Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Yoga Day

To be content and complete (not happy or successful) in life and have a purpose to commit to (not a career of mundane routine), a human being needs Character more than the Caliber. This could be achieved only when 3 elements forming the being are perfectly in tune with each other creating a harmonious melody of life. Body or physique essentially is the first element as it is absolutely visible, touchable and could be felt with all of the five senses. Moreover, it is the abode for the other two, at least for the life time till that particular body has life in material world.

Second element is the Brain or Mind. Although it’s debatable and always been so since Human discovered its unique power of thinking, reasoning and analyzing the matter, whether Brain and Mind is one and the same thing or entirely two different territories; for this context of post we will consider it one and the same to avoid further deliberations on the vast subject that is not the premises of this article. And the third and actually most important but unfortunately least understood, is the Soul or Spirit. Same rule will apply for this concept as Brain or Mind and we would presume the Soul and Spirit as equal and interchangeable concepts.

Body needs nutrition to sustain, exercise to develop and rest to retain. Mind needs learning to understand, intellect to analyze and emotions to feel. Soul needs knowledge to expand, experience to empathize and realization to liberate. Although conventional education system provides most, if not all, of it, there is an evident gap in the Skills learner could acquire through any school curriculum.

The Education Report 2015 by World Economic Forum in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group, talks about 10 Life Essential ‘Competencies’ and ‘Character Qualities’ that the current education system worldwide lacks in. The competencies include – Creativity, Communication, Collaboration and the Character Qualities include – Curiosity, Initiative, Persistence, Adaptability, Leadership and Social and Cultural Awareness.

In a report on condition of senior citizens, Mathew Cherian, CEO of HelpAge NGO India, says – “The degeneration of our value system has heightened this problem. Children are turning abusers. There is a dire need to sensitize them, starting young. HelpAge has started a unique HUG campaign which stands for Help Unite Generations, aiming to do just that”

Both the reports above indicate a single thing – lack of Holistic Development of a Being as he or she grows to become an Adult and a responsible as well as responsive element of the society with a good balance of Sturdy Physique, Superior Intelligence, Sensitive Mind and Spiritual Resilience. Although there could be number of methods and manners these could be achieved independently, the most important aspect of the personality is the integration of all these as a single being. This integration of all the aspects in a being is not only crucial for the individual but rather far more vital to the societal scenario as society is formed by the individuals and they must function individually but resonate collectively towards desirable as well as inclusive development of it.

The only tool that has been proven to be not just effective but empowering to achieve this alignment of individual and society to universe through meditation is practicing the 6000 year old Indian Yoga! Yoga is neutral therapy of overall wellbeing of the being without any constraint of Age, Gender or Ethnicity. That way it could be termed as the only universal thing apart from Love, Compassion and Humanity. The maddening speed of today’s rampant and destructive materialistic development has its roots in a person’s approach to and expectation from the mortal life he or she has. Apart from instant gratification, insecurity and impulsiveness there is a quality of human character that catalyzes the linear growth of GDP – the ever insatiable want of finding pleasure in things… in simple words – Greed!

Although it’s been established and even accepted by the human race that it has already caused irrecoverable damage to the environment and spread the disparity to the appalling extent; it also remains a fact, however poignant it may seem that this giant wheel of development cannot be reversed.

In all its totality and with a 3600 overview of the situation, all that could be done is to make the human little composed and in tune with its ecosystem and the universe. A child finds pleasure in playing with a toy only till the moment it can get hold of a bigger, better and more engaging and exciting plaything. Once it finds the new thing more interesting, it forgets about its previous toy in no time. Such is the structure of human mind and its involvement with pleasure.

Similarly the adult human needs to evolve to a point where it can find pleasure in an enlightening and liberating means rather than entrapping and slavering things. Only YOGA has this power to take a Human Being on that joyride where the joy could be seamless and ride could be smooth.

In response to the call for the adoption of 21 June as International Day of Yoga by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 wherein he stated:

"Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness within yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day."

June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014. India must feel absolutely proud and privileged to be the host of Yoga for 6 Millenniums and must lead this incredible movement right from the front. Way to go…!

[Previously published on 21 June 2015, the First International Yoga Day]

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Saxon White Kessinger

Sometime when you're feeling important;
Sometime when your ego 's in bloom;
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You're the best qualified in the room:
Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions,
And see how they humble your soul. 

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that's remaining,
Is a measure of how much you'll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you'll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before. 

The moral of this quaint example,
Is to do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There's no indispensable man.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


When you feel unwell, you seek advice of a Medical practitioner i.e. a Doctor who runs some primary checks and examines the fundamental indicators of health like heart-bits, blood pressure, etc. If your condition needs some serious attention and in-depth analysis supported by the results of some pathological tests, you are recommended to get those tests done from a pathology lab that the Doctor trusts. Once the results are available, Doctor prescribes medication to recover the status of your physiology that is under concern. The Chemist running a shop for those medicines and drugs reads the instruction on the prescription and hands you recommended medicine in appropriate quantity commensurate with the suggested dosage.

What is this so-called process of physical recovery is doing on a ‘Philosophical’ or psychological, to say the least, blog with a blogger who apparently detests the Medical field in general? Well, it’s an analogy! Consider the patient (which actually should be ‘impatient’, as a person in this condition is restless and longs the relaxed and ‘in the pink’ condition!) as our society that has caught some infection and needs care to recover from the disease the infection is causing. In a self-governing democratic civilization, society will look up to its Government as it tend to (or made to) believe that whatever happens with the society, the ultimate responsibility of that condition lies with the ruling body that is the Government.

Government machinery, no matter how enormous it is with almost the invincible kind of power and authority with the entire bureaucracy, always seems inadequate to address the requests of its ever-growing population and as a wise man once said, ‘Whenever Government cannot act, it enacts!’ and seeks the help of some agencies to lighten the burden of societal needs and ways to fulfill them. Such voluntary organizations qualifying as the implementing agencies to organize the programmes of social development need the fuel to run the vehicle. This ‘resource mobilization’ is sought from the wealthier section of the society that manages to maintain the status of wealthy by ‘optimum utilization of available resources’. Most of the time, this management funda itself is found to be the root cause of majority of the social issues that need the attention and solution.

Now picture this – You are the society and your health or wellbeing is Society’s health and wellbeing. Government is that Medical Professional who is eligible to offer you the panacea with the help of Pathologist’s (played by the Non-Government Organizations or NGOs) report about your metabolism. Ultimately it would be the pharmacist who would provide the actual remedy in physical form to bring the panacea to effect. This makes two things inevitable for the Pharmacy to sustain and develop – You, that is the Society keeps showing symptoms of disease perpetually and in great volumes, which otherwise means that a healthy and fit society is an alarming indicator for the pharmacist! And secondly the Medical Officer or Doctor should be maintained well so as to ensure that he, with the help of pathologist (NGOs) keeps on prescribing all those drugs and medicines to keep the sale of it on a rise forever which will contribute to the GDP in turn… what a patriotic gesture with a noble intention!

The catch (and the justification offered without being asked of) is; it’s the Patient that feels sick, approaches the Doctor and seeks the treatment and not the other way round. The entire medical nexus just responds to the situation sincerely reciprocating the needs of the diseased. It’s the patient that needs the doctor; the doctor doesn’t need a patient… bingo! People need Government, the Government doesn’t need people unless for collecting tax and voting! Agreed, despite this being a prejudiced half-truth, let us agree to it that it is the ill-(fated) person seeking recovery and comfort walks to the Doctor himself and the Doctor or the medical field never ‘invites’ a patient to fall in its lap… it just anticipates, projects and manages it!

So, what’s the solution if the Government, with the help of NGOs, making the Corporate to pay for the Social Development Projects that are not showing any reassuring progress and Corporate is well posed to recover the said ‘expenses’ from further ‘optimizing the available resources’? Who is going to break this vicious circle and how…?

Complete Self-preservation by doing more with less and better understanding the law of unintentional consequences could just be the key… to self-health as well as environmental sustainability! Example of Manik Sarkar, the only "Cleanest and Honest Chief Minister in the country” might just provide the insight and inspiration in this context.

Way to go…!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

WED 2016

In the recent local news, I came across an extremely disturbing and hideous piece of offense in which some crooks killed a Spotted Deer (Chital) and cut off its Antlers from its head for making few quick bucks in exchange of them. This incidence is not only symbolic of what life has reduced the human species to but also underlines the sheer ruthlessness and indifference humans have grown towards other species of their ecology as well as the Environment they are part of.

Environment is of three types as far as my knowledge, belief and understanding is concerned. Natural one, that is the Earth and every element of its ecosystem that upholds the existence of it as the only Livable and Sustainable Planet (at least till this moment and within the boundaries of human comprehension, forget the Aliens they are the copyright of Hollywood!) of its Galaxy. This is termed as the ‘Natural Environment’, irrespective of the human evolution as it was there for billions of years before human existence and would be there for trillions of years after the extinction of human species. In fact, this environment doesn’t even bother to take into account existence of a species called ‘human’ unless human tries to imbalance its ecology by crossing the limits (which it seems to have done already), when the Natural Environment will bring on the ‘correction’ to restore its equilibrium and stabilize the food chain, remember the Dinosaurs…?

Come to the Human World and we have two more types of Environments in it, both manmade. The first here is physical but ‘Conditioned’, as in ‘Air-conditioned’. Human, assuming it a birthright, decided to create compartments of different types, size, shapes and categories for varied purposes right from a Garbage Field or Dumping Ground / Scrap-yard to Fish and Meat Market to Motor Garage to Tall Buildings with soundproof air-conditioned cabins on their top floor with a glazed façade on exterior. All these ‘well-planned’ and ‘aesthetically designed’ spaces formed the Modern Urban Culture of living in the silos by turning the back to the ‘outer world’ and, in addition to contributing to the GDP, had their major share of polluting the air, water, climate and Environment as a whole.

The list of harms that the sophisticated living tools do to the Environment is bigger than the volume of contamination it causes, but it would suffice as an example to get the idea that centralized air conditioning draws the hot air in a closed space and releases it in the outer atmosphere through exhaust channels so does the vehicle mufflers. It’s a different story that the harmful effects conditioned air causes to the bone structure either could not be grasped by the human intellect or that same intellect considers treatment for it as another tool to raise the GDP by mobilizing the pharmaceutical and medical industry, I don’t know! And there is no need to even talk about water pollution, just a glance at our rivers – once lifelines of civilization that we have turned into waste-lines of modern living – and the picture is clear, the water stream is not though!

The Third Environment (Second of the Human world) is Virtual, Intangible and Make-believe yet most fatal. It is the set of conditions imagined, envisaged and developed by the human brain / mind for its ‘wellbeing’, ‘contentment’ or ‘satisfaction’. It starts as thoughts conceived by the mind and the problem starts with the attachment of mind with the thought. The moment mind learns to detach itself from the thoughts of brain and observe them in total neutrality, if not equanimity, it starts its journey on the philosophical path that leads to spirituality. But alas, this is quite an idealistic view of human mind-work and instead it prefers to attach to each and every thought, object and element of material nature. The process of craving, experiencing, being fed up and longing becomes a cyclic trap that is difficult, if not impossible, for an average human mind to escape and it provides an illusory space for mind’s imagination where it nurtures the thoughts in form of desires and creates an environment of its own in process. This conspiring Mental Environment is the most dangerous and governs the other two to the point of forcing its followers to indulge in transgressions like the one this post is started with.

Today is World Environment Day and this write-up is intended to shed some light on the concept of Environment and spread awareness about its protection. Environment is everybody’s responsibility and nobody can get away by saying, ‘It’s not my Job…!’ or ‘What can I do…?’ The least anybody can do is reducing the Environmental (Popularly referred to as ‘Carbon’) footprint by R3 formula of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and at least start considering commitment to ‘Enoughism'!

Mother Earth has given us everything including the life itself and has suffered severely in process. It’s our turn to take better care of her; celebrating the WED is just a pointer and reminder!

For more ideas about Environment Day Activities you can download WED Toolkit hereWay to go…

Friday, June 3, 2016


Original Story

There was once a washer man who had a donkey and a dog. One night when the whole world was sleeping, a thief broke into the house, the washer man was fast asleep too but the donkey and the dog were awake. The dog decided not to bark since the master did not take good care of him and wanted to teach him a lesson.

The donkey got worried and said to the dog that if he doesn't bark, the donkey will have to do something himself. The dog did not change his mind and the donkey started braying loudly.

Hearing the donkey bray, the thief ran away, the master woke up and started beating the donkey for braying in the middle of the night for no reason.

Original Moral

“One must not engage in duties other than his own"

Management Version

The washer man was a well educated man from a premier management institute. He had the fundas of looking at the bigger picture and thinking out of the box. He was convinced that there must be some reason for the donkey to bray in the night.. He walked outside a little and did some fact finding, applied a bottom up approach, figured out from the ground realities that there was a thief who broke in and the donkey only wanted to alert him about it. Looking at the donkey's extra initiative and going beyond the call of the duty, he rewarded him with lot of hay and other perks and became his favourite pet.

The dog's life didn't change much, except that now the donkey was more motivated in doing the dog's duties as well. In the annual appraisal the dog managed "ME" (Met Expectations).

Soon the dog realized that the donkey is taking care of his duties and he can enjoy his life sleeping and lazing around. The donkey was rated as “star performer". The donkey had to live up to his already high performance standards.

Soon he was over burdened with work and always under pressure and now is looking for a NEW JOB...

Management Moral

When you hire people who are smarter than you, you ought to prove you are smarter than them...!


What...? Okay, I am the Donkey and its not 'ME' but 'EE' for me... always! Do you have a vacancy for the Dog...?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


No doubt seeds, fertilizers, sunlight, water and equitable market are critical aspects of farming, however can we discount the importance of the farm land and soil preparation – the fundamental prerequisites that will facilitate and empower the germination of seed and uphold its deep rooting to outgrow the surface? Even an experienced and sensible gardener, let alone the seasoned farmer, understands the significance of making a fertile and productive soil before bowing any seed for the production of flowers, fruits, grains or vegetable. With this, it goes without saying that the major focus of any kind of cultivation activity should be the surface preparation (creating the condition for development) in every initiation phase of each process cycle, hence the name culture!

What is true in the area of first and foremost ‘natural’ industry human mind conceived and propagated (literally), Agriculture and farming, is truer for the social development sector for not only the stark similarities like extensive impact and vary linkage to existence between the two but even for the paradox of exploitation of prior providing the purpose of being and expansion for the later. Barring the vis-à-vis comparison of these two, one thing that holds true for both, right from the day the first seed germinated from the earth till the last ray of Sun that will meet the surface of soil, is ‘Culture’ that is going to play the role of not just Friend-Philosopher-Guide but even the Mainstay-Structure-Facilitator in development of both.

Voluntary Organizations, popularly known as NGOs, and all their siblings with various names and constitutions but a single objective of ‘common good’ could be the instruments of social development and there is no denying of their passion and commitment towards their cause; however a blunt saw cannot cut as deep as a sharpened one, remains the fact. In his book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey puts the 7th i.e. last but not the least habit as ‘Sharpen the saw!’ A wood-cutters story who was toiling and sweating for cutting the tree as he ignored the advice of taking a break and sharpening his saw on the grounds that he was too busy and couldn’t waste time… in sharpening the saw, might seem to be a cliché but it is not. It’s not a secret anymore that the defense strategists invest major part of their time to ‘plan’ the battle so that their troops have to spend little time in ‘action’. That’s why the war rooms have more brainstorming than movements in the field.

All said and done, let me take you to the point… Capacity Building, my favorite subject as far as my interest and passion is considered. I have written earlier about the 5% cap on Administrative and Capacity Building expenses, generally (or sarcastically?) known as ‘overheads’, of the CSR Budget and there was some positive amendment in this limit, it is learnt. Nevertheless, whatever limit of the CSR budget is allocated for Capacity Building, it still remains a challenge to ‘invest’ it in proper tools and instruments for desirable ROI and not just ‘spend’ it for the sake of spending, just like many companies are reported to do with their CSR budget. Such type of spending for the sake of compliance is not going to help any element of the society, neither the target group nor the sponsor, let alone the society.

Many small, medium and even some of the big companies that became eligible for the CSR Compliance having a CSR budget in the range of few Lakhs to a Crore could not afford (and also are not advised) to develop their own ‘Training and Development’ wing internally for their Capacity Building with an inadequate budget. It is a different challenge altogether to arrange for the Professionally Acclaimed Trainers and proficient Subject Matter Experts from time to time.

Considering engaging the centers and institutions developed and maintained for the sole purpose of Capacity Building, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and international standard faculties, all in one place, could be a win-win situation for joining the forces towards synergy for Integrated Social Development. This will not only ensure the proper capacity building in a professional manner but would also imbibe a culture of development in the organization by way of interaction with able people including but not limited to Resource Person, Peers and others from around the globe.

Way to go…