Alumni Stories- Living & Learning

Ramesh Kuppuswamy, EEP 2008, an alumnus of IIMB was a Colonel in the India Army with over twenty years of service to the Country before he switched over to the Corporate World. He is the Program Manager-Implementation at CISCO Advanced Systems, India. He is the author of the Book “Revelation of Path Walked” & is the founder of Aikya-Oneness Foundation.

It is through the below two articles, that he gives us an opportunity to see his brilliant display of his talent in writing.

Expect Not For Thou Shall Not Be Disappointed……

On the day of my beloved Guru, Chariji’s Birth Anniversary, it would be appropriate for me to recollect a profound maxim. As the title goes, he casually talked about it to add to the Jewels of Ten Maxims given by his Guru, Babuji for his disciples of “Sahaj Marg” to follow. This one to be the eleventh maxim.

In one of the occasion, he mentioned that the first maxim i.e., “Arise before dawn and offer your prayer and meditation before the sunrise” was considered most difficult to start with. As it becomes hard to break with a routine, one is used to. When one looks at it, the first step to tests our willpower to walk the spiritual path. Nevertheless, he always advocated starting with any one of the maxims to follow like encouraging a child. Every maxim guided us with the inner transformation that would be required to meet with the external World. The ten maxims become a catalyst inducing the spark for transformations in one’s life. The changes are assured within few days of practicing these maxims.

Going back to this maxim, Chariji had a special mention about it as; most of the suffering was encountered due to disappointments associated with every expectation. Such expectations curtail our spiritual growth. Everyone is aware of this as a universally understood truth. However, seldom one is able to follow.

Many times, we convince ourselves that I am trying or doing this, but I am not expecting anything in return. That is just preparing ourselves to safeguard from the disappointment that may be imminent. Every disappointment hurts our soul. That is not good for our spiritual well-being.

Expectation becomes part of Life in dealing with relationships, work and so on. This includes Spiritual seekers expecting for peace, liberation and beyond. Even, when one drops the coin to a needy person, he expects him to reciprocate with a smile or thank you. As our egoistic mind is conditioned for the need to acknowledge in return for every action it had proposed and did. If not, it brings in a judgment of telling us that what we did was wrong, post that action has been completed. That puts us into pain depending on the intensity of emotions invested in that action.

One may tend to ask a question at this stage. Is it possible to live without any expectations? How much I can expect and how much not? Where should I expect and where not? These questions revolve within to answer oneself as to how much of pain or suffering that one is ready to undergo with the disappointments if it is there. That is a conscious or an unconscious choice one chooses to take.

Chariji emphasized on this maxim so that we do not limit our spiritual growth with expectations. Every expectation restricts the abundance of Grace imminent to get for oneself. The destiny to reach is beyond infinite and that can be reached walking a path, not limiting us. Such wisdom is required to take up every work as His and leaving the results to be of Him. Such an attitude will slowly march us into accepting the results of our actions without questioning as the saying goes-

“Expect not for thou shall not be disappointed.”….Chariji

Two Wings to Fly……

I came across a quote, which says, “He is so poor that he has only money”. The money meets our basic needs for our body and mind. Certainly, it does not assure the mental well-being and inner peace of a person. One is able to amaze wealth though, but not true relationships that are required to evolve in this life journey.

Interestingly, I would like to connect this with our inner desires to make it understand what one requires really in this life. One is connected to two aspects. The chase to acquire something in the external World and a deep longing for inner peace i.e. Materialism and Spiritualism. These form the two wings of Life. A balance is necessary between two to fly steadily. Otherwise, it is a struggle to keep pace with life.

In the similar context, the nature through evolution had brought man and woman together to form a base or foundation to create a family, an entity that is required to evolve through materialism and spiritualism becoming essential for one’s growth. One learns to earn to meet the needs and in that process, learns to sacrifice, patience and compassion, which are essential for the spiritual growth.

These attributes bring in the importance of a family, more importantly, the man and the woman forming the relationship as a husband and wife. The status of a family gives an identity in the society to be. Then, this relationship becomes utmost important.

More or a less, it is a union of two unknown people coming from varied culture, experiences and educational backgrounds joining together through the marital knot. It is perceived that Life of marriage is full of penance and sacrifices. However, such situations teach us the importance of love and respect. Both of them evolve in this process with the need to understand each other in every situation that comes in. This may be from expanding relationships to the extended families, childbirth, job changes, meeting daily expenses and so on.

Many times, one who has passed many years in their marriage; always complain that my spouse is not as sweet as what he or she was. One seldom misses recognizing that there is a change that is happening continuously between both with life situations and experiences. It is common to many, in certain circumstance the behavior of the spouse would have surprised. Is this the person, whom I was married? This surprise is not uncommon, as one always believes the other person to be same as they began their journey together.

There is a rapid change that happens between the two. As always, one resists meeting the changes. If there is no understanding and integrated changes that happen between the two. Such resistance pushes the other partner to change the decisions made resulting in conflicts. Conflicts are unavoidable in any family because the interaction is happening between two minds staying together. There is no common thinking that happens some of the time, due to the beliefs they carry. More or less, nobody is perfect and everyone has their own share of imperfections projecting as strengths or weaknesses. 

I may sound cynical to say, if the conflict is part of the marriage, then it is certainly not a bed of roses to experience. But, that is not so in reality. There are many successful marriages giving way for couples to stay together for decades happily. How is that one succeeded and other failed? It is pure, how the integral conflicts raised time to time has been managed amicably.

Conflicts are an opportunity for the couple to learn about the other and the belief he or she holds. Certainly, those beliefs are from distant past experiences one had. In every situation, like a computer, it compares with the past data to give a present solution. When one handles the conflicts with awareness, there is a learning that happens every time about the other. That builds mutual trust and respect giving way to another person the right to express his or her views. As one starts practicing this as a routine, a conflict becomes the common discussion for resolution. One starts looking at spouse as a companion or a colleague for problem-solving. Every disagreement brings in a new learning in a new perceptive. A collaboration happens.

Change and conflict are part of a couple in a marriage. This is inevitable. Then, what one should do to keep this ship sailing.

a.   There has to be heartily effort to nurture the relationship continuously. Do not lead into a state of taking the other person for granted to be as he or she was earlier.

b.   Staying in constant communication without any assumption. Doing activities jointly to meet the day-to-day needs and being part of good and bad times supportively is good ways to stay connected.

c.   Accumulate not the problems for days. Do housekeeping, at least once in a week to resolve those issues.

d.   Each one is unique and has his or her own thoughts. Respect and allow it to flow freely by being supportive.

e.   Trust is the foundation of any relationship. Never break it even in tough situations.

f.   Mistakes tend to happen. Learn to forgive and move on, waking up next day as a new day with renewed relationship.

g.   Love should become the binding force between the two and not the fear. When love prevails, there are no expectations and that cements strongly to withstand any storm life can bring in.

Marriage is not an automatic machine that will run on its own. There is a continuous effort of understanding differences and acceptance are required among partners to keep it moving. The couple is the two wings of a family to fly high evolving together.

“Life throws with experiences. There are hidden lessons in it to uncover. Learn it, as those are meant for you”