Archive for the ‘life’ Category

The Mahabharat tells us the story of a great warrior named Karna, who meets his end in Kurukshetra. There are a lot of reasons that are listed for his fall. But if you look closely there is a single big mistake that Karna made, that was to make friendship with an evil prince Duryodhan. Karna accepted a favor from Duryodhan, and was in his debt forever, and chose the path of ‘Adharma‘, forever straying from the path of righteousness. For this reason, it is said that you should never accept favors (daan) from unrighteous people.

In 1982, Feeney created The Atlantic Philanthropies, and in 1984, secretly transferred his entire 38.75% stake in DFS, then worth about $500 million, to the foundation. Not even his business partners knew that he no longer personally owned any part of DFS.[8]

For years, Atlantic gave away money in secret, requiring recipients to not reveal the sources of their donations. “Beyond Mr. Feeney’s reticence about blowing his own horn, ‘it was also a way to leverage more donations––some other individual might contribute to get the naming rights.’”[3]

Feeney has given substantial personal donations to Sinn Féin, historically associated with the IRA, and has worked to support peace efforts in Ireland.[2] Through Atlantic, he has also donated around $1 billion to education in Ireland, mostly to third-level institutions such as the University of Limerick.[1]

Feeney has been a major donor to his alma mater Cornell University, which has received nearly $1 billion in direct and Atlantic gifts, including a donation of $350 million enabling the creation of Cornell’s New York City Tech Campus.[12]

He has also supported the modernization of public-health structures in Vietnam.[8]

In February 2011, Feeney became a signatory to The Giving Pledge.[13] In his letter to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the founders of The Giving Pledge, Feeney writes, “I cannot think of a more personally rewarding and appropriate use of wealth than to give while one is living—to personally devote oneself to meaningful efforts to improve the human condition. More importantly, today’s needs are so great and varied that intelligent philanthropic support and positive interventions can have greater value and impact today than if they are delayed when the needs are greater.”[14]

He gave away his last $7 million in late 2016, to the same recipient of his first charitable donations: Cornell. Over the course of his life, he gave away more than $8 billion.[3]

Tell me how to be brave

Posted: June 23, 2016 in life
Tags: , , ,

I want to be brave. Tell me how to be brave” asked my darling son today before leaving for his school. I didn’t have an answer. As my eyes welled up, I asked if he is scared of anything in particular.”No, I am brave. I am not scared of anything” came back his reply.

I don’t want to forget this incident, and the feelings he was fighting as he reluctantly agreed to attend school today to make me happy. New school, new teacher, new classmates – I can understand how overwhelmed he is with all this. “There are too many people in the class” he declared on his second day at the new school. For a three year old who doesn’t like noise, it is not easy to be in a class of twenty strangers for the first time. He is fighting his battles bravely. I wish it doesn’t have to be this way, I wish we could stop demanding so much from our little ones.

Many times I am overwhelmed at the enormous responsibility parents have in helping their kids reach their full potential. Our fears push us to force the tiny toddlers to do what the world expects of them. Because we are not brave, and we are scared of the world, and the future, we are asking our little ones to be brave and face the world before they are ready; forcing them to bear burdens their little hearts shouldn’t have to.

I hope I will find in me the strength and wisdom to guide, and guard my son as he ventures into the world bravely. Time and again he makes me realize how blessed we are. Hope we can preserve his precious childhood from the harsh demands of this cruelty we call education.


The important bits are at the end: If you believe someone is harming you on purpose, it hurts more. There is discussion of turning pain into pleasure : presenter quotes pleasure of riding a roller coaster as an example; I am not sure if adrenaline is also responsible for the pleasure here, if only partly. Eating chillies is also an example of turning pain into pleasure.

Following excerpt is from Vignana Bhairava Tantra, an ancient Hindu text. This particular translation and explanation is by master Osho. I was reminded of this when I was watching the video; the parallels and similar conclusions are uncanny. How are we feeling pleasure from an experience that should have resulted in pain? The answer is simple: pain and pleasure are within us, and we have the control to feel one or the other irrespective of the external situation.

Whenever there is joy, you feel that it is coming from without. You have met a friend: of course, it
appears that the joy is coming from your friend, from seeing him. That is not the actual case. The
joy is always within you. The friend has just become a situation. The friend has helped it to come
out, has helped you to see that it is there. And this is not only with joy, but with everything: with
anger, with sadness, with misery, with happiness, with everything, it is so. Others are only situations
in which things that are hidden in you are expressed. They are not causes; they are not causing
something in you. Whatsoever is happening, is happening TO YOU. It has always been there; it
is only that meeting with this friend has become a situation in which whatsoever was hidden has
come out in the open – has come out. From the hidden sources it has become apparent, manifest.
Whenever this happens remain centered in the inner feeling, and then you will have a different
attitude about everything in life.
Even with negative emotions, do this. When you are angry, do not be centered on the person who
has aroused it. Let him be on the periphery. You just become anger. Feel anger in its totality; allow it
to happen within. Don’t rationalize; don’t say that this man has created it. Do not condemn the man.
He has just become the situation. And feel grateful towards him that he has helped something which
was hidden to come into the open. He has hit you somewhere, and a wound was there hidden. Now
you know it, so become the wound.
With negative or positive, with any emotion, use this, and there will be a great change in you. If
the emotion is negative, you will be freed of it by being aware that it is within you. If the emotion is
positive, you will become the emotion itself. If it is joy, you will become joy. If it is anger, the anger
will dissolve.
And this is the difference between negative and positive emotions: if you become aware of a certain
emotion, and by your becoming aware the emotion dissolves, it is negative. If by your becoming
aware of a certain emotion you then become the emotion, if the emotion then spreads and becomes
your being, it is positive. Awareness works differently in both cases. If it is a poisonous emotion,
you are relieved of it through awareness. If it is good, blissful, ecstatic, you become one with it.
Awareness deepens it.

Ancient Hindu philosophers have mastered the internal, and their insight into human mind is amazing.

I don’t know why I had put the term ‘introvert ‘ in the title of this blog. Well, I am a certified introvert but that is beside the point. I certainly didn’t have plans to write about introversion. I must have just typed in what came to mind when I was creating it. There were quite a few people who landed on this blog searching for the term ‘introvert’. I wondered if I was making false advertising, but didn’t think much about it. However a few days ago, Google had listed one of the entries in this blog in response to a search query that was rather disturbing. Someone was searching for ‘introvert’ in combination with a very depressing word. Since that particular word happened to appear in the title of one of the posts, Google seemed to have dished up that page. Unless it was someone researching that particular aspect in connection with introverts, that person was under severe depression, and seems being an introvert had something to do with it. I hope it was the former that is the case here, and even if it is the latter, I hope that person had the good sense to talk to someone about it. BTW, why am I avoiding the mention of that search term here? The very purpose of this post is to tell the fact that being an introvert is nothing to worry about. I think it makes sense to mention that search term here so that if anyone else searches for that combination of words, they can potentially land here, and hopefully I can rub off some positive thinking onto them. So here goes; that person was searching for ‘introvert suicide’. It seems there is nothing that I could do except hoping that whoever that person was, didn’t mean to do anything foolish.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. It’s a perfectly normal personality trait, and it comes with its own strengths. Roughly half of the people on this planet are introverts. If introverts are marginalized in our society, that is not because they are of less value to society. It is just that voices of those who speak, even if they have no value to add to the conversation, are the voices that are heard. And guess what, it is the extroverts that make all the noise in the world. So, naturally extroverts rule the roost, and it is not their fault either. From my own experience, I can tell you there is absolutely nothing to worry if you are an introvert.

[from a 2 year old draft]

the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order—luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.

— Amundsen in The South Pole

(Amundsen lead  first successful expedition to south Pole)

Timeless love

Posted: November 19, 2013 in abstract, fiction, From archives, life, love

With silver-grey hair, wrinkles on the skin resembling brush strokes of modern art, she was walking across. He recognized the twinkle in her eyes from a distance, and he froze. He didn’t think he would ever see her again, he didn’t want to. He wouldn’t be able to, he couldn’t think it possible to see her again and be separate from her; no, that would be too painful, his heart wouldn’t be able to bear that much pain. When he said his last good-bye to her, it was the most painful thing he had ever done. it was like he was leaving behind a part of his soul, the important part; no, it was not really like he was leaving behind a part of him, it was more like it was being torn apart from him brutally. He didn’t think he would survive that severance. Even if he could, he didn’t think it was worth living afterwards. What is life without her, what is there to live for? Whatever he was before he met her, he is not that anymore, in fact he is not anymore, he simply is not. He was transformed that moment when he first met her, no they both transformed. It was a fiery chemical reaction, they met and they lost their individual identities, and they became one. There is no turning back, you can’t get your ingredients back, you have a new compound that was created out of that process. No, they were not each others’ soul-mates; they were two parts of a single soul, each part looking for the other to make it complete, make it whole. The moment they met, they recognized each other as such. They were merged into one, they became a single soul, complete.

Life never looks kindly upon love. It is so cunning, it has its own schemes to beat love. It doesn’t matter how many times love has fought back, and won; it doesn’t matter how many lovers had walked on that path and reached the other end. Life always throws its tantrums at love, why is there so much rivalry? Life is perhaps the evil twin of love, it would never leave it alone. So it was with them as well. They were too drunk in love to notice the doom that was enveloping them. They just jumped into each other  so fast, they lost their heads, and forgot how far apart they really are. In that mighty madness of love, the oceans that separated them didn’t really look like barriers. No, space was too shallow to separate love. But soon, destiny knocked on their door, and she had to leave him. He couldn’t stop her,

So they met once more after all these years. Life has really worn away with time; they have all their life behind them, the madness of youth long gone. Would he ask her “why did you leave me”, or can she ask him why he didn’t pursue her: “why didn’t you come find me? You know, you could have, but yet you didn’t”.

pursuit of suffering

Posted: November 18, 2013 in abstract, fiction, life, love, poetry

I know you by the way you walk,
and your too familiar talk.
I know your movements, and your shadows
I know you for every moment of your existence.
I know you are here to break my heart one more time
I know I am like the moth that runs into the flame with all its passion, just to get burnt.
I know the first time you did this to me, just like I know every other time
Yet, I couldn’t resist coming for you seeking one more moment with you
one more moment of bliss, one more experience, one more suffering
Is it the suffering that I am addicted to, I wonder.
every time it ends the same way –
I am stripped of all that I am, until I dissolve completely into you,
until I exist no more
then I wake up into all this misery that is not mine in a place that doesn’t belong to me,
doing things that I don’t want to.
why did you beckon me with all your intoxicating charm if it isn’t to leave me in this suffering?
Yes, I know you were going to leave me broken-hearted
the moment I heard your call
Why did I come after you, If I knew I would be left in pain,
All my hankering, and pleading in vain?
I knew; I knew you would do this to me
And I know you would do it to me again,
and I wouldn’t resist it the next time either
I am here to suffer in your pursuit after all

No matter how fast I move,
life is always one step ahead of me.
no matter how much I learn
it always finds something new to teach me.
no matter how much I grow
It puts me in situations that I come short of.
no matter how strong I become,
it delivers a stronger blow each time,
that knocks me down off my feet,
and leaves me gasping for breath.
no matter how tall I reach
I always come short of one inch
from the high goals that I want to catch.

I know not, what to ask for
I know not, what to fight for
I don’t know what all this is for
tell me father, in words that I can make sense of
for, my feeble intellect is of no use to know you.
how can I tear away this veil
that separates me from you?
Why did you put me in the middle of all this false glitter
when you know this is not what your child needs

This apparent joy that I know is a mirage
this suffering that is without any meaning
this suffocating helplessness that comes out of their dualistic dance,
what are they for, father?

tell me father, in a language that I can understand
for, my feeble intellect is of no use to know you
how can I learn you, and your creation?
Why do I fail to see you in everything that is your manifestation?