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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What is the purpose of a Miracle?

The common man is drawn by external pomp and apparent motives. So he judges the leelas (Divine sport) as common and even low. The inner meaning and purpose are not easily patent to all.  But the Lord can never engage Himself in purposeless and paltry activities. His advent is for the uplift of the world from the morass of wickedness and unrighteousness, for fulfilling the needs of those devoted to Him, for the reestablishment of righteousness and morality, and for the revival of the Vedas. He has to take into account the merit acquired by each in previous lives and shower His grace accordingly. His leelas or Divine activities are so shaped that they suit the time, the person, the aspiration and the compassion which cause each shower of grace!

What is the need of the hour?

Education should be used for promoting the welfare of the nation. Knowledge gained through education should be used selflessly for promoting the well-being of humanity. What we need today areUttama-purushulu (noble and ideal men and women). The nation will prosper only when there are such persons. And people like these will emerge in society only when there is purity of mind and morality in society. Only a society with a moral foundation can foster such noble persons. Spirituality is the only means for redemption.

How can we be loved by all?

It is a matter of great bliss to be loved by many. To win over the hearts of so many is a sign of Divinity. I love everyone and all love Me.  Do not hurt anyone by your harsh words and enter into any evil paths. Recognise the truth that God pervades everything from microcosm to macrocosm. With Shraddha and Vishwasa (sincerity of purpose and faith) and self-confidence, you can achieve anything in the world. Love God from the depths of your heart.  Follow Swami’s commands and you will attain everything and be victorious in all your endeavours!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why is singing the glory of the Lord, a powerful tool to our growth?

There are many snakes of wicked qualities in the anthill of your heart. When you do Naamasmarana(remembering the divine name) all the ‘snakes’ of bad qualities will come out. Naamasmarana is like the musical wind instrument (Nadaswaram) which attracts snakes and brings them out of anthills. ThisNadaswaram is your Jeevana swaram (music of your life) and Prana swaram (breath of your life). One has to repeat God’s name in order to get rid of evil qualities. Today there are many who do not attach any importance to Naamasmarana. It is a great mistake. In this Age of Kali only chanting of the divine name can redeem your lives. There is no other refuge. Singing the glory of the Lord is highly sacred!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What is the power of the choice of our words? How should we leverage it?

a person something which upsets their balance or shocks them into grief; the words then completely drain off their physical strength and mental courage. They fall on the ground, unable to stand. On the other hand, when through speech, we communicate something happy, or cheer them, they get the strength of an elephant. Words do not cost anything, but they are priceless. So they have to be used with care. They must be employed not for gossip, which is barren, but only for pure and productive purposes.  The ancients recommended the vow of silence in order to purify speech of its evils. A mind turned inwards towards an inner vision of G od and speech turned towards outer vision - both of these will promote spiritual strength and success.

What are the challenges that spiritual seekers must overcome? Why?

The farmer, intent on cultivation, ignores even food and sleep, for he is too busy ploughing, levelling, scattering seeds, watering, weeding, guarding and fostering the crop. He knows that his family will have to subsist on the harvest that he brings home and that if he fritters away the precious season in idle pursuits, his family will be confronted with hunger and ill-health. So, he sets aside or postpones other pursuits and focuses all his attention on farming alone. He puts up with difficulties and deprivations, toils day and night, watches over the growing crops and garners the grain. As a consequence, he is able to spend the months ahead, in peace and joy, with his happy family. Students and spiritual seekers have to learn important lessons from the farmer. The stage of youth is the season for mental and intellectual culture. These years should be intensively and intelligently cult ivated irrespective of difficulties and obstacles. The clamour of the senses has to be silenced; hunger and thirst have to be controlled; the urge to sleep and relax has to be curbed.T

Clean out the closets of your life?







Clean out the closets of your life. Have you ever looked at the clothes in your closet with a critical eye: the bargain shoes in the wrong colour; the expensive suit you got on sale that never fit; the "great" shirt that was a gift from someone you love?



I had all of those items in my closet. Then a wardrobe consultant friend came over and made me clean out the clothes that didn't fit or that no longer represented my self-image. It was an exhilarating feeling. Now the clothes I wear make me feel and look great, and project the image I like.



Your clothes closet isn't the only hiding place for negative things in your life. You have a self-image closet too. Take a serious look at what you find there. Try cleaning it out. Throw out ideas that no longer fit your lifestyle or your experiences.



Clean your closet of certain old friends as well -- the ones who have become acquaintances. Too often we spend our energies with people whose interests have grown apart from ours.



Clean the negative people out of your life's closet. Some folks cannot accept your achievements, insisting it's only a "fluke" when you finally attain a great goal. Their own insecurities require them to shoot other people down. It is time to let them know you are proud of your achievements, and then move on to someone who will support you in your endeavours.



Closets may be hiding places for our outmoded clothes and ideas, but they are also where we store the building blocks for our daily lives. Don't let them get cluttered with outdated ideas.

What is the lamp we should light today?

Deepavali has to be observed as a day for getting rid of all the bad qualities in us, symbolised by the demon Narakasura. The inner meaning underlying the festival should be rightly understood. A whole array of lamps is lit by the light from one lamp. That one lamp symbolises the Supreme Effulgent Lord. The others represent the light in individual selves. The truth of the Vedic saying, "The One willed to become the many" is exemplified by the lighting of many lamps by the flame of one. Deepavali festival thus bears out the profoundest spiritual truth.  The lamp also points to another significant fact. Wherever it may be placed, the flame rises only upwards and never moves down. Likewise, the flame of Jnana(Spiritual Wisdom) leads one to a sublime level through the path of Righteousness.

Young and reckless: How stroke affects YOU


A sedentary lifestyle and smoking are two of the many causes that are leading to stroke among young Indians. Abhishek Mande finds out how real this health threat is, how to identify and avoid it.



Dr. Prabhakar Shetty found himself examining a 31-year-old comatose patient at the Columbia Asia Hospital in Yeshwantpur, Bengaluru. The young man had suffered a stroke. "The main artery going to his brain had developed blood clots," says Dr Shetty. "He had a history of previous blood clot formation in the legs and was prone to it. But his smoking habit had compounded the problem."



Young people suffering from stroke is not uncommon in India any more, says Dr Sheety. "The threat is quite real," observes Dr Shyamal K Das from the Bangur Institute of Neurology in Kolkata. Dr Das has conducted an extensive community-based study of stroke patients in Kolkata. He points out that over 8 per cent of the total stroke cases he has studied affect the young --  "largely men below the age of 40 years."



Neurologist Dr Sunanda Anand, who practices in Mumbai, agrees. "It is safe to say that one in every four stroke patients I treat are under 40," she says, adding that stroke is the most common cause of morbidity today.



All of them point to the drastic lifestyle of today's youngsters --  high-pressure jobs, smoking, alcohol and a sedentary routine among other things -- as the causes.



What is a stroke?



Simply put, a stroke or a brain attack is a sudden impairment in the functioning of the brain.



A blockage in the arteries or veins or the rupturing of a blood vessel can cause such a condition.



Dr Das says, "Strokes can be ischemic, caused by the lack of blood flow to the brain due to clots, or hemorrhagic, caused by a ruptured blood vessel."



Between the two, the more common type of stroke is ischemic, when a clot can be formed in the main artery of the brain, or if a clot or an air bubble formed in another part of the body is carried through the bloodstream into the brain.



 a.. Permanent or temporary loss of speech and/or hearing ability is one of the fallouts of a stroke. Says Dr Anand, "In case of a heart attack, you can still return to normal life. But a stroke patient does not always return to normal. It can be traumatic not just for the patient but also her/his family."
 b.. In extreme cases, a stroke can lead to paralysis. This means the patient can be either entirely bed-ridden or then largely dependent on other people.
 c.. Stroke patients are also always at risk of suffering a second attack. In a way, life can never be the same after you have been hit.


So far, strokes have usually been associated with the elderly. However, it isn't unusual for youngsters to be affected.



The causes of a stroke are many. While some of them can be genetic, others are largely self-created.



Says Dr Das: "Uncontrolled hypertension is the single most common cause for Hemorrhagic strokes. An Ischemic stroke, on the other hand, can be the result of a variety of factors:



Hypertension remains at the top of this list too.

Smoking comes a close second, because nicotine intake leads to hardening of the arteries and damages the lining of the blood vessels. This narrowing of the vessels and vessel walls leads to clots and results in a stroke.

Diabetes patients are also prone to ischemic strokes (since high blood sugar causes occlusions in small vessels), as are people with Dyslipidemia or high levels of fat or cholesterol.

According to Dr Sunanda Anand, "Strokes are not very common among young Indian women. However, this risk has increased with more of them taking to smoking or tobacco and consuming birth control pills. Young Indian women are more prone to venous strokes, or strokes that are caused by a clot in the veins, that drain the blood out of the brain (all other strokes are caused by a clot or a hemorrhage in the arteries that carry blood to the brain.) The oral contraceptive pill is one of the major contributors, as it causes blood clots in the veins," she points out.

Indians, with our apple-shaped bodies, are usually prone to obesity. Long work hours usually lead to a sedentary lifestyle. And an inactive life with little or no exercise and consumption of alcohol and smoking will only make things worse in the long run."

Add to this excessive intake of junk food and lack of fruits and veggies in the diet and you have a lethal combination.

According to some studies, sustained migraine attacks can also cause a stroke. A recent research in Iceland concludes that people suffering from a migraine problem are at a higher risk of dying from a heart or a brain attack.



As banal as it may sound, the only way you can avoid a stroke is by leading a healthy lifestyle.



Dr Puneet Saxena, an associate professor in the medicine department at the Sawai ManSingh Medical College, Jaipur, provides us with tips:



Watch your weight: High levels of fat and cholesterol are not good for your body.

Kick the butt: Smoking is one of the major reasons for stroke among young people. Besides, it isn't a healthy habit anyway.

Exercise regularly: Sedentary lifestyle can lead to multiple complications -- for stroke or otherwise.

Keep a check on your sleeping and eating habits: Adequate rest and a healthy diet are important.

Regular health check-ups: After a certain age, it is crucial that one goes in for regular medical check-ups. A routine check-up can sometimes throw up a shocker.

How we can lighten and brighten our lives from this holy day of Deepavali.

Do not get elated at the riches, status, authority, intelligence, etc., which you may possess. Consider that they have been given to you on trust, so that you may use it to benefit others. They are all signs of His Grace, opportunities for service, and symbols of responsibility. Never seek to exult over others' faults; deal sympathetically with the errors and mistakes of others. Seek the good in others; hear only good tidings about them; do not give ear to scandal. On this Deepavali day, resolve to light the lamp of Naamasmarana and place it at your doorstep, the lips. Feed it with the oil of devotion; have steadiness as the wick. Let the lamp illumine every minute of your life. The splendour of the Name will drive away darkness from outside you as well as from inside you. You will spread joy and peace among al l who come near yo

Principle of The One behind the diverse creation.

The One Divine Principle works through many forms in order to manipulate and complete the processSrishti (creation). All forms are fundamentally of the same essence. There is no higher or lower. All are equally divine. When God comes down assuming special form on special occasions for a specific purpose, He is known as Avatar. Each Avatar is born as a consequence of Divine Will and with the purpose of restoring Dharma and moral life.
 -

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Credit cards can make money for you

Credit cards can make money for you

Use the bonus points that have accumulated on buying necessities (house hold appliances, clothes, groceries etc.) rather than using it on things (luxuries) that aren’t really important to you. Only if the bonus points are used practically, you are actually saving cash because had to now have the bonus points, you would have to anyways spend cash on buying the same.

Credit cards of late have a negative connotation, and are pronounced as complete no-no by many, because of the high interest rates that are charged on late payments/defaults. Don’t let this negativity cloud perception of the product. You would be surprised to know that, if you are judicious in using this product, you stand to benefit monetarily, and of course it eliminates the need for you to carry cash everywhere.

More often than not the problem is that people do not understand the product well and hence are not able to use it to their advantage.

The credit card company offers you a ‘free credit period’ of around 50-55 days. The misconception most people have is that this free credit period is from the date of purchase. It is actually from the date of billing. E.g. Mr. Anand billing cycle date is 28th of December to 27th of Jan and his credit free period is 50 days. If his purchase was on 22nd Jan, he would enjoy credit for 25 days. However if he made the same purchase on say 01st Jan, he would enjoy credit free period of 47 days.

So if you plan properly, you can enjoy maximum credit every month, which will help you manage your cash flows effectively, and will also help you earn the extra bit of interest on the cash that you have currently not spent on making the purchase.

In addition to the free credit period, every purchase made on your credit card, earns you reward points which when accumulated to a big amount can be exchanged for a range of items such as electrical appliances, flight tickets, home ware etc. These rewards will differ from company to company. Also credit card companies offer discounts, promotional offers with respect to shopping, entertainment etc. E.g If you buy petrol from a particular brand of petrol pumps, you get a small percentage of money credited back to your account after a certain number of days.

For the credit card to make money for you, two key things you need to keep in mind

Cost of Default:

The interest rate on defaults ranges from anywhere between 2%-3.5% per month. So in effect it is a whopping 24%-42% p.a. Also, the interest starts from the date of purchase and not the billing date i.e. you do not get any interest-free credit period and all future purchases also start attracting the interest charges from the date of purchase.

So use the credit card if and only if you’re sure of having the means to pay the bills in time. Also, don’t forget that your credit score will get impacted too which will impact your future borrowing.

Credit Limit:

Keep a tab on your credit limit. Overshooting your credit limit will also have dire consequences for you with respect to the interest charged and your credit score.

How do you ensure that your credit card makes money for you?
 Widen the usage of your credit card (small and big purchases): You might as well earn bonus points and interest on the cash that you have not currently used, to make the purchase. You can use the credit card to pay monthly rentals, grocery bills, utility bills, gift expenses, subscription expenses etc. So the cash that you have not used to make the purchase will earn interest for you or will be used for fulfilling other immediate needs. E.g. Maitali purchased an electrical appliance for Rs. 28,000 using the credit card she possessed.

The purchase was made such that she could enjoy a credit free period of 45 days. The cash that she would have used to purchase this appliance is now lying in her savings account which is earning her an interest of 3.5% p.a. So if she decides to pay the bill after enjoying 40 days of free credit, she earns an interest of Rs. 107 in her savings bank account. Not only that, she has also earned some reward points on the purchase. The other advantage of using the credit card is your payments are recorded which makes it easier for you to keep track of your expenses.

Appropriate use of bonus points:

Use the bonus points that have accumulated on buying necessities (house hold appliances, clothes, groceries etc.) rather than using it on using it on things (luxuries) that aren’t really important to you. Only if the bonus points are used practically, you are actually saving cash because had to now have the bonus points, you would have to anyways spend cash on buying the same.

Conclusion

Credit cards if used prudently will help you in managing your cash flow better, and at the same time, will provide you monetary benefits. That’s because you get interest free money for some period of time and you also earn reward/bonus points on the same.
But if you use it without deliberation, it can prove to be disastrous as interest rates charged on payment delays are very high. Also, your credit rating will take a beating, as banks report these things to the credit rating agencies, which in turn will include it as part of your credit report.

Don’t forget that credit score will not only determine whether you will get a loan but will also determine at what interest. Let not easy availability of credit and attractive rewards offered fool you into making impulsive purchases. It will prove to be rather costly.


The Two Choices We Face

The Two Choices We Face
 
 

Each of us has two distinct choices to make about what we will do with our lives. The first choice we can make is to be less than we have the capacity to be. To earn less. To have less. To read less and think less. To try less and discipline ourselves less. These are the choices that lead to an empty life. These are the choices that, once made, lead to a life of constant apprehension instead of a life of wondrous anticipation.

And the second choice? To do it all! To become all that we can possibly be. To read every book that we possibly can. To earn as much as we possibly can. To give and share as much as we possibly can. To strive and produce and accomplish as much as we possibly can. All of us have the choice.

To do or not to do. To be or not to be. To be all or to be less or to be nothing at all.

Like the tree, it would be a worthy challenge for us all to stretch upward and outward to the full measure of our capabilities. Why not do all that we can, every moment that we can, the best that we can, for as long as we can?

Our ultimate life objective should be to create as much as our talent and ability and desire will permit. To settle for doing less than we could do is to fail in this worthiest of undertakings.

Results are the best measurement of human progress. Not conversation. Not explanation. Not justification. Results! And if our results are less than our potential suggests that they should be, then we must strive to become more today than we were the day before. The greatest rewards are always reserved for those who bring great value to themselves and the world around them as a result of who and what they have become.


Super-rich investors buy gold by tonne

The world's wealthiest people have responded to economic worries by buying gold by the bar -- and sometimes by the tonne -- and by moving assets out of the financial system, bankers catering to the very rich said on Monday.

Fears of a double-dip downturn have boosted the appetite for physical bullion as well as for mining company shares and exchange-traded funds, UBS executive Josef Stadler told the Reuters Global Private Banking Summit. "They don't only buy ETFs or futures; they buy physical gold," said Stadler, who runs the Swiss bank's services for clients with assets of at least $50 million to invest.

UBS is recommending top-tier clients hold 7-10 percent of their assets in precious metals like gold, which is on course for its tenth consecutive yearly gain and traded at around $1,314.50 an ounce on Monday, near the record level reached last week. "We had a clear example of a couple buying over a tonne of gold ... and carrying it to another place," Stadler said. At today's prices, that shipment would be worth about $42 million.

Julius Baer's chief investment officer for Asia is also recommending that wealthy investors park some of their assets in gold as a defensive stance following a string of lackluster U.S. data and amid concerns about currency weakness. "I see gold as an insurance," Van Anantha-Nageswaran said. "I recommend 10 percent as minimum in portfolios and anything more than that to be used for trading purposes, to respond to short-term over-bought or over-sold signals."

Ultimate Bubble?

Billionaire financier George Soros, echoing comments from investment guru Warren Buffett, last month described gold as the "ultimate bubble" because it is costly to dig up and has no real value except its market price. But a rising price for the precious metal has in itself generated more and more demand from investors looking for a way to hedge against a fresh recession. Gold bears no yield and is uncompetitive in an environment of rising interest rates.

The uneasy outlook for inflation, hard currencies and global growth has triggered a five-fold increase in a physical gold fund launched by Pictet one year ago, the Swiss private bank said.  UBS's Stadler said the precious metal has become a staple of investors' portfolios, despite questions about whether it makes for a smart long-term investment. "If you talk to ultra-high net worth individuals, that level of uncertainty has never been higher in the last two, three, four years," he said. "If they ask me, 'Is inflation going up or are we entering a deflationary cycle?,' I don't know. But obviously nobody knows."

Anthony DeChellis, managing director of Credit Suisse's Americas private banking unit, said at the Reuters summit in New York that clients are more interested in capitalizing on the rise in gold prices than using the precious metal as a safe-harbor investment. "They're asking, 'If it's a bubble, how far can I ride that bubble,'" he said. "I cannot say we've seen a spike in gold interest, but there's an interest in the phenomenon of it."

Samir Raslan, Citigroup Inc's regional head for central, eastern and northern Europe, Africa and Turkey, said clients were not going overboard on gold. "I wouldn't say that clients are over-investing. It's part of an asset allocation, but it's not something that they are deciding all of a sudden," he said. And not all bankers are recommending exposure to gold. Andreas Wolfer, head of private banking at UniCredit Group, attributed the run-up in the price of gold to frayed investor nerves after the 2008 financial crisis as well as concerns about sovereign debt in the euro zone.

"We have seen it but we have not overweighted it in our asset allocation," Wolfer told the Reuters summit in Geneva, which has emerged as a major trading hub for precious metals as well as other physical commodities. "We strongly believe in an asset allocation having a clear and diversified portfolio, which sounds a bit boring but in the end it brings the best returns," Wolfer said.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SOCH VICHAR: How can we be happy even as evil minds try their b...

SOCH VICHAR: How can we be happy even as evil minds try their b...: "When the good are happy and living in peace, the bad cannot tolerate it; they develop intense headache! Unless the wicked contemplate on the..."

How can we be happy even as evil minds try their best to disrupt our peace?

When the good are happy and living in peace, the bad cannot tolerate it; they develop intense headache! Unless the wicked contemplate on the loss and hardships that the good undergo, they are never happy! The problems suffered by the good is the gain of evil minds. The sweetness of the cuckoo is bitter to the ear of the crow. The Kauravas tried their best to create dissension among the Pandava brothers and spread heinous scandals. But the five Pandavas respected Truth and abided by it, and so, nothing could separate them. No event could make a dent on the happiness of the five brothers. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

SOCH VICHAR: SOCH VICHAR: Why should we see the Divine at all c...

SOCH VICHAR: SOCH VICHAR: Why should we see the Divine at all c...: "SOCH VICHAR: Why should we see the Divine at all circumstances,...: 'The apparently moving (chara) and unmoving (achara), the active and ine..."

SOCH VICHAR: SOCH VICHAR: Why should we see the Divine at all c...

SOCH VICHAR: SOCH VICHAR: Why should we see the Divine at all c...: "SOCH VICHAR: Why should we see the Divine at all circumstances,...: 'The apparently moving (chara) and unmoving (achara), the active and ine..."

What is the need to pray?

The blind cannot be saved by one who has no eyes; the destitute cannot be helped by the impoverished. How can a person who is needy and helpless remove the poverty, suffering, and pain of another? The poor must approach the affluent, the wealthy. The blind must seek the guidance of a person who can see. One who is bound and blinded by the dualities of creation has to take refuge in the inexhaustible treasure of compassion, power, and wisdom, namely, the Divine Atma. Then, one can get rid of the destitution of grief, revel in the wealth of spiritual bliss, and attain the goal of human existence. This consummation is won through the Grace of the Lord.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

SOCH VICHAR: Why should we see the Divine at all circumstances,...

SOCH VICHAR: Why should we see the Divine at all circumstances,...: "The apparently moving (chara) and unmoving (achara), the active and inert, are both willed by the Divine. That Divine Will is a conscious ac..."

Why should we see the Divine at all circumstances, every single day?

The apparently moving (chara) and unmoving (achara), the active and inert, are both willed by the Divine. That Divine Will is a conscious act (chetana); it is not a form of inertness (achetana). Whatever arguments and counter-arguments are advanced by any person, the truth that Divine Will is the root of everything stands unshakable. People who argue about this either are deluded by appearances or are only trying to bolster up their pet fancies, avoiding deeper probes. -

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why are there 'devotees' and 'non-devotees'?


God does not incarnate merely for the destruction of the wicked. Truly speaking, God incarnates primarily for the sustenance of the faithful, the devoted, the virtuous and the good. But even the faithless and the bad, use the chance for their own purpose. In the Bhagavatha, stories of wicked persons intervene amidst the accounts of the Glory and Grace of God. These stories do not make the Bhagavatha any less holy. When the sweet juice has been squeezed out of the sugarcane, the bagasse is discarded. When the sweetness of Divine Majesty has been tasted, the pulp can be thrown out. The cane has both bagasse and sugar; it cannot be only sugar. So too, devotees have to be amidst the faithless; they cannot be without the others.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How much does the Lord bend, to serve His dearest devotee?

During the war, the palms of Lord Sri Krishna, soft and tender like lotus petals, developed boils all over, since the steeds strained their hardest, when they were restrained or controlled as He had to hold the reins tight. The Lord devoid of food and sleep, performed services both high and low, and kept ready both horses and chariot in perfect trim. He also went on various other sundry errands, which were fundamental to achieving victory. He bathed the horses in the river, attended to their wounds and applied balm to cure them. Basically, He acted as a servant in the household of Pandavas! He never assumed the role of the Universal Sovereign that is His real nature and status. That was the measure of His affection for those devoted to Him!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why is it critical to be simple and sweet?

Every educated person and student must cultivate simplicity and discard ostentation. If they are addicted to pompousness, they lose their genuine nature or individuality. Even if a person is a master of all sciences or famous as a great intellectual, he is certain to be counted out of scholars and pundits if he has no humility and discipline in his dealings with others. He may win respect for some time but that will decline pretty soon. Alertness to serve and simplicity alone will confer honour on a person. When one gives up an attitude of pretentiousness, one earns permanent respect from people. Real education imparts a spirit of renunciation, a dislike for ostentation, and the yearning for serving others.

How to see through the delusion and remain focussed on our goal?

Every being has its own Dharma or innate specialty or individuality or special characteristics. This rule applies equally to blades of grass and the stars. The cosmos is not one continuous flux; it progresses persistently towards achieving a totality in the qualities and circumstances. But if you are too immersed in the all-pervasive delusion, you cannot elevate yourself. When in delusion, you are not aware of the path of peace and harmony in the world. You will also not be able to hold on to the good and avoid the bad, and establish yourself in the righteous path. However, you can transform yourself from the present status through self-effort and discrimination. The moral forces permeating the cosmos will certainly promote your achievement!

Monday, July 19, 2010

What are a few simple questions that will guide the mind gently to accomplish spiritual progress?

The mind is a bundle of thoughts, a complex collection of wants and wishes. As soon as a thought, desire or wish raises its head in the mind, the intellect must probe its value and validity. Is it good or bad? Will it help or hinder? Where will this lead? Where will it end? If the mind does not submit to this probe, it will land itself on the path of ruin. If it does and obeys the intelligence, it will move along the right path.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What is the subtlest education we must acquire, which is core to our lives?

Knowledge can be considered as having two aspects: Baahya Vidya and Brahma Vidya. Baahya Vidya provides the wherewithal for human livelihood. You can study many subjects, earn valuable degrees, acquire lucrative job and manage to spend your life with no worry and fear. This type of Vidya helps you perform whatever job you may doing, be it that of a humble clerk or a prime minister. Brahma Vidya, on the other hand, endows you with the strength, that will enable you to discharge successfully the duty you owe to yourself. It lays down the path which leads both to joy in worldly relations and bliss in the life beyond. Therefore, Brahma Vidya is far superior to all Vidya available to man on earth.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How can we persist in walking along the path of the good and godly, when we are so deeply immersed in the world?

The infant does not know the taste of milk. By taking it daily, it develops an attachment for it which is so deep that when milk is to be given up and rice substituted, it starts to protest. But the mother does not despair. She persuades the child to take small quantities of cooked rice daily and through this process, the child starts liking rice and gives up milk. By practice, rice now becomes the child's natural food, so natural that if rice is not available even for a single day, it becomes miserable. So too, sensual pleasures are ‘natural’ at first. However, by means of practice, listening to the words of the wise, slowly, you will derive greater joy listening to the glories of God. Thereafter, you cannot exist without that holy atmosphere even for a minute. The company of the worldly chatter will no longer attract you. You will feel that there is nothing as sweet as the experience of listening to the splendour of the Lord.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

AN ADVISE

External circumstances regularly change quickly. You must consider however that the most intimate essence of man is unchanged over time. Give what you have to grow. Try to help others as well as you can.

How can we overcome the ups and downs in our daily life?

Ajnana (Ignorance) and Dukha (Sorrow) cannot be destroyed by rituals and rites. This is the lesson the scriptures teach us. However, what is happening now is that people have forgotten their real nature. They believe that they are the body and the senses, and crave for objective pleasures. They delude themselves that they can secure joy by catering to the body and senses. Such attempts cannot earn bliss. Instead, they earn disillusionment, defeat and disaster; they reap sorrow and joy in quick succession. The ajnana can only be destroyed with the knowledge of the Divine Self. When illusion disappears, the sorrow produced by one's involvement in the ups and downs of the world is destroyed and one can realize that humanity is the Embodiment of Bliss.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

GO WITH THE FLOW OR STAND YOUR GROUND?



An alumnus of Sri Sathya Sai University, Mr. Mani joined the Brindavan campus of Bhagavan's University in 1990. After completing his Bachelors of Commerce there, he moved on to the Prasanthi Nilayam campus to pursue his Masters in Financial Management during the years 1993-95. Currently, he works as Associate Business Consultant with CGI Information Systems and Management Consultants, a leading IT and business process services provider and is based in Mumbai. A passionate learner of Vedic hymns, Mani deems the five years spent at His University as the best thing to have happened in his life.
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I clearly recall my Convocation from this Noble Institute. On that blessed day, I had the opportunity to chant the Vedic Hymn of Sishya anusasanamstating the code of discipline for students right at the start of the Convocation. I was fortunate to get this opportunity twice – once when I completed my B.Com and the second time when I completed my Masters in Financial Management. It goes like this: Vedamanuchyaachaaryo antevaasinamanusaasti, Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara…. This is what is chanted by the Preceptor, the learned teacher worthy of the same reverence as God, to his students as a final tip when they have completed their education, graduated from their discipleship and are ready to embark on to the next stage of their life’s journey. The first sacred directive isSatyam Vada, Dharmam Chara, meaning 'Thou shalt speak the Truth and tread upon the path of Right conduct' - which is indeed the motto of our Institute as well.
As years have rolled on, with each life experience the inner and true significance of this profound Vedic injunction is slowly unfolding within my understanding. This realization is more an outcome of my translating it and applying it in my daily life than what I learned by rote for chanting at the Convocation.
It is not that I have always been truthful and that all my actions are righteous but there have been many instances where I can say, ‘Yes, I have done the right action and I have spoken what I should have spoken’. This self-confidence I attribute entirely to Bhagavan’s education and am forever grateful to Him for it.
I recall when I was being interviewed for a job by the head of an organization based in Western India; I was asked a question, "You seem to have come from a very noble place – where the ambience is very good, do you think you can adjust to the vagaries of the world?” I said, “I have to…” The next question was, “But will you be able to live up to your principles.” I said, “I have no doubt that I shall be able to do so.”
Falsehood = Fear; The Truth Shall Set You Free
As days rolled on, I realized it is going to be a tough job and I bumped into a friend of mine who said, “Look, why are you worried? You just need to tell the truth once, and after that, the other person is going to be scared, not you. But if you make a false statement, you will be scared for the rest of your life”. That sounded definitely brilliant and simple - a fair enough translation of the same significant and sensible translation of the Sathya Vada motto of my alma mater.
A few months after joining an organization in Western India, I found myself working as part of a team appraising the financing of a project. We were to make an investment – a big amount - in a foreign country, for which we were to take necessary clearances from the statutory authorities, which meant the Reserve Bank of India and the Ministry of Finance of the Central Government.
It was my job to do the arithmetic and the calculations. I was the junior most member of the team, with barely 3 to 4 months of work experience. The Reporting Officer (RO) had said: “You would be working on it” and I, obviously, felt happy. But at the back of my mind, I could really feel there are many others who are going to be unhappy with this. They had many years of experience backing them with more exposure than I had. I was the new kid on the block, so to say. Being included in a project of such significance invariably raised a few eyebrows among my colleagues.
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Shirdi Sai Parthi Sai
It was the time when we used Lotus 1-2-3 (a computer spreadsheet application) to generate all kinds of statements on reams of papers which were filled up with a hundreds of calculations. The most important indicator for appraising a project is the Return on Investment (ROI), which is measured in terms of percentage. Every calculation was driven by this significant factor.
A Project Appraisal Document (PAD) detailing the feasibility had to be prepared and submitted to different statutory bodies to obtain their approval. We had done a proper job in forecasting the ROI and then preparing the PAD. It had, in fact, gone through all kinds of reviews and our Board had approved it. Finally, we had submitted the PAD to the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s premier regulatory body, for seeking their clearance.
The following day, after submitting the PAD to RBI, we checked the calculations once again and I was in for a shock. I had made a big blunder in calculating the ROI, I realized. It had got inflated by around 20%. Originally, if it should have been 10%, then it was presented as 12%. These are not actual figures as they cannot be revealed, but this was a big mistake I had made, and I noticed this just before lunch time.
I went home for lunch but not even a single morsel of food went into my mouth. My mind was flooded with questions. What should I be doing? Should I confess? Or, should I just let it be, as most likely nobody might even notice it?
Blow the Whistle or Let It Pass?
After a short time, I decided what I should do: I was ready to face the consequences of speaking the truth. What made me strong in my resolve was an instance from my university days. Once Mr. Bhargava, who had been Chairman of Maruti Udyog Ltd ., on his visit to our college, had told us that he had once asked all his managers “How many of you have made mistakes, please raise your hands”. And no hands went up. Then he had said, “I am firing all of you, because if you have not made mistakes, then you have not taken any decisions”.
Also, just before I walked in, I recalled what Swami used to tell us, ‘Tell the Truth’. Yes, this is when I realized, I needed to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
So, I went to the RO and confessed: “Sir, this is where I have made a mistake”. I explained how I had gone wrong, but he wanted me to recheck, which I did, and convinced him about my mistake. He then went up to a top executive - who was at a very senior level in the Organisation hierarchy - to inform him that we had fumbled. The top executive then asked us to submit the revised PAD to the RBI and we went ahead with it. To be honest, I had a better sleep that night than I have had any other day. Actually, there was a bleak chance that anyone could have noticed the error, but for me that was not important; what was more significant is the act of owning up to what you have done - be it right or wrong. And once I had done that, I was confident, for I knew that I had done the right thing.
Righteousness Protects Those Who Abide By It
Later, I was given a higher responsibility. After about 2½ years, the same RO called me and said, ‘Look, we are in need of someone to handle our investments and I have not been able to get someone who is reliable. Let me know if you can commit to be with the organization for a longer period. If you can, then you would be moved to handle our investments. Otherwise, I will look for someone else. But be very honest; I give you half a day’s time to think”. I said, “I am ready, I am happy to do this job”. But later I asked him, “What made you feel that you can rely upon me?” He said, “The Institute where you were educated, and your forthrightness to admit a crucial oversight you had made.”
That episode was from 2 ½ years ago and I had felt people had lost confidence in me, but this unexpected vote of confidence was such a pleasant bolt from the blue! It was a true affirmation from Bhagavan Himself for my simple act of living the dictum Sathyam Vada, Dharmam Chara – for my humble attempt to speak the truth and tread the path of righteousness, primarily for my own clear conscience and peace of mind.
Soon I found myself handling huge investments worth thousands of crores of rupees for my employer. It is a given that when big bucks are involved, it’s very easy to get tempted to serve one’s individual interest. There are instances when you are investing and certain parties attempt to lure you with valuable and precious articles to solicit your business. That’s the kind of background in which one has to work, and my guiding principle as I waded my way through this swamp of temptations, was to tread only on the path of right conduct and uphold truth.
Coveting What Is Not Ours Is Unethical, No Matter What
One particular instance comes to mind readily. We used to receive interest on investments we made and we had big amounts of investments in one of the major Mutual Funds of our country. They had made an excess payment - a small amount - an excess dividend of Rs. 25,000/-, which is a paltry and insignificant amount, barely 0.0001% of our investment; but it certainly did not belong to us.
Harnessing the Heart
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When I noticed that we had received more than what we should have, I went up to my immediate boss and said, "Sir, there is an excess amount we have received of Rs. 25,000/-. We have already deposited the cheque in the bank and it is credited. We need to return the excess amount to the fund house.”
“Are you sure?” was his first question. I presented the calculations to him and he said to me, “Hey, check it once again”. I said, “They have made an excess payment." He said, “But how can I carry this message higher up the hierarchy?” “The way I came and told you, and if you are not going to, I am going to tell them.” He said, “Let me think over." I said, “You keep thinking, I am going in to see them…’.
I immediately walked in to the Head of our Department and explained to him what had happened. He too wanted me to recheck. When I convinced him on the facts of the case, grimaces on his face were evident. But I was firm that we should not be coveting what we do not own. Otherwise, I felt, there was no point in having listened to so many stories of the Ramayana, Mahabharata and of course, Swami’s discourses. Greed should not overpower us, be it at the corporate level or at the individual level, I said to myself. And eventually, the amount was refunded.
After two months, our organization received a letter from the Fund house, thanking us for having returned the amount. My boss called me and said: “This is for you; you are the true holder of this letter.” I preserved that letter for long, and cherished it way more than any other accolade. But my stories of triumphs with truth do not end here.
Vigilance Against Bribes Wrapped As Corporate Gifts
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is celebrated with much gaiety in India, but forgetting its spiritual significance, it has now become a season for offering bribes for favours in the form of ‘corporate gifts’ – a fine term that is used to make it sound all fair and acceptable.
On one occasion, someone tried to outsmart me. They sent me a corporate gift as a parcel that arrived at our company’s despatch department. The moment I saw it, I realized that it is not something meant for me, it’s a ‘corporate gift’. I told the staff to rush and return it to the sender.
Unfortunately the courier delivery personnel had left. I called up their office and told them they need to return the parcel. After long parleys of discussions, the courier office told me, “Sir, tomorrow when our person comes, please give it to him and he will carry it back.” Next day, the same delivery man came. He was smart enough, he said he will take it, but neatly ran out of the office without accepting it. I, then, sent it back but it returned! The drama went on for a week.
By now it was Friday. The person from our despatch section called me and said, “Look, I am going to escalate the matter.” His tone suggested that it was a threat and he was irritated with my stand to return the corporate gift to the sender. I stood my ground and I said, “Please… by all means”.

Harnessing the Heart
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That’s where I could keep my head high because I knew I had done nothing wrong. We went up to the Admin manager and I explained the situation. “Look Sir, this is a corporate gift that has come over,” I said.
Before that there was another conversation that I had with my immediate boss who said, “What’s wrong in accepting it?” “ I just care that it is not right and that’s it. I have told you. I have not come here for your permission; it’s for your information. You need to know what’s happening and I am not accepting it,” I told him and walked out of his room. He was perplexed.
Returning to the Admin Manager, when I explained the whole story he asked, “What are its contents”. I said, “I have not looked at it. I have not touched it and I don’t care what the contents are.” He looked up to the dispatch person and said, “We may accept this as a gift to the organization.”
But, it was in my personal name. “What do you feel about it?”, he asked. I said, “I just know one thing: I am not going to accept it or even touch it.” And then pleasantries were exchanged to close the discussion. I got up from my chair and was walking out of his chamber. Just when I was opening the latch of the door, the Admin Manager, who had been in the organisation for over 23 years and had just 2-3 months to retire, started saying something. I looked back and he said: “I thought people who live up to their principles had drastically reduced in this organization. But this particular deed of yours, proved me wrong. I am feeling happy that those who stick to their values and do the right thing are still around. I am really feeling happy about it.”
Was it a Coincidence or Absolutely His Work?
I nodded my head and as I turned my head to leave, my eyes caught the date on the calendar. It was November 23! Ah, the joy of having done the right thing on such a holy day!
My attempt to practice the motto of my university, namely, Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara may have been minor and simple. Yet they mean the world to me in my personal growth, just as every nut and bolt is crucial for the success of a rocket launch.
Certainly, these few incidents have shown me that when we are on the right path, we will be endowed with the self control needed to keep us from derailing from the right path. Maybe I should be asking Bhagavan for bhakti or devotion as once He had told us, “Ask forbhakti, I will give you shakti and mukti, and maybe yukti  as well’. For, in devotion lie the virtues of strength, freedom and wisdom.  Today, I realize, one definitely needs that gift of inner strength from Bhagavan to pursue the path of truth and righteousness - of Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara - the benediction from the Supreme Teacher as His parting advice to each of us, His students, at the time of our Convocation from the Sri Sathya Sai University.
Illustrations: Mr. Madhusudan Rao Naidu

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