Job, Career and Business

Conscious Leadership by Radhanath Swami at BSE Event

Practically every one of us takes up a role of a leader, many though do not recognize it. If you are an older sibling, parent, sibling of a parent, professional in any area, educator – you -in this role- are a leader. When person is in the position of a leader,  he/she influences life of others. Let us become more conscious!

Conflict resolution

Today I am going to share this amazing seminar on Conflict Resolution given by HH Bhakti-Tirtha Swami in 2003 in Ukraine. Please be patient because after speaker you will have to listen to/wait for Russian translator. Please share this if you know anyone who has a conflict situation and/or may need it in the future.

Here is little bit about this extraordinary soul.
Bhakti_Tirtha_Swami“A specialist in international relations and conflict resolution, Bhakti-Tirtha Swami (John E. Favors) constantly traveled around the world and has become a spiritual consultant to may high-ranking members of the United Nations, to various celebrities and to Several chiefs, kings and high court justices. In 1990 His Holiness was coronated as a high chief in Warri, Nigeria in recognition of his outstanding work in Africa and the world. During Nelson Mandela’s precedency of South Africa, Bhakti-Tirtha Swami met several times with the leader to share visions and strategies for world peace.In addition to encouraging self-sufficiency through the development of schools, clinics, farm projects and cottage industries, Bhakti-Tirtha Swami conducted seminars and workshops on principle centered leadership, spiritual development, interpersonal relationships, stress and time management and other pertinent topics. He was also widely acknowledged as a viable participant in the resolution of global conflict.

Bhakti-Tirtha Swami’s  books are used as reference texts in universities and leadership organizations throughout the world. Many of his books have been printed in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Macedonian, Croatian, Russian, Hebrew, Slovenian, Balinese and Italian.”(from http://www.btswami.com/about)

HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami. Photo by Радха Манохар дас – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7994742

conflict resolution – part 1

Conflict resolution – part 2

Conflict resolution – part 3

Routine and Consistency (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

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Today, we’re going to talk a little bit more about consistency. This is one of the most important factors for material success and the crucial factor for spiritual success. As a general rule, one develops consistency when keeping to a personalized daily, weekly, yearly routine, created in accordance with the guidelines for goodness, purity, knowledge and responsibility. All this makes a person consistent and thus, successful. This is the absolutely correct approach, although there can be some peculiarities related to personality traits of some people.

 

The point is that by no means all have the same perception of consistent routine and its link to success. For the majority of people, the strong interconnection is obvious, while for others it’s not. The latter group of people makes up about 20% of population and is outwardly no different from others. There people are not some much dependent on a strict daily schedule. It isn’t that they don’t need it. It is that they are far less dependent on it than many others. They can easily make changes to their daily routine and schedule, and it won’t exasperate them and throw off balance.

 

In this case, changes are seen as pleasing and inspiring, rather than scaring and annoying. Let’s look at the example with some unexpected bus route changes. If a bus takes a different route around the city than normal, the majority of the passengers would anxiously look out of the window, feel uncomfortable and scream, “Where are we going to?” It would be a frightening experience for them, while for some of the passengers it would seem nowhere near as bad! They would love the idea of following a different route. It would seem fascinating. They know that, one way or another, the bus will drop them off at the subway station. It just takes a new route to avoid congestion. They would feel like supporting the driver, inspiring him to follow a different route. (”Go it!”)

 

Now we can understand the psychology of these peculiar 20% of population. If they manage to act effectively, quickly and dexterously; follow things through to completion with the least possible trouble – this can be called their scheduling technique, their own level of consistency and the way they handle daily routines. How can they make the most of their personality type? They should still try their best to set a daily schedule and stick to it. Then their “out-of-the-box thinking” won’t go beyond what is reasonable. Such individuals are sometimes called “intuitives”. The main challenge is not to engage in self-justification. Otherwise, relying too much on the gut feelings may lead to egregious blunders, deviations and even tragedy. One should keep away from too intuitive thinking, e.g. presented in the following joke:

 

“Doctor, I have pain somewhere in my body.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll give you some kind of pills.”

 

Curiously enough, intuitive approach makes a certain amount of philosophical sense. Such a person can come very close to spiritual understanding of activity, or rather, the understanding that not everything rests with us, not all depends solely on our plan. Hence, a bit of intuitive, spiritual approach to action would be nice to have for any person. If one doesn’t use it at all, one is in for a big disappointment in planning as such. As they are fond of saying in the business world, “to sell the bear’s skin before one has caught the bear” is scientifically called “business planning”. If planning or using a daily schedule doesn’t involve understanding the laws of fate, this is a very rough, selfish, materialistic approach.

 

Therefore, every act of planning must leave room for hunches, which means understanding the laws of fate. And any intuitive approach must involve some planning, or acknowledging the power of goodness. This power enables to go through with the task, despite the obstacles and problems that emerge. As always, any extremity or excesses will cause departure from balanced development. For example, transcendentalists become so utterly absorbed in spirituality that they forget to plan the practical side of it. As a result, their activity stops after a while due to the lack of funds. On the other hand, materialists are so self-reliant that they forget about moral issues and sooner or later, offend against the law and go to jail.

 

By the way, here is a funny story about the intuitive approach.

 

A businessman once came to the wisewoman and asked,

“Last night I dreamt of potato. What does a dream of potatoes mean?”

“It’s quite simple,” she said. “It would either be planted in spring or harvested in the fall.”

 

Now I’d like to talk a little bit about Vedic techniques as such. These include Ayurveda, Vastu, astrology, and daily practice, as well. Yes, Vedic techniques have tremendous benefits. If their authenticity was preserved by true specialists and adjusted to the realities of the modern world, their application can be very effective. On the other hand, their authenticity could be lost or partially preserved. They might have been distorted and as a consequence of this, could lose their power. They might have not been adapted to the present-day reality, after all. So I wouldn’t idealize the situation. I’d like to say that we are interested in one and only Vedic technique that hasn’t lost its power and remains relevant to this day. This is the technique of spiritual elevation, purification of heart of all dirt.

 

All other techniques, even if they are called “Vedic”, require a careful practical approach. Do not be allured by the word “Vedic”. If some technology facilitates spiritual growth, it ought to be accepted, even if it doesn’t look too “Vedic”. I was preparing this lecture using a non-Vedic computer. I was sitting on the non-Vedic sofa, in the non-Vedic apartment of the non-Vedic house. The house was located in the non-Vedic district of the non-Vedic city. And the country was non-Vedic… But if something is called “Vedic” and you really can see that it doesn’t aid spiritual growth, it should be rejected, without any pangs of remorse…

 

For example, an acquaintance of mine recently told me about his visit to the professional Ayurvedic doctor. That doctor insisted that he start eating meat. And my acquaintance had to explain this Ayurvedic doctor the Vedic principles of healthy lifestyle.

 

Our safe lifestyle is a sensible lifestyle. In yoga, it is called yama&niyama. We accept everything favorable and reject everything which is unfavorable. This is the approach from the standpoint of reason. Hence, it’s the safest and the most serious approach.

 

By the way, we become serious when taking real responsibility for others – their lives, development, and future. You’d think one becomes responsible while thinking about oneself. Not so, but far otherwise. In fact, we don’t know how to wish ourselves well, how to wish ourselves happiness. We haven’t learned this despite many billions of years of material life. Hence, to become serious while thinking only about one’s own spiritual development is a tough thing to do.

 

When we start thinking about others, we make a more realistic assessment of our help. It awakens our responsibility. For example, if I need to get up early, and it’s only me who needs it, I can oversleep quite easily without feeling remorse. But if I have an appointment in the morning, I’ll not only get up on time – I’ll toss in my sleep, feel very restless, wake up over and over again to look at the clock.

 

Therefore, the secret is plainly simple: help someone to go back to the spiritual world, and you’ll find yourself there. However, one needs to know how to help and this is also the Vedic technique. To understand it better, let’s hear a parable.

 

Once there was a very rich man who had lots of money. And he never refused anyone his help. Whoever came to him to ask for money — be it a shoemaker who needed to buy leather or a painter who needed money for paints – was never refused aid. The rich man never turned his back on anyone and never asked for anything in return. Sometimes he would visit poor writers and artists himself and help them free. His fame as a benefactor of the whole city resounded everywhere.

 

But one day it became repulsive to him. The rich man sold his house and distributed money among the poor. He dropped everything; bundle wrapped two shirts and a pair of pants and went wandering the world.

 

Years went by. One day an old man came into the city where the rich man once used to live. He was bearing heavily on his stick. In his torn and dirty clothes, he had come a long way. He walked with a hunched back; his grey beard was as dirty as himself.

 

He went through the whole city, rambled through the centre and sat by the fountain on the central square. He was so travel-weary he could hardly breathe. He was starving but had not a red cent in his pocket. He was almost dying.

 

Just then a gentleman walked by. He was modestly dressed yet was neat and tidy. He came up to the old man to give him alms. The old man lifted up his head slowly, looked up and said,

“All my life I depended on myself. And now that I’m on my deathbed and don’t have a bean to spend, I’m still not going to take any money from you.”

 

At these words, the gentleman gave him a long look. After a slight pause, he said,

“I remember you. There was a time when you were a rich man in this city. You used to give alms. I started my own barbershop with the money you gave me. Now I can live reasonably well on the income it brings. You thought then you were helping us. But we didn’t turn down your offer to help. We allowed you to do good deeds for us. You thought you were assisting us with money. But in fact, we were assisting you with our consent. Now, be so kind as to assist me in my desire to help, as well.”

 

Hence, remember: when performing acts of kindness we shouldn’t forget that those we do something good to actually do a lot more good to us by allowing us to make ourselves useful.

 

 

The Power of Kind Words (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

Since we’re constantly learning – the process of learning continues throughout life – we are immensely responsible for transmitting this knowledge to others. A full-fledged educational system includes knowledge on how to share information acquired. We should transfer the knowledge we get proficiently, effectively and on a regular basis. The science of knowledge transfer has many subsections. Listeners may belong to different categories. Each of them requires a different approach to be convinced to accept our knowledge. Seniors, juniors and equals are trained according to certain rules, considering the differences between them. But today we’ll discuss broad guidelines enabling to give knowledge to any person, regardless of their age, education and social status.

Naturally, first and foremost, to impart some information, we must be firmly convinced of it. We are transmitting not just information itself, but our confidence. Feeling of confidence is the invisible information-carrying medium, and it must be top-quality. Imagine that you help a driver to pull out of driveway onto the busy road. He can’t see the road and fully trusts you. You give him the sign whether to turn onto the road or to wait a little. And if you aren’t sure about what you are doing, better not to help at all. Otherwise, it may result in an accident. This is why drivers are especially annoyed by unsophisticated passengers giving them driving tips.

As soon as you become convinced of the truthfulness of knowledge you get, you may start distributing this knowledge. Here, it’s not the power of reasoning or strong convincing skills that play the major role. In the process of knowledge transfer, love rules the roost. Yes, if the speech of the person, except their confidence in the message, is saturated with love, it reaches the very heart of a listener and is perceived as the most valuable gift. We must be aware of that. Pleasant speech is not deceitful flattery. It is a true message imparted by those who are full of compassion towards the listener and hence, choose words that protect veracity from rudeness.

 

Mark these words: a wise person protects veracity from pride and rudeness. Pride and rudeness downgrade the importance of the message of truth and can even destroy it completely. Under the influence of rudeness and pride, the truth easily turns into dangerous lies. Love is the fire that transforms a dish of knowledge into a splendid feast. If a person lacks love (displays rudeness), the dish is undercooked. If there’s too much love or it is wrongly directed (pride), the dish is burnt. Having quality food products is not enough – one needs to cook them perfectly. To receive truth is not enough because one needs to protect it. The Truth is one – it’s easy to give it an imperceptible twist, harness it to serve the false ego and start to exploit. Therefore, the duty of every right-minded person is to protect the truth at all costs.

file0001785926379Sages say that sweet words, gladness and a loving glance, when they accompany a gift, are valued more highly than the gift itself. Gift-giving is a good deed, an act of kindness, but well-wishing attitude touches the heart even more. The same goes for knowledge. Maybe our knowledge won’t help a conversation partner to learn anything new. But if he feels our love, if he feels that we see the beautiful soul in his heart, it will encourage him to reevaluate the words he might have heard a hundred thousand times before. He’ll be able to see things in a different light. How many times in our life did we hear that God loves us? But what have we understood? Has anyone ever given thought to it?

 

But one fine moment we hear the same words and suddenly realize that God really loves us and pushes us toward happiness by all means, although we stand up against it. He doesn’t take offence and continues to send loving teachers. We suddenly come to this realization because a person who says these words is speaking with love. It is selfless display of love, for no obvious reason. We are moved by this merciful spiritual love. Our heart melts. And the simple words “God loves you” become so easily understandable that we immediately feel like we want to go and tell others about it.

 

Someone who talks about human suffering must really see this suffering and show real compassion towards people. Sages say that pain is soothed by a frank look in the eyes, sympathetic glance and caring words. Otherwise, our help won’t bring any real relief to anyone else’s heart. A person will hear right things, undeniable facts, well-shaped logical arguments… But the heart won’t be softened. In fact, it may become even more cynical and cold. Instead of embracing spiritual path, one may close his mind against it once and forever, if we give that person a cold shoulder instead of warm-hearted welcome. The one who knows is not the full embodiment of knowledge. He only invites others into its realm. But we shouldn’t forget that people judge by those who stand at the entrance. The knowledge we invite to obtain is judged by its representatives.

 

Even from a material standpoint, kindness brings only benefits. A modern man thinks that in order to flourish, one needs to be pushy and harsh. In reality, except brutal force, one needs to know the golden rule for prosperity. According to it, the one who gladdens people’s hearts with kind words has nothing to fear from poverty. People will never leave such a person in the lurch. Yes, by using brutal force and being rude, one can really get rich quick. But a rich man is not necessarily a prosperous man. Prosperity is the absence of poverty, and poverty is always ready to return to a rude man. Poverty adores harsh people. Therefore, the Vedas differentiate between temporary riches and permanent prosperity. These are two different things. Temporary riches are like the flash of a match in the darkness, even though it’s very bright. Prosperity is compared to an oil lamp that, although it may be not too bright, burns steadily all night long.

 

It is said in the scriptures that the true adornment of a prosperous man is not jewelry, but his righteous speech and impeccable manners. Strange, indeed, that people are rude to each other, despite knowing full well how much joy sweet words can bring. Something makes us be rude; it is the direct influence of our past. When we want to say pleasant things, but swear-words fall from our lips instead, in this very moment we can fathom our past life. Our karma comes to us and makes us reveal the true nature of our character that is called prarabdha-karma. The way we behaved in the past affects our behavior in the present. Therefore, changes in the heart start with changing the speech.

 

Sages say: if you can use soft words, why to pronounce hurtful ones? Isn’t it stupid to pick unripe berries and trample down the ripe ones with your feet? It must be remembered that low-minded people are always rude, average-minded people answer rudeness with equal rudeness, and high-minded individuals are never rude, no matter how bad they are treated. Therefore, an intelligent person should think twice before saying something.

 

One should decide: is it really necessary to say to this person what I want to say? Can I speak kindly, or am I going to let harsh words slip out? Am I sure what I’m going to say is true? I should also make sure that my words don’t inflict pain on someone not in my presence, even if that person won’t hear them right now.

Will my words make any difference at all? Wouldn’t it be better to keep silent and say nothing? Isn’t it that my talk is a fat lot of use?

 

Wise people say that even in everyday life we shouldn’t yell loudly at a person. If he stands far from you, do not yell across the street – come closer and talk calmly, softly and with love. When we start yelling, it is never soft and kind. It is always rough and angry. So be careful about your speech in any situation. Misuse of the tongue leads to commitment of four sins: malicious gossip, fault-finding, cheating and idle talk. These four flaws are said to give no peace neither to the individual, nor the society one mingles with. There are three interrelated factors: proper perception, proper hearing and proper speech. If one of them is missing, other factors also suffer. If the speech is indecent, the vision also becomes perverted. One hears right things but takes them the wrong way.

 

And here is a funny story of perception. Once, all villagers came to the local sage and asked, “What’s more important – the sunlight or the moonlight? We can’t understand.”

The sage thought for a while and said, “Certainly, the moonlight is more important!”

“But why?” the folks asked. “Could you explain to us, know-nothings?”

“It’s quite simple,” said the sage. “The moon shines at night when it’s dark and we need it to shine. The sun shines during the daytime, when it’s already light around and we have no need for it at all.”

The villagers listened and thought, “Isn’t it time for us to find another sage?”

Determination to Finish What You Start (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

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For a modern man, the major problem is not to decide on things, but to see them through to completion. If one gives up before they finish what they start, this can hardly be called determination. It’s more of a commonplace dissatisfaction. One lacks happiness and tranquility, and therefore spreads oneself too thin, tackles too many things at once, hoping to get a least some enjoyment. Such attitude to life, however, more reminds of shopping without money. One may spend much time choosing good clothes, may try them on, ask what they cost, imagine wearing them… But if one lacks money, it all makes no sense. It’s nothing but disappointment. Similarly, a person doing things by halves is like the one without money. One tries different things, but there’s not the slightest use in doing so. One becomes a complete failure in life, sinking deeper and deeper into depression.

 

Hence, today we’re going to go over several important rules that will help us to bring that deadlock to the end.

 

The first rule sages remind about sounds unexpectedly. Do not reveal your intentions to people; keep them secret, being determined to carry them into execution. This point is insufficiently understood nowadays. Some announce large building projects and timelines for them; others demand that all the details on construction be reported and unveiled in advance. As a result, everyone is dissatisfied. Has anyone ever managed to deliver their project on time and within the allocated budget? Big building plans are being announced, rigid timelines are being established. But everyone goes mad from that later. People are kicking themselves for getting involved in that.

 

It is quite common for all the spheres. Some announce deadlines for overcoming crisis, others –for development of a new drug or for opening a restaurant on Mars…

 

As a result, work is done hastily and carelessly, with the sole aim of meeting the tight deadline. Yes, the great expert can do it effectively and on time. But where can we find so many great experts? If an inexperienced employee is faced with the rigid deadline, the quality of work will inevitably suffer. It will only bring problems because such work will need to be redone anyway. Why is so much emphasis put on time? It happens because no one cares about the worker as a person. Work has become impersonal these days. Everyone is interested only in the end result. Hardly anybody cares about what personalities stand behind these achievements. If an expert cook can make 10 pies in half an hour, he can certainly make 100 pies, if you force him, but that would no longer be the same perfect pies. Just look at the foodservice system and you’ll understand everything. It has that problem: an attempt to cook satisfactory meals in as short time as possible. As for me, I would never eat at such a place.

 

Therefore, the sages don’t recommend setting official deadlines. Time limits must be set with due consideration of those who carry on with the work. If there are changes in the staff, the timeframes must also be changed. If timeframes are rigid and officially set, it makes an inexperienced worker tricky and cunning. Finally, it leads to the loss of quality and even total failure.

 

In a word, the secret is simple: external timeframes must be broad, while internal timeframes must be individually-set and precise. What a former worker could do in a day a new employee would probably accomplish only in a week. You can certainly make him perform this job in one day, but it’s going to be sheer drudgery. And remember: there’s nothing more unprofessional than to accuse a new employee of being slower than the ex-worker. By doing so, you don’t help him to become professional. It would only make him cunning and nervous.

 

This awfully reminds of a well-known parable of the scorpion and the frog.

 

The frog was once walking along the bank of a large deep river when the scorpion approached her. He wanted to get to the other side.

 

“Could you give me a ride on your back across the river?” he asked.

“I haven’t gone crazy yet,” replied the frog. “You’ll get on by back, but as soon as we’re in the water, you’ll sting me.”

“My dear frog,” said the scorpion politely, “if I sting you, we’ll both drown for I cannot swim. And I don’t want to die either.”

 

The argument seemed reasonable, so the frog agreed to help him across the river.

But in midstream the scorpion did indeed sting the frog.

 

The dying frog gasped, “Why have you done that? You will die too…”

The scorpion said, “Yes, I don’t want to die. But because I’m a scorpion, I couldn’t help but sting. This is my nature…”

 

Cooperation means we should complete assigned tasks together with people whom we can change inasmuch as they are able to change at this moment. Sometimes one doesn’t see any point in changing oneself at all. A thief continues to steal, a cheat continues to cheat, a fault-finder severely criticizes everyone, a lazy person leans away from work even at the crucial moment. But together we must go towards our goal, making the best use of our weaknesses and drawbacks. It’s quite impossible to put together a team of faultless people. Faultless people won’t be eager to participate in our project – they’ll start their own. What’s more, there are no absolutely faultless people in this world. There’s nothing to do here for them.

 

When dealing with a person, we must understand from the very beginning that he/she is not perfect and as a matter of fact, is not going to become as such in the near future. Therefore, we should take an individual approach and engage everyone according to their abilities. A thief should be appointed a guard and charged with the task of preventing theft from happening. A cunning person should be appointed as senior and given the task of preventing trickery and deceit in workplace. A lazy fellow should be assigned tasks that must be executed in a way that nothing gets done, as a result. There are pieces of work like that. If we understand the purpose of work perfectly well, we can utilize anyone’s good and even bad sides to achieve it. The Vedic astrology deals precisely with that. A good astrologer is able to comprehend the inward nature of a person and their hidden abilities. However, not everybody needs to know how precisely we meet our goals.

 

So let’s get back to the instructions given by the sages. They admonish us again and again: don’t put your trust in a bad companion nor even trust an ordinary friend, for if he should get angry with you, he may bring all your secrets to light. This world is by definition the world of duality. Any good achievements are accompanied by an array of problems and shortcomings. Beginner seekers of truth, as they join the spiritual movement, think that it must be perfect. But they find themselves plunged into the depths of despair. The spiritual movement taking place in the material world has all the disadvantages of the material world. Spiritual movement is valuable not because it is devoid of shortcomings, but because it takes us out of the material world. A life jacket is wet when you wear it on the water, but it keeps you from drowning. A fire extinguisher can spoil all your things, but its task is simply to choke a fire.

I’d like to make you aware of the following. He is a friend in whom we can confide even our deepest, darkest secrets, and she only is a wife in whose company the husband feels contented and peaceful. Both a wife and a friend never speak ill about you behind your back. In the Vedas a hypocritical person is compared to a pitcher of poison with milk on top. As soon as you realize that someone says bad things behind your back, you can no longer consider that person a wife or a friend. In fact, you have to start over with him/her, if you can.

 

Well then, we have the goal at hand and people who can help achieve it. We make a true estimate of our own abilities and that of each and every individual we cooperate with. We are not rigid with timelines and we don’t promise wonders to outside observers. At the same time we set accurate timelines for all our helpers with due regard to their personal characteristics.

 

There’s one more point here that needs to be emphasized. Goals should be accomplished in the mood of making a present or surprise. A true goal is selfless by nature. It is accomplished to make another person happy. And we feel the most happy when we receive a present or a surprise gift.

 

Hence, goals should be pursued in the gift-giving mood. We reach our goals to make others happy. Don’t let them know about a coming present in advance. It should be a surprise. Then we are sure to get the best result. First of all, it’s the present for God because we understand that we obtain results not by our efforts alone, but by the mercy of the Absolute Truth. We are like kids who buy a present for a mother with her own money or money stolen from dad’s pocket. Everyone knows about the origin of this present, but it’s no less pleasant. We give away not only the final result, but our pure and humble mood, free from bitter taste of self-complacency and selfishness.

 

There’s no need to get upset if we are not good at something — that we’re not people of extraordinary talent. Special skills and talents are not necessary for happiness. To attain happiness, one needs to be humble. This is the desire to think more of others than oneself. Talents would be more of a hindrance than a help on this path.

 

And lastly, here is an interesting parable.

 

Three fairies were invited to the christening of a baby prince. They all bestowed gifts upon him. One of fairies blessed the prince to find his true love. Another fairy blessed him to have as much money as he could want. The third fairy gave him the gift of beauty. But as is usually the case with fairy-tales, a witch turned up. She was so angry she hadn’t been invited that she spitefully declared: “You already have everything, but I’d like to give you something more. You would be skilful in everything you do.”

 

The prince grew up handsome, rich and beloved by all. He was a perfect painter, sculptor, musician, and mathematician. But he couldn’t follow through with anything because he easily got distracted and always wanted to start something new. So he died unhappy because he did everything by halves.

Taking on Responsibility (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

file5871272312706Today we’re going to start off with a well-known story. It’s about a landowner who asked a worker to build a well in his yard. On seeing a wealthy man, the worker thought it would be a nice idea to get into his good graces. At a well-chosen moment, he addressed the landowner. He began to glorify his mansion:

 

“Your mansion-house is better than Indra’s palace in the heavenly planets! Where else can one find such luxurious chambers?”

 

The rich man was obviously pleased to hear that, and he called out:

 

“Hey, wife, give him a jar of milk after his job!”

 

Overjoyed at success, the worker decided not to stop.

 

“Your kids are marvelous! I can’t help but dote on them: their lotus-like eyes and long, beautiful arms! No doubt, they are marked for greatness!”

 

“Hey, wife, allot him a bag of rice after work!” called out the pleased landlord.

 

“Your wife is also wonderful. I’ve never seen such a chaste and beautiful woman. At the same time she’s submissive, obedient and devoted to you!”

 

“Hey, wife, give him your golden necklace after his job.”

 

The worker began to relish it. The way things are going, soon it won’t be necessary for me to bust a hump and dig that damned well, he thought.

 

“You are also a man of distinction – generous, wise, and noble. It is no wonder that gods grant favors to you!”

 

“Come on, honey, give him a dozen gold coins when he finishes his job.”

 

The main thing is to quit while I’m ahead, thought the worker. Pleased with his own achievements, he continued his work. At the end of the day, he approached the rich man and gave him a questioning look.

 

“What’s up?”

 

“Nothing really. I just wanted to claim your promises: the bag of rice, the golden necklace, ten gold coins and finally, the jar of milk. Are you delivering your promises?”

 

“So, that’s what you’re up to! But these were just words. Didn’t you get it? You favored me with your pleasing words, and I just answered in kind.”

 

This story teaches us the main principle of karma: God reciprocates with us justly in proportion to our service attitude. We must understand it ourselves and impart this message to others. We are in a somewhat similar situation to the one described. When we lend assistance to other people, our help is mostly a verbal help. Very few of us can give material assistance to the needy. No grain stocks will suffice for that. But what we really have is any amount of wise words, especially if we listen to the holy scriptures such as the Bhagavat-Gita and Bhagavatam each day. They give us plenty of food for thought.

 

And yet, we want our healing words to be followed by deeds. We want the words of consolation to bring a real benefit, real change, real spiritual uplift to a suffering person. How to obtain such a result?

 

First of all, we must understand that consultation is not a pleasant cheerful talk. It’s a real acceptance of responsibility for everything that will happen with your client from now on. It’s like an “adoption” of a son or daughter, like a temporary “guardianship” over a person who seeks your help. Everything depends on the client’s desire: if he/she is ready that we guide him/her throughout life, we must be prepared for such turn of events – a life-long commitment. Certainly, most of our clients follow our advice for a week or two. But even a couple of weeks of responsibility is a serious consultant’s work. It demands thorough understanding of what is going on, “what I got tangled up in.” You can’t play with karma. It can’t stand dismissive attitude toward its laws.

 

Recently I’ve been told about the mental health center in the Hawaiian Islands. The chief physician of that institution uses a unique method for treating the hardest mental illnesses. He doesn’t even meet his patients – he simply studies their cases and gives a deep thought to them. He takes responsibility for those poor persons, begging God’s forgiveness for their suffering. He prays to God asking for forgiveness because he can’t duly help these people. They are suffering right beside him, but he’s unable to provide any substantial support. Curiously enough, western doctors were bound to acknowledge this prayer had a scientifically proven effect. Now this doctor is invited to the state mental health clinics. Incurably-ill patients with severe mental disorders really feel better and stop behaving inadequately after this unusual therapy.

 

The chief physician reveals the fundamental secret of his success. He is not just praying for his patients. A mere prayer doesn’t stipulate that we take responsibility for those we pray for. In a simple prayer we mostly enjoy ourselves, thinking how noble and compassionate we are, trying to pray for others instead of ourselves. But the physician I’m talking about takes real responsibility for the person, while praying for him/her. To be more precise, he takes responsibility for the illness of a particular person brought to him by fate. And this is real secret to success. Our help can be taken from the verbal level to the level of deeds only if we accept responsibility for the events in the life of a particular person. If we are simply talking to our client, this is nothing more than just words, a mere verbal communication. It’s a sort of entertainment both for us and the client. But as soon as we start thinking about the life of that individual, his/her deeds, life principles, habits, relationships — that’s when our consultation is taken to a different level, the level of practicality.

 

This is a very important transition. True knowledge can always be put to practical use. Knowledge that is not practically applicable cannot be called complete. Therefore, a consultant must always keep in mind his/her responsibility towards the client. The whole system of making changes must be explained, and the right starting point must be found. Entrance points to the system of changes are all situated in a straight line. From top to bottom these are: the mind’s eye (the mind), tongue (speech), stomach (nutrition) and genitals (control of lust). As you know, all these four factors are interrelated and must be improved as a whole. Only then can one make a real life change happen.

 

We must choose the accurate starting point to inspire a person to embrace changes. If it won’t be hard, and would even be pleasing, then, feeling the first positive changes, a person would be eager to proceed with them. It will only remain for you to impart knowledge of what to do next. Remember: first come doubts, then comes faith, and love comes later on. Where to start? Discover the easiest point to get through to a person, to remove their doubts and sow the first seed of faith. One must start having that faith — that the more pure lifestyle leads to a higher level of happiness. One should begin with purifying one of the following: one’s thoughts, speech, nourishment, or interactions with the opposite sex.

 

In yoga, these four basic factors are attached serious importance. The one who can’t control his/her habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation, can’t become a yogi. We have the same issue mentioned here. Regulation of work, recreation, eating and sleeping is the control of mind, speech, stomach and genitals, respectively. If you find the point, dwelling on which you can get this message across to a client, you manage the task. You succeed in holding a consultation and acceptance of responsibility.

 

To improve the mindset, one needs food for thought. Give your client the book of wisdom. If they leave without getting the wisdom book, all that you have said will soon be washed off with the aggressive mass media information flow. A modern man hears too much information during the day. Therefore, even the most useful words we say can be forgotten in half an hour after our discussion. So don’t hesitate to provide people with books of wisdom. Tell them this is what you meant to say but didn’t have time for. Also, don’t be shy to cover the four above-mentioned points. Remember: this is not just a client – this is your child, and you are now responsible for him/her.

 

It means that we must learn to love people, and especially those who seek our help. At the same time we must know how to show love properly. Philosophy of love also has a certain order. First we come to love God, and then come to love all people as children of God. Yes, we can and should love people, but for our love to become real, we must first reject the desire to enjoy it, as if these people belonged to me. They don’t belong to me – they are children of God. It’s not me who has found them – it was God who has led them to me. And it’s not we, but God who helps these people — we simply take care of them because the Lord asked us to take responsibility for everything we do in this world. If we assume responsibility for someone’s suffering, this person will in turn get inspired from the heart to take responsibility for his/her own life. Such is the secret of spiritual help, and anyone can learn to provide such help. But for that, one needs to become a true sage and a person of faith.

 

We must acquire a spiritual taste ourselves and share it with a suffering person. Taste comes as soon as we stop thinking about ourselves, and start thinking about the Absolute Truth. Taste comes when we stop talking about ourselves, and start talking about the Absolute Truth. Taste appears when we stop filling our bellies and begin to accept food as a gift from God. Finally, taste is there when we reject lust for the sake of love. What is true love? This is when I don’t need sexual relations. Is there love in this world? Yes, but we must learn to develop it.

 

Our love is developed when we learn to control that same relations. The more I’m capable of controlling myself, the closer I approach true love. The points I was talking about are not just four kinds of spiritual taste one needs to develop. These are the four tastes that break the chains of karma that gripped our soul. What can be better than such help? But scriptures hold a warning: fools won’t believe you when you’ll be talking about the spiritual taste. Only wise people can accept that. So don’t worry if you won’t manage to evoke the right response in each consultation. Our task is simply to perform our duty. The ultimate result is never in our hands.

How to Make a Life Change, Switch Careers or Move to a New Place. The Science of Life-Changing Moves (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

file0001711581577.jpgToday we’re going to focus on only one subject, but it is so vast it can endlessly be discussed. We are going to talk about material vocation and calling. The question is so deeply perplexing, vague and obscure any specialist will find it hard to make head or tail of it. Therefore, it’s necessary to carry out testing of consciousness every time when it comes to job choice and all the more so, its change; domicile change or any other major life change that requires independent decision-making. Never think that everything is simple and clear. This is one of the most complex areas of consultancy practice, which makes it all too easy to make a mistake and bear a life-long responsibility for that.

 

We know perfectly well that neither change in activity can 100% ensure increase in prosperity or enhancement of any other aspect of life. It’s not so much dependent on specific current circumstances as prarabdha-karma of a person, his/her past. Yes, efforts can help solve part of a problem, but not the whole problem. For example, if the freight elevator is turned off and you need to carry stuff to the 22th floor, you’ll certainly manage to get some of the things up but not all, and even movers won’t agree to.

 

Basically, one way to make money isn’t better than the other, provided that more or less all of our skills and strengths are put to work. As is said in the poem,

“Keep it well in heart:

All jobs are fine for you:

Choose

For your own taste”[1]

 

In other words, it is our taste that enables us to engage all our skills and stamina. Think of how much we can eat if the dish is enjoyable, and how little if it’s disgusting! And so, if we expect a miracle from job change but don’t consider our tastes and preferences, it’s better not to hope for a miracle. We may switch jobs, but our karma might not change. Our taste will remain the same, and it’s entirely possible that new working conditions won’t suit it. This means that the “dish” will be more expensive, there will be more of it; it will be made of rare and expensive food items, but it won’t necessarily taste delicious for us.

 

Therefore, the first and last rule, very simple and at the same time very complicated, is the following. Change jobs (or anything else) if the changes you make meet your tastes and preferences. You should be ready to do a new job even if it pays lower wages than your previous job and you have to face more responsibilities at the same time. Things may not work out the way you expected, but if you’re ready to welcome that because you have a real taste for something you switch over to, this is the sign of your true calling.

 

Prarabdha-karma manifests directly in this life; it always plays up to our desires in fanciful ways.

A new job offers a huge amount of money, better conditions and new perspectives, but don’t you fall for it: it’s not going to do your bidding. Prarabdha-karma is a glitter. Yet not only diamonds or gold emanate glitter. Glitter may come off dirty broken glass or a bottle cap, as well. Don’t believe the glitter. This advertisement trick has been around for a long time. Gifting a cheap thing wrapped up in a bright package is considered a good gift. But the package will be thrown away, and it may well be that the gift also will have to be thrown away thereon. Hence, the saying “All is not gold that glitters” eminently suits prarabdha-karma and material illusion.

 

Giving us the opportunity to experience new feelings first, it gradually leads to the same level of prosperity we had before, or even lower. Yes, we can get a higher paying job, but it doesn’t mean the prosperity level will be higher because we can’t foresee the changes in our expenditure level. We don’t unwrap a bright package at once, although we believe there’s a precious thing inside. We may be quite astonished after calculating the balance between our new income and expense, seeing that things remained the same or even got worse. It looks as though we moved from one storey to another in the same house. Yes, the view from the window got more interesting, and a new apartment became brighter, but it has the same number of rooms as the previous one. All the more so, the city district hasn’t changed. On the other hand, we haven’t noticed elevator- and water service interruptions up until recently. But now, every time we climb the stairs, we have to jealously walk on foot past the floor we used to live on before. Thus, another saying “bargained one trouble for another” is also very much to the point in our lecture on prarabdha-karma.

 

So let’s go back to our rule: to be prepared for this crafty display of illusion, we should have determination not to quit a new job even if it turns out that the income level will be lower, while occupation and responsibility levels will be higher. The purpose of karma is to show us our weak point, the level of consciousness at which we’re going to break down, the point about which we’re not sober and realistic enough. There’s an interesting parable on this subject. It is called “The Price of a Monk”.

 

Once there was a smuggler who, being afraid of political raids, addressed a well-known monk with a request to hide the smuggled goods in his monastery. He thought the police wouldn’t suspect a priest as he had impeccable reputation.

The monk responded with indignation and demanded that the man leave the monastery at once.

“I’ll give you $ 100 000 for your graciousness,” promised the smuggler.

The monk tarried before repulsing a request again.

“$ 200 000–”

The monk denied the request as before.

“$ 500000 –”

Just then the monk snatched a stick and yelled,

“Get out of my sight! You got way too close to my price!”

 

As you may understand, the above-mentioned rule applies to any kind of changes we introduce in life. You can easily change your place of residence, but be ready that it may turn out even worse than the previous one. Neighbors can be more insufferable, weather and climate worse, transport less handy. It’s possible that you face water, electricity and elevator problems more often.

 

We can change anything without ado if we are prepared for the fact that it can bring more problems than what we abandon. Abandoning what is given by destiny is punishable by the destiny itself. Our destiny gives us self-improvement opportunities, but we don’t want to use them. We build our own plans, which we think are better and more sensible than that laid by destiny. Why should I be a locksmith? I want to choose the destiny of a minister…

 

The scary secret of prarabdha-karma is that the destinies of a locksmith, a minister and a billionaire are not much different from one another. Destiny has just one single purpose: to show a person a lack of relatedness between external achievements and inner happiness. It’s just that, to understand this, some have to pass the test of a locksmith, others – the test of a minister and still others – the test of a billionaire. But the principle is the same; it is called “respective trial”. The one who has desires for $100 will have to undergo a $100 trial of destiny. Another one, who has desires for a billion dollars, will have to undergo a corresponding trial. Look at the ants: one ant carries a small breadcrumb, another ant – a big one. But are their destinies too different? In just the same way, there’s not much difference between a pauper and a billionaire, the haves and have-nots. We just confuse our happiness with the size of a crumb we have found.

 

Everyone will have to confront challenges correspondent to their wishes. One person will be thrashed because he/she earns a scanty pittance, while another will be thrashed because he/she earns a fortune. But ultimately, everyone will lose everything. We’ll not be able to retain anything in our possession since nothing in this world belongs to us. Therefore, those will make the best of a bad bargain who will persevere in their activity even if it doesn’t provide any yield or benefit at all. This is the precondition for gaining happiness from material calling. Karma also operates under the same principle of action and reaction. Conduct a simple test: imagine that every night you are given money for nothing, regardless of what you’ve been doing during the day. What will you choose to occupy yourself with? This is exactly your vocation!

 

In the eastern philosophy, this destiny principle is known as a “handclap effect”. Once one of the sages was asked, “If two philosophical statements contradict each other, which one of them should be chosen?”

 

The sage replied, “They contradict only if they are considered separately from each other. If you watch the hands while making a clap, it will seem as if they are moving in opposition to each other. But if you focus only on the movement, you won’t notice what has really happened. Naturally, the purpose of “opposing movements” was to strike hands together. Similarly, contradictions in the scriptures should be viewed as parts of a single whole. One should try to understand what kind of logical problem in our consciousness this “clap” is meant to destroy. To understand spiritual logic, indeed, one should rise above material logic, and it can be destroyed only by the “clap of contradictions”.

 

Seeing all his/her efforts destroyed by destiny, a person begins to realize that there’s nothing more important than inner happiness that should be independent of external material conditions. We’ll continue to undergo such trials of life until we realize the difference between material happiness and spiritual. The best training is to make changes while being prepared to continue to act in new circumstances even if everything turns out a lot worse than it was before. This is a good way to see into the laws of happiness and work out personality traits indispensable for spiritual growth.

 

In such a state of consciousness, it’s possible to make it through any changes, which can really be drastic as long as one enters the transitional period of prarabdha-karma. It happens several times over the course of a life-time. But only a professional consultant can give a clue about the direction of those changes. It’s extremely hard to figure it out on your own. Therefore, in most cases the best thing is to use the guidelines we discussed today. In case you want to know more, become professional consultants.

 

 

 

[1] Translator’s Note: Lines from the poem for children “Whom Shall I Be?” by the prominent Russian writer Vladimir Mayakovsky.

 

Secrets of Prarabdha Karma: How to Catch Your Luck (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

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We are all influenced by our past. A few results of our past actions are chosen to manifest in our present life. Astrological studies decipher what particular set of effects will reveal itself in this life. This is beyond our ability to comprehend things. What is more, the treatises don’t recommend delving too deeply into the intricacies of our own karma and that of others. It can induce additional embarrassment, disappointment and unnecessary doubts. And we’ve had a gutful of this already.

It’s quite sufficient to know the laws of karma (not the karma itself). You can learn these from a specialist, such as a good astrologer who not only engages in math calculations, but is versant in spiritual scriptures, as well. Or you can find relevant sections of the scriptures and study these laws by yourself.

We are just going to look into some of the laws of karma which enable us to act most sensibly and effectively in this world. The main thing is to set the proper goals for life. Then we can figure out how to achieve them. One of the laws of prarabdha-karma says that auspicious moment comes just once for those who are determined to reach their goal and wait for the right time to come. It would be extremely hard to get another good chance. It means that many of our desires can be fulfilled. Prarabdha-karma offers many possibilities for that. There are special doors in it. But they crack open quite rarely; it is literally a once-in-a lifetime-experience in this particular body. Therefore, a right-minded person must never let the chance slip by. One should take full advantage of an auspicious opportunity.

Karma isn’t going to play jokes on us. It’s very much like conclusion of an important and expensive contract. It takes many years for the parties to prepare it, carry on negotiations. Everyone meditates on that. Finally, contracting parties draw nearer to the decisive hour. They meet together and sign a contract. They can’t bring themselves to believe it has become a reality. Before the contract is signed, everyone feels nervous and sweaty and holds oneself still, fearing to endanger the success of an undertaking. Now imagine you had overslept and didn’t come. What can be sillier than that? It would be too late to amend anything. In exactly the same way, we may lose small chances with ease, but if it becomes our habit, we’ll end up losing vital opportunities someday.

Hence, morality and ethics state that we must be smart and consistent in everything we do. A moral person is attentive, commitment-minded and observant of details. It means that, for one thing, he/she appreciates opportunities offered by fate. For another thing, it suggests the willingness not to miss the major opportunity – accomplishment of the main goal of life.

How often do we engross in thought about the major goal of life? It is said that if one lives with no real purpose, one doesn’t even think how arising opportunities are connected with it. Such people simply waste their lives. Although the doors swing open before them, they ignore these opportunities.

In former times, people knew that leaving the body at certain times of the year, one could go to certain places after death. For this reason yogis waited for the right time to leave their body. It is said that grandfather Bhishma was lying on the bed of arrows which had been shot through his body, for five months. Only in the sixth month when all blood dripped out of him, he started to give instructions to Pandavas. He waited for the special astrological moment – uttarayana. It is when the sun starts on its course towards the northern hemisphere. At this time, great yogis pass from this world to continue their path of self-realization on the planets of sages. How can one let such a moment slip away?

Therefore, yoga teaches about the positive influence of different time patterns, and how to benefit from them.

For example, every yogi knows about:

1) brahma-muhurta – one and a half hours before sunrise – the prime time for mantra-meditation;

2) sankhya – dawn, noon, and sunset – the prime time for gayatri-meditation;

3) ekadashi – the 11th day after the new moon and the 11th day after the full moon – the best time to fast from grains and legumes;

4) chaturmasya – four best months for performance of any austerities;

5) spiritual holidays and other auspicious events that take place by the mercy of time energy.

Time is the energy of the Absolute Truth that opens and closes the doors to favorable possibilities.

Certainly, the laws of time are applicable mostly to material activities, yet even the greatest of sages don’t disregard these laws. These are the laws of God, and they must be duly respected. Although it must be said that truly spiritual activities are beyond the influence of material energies. There’s no such thing as right or wrong time for spiritual deeds. Spiritual things belong to a different reality. They are above the influence of time. You can pray at all hours, at each point in time – and it will do you good. Even pious activities partially transcend these laws. Recently I was asked what moon days are the most favorable for borrowing money and paying off debt. And I said that in any moon days it’s bad to lend money while it’s good to repay your debts on any moon days.

Moreover, it is said in the treatises that it’s not enough to know the opportune times and not to miss out on them. One should also find appropriate words to say. For instance, to know the opportune time for meditation and prayer is not enough. One should know how to pray, whom to pray, what to pray for. If we use this time to talk to friends on the phone or to borrow from pay-day lenders, this can hardly be called effective use of time. One should know the proper words that fit the occasion. Words can open the door to another reality. Speech may be meaningless – then it is called prajalpa, or the crows’ caws. And it can also be powerful, capable of changing our karma. Then it is called mantra chanting – something that purifies our consciousness. Mantras are to be recited at particular times. Hence, one can hear various prayers recited in the temples at different times of the day. Mantra is the password to give us access to transcendental reality. Without the password, we won’t be allowed in. Such a mysterious place the spiritual world is…

There is more to it, however. We must also engage in spiritual development at the right time, and it must suit our abilities. That is, we must be realistic about the scope of our anger. Here I’m talking about interrelated things. If we don’t consider our abilities while practicing spiritual life, it may result in dissatisfaction which, in turn, will lead to uncontrollable anger. Prarabdha-karma has already given us our innate abilities, utilizing which we can feel content with life. If we use our inborn nature, something we were destined for since birth, in the course of spiritual development, we can feel both material satisfaction and spiritual bliss.

At the initial stages of spiritual growth this very balance is required. Later, as one goes beyond the influence of prarabdha-karma, one may not pay heed to inborn conditioning. But for that, one must know for sure one has really transcended its influence. Believe me, it doesn’t happen often. Otherwise, it will cause uncontrollable outburst of anger. Anger can also manifest as lust, envy, pride, and finally, as depression and discontent. Therefore, we don’t ignore our natural interests – rather, we regulate and channel them properly. We don’t reject money – we learn to rationally spend it.

How can we ignore our nature? Can we pay no heed to thirst, hunger or desire to sleep ourselves out? I may say to myself: “From this day on I’m rejecting all this”, but what of it? Hunger and thirst absolutely don’t care what we think about them. They are simply present, and that’s it. They don’t depend on our decisions about them. Similarly, we can’t just get rid of our innate needs. They came to us for this lifetime. They have a residence permit in our body. We can’t go without them. Can you kick someone out of the house if they have a life-long lease? So it’s better to engage your inborn needs positively. Especially since spirituality gives every opportunity for that. In spiritual life, you can eat, drink and sleep with much greater gusto.

In the end, let’s list the signs showing that the doors of karma have burst open:

  • If you got spare time in your material life, it means that the energy of time enables you to focus on the most important things. You can now put your material plans on the back burner and start fulfilling your life intended purpose. If we don’t use this chance, punishment in the form of depression and moral decay will come. For a materialist, spare time is quite rare, after all!
  • If you lead spiritual life already and have no free time, it means that time energy enables you to fully focus on self-realization process. Avail yourself of this chance. Don’t overtax yourself. But still try to find your spiritual breakthrough in the purification of your heart!
  • Whenever events present a chance to do a good deed, never throw this chance away. It can change your future for the better. It enhances your opportunities for spiritual advancement. But remember: we make ourselves useful not because this is beneficial for us. We simply can’t help but do good deeds, as we feel the pain of other living beings.
  • If the chance presents itself to impart spiritual knowledge to others – never squander this opportunity. It enables you to have a real breakthrough in your spiritual life!

Noble Management(chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert LandscapeSince each of us is a manager, to a greater or lesser degree, today we’ll address some specific aspects of management. This is a pretty inexhaustible topic by definition. Therefore, we’ll touch upon only a few points which we haven’t discussed before or haven’t paid much attention to. A manager is a person who not only experiences the consequences of his/her own work, but gets 1/6 of karma of all subordinates. As we study the science of karma, we must be especially attentive coming to the correct understanding of leader’s karma. A manager will have hard time of it, if he/she isn’t aware of the whole burden of responsibility placed on him/her. Imagine that you are lifting weights, with your employees on your shoulders who are also lifting their weights.

That’s the difficulty of a manager position. It is subordinates, by the way, who can’t realize the double burden of managing and always demand for something more. Why can’t they see it? It always seems like with the appointment of a manager nothing has changed. They go on lifting their weights, only someone manages them. Subordinates think it’s more of a hindrance than a help. However, there’s one thing they seem to overlook. They are sitting on the shoulders of their manager, or a teacher, who is lifting them, together with their weights. Once a subordinate ceased to notice it, he/she actually ceased to be a subordinate (student) and became a common offender. In short, a bad subordinate thinks that a manager squeezes out him/her, while a good subordinate knows it is him/her who uses up a manager.

WHO IS TO BE PRAISED

We’ll start out by mentioning what kind of manager is praiseworthy and what is not. Praise is a driving and inspiring force. An ordinary person thinks that a leader is to be praised for actual accomplishments. But it’s not exactly correct. First of all, one should think of the cost at which it was accomplished. Specifically, were the deeds of a manager noble, or did he/she act meanly and commit despicable acts? After all, if subordinates are gratified by the leader’s success achieved by crooked means, they inspire him/her to use such methods further, and thus contribute to his/her degradation. Subordinates go down the same path, as the leader. Therefore, they must be anxious about the direction in which their leader moves.

In short, if a manager is being praised for success, regardless his/her personality traits, it results in the manager’s failure and loss of all achievements. Consequently, it results in the failure of the entire team. Therefore, scriptures don’t recommend praising a leader who reached external success but degenerated as a person. Literally, there’s no point in praising a leader who is addicted to hunting, gambling, drinking, chasing after women and other impure actions. Subordinates whose manager indulges such damnatory weaknesses are not recommended to change their job. They are recommended to maintain proximity and good relations, but at the same time make every effort to eliminate those evils and deliver their leader from these problems. It’s just as necessary as to save him/her from conspiracy, deceit and cunning enemies.

Remember: it’s not only a manager who is obliged to protect his /her employees. Subordinates also have that responsibility to protect their superior. If they don’t protect their manager from vice, how would a manager protect them against anything else? He/she won’t have enough strength. Such a manager will hardly be able to protect oneself.

Subordinates need a strong, resilient and noble leader. To get that kind of leader by revolution is impossible. Such a leader can only be reared.

ABOUT YIELD

When it comes to managers, a question often arises as to how much they earn and why they actually make so much. Scriptures don’t prohibit managers from getting higher salaries because their dealings are not as easy as that of subordinates. It is said that a manager has a more complex organization of work. It requires the division of tasks into external and internal ones, explicit and implicit; top-priority tasks and those that can be postponed. Hence, the job of a manager is far harder than that of any subordinate. This is why it deserves better pay.

If subordinates are still anxious to find out how much their boss makes, they can do it, but according to certain rules. The main of which says that a manager can tell how much income he/she gets, excluding all charges. It means that managers shouldn’t tell about all the money that passes through their hands. They can speak only of that which remains after all expenses (gains less losses). Therefore, there’s so much criticism of managers – nobody takes this important Vedic rule into account. It can actually help managers protect themselves from incorrect assessment.

If a subordinate never commanded vast sums of money, he/she won’t be able to develop a sober estimate of manager’s activities. Common envy will put spokes in a wheel. A subordinate will think: how can one spend so much? They think so because they themselves never spent that much. Big expenditures of a manager seem to be an embezzlement, wrecking activity, or even direct insult. For this reason, Vedic culture discourages friendship between those who have different levels of income. All the more so, a subordinate doesn’t need to know how much exactly the boss spends. Only those who spend more can control spending. Otherwise, gossip, criticism and even overturn can’t be avoided.

FAVORABLE DISPOSITION TOWARDS SUBORDINATES

Concerning our relationship with the managers, we must understand how it develops; what’s the manager’s attitude to our activities and suggestions. For that, the same cultural approach is used, as in all other types of relationships. It includes watching their reaction, facial expressions and gestures.

It is recognized that favorable disposition is confirmed by the following signs. A manager is genuinely happy to see a subordinate, is listening attentively to everything he/she says, offers to sit down and talk about something important in private. Especially favorable attitude can be understood by the fact that a manager enjoys conversation with a subordinate or pays very close attention to his/her advice. Also, those subordinates are in good standing, whose persuasion and explanations a manager is willing to tolerate. Indirect indicators of a positive attitude are the smiles of a manager and touching subordinate with a hand.

Sometimes a manager can talk about the hidden virtues of a subordinate, remember him/her while eating, walking or taking rest. Such a relationship is considered fairly close. In such a case, a manager would never laugh at the good qualities of a subordinate; would trust him/her with secrets and provide special benefits. If disaster overtakes a subordinate, a manager comes to help.

However, regardless manifestation of these symptoms, we can safely assume that a manager is well disposed, if he/she assigns tasks to a subordinate on a regular basis. This is especially so if tasks are given personally, not just delivered through other employees. This is said to be quite sufficient. If so, one should never complain that relationship isn’t as good as we’d like it to be. This is the level at which we can live happily and harmoniously.

DISPLAYS OF UNFAVORABLE ATTITUDE

Unfortunately, sometimes it happens that a manager is unfavorably disposed towards a subordinate. And it also has certain characteristics. When seeing a subordinate, a manager gets angry, doesn’t want to listen to what he/she says, interrupts, doesn’t look at him/her and doesn’t offer a seat. Special attention must be paid to changes of complexion or voice, with eyebrows frowning, eyes looking to the side and lips curving. If at the sight of an employee a manager sweats, sighs, or laughs inappropriately, this is also the evidence of a critical stage in relations.

Relationship has gone terribly wrong, if a manager no longer asks for advice of a subordinate, stands up and walks away for no reason, turns back on him/her, doodles something, shows favoritism to others, sets co-workers against this subordinate, speaks disapprovingly of his/her knowledge, qualities and past actions. All this shows that a manager no longer appreciates the merits of this employee.

Particularly subtle signs of negative attitude include condemnation of faults the manager has himself/herself; unwillingness to forgive even the smallest of weaknesses. Please note, when the manager tells lies or praises something that is contrary to the opinion of the subordinate. Don’t overlook the situation when other co-workers dramatically change their attitude towards you.

WHAT TO DO IF PROBLEMS ARISE

If your boss takes away all benefits, it’s time to change jobs. It means that relationship has deteriorated completely, and we have nothing to do here. But before you quit, find out the reason of your making bad impression, and try to fix it. Request help from the friends of your manager. A subordinate can’t leave, cussing out and shutting the door with the bang. Rather, he/she should finally try to dispel the negative perception around him/her. This is the last duty of a subordinate.

Remember: whoever leaves honorably, can always return. Right here, right now fate decided to separate us. But it’s not a problem – it’s just the waves of material life which first bring us together, then scatter around the boundless expanse of this world.

 

Tips for Preparing for the Next Life, or Feminine and Masculine Mentality (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

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Now let’s have a little talk about how men and women perceive this world. We need to understand this in order to adjust our efforts in spiritual life. Prarabdha-karma doesn’t let us easily extricate ourselves from material conditioning that plagues us since very birth. And as long as we can’t escape the tenacious grip of our karma, we must learn to understand it and use it for our own purposes. Scriptures say, whatever we use in the service of the Absolute Truth or for the welfare of all living beings, gives us eternal benefits. These benefits never fade away, as time passes. In short, if you can’t forgo or avoid something, learn to use it properly.

 

And there’s only one peculiarity to be comprehended. Male consciousness depends on the opinion of the many, while female consciousness depends on the opinion of only one person. Accordingly, we can identify strengths and weaknesses of men and women on the path of spiritual growth. A woman may find it easier to focus on the Absolute Truth because her consciousness is targeted towards devotion to one and only one person. But unfortunately, for the same reason it’s uneasy for her to maintain relations with those she was attached to before. This is why there are so many women in spiritual organizations. And it is for the same reason that they often commit follies on the path of spiritual growth. They are simply unable to regulate the desire to focus in only one direction. In this regard, women are more fanatic than men, and this must be taken into account. A person must be reassured, cooled down until they become able to develop harmoniously in all directions. One shouldn’t forget to perform their mundane duties.

 

Men face another problem: they are too multifaceted and independent. This is why they can’t settle to anything and become fully dependent on the path they have chosen. Men think long and hard before making that decision. They have to overcome ego and desire for diversity. This mentality also leads to the fact that men frequently change jobs. They tend to move from one place to another and are more likely to cheat on their partners.

 

When it comes to choosing a spiritual path, a man carries himself with the same ease. He agonizes over the choice he has to make. He takes notice of how society accepts him; how other people evaluate his behavior. All this brings on even more confusion. As a result, a man makes up his mind rather slowly. This is called masculine sentimentality.

 

His family may be accustomed to the fact that a man easily changes and switches from one activity to another. However, it may be hard to endure, if a family was created for the sake of spiritual advancement only. At the same time, that’s precisely what we must be prepared for, when making a spiritual marriage.

 

I hate to disappoint you, but when we make a spiritually-directed family, we often underestimate ordinary feelings of love and affection. If this is not a love match, how will you be able to put up with the changes in your partner’s personality? These changes are quite natural and may happen at any time. One may change their philosophy or belief system – and nothing will create a bond between us, except ordinary love. If it wasn’t strong enough, there’s nothing else than commonplace divorce, and thus, sin and shame, ahead of us. We often hear that we should start a family only with a spiritually advanced personality. But who can say how long this spiritual advancement will last and whether it will develop in the same direction as ours?

 

Take a good piece of advice. Create a spiritually-oriented family if except for spiritual unity you have common, strong, deep earthly love for each other. Scriptures say, “it’s better to die than to preserve this life by incurring disgrace”. Stupidity may cause temporary pain, but ‘disgrace brings grief every day of one’s life’. We can tolerate austerity, we can tolerate stupidity, changes, and even adultery, but only if we really have love, or at least some level of affection for each other. Love is not obliged to develop after we have started a family. It doesn’t depend on our will. Sometimes it happens, but we can’t make arrangements with Cupid for that. All the more so, Cupid can’t be bribed.

 

The Vedas warn us that sin can be very pernicious. During many lifetimes, one has to perform austerities, give to charity and acquire knowledge. Results of these activities are accumulated birth after birth, if they are linked by yoga. At some point in time a yogi develops the ability of discernment and his/her good qualities increase even more. They begin to shine as the most expensive jewelry. But if at that moment one starts committing sins, one loses not just a husband or wife, not just good name, honor or dignity. One loses the efforts of hundreds of lives, and this is very, very sad…

 

This is why nonsense leading to sin is sometimes called greedy and treacherous by the scriptures. Sages say that nonsense is our enemy. It can lead to sin and destroy all our achievements (impose life imprisonment with confiscation of property). Keep in mind that struggle against the enemy may take four different forms. These include 1) trying to make peace with him/her, 2) bribing, 3) sowing discord between the enemy and his/her allies, 4) punishing him/her. The first way of dealing with stupidity doesn’t suit us: we can’t become friends to nonsense since it will gradually ruin our life. One cannot maintain relations with those who break the law; otherwise, one will sooner or later drift into crime.

 

Bribing doesn’t suit us, as well. You can bribe only someone who is not insatiable. Nonsense, however, is insatiable by nature. A man who has a taste for nonsense and impunity is capable of outraging all decency.

 

And so, we are limited to the last two methods which seem rather tough. That is, discord and punishment. Someday a man blinded by foolish desires becomes unruled. In Sanskrit such an obsession is called udaranam. It means that passion becomes stronger than reason and human consciousness gets fully bewildered. Actually, this is a state of insanity. Therefore, we must stir up a discord between stupid things and our consciousness. Our consciousness must learn to distinguish. It must be able to see the difference between advancement and degradation.

 

Being physically strong is not enough. What we need is the power of intelligence and thus, the ability to discern between right and wrong. Without it, we won’t be able to cope with stupidity. We won’t be able to implement our last method – that of defeating nonsense. By the way, real power of intelligence is impossible to gain without maintaining sexual purity.

 

Vedas tell the following story. After the great Dhanvantari taught His disciples the science of Ayurveda, they asked Him about the key to the whole science of life. And His answer was short and simple: sexual continence is the most powerful medicine that kills disease, old age and death. It gives superior knowledge and the greatest power. It is for this reason that some people become monks. They want to rise above stupidity as soon as possible. Owing to sexual continence, dharana-shakti and vichara-shakti develop. Dharana-shakti is the ability to ask questions, and vichara-shakti is the ability to assimilate the truth.

 

But we should remember the warnings of the sages. “Premature renunciation will bring nothing but suffering to those who are not ready for renunciation. The one who externally denies oneself the carnal pleasures, but whose mind is constantly focused on them, is called a hypocrite.” First, one must get really attached to spirituality. Not until then will attachment to material things begin to decrease.

 

Once a shepherd came to the saint Vyasatirtha and begged for initiation into spiritual tradition. Vyasatirtha looked at him and said: “I see you’re a worthy person. I’ll give you initiation.” Vyasatirtha’s disciples seethed with anger. They hated the idea of studying together with just an ordinary shepherd. Seeing this, the saint decided to teach them a lesson. He loudly pronounced the mantra containing the word ‘Mahesh’, the name of the bull bearing Lord Shiva. As a rule, mantra of Maheshvara-Shiva is given. But Vyasatirtha removed one syllable, and mantra now became addressed not to Shiva, but to His bull Mahesh. It made Vyasatirtha’s disciples roar with laughter. They thought: “See how our teacher made fun of this scoundrel! Instead of God’s name, he made him chant the name of the bull!” But having received this mantra, the shepherd started to chant it with great faith and enthusiasm. Within only a few days he got mantra-siddhi. Mantra-siddhi is the perfection of chanting when the object of our worship appears right before our eyes.

 

It happened early in the morning. Disciples woke up and saw there was no light coming through the window. It was blocked by someone from the outside. When they ran out, they saw a giant bull, the size of a mountain. Next to the bull, the shepherd was sitting with his eyes closed, and kept chanting: “I worship you, o Mahesh!” And Mahesh stood before him, waiting for orders.

 

They sent for Vyasatirtha. When he came, he said: “This is my worthiest disciple. How many years have you chanted the mantra for Lord Shiva? But I can’t recall a single instance when Shiva would come to any of you!”