to others, you are best to yourself."

"If you help enough people get what they want, they will, in turn, help you get ALL that you want."

"If you want something you never had before, you need to do something you have never done before."

"Successful people don't do different things. They just do things differently."

Not asking others for help is like owning a gold mine and deciding to mine the gold all by yourself. By the time, you get even an ounce of gold, you will be long gone. Success, even at individual level, is a team sport.

Success is nothing but finding a problem, solving it and sharing the learning.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are all in harmony. - Gandhi.


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Monday, March 01, 2010

Chisel it out

Chisel - the tool.

When I said chisel, remembered famous (or notorious) Indian fashion guru Prasad Bidappa. Prasad Bidappa used to call himself as the chiseler. Meaning -  he would get raw models from the street and chisel out all imperfections out of them and make them super models. Let's give him the credit due. It's no exaggeration that Prasad Bidappa identified some really smart (but not very-modely) girls right off the streets and made them top models and in some cases super models.

That's not the point here. Chisel and chiseler...two terms - stuck in mind.

How's a statue made? Do you really make a statue? Not really. You get a big block of stone and chisel AWAY everything that is not statue. Suppose you want to make a statue of an elephant. In some rough strokes of heavy hammer and big chisel, you get the outline. Then the real precise and fine grain work starts. That part is certainly as complex and as involved as brain surgery. Takes a lot of time and effort.

This is exactly the way people make them god-like. God-like qualities are already there in all of us. We just need to chisel out those ungodly qualities. Our scriptures provide all the tools we need. Meditation is the universal tool. It chisels away everything that is ungodly from our personality. You can see yourself chipping away day after day.

It's possible that when we end this life, we may not be done with making a real complete statue of whatever we started. It may not look very close to the statue of an elephant. It may be missing several aspects. But, we will get an opportunity to start exactly at the place where we left off. That's the assurance of Sri Krishna in Gita. Our final state in this life if preserved and restored in the next life. We will get right tools to continue chipping away.

All that is godly is within us. It is covered by lust, greed, anger, fear and what not. We just need to clear it all as much as we can. It's like house dust. As you clean, it accumulates. We just need to keep cleaning it off everyday. We can not say I will do a major cleaning once every week even if it takes 10 hours at a time. Our gurus say why undergo all that pain and kill yourself? Do little by little every day and just watch how you excel at chipping away to glory.

Another case in point to illustrate that all that is godly is right within us and many times we do not know it. Musk deer is very famous for its fragrance. Once a very little musk deer calf was intrigued by where that haunting fragrance came from. It was puzzled and baffled. It went all around the forest, smelling every tree, every bush and every other animal. It could not find out where that smell was coming from. After it was tired of endless roaming in the search of fragrance, it returned to its mother and described its ordeal. Young calf told its mother that it has been smelling every animal and tree in thee forest but can not find out where that beautiful smell came from. Mother musk deer asked its calf to do one simple thing. It asked the young calf to smell itself. There it was 'ah ha' moment for the musk deer calf. The wonderful fragrance was coming right from itself. This is a beautiful story to illustrate that all that is beautiful and good is right within us. Without knowing, we go round and round looking for it everywhere except within ourselves.

Sri Eknath Easwaran used above metaphors to drive home his points. I felt he did a masterful job once again. Thought of sharing with you.


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"Share a smile" day

March 1st is "Share a smile day". Hope we all smile little more today.

Smile is contagious. Smile is not irritating like sarcastic smirk or untimely laughter. Smile just indicates genuine happiness. So, smile a lot.

Always keep a smile on your face. It's the least you can do to others who have the good (mis) fortune of seeing your face.

If you do not see smile on other people's face, give them one of yours. Nothing to lose. A candle used to light up another candle has nothing to lose. Pass on  smiles freely.

Fake it till you make it. Even in the direst of dire circumstances, smile and be happy. The very fact of relaxing those creases around lips to smile start relaxing you.

If you do not feel good, at least try to look good. Smile helps.


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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nice books...

Living with the Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama -Early life history of Swami Rama in his own words. Very interesting and inspiring.

The Riddle: Where Ideas Come From and How to Have Better Ones by Andrew Razeghi - New look at ideas and their origin and how to ideate more effectively.

Chief of Station, Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone by Larry Devlin - Probably one and only one memoir written by any CIA Chief of Station. Deevlin took over as the Chief of Station of CIA in Congo (Belgian Congo) on the day of a fresh coup there. He could not even get there directly from Europe. He went to other Congo (French Congo) on the other bank of Congo river and then took a ferry to assume his role. If your new job starts with a coup, you can only imagine how the rest of the tenure can be. Wonderful book. All that you wanted to know about how Lumumba was disposed off, how Belgian Congo became Zaire, how strong man Mobutu took control and ruled the country for 30 years, Katanga rebellion, Samba rebels etc. - all described in vivid details. Great read!

Murder In Brentwood by Mark Fuhrman - OJ Simpson murder trial book by Mark Fuhrman who was one of the very first cops to arrive at the crime scene and do initial investigation. Very well written.

Past Lives, Present Miracles: The Most Empowering Book on Reincarnation You'll Ever this Lifetime! by Denise Linn - A westerner's take on past lives, future lives, rebirth, reincarnation etc. After the author went through near death experience after having been shot by a thief, she is supposed to have developed skills to regress back into past lives and use information gleaned from past lives to fix problems of present lives. Interesting perspective. If it appeals to you, the author conducts workshops on how to regress back to past lives :) You can also become Certified Past Life Regression Expert :)

WAR DOG: Fighting Other People's Wars -The Modern Mercenary in Combat by Al J. Venter - This is one amazing high octane and high voltage book. Author Al Venter coupes up with mercenaries fighting civil wars in West Africa (mainly Sierra Leone) and chronicles their lives and gory details of the war. Pretty graphic and scary and disturbing at times. But, that's how it was in West Africa. There is a movie called 'Blood Diamonds' on the same subject. Watch the movie and read the book, you will get full picture of senseless human greed and its ugly manifestations. If you think wars are fought by soldiers loyal to one or the other country or a group, read this book to understand the full details about mercenary business. No wonder future wars are going to be fought by free lancers.


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Books...Robert Maxwell, Carlos the Jackal and Phoolan Devi

Max by Juval Aviv - Fictional account about late media mogul Robert Maxwell. Better read is - Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul by Gordon Thomas.

Hunting the Jackal: A Special Forces and CIA Soldier's Fifty Years on the Frontlines of the War Against Terrorism by Billy Waugh and Tim Keown - Great book by Billy Waugh who has worked as a special forces operator for 50 odd years. It's extremely captivating to hear from someone who has seen it all and done it all. In this book, among many interesting high octane missions, the author describes one particular mission that took place in Sudan which ultimately lead to the capture of international terrorist Carlos the Jackal.

I, Phoolan Devi: The Autobiography of India's Bandit Queen by Phoolan Devi and etc. - Autobiography of India's own bandit queen. Very well written. Phoolan Devi, herself, was illiterate. So, the publishers had her tell her story and then good writers to distill her life into a nice book. Great read!


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