Livelihood Vs. Buddhahood

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Buddha is not against living. He is definitely against leaving. He is against leaving problems to God to solve them. There is no God the way we perceive God to be. We perceive God to be a super human entity somewhere up in the heaven. There is no such God somewhere up. So he can never come and solve our problems. We always look up and never look in. All the problems in life are our problems and surely it is our responsibility to solve them. We have created them and hence we have to own up the problems to find solutions to solve them. Buddha is in favour of improving our lives. He is for bettering our lives. He is not against life. He is not against love. He is for better life and better love. He is for Enlightened Living. He is for living wisely out of mindfulness. He is for a conscious living. He is not against Dollars. He has reverence for Dhamma and Dollars. He is not against Numbers. He is for Numbers and Nirvana. He is for quality in quantity. He is for a Quantum Consciousness. He is for matter and spirit together. He is for spirit in the matter. Everything is divine and sacred. There is nothing in the existence that is evil or non-sacred. The whole existence is divine.

Then why he left the world? This is a basic question. The only answer is that he was not aware of all this. He was carrying a wrong notion and a wrong understanding because of a wrong spiritual tradition. The tradition was that of renunciation and asceticism. And this was utterly a wrong tradition. This was one reason for his leaving the world. And the second reason was that in his whole life since childhood he was given to know only one side of life, that is, the life of comfort and convenience. He was never shown the other side of life. That is, the life of poverty, hunger and misery. Life is like the two sides of a coin. And the psychology is that if we accept only one side then slowly the other side will start surfacing and attracting. This is a simple psychology. It is a simple psychology of the attraction of the opposite. In the east people have been living in acute poverty and hence an attraction for Technology Leadership and Business Leadership. In the west people have been living in abundant comfort and luxury. And hence an attraction for Spiritual Leadership and Enlightened Leadership.

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When we suppress and repress one side, the other side creates a pressure and gains a momentum to assert and surface. This is a simple psychology. We need a new science of holistic living. We need a science of total living. Body and soul are not two different things. Matter and spirit are not two different things. Quantity and quality are not two different things. Hardware and software are not two different things. Dollars and Dhamma are not different things. Number and Nirvana are not two different things. Materialism and spiritualism are not two different ways of living. Therefore, Livelihood and Buddhahood are not antonyms. They are not against each other. They complement and support each other. Buddhahood is nothing but bringing in mindfulness in livelihood. Buddhahood is living with mindfulness. And there is no need to leave anything. There is no need to give up anything. The non-essential things, the unwanted things (wrong ideas, wrong notions, prejudices, preoccupations, wrong perceptions) will automatically be dissolved and disappeared in the process of mindfulness. Mindfulness embeds within two powerful principles. The observer is the observed. This is the first principle. The observation changes the nature of the observer and the observed. This is the second principle. And in the process of mindfulness there is a unification and an experience of oneness. Because the object is not only an object it is a subject too. The object gets transformed into the subject.

The above experience of unification and oneness is not possible in the objective science because of the observer principle. At the heart of science is a duality because of the observer principle. This observer principle always keeps the observer away from the observed. And the difference between the observer and the observed remains infinite.

Let us bring in mindfulness in livelihood and bridge the gap between Livelihood and Buddhahood. They are not two different ways of living. Let us make them as one way of living. Let it be an Enlightened Living. An Enlightened World and an Enlightened Universe is waiting for us 🙂

“Mindfulness embeds within two powerful principles. The observer is the observed. This is the first principle. The observation changes the nature of the observer and the observed. This is the second principle. And in the process of mindfulness there is a unification and an experience of oneness. Because the object is not only an object it is a subject too. The object gets transformed into the subject.”

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Classical Spirituality and Dynamic Spirituality

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The classical spirituality is on the way to its death bed. It is on the way of being ruined. It is no longer effective. It has no scope. It can neither transform you nor transform the world. What is Classical Spirituality? It is a spirituality that just believes in doing something and not doing another thing. It is more like Mahatma Gandhi’s three monkeys. And what are these three monkeys? One monkey says, “Don’t see evil”. The second monkey says, “Don’t hear evil”. And the third monkey says, “Don’t speak evil”. And if you ask these monkeys as to what is good, bad and evil, they have no idea really. They may have the idea of the good, bad and the evil that is fed from outside. They do not have their own awareness. They do not have their own understanding. They have been fed the definitions of good, bad and evil from outside. The same way we feed the data and programs into the computers. These three monkeys are carrying different ideas and notions of good, bad and evil given to them from outside. Good and bad are relative perspectives. They differ from place to place, person to person and time to time. What is good to me may not be good to you. What is good in India may not be good in the whole world outside. And what is good today may have been bad in the past. For example, Sati (immolation of a widow on the pyre of her husband) was a good thing and a great virtue in the past, and today it is a big social evil and a crime. The kings and rich people in the past had many wives and today it is a bigamy and considered a crime. Long back in China there was this understanding that a woman is like a thing and a toy. She does not have a soul. And, therefore, she can be killed by the husband and that killing was not a crime. And the husband was not punishable. In India in the past a woman was considered a big hurdle on the path of spirituality. And spiritual freedom was considered an almost impossibility to a woman. Jainism even thinks that a woman has to take the birth of a man in her next life in order to attain to Moksha or spiritual freedom. The classical spirituality believes womanhood a curse for Moksha or spiritual freedom. Initially even Buddha did not allow women in his Sangha. And the whole credit goes to Ananda who first convinced Buddha to introduce women in his Sangha. In a Sangha where there were men and women, the women had to observe and follow more vows than men. One thing that was very great of Buddha was that he was not a rigid person. He was a very sensitive and sensible person. The classical spirituality was anti-women and anti-desire. The ancient spirituality was developed, organized and controlled by male chauvinism. These are just few examples to illustrate the point. There are many such beliefs and myths on the path of classical spirituality.

The modern, dynamic and quantum spirituality has to be totally different. I can not impose my ideas and notions of good and bad on the other. I can not get guided and controlled by the ideas and notions of good and bad of the other. For example, to clean the bathrooms and commodes (toilets) of others was a great service and virtue in the eyes of Mahatma Gandhi. And he imposed this notion on his wife and others. And this was not acceptable to his wife. And she followed this out of force and coercion. And she did not do this out of her own heart and soul. It was an imposition and not her own innate understanding that it is a great virtue. How can I impose my values and virtues on the other? The value or a virtue is like the process of flowering and fruition. The seed of value and virtue has to grow in the soil of my own being. You know what the psychology is? The more you tell a person not to do something, he will unconsciously try to do the same thing. Just see the psychology of the children. They do what they are told not to do. Then what is the way? The only way is to introduce one more monkey in the camp of the three monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi. And this monkey is a monkey of Mindfulness and Awareness. This monkey is not against desires. This monkey knows how to transform desires. What is spirituality? It is a way to transform the desire into divinity. This monkey is not against doing anything. This monkey is in favor of doing things with mindfulness and awareness. This monkey knows how to transform the doer in the doing. This monkey is not a male chauvinist. This monkey knows that every human being is a Ardhanarishvara. At one end Shiva says that he is a Ardhanarishvara. And our classical spirituality thinks that it is a domain of only males. Shakti says that she is a Agama and Shiva is a Nigama. This question was asked to Shakti and she answered it this way. Had we asked the same question to Shiva, probably he would have given a similar answer because he strongly believes in Ardhanarishvara.

We either do things or do not do things at three levels. Firstly at the level of the body. Secondly at the level of the mind. And thirdly at the level of the heart. At the level of the heart it is in the state of an emotion. At the level of the mind it is in the state of a thought. And at the level of the body it is in the state of an action. Emotion, thought and action are not three different things. They are just three different manifestations of the same thing. Emotions are subtle. Thoughts are gross. And actions are the grossest. Forget about bad actions, Krishna says that even to think of a bad action is wrong. I can shake my hand with the other person out of friendship. I can hug the other person with my body out of love and friendship. And I can use the same hand and the body to hurt the other person. I can hurt the other person even with my emotions and thoughts. The heart, the mind and the body are just vehicles. They are just carriers of our emotions, thoughts and actions. They are neutral things. They are absolutely not at fault. The false thing is a bad intention. The bad thing is an evil intention. So what is important is contemplation, observation, awareness and witnessing of the emotions, thoughts and actions. The fourth monkey, therefore, can help us to know how to observe and witness our actions. Observation, Mindfulness and Witnessing is a science in itself. J Krishnamurti says that the observer is the observed. What does it mean? If the observed action is that of anger then the observer is angry. If the observed action is that of love and compassion then the observer is loving and compassionate. The observer is the observed is one principle. This principle has been given by J Krishnamurti. Let me give you the second principle. And the second principle is that the observation changes the nature of the observer and the observed. The process of observation removes the impurities in the emotion, thought and action.

The fourth monkey is the monkey of observation, watchfulness, mindfulness and awareness. It will take care of the other three monkeys. You don’t have to worry unnecessarily. The fourth monkey will help you feel wise, think wise, do wise and be wise. Everything will be taken care of automatically, please just be aware of all that you are doing 🙂

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“These are the four monkeys. One monkey says, “Don’t see evil”. Second monkey says, “Don’t hear evil”. Third monkey says, “Don’t speak evil”. The fourth monkey says, “Don’t just get bogged down by all these emotions and thoughts. You can not close your eyes. You can not close your ears. You can not close your mouth. You can not shut your heart and mind. The heart is full of emotions. The mind is full of thoughts. And that too various types of thoughts. Psychologists and Neurologists say that our mind produces some 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The mind is in fact a thought producing machine. It can never be shut down. It is shut down only once in life. Yes, you are right. It is shut down completely on death. The only best way is to observe and witness these thoughts. What happens in the process of observation and witnessing eventually is that the mind attains to stillness, stability and equanimity and then it automatically gets control of the thoughts, emotions and actions. And the result is that of a silent and blissful mind.”

Enlightenment and Corporate Excellence

You can neither take nor give enlightenment. You can only receive it. It is a gift from the divine. It is a “Prasada”. It is what you receive as a consequence. It is like a by-product. And it is not a goal.

You can’t desire enlightenment. You need to be deserving to receive it as a gift. There is a saying that says that God does not give you success but God estimates your success. If I am worthy I will receive it in no time. And if I am not worthy and don’t deserve it now then I will have to wait patiently. The word patient is very beautiful. It means a sick person. The sick person goes to a doctor for a cure. And the doctor tells the sick person to have patience. Because the cure will take some time. But the sickness is so much that the patient loses all patience. And there is no shortcut. The patient has to wait. There is no other way.

The same is the story with enlightenment. You have to wait endlessly. And in a ripe moment it happens. And it happens. It surely happens. How does it matter even if it didn’t happen? Who cares? What matters is that you loved the path. What matters is that the journey was joyful. What matters is that you loved the whole process.

The end of the process results into enlightenment. Just take the example of 24 carat gold. Look into the whole process of moving from the raw gold to 24 carat gold. From raw gold to 24 carat gold the whole process is intrinsically connected. It is one process. At the end of the process the raw gold transforms into a 24 carat gold.

What happens in the whole process? The raw gold is passed through the acid test and the fire test. And as the raw gold moves up the stream, in the whole process the impurities present in the raw gold are burnt and dissolved, and at the end of the process as a resultant is the 24 carat gold. The whole process is one. It is interconnected. The raw gold culminates into a 24 carat gold as a consequence. The whole process is a process of quality improvement. The 24 carat gold moves to a highest quality.

It is similar to the quality processes followed by the corporations in quality improvement. They follow many types of quality processes like ISO and Six Sigma. And at the end of the process are the world class quality products. The whole quality process creates a value.

The case of the Mumbai Dabbawalas has become world famous. This case is being referred by world famous universities to their students in their curriculum. The people of Mumbai Dabbawalas are very simple and down-to-earth human beings. They don’t have any ego. They don’t have any attitude. They are not professional people. They are not engineers. They are not MBAs. And probably this is the reason why they are able to create excellence. They are working above six sigma.

On the other hand take the example of many business organizations. They are rich and they have lot of money. They have technology. They have qualified people like engineers, doctors, MBAs, etc. They have pumped millions of dollars in their processes. And still they are not able to work above six sigma. What is the matter? The matter is lack of simplicity and ordinariness. A professional person thinks that he is extraordinary. An expert thinks that he is extraordinary. And this attitude becomes a barrier to quality. A quality product, a quality process, and a quality person are not three different compartments. All these three are part of a one big process. They are interconnected. They are not separate. They can not work in silos. You can not improve one without improving the other. This is where quality suffers. This is where quality becomes unsustainable. And this is the reason why the products and markets eventually die.

The goal of any organization is to create excellence. And this excellence can be achieved only through quality people. Happy people give highest productivity and greatest performance. And happy people create quality products and quality processes. All quality is a by-product of happiness. And all happiness is a by-product of Right Mindfulness.

Right Mindfulness is a quality standard for improving the quality of the individuals. We have various quality standards for improving the quality of the processes and products. But we do not have any standard for improving the quality of the individuals. The right mindfulness meditation improves the “Emotional Quotient” and the “Happiness Quotient” of the individuals. Right mindfulness is not being full of mind. Right mindfulness is just being in the moment and understanding the reality as it is. The art of right mindfulness helps in finding out and removing the root causes. The art of right mindfulness is a boon for creativity and innovation. Right mindfulness helps in creating excellence in everything that you do.

And eventually as the individual moves up the stream in his own inner being through right mindfulness, enlightenment happens to him as a consequence. It is a by-product and comes as a gift of the divine. And the by-product of enlightenment is a person of highest “Happiness Quotient”. And this person is always in a state of a Sachitananda. And this person has an excellence to lead the organization with love and compassion. Love and Leadership can go together. Creativity and Compassion can go together. Intelligence and Innovation can go together. Meditation and Management can go together. There is no conflict. And this person always follows the principles of Enlightened Leadership.

Are we a consequence of an Accident?

Are we a consequence of an accident? Is it really a big think or a big flaw? If the whole universe has emerged just as an accident out of the universal laws of the existence then the universal laws are meaningless. What is the meaning of an universal law which only creates an accident?

What is the use of riding a horse if it is certainly going to meet with an accident? What is the use of driving a car if you certainly end up with an accident? What is the use of a driving school and a driving license? What is the use of distinguishing between a good driver and a bad driver?

Just look at the whole cosmos? Just see how systematically it is arranged and organized? It is a cosmos and not a chaos. There is an order. There is a system. There is a symphony.

Just think for a while that the whole universe is like a mirror. And we all are just reflections. Now just stand before the mirror and look at yourself. If you are healthy the mirror will reflect the health. If you are sick the mirror will reflect the sickness. If you are sad the mirror will reflect sadness. And if you are happy the mirror will reflect happiness. This is why Werner Heisenberg has said that our universe is a participating universe. It all depends on us and not on the universe. This is the reason why Krishna has said in the Bhagawat Geeta that the universe has demonic and divine qualities. It is a mystery of the universe that it reflects you as you are just like a mirror.

The western scientists have always been speaking on variouse dimensions of the universe but they are missing on this subjective dimension of the universe. The eastern scientists have always been speaking on this subjective dimension of the universe. Buddha has even gone to the extent of saying that your world is your own world. The world exists only because of you. The world has no meaning without you. Only you can give a meaning to your own world. And when you don’t exist what really exists is pure Nirvana.

Let us contemplate on the following quotes of great ones:

“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” Albert Einstein

“It will never be possible by pure reason to arrive at some absolute truth.” Werner Heisenberg

Let us move from the so called “Accidental Universe” to an “Enlightened Universe”.

Awaken the “Absent Leader” within You !!

Are you an “Absent” Leader? May be you are too busy to know your leadership style. And may be you perceive that you are not an “Absent Leader”. An Absent Leader is one who is too busy in his own cocoon and has no time to get in touch with his people. He creates a silk envelope around him and is surrounded by sychophants. He sits in an ivory tower and is not in touch with the reality.

In the ancient Indian times this type of leadership was seen in Dhritarashtra, the blind king of Hastinapur and Bhishma, the grand old man who had sworn to serve the Kuru Kingdom. The king was not only physically blind but was also spiritually blind. He was giving a blind eye to all the wrong actions of his son Duryodhana. He was not able to take any action on the wrong actions of his son. He was suffering from Putramoha (gross attachment to his son). Physical blindness is not a big handicap but spiritual blindness is a big handicap. Bhishma was a man of strong morals and ethics. He was a man of strong characters. But he too was suffering from “Rashtra Dharma”. He had sworn to protect the king under all circumstances. These were the handicaps in the way of able leadership. And such circumstances slowly pull the leader into an “Absent Leader”.

Mahatama Gandhi brought in the metaphor of “Three Wise Monkeys” to convey the Principle Centered Leadership to the people of India. And these three monkeys are: See no evil, Speak no evil, Hear no evil. And the “Absent Leadership” in India gave altogether a new dimension and paradigm to Gandhi’s Principle Centered Leadership. And the three wise monkey’s of Absent Leadership are: Don’t See, Don’t Speak, Don’t Hear. In fact the Absent Leadership has added a fourth wise monkey to the three. And the fourth wise monkey is “Be Absent”. The fourth monkey is awesome. The fourth monkey metaphorically means, “Don’t be present and be absent”. The Absent Leadeship follows the Ostrich Philosophy.

What is the solution then? The only solution is: Right Mindfulness. Right Mindfulness is not being Full of Mind. It is being mindful to the absent mindedness. Right Mindfulness can awaken the sage commnader within you. Right Mindfulness is a powerful meditation technique that brings an order in a chaos. The ancients have practiced growth and prosperity along with harmony.

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” Lao Tzu

A New Tea Brand: “NaMo Tea”

The art of Management and Leadership is to turn every difficulty into an opportunity. I think this is what the BJP has done out of the Chaiwala” remarks uttered at the BJP leader Narendra Modi by a Congress Party MP. The BJP has strategically used this position to project their PM candidate as, “From a Tea vendor to a PM candidate”. And this situation has given rise to a new tea brand called “NaMo Tea”. And this brand will further be strenghtened after he becomes the PM.

I think that this Chaiwala” barb will cost the Congress Party very heavily. I think the Congress Party Leadership should take necessary steps to avoid leaders who make such derogatory remarks. This remark may brand the Congress Party that it is not a party of the “Common Man”.

The “NaMo Mantra” must lead us towards building the nation on the platform of Truth, Trust, and Transparency. There is nothing wrong in taking a sip of the “NaMo Tea” that takes us towads good governance. There is every possibility that this “NaMo Mantra” may lead us towards Om Namah Shivaya”.