Barbers are a Brilliant Businessman

A few days ago, I was at a barber shop to shave off my hair to bald as part of the rituals I perform every year on my father’s death anniversary.
The art of having conversations and networking is a great skill that differentiates an ordinary barber from a great barber. While he scissor-snip and shaves, he starts the conversation with the client – asking questions, listening, staying curious, cross-selling and up-selling his other services to maximize the sale. He has stories of startup founders, businessmen, corporate executives, artists, coaches, and others. At the same time, his hands are on the heads of men who created real value in the world or faced great difficulties in dealing with life challenges.
It reminds me of a time when a barber for my hair colouring persuaded me. Here is how it went between us during a few sessions of haircutting over three months :

The first time, he proposed to me to get the hair colouring done, and after asking for the price, I refused: “Sorry, will think about it next time.”

The second time, he remembered and again proposed to me to get the henna, and after asking for the price, I refused again: “I have another work. May be next time.”

The third time he asked me to go for hair dye, I refused again after asking for the price.

The fourth time he advised, “buy it from the shop for Rs. 12 and apply yourself.”

Surprised by his advice, I asked: “Why do you propose that?”

He replied: “Every time you ask for the price and refuse. So, I thought you might have money constraints. However, it would look good if you colour your hair.”

I smiled and said thank you, handing over — Rs.50 as tips on his hand.

How many times have you persuaded your customer like this to buy from you?

There is no proof for God

Vivekananda was in search of proof for God. He went to Ramkrishna and challenged him to show him the proof that there is God. Ramakrishna started laughing after listening to the question. He touched Vivekananda’s heart with his feet. Vivekananda fell into a swoon, a trance. Despite being a learned, intellectual, atheistic, sceptical, and well-trained person, he fell into a trance. He was not able to understand what was happening to him. Why was he losing control?

Vivekananda tried to escape from Ramkrishna, but it was impossible. He used to feel like some high-power magnet forcefully pulled him to the Ramkrishna. He would escape for a few days and again come back. Feeling tired one day, Vivekananda requested, “Leave me alone. Why are you haunting me?”

Ramkrishna said, “What can I do? You asked, “Is there any God? Is there any proof?” I don’t know any proof. All that I know is that God is in me, so I allowed him to touch you. What else can I do? Now it is for you to decide whether God is or not.”

There is no proof, but there are enough proofs; no direct proof but much indirect evidence of God exists because we know the kind of transfiguration that happened in Meera, Transmutation happening in Chaitanya, and transformation happening in Rahim. They were ordinary metal suddenly becoming gold.

Shiv Pariwar

विषमता में समता का परिचायक अद्भुत शिव परिवार

भगवान् शिव के परिवार में शिव सहित माता पार्वती, कार्तिकेय, और गणेश हैं.

फिर शिव की सवारी नंदी बैल है, माता पार्वती की सवारी सिंह है, कार्तिकेय की सवारी मोर है और गणेश की सवारी मूषिक है।
भगवान् शिव के गले में सर्प है।

विषमता के वातावरण में भी समता कैसे स्थापित की जाये इसकी एक अद्भुत परिचायक है शिव परिवार। स्वाभाव से मोर साँप का दुश्मन होता है, सिंह के लिए बैल एक सर्वप्रिय आहार और सांप का तो मुख्या भोजन मूषिक ही है।
और अगर समताएँ देखें तो माता पार्वती शिव से कथाएं भी सुनती हैं, शक्ति रूप में दानवीय शक्तियों का संहार भी करती हैं, भगवान् शिव के साथ चौपड़ भी खेलती हैं और भांग भी घोटती हैं।

कार्तिकेय शौर्य ,पराक्रम ,यौवन और विजय के देवता के रूप में पूजनीय हैं।

गणेश जी तो हर घर की में प्रथम पूजनीय है – सबको प्रिय, सबके उद्धारक और प्रथम पूजनीय। इन्हें सारी दुनिया अपने माता पिता के नजदीक ही नजर आती है।

भगवान् शिव देवाधिदेव हैं। हलाहल विष को अपने कंठ में दबाये हुए हैं। परिवार का मुखिया सारी विषमताओं को पूर्ण दक्षता से परिचालन करने में सक्षम व तत्पर है इसीलिए शिव परिवार सम्पूर्ण संसार के परिचालन में सदैव तत्पर हैं और हम
सब को प्रिय भी। क्योंकि सत्य ही शिव है। शिव ही सुंदर है।

तो आप भी अपने परिवार के शिव बनिए। परिवार की समता और विषमता को शांति, सुगमता और सामन्जस्यता पूर्वक परिचालित कीजिये। भगवान् शिव और उनके परिवार की पूर्ण कृपादृष्टि आप पर सदैव बनी हुई है।
हर हर महादेव संभु काशी विश्वनाथ गंगे।

श्री कृष्ण अर्पणमास्तु

एक छोटा सा बच्चा है। माँ अपने छाती से लगा लेती है बच्चा माँ का दूध पीने लगता है। माँ मातृत्व के आनंद से आनंदित हो जाती है – जैसे उसके लिए मातृत्व से बड़ा कोई सुख ही नहीं हो। एक बच्चा माँ के दूध पर शंका नहीं करता। इसीलिए माँ के रूप में हमें ईश्वरियता से प्रथम साक्षात्कार होता है । आप कितने भी दुःख में हो, माँ का आँचल अगर दो घड़ी के लिए मिल जाए तो शूकूँ आ ही जाता है।

आज कल लोग ईश्वर पर शंका बहुत करने लगे हैं। ईश्वर में भावना की जगह व्यावहारिकता को ज़्यादा खोजने लगे हैं । समर्पण की जगह लॉजिक ने ज़्यादा ले ली है।
मुझे बचपन में सुनी एक कहानी याद आ रही है – एक स्त्री अपने हर काम श्री कृष्ण को समर्पित कर देती। यहाँ तक कि घर को गोबर से नीपती और बचे हुए गोबर श्री कृष्ण अर्पणमास्तु कह के घर के बाहर फेंक देती। वह गोबर सीधा गाँव के मंदिर में स्थापित भगवान कृष्ण के मूर्ति के चेहरे पर जा गिरता। पुजारी बहुत परेशान। हर दिन उसे भगवान के चेहरे की सफ़ाई जो करनी पड़ती।

वह स्त्री बीमार पड़ गयी और जब मृत्यु का समय आया वो श्री कृष्ण अर्पणमास्तु कह कर प्राणत्याग दी। तुरंत मंदिर के भगवान की मूर्ति भी टूट गयी। फिर उस स्त्री को लेने के लिए स्वर्गलोक से विमान आया। वह विमान मंदिर से टकरा गया और मंदिर भी टूटकर गिर गया।

यह कहानी इस बात का परिचायक है की भक्त जब अपना सर्वस्व भगवान को समर्पित कर देता है तो भगवान उसे स्वयं से भी ऊपर उठा देते है। एक बार बिना किसी लॉजिक के भगवान को समर्पण तो करके देखो, एक बार सर उठाकर उसे श्री कृष्ण अर्पणमास्तु कहकर अपने को उसके हवाले करके तो देखो। प्रश्न अपने आप सुलझ जाएँगे। मीरा के ज़हर अमृत में तब्दील हो गए, द्रौपदी की लाज बच गयी, ध्रुव के प्राण बच गए, और गज़ की रक्षा हो गयी। तो आपका भी हो जाएगा।

Be attentive to the attack from the lair person in the same way as the snake

When God Ram, Sita and Lakshman depart for exile, they meet Sage Jabali on their way to the forest. He tried to influence Ram to ignore his father’s wish and return to Ayodhya.

He said, “Dharma, truth, good conduct, character, etc. are a useless imposition on us. You should not care much about it and return to Ayodhya.”

God Ram replied: “Looking at a person’s conduct and character, only you can determine whether he is born into a good family or boasting himself. Also, you can find his character whether he is unblemished or blemished.”

You should be attentive to the attack from the lair person in the same way as the snake.

Truth is the sole controller of the world, and the truth is rooted in Dharma.

No act of yours can repay the debt of your father and mother

It is difficult for the children to repay the debt of what the mother and the father have done to bring them up.

Sage Vashisth visits God Ram in the forest to request him to return to the homeland.

Lord Ram refuses to disobey the wish of his father and says to him:
“The course of action the parents always adopt in respect of their son, the benefits they confer on him according to their resources, the way they lull him to sleep and clothe him, the affectionate words they always speak to him and the way they bring him up all these cannot be repaid.”

He continues: “Beauty may leave the moon, Himavaan may become bereft of snow, the ocean may transgress its shores but I will never violate the promise my father gave.”

Such a commitment and obedience towards fulfilling the father’s wish can only make us God.

Bootstrapper’s Era, India

I was born in the ’70s and brought up in a village with no electricity, no water pump, no roads, and no hospitals. Less than a dozen people in the entire village graduated, and only five people were privileged to have a government job.
The best part was everyone was bootstrapped entrepreneur. They were plumbers, carpenters, gardeners, weavers, and mostly farmers. Despite no formal degree, most people were intellectually fit, mentally stable and wise.

No one was worried about the economy because people did not know it. No one was worried about the job loss because there was never one.

Everyday evening village people will assemble at a bazaar in the village. People will buy from each other or exchange goods based on their needs. Plumbers, carpenters, gardeners, weavers, farmers and some banyas (traders) will come with their products. Only banyas will deal in cash.

But, gradually, everything changed. Few people left the native for greener pastures in big cities. They did pity jobs in Kolkata, Mumbai and other places, but when they returned home, they would wear neat clothes, buy a bicycle, apply scented oil on their hair and comb it, wear a watch and listen to music on their radio.

It started fascinating young men like us to look outside for a better life. By the ’80s, the rate race was in full swing – India started losing its bootstrappers and craftsman. We are now part of a larger global mess — worried, sleepless, distracted, and confused.

The only way to get out of this urban living mess and ruts is to hone your craft and reclaim the bootstrapper in you. It’s in your gene. It’s in every Indian gene. Wake up and reclaim yours to live with peace, positivity, and prosperity.

Stop wasting your time living worried, stop stressing yourself to trolling other people and stop being the victim creatively. It’s your nation. It’s your society. It’s your family. It.s you. The time is now to be the bootstrapper! If not, when?

To bring out the best in you, Make yourself your ally

  1. Selectively forget the past, but remember some of the daily acts that made a positive change in your or someone else’s life.
  2. Every day aims to learn something new. It will help you keep engaged and feel productive.
  3. From time to time, engage with your friend and family to know the best of you. The best way is to begin by telling them about their uniqueness, and you will see they will start appreciating you and your achievements. It will make you feel your importance.
  4. Whenever there is an opportunity to show kindness, lap it up. Helping others always makes you feel good.
  5. Disconnect from the external world and connect with your inner self. Do deep breathing for just 2 minutes to feel calm and peaceful.
  6. Listen to your favourite music and indulge in the activities that you are passionate about. Music helps soothe and relax.
  7. Plan your day, and schedule things in advance. Do not hassle yourself. Go with the pace. You will do more with lesser efforts.

Two wolves inside us: The evil and the good

A grandfather told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.”

The boy paused for some moments, thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”
–Author Unknown

What if you focus on changing the system and not just the symptom

We’re more motivated to consume instant pleasure than long-term results. You like to eat foods that please your taste bud more than one that makes you healthier, like Broccoli or bitter gourd. You like to go for a movie with an entertainment factor than one which will teach you the lessons you can use for a lifetime.

If you just focus on treating the symptom, you will only get the repressing outcome.

If you go to work on the structure and the system, you will automatically become a natural performer who gets what you ought to.

So, remind yourself of your vision, plan the structure and the system that will get you there, start performing it every day for 30 days, and you’ll convert it into your habit…you’ll be able to RECREATE yourself.

Ragupati Ragav Raja Ram Patit Pawan Sita Ram

Mahatma Gandhi used to conduct daily meetings. It will start with the song “Vaishnav Jan to taine kahiye”, followed by his speech on important topics and Q&A.

One day he was speaking about the power of Ram’s name chanting and how it helps him attain peace and clarity.

During the Q&A, a girl asked him a question, “Mahatma, I was also doing name chanting every day until I read Kabir couplet — the rosary rotating by the hand and the tongue-twisting in the mouth, With the mind wandering everywhere, this isn’t meditation anyway. Since then, I stopped the name chanting.”

Mahatma Gandhi replied: “You have asked an interesting question. One day a person purchased a bathing soap and carried it home. He handed it over to his wife, praising the aroma and usefulness of soap. He instructed his wife to place it safely in the cupboard.

Pointing to the specks of dirt on his body wife asked him to take the soap and take a bath. Merchant murmured angrily: “Don’t you think such a beautiful and aromatic soap will get dirtied when contacting these specks of dirt on my body?”
The wife replied with a smile: “The usefulness of soap’s beauty and aroma lies in cleaning and washing off the specks of dirt from the body; otherwise, what’s the use of it? ”

The moral of the story is whether you can get the focus or not, whether you can realise the benefits or not, and whether you can find substantial proof for name chanting; you continue to meditate on God’s name. It will certainly help you clear, cleanse, and attain focus. And most importantly, feel safe in the heavenly adobe of God.

Suppress negativity spread goodness

Guru Nanak arrived at a village where people were a quarrelling with each other. He blessed them and asked them to prosper and live in that village forever. In the next village, people were living with peace, compassion and tranquility.

Guru Nanak blessed them too and advised them to abandon the village and disperse.

Mardana, his close disciple got puzzled observing the strange blessings, he asked, “Why did you bless the unworthy people of first village with prosperity, and asked the good people of the second village to disperse.

Guru Nanak smiled and answered: ‘The quarrelsome will only spread unrest and friction wherever they go. So I asked them to remain where they were. But it is better for the peace-loving to disperse and take their good qualities so that wherever they go people can learn the art of peaceful coexistence.’”

Here is how to find yourself when you are feeling lost

Enlightenment in life comes not by chasing the ultimate consciousness but by living stably in the self. Many in the world are multi-millionaires and billionaires, yet they are poor. When penniless, you crave to have Rs.10. Then you get Rs.10 and feel Rs.10 poor. Somehow you get Rs.100, and then you are Rs.100 poor. You remain poor even after having millions in your bank. The dissimilarities in public life are visible everywhere. People have so much money that they don’t have a place to keep it, and many don’t have a home to live in.

Everything in your life begins with how you feel. The very secret of enlightenment begins by remembering who you are. If you remember being kind, you will start feeling like a kind. If you think you are a master, you will feel like a master.

I remember a story narrated by my mother in my childhood. There was a king, and he had a dumb and spoilt son. One day he fired his son because of his misbehaviour and forced him to leave home.
For ten years, the king’s son lived the life of a homeless beggar in tattered and dirty clothes. He completely forgot that he was ever a prince.

The ageing king felt for his son and asked his prime minister to search for his son. While on the search duty, the prime minister found the king’s son, bare feet, lacerated with wounds begging for little money outside a hotel. He immediately recognized the king’s son, bowed and said, “The king has pardoned you and asks you to return to your kingdom.” Within no time, the son threw away his begging bowl and became a king. He ordered the prime minister to bring him a pair of good shoes and kingly clothes and arrange his bath immediately. Everyone who humiliated him a while ago gave him started obeying him. A person in the crowd reminded him of what he was a moment ago, “How is it you forget us in a moment?”

The prince replied, “I remembered you as long as I had forgotten who I was. Just now I have remembered I am prince so, I forget I am a beggar. Now, I remember, I am a king and I have always been a king.”
You would have heard about fake it till you made it. It applies here — If you continue to remember who you are, there is no need for any practice or reminder for any external forces to remind you of who you are. If you have forgotten your real self, remember who you are and see yourself transforming.

How to create peace and harmony

You’ve been complaining about the distractions and disturbances in your everyday life for a long while. You feel that distractions are the enemy of your accomplishments. Finding a place where you can get things done with focus is hard to find.

I can tell you there is no such place. Whether you go to the office, stay home, or run away to the forest, you’d face some kind of distractions everywhere.
I know a story: A man approached the master and pleaded for the secret mantra to help him fulfil his wishes. Master gave him the mantra and warned him to chant the mantra only at a place of absolute peace.

He started chanting at his home, but due to continuous disturbances, he could not continue it. He moved to the forest, sat beneath the tree and began his chanting. The birds started chirping, the animals were hounding, and the birds were dropping their shit on him from the top. Embarrassed by it, he moved to find another place. He found an empty field and decided to build a hut there for peaceful chanting. A saint approached him and warned him that the high wind might blow away his hutment. Scared of the high wind, he decided to return to his home and practice there itself.

If you truly want things to get done, you have to do it in your settings and situations. Stop wasting your time in search of a perfect place. There isn’t one. To live a peaceful life, you must create a peaceful and harmonious surrounding wherever you are now. Fleeing away is not a solution, but it’s a delusion that wanders in your mind.

Do not choose

We all crave the joy of heaven. It is because the sufferings and misery inside hell are painted in our minds so deeply that we don’t want to live there.
Like our desire to become rich stems from the misery we know poor people suffer. You ask any rich person whether they enjoy being wealthy, and you will hear NO.

The virtuous good people feel they deserve special treatment because they condemn the sinners, not because of the good itself.

What if you find a man who says nothing is like this in hell, or he says that hell is better and more luxurious than hell?

What if you know the darker side of having luxury items, mansions and cool cars?

What if you face people considering you weak, you attract the wrong type of people, and people distrust you despite you being good to everyone?

Most of our acts are polarized against the good and the bad. Non-violence depends on violence, and light owes its existence to the darkness, and good grows in the soil of bad.

Krishna says to Arjuna – “The world is unity of opposites. Accept both the polarities, because both are there together. Go with them, because they are. Don’t choose!” Krishna advises pursuing choicelessness. Those who choose a part and deny another are bound to be in tension because despite denying it, the other part will always continue to be. And the irony is that the part we choose depends on its existence in the part we deny.

You have made my day

“You have made my day” is a powerful compliment to give and receive. It tempts the feeling of kindness, humanity and realization that your act has made a significant difference in someone’s life. A genuine act of kindness can move the mountain, melt the iron and bring forward the irony of your humanity. I advise you to begin developing the habits of the following:

  • Being right is okay but only if it does not erode your being kind.
  • Choose your words wisely before speaking to provide listening pleasure.
  • You must gauge your level of effectiveness by the glow and smile your words have generated on a listener’s face.
  • Everyday, offer the prayer to the almighty to help those who need blessings to come out of the tough times and uneven terrain.
  • Don’t be serious. Each one of us needs a friend with whom you can act goofy.

From time to time, throw out your caring and compassionate best to make someone’s day. You will become happier, more acceptable, more delightful and more generous.

So, for whom will you make the day happy today?

Do you have these 3 bank accounts

TIME BANK
Your life is fixed between your birth date and death date. Organise and prioritise your time for those high-fulfilling activities that will move you forward in your personal, family and professional life.

RELATIONSHIP BANK
People come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime. Whenever people come into your life, analyse them, accept them and treasure them for however long they were meant to be part of your life.

FINANCE BANK
It’s not how much you earn but how much you keep. The best way to gain financial security is to constantly grow your income and develop the habit of saving for rainy days.

Small steps cause a significant impact

Small steps cause a significant impact

A jet plane with 257 passengers onboard departed from New Zealand airport to experience Antarctica and back. A ground handling staff from the air traffic control department altered the flight coordinates by 2 degrees, putting the aircraft 28 miles east from where they were supposed to be. Sadly that alteration put them directly on the top of Mount Erebus, an active volcano.

Despite turbulence and other conditions keeping aeroplanes off-course 90% of flight time, most flights arrive at the correct destination at the intended time. The snow on the volcano blended with the clouds above, deceiving the pilots into thinking they were flying above flat ground. When the instruments sounded a warning of the quickly rising ground, it was too late. The plane crashed into the volcano, and everyone onboard died.

The reason for the accident was the pilot’s dependency on air traffic control for constantly course correcting their movement. Course correction includes notification and pathway correction to help the pilot stay on course and reach the destination.

This flight analogy is so much contextually relevant to our lives. Even seemingly inconsequential aspects of our lives can create ripples and waves of consequence — for better or worse.

I have some homework for you — Citing this lesson, how do you notify and course correct if you are flying the aircraft called your life:

  • How are you piloting your life and checking whether you are on the right course?
  • What feedback are you receiving to correct your course?
  • Do you have a guidance system? How often do you check your guidance system?
  • Where is your destination?
  • When are you going to get there?
  • Are you on-course or off-course?
  • How would you know if you are on the right course?
  • How do you minimize the turbulence and other conditions distracting your path?

Go where you are rare

Success is at the right place at the right time. Once upon a time, I refused a lucrative offer to join a leading IT company in Mumbai, citing “I won’t shift to Mumbai.” I was well settled in Vadodara when I got an offer to join Sony Music in Mumbai. I asked a close friend for advice, and he said, “Ishwar, you should go there as you will get a better opportunity to grow yourself.”

If I’d have refused the opportunity, Sony Music wouldn’t have happened. The opportunity to write 100s of articles won’t have happened. Joining the league of youngest CEO of Digital at Zee won’t have happened. Travelling around the globe won’t have happened. Speaking, mentoring and guiding 100s of entrepreneurs won’t have happened. And meeting 1000s beautiful people won’t have happened.

“Go where you are rare.” is a great sentence—being rare positions you as extraordinarily unique. It brings power to you. Things work differently. That ‘rare’ position allows you to discover, justify, explain, convince, and win over hundreds of people aiming to grab the spot you are enjoying. You’re in the spotlight.

If you have spotted that ‘rare’ position, the only word of precaution is don’t sit on it having full reliance on your talent alone to draw extraordinary results. Push your limits, empathy and desire to serve the cause. Keep honouring the purpose of you in that ‘rare’ person, and do more things to serve the people around you.

Impatience in your heart brings you alive
dreams in your eyes make you alive
Live like the free waves of wind
Learn to flow like the waves floating over the sea
Receive every moment in life with open arms
Every moment is a new beginning
surprise in your eyes keeps you alive
impatience in your heart keeps you alive

A true friendship

God Krishna Says,
“I am a friend of one and all. It is up to you whether you consider me as your father, mother, master, associate or friend.

For me, friendship comes first. I enjoyed my childhood with the cowherds of Vrindavan. I played with them like an ordinary boy. I went on to steal the butter from the house of the herdsmen.

I killed the Kaliya snake who was poisoning the Yamuna water and making the water undrinkable for cows and cowherds.

You would have read about my friendship with Sudama. He was my best friend. When Sudama arrived at my home, I could not control myself even for a moment. I ran barefoot to hug him. I treated him better than myself showering my complete compassion and equanimity.

During the war of Mahabharata, I was drawn to a peculiar situation. Kauravas’s blamed me for playing one-sided. I proposed they visit my place and whomsoever I see first when I will join whom I see first when I wake up in the morning.

You know that Duryodhan came first and sat on my head, assuming I would first look at him. Arjuna knew I would see one seated on my feet first. Arjuna was my ardent devotee. For him, I was the ultimate master ruler of his life.

You know that Draupadi used to call me “Sakha”, and I used to call her “Sakhi”. I always came to her rescue as she treated me as her ultimate friend, and I always protected her whenever she remembered me for help.

I live in the heart of everyone in the form of consciousness. Some people forget me, and some constantly keep me in their thoughts and hearts. I have guaranteed the rescue to all those who remember me for help. Even though you think of your individuality, you are never separate from me. You can only conquer me through love, and your love alone binds me to you. I am gladly conquered by those who have indomitable faith in me.”

Best friends forever
Whether its thick or thin
Hold the hand and walk together
Keeps the secret, holds the baton
Holds friendship above the prayer
Makes every life moment merrier
No conditions no infatuation
Just made to love without discrimination
Counsels you when you are wrong
Comforts you when you are down
Supports you when you’re about to fall

Dedicated to all my friends, who’s made me more wiser, better and merrier…