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.

How to purchase:?

The book is available on Flipkart at: 

Also, available on Amazon as a paperback and in ebook format:

Life is so generous a giver….

Stumbled upon this beautiful prose and couldn’t help but share it. Read it line by line, savour it and soak it all in!

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.  There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.

Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.  And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.

Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.

Written by Fra Giovanni Giocondo (c.1435–1515). He was a Renaissance pioneer, accomplished architect, engineer, antiquary, archaeologist, classical scholar, and Franciscan friar.  He wrote this letter to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, in1513.

The Gift of Grace.

I am back after a refreshing Art of Living Part 2 Program, at the Bangalore Ashram in the presence of Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar). Advanced Programs are usually spread over 4 or 5 days (sometimes longer too for those who can’t have enough of the silence) comprising of yoga and deep meditations, with silence at the root of it. Every time I do this program, I feel deeply rested, the mind becomes clearer and for me creativity springs up. Needless to say, yet another poem sprang up based on my experience and wanted to share it with you all!

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Tech Writing finds a new home!

Seems like LinkedIn Pulse is becoming my de-facto technical blog.

Here are some of the recently published articles:

There are couple of others too in the area of Conscious Business and Leadership.

The best book on Leadership & Spirituality that I have read!

It is very difficult to articulate the effect of a spiritual guru in your life. While on hand one goes through life’s up and down’s like everyone else, there is a unseen connection and bond that permeates all through. Dr APJ Kalam’s latest book “Transcendence” is a brilliant exposition on the impact that his spiritual guru – Shri Pramukh Swamiji of Swaminarayan Sanstha had on him.

Kalam writes:

“How do I summarize Pramukh Swamiji’s effort on me? He has indeed transformed me. He is the ultimate stage of the spiritual ascent in my life, which started with my father, was sustained by Dr Brahma Prakash and Prof Satish Dhawan; now finally, Pramukh Swamiji has put me in synchronous orbit. No maneuvers are required any more, as I am placed in my final position in eternity.”

Those of us who are fortunate to find a living spiritual master can instantly recognize what Kalam writes. My first visit to Swaminarayan temple was in Chicago sometime in 2004 or 5 and then I visited Akshardham in Delhi sometime in 2008 and was blown away watching the movie on “Neelakanth” (Linking to Mystic India movie on YouTube, but I guess the one I watched in Akshardham was a shorter version and more crisp)

Kalam writes about his experience of his chance encounter with the BAPS organization and Pramukh Swamiji and how the spiritual connection and the presence of Swamiji helped him take tough decisions with ease. Kalam talks about politics, his presidential term, his travels, his vision for India, all coupled with stories, anecdotes, and lessons from the lives of scientists and great leaders. But the underlying essence of the book is how the presence of Swamiji in his life helped him. Kalam quotes extensively from The Quran and Thiruvallavur and from other great philosophers and thinkers driving home the point as to how a true spiritual person embraces wisdom of all religions and makes it his own and more importantly, reflecting on the knowledge, acting on it and living can make a huge difference.

The book is divided into four parts and I loved the part where Kalam writes on Creative Leadership.

He drives home the point that Creative Leadership as the foundation of change. He writes:

“Creative Leaders are not born. They are the product of particular circumstances and conditions; they evolve to bring change for the better. I have enumerated eight facets of creative leadership, namely – fearlessness, courage, ethical living, non-violence, forgiveness, compassion, vision and cooperation….” Each of these attributes are explained through stories drawn from the lives of Nachiketa to Verghes Kurien.

I wish I could write more, but suffice to say that this book integrates Science, Spirituality and Leadership in a scintillating way and will remain as one of the best books on leadership and spirituality that I have read.

The Magic Wand of Gratitude

This is a reproduction of article that was published in Huffington Post by Guruji. I usually don’t copy and paste articles but this one resonated and I wanted to preserve this.

The full moon in the month of Ashadha is celebrated as Guru Purnima. It is an occasion to be grateful for the wisdom that life has offered. When you see how wisdom has transformed your life, it’s natural to feel grateful for all that has come your way. Gratitude is an inner feeling; it’s not an action. It has to arise from within in recognition of the love that the Creation is pouring on you every moment. Often people ask me how to be more grateful. Dropping the sense of wanting more is the highest degree of gratitude. As long as you are in the race for more, even if it is for spiritual attainments, you cannot be contented. “I want nothing” is both the beginning and culmination of contentment. And without contentment, gratitude cannot arise. In the Bhagavad Gita, it is said, “Yadrccha-labha-santusto Dvandvatito Vimatsarah.” It means one must have some level of contentment with whatever is coming to one’s way. If you are discontent and grumbling, how can you be grateful?

Gratefulness comes with knowledge. The knowledge that you are being loved by the Creation is the source of gratitude. Only the feeling of “I am being taken care of” can bring true gratitude. When you don’t feel a sense of lack, then you feel grateful. The feelings of lack and gratitude cannot co-exist. In life, whatever you put your attention on, grows. It’s natural for the seed you sow to grow and multiply if you nurture it. If you sow the seed of lack, only lack will grow. When you feel a lack, grumbling begins in some corner and life gets into a self-perpetuating cycle of negative feelings. You feel a lack for something today and something else tomorrow. When you open up to the providence the Nature has bestowed on you, immediately a sense of contentment comes and with it more providence. And when you complain and grumble, even whatever little joy, peace or love with which you have come into this world will all also vanish. As the Bible says, “Those who have will be given more; as for those who do not have; even what they have will be taken from them.” It’s appears to be a very cruel injunction, but this is the law of nature.

Gratitude is like a magic wand. When you are grateful, everything else flows to you. An element of grace is needed to be happy in life. This is what people often refer to as luck! It’s the glow of one’s life. Grace comes from being grateful. Gratitude is contagious. A grateful person purifies his entire environment and everyone around him feels uplifted. Only knowledge can take you out of discontentment and grumbling. Guru Purnima is significant as on this day we rejoice in our relationship with knowledge. Guru signifies wisdom or knowledge; Purnima signifies fullness. The feeling of fullness that comes out of knowledge is what we celebrate on Guru Purnima.

Whatever we have learnt in life is because we have had a teacher (Guru) to teach us. Either knowingly or unknowingly, we have always had a Guru. Our mother is our first Guru and then from science to spirituality, from birth to death, the Guru Principle permeates our life. There is a guru for every discipline — a Dharma Guru (religious), a Kula Guru (family), a Raj Guru (guru for the kingdom), a Vidya Guru (guru for a particular discipline) and a Sadguru (spiritual guru).

The Guru Principle is that which removes darkness, misery. It is charged with wisdom, and wisdom alone can bring lasting happiness. So people seeking happiness, knowledge and a better life have to come to a Guru. The gratitude that dawns on getting in touch with this principle does the magic.

When you are grateful, you also become sensitive and that sensitivity reflects in your actions. This Guru Purnima, let us be sensitive ourselves and also sensitise people to our environment. Feel gratitude for our very existence, our very body, all that you have and all the love you have received. And this gratitude will bring you a flood of grace. Abundance dawns and life becomes full!

The Guru Purnima message 2015

Almost a 1000 views in the past few days searching for Guru Purnima message. I do hope they found what they were searching for on the blog ;-)

Here is the transcript of what Guruji said during this year’s Guru Poornima

Sri Sri: There are two worlds in which we live. One is the world of memory and another is the real world.
And in memory, there are three types of memory.
1. You remember but you can’t do anything about it. You remember your childhood, but you can’t get it back. You remember the bygone days, (but) you can’t get it back. This is one (kind of) memory.
2. Another remembrance is you remember and you have to make a lot of effort to get it. Suppose you have left your keys in Toronto, you have to drive 7 hours to get it. It is not instantaneous. You remember, but you have to make an effort to get it.
3. The third type of memory that’s like this. (Gurudev places his glasses on his head.) I keep looking for my glasses, suddenly someone says glass is right there. Oh! It is right here.
Here the remembrance and getting it is instantaneous. Oh! It is here, then I already got it. I didn’t have to make any effort.
Our spiritual path is of the third type of memory. Knowing and getting is instantaneous. You have feel the connection. That’s all.  And feeling the connection is that memory which connects the real world with us. From the imaginary memories that we live in, from that world, moving on to the real world. And that is what is the Guru Tattva. Guru is bringing that connection. The moment you remember, “I am in Canada.” You are in Canada. You are already there. You don’t have to make an effort to get to Canada. When you are already here, you remember, ‘I am in Canada.’ It is instantaneous. Similarly, you close your eyes and move from this cloud of the unreal world of memory to the real existence.

Feeling the connection to the wisdom, knowledge, Guru, then there is no worry. How can there be worry, concerns, any negative feelings? Impossible.  Everything just disappears.  Guru Poornima is the day to feel that connection. I am connected. I am one with the divinity.  Here, again, celebration is instantaneous. Joy is instantaneous. You get what I am saying?  You don’t have to prepare to celebrate.  A pauper had forgotten that he was the prince. Someone came and told him, “Hey! You are the Prince.” Just (with) that one sentence, he got the kingdom back.  Instantaneously. There is no effort. If it appears to be some effort, it is to get rid of the effort. Because your mind is so used to putting effort so that run of the mind to put effort had to be calmed down. And direct recognition, “I am connected.” And that’s it. Done.  That much is enough for today. There is a lot (in this). Recollect this again and remember this.

Sri Sri: Whether you like it or not, whether you accept or not, you all play the role of a Guru to someone at some time.  You should ask me how.
Audience: How?
Sri Sri: Everyone plays the role of a Guru either by saying what one should do or what one should not do.
Some tell you what you should do, some show you what you should not do.  So, there is no escape from Guru.  Your own life becomes a lesson for someone else. Right? So, everybody whether wanting or by default is a Guru because you keep teaching something to some people around you by example of what one should do or by example of what one should not do. In the same way, (in) the whole planet, every little thing teaches you, has a message for you. You learn from this whole Creation if you have keenness of observation, if you are connected. Once you are connected to the Guru, then you are awareness blossoms. When awareness blossoms, then everywhere you find there is some lesson coming to you. From every corner you get some lesson. Now, learning is endless. But, unlearning is very important. Whatever you have learnt is good for this plane, at one plane only. But to other planes of existence, unlearning is important. Especially, spiritual journey, unlearning is important. And coming to Guru is you unlearn. You become hollow and empty. This is important. Very important.

Mind and Guru cannot be together in this second case. In the first case, mindfulness is essential. You are full of mind. In the second case, no mind-ness. Because mind and Guru cannot exist together. Only one can exist. Either there is wisdom or there is your small mind which chatters. All the time drags you backward, judges, discriminates, does all these gimmicks, makes you miserable.  It is an exercise to unlearn what you have learnt and become fresh again. Because at a particular point in time, in a particular journey, learning becomes a burden. Learning limits you. Unlearning opens you to the field of all possibilities. Do you understand what I am saying? This is higher Mathematics. This is higher knowledge. Very good. Go with the confidence. Once you feel connected, once you remember you are connected. That’s it. No worries. See when you want to swim and you find the life guard is right there and the coach is right there, then what do you worry about? You simply jump into the water. In the soccer game, when you are playing, once you know the coach is there you get all the confidence to kick the ball. So life is a ball like that and all the events in life are like the ball to be kicked with skill. And that is what wisdom, knowledge is all about. Of course, having a Guru brings comfort. Don’t have a Guru only to have comfort. Guru is there to get the ultimate, not the momentary comfort. Many people come to the Guru to get momentary comfort and they stay there, trying to get only momentary comfort. A seeker will move forward, doesn’t mind comfort or discomfort, and aim at the highest. So, usually people say, ‘I want more grace.’ My dear, there is abundance of grace but you come with a bigger vessel. You come with a small glass and say give me two liters of milk in it. How is it possible to give two liters of milk in a small cup? Expanding your ability to take the grace. And that is what you all are doing. That is what this is all about. What? Expanding our ability to receive more. And whatever we have received, we feel it is abundant. Feeling the abundance, abundance continues. Only that continues.

Sri Sri: Afterwards you can become Sahaj teachers and inspire infinity into everybody’s ears. Whispering infinity.  Very good.
Q: How do you expand the cup?
Sri Sri: Forbearance, seva, sadhana, all that.
Q: How to take this to the outer world?
Sri Sri: You keep this knowledge in your heart and walk with that dignity. Walk like a king and be a perfect servant. With the dignity of knowledge, nothing can shake you. That is the beauty of the whole knowledge.
Q: What to do with people who don’t have this gift?
Sri Sri: You are here to give them that gift. Reach out to them slowly and skilfully.
Q: When you are alert, joy is lost. When you you joyful, alertness goes away. How to bring both?
Sri Sri: That is the skill. That is Samadhi. That is meditation.
Sri Sri: Meditation is both effort and effortless. For a beginner it is effort.
Once you have begun, it is effortless.
Like in Kriya, in the beginning, there is effort. But once you start on that, then you let go, everything happens by itself.  It is both. Effort in the beginning, and then it is effortlessness.

Guru Poornima day, you reflect, what your life would have been without the knowledge. Where we were 10 years ago? How knowledge, wisdom has carried us along? And how it has made a difference. Today is the day for you to reflect on that. Each one of you. It is not to get more knowledge. It is reflecting on what you already have. That is what we need to today. So, don’t say, ‘I want more knowledge.’ Celebration is not work day. Knowledge is work. Celebration is just remembrance, recollecting: where you are, what you are, how the knowledge has impacted you, how many miracles have happened in life. Reflecting on those things. Life itself is a miracle. The Universe is a miracle. So reflecting on that, WOW comes out. And there you are full. You are content about knowledge, everything.

The Guru Purnima Playlist

Sharing three of my favorite Guru Bhajan’s:

Which are your top 3?

#Guru Poornima