Human brain is very powerful. We get brilliant and useful ideas from our brain at different points of time. But this time is not fixed. We may get such ideas, at the time of our thinking, even when we least expect them. These may occur just before sleeping, just after getting up, waiting at a bus stop, railway station or airport or even when we get some free time. Ideas come in a flash and may go away equally suddenly, if we do not understand them equally fast. It may get lost forever. Hence we .should record the idea immediately, in very brief say in one line or a few words to get some hint later. At one stage when I found that I was losing such ideas I arranged immediately a small pocket diary along with a pen in my pocket to write the point in brief immediately without making any judgement about its utility or otherwise. This judgement about importance and value should in fact be done later on. We can even keep a few sheets of loose paper in the pocket to record the points. There can be more than one diary since it will be better to always keep one diary and pen near the pillow on the bed. My experience is that the ideas have sometimes come at some bizarre moments in life. Most of these ideas have been found to be very successful. These ideas may be brand new, unheard of or old ideas in which the mind suggests improvement, involvement or participation or progressing of an existing idea. The skill lies in not only carefully recording the idea but first in identifying the brilliance, progressing and following it to its logical conclusion. The time required for ripening of the idea may vary, not only as per the idea but also our efforts, time and seriousness put in by us.
Being a very ambitious person, I have been wanting to achieve many things across several fields & build a name for myself. Sometimes at the end of the day I was having a feeling that I have not achieved much in the course of the day. During self-assessment my finger used to be towards several of my errors or weak points, but never to my achievements. Of course I had known several persons who would gloat over and give publicity to even small achievements of theirs. But this was never my cup of tea. I got into the habit of writing a daily diary regularly from my early days, due to the motivation of my father. I was advised to write daily diary (just before going to sleep) thinking, listing out and writing briefly about what actually I had achieved in the day. The contents of my diary writings were not connected with any specific topic but were general in nature. After some time this diary writing opened my eyes and my feelings of non-performance and depression started disappearing. I got a feeling that I was indeed achieving substantially although not all that I wanted. It caused me sufficient motivation to redouble my efforts and venture in several fields. I started writing diary while travelling also. These were later posted/published as travelogue. I was tempted to make brief notes from the books read by me, with a view to learn some good points. This habit made me write book-reviews and abstracts of books and articles and many have been published in magazines and posted on web sites. The habit of writing also culminated into writing of blogs, several of which have also been posted on web sites. From the points of my diary also, I could write & post blogs. The journey of writing diary has been transformed into publishing and posting of blogs, book-reviews and abstracts. We can continuously write diary for our memories and experience, honest sharing of views and opinion and expressing our own inner feelings to the outside world. We may go deep and discuss both sides of a topic, which may be helpful in solving a problem. While reading the diary later on, the contents may remind us of the past problems faced, methods of overcoming, results achieved, confidence gained and getting names of some persons which we might have forgotten. This practice has certainly paid me dividends.
We try to learn some skills at different stages in our life. Sometimes due to ease of convenience, we may just take help of friends and acquaintances for this learning. During my school days I tried to learn cycling with the help of a friend, using a hired cycle, which is normally never in best working condition. During one of the several sessions I was hit by an object near the side of my eye and I got a cut leading to bleeding. I had to take medical advice. It took several days to get healed up. I was fortunate that my eye was not damaged. It dampened my spirits such that I could not learn cycling fully satisfactorily for some time. I still remember the incident up to this long distance in time. I felt that my friend should have been more cautious & serious in making me learn cycling and he should have disallowed use of a hired cycle. There is a case of observing the event of a solar eclipse. As a child there was the usual curiosity. As a group of children, we prepared plain glass strips and blackened them with black soot as advised, to observe the Sun, through its blackened area. This was to prevent strong sunlight from falling directly on the eyes. But due to inadequate advice and expertise available, the strip was probably not blackened properly and fully and it had some areas where soot was insufficient. After one of my friends observed solar eclipse through such a strip, part of the retina of one of his eyes is said to have been burnt, due to which vision from that eye has been partly affected permanently. With proper expertise available and checking of the glass strips, this might not have happened. There is yet another case of a woman learning dance. She learnt the dance quickly and gave a few scintillating performances even, which were appreciated. But after some time she developed knee pain, which made even her walking difficult. She temporarily suspended her passion for dance, consulted a Doctor, got some tests done and is now under medication. It may be quite some time before she can recommence dancing. This appears to be due to some short coming or lack of proper advice during or after coaching sessions. My experience is that we should try to learn the required skills from a professional trainer, so that we are in safe hands, learn the finer points, get satisfactory and complete training without getting involved in accidents.
During my good old college days when I was a member of the Social Service League, we used to participate and contribute in Social service activities, under its banner. One of the activities was social service at the annual fair being held at Pushkar, near Ajmer city. This is a small religious town having a holy lake, famous for cattle fair, rose plantations, only Brahma temple in the world and now a tourist’s centre. This town is mainly built around the holy lake. It has several bathing Ghats (places). The main Ghat is named as “Gau Ghat”. This fair is normally held in winter months for several days. Devotees come from far off places. They start reaching the Ghats from early morning hours say 0400 AM onwards for performing Puja (worship) and taking a dip in the holy lake. A team of volunteers including myself reached Pushkar one day before and we were allocated duties individually. Dressed in white cotton shirt and pent, (even in the severe cold conditions existing in the early morning hours of that winter period) I took charge for controlling the traffic of the devotees at the main Gau Ghat. Using demarcating ropes we kept one side for those going to the Ghat and the other for those returning from the Ghat after completion of the formalities. We had to handle and manage the big rush of persons continuously and thus keep the flow smooth. Faithfully I had taken charge at 0400 AM and continued for some hours without break and then I was substituted by another volunteer for some time, so that I could have a break, and return again for this assignment. Thus our group continued to assist the local administration for this period. It gave me opportunity of volunteering for a social work, learning team work, punctuality, patience and responsibility, even at the cost of personal inconvenience. It was a unique experience. Thereafter I have visited Pushkar several times but the pleasant memories of my first visit continue to linger on in my mind even now. Pushkar has in the meantime developed a lot, as a special tourist centre, with many hotels and programmes being organized for the tourists. It is like an oasis amidst desert. Earlier Pushkar was connected only by road for bus and taxi services, but now it is connected by rail as well.
Some persons appear to be always in a hurry. They believe in doing, whether it results in making or breaking. Many times actions taken in a hurry have resulted in serious problems. Responding in a hurry by clicking on a web site link received in an e mail is dangerous. Serious consequences are caused when seemingly exactly same but slightly different links are clicked by us in a hurry, especially when providing information, financial matters, transfer of funds and credit card numbers are involved. Similarly just before clicking on “send “ button in a hurry, especially while sending e mail to a new e mail ID, if we do not recheck the e mail ID especially the full stop, hyphen and underscore etc., the e mail may bounce back. Besides this, we should recheck the text of the e mail as well. When we are sick, we may get into more problems, if in a hurry, we take medicines lying in the house, even without rechecking the date of expiry of the medicines. If the foil containing the medicine does not have clear date of expiry, it is better not to take it. Doctors examining patients and writing prescriptions there for in hurry, may lead to serious problems, instead of curing. Sometimes even the pharmacists are unable to read the prescriptions correctly. There may be pressure of large number of patients, but we can’t ignore aspects of their health. If we use eye drops in a hurry, without rechecking and confirming once again that drops being used are the correct eye drops, it will create havoc with the eyes. Sometimes we have similar looking bottles in the house. We must check the date of expiry and also note the date when the bottle of eye drops is opened and we must not use it beyond one month from the date of opening it. While writing the answer books in the examination, if we write many pages, but all in a hurry with poor handwriting and leave no time for rechecking the answers given, before actually handing over to the invigilator, the result is obvious. On the other hand, a student who writes legibly, to the point and rechecks in the last 10-15 minutes gets more marks. One person wanted to hurriedly check the approximate quantity of petrol in his scooter, in the evening hours. There was no fuel gauge but he could have ascertained it by using a dip stick in the tank or a torch, but it occurred to him to use a lighted match stick. However on a second thought, having realized that petrol is highly inflammable, he abandoned the idea just on the nick of the moment. Otherwise he would have been badly injured and the scooter damaged. Therefore, we must always give a second thought to our actions and seek mental confirmation again, to do the things as proposed earlier. According to a proverb, only a devil works in a hurry. (Jaldi ka kaam shaitan ka).
Our selection procedure should be such that only those who are expected to perform well get a chance to join the company. Once in, it is our responsibility to oversee that they do perform by preparing them by training, proper communication, team work, providing resources, guidance, motivation and leadership. If he does not perform well, instead of taking a quick summary action he should be given two more chances. The boss should have patience, maintain good relationship with the employee and not spoil the situation any further. We also have to identify the parameters lacking in him like ignorance of the work partly, not having the skills required for the job, not having the desired motivation or some other reasons. The boss should then discuss the matter with the employee concerned in a cordial atmosphere on one to one basis, wherein the employee should be asked to open up and, share his problems and the reasons of poor performance. The boss should allow him to speak out & give him a patient hearing to identify the exact cause(s), for obtaining the remedial action(s) like training, motivating and generating positive attitude etc. The organization should come forward to help him, so that both will get benefitted. He may be counseled and given a chance and time for training to improve skills, during which period he should be monitored, guided and advised. It should also be understood that if the employee does not get results, it is also the failure of the boss. Firing is not a solution. We will lose a trained hand. Getting another person and training him will take time and there is no guarantee that he will do better or even equal to the earlier person. But if he is sabotaging at any point of time he must be fired straightaway, without any mercy.
Sri Sri Ravishanker is synonymous with Art of Living. A visit to Bangalore is incomplete without a visit to his ashram. After having participated in Art of Living programme some years back, I had the good fortune of visiting his Ashram on Jun 30, 2012.By all means it was a unique experience. We visited the International Centre of the Art of Living foundation, situated in an area of 70 acres of land on its outskirts amidst natural beauty. Its main feature is Vishalakshi Mantap Meditation Hall, which is in the form of five layered lotus shaped. There is also an Information centre nearby besides an Amphitheatre and a Yagyashala, for use for larger groups of persons. This centre gets visitors from 140 countries for experiencing stress eliminating breathing techniques in programmes organized regularly. These are residential programmes for which comfortable accommodation is provided nearby along with a modern Kitchen, supplying meals to a large number of persons daily in the dining hall. In the old Ashram we went to Sumeru Mantap on a hillock, where we also did meditation for some time. We also saw the wedding hall which is being used for organizing weddings. Facilities of ATM, Cyber Café, and Cafeteria are also available. We were deeply impressed with the visit to the Goshala, the cow shelter having 230 cows of indigenous species. Each cow has been given a name and they respond when called by their names. Here organic pesticides and fertilizers are manufactured for use by farmers. Organic farming and plantations for medicines are also arranged. We also saw the Panchkarma centre for cleansing and rejuvenating the body naturally. Consultations can be held with Doctors for curative treatment plan. We also had a visit to Ayurveda College. VVMVP Rural School was started in 1981, catering to around 2000 children, who are given free education, uniform, footwear and mid day meals etc. There is Ved-Agama (Heritage School) for Ved and Vedic Sciences presently covering about 350 persons. Radhakund has lake, fountains, flora and greenery etc. There is Madhurya shop having a rich collection of Indian arts, crafts, fabric, jewellery, brass idols, paintings and carved pillars etc. A visit to the Ashram makes us richer in various aspects of spirituality, health and natural beauty and generates a desire to visit it again.