Two vignettes

Nothing very profound that I thought about today, so here are two little vignettes. They are both about religion but only the most profane commentator would see anything more in common with them :-).

I go for Bhagvat Gita lectures and my teacher is this most incredible guy called Swami Paramarthananda, who is a direct disciple of Dayanand Saraswati. He goes through the Gita one verse at a time, and in a weekly, 1-hour class, he usually finishes about 3 or 4 verses. So it will take several years for us to get through the entire book.

I was reminded today of a crazy beautiful simile that he once shared with us to describe our attitude towards life. The Swami is a cricket fan, and punctuates his sermons with anecdotes from the cricket world. This was one such. Consider, he said, that the Indian team is touring Australia on a 5-match one-day series. India wins the first match.

Then India wins the second match. And the third, taking the series.

Now the Indian team is ready to enter the fourth match, and consider the mood they are in. They want to win, of course, and as professional cricketers, they are going to give it their best. But at the same time, the stakes are not high; if they lose, it is not the end of the world.

They will play very well, but without insecurity and without the fear of defeat. And perhaps that will make them even stronger in the field – an even better team.

Life, said Swami Paramarthananda, is the fourth match. And the secret of the Gita is to know that by being born, you have already arrived – you have already won the first three matches. All that you need to worry about is to give it your best – not victory, not defeat – you have taken the series already.

Comedian Praveen keeps coming back to me at the most inappropriate moments: for example, now.

Apparently, Aamir Khan visited BITS when Praveen was a student there, and gave a talk. After his talk, Praveen went up to him and asked him a question: why are there so few Indian movies that win awards internationally? Why has no Indian actor ever won an Oscar.

Aamir Khan tells Praveen: to be a really great actor, to be a transcendental one, you have to act as though the movie is your real life. You must forget the presence of the camera, the crew, the audience, and give it your best performance. Is there any actor in India today who can claim to be like that?

And Praveen says: YES, SIR! Yes, there is one such person in India, who can forget the camera, crew and audience and give his best performance.

Aamir Khan asks: who is that?

And Praveen: Swami Nithyananda!


That’s all for today, folks.


One thought on “Two vignettes

  1. Related sentiment expressed by from Sebastian Thurn, founder Udacity:

    “The thing that worked best for me is to be relentlessly driven by the desire to solve problems I really care about, and to be open to changing my mind along the way when I learn new things. A lot of successful entrepreneurs do this. They pick a vision of something that’s important, and work as hard as they can to make it happen.

    Act as if you already know that you won’t fail. What would you do if you knew that you wouldn’t fail?”

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