Refuse to be Stagnant

The point is to keep trying new things, meeting new people, visiting new places. Once you settle into a rut, no matter how fun that rut may seem, you stagnate. You might as well be dead.

The poor man retains the prejudices of his forefathers without their faith, and their ignorance without their virtues; he has adopted the doctrine of self-interest as the rule of his actions, without understanding the science which puts it to use; and his selfishness is no less blind than was formerly his devotedness to others. If society is tranquil, it is not because it is conscious of its strength and its well-being, but because it fears its weakness and its infirmities; a single effort may cost it its life. Everybody feels the evil, but no one has courage or energy enough to seek the cure. The desires, the repinings, the sorrows, and the joys of the present time lead to no visible or permanent result, like the passions of old men, which terminate in impotence.

Entire careers, entire life paths, are carved out by people dipping their baby toes into small ponds and suddenly discovering a love for something they had no idea would capture their imaginations. In my situation I have cracked MBA entrance,  then there for many years as a HR which couldn’t feed my craving spiritualism or creativity. At some point of my life, I found myself stucked in some area – morally, intellectually, physically, spiritually, creatively. The term creativity itself a spirituality (which is a different topic to discuss next). I tried writing on spiritual journals to motivational speech to Yoga teaching to Story telling and finally making films. My present career status is : I AM A DOER. I am freelancer, an tiny winny entrepreneur, a writer, yoga and motivational speaker and a filmmaker. May be few years later I would like to try something new again. I will keep evolving. And this is how I literally live everyday.  But this journey which was not so easy, not so easy to survive in this materialistic world, sometimes not even rational too. I  Life is dynamic. It is not static. All living things are either growing and increasing toward maturity, or deteriorating toward decay and death. So how about you — are you growing?

How do I know that I am in a Stagnation. These are the most significant signs :

  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

Dr. Chanter, in his brilliant History of Human Thought in the Twentieth Century, has made the suggestion that only a very small proportion of people are capable of acquiring new ideas of political or social behaviour after they are twenty-five years old. On the other hand, few people become directive in these matters until they are between forty and fifty. Then they prevail for twenty years or more. The conduct of public affairs therefore is necessarily twenty years or more behind the living thought of the times. This is what Dr. Chanter calls the “delayed
realisation of ideas.

In summary, here’s a list of things I try to remind myself whenever I’m faced with trying something new:

  1. Trying something new often requires courage. And needing to summon courage is itself a benefit. Once it’s released it will, like its second cousin once removed, anger, indiscriminately engulf everything in its path. How wonderful to open a flood of courage and be carried on its waves to destinations of unexpected benefit.
  2. Trying something new opens up the possibility for you to enjoy something new. Entire careers, entire life paths, are carved out by people dipping their baby toes into small ponds and suddenly discovering a love for something they had no idea would capture their imaginations.
  3. Trying something new keeps you from becoming bored. Even I, the most routine-loving person I know, become bored if I’m not continually challenged in some way. And it’s not the new challenges I’m eager to take on that represent my greatest opportunities for growth—it’s the ones I’m not.
  4. Trying something new forces you to grow. We don’t ever grow from taking action we’ve always taken (the growth that enabled us to be able to take it has already occurred). Growth seems to require we take new action first, whether it’s adopting a new attitude or a new way of thinking, or literally  taking new action. Thrusting yourself into new situations and leaving yourself there alone, so to speak, often forces beneficial change. A spirit of constant self-challenge keeps you humble and open to new ideas that very well may be better than the ones you currently hold dear (this happens to me all the time).

How Swami Vivekanand Shaped the World Culture and Ethos

When the entire world was encapsulated with physical pleasures and materialistic race of leading a luxurious life, they needed someone to guide them to know real meaning of leading life. Hindu spirituality deals with body, mind and soul. Swami Vivekanand introduced world with the concept of oneness, soul and sole reason of taking birth as humans. The new concept thrilled the people across the globe and they got to know true realms of life through meditation and spiritual science of Hinduism.

Swami Vivekananda’s contributions in shaping the world culture is acknowledged by scholars of several countries.

Making an objective assessment of Swami Vivekananda’s contributions to world culture, the eminent British historian A L Basham stated that “in centuries to come, he will be remembered as one of the main moulders of the modern world…”

Swami Vivekananda, known in his pre-monastic life as Narendra Nath Datta, was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12 January 1863. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interests in a wide range of subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with deep devotion, strong character and other qualities. A precocious boy, Narendra excelled in music, gymnastics and studies. By the time he graduated from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. Born with a yogic temperament, he used to practise meditation even from his boyhood, and was a and was associated with Brahmo Movement for some time.

Vivekananda’s contributions to world culture 
Making an objective assessment of Swami Vivekananda’s contributions to world culture, the eminent British historian A L Basham stated that “in centuries to come, he will be remembered as one of the main moulders of the modern world…” Some of the main contributions that Swamiji made to the modern world are mentioned below:

1. New Understanding of Religion: One of the most significant contributions of Swami Vivekananda to the modern world is his interpretation of religion as a universal experience of transcendent Reality, common to all humanity. Swamiji met the challenge of modern science by showing that religion is as scientific as science itself; religion is the ‘science of consciousness’. As such, religion and science are not contradictory to each other but are complementary.
This universal conception frees religion from the hold of superstitions, dogmatism, priestcraft and intolerance, and makes religion the highest and noblest pursuit – the pursuit of supreme Freedom, supreme Knowledge, supreme Happiness.

2. New View of Man: Vivekananda’s concept of ‘potential divinity of the soul’ gives a new, ennobling concept of man. The present age is the age of humanism which holds that man should be the chief concern and centre of all activities and thinking. Through science and technology man has attained great prosperity and power, and modern methods of communication and travel have converted human society into a ‘global village’. But the degradation of man has also been going on apace, as witnessed by the enormous increase in broken homes, immorality, violence, crime, etc. in modern society. Vivekananda’s concept of potential divinity of the soul prevents this degradation, divinizes human relationships, and makes life meaningful and worth living. Swamiji has laid the foundation for ‘spiritual humanism’, which is manifesting itself through several neo-humanistic movements and the current interest in meditation, Zen etc all over the world.

3. New Principle of Morality and Ethics: The prevalent morality, in both individual life and social life, is mostly based on fear – fear of the police, fear of public ridicule, fear of God’s punishment, fear of Karma, and so on. The current theories of ethics also do not explain why a person should be moral and be good to others. Vivekananda has given a new theory of ethics and new principle of morality based on the intrinsic purity and oneness of the Atman. We should be pure because purity is our real nature, our true divine Self or Atman. Similarly, we should love and serve our neighbours because we are all one in the Supreme Spirit known as Paramatman or Brahman.

4. Bridge between the East and the West: Another great contribution of Swami Vivekananda was to build a bridge between Indian culture and Western culture. He did it by interpreting Hindu scriptures and philosophy and the Hindu way of life and institutions to the Western people in an idiom which they could understand. He made the Western people realize that they had to learn much from Indian spirituality for their own well-being. He showed that, in spite of her poverty and backwardness, India had a great contribution to make to world culture. In this way he was instrumental in ending India’s cultural isolation from the rest of the world. He was India’s first great cultural ambassador to the West.
On the other hand, Swamiji’s interpretation of ancient Hindu scriptures, philosophy, institutions, etc prepared the mind of Indians to accept and apply in practical life two best elements of Western culture, namely science and technology and humanism. Swamiji has taught Indians how to master Western science and technology and at the same time develop spiritually. Swamiji has also taught Indians how to adapt Western humanism (especially the ideas of individual freedom, social equality and justice and respect for women) to Indian ethos.

Meet Durga – From Singing in train to Bollywood

The songChi Cha Leather of Bollywood movie “Gags of Wasseypur” sung by 12-year-old (that time)Durga grabbed a lot of attention with its unusual lyrics. Hailing from a humble family, Durga has lived in slums all her life. With a passion for singing, she can often be spotted in local trains singing to earn money.

This girl who hails from Andhra Pradesh made a living by singing songs on the Mumbai local trains. She sang on both the suburban sections of the Central and Western rail. She supported her family of 2 sisters by earning meagre amounts of money by singing on the locals.

Anurag Kashyap’s love for the unconventional isn’t restricted to the scripts of his films. The filmmaker, with a good ear for music, had given a break to Band Masters Rangila and Raseela to sing the popular track Emotional Atyaachar in the Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin and Mahie Gill starrer Dev.D. And now, he has roped in a train singer, for his latest flick Gangs Of Wasseypur 2.

While Travelling by local train Mumbai film music composer Sneh Khanwalkar, heard the young girl singing. She was struck by the rustic quality of the voice of Durga and promptly auditioned her for a song for the film “Gang s of Wasseypur” where she sang ‘Dil Chi Cha Ledar’. The song was an instant hit and set the sales charts afire. The rest is history as Durga has become a national icon.

The 16 year old is now launching her debut album under the guidance of Bollywood film maker Anand Surapur on which she is working for the past 2 years. Surely there can be no tale more exciting than that of Durga who sang songs on the Mumbai local trains for a living and now is rising as a popular singer on the national circuit. The girl was singing on Mumbai locals since she was 9 till god smiled on her and turned her life from rags to riches. Surely Durga will rise further in Mumbai films .This is a tale that has an element of romance and the girl deserves our support. Her photo can be accessed at.

What is Inspiration?

Literally, from the Latin, inspiration means “to breathe into” from the verb inspirare.

Psychological :

The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative; the quality of being inspired, especially when evident in something; a person or thing that inspires; a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea; the drawing in of breath; inhalation; an act of breathing in; an inhalation.

Your Effort:

You can go online and find countless quotes,  writers, articles and creative people commenting the same way, saying that the creative process is almost mechanical, like a “mechanic greasing your car” (E.B. White) or an engineer thinking about an engineering problem (Doris Lessing).

So, yes, getting to that inspired point is work. But if it is then that means we can all get there. But couldn’t it be both at the same time, work as well as allowing “spirit” to come into us?

Stendhal says something along the same lines:

Had I mentioned to someone around 1795 that I planned to write, anyone with any sense would have told me to write for two hours every day, with or without inspiration. Their advice would have enabled me to benefit from the ten years of my life I totally wasted waiting for inspiration.

Easier said than done!!

So, we need to make time, find space, be consistent, and have the intention to find inspiration by working.

As William Faulkner once said:

I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.