New Website Design

 

I changed my website theme this month. The earlier site looked more like a news website and I realised that it needed a facelift.

This new site looks a lot more like a personal site than the earlier one. I have added three new sections – news, videos and links.

I hope you like this new design. Keep coming back for more.

Added Links Page

I added a Links page to my site today. It will constantly be updated.

This section is a reflection on various things that interest me – from business, to investing, to writing, making YouTube videos, publishing, etc.

Don’t worry be happy

‘Here’s a little song I wrote.. You might want to sing it note for note, don’t worry.. be happy!’ This is the opening line of the famous song by Bobby McFerrin back in the 1980s called ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’ Now more than ever, people should heed the words of this song.

The times we live in are stressful indeed, but when stress begins to control us, it can lead to fatal consequences. We have all heard about the things that are bad for us – smoking, drinking, obesity, etc. but the real killer is stress. The bad news is that we live in a world full of stress. But the good news is that stress can be managed. When we realise this, we can take control of our lives and overcome the stress. How?

‘Don’t worry, be happy!’

Happiness is a hidden gem that often remains hidden. But yet, the irony is that it can be achieved rather easily if we change our approach and attitude towards life.
Always remember that worrying never solves anything. If there is something that is in our control, we can control it. If not in our control, then worrying will not make any difference. So in either case, don’t worry!

There are many ways that we can make adjustments in our lives – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that can lead to us being happy.

Physically

Let’s start with breathing. Breathing is something that we all do without really noticing it. As you read this article, you are breathing. Notice it. Feel the air coming through your nostrils, feel it going into your lungs and be aware of it as it is exhaled. Simply focusing on your breathing is relaxing and regularly doing this is perhaps the easiest form of meditation. It reduces stress and will make you more centred in your thoughts.
Exercising is also a great way to reduce stress and make you happy. One can start with taking a daily walk for minimum 30 minutes. While you are doing this, try to think of something pleasant or funny. Try not to think about work or other stresses while walking. Going to a gym and exercising is also great and remember that you can start with lighter exercises. The feeling you get after exercising is the reward itself. Generally, one feels very relaxed and happier after a workout.

Mentally

Browse the Internet and read something that interests you. There is a whole world of information and knowledge that is waiting to be discovered. Read something online or watch some interesting videos on YouTube. Watch something funny on TV. Humour is a great stress reliever and puts things into perspective. Life is not meant to be always serious and humour is a great way to remind yourself about the balance needed in life.
Read books. Take out the time to read a good book. It will teach you something and at the same time, it will transport your mind into another world of sorts. Imagination and wonder is a great way to be happy and reduce stress.
Writing is also a great way to relieve stress. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to write an article or a book (although that would be great) even just jotting down your thoughts in a notebook or writing a diary is a great way to let out vented up stress and energy and express yourself. You never know what comes out of you when you write. Every bestseller began with a single word.

Emotionally

In our daily relationships, there are good days and bad days. Sometimes we have fights, arguments, and disagreements with people whom we love. Sometimes we suffer from breakups, separation or divorce. These situations can lead to major emotional trauma and stress.

But the good news is – don’t worry be happy! Believe it or not, you are the only one person responsible for your own happiness. We tend to become emotionally dependent on others. We have this feeling that we can only be happy if we are with so and so. Be it a spouse, a friend, a child, a parent, a sibling, etc. But this is false. This is only a mental construct. We are the only ones responsible for our own happiness. In order to do this, we must become friends with our selves. We must love ourselves. This is not a selfish kind of love. It is not saying that we don’t love others, but it is saying that we love ourselves just as we love others.

So, in case there is a breakup or an argument or a fight, etc. we will also be content with having our own self to keep us company. This might seem funny, but try it. If you are alone or feeling lonely, talk to yourself and not just random babbling, but have an actual conversation with yourself. Trust me, in time you will feel the stress and loneliness melt away and happiness will flow towards you.

Watching a nice movie, play or reading a good book can also lead to an emotional charge that will not only entertain you, but also teach you some new perspective about life. It will help you to get rid of emotional stress.

Spiritually

‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.’ – Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

 

We are spiritual beings currently on planet earth to learn, explore and grow. The sooner we realise this, the soon happiness will come.

Meditation and charity are great ways to develop spiritually and as this happens, stress is bound to be relieved and happiness is sure to come.

Meditating increases our awareness and leads to a state of bliss that relaxes us and decreases stress and also gives us a glimpse into a larger peaceful world of energy and love. There is a field of spiritual energy that surrounds us and binds us. Meditation helps us gain access to this field. Soon we realise that we are on a spiritual journey and the only thing we take with us back to our spiritual home after we leave our bodies is our thoughts, feelings and karma. Not one paisa or square millimetre of land! If we only strive for material things, we are wasting our time. Material things are important, but as a means to an end and not the end itself.

In the end, all is good.

So once again, don’t worry, be happy!

(Published in Double Helical Magazine September 2017)

The Man From Yamuna Pushta

(Published in The Speaking Tree column of The Times of India Edit Page May 22, 2017)

Yamuna Pushta is an embankment of jhuggis (hutments) behind Raj Ghat, Delhi, on the banks of the Yamuna River. I had gone there in 1995, as a reporter for a Delhi-based evening newspaper, to cover a story about drug trafficking that was allegedly taking place there.

When I got to the Pushta, I visited the jhuggi of a man who had been a drug addict since childhood. I sat in his 8 feet by 8 feet jhuggi. His wife and two kids had been sent by him to beg in Connaught Place. The proceedings from their daily begging activities would help them survive and also cater to his ongoing drug addiction.

He offered me a glass of tea and we started talking. For a man who lived in Yamuna Pushta, he was surprisingly serene. He spoke to me in a calm, composed and collected manner. He confessed he regretted his habit, but doubted if he would be able to survive without his daily dose of drugs. “When I was a kid, a bad man injected me with drugs and I became a drug addict – it was not out of choice,” he told me.

He also told me that what he really wanted in life was for his children to study, be healthy and hopefully some day by a gift of destiny, become educated and get good jobs and eventually marry and have their own families. At that moment I realised that we both wanted the same things in life. I also realised the connection that exists between all human beings on Earth and all beings in the universe.

It struck me that though a man could be a drug addict living in Yamuna Pushta who had to resort to sending his family out to beg, he is not just a ‘statistic’ or just a ‘story’, but a human being who wants what all people want – the well being of family.
That day, I left Yamuna Pushta a little wiser and a lot more aware of the connection between beings – the love of God that binds us all though we may look different, have different ways of living even if of a completely different level in the social spectrum.

The story doesn’t end there. By a strange twist of irony, that same evening, I went to cover an event that then Prime Minister, P V Narasimha Rao, was attending. I waited in the media area, heard the sirens of the PM’s motorcade, listened to his speech and went home.

That day I had seen two men who were perhaps from completely opposite end of the social spectrum. On the one hand, a man living in a 64 sq. feet jhuggi, a drug addict — a man who sends his family to beg in order to survive, but yet a man who wanted something nice for his family; on the other hand, the Prime Minister of India, who had everything possible within reach. I don’t think there can be any more extreme levels on the social spectrum than these two men.

The man from Yamuna Pushta and I connected that morning at a mental and spiritual level. Oddly, I didn’t feel that when I heard the PM address the gathering in a meticulously prepared speech.

I returned home wiser and felt touched at the level of the soul. The man at the ‘lowest’ level of the social spectrum affected my heart more than the man at the ‘highest’ level.

 

Click here to see the scanned version of this that came in The Speaking Tree column Edit Page Times of India May 22, 2017

Giving children with autism the recognition they deserve

World Autism Awareness Day

I had the privilege of being invited as the chief guest to present children with autism certificates and awards at a function organised at Nora Niwas, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.

Had a wonderful time with the lovely children and staff at Parivartan School being run by Pordac NGO at Nora Niwas on World Autism Day! God bless the kids and the people running it! I am very happy with the work being done by Manjir Gupta and her team.

It is so important for people to become aware and sensitised towards the needs of children with autism and other conditions. They are God's precious gifts to humankind and we must do our best to love them and improve their conditions and try our best to integrate them into society.

Manjir Gupta started Pordac (Protection of the Rights of Differently Abled Children) after her son Aranya had problems in mainstream education because of his autism. When she realised that the schools in Delhi did not seem to be either equipped or sensitised towards the needs and requirements of Differently Abled children, she quit her job at a bank and formed Pordac. Now, the Parivartan school is giving hope to many more children with autism. Great job and God bless!

You can learn more about Manjir and Pordac by visiting their website.

The Meaning Of `Be Fruitful And Multiply’ (Parable of Talents)

The parable of talents
(Published on March 29, 2017 in The Speaking Tree of the Times of India)

Parable of Talents

According to the Bible the first command God gave humans was to `be fruitful and multiply’. While this could be taken as a command to populate the planet, it has much deeper meaning that is as relevant today as it was then. We can learn more about this from the Parable of Talents.

Jesus Christ taught lessons using stories or parables. One of these ­ the parable of the talents is about `being fruitful and multiplying’ but in a very different way . It is about an employer who is about to go away for some time.Before he does, he gives three servants ­ let’s call them A, B and C ­ some talents (coins). A gets five coins, B gets two coins and C gets one coin.

When the employer returns some time later, he asks A, B and C to account for how well they managed the money they were left as stewards for.

A has made five coins grow to 10, B made two coins grow to 4, but C took one coin, buried it and returned it to his master.

The master is furious! He abuses C and takes away the money from him and gives it to A. He then admonishes him by saying that he could have at least put the money in a bank and gotten interest.

Then Jesus goes on to say that those that have will get more and those that do not have will lose even what they do have.

This parable could be a lesson in the importance of investing and circulating money to make it grow as opposed to hoarding and hiding it and watching it decay in value. But the power of this parable goes way beyond money and materialist things. For this goes to the very first command God gave humanity ­ `be fruitful and multiply’.

God has given each and every one of us certain gifts. We all have been given various `talents’ or `seeds’, which we are not supposed to just bury in the sand, but multiply them by making them grow. How we do this is to use these to help enrich our world.

Moreover, what is the biggest gift or virtue that God gives us? It is the capacity to love. Through love come the other virtues of peace, joy , happiness, bliss and contentment.If we apply the parable of talents in our daily lives, then we need to use the gifts that God has given us ­ including the gift of love ­ and multiply them.

Love, an asset, has to grow in order for us to live bountiful lives. It can only grow by circulation and not by stagnation. Then the reward or `fruit’ will be to get more of what you have helped to grow.

We may think we are preserving something by hiding it away or being overprotective but we are doing the opposite. By hiding something away that can bring value to the world, we are inadvertently destroying it.

Ships may be safe in the harbour, but that is not what ships were built for.

We may feel we are safe by suppressing our own creative skills, procrastinating or by being indifferent to others, but that is not what we came to Earth for.

So don’t waste time. Use your gifts, improve the world, spread love and compassion to all you encounter.

Click here to see the scan of the article from The Times of India (March 29, 2017)

CREDAI Conclave 2017

The CREDAI conclave happened very nicely this year.

The speakers included Sadhguru, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Shekhar Gupta, Raj Jain and others.

The conclave continued the theme of skill India, strong India, clean India.

The Conclave took place at Taj Palace Hotel on March 7-8 and was attended by real estate developers from all over India.

 

Power of thought

Every thought creates a universal vibration

 

Every thought produces a vibration in the universe. The energy of the vibration produced increases as the intensity of the thought increases. These vibrations have power. They can change their surroundings and ultimately make the world a much better place.

Have you noticed that when you enter into a room where there has been a fight or argument, you can ‘sense’ the tension in the air? Have you ever been in a place where you have had an eerie or uncomfortable feeling? We have all felt this some time or the other. It is natural for us to be able to sense vibrations.

Similarly, there must have been times when you have gone to a holy place where many come to pray or meditate and sensed a powerful feeling of love, peace, serenity and safety.

All of this shows that the ripples or vibrations produced by thought and intense awareness have an impact on their surroundings and produce vibrations that over time are absorbed in the place. The place then retains the energy of the vibrations.

Thought is powerful. So are its byproducts – words and deeds. A nice word can and does have a powerful impact on its recipient.

A word filled with love, kindness and compassion can create a powerful vibration of goodness that if powerful enough can change the way people around think. The power of mantras has been known for thousands of years.

A selfless deed to serve someone else can set a very powerful example and permanently change the person helped by giving them a taste of love and compassion. An act of love or kindness makes both the giver and receiver experience a feeling of goodness and love.

Using thoughts, words and deeds – you can change the world!

Our planet today has a lot of negative energy that is manifested in the form of wars, violence, crimes, prejudices among other things. But that can change.

If enough people just stop what they’re doing for just a few moments every day and send out positive energy in the form of a prayer or mantra for love and peace into the universe. Let this positivity be guided specifically towards our planet Earth. This will begin the creation of a matrix of positive energy and vibrations.

If everybody just makes it a point to close their eyes for a few minutes and imagine our planet Earth floating in space. Imagine all the billions of people, animals and plants on Earth and just send a thought or word of love. After this, smile at the Earth and wait for the response – you will feel the Earth smile back. If you do not feel the response immediately, don’t worry. It will eventually come over time.

Soon the negative vibrations will be replaced by positive ones and this will be the beginning of a new era of positivity. Try it. Once a day for a few minutes to start with. It will make you feel great. If enough people do this, we will all change for the better and the Earth will change too.

The Godhead is Om

OM is a holy sound which is not only a chant, but it is a template of cosmic energy that when applied to our bodies by simple sounds actually generates a flow of cosmic energy from the lower chakras to the upper chakras and initiates a process of energy flow that stimulates spiritual evolution.

The holy sound of OM is a combination of three letters A-U-M and these three sounds symbolize the Divine Energy or Shakti. But that is not all. There are many very interesting aspects of these syllables that can be experienced by you right now.

Sit back and relax a moment and take a deep breath. Now say ‘Ahhh’ in a normal voice – neither a shout nor a whisper – but just kind of like if you were singing ‘Ahhh’ – the musical note. You will feel something in your gut region as you chant this. A kind of tingling sensation. Feel it?

Now the next sound U (oo). Take a deep breath and say, “Ooo” rhyming with ‘too’. Where do you feel the tingling sensation now? Feel it. You will feel a sensation in your chest area.

Now for the final sound M.

Take a deep breath and make a humming sound of ‘Mmm’. Where do you feel the sensation now? In the head area? You are on the right track.

Try this a few times and experiment. Now for the combination. Combine the three sounds and say ‘Om’ or ‘Aum’. Notice the sensation. It begins in the gut area, moves to the chest area and finally into the head area. This is the Shakti that is flowing from the lower chakras to the higher ones. This is the direction of the Shakti flow that causes spiritual growth.

But there is something about this experiment that is even more interesting. In the Hindu tradition, the Trimurti is the Divine Godhead that comprises of Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver) and Shiva (Destroyer or Transformer). The three sounds that you just experimented with are also representations of these three gods. The ‘A’ is Brahma the ‘U’ is Vishnu and the ‘M’ is Shiva.

The gut is the region which naturally resonates with the ‘A’ sound. This is also the symbolic region of Brahma, the Creator. Think about it. The gut is the place of creation. Babies gestate in the womb, food is digested in the stomach from where new energy is created.

The chest is the region which naturally resonates with the ‘U’ sound. This is the symbolic region of Vishnu, the Preserver. Life is preserved generally through the chest region. This is where the oxygen is stored in the lungs, this is where the blood is circulated throughout the body. These are the main aspects of preservation of life.

The head is the region which naturally resonates with the ‘M’ sound. This is the symbolic region of Shiva, the Transformer. Along with Destroyer, Shiva is also considered as Transformer. It is through him that the souls evolve or transform into a higher form eventually. The head is the place of transformation. The Third Eye or the Ajna chakra and the Crown chakra are seated in the head. The spiritual energy that travels from the gut into the chest is finally processed in the head region and this is where our consciousness is transformed gradually into the higher spiritual planes

Shiva is more commonly referred to as the ‘Destroyer’. However, he is also called the Transformer. They are connected. When a seed is planted into the soil and grows into a plant, the seed has been transformed into something greater or higher and in the process, the seed is ‘destroyed’ in a sense. When darkness is destroyed, it is transformed to light. When evil is destroyed, it is transformed into love – a higher frequency of consciousness.

So OM is a Divine sound that is a combination of sounds which symbolize the Godhead and also can be practically tested and experienced as a way of transmuting the core base energy into preservative and then ultimately transformative energy that leads to spiritual evolution and awareness of the higher planes of consciousness.

Multiplying wealth, creativity and love

Multiplying wealth through the parable of talents

Being fruitful and multiplying wealth

Multiplying wealth is God’s command. But so is multiplying creativity and love.

According to the Bible the first command God gave humans was to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28). While this could be taken as a command to populate the planet, it has much deeper meaning that is as relevant today as it was then.

Jesus Christ taught lessons using stories or parables. One of these – the Parable of the Talents  (Matthew 25:14-30) is about ‘being fruitful and multiplying’ but in a very different way.

Parable of the Talents – a gist

It is about an employer who is about to go away for some time. Before he does, he gives three servants – lets call them A, B and C some talents (coins). A gets 5 coins, B gets 2 coins and C gets 1 coin.

When the employer returns some time later, he asks A, B and C to account for how well they managed the money they were left as stewards for. How much did they multiply wealth?

A has made 5 coins grow to 10, B made 2 coins grow to 4, but C took 1 coin, buried it and returned it to his master.

The master is furious! He abuses C and takes away the money from him and gives it to A. ‘You could have at least put the money in the bank and earned deposit,’ says the master to C.

Then Jesus goes on to say that those that multiply wealth will get more and those that do not will lose even what they do have.

Lesson on investing?

Instead of letting money stagnate through hoarding and hiding it should be invested and circulated.

But the power of this parable goes way beyond multiplying wealth. For this goes to the very first command God gave humanity – ‘be fruitful and multiply’. Let us take a closer look at this and its importance for our world today.

Multiplying wealth – material, spiritual and creative to make a better world

God has given each and every one of us certain gifts. Some may be writers, musicians, artists, leaders, healers, speakers, caregivers and so on. God gave us all various ‘talents’ or ‘creative seeds’. These should be multiplied and grown, not buried in the sand. Using these to help enrich our world is how we make them grow. Multiplying wealth is not only about multiplying material wealth.

But it goes even further that this. What is the biggest gift or virtue that God gives us? It is the capacity to love. Through love come the other virtues of peace, joy, happiness, bliss, and contentment.

If we apply the parable of talents in our daily lives, then we need to use the gifts that God has given us (including the gift of love) and multiply them. If you are loved by God (which we all are, even if we don’t realise it) then we need to make that love grow and multiply just as the first servant did. We need to make sure that the love God has given us is put to use and spread to others and not buried inside the depths of our own self-centredness.

Love is a resource, an asset!

To use the investment analogy – love is a resource, an asset, a gift that we have along with our other creative talents or skills. This asset has to grow in order for us to live bountiful lives. It can only grow by circulation and not by stagnation.

When you help something grow you get more rewards or ‘fruit’.

In the parable, it is multiplying wealth. In our own lives, it could be money, skills, love or blessings. These things come to us only when we take the risk of taking a chance.

We may think we are preserving something by hiding it away or being overprotective but we are doing the opposite. By hiding something away that can bring value to the world, we are inadvertently destroying it.

The greatest risk is not taking any

Ships may be safe in the harbour, but that is not what ships were built for.

We may feel we are safe by suppressing our own creative skills, procrastinating or by being indifferent to others, but that is not what we came to Earth for.

So don’t waste time. Be like the first servant. Use your gifts, improve the world, spread love and compassion to all you encounter. Multiply wealth whether it is material wealth, spiritual wealth or creative wealth. Today’s world has its share of problems but it also has its share of wonder. By nurturing and growing our talents, we can bring more love, peace and creativity to our world.