Mahabharata: The Journey from Self to Cosmic Vision

Mahabharata written by Rishi Ved Vyasa in 4th century BC is an epic of 2,00,000 verses written in Sanskrit. Iliad and Odyssey written by Homer has a total of 27,873 verses and is considered the longest poem ever written in the Western world. Not only is the Mahabharata the longest and the most detailed epic ever written in the world, it has universal lessons on all relationships and emotions that exist among us as humans.

After the manifestation of primordial energy everything came to be differentiated into quality, color and shape ( mool maya) thus began the basic instinct for self preservation and survival, giving rise to Swartha ( selfishness) In the Mahabharta all characters from Duryodhan to Draupadi, Drona and Shakuni are motivated to avenge perceived slights or insults and further their selfish interests and thoughts all the time, thus dwelling in the Swartha ( self + meaning) mode for their entire lifetime. Lord Shri Krishna while giving the teachings of Bhagwat Gita prior to the battle of Kurukshetra is primarily asking Arjuna to do Purushartha (Male/Human + Meaning) to do what is to be done in the prevailing circumstance.

In Hindu religion, Purushartha refers to the purpose or purpose of a human. The human should try to get “what”, the meaning of Life .Often for humans, the names of four duties have been given in the Vedas – Dharma (Obligations) Artha (Meaning), Kama (Work) and Moksha (Salvation). It is a call to duty which must be transcended to from Swartha, thus from focusing one’s energies from I –me-myself it becomes Us – we –them. The larger good dominates the thought process.The pursuit for human refinement does not end by transcending from Swartha to Purushartha. In the Bhagwat Gita ( 700 verses) four different paths to attain God head have been prescribed .Karma, Bhakti, Gyana & Raja Yoga.

Karma Yoga is the path of action and suits people with active temperaments. Performing actions selflessly –without thinking of success or reward – purifies the heart and reduces the ego. Karma Yoga is the best way to prepare oneself for meditation while doing one’s duty. Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of devotion and is perfect for people who are emotional by nature. Through prayer, worship and ritual, one comes to see the Divine as the embodiment of love. Chanting mantras is an essential part of Bhakti YogaGyana Yoga is the yoga of wisdom or knowledge it is most suitable for intellectual people. The philosophy of Vedanta teaches analytical self-inquiry into one’s own true nature, with the goal of recognizing the Supreme Self in oneself and in all beings. Raja Yoga is the science of controlling body and mind. The asanas (body postures) and pranayamas
(breathing exercises) from hatha yoga ( traditional yogic practices) are an integral part of
this yoga path. The main practice of Raja Yoga is silent meditation, where bodily and mental energies are gradually transformed into spiritual energy.

Thus Mahabharata and the Bhagwat Gita therein, is not only about individuals who were blinded in selfish pursuit of their own goals but a journey from Swartha to Purushartha   to Paramartha ( ultimate + meaning) Seeing all in one and one in all is the pursuit worth following. A fourth aspect often forgotten and not discussed is Darshanartha (refined view/ vision + meaning) after one has been through the process mentioned above, one will have a view point that will be in sync with nature and demands of society thus enriching and transforming everything around by elevated thought process and ability to take decisions and act accordingly. The true lesson of Mahabharata is  elevation of the soul from Swartha– Purushartha– Paramartha to Darshanartha.

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DEVELOPING MENTAL TOUGHNESS: SCIENTIFICALLY

 

BY

Colonel PK  “Royal” Mehrishi ( Retd)

 

Introduction

 

  1. Ever wondered about the difference between a doer & a quitter ? An athlete, a good leader, a great parent?? Why do some people accomplish their goals & others can’t??? Usually we give credit to talent. Smarter, sharper, faster are the adjectives used to describe or compare a person. There is more to the story than talent alone. In fact, when you start looking into it, your talent and your intelligence don’t play nearly as big of a role as you might think. Research studies have found that intelligence only accounts for 30% of your achievement and that’s at the extreme upper end.

 

  1. What makes a bigger impact than talent & intelligence is mental toughness ( grit ) Research is starting to reveal that your mental toughness or grit as they call it, plays a more important role than anything else for achieving your goals in health, business, and life. That’s good news because you can’t do much about the genes you were born with, but you can do a lot to develop mental toughness.

Developing Mental Toughness

  1. Given below are a few points to develop mental toughness :-
  • Be consistent in your approach, do not waver or change horses midstream, once you have decided on a well thought out course of action stick to it.
  • Going one month without missing a workout.
  • Going one week without eating processed or packaged food.
  • Delivering your work ahead of schedule for two days in a row.
  • Meditating every morning this week.
  • Grinding out one extra rep on each set at the gym today.
  • Calling one friend to catch up every Saturday this month.
  • Spending one hour doing something creative every evening this week.
  • Mental toughness is like a muscle. It needs to be worked to grow and develop. If you haven’t pushed yourself in thousands of small ways, of course you’ll wilt when things get really difficult.
  • Mental toughness is built through small wins. It’s the individual choices that we make on a daily basis that build our “mental toughness muscle.” We all want to be mentally tough.
  • Mental toughness isn’t about getting an incredible dose of inspiration or courage. It’s about building the daily habits that allow you to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions over and over and over again, its about habit, period.

 

5 Steps to a New You

   4. Given below are 5 steps to change & become a mentally tougher person (James Clear) :-

 

Conclusion

  1. No matter what strategies we discuss, no matter what goals we set our sights on, no matter what vision we have for ourselves and the people around us, none of it can become a reality without mental toughness, perseverance, and grit. When things get tough for most people, they find something easier to work on. When things get difficult for mentally tough people, they find a way to stay on schedule. There will always be extreme moments that require incredible bouts of courage, resilience, and grit but for 95% of the circumstances in life, toughness simply comes down to being more consistent than most people.

 

How to Negotiate From a Position of Weakness

I recently finished a course organized by Harvard Business School on “Negotiations and Deal Making”  at Mumbai. Some wonderful insights that came up during the discussions are :-

1. If your  Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) is weak and you have less ground to maneuver do not give up.

2. It is a possibility  that the other side has the same problem ( weak BATNA) If not, then mapping & analysis of the other sides alternatives  can help you in deciding your course of action.

3. Romania after WW- I ( 1919) walked away with nearly double the size of its territory as part of war repatriation though it had the weakest BATNA but their delegation took a position that they were the best bet against the Bolsheviks who were rising in Russia.

4. At times, instead of  concentrating on your respective positions think about interests. A common interest can be found, instead of who is having more power.

5. Try to bring more value to the table in a negotiation/ settlement/ deal by being more creative & imaginative, every deal need not be who wins vs who loses but a win win for both the parties.

Negotiations & Deals are highly complex structured processes but it is not always a boxing match. Empathy will make you a better negotiator.

Jaipur : Smart City Ideas

Jaipur ; Smart City ( This article was written in 2016)
By
Colonel PK Royal – Mehrishi ( Retd)
Introduction :
According to census 2011, metropolitan Jaipur had a population of 36,46,590
with a ten yearly growth pegged at 27 %. In sheer numbers we will be as large as
Washington DC with a population of about 42 lacs by end 2019. The problems
confronting us are many but the concept of a fully functional smart city can
become the harbinger of hope & change for the betterment of our society & city
as a whole. Before we commence making Jaipur a smart city, the first step is to
have a city registry wherein all residents are accounted for. Floating population/
migrant workers need to have verifiable ID and declared place of residence with
the landlord registering the tenant at the nearest police station. Non compliance
should attract heavy financial penalties. Benefits can reach a target audience
only when the numbers are identified. In this case it is the whole city.
Definition: A city can be defined as ‘smart’ when investments in human and
social capital and traditional (transport) and modern (ICT) communication
infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life,
with a wise management of natural resources, through participatory action and
engagement. Essentials for Jaipur as a smart city are:-
 Smart construction
 Energy efficiency
 Environment friendly
 Effective transportation
 Easy healthcare
 Quality education
 Strengthened IT & Communication
 Structural Planning
 Safety & security
 Tourism development
1. Smart Construction – of residential, commercial & institutional buildings.
Plans need to be made for making it mandatory to have systems of conservation
of environmental resources like electricity & water by effective installation of roof
top solar panels & water harvesting. This it self will lead to a saving of 30% of
water & 40% of reduction of supplied electricity usage. Buildings also need to be
quake resistant and merge with the overall aesthetics of the surrounding area
within the city. All external electricity connections can be made underground in a
phased manner. Renewable & clean energy will lead to sustainable growth &
lower the burden on the customer (end user)
2. Energy Efficiency – continuous electric supply, 24×7 in line with the objectives
of the 12th five year plan. Low cost meters & a transparent system will ensure
near zero theft /pilferage. While keeping the generation & transmission with the
Government, supply of electricity can also be planned to be brought in the ambit
of privatization.
3. Environment Friendly – recycling mechanisms & proper sanitation is a birth
right of every citizen. Solid waste management, house to house collection of
waste, clean & well swept streets & litter free public spaces is what Jaipur needs.
A Swacch Jaipur cess levied as a mandatory expense should be enforced
through individual electricity bills. ( eg ; Rs 100/- for a 100 Sq yd plot & so on for
residential premises, a different higher yardstick for public /commercial spaces &
lowered one for educational Institutions)
4. Effective Transportation – citizens should have easy access to
transportation within 800 meters of their dwellings. Transit time within city should
not be more than 30 -45 minutes. Vehicle licenses should only be given to
persons having the facility of parking /garaging. Driving license issuance should
be made stringent to have better traffic management. Green transportation is the
future to keep the city from choking in pollution. Metro rail, electric hybrid
vehicles, mono rails, cycles & cycle tracks are a key constituent of this exercise.
Up gradation & widening of roads/culverts /bridges within the city have to be
implemented on a war footing to avoid traffic snarls & road congestion.
5. Easy Health Care– is what keeps the city ticking; a specialized hospital for
every one lac of populace, a diagnostic centre for 50,000 & at least a dispensary
for 15,000 will make health care accessible to all. While allotting license for
opening of hospitals care should be exercised on mapping of existing hospitals
as per population density. Areas bereft of accessible specialist facility need to be
addressed first and allotted a license as per area. Insurance, & health care sector
should work together to make state – of – the –art facility available to the needy.
6. Quality Education – is the need of the hour to make global citizens. A
minimum of one school per lakh of population a college for 1.25 lac & at least
one technical, engineering & medical college for a 10 lac population should be
the norm. all educational Institutions should have accredit ion from a recognized
central agency. For all children studying from lower/upper KG upwards, there
should be classes for moral science, hygiene & sanitation & inculcating civic
sense as mandatory periods every day. (frequency of periods can be decided by
a governing body) our future will depend on these young citizens who will
implement these values & make the smart city concept sustainable.
7. Strengthening IT & Communication– technology should be able to replace
humans for mundane & repetitive work. Broadband connectivity & wi- fi
connections in the entire city should become a reality. An application for the
safety of women, CCTV cameras, sensors at road crossings and stringent
penalty for traffic light violations will have to be put in place. Enhanced use of
internet/LAN facility for downloading forms, submitting applications & move
towards paperless Government offices should become the aim. “Work efficiently
& Work smart” should become the ethos /working style.
8. Structural Planning – is to ensure that 95% of the population should have
convenient access to the workplace through ample private /public transport,
bicycles, walking etc. Shops/Malls, parks & primary schools need to be within
400 meters from the residences of citizens. Landscaping & specially designated
green areas need to be created to add to the “lungs” of the city. Affordable
housing can be created in Transit Oriented Development zones to help the
economically weaker sections and avoid the problem of slums. Additional sports
stadiums with full sports facilities can be planned per 5 lac population.
9. Safety &Security – a smart city will only be livable if it provides adequate
safety & security to its residents. Having a detailed city registry, work permits to
be organized by the contractor for floating /migrating labour population, domicile
status, linking of all police stations on line, better communication & well trained
police & SWAT teams to take on emergencies will complement the effort. A
comprehensive disaster relief plan (SOP) needs to be worked out and upgraded
every year.
10. Tourism Development – being a world renowned tourist destination, a lot
needs to be done on this front. A better International airport with quick & efficient
check – in / check- out procedures, more number of International flights, a better
bus stand & improved rail station are all part of this planning. Licensed taxi
drivers with GPS fitted cars & a dedicated tourist special police wing will add to
the confidence of the traveler / tourist. Tourist guides need to be profiled for
criminal cases / delinquent behavior so as to avoid embarrassment to the
industry. It is well known that tourism is a revenue earner & gainfully employs a
vast spectrum of the populace. Some monuments can be leased to a sponsor
who will pay for the upkeep & maintenance of its premises. Inner city is a
charming tourist hub, promenades, fountains, sit -outs with clear no vehicle
zones can allure the most cynical tourist. Well lit monuments, sightseeing by
night, sound & light shows, cultural programs can add to the charm of Jaipur.
Conclusion
A smart, functional & sustainable Jaipur city will require the active participation of
all stakeholders viz State Government, local bodies, teachers, colonizers, central
agencies, resident welfare associations, shop keepers associations and above all
each & every citizen. A dedicated local TV channel educating the people on the
smart city concept, articles in the print media, handouts, brochures and street
corner meetings to take people on board & have their willing co –operation in
achieving this as per time lines in the way forward.
Jai Hind

Tough Times : Inspirational One Liners

These Quotes are not mine !!

  1.  Even this shall pass.

     2. Tough times don’t last , tough guys do.

     3. When the going gets tough,the tough get going !!

     4. The best is yet to come.

     5. Revenge is a  dish, it’s best served when it is cold.

     6. If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.

     7. Problems are not stop signs,they are guidelines.

     8. Tough times don’t define you ,they refine you.

     9. When every ounce of your energy has been spent, remember there is some more.

    10. When you are slipping and the full length of the rope is over,tie a knot & hang on.

Transcendence = Happiness & Bliss

Any given situation has four attributes, yourself, the second force- a human, animal, antagonist etc, could be a friend, peer, senior or subordinate or on the other extreme a wild animal, the prevailing situation- either full of challenges, opportunities, misery, happiness, fear, hope, injury or loss of life and the fourth force – is the outcome, which will manifest after a time lapse, but is presently hidden in the time – space continuum.

 

In life & death situations it is reflex or instinct for survival that will take over the rational mind, forcing you in the “fight or flight mode”. In all other situations after you have put in your best, it is transcending the given circumstance that will help you overcome the perceived obstacle. We humans have an uncanny gift of imagination. No other species on planet earth can look forward in time and space and create a reality other than the existing one. This is the most marvelous tool in overcoming any situation life has to offer.

For example you are due for a promotion, your hard work, appraisals, presentations, giving up on holidays for your job etc all are clear in your mind’s eye, the days are tense & nights are spent tossing about in bed fearing the worst, what if, you do not make the cut ?There will be tremendous loss of face , your colleagues will snigger behind your back, you will not gain financially etc.

 

Your imagination can help; it is like placing a powerful multi dimensional camera to look at the other side of a high obstacle. The immediate view is, the outcome you fear the most & is not very favorable to you , the intermediate view is, you have moved on to a new job, location, have a new set of friends, your colleagues do not scheme & plot as much, you are happier than you were in your previous job. The far ground reveals a contended you , with a house of your own & your beautiful grandchildren playing with you & asking you questions regarding your world travel and so on. The view touching the horizon shows an elderly man with no malice, cheerful, with a self belief that you are still alive, healthy & kicking.

An altogether beautiful scenario!! each & every situation in life can be met head on with an in built factor of imagination. Should things happen to my liking well and good if not, then so what? My imagination will help me transcend the given situation and provide me methods to cope up. Why do you think the creator gave human beings the power of imagination?

 

It is given to us to make our world more beautiful & blissful, full of happiness, mirth & laughter. The paintings of  Vincent Van Gogh, Michael Angelo, Da Vinci, music of Pavrotti, Mozart, Beethoven, movies of Satyajit Ray, Ghatak, Guru Dutt, frescos & gargoyles in Italy, the grand architecture of France,  all are works of individual imagination put down on  celluloid, canvas, paper, marble or granite. If there was no imagination & creativity there would have been no air, sea or land travel. No planes to fly, no cruise liners for vacations, no cars to zip across states, no poems to read, no movies to view, no music to enjoy, in fact no variety in our food & life style. The earth would have been the dullest place to live. Imagination was given to humans to lead a better quality of life than the animals or lower order species on the planet.