Wednesday, February 24, 2010


How does an average person work? He works with a sense of weight and drudgery or he works with feverish intensity. Either will break him. If he works with indifference you cannot expect him to achieve anything significant. Because his heart is not in it and his mind and his energies are divided. If he works with nervous excitement, he will not last long. Sooner or later he will break down himself.

The truly great do not differentiate between big tasks and little tasks. They want to do well what they do whatever may be the task. Men of vision, men of genius, never feel that any work is beneath them. There is nothing beneath us and nothing beyond us. That should be our attitude. “There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.” said William Bennett. By doing well small tasks whole heartedly, with concentration and skillfulness, we evolve within ourselves a power which will enable us to perform greater tasks. Opportunities will come when we have proved our fitness.

Karma Yoga is the predominant topic of the Bhagavad Gita, though the book deals with other Yogas as well. Lord Krishna says in the Gita “Thy right is to work only, but never with its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction. (Gita, Ch. 2, Verse 47). Every action, following the causal law, will surely produce its fruit; why long for it? ‘Wretched are they who work for results.’ If an action is done without attachment to its fruit, evenness of mind is sure to follow. Action should be natural and spontaneous, prompted by the exigencies of a situation.

Swami Chinmayananda said beautifully, “In fact, the reward of an action, when we understand it properly, is not anything different from the action itself. An action in the PRESENT, when conditioned by a FUTURE time, appears as the fruit of action. In fact, the action ends or fulfils itself as reaction or fruit in future.” Lord Krishna’s advice here is a call to man not to waste his present moment in useless dreams and fears, but to bring his best to the PRESENT and vitally live every moment because future shall take care of itself without fail.

Karma Yoga is not merely work. Karma Yoga means to perform work to the best of our ability and with awareness, without being overly attached to the outcome or the results (or to the fruits, the term used in Yoga and in the Bhagavad Gita. Ideally, moment to moment, work is an end in itself, the sense of self-importance diminished and work is done more and more without the obsessive sense of ‘me’, ‘I’ and ‘mine’. One becomes an instrument of action.

In fact, Karma Yoga flies in the face of what we have been conditioned to expect from work since the day we were born: payment, a pat on the back, self-expression, a sense of achievement. Yoga is not saying that we shouldn’t be paid, nor that we shouldn’t enjoy our work or develop our talents. All this is a natural part of life. It is not renunciation of action itself, but renunciation of the longing for the fruit, that is the secret of karma yoga. When we do that we are able to be open to inner guidance and to flow in the stream of grace. The Intelligence-Power that sustains the universe has a plan and a purpose. When we are in harmony with It we are free, even while involved.

Martin Heidegger, the German philosopher, once said: “The artist should turn himself into that which wants to be revealed and permit the process to happen through him.” This doesn’t only apply to art: it also applies to every act in our lives. Karma Yoga is the endeavour to transform every act, every thought and every feeling into a work of art. Acts should be revealed through us. The Ineffable, the Inner Presence, should be allowed to express Itself perfectly, moment to moment, through the medium of our personality. Then we become an artist in the real, or Spiritual, sense of the word.

In our ignorance, we feel that ‘I am doing’. This creates pride in us and brings about strife and disharmony. We don’t know, or realise, that we are only given the mandate to be able do or act by an ineffable Intelligence which is far vaster and more all-encompassing than our personality. If we know this - really know it - then the ego-sense tends to diminish; moreover, we start to see the same Intelligence working through everyone and everything in the universe

When the individual no longer considers himself the doer but only an instrument, then work becomes spiritualised. The individual becomes efficient in action and develops equanimity of mind at all times and in all situations.

In every form of success or accomplishment, let us try to give less recognition to the ego, and more to the Intelligence which underlies everything. After all, as personalities, there is a severe limit to what we can do, even though we may think otherwise. The following story from the Mahabharata illustrates this point very clearly:

“After the war, Arjuna was crossing a city with some possessions when some robbers attacked him. Exercising his fighting skills, Arjuna fought with all his strength against the robbers, but could not overcome them. All of his divinely given weapons were useless against them.

Since Krishna had already departed from the earth, Arjuna, totally despondent, went to see Sage Vyasa in order to find out why his weapons were so useless. Vyasa explained, ‘Oh Arjuna, those weapons never possessed any power, nor did you possess any power within yourself. It was all Krishna’s will that made you victorious during the Mahabharata. Now those weapons no longer have any purpose, so you may as well discard them.’ Arjuna then went and threw his weapons into the ocean’

Though the path of Karma Yoga has been explained in detail by Bhagavad Gita, references to it can also be found, directly or indirectly, in other religions. Jesus said "Thy will be done." The entire essence of Karma Yoga is contained in this pithy statement. One tries to tune in with the underlying Intelligence that exists in all things and act accordingly.

Let us have a great ideal, an ideal that will startle us with its greatness. . Every act can be done in such a way as to uplift us or to drag us down. It is not what we do, but how we do it that determines the merit of each action. So work like a master and not as a slave. Little by little our imperfections and difficulties will vanish and instead of regarding life as drudgery, instead of shrinking from it, we shall bless this life with many opportunities.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I find the following interview with the famous heart surgeon very useful to all. Please read and be benefited.

A chat with Dr.Devi Shetty, Narayana Hrudayalaya
(Heart Specialist) Bangalore was arranged by WIPRO for its employees .
The transcript of the chat is given below. Useful for everyone.

Qn: What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart?

1. Diet - Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
2. Exercise - Half an hour's walk, at least five days a week; avoid lifts and avoid sitting for a longtime
3. Quit smoking
4. Control weight
5. Control blood pressure and sugar

Qn: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?

Ans: No

Qn: It's still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person
gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?

Ans: This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.

Qn: Are heart diseases hereditary?

Ans: Yes

Qn: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?

Ans: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.

Qn: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?

Ans: Walking is better than jogging since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints

Qn: You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has inspired you to do so?

Ans: Mother Theresa , who was my patient

Qn: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?

Ans: Extremely rare

Qn: Does cholesterol accumulates right from an early age
(I'm currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?

Ans: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.

Qn: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart ?

Ans: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body's enzyme release for digestion gets confused.

Qn: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?

Ans: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.

Qn: Can yoga prevent heart ailments?

Ans: Yoga helps.

Qn: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?

Ans: Fruits and vegetables are the best and the worst is oil.

Qn: Which oil is better - groundnut, sunflower, olive?

Ans: All oils are bad .

Qn: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?

Ans: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.

Qn: What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?

Ans: Help the person into a sleeping position , place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.

Qn: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?

Ans: Extremely difficult without ECG.

Qn: What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 yrs of age having heart attacks and serious heart problems.

Ans: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, s edentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.

Qn: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?

Ans: Yes.

Qn: Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?

Ans : Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and you may not have a software engineer as a child

Qn: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart ? What precautions would you recommend?

Ans : When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.

Qn: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short / long term)?

Ans : Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.

Qn: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?

Ans : No.

Qn: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?

Ans : No.

Qn: How would you define junk food?

Ans : Fried food like Kentucky , McDonalds , samosas, and even masala dosas.

Qn: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?

Ans: Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.

Qn: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?

Ans : No.

Qn: Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded emails on this)?

Ans : Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.

Qn: Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?

Ans : No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.

Qn: Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?

Ans : Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.

Qn: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?

Ans: Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.

Qn: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?

Ans : Diet, exercise, drugs on time , Control cholesterol, BP, weight.

Qn: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?

Ans : No.

Qn: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?

Ans : There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to
reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.

Qn: Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?

Ans : No.

Qn: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?

Ans : Nature protects women till the age of 45.

Qn: How can one keep the heart in a good condition?

Ans : Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do not smoke and, go for health checkup s if you are past the age of 30 ( once in six months recommended) ....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nothing is Random

Everything has a meaning in our life. Nothing is accidental. As Einstein said beautifully God does not play dice with the world. Sometimes it is difficult to accept this. Some events in our life may not seem to make any real sense to us. But in the end we can see the purpose if we look deeper. The following passage is very meaningful. Read slowly and digest. You’ll understand a greater pattern of things and you’ll get peace.

Nothing is Random

Nothing is random, nor will anything ever be, whether a long string of perfectly blue days that begin and end in golden dimness, the most seemingly chaotic political acts, the rise of a great city, the crystalline structure of a gem that has never seen the light, the distributions of fortune, what time the milkman gets up, the position of the electron, or the occurrence of one astonishingly frigid winter after another.

Even electrons, supposedly the paragons of unpredictability, are tame and obsequious little creatures that rush around at the speed of light, going precisely where they are supposed to go. They make faint whistling sounds that when apprehended in varying combinations are as pleasant as the wind flying through a forest, and they do exactly as they are told. Of this, one can be certain.

And yet there is a wonderful anarchy, in that the milkman chooses when to arise, the rat picks the tunnel into which he will dive when the subway comes rushing down the track from Borough Hall, and the snowflake will fall as it will. How can this be? If nothing is random, and everything is predetermined, how can there be free will? The answer to that is simple.

Nothing is predetermined; it is determined, or was determined, or will be determined. No matter, it all happened at once, in less than an instant, and time was invented because we cannot comprehend in one glance the enormous and detailed canvas that we have been given - so we track it, in linear fashion, piece by piece. Time, however, can be easily overcome; not by chasing light, but by standing back far enough to see it all at once.

The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is; everything that ever will be, is - and so on, in all possible combinations. Though in perceiving it we imagine that it is in motion, and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful.

In the end, or rather, as things really are, any event, no matter how small, is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible; and, when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but as something that is.

Mark Helprin

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ambani Wisdom

Words are easy for thinkers. But doing is the difficult part. So thinkers are not always the doers. But when a doer speak words of wisdom they are more pregnant with meaning. They are practical and followable. So when the successful person like Dhirubhari Ambani speaks about his success formulae everyone who wish to succeed must listen, digest and act. Please read his wise sayings-

Dhirubhai Ambani Quotes -

True entrepreneurship comes only from risk-taking.

Pursue your goal, even in the face of difficulties. Convert difficulties into opportunities. Keep your morale high, in spite of setbacks. At the end you are bound to succeed.

My advice to young entrepreneurs is not to accept defeat in the face of odds. Challenge negative forces with hope, self-confidence and conviction. I believe that ambition and initiative will ultimately triumph. The success of the young entrepreneur will be the key to India's transformation in the new millennium.

The secret of Reliance's success was to have ambition and to know the minds of men.

Growth has no limit at Reliance. I keep revising my vision. Only when you dream it you can do it.

The problem with Indians is that we have lost the habit of thinking big!

We must always go for the best. Do not compromise on quality. Reject if it is not the best -- not only the best in India, but globally.

If India wants to be a great nation, we must have courage to trust. This is my sincere belief.

All we have to do is to break the shackles that chain the energies of our people, and India's economy will record a quantum leap and move into a new, higher orbit of growth, competitiveness and productivity.

For those who dare to dream, there is a whole world to win!

I am deaf to the word 'NO.'

I give least importance to being Number one. I consider myself to be fortunate in this position and would like to contribute to nation building in some way.

Does making money excite me? No, but I have to make money for my shareholders. What excites me is achievement, doing something difficult. In this room extraordinary things must happen.

Think big, think fast, think ahead. Ideas are no one's monopoly.

Our dreams have to be bigger. Our ambitions higher. Our commitment
deeper. And our efforts greater. This is my dream for Reliance and for

I consider myself a pathfinder. I have been excavating the jungle and
making the road for others to walk. I like to be the first in everything I do.

Give the youth a proper environment. Motivate them. Extend them the support they need. Each one of them has infinite source of energy. They will deliver.

You do not require an invitation to make profits.

If you work with determination and with perfection, success will follow.

Between my past, the present and the future, there is one common factor: Relationship and Trust. This is the foundation of our growth.

We bet on people.

Meeting the deadlines is not good enough, beating the deadlines is my expectation.

Don't give up, courage is my conviction.

We cannot change our rulers, but we can change the way they rule us.

As A G Krishnamurthy, founder of Mudra Communications, writes in his book, Dhirubhaism, about some of the Reliance founder's doctrines:

Roll up your sleeves and help. You and your team share the same DNA.

Be a safety net for your team.

Always be the silent benefactor. Don't tom-tom about how you helped someone.

Dream big, but dream with your eyes open.

Leave the professional alone!

Change your orbit, constantly!

Money is not a product by itself, it is a by-product, so don't chase it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Finding Peace

(A Short Story)

It was a bitter cold December morning. I was outside a mortuary waiting to receive the body of my father whom, I had never seen. The wait seemed endless. My body became numb and stiff from the icy wind. My thoughts were on my father…..

He had abandoned our family when I was one year old. All I knew of my father was what I heard from my mother and uncle. He was a lazy man who avoided honest work, drank excessively and beat my mother and my two elder sisters. One day he disappeared taking with him all jewels and savings of my mother without caring anyone else including his three kids under the age of five.

My mother worked as a typist in a small private firm and with her meager income she struggled very much to keep us alive. Her brother, my uncle, helped her to educate us. As I grew into adulthood my hatred for my father became deeper. The more I heard about him, the more I hated him. The more I hated, the angrier I became. My anger turned into curiosity to know him firsthand. My mother and uncle stopped talking about him. My sisters didn’t care to know about him.

But I became obsessed with finding him. I constantly dream about meeting my father and confronting him directly. I became fixated on my hatred and on my desire to meet the man who abandoned his family. Repeatedly I used to speak to him in my mind demanding answers.

The only person who forgave him was my mother. She philosophically took everything as her “karma”. She would say: “Ashwin, forgive him and forget him. Hatred can never let you live in peace”

“How can you forgive him mother?”

“The question is not ‘how’, Ashwin. It is ‘why’. To live with peace of mind, we need to forgive. It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on. It takes a lot of strength to let go. Only by letting go the burden of hatred one can find peace, my son”

But I could not let my hatred go. I worked part time and finished my college. I got a good job with nice salary in a computer software company. My sisters were married. But with time my hatred did not fade. It only intensified. Frequently I dreamt about my father and awaken with a fit of anger.

In her death bed my mother held my hand and said, “Ashwin, past is a corpse. You must bury it. No sane person takes the burden of it with him. There's no need and it's no use……”

They were her last words. I tried to follow her advice. But I couldn’t shrug the burden from mind. Inspite of my mother's advice the past was not dead to me. It was still alive. Stored anger and silent resentment really made my life miserable. I still asked questions and made trips to my father’s relatives and friends living in distant cities. All ended in frustration only.

Yesterday I received a phone call from a friend of my father saying that he came to know just then that my father had died in Coimbatore general hospital. Suddenly I felt blank. I couldn't decide what to do.

I remembered my mother's words "“Ashwin, forgive him and forget him. Hatred can never let you live in peace...... It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on. It takes a lot of strength to let go. Only by letting go the burden of hatred one can find peace, my son........”

I decided to go there. After five minutes I made a phone call to Coimbatore general hospital and talked to the authorities. When I informed the news to my sisters they refused to come with me. To them he was dead long ago. I boarded the Coimbatore train alone.

I was curious to know whether my father had told anyone that he had three kids. Did he ever secretly try to find how his wife and children were doing? Did he ever care? Did he know about his wife’s death? Mostly I wanted to know how he could have abandoned his family. My anger at his behaviour still haunted me.

The hospital people informed me that he died of cancer. He had been admitted only a week before and nobody came along with him. They could provide no more information about him. Except his name “Chandran”, they did not know anything about him. They gave me his cloth bag. Except two old dhothis, two shirts and a match box nothing was there. No addresses, no phone numbers, no photographs.....

My thoughts were interrupted by the delivery of my father's lifeless body to me. My heart pounded with emotions I couldn't name. With frustration I stood looking at the body.... I had so many questions to ask him. I waited all those years for an opportunity to meet him. I wanted to hear his side of the story and what made him to live his life as he did. But fate never granted my wishes and provided any answers. Only God knew all answers.

I finally realized that by hating him I had given him power over my peace of mind. I deeply felt that time had come to abandon my anger and hatred. As my mother had said I wanted to be strong enough to let go. I had to accept what happened. His death left me no other choice. My heart began to soften. I said to him silently, "Father, I forgive you". I really meant it.

Two hours later I buried him in a nearby graveyard. As I came out of the graveyard, I felt a deep sense of relief and peace.

- N.Ganeshan