Take 2 – Bhagavad Gita

Last weekend, I met a very senior professor at a University. He is an old man who gives an impression that he knows his craft well and I totally enjoyed his presence and whatever we discussed.

Sitting in his office, I observed him holding something strange, like a small electronic counter in a hand where you press a button and the number display on screen increments by one, like one of those devices gatekeepers in malls use to keep track of the footfalls in a store.

I eagerly waited for a moment alone and asked –

“Sir, If you don’t mind, what is that thing in your hand?”

He smiled and started explaining to me that it’s an Electronic replacement of JapaMala

Just in case you don’t know – Japa Mala is a string of prayer beads commonly used by HindusBuddhistsJains and some Sikhs for the spiritual practice known in Sanskrit as japa. It is usually for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity.

I was not expecting this answer, from a senior university professor, or it was the Spirituality and God where I get a bit confused and disconnected, hence my second question without waiting –

What is the purpose of all these chanting names of a deity, spirituality, and God?

I also mentioned that recently, I tried to read Bhagavad Gita which is a jewel of Indian spiritual wisdom, which is spoken by Supreme Godhead Lord Shri Krsna himself to his intimate devotee Arjun, the book reveals man’s essential nature and ultimately his relationship with God.

And, being an Existentialist to core and idea of getting controlled by superior power, challenges my beliefs, hurts my ego and distorts my reality.
But, a very natural human tendency starts to kick in, when we are uncomfortable with an idea or thought; What we do? we DISAGREE! 

So I disagreed a big time, and couldn’t read the book any further of page-20, it’s still sitting on my shelf unread.

geeta

He was listening to me patiently; smiled again and answered-

Let me tell you a small story about and a teacher and his student…


Teacher to his student – Take this Jute basket,  go to the river and fill it with water and bring it back to me.

Student as instructed went to the river, filled the Jute basket with water and started returning back to his teacher, but the jute basket leaked and could not hold water and it was empty by the time he returned to his teacher.

Teacher – Go and fill the basket again.

Student followed the instruction again… and again, but every time by the time he returned to the teacher the basket was empty. But after many hours of this tedium and meaningless effort the frustrated student, couldn’t resist asking his teacher…

Student – Teacher, I can see no meaning to this task, every time I bring water from the river it leaks and the basket is empty by the time I return to you. All my efforts are wasted! and what is the purpose of this activity after all? We’ve accomplished nothing so far. 

Teacher [Smiling] – Son, You’re wrong. Look closely at the basket, you will understand. Do you see anything?
Student –  I don’t understand, there is no water and basket is still empty.

Teacher – Yes it is empty, but it is many times cleaner now!


After listening to this small story suddenly it started to make some sense to me, maybe, MAYBE

Spirituality,  God and religion don’t add any value to us,
but, it’s purpose is to refine and clarify what we already know.

Grandiose of spirituality is not to fill/add the vessel (our brain) with new ideas, but to clean the existing thoughts and ideas so that a better and more comprehensible meaning can be derived.

I think, maybe we hold our existing beliefs so firmly that there is no space for new ideas to sprout and this is I believe the most important point in education which we as a community and a society are missing and is never taught or emphasized.

My Mistake: Before concluding that the book was not for me; Only if I was able to give space and opportunity to new ideas to form in our minds to evaluate and analyze, before owning or disagreeing under the shadow of our existing ideas and beliefs. Maybe, MAYBE, I could have learned something meaningful.

Aristotle wrote,

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Being able to look at and evaluate different values without necessarily adopting them is the perhaps the central skill required in changing one’s own life in a meaningful way.

Leaving you with this thought, and a promise that I’d be giving Bhagavad Gita and myself a second chance 🙂

Signing off…

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Perfectly, Permanently, Inevitably Imperfect.

I’m over critical from an early age to this point of my life, you can say I have this special ability to see too many flaws in myself, no wonder why I had lacked in confidence and was living in my head making scenarios where I lost most of the time. It’s not like, I’m 100% confident now; I’m nowhere close but (a Big BUT) I change, I grow slowly and steadily in small tiny bits every day.

I’m living and breathing with a lot of flaws that are noticeable and many which are not. No matter how much I work on them, some will be always there and I’ll pick some while I grow older – I’m sure! I’m imperfect and inevitably flawed. It’s not like I don’t want to change this but I know I can’t overcome each and every of them at once. I’ve made big, stupid mistakes most of them unintentionally.

Do I regret? yes of course. I do acknowledge my fault with the courage to accept them, in spite of blaming some one else for my mistakes, I take the ownership of everything that happens to me. Meanwhile, I also know that I will make more mistakes and learn from them and make new ones and will keep repeating some.

I had anger issues in school and used to end up in fights and brawls, but what it looked liked anger and a disruptive kid at a superficial level, it was actually underlying helplessness and frustration to comprehend and act as expected; filled with complex emotions too much for a un-guided child to handle. Thankfully to my many teachers who saw only flaws in me, I chose to become my own mentor.

After one such fight at school, I was unofficially invited to a session by the Psychologist and the teacher of Psychology at the school. And after listening to my issues and problems for 1 straight hour he asked

Teacher – Do you know who is angry?
Me – No sir.
Teacher – Who is incapable of handling a situation.

I remember very accurately he did not say much after that and there was silence in the room, I was absorbing what he just said looking into his eyes; with tears in mine and in acceptance of what I just realized, I was 17 then; I did not cry though. Watery eyes were due to a sharp blow to my ego which made me realize that – I’m not angry because of people and situations around me, but I’m angry 100% because of I’m not equipped with tools and weapons to deal with them.

A conversation I remember till date word-by-word. Thank you, Girjesh sir! I’m grateful you asked me to come to that 1-O-1 session, which changed the course of my life from an angry frustrated child to something better, you don’t know how much I owe you to whatever I am and will become in my life.

I stammer a lot when I’m nervous and was never a good speaker, but I have grown a lot with time, the transition is very raising steep and I’m sure I’ll keep up the pace. I remember in the 1st year of graduation we had a communication skills class and we were supposed to present on a self-chosen topic. Everyone including myself prepared for 30 minutes but when it was time to present I intentionally changed my topic of presentation and chose a new one while I was walking to the front of the class to present. I sucked, stammered and was horrible without any preparedness, but when it ended, I got to realize that – Failures are often not that bad after all, it does not matter if few people laugh at you as group on your poorly formed sentences and grammatically incorrect English, it okay and you can live with that, it’s OK to be wrong and to look stupid at times, IT’S OK!

Just thrive to be better people version of you the next time, that is enough. People find it easy to laugh and mock you in herds and in their comfortable chairs from the back of the class, but don’t let them stop you from evolving.

One of my good friend and my project partner at the University, who also shares the same first name with me was obviously better on confidence if you compare to me, but we both knew our flaws in spoken English and level of confidence in public speaking and acknowledged it with action. I remember we used to practice Job interviews relentlessly many nights to overcome stammering before the placement drives at the University. If you stammer you’ve to repeat from the beginning that was the only rule, it makes me smile to recall this memory 🙂 and appreciate him for mirroring my weaknesses so that we could open to each other.

I’m (Over) conscious of my looks and physical appearance since a very early age from what I remember; Thanks to my school friends and my loved and closed ones at that age who made sure I felt that way. In last couple years of school, I had long hairs, everyone from my teachers to principal of the school to my family nobody liked it, more they criticised, more I resisted to cut them short; Sometimes, I think that was the only thing in my control in that adolescent age and soon it developed in a self-destructive ego big enough, to do things opposite of what was told and expected from you.
Lot of love to my mother who always supported me in spite all odds, she used to say I find your hairstyle cool, do whatever you want. Finally, I cut them very short in my graduation days and let that ego crumble like a deck of cards. I felt very good like I was free of something I was holding quite long.

I’m sensitive to good and bad and incline on the emotional state of mind, though I don’t look like one I think, unarguably it is very core part of my identity and has affected me in a good and a bad way as an individual. Emotions are the driving factor for what many see as hard work and relentlessness on the surface in me. It drives me even in dark days.

I remember I was in 8th standard and as a family we were doing fine, but there were some economic challenges that every middle-class family goes through every now and then and I was very much into buying new clothes for school annual fair, you know the mindset of a 14-year-old to not feel inferior in a cheap lookig t-shirt in his class and probable chance to impress few girls 😉 . My mother was very sensitive to how insecure, and self-conscious I was, so in spite of money being scarce and my father who was unaware of this, she took me to a decent shop to buy me a T-Shirt from money she saved. After some searching and trying few T-shirts and an already irritated store owner, we finalized a parrot green t-shirt, which looked nice on me, but it was some hundred bucks above our budget. So my mother tried to negotiate with the shop owner, but the Shop owner in a very disrespecting and unexpected tone asked my mother to leave the store if she doesn’t have enough money to buy and as we were wasting his time. We didn’t have much to say at that moment so we quietly left the place.

As kid 14-year-old, I kind of vowed that one day I’ll buy this shop and teach this owner a lesson, but today I know that is very kiddish to even think and I’m and was very emotional about that point in my life. Though I don’t have any grudge against that shop owner. But, yes I do have a grudge against the hit to the self-esteem of a mother sensitive to her child’s insecurities. I knew this won’t happen again in my life and recalling that memory still fuels passion, drive, and a gush of positive-negative emotions in me to this date, which has helped me overcome many bad situations and roadblocks in life and who knows if one day I’ll really buy that shop :). Even today my mother and I recall this incident and smile at the “Insecurities” then and how it fuels and strengthens us as a family now.

More sensitive and emotional I am in nature the lesser inexpressive in words and a very bad communicator of my feelings. On a subconscious level, I lift my shield so high so that I can protect myself from wrong that will happen to me if I share what I feel. At an adolescent age to avoid being a subject of mockery and now to not disrupt the self-inflicted and social definition of manhood and acceptance. Which still needs to be changed in me. I am and will be work in progress always 🙂

On a funny note – One of biggest flaws is I’m always late, never on time. One of my best friends used to miss half of the first lecture in my colleges days because of me as I used to get up 5-10 mins before the class starts. Thanks to him and his patience that at least I made to the campus every day ( I mean most of the days 🙂 ). A habit which still is true as I keep my office cab waiting every morning. Not good!

I’m Never very fond of sleeping, I remember at age of 12, I used to stay up all night drawing and making models for the social science exhibition and Wall magazines, so involved and filled with excitement, that I used to vividly imagine the Indus valley civilization’s city planning and architecture from the text of my social studies book and draw them on a chart and fill it with colors; Brushing, sketching all night. But the excitement and day dreaming still stands true, no doubt why I have dark circles and sleep at 4 in the morning, even it’s almost 4 in the morning when I’m writing this.

I am scared of a lot of things from Stage fright to asking a girl to go out with me, I think most of us are but, I’m more scared of knowing the fact I have fears, it’s a state of cognitive dissonance that – I’ve fears but, I can’t fear. I learned early enough that it is not going to take me far if I won’t overcome them. So I started running towards my fears instead of going away from it,  a conscious decision to break the pattern, eventually, within first few months on the college campus I joined a dance group, I sucked at dancing. I knew that and I was afraid to death of being on stage, it was like killing me to be part of the group with my pathetic uncoordinated moves and was embarrassed to infinity, but slowly things changed. I found similar minded people fighting their own battles and equally embarrassed, and we managed to put a good show after unimaginable hours of practice and undying faith and against our expectations, we won 1st prize in our college and won many competitions across the city in other events competing against some very good dance groups. Now I love being on stage, the feeling is great and bigger than life and enjoys looking in eyes of people and make a point.

The danger is real and Fear is not

and there is definitely a difference in them, come out of your head where fear exists and do something about it.

I was scared of writing and having an opinion in public, I thought people will make fun of me, but I did not need to be Einstien to realized that I was made the center of mockery already and what worse could happen. So one fine day after a late night party to come out of a break-up I started my technology blog and wrote my first blog post. I think that is one of the best decision I made in my professional life and career and turned out to be a very integral part of me and has given me endless opportunities and is read in 100’s of countries across the world, landed me an opportunity to write a book and appreciation all across the globe. History repeated, I wanted to start a personal blog now, wrote few initial posts and I received comments like “it is not good enough”, “You don’t have that thing”, but by this time I already knew nothing is good enough when you start, it takes days, months, years to be good at something and to converts your thoughts into black and white and I continued writing in spite of craving acceptance and will keep on refining the content I write.

Everyone has a lot of physical or psychological flaws and this is how humans are made, but we are evolved with a guiding mechanism which can pull us out of these flaws. Everyone is fighting their own unsaid battles in life and most of them are losing, I’m not asking you to pick them up, I’m just asking to be sensitive towards their feelings and turmoil breeding in their hearts. Just try to understand them they will eventually find some ground and come out of it, everyone is capable of that. If a person with so low self-esteem and under confidence like me can make it across, then anyone can do this but they need some help, in form of friend, sibling, parent, teacher or spouse, they need you. Make sure you are there when they say they need your help and when they don’t say.

Just try to understand them they will eventually find some ground and come out of it, everyone is capable of that. If a person with so low self-esteem and under confidence like me can make it across, then anyone can do this but they need some help, in form of friend, sibling, parent, teacher or spouse, they need you. Make sure you are there when they say they need your help and when they don’t say.

Make sure you are there when they ask for your help,
and especially when they don’t.

I know some people enjoy reading and watching someone’s weak and vulnerable side to feed their Pseudo Self-Esteems, but they will never realize the courage it takes to accept your weaknesses and flaws which you have tried to hide 20+ years of your small life and especially on a public platform. It very easy to pretend happiness on social media and carefully curate beautiful life on Facebook and Instagram; Smile behind the filtered profile pictures but without any doubt, it is super difficult to open up about your weaknesses and flaws.

Thankfully I don’t crave an external validation on my strengths and especially my deep flaws and I’m content with my current state of mind which is imperfectly flawed 🙂 and I will relentlessly pursue personal, psychological growth; to be a better person every day in spite of what others think.

Signing off…

Lots of love! from a deeply flawed human..

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