No attachments

It is said that when Buddha inducted bhikkhunis (Pali term for ordained Buddhist nuns), he was met with considerable resistance, for he had moved away from the norm and offered women an equal place as their male counterparts. Some objected and asked him to reconsider. It was not prudent to have women in such close proximity to Buddha, they argued. Unchained by the petty views of the world, Buddha, however, did what he thought was right. The number of female followers grew rapidly in his sangha and wherever he traveled, many bhikkhunis traveled with him. This did not sit well with a lot of people and rumors spread like thoughts in a restless mind.

During one of his sojourns in a village, a small group of rowdy people hurled abuses at Buddha forcing him to cut short his discourse. They were mad at him for breaking the tradition and all that. They called him names, accused him of impiety and impropriety. Unable to bear the insult, a number of sangha members rose to their feet to confront the offenders.

“Wait!” Buddha forbade the monks raising his hand. “They are behaving like this because they don’t know me.”

He looked at the faces of his spiritual children red with anger and hurt. Buddha let a few moments roll before he said, “But, you do. Therefore, follow the path of ahimsa and sit down.”

Everyone has a whole world of thoughts, emotions, desires (mostly unfulfilled), opinions, ideas and so on in their head. What comes out of anybody’s mouth is simply a glimpse of what’s in their mind. Good and loving words tumble out from a calm and compassionate mind. Gossip and harsh words from a restless and jealous mind. It’s no rocket science. Besides,  everyone is entitled to an opinion about you. Let them.

“Does that mean, Guruji,” someone asked me, “that we just listen to their blabbering? Doesn’t being silent imply that we are not just accepting but encouraging them?”

It’s a good point but I’m not suggesting that you can only choose between silence and anger. When you are dealing with a rumormonger or a criticizer, if you are going to get angry then how are you any better though? Does that kind of behavior suit you? If anything, it’ll only ruin your own peace. As I say, under all circumstances, act in a manner that befits you. It takes patience, resolve, mindfulness and compassion to do that but, it is entirely possible. At any rate, beyond silence and hostility, there’s a third option. A better one. It’s called the Three Filters Test by Socrates.

“I’ve something important to tell you,” an acquaintance of Socrates said to him while he passed through the markets. “It’s about your friend. He—”

“Stop!” Socrates reacted. “Let me run the three filters to ascertain if I want to know it.”

The man looked somewhat confounded as Socrates continued, “First is the filter of truth. Whatever you want to tell me, have you seen or witnessed it firsthand?”

“Umm… I heard it from someone,” the man replied, “but, it is from a trusted source. I’ve observed—”

“Maybe. That does not pass my first test though,” Socrates said cutting him off, “since you don’t know whether it’s true.”

“Second is the filter of goodness. Is that a good statement you want to make about my friend?”

“Not really. That’s the reason I wanted—”

“So, you want to tell me something bad about someone but don’t know if it’s true.”

“The last is the filter of utility,” Socrates added. “Your statement about my friend, will that be useful to me?”

“Probably not, I just wanted to share…”

“Well, if the information is not necessarily true, not good, and of no use,” Socrates concluded, “I don’t want to know it.” With that the Greek philosopher walked away.

This is also my way of dealing with excessive information in the present age. Mindfully, I ask myself before indulging in a conversation: do I want to know it? Will this information fill my mind with good thoughts? Would it matter if I did or didn’t have this piece of information? After all, anyone who knows you or doesn’t know you will have an opinion about you. And, it’s perfectly fine.

What people see is what they want to see. And if they don’t see what they aspire, they’ll create it. That’s the definition of a rumor. That’s how an overactive mind imagines.

Social media has fueled our appetite for gossip. It is counterproductive and unnecessary. We waste a lot of time peeking into others’ lives. One little Nemo in the vast ocean of information. At least, I should not be a contributor on social media.

A disciple asked, “Master, is it okay for a monk to use emails?”

“Yes, son,” the guru quipped, “as long as there are no attachments.”

Om Namah Shivay

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The Heart of a Leader

Insights on the Art of Influence

“Leadership is not something you do to people. It’s something you do with people.” 

“A river without banks is a large puddle.”

Start your people on a journey to the land of empowerment, but don’t forget that they need boundaries. If you cut them loose without any direction, they will get lost and revert back to their old unempowered habits. Like the banks of a river, boundaries have the ability to channel energy in the right direction. If you take away the boundaries, your people will lose their momentum and direction. Boundaries that create autonomy include:

Purpose—what does your company do?

Values—what are your company’s operational guidelines?

Goals—where is your company headed?

Roles—who does what?

Structure—how is your company organized?

Don’t send inexperienced people off alone and then punish them when they make mistakes. Establish clear boundaries that will free them to make decisions, take initiative, act like owners, and stay on track.


In order to seek perfection, look at perfection, everywhere in creation. In creation, every step is perfect, every object is perfect, everything has its own place. When one does this, then grumbling and complaining mind stops, and rests peacefully.


Spirituality gives you strength; that inner strength to manage difficult situations & to keep you ever-smiling.


Q: While meditating I see a pink light in the middle of my eyebrows. Does it mean anything?

Guruji: In meditation you can have many experiences. Sometimes you smell a fragrance, sense a warm touch, any of the five senses can get activated, that is ok. Don’t need to pay too much attention to it. Any experience we take it as they come and move on.


Q: Knowing that everything would be finished one day, makes me feel very disturbed. How do I come out of it?

Guruji: The temporary nature of things around you should enable you to calm down, and settle in deep.


If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.


Celebrate the unique qualities of people in your family and community,while remembering that we’re all equally human.

Om Namah Shivay

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Parental Compassion-1

 “I’ve always been a good parent and supported my children at every step,” a somewhat distressed parent said to me a few weeks back, “and yet, they don’t really respect me. They are struggling in their lives and tell me that I’ve been a terrible father. I don’t get it, I always loved them, allowed them to do whatever they wanted. They got the best clothes, gadgets and so on. I don’t think I cheated anyone, I’ve been god-fearing. I never thought my kids would end up like this. Where did I go wrong?”

I’ve been asked similar questions many a time. What’s truly remarkable is that most kids and parents actually only mean well. They try too hard. Kids want their parents to be proud of them and vice-versa. So where is the mismatch? I hear it all the time that such-and-such person is a bad father or mother, they are irreligious, immoral etc. and yet their families are flourishing and their kids are doing great. Where’s the justice in that?

It’s the wrong way to look at life, in my view. Having personally met a few thousand parents and children in the last few years, however, I’m happy to share some thoughts based on my observations and diagnosis of life. Let me begin with a story from Stephen Hodge’s Zen Master Class.

Several of the monks at Dogen’s monastery had noticed a deer grazing nearby. They began to feed it scraps of food. After a while the deer became trusting and would eat out of their hands. Having taken to heart Dogen’s teachings about compassion and all, the monks were pleased with themselves. However, Dogen was less happy when he heard about the deer. When a suitable opportunity arose, he threw sticks and stones at the deer, which ran away frightened.

The monks were scandalized by Dogen’s actions and confronted him demanding an explanation. “We were kindly feeding the deer, but you have cruelly thrown stones at it so it no longer visits.”

“So you think you were being compassionate, do you?” Dogen replied. “It is dangerous for a deer to become accustomed to people.”

The monks protested, “We would never do anything to hurt it. We were just feeding it.”

“No, you didn’t intend to hurt the deer, but what if the next person your tame deer met was a hunter?”

Om Namah Shivay

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The S’rîmad Devî Bhâgawatam-The First Book-Chapter 5-15


Chapter V

On the narrative of Hayagrîva

47-50. O Glorious ones! When such personages have suffered pains, then who else is there in the world, that dues not suffer! so you all cease sorrows and meditate on the Eternal Mahâmâyâ; who is the Mother of all, who is supporter of all, who is of the nature of Brahmâvidyâ (the Supreme Knowledge) and who is beyond the Gunas, who is the Prime Prâkriti, and who pervades the three Lokas, the whole universe, moving and unmoving; She will dispense our welfare. Sûta said :– Thus saying to the Devas, Brahmâ ordered all the Vedas, that were incarnate there in their forms, for the successful issue of the Deva’s work.

51-54. Brahmâ said :– “O Vedas! Now go on and chant hymns to the Sacred Highest Devî Mahâmâyâ, who is Brahmâvidyâ, who brings all issues to their successful issues, who is hidden in all forms.” Hearing His words, the all-beautiful Vedas began to chant hymns to Mahâmâyâ who can be comprehended by Jñân, and who pervades the world.

The Vedas said :– Obeisance to the Devî! to the Mahâmâyâ! to the Auspicious One! to the Creatrix of the Universe! We bow down to Thee, who is beyond the Gunas, the Ruler of all the Beings! O Mother! Thou givest to S’ankara even His desires. Thou art the receptacle of all the things; Thou art the Prâna of all the living beings; Thou art Buddhi, Laksmî (wealth), S’obhâ, Ks’hamâ (forgiveness), S’ânti (peace), Sraddhâ (faith), Medhâ (intellect), Dhriti (fortitude), and Smriti (recollection).

55. Thou art the vindu (m) over the Prânava (om) and thou art of the nature of semi-moon; Thou art Gâyattri, Thou art Vyârhiti; Thou art Jayâ, Vijayâ, Dhâtri (the supportress), Lajjâ (modesty), Kîrti (fame), Ichchâ (will) and Dayâ (mercy) in all beings.

56-57. O Mother! Thou art the merciful Mother of the three worlds; Thou art

p. 16

the adorable auspicious Vidyâ (knowledge) benefitting all the Lokas; Thou destroyest the Universe and Thou skilfully residest (hidden) in the Vîja mantras. Therefore we are praising Thee. O Mother! Brahmâ, Visnu, Mahes’vara, Indra, Sûrya, Fire, Sarasvatî and other Regents of the Universe are all Thy creation; so none of them is superior to Thee. Thou art the Mother of all the things, moving and non-moving.

58-61. O Mother ! When Thou dost will to create this visible Universe, Thou createst first Brahmâ, Visnu and Mahes’vara and makest them create, preserve and destroy this universe; but Thou remainest quite unattached to the world. Ever Thou remainest constant in Thy one form. No one in this Universe is able to know Thy nature; nor there is any body who can enumerate Thy names. How can he promise to jump across the illimitable ocean, who cannot jump across an ordinary well.

O Bhagavatî! No one amongst the Devas even knows particularly Thy endless power and glory. Thou art alone the Lady of the Universe and the Mother of the world.

Om Namah Shivay

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How Swami Vivekananda Bestowed a Vision of “Lord Krishna” With His Mere Touch

“The one Godhead has many forms. All these forms are real. A seer can see them and talk to them.”

– Swami Brahmananda, direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.

God in Advaita Vedanta has been described as the formless and infinite ocean of Sat-Chit-Ananda consciousness. However this One Infinite Godhead, being the all-powerful creator of the Universe, can take up any form in which, a devotee worships Him with faith.

This fact has been revealed by Sri Ramakrishna, who has emphasized that God is both with form and without form. It all depends upon the concept of God that a devotee holds dear.

For this reason, a devotee struggling on the path of God-realization, must not become a fanatic and think that only his/her particular notion of God is right, and all other ideas are false.

This truth about the multiple aspects of One God, was beautifully revealed to Sardar Hari Singh of Jaipur, who had been an ardent believer in the formless aspect of God and thus could not reconcile himself to the idol worship of many Hindus.

However through the infinite grace of Swami Vivekananda, the Sardar’s dilemma was resolved when Swamiji bestowed upon him, a vision of God with form. The details of this incident have been wonderfully captured in the book: The Life of Swami Vivekananda by His Eastern and Western Disciples, Volume 1. Enclosed is an excerpt:

At Jaipur the Swami (Swami Vivekananda) became very intimate with Sardar Hari Singh, the Commander-in-Chief of the State. He passed many days in his home discussing many interesting and instructive spiritual and scriptural subjects.

One day the subject was the efficacy of image-worship. A strong believer in the doctrines of the Vedanta, Hari Singh did not believe in images and even after hours of discussion with the Swami he remained unconvinced.

In the evening they went out for a walk. As they were passing along the footpath they came upon some devotees carrying the image of Shri Krishna and singing devotional songs as they went. The Swami and the Sardar watched the procession for a while as it passed.

Suddenly the Swami touched Hari Singh and said, “Look there, see the living God!” The eyes of the Sardar fell on the image of Lord Krishna, and he stood there transfixed with tears of ecstasy trickling down his cheeks.

When he returned to ordinary consciousness, he exclaimed, “Well, Swamiji, that was a revelation to me. What I could not understand after hours of discussion, was easily comprehended through your touch. Verily I saw the Lord in the image of Krishna!”

Once Sri Ramakrishna had the following conversation with his disciple Mahendranath Gupta:

Sri Ramakrishna: “Well, do you believe in God with form or without form?”

Disciple: “Sir, I like to think of God as formless.”

Sri Ramakrishna: “Very good. It is enough to have faith in either aspect. You believe in God without form; that is quite all right. But never for a moment think that this alone is true and all else false. Remember that God with form is just as true as God without form. But hold fast to your own conviction.”

Om Namah Shivay

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भगवान् सबके हैं और सबमें हैं

भगवान् सबके हैं और सबमें हैं, पर मनुष्य उनसे विमुख हो गया है । संसार रात-दिन नष्ट होता जा रहा है, फिर भी वह उसको अपना मानता है और समझता है कि मेरे को संसार मिल गया । भगवान् कभी बिछुड़ते हैं ही नहीं, पर उनके लिये कहता है कि वे हैं ही नहीं, मिलते हैं ही नहीं ; भगवान्से मिलना तो बहुत कठिन है, पर भगवान् तो सदा मिले हुए ही रहते हैं । भाई ! आप अपनी दृष्टि उधर डालते ही नहीं, उधर देखते ही नहीं । जहाँ-जहाँ आप देखते हो , वहाँ-वहाँ भगवान् मौजूद हैं । अगर यह बात स्वीकार कर लो, मान लो कि सब देश में, सब काल में, सब वस्तुओं में, सम्पूर्ण घटनाओं में, सम्पूर्ण परिस्थितियों में, सम्पूर्ण क्रियाओं में भगवान् हैं, तो भगवान् दीखने लग जायेंगे ।दृढ़तासे मानोगे तो दीखेंगे, संदेह होगा तो नहीं दीखेंगे । जितना मानोगे, उतना लाभ जरूर होगा । दृढ़ता से मान लो तो छिप ही नहीं सकते भगवान् ! क्योंकि‒

यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति ।
तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति ॥
(गीता ६ । ३०)

‘जो सब में मेरे को देखता है और सब को मेरे अन्तर्गत देखता है, मैं उसके लिये अदृश्य नहीं होता और वह मेरे लिये अदृश्य नहीं होता ।’

जहाँ देखें, जब देखें, जिस देश में देखें, वहीं भगवान् हैं । परन्तु जहाँ राग-द्वेष होंगे, वहाँ भगवान् नहीं दीखेंगे ।भगवान् के दीखने में राग-द्वेष ही बाधक हैं । जहाँ अनुकूलता मान लेंगे, वहाँ राग हो जायगा और जहाँ प्रतिकूलता मान लेंगे, वहाँ द्वेष हो जायगा । एक आदमी की दो बेटियों थीं । दोनों बेटियाँ पास-पास गाँव में ब्याही गयी थीं । एक बेटी वालों का खेती का काम था और एक का कुम्हार का काम था । वह आदमी उस बेटी के यहाँ गया, जो खेतीका काम करती थी और उससे पूछा कि क्या ढंग है बेटी ? उसने कहा ‒ पिताजी ! अगर पाँच-सात दिनों में वर्षा नहीं हुई तो खेती सूख जायगी, कुछ नहीं होगा । अब वह दूसरी बेटीके यहाँ गया और उससे पूछा कि क्या ढंग है ? तो वह बोली ‒ पिताजी ! अगर पाँच-सात दिनों में वर्षा आ गयी तो कुछ नहीं होगा; क्यों कि मिट्टीके घड़े धूप में रखे हैं और कच्चे घड़ों पर यदि वर्षा हो जायगी तो सब मिट्टी हो जायगी ! अब आप लोग बतायें कि भगवान् वर्षा करें या न करें ! दोनों एक आदमी की बेटियों हैं । माता-पिता सदा बेटी का भला चाहते हैं । अब करें क्या ? एक ने वर्षा होना अनुकूल मान लिया और एक ने वर्षा होना प्रतिकूल मान लिया । एक ने वर्षा न होना अनुकूल मान लिया और एक ने वर्षा न होना प्रतिकूल मान लिया । उन्होंने वर्षा होने को ठीक – बेठीक मान लिया । परन्तु वर्षा न ठीक है न बेठीक है । वर्षा होने वाली होगी तो होगी ही । अगर कोई वर्षा होने को ठीक मानता है तो उसका वर्षा में ‘राग’ हो गया और वर्षा होने को ठीक नहीं मानता तो उसका वर्षा में ‘द्वेष’ हो गया । ऐसे ही यह संसार तो एक – सा है, पर इस में ठीक और बेठीक‒ये दो मान्यताएँ कर लीं तो फँस गये !

Om Namah Shivay

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David Burkus: Why you should know how much your coworkers get paid-2

Economists warn that information asymmetry can cause markets to go awry. Someone leaves a pay stub on the copier, and suddenly everybody is shouting at each other. In fact, they even warn that information asymmetry can lead to a total market failure. And I think we’re almost there. Here’s why: first, most employees have no idea how their pay compares to their peers’. In a 2015 survey of 70,000 employees, two-thirds of everyone who is paid at the market rate said that they felt they were underpaid. And of everybody who felt that they were underpaid, 60 percent said that they intended to quit, regardless of where they were — underpaid, overpaid or right at the market rate. If you were part of this survey, what would you say? Are you underpaid? Well, wait — how do you even know, because you’re not allowed to talk about it?

Next, information asymmetry, pay secrecy, makes it easier to ignore the discrimination that’s already present in the market today. In a 2011 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the gender wage gap between men and women was 23 percent. This is where that 77 cents on the dollar comes from. But in the Federal Government, where salaries are pinned to certain levels and everybody knows what those levels are, the gender wage gap shrinks to 11 percent — and this is before controlling for any of the factors that economists argue over whether or not to control for.

If we really want to close the gender wage gap, maybe we should start by opening up the payroll. If this is what total market failure looks like, then openness remains the only way to ensure fairness.

Now, I realize that letting people know what you make might feel uncomfortable, but isn’t it less uncomfortable than always wondering if you’re being discriminated against, or if you wife or your daughter or your sister is being paid unfairly? Openness remains the best way to ensure fairness, and pay transparency does that.

That’s why entrepreneurial leaders and corporate leaders have been experimenting with sharing salaries for years. Like Dane Atkinson. Dane is a serial entrepreneur who started many companies in a pay secrecy condition and even used that condition to pay two equally qualified people dramatically different salaries, depending on how well they could negotiate. And Dane saw the strife that happened as a result of this. So when he started his newest company, SumAll, he committed to salary transparency from the beginning. And the results have been amazing. And in study after study, when people know how they’re being paid and how that pay compares to their peers’, they’re more likely to work hard to improve their performance, more likely to be engaged, and they’re less likely to quit.

That’s why Dane’s not alone. From technology start-ups like Buffer, to the tens of thousands of employees at Whole Foods, where not only is your salary available for everyone to see, but the performance data for the store and for your department is available on the company intranet for all to see.

Now, pay transparency takes a lot of forms. It’s not one size fits all. Some post their salaries for all to see. Some only keep it inside the company. Some post the formula for calculating pay, and others post the pay levels and affix everybody to that level. So you don’t have to make signs for all of your employees to wear around the office. And you don’t have to be the only one wearing a sign that you made at home. But we can all take greater steps towards pay transparency. For those of you that have the authority to move forward towards transparency: it’s time to move forward. And for those of you that don’t have that authority: it’s time to stand up for your right to.

So how much do you get paid? And how does that compare to the people you work with? You should know. And so should they.

Thank you.

Om Namah Shivay

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