Tag: guru

Modern forms of Ekalavya’s learning technique

Modern forms of Ekalavya’s learning technique

Ekalavya from ancient history proves that self-learning is the best form of learning style.

Dronacharya (also Guru Droņa) was a master of advanced military arts and was the preceptor of Kauravas and Pandavas in the epic of Mahabharata. He also is known to be a teacher to Ekalavya but by indirect methods.

Ekalavya approached Guru Droņa to learn the art of war from him, and the Guru rejected his request. Deeply hurt by the rejection, Ekalavya did not give his resolution of learning the art of war.  This situation gave birth to one of the oldest forms of self-learning.

Ekalavya took the mud under the Guru’s feet to the jungle and made a full statue of Guru Droņa. It was a symbolic gesture to follow his knowledge and footsteps. With Guru Droņa statue placed under a tree and with a high amount of self-motivation, Ekalavya practised every day for many years. He chose archery as his focused art of war and gained exceptional prowess. He was even greater than Guru Droņa best pupil, Arjuna.

During that time, there was a ritual of Guru Dakshina. It was a form of paying respect to the Guru for his services. I could not even imagine why Guru Droņa could ask such a Dakshina from a self-taught learner like Ekalavya. Guru Droņa asked Ekalavya to cut his right thumb as Guru Dakshina. Eklavya with a smile cut his right thumb and handed it over.

What Ekalavya did was great. In today’s world, we do have many good sources to learn. Not as difficult as learning from a statue. And definitely, does not involve cutting our thumb as Guru Dakshina.

What are the modern forms of self-learning? 

With access to every information at our fingertips due to “Internet”, we now have access to YouTube, MOOCs and mobile apps that can help us learn anything we want.

We just need to have the self-motivation to learn and even stronger reason of why we want to learn.

Of course, we cannot deny that a mentor/guide/guru would improve our learning. But, let’s face it, racing against yourself becomes of more importance than learning either from Guru or being self-taught. And there is a good chance we might not find the right Guru at the time we require him. And then there is a way that involves the exchange of massive wealth to gain knowledge.

The question you must ask yourself is whether you learn something to satisfy your Ego or you want to learn it because you decided to improve yourself. Once you have this piece figured, you need to find a way to avoid distractions.

How to avoid distractions?

With many resources we have, we also double the distractions. It’s not like the forest Ekalavya practised. The environment was conducive for his learning. Yes, the environment is the answer. We need to create our environment, a system to stick to it to gain maximum from self-learning. Also, it’s a known fact that you must have a defined objective of what is the intended outcome you want from learning something.

Once your system is in place, it’s easier for you stick to it. You gain momentum when you begin to results you could not imagine. You may face down times, but it’s important to get back up and start learning again. You might not be able to make enough progress for 100 days in a row, but you need to keep your senses open, as the world has its way of getting the answer you need when you need it.

Looking at the good side of every situation

Looking at the good side of every situation

“If a man has ten good qualities and one bad quality, look at the ten and forget the one. If a man has one good quality and ten bad qualities, look at the one and forget the ten.”

I studied in a Baha’i school, and the above quote has shaped how I lead my life. The example that was given to support this quote was intriguing and helped me remember this quote till today.

A guru and his disciples happen to notice a dead dog while they were walking towards their ashram. The corpse of the dog was stinking, and all the disciples were irked and closed their noses to avoid the foul smell. The guru, however, had a smile on his face and went closer to the corpse. He sat close to the dog and gazed at it for a few minutes and continued walking to the ashram. His disciples followed the guru and did not utter a word till they reached the ashram. They were surprised at what the guru did.

The disciples with a little hesitance but gathered the courage to ask the guru of why he went near the corpse. Why did he gaze at the dog for a while, as the smell was awful?

The guru knew this question was coming his way. He paused till everyone gathered and settled around him. His reply was rather a simple one with a deep understanding of how the world works. He told his disciples about the most amazing white teeth the dead dog had. He was in awe of them, and that was the reason he went near to the dog.He further told them that his focus was only on the beautiful white teeth, that he ignored the foul smell, the awful view of the rest of the body.

The guru’s point was simple; we are often in situations where we first notice the negative stuff. Various news channels broadcast the negative story and create a biased view. Out mind is so conditioned to believe the first sight of negativity easily. Of course, many can see the good side of everything but there far more people who do not see the right.

Can we flip the thought process of identifying the negativity first?

Yes, we can!


Instead of creating an opinion on the information we have at hand we wait for more details. It’s like a puzzle piece, we don’t have to make the decision based on the few pieces of information we have but rather wait till we have 80% of the pieces to make the decision. We all can agree that when we have at least 80% of the puzzle pieces, we can nearly make out what the picture in the puzzle is.

I believe this thought process can create a lot less confusion and help many not just view the world in a biased manner.

Let me know what you think? 

Stairway to Musical Nirvana

Stairway to Musical Nirvana

To be frank, I was not much a “music” fan. I heard a few Bollywood songs, Euphoria, and a few English bands such as Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, and a few Eminem songs. Nah, how can I forget a more fun Phalguni Pathak, Aqua and Bombay Vikings? I enjoyed many of those songs back then but still could not find the songs that I could start enjoying and listening on repeat. Now I cannot deny that there was good music made back then, but my exposure to them was zero. I heard those that were commonly available to me, and after I had joined a hostel, I lost interest on something that was hard to find. Let’s just say I had lot more things to keep me occupied.

Throughout my college and engineering I was introduced to Telugu Music and to be frank, I able connect well with many of the songs and enjoyed many songs which made me dance naturally. It was the first experience of other language music, and it expanded my exposure to music. I released that with music you need not understand the lyrics, but you can totally connect with the passion it intended to unleash. I knew no matter what the source of the song was; it was always meant to express something. Wasn’t it obvious? Yes for many it is, but I took much more time to get this.

Now that I think, in the midst of all the drama of having a crush or the luxury of a girlfriend would make me realise this much earlier. Or probably a guru. Being a geek and a person who kind of lost in my weird world chances of those were slim.

After three years of my working, I was fortunate enough to be in Bangalore at the right time. A much better place to be and of course I found a guru. I will introduce him more as the custodian of chill, a good Samaritan, and silhouette guitarist. He taught me the distinction of a legendary artist and other artists. The love for a few classical rock songs he suggested grew over time. His profound words on listening to music without any distraction. He told that we must let them adequately communicate to us. Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Coke Studio and many others have kept me company many times. With his guidance, I felt the real power of the solo’s and its pure Nirvana!

Husn-i jaanaan ki ta’reef mumkin naheen, Afreen Afreen !

Of course, I dated someone and was able to relate to why romantic songs gain so much popularity. It natural for every person on earth to get emotionally attached, some make music to express, while others use it to communicate. When you are happy, you listen to a few romantic songs, in sadness the heartfelt related songs. I also started listening to some classics of Indian music and the passion with which each of the lyrics written. It was of exceptional quality and an epic showcase of a real musical artist. I went through a roller coaster ride of emotions, and I found myself listening to songs I would have never imagined. For every emotion, there is a song aptly made, or it is the other way round. I somehow stumbled across the right song for that moment used always to find me. Again how? I don’t know!

I feel I have just started and there is more to music than meets your inner peace. My younger brother gave a collection of varied music, and I have just begun to scratch the surface of it.

If it were not for my guru, I would not have not even taken the first step to the stairway of my musical Nirvana!
The image below shows, how I always imagine him. Also added one of his performances. 🙂

The Silhouette Guitarist:



















And one of his performances @ Gokarna: