Happiness is.

This comes a day late.

Guruji tweeted “What does Happiness mean to you? #WorldHappinessDay”; rather than replying in 140 characters, I thought, let me pen down a poem. It is also the #WorldPoetryDay today

Dear Gurudev, I found
Happiness when

– I did my
first Art of Living course
and experienced the beautiful
and sublime Sudarshan Kriya

– I found health
when I so needed it;
through the practices of
Kriya and Meditation;

– I am immersed in Satsangs;
the joy, beauty, and grace
that flows…how
does one describe it?

– I become an instrument
in spreading peace and knowledge;
so very grateful for it;

– I got an opportunity to
contribute a bit towards the society;

– I discovered the deep joy 
that Meditation has to offer

– I attended the joyful festivals at Ashram;

– in the mystical Monday morning Rudra Puja’s

– in the deep silence in those
advanced meditation programs
so satiating, yet the longing for more;

– I had the rare opportunity to travel with you

– I was beyond happiness when we
were fortunate to host you at our home!
That was seismic 10 on a Happiness Scale!!
and I could go on and on!

Yet, beyond events,
Happiness right now is
the recognition that –
despite the ups and downs in life;
despite the stumbles on the path;
despite everything else –
I belong to you!

That recognition
and remembrance
is Happiness for me
and that is enough!


WCF – a lesson in living the Gita

I was reading the 18th chapter of The Gita today and realized that the events that led up to the build up of World Cultural Festival, the festival itself were, in fact, a lesson in living the Gita! So, here it goes:

After all the mud-slinging,
lies and deceit,
when the man couldn’t stop,
it seemed as if Nature too
conspired – for a while –
to the immense joy of
the tamasic one’s.

Continue reading

Creating Space for People, Events and Things

It was a jam packed hall last night in Los Angeles, where Guruji was giving a talk, and in the middle of the talk, he stopped and saw that couple of folks were standing at the back. He asked the audience to raise their hands if they had open seats next to them and then asked those seated to move a seat so that those standing can be accommodated and then he said spontaneously:

This is what life is all about. Keep shifting your position. Don’t be stuck somewhere….make room, make space. It is all about creating space. Create space for events, for people and for things to happen as and when they unfold. Every event, every person you come across in your life is contributing to your life in some unimaginable way.

Rest of the talk and transcript is here

When the Gods sit unmoved

The earth shakes, stirs and swallows;
the sky not to be left behind opens up;
pouring rains in torrents that swells the
pain, misery, distress and helplessness
of the thousands left without shelter, food
and necessities.

The One who once swallowed the
poison to save the Universe,
today sits in deep silence.
Unmoved and Unaffected.

As he did in Kedar;
he repeats in Pashupathinath,
giving us all the opportunity to
open our hearts and give,
and use our hands to serve.

An Unspeakable Tragedy & a Lesson for You

Like a never ending cycle, the natural disasters continue to strike again and again with a sickening regularity. I had blogged about Tsunami, the Kosi floods, floods in Northern Karnataka, Kedarnath tragedy amongst a few on this blog and had shut myself off from several others.

I now vacillate between “let me contribute something” to “I just don’t care” to natural and man made disasters.

The Nepal Earthquake that occurred yesterday was too close to ignore. But unlike past disasters, the Govt of India, seems to have got it right with respect to the response both in terms of time and communication. Some of the central ministers were online posting updates on twitter and this was a huge departure from previous times when the Govt was slow to move and would do too little, too late.

About two weeks back, Prof Srikumar Rao‘ marketing mail had a great message on Service and while he wrote it in the context of the war in Yemen – where incidentally the Govt of India was very prompt in evacuating Indians and foreign nationals with alacrity – the message is a larger one, applicable to all of us, anytime we see natural or man made disasters occurring. The title of this post is also courtesy Prof Rao.

I read this in the New York Times last week and my throat tightened.

India Tries Evacuating Citizens in Yemen

There are several thousand Indians in Yemen. Quite a few are women – mainly nurses working in hospitals and clinics.

An Indian Navy destroyer was sent to evacuate them. Since the port of Aden is subject to heavy shelling, the destroyer anchored outside while small boats ferried them aboard in groups of thirty or so. Many have not been able to make it out and are stranded.

Quite a few want to remain there despite the danger because of the heavy investment made by their families to get them there in the first place.

They are not dummies. They are bright and fully aware of the dangers. But their economic circumstances back home are so dire that remaining in an environment where they could be shot or blown up is not unthinkable.

Pause for a moment and think about this.

How far is this from YOUR circumstances? Can you even begin to imagine being in such a situation?

What is the lesson here for you?

One, for sure, is to feel immense gratitude for your good fortune.

But if you stopped there, it would be almost pornographic. Like rich tourists looking curiously at animals in a zoo.

These are human beings living in the same world as you and I. They are suffering. At least a part of this suffering is due to policies of countries that we belong to and call home. Possibly, even likely, the intent was honorable but the results were terrible.

So we are all complicit to some extent and we cannot turn away and pretend it does not exist.

So what else can YOU do?

Recognize that it is part of your role in life to alleviate suffering to the extent you can. You cannot do it all and you cannot spend all your time on it.

But that doesn’t mean you throw your hands up and walk away.

Pick someone in need, someone who is suffering and do something to alleviate that to the extent you can.

See a homeless person? Buy him a sandwich and a drink.

Go to a geriatric center and read to a resident.

Do you have a hobby or something that you enjoy and are really good at? Offer to train and share your interest with veterans or disadvantaged kids.

Look for some area where you can make a positive contribution to someone in need.

You cannot throw money at it. It is not about writing a check and feeling good.

It is about you, doing something concrete and personal.

You wash the dishes at a spiritual retreat – you don’t ‘get it done’.

Because, you see, you are not doing this ‘for’ someone.

You are doing this for yourself. You are acknowledging that, underneath the trappings of the role you play, you are just another ordinary human being stumbling your way through the predicament we call life.

So every time suffering somewhere in the world troubles you, do something to alleviate suffering near at hand in whatever area that you can. If you can afford it, by all means write a check to a worthwhile organization.

But that does not absolve you of doing something personally. When you, personally, wipe the drool from the lips of an incapacitated elder, and you do this with love and care, that is when you realize what a blessing you have received.


Prof. Rao

So let’s go ahead and serve.

PS: Have taken permission from Prof Rao to reproduce his mail here.

The eCommerce Dreams – Let a Billion Startup’s bloom!

Amazon in talks to buy

Jabong for 1.2 billion dollars;

Flipkart raises 600 million

and is valued at 10 billion;

the two big headlines of

the past few days.


On the streets a different

war being fought –

The Uber, the OlaCabs,

and Taxi For Sure

pumping in an obscene

amount to squeeze the 

clueless auto driver 

off the street 

robbing him of his

daily bread and butter;


Several others raising

millions or being valued

in millions;

One reads these numbers

day in and day out

trying to comprehend how

much they mean in rupees,

and the mind boggles.


The Moguls of the industry

all rushing in with bags

full of cash investing their

fortunes into the new

cash cow – eCommerce.

reinforcing the view.


Traditional business,

brick and mortars,

getting sold off

for a pittance of 300 crores;

pitch that number against

3,725 crores and see

how small it looks.


The friend of 40 thieves,

rushes in with more than

40 bags, hoping to reap

more than what he sows;


eCommerce, Platform,

Marketplace, Pivot,

VC’s Investments,

Angel Funding, P/E,

ROI, Valuation,

and Profitability. No,

strike the last one out.

No one care’s about it anymore.


Nasscom 10,000 startups,

iSpiritProduct Nation


all urging you to start up,

Peter Thiel says go from

Zero to One;

Y-Combinator classes

showing how to do it.


Irrespective, the seduction

is complete; why would

one want to be an

employee when one

could make

millions – or is billions the

new normal – in a few years?


Create, Do Something,

Build Something, Act,

take the plunge;


While others caution

“it’s a bubble”

we have

seen several in the past

be wary;


But then look at it again,

Thousands of small

entrepreneurs blooming

on these new marketplaces

and thousands employed

by them, keeping the

economy moving and raising

the standards of living.


So, if it is a bubble

or a dream, let it be.


The whole world, they

say, is just a dream

of the Infinite One;

When the Radiant One

can dream, so can you



Let your dreams be big;

and let they come true;

Let the economy bloom;

let the poorest of the poor

benefit from it;

Let the Auto drivers

get onto Uber or TFS

and let a billion

start ups bloom


While they bloom

let them just not be about

chasing valuations or dollars;

let them be businesses that

make a difference;

and let the leadership be humane;

and let the new economy

be a transformational one

benefiting everyone


While playing with

your dreams, don’t

forget to keep in your


 the One

in whose dream

the whole universe is



Now, who swiped off that Cross Pen?


Hundreds of them

some branded

lots of cheap ones

lay scattered all

over the house

all within an

arms reach for

years to jot

down thoughts

sign off bills &

courier receipts,

poke the tightly

sealed envelopes open


for a hundred

other random things



one by one

they started


First from the

writing table

and then all

the one’s that

were in sight

and finally even

the one’s that

lay quietly  hidden

for years in

nooks and corners

far away from

visible eyes.

Guess what?

Even the one’s

that were in

drawers were

not spared.


Neither reasoning

nor explaining

nor cajoling

or even threats

seems to have

any effect.


I am now resigned

to the fact that

I have three pen

lovers at home

who I guess eat

them for lunch

at school and

The High Court.


Thank you

@Meena, @Tanvi

and @Sreesh

for emptying the

riches accumulated

over years


Now who

swiped off that

Cross Pen?