Tag Archives: #happy

Happiness Beyond Mind: An Individual Experience

Simplicity is not simple. It takes a lot of thought and effort to condense complex concepts to a simple, practical, and easy to follow recipe for getting to “contentment” or “happiness”. By distilling the essence of ancient Indian philosophy, practicing it himself, and sharing his experiences as he travels the path of dharma (good life conduct), Rajesh Sengamedu has created a forehead-slapping page-turner of a book.

Happiness Beyond Mind gives us a clear path to rethink, structure, and execute our entire life in “thought, word, and deed” to journey to a state of contentment and happiness. As Gandhi once said “the path is the goal”, Rajesh’s book is the path.

As soon as I flipped through Rajesh’s acknowledgments, I found it thoroughly engrossing as he takes us on a journey of deep thought and introspection on why, with all worldly accomplishments and success we still feel empty and conflicted, with examples from his own life. It is this trait of personal experience that immediately sucks you into his journey into spiritual realization — you can connect with him as you look back on your own life. His language is simple for us to understand and relate to. He does revert to colloquialisms which really help emphasize and drive his points home. You really get it.

The stories and anecdotes deserve special attention. Rajesh beautifully blends quite complex analogies from the ancient Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita with his own experiences with family, friends, and colleagues — and I found myself with a big lump in my throat or nodding or simply going “now I’ve never thought of it that way!” This is not an easy thing to achieve.

Author, Rajesh Sengamedu

Rajesh also makes it clear that Indian thought and philosophy are monotheistic, contrary to lots of misconceptions promulgated by iconoclasts. The key is to follow dharma in thought, word, and deed and ultimately merge with the Absolute Reality, the one Supreme Being.

The ratha kalpana analogy from the Kathopanishad was what I would call mind-blasting (no pun intended). It would take a lot to erase the characters from memory; the passenger (ego), the charioteer (intellect), the reins (emotional mind), and the horses (five sense organs). This analogy and the function of how the entire chariot (human body) functions may appear so obvious AFTER you’ve heard Rajesh describe it. And of course, great examples are the letters to his daughter and son actually at the end of the book in three Appendices, but they’re like The Gita (the core essence) of the book! You could just read those and consider them a synopsis of the entire 185 pages preceding them.

The prescriptive part of the book where Rajesh insists that we follow the path of dharma (right life conduct) dives deep into how to think, how to handle day-to-day life situations with words, and of course action — with yoga and meditation, and finally how to approach the goal of understanding oneself and that we are part of the larger whole. “Do try it!” goes his persuasive, characteristic nudge throughout the book, you can almost picture him smiling benevolently over you. I personally found this portion extremely helpful. This will be a practical takeaway for me for years to come. This is the enduring portion and can only be realized through action. You know the author is already on the path and is speaking from his personal experience and transformation. You also realize the importance and reverence Rajesh gives his Gurus, showing a deep sense of learning, understanding, and gratitude.

I strongly urge all readers, young, old, innocent, not so innocent, brash, arrogant, big-hearted, small-hearted — to read Rajesh’s work. For each one of us reading will walk away with our individual experience and messages, and it automatically becomes The Happiness Beyond the Mind WE know for ourselves.

 Raj Gopalaswamy has over 18 years’ leadership in innovation, business strategy, account management, and new product development. 

123…The Happiest Man!

The oldest man in the world? The happiest man alive? A yoga genius? Who is Swami Sivananda?

Virtual Bharat’s latest in a 1000 film journey of the untold stories of India, takes us to Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, this International Yoga Day. The film tells the story of Swami Sivananda, an old man, who when asked his age, grins at the camera stating with pride…“I am? 123!” Born on August 8, 1896, Swami Sivananda is today, 124 years old, making him the oldest living man on the planet! The Guinness Book of World Records has yet to certify him the longest living man. 

Like many Indians, even decades younger, Swami Sivananda has no official verification of his birth, save for a temple register that has his birth listed under this date. India’s passport authorities have used this as a confirmation of his age. He jabs at both his passport and aadhaar card when the team asks him if he has anything to actually prove his age. He adds, with confidence, “if you want proof, you can bring a doctor!” 

With ageless grace and a sharp sense of humor, he takes the team through his daily routine. Two solid hours of yoga, two simple meals a day comprising of dal, roti, and sabzi (vegetables) and the rest of his time reading the Gita. To him, it is this discipline and simplicity that has allowed him to live up to this ripe age. “Yoga brings mental peace and happiness”, he says as he also states that he has no desire, disease, or depression—the 3 Ds that he has no time or space in his life for. 

Yoga for him is the key to a happy life. Swami Sivananda lost his parents by the age of 6 and was then taken under the wing of a spiritual guide who took him around the world. His eyes gleam as he rattles off the long list of countries he has been to…Luxembourg, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Netherlands…almost 50 in total! That was his introduction to yoga. To this day, he practices yoga, and the film depicts his stunningly supple body at this inspiring age. 

He laughs as we ask him what the key to a long life is, and says, “This is the kalyug; everyone is greedy. It is impossible to live for 123 years!” It is with this cheer that Swami Sivananda goes about his day, claiming he has no time for anything apart from this: “I am, not only the oldest but also the happiest living man in the world!” A man who has lived through almost two pandemics now, smiles bright as he tells the world that happiness and simplicity are what keep him going. A story of joy, simplicity, and humor, this film shows us there is always light at the end of the tunnel. 

Virtual Bharat in collaboration with India Currents will release a monthly series highlighting the stories Virtual Bharat is capturing in India. Stay tuned for more!

Virtual Bharat is a 1000 film journey of untold stories of India spanning people, landscapes, literature, folklore, dance, music, traditions, architecture, and more in a repository of culture. The vision of director Bharatbala, creator of Maa Tujhe Salaam, we are a tale of India told person-by-person, story-by-story, and experience-by-experience. The films are under 10 minutes in length and are currently available on Virtual Bharat’s Youtube Channel