Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vivekananda - I

"Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is way great spiritual giants are produced."

"Perfection does not come from belief or faith. Talk does not count for anything. Parrots can do that. Perfection comes through selfless work."

"We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act."

"You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself."

"You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul."

"The goal of mankind is knowledge. Now this knowledge is inherent in man. No knowledge comes from outside - it is all inside. What we say a man 'knows', should, in strict psychological language, be what he 'discovers' or 'unveils'; what man 'learns' is really what he discovers by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge."

"We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far."

"Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being."

"The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong."

Vivekananda's Words

My ideal, indeed, can be put into a few words, and that is: to preach unto mankind their divinity, and how to make it manifest in every movement of life.

Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.

We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one's own feet.

So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them.

Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be.

If you have faith in all the three hundred and thirty millions of your mythological gods, … and still have no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you. Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need.

Strength, strength it is that we want so much in this life, for what we call sin and sorrow have all one cause, and that is our weakness. With weakness comes ignorance, and with ignorance comes misery.

The older I grow, the more everything seems to me to lie in manliness. This is my new Gospel.

Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success, and above all, love.

Religion is realization; not talk, not doctrine, nor theories, however beautiful they may be. It is being and becoming, not hearing or acknowledging; it is the whole soul becoming changed into what it believes.

Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.

Teach yourselves, teach everyone his real nature, call uon the sleeping soul and see how it awakes. Power will come, glory will come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that is excellent will come when this sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity.

They alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.

This is the gist of all worship – to be pure and to do good to others.

It is love and love alone that I preach, and I base my teaching on the great Vedantic truth of the sameness and omnipresence of the Soul of the Universe.

A message to Youth

Supreme value of youth period is incalculable and indescribable.

Youth life is the most precious life. Youth is the best time. The way in which you utilize this period will decide the nature of coming years that lie ahead of you. Your happiness, your success, your honor and your good name all depend upon the way in which you live now, in this present period. Remember this. This wonderful period of the first state of your life is related to you as the soft wet clay in the hands of the potter. Skillfully the potter gives it the right and correct shapes and forms, which he intends to give. Even so, you can wisely mould your life, your character, your physical health and strength, in short your entire nature in any way in which you make up your mind to do. And you must do this now.

fortunate youth, recognize this great duty.

Feel this wonderful privilege. Take up this adventure. God watches you graciously, ever ready to help and guide. I wish you to be great. The world has put its faith in you. Your elders keep their hopes in you. Now youth means to place your firm confidence in yourself and exercise your hopeful determination and resolution and willing good intentions in this beautiful task of self-culture. This will truly bring supreme satisfaction and fulfillment not only to you, but also to all concerned. The shaping of your life is indeed in your own hands.

Practice virtue, persevere in virtue.

Become established in virtue. Shine as an embodiment of noblest virtue and heroic adherence to goodness. Youth is meant for this grand process. Youth life is the active development and fulfillment of these processes. This period of your time provides the suitable and favourable fields for the working out of this extremely important and most indispensable process in life. This is the special significance, the great importance and supreme value of youth life. It signifies the creation of noble personality. It is atma-Viakasa. It is Atma -Nirmana. Please try to understand the correct implication of the term successful life. When you talk of success with reference to life, it does not merely mean succeeding in everything that you undertake or do; it does not merely mean succeeding in fulfilling all wants or getting whatever you desire; it does not just mean acquiring a name or attaining a position or imitating fashionable ways appearing modern or up-to-date.

The essence of true success is what you make of yourself.

It is the conduct of life that you develop, it is the character that you cultivate and it is the type of person you become. This is the central meaning of successful living. Therefore, you will see this important matter is not so much a question of success in life. ( Jivan - Me- Safalta) but rather it is success of life. Such successful life is one that succeeds in producing an ideal individual, a noble man. Your success is not measured in terms of what all you obtained but in term of what you become, how you live and what actions you do. Upon this point reflect well and attain great happiness.

In our grand culture they conceived of life in four stage viz.

preliminary stage, development stage, flowering or blossoming stage and the culminating fruitful stage. These can be described as he preparatory period, the practicing period for the satisfactory growth of the latter stage. Yours is the stage of preliminary preparations for right and successful living. Herein is its supreme value and great importance. This is like the ploughing and sowing of seeds in the field by a farmer. Now, you can easily understand, what is the significance and importance of this in connection with the harvest, which any one would wish to reap later on. And also, it is like the laying of the foundation for an important building you wish to construct. If this building is something very important to you, then you just think how much more important its proper foundation becomes in your view. The strong and continued existence of the building depends certainly upon the foundation.

This is the stage you are now in.

Let your preparations be wise, correct and of such kind that will lead to your true welfare, supreme good and lasting satisfaction and happiness. This must engage your active, enthusiastic attention throughout the period of your youth life. Our culture refers to this stage as the Brahmacharya Ashram or Vidyarthi Jivan. Here, you acquire knowledge of not only subjects like History, Geography, Mathematics, etc., but also about human nature, correct Vyavahara, science of Self- control, art of developing pure mind, Dharma, the duties of man and the proper relationship between you, your family, your society and the world.

Youth - Seeking Fulfillment


Wisdom and knowledge, kindness and compassion, happiness and joy are not exclusive property of a few; every one of us is the repository of these virtues. This is because that is our real nature. Infinite knowledge and perfection are our own, right from the birth; it's just that we are not aware of the same. However, it is unfortunate that no special efforts are being made to make us realize this truth. Many factors are responsible for such piquant situation: 1) Overtly or covertly the established social culture does not want us to question the causes of inadequacies and disparities prevalent in the society, 2) nor are we allowed to rebel against it. 3) Secondly, some inscrutable evolutionary factors have made our genes utterly selfish that keep us entangled in the interests and pleasures of senses alone.

This all leads to routine life pattern of learning, earning, and engaging in materialistic enjoyment in life, full of stress, anxiety, worry, and apprehension. The occasional sane words or suggestions to lead a different kind of life are fraught with social and familial resistance preventing the full expression of new ways and aims in life. For instance, many a young people are really selfless and a caring lot. They want to help others, care and serve others without expecting much in return, but this is not allowed easily. Thus generosity, altruism, and compassion, although acknowledged as great virtues, cannot find representation in youths where it is needed most. Such youths are sure to become ideal for next generation. In fact, this is the beginning of spirituality or true religion. The index of spiritual growth is the extent to which most of the youth express quality of selflessness: 'Not me, but thou!'


1. Self-confidence and need for Spiritual Groups

The person who has or who shows such inclination in his or her youth should be proud and happy about it. He or she should have confidence in himself or herself that he or she is right and correct in harboring such noble virtues, even though the family, social, cultural, and political institutions do not lend much support to their beliefs. However, as it is not possible to live alone, or in isolation proclaiming such virtues as the aim in life, it is urgently necessary to create such groups and associations where such persons can find family-like atmosphere. The association should be broad-based and scattered at many places, each unit comprising of small number of like-minded people. The association has to be international in its reach and universal in its outlook. The advanced systems of communication should allow various local and national groups to interact not only within a country but also internationally. Such an association would help remove feeling of loneliness and boredom, and even depression, which might affect the youth for want of friends in his or her life and surrounding area.

2. Ideology and Program

To find the ideological base for the virtues one feels correct, it becomes necessary to find supporting evidence from a) the scriptures, b) the life, teachings and sayings of great persons and of prophets. One should start with the study of Faith one is born in. One can begin with the study of the life and teachings of the founder persons who advocated and exemplified such selflessness in their life. Naturally such a study would be widely divergent to begin with, however, soon it would be noticed that in essence every great soul has to tell the same thing. Thus, sectarianism would be avoided. Moreover, drawing from the vast resources of varied culture and places it would be easy to comprehend and accept the teachings of all religions and saints. Buddha and Jesus, Krishna and Mahavir, Guru Nanak and prophets of other religions teach one thing only: Selflessness! Soon the group or the family would shortlist on one prophet as the Chosen Ideal for that association.

3. Methods and Means to practice what one believes

Without wealth, power, position, name and fame also a person can enjoy his work and seek fulfillment in life. Gradually the person learns that, indeed, it is renunciation of all worldly bonds and life of non-attachment that is most desirable, for that is most joyful and glorious state of being. Such a state of mind can be cultivated through association with holy people and in the company of like-minded friends. Maximum satisfaction in work and fulfillment in life is obtained in 'selfless work,' in the work carried out in the spirit of non-attached state of mind.

Vedanta philosophy, which emphasizes two basic truths: 1) that you are Divine, and 2) that you are perfect should help allay all fears and doubts about failure or correctness of approach. Every secular and spiritual act in life, indeed life as a whole, is worship of the Divine; is the act of realizing and manifesting one's divinity; is the expression of Divine Glory. 'Excellence in work is Yoga,' declares Lord Krishna in the Gita, and what better excellence can there be other than 'serving others as God'!

However, all this is not easy. To see God all around is very difficult, for the distractions are too many and doubts unrelenting. Secondly, it is not possible to see Divine outside unless one realizes or 'sees' the Divine within his or her own heart. 'I'm not this weak body with wavering mind, I am all knowing, all powerful Atman' such faith and conviction needs to be effectively developed. For this other spiritual practices like meditation and control of mind are essential.


What we have written up till now points to one thing; that we should engage ourselves in all forms of activities - reading, work, mediation, worship, - that would help us realize our true divine nature, i.e. take us towards God. All such activities are none other than Yoga. Love, devotion, worship, and rituals form yoga of Bhakti; selfless service to others and our own work to earn livelihood come under Karma Yoga; meditation and control of mind and senses form Raja Yoga, and contemplation, discrimination between real and unreal, studying Scriptures etc. form path of Jnana.

Youth of today who have inborn desire to seek fulfillment and freedom in life, who are inclined to serve others out of sheer force of selflessness, who have least attachment to sense pleasures, and who have curiosity to know God should come together by forming such groups. Initially the ideas are bound to be vague and the mind would sure to rebel, but with patience and perseverance and assurance from wise teachers they are sure to become confident about the correctness of the path they have chosen, the path of glorious life and spiritual enlightenment.

Such individuals should not only communicate on phone or by e-mail, or through letters, but should also make every effort to meet each other in person by undertaking journeys as pilgrimage. Intra-national and international group meetings would help encourage exchange of ideas, knowledge, information and most importantly establish a spiritual bond of love between youths from diverse sections of society.

The greatest son of India

The nation observed the birth centenary of Swami Vivekananda
recently to commemorate the great visionary. (Pandit Nehru called
him "the greatest son of India")

Swami Vivekananda undertook a long March traversing through hundred of cities, thousands of villages and meeting millions of people en route only to inspire them to 'strive to their utmost to remove their miseries and sufferings of the downtrodden.'

The Swami, who undertook the historic March in 1890, took about two years to complete it at Kanyakumari on December 24,1892. During this march, swami Vivekananda discovered that the millions of our countrymen were reeling under appalling conditions of starvation and poverty which moved him beyond expression. He then realised that it was "futile to preach religion amongst them without first trying to remove their poverty and sufferings."

His Bharat Parikrama commenced in July 1890 when he left Baranagore monastery. He delivered his famous Chicago address on September 11, 1893 and returned to India in 1897. Nearly seven thousand representatives from all over the globe had gathered on the historic occasion.

Swami once told Sister Nivedita that "Social life in the West is like a peal of laughter but underneath it is a wail. It ends in a sob. Here in India, it is sad and gloomy on the surface but underneath are carelessness and merriment. The West has so much to learn from the East and vice-versa. The future has to be shaped by a proper fusion of the two ideals."

Born on January 12, 1863 in Calcutta, Swami Vivekananda loved the youth instrumentally and the young people in turn, reciprocated his gesture doubly. He had infinite trust and reverence for the youth, because he strongly felt that the future of the country rested in their hands.

The youngsters on their part were convinced about his sincerity of purpose and absolute selflessness as also his erudition, intellectual powers, scientific temper and to cap it all his fearlessness to face the worst, which instantly endeared him to the young folk.

Romain Rollan once said: "Vivekananda's words are great music, phrases in the style of Beethoven, stirring rhythms like the march of the Handel choruses." Vivekananda's call to the youth did not merely come from his lips but from the depths of his soul. He felt that the future of India largely depended on the response he would get from the youth to his exhortations. That is why he said, "let India arise!"

Swami Vivekananda believed that it was "Onward for ever! Sympathy for the poor, the downtrodden, even unto death - this is our motto. Onward brave lads! Have faith in the Lord, no policy, it is nothing. Feel for the miserable and look up for help - it shall come... I bequeath to you, young men, this sympathy, this struggle for the poor, the ignorant, the oppressed."

Swami Vivekananda injected patriotism in the veins of the youth of the country by his magically impressive words. He said, "When we want are some young men who will renounce everything and sacrifice their lives for their country's sake."
After worshipping Goddess, Kanyakumari, he swam across the ocean where the goddess did penance standing on one foot for union with Lord Shiva. Sitting alone on the rock he meditated for three days on Past, present and future of India. This meditation culminated in the proclamation, "The best way to serve and seek God is to serve the needy, to feed the hungry, to help the fallen and friendless, irrespective of caste or creed."

The magnificent Vivekananda Rock Memorial stands as a spiritual lighthouse for thousands who visit Kanyakumari and silently express their gratitude to the great saint who revolutionised the concept of nationalism and service of mankind as the only means to self-realisation.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Group discussions


Group discussions are today an important part of the selection process to many entry-level executive jobs and management institutes. This is often done when a large number of candidates are involved even after the initial screening of resumes/ entrance tests. The selection committee then uses group discussions as the next round to quickly identify the most suitable candidates for the next round, that is interviews.

It is not a very easy task to stand out from a group of ten to twenty candidates. You are being assessed for your team behavior. You cannot win by either being a mute witness to the action or by being to aggressive. Here are a few things you would do well to internalize for your group discussion rounds.


This sounds the most obvious thing, but many people don’t understand how they can prepare for a group discussion. There are two parts to it. One is that you need to be well read about current happenings and public controversies, as group discussions are often about these topics. This reading pays off in many ways, as it can help you in other areas like entrance tests and interviews too.

Second, try to practice group discussions with a group of friends you are comfortable with. Get a few friends who are in the same situation as you, job hunting or preparing for entrance tests. It is easier to motivate these people to practice seriously than your cricket buddies. Practicing with a group you are comfortable with helps you to be natural when you are at the competitive GD.


This means that you need to be actively involved in the discussions. You need to speak up. You won’t win by being a silent observer of the goings on. The person who initiates or concludes the discussion gets easily noticed, but take it easy if you just missed out on this. You can still score with intelligent views and appropriate behavior.

Appropriate Behavior

This is perhaps the most crucial part. As we saw earlier, group discussions are used to assess a person’s behavior in a group. You need to be assertive, not aggressive or submissive. Express your views by all means. If you do not agree with someone, be sure to express your disagreement appropriately. Don’t use expressions like ‘you’re wrong’, ‘that is wrong’, ‘what nonsense’ etc. Always show respect to the other person’s point of view and then show your disagreement with expressions like ‘what you say has some truth, however I do not agree entirely with you’, ‘I have a somewhat different take on this’ or ‘I beg to differ with you’.

Show your appreciation when someone makes a good point or an intelligent observation. This wins you their rapport as well as a few points towards healthy team behavior.

Be mindful of your body language. Use gestures, but don’t overdo it. Remember that we use gestures in our everyday conversations. Try to be your natural, relaxed self in the group discussion too.

Don’t Lose Your Cool

In the group discussion, you are with people you don’t know well. Be alert to sound respectful and avoid anything that may sound offensive to the other people. On the other hand, some other speakers may behave aggressively or sound offensive. Don’t take it personally. Stay calm, objective and voice your views/objections respectfully under all circumstances. You score by being coolheaded under provocation.

Take it Easy

Earlier in this article I advised you to be well read. However no one can be a know-it-all. It may so turn out that you are not well informed of the topic selected for the group discussion. Don’t panic. Wait till someone starts the discussion. You can pick up the thread by following the conversation and then say something intelligent. Remember that the main purpose of this round is not to test your general knowledge.

Similarly, sometimes you may have some really interesting point to make-something that is original/ complex. You may suddenly find yourself stuck for the right words and phrases to express the thought with all its nuances. It doesn’t pay to be seen struggling with a thought. Simplify your idea to its most essential elements so that you can express it clearly. It is better to be articulate with a simple thought than sound vague.


Preparation and assertive behavior are the key to success in group discussions. Your behavior at the group discussion indicates how good a team player are you, something very valuable for every organization. A good team player is someone who can get his ideas across to others, win their rapport and also give due support and appreciation to his team members. Remember to follow these pointers in mind when you practice group discussions.

What is the CAT Group Discussion?

A Group Discussion (GD) is a discussion by a group of people which involves an exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Group Discussions are largely used by institutes where there is a high level of competition, and is used as a tool for evaluating candidates.

The number of participants in a group may vary from 8 to 15 people.

In most cases a topic or a situation is given to the group and the members have to discuss it within a given period of time. Keep in mind, this is a simulated exercise, where you cannot suddenly put up a show..


Be as natural as possible.

Be yourself.

A group discussion is your chance to be more vocal. The evaluator wants to hear you speak.

Take time to organize your thoughts. Think of what you are going to say.

Seek clarification if you have any doubts regarding the subject.

Work out various strategies to help you make an entry: initiate the discussion or agree with someone else’s point and then move onto express your views.

Always be polite – Use phrases like: “I would like to share my views on…” or “One difference between your point and mine…” or “I beg to differ with you.”

Brush up on your leadership skills and be a gate keeper; motivate the other members of the team to speak.

Be receptive to others’ opinions, show interest, and fully engage in listening to their comments.

Be aware of your body language – your gestures and mannerisms are more likely to reflect your attitude than what you say.

If you have a group of like-minded friends, you can have a mock group discussion where you can learn from each other through giving and receiving feedback.


Don’t try and be someone you’re not.

Don’t start speaking until you have clearly understood and analyzed the subject.

If you do not give valuable insights during the discussion, all your efforts of initiating the discussion will be in vain.

Do not dominating – try to maintain a balanced tone in your discussion and analysis.

Don’t lose your cool if anyone says anything you object to. The key is to stay objective: Don’t take the discussion personally.

Group Discussion GD

Dos of participating in a GD:

  • Listen to the subject carefully

  • Put down your thoughts on a paper

  • Initiate the discussion if you know the subject well

  • Listen to others if you don’t know the subject

  • Support you point with some facts and figures

  • Make short contribution of 25-30 seconds 3-4 times

  • Give others a chance to speak

  • Speak politely and pleasantly. Respect contribution from other members.

  • Disagree politely and agree with what is right.

  • Summarize the discussion if the group has not reached a conclusion.

Don’ts of participating in a Group Discussion

  • Initiate the discussion if you do not have sufficient knowledge about the given topic.

  • Over speak, intervene and snatch other’s chance to speak.

  • Argue and shout during the GD

  • Look at the evaluators or a particular group member

  • Talk irrelevant things and distract the discussion

  • Pose negative body gestures like touching the nose, leaning back on the chair, knocking the table with a pen etc.

  • Mention erratic statistics.

  • Display low self confidence with shaky voice and trembling hands.

  • Try to dominate the discussion

  • Put others in an embarrassing situation by asking them to speak if they don’t want.

Thursday, December 4, 2008





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About Me

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I am a Postgraduate in Mathematics from Sri Venkateswara University. I made this blog to share and gain knowledge and basically to express myself. The purpose of making this site was also to make my work available at a single point on Internet. I started programming with dBase and FoxPro, then C and C++. I am a developer working with Software Company.