Thursday, September 16, 2010

We are what we eat

It’s a story that has always fascinated me. A story in the Upanishad’s (ancient spiritual texts) which talks about a young boy asking his Guru (Spiritual Master) ‘What is brahaman?’ to which the Guru responds saying, ‘Anna Brahama’. Undoubting, the little boy goes and meditates upon this answer given by the Guru. The story goes on to say that, 4 more such one line answers later, the boy finally achieves enlightenment. The spirituality of the whole story besides, just that food can be equated with God or Godliness was something that amazed me. So, I decided to explore and experiment.

Being the foodie that I am, I loved this experiment. I ate different kinds of food on different days and saw what it did to my mind and body. Ate spicy stuff and saw my mood swing, ate stale food and saw my mind plummet, ate raw vegetables and saw energy spurts. After a couple of months of experimenting, I started observing others and seeing what food did to them. The results were startlingly similar to what I had experienced when performing the experiment on myself.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans...

I recieved this in an email forward... This one truly deserves a read... Hope this lifestyle/attitude culture moves forward - even if slowly.Don't know who the author is, but as long as the message gets conveyed, it doesn't matter......

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results.. Therefore, we have come to possess a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

1. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
2. Stockholm has 500,000 people.
3. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, are some of its renowned companies. Volvo even supplies NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden , one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work).

The first day, I didn't say anything, neither the second or third days. One morning I asked him, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot."

To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, don't you think that whoever gets in late will need a place closer to the door?" Imagine my face.

Now-a-days, there's a movement in the world named Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart, Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Down.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fuelled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being".

French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity driven up by 20%..

This slow attitude has come to the notice of USA , the pupils of the fast and "do it now" brigade.

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means re-establishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living. It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive work place where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do.

It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence.

In the movie, 'Scent of a Woman', there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now."
To which Al Pacino responds, "A life is lived in an instant."
Then they dance the tango!

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious to live for the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists.

We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Janamashtami- a new perspective

That time of the year when Nand Ghar Anand Bhayo rings loud and clear. When butter and milk and kheer are wolfed down without guilt... Yesterday and today have been days and nights of celebration. Lots of singing and dancing to celebrate the birthday of one of the most colourful Hindu God- Krishna. While we wish Lord Krishna- A very happy birthday, its also good to know what the celebrations really mean... There is much more to the Janmashtami celebrations than just fasting, dancing, singing, feasting, listening to the Bhagwat (stories of Krishna) and meditating. This piece by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji gives a new perspective to the celebrations. Read on...

Janamashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Ashtami is significant as it indicates a perfect balance between the seen and the unseen aspects of reality; the visible material world and the invisible spiritual realm.

Krishna’s birth on Ashtami signifies his mastery of both the spiritual and material worlds. He is a great teacher and a spiritual inspiration as well as the consummate politician. On one hand, he is Yogeshwara (the Lord of Yogas — the state to which every yogi aspires) while on the other, he is a thief.

The unique quality of Krishna is that he is at once more pious than the saints and yet a thorough mischief-monger! His behavior is a perfect balance of the extremes — perhaps this is why the personality of Krishna is so difficult to fathom. The avdhoot is oblivious to the world outside and a materialistic person, a politician or a king is oblivious to the spiritual world. But Krishna is both Dwarkadheesh and Yogeshwar.

Krishna’s teachings are most relevant to our times in the sense that they neither let you get lost in material pursuits nor make you completely withdrawn. They rekindle your life, from being a burnt-out and stressed personality to a more centred and dynamic one. Krishna teaches us devotion with skill. To celebrate Gokulashtami is to imbibe extremely opposite yet compatible qualities and manifest them in your own life.

Hence the most authentic way of celebrating Janamashtami is knowing that you have to play a dual role — of being a responsible human being on the planet and at the same time to realize that you are above all events, the untouched Brahman. Imbibing a bit of avadhoot and a bit of activism in your life is the real significance of celebrating Janamashtami.
Here's one among my many, many favorite Krishna bhajans. Click and Enjoy!