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Mahesh Hegade's Blog
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
FYI - new blog posts only on blogspot.com

Hello friends,

I will be posting new blog posts only on my other blog at - http://maheshuh.blogspot.com/

Please follow me there and stay in touch.

This blog will remain but won't be updated.

Best regards



Posted by Mahesh at 11:38 AM EDT
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Facebook updates

I have started capturing interesting quotes, book excerpts, book reviews, links etc. on my Facebook wall.

They are public. So, feel free to check them out. You may find some interesting.

My Facebook profile is at - https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002376932841

You may just need a FB account. It's good to have one anyway!


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Posted by Mahesh at 10:53 AM EST
Friday, 21 October 2011
Angry Mind
"There was a monkey, restless by his own nature, as all monkeys are. As if that were not enough someone made him drink freely of wine, so that he became still more restless. Then a scorpion stung him. When a man is stung by a scorpion, he jumps about for a whole day; so the poor monkey found his condition worse than ever. To complete his misery a demon entered into him. What language can describe the uncontrollable restlessness of that monkey? The human mind is like that monkey." - Swami Vivekananda, Raja-Yoga

If the above described monkey represents human mind, this AK-47 wielding chimp in the video represents an "angry mind"

Gun is the anger. AK-47 is probably rage!

Look at the soldiers. Initially, they are having fun with gun wielding monkey and its antics. So do humans too. Feels good to be angry for a while. Keeps us busy.

Then watch what happens. Chimp trains the gun at the soldiers and they are scared to death.

As the acid corrodes the container it is in, the angry mind destroys the person who harbors the anger!

Better not give the gun (i.e anger) to our monkey minds and then regret when it trains it against us!

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Posted by Mahesh at 8:59 PM EDT
Wednesday, 19 October 2011


For those who do not think, it is best at least to rearrange their prejudices once in a while. ~Luther Burbank

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. -William James

So.... the prejudiced mind is like the Titanic ship. Prejudiced thinking is merely rearranging the chairs on the deck of Titanic while ignoring the big iceberg of reality starting right into your face. No wonder then that the prejudiced mind is likely to go down in a very royal way!!! Wow!!!the saying 'rearranging the chairs on the deck of titanic' makes altogether a different sense in the light of above two quotes! :) :)

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Posted by Mahesh at 9:21 PM EDT
Saturday, 15 October 2011

Read something on these lines - "Hating somebody is like letting them live in your mind rent free."

True. When we hate or have any sort of negative sentiments against somebody, we think more about them than those who we like and who like us. Ironic. Right?

So we need to evict people from our minds for good. Way is forgiveness. The quote says rent free. But, who wants any rent? I want my mind for myself.

It is no wonder that more we hate others, more people occupy our mind and we become destitute without a home for ourselves. Kingdom of heaven is within us - said Christ. With hatred, we have let others squat in our minds and we have made ourselves homeless. Sad, indeed. We are bankrupt because of hatred.

Forgiveness is the solution. Forgive and forget and move on. Every time you forgive someone, you are forgiving yourself. Many times, forgiving ourselves is the hardest for whatever reasons. No wonder that St. Francis of Assisi said - it is in forgiving that we are forgiven. How true!

Forgive and rejoice.

Somebody told - I forgive myself for not forgiving others. Funny. But, missing the point. There is nothing like forgiving ourselves. When we forgive others, we are forgiving ourselves. Because - you and I are not we but ONE!

Cheers to forgiveness!

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Posted by Mahesh at 9:19 PM EDT
Saturday, 27 August 2011
Mood:  happy
Topic: Quotable Quotes

Over the month of July, collected interesting quotes about anger from different books.

Anger is a very powerful form of energy if it is transformed to put to good use. It is a very debilitating as a emotion.

July 26

“‘Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to the dark side.’”

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

July 25

Anger with God was a tired and useless emotion, anger with God was so terrestrial and neutering.

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

July 24

Anger, like other emotions, is a judgment. When you get angry, you’re judging other people (“You treated me badly”) and situations (“This just doesn’t suit”). Anger is a statement — your statement — about right and wrong. The more you judge the world, the more likely you’ll be angry — about something.

Anger Management For Dummies by W. Doyle Gentry

July 23

Anger stems from irrational beliefs about others, and anxiety stems from irrational beliefs about yourself.

The Brain Mechanic by Spencer Lord

July 22

“I read somewhere that anger is the teacher…forgiveness the lesson.”

The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship by Andrea Israel, Nancy Garfinkel

July 21

“Whenever you don’t know what you’re feeling, you reach for anger.”

The Myth of You and Me: A Novel by Leah Stewart

July 20

Someone once told me that sarcasm is the safe alternative to expressing anger.

Degree of Guilt by Richard North Patterson

July 19

If we carry anger inside of us, it can slowly eat our souls away.

Chronically Happy by Lori Hartwell

July 18

Anger is not humanizing. It’s a rehearsal for the performance that never arrives.

Unless: A Novel (P.S.) by Carol Shields

July 17

Nothing wrong with repressed anger as long as it stays repressed.

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

July 16

Avoid the three toxic A’s: authoritarianism, anger, and aloofness.

The Soul of Leadership: Unlocking Your Potential for Greatness by Deepak Chopra

July 15

Some sixteen hundred years ago Saint Augustine wrote: “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are Anger and Courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.”

The Ten Commandments for Business Failure by Donald R. Keough

July 14

Take action to derail the anger sequence. With rational thinking and positive self-talk, we can derail the anger sequence before it derails us. We can stop resentment cold.

Of Course You're Angry Second Edition by Gayle Rosellini, Mark Worden

July 13

Anger is not a primary emotion. It is always caused by something else. Just beneath the surface of the anger, you will always find great sadness, profound fear, or deep disappointment.

One Soul, One Love, One Heart: The Sacred Path to Healing All Relationships by John E. Welshons

July 12

The psychology of anger is that you wanted something, and somebody prevented you from getting it. Somebody came as a block, as an obstacle. Your whole energy was going to get something and somebody blocked the energy. You could not get what you wanted. Now this frustrated energy becomes anger – anger against the person who has destroyed the possibility of fulfilling your desire.

Emotions: Freedom from Anger, Jealousy & Fear by Osho, Osho International Foundation

July 11

Control is a poor substitute for awareness, a very poor substitute, it doesn’t help much. If you are aware, you need not control anger, in awareness, anger never arises. They cannot exist together.

Awareness: The Key to Living in Balance by Osho

July 10

“You must be willing to suffer the anger of the opponent, and yet not return anger. You must not become bitter. No matter how emotional your opponents are, you must be calm.”

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Clayborne Carson

July 9

I’ve learned that I must find positive outlets for anger or it will destroy me. I have to try to find a way to channel that anger to the positive, and the highest positive is forgiveness.

The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier

July 8

Guilt is a common cause of depression because guilt is a form of pent-up anger. Guilt is anger toward yourself.

Happiness Is a Choice: The Symptoms, Causes, and Cures of Depression by Dr. Paul Meier, Frank M.D. Minirth

July 7

Anger may be expressed outwardly as rage, or turned inward and be experienced as depression. But underneath all anger is fear.

Letting Go With Love: The Grieving Process by Nancy O'Connor

July 6

Wisdom was knowing what to do. Skill was the ability to do it. Virtue was doing it. When wisdom didn’t subdue anger, anger destroyed everything.

Dying For Revenge by Eric Jerome Dickey

July 5, 2011

Anger cannot be overcome by anger. If a person shows anger to you, and you show anger in return, the result is a disaster. In contrast, if you control your anger and show its opposite—love, compassion, tolerance, and patience—then not only will you remain in peace, but the anger of others also will gradually diminish. No one can argue with the fact that in the presence of anger, peace is impossible. Only through kindness and love can peace of mind be achieved.

How to Expand Love by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Jeffrey, Ph.D. Hopkins

July 4, 2011

If a man keeps dwelling on sense-objects, attachment to them arises; from attachment, desire flares up; from desire, anger is born; from anger, confusion follows; from confusion, weakness of memory; weak memory—weak understanding; weak understanding — ruin.

Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell

Posted by Mahesh at 6:43 PM EDT
Sunday, 31 July 2011
Mood:  happy

To listen well, pay full attention to what the other person is saying.

When the letters in the word 'listen' are interchanged, we get 'silent'.

Silence is what we need if we want to listen well to other people.

Many times when the other person starts talking, we stop listening and start formulating our response. It's too early to formulate a response before listening fully. Waste of time and energy and disrespect for the other party.

Listen to understand. Reflect. Understand. Clarify. Confirm. Then respond. If we follow this process,then we are more likely to do justice to the person we are listening to.

Sometimes response is not needed at all. The other person just wants someone to listen to. As most of us have experienced, the very fact of being able to find someone who is willing to listen to us and listens without any prejudice proves to be very beneficial. When we explain our thoughts to someone else, many times we ourselves become clearer about them. Solutions emerge on their own. All we needed was someone who was willing to listen.

Listen not merely hear. Observe not merely see. Communicate not merely speak.

WAIT - Why Am I Talking? Always remember this FLA before you speak.


Posted by Mahesh at 9:23 PM EDT
Laughter is the best medicine
Mood:  happy

Laughter is the best medicine.

Research has proven that laughing relaxes us and helps reduce the stress.

One, who laughs longer, lasts longer.

I was thinking something else about laughter.

Ajahn Brahm is a Buddhist monk. Originally British. Now settled in Australia.

He has a written a best selling book – “Who ordered this truckload of dung?”

He made an interesting reference to laughter in his book.

The most important medicine that God wants us to take is the “pill of wisdom”.

God always has a ‘pill of wisdom’ ready to give it to us. We are not ready moss of the time.

When we laugh, it becomes easy for the Lord to toss in a pill or two of wisdom.

Sometimes we are so stubborn that we give God no opportunity at all to give us his pill of wisdom. When we act like that, God has no other way left than to use that another way of delivering the medicine.

When parents have to make their young children take some bitter medication, they try to coax them in a variety of ways. When everything fails, dad just clips the nostrils and automatically the child opens the mouth. Mom pours the potion and the business finished. What all the pampering did not accomplish, one simple act of closing the nose got the work done.

God has to do something similar to holding the nose to get us take our pill. When somebody closes and holds our nose, it does not feel good. In fact, it is very uncomfortable.

When we do not learn to live properly in easy ways, God has to close and hold our nose that we open our mouths so that he can give us the pill of wisdom.

That’s what the suffering is. When do not learn the easy way, it has to be come hard. Smart people learn at the very first instance of pain. They suffer little. Some obstinate people take longer.

Smartest people are always laughing at everything around them and they are the easiest for God to deliver his pill of wisdom.

Laughing all the time about everything means we accept the world and life as it is and do not fret about not getting our way all the time. When we start accepting the life as it is, a lot of opportunities open up to grow up and grow wiser.

Posted by Mahesh at 9:04 PM EDT
Sunday, 10 July 2011

"Joblessness is not uselessness. Uselessness is not meaninglessness."

If we let our jobs / careers determine our identity completely, then our lives may become meaningless when become jobless and feel useless.

Jobs have ceased being full-time and permanent for a long time. Everyone is more or less  a freelancer these days. Go to work in the morning, do your job and come back in the evening after collecting that day's pay. You do not know when your job is gone for whatever reasons.

For whatever reasons, there is so much   change in the business environment that hiring and firing is done very rapidly. Many times it does not make much sense at all. That makes it even more important to ensure that we do not let our jobs determine our identity.

Sometimes when we do not have a job and do not have skills for the jobs that are available, it is natural to feel useless. That's what is the reality at that time. Once you had acquired some good skills, they served you well and now those skills are not useful anymore. That does not make your life meaningless. As you had learnt the skills in the past, you can learn new skills and get a new career.

A bend in the road is not the END in the road.

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Posted by Mahesh at 9:57 AM EDT
Monday, 4 July 2011
Opinions are like....

Opinions are like a$$****. Everybody has one.

We have all heard it. Used it.

Anything new?

Yes. What can be done to better this hard-hitting quote?

How about a modified version of the quote?

"Opinions should be like armpits. Everybody should have a couple of them."

Wonderful. I thought.

Who came up with this one? Very creative.

Beyond the sheer artistry of words, there is plenty of wisdom if we care to look deep into the modified version of the quote.

What makes one so obnoxious? IMO, way too much attachment to his or her opinions. I have mine. I can not see any other way. So do you. My way or your way or highway. No wonder people will, very gladly, tell such a person to go and jump off a cliff.

So, we can not avoid having one dominant opinion. But, how about a few fallback ones too? You know just in case. Stand-byes, extras, spare ones..

Colin Powell said - "do not have your ego  attached your position because when your position falls your ego falls with it."

Opinions are meant to be shot down. Sure, fly your opinions but be ready to jump out of it if somebody else's pure logic shoots it down. Smart pilots let go of their planes and take the parachute, rather than meeting a fiery grave.

My apologies if the quote is somewhat offensive. If not for wisdom in it, I would not have found it reasonable to use it. So, sometimes we have to look at many unusual things for wisdom.

A$$**** is not totally out of respectable usage. Stanford business school's reputed professor Bob Sutton wrote a book titled 'No A$$**** rule' a few years back. That book is a very good book. That book looks at a$$**** at workplaces and the tremendous damage they cause. Great read. I  wrote about it a few years back. You can read that post at - http://maheshuh.blogspot.com/2007/04/no-asshole-rule-building-civilized.html.

Another creative way to look at the modified version of the quote (i.e. armpit version) is to start thinking about deodorants.

Thank you, you say. I shall stop.

But, armpits, Bo, deodorant and the difference the deodorant makes in civilized world will give you some ideas about tempering the stench of our pet opinions with some sort of a deodorant called open-mindedness.

Mind is like parachute. Works best when open.

Cheers. Hope our opinions smell fresh.

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Posted by Mahesh at 6:59 PM EDT
Thursday, 23 June 2011
You are alive only because....

Whenever someone dies, people saying something on the lines of 'God calls those people to his abode whom he loves most.' Makes the bereaved family feel better.

This is especially repeated when someone meets with untimely death.

Recently somebody on LinkedIn.com posted an interesting twist to this saying.

It went something like this.

"God calls those he loves most to his abode. So, if you are alive, it means there is someone on this earth who loves you more than the God loves you."

We are all alive because there are people on this earth who love us more than God. Hmmmm....

Interesting perspective. Made me think. Still thinking.


Btw: If you have account on linkedin.com, you can go and search for it. It generated quite a discussion there.

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Posted by Mahesh at 7:33 PM EDT
Mind's restlessness

Mind is like a monkey which has had a lot to drink. After that it's been bitten by a scorpion. On top of that some demon has possessed it.

Can there be anything more chaotic than the above monkey? Likely not. By it's very nature, monkey is always on the move. Additionally if you introduce 3 extras, it will become so restless that no monkey tamer can handle it.

Several sages have used above simile to convey the restless of our minds. At the best, it is a decent monkey which has been trained quite well. At the worst, you have monkey on extras.

Another beautiful simile is - mind is like a restless trunk of an elephant. Always reaching out to this or that. Grab this here. Grab that  there. Once whatever is grabbed, put it in it's large mouth and that's the end of it.

Elephant trainers have a simple technique to manage the restless trunk of the elephant. Before they take the elephant in a procession through streets, they simply give bamboo stick and ask the elephant to hold it in its trunk. Since the elephant has been trained to obey its trainer, it does what's asked of it and then the procession starts. Since the elephant knows that it has to hold the bamboo stick in it's trunk, it does not move it's trunk here and there. Thus the stores along the street, which stock goodies like fruits and nuts that elephants like very much, are spared from the elephant grabbing them for free.

So is our mind. It needs something to grab on to. If it does not get something to grab on to, you know what it does. It will grab a bad movie here, a violent song there, some gossip somewhere else and so on.

So, what do we give to our mind? Hindu teachers from ages have asked us to choose a mantra (holy name or holy word) and repeat it all the time. It does not matter even if you repeat it mechanically. It's going to serve the exact purpose of that bamboo stick and help steady our restless mind.

Of course, elephant's trunk is nothing compared to our mind in terms of restlessness. Mind is not going to repeat 'mantra' as sincerely as a well trained elephant holds on to the bamboo stick. It's going to 'forget' repeating the mantra and we have to consciously bring it back to repeating it. It takes time and lifetime's effort.

Great sages have guaranteed from their personal experience that after a long time, sincere aspirants get to the state called as 'ajaapjapam'. In that state, the person does not repeat the mantra, it repeats by itself and delivers tremendous benefits in turn. It's a goal worth shooting for.

Now choose a mantra and start repeating. It's good for you and more importantly good for everyone around you. One less monkey to worry about. Just kidding! :)

Cheers to a calm and quality mind!

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Posted by Mahesh at 1:42 PM EDT
Mindfulness & Surfing

Mindfulness - Buddhist way of dispassionately observing the mind using the mind. There is plenty of information about the process and practice in books and elsewhere.

Recently while reading a book, one point the author made caught my mind because nobody else had helped show mindfulness in that way.

Paraphrasing the author - mind is like a rough sea. Topsy and turvy. Raises many waves. It is long before we can quiet the mind. In the mean time, we have two choices. One is, we can act as victims and get thrown up and down by those waves of the mind. Other is to learn to ride them. As surfers like to do, we can learn to ride the mind waves. In this way, we will welcome the ups and downs and enjoy them rather than being tossed around by them mercilessly.

Made sense.

Of course, even to get to that state of riding those mind waves, it takes a lot of time and practice. But, seems worth it.

Mind is very funny. Start consciously observing what the mind does. What do you see? It acts like a small child caught in the act of doing something naughty. It is embarrassed and stops what it was doing.

Just try it. As soon as you say to the mind 'I am going to simply watch you', it will stop its assembly line. Junk production stops for a while.

It's a different matter that you lose your intent to observe after some time. Mind is a tough cookie. It's hard to nail it. It will come up with some other ploy.

That's one of the reasons Buddhists ask you to focus on breath and ancient Hindu teachers asked aspirants to choose a holy name or phrase (mantram) and repeat it every second you find a chance. That is to give mind something to hold on to. If something is not given to the mind, it will find and grab what it likes. In many cases, what mind likes is not what we want. So, we can proactively give it something good to hold on to.


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Posted by Mahesh at 1:22 PM EDT
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Einstien and Vedanta

In a letter to a friend who had lost a young son, Albert Einstein described the experience of self as somehow separate from the rest of reality as an “optical delusion” of consciousness, a delusion he likened to a prison. He said that to break free of this prison would require “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Above excerpt is from Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us About Who We Are by Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald

It is very impressive to see how Einstein's views closely match the views expressed in our scriptures.

I have made specific words bold to highlight their relevance.

Reality ( as we see it) is 'optical delusion'. This is really classic. 100% match.

Our mind  which part of overarching consciousness (i.e. Brahman) manufactures the "reality" as it finds appropriate.

Than's the reason why Vedantists say life is only as real as a dream. We experience dreams as real as we experience life. It's just that dream lasts only for few minutes or hours where as the dream known as life goes over a few years to start off again.

It's no surprising to see this coming from some like Einstein who was all for coming up with a unified theory. He had unified so many disparate concepts into such a nice and tightly knit theory of relativity. Only if he had few more years, may be he would have included 'consciousness' also part of his unified theory.

As long as we do not see the unity among everything, we are under the spell of very strong optical illusion.

Knowing that and trying to get out of that is fun. Even if it takes multiple lives to get out of that, it is worthwhile.

As there is tremendous pleasure in solving puzzles and riddles, same with solving this complex equation which when solves shows us how this optical illusion results.

The book also a great read. It documents experiments run of some Tibetan masters in the hope of discovering the benefits of mindfulness.


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Posted by Mahesh at 11:42 AM EDT
Desire to Destiny

"You are what your deep driving desire is.

As your deep driving desire is, so is your will.

As your will is, so is your deed.

As your deed is, so is your destiny."

Above verse is from the famous 'Brihadarnyaka' upanishad.

If we can desire anything strongly enough, we can get it.

That may be the reason they say " God does not give us dreams without giving adequate potential to achieve them."

If all this is true, why we find it hard to achieve some things? Others we seem to able to achieve very easily.

Einstein (I believe) famously said "Man can get all that he wants. Can he really will what he wants?"

"Willing to want" - this ties back nicely to the verse from 'Brihadarnyaka' upanishad. "Willing to want" is to DESIRE strongly.

Sri Eknath Easwaran (www.easwaran.org) uses a very simple but powerful metaphor to illustrate the power of desires.

When solar rays are passed through a magnifying glass which can make them converge on a single point, it generates so much heat to burn a piece of paper.

But without such a lens, scattered sun rays may nicely warm us up, but can not set paper on fire.

Our desires, all though very powerful, are very scattered. We are into getting a few pieces of pleasure here, another  few pieces of false-security elsewhere and so on. We have not managed to have all our desires converge to produce the effect we want.

Desire is neither good nor it is bad. It is another form of power. How we manage to transform it is upto us. Electricity can be used to light up a house or burn down the same house.

Similarly our desires can make us or mar us.

Desire is the vital fuel. There is only so much of it. Granted, we all have some extra fuel to let us experiment and experience things and know  for ourselves that they all do not really satisfy us. But, it is expected that we learn from such experiences and their limitations. If we do not but keep repeating same acts time and again, hoping for different results, we are simply wasting away our vital energy. Then when we really need all the fuel to undertake a long journey, we are faced with an empty tank. Let's not get into that situation.

There is another very important aspect to desires. Look at anything you really like. Or even better, look at those things which you used to like very much once and now do not find it  much appealing any more. What happened? Did anything change with object of your original liking? Likely not. Then what? It's your desire. The desire for that object simply vanished. Along with it took away the fascination for that object. Ask people who have quit tobacco or alcohol for good and ask them what changed. They are not able to explain it this way but are like to say 'something gave up.' That something is DESIRE. It's all in the desire. Tobacco is same as it used to be. Alcohol is what it has always been. You had desire for them. And that gave special fascination to those objects.

Success is not a result of some passive combustion. But, it is purposely setting ourselves on fire.

Desire is the fuel. Everything else including our destiny depends on it.

So, the question is - do we consolidate all our desires or let them waste away of thousands of useless pursuits?

Gandhi was known for his witty remarks.

Some reporter asked him "don't you have any ambition?"

Gandhi said "I am the most ambitious person. I would like to reduce myself to ZERO."

Reducing himself to zero was his desire. What he meant to totally remove his EGO. Worthy goal requiring every ounce of desire.


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Posted by Mahesh at 11:13 AM EDT
Monday, 6 June 2011
Honeybee vs. Housefly

What do we want be like?

A honeybee or a housefly?

Honeybee always spots good things. It finds a nice flower full of nectar. It extracts the nectar without hurting the flower. In the process, gathers some pollen and thus helps in pollination. After this delicate work, it gets busy and creates fabulous honey for us.

Housefly, on the other hand, always focuses on what is disgusting, dirty and full of germs. Lousier and dirtier the stuff, better it is for the housefly. There is some real yucky, grimy stuff, house fly is there to squat on it. Grab all the dirt, germs, bacteria etc. and ready to go elsewhere and contaminate that using all the germs it picked up from the previous rotten place. Deadly diseases like cholera are spread mainly by houseflies.

Honeybee is attracted to what is good. Housefly is attracted to what is bad and rotten.

Being like honeybee means we focus on what's good in others.

Being like a housefly means we focus on what's bad in others.

Nobody is perfect.

Everyone has a good measure of good and bad.

But, we can make a deliberate decision to focus on any and every good in others. That way we can probably get some honey out of anybody.

Of course, we can become pessimists. That's akin to being a house fly. We focus on the negatives. That will frustrate us. We will take that frustration on somebody else. That will pollute the environment.

Honeybee pollinates where as housefly pollutes.

I do not want the stigma attached to the housefly.

Choose to be a honeybee!


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Posted by Mahesh at 8:20 PM EDT
Saturday, 7 May 2011

You and I are not WE. But, ONE.

Oh, yeah! we all know that at the core we are all one. So, we should treat each other as  we treat ourselves. When we are nice to others, we are much nicer to ourselves. We should try to see ourselves in others and others in ourselves.

Sounds very good. But, when that annoying person says something or does something, why does our blood boil? More importantly how can we really understand that we are all one at the very core?

Vedanta has  excellent metaphors to show the unity of all living beings.

Moon reflects in all water bodies.

Moon reflects in a beautiful swimming pool in a royal bungalow in the best part of the town.

Same moon also reflects in the dirty sewage pool in a slum.

Is there any difference in the moon?

Is the moon in the beautiful swimming pool any different than the moon in the dirty pool in the slum?

Of course, we are going to enjoy looking at the moon's reflection in the beautiful pool than it the dirty pool in the slum. That's all is external and is bound to change. In one stroke of luck, the beautiful house may burn down and take the pool with it. At the same time, the slum may be transformed into a beautiful location. That's possible.

That's what is all about so called good and bad people. When we see the reflection of the moon in a nice swimming pool, we feel happy and call that reflection a good one. When we see the reflection of the same moon in a dirty pool in a slum, we call that as the bad person.

Here moon refers to 'atman' which is one and the same. Pool is the body in which it is reflected.

So, focus on the moon and not on where it is being reflected.


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Posted by Mahesh at 12:33 PM EDT
Book...open...closed...and judgement

"Do not judge a book by its cover."

So goes the saying.

Wisdom is - we should defer our judgement long enough so that we do not misjudge a  person or a thing. Read the book and then may be develop a judgement. Many times appearances can be very deceiving.

We are also worried about people judging us. We know that everybody judges a book by its cover. So, we try to make the cover as attractive as possible. We dress up very well. We groom ourselves well. We fret about our bodies and its lack of perfection and so on and on. All because we are not sure if our cover is good enough.

Of course, there is nothing wrong about making ourselves look and feel at our best. Regardless of subjective opinion on anyone's bodily appearance, anybody can look at their best and also feel at their best with little investment of time and effort. Keep yourself as healthy as possible. Take care of your appearance to level you can afford to. Spend a little time in grooming yourself. Voila! you look and feel good. No doubt it all. Nothing wrong in it.

But, still we will be worried about people judging us by over cover (i.e. our appearance and mannerisms).

So, let's think about a minute. If there is a book lying open on a table, what do you think a person who walks to the table going to do? Is he going to judge the book by its appearance? Or do you think the person is most likely to pick it up, glance through it and may be even scan through a page or two?

Which is more likely? I bet the person is going to pick up the book and glance through it.

I think nobody is going to judge an open book as they judge a closed book. Closed book has the cover that draws attention. That attention is going to judge the book by its cover.

On the other hand, open book does not have that liability of cover. It's open. At worst, it gets neutral judgement or at best it gets judged little later with little deliberate effort and thought.

So, how about if we start making ourselves like open books?

Does that reduce our worry about being judged based on our cover?

May be to some extent.

Living a life that is akin to an open book is the best policy. That way people can read you and judge you for what's in the book than its cover.

Living an open life does not mean you have to wash all your dirty laundry in the public or  have to fess upto all your itty bitty details. Most of them are inconsequential or have a very limited shelf life.

Bigger thing is being you own self all the time. Not acting like someone that you really are not. Being totally comfortable in your own skin.

Ask yourself. How often you identify phonies? Very often. As soon as you find somebody acting artificially, you can easily find that out. At least most of the time. That is very repulsive.

So, just be thyself and enjoy. Let people read you if they are interested. If not, they can judge you by cover or inner cover or dust jacket or whatever. Why do we care?


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Posted by Mahesh at 12:08 PM EDT
Thursday, 5 May 2011
Dream, Life. Real, Unreal.

"Dream is as real as life while we are asleep. Life is as unreal as dream while we are awake."

First sentence of the quote did sink in pretty easily.

Second part, pretty hard.

However, once you get the grips on the first part of the quote, it starts making sense.

Don't dreams seem really REAL?

Don't we wake up totally freaked out from nightmares? Don't experiences in  dreams seem real?

But, when we get up after sleeping, we brush all that aside.

How's so-called life different than a dream? Is it that we are unable to distinguish one dream from the other? Vedantists says so because we are clouded. According to them, what we see and feel as reality is dream as well.

That's why may be they say there are 3 normal states - awake, sleeping and dreaming. They have been very right about differentiating dreaming and sleeping because actual sleep is dreamless sleep. That's when we really relax.

Beyond these normal three states, they called fourth state as 'turiya'. Literally means fourth. 'Turiya' is super consciousness state. Samadhi or whatever.

Even if we leave all this aside, we can all appreciate a good nights sleep.

Simple measure to get a good nights sleep. Sleep little less than you really feel like. This helps getting into deep sleep as soon as you hit the bed Get enough exercise. Relax. Eat early in the evening. Do not stimulate senses overly. Do not expose yourself to excitable media. Go to sleep thinking about whatever makes you happy. Preferably reciting the name of your favorite deity. But, these days many are averse to simple things like repeating 'rama nama'. So, imagining yourself to be enjoying the blue waters of caribbean is an alternative.

Night after night when we get good sleep, especially long hours of dreamless sleep, you will see the difference in your overall health immediately. You will discover new insights, productivity in whatever you do increases by many folds. You will just be much happier. Just the opposite of how you feel after crappy night's sleep.

Good luck to sleep well and dreaming less.


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Posted by Mahesh at 11:57 PM EDT
Saturday, 30 April 2011
Using a thorn to remove a thorn

If we are walking in a forest and if a thorn gets into our foot, how are we to remove it?

There is no medical aid near by. We do not have any devices.

One way may be to use another thorn and use that to remove the first thorn which has gotten into our foot Using another thorn to remove the original thorn may not be the most effective or easy way. But, with some patience and perseverance, it may work. One thing to avoid is to make sure that while using a thorn to remove a thorn, we do not get both inside the foot. That would be worse than having one in the first place.

This analogy is used in Vedanta a lot.

Ignorance is like the first thorn which has got into our foot and is bothering us. Spiritual knowledge, in the form of books, lectures, teachers etc. is like the other thorn we can use to remove the original thorn of ignorance. After the original thorn is removed, we do not have any use of either of the thorns. We can discard both of them. Actually, we must discard both of them. We should keep neither ignorance or knowledge once we have used one to remove the other.

So, basically, knowledge is just an instrument to remove ignorance. Once ignorance is removed, we need to let go of both, if we want to make progress.

Knowledge, even if it is purely bookish, can be very intoxicating. There  comes some sense of pride and confidence as you know more and more about things. If you have time and willingness, there is no problem in becoming bookishly smart. There lies the danger that sometimes we may get stuck in that zone. We may forget that our original idea was to acquire knowledge so that we can get rid of ignorance.

A certain modern philosopher had a very nice analogy. We are familiar with pole-vault sport. The athlete uses a long pole to get the needed energy to push him over the hurdle. But, he knows very well that in order to safely cross the hurdle, he  has to  skillfully use the pole and more importantly he has to be able to LET GO of the pole at the right time to complete a smooth trajectory into the other side. When the pole-vaulters do this well, they scale great heights, set new records and go like an elegant projectile.

Knowledge is like the pole we can use to overcome the ignorance. As the successful pole vaulter gives up the pole at the right time and right place, we need to dump this so called knowledge as we start feeling the real knowledge inside us.

There are several similar metaphors that Vedanta uses to make sure that we do not get stuck in the fancies of intellectual knowledge.

Intellectual knowledge fills you up but does not satisfy you. Like many fancy foods and drinks.


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Posted by Mahesh at 12:43 PM EDT

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