Thursday, January 14, 2016

Day 14

Today was the annual review and bonus day. Although mine was nothing stellar and certainly below what I would have guessed it to be a priori, I got a sense that it was maybe better than my teammates, because they all looked pretty pissed off and were in a palpably bad mood through the day (some unpleasant emails were written, apparently). Alternately, it could be, although unlikely, that I am just stupid and therefore not protesting enough. Either way works for me.

Part of me wished that I knew Mandarin, to really know what people in the team were discussing (yes, they switched to Mandarin for today), but part of me is really happy I don't. It leaves me free, and limits just how unnecessarily tense I could possibly get. I personally think it is quite telling that year after year, this day of very possibly the biggest single cash inflow to your bank account that you'll see that year, coincides with the day you're especially unhappy and overly hostile.

On day 2, I wrote about the awesomeness of going to have a tea, after doing it for the first time. I now think much of the awesomeness was about it having been the first time, because I've done it four more times since, and it is only half as awesome now. It's a busy place that I go to, so a lot of what I enjoy is people-watching, more so because it is an Indian jaunt and I see a lot of Indians. Yes, the masala chai is very good too. They also serve vada pav, which I have every alternate time I'm there, and while it is nothing compared to the those served outside Siddhivinayak temple, or those outside Gokul's, or even Kanjurmarg's Balaji vadapav, let me not recall all that and get wistfully greedy. What they have here is good enough for me to be unable to resist it for long enough.

Over the last few months, I've listened with rapt attention to whatever Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev had to say. I'd been skeptical of Spiritual gurus before, but what he was professing made a lot of sense to me. In fact, let me not understate. It had a great impact on me, his lectures accessed a part of me I had lost access to as I had grown older. In a way, they helped me reconnect with the purer, happier parts of me. So let me not belabour how much gratitude and respect I have for him, because the more I write the more susceptible I am to an inaccurate depiction of it.

For this reason, it was hard for me to write the following comments on one of his recent videos. I'll paste the video as well as my comment here, and on this occasion I would invite any readers of my blog to share their views on the video and my comment. It was a big step for me, challenging the views of someone whose wisdom and intellect I deeply respect and consider far above my own, so I'm naturally a little iffy.

So here's the video:

And here's my comment:

"I've learned a lot from Sadhguru but I have to differ here.
One, the fact that slaughter of cows for export of beef is continuing is not enough reason to not be worried about animal cruelty in Jallikattu. This argument is akin to saying that if you can't climb the Everest yet, don't climb the hill near your house. Real progress is a step by step process, you fight for what you can get when you can get it, and then try for more. Two, whatever valour might be for a man or beauty for a woman, it is not bigger than what dignity and safety is for an animal, another 'piece of life', as we might call them. Besides, valour doesn't cease to exist because you can't express it by toying with an animal. Three, the point about no animal ever having died in this game even as men have died during it is not a valid defence (even if we assume it is a fact) for the simple reason that men who died during it made the 'conscious' decision to play this game, while the bulls that are injured (the videos I've seen of the game being played bear this out amply) did not choose this, they were forced to. I've learned from Sadhguru how what you do consciously is beautiful, while that which is not lacks any pleasantness, so I was surprised by this omission. I've learned a lot from Sadhguru and will continue to do so, but I think that I differ on this and just want to express what I really feel. Perhaps it seemed as important to me as valour is to men."



  1. I watch Shivani Bramhakumari's videos sometimes, despite deep abhorrence towards "Spiritual Gurus". It started casually like that; somethings just made sense. She doesn't mention a particular God often and most of her discourse seems very practical. But then I follow Hinduism (although reading about the history of Hinduism tells me, there was no such thing as a blanket Hinduism and definitely nothing like Hindutva until late 19th century. The Shaivas and Shaakts pretty much existed as separate religions, for example) culturally and I am mostly agnostic to God.

    I agree with your comment completely. The only thing I dislike is this - "valour might be for a man or beauty for a woman". Can we please stop associating valor only to men and leaving nothing but "beauty" to be a woman's most cherished/desired quality? I know you can do better than this.

    1. Oh, well. If you saw the video, the opening statement he makes is "Valour is to a man what beauty is to a woman." And so, in my response, I begin by "whatever valour may be for a man or beauty for a woman..". By omitting the "whatever" and quoting the rest, you ascribe it meaning it didn't carry.

      If by 'valour is to a man what beauty is to a woman' the implication is that valour only belongs to men and beauty is a woman's most cherished quality, then I totally disagree with it. And if that is the implication, then it must also be the implication that beauty only belongs to women and valour is a man's most cherished quality. I would disagree with that too. So in a nutshell, I disagree with that sentence you quoted, therefore, in more ways than you mention, so I don't know what you mean when you say I can do better than this. It wasn't my statement anyway.

  2. My bad, I didn't watch the video as you rightly figured out, just read your post and the comment to which I agree. The line threw me off, because I can still possibly expect this in jest from you, but it felt weird that you would endorse this belief. Faith restored. Thank you!