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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Making life a music to the ears !

I love everything about good Hindi film music. The hummable tunes, the profound lyrics, the variety of instruments used, the legendary singers, the memorable picturisation!! I feel that Hindi music unites friends, families and communities. It’s hard to find an Indian anywhere in the world who doesn’t have a view on it. No celebration or festivity is complete without it! We have sang our hearts out at the entire range of events in our life, be it the birth of a child, a birthday celebration, engagements, weddings, sometimes even in memorial ceremonies.
There is a song for every occasion! A song to invoke rain, when it rains, when there is a drought and even when there is a deluge!  My iPod has the choicest collection of songs from the 1950s until now! To cut the long story short, I am a fan!
Some songs among this timeless treasure have left a really deep impact on me. They are my all-time favourites . I am delighted to share my list of top five and why!

1) Live in the present moment!
Zindagi ke safar mein gujar jaatein hai jo makaam, woh phir nahin aaten…..

This hit song from “Aap Ki Kasam” was picturised on superstar Rajesh Khanna. His doubt on his wife has separated them and this song shows him in remorse. The soulful rendering by the legendary Kishore Kumar, to the sometimes deep and pensive, sometimes cheerful music by “The Boss” R D Burman is my all-time favorite ! Not once have I seen or heard this song without a tear in my eyes.
This song epitomizes for me the basis of life. “This moment is what we have. Treasure it. Live it to its fullest .Moments gone by can never come back. Time does not stop for anyone. Whether you live it or not,  life will keep moving on.  Similarly, treasure the people and relationships in your life. Don’t let misunderstandings and suspicions spoil them .Once you lose your loved ones, they may seldom return to you.”
In my life, I have learnt that the only way I can bring my mind to this moment, is with the use of the breath. Sudarshan Kriya and Meditation have helped me culture my mind gradually over the years to experience the joy of this moment! The practical knowledge l learnt from The Art of Living, has helped me become natural and unconditional in my relationships.
My salute to the prolific lyricist Anand Bakshi for penning such profound knowledge in this song.

2) A leader’s temperament can make his team victorious!
Sandese aate hain ,hame tadpaate hain..

This song is from the movie “Border”, a real life story of the battle of Longewala during the India Pakistan war of 1971. The song is picturised on the army company, the 23rd Battalion of the Punjab
Regiment led by Major Kuldip Singh. The postman has just visited the camp in the Rajasthan desert and brought them letters from their loved ones – mothers, wives, children, brothers, sisters, beloveds… All of them are singing about memories of their homes, the lush beautiful fields in their villages, the fragrance of their love.
As you hear them sing, your heart goes out to them. The feeling is of sympathy, that they are all alone, out there, waiting to wage a war, while missing the joys of a normal life. As you watch their tearful eyes and sorrowful faces, the slumping body language, you can’t miss a lump in your throat.
And then, their leader sings – Main wapas aaonga , Main wapas aaonga !!! Kiya jo wada tha wohnibhaaonga !!! Suddenly, the whole company straightens up, with conviction on their faces. There is a spring in their step and a smile on their lips, signifying conviction, commitment and victory!
To me, till date, this is a stellar example of leadership. “When the whole team is down and out, the leader’s energy and conviction can give a direction .Sometimes at the cost of his own joy and feelings, a leader needs to be available for his team. His optimism can help the team achieve their goals. The leader carries the responsibility of the victory of his team.”
I have worked with leaders who have done this and many who haven’t. Those who have, left me inspired and charged up. As a leader, I have myself tried to be a strong , optimistic support for my team. To maintain a can-do attitude. The real life example of H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji gives me the impetus to continue.
A big shout to actor Sunny Deol for his role as Major Kuldeep Singh!

3) Divine is One, Divinity is Universal
Allah tero naam, Ishwar tero naam ,sabko sanmati de Bhagwan…
A timeless classic from the movie “Hum Dono”. The soulful music by Jaidev, profound lyrics by Sahir Ludhianviji and Lataji’s very poignant rendition picturised on the beautiful actress Nanda took this song to the level of a bhajan. Nanda sings this song, praying for the well being of her husband Dev Anand who is away on war. She prays to the Divine to give a good mind to all. She refers to the Divine as the protector of the world, as the one who gives strength to the weak and prays to him to give sound knowledge to those who are strong. She prays, that the mothers/ sisters/ wives of these warriors not be disappointed and life prevail over death. The visuals during this song are of places of worship of different religions – a temple, church, mosque, gurudwara, etc.
The situation of the song is a calamity. When you are pushed to the brink (either in a medical emergency or a crisis situation), you are willing to go to any limits for a solution. When the Tsunami happened, people of all religions were engaged in relief work to save people of mostly one religion, similarly during other such disasters.
This three-minute song conveys a message that is so relevant to the world today. “Divine is One. Divinity is Universal. Religions may be many, but the spirit is one. The goal of all religions is peace and love. It doesn’t matter how and to whom you pray. Prayer and faith can make miracles happen. War only leads to destruction and sorrow. Peace is the language of coexistence”
I experienced this when we were caught in the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai. It didn’t matter which religion people belonged to. Everyone was trying to save each other. Everyone was praying for their life – didn’t matter to whom!
Do we need a calamity to recognize this? Or do we have the maturity to understand that we are One Humanity ! That is spirituality. H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is travelling around the world spreading this message of spirituality. To treat life as sacred and celebrate it. To care for each other and serve. So universal is this message that the Art of Living foundation now has touched the lives of millions of people in over 150 countries of the world.

4) Embrace Life through its ups and downs.
Yeh Jeevan Hai, Is Jeevan Ka Yehi Hai ,Yehi Hai ,Yehi Hai Rang Roop
Kishore Kumar sang this beautiful song into the hearts of millions of middle class urban Indians coping with the burdens of daily life. From the 1970s movie Piya ka Ghar,it is picturised on the newly married Jaya Bhadhuri and Anil Dhawan staying with five other members of their family in a tiny Mumbai apartment.
The song is full of deep life meaning. “This is how Life is – a journey of joy and sorrow. Embrace life through its ups and downs. Love is all that matters and the only permanent thing in life, not money or the world”. It is indeed true that opposite values of life are complementary. I have learnt that the Art of Living, is not expecting life to be a bed of roses, but having the skill to maneouver through the  thorns on the way.
Knowledge and dispassion can help us live life at its full potential.

5) Love Unconditionally
lag jaa gale, ke phir yeh haseen raat ho na ho..
One of the most romantic songs of Bollywood, India’s nightingale Lataji sang this for the stunning Sadhana in Woh Kaun Thi. Madan Mohanji’s lilting melody conveys the deep longing in her heart for her beloved, and before one knows it, one is humming the song! Everytime, I am asked to sing by my friends, this is my top favorite!
Again, lyrics pregnant with deep meaning, this song can sum up the essence of life. “ Love. Love unconditionally. Do it right now, because you never know if you will get this moment back!” No more need be said about this.
Wishing that your life is a music to your ears, I continue singing through life!

( This article also available on

Thursday, March 20, 2014

7 Ways to Find True Happiness In Life

Each of  us has our own unique way to find happiness in life.
We know the value of this happiness. We have experienced it and shared it too.
We have also experienced how it feels to be unhappy.
When I was reflecting on what has propelled me to be happy , I was humbled to realize how simple it was.
I couldn’t resist sharing my list with you.
Hope it gives you some happiness to read it and apply in your life as you feel.

1) Purpose
A life without a purpose is like a river without a bank- all over the place . Don’t you think its very important to have a “purpose” to our life ?
One over riding big goal if you will. The northern star of our life.That which will dwarf all other interim needs,achievements,milestones. That which will also help us overcome short term challenges and set backs.  A purpose that will keep our life on a well directed path. A purpose which will become our memory when we are gone.
I remember the day I had this flash realization that the true purpose of my life was to be available to my Master, was one of the happiest of my life. Everything else seemed like a vehicle to get there.
And we don’t really cry over a flat tyre, do we? We simply fix it and move on. I believe its like this in life- The purpose becomes our ultimate destination and everything happening a vehicle on the journey.

2) Passion
Having a Purpose is futile without the Passion to pursue it. Challenges will come. Setbacks will happen. There will be ups and downs. Don’t lose your Passion.
You must have experienced it already. If you have done something 100 % , with all your passion and commitment, even if you don’t get the result you expected, you are happy.
Coz you know you gave it all you had. Passion gives energy. It creates enthusiasm. It inspires. It shines through your whole being . Brings a glow of joy to your face!
We can either live life with a insipid lukewarm approach to everything , or live it with a passion and zeal. Which one do you prefer?

3) Perseverance
How do you feel when you give up on something? Not so good right? And how do feel when you persevere and pursue what you have at hand? Very good isn’t it?
So its really as simple as that. Persevere. Don’t give up. Whether it is on goals, people, relationships, situations. Anything at all. Doesn’t matter what is the result.
At least you will have the satisfaction that you gave it your best.

4) Patience
Many times our unhappiness has to do with the hurry we are in to get something, achieve something, fix something. Why is this  not happening yet? I waited so long .. etc
Have patience. Gurudev, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji has said so beautifully – when you expect the fruit of your actions, know that if you don’t get it now, you will get it next lifetime.
When you are patient, it immediately puts the mind at rest . Makes it calm and peaceful. When you are in such a space, anyway things start working for us !
As one saint said – Don’t be in Hurry, be in Hari !

5) Pride
Have Pride in your life. In yourself. Your own talents and qualities. In your family and friends. In what you do and don’t . I have seen often that we may be unhappy not because what we have is
anything less, but because we compare to others and may feel small. I firmly believe that each of us is very valuable to this universe ! That is why we are born ! Live with this pride- you will be happy and peaceful and such an asset to society.

6) Purity
Stay Pure. In your heart, intentions,speech and action. Doesn’t matter what others are doing or saying. You stay pure. In the long run, you will be so glad you did. When you meditate, do Sudarshan Kriya, it eliminates stress, makes you peaceful. Then you can’t but think good,do good. Purity in mind,body and soul is the sign of an evolved being.

7) Present
Last but not the least. Live in the Present. The past has gone and the future not yet there. We worry about  ”forever” and forget to live in the “now”, Forever is made up of nows !
If we meditate , serve in the now, forever will take care of itself !
I have found that my spiritual practices,  having an attitude of service ,seeking the company of good people, has enabled me to have a purpose to my life, live it with passion, have the perseverance of effort and patience for result. I am proud of my life , grateful for its purity , what I am and what I have, now in the present.

Wish you all the happiness in your life !

( This article is also available on

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