Commitment to Life

By His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Creating a Stress-Free Mind and a Violence-Free World.

Every living creature wants to be happy. Whether it is money, power or sex, you get into it for the sake of happiness. Some people even enjoy misery because it gives them happiness!

To be happy, we seek something. But, despite getting it, we are not happy. All of one’s life is spent in preparing to be happy someday in the future. It’s like making a bed all night, but having no time to sleep. How many minutes, hours and days have we spent our life being happy from within? Those are the only moments you have really lived life.

There are two ways of looking at life. One is thinking that, “I’ll be happy after achiev- ing a certain objective.” The second is saying that “I am happy come what may!” Which one do you want to live?

Our life is like a river. A river needs two banks to flow. The difference between floods and a flowing river is that in a river, water flows regulated in one direction. During floods, the water is muddled and has no direction. Similarly, the energy in our life needs some direction to flow. If you don’t give direction, it is all confusion. Today most of the people are in confusion because there is no direction in life. When you are happy, there is so much of life energy in you; but when this life energy doesn’t know where to go, it gets stuck. When it stagnates, it rots! Just like how the water has to keep flowing, in the same way, life has to keep moving.

For life energy to move in a direction, commitment is essential. Life runs on commit- ment. If you observe every small thing or big thing in life, it goes with certain com- mitment. A student takes admission in a school or college with a commitment. You go to a doctor with a commitment saying that you are going to take the medication or listen to whatever the doctor says. Banks work on commitment. The government works on commitment. Needless to say, a family runs on commitment: a mother is committed to the child, a child is committed to the parents, the husband is committed to his wife, and the wife is committed to her husband. Whether it is love, business, or friendship or at work or any area of life, you take, there is commitment.

You cannot stand someone who does not commit, but see how much commitment have you taken in your life? Of course, our commitment is proportional to what we have our power, our capacity or capability. If you are committed to taking care of your family, that much capacity or power you gain. If your commitment is for the community, you will get that much energy, joy, that much power. More will be given to you only if you utilise properly what you already have! This is a law in nature. Why should nature give you more when you are stuck with your little mind?

The tendency to seek more is there in you; you only have to give a twist to it. Instead of “What more can I have?”, just start asking yourself “What more can I do?” Then you will see that there is joy. The more responsibility you take, the more power will come on to you.

Greater the commitment you take, greater the power you gain to fulfil that commit-ment. Greater the commitment, easier things are. Smaller the commitment, suffocating it is for you. Smaller commitments suffocate you because you have more capacity, but you are stuck in a small hole!

If you just sit and think, “What about me, what will happen to me?” you will get thor- oughly depressed. The way to expand from individual to universal consciousness is to share the sorrows and joys of others. As you grow, your consciousness should also grow. When you expand in knowledge with time, then depression is not possible. The way to overcome personal misery is to share universal misery! The way to expand personal joy is to share universal joy. Instead of thinking “What can I gain from this world?”, think “What can I do for the world?”

Mumbai Marathon: A conversation with the Self

My preparation for Mumbai Marathon started just after Diwali. Although not very regular, I was on the jogging track about twice a week and had managed 3-4 km at a stretch. Things were in right direction and I was targeting completion time of about 3hrs for 21KM (half marathon), which is my previous worst, the best being 2 hr 50 mins.

Amey specially came from Banglore for the Mumbai Marathon. On the eve of the Marathon, Amey and me were discussing things to do before and during the marathon. Amey encouraged me to set the target time to 2 hr 30 mins and I reluctantly agreed to it as I knew its a difficult task to achieve, looking at my level of practice and my previous records. Still, we planned how we can achieve our target. We even chalked out hour by hour plan along with detailed route analysis, the hurdles we might face and few contingency plans. We did not wanted to keep any stone unturned. We were handling the event as professional marathon runners ;) and followed what we could. We went to have Pasta, which is very rich in carbohydrate contents and recommended before Marathon. We bought few energy bars, chocolates, lots of bananas and dates. To save the time on the D-day, we even booked the Meru Taxi so that we don't have to walk to get out of IIT to catch a rick. Every thing was set for the D-day, including the alarms :).

We woke up early and made sure that all of us get ready in time. The taxi arrived sharp at 5.00am. We got in and reached there at 5.42am. It was about 1hr to start the race. Amey and me were running the half marathon for the third time and the other two with us were the first timers, also running the half marathon. So, we were having some fundae sessions for them. We had enough bananas to get some instant energy. We completed other mandatory tasks and were there at the racing point at 6:45am. By the time we reached the start line, in a big queue, it was already 6.54am. So, we had started 8-9 minutes late. As Amey and me had opted for the timing chip, the time we started is noted automatically by the system so we were not worried about that.

To start with, it was very crowded, even smooth jog was also difficult and hence it was difficult to get the rhythm. I burped initially as we had more bananas than we should had. The first two kilometers were like warm-up. After that I got into the rhythm. Amey and I got in touch with each other over mobile and got to know that we were close but still not together. We first met at 5km milestone but separated soon due to nature's call break. We met again at the 12th kilometer milestone and then thought of running together so that we can encourage each other and keep our target of 2 hr 30 mins. It was at 8.20am and about 7 km were remaining. The target was very clear, one more hour to go and 7km. We decided to go for it and hence started running in full swing. We continued till 15 KM mark where I thought that Amey is running faster than me and I am not able to cope up with his speed. I asked him to continue with his own speed and that relaxed me. I was just behind him, but for a short time only. Unfortunately Amey suddenly developed some pain in his knees and hence slowed down. I overtook him and aimed at the target time. I was left alone. Up to that point it was only because of Amey's encouragement that I was targeting the 2:30hrs time. Now suddenly I was running with out him. Both of us continued running independently and kept encouraging each other via phone. Things continued that way, till I managed to reach 17 km mark when my body was all drained. I had no energy to continue jogging. I just wanted to walk the remaining distance.

This was the time when I started conversation with my Self. All the knowledge points that I got from the Art of Living YES!+ course and advanced courses surfaced into reality. I was given a chance to implement all of them. My stamina was all over So, there I was to go for the target time or to let it go. All this conversation continued in my mind and I kept running and walking alternately. Running was for a longer time than walking but still the body was saying the other way round. Finally the equation was left to 2KM and 7 minutes. It was a difficult task to achieve but I wanted not to give up at any cost. So, continued running. The body was not supporting, so the mind started giving me alternatives and giving me option of ditching the target. But I was fresh from my advanced course and hence all knowledge points were alive! The most striking point was Live life on commitment and not on emotions.

So, I decided to go with my commitment and not by emotions. Fitness was not an issue and hence it was only a matter of continuing till the end, with increased speed. I needed some different way to tackle my mind as I was thinking more of the future than being at the present. I was continuously thinking of the distance and time equation. I knew, live in the present moment but how to do that? And it just clicked!!! I committed myself for the goal, and just surrendered to my Guru and the Divine. I dropped the distance-time equation and concentrated on only the next step that I was going to take. At every step, I was asking this question to my Self, can I run the next step and most of the time the answer used to be YES. This helped me and I could run more compared to walk. I was still walking in between but the ratio was 200 meters running to about 10 meters walk. This continued till Hutatma Chauk, from where the finish line was enough to go for the final assault.

The final assault was to start now. I decided not to stop for the last phase of about 1000 meters. I kept going and going. I was totally drained by that time but commitment was to my Self and not to any one else and hence had no option but to continue and continue running. In between, I took a walk break, for about 10 seconds but then got into action immediately. Finally, I could see the finish line, about 500 meters away. It was like "कितने पास और कितने दूर". The sight of the finish line gave me another boost and I increased the speed, although marginal, there was increase in the efforts from my side. And there I was, crossing the finish line and it was 9:25am in my mobile. My time was 2 hr 32 mins, creditable for me. There was no one to welcome me on the finish line but I was celebrating myself, as also all other finishers. Just missing the target time was of no importance to me compared to the satisfaction of making it against all odds and being victorious.

Soon Amey also finished in 2 hr 45mins. As he was having pain in his knees he walked from 15KM till end. The other two friends, Kishore and Pranav, who were participating in half marathon for the first time completed the race in about 3 hrs.
A very good time indeed as they hardly had practiced for the same.

A perfect experience of When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going.

Jai Guru Dev!
Sandeep (Pitamah)

Diary - A Day at the Gym

Today was my first day in the gym. I know I was procrastinating. So evening I just forced myself to go. It was terrible. I felt my legs cramping in the first 10 minutes. Nothing was going right for me.

As I entered the sauna I saw five huge sweaty bodies. And I suddenly felt home sick. I was an alien among these ogres. What was I doing in this country I thought.

Shortly, two of them walked out.

I always sit on the top one; perhaps a psychological ploy so as not to get intimidated by these hunks.

As I started sweating , I was thinking about where my life was going.

Suddenly the one below me looked at me and said, “ I was fired this week”.

Now I am never very good at handling these situations. But I had to say something.

“Stop feeling sorry for your hairy ass. I am jobless for the last 4 months”

There was a moments silence. I thought I am a dead man.

And suddenly they all exploded. Big giants. Big laughs.

One guy between gasps said ”Fuck Bush”. The third one turned to me “hey you look like Bush.” “don’t fuck me. I wouldn’t be able to handle your weight.” I said.

There was again huge laughter. and suddenly the first one said come guys shower we are going for a drink. I was among friends!

As we sat gulping beer in the Applebee’s ,This is home I thought happily.

Slowly as the beer started giving its effect, the atmosphere became somber. Each man narrating his travails. Rodney, the guy who first spoke with me , was weeping silently.

I couldn’t take it any more. So I said my good byes to my new friends. Lots of high fives and patting each other and promises to see next day in the gym.

I sat in the car for some time. I don’t know how long I sat there till suddenly I heard a tap on my window. A cop was asking me anxiously if I was alright. I assured him I was fine and thanked him for his concern.

He had an avuncular smile on his crinkled face. “don’t worry son. Things wont remain the same. “ he winked. He had an infectious smile.

I smiled back at him and waved.

“God Bless America. “

Now the officer was grinning from ear to ear.

I was laughing as I drove. There was this one thought.

If winter comes can spring be far behind?


Run Mumbai Run...

Run Mumbai Run are the magic words that inspire me and many other Mumbai Marathon runners to continue their journey toward the finish line with out giving up in between. This slogan has the power to keeps me going on and on till I cross the finish line. The crowd cheering with this slogan has made me complete successfully the half marathon twice.

I still remember my first attempt of half marathon (21 km). No one believed that I could complete the marathon and they were constantly discouraging me from participating in the marathon. On the eve of the marathon my close friend me advised me not worry about completing the marathon and advised me to take shelter of the medical camp in case of emergency. On the marathon day I met few other friends who also had similar experience, people in the same boat. Frankly, we were also not sure of what we are diving into but had very high energy to get experience it.

The marathon started at 6.45am. It was still dark when it started and cold enough not to get exhausted early. The real test was later during the race when sun comes up and shines bright enough to exhaust the runners. There was a sunny patch with no cover of the buildings, near the Girgaon Chaupati and that was the testing period for all the immature runners. I was almost exhausted but kept running. There was no water booth in that area and we all kept sharing our reservoir. The scene was similar with all people. Every one was looking for water and was happy share if they had any water left. The humanity was seen live. After that sunny patch of about 1km, I could sense the finish line coming closer but still about 4 km away. Now I was confident of finishing and just continued running and finally in about 2hr 50mins I crossed the finish line. It was an experience of the lifetime, satisfaction at its peak. At the same time I had tremendous boot in my confidence. I could see it as removal of a big mental block in my life. In the next few days I could see myself doing any task with increased confidence and had no problem in taking new challenges.

The second year was comparatively simple as I had my prior experience with me. I had hardly practiced and hence could finish the half marathon in 3hrs, still not bad.

Many celebrities like Anil Ambani, Milind Soman, Rahul Bose, Gul Panag actively participate in Marathon.

Now, all geared up for tomorrow's 6th Edition of Mumbai Marathon and to hear Run Mumbai Run.

Jai Guru Dev!

Amla & Vitamin “C”

As promised in my last post, here is the guest article, by Mr. Ninad Deshmukh, CEO Uniheal foods.

Why we need Vitamin C?

We need vitamin C to improve resistance of body i.e. to build immune system. Deficiency of vitamin C could lead to Scurvy

Why we have to take Vitamin C from outside?

For all except four mammalian species, ascorbic acid is not a vitamin, because they make their own abundant supply. Man is one of the four exceptions. Of the four enzymes necessary to make vitamin C, man has the first three. Somewhere in our evolution, we lost that fourth enzyme, and ascorbic acid became a vitamin for us — we have to obtain it from our diet. Animals make that amount of vitamin C that would be the equivalent of four grams (4,000 mg.) daily for an average size human.

While the U. S. government RDA (recommended daily allowance, some say “recommended deficiency allowance”) is 60 mg., this is merely the amount that will prevent death from scurvy. Optimal health requires the higher dose levels. This enzymatic defect in humans undoubtedly accounts for a shorter life span than we were designed to have. Advocates of vitamin C prescribes very high daily dose of vitamin C.

What is Vitamin C?

(Vitamin C a.k.a. Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbate)

This well-known vitamin is important in the maintenance of collagen, the protein that holds most of the soft tissues of the body together. Along with B6, it is also vital to the utilization of amino acids. It enhances the absorption of iron from vegetable sources. It inhibits the synthesis of nitrosamines, compounds implicated in cancer. Fruit sources are citrus fruits, fresh strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapples and guava. Vegetable sources are broccoli, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, spinach, kale, green peppers, cabbage and turnips. Regular intake of vitamin C insures health of the soft tissues of the body and perhaps an ounce of cancer protection. There is ample research evidence that substantial doses of vitamin C, taken regularly over the course of years, prolong a person’s life expectancy by lowering the probability of vascular disease. (The same is true of vitamin E.)

One of the many functions of ascorbic acid in human biochemistry is to regenerate oxidized vitamin E that, in turn, serves to protect cell walls from oxidative damage.

The ascorbate form of ascorbic acid is the form that is effective in the treatment of colds and flu. Do not bother trying to treat a cold or flu with ascorbic acid. It will not work. The L- form is the bioactive form of vitamin C. The D-form is just so much stuff the body must get rid of. Synthetic ascorbic acid contains equal amounts of L- and D- forms. Natural sources of vitamin C contain only the L- form. Read the label to know what you are getting. If it is not specified otherwise, assume it to be synthetic. If it doesn’t say “ascorbate,” assume it to be ascorbic acid.

Natural Vs Artificial Vitamin C

There is great fight between manufacturers of Synthetic Vitamin C and manufacturers of supplements based on Natural source of Vitamin C. Each one claiming that there is better! My Common sense says that Natural is always better (Disputable)!

Studies indicate that the naturally occurring Vitamin C is easier for body to absorb than synthetic Vitamin C. This and other studies indicate that naturally occurring Vitamin C may be ten times more beneficial to body than synthetic ones.

Why Vitamin C in amla is more powerful?

The natural tannins in Vitamin “C” complex of amla prevent oxidation of the vitamin content in dry condition-in other words it is heat stable. Sabinsa Corporation has prepared a high tannin standardized extract at 40% polyphenols (mostly in the form of tannins), leaving behind some of the other carbohydrates. The presence of a large proportion of tannins in the fruit may easily explain some of the more prosaic proclaimed benefits of amla, including treatment of respiratory and intestinal disorders, particularly intestinal ulcerations. In addition, polyphenols have been shown to have numerous health protective benefits, including lowering blood lipids and blood sugar, enhancing blood circulation, and blocking the action of carcinogens, which together contribute to the anti-ageing effect. The apparent superior effect of the mistaken “vitamin C” component is actually the more stable and potent anti-oxidant effect of the tannins that appeared to be the vitamin.

Dr. Shibnath Ghosal, at the Banaras Hindu University, published his findings about active constituents of emblica fruits in 1996, reporting on the mistaken identification of vitamin C. He turned his research findings into a patent just four years later; describing the production of the mixture he called Capros. It is derived from amla by a careful process of extraction that prevents breakdown of the tannins. It contains:

Emblicanin-A: 27% ;Emblicanin-B: 23%; Punigluconin: 8%; Pedunculagin: 14%
Gallo-ellagitannoids : 18%; Rutin: 10%

The first four ingredients listed are polyphenols (tannins); the next constituent is a combination primarily of gallic acid and ellagic acid, the tannoid components that are linked together to make the other tannins. Rutin is another phenolic compound, a common flavonoid found in many plants and isolated as a natural health care product. Dr. Ghosal describes his extract (U.S. patent # 6,124,268) as having a greater antioxidant potential than vitamin C, while being more stable against heat and oxidation. It can be formulated into skin creams that are designed to protect the skin from damage due to excess sun exposure and may also be used as a component of internal remedies for health protective effects, especially for cardiovascular risk factors.

So vitamin C in amla is powerful as it is a complex of ascorbate, tannins and polyphenols.

Several properties that are talked about amla are as follows:

Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, Immuno Modulator, anti-bacterial, expectorant, antipyretic, cardio tonic, anti-emetic, anabolic

It is considered to cure or help in skin problems, hair problems, acidity, diabetes, asthma,cholesterol and cholesterol induced atherosclerosis (Obstruction of the arteries), etc.

Amla is getting popular all across globe among people as well as commercial organizations (Pharma MNCs), as rich source of Natural Vitamin “C”.

Why amla never become table-top fruit like mango or apple?

When amla fruit is having such powerful medicinal values, why it is not consumed like other fruits such as mango, apple or other berries? The answer to this question is its sour taste! Amla became famous worldwide as main constituent of Chyvanprash, which is the most popular rejuvenator in the world. In India, it is consumed in almost every home in the form of Murabba (Amla preserved in sugar syrup).

Now amla processing is picked up in India and efforts are made to develop products that are good in taste so that people can consume amla everyday and improve health.

Amla is getting popular all across globe among people as well as commercial organizations (Pharma MNCs), as rich source of Natural Vitamin “C”.


Some Amla products that are available in market are Amla Candies and Amla Juice. If you are interested you can contact:

Uniheal Foods
113, Block 1, Emerald Plaza,
Hiranandani Meadows,
Thane (W) - 400 610
Phone : +(91)-(22)-4012 1186
Fax : +(91)-(22)-4012 1190
Email :

Customer Care:
Mobile : 09967210489
Email :

If you are interested in any of the Uniheal products, they can be ordered over the phone and can be delivered free of cost within INDIA.

मध्य प्रदेश शांत तो जम्मू कश्मीर से कन्याकुमारी तक का रास्ता साफ़ (If Madhaypradesh is peaceful, then JnK to Kanyakumari road is clear )

I will not be talking of the geography or even politics of INDIA but will be more interested in mapping these areas to the human body and their functioning. Madhya Pradesh symbolizes central part is our body, mainly the digestive system; Jammu & Kashmir the upper part; and Kanyakumari the lower part of the body. The upper part, especially the head symbolizes the thinking process while the lower part symbolizes the physical work required to convert those thoughts into action.

If the digestive system is not functioning properly, then you feel low on energy. Although in the busy schedule, you tend to neglect the indications given by our body and especially the digestive system, you attempt to think and work as usual. Possibly, that is some thing we have accepted so well that we don't even give much importance to our bodily signals. We keep on ignoring them as if thats the reality of life.

On the other hand, if the digestive system is doing well, all the other systems perform well. You are fresh and alert, able to think positively and quickly. At the same time you are physically active and better able to convert the thoughts into action. You feel very much relaxed and contented and your productivity goes up.

In these days, where you are busy with your work, whole day and night, acidity, gas, constipation has become part of life. You just gulp in some tablet to get it under control and move on. These tablets only suppress the cause but never removes them completely. For example, acidity is caused due to the the pitta dosha, due to increased secretion of acid required for digestion. In Ayurveda there are simple ways to control acidity and in general most of the digestive problems. If these measure are taken on regular basis then your digestive system is perfect for most of the time and you can feel the difference.

As usual, I am not different from the excuse of busy life and hence used to have acidity, constipation and related problem. Hardly used to think them as problems as possibly had accepted them as part of day to day life. But once I started having Awala Juice as a medicine, on a daily basis, I could see a sudden change in my health. I could feel myself fresh in the morning and could feel light in the stomach. The lightness of stomach spread into my mind and body and gave me enthusiasm to work better maintaining my freshness for longer time. I felt boss, if I can be so fresh and active then why was I living like a dull guy for so for long. Triphala is another churna which can be taken before going to bed to balance all the three doshas and is bowel cleanser.

In this busy life, we never give importance to keeping ourselves fit. Most of the problems will not arise if we are fit and our digestion system is well. But then we need to put in that extra awareness NOW to avoid the issues in the FUTURE. This is where most of us lack the zeal to follow up on good things. We are aware that some thing needs to be done NOW to avoid problems in FUTURE but we just ignore all that with our chalta hai attitude and then are hit back some time later to realize our mistake. Unfortunately, very few learn from their mistakes and continue to be ignorant.

As I could experience the silence of Madhya Pradesh and its effect which caused peace in Jammu & Kashnmir to Kanyakumari, I requested my brother who is in food processing industry to write a guest column here, focusing mainly on Awala/Amla and its benefits. Hope to post that soon on this blog.

(For those who are not aware of the geography of INDIA, Madhya Pradesh is the central part of INDIA and Jammu Kashmir and Kanyakumari are the northern and southern ends of INDIA, respectively.)

Resolution 2009: Rude or Phony

A guest article by my Mentor/Friend/Uncle Mr. Sudhir Kekre. I am sure you are going to enjoy new/different thoughts here.

As the year 2008 draws close, the New Year ushers in ; albeit quieter than usual carrying the hangover of recession and bomb blast.

There’s a sense of relief more than joy that 2008 is over.

Nevertheless we have a new year and now its time to take stock.

Everyone must imbibe at least one good quality each year. Something that would be a value addition. Most of us are adults. Think if we had started early we would have at least more than a dozen good ones to be proud of.

I have been globe trotting for almost a decade now; straddled three continents and worked across various cross sections of people across various Nations.

A common complaint I hear is that Indians are rude. Something which I vehemently deny.

On introspection and discussion with many Indians I find that our perception about politeness is different. We have a notion that being honest at the cost of everything is always correct. We generally also lack a sense of humor ; perhaps because we take life too seriously. Also we feel that the western people are phony , they believe in flattery and are artificial. Something which is not true. Flattery is not always bad. Specially if it brings happiness and joy. A sense of humor can help in a big way in making you popular and also furthering your career.

I give below a few experiences and leave it to you to decide.

“Madam , is your father a thief” the American woman’s cheek went red. She was furious. the other members of her group looked at her strangely. This was Agra railway station. And she was being stalked by a skinny teenager. “ how dare you” she said her eyes smoldering. “ because madam , he stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes” he said, his eyes twinkling mischievously. Now the whole group was roaring with appreciation. The boy was hired as a guide that very moment leaving a very very competitive field. This was narrated to me by an American friend.

Once I was having a drink in Taj residency in Hyderabad. I saw the barman mixing a drink . “ Margarita “ I smiled at him. It’s a tequila based drink very popular in Miami , my home for the past few years. The barman mixed the drink expertly and giving me a smile gave me a small shot to taste. “ Hmm” I said “smacking my lips appreciatively . “ you could make a Mexican proud.”. The barman beamed with pride and left with the order.

My friend eyed me suspiciously . “ Is it really that good.” “ little weak “ I confessed. “ lacks the punch of the real one”. My friend was annoyed. He said this is the problem with you guys who live abroad. He could have improved if you had told the truth. “ he didn’t quite understand. The barman was looking me with professional pride which as a guest I couldn’t shatter. Besides I was no expert. There was no way I could advise him on what was missing. Least I could do was make his day.

Another time I remember I met one guy from Honduras in the swimming pool in my community in Miami. He said that lot of people mistake him for an Indian . I immediately agreed and said that you know when you were walking in I thought hey there comes one of my Indian brothers. His face lit with joy. The same friend derisively commented

“ Even a blind man can tell he doesn’t look Indian. You are phony!”

So guys call me phony! Call me a liar. Call me what you will. But if one lie can bring even a little happiness I shall keep doing it.

I think of that American woman who was on a Vacation in Agra. Vacation must be full of fun and joy. And if that skinny guide spiked his marketing with a little flattery he didn’t do any harm to anyone? I am sure the lady will go back and tell happy tales about our great land.

So guys, if you agree make this your resolution. Bring happiness and cheer in others life- a little deception or a little flattery will be forgiven.

Here’s wishing you all – the loveliest and most beautiful people on the planet - a great and a happy 2009.

Now WHAT? At least I didn’t call your father a thief!!!!!!!!!