When do you realize?

Question: When do you realize???

Before you answer, let me narrate my experience of attempting to read Upanishads years back and watch Interstellar recently.

Upanishads are the oldest texts in Sanskrit, some predating Vedas. It is rich in context and comes with subtle meaning, and it is quite difficult to grasp easily. That is why stories like Ramayana, Mahabharata were written to explain the concepts – through that one can easily relate to.

An example: It explains life and death with two analogies.

  1. death-ocean-waves-upanishadsOcean – is a big body of water that has waves on its surface. A wave travels thousands of kilometers, starting small slowly, moves steadily, grows big as it races, gets bigger and finally reached the shore… And vanishes. It raises three questions:

1. Is the wave missing now? 
2. Is the wave not real? 
3. Are you worried about the wave that vanished? 

Our life is like a wave. It comes and goes. Death is similar to the wave going back to the Ocean. I realized the logic, when my grandmother died. The words from the book made a lot of sense. If we answer the question keeping both wave and the person in mind.

1. Is the wave missing ? Yes – the wave (person) is physically missing.
2. Was the wave not real? No – the wave (person) is very real, but disappeared.
3. Are you worried about the wave that vanished? May be – Wave is not missing. It became that ocean again. But person, I am not fully convinced.

Back to 1. Is the wave missing now? No – the wave (person) is not missing.

Thus the philosophy of death explained in reverse. 

2. A beautiful Flower blossoms out of a bud. life-cherry-seed-tree-bud-blosson-flower-upanishadsThe bud comes from the plant. The plant comes from the seed. The flower decides which seed it should come from. In other words, flower makes the bud; bud makes the plant; plant makes the seed that it came from.

Very difficult to fully grasp. We are strapped with the time flow, where the seed becomes plant, plant gives bud and then bud becomes a flower.

I realized the logic of flower when I became a father. It came all of a sudden, when I had the baby in my hands. The reason for our existence is our children. We are here for our next generation. They decide, so we exist. Ask any parent, why do they exist? “For my children”. Children choose the parents.

I watched the movie “Interstellar” again and again. One of the concepts is already explained by Upanishads as above – subtly through the example of flower choosing the seed.

The wormhole and the Tesseract are created by the future generation. They chose Cooper.

Cooper: Don’t you get it yet, TARS? They’re not *beings*… they’re us! What I’ve
been doing for Murph, they’re doing for me, for all of us.

TARS: Cooper, people couldn’t build this.

Cooper: No. No, not yet. But one day. Not you and me, but a people, a civilization that’s evolved beyond the four dimensions we know.

If Interstellar is difficult to grasp, it is because of the subtle messages. Now, the easy part – Let us go back to the question in the beginning.

When do you realize? 

After. Isn’t it.

Bahubali – Qualities of the King

Yesterday I watched Bahubali, touted as the most expensive Indian movie of all time (till 2015). The king was revered by his people. If you had watched the pre-battle and battle scenes, the King stands out special.

Kural mentions about some characters of the King, which is equally applicable for a leader.

Qualities of a King
Qualities of a King

அஞ்சாமை ஈகை அறிவூக்கம் இந்நான்கும்
எஞ்சாமை வேந்தற் கியல்பு

Courage, Kindness, Wisdom and Energy are the true attributes of a King.

1. Courage – A leader does not exhibit fear.
Baahubali takes down his enemies without any fear (again and again) be it chasing down the enemy down the cliff or jumping over the defence.

2. Kindness – A leader helps his people.
He cares for lives of his people even in the battle. He saves them who were kept as defence wall by enemies 

3. Wisdom -A leader should be wise.
He takes on a text-book Battle technique and deploys it with his own ideas – Awesome

4. Energy – A leader is vibrant.
When the enemies hoisted their flag and his soldiers were retreating, he gave the enthusiasm. Another best scene was, when he was asked to kill a Bison for offering blood, he gave his own… true Tollywood

One Extra Sugar

Lantaren Venster, Rotterdam – It is a restaurant I visit often with my colleagues on Friday afternoons for a cup of coffee. It is situated next to our office and its a quiet place with a hang-out ambiance – also with river view. It is a good way to start enjoying the weekend ahead. Although we visit once a week, the waiter/waitress remembers our choice “Two Cappuccino and One coffee. with extra sugar. correct?” – yes, extra sugar.

The feel that you are remembered makes you to visit the same place again. It is called customer loyalty by a happy returning customer.

In general, I love the taste of coffee which is bittersweet. Cappuccino with its milk content reduces the bitterness. Sugar increases its taste.

Last week, one waiter while taking the order commented as below:

  • waiter: Two cappuccinos and One coffee. right?
  • me: yes, with extra sugar
  • waiter: Of course….. but extra sugar is not good for the health, guys.

I don’t know why I needed to listen. From this week, I stopped ordering that extra sugar.

Frog in a Well – The Story of Comfort

Every time I phone my friend in Chennai and the topic moves to work, we recall the Frog story. 

Once upon a time, a frog lived in a well bottom. The walls were covered with moss. Whenever any bird comes and sits on the wall, the Frog would gladly invite them to stay in the well. When one bird offered to take the frog out and show the outside world, the Frog refused to step out.

The frog was so comfortable in its existing setup that it does not want to think beyond its existing place of business. What makes the current work environment appear to be the world’s best (despite there being better ones). In Frog’s terms – why this well is better than the ocean:

1. Comfort – It takes a few months to a few years to establish in a new job. Thereafter work becomes a routine. We feel proud that we have achieved this and want to enjoy our result by laying back. “If I jump into the water, it comes all the way up to my armpits and I can float on my belly.”

2. Risk-free income: Salary credited to the bank on a such-and-such date becomes a steady source of income. There is no urge to risk that flow. “I am lord of this well and I stand tall here. My happiness is great”.

3.  The experience looks like wisdom earned. We come across people lacking common sense and we elevate them with our wisdom. “I look around at the wriggly worms, crabs, and tadpoles, and none of them can compare with me.”

Actually, the Brain is playing a trick on us, as it likes the existing comfort. It does not show any of the negatives in the existing job. All we seem to get is the “seeming disadvantages” in a new job.

Now I have started to look beyond my well but my brain is still playing against me.