My Favorite Fictional Character

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Have you ever thought about fiction and reality? Fiction is something untrue, made-up or imaginary. How can I say that the Buddha or Krishna or Jesus was someone who actually walked the face of earth. Is it a possibility that these were imagination of someone? This thought puts me to another thought, what if I myself am is some imagination and a reality is somewhere, something else.

Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? Morpheus The Matrix

What makes something real? Is it because I think, see, feel (perhaps smell or hear) and my mind makes me feel that this is something real because I can sense it? Or something is real because it exist without someone’s ability to sense it or no. Take an example of light – we cannot see light beyond a certain frequency range. Does it make the light non-existent?

These questions remind me of a very interesting movie – The Matrix.

“…The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth…”

I have had a couple of Morpheus in my life to teach me. I have written about almost everyone on this blog. I would want to be Morpheus too, for someone or few in future. I love the character of Morpheus from The Matrix the most. Morpheus is a believer, he courageous. The best part is, the kind of confidence Morpheus has in Neo, it makes me feel that I want to be Neo too. Laurence Fishburne played the role so well that I keep on watching his teachings (dialogs) whenever I feel I should. There are a lot of learnings in those dialogs – “Do not think you are, KNOW you are.” I have written on the movie (red pill) earlier too. I was so fascinated with the movie that I used to tell people that I am fine being a spot-boy for the movie – alas I am in India :(. The movie is so philosophical and spiritual to me that I repeatedly watch it.

Instead of me talking (writing), I would want to share some videos of the movie (Youtube), not sure about the copyright permissions there.

I see many of my teachers in Morpheus – they are indeed my Favorite (they are real) human beings, this blog post is dedicated to all of them. This was the title of this weeks Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium. Con You can read other LBC bloggers thoughts here – Rummuser and Shackman.

Free will

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I was watching this link of Time magazine – 100 photos of all time. These are 100 photos that are kind of defining in our recent past. These photos include photo from first man on moon and Mohammad Ali winning against Sonny Liston to Tank man (China democracy demand of late 1980s) to other atrocities based photos et al. These photos also include photos of AIDS victim, Somalia, burning monk & Terror of war (Vitenam war) and black power salute (against discrimination in the USA).mahatma-vs-hitler

After watching all these pictures, I could think of one thing – choice is always ours – should be dream of man to be on moon, or be a winner of games or winners of the games with demanding the respect a community deserves which the sports person belongs to. The choice is always ours if we want to demand peace, prosperity, development and compassion.

Choice is always ours – to be the Mahatma or Mushroom Cloud creator Over Nagasaki. This is “free will”.

Everything is perfect in this world (authors old blog post 🙂 the world is imperfect), only thing is we need to change our perspective. The choice is ours – if we want we can see beauty of the chaos or the order also seems meaningless & confusing.

Whenever we talk about Free will, question of fate crops up. Concept of free will applies to our industries too – global warming and environmental damages are representation of our free will. The fate of our coming generation is at the cost of our present free will. This is why the emphasis on Business to the Buddha. I remember in one old talk by Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) somewhere when he said – “All your past was your fate (Karma), all your future is free will.” Interesting, isnt it? There is a balance. So always choice is yours – take current action (free will) such that your fate (karma) becomes good for you.

This week’s Loose Bloggers Consortium blog was titled – Free Will. I have written a couple of times on this title earlier too, read them . You can read other LBC bloggers thoughts here – – Rummuser and Shackman.

Lessons from animations

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In Three idiots, character of Aamir Khan says – “Sab jagah gyan bant raha hai, jahan se jitna man kare, le lo”

In Hindi – सब जगह ज्ञान बाँट रहा है, जहाँ से जितना मन करे, ले लो

Translation – Knowledge is everywhere (shared), whatever amount of it you want to capture, just grab it.

It is correct that we can learn from everywhere. I shall take few examples from animation movies. These movies are generally made of entertainment of kids. I am not sure how much kids learn from these, however, we grown ups can learn a lot.

We are all unique (to Marty in Madagascar), yet are engaged in exactly the same activities day in and day out (Scrat in Ice age). Eventually, individually we all will extinct one day (Ice age animation franchisee is based on extinction), yet until we are alive – we must live in NOW, with inner peace and continuously tryout new things (Kung Fu Panda). The lessons apply to us in everyday life, include business or professional life too.

Watch all of them below. Source Youtube.

All the Zebra’s to Marty “We are unique”

We are really unique. But we have forgotten that. All of us are doing what Scrat in Ice age kept on doing starting Ice age 1 to the recent Ice age. We are doing this for generations. Its was initially for survival and now it is a fighting for your possession.

I like these small movie clips, characters and their resemblance to us and teachings for us in general.

Kung Fu Panda is one such character which has always (for at least past three consecutive movies) has surprised, made me think and engaged me is – Kung Fu Panda. I have written about the teachings earlier too. Here are some three good lessons –

  1. We are unique, we should not try to be copy of someone else. A leader should not try to make his/her followers or support staff a copy of self. Po says “I have to teach you to be you”
  2. If you keep on doing what you have been doing you cannot grow as a professional
  3. Time is just an illusion, there is only the Now

Universe is full of such lessons, we just need to open our eyes, Isnt it?

This week’s Loose Bloggers Consortium blog was titled – Your favorite cartoon character. As usual I changed it. You can read other LBC bloggers thoughts here – – Rummuser and Shackman.

Everything is ephemeral

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Water was boiling, I stared at it for a while, brought sugar and tea powder. We make tea/coffee rarely at home, mostly on weekends. Soon I was adrift with many thoughts and boiling water started evaporating. I quickly added more water to the cattle, added sugar, tea powder and grated some ginger. Again the same oblivion cropped in. This time around the thoughts were about effervescent boiling water into steam vapors. So suddenly water was lost everything the cattle was empty. I could add more water here, how about us? We die!

Drop meeting OceanOur life – similarly – is also ephemeral. You take a lot of time to understand and by the time you feel you are getting a hang of it, it is over! Wonder how many people even get to understand or even give it a try to understand. Though I am not an expert, but think about life. At times when I see no clue, it comes in mind as if the end (death) itself is the ultimate truth when everything of what we perceive as “reality” ends. Perhaps there is some meaning beyond these perceptions. When we hear enlightened masters, they say everything is “here and now”.

When a person dies, does the world become useless for him/her or the person become worthless for the world? The question was weird going through this little mind. The other point in this small complicated thing was with so transitory life, we have so many things to be proud (arrogant) about. I ranked this, I did that great thing, increased revenue by X% and traveled around so many places. In fact the Indian postulate on life/death is, we come back – rebirth. That is even more interesting, convoluted and thinks of even higher mind.

In all these thoughts, the tea was ready, thankfully this time around I was bit alert. I poured it in cups. We sat on the dinning table sipping our tea. You know this cup of tea will end soon. At times it happens such that by the time you are aware that this tea was awesome, it is over! Whatever has a beginning has an end too – the Buddha said it. It is true, be it being a Chairman of Tata Groups or a note of 500/1000 rupee in India. How long can one hold on to position? How long can the currency keep its value? Everything changes with time, some end some improve some extinct. Why worry? If things are improving why interfere? There were hiccups in Infosys recently, it looks like it is going back on track. One shouldn’t be too attached to anything. My water evaporated, my tea finished in some time. The currency notes of 500 and 1000 are out! Instead of attachment or being possessive one must know that things are evanescent, life is ephemeral, if something has a beginning, it surely will have an end too.

Flow is the name of life, stagnation is end.

All this rambling started with boiling water of tea, ended up at Tata group and currency notes of India. The tea was over, but thoughts were not. Though I could add water in my boiling cattle, whats the use of adding more water in our life?

We witnessed end of currency notes, we see people dying, but unfortunately we keep on thinking that we are immortal. My question is, if we accepted that “I will die some day”, what next? What we should search for, what we should strive for? What is the quest? What is that should keep one up in night, and push you out of bad every morning? What is that?

Sadhguru on Things We must do every Morning

Broken pail

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Once upon a time in India, there was a farmer – Ram. In those days there were no facilities of having water in nearby areas. So, Ram used to go long distance to bring water for farming. He used to tie one pail (Ghada in Hindi) each on two corners of a stick and used to take it on his shoulders to the nearest water body. He used to fill these pails and bring them back to his farm.

FarmerOne of the two pails was broken and Ram was poor so he wouldn’t afford to buy new one. He used to fill both the pails but by the time he is back, the broken pail used to get empty. It kept on happening for long time. The other pail used to feel proud of himself.

These were old times, when non-living things too used to have sentiments – now even humans seem to have lost the emotions. Much to his chagrin, the broken pail used to feel because it is broken, Ram’s efforts get wasted.

Once, out of compassion, the broke pail told to Ram – yes those were the days when people could hear murmur of non-living things too. Alas we dont listen to ourselves and fellow human beings – “I feel bad for you that I am broken and your hard-work goes in vain when by the time you reach home, I am empty. I am sorry for that.

Ram too felt bad for the pail, however he said to the pail – today When we come back with water, look around en-route, there are a lot of flowers dont worry about water.

The pail followed, there were a lot of different colored flowers with many different fragrances. it was happy seeing the flowers allover the route. When the famer reached his farm the broken pail was empty. Pail again felt sorry for loss incurred by Ram because of him. He again asked for apologies to him.

Ram laughed this time around, he said to the pail. You know what? Those flowers exist because of you, I know you are broken, and water spill out of you all over the route. Knowing this I had put seeds of the flowers in the route. These flowers have made the road beautiful. People pluck the flowers to confer it to gods during prayers. You are broken but see, this helped a lot of people.

In my innovation consulting engagements, we used to talk about – utilization of available resources. This was a good example of utilization of resource. Can you learn from Ram how to utilize the shortcoming of his resource to his benefit, or society’s benefit?

Is it the case of strategic decisions – get rid of loss making or less profitable business and utilize the resources on other higher RoI projects? Does our Farmer in this case looks like Mr Ratan Tata?

No, no, I have my opinions on the corporate (mis)governance, recent development in Tata group and Mr Dholakia of Shri Ram Krishna Exports. I hope to write on these some other time.

Source of this Jataka Tale – http://www.hindisoch.com/jataka-tales-in-hindi/  (translated with freedom by KRD Pravin)

Image source – http://mindry.in/blog/2011/05/29/civil-society-asks-government-to-acquire-highways-and-make-them-arable-lands/

Religion Vs Spirituality

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There is nothing as “versus”, there is no fight. It is always “and”, togetherness a company. It is our perception that creates this division. My first impression on the title “Religion Vs Spirituality” was this. This was the title for last week’s LBC (Loose Bloggers Consortium) topic. You can read other LBC authors opinions here – Rummuser and Shackman.

spirituality-vs-religionIt was a Diwali weekend so I came home and thus the delay. Wish my readers a very happy and prosperous Diwali and hope you inhaled less polluted air this Diwali.

The title for this week was interesting, I met my art of living teacher Dr Shrikant Agashe; and asked him how he would define religion and spirituality. His answer was very clear and straightforward. He said – “There is some Truth, what that is, one does not know. Spirituality is experimenting and finding the Truth without getting biased; religion is accepting a path which is suggested by others with faith (and with perhaps assumptions) and trying to fine the same Truth.” In a way there is less opportunity of trials and exploration in religion whereas spirituality is full of experiments.

I went on a very different line to define spirituality and religion. Excuse me for my words but this is how I defined it – Spirituality is like love and religion is like sex. There can be sex without love, but love has every flavor beyond sex too. Spirituality is like love, it can exist without religion. Spirituality is the essence of our existence wither religion exists or no.

I reviewed couple of websites on evolution of religion and came to understanding that the Abrahamic religion (Christianity, Jews and Islam) and Eastern religion (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism et al) started / started evolving / documenting the teachings about 2500 BCE. What is a religion? It is “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally followed by its followers”. In the end, what remains or leads religion to the end is spirituality.

According to some sources religion word is originated from Latin religare which means “to bind”, again a Latin words religio which means obligation or bond. This makes religions to be exploited such as present day terrorism is mostly based on interpretation (or misinterpretation) of Islam. There are religions that are no less than businesses. In many cases religion is distorted to such a level that it seems more of an organized crime. Thus, to sane people it becomes more important to either not get bound to the religious dogmas or experiment and find out own’s interpretation, way of life or truth.

My take – The religion binds makes things (rituals) as obligations whereas spirituality liberates. That is where we may say versus. Yet, religion is a set of path followed by many (and suggested by some masters) towards spirituality towards liberation.

Image source – SlideShare

How can I be liberated?

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The business of “I” is unique. We think that it relates to “me” but that the catch-22 situation. Whenever, I say this word “I” it reminds me of two consecutive chapters of The book of Mirdad. Mirdad is unique as his book, On one page he says – don’t use the word “I” it is forbidden word on the Noah’s ark; on the very next page he says “I” is the most creative word” (it is source and center of all things).

When we say “I” it is largely the Ego talking, whereas when Mirdad says “I” (the creative word) it is the source of and frobuddhapixabaym the creator of the world. The question is – “Is ego ‘purpose of existence’ or a problem?

Here is what The Buddha told Sariputta on the same.

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Sariputta came to Buddha.

He asked Buddha, “How can I be liberated?

Buddha said, “Do not come to me, go elsewhere – because I cannot liberate you, I can only liberate you from this ‘you’.”

Buddha said further, “‘I’ is never liberated. One is liberated from the ‘I’. So if you are looking for your liberation, go somewhere else. But yes, if you want liberation from yourself, you have come to the right place. I will make you free from yourself. So do not ask how you will be liberated. You will not survive in your liberation. You should ask how to be free from this ‘I’ – how to be liberated from this ‘I’.”

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Liberated from what? If the “I” is dropped, the question ends, isn’t it!

We can at most get attached to the actions we do, not the results. That is why I write about myself – “I’m passionate about my work and actions and empathetically careful, attached and committed to them.” Experts (read Lord Krishna) suggests do not even get attached to the actions! That is difficult, just imagine how difficult it is to detach from the “I”.

Source – Osho, Finger Pointing To The Moon, Image source – Pixabay

Why Do You Do What You Do?

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I have written earlier too on the topic – why do we do what do we do? I asked this question to some other people – who are near and dear to me – too, the answer were never satisfactory to my curiosity or yearning. Yes I added curiosity in the sentence, it had all been yearning, however, when you read the end of the post you too may start asking these questions as curiosity.

I came across this wonderful story thought to share it here. I have been asking many questions to myself and to my mentors. Some questions are specific and some questions are general and few others are completely useless. You can put those useless questions into any category – specific or general. Either ways those questions seem either too complicated or too deep; instead these questions could be nothing more than “actually useless”. Instead of asking ourselves or someone else these questions – who created the world, does God exist, why do we do stuff; we must do something else! What is that something else? Read it below.

Poison Arrow

seung-sahnZen master Seung Sahn said to an assembly of students, “Many people think that intellectual understanding can help them, and help this world. But that is not possible: intellectual understanding is only someone else’s idea about something. Whatever you read in books and hear in lectures, that’s not your thing. If you understand things only intellectually, then you will not understand this world, as it is. Then you will suffer, and make suffering for others”

“You’ve heard about how the Native Americans dipped arrowheads into poison, and then shot them at something? Having too much intellectual understanding is like being hit with one of these poison arrows. You have to pull it out quickly, correct? But most people who have this arrow stuck in them only think about the arrow, instead of pulling it out” ‘Where did this arrow come from?’Who shot it?’ ‘How was it shot?’ ‘How was it made?’ ‘Is this arrow like other poison arrows?’ ‘What kind of wood is this?’ ‘How tall was the shooter?’ ‘Was his nose long, or flat?’ Lots of thinking, thinking, thinking.”

“But soon the body will die! This thinking and analyzing are not necessary – first pull out the arrow, and then the poison cannot spread any further/ But many people won’t take out the arrow of suffering that is in their minds; they only spend time and money energy analyzing and thinking and reading about it! ‘Where did this arrow come from?’ ‘Who made it, and who shot it?’ ‘Where was it shot from?’ ‘Why was it shot?’ ‘Why was it shot?’ ‘How does an arrow move through the air?’ ‘How fast did it travel here?'”

“That kind of mind is like most human beings: ‘Why is there suffering?’ ‘Were does suffering come from?’ ‘Why is this world so complicated?’ ‘What does so-and-so write about it?’ All this checking, checking, checking and not one bit of ‘What am I” They do not look into their not-knowing mind. People don’t realize that this don’t-know mind already cuts off thinking, already pulls out the arrow. If you first take out the arrow, then a thinking mind is no problem. But if you don’t take it out, then any kind of thinking and checking mind that appears will kill you. And everybody dies, because everyone is checking their mind like this. Only very few people actually try to take out this arrow, so you who do meditation are all very special, very lucky. Your ‘What am I?’ cuts through this poison.”

So many a times the conclusion was – Just do it… ok try it. Life is a trouble only death is not, To be alive is to undo your belt and *look* for trouble. Still the intellectual mind keeps on bothering.

The topic of LBC – Loose Bloggers Consortium was a question I posed to my fellow twelve authors. Currently only two write regularly, read their take on this topic at Ramana uncleji and Shackman uncleji.

Story Source – Wanting Enlightenment is a Big Mistake: Teachings of Zen Master Seung Sahn

Image source – Twitter @ZMSeungSahn

Neighbors, festivals and social animals

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“You know Atharva plays tabla very well.” She asked who is Atharva? Well this would have been a question few days back had I not attended our building’s society function recently. In Mumbai we are so busy, with our mobiles while walking, watching TV at home or with our daily chore that we hardly know our neighbors.

Ritesh, our neighbor 12 year old kid, is a very good dancer. I bet she didn’t know that either. I watched him dance in the same function.It is not her fault, we do not get much time to interact with the community either.

Almost for last so many years my perception of Ganesh utsav or Navratri used to be a lot of noise, drunk people, small time politicians making few bucks etc bad stuff. I never thought about these functions as a social gathering. The new area where we shifted after our marriage changed a lot of my perceptions. Two year back, I wrote on Ganesha festival, now my opinion has changed considerably. I watched not only people preparing for the festival sincerely but also saw it as an opportunity to provide kids a platform to perform. We may argue about devotion, blind faith and the pollution however, if we look positively eye we can see a lot of good things in these festivals. (If the video is slow to load Watch here)

When was the last time when you danced with your neighbor or an acquaintance on road or in a community hall? Forget with any neighbor, when was the last time you danced yourself in your drawing room? We are so busy with our jobs and social responsibility that we need special occasion for that. In fact we miss attending those special events too. Yes, I am talking about Navratri. Navratri is the time when 3X condoms are sold in Gujarat (Source – thatspersonal.com check research slide 12), but the same is a festival of music and dance too. My perspective has moved from condoms to music and dance.

Holi used to be a dreadful festival for me, I am afraid of those chemicals. I am dislike of the dirty ways it is played now a days. However, when I try to think of how it would have been in past, it reminds me of an Indian movie – Utsav. It feels good that this festival bring everyone together.

My opinions are changing – of course with riders – but now I see these festivals with more acceptance. In India we have reasons or occasions to celebrate everything. This everything includes start of each season. I think that was the way Indian society tried bringing the whole community together. Wonder if our society had realized that a time would come when people would just cross each other without looking (bothering to look) at each other. We need an invitation to talk too – Tube chat, however bad it feels, but we must mend our ways sooner. This is the case in Indian metro cities too, we fight for seats in local trains or in buses rarely speak with each other while commuting, except long distance local train commute where the network is very strong.

We are social animals and will behave like that. We not only will be on social network to be social but also will be around real people to be social.

Happy Dusserha

“Neighbors” was last week’s LBC (Loose Bloggers Consortium) topic, I couldnt write last week due to personal commitments and truth is last week I didnt have idea to write on this topic. Read thoughts of other two regular LBC authors – Rummuser and Shackman.

Video source – Scroll.in

How do you define winning?

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I am trying to keep pace with my work and personal life. It is difficult to get time to read books these days. So, whenever something comes up I read it, not necessarily a book. Here is one interesting read for you –

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An experiment was done with fourth grade children (reference The Payoff Principle) in a school – a game of stomping balloon. Each child was tied a balloon on his/her leg. The objective of the game was to pop others balloon while saving your baKid-Balloonlloon. The person who is left with intact balloon would be declared winner.

The children in one group played the game with full commitment and stomped balloon of others as quickly as possible. It was a battle of being pushy, offensive and powerful to get others out of the game. Within no time all the balloon were stomped.

This same game was played in a different school with special children. They were given same explanation as the previous group, but this group played the game very differently. Since it was a group of differently abled children perhaps they were not clear of instruction. This group understood the game like this – “we have to pop the balloons”. These kids were concentrating on balloon to pop and move on to next rather than saving their own and the other child as the target.

These kids started helping each other pop the balloons. For example – one kid took his balloon and held it in hands so that other can pop it. Once that was popped, the other kid took the balloon tied in his leg and held it, someone popped that balloon. In some time, all balloons were stomped. It went on like this for some time until the balloons were popped, in the end every child cheered and every child won!

The author concludes – ” …we tend to think another man’s success as one less opportunity for us to succeed. …in our world we have one top dog…” “…If we ever find yourself in that enviable position, we will fight like a mad man to maintain our hold on it… How are you playing your game?”

This is where the difference comes into play. The concept of this blog Business to the Buddha is similar, we need to change the perspective of our world, our own-self and things will change only to improve.

Image source – https://pixabay.com/en/balloon-happy-child-infant-kid-154183/

Story source – The Payoff Principle (Google Books sample)