May 26, 2024

Can we change our opinions?

Can we change our opinions?

Can we change our beliefs?

Of course, we can. And we should. We review them periodically and change them based on new information and understanding. 

Swami Dayananda Saraswati says, "A belief can be defined as a judgment before knowledge. A belief, being a judgment before knowing, is subject to correction on knowing, on verification".

Many of my opinions and perspectives have undergone revisions and changes. To share a couple of examples,

(1) I used to think that following news was a waste of time and a drain on mental energy. I used to shut off from all news sources and be in total ignorance (haven't we heard the statement - ignorance is bliss?). But in the last year, I have changed this opinion of mine. What's happening around us - business/politics/administration/global events/policies, they all have an impact on us as individuals and on our families. Many new "-isms" are being forced upon us and on our children without our awareness. 

I follow the latest events and updates, but I try to build a boundary where I'm "informed but not get involved" - consider them as inputs for my intellect but not let my mind or emotions get affected by fear or uncertainty.

(2) I used to be a crazy fanatic of certain personalities (Sachin, ARR, Superstar). No doubt, they are excellent in their respective craft but I no longer blindly take inspiration for whatever they say or do. I have stopped having any admiration or adulation for popular personalities or influencers, having seen their true intentions that are money or power-driven.

Change is the only constant in life. It is perfectly fine to change our opinions as time goes by. 

What irks me the most is that when people build a business by sharing perspectives and opinions they have formed at a given point in time and which are bound to change in the future.  

Our scriptures and the various Darshanas (philosophies) give a lot of importance to Pramana (the source of truth). An evolving individual with limited life experience, a lack of scholarly wisdom, and wavering perspectives can never be the Pramana we can consistently rely on.

Learn skills from qualified experts.

Gather perspectives from a variety of sources.

Give priority to scriptures, scholars, and seers with dharmic intent.

Form your own opinions and beliefs.

Change or revise them when new information or experience comes by.

May 19, 2024

Book Review: Maturity by Osho


During a casual visit to Sapna Book Store a few months back, I stumbled upon this book. When I looked through the Contents, the chapter "Seven-year cycles of life" caught my attention. As I read through a few pages, it resonated with me deeply, and so were a few other topics. But the tiny font size was a blocker. I added the title to my Amazon Wishlist, merely for reference. 

I spotted a second-hand pristine copy of this title for Rs.180 during a recent trip to Blossoms. I decided to buy it, overlooking the tiny font size. What are reading glasses for? :-) 

According to the author, Maturity is accepting the responsibility of being oneself. He focuses on the topic of Maturity and the aspects that contribute to this growth. He repeatedly states that it is not the same as growing old, and he substantiates it by beautifully bringing up the differences between growing old and growing up in the first chapter.

Every seven years, a new age begins, and a new step is taken. This idea is similar to the popular song from Thalaivar's Baasha. The purpose of each stage, the changes associated with it, and how one deals with the challenges are well explained. 

What blew my mind was this line:

"And near the age of forty-two, religion starts becoming important for the first time". 

This has been my personal experience in the last 1-2 years and I was nodding in agreement.

He then takes the topic of Maturity from the perspective of relationships and emphasizes why Interdependence (not Independence) is the need of the hour from the point of view of love and marriage. This is exactly what I was ruminating about while watching "Laapataa Ladies" a couple of weeks back. Though I loved the whole movie, I don't quite agree with the dialogue by Manju Mai when she tells Phool that women don't need men. 

An individual progresses horizontally from childhood, youngster, and old age towards death. But there is also a vertical progress where one's consciousness expands. 

There are some interesting insights about menopause and how it is not just for women. The topic of Saying No vs Saying Yes is just brilliant. Saying No feels like freedom and intelligence. The author says, "The freedom that is brought by no is a very childish freedom". 

There are quite a few provocative lines though, which I decided to bypass and instead, focus on the many eye-opening insights the book is filled with. 

Highly recommend this book if you are looking for new perspectives on growth and maturity.

May 14, 2024

26 Qualities of Daivi Sampath

In an earlier post, I shared about Aasuri Sampath from Chapter 16 of the Bhagavad Gita. In the first three shlokas in the same chapter, Bhagavan Krishna outlines the qualities of Daivi Sampat - qualities that lead one toward the wealth of spiritual development. Here's the list of those 26 qualities in the same order as mentioned in the shlokas:

  1. Fearlessness
  2. Purity of mind
  3. Being established in the pursuit of jnana (knowledge) and yoga (practical realization)
  4. Ability to share one's wealth with others
  5. Discipline of sensory energies
  6. Sacrifice by worship and other practices
  7. Self-study, understanding of knowledge
  8. Concentration of the energies of the mind
  9. Straightforwardness
  10. Non-violence
  11. Truth
  12. Absence of anger
  13. Spirit of detachment and renunciation
  14. Peacefulness
  15. Absence of ill-feeling towards others
  16. Compassion toward all beings
  17. Uncovetousness - not having the feeling "someone has something, I must also have it."
  18. Gentleness
  19. Modesty
  20. Absence of fickleness, a state where the mind is unable to decide on anything
  21. Energy
  22. Forbearance
  23. Tremendous willpower
  24. Purity, cleanliness
  25. Not harming others
  26. Without excessive pride or elation

This list gives a beautiful way for us to self-reflect on our thoughts, words, and behaviors and understand where we need to put our efforts.

Reference: Universal message of the Bhagavad Gita Vol 3 by Swami Ranganathananda 

May 11, 2024

Derangement of Intellect

 "There is good in every bad" - We might have heard of this phrase in the context of positive thinking and looking for a good thing that turned up due to a bad incident/situation. For eg, let's say, you are stuck in a terrible traffic jam. You are tired and getting frustrated with the wait. You turn on your Spotify playlist and the Smart Shuffle feature belts out songs that you really love but haven't listened to in a long time. It makes you feel nostalgic and cheerful. The wait didn't seem so bad, after all.

Let me turn the tables - "There is bad in every good". Yes, you read that right! And this isn't negative thinking. This is a principle to be kept in mind in these times of kali yuga when adharmic activities are prevalent and most importantly, in those cases that don't seem that way when looked at from a surface-level view.

Let's say, you have got the offer for a job that you have been looking for - excellent pay, amazing perks, higher position of authority, larger team, grand vision, etc. Everything looks too good to be true on paper. After you take up the job, you get impacted by internal politics and ego battles by peers who block you at every step, causing extreme stress and anxiety.

The same is applicable for 

  • products we buy - all those junk foods marketed as healthy, all those herbal(?) cosmetics (with words like earth, nature, mama, green, etc) but containing harsh chemicals
  • services we avail - investment policy advisors who promise big returns on paper, self-proclaimed gurus who swear that they can make you enjoy your lives
  • discount offers and deals with a *Conditions apply hidden somewhere

The intent of this post is not to sound pessimistic, but to be aware of the choices we make every day. If something sounds too good to be true, let's question it, do our research, and analyze it from various angles. If someone promises tall claims, then question how they intend to deliver such claims and what's their plan of action.

This is the power of our "intellect", which is a gift given to all of us. Off late, we have neglected this gift or used it for purposes for which it is not intended (should I drink 3 liters or 5 liters of water per day?). 

The derangement of our intellect is an important issue, and many of us are not paying enough attention to address it. It is high time we take charge and look at all those interferences that block our intellect from performing to its full potential.

May 8, 2024

Chapter 16 of Gita and its relevance in the social media influencers era

 I recently learned Chapter 16 of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. This chapter outlines the characteristics of Daivi Sampath and Aasuri Sampath. While listening to a lecture by Prof Mahadevan on this chapter, some of the insights were hard-hitting and eye-opening. I'm now more and more aligned with the belief that if we have questions regarding values, life choices, conflicts, relationships, self-improvement, goals, and the purpose of our existence, it is best to look at our scriptures for answers. This will take time and effort, but the clarity that emerges during this process is rewarding.

Both groups (people with qualities of Daivi Sampath and Aasuri Sampath) have greatness, but only people with Daivi Sampath have goodness in them.

In the lecture, Professor talks about how Aasuri Sampath unfolds as a 6-step process. 

  1. Aasuras develop enormous strength through Tapas (one-pointed, concentrated effort). During this process, they also develop enormous ego.
  2. Because of the new-found power, they get into Adharmic indulgence, acquire more and more wealth in unscrupulous ways, and pursue activities that hurt/harm others (physically or emotionally). They brim with ego and exude a"no one can match me" attitude deluded by ignorance.
  3. As they continue such behaviors, they start to get more curses from the affected people. More debit points get added to their karma. By their own acts, they fix their destiny.
  4. Destruction begins, though they tend to ignore the early warning signs. They tend to dismiss the counseling and advice coming their way from well-wishers.
  5. Destruction is now imminent. They try to deny the reality but are unable to do so. They get into a phase of repentance but it is too late realization though they were given many chances to relook at their choices.
  6. The aftermath is colossal. Destruction not only affects them, but also their family and their circles.

I reflected on this process in the context of social media influencers gone rogue (Aasuras of modern times, if we may say so!). They start with concentrated effort, though not at the scale to be qualified as "tapas". There is a certain exhibition of greatness.

Followers and people who would blindly believe them start to increase, which reflects as high power.

This high power gets projected through a high ego. They tend to think that they are superior and no one can question them.

More egoistic behaviors start to show up with an attitude of "I know everything". They start showing authority in areas they have no expertise/experience. In this process, they also start being criticized and sometimes, to the extent of getting curses. 

Steps 4, 5, and 6 and the consequences may or may not be visible to the outside world through their carefully curated social media posts.

The important takeaway is that they are writing their destiny with their acts, for which they will pay a price. As people who are observers or those who are/were at the receiving end, we don't need to feel affected or impacted when we observe behaviors of modern-day Aasuras who operate with a motive of milking more money or power.

This is only my interpretation and I might be completely wrong. But it brought a sense of closure to the issues my mind had been grappling with.

Blog Archive

All contents copyrighted by Anuradha Sridharan, 2023. Don't copy without giving credits. Powered by Blogger.