‘Rock star’ Swami shows the spiritual way to manage uncertainty

Vinay Kamath New Delhi | Updated on November 03, 2011

Swami Sukhabodhananda .(file photo)   -  The Hindu

Swami Sukhabodhananda of the Bangalore-based Prasanna Trust was like a rock star at the first session of the last day of AdAsia 2011.

Many doubting Thomases, Cherians and Chopras who came in wondering what they were going to hear, were left cheering and doubling with laughter in the aisles.

A powerful and articulate speaker, Swami laced his talk with a huge dose of humour, a dash of practicality and a pinch of spirituality. All went down well with the cheering audience who ended up rooting for more.

He was asked to talk on ‘Managing unpredictability across circumstances of life and business’. Swami began his talk saying that depression is going to be an even greater killer in the coming years. “The suicide rate among psychiatrists itself is going to keep rising,’’ he says.

Interspersing his talk with couplets from the Gita, Swami urged the audience to live in the present rather than use the template of the past to relate to the present and the future.

The brain is always attuned to think of actions in the future. “You think of your promotion or your targets and all that you will achieve in the future as something that will make you happy. You have to be happy in the present, in the Now; remember, the future also eventually becomes the present,’’ said Swami, to acknowledging nods from the audience.

Your goal, he said, is to achieve something out of happiness and not for happiness. “The brain has to be taught to be in a state of happiness. Then your work becomes joy; you don’t need a holiday from work, work becomes holiday and you enjoy it!” The audience didn’t quite agree, despite this comment raising quite a titter.

When life is uncertain, the brain programmes itself to think uncertainty is a pain. “Life being uncertain is a fact; but look at uncertainty with trust, not from doubt, and you will find the quality of connectedness is different,” explained Swami.

“Life is plagued by doubt, but one door closes, the other one opening could be a positive one. If your spouse leaves you, the door could open on a new (and better) partner!”

Some people, said Swami, have no ‘Wow’ in life, no sense of wonderment. “I was speaking to an audience in Bangalore, a computer engineer in the audience just kept staring at me, eyes wide open.

He wouldn’t laugh, kept asking why for every comment of mine and when later I asked him his name, he said it was Y. Venkatesh! He asked me about some problem of his child, and I had to reply it was because of a manufacturing defect.”

Everything can be a wow experience, whatever happens, everything can be ananda, joy, said Swami. “We need to have aspirations in life, that gives one creativity, but expectations should be at the periphery or they will make you a beggar,” he exhorted.

He ended by outlining a spiritual strategy. There are three types of vrittis, he explained: angahara vritti, malaka vritti and madhukara vritti.

The first is when you burn a forest to get some coal, or the second is when you take the flowers from the forest and the last is like a bee, which takes only honey from the flowers. “If this can be your philosophy, then you will be happy; take the minimum, give the maximum,” Unlike several other speakers at the forum, Swami got a standing ovation.

Published on November 03, 2011

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