What do we want to do in Life?

This was a Satsang with a difference….and because it is difficult to put experiential experience in words, all I will say, is that for some inexplicable reason the memory and the atmosphere of the Satsang stayed with me. Guruji was leaving for Europe/US tour, the amphitheater was jam packed with thousands of folks from all over the world who had come for Shivaratri and stayed back for Shakti Kriya session with Guruji, the bhajans in the Satsang were uplifting….the electricity kept playing hide and seek and the multitude of stars shone brilliantly in the blue sky for the few minutes the power went off… and the VM in the background bathed in different colors, with the crescent moon on top of the VM set the stage up for Guruji’s arrival in Satsang…..and then He arrived, spoke for a few minutes and left. The message that Guruji delivered was simple and it resonated very strongly. Guruji’s message to continue to focus on spreading the knowledge was a gentle reminder and reinforcement of my own goal in life.

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Here is the entire transcript (courtesy: Art of Living website)

Sit in satsang and go inward; that is what is important.

(Audience: Don’t go)

You should not say that. There are many programs and people are expecting me. I don’t like to disappoint anybody. Even today, I said, I will stay back for sometime in the satsang, and not disappoint so many people. That is why I delayed my flight as well. So for ten minutes, I can afford to stay with you.

Keep doing your sadhana, seva, and satsang. And keep thinking in lines of, how we can bring more light to the world, and more knowledge to the people.

See, anyways, we all have to live for another 40 to 50 years. So life should have a direction. We need to think, what do we want to do in life?

Other than eating, sleeping, thinking, reading newspaper, watching television, we need to do something more, and what could that something more be that we can do?

Bring knowledge to people. Make people happy. And the only way to make people happy is to bring them to knowledge.

If someone is unhappy, that means they have not received or taken the knowledge; they have not digested the knowledge, and so they are unhappy.

You can say, ‘Gurudev, there are people who have no water, no food and are suffering. That is why they are unhappy. How can they be happy?’

This is a different thing; a different issues. Yes, suffering is different. People suffer because of natural calamities, or due to drought, or flood. In these circumstances, you should do seva. Even here, seva with knowledge is much better.

Difficulties do come in life, but to overcome difficulties, one needs to be strong, and the strength comes only through spiritual knowledge.

See, a butterfly fluttering its wings in South America can affect the clouds in China. This means the whole universe is inter-connected. Everything is connected with everything. So when you do a little bit of Pooja with feelings, it does create some beautiful and positive ions in the atmosphere, and it does affect the cosmos.

How many of you have noticed, that doing the Guru Pooja makes a difference? Even chanting the Guru Pooja, makes a difference!

Someone recently wrote to me, that someone was in hospital and when Guru Pooja was chanted, they became well.

A child was crying constantly, and when Guru Pooja was chanted, the child became calm and quiet.

So there are so many healing experience that are there, and it is not surprising at all. That is how it has to happen and it happens. It is quite normal. If it does not happen, then there is an element of surprise.

So in life, there needs to be a direction, and that direction is – how we can bring the ancient wisdom to everyone? The ancient wisdom is anyways being carried along, how we can further it in our lifetime so that eternal flow continues for eternity, is what we need to think. We need to put our energy in this direction.

A Life of Happiness

Courtesy Wisdom Dawns

Self-enquiry is needed, but can cause unnecessary confusion and restlessness if it is overdone. It should be done only when you take some time off. Don’t go on examining yourself too much. Thinking all the time can become an obsession.

Do your work. What you do is not important. You anything do anything to sustain your life. Do any work that pays well.

You must know that work,  seva (service) and your entertainment or hobby are all separate. Trying to combine them will be a challenge. When you have responsibilities in life, a family and children to take care of, choose a stable job that gives you enough money and time. Once that is done, don’t think about it again. But if you find something better, you can go for that.

Also, take some time off for social work. If you are spend your whole life in just earning your bread and butter, your life will be meaningless and will not give you any satisfaction.

There are people who need your help. Supporting a cause by keeping a box at home and putting a few coins and whatever you can in it will give you some satisfaction.

The stress and tension in society today calls for meditation. Take time off to meditate and uplift your spirit. You feel fully charged. Greater the responsibilities and ambitions, greater is the need for meditation. It relieves you of stress and strain, enhances your abilities, strengthens your nervous system and mind, releases toxins from the body and makes you more capable. We have to renew our energy time to time.

Meditation and Yoga increase your capacity, skills and qualities. After you retire, go totally into knowledge. Dedicate yourself to the cause of higher knowledge, wisdom or social causes. Do some good work in society. One day, you will be gone and you will not even know. Others will make arrangements to take the body away. They will hold a memorial saying, ‘May his/her soul rest in peace.’ But you are already at peace by then. Their wish comes much later. Once we leave the body, we are at peace. That is no fun. We should be useful to the people around us and be at peace while we are alive.

That is why we have called this life an art — by knowing how to handle our mind, the self, the family and the community. That is what wisdom is.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

When was the last time you listened…?

Leo Buscaglia’ writing has a depth and richness that reaches out and touches you. Two books that I heartily recommend are Living, Loving and Learning and Love. In his book “Love: What life is all about”, he writes:

In fact an investment in life is an investment in change to the end, and we can’t be concerned with dying because we must be too damned busy living! Let dying take care of itself. And don’t ever believe that your life is ever going to be peaceful – life is not like that. With change taking place all around you, you’ve got to continue adjusting which means that you are going to be constantly becoming, there is no stopping. We’ re all on a fantastic journey! every day is new. Every experience is new. Every person is new. Everything is new, every morning of your life. Stop seeing it as a drag! In Japan, the running of water is a ceremony. We used to sit in a little hut when the tea ceremony took place, and our host would pick up a scoop of water and pour it into the teapot, and everybody would listen. The sound of the falling water would be almost overpoweringly exciting. I think of many people run showers and water in their sinks every single day and have never heard it. When was the last time you listened to the rain drops?

Herbert Otto says, “Change and growth takes place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.” Isn’t the fantastic? A person has risked himself and dared to become involved with experimenting with his own life, trusting himself. To do this, to experiment with your own life, is very exhilarating, full of joy, full of happiness, full of wonder, and yet it’s also frightening. Frightening because you are dealing with the unknown, and you are shaking complacency.

So, what made you come back to the Industry?

I have been asked the question as to what prompted me to return back to the corporate world several times. The reference is obviously to me taking over a year off from the Industry to volunteer with the Art of Living Foundation teaching the Art of Living programs.

In today’s Mint, Sandipan Deb writes about this in his article “Breaking free from the mundane” Sandip begins by saying:

I don’t know whether it can be granted the official status of “trend” yet, but in the last few years, I have seen a fairly large number of executives give up high-paid jobs and choose a different life. I am not talking about successful managers who chose to turn entrepreneurs. The people I am talking about are ones who seem to have taken a sharp right turn off their career paths and opted out of the corporate rodent rush.

And he ends it by

 A lot more of us have become seekers. And the seeking is not stopping at the corner office.

I will be very delighted if this really becomes a “trend”. A lot of us in today’s corporate world can’t see life beyond our own noses. And I will stand up a give a huge cheer to those who seek to follow their heart’ calling. And a even bigger cheer to the “seekers”. More power to you guys.

To those who ask me, I point out that God never wrote one’s life story in resume form – so all your assumptions about your life should move according to an upward career graph is all bull. Life has a way of teaching that the assumptions will come to nought in no time and the quicker you realize it the better it is.

The “seeking” is where the journey begins.

But then life is also not running away from one’s responsibilities and I sincerely believe that seeking shouldn’t lead us to that point.

For those who are immersed in the corporate world and ask me this question, I tell them that there is indeed a beautiful way, of listening to your heart and continue to be immersed in the vocation one has.

Do you want to know how?

Stay tuned.

The relationship between waking up early and success

During the course of conversation with a colleague today, the topic turned to waking up early. I got referred to a business insider article that talks about 23 successful leaders who wake up early. A cursory search on the web brings up lot of articles on the benefits of waking up early and how to do it. But I want to look at this topic slightly differently.

As someone who is up pretty early most of the days, here is my take on this. If we observe ourselves, we find that the body has an in-built alarm that wakes us up early in the morning. The minute we wake up naturally is an indicator that the body has had adequate rest and it is ready to get into action. We chose to ingore the signal, turn it off and go back to get additional sleep which isn’t probably required. But why do we do it? Before I answer that, let me point you to an answer someone gave and I quoted in my previous post:

I get up every morning at 5a.m. simply because it is more exciting to start working than to turn around and sleep some more. I do seem to have a lot of energy.

I guess it finally boils down to only one thing – how deeply do we love our life.

If we have a sense of deep reverence towards life and if we are deeply engaged with what is life bringing to our doorsteps, we feel the energy, excitement and passion to meet it more than half way. Those are the days that we are up and awake without the help of alarm. Contrast this to the days when we oversleep, the days we keep on snoozing the alarm, those are probably the days we are avoiding a few things that life wants us to engage in.

And this is where spirituality and associated practices like Yoga, Sudarshan Kriya technique and Meditation comes in handy. They are tools that enable us to engage with life deeply and allow us to look forward to each day with renewed vigor. The choice is in our hands.

If you retire at 60, you will die at 65

Read this interview of yesteryears’ bollywood superstar, 87 year old Dev Anand, and was blown away by his enthusiasm towards life. He says:

Energy begets energy. If you are lazy, you will always be lazy. And if you retire at 60, you will die at 65. It is written in a holy book that you if have life of 100 years, you should use it. At this age of 86, my mind is getting sharper. I have 60 years experience in the film line and I still use that to make my films. People make films and if they flop, they get a heart attack. But here I am still making films.