The print version of “The Gita In My HomeWork” is out

Taking a freshly minted book, smelling the pages, is sure a much different and satiating feeling than viewing an ebook on computer / tablet. I am delighted to let you know that the print version of “The Gita in My Homework” is now available for purchase.

The Gita In My HomeWork

How to purchase:?

The book is available on Flipkart at: http://www.flipkart.com/gita-my-homework/p/itme2rpc3sm7pf74?pid=RBKE2RPCFHT69KPF 

Currently available on Amazon as a paperback and in ebook format: http://www.amazon.in/Gita-My-Homework-Raj-Waghray/dp/B00R32UQ2U/

Here are some Customer Reviews:

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The Paradox of Awakening and Profitability

The Paradox of Awakening and Profitability

Building a business is extremely hard.

Building a business on the foundations of Selflessness, Authenticity, Love, and Service is even harder. And one can do that only if one is deeply authentic, generous, selfless and in touch with her/his deep self.

Conscious Capitalism, Servant leadership, love leadership etc. do not happen in isolation. These are, but an outer manifestation of a leader’s inner life. One who doesn’t live by these principles can never bring this to fruition in real world.

Living a spiritual life, living a life based on true north principles, balancing the paradox of individual awakening and business pressures is tough in a corporate environment, so, my respect for those who have been able to translate these principles and bring them to life in businesses is immense.

I stumbled upon “Meaningful Work: A Quest to do great business, find your calling and feed your soul” by Shawn Askinosie last month when 800-CEO-READ featured it in their upcoming books to read. Today’s blog post by Seth Godin calls out this book. A peep into the book traces Shawn’ career trajectory from being a successful lawyer to praying hard daily for years to find a meaningful calling, ultimately resulting in entrepreneurship. I found it fascinating for the references to the Trappist Monastery.

While I know very little about the Monks and the Trappist Monastery, I had read about it earlier in a fascinating book titled “Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks” by August Turak. Turak writes about how the principles of service and selflessness can be the foundation on which a wildly successful business can be built.

Closer home, I am aware of Aravind Eye Care, Cipla (do read this post) and Hare Krishna exports from Surat whose founders have built their businesses on these principles.

While there is so much talk today in the papers about VC’s, funding, how to make profits etc. There is hardly any talk about how to build sustainable, relevant and meaningful businesses. Businesses built on true north principles. Professors who are called to talk about business, regurgitate the same old tales we have read in the business papers, hardly anyone talks about this personal journey. I have actively sought out stories like these in my readings and they fascinate me no end. Walking the path of deep spiritual values is hard and guess that’ the reason we hear very little stories like these! So when I do find them, I feel like celebrating and sharing their success!

In my view, Shri Krishna in The Gita, lays out a very clear, unambiguous path, that can be used as guiding principles and I will share it in the next few posts.

But for now, given that we are talking about Monks and Businesses, I would like to end up with this beautiful story narrated by another monk who heads an Asset Management Company. We can all start with this parable and come back to hear how Shri Krishna answer’s the question about What kind of business/product/service to build in the next post.

A deep dive

A deep dive

A resplendent light
lights up the heart;
and a gush of energy
ignites, pours and
drenches me in a
wave of happiness!

Moments before
a thousand thoughts;
unceasing;
like the
waves in the ocean
were lashing the mind;
creating varied
hues of emotions;

Staying on the surface
getting swept in these
waves is pain;
below the surface
beyond the reach of the waves
is resplendent calm and
pure bliss; sweet as honey!
Waiting to be tasted by
all who choose to dive in!

#Sadhana/Meditation- 14th Nov 2017

That fragrance of sweet devotion!

Something rubbed off
and I carried it with
Me!

Intangible,
yet oh so
palpable!

Countless hours,
days and weeks
or was it an eternity?
waiting:
– for a glimpse;
– to bask in that radiant presence;
– to soak in that light, love, and laughter!
– to dissolve in pure devotion!

It took nary a moment
for the mind to dissolve
and the heart to get satiated!

Yet, I know that this
will be short lived!
That ache of longing
waits around the corner
to rob me yet again!

Tonight, though
I care not!
for I know
that I won’t get
a wink of sleep;
as that presence
shimmers and lingers
bathing me in its
fragrance!

Oh! can you smell it?
That fragrance of sweet devotion!

#Satsang #Ashram #29-Aug-2017

The Encounter On The Road

In the madness of
peak hour,
bumper-to-bumper
traffic;
horns blaring,
all on a edge;
trying to squeeze
their vehicles into
non-existent space;
in a rush to reach
their destination!

I had an encounter!
Caught in an unexpected space,
eyes on the road,
mind somewhere else
music in the background;
The grey monsoon clouds
threatening to rain;
the gentle swaying of the trees
in that sweet monsoon breeze!

All these
faded into oblivion
as Wisdom dawned!

I strained to hear
what It had to say;
but, I caught not a word!

Yet, in that short,
muted exchange
It left me with a
still heart and a
peace inexplicable!

It comes when It wants to
and I mostly have
a fleeting encounter;
Like a stolen kiss,
it leaves me wanting more of It!

The struggle of Deep Science Startups.

The struggle of Deep Science Startups.

[After years of sharing my poems and experiences in spirituality on this blog, I am now bringing all my other writings here so as to consolidate them all in one place.]

The MIT Technology Review carries a typical story about how innovators in deep science are finding it difficult to translate their R&D into viable businesses due to the lack of understanding, patience, and support from the wider finance ecosystem. Written by Illan Gur, Founding Director of Cyclotron Road, a VC firm that invests in hard science, this short article captures the core of the issue in Deep Science Investments.

Illan writes:

An innovator I know—let’s call him Tom—had trained for a decade at some of the world’s top research institutions to become an expert in materials science and engineering. He’d developed a new manufacturing technique for semiconductors with the potential to enable next-generation power conversion devices for lighting, EVs, renewable power, and defense applications. After demonstrating promising results and gathering enthusiastic feedback from industry experts, he was ready to take his technology to market. But how?

….Today’s research ecosystem isn’t built to support innovators like Tom. Their projects are too applied for academic labs, which focus narrowly on new scientific discoveries. Meanwhile, private industry can’t justify investment in expensive research that doesn’t yet have clear commercial potential. Faced with this chasm, even the best innovators struggle. Many are bound to say “why bother?” Can we blame them?

So how do we keep the Toms of this world in the game? For starters, we need to do a better job catalyzing the creation of science-based startups and supporting cutting-edge research within them. Free from the institutional pressures of academic publication or corporate quarterly earnings, startups can serve as powerful vehicles to bring hard technologies to market. Such firms often spend years performing research to develop a first product. Yet despite driving some of the biggest technology disruptions in recent history, small businesses receive only a small percentage of all government research funding.

These aren’t just anecdotal stories. Closer home too, we do see – innovators, researchers, engineers and scientists in area’s other than software – struggling to make viable business from their research. As Illan writes, had they been software engineers, it would be a different story altogether:

If Tom were a software innovator, he could build a prototype and validate his product in months with little more than a laptop. But to innovate in semiconductor technology, he would need the tools of cutting-edge research—fume hoods, spectrometers, electron microscopes. He would also need time. Turning a semiconductor breakthrough into a market-ready product can take years.

We all know the amount of money that has been pushed by Angel Investors, VC’s and Fund’s into the startup ecosystem in India – most, if not all, going towards software startups, making it hard for those who are trying to build businesses in Deep Science. BTW, the GoI has several ongoing schemes trying to help startups across industries and technology area. Here is a quick list of 50+ such schemes.

Columbia Business  Press recently published a book titled “Venture Investing in Science” by Douglas Jamison and Stephen Waite. Douglas is the CEO of 180degreecapital, which invests and builds transformative companies from disruptive sciences with a focus on what they call Biology+. With over decades of experience in venture investing in deep science companies in the US, Douglas had, had a front side view of the issues related to the deep science investments and he brings that out in a very vivid manner – the book starts off with a historical context related to advancements in deep science and technological changes and their profound impact on economic development as well as the Evolution of Venture Capital in the US. The authors brilliantly trace the beginning of deep science from the publication of Newton’s scientific treatise in 1687 titled Principea and trace all the advancements in sciences and link them to the corresponding shifts in economic models and the consequent increase in living standards in the Country. The first three chapters are a brilliant read for those who are interested in getting a refresher in sciences as well as those wishing to understand the emergence of the VC market in the US.

The key theme of the book is the diversity breakdown in Venture Capital and how the shifts in US Capital Markets have worked to impede VC investments in deep science that have had a consequent dampening on the American economic system that is essential to foster higher living standard over time. The author’s build a strong case by telling the story of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) – a company built on deep science innovation and how the VC investment returned a massive 500 times return to the investors.

DEC was founded in 1957 was born from funding  provided by Dept of Defense to the Lincoln Labaratory at the MIT. The lab was established to build new computer technology for the cold war. DEC blossomed ‘cause of the adoption of another great deep science advance in the 1950’ – the transistor – developed by three engineers at Bell Labs. The first American VC firm ARD invested $70,000 into DEC and took control of a 70% stake in the company. In 1996, DEC went public raising $8 million, making ARD’s investment 500 times more valuable at IPO price. Deep Science was translated into technology, into innovation and into great wealth.

The heart of the book is about “diversity breakdown in venture investing”. A Diversity breakdown when it happens ultimately leads to the collapse of systems (eg., The DotCom bubble of 2000 and the stock market crash). The premise being with more venture capital being diverted to software investments, there is relatively less money flowing towards investing in deep science companies, specifically deep science companies outside of biotech/health devices, this could ultimately result in a collapse of VC system. In addition, the authors make a brilliant point: While Govt continues to spend on Deep Science R&D, the research and inventions will be wasted if there isn’t any innovation capital left to take these research to commercialization. This, in turn, will have a cascading effect where the payoff from R&D and research will be less, consequently impacting govt funding to R&D as well. Brilliantly detailing the changing landscape in investments and why investors prefer investing in software rather than deep sciences; how the shifts in the US capital markets have contributed towards impeding venture investments in deep science, the authors back their claim by extensive economic data points, with the key underlying message being that “Software is eating the world”. The authors go on to make a case for emerging deep science venture opportunities in areas such as Quantum Computers, Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Nanomaterial enabled water filtration and desalination; Nano-enabled therapeutics, Precision health etc. that could provide growth and prosperity if we find a way back to bring diversity back to venture capital investing.

The authors conclude with a rational optimism and hope that there will be a change in this trend and that investments will come back to deep science ventures in the future. They point out that while most Silicon Valley VC’s continue to shun deep science ventures in favor of software investments, established companies like Google, FB etc have stepped up investing in Deep Science as well as some newer funds have started raising money for early stage investing in deep science companies. In addition, they believe that the success of Elon Musk’ venture may also result in the beginning of a new trend that may lure VC’s back to deep science investments.

If you are an investor or an entrepreneur or even someone who is remotely interested in current scientific and economic trends, this book is a brilliant read. I only wish I had a hard copy rather than the ebook on Kindle to read. Some of the economic charts are practically unreadable on the ebook.

Unconditional Love

In the depths of
meditation,
where the mind
disappears into
nothingness
frozen
and then
awakens
to random thoughts;
somewhere out there
in that space
I remembered Him;

Frozen body
and an open heart
swirling in an energy
– indescribable –
soaking the mind
and heart
in light and love!

The foundation of Sadhana
is devotion;
yet it is Sadhana that
strengthens the Devotion.

Even on the driest
days of Sadhana;
where the mind is
just not into it;
a remembrance is
all that is needed
to be showered
with
unconditional Love!

Thoughts after Kriya/Meditation: 30-May-2017:: There are days when the Sadhana becomes a routine, a chore, almost a mechanical practice, done just for the sake of doing; the mind hurrying me to complete it as soon as possible; and then the reminder comes, that it is grace that allows the practices to happen; all I need to do is to remember, feel and surrender!
The Path

The Path

For those who have walked the path and know the nature of mind and intellect, and have had a glimpse of the Self, it is important to remember that the nature of mind is to divide, discriminate, stand apart, find uniqueness etc., It has to keep busy 24 by 7, so it latches onto divisions of any kind with glee – Religion, Nationality, Caste, Creed, Cricket, Language, Movies, Music, Tech Stack heck even Programming Languages and Frameworks too. All it asks is to be fed with a stimulus – could be any damn thing and off it goes running around trying to find separation.

The nature of Self, on the other hand, is Unity, Oneness, Non-Duality. Those who have done the Sudarshan Kriya or Meditated, know that the Self is beyond the mind and intellect and is the source of joy, peace, and happiness. In that space, there is no division, no hatred, no negativity.

Having experienced that Self,  the work for us is to remember that state and bring it with us in our daily grind and consciously spread that peace and fragrance.

Every time I see a flame-war happening on my social media timeline, my mind immediately takes sides, urges me to jump in, say something wise, witty, maybe a put-down, get an edge in etc. And I then remember, that it is fine for those who are unaware to spread malice, hatred, argue, abuse etc, but being on this path and having been bestowed the immense gift of sharing the knowledge from the Guru, how would it benefit my spiritual journey if I continue to feed my mind with malice, ill-will and animosity?

This shloka from Gita, “Manmana bhava madbhkta, madhyaji maam namaskuru, maameyeshvasi yutkvaivatmanam mat parayanam” – where Shri Krishna says: Soak your mind in Me, immerse it in Me, serve Me, worship Me always, seek Me…. and you will be united with Me.” – more often than not jumps up at me from nowhere and helps me remember the path!

We need anchors to tame the mind – a couple of long deep breaths, repeating a mantra, remembering the Guru and/or being immersed in some activity – whatever works to keep it still and makes sure that we don’t allow the mind to add fuel to the fire!