Thursday, December 15, 2016

Vardah and Digital Economy

The Central Government wants us to go towards a #Cashless economy. Sure .. great idea!

But let's see some very valid points from Chennaiites against going towards completely digital economy.

(1) Before #Vardah, we were very patient taking only 2000 rupees a day max, even though we had to pay our rents and the landlord is refusing to take online payment.

(2) Before Vardah, did you see how orderly the entire state of Tamilnadu was, even while mourning for the loss of our CM Ms Jayalalitha? We did not hoard cash during that time also.

(3) After Vardah, there is no power supply for four days now. Er ... how do we pay our bills online?

(4) After Vardah, petrol bunks and even water lorries are not accepting cards because their bank networks are not working!

(5) After Vardah, cell phone networks are still getting up on their knees even after 4 days and there is no data connectivity most of the time. Paytm options are gone ...

(6) It is only the 50 & 100 rupees that our mothers & wives had saved in kitchen boxes that is helping us run the day now.

This is a harsh reminder that unless the critical #infrastructure, including electricity / water / road / bank networks is set right, all the talk about going Cashless is just big BS. Hope the Government (both State and Central) sits up and takes notice.

We have been very supportive of #Demonetisation and #DigitalDrive so far.

Now our patience is really running thin, since we are onto our bare minimal survival and this state cannot continue for long. Hope the State government and PMO India are listening.

Demonetisation and arm-chair critics

Unfortunate attitude of many Indians now-a-days:

(1) Why should I pay my #taxes in Chennai? What has this Central Government done to me?

(2) Why should I pay my taxes in Coimbatore? That money is being used for feeding somebody in Rajasthan.

(3) Why should I suffer from #demonetisation when I am not hoarding any black money?

(4) Why should I declare my income and pay my taxes in Andhra? That money goes to laying of roads in Assam!

Let's just assume everyone starts doing this - violating all rules set by the Government.

Can you imagine a 'ruleless' life? Would you even feel safe to venture out in the streets? 

Let's remain sensible. Rather than questioning everything from "me, me, me" perspective, let's start giving constructive suggestions to the government as to what can be done better for society as a whole. 

There are enough forums made available by this Government at least! If we are not contributing to our own governance in a constructive manner, we have no right to complain - for it is us who have forsaken our democratic responsibilities.

If this post strikes a chord within you, it is meant to be :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tree plantation drive: Some truths

This is my response to the mockery of tree plantation drives:

One needs to understand that nobody is planting 'trees' - they are only trying to grow 'plants'.

How many plants do you think survive in each tree plantation drive? The maximum percentage reached is about 70%. So, if you grow 100 plants, maximum of 70 would only survive and that too only if great care is taken.

Just take a look at this article:…/2-cr-trees-plantation-drive-buo…/

To reach merely 33% forest cover, we need "400 crore" trees. So, all these tree plantation drives are actually not sufficient enough to cover that. We are not even talking about 50% forest cover, just 33%.

Everybody can plant tree saplings. One very important factor most of us conveniently forget is the rate of deforestation:

We have 400 billion trees of which 15 billion trees are cut every year. This means, if nobody plants anything, we will be out of trees in the world in just a few years - within our lifetime! The plants that you grow today will not become trees by tomorrow - they take their own time.

So, my request to such people who mock is that if you don't plant trees, it is fine. Please stop making fun of people who do! This is not just for our generation but for our children as well that such tree plantation drives happen and flourish successfully.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I offer no proofs, just complaints!

Breaking my blog silence after a long, long time! It has been 7 days since the controversies have been raging around Isha Foundation.

If a sane person looks back at these events, avoiding all the media hype created and emotional drama, let's see who has actually complained?

(1) A parent whose daughters have become monks against their wish
(2) A parent whose kid was expelled from Isha Home school for bad conduct
(3) A parent whose son has become a monk against her wish
(4) A police officer whose elder kid was again asked to be taken off by Isha Samskriti management

In all 4 cases, there is a clear vested interest. One may argue that anybody who opposes some XYZ organization will have a vested interest. Let me ask you a couple of questions:

"How many times have you changed your job because you did not like the manager? In that case, did you become dead against the organization as well? If so, would an otherwise emotionally balanced person call your anger against the organization professional or unprofessional?"

"How many times did you take your kid off the school because his / her teacher scolded them for some mischief they did? If you did, would an otherwise emotionally balanced person call your anger against the organization professional or unprofessional?"

If in both cases your answer was that it would be called 'unprofessional', why is the same logic not applicable to these allegations against Isha Foundation as well? Just because their sons or daughters did not listen to them or could not be controlled by them, they have turned against Isha Foundation.

Mind you, all of them have based their allegations only on their supposed personal experience but have not produced any proofs for it!

What the media has done with it though is take the allegation, blow it up several folds with emotional drama and made it all appear like facts. People need to understand and separate facts from fiction, before coming to a conclusion.

Once all the dust settle from the hue & cry raised by media, hope thinking minds and sanity prevail!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Best Thanksgiving Ever!

I clearly remember the day I met the boy - 18th October, 2014. He was explaining his thoughts about inventing a motor bike that will reduce the environmental pollution using electrical batteries. His dad does repairs of electrical equipment and that he would garner more knowledge about them as he grows up.

I was stunned at his clarity of thought, given that he is only in his 7th standard and might not even fully understand about environmental pollution or the engineering complexities involved. Yet his vision is crystal clear!

But what surprised us was his next answer and it just completely moved us. Abi casually asked him how he feels about studying in that school. The boy replied jubilantly that he loves the school, his teachers and above all would like to contribute the high marks in his school subjects to ... the donors of his scholarship. Yes, he studies on scholarship because his parents cannot afford even the minimal fee the school charges and he is 'thankful' to the donor. You can see one of the videos on YouTube like this one...

How many of us have cared to thank our parents for helping us with the most precious gifts of our life, our exposure to the world, our education,  college graduation, career, etc.? And here is a 12 year old boy who innocently (and with absolute sincerity and clarity) contributing his marks to his donors for sponsoring!

Tears well up in my eyes just thinking about it. This is not just my experience. Dozens of people who have visited the Isha Vidhya school in Sandhegoundampalayam at Coimbatore have a similar thing to share.

This Isha Vidhya school houses hundreds of students who come from such poor families that cannot afford couple of meals properly for a day, forget about quality english education. Yet the school provides no less to these students in terms of either quality educational aids, English classes, math labs (seriously!), computer labs or library books. More than 60% of the school's children are studying under scholarship provided by generous donors like you and me.

Do my colleagues know me well enough to wish me good always? I doubt it :)
Will my neighbours wish me good always? Probably no.
Would my very best friends wish me good always? May be, May be not.

But I can be absolutely certain that the kid I am sponsoring for school, will wish me good always in his / her life. What I am doing by a few thousand rupees is actually transforming a life! 

When I see the children greeting us with a loud & clear 'Namaskaram', folded hands, wide smile, following perfect orders without monitoring of any teachers, absolutely confident, jubilant and conversant fluently in English, I am assured of the dream that 'yes, India can be a super power'. It might just be that these kids will be driving us towards that dream even if nobody else does.

They come from poor families but their spirits are so high, it will be a crime not to encourage them further in their lives!

Please donate whatever amount you can for these kids. No amount is less for lighting the lamp of education in a child's life.

I have created a page "" for the cause. This might just be the best use of money you have ever put to in your life!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

(Re)Defining Law

Abi was petrified when she learnt on the day of her audit that the actions taken against some key risks in her IT project team had not been documented so far. Of course, her project auditor would quickly figure that out and grill her, leading to escalations and her senior managers jumping up & down! This is not an uncommon scenario for most of us who have been in IT for a long time. The designations could vary and scenarios could slightly vary, but you get the picture mostly.

When someone asks what would you do on encountering a problem (a risk), 99% of sane people would respond that they will fix the problem on hand now (also called contingency action) and also put a fix so the probability of the problem occuring in future is minimized greatly (called mitigation action). All of this is common sense, well ... mostly.

Why then is this common sense / knowledge not being applied to law? Let me draw a parallel from the above IT management scenario and show the link.

As a common citizen, I want law in my place (city, state, country) to be enforced in such a way that:

- First, a problem (lawlessness) can be identified and reported smoothly
- Secondly, a quick solution, even if temporary, be put in place to resolve the situation for now
- Thirdly, a long-term solution be put in place that acts as deterrent for anyone who tries to create such problems

At the risk of getting hit with some negative comments from readers, let me take the latest legal sensation - Ms J Jayalalitha, ex-CM of Tamilnadu (acting CM at that time) being jailed in a corruption case. Her bail pleas were also rejected. This led to some potential unrest situations in several cities and definitely impacted public life, even if the media claims it as minimal.

First, the reporting mechanism is not smooth under current law. As a common citizen, is it even possible for me to think of reporting against someone in that position? Definitely no. It need not be the CM, I cannot even go and lodge a legal complaint against the next door person who creates lot of nuisance to everyone in the street, at least not easily under the current system.

Secondly, the temporary solution that was put in place in this case was to arrest her and make her pay 100 crores as a fine.

Thirdly, what is the long-term solution that the legal system is putting in place for such crimes? Am ok with taking the money back part of it. In fact, take 200 crores and keep them under house arrest. At least, if THAT money goes to the country (properly used), it will be of some use. Strip a person convicted in a crime from their position and rank. All is well so far!

But why would you want to jail them? The legal / judiciary system would have to pay somebody to monitor that person, pay for their food, take care of their medical expenses, etc. Who would bear the brunt if something happens on medical grounds to that person in jail? Why should someone who has taken lot of money enjoy all such comforts with my tax-money!?

It has already become a joke (many a movie can confirm it) that if you do not have any money, do some petty crime and get into jail. You will enjoy food and comforts that you cannot find outside. I have begun to suspect that probably many crimes happen because of this!

We need to redefine the legal system in this country. The law has to be made simple enough for everyone to understand. We should not complicate things too much by putting many restrictions. Just give the guidelines that X, Y, Z has to be adhered to. If somebody violates it, accordingly the punishment has to be delivered & quickly.

I fully understand that any system when put in place, will look nice but will have to changed slightly over time. I understand that punishments will have to vary for a similar crime don't keep customizing the punishments every now and then, definitely not so many times within 70 years of the formation of such a system itself!

Will put in more thoughts about it soon ...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What is the cost of trust?

"Wow .. this article is so cool!" You are my friend. So, I just read this and am sharing with you now. 

How many times have you had this impulse to share something with your friends and family? It might have been something that you read or you saw as video or heard as audio over the internet. But have you really confirmed the genuineness of the information & its source before publishing it? 

Of late, I am seeing too many articles - mostly opinions - being thrown around as if they are the ultimate source of information! Are we becoming a generation gone bonkers just blindly accepting information (especially some nameless XYZ's opinions on ABC person, just because they happen to write a big article about it or take a fake video) from the internet?

Ironically, some of these internet articles would be eye-openers for people who read and accept information on internet without questioning its authenticity:

This is not to say one cannot have opinions or post them online. Just don't pass it on as 'information' to someone who would take it so on face value.  Trust me, you will not appear as a fool much. Instead, your honesty will sparkle when you say "My friend ABC told this to me from his experience ..." than saying "I know this ...". Do the latter and you are doing an injustice to yourself & the other person.

The point is, treat everything you read on the internet with a healthy dose of skepticism. If the information is coming from your close friend or a relative who you really trust, you MAY choose to accept it. Still, while passing the same to another person, one should treat it as second-hand information only!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An ode to my love :)

Nay, am not a big fan of celebrating 'special' days!
10 years is too long a time, but passed off in a jiffy.
This celebration is not about the sweetness of just today
It is about all the countless days and nights
We loved, fought, argued, cried, laughed and played!
For my life would never've been so rich or beautiful or colourful
if you had not been my companion!
Wouldn't have wanted life in any other way when you are with me :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Thiru thonda thogai

Thiru thonda thogai - So very beautifully rendered by the Isha Samskriti kids!

The youtube link for video is:

thillaivaazh andhanar tham adiyaarkkum adiyEn
thiruneela kandaththuk kuyavanaark kadiyEn

illaiyE ennaadha iyarpagaikkum adiyEn
iraiyaanRan kudimaaran adiyaarkkum adiyEn

vellumaa migavalla meypporuLuk kadiyEn
viripozhil chool kunRaiyaar viRanmiNdark kadiyEn

allimen mullaiyandhaar amarneethik kadiyEn
aarooran aarooril ammaanuk kaaLE

ilaimalindha vElnambi eRipaththark kadiyEn
Enaadhi naatharthan adiyaarkkum adiyEn

kalaimalindha cheernambi kaNNappark kadiyEn
kadavooriR kalayandran adiyaarkkum adiyEn

malaimalindha thOLvaLLal maanakkan chaaRan
enchaadha vaattaayan adiyaarkkum adiyEn

alaimalindha punalmaNgai aanaayark kadiyEn
aarooran aarooril ammaanuk kaaLE

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sannidhi - A Revelation In Our Life

One MahaShivarathri night a few years back, after the midnight meditation with Sadhguru, many Isha meditators were gathering around something and taking turns to bow down. Some of them just sat still on the carpets there. I was a distant watcher for some time. When curiosity got the better of me, I went to see what it was. The long queues discouraged mere onlookers and only the persistent ones made it.

When I went closer, to be honest, I did not know what to make out of it. Though I had heard of 'paadham' before, this was the first time I am seeing something like that. I just bowed down, took the vibhuthi prasadam and moved on. That this simple darshan would bring a profound change in my life was not even in my distant dreams!

Over time, I heard from other meditators that Sadhguru Sannidhi was very powerful, charged up, etc. We also heard from one of the Isha teachers that his mother just used to sit before Sannidhi daily during the presence time (6:20 PM) without doing anything and bliss out!

Then, Abi and I registered for bringing Sadhguru Sannidhi home a couple of years back. As we were (rather stupidly) apprehensive of 'maintaining' its sanctity in our house, we registered it for my parents living separately. I vividly remember the day an Isha meditator came to consecrate it at my parents' house. The person said 'Anna - Please choose where you want to place. You should not move it around just like that later.'

My heart sank at this comment! It was with great difficulty that I had persuaded my mom to drive up the attic some of the gods in her pooja room and make space on the granite marble for Sannidhi. However the consecration went on smoothly. My mother was surprisingly hooked on and started doing the Sannidhi pooja almost daily.

The whole house felt quite different & charged up the very next weekend we visited them! I was doing my Surya Namaskar & Shambhavi Kriya in the hall (Sannidhi was a good distance away in the pooja room) and it was all happening so effortlessly for me. My 4-year-old daughter, who used to be very clinging to us all the time, was suddenly behaving so matured and still having fun with everyone around! That weekend was our first-hand experience of how Sannidhi can transform the atmosphere of an entire house within such a short span of time!

My mom still does the pooja on many days without fail. Her practices have become more regular, her health and the overall peace in family are so much better now. These are definitely not coincidental :)

It was almost one year back that His grace descended upon us and we were able to register for bringing Sadhguru Sannidhi home. It so happened that we were to receive one of the 108 Sannidhis being distributed in Chennai on the MahaShivarathri night of 2013. How fitting an entry!?

Brindha akka came to our home, inspected the space we were going to hold Him in and performed the consecration process. I remember even today how bewildering and unbelievable it was for me that we had taken such a step.

The transformation we have undergone started with Bhairavi entering our home and once Sannidhi came in, the pace has been faster thereon. We do our Sannidhi pooja quite regularly and the very experience of sitting in that space before Bhairavi Yantra and Sadhguru Sannidhi is enough to settle us down most of the time.

While offering Guru Pooja at home in any room feels like it is in His presence. Apart from our practices becoming more regular & more volunteering opportunities coming our way pulling us up higher, we have been blessed with Sadhguru's darshan ever so frequently and more visits to the Ashram.

Since then, we have had the good fortune of witnessing two blessed individuals convert the rooftops in their homes to house Sadhguru Sannidhi. The transformation of these spaces has been very visible and they are being revered as the Isha local centers now at Nanganallur and Medavakkam.

These lines truly resound what Sannidhi means in our lives.

            Un padam panindhen,
                        ennaye marandhen!
            Un padam panindhen,
                        ennulle malarndhen!! 

Similar experiences galore in our friends and family circle. Now, living in a consecrated space like this has sunk in so much, we feel odd when we see someone without such an opportunity!

[PS: This MahaShivarathri, there is an opportunity for willing individuals to receive Sadhguru Sannidhi in Chennai itself. Interested people can contact me or call +91 9789983260] 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Problem solving and Common sense

If all things remain the same, you will not get out of a problem. If you keep all the base parameters the same, when a problem arises, it will not go off until you change one or more parameters. I believe this concept stands fine against the causal analysis theory as well.

This is a well known idea in the scientific circles and a lot of people I know credit the quote or a similar one to Einstein. But how many of us relate it to our daily ailments?

I called up my dad and asked suggestions for the mild cough & throat infection that was kicking in. I had purchased some allopathy medicines and was hesitant to take them right away considering them to be of stronger dosage.

His advice: "See, your cough / cold has come from external atmospheric influence. And the weather is not going to change overnight! If that remains the same, the only way the cough / throat infection will behave is increase in intensity. So, take the medicine right away to curb it quickly."

Plain common sense in hind sight, but I was amazed at its correlation to the theory. I knew it but did not apply my thought in that direction. I do not know if he knows about this concept of parameters but he knows for sure how to apply it to daily life! :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Who is the hero?

This is a riddle, actually a story .. a little longer one though. You would have to read through to the end and find out who the hero is!

His is a typical rags to riches story, epitomized in so many Tamil movies. He is the General Manager of a big manufacturing company now, very fluent in English, highly computer savvy, drives a nice car and visits foreign countries regularly for Business meetings. He however has not forgotten his roots and visits his parents every fortnight, who preferred to stay back in their village and not with their son in an ultra modern metropolis apartment.

Flashback to 2013 ... the eight year old boy (our hero) hails from a family so poor they struggled daily to meet even their basic needs. His father is a poor agriculturist, mother a home maker and he has a younger sister who dearly wished to become a doctor when she grew up.

Every morning, the mother takes the previous night's meal and makes a porridge out of it for the kids. The kids have that half-meal and leave to the school about 5 kilometers away. After the school is over, they return home and work in the nearby field for some time.

The odds seemed heavily stacked against them. The only beacon of light in their otherwise gloomy lives was the best-in-class education they received at the school. Math, Science and Computers are his favourite subjects. But he has to study only in the flickering lights of a kerosene lantern in an otherwise completely dark house. Of course, they do not have an electricity connection nor can they afford the power generators in event of a power failure.

That did not however dampen the boy's spirits. His scholarship is up for renewal and his sponsor had written to him congratulating on his recent grades & goading him to do well in higher classes too. That was fire enough to keep him going.

Soon, time flies by and he keeps writing letters to his sponsor every year. They have even met once or twice, with every visit the boy showcasing the talents he has been gaining. He soon completes his school with very high grades and gets admission to one of the most reputed institutes in the state. The person who sponsored his scholarship did not even dream initially that the boy will achieve such heights in life! He is so happy and tears of joy flow from his eyes on seeing the boy.

What happened to his sister!? of course, she too has been inspired like her brother and studied like him in the same school. It would be couple of more years for her to realize her dream of joining a medical college though.

Did you guess who the hero is?

ggrrrr ... I can hear the readers screaming "Stop! You do not have enough information about the guy? And did you just dare say 'best-in-class' education in a rural school?"

Yeah - I forgot to mention, this was one school and the only one common for 5 or 6 villages in the district. They charged minimal fees (about 10000 to 13000 rupees) per year for the education & bus facility.

"Ooh .. a school bus for door pickup at that cost and still I dare mention 'best-in-class' education!? How could that be?"

Well, the boy studied at one of the Isha Vidhya schools! :)

What you just read is not fiction - this is how a lot of rural kids live in our country. Most can only dream of an education, let alone a good one. However, in the last few years, about 6000 rural kids have come to receive this very light of knowledge in their lives thanks to Isha Vidhya!

They can now dream of a rosy future thanks to the really fantastic education at their school, complete with a huge library, computer lab, math lab, activity based learning systems, etc. You name some of the most advanced education techniques employed by some of the best schools in Chennai, I bet they have already been tried out or are under trial at the Isha Vidhya schools.

So - coming back to our question, "who is the hero?"

For readers still scoffing about the lack of information, it is not the kid. It is the sponsor who supported the kid through his education!

It would have cost the hero of our story, about 1.5 Lakh rupees over 14 years of education of the boy. But in most city schools in India now, parents pay that much for their kids' school fee per year! And is this cost too much for making an inspired Indian out of a rural kid?

I am running now for this cause - to educate rural Tamilnadu. I am participating in Chennai marathon on 1st December 2013, running for Isha Vidhya. I have made a promise that I would reach out to as many people as possible.

You, my reader, is a potential hero yourself! 'What can I do' you may ask. The real question is, do we really care to do something for kids who live like this or not. If you do, there are tons of ways to help. For starters, something so simple as allotting 200 rupees per week (is it costlier than a pizza?) aside for a kid's education. There are 52 weeks in a year and am sure you can do the math :)

No amount is small enough! Even 200 rupees, collected from 50 people, is enough to light the lamp in a child's life forever! Are you inspired to do something now? What are you waiting for?

Visit the link below and sponsor a kid's education online - you can pay as much or as little as you want!

We have been sponsoring for two kids since the last few years. The joy and satisfaction we get out of it is untold! My picture from last year's Chennai marathon is here:

Hoping to see you all soon with my next blog on how the marathon was :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Leadership 101 as a parent

There was intense pain but I could not show it on my face. My daughter was keenly watching me and I suddenly felt I cannot show the fear of pain to her anymore since she might also become afraid later. Nevertheless when a dentist puts in two injections inside your mouth and pries open your jaws for 20 minutes, it does pain - at least till the numbness sets in.

So, it is in this context of a dental visit that some of my thoughts here on how my kid is learning from what am doing stepped from.

There has always been this quote from Sadhguru on my mind - "When a child has come into your life, it is time to learn and not teach". I thought I understood it well but am not sure anymore now! There seem to be a myriad dimensions to this one statement.

One aspect of it was the literal meaning that I took. I started observing how she learns from life and it has never ceased to amaze me from then till now as to how the children 'sponge-absorb' things & events from around them. Yes, we do teach her a thing or two as she feels necessary. In fact, Abi has been doing most of Isha's coaching with me watching from the sidelines. I have been more of a passive teacher so far for her. But the compulsion to push her academically is not there in us to the extent I see in so many other parents.

Today, Abi was talking about a long discussion she had with Swami Suyagna from Isha Foundation. I was asleep at that time and when I woke up, she narrated a gist of it to me. Unconsciously at first and then in awareness tears started flowing down my eyes because I felt touched by the deep management science that Swami was bestowing on her. Bearing a slight jealousy for the honour showered on her (of course she fully deserved it!), I kept listening.

Soon, a thought came in that what Swami spoke about leadership, mentoring, coaching, managing, etc. applies not just to corporates but also to me as a parent! After all, if making another Abirami or Rajasekhar is tough enough at office, imagine how tough it is to bring up your child to your potential at least. And Sadhguru says your child should dare to do things which you have not even dreamed of!

It was then that I suddenly realized Isha naturally prefers to do what we do at home very intensely, like me cleaning the house or Abi's dedication to Bhairavi or drawing for that matter. I certainly have to do better than what am doing in grooming her from now on.

An experiential realization dawned on me that leaders exist at all levels. Every one is a leader in their own right and they have a dedicated group of followers, whether they know it or not. What kind of society we will create in future clearly depends on how leaders of today, which is basically everyone, exist & influence by example.

I definitely feel the need to dig deeper in me to find the necessary integrity & courage to lead my life better and keep that striving for constant improvement burning.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A novel worth our time ...

I honestly did not think I would break my blog silence finally, for writing about a book, rather a sequel. Yes, I had been intrigued initially by it but when I laid my hands on the sequel, I just could not put them down and read them through over 3 nights and some parts of the days as well.

I am talking about the Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi. I am writing this right after closing the final book, The oath of the Vayuputras. Till about mid-way through the last book of this series, I was actually happy that I have finally stumbled upon a brilliant classic from an Indian author. Am I retaining that feeling after the completion, am not so sure. One thing is sure though, it was a heart wrenching tale of how Sati sacrificed herself and the events which happened post that. May be I am being so sentimental and melodramatic here, but having been immersed in it straight through, the pain of Sati's death still lies heavy in my heart.

Puritans of Indian History and Mythology may balk. But as far as I am concerned, the good things about this series are:

1) It introduces a lot of characters from Indian mythology, even if in different contexts than what you would know of them traditionally
2) It puts up the perspective of how the caste system originated (and everyone now knows how it degenerated)
3) Indian Rishis, now worshipped as Gods, have been clearly treated more as scientists who had a spectacular understanding of this universe, but human at the same time
4) The length and breadth of Indian Geography is discussed in such wonderful detail
5) The way the author portrays scientific advances made by ancient Indians is truly commendable. Today, a substantial portion of that has been proven true although the timelines
6) Even the description of weaponry used in ancient times in such detail has been brilliant

The Legend of Shiva, starting from the moment he is shown as a man fighting for his tribe, till his death, showing him at various inflection points in his life rising above rest of humanity around him, is simply superb. It shows what every human is capable of, if only we have the conviction to find out the truth for ourselves.

Overall, it is a brilliant conception, a smart introduction to ancient Indian sciences, a humane story of struggle for power vs truth and has been told that way. It tends to drag a bit through the dialogues, the philosophy and the war sections, but those have been critical sections as I see to introduce the readers to ancient Indian way of living.

A word of caution to the readers though - you have to read it as if you are reading a novel, which is what I presume the author tried to present. Do not read it from historical accuracy perspective and find faults with it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Guru Ashtakam

Listening to the ashtakam sung by Isha Samskriti kids is a divine experience in itself! Beautiful lyrics and even better is the rendition :)









Thursday, July 25, 2013

Adi Sankara's Shivashtakam

One of the most complex but beautiful lyrics I have seen .. this is Shivashtakam sung by Sounds of Isha on Guru Pournami, 2013. It is so fantastically sung .. I was instantly smitten! :)

Download it from here:

Thasmai nama parama kaarana kaaranaaya,
Deepthojwala jwalitha pingala lochanaaya,
Nagendra haara krutha kundala bhooshanaaya,
Brahmendra Vishnu varadaaya Nama Shivaya. 1

Srimath prasanna sasi pannaga bhooshanaaya,
Shailendrajaa vadana chumbitha lochanaaya,
Kailasa mandaara mahendra nikethanaaya,
Loka trayarthi haranaaya nama shivaya. 2

Padmava daatha mani kundala govrushaaya,
Krishna guru prachura chandana charchithaaya,
Bhasmaanu shaktha vikatothpala mallikaaya,
Neelaabhja kantha sadrusaaya namashivaya. 3

Lambastha pingala jata mukutoth kataaya,
Damshtra karaala vikatothkata bhairavaaya,
Vyaghra jinambaradharaaya manoharaaya,
Trilokya natha namithaya nama shivaya. 4

Daksha prajapaathi maha makha naasanaaya,
Kshipram mahaa Tripura daanava gathanaaya,
Brahmorjithor dhwaga karoti nikrunthanaaya,
Yogaya yoga namithaya nama shivaya. 5

Samsaara srushti ghatanaa parivarthanaaya,
Raksha pisacha gana siddha samaakulaaya,
Sidhoraga graha ganendra nishevithaaya,
Shardhoola charma vasanaaya Nama Shivaya. 6

Bhasmanga raaga krutha roopa manoharaaya,
Soumyaa vadaatha vanamaasritha maasrithaaya,
Gowri kataaksha nayanaardha nireekshnaaya,
Go ksheera dhaara dhavalaaya nama shivaya. 7

Adithya Soma Varunaanila sevithaaya,
Yagnaagni hothra vara dhooma nikethanaaya,
Rig saama veda munibhi sthuthi samyuthaaya,
Gopaaya gopa namithaaya nama shivaya. 8

Adithya Soma Varunaanila sevithaaya,
Yagnaagni hothra vara dhooma nikethanaaya,
Rig saama veda munibhi sthuthi samyuthaaya,
Gopaaya gopa namithaaya nama shivaya. 9

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My encounter with the enlightened - part 2

Travel to onsite and work,work,work ... life took different priorities and slowly the practices took a back seat unfortunately. The light was still flickering and though the practices were not regular on daily basis, it still kept happening once in 2 days or 3 days. The touch was still on, but both Abi and I could see that the effects were visible. Irritability started creeping into our lives and we were bickering and fighting for the smallest of things (as we still do :) even today) ...

We happened to attend a quick Sathsang with Sadhguru when he visited New Jersey earlier that year and the awesome feeling of His presence returned :) By this time, I had also heard through our friends about this powerful 'Shambhavi Mahamudra' practice that was being taught in India. To be honest, I was surprised that the powerful Pranayama practices (as they were called then) will no longer be taught to public. But then, I also realized it is probably because of people like me who learn it & yet don't keep up the practice regularly that Sadhguru has decided to simplify the access to spiritual possibilities to people. 

It was in April 2006 that He decided to grace the US again and this time his visit was to be in Nashville. Both of us did all we could and managed to get initiated to Shambhavi Mahamudra with Sadhguru. Other volunteers suggested that we just attend the initiation and not the entire class as we have already attended the 13 day class. 

We chose to attend the full class anyway and it was a truly wonderful experience reliving it ... I realized the essence of the earlier 13 day class is still retained and Shambhavi seemed to be so tough to practice! By the end of the class, I was crying so hard (I surprised myself) ... it was out of the pain of ignorance and from the anguish that I could not be receptive enough to burst out completely in His presence! 

Late nights and weekend work was so common (as with most onsite stays in IT companies). But the grit with which we both kept up the practices for next 48 days was the turning point actually. It showed us that we can keep up the practices twice a day, if only we make up our minds and find time. That period marked the true beginning of our Sadhana.

Immediately thereafter was the enrollment for our first volunteering experience and that too for a program conducted by Sadhguru himself, turning out to be the first Bhava Spandana Program happening in the IIIS. In so many ways, that experience changed our lives permanently ... the wild streak in Abi turned more towards compassion to human beings and the rock in me began melting faster. As with all the BSP sessions from Isha, it left us on an emotional high, but with much more access to the richness of life.

Just when we thought, this is it, life cannot be any better ... Sadhguru announced the trip to Kailash & Manasarovar. Not knowing what it is about, we enrolled for it and stood in the line unaware that the next 10x event was about to hit us :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Stranger I am
Walking the gallows of life
Crutches of relations failing
To uphold the burden of my desires

Stranger I am
Held the hand of my companion
For long I abused it
To stand alone and hold none now
Stranger I am
Crutches falling and darkness set
No other hope but shines His light  
Without my companion I walk now
No more gallows but the plains of life

Sunday, November 11, 2012

More than 25 years back ...

For a moment, I was transported to almost 25 years back when my cousins used to gently push me to run along with them in the Perambur grounds. They would go round and round in the grounds and I would watch them sitting & gasping after just 1 round. 

This time however, no nudging was required and I started the 5 KM jog at 6:30 AM as one of the 8 (became 9 mid-way) Nanganallur gladiators, who met near the ATMs on Velachery MRTS road for practice run of Chennai Marathon - for Isha Vidhya.  

For the first time in my adult life, I had actually been jogging such a distance and there was a nagging thought if I can crawl beyond 1 KM. The fear lead me to gasp a bit after about a kilometre of jogging. But the moment I remembered that this could be the push for brightening the lives of some kids, the doubts dispelled immediately and there was a renewed energy flowing through. 

That Isha practices have certainly strengthened my body is very clear now and of course, without HIS grace, it would certainly have not been possible! We were one jolly group of folks, even crazy for some of the onlookers, the young & old cheering each other alike and sharing pictures when we halted for a breath ... this can only happen with an Isha group :-) 

50% attendance is actually not bad for a Deepavali weekend although we would like more people next time around ... some propoganda spreading would not hurt either!

The fact that I could actually jog my way back from near the MRTS station is still sinking in! Thanks Mani anna for this opportunity.

The fun we had and the confidence we have got from this start is prompting us to audaciously resolve for more such practice sessions. I hope .. nay, I am sure we will do more, before the actual marathon itself. Chennai .. here comes the Isha Vidhya wave!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My encounter with the enlightened - part 1

Life changes and this in itself is known to everyone! However, there are 10x events for some people in their lives, where a single event or person changes the life course itself, in short 'a life changing experience'! Here is one from my life ...

Back in 2003, I used to read a lot of  'spiritual junk' and used to consider myself knowledgeable in that area. But I had not known much about Isha foundation or Sadhguru for that matter. Having heard some of His discourses over tape (this was before CDs became popular) and admiring His logical sequencing & content per se was probably my first step towards the path not known experientially to me.

On a casual evening, Abi and I came to know about the Isha Yoga program happening in Mambalam. Abi & her sister had come with the required money to join the program. But by the time, I went to the ATM to get the money and come back, the registration was full for the program and I could not join that session. 

Not being used to failure (most of my previous experience was only in academics), I was just furious and that fury forced me to look at doing at least one program with Isha at the same time! So, without realizing what I was getting into, I registered immediately for the Hatha Yoga program happening in the Ashram and went there the same weekend Abi was getting initiated into Shakti Chalana Kriya (earlier - Sahaja Sthithi Yoga). 

After my return to Chennai from the program, with a broken back and slightly mauled ego after intense Hatha yoga, Abi was bubbling to share how wonderful the Isha program was. I admit being a bit baffled and immediately wanted to go for the next Isha Yoga program.

The second time around, registration happened fine but I stayed the previous evening at a friend's place (absolutely unlikely of me) and did not get up early enough on time for my morning class! I was close to tears when I woke up in the morning and in fact remember blasting Abi for not waking me up early - poor thing!! But she spoke to the teacher from Ashram and arranged for me to attend the class in that evening. I was just so thankful for her. 

From next day on, I was promptly attending the morning classes by myself. Considering myself an intellectual, I immersed myself in the class content because it was so logical and structured, yet peeling off my ego layer by layer. We went on to attend the Bhava Spandana program in 2003 itself. What happens in BSP  is not for me to put in words. It was way beyond me and I understood finally that even intellectually, this was something just beyond my grasp. 

At the end of it, I knew I can never be the same again and was bubbling to share the same with everyone. So, people who know me before 2003 & post 2003 and have actually observed me, would know the change. If observers say I have become bolder, more efficient at work, more loving in personal life, less angry at work & at home, etc. etc. as the key things, those may be just side effects. 

I know now that the seed He had sown in me had started sprouting and that was changing the way I was looking at things. But the dormancy effect took over as I got slowly back into the rut of life and the next 10x event had to wait for some more time ...