Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

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Does god need a guru?

January 13, 2007

The original title of this article was going to be “If I were God..”. That would obviously sound quite pompous and so I first thought of “Does God need a consultant”? . However since the film Guru has been released recently and resurrected certain stray thoughts in my mind, I substituted consultant with Guru. This article is a “thinking out of the box” exercise on god’s performance on several issues(because of which there seems a lack of focus which is deliberate):-

I read somewhere that the film Guru is based on the life of India’s most successful post independent industrialist, the late Dhirubhai Ambani.. His success mostly was because of lateral thinking – http://www.lifepositive.com/Mind/personal-growth/personal-growth/lateral.asp. The world’s best known authority on lateral thinking, Edward De Bono has always advocated that both linear and lateral thinking should be introduced in schools because intellectuals or other bright people do not necessarily make good thinkers. Just focusing on the romance of “Rags to Riches” story while missing the essence is like missing the wood for the trees. Assuming that god is running this world, he is not doing a very good job on this issue; high time he influences the teachers. . Teacher is also synonymous with the word Guru the literal meaning of which is “One who removes darkness.” A lot of darkness can be dispelled if lateral thinking is taught. Wonder why it does not happen.? The govt may or may not do anything but the people of India gave Dhirubhai a farewell that speaks for itself- he was the Guru of Gurus and who better than Hirubhai(My name is Hiren Shah) to extol the virtues of Dhirubhai.

Talking of Dhirubhai reminds me of my father who though not an entrepreneur, had turned around a sick company and won a partnership on the strength of his management skills alone. Being a chartered accountant by profession, he prevailed upon me the importance of cash flow management and how any business could collapse without continuous liquidity. So much so that I ended up writing a poem on it . God really takes the cake where cash flow is concerned. He has to ensure that sufficient accidents happen every month to ensure that the kitchen fires burn in several homes(mechanics, doctors, insurance etc); he has to ensure that people fight and there are disputes so that lawyers, police etc earn a living etc etc. Basically, he has to operate on the principle of “One man’s problem is another man’s opportunity”. That’s quite a naughty way to run the world even accounting for the law of Karma. Liquidity apart, God has to ensure that overall the world is good(profitable) and considering the fall of people like Hitler and Stalin, he has done a good job of it. He is a pretty good money manager.

The law of Karma reminds me of the horrifying sexual exploitation and serial killings of innocent children at Nithari Village in Noida recently. One cannot but wonder about the law and what the innocent children must have done in their previous lives to deserve such a cruel fate. Talking in the management context of “ One should not make the same mistake twice”, unless god makes the law of Karma transparent( one should be able to see what one did in one’s previous lives for reward/punishment) how can one know one’s mistake and ensure that it is not repeated again. This is assuming that the law is correct( going by Hinduism, Jainism and to the best of my knowledge, Budhdhism). On mooting this question, I got a new reply this time- the first four years, the child has to pay for the father’s sins, the next four the mother’s sins, the next four his own sins before the actions of the current birth starts. Interesting, if true.

Otherwise the answers one tends to get are- if god makes the law transparent and nobody does any bad deed , how will he run the world- if there is no villain, where will the heros come from and what about the famous maya jaal ?. Another explanation in the context of “Necessity is the mother of invention” is that if no or very little trouble happens, who the hell will remember good(poor), old God?. As it is, one gets to hear that most people worship god out of fear and greed but very few out of love. Man, by his very nature is selfish but for God to create so much trouble in the world just to be remembered? God would not be spiritual if god were like that and if that is so, existence has no meaning. The way tides happen, seasons change, the distance between the earth, moon and sun and similar other things that happen in the Universe which indicates that the universe is in order- why not this(transparency in law of karma)? God alone knows the answer and I do hope the old boy gives it a thought or two.

Talking of transparency reminds me of the redoubtable Bill Gates, the richest and one of the most successful men in the world. I have read in books on how at Microsoft, anybody can write to Mr Bill Gates directly and be redirected by him. In my humble opinion, that must be one of the major reasons of his success because with that kind of transparency, Mr Gates probably knows what the potential of each individual is and people are not likely to be scared of their immediate bosses. Today it has come in the papers “Lost your appetite for work? Blame your toxic boss” where it is given how autocratic bosses can harm both the individuals and the organization. I have read other books on the subject and also suffered practically and feel that the situation can be redressed only if the top boss( boss of bosses) ensures that there is enough transparency without fear which can only be good in the long run. This can only happen if the boss of boss of the bosses( god himself) instills this sense in the heads of organizations. Wonder what god’s views on this are.

Talking of Mr Gates cannot but remind of the initiative that he has taken with his foundation. One gets to hear of a “Capitalists mind with a socialist heart” but perhaps for the first time in the history of mankind, the world’s two richest men have come together for philanthropic activities with a $60billion fund. This is a very handsome step considering the fact that civilizations have perished when there have been extreme disparities of income and wealth. Mr Gates also said that he wanted to give back to society not only in terms of money but whatever he had learnt in the business world. One gets to read in spiritual books that many times severe adversity causes an about turn in people’s attitudes and make them graduate towards spirituality/philanthropy. It happened to one great industrialist. If true, it would be prudent of God to hasten adversity and bring it a little early in their lives- preposterous though it may seem, one has to look from an overall perspective and the lead given by these two gentlemen can remove whatever is left of the rift between capitalism/ Socialism forever. As we say in Hindi, shubh(read ashubh) kaam me deri kya?

Transparency cannot but help you remind of the political system. Yesterday, there was a report on how cricketers were going to be paid on performance alone. I find it a little strange that people playing a sport have to be so accountable and elected representatives of people have no accountability. In every second management book, it is given that goals are so important that the habit of forming them should be inculcated from early childhood. It is strange that for sports and children and companies, goals and performance is important but for those running the country, it does not matter. Strange are the ways of God- somewhat like putting the cart before the horse.

Now that reminds me of something else. Getting their due always reminds me of women- one wonders when they will get their due? I read a couple of books on their exploitation at work. One keeps reading on how considering their population, women are grossly misrepresented in parliament. There has been some headway in the right direction after liberalization but by and far, it remains a man’s world. One would like to believe that God wanted men and women to be equal and since women gives birth to a man, this is the cart before the horse all over again. I am not saying that god does not have horse sense but one wonders why such injustice? The 21st century may turn out to be one of servant and mother leadership and one hopes that god makes amends for past mistakes.

Getting their due and cash flow reminds one of something else- one journalist had told me that the goddess of Laxmi( Money) and Saraswati( Goddess of knowledge) do not always go hand in hand. Someone with a mass appeal like actor Govinda can give a brilliant actor like Naseeruddin shah a run for his money where commercial appeal is concerned. Good art films flop where substandard commercial films may do well. There are examples of artists struggling for subsistence and people with very humble businesses being millionaires. Everything that is good does not necessarily succeed commercially and vice-versa. God alone knows the reasons for this but at least he can do a more balancing act that befits his stature.

The balancing act again reminds you of the wide gap between applied spirituality and applied science. Intellectuals like Krishnamurthy have clearly stated that man has progressed technologically but regressed psychologically. Events like the Iraq war, 9/11 or even the recent bomb blasts prove statements like “Man. God’s greatest mistake” or “Religions are many but religion is one”. Spirituality and “religious mind” is more talked about than actually followed . Being selfish is not always a bad thing.. God could do with a bit of selfishness here- why not promote one’s own subject( applied spirituality). We have made enough headway in Science anyway.

From an individual’s perspective, being spiritual is being happy and peaceful throughout the day. This is simply not possible if a person is in the wrong profession which is brought out properly in my other blog –Make your passion your profession. The Russian comunists did it , the chinese also misplaced people in the cultural revolution but how can god do such a thing. I am surprised that a superpower like the United states has so many people writing on the subject. I don’t like to critciize god but he is not much of a critical thinker- how can welfare of mankind be brought about if a majority of people are miserable for a majority of working hours. You need to something about that, Godji.

I can go on and on as one stray thought leads to another. Just a word guru started a whole chain of thought which goes on to show that thought itself is the biggest guru. ( Thoughts have infinite power). At the same time, all this gives food for thought what god is really upto and with due apologies for insubordination, can he do with some help on certain issues. ?

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Desipundit or Desibandit ?

August 21, 2006

It is a well known fact that the United states always acts in its own self interest (nothing wrong in it within the right limits) .Though being a superpower, it tries to project that it knows best(pundit) what is good for the world at large, it is its own self interest(desi) that guides its decision making. It’s a different matter that it turns out to be short term gain long term pain(bandit) when such decisions prove counterproductive..

In the article “Why the war on Terror was lost” on Sunday,August 20,2006, editor of Hindustan times, Mr Vir Sanghvi describes how vulnerable the world has become because of terrorism despite all the measures taken by the US since 9/11. The recent Bombay bombings, the  shutting down of Heathrow airport, the stringent security regulations that all international passengers are subjected to, the US warning to India to guard against attacks in the subcontinent are all pointers to the fact that we are probably much worse off than we were around 9/11.

Mr Sanghvi further tries to explain the phenomenon of the terrorist(those who were caught) not belonging to any particular cause or organization but normal people like you and me. He says ,” By invading Iraq, George Bush and Tony Blair convinced the world’s muslims that the west had targeted their religion. By failing to rein in the Israelis when they wreaked havoc in West Asia, they bred the fear that Islam had to fight for its very survival. In the process, Bush and Blair achieved what bin Laden would never have. They made Muslims feel like global victims and they radicalized Muslim youth from Bali to Bombay to Buckinghamshire. They gave terrorism a new raison’d eitre.”.  The US support to Gen Musharraf and Pakistan also made it a hotbed of terrorism as a majority of the caught terrorists hailed from there.

The article concludes that the world that we shall bequeath to our children shall be tense, hate-filled and a dangerous place.

The United states has a penchant for shooting itself in the foot and there have been articles on how its short sighted policies(desi) often boomerang on itself. Therefore, in this context we can conclude that Desipundit and Desibandit are one and the same and since it’s a superpower the word Videsi(International) can also be used instead of Desi.

Now for some sub-local and self terrorism:-

I have been blogging for over a year now and though I was vaguely aware that www.desipundit.com had a good reputation for recommendation, I had never bothered much as I went about my nomadic excursions through the blogosphere.  Then, when The Times of India  evinced interest in some of the contents of my other blog ( Make your passion your profession – http://mypyp.wordpress.com/) and told me to write a series of short articles(ironically the first article got published just a day following this post for details-  http://mypyp.wordpress.com/)-   after a reputed magazine had already published one article on it in April’2006.. It just struck me out of the blue that how come no recognition had come from Desipundit. Is the standard of the blogosphere more stringent than that of professional magazines and newspapers?

All kinds of doubts began to invade my mind. I began to wonder about the credentials of people at www.desipundit.com  One comes across examples of people who become critics when they cannot master the basic art and of some people who become judges when their practice as lawyers does not flourish. I started wondering whether the powers that be at Desipundit were in that category. Could their be a collusion between them and some of the bloggers? I sent an email(asking for advise) to the main  person behind Desipundit, Partix which went unanswered. This coincided with the controversy where  Kiruba Shanker’s blogstreet rating as the top Indian blogger was questioned by someone. This fuelled my doubtful mind even more and I began to wonder whether the top bloggers were trying to perpetuate their standing as some of our so called spiritual leaders.

 As it so often happens with me and poetry being the spontaneous flow of powerful emotions, I ended up writing a rather unflattering poem on Desipundit., Patrix, Kiruba and god knows who. My apologies. I am not desperate for recognition but I make no pretensions of false modesty either..

The way things turned out, Patrix replied to my second email and Kiruba Shanker himself made a post where he stated that the ratings of http://www.sunsuna.com  which rated him 24th were more reliable from a certain perspective. Patrix also pointed out that a majority of their recommendations were sent by others. This made me feel sheepish as a long time follower of Osho and Krishnamurthy as to what havoc even a slight lapse in an unobserved mind can do. 

Both have taught that witnessing is the essence of meditation and one had to be constantly be watchful of one’s thoughts, feelings and actions. Krishnamurthy in particular always stresses that the root of all kinds of conflict lies in the mind and the thought process itself and no real transformation is possible unless there is transformation at the level of the individual.. Even the root cause of international terrorism is belief in a particular system or and  strongly identifying with it. That is why both are against organized religion because that itself implies division and goes against a truly religious mind.

This corroborates the views of blind poet Jhon Milton who said that the mind within itself(and outside if I may say so) can create a heaven of hell and hell of heaven. The unobserved mind can itself be a pundit or a bandit which can have either national(desi) or international (videshi) connotations. The source of misery is inside(desi) and the external is just a manifestation.

Digressing slightly, it would not be out of place to mention what Devdas menon says in his book “Stop sleepwalking through life”. He says the guru(dispeller of darkness) had yielded place to the pundit(learned scholar). “. Knowledge being food for the ego, it sometimes goes against the very essence of spirituality.It is not uncommon to find egoistical tendencies in the so called pundit whose spiritual knowledge has made him a bandit from inside. Only constant dispassionate watchfulness can curb such and other negative tendencies and therefore act as a guru. To put it poetically:-

Hope I have been able to convey the vagaries of the mind

My apologies to those who may have thought that I have been unkind

Just wanted to highlight what all an unobserved mind can think from behind

Watching  our thoughts, feelings and actions is a meditation and not doing so is tantamount to being blind.

 

Mind is like a drunken monkey stung by a scorpion

One should be circumspect and think ten times before forming an opinion

Whether it is an outsider or your lifetime companion.

To be objective, conditioning has to be peeled like the layers of an onion

That alone can reduce conflict in the stress filled 21st century and promote genuine union.

 

The Iraq war has proved that man can resort to war without any reason

For all democratic traditions and civilized conduct, it was actually a treason

Only an intellectually inclined world statesman with  the right vision

Can remove conflict permanently by addressing both the root cause and effect of division.

 

I hope I have conveyed that whether desi or videsi, it is the mind that is the real  pundit or bandit

Whatever research is possible on dispelling negative notions and thoughts, one should fund it

It is self introspection that acts as the best guru, one does not require a pundit.

For any conflict , thoughts have  to be observed dispassionately; that alone can  permanently end it.

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Bombay – Can the Bombs be permanantly kept at bay?

July 12, 2006

About 24 hours ago, there were a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai which left more than 200 dead and two and a half the number injured. No words can express killing of helpless innocents wherever it may take place. One really wonders whether there will ever again be permanant peace. Deplorable though they are, such incidents bring about serious introspection.

Though important measures should be taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur, one has to look at the deep rooted reasons as well”

In this context it is worth mentioning the Alliance of Mass humanity (www.anhglobal.org) one of whose founders is Dr Deepak Chopra. When one comes across violence of such magnitude, one is thankful for such initiatives. Just as the attitude of the Western world towards Indian terrorism changed only after 9/11 and the London blasts, significant change only happens when preceded by serious crises. One hopes that complacency does not set in again for another crises to prove that “without danger, one cannot go beyond danger”.

Continuing in the same vein, in the words of the late intellectual/mystic, J. krishnamurthy ,” Everywhere in the world, we are justifying murder as a means to a righteous end which in itself is unprecedented. Murder, whether it is of a person or a group of people is justified because the murderer or the group of people the murderer represents justifies the means to achieve a result that will be beneficial to man. Man has no significance or importance and millions can be sacrificed as long as the end result is justified by ideas”. Krishnamurthy spoke in the context of division between man and man in most of his teachings which were devoted to resolving conflict by understanding the thinking process.

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions. Though this poem was written by me in 2002, it applies to all situations of mindless violence because of division.

LEGACY  OF  SEPTEMBER 11

The world on the whole continues to bemoan September Eleven;

As if before that, the earth was some heaven.

The  events of September eleven were a blot on mankind’evolution;

It indicated that  mankind has not progressed beyond the cavern.

The information revolution and mass communication

should have enabled  a religious break-even.

It could have heralded a religious and political revolution.

Art and sports bind people together, we need many a Beethoven;

One has to be as spiritually agile to ensure

THAT THE WORLD EVERYWHERE IS TRULY COSMOPOLITAN( FONT PROBLEM)

What we need is a spiritual James bond;a spiritual 007

To investigate into, contrary to what it preaches,

 THE RELIGIOUS INTENT BEHIND SEPTEMBER ELEVEN.

Whether an Asian, European, African or American,

Whether Manhatten or any other nation, new ways are needed to enlighten

If there is one legacy that will always be attributed

to the events of September eleven

Applied spirituality needs to be as successful as applied science

 i. e THE WORLD BADLY NEEDS TO STRAIGHTEN

Humanity must be the sole religion to avoid another September 11.

 

ONE MUST ADMIRE THE  RESILIENCE OF THE PEOPLE OF BOMBAY- THE WAY THE LOCAL TRAINS HAVE STARTED FUNCTIONING AGAIN REMINDS ONE OF THE SONG-“GADI BULA RAHI HAI, SEETI BAJA RAHI HAI, CHALNA HI ZINDAGI HAI, CHALTI HI JA RAHI HAI” . NOBODY CAN STOP BOMBAY(SALAAM, BOMBAY)

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Spirituality and the stockmarket

October 19, 2005

My article on “Spirituality and the stockmarket got printed in the October issue of the magazine “The Eternal Solutions”. I have also written for “LIFE POSITVE” . For those of you who may be wondering that spirituality and stockmarket are like North Pole and South Pole(that was the Editor’s first response but on reading the entire article, it was accepted straightaway), here are several similarities.

These are based on experiences over the last one year wherein which I have learnt tried to learnstockmarket trading. I found many analogies between spirituality and the market

For many of you who must be wondering about this article , there is a direct correlation between spirituality and the stock market.

EQUANIMITY – GREED AND FEAR COMMON TO BOTH

UNCERTAINTY – MKTS ARE UNPREDICTABLE AND SO IS LIFE

EGO – MKTS CAN RUIN YOU IF YOU ARE TOO EGOISTIC AND ACT AGAINST THE WAY IT GOES AND SPIRITUALITY IS AGAINST EGOISTIC BEHAVIOR

QUACKS- BOTH THE SPIRITUAL FIELD AND THE STOCK MARKETS ARE FULL OF QUACKS

NO STRONG OPINIONS- SPIRITUALITY TEACHES US TO BE NON-JUDGMENTAL AND ON THE MKTS ONE CANNOT HAVE STRONG OPINIONS

KNOW THYSELF- A TRADING SYSTEM CAN MAKE ONE PERSON A MULTIMILLIONAIRE AND THE OTHER A PAUPER SO ONE HAS TO KNOW ONE’S TEMPRAMENT WHICH IS WHAT SPIRITUALITY TEACHES.

BHAGVAD GITA TEACHES TO DO KARMA WITHOUT EXPECTING THE RESULTS AND IN THE SHORT RUN OR LONG RUN, UNLESS ONE PRACTICES THAT RELIGIOUSLY, ONE CANNOT OPERATE IN THE MARKETS.