Episode # 81 – Detrimental effects of “Excessive sleep” – An important message from Vidura!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed the last of the “five” as explained by Vidura in which he had given an important accord on the importance of controlling all the five senses together – Eyes, nose, tongue, touch and ears. Here the stress is on the fact that even if one of these five senses go in an undesired way, the rest of the four would also follow suit! How important is this explanation in our modern day life too! We’ve witnessed couple of examples in this regard to prove the point.

Now moving on to the next explanation, here Vidura is going to explain six items in each sloka. So far, we’ve seen one, two, three, four and five items in each of the slokas. Now we’re going to see slokas that are packed with six aspects in each. Let us now witness the first such sloka:

“Shatdoshaaha purusheneva hathavyaaha bhoothimichhathaa!”

Here Vidura is explaining that if a person is desiring to attain a sustainable growth in life, he should let go of six important things. What are those six things that a person should compromise, so as to attain success in life?

“Nidraa tandraa bhayam krodha aalasyam dheerga soothrathaa!!”

The explanation is crystal clear here. The six things to be sacrificed for sustainable growth are, “Nidraa” (Excessive sleep), Tandra (Giddiness because of excessive sleep), “Bhayam” (Unwanted fear), “Krodha” (Unnecessary anger), “Aalasyam” (Laziness) and “Dheerga soothrathaa” (Procrastination). Now let us witness each of it in detail.

If we’ve to talk about “Nidraa” all of us now that this terminology in Sanskrit language denotes “Sleep”. We’ve already witnessed considerable amount of explanation with regards to sleep in our earlier episodes. Of course now we know the different stages of sleep – “Susupti Dasa”, “Swaapa Dasa”, “Jaagra Dasa” and “Turiya Dasa” and how much of sleep is required for a normal individual in day-to-day life. Our readers can recollect these terminologies from our earlier discussions pertaining to this topic. However the question here is that, why do we need sleep and to what extent do we need to sleep?

The purpose of sleep is not to keep on sleeping! 🙂 The main purpose of sleeping is to refresh all our body parts and senses and to reenergize them from the state of tiredness. Sleep is important because our mind gets adequate rest and with that, it is rejuvenated. Hence, our sleep should be for a time period wherein only these important purposes are fulfilled. Excessive sleep is something that we need to avoid in life! Some people will go to bed just because it is 10 PM. If we go to bed this way, we will never get proper sleep. Only if our body is tired and exhausted, will we get sleep immediately after hitting the bed!

For instance, why do we see people who perform extensive backbreaking labor sleep well? It is because of their excessive physical work and the body becomes extremely tired at the end of the day! However people like us who are not that much active physically would not be able to sleep a lot like the labourers do. However, whatever little time we sleep, we should be able to get that deep sleep. For this, there are many “Aasanas” and exercises in Yoga. Today we celebrate the “International Yoga Day” and so it’s a good opportunity for us to appreciate the significance of Yoga-Aasanas to obtain a sound sleep for the stipulated time period.

Hence the important message from today’s episode is that, sleep is extremely important for us. Sleep should be for the purpose of rejuvenating our body and mind and should be strictly restricted to a particular time period (Maybe 6 hours per day). Excessive sleep is bad and detrimental to our well-being and we should make sure that we do not fall into this trap of sleeping more than the stipulated time period.

Why should we avoid excessive sleeping? It is because our body becomes more and more inactive and eventually leads us to laziness and giddiness. The next two aspects “Tandra” (Giddiness) and “Aalasyam(Laziness) are derivatives of excessive sleeping. The state of “Tandra” is because of the inactiveness of the mind and the state of “Aalasyam” is because of the inactiveness of the body. This is why even in the modern day, when we see people who sleep a lot, it would seem as if they’re drunk and trying to come out of a hangover. They would not be able to concentrate and focus on the given task to be completed. This is because, the mind and body is pushed into a state of inactiveness and it becomes very difficult to come out of that state if we sleep for more than the stipulated time period. Thus the root cause of both “Tandra” and “Aalasyam” is nothing but “Excessive sleep” and it is for this reason we say that this should be avoided.

The last two things – “Bhayam”, “Krodha” and “Dheerga Soothrathaa(Fear, Anger and Procrastination) are nothing but derivatives of “Aalasyam” and “Tandra”. Our physical and mental laziness leads to anger and frustration because we’re unable to perform our duties meticulously. Because of this, we get into unwanted fear of “what if someone asks something”. Hence we can see here that excessive sleeping (Nidraa) is the root cause of innumerable problems in our everyday life and we should make sure that we keep a check or a vigil on the number of hours we sleep every day.

For today let us do introspection within ourselves on how many hours we sleep every day! If we’re sleeping in excess of six hours every day, we really need to think again! We should try meticulously to bring down our number of sleeping hours and maintain it at 6-7, which is good for both our physical and our mental well-being. We shall wait till the next episode to witness the next six things that Vidura is going to explain. Stay tuned! 🙂

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Episode # 80 – Why should we ensure “complete control” over all our five senses? Vidura’s important explanation!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed Vidura’s important and beautiful explanation on five categories of people who would follow us like a shadow wherever we go and whatever we do in our lives. They are “Mithraa” (A Friend), “Amithraa” (An Enemy), “Madhyastha” (A neutral person), “Upajeevya” (A person who is going to be of immense help to our lives) and “Upajeevinaha” (Those people who are going to be benefitted from our help). Of course, if there is a friend in our life, there would also be an enemy along with that! In this world, we can never be friends with everybody around us. There would definitely be someone or the other who would oppose us for our views, and there would always be someone who would try and pull us down. If we were attaining substantial growth in our lives, there would always be someone who would feel jealous about our growth. Hence it is obvious that we cannot be “good” to the whole world! There would be someone or the other in some corner, who would see us like a “villain” for something or the other!

In the due course, we had also witnessed an important discussion on what we call Mentoring” in the modern-day Human Resources Management as explained by Vidura thousands of years back. Here Vidura invokes the explanation on “Mentoring” with the help of two terms “Upajeevya” and “Upajeevinaha”. These two terms signify that those people who are mentoring or guiding us and those people who are getting mentored by us would always be with us at every point in our lives! Moreover, who can be our greatest mentor? He is none other than Bhagawan himself! He is always with us, residing in our hearts and it is upto us to feel him and realize His presence within us. It is really amazing to see how “Vidura Neeti” closely explains innumerable Management and Leadership concepts that we explain today in the modern-day scenario. It can be clearly seen here that Vidura and other people who lived in the yesteryears were “Dheerga-Darsis” (Long-term visionaries). In no other scripture apart from our Hindu “Sanaaathana Dharma” in this world, would we find such in-depth literature on various issues pertaining to the modern day.

Now moving on further, Vidura is explaining the next five aspects. What is the context here? Let’s look at it in today’s episode. Here, Vidura is talking about the five sensesEyes, ears, nose, tongue and touch. If even one of the five senses start running uncontrollably towards fulfilling some desire, the remaining four of them would automatically follow and hence, ruin us completely! Vidura explains this beautiful point through the following sloka:

“Panchendriyasya marthyaschidhramcheth ekam indriyam!

Tatosyasravathih pragnyaa drutheh paathraadivodhikam!!”

Now let us look at Vidura’s beautiful explanation from the above sloka. If there is a small hole in a huge pot containing water upto its brim, the entire water starts gushing out of the pot through that small hole. Similarly, even if one of the five senses develops a “hole”, all the other four senses would start gushing out through the hole. For instance, if I start to look at something that is not to be seen, what would happen next? Our mind would “motivate” us to look at it more and more and it would start thinking about it deeply. Eventually our mind would start wandering here and there and would urge our tongue to start talking about it to someone. Now because of the eyes seeing something bad, the tongue also starts talking about that particular bad thing. Now the next sense – the nose would start to go towards that bad thing, by thinking how would it smell! Thus here we can see that even if one of our senses starts going towards a bad aspect, all the other four senses would follow suit!

Let us take a live example – Assuming that I’m a “Sugar Patient”. In other words, I’m a person who is Diabetic and my “insulin” level is extremely uncontrollable. I’ve gone for a check up to a doctor and the doctor has given a stern warning that I should never even have a dream of consuming sweets! 🙂 Now, if I’m going to a bakery shop that sells cakes, biscuits, some sweet items, etc. what would happen? The moment I set my eyes on some beautiful chocolate cakes that are kept in the tray, my eyes would immediately send signals to my mind! Instantly my mind would start thinking, “Wow! How beautiful these cakes are! Wish we can taste them once!” At the same time, my nose also becomes active by the smell that erupts from the freshly baked cakes! Now my mind would start thinking, “Okay! Although I’m diabetic and my doctor has warned me, what’s wrong in tasting a cake once? Since I’m taking adequate medication, having a cake once would not cause trouble!” 🙂 Now, I go and buy that cake and eventually start consuming it!

What is happening here? Just because my eyes have started to feast on some beautiful freshly baked cakes, my nose, my mind and my tongue follow suit! This is exactly what Vidura is trying to explain here. At a time when we are trying to control our senses, even if one of them goes in a wrong direction, all the other senses would follow suit and thus lead us to a disaster! Thus is extremely important for us to keep a strong vigil on our five senses individually and we should take care to ensure that not even one of our senses go towards the wrong path!

Thus the message from today’s episode is that, we should strive towards controlling our five senses, but at the same time, we should ensure that even one of them doesn’t deviate from the controlling mechanism! This is an extremely important advice for all of us in every walk of life to follow! Thus for today, let us introspect and analyze our five senses and try to control their deviations! With this, we come to the end of the slokas that explained five aspects in each. From tomorrow we’re going to witness slokas wherein Vidura is going to explain six aspects in each of them! Let us begin from tomorrow! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 79 – Significance of “Mentoring” as explained by “Vidura Neethi” – An eye-opener for today’s managers!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed five important people that one should worship everyday, as explained by Vidura. They are “Devaas” (Celestial Beings), “Pithru” (Departed souls), “Manushyaan” (People living in this world), “Bikshu” (Saints or Sanyaasins) and “Athithi” (Guest). In due course, we also discussed that the “Devas” and “Pithrus” are to be remembered in our prayers every single day. This is where we saw the importance given by our “Sanaathana Dharma” to performing “Shraadha”, “Tharpana”, etc. that are done for our “Pithrus” (Departed souls). We should thus understand the significance of these important rituals and make it a point that we never miss out on them.

Now moving on further, Vidura explains the next five important people. Who are they?

“Panchathvaan gamishyanti yathra yathra gamishyasi!”

Here Vidura explains that these five people will keep following us like a shadow wherever we go in this world! We might be wondering who on earth would keep following us this closely every day! Let us see who are those five people:

“Mithraani amithraa madhyasthaa upajeevya upajeevinaha!!”

 Here Vidura explains those five people: “Mithraa” (A Friend), “Amithraa” (An Enemy), “Madhyastha” (A neutral person), “Upajeevya” (A person who is going to be of immense help to our lives) and “Upajeevinaha(Those people who are going to be benefitted from our help). Thus Vidura explains to King Dhirdiraashtra that these five categories of people would always follow us like a shadow, wherever we are and wherever we go in our lives.

If we look into the deeper meaning of this sloka, we can understand that Vidura is indirectly advising King Dhirdiraashtra that the Paandavas are those people who are to be benefitted from him, however due to the evil natures of Duryodhana and Co., King Dhirdiraashtra is trying to block those Paandavas from following him. Vidura continues further, “Oh Dhirdiraashtra! You are thinking that only “Mithras” (Friends) are following you! But please note that because of your actions, you are creating more enemies than friends. Please realize this fact! Thus even now it is not too late. These five categories of people would keep following you wherever you are! You are trying to stop the unstoppable! By your foolish actions, you are trying to stop the Paandavas from living a good life and because of this act of yours, your entire clan is facing extreme danger in the near future!”

How applicable is this sloka to our modern day life? Of course all of us know that we have innumerable friends and enemies in our lives every passing day. We work with various organizations today and in our workplace, there would be some people who would really be good friends with us, and some other people who would try to pull us down for their personal gain. These people form one kind of enemies who act as a stumbling block to our professional growth. Apart from these people, there might be some people who are business competitors, who might even go to the extent of “backstabbing” us for their growth over us. Hence we need to be extremely careful in identifying such people and develop our smartness to handle them efficiently. Thus as per Vidura’s statement, it is not possible to lead a life without any enemies. However, we can only develop our smartness to handle them and keep them at bay.

Of course we would have many people in our company who would require our help to prosper in their career. This process of nurturing such people and helping them to grow is called as “Mentoring” in the modern day! This is exactly what Vidura has said thousands of years ago! How relevant is this today! If we look at any organization today, the process of “Mentoring” has come into prime focus since this is one robust process that enables the holistic development of an organization. In other words, the experience of the senior members of the organization gets passed on to the new joinees and the junior employees. This “experience sharing” is extremely important for the growth of the company and this process is called “Mentoring”. Finally, there would also be a set of people who would have mentored us to reach the level that we are in today! We should never forget such great people! In simpler terms, our mentors and mentees are of prime importance for all of us. We should never forget the contributions made by our “mentors” in the past, to bring us up to the level where we are. Similarly we should never shy away from helping out our “mentees” who require our help in terms of knowledge and experience sharing, for the overall growth of our organization.

Thus for today, let us think and reflect upon these five important categories of people who follow us like a shadow every passing day and let us realize that it is our prime duty to help these five people in corresponding ways. Most importantly, the message from today’s episode is that we should never shy away from helping others – Whomever they might be, at the time of their need. We shall wait till the next episode to witness the next five aspects that Vidura is going to explain! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 78 – Why should we sincerely perform “Shraadha” for our departed parents? An appeal to all readers!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed “five” important people that are to be respected at every time. They are “Maathaa” (Mother), “Pithaa” (Father), “Agni” (Sacrifical sacred fire), “Aathma” (Soul) and the “Guru” (Teacher).” In the due course, we had also witnessed the significance of “Agni Bhagawan” in our Hindu Sanaathana Dharma and why do we worship Agni during every ritual that we offer to Bhagawan.

Now moving on further, Vidura is going to explain the next five aspects. What are those five? Let’s witness today. Today Vidura is going to talk about five people whom we should worship in our day-to-day life.

“Panchaiva poojayan lokhe yashah praapnothi kevalam!

Devaan pithrun manushyaan bikshun athiti panchamaan!!” 

In this above soka, Vidura is highlighting five important people that one should worship everyday. They are “Devaas” (Celestial Beings), “Pithru” (Departed souls), “Manushyaan” (People living in this world), “Bikshu” (Saints or Sanyaasins) and “Athithi” (Guest).

Now let us see each of the categories of people in detail. Vidura says that if we worship these five people, we would obtain name and fame in this world. First of the lot is “Devas” – We should ensure that we have all the “Devas” (Celestial Beings) in our everyday prayers. Devas are those who are at Bhagawan’s heart and it is our bound duty to worship them every day.

Second of the lot is “Pithru”. Here the word “Pithru” means our forefathers, ancestors, and other important departed souls from our yesteryear family. It is again our duty to offer our respects and prayers to our forefathers and ancestors. This is where we do the yearly “Shraadham” for our departed parents. We should remember here that “Shraadham” should compulsorily be performed by all of us, irrespective of wherever we are and whatever we do. Similarly, we should also make sure that we do all the offerings and prayers during that one year time period from the time our parents depart. This is also extremely important.

Now the question would come – “Why at all should we do all these offerings? Anyway my parents have departed! How would this water and other offerings reach them? Would at all they reach? Is it only because of these offerings that my parents are going to reach Bhagawan’s feet? I’ve already answered such questions, but since we are in this context again, let me reiterate my answer – We should clearly understand here that our departed parents are not going to reach Bhagawan’s feet with all our offerings and prayers! They reach or not reach Bhagawan’s feet owing to their account of sins and good deeds taht they’ve performed during their days of living. Moreover, the water and other offerings that we give during the ritual are never going to reach our “Pithrus” in this same form. But why do we still perform all this? The important reason being, tomorrow we should reach Bhagawan’s feet isn’t it? It is to be noted that Bhagawan has issued a “work order” to all of us, so as to perform all these duties towards our parents as a token of our respect for them. If we perform the work that Bhagawan has given to us, He is going to feel happy and thus would voluntarily take us to Him. Thus we should realize that we are performing these rituals and practices towards our “Pithrus” as per Bhagawan’s wish. Since we are performing these rituals and offerings for Bhagwan, we should do it with utmost sincerity (Shraddha). It is only because we should do these rituals with “Shraddha”, we call this offering as “Shraadham”. Moreover, all the offerings that we make as part of the practice are going to reach our “Pithrus” in the form that they would be able to accept and not by the form that we offer! This divine transformation would happen automatically if we were offering them with a pure and a sincere heart. Thus we should realize that we should perform the “Shraadha”, “Tarpana”, etc. for our parents who had dedicated their lives for our development. What more can we do for them? It is only through these duties that we pay our respects and homage to our great people!

Moving on thus, third of the lot is “Manushya”. We need to respect all kinds of people equally without any discrimination. Fourth of the lot is “Bikshu”. Here, a “Bikshu” can be equated to a “Sanyasin” or a “Saint”. As followers of our “Sanaathana Dharma”, we should make sure that we pay our respects to such great people. It is because, only if they feel happy and contended, will the world prosper. Hence it is our bound duty to look after such people. Finally comes the “Athiti”. Here, “Athiti” means guest. Whoever comes to our home in search of us, we should never allow them to go back without making their stomach full. In other words, we should make sure that we feed our guests adequately so that they are extremely happy with our selfless service. This is what we call in Tamil as “Virundhombal”. This has been our characteristic for ages and it is our bound duty to uphold our rich value system in terms of this important characteristic called “Virundombal”.

So for today, let us ponder over these five categories of people as to how to make them happy with our actions. In any case, one important message from today’s episode is that we need to perform all the duties pertaining to our ancestors and our departed parents. We shall wait till the next episode to find out the “next five” of Vidura! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 77 – Why do we worship “Agni Bhagawan” during every spiritual practice? An important explanation!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed four important activities that can be equivalent to a “double-edged sword”. In other words, performing these activities with honesty and sincerity would take us to great heights. However, if the same activities are performed for gaining some cheap publicity or just for the sake of doing them, they would turn disastrous for our lives! These four activities as explained by Vidura are “Performing our spiritual practices”, “Keeping silence”, “Availing a proper education in any domain” and “Performing an auspicious Yagnya. These four activities are equated to a double-edged sword and we need to be very careful in undertaking them.

With this we’ve completed the set of four explanations in each sloka. It is to be remembered by our readers that Vidura is explaining “Dharma” with a beautiful arithmetic – We’ve seen slokas explaining one aspect of Dharma in each, two aspects, three aspects and four aspects in each sloka. Now we’re going on to the next level wherein Vidura is going to explain five aspects in each sloka. In that way, we shall look into the first five-aspect-sloka in today’s episode. Vidura says thus,

“Panchaagnyaha manushyena paricharyaaha prayathnataha!

Pithaa maathaa agnihi aathmaacha guruscha bharatha rishabha!!”

Here Vidura is explaining thus, “Oh King Dhirdiraasthra, who have come as part of the “Bharata Clan” (“Bharatha-rishabha”), you should always pay your respect and protect the following five people – “Maathaa” (Mother), “Pithaa” (Father), “Agni” (Sacrifical sacred fire), “Aathma” (Soul) and the “Guru” (Teacher).”

These five people are of prime importance to a person – Our mother who had given us this birth and this wonderful opportunity to live a life in this world, our father who was also instrumental in giving birth to us and supporting us in all possible ways for our comfort and happiness, our teacher (Guru) who acts like a guiding light for all of us in terms of bestowing us with the requisite knowledge and wisdom, the “Aathman” (Soul) who is none but our own self and finally “Agni Bhagawan” to whom we offer all our sacrifices. It is Agni Bhagawan who guides us with the path of reaching Bhagawan.

Why is Agni Bhagwan so important in this context? There’s an interesting explanation for this as per our Vedas and Upanishads. The Sanskrit word “Agni” can be split as “Agre nayathethyagnihi!” This means that it is Agni Bhagawan who holds our hands and guides us in the path of spiritual development. Thus, whoever pays his/her respects and tributes to Agni Bhagawan, would get His guidance to progress spiritually towards Bhagawan.

In the “Ishavaasyau Upanishad”, there is an important phrase as follows: – “Agne nayasupathaaraaye”. This manthra means that it is Agni Bhagawan who takes us forward towards the progressive spiritual path that would ultimately lead us to salvation or “Moksha”. Thus the main job of “Agni Bhagawan” is to correct and align people to the right path. This is why we have “Agni” or the “Sacred Fire” in front of us whenever we do any kind of auspicious duties such as marriage, “Upanayana” (Putting the sacred thread for Brahmin children), “Shashtyaptha Poorthi” (Celebrating 60’th birthday), etc. Similarly “Agni” is important for doing duties like “Pithru Kaarya”, Shraadha”, etc. for the departed souls. Thus we can understand that it is only through the “Agni” that we can do any kind of offering to the “Devatas” or “Celestial Beings”. I’ve already explained in the previous episodes that it is only when the “Devatas” are made happy, will all the prosperity be bestowed upon us. How do we make the “Devatas” happy? It is by giving them the requisite offerings sincerely with a pure heart. Now what is the way through which we give the offerings to the “Devatas”? It is only through Agni Bhagawan. Thus Agni Bhagawan acts as an “intermediary” between the “Devatas” and us. He collects all the offerings from us and submits them to the “Devatas”. Hence we should respect Agni Bhagawan in all ways for this noble duty that he is performing for us.

So for today let us worship these five people along with Agni Bhagawan and try to appreciate his significance in our spiritual progress. We shall wait till the next episode to find out the “next five” from Vidura! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 76 – Four important activities equivalent of “Double-edged swords” – Vidura’s beautiful explanation!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed Vidura’s explanation on four important aspects that would give us immediate results in this world. Firstly, if we are able to please the “Devathaas” with our actions, their “Sankalpa” (Will & wish) can fulfil any tough task that we need to undertake. The second aspect that can give us immediate results is the grace and spiritual powers of “Mahaans” or “Spiritual Masters”. Thirdly, the “down-to-earth” characteristic of a scholarly person would also yields immediate results. Finally, the fourth item that Vidura explains is that, the destruction of those who commit sins or follow the “Adharmic” path, would immediately and automatically restore the “Dharma” in this world! Thus these are the four items that yield immediate results for a person in this world.

Now moving on further, Vidura explains the next four items that are essential for us in today’s world.

“Chathvaari karmaan abhayankaraani! Bhayam prayachhantyathaa akritaani!!”

Here Vidura explains four important activities that would give us immense success and welfare, if done with sincerity and honesty. At the same time, if we perform these same four activities just for the sake of doing them, or to garner cheap publicity or fame, they would lead us to great danger! Thus, the purpose with which we perform these following four actions would decide our fate – Whether it is going to give us good or bad effects!

“Maana agnihothramutha maana maunam!

Maanena adheethamutha maana yagnyaha!!”

Thus here are the four activities that Vidura explains:

  1. Maana agnihothramutha” – We perform many spiritual duties in front of the “Sacred Fire(Agni) isn’t it? If we perform these spiritual practices with the sincere intentions that we are doing our duties correctly and honestly, it gives immense peace and bliss to our lives. At the same time, if we start performing these spiritual practices just for the sake of publicity and to gain the attention of people around to get their appreciation, it might end up in a disaster. This is because, as explained in the previous sloka, the “Devatas” (Celestial Beings) become happy if we perform these spiritual practices with sincerity. It is only because of their happiness, we are going to get all the prosperity in our lives. At the same time, if we’re doing these spiritual practices without any sincerity and just for the sake of publicity, the “Devatas” are going to get angry on us and their anger is going to be detrimental for our lives! Hence we need to be extremely sincere and honest while doing our spiritual practices everyday. We should not perform spiritual practices just because someone else is performing them, or to gain cheap publicity or just to grab attention of people around. This might lead us to disaster!
  2. “Maana maunam”Here Vidura explains a very important point – Exhibiting “Mouna” or “Silence”. Why is it controversial? If we keep silence when the situation demands, it becomes good for us. Whereas, if we keep mum when the situation demands us to rise up to the occasion and talk, this same silence can lead us to detrimental effects! For instance in the modern day, if there are some unwanted gossips going around us by our friends or relatives, it is good to keep ourselves away from that and keep silent. This is because, if we get into unwanted talks and gossips, our focus towards Bhagawan and our mission gets badly derailed and it becomes extremely difficult to come back to the track! Moreover, if there are some unwanted fights, verbal abuses, etc. it is better not to poke our nose into all that. The perfect example of this is our great cricket player, Mr. Sachin Tendulkar – If the opponent team’s bowlers try to get into a verbal duel with Mr. Tendulkar, it doesn’t not get him distracted. Rather, his reply would come from the bat! In other words, his bat would do the talking, rather than his mouth! Here we can see that, if we give into unwanted verbal duels, our mind becomes rattled and we lose our focus. Once we lose our focus, it becomes very easy for the opponent to win over us! Hence we should ensure that we control our instincts and maintain our silence when it matters. At the same time, if there is an allegation against us or if somebody is trying to play politics by using our name and reputation we should not keep quiet at this moment. Rather, we should rise and speak up against the odds to clear the air. If at this time we are not willing to speak up, it would mean that we are accepting a mistake that we’ve never done! Hence here we can see that silence is a double-edged sword! We need to keep silent when required, but at the same time we need to speak up when the situation demands us to do so!
  3. Maanena adheethamutha”Here again, Vidura explains yet another important point – Education is of prime importance to all of us. If we undertake the education with the genuine interest and passion towards it, it yields us good results! Whereas, if we undertake the education without the interest and passion towards it, it might end up being disastrous for our personal growth! How valid is Vidura’s explanation in today’s scenario! Previously (until some 20 years back), we were seeing that pursuing a Degree in “Engineering” or a “Medicine” was done only by very few candidates who were meritorious in their academic career and only by those people who were really passionate in becoming an engineer or a medical practitioner (Doctor). However, what is happening today? The society in India has become so crazy that almost every house has atleast one or two engineers. It is sad to note that India is producing innumerable engineers every year who do not even have the passion to pursue a career in the field of engineering! Thus, the four years that a student spends studying engineering becomes a complete waste! Unfortunately we as a society fail to realize this. We are getting carried away by the “peer pressure” amongst the society – “Just because one person is doing an engineering degree, I should also go for it!” Hence the message here is that, if we are undertaking a stream of education, we should do so with our utmost passion and interest. If we do not have that passion or interest in this particular subject, it is better not to waste time on it and rather we can look out for other options!
  4. Maana yagnyaha”Here Vidura explains that a “Yagnya(Sacrificial offer to Bhagawan) should be undertaken with utmost care and sincerity. However in today’s scenario, many of us think that performing a “Yagnya” is the best way to fulfill many of our wishes. This is a wrong understanding. First of all, we don’t even know if the person who performs the “Yagnya” on our behalf is really qualified enough to undertake it or not. For performing a “Yagnya” there are so many austerities that are to be in place. The person who is performing the “Yagnya” should be scholarly in the Vedas. Just because someone is doing a “Yagnya” somewhere and if we’ve to start performing all these, it leads us to disaster!

Thus for today let us ponder on these four activities that are like “double-edged swords”. Let us realize the significance of these activities and appreciate them. We should undertake these activities with respect, sincerity, interest and passion. Else, it would become a disaster! Let us realize this fact for today and we shall wait for the next episode to look into Vidura’s next interesting explanation! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 75 – Four important aspects that give “immediate results”!!! Vidura explains!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed Vidura’s explanation on four important people whom we should have and protect at our home – A senior person in our family who is aged and experienced, a highly educated and a wise individual, a poor friend of ours and a sister who does not have a son or a daughter. Vidura had explained the advantages of having these four categories of people at our home in the previous episode. Today let us move on to explore the next four items that Vidura is going to explain. Today’s four items are those that are going to give immediate results! What are they?

“Chathvaariyaa mahaaraaja saadhyasthaani brihaspathihi!

Prichhathe tridasendraaya taani imaani nibhothame!!

Devathaanaancha sankalpam anubhaavancha dheemathaam!

Vinayam kritha vidyaanaam vinaasam paapa karmanaam!!”

Here Vidura is explaining four important activities that would give immediate results to whatever action we perform. What are they? Vidura lists them down as follows:

  1. Devathaanaancha sankalpam” – Here, “Devathaas” means “Celestial Beings”. If we are able to please the “Devathaas” with our actions, their “Sankalpa” (Will & wish) can fulfill any tough task that we need to undertake. In other words, if our actions and prayers please the celestial beings, the fruits of our actions can be immediately redeemed! This is why in our “Sanaathana Dharma” we have innumerable prayers dedicated to please the celestial beings. Also, an important reason for performing “Pithru-Shraadham” (Prayers for the departed souls), “Brahma-Yagnya”, etc. is that, we are trying to make the celestial beings including “Devas”, “Maharishis” and “Pithru Devatas” happy. In turn, if these celestial beings are happy, it is only with their blessings that we obtain all types of happiness and bliss for ourselves and for our family. This is why our ancestors have emphasized at innumerable contexts and places that we should never ever skip these kinds of important prayers. By doing these prayers regularly, it is going to be fruitful not only for us, but also for the future generations to come. Because of our good deeds, our entire family is going to reap the benefits, generations after generations! Hence, care should be taken to perform these prayers on a regular basis.
  2. Anubhaavancha dheemathaam” – This is another important aspect that gives immediate results – The grace and spiritual powers of “Mahaans” or “Spiritual Masters”. This is why in our “Sanaathana Dharma” we have many people who are spiritual masters or “Gurus” and it is instructed that we follow the footsteps of these exemplary people. Traditionally we’ve seen the fundamentals of our Hindu philosophy being preached by the three great spiritual masters of Shankaraachaarya, Madhvaachaarya and Ramanujaachaarya. We call them the “trinities” of Hindu Philosophy. Traditional generations run even today wherein we can see spiritual descendants of each of the three Gurus’ whom Hindu people worship. Apart from these people, there are other spiritual masters in today’s scenario such as Ramana Maharishi, Shirdi Sai Baba, Puttaparthi Sai Baba, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, etc. who have been contributing greatly to our “Sanaathana Dharma” in their own divine ways. Hence as per our Hindu tradition, the divine grace of a spiritual master can work wonders with our lives and results for our actions can be seen immediately with the grace of the Guru.
  3. Vinayam kritha vidyaanaam” – Here Vidura explains that the “down-to-earth” characteristic of a scholarly person also yields immediate results. This is because people get impressed when a highly learned and a well-educated person exhibits patience and a “down-to-earth” attitude and ultimately gains immense respect. We can see this in successful organizations even today wherein leaders of such organizations are visionary people, yet simple and down-to-earth. Such leaders are regarded and respected extremely high by employees of the organization and they are ready to do anything for their leader! If this is the case, it is easy to get quality work done isn’t it? This is what we call in the modern day Leadership theory as “Charismatic Leadership”. Leaders with such a “Charisma” can get any tough and challenging tasks done very easily!
  4. “Vinaasam paapa karmanaam”Finally, the fourth item that Vidura explains is that, the destruction of those who commit sins or follow the “Adharmic” path, would immediately and automatically restore the “Dharma” in this world! We’ve seen this in the Ramayana, wherein the moment when Lord Rama destroyed Ravana and his “Raakshasa” clan, “Dharma” was again re-established. Similarly in the Mahaabhaarata, the moment when the Paandavas manage to destroy Duryodhana and his “Kaurava” brothers, “Dharma” was re-established. Hence we need to know that the moment those “Adharmic” and anti-social elements are destroyed, it is immediately that “Dharma” is re-established and restored in the world!

Thus from the above explanation, it is evident that we get immediate results when these four items are in place! We shall ponder and grasp these four items for today and shall wait for the next episode to discuss the next four! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 74 – Four important people to have at home – Vidura explains!!!

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In the previous episode we had began witnessing Vidura’s explanation of groups of four aspects packed inside each sloka. In that way, we had witnessed the first such sloka yesterday wherein Vidura talks about four categories of people whom we should totally avoid in our life – The person who is absolutely senseless or brainless, the person who is a procrastinator of tasks unwantedly due to sheer laziness, the person who are tensed at all times and make others tensed as well and finally the person who acts smart by talking juicy words but scores a zero in actions! Thus Vidura explains that such people should never fall into our close association at any point of time and we need to keep away from them as much as possible.

Now moving further, Vidura is going to talk about the next four items. What are they and how are they relevant to today’s scenario? Let’s have a look!

“Chathvaari tetaatha grihe vasantu! Shriyaabhi jushtasya grihecha dharma!!

In this sloka, Vidura is going to explain four important categories of people whom one should always keep with us at his/her home, if he/she is a married person. Now that many of us are living in congested cities and towns and in relatively smaller apartments I do not know if we can accommodate four people at our home today! 🙂 However, we can atleast keep these four people in our hearts and minds. Now who are these four people? Vidura continues thus:

Vriddhaha nyaathir avasannaha kuleenaha sadaa daridraha bhagineecha anapathyaa!!”

Here Vidura explains the four categories of people. The first category is Vriddhaha nyaathi”This means a senior person in our family who is aged and experienced. These senior people might be in the form of our parents or any of our close relatives like our uncle, aunt, etc. Why should we have such senior people at our home? It is only from these people, we can understand what are our family traditions, our family “Dharma”, how do perform all the important spiritual practices at home, how to perform other important duties like “Shraadha”, etc. Moreover, we can also have the opportunity to learn from their life experiences and shall try to follow their valuable advice on important things in life. They can also act as our consultants wherein we can seek their suggestions before taking important decisions at our home for the betterment of our families. Thus in a nutshell, experienced senior people at home would always serve as an important guide for our overall development of us as well as our family.

The second category is Avasannaha kuleenaha”He is a person who was born and brought up in a high clan, well educated and a widely respected individual. When we have such people with us at home, they can give their expert opinions on critical issues that we might face at home due to various circumstances and situations. Hence, such people are also very important to have at home.

The third category is Sadaa daridraha”He is a close friend of ours who might be poor and without much wealth under his possession. If we have such people at our place, there might be two purposes that get fulfilled – One is that we would indirectly doing something good to a person who is in dire need of help. The other is that, if such people are there at our place, they can share their real-life experiences (sufferings mostly) that would be excellent lessons for us. For instance, if that person had lost all his money and property through some bad ways and means and he is repenting for the same, we can learn from such people that we should be careful with our wealth and money by refraining from going into such illicit ways and means. Such life experiences are always required for our personal development. Hence, it is good to have a poor or a needy close friend along with us, who can advise us on the do’s and don’ts in our everyday life.

The final category is Bhagineecha anapathyaa”Here Vidura explains about an important person. He says that we should always have with us, our own sister who does not have a child. We might wonder why is Vidura talking about such a category. According to Vidura, she is the person who would faithfully and honestly safeguard our property and wealth! Perhaps if she had a son or a daughter in her life, maybe it would create problems! 🙂 Let’s not get into that debate for the time being. However, what Vidura means here is that, this person should be our own blood-related sister, who is childless and this person should always be with us at our home.

Thus, if the above-mentioned four categories of people are at our place, it would definitely bring goodness to us and our family. So for today let us ponder over this important sloka and these four categories of people. Of course as I mentioned before, space might be a big constraint for many of us at home, as we live in apartments and high rise buildings in the today’s scenario. However, if some readers feel that they have ample space in their homes, definitely we can think of having these four people with us, which would be of good to us. For those readers who have space constraints, atleast let us have these people in our hearts and minds, so as to try and compensate their physical absence! We shall wait till the next episode to explore the next four aspects that Vidura explains! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 73 – Four important categories of people to avoid – Vidura’s beautiful explanation!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed the second part of the discussion on why to accept people unconditionally. We witnessed a few modern day scenarios as to why this quality is extremely important for being a successful and a prolific leader. More than being a successful leader, this characteristic is important from a normal human being’s perspective as well. The more we forgive and let go, the more respect we would gain. But of course that doesn’t mean that we let others do mistakes and get away. We should warn them, educate them and giving them feedbacks for improvement. In other words, constructive criticism is always welcome. However, the limit should be here – We should not go beyond this and start abusing others for their mistakes. We should make sure that we do not get into this trap and should strive to accept people’s wholehearted apologies and move on further.

Now moving on, so far for the past few slokas we’ve been seeing Vidura’s explanation of “trios” – That is, three elements in each sloka. Now from this sloka we’re going to see four elements in each sloka. Let’s now look at the “first four”. Here he is going to tell us that we should not mingle and move with four categories of people. Who are they?

“Chathvaari raagnyaath mahaabalena varjyaanyaahuhu pandithasthaani vidyaath!

Alpah pragnyessaha manthram na kuryaath na dheerga soothraihi abhasaihi chaaranaischa!!”

Thus from the above sloka, Vidura explains that we should not move with four categories of people – First one is Alpah pragnayihi”This means, we should not associate ourselves with a person who is a “dumb-head” or “brainless”! Thus we should realize here that our association and friendship should be with people who are intelligent, smart and informative. This would help us to grow better in our lives. Rather, if we happen to be friends with those who are useless and stupid’s, we would also end up becoming stupids like them! Hence we need to be extremely careful while choosing our companions. We’ve already discussed a glimpse of this topic during the discussion on “Friendship vs. “Opportunism” a few episodes back. Readers may recollect that discussion a little bit wherein I’ve said that we are judged based on the companions with whom we associate ourselves. Thus the message from this portion of today’s episode is that, we need to careful not to associate ourselves with those people who are completely brainless and stupids.

The next one is “Dheerga soothraihi” – This means, a person who is a “procrastinator” of things! We should never have any kind of association with people who keep postponing things for some silly reason. If we happened to be with these kinds of people, we would eventually become lazy and might fail to finish our tasks on time! If a task is given to us, we need to stick to the time of completion along with the quality with which our output is generated. This is extremely important in today’s professional setup wherein the focus is on completing tasks in a reduced time frame, but without compromising on the quality. In such scenarios, if we happen to associate ourselves with those people who are “procrastinators”, we would end up being like them and would start postponing our works without any valid reason! This would result in many problems both for us as well as for the organization with which we work. Hence, procrastinators should be avoided completely!

The third one is Abhasaihi” – We might have come across few people who are “last-minute” cases. In other words, they are always in some kind of tension all the time and eventually rush up with their tasks, finally ending up messing the whole thing! Such people are also dangerous and we should keep away from these kinds of people as well. This is what we call “Tension-party”. If we happen to associate with these kinds of people, we would have to become unwantedly tensed and would have to take up huge pressure of completing things rather too quickly. Of course, completing tasks quickly is required (as discussed above), but too quick a completion might rather result in compromise on quality! We should note that if the output lacks the requisite quality, the entire purpose of undertaking the task becomes irrelevant and useless. Hence we should make sure that we do not get into an association with such people who are always in “tension” mode! This would eventually spoil our way of working as well!

The fourth one is “Chaaranaischa” – This is a peculiar category of people who just try to act “smart” by not performing any tasks, but keep praising others and making them do the additional work! Some people might give thousands of promises by saying “I shall do this! I shall do that!” but when it comes to converting those promises into actions, these people would run away! Such people are also extremely dangerous in terms of trust and it is always better to keep away from these kinds of people as well! Now this is what I call “Political talks”. Just like how politicians talk before elections are being held – “If I get elected, I shall fulfill all promises that I give for my people!” After the election is over and for the next five years, this fellow would be absconding! So what happens to all the promises that he/she had given to his electorate? It’s all in vain! Thus we should realize that we should not associate ourselves with people who “talk more and work less”. Not only in the political arena – We would be able to see such people in every sphere of life! We can come across such people even in corporate organizations wherein people in the top management might promise a lot but execute only a little! Trusting such people is extremely dangerous and it is better not to fall into their gimmicks!

Thus for today let us introspect about these four categories of people and lets strive to stay away from them in future! We shall discuss the “second four” in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 72 – “Accepting an unconditional apology” – Is it possible in today’s scenario???

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In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important attribute of a leader – Acceptance of a person unconditionally irrespective of whomever he/she might be. This is an extremely important characteristic that escalates a person’s respect to the highest level amongst his surrounding people. We had also witnessed yesterday, two important events from the Ramayana wherein Lord Rama had demonstrated this characteristic as a righteous king – He had reminded Vaali of this important “Raaja-Dharma” and later on, he himself demonstrated this characteristic by accepting Vibhishana unconditionally, despite Sugriva opposing it. By accepting Vibhishana, Lord Rama showed to the world that by accepting a person unconditionally, he/she would be more loyal and faithful to the leader with immense respect.

Thiruvalluvar in his famous Thirukkural in Tamil explains a similar attribute. He says,

“Innaar seidaare oruthar avar naana nannayam seidhu vidal!!”

Here, Thiruvalluvar goes even a step further. He says, more than just unconditionally accepting a person who has committed a mistake, we’ve to do something good for them in return so that they would feel embarrassed by hanging their head in shame! Why would they feel embarrassed and shameful? They would ultimately feel that they’ve committed this mistake to a wrong person! What a great teaching is this!

We might immediately ask the question – How applicable is this characteristic in today’s life? How do we implement this in today’s scenario, given the amount of challenges we face daily from different types of people? Firstly all of us should realize one important fact of life – There could be nobody in this world who has not committed even a single mistake in his/her life! In other words, no human being can be 100% perfect! All of us commit some kind of mistakes at every stage in our lives and this is a continuous process. Hence, if we’ve to blame someone for what mistake they’ve committed and if we refuse to accept their unconditional apology for the same, let us think for a moment – “Are we perfect? If we were in that situation, what would have been my reaction? What is the probability that I would not have committed the same error like the other person?” If we start thinking thus, we would have to start hanging our heads down in shame! Hence the message from today’s extended discussion on this point is that, before we blame and refuse to accept someone for some wrongdoing, let us look and introspect within ourselves as to how many wrongdoings we’ve done so far in our lives! Thus we should strive together to stop blaming others for all what have gone wrong. Moreover, if someone comes to us with an unconditional apology for their wrongdoing, it should be our duty to accept their apologies and advise them as to how they can improve further from that point. This would be beneficial both for their and our sustainable growth!

Now that we’ve spoken about “blaming” others, we need to focus on something that is widely prevalent in today’s scenario – “Blame-Game” and “Passing the buck” without taking responsibility for a failure. We can see this widely in today’s political scenario. I’ve spoken about this in a different context, but this is another context where this particular discussion might be valid as well. In our constitution why do we have an “Opposition party”? The main duty of the opposition party is to critically scrutinize the activities of the ruling government and check if any wrongdoings are happening. If there is some wrongdoing somewhere, it is the duty of the opposition party to come up with constructive steps as to how to avoid such mistakes in future. This would be an excellent strategy for the betterment of the nation. But today, unfortunately what do the opposition parties resort to in the parliament? They come up with criticisms that are completely baseless, without any facts, figures to support their narratives and moreover, disrupt the normal proceedings of the parliament and paralyze it for days together! Is this democracy? Is this the reason for what we’ve elected the so-called “Members of Parliament/Legislature”? Aren’t they cheating us by involving themselves in such activities just for the sake of gaining cheap publicity and for scoring some political brownie points? Where are we going towards as a nation? As Indians and as true nationalists, we need to differentiate between those who strive for our country’s development and those who promote their “hidden political agenda” so as to ruin and loot our country! It is in our hands to hand over a decisive mandate to such people and save our country from loot and scoot! Let us together think about this.

Thus, the important messages from this lengthy discussion are that, firstly we need to understand that everybody is bound to make mistakes and it is only by making mistakes we would learn something constructive. Secondly, since we are now aware that none of us are perfect, we need to be prepared to accept others when they come to us seeking unconditional apology for the mistake that they’ve committed. It’s our bound duty to do so! Thirdly, rather than blaming others for a failure and passing the buck, we should unite together and introspect as to what had really gone wrong and how to take corrective measures. If we follow these three attributes meticulously, I’m sure India and the whole world would become a much better place to live in, both in terms of peace and harmony! We shall wait for the next episode to take Vidura’s next explanation forward! Stay tuned! 🙂