Four signs of a highly spiritual person

Spiritual leaders

Spiritual Intelligence is the Intuitive knowledge of the Self, others, situations and techniques to achieve the desired objectives of the world. – Awdhesh Singh

We had IQ. Now we have EQ. The day is not far off when we judge a person based on his spiritual quotient (SQ). We do not need to search far and wide to seek the qualities a spiritually aware person must possess. Our religious books abound in them. In fact, The Sreemad Bhagavatham extols 28  qualities of an enlightened soul or devotee. (SB Canto 11, Chapter 11, Verses 29-32). The Bhagavad Gita details upto 28 signs of a person who is dear to God (BG Chapter 12, Verses 13-19).

But are these qualities possible in today’s world? Aren’t they impractical and outdated? How about ambition, fire in the belly, and a go-getting attitude that every person needs today to succeed?

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Is women entrepreneurship the real need of the hour in India? Yes!

Women Entrepreneurship in India

Dear optimist, pessimist, and realist: While you guys were busy arguing about the glass of wine, I drank it! Sincerely, the opportunist!” — Lori Greiner, inventor, QVC host and ‘Shark Tank’ investor.

The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world – Charles Malik

No country can truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens – Michelle Obama

Every year, November 19 is celebrated as Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. It celebrates the momentous strides made by women all across the world, and reminds us of the collective efforts that must be made to realize the untapped potential and the hidden opportunities. Every venture needs the right ecosystem –  infrastructure, network of mentors and supporters, access to cheap financial resources, great employee base, a target market that has the critical need that your product or service needs. The list is endless. And Women’s Entrepreneurship Day celebrates those women who have entered (willingly or otherwise!), fought, and succeeded in their respective businesses as entrepreneurs.

Now for a reality check.

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The real reason you need to practice yoga

Yoga from BG

Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in – Anonymous

A mind free from all disturbances is yoga – Patanjali

A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist (JNANI) and greater than the fruitive worker (KARMI). Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi – Shloka 46, Chapter 6, Bhagavad Gita

Yes, everyone does it including our Prime Minister. In fact, yoga is the new black. Everybody talks about it, buys the latest accessories for it, and loudly proclaim that it does wonders for them. And the benefits? They rave over their new-found flexibility, the decrease in back pain, the increased energy, the insights into the workings of their bodies….the list is endless.

Immersed in all these loud claims and endorsements, I think we are forgetting the real reason  why we should practice yoga. To become a yogi.

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Kenya, Nairobi and Masai Mara – a primal ride you will never forget

The Masai Village - heart warming welcome

Fresh off the amazing scenery at Cape Town, we boarded the flight to Nairobi, with a stop at Livingstone. As soon as we got on board, we started pestering the air hostesses with requests to fly over the Victoria Falls either before landing or taking off at Livingstone. Finally, the air hostess graciously agreed to relay our pleas to the Captain and when we took off from Livingstone, the plane headed straight for the Falls.

From thousands of feet up in the air, the falls looked massive. So one can only imagine the sight on the ground. The pilot was sweet enough to take u-turns a couple of times so that passengers on either side of the plan got a fantastic view of the Falls, also called Mosi-oa-Tunya or the Smoke That Thunders. As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls is twice the height of the Niagara falls and twice as wide as the Canadian falls. So in terms of sheer length and width, it is the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Phew!

We landed at Nairobi close to 11 PM and headed straight to the hotel. Early next day, we were leaving for Masai Mara.

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Cape Town, South Africa – all that glitters?

View from my hotel window

Cape Town, South Africa! My husband and I signed up for the TiE Global Charter Member Retreat the moment we heard that they were organizing it in South Africa this year. We have never been to the dark continent, and knowing that we were going to visit the very same place Vasco Da Gama set his foot in 1497 was enough reason by itself to sign up. After all, he next set foot (allegorically speaking!) in our own Kozhikode nearly six months later.

So here is a day by day recount of our trip:

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Four reasons why visiting the Kochi-Muziris Biennale should be on your bucket list

At the Kochi Biennale

Fact: My first ever visit to the Kochi Biennale was on March 23, 2016 – just a week before it winds down. I am ashamed that I have not visited one of Kochi’s most potent attractions (not just in India, but around the world). Not once, but missed it twice, and the third time around when I visited it? I barely made it a week before it closes. But now that I have, here goes why you should too.

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Yoga vacation at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Neyyardam, Kerala – all you need to know!

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Neyyar Dam

Yoga vacation. The phrase conjures up visions of serene settings, enlightened devotees, and peaceful yoga practitioners. You get all these and more during a yoga vacation at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram at Neyyar Dam, near Thiruvananthapuram (aka Trivandrum – the state capital of Kerala).

I have been to the Sivananda ashram at Neyyar Dam three times over the last 2 years for a yoga vacation. I have usually stayed at an average of 4-5 nights during each of my visits. While I have joked about my experience there in a previous blog, these vacations have been an immense grounding experience in our life. During our first visit, Mukund and I had no clue what to expect. But by the third visit, we quickly and easily slipped into the ashram schedule, even though it was a year since our previous visit.

Here are a list of things you need to know about visiting the Sivananda Ashram at Neyyar Dam for a yoga vacation.  

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Three reasons why you should read the Srimad Bhagavatham

Krishna quote from ISKCON Desire Tree

If you are reading this blog, then you already know what the Srimad Bhagavatham is. Maybe you have read it already, or planning to read based on what you have heard about it. If Srimad Bhagavatham (SB) is on your bucket list of books to read, then this blog is for you.

Five years ago, all I knew about SB was that it contained a treasure trove of stories about Krishna. I purchased ISKCON’s SB, with A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s commentaries – 18 volumes in all. It stayed on my book shelf in my bedroom, and gathered dust as days went by. On January 15, 2016, I removed the clingwrap on the first Canto, sat down with a book and pen, and my life has not been the same since.

12 months later, I finished the last shloka in Canto 10 (saved the best for the last, as Canto 10 relates exclusively the stories of Lord Krishna!) It is simply impossible for me to explain in words the subtle transformation that happened as I read SB. But before I try and explain why you should read it, here is a quick summary based on my research notes.

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Qayamat Se Dangal Tak – Movie Review of Dangal

Aamir Khan's Dangal

If people are not laughing at your goals, then your goals are too small – Azim Premji

Ask Mahavir Singh Phogat what his dream is and he will reply – ensure that his daughter wins a gold medal for India in wrestling. And assuredly, everybody considers this the joke of the day. As villages roll over themselves with laughter, Mahavir Singh scolds and disciplines, taunts and derides, as his two daughters prepare to be wrestlers in a tiny hamlet in Haryana.

And just as the villagers wipe their tears and catch their sides, Mahavir’s two daughters go to the next village to compete in a wrestling fight. With boys. And predictably, his daughter loses. But not before everyone has been shocked out of their stupor.

As they say, the rest is history.

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Daughter’s bake sale for charity raises Rs 2400 for Girls home in Kakkanad

The poster for the Charity shop
The poster for the Charity shop

 

It all started 3 weeks ago, when we were in the thick of exams. Anaga was preparing for her 10th and Ananya for her 6th. In between answering questions on Ashoka and Buddhism, Ananya was busy scribbling down a menu card. “What are you doing?”, I asked. “Mummy, this is for the charity sale for Easter. Shika and I are getting it ready.”

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