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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Musings: “May we be cured of our “Past” blindness….”

Just like marriage or voting or to apply for driving license is there an age limit to indulge in philosophical / spiritual studies and discussions? Going by some of the feedback that i have been receiving i am told that lets give another 5 –10 years before we get philosophical / spiritual.

Some of them who know me for more than a decade even pity me for this disposition. Lets be 45+ then we can start spending some time reading about such heavy stuff – is a very common and logically valid argument from most of my friends. I remember taking the same position not so long ago.

There seems to be a psychological – if not legal, age limit we have set to ourselves for more evolved things in life. I am not sure as to where this age limit bias is rooted.

I came across few interesting pieces of information which answered this question comprehensively to my satisfaction and at the same time highlighted as to how and what mistakes we have been making all this while.

There was a highly evolved individual - philosophically and spiritually, who was trying hard to initiate his son into spiritual / philosophical studies. The answer was nothing different from what we would have given. Dad, there is enough time and let me start this at a later stage in life.

All his attempts to make his son see his point were in vain, yet determined about his objective the old man decided to try a new way. As a part of his daily prayers he used to buy some flowers and fruits in small quantities for the days consumption. But on one day he bought few dozens of bananas and stocked near his son’s room.

His son noticed this new stock of bananas outside his room but did not bother to ask what is that for. After a couple of days, the son could not resist asking his dad, what these bananas are for? His replied that these are for God and i am planning to offer them to God after daily prayers. Next few days, the bananas have started rotting and the rotten smell of bananas were becoming unbearable yet there are no sign of any banana being offered to god or being taken out.

The son could not stand this and was complaining to his father for some action. But his dad was quite composed and replied that he is still wanting to offer them to god and waiting for the right time.

His son could not take this calm answer and was about to explode that no one in the house can stand this smell. His father did not seem to be perturbed at this outburst and calmly replied “is this not similar to saying that we can start the spiritual / philosophical studies when we are old and not at an young age…?” We want to offer ourselves to god when we are weak, old with no utility value, then why not the bananas.

His son could not ignore the point his dad was trying to make with all his sincerity “Spirituality is not a past time activity dedicated to physical infirmity at old age but is an essential tool to guide our lives from the time we can think on our own and take decisions for ourselves. These tools come in handy to establish the right priorities in life, control the extraordinary physical urges and give a right conduit to them and most importantly keep them in the right path in our journey called life giving us enough – just enough latitude during this whole journey.

In Tamil there is a saying that "காமம் வருமுன் காயத்ரி வரவேண்டும்" (Kamam varumun Gayatri Varavendum) which means before Gayatri should enter the mind of a child before Kama”.

There is another logic to this argument. They say every action done or word spoken is like a seed being sown. If we initiate our kids early enough in life in the path of spirituality / philosophical studies then its like a seed being sown. the child grows up indulges in the worldly life like we all do and generally when the physical body becomes little slow, say during mid thirties there is a qualitative change in our thinking. The insecurity around our career and our self ability would have been addressed with a decent degree and job, kids, marriage etc would have established ourselves in a life that starts thinking about others with shared responsibility. I can also state that after being few years of married life a man naturally takes to the spiritual / philosophical path (thanks to my female friends reading this and in complete agreement with this :)), hence there is a qualitative change in thinking.

This aspect is a very good catalyst for the spiritual seed sown in the childhood and we notice most of us start looking for higher purpose in life. Let me qualify here that this higher purpose is not in being religious but in understanding / trying to understand how we can be of better utility to ourselves and to the people around us.

In the absence of a seed which was not sown at an early age, it is told that many individuals struggle hard in life without a substratum and lead a mentally volatile life leading to broken relationships, psychological treatments etc – just like a ship without an anchor that would drift and lose its way.

So the argument for starting the spiritual / philosophical studies early in life has 2 arguments so far.

I turned around to see if there are any references in our scriptures or in any of my friend’s works. The one liked was from one of my girl friend “Auvaiyaar” who lived over 2000 years before. She has been asked what is rare and difficult in this world and she replies:

அரிது அரிது, மானிடராதல் அரிது

மானிடராயினும் கூன் குருடு செவிடு நீங்கி பிறத்தல் அரிது

கூன் குருடு செவிடு பிறந்த காலையின்
ஞானமும் கல்வியும் லயத்தல் அரிது

ஞானமும் கல்வியும் லயந்த காலையும்

தானமும் தவமும் தான் செய்தல் அரிது

தானமும் தவமும் தான் செய்வராயின்

வானவர் நாடிட வழி பிறந்திடுமே !

means, It is difficult to be born as a human being, more difficult is to be born without any diseases like blindness, deafness etc. Even if you are physically ok, it is difficult to gain education and wisdom. Even if you are educated, it is very difficult to be generous (to do charity) and do penance (be disciplined). If you are a human being and firmly established in the path of generosity and penance then you shall walk the path of the angels and gods.

This highlights the importance of looking for a higher purpose in life and essentially addressing the community which is well educated but yet shying away from philosophical / spiritual path.

But what is the right age to start this?

Hindus have a ritual called Valaikappu (that’s how its in tamil) which is conducted around 6th month of pregnancy where the mother bearing the child is made to wear lots of glass bangles. The reason behind this is to recognize the development of hearing sensation of the fetus.

Our scriptures are replete with stories where the child has been learning even when it is in the uterus. For example Abhimanyu learnt the war secret of breaking a battle formation (Chakra vyuh) when he was in the uterus. Prahalad son of Demon king Hiranyakshan learnt the Atma tattva when he was in uterus and that led to Narasimha avatar.

But what took me off my feet was this lullaby (தாலாட்டு) in Sanskrit which is being sung by a mother to the new born child.

“Suddhosi Buddhosi Niranjanosi
Samsar Maya Parivarjatosi
Samsar Swavadam Tyaja Moha Nidram
Na Janma Mrityu Twahi Sat Swarupe..”


You are forever pure, you are forever true
and the dream of this world will never touch you
So give up your attachment, give up all confusion
Fly in that space that's beyond all illusion. You are the that truth’s form…

If you read the song again you would notice that there is nothing religious in that but the supreme philosophy that is being sung to a new born infant.

I came across this piece only a few days back and “Googled” to find out more. to my surprise I found quite a number of articles, even videos actually sung by not Indians but foreigners who have taken active interest in learning our past which we have comfortably ignored.

I have started asking my friends & relatives if they have heard this song. the answer is disappointing not only from our generation but also from the previous generation.

oldIndiaI think Lord Macaulay should be laughing his heart out in his grave as he managed to spearhead the inculcation of “Past blindness” in a country of billion people.. (enlarge this image to understand this.)

I think there has not been a country with about 3 generations now who have comfortably decided to give crass importance to their rich past and is obsessed with anything that is alien to ours.

I fear may we not live to see the days when a stranger from an alien land comes and teaches us about our past!… May we not put our children to face those days. Lets be intellectually hungry about our rich past, lets be rationally discriminate about them and lets be very passionate about the right ones and take pride in them.

May we be cured of our “Past” blindness!…

Happy reading!

PS: I am producing here some exceptional quotes about India’s past. Check out the Einstein’s quote on Bhagavad Gita.

When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.
- Albert Einstein

"Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from
the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches
its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary
desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is lead forward by thee
into ever-widening thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father,
let my country awake."
"GEETANJALI" -Rabindranath Tagore

We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.
-Albert Einstein

If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.
- Max Mueller (German scholar)

Mark Twain said: India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.

French scholar Romain Rolland said: If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.

The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendour and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of traditions, whose yesterday's bear date with the modering antiquities for the rest of nations-the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the world combined.
- Mark Twain

India - The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers who founded the Vedas.
- Wheeler Wilcox (American poet)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sandhya vandanam as supreme science and its parallels with Namaaz


In one of the flights last year i took from Bangalore to Delhi i had a Muslim (very apparent) gentleman sitting next to me. He was very neatly dressed with formals suit and tie with a Urdu newspaper in his hand. It did not take more few seconds for me to figure out that I am going to have a talkative journey today.

I was reading one of the books on Yoga and i could notice that he was getting restless for a conversation and started off with pleasantries and quickly jumped to religion. While he was inquisitive about some aspects of Hinduism he was almost talking on a heckling tone about idolatry worship and other the aspects how Islam was superior to Hinduism.

I was trying hard to keep the topic away from religion and all efforts were in vain. Thankfully the crew started serving and we could take a break. After a few minutes of pause the discussions started again and this time on chanting and on Gayatri mantra, though his tone was little different – more genuine to understand why it was considered so powerful.

The lecturer in me was woke up and pounced on this opportunity and started off with the following questions. The next 60 minutes was a monologue from me without any interruption. The following is the blog version of the same with some additional details.

1. What are the different bodies we have?

2. What are the different levels of consciousness for a human being?

3. If word has the primordial power (as it is believed in most religions) then do you know what are the 4 stages of words?

4. What is mantra? What is the objective of Gayatri mantra? How does it link all the 3 aspects mentioned above?

5. Do you know why Namaz times are fixed and its 5 times in a day?

During all this i drew some parallels between Hinduism and Islam – based on what ever knowledge i had about Islam.

If you are interested in the philosophical aspects of Hinduism then answering questions 1 & 2 is very simple.

  • We have 3 bodies Physical / Sthula, Subtle / Sukshma and Causal / Karana. The Sukshma sarira in turn has 3 sheaths / kosa – Pranamaya kosa, Manonmaya Kosa  and Vignayana maya Kosa which are Etheric, Astral and Mental bodies respectively. Some may say its 5 adding it all.
  • The 3 levels of Consciousness are Jaagrat / Awakened state, Swapna (Dream), and Sushpti (Deep sleep). There are 2 more states which we will not discuss now.

Before we go to question 3, lets dwell on the ritual around Gayatri mantra and the objective. Gayatri mantra is a part of the daily ritual called “Sandhyavandhanam” which offers prayers during 3 times a day… Dawn, Midday (noon) and at dusk. This is just as the same as in Islam but the Salah/ Salat is 5 times a day… Dawn (Fajr), noon (Dhuhr), After sunset (Maghrib), Afternoon (asr), Isha’a (After midnight).

I understand some sects of Islam do offer prayers only 3 times a day and not 5 but this is not the point i was trying to make.

Before doing Gayatri mantra, the physical and the Sukshma sarira are cleaned and prepared for the invocation. The ablution process is with water for the physical body and the pranamaya Kosa is cleaned with Pranayama (10 times)… before the invocation begins. This pranayama is very unique and shall cover this in one of the subsequent blogs.

Ablution process precedes every namaz where the physical body is cleaned. I am not aware of any cleaning the subtle body in Islam which is very unique to Hinduism and the offshoots like Buddhism.

  • Every word has 4 stages according to Hinduism, Para (as a seed at the mooladhara level), Pashyanti (at the manipura level as vibrations), Madhyama (at the Anahata Level as an unspoken word) and finally as Vaikari (as the spoken word where we can hear the sound of the word). Now why is this so important a concept in prayers?
  • In Lalitha Sahasranamam the goddess Lalitha is extolled as all the 4 stages…

Parapratyak chitirupa pashyanti paradevata
Madhyama vaikharirupa bhakta manasa hamsika .. 81”

  • But what is to be stressed is the 3 states of consciousness, 3 stages of sounds and the 3 bodies we have are all interrelated and connected to each other. We will limit to this in this blog. This has not been understood well by many. The following is a representation of the interconnection…

Physical Body / Sthula sarira – Sound energy as Vaikari (Power of action) – Consciousness as Jaagrat – Awakened state -  Conscious mind.

Sthula Sarira / Subtle Body – Sound energy as Madhyama (Power of knowledge) – Consciousness as Swapna – Dream state – Subconscious mind.

Karana Sarira / Causal Body – Sound energy as Pashyanti (Power of Will) – Consciousness as Deep sleep state – Nidra – Unconscious mind.

  • Now lets look the objective of mantras, especially Gayatri Mantra and how it connects all.
    • “Mananaat Dhyayate Mantraha”,which means Mantra is something which should be mentally recited and not audible. On the contrary all of Vedas, hymns and Slokas should be recited loudly. They should not be recited mentally. That’s the difference between Mantra and Slokas.
    • But how does few words in a specific combination qualify as mantra? We can recite anything, why are other words / combination not powerful. This is explained as “Mananaat dhyayaat Dhrayate Mantraha” – Dhrayate means protects. So when it is recited it protects and offers what the person asks for. This is the qualification of Mantra.
    • What is Gayatri Mantra?

Gayatri Mantra can cleanse and energize your body, mind and soul. But the key objective is the “Chitta Shuddi” which is purification of the mind. When you recite Gayatri Mantra the mind becomes pure. Once mind is pure the path to realize god becomes easy.

"Gayanti traayate iti gayatri." The mantra affects all three states of consciousness — jagrut or waking, sushupt or deep sleep, swapna or dream. It also affects the three layers of existence — the adhyatmik, adidhaivik and adibhautik. Traya also refers to the taapatraya or ailments or taapa that adversely affect the body, mind and soul. The body is often ravaged by physical ailments, the mind by negativity and restlessness in the soul. Gayatri Shakti, the energy or field of vibration enables one to transcend and be unaffected by the taapatrayas.

The Gayatri Mantra glides through the three states of consciousness joyfully, playfully, effortlessly and lightly, as though it were a song. When we 'sing through' something, it means it is not a burden for us. The Gayatri sharpens the intellect and polishes memory. The mind is like a new mirror. Just as a mirror gathers dust and needs cleaning, so the mind becomes tainted with time, the company that we keep, the knowledge we receive and our latent tendencies. When we chant the Gayatri, it is like deep cleansing, so that the mirror, that is the mind, reflects in a better way. Through the mantra, the inner glow is kindled, the inner plane is kept alive.

Before thought becomes word, it is a subtle vibration, unexpressed, beyond the cognition of mind. When the mind is unable to 'cognise', it dissolves and moves into meditative space. This is how mantras enable one to transcend the mind and move into a state of meditation. It is not necessary to understand the meaning of the mantras to experience their benefits. For instance, even the sounds of laughter or weeping can cause a shift in our consciousness. Similarly, the energy field created by sound vibrations of mantras elevate our consciousness and allow us to be established in that serene, pure, infinite state of our Being.

In Vedic tradition, a child is first initiated to the highest knowledge —the Gayatri mantra, and only after that, does he receive other forms of education. The ideal time to chant the Gayatri is during the transitory hours of dawn and dusk — the time when it is neither dark nor light — such as when the night has passed and the day is yet to begin.

In these moments, the mind also enters an altered state of consciousness. The moments belong neither to the previous state nor to the next. It is the right time to focus on the Self instead of getting caught in changes or movement. In these hours, the mind can easily be confused; it can slip into inertia, lethargy and negativity or be elevated and move into a meditative state radiating positivity. Chanting the Gayatri mantra rejuvenates the mind and maintains it in an elevated and energized state. It is this energising from the source of radiance that is the essence of the Gayatri mantra whose shakti is nothing other than scintillating, lively energy.

  • The answer to the question as to why prayers are fixed at certain timings synchronized with the movement of Sun is clear. Our consciousness is reflective of the position of the sun and during the transitory stages at Dawn and dusk, it is recommended that we don’t indulge in activities like eating, sleeping etc but get into a meditative state. This is a common feature among Islam, Buddhism and the vedic traditions. Many sects of Hinduism follow midnight prayers and meditation, this allows you to connect with the higher self. I am not sure about the significance of the afternoon prayers in Islam in this context.
  • The power of chanting silently programs our subconscious mind with positive vibrations. This is the power of thought transforming to a “Madhyama” sound state and instead of it released physically as “Vaikari” is channeled to the subconscious mind.
  • So Gayatri Mantra in short is a supreme science which understands our state of consciousness, different sheaths that we have, the impact of time of the day on our consciousness, the science of energy in words and the impact of the power of certain words during certain time of the day on our consciousness and the subtle body.
  • Sandhyavandanam as a ritual cleans all our 5 bodies, purifies the chitta (Mind), programs the subconscious mind with positive vibrations. According to the wise this is a very powerful and secret weapon for the mankind and probably the only and last weapon per Vedic tradition left to mankind.

Now lets look for some parallels between Islam and Vedic tradition with a disclaimer that the objective is not to prove one superior over the other but to recognize the possibility of a common root in the distant past. This is purely based on my understanding and would stand corrected on feedback.

  • There are seven conditions for a Namaz.
    • Niyyat (intention) – This is the same as Sankalpa before any Vedic ritual affirming the intention to perform prayer, briefly state the objective and to prepare the body and mind to it. In fact no ritual in Hinduism starts without Sankalpa.
    • Tahrima (To say Allah Akbar) - Saying of Allahu Akbar (Takbir) begins as hands leave ears and finished as they are folded under the navel. In Sandhyavandhanam and in Hinduism ears have a very special significance. Since it always hears / supposed to hear Vedas, ears are always considered eternally and very pure. After doing each Pranayama it believed that the carbon-di-oxide exhaled would have contaminated the hand / fingers of the individual and hence after each Pranayam the person touches the ears to clean his hand.

    • Qiyam (Standing)
    • Qiraat (Recitation of Quran by mouth gently)
    • Ruku (To bow)
    • Sajda (Prostration)
    • Qa'da-i- Akhira (Last sitting)
      • All the above are also part of the Sandhyavandam prayers but physical purification, pranayama, Gayatri Japa preceeds this stage.
  • The mental recitation of Gayatri mantra and the special pranayama to calm the mind and to prepare the mind for Gayatri mantra is very unique to vedic tradition.
  • I understand the Namaz is compulsory from the age of 7, which is when most Hindus (Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas) are supposed to initiate their kids into Upanayanam after which Sandhyavandhanam becomes compulsory.
  • But what is significant in Gayatri Mantra is that you pray for mental purification. Simply put “O! supreme being we meditate on your light. Guide our intellect in the right way”. There is no subservience but pray Gayatri as a mother for blessings. I am not sure about the exact meaning in the Quran verses and the context.
  • The other parallels are not so evident but has similarities…

    • Vedic injunction of Panchmahayagna (five times daily worship Panch-Maha-Yagna) which is part of the daily Vedic ritual prescribed for all individuals. I am not sure when and where this was lost.

    • Ablution in Islam also has references in the Vedic injunction “Shareer Shydhyartham Panchanga Nyasah”.

    • Four months of the year are regarded as very sacred in Islamic custom. This aligns with the Chaturmasa, which means 4 months which is the duration that Vishnu sleeps. it starts from Ekadasi, Asadha 11 (July) and ends with kartika Ekadesi (November).

    • The alignment of most of the festivals with the 3rd / 11th phase of the moon is strikingly evident in Hinduism and Islam.

After all this the next 15 minutes of the flight was silent and peaceful so that i can concentrate on my book. As we departed our ways we exchanged a meaningful look and went our ways.!

Some of the aspects discussed above is read from books and not realized or experienced directly by me. But what i can vouch for is the power of Pranayama technique which precedes Gayatri Japa to calm the mind and the deeper states of silence you experience during and after the Gayatri Japa. Both cannot be explained but to be experienced.

The beauty is, this experience is open to all of us and it demands nothing extraordinary to be there!…

As the wise say, “Satyam Param Deemahi - May we meditate on the Supreme truth….”

Happy Reading!


1. If you are interested, I suggest you read this which offers a very good explanation

2. You may be interested in the following blog too:


3. The picture below was of great interest to me and some of you may find it useful now or later…

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thank the sharks in your life!

One of the things thats common amongst human beings is that we all want to be happy and always pray for happiness. There has not been many instances in history or in real life now where some of us pray to god for troubles / failures which lead us to sadness and grief.

But the following sayings in Tamil actually stuck me hard at one of those vulnerable moments.
  1. தீதும் நன்றும் பிறன் தர வாரா 
  2. இன்பம் வரும், துன்பம் விளையும் 
The first line highlights that the good and bad things that happens to us are NEVER because of others but its our own making. This highlights the Karma theory clearly. The second line highlights a slightly different aspect of this. If its happiness / Joy then it shall COME to us which means Joy need not be a result of commission but could come even without doing anything. But sadness / sorrow shall grow out of our actions only. This means sadness can be avoided through right actions.

But there had been instances where people have taken a lateral view on the problems / failures. Quoting my friend, Poet Thiruvalluvar, he says if you encounter a problem please be happy there is no other way to conquer this.
"இடுக்கண் வருங்கால் நகுக அதனை அடுத்தூர்வது அக்தொப்ப தில்"  

There is also a Karmic theory interpretation for this aspect, which emphasis that when there is a problem its a seed that was sown earlier which is being reaped now, so be happy about the problems as you are neutralizing your karmic account. So laugh at your troubles.

He also says how to face them,
"Deluging sorrows comes to naught
when wise men face them with firm thought"

But Side stepping the literature and philosophical aspects on this topic and looking at the real life incident how challenges & difficulties keep us live and make us stronger is narrated in this incident below.

The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So the fishermen had to go further out to sea to catch their supply of fish, the fishing boats got bigger and bigger. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh and they lost their fresh taste.

To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen fish and they did not like frozen fish.

Also, the frozen fish brought a lower price. So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive. Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference; because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish.

So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan?

To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies added a small shark to the tanks that the fish were kept in. The shark of course eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state due to the fact that the fish are challenged.

Moral of the story:Some of us are also living like fish that have been caught, we give in too easily, and we are not challenged. Consider new challenges and problems in your life as a shark - the challenges and problems can keep us motivated and moving forward. Without challenges we can become complacent, find life boring, and become a vegetable.

So be grateful to your enemies, adversities, troubles and failures. For they keep us alive and stronger.

So, thank the sharks in your life! May we all get few sharks in our lives from time to time that are manageable and results in betterment.

Happy reading!

Quoting few lines from my earlier blogs on the same topic..
"For a sea faring soul in an ocean called life
Success and Solutions are the ship driving sails
Problems and Failures are the rudders as brakes
If sails or rudder either is weak
Life would be still or toss and drift..."

"...Yo!, I have found a friend in my failures
For failures begets lessons than a thousand wins!
Lessons in humility, Lessons in contentment
For failures,Keeping me young and swift of foot!
Presenting me my scarce solitude!
Awarding me my austere aloofness!
Revealing to me my deathless courage!

In life,“Where am I?” is the product of my success
“What am I?” is the result of my failure...."

How strength grows out of our weakness….


Hey folks!, Seasons greetings & Happy new year to all.

Its been a very memorable 2010 – grateful for a lot of things & people and the dawn of 2011 has been with lot of promise and optimism. I loved these lines which were sent to me,

“Two places are most valuable in the World :
The Nicest place is to be in someone's THOUGHTS and
The Safest place is to be in someone's PRAYERS.
Life has no pause buttons
Dreams have no expiry date
Time has no holiday
So don’t waste a single moment in your life.”

I liked the small story listed here which not only highlighted that we can turn our weakness to strength but more importantly the role of a guru / master / teacher who can help us do that.

This is a story of one 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn't understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move. "Sensei," the boy finally said, "Shouldn't I be learning more moves?"

"This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you'll ever need to know," the Sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.

Several months later, the Sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.

This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the Sensei intervened. "No," the Sensei insisted, "Let him continue."

Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.

On the way home, the boy and Sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind. "Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?"

"You won for two reasons," the Sensei answered. "First, you've almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm."

The boy's greatest weakness had become his greatest strength.

Unlike the physically challenged individual who is the subject of the story, most of our weaknesses are subtle, emotional and deeply rooted in our habits and dispositions. Most of us are fortunate to have friends, relatives and colleagues who open our eyes to such weaknesses and give us the room and time to turn our weakness to strength or lest neutralize it.

As long as we consciously yearn to improve ourselves and be receptive to the suggestions from the people around us, i am sure it would not be long before we realize it first hand that “Our strength can also grow out of our weakness”.

May all good things grow by leaps and bounds.


Happy reading!