Life's Lessons


Congrats Bagarti

It is said that a thousand words equal one picture and a thousand pictures equal one live example. Motivating by live examples had been the modes operandi of great visionaries who shone like bright lamps in darkness.
At a time in which positive thinking is replaced by positive attitude and hard work with smart work, right motivation is power.
Here, it is a simple guy from a simple background who has set an elite example of successfully chasing one’s goal.
I don’t know who helped Jothi Ranjan Bagarti (32) from Orissa to reach the impossible, practically for a security guard. IAS had been his goal in life; however, he could not make it in his first attempt ten years back. Even though he seemed to be quite content with his present family life, the fire within was not settled. His intense desire to reach, where he intended, was not extinguished; it kept on kicking from within.
For the last two years, he was working hard to get through all the rigid tests. Do you know what happened? Recently he has resigned from Cognizent Technologies and another fellow will occupy his chair at the gates, for this man is now in Mussoorie for the IAS training. 

By Joseph Mattappally on 21-11-2017

Just Three Seconds

Quite recently, the story of a lady who was miraculously saved, passed through my fading memory. The story was about an old
lady who owned a general store and gas station. Even though the gas station was slightly away from the city, she could make a good fortune. Where all its’ previous owners lost, she won. One day, the store staff closed the front doors and left. As usual, she checked and closed the daybook, counted the bills and left the counter. Before leaving the store through the back door, she got into the cooler room – just to see all soft drinks racks are properly filled and have enough stock. It was then that she heard a ‘clink’ sound from behind – the cooler room door got closed. She neither had the key nor the mobile and it was impossible for anyone to open that heavy door from inside. Minutes rolled on and nothing happened. She yelled aloud but nobody heard her. She was sure to die in it and it was then that she saw a man opening the door from outside, and peeping his head into it. She was saved.

You will be surprised to hear why a man came into this store at so critical a time. This is another story. This grocery was
adjacent to a bread shop run by an old Spanish man, to whom she used to give a very special Good morning and a Good night every day. She did not simply wave her hands and go, just as others do. She used to look into his eyes quite affectionately as if a daughter looks at her father and trying to say something and then give a wide smile along with a ‘Hey, how are you?’ Same was her Good night in the evening too. And that day, the old man did not see her even after 15 minutes of her usual leaving time. He looked out. Her car was there and the store was closed. The old man could not resist going into the store to verify what happened. He called her from out side, but nobody answered. He entered the store through the back door and checked all the store….. nobody was there.

He grew curious and decided to check the cooler room too. That was what exactly happened. The old man said, “You are special! It is your special smile that could fetch a good business for you and also save you from death.”

“Thank you Dad,” she said, with the same brand smile on her shivering lips. She continued,

“I knew that just three seconds with anyone could make a difference. No one has ever left this store without my special three seconds. In the first second I will look into my customer’s eyes; in the next second I will tell him that you are dear to me and my business; in the third second I give a very pretty smile of thanks for being into my life.

By Joseph Mattappally on 11-11-2017

The Morning Magic

Once, a British man asked Swami Vivekananda why he does’t wear proper cloths to look like a gentleman. Swami Vivekananda smiled and replied, “In your culture a tailor makes a gentleman; but in our culture character makes a gentleman.” In core and substance, the Indian sub-continent always differed from the outer world. If the West suggested ‘know thyself’, the East proposed ‘be thyself’. Where India stood for hundred percent responsibilities on all individual manifestations, the West shouted for 50:50. If it is the evenings that are important in the West, it is the mornings that are precious in India. I cannot think of a morning skipped without a silent meditation or some thinking over the mud I need to remove that day. It is in the mornings that we plan our days’ works.
It is said that every morning we have two choices, continue to sleep with our dreams or wake up to chase them. If we choose to rise up and chase our dreams, we will have two more choices; chase our dreams until we reach them or until we are totally exhausted. Those who believe that they deserve those dreams only are likely to keep chasing and reaching them. A few years back, I was listening to a discourse in which the Master said, “Imagination is the most powerful force in the Universe. Much before a huge building is built, the designer brings the probable shape into his imagination and then only he draws the skeleton on paper which passes to structural engineers for construction procedures. Imagination (thought), word, action are the three steps of all manifestations.” If this is the key that opens to chances, mornings are the most important time slot in our days because it is the best time to imagine. It also is the best time to will our dreams into comfortable time frames of creation. As we proceed, it is this clarity that is going to help us access a perfect manifestation. A day without a morning is virtually dead.

By Joseph Mattappally on 20-10-2017

Love Redefined

Ramesh was back at the Ashram after a short home visit. He reported before Guruji.
“Tell me son, could you apply any of what you had learned here? Could you learn something new? Could you experience your growth?” Guruji asked all these in a row.
“Well Guruji, back in the village people are suffering due to the ongoing war. No sufficient food……not enough grocery…not enough work also,” replied Ramesh.
“Oh! It is certainly bad news. What happened to them?” Asked the Guruji again.
“The war is continuing. I wish if I also could have joined the army and destroyed the enemies, who attacked us.” Ramesh replied.
After a small pause the Guruji gently spoke with a smile. “My son, this is why a man in the village is considered thrice blessed than a hermit in the forest. The villager always fights with the reality of the day, still holding tight all his spiritual aspirations. Remember that they did not feel for a fight as you did.Here you learned to love everybody…and there….even you interpreted love to be destruction of your enemy. Patriotism is not hating your enemies; it is but loving the mother land with gratitude and compromising with everybody.”

By Joseph Mattappally on 14-10-2017

A world of hostages

A few years back there have been reports on four princesses held hostages in the palace of Saudi Arabia. Their mother was divorced without her knowledge. Somehow she escaped and is in Great Britain now. May be because they invited the displeasure of the king that they were held hostages for life. The reports say that they haven’t enough food and cloths. Still, they are called princesses.
I remember to have read the comment of a prisoner on the worst things in prison. 10th was the foul smell, 9th was racial discrimination, 8th was getting fat without exercise, solitary confinement with no books, no blankets, no lights… came 7th; 6th was drugs that were secretly available inside, then came changing economy and prices going through the roof. The fourth was losing everyone loved; third was loneliness; the second was deaths inside the prison. The first was getting out.
Is this world a great prison? According to Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, “In the prison house, if you think a first-class prison is very nice, but after all, it is prison house. Your independence is cut down. So similarly, here in this material world it is simply varieties. We call, This is first class. This is second class. This is third class. Actually, it is all third class…” Another view point is that since our bodies need necessities like food, clothing and shelter, nobody could be free because these are not entities that freely flow into. To get all these things we offer our time and effort. The rich who have all these at call also have worries. They neither are immune against illnesses nor free from worries on losses, where they also put their effort and earnings. Gautam Buddha talked extensively on the bondages that tie each human being here. Most important for any prisoner is getting out. In common life, getting out from where, is a question many do not try to answer. We do not know that we have imprisoned our dear and near on the basis of ideologies and attitudes. Even if we run out, there could be theologies and philosophies to chase us. Sensible humans conclude that freedom is the privilege of only the spirits.

By Joseph Mattappally on 26-09-2017

Philipp Budekin (22), nick named Philipp Lis (Fox), the ring leader of the notorious suicide game, ‘Blue Whale’, was punished recently by a Siberian Court, on charges of inciting young people to suicide. What that stirred my cool consciousness was his point of self-defence. He argued that he is clearing the world from biological wastes; he had a well thought purpose.
What is biological waste according to him? Is it a human being spending his time on Android? Could be. I think the Court also would have agreed to this argument to some extend. Otherwise he would have been imprisoned for all his life or sentenced to be killed, for he is alleged involvement in the death of more than a hundred preys so far, instead of the Russian equivalent of an open Jail which he got now and that too only for just three years.
Are we turning to biological wastes? This is one question which we have to ask ourselves now? If we look back to the favours we claim to be getting from this Android life, it could be something like a full time news updation or an every time entertainment world. It might be making us more social, more knowledgeable and more advanced.
But Budekin says that all these create biological wastes only!
Let us live great, just clearing ourselves from being biological wastes anymore, enslaved to Zuckerbergs and Steve Jobs.
There are many thousands of people who don’t have a Facebook account. They are smarter, no doubt at all! Keeping all these at its own time and place is something which we all can successfully do.

By Joseph Mattappally on 05-09-2017

How About a Vacuum?

Reality is not far away; it fills us. The moment we earnestly turn around or look inwards into the subtlety of existence we will see it in its full ambience. Quite recently, I happened to hear a millionaire speaking,
“Unless my only daughter would have come forward to take up this empire I had built, personally, my efforts would have been a great loss. With no legal heir to inherit, my investment of time and effort would have been a great blunder.”
Are we on this blunder road?
Vijaypat Singhania, ‘the Complete Man’ behind the 12000 crores Raymond Empire, endorses the theory of futility of efforts. He passed all his property to his son Goutham. We don’t know what happened in between them. The media says that Singhania is out without even a small hut to live.
All of you also might have read the story of a billionaire woman who turned skeleton?
She continued to be so, until his son came from USA, after a long break, just to see his mother living alone in Mumbai.
Also we heard the story of an IAS topper (2012 batch) who committing suicide. The reasons were traced to be family issues.
The one factor, which was missing in all these cases, was ‘Love’. It flows only to vacuums. This vacuum – we have to make it.
Sharing out all that we have.

By Joseph Mattappally on 25-08-2017

The Richest

Who is the richest man in the world? Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Amancio Ortega, Amancio Ortega, Mark Zuckerberg…… the list continues. Bill Gates who is on top, but does not agree with this order. He says that the richest is none of these. He narrates the story of the richest person whom he happened to see.

Many years ago, I had been dismissal and I had gone to New York airport. I read titles of newspapers there. I liked one of them and I want to buy it. But I didn’t have change (coin). I abandoned, suddenly, a black boy called me and told,

“This newspaper for you.” I said, but I don’t have change.

He said, “No problem, I give you free”.

After 3 months, I went there. Coincidentally, that story happened again and that same boy gave another free newspaper again. I said, I can’t accept. But he said,

“I give you from my profit.”

After 19 years, I had been rich and I decided to find that boy. I found him after one and half months searching. I asked him, do you know me? He said,

“Yes, you’re famous Bill Gates.”

I said, you gave me free newspaper in two times many years ago. Now, I want to compensate it. I am going to give you everything that you want. The Black young man replied,

“You can’t compensate it!” 
I said, why? He said,

“Because I gave you when I was poor. You want to give me when you are rich. So, how do you compensate?”

Bill Gates said, I think that black young man is richer than me.

If it is our attitude that makes us rich or poor, we need only a split second to become the richest in the world!

By Joseph Mattappally on 15-08-2017

The Universe and Me

I’m an Indian, born and brought up in a land of diversities. Whenever I hear a shout for equality, I ask myself if such a thing is ever possible. God could be Omnipotent, Omnipresent or Omniscient may be the creator of this omnivorous mankind too. But, can he ever create two equal situations or two equal things anywhere in this Universe? I don’t think so. Not two equal globes or stars haven’t been discovered. I haven’t seen two leaves or two trees of equal feature either.

The moment I realized that equality is a superficial concept, I came to the conclusion that it is diversity that we need for our growth. The more different we are from another the more we will tend to follow a personality of our own.

The more we accept the ‘present’ the way it appears to us the more we will be filled with gratitude, the only emotion that goes with the energy of love.

The prayer that God answered us, is the same prayer many others have been praying but went unanswered. The road we use safely every day is the same road on which many others were killed.

The place in which God blessed us, is the same place other people also worship Him, but their lives are still in discord. The bed we used in the hospital, from where we got healed is the same bed many other people died on. The rain that made our fields produce good crops, is the same rain that destroyed someone’s field. The same sun hardens the clay and melts the butter. The same man, the same wind, the same river, the same……..Yes I have a got a different mother for myself a different father for myself; all that I got are different. My Universe too !

By Joseph Mattappally on 02-08-2017

Divine Attitude

A lot is said on right attitude. Most people know that it is individual attitudes that decide ones future. Just a few days back I came across a touching folk story. It helped me to add more divinity to this ‘attitude’.

Here it is, ‘An old pilgrim was climbing the steep hills of Himalayas to reach a temple of his particular God. He was almost exhausted when he reached the temple. All his accumulated energy was hardly enough for him to climb the steps. He looked down the hills with awe and he noticed a young girl climbing the hills with a child on her back. She seemed to be an experienced mountain climber. Sometimes she changed to pushup postures and sometimes started in a plank position with arms and legs long, but every time with the child on her back.

He kept on watching them until they reached the top. The girl also was tired but not as much as he was. He asked the girl,

“How could you carry this weight, without a break?”

The girl looked at the old man with frustrated eyes. With an unhappy face, she replied,

“This is not weight, but my brother.”

At times of difficulty, I suggest that we change over to this Divine Attitude. I would also like to remind everyone that it may not be easy to keep identifying the appropriate situation where an upgradation is required for our attitude. There is an easy way. Make it a habit to use only Divine Attitudes, everywhere every time.

By Joseph Mattappally on 15-07-2017