Navigating Professional Challenges: Insights from Rama’s Story and Modern Philosophies on Ego

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In Ego is the Enemy, author Ryan Holiday discusses how unchecked ego can obstruct personal and professional success, advocating for a life led with humility and a focus on collective rather than personal achievements. This theme resonates strongly with the character of Lord Rama in the Ramayana, especially during the events leading up to his coronation and subsequent exile.

Duty Over Recognition: According to Holiday, the pursuit of recognition can derail an individual from their true responsibilities. Similarly, when Rama is chosen as the future king, he doesn’t revel in future prospects of power; instead, he remains focused and modest, exemplifying how subduing personal pride aligns with true leadership qualities.

Grace Under Pressure: Rama’s ordeal of being exiled just as he is about to be crowned demonstrates his extraordinary ability to handle adversity with grace—choosing to uphold his father’s promise over fighting the decision. Holiday suggests that in similar situations, ego might compel one to react negatively, but Rama’s composed acceptance underscores the strength found in prioritizing duty and peace over personal desires.

Leading Without Ego: Rama’s readiness to put the kingdom’s welfare ahead of his own exemplifies selfless leadership. This is a cornerstone of success in any collective endeavor, as Holiday notes, where the focus is on communal stability and long-term objectives rather than short-lived personal gains.

Practical Applications in Workplace Dynamics: In everyday work scenarios, professionals can draw from Rama’s acceptance and Holiday’s philosophy to deal with workplace conflicts or personal slights. If a prince can gracefully accept exile instead of ascending to the throne, it sets a profound precedent for handling professional setbacks or confrontations with similar dignity and calm. This approach fosters a work environment that values resilience and teamwork over individual grievances, promoting a culture where mutual respect and professional growth are paramount.

Adopting such a mindset allows individuals to concentrate on broader career goals, navigate office politics with acumen, and respond to criticism constructively. Embracing the principle of duty over personal ambition helps build a reputation as a thoughtful and steadfast leader, capable of guiding teams through complex challenges with a focus on integrity and shared success.

Here is a wonderful dialogue from Son of Satyamurthy that captures the importance of values, which are constant and have to be upheld at any cost and which keeps our ego in check.

“మనం బావున్నప్పుడు లెక్కలు మట్లాడి కష్టాల్లొ ఉన్నప్పుడు విలువలు మట్లాడకూడదు ….”

“Manam bavvunapudu Lekkalu matladi… Kastaallo unapudu Viluvalu matladakudadhu sir”

Trivikram in the movie ‘Son of Satyamurthy’

Sufi and Hindu Music: Spiritual Journeys

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With the Huge Tradition of Sufism

Sufi music offers a soul-stirring journey through the mélange of spiritual stories on melodious sounds, piercing deep into the heart of a listener. This kind of music transcends like the river that flows over the many landscapes of the human heart, regardless of languages and cultures. Equally, Hindu music, predominantly represented by devotional expressions, embodies a search for the divine, resonating with the Sufi quest for union with the eternal.

The Essence of Sufi Music

The Sufi music is the auditive heart of the Sufi’s spiritual odyssey—an exotic, sacred tradition where listening (sama) is the act of seeking divine ecstasy.

It is this world where poetry and melody braid together to weave the story of soul travel towards divine love. The music of the Sufi tradition is a dance of the soul, invoking through rhythmic patterns and nuances of the lyrics the listener’s state into deep contemplation and spiritual rapture.

An Ode to the Mystic: “Dam Mast Qalandar”

Take, for instance, the qawwali “Dam Mast Qalandar,” now immortalized by the sheer rendition of the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. It is not a song, but a spiritual anthem harnessing waves of reverence for Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. It goes something like this:

“Dum Mast Qalandar Mast Mast,
Ik Vird Hai Dum Dum Ali Ali,
Sakhi Laal Qalandar Mast Mast”

In these verses, bursts the trance ecstasy of the religious sanctity of Qalandar, while a punctuating “Ali, Ali” among the strings produces overwhelming spiritual ties and devotion.

The Islamic Roots of Sufi Music

Sufi music does not stand apart from the Islamic world but springs from its very midst, born of the poetic expression of the faith, spiritual philosophy, and the divine, sacred verses of the Quran. It acts as the spiritual bridge that calls the hearts of believers unto the divine, at the same time making very simple the complicated theology of Islam via the music, universally.

Bridging Worlds: Sufi and Hindu Musical Harmony

The beauty that touches is how Sufi and Hindu devotional music, though coming from two varied religious ideologies, manage to unite in a unison of thematic essences and emotional texture.

Both traditions seize the longing for the divine buried within human life, using music as a powerful force that raises the spirit above its temporal environs.

This is one shared heritage to the people of the Indian subcontinent. Cultural and musical symbiosis takes place, such as the echo of the divine resounding in the minaret and the temple.

A Hindu Hymn of Devotion: “Bhaja Govindam”

Among all the devotional music of the Hindus, ‘Bhaja Govindam’ appears as a call from the depth of spiritual awakening. The hymn is composed by Adi Shankaracharya and sums up Vedantic wisdom, melodiously urging the soul to seek the eternal amidst the transience of the world. A key verse sums up this philosophy:

“भगवद् गीता किञ्चिदधीता
गङ्गा जललव कणिकापीता ।
सकृदपि येन मुरारि समर्चा
क्रियते तस्य यमेन न चर्चा ॥”

“Read but a little from the Bhagavad-Gita,
Drink just a drop of water from the Ganges,
Worship but once Murari (Krishna),
He then will have no altercation with Yama (the god of death).”

Here, the hymn explores the effects that spiritual engagement, even in small amounts, could do in the means of transcending the ephemeral nature of life and being raised into eternal happiness.

In Conclusion: A Symphony of Spiritual Unity

It is as different rivers from several sources but leading to one ocean of spiritual concord—the musical journey of Sufi and Hindu traditions. “Dam Mast Qalandar” and “Bhaja Govindam” are not songs; they are rather those which carry the content of love for the divine and spiritual truth. They tell the stories to the soul in quest for the infinite through musical sounds, guiding man of all time towards a tenderer sense of divine.

For in these musical and spiritual landscapes, each tradition has offered more than sound; they have offered an entrance to transcendence, a way to reach out and touch the divine, a language for the soul in its most powerful yearnings. This is the power of music: doing what language and culture cannot do, that is, bridging humanity with the divine and still vibrating in our hearts today with the quest for fullness in spirit.

Related Links:

Duma Dum Mast Qalander – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Top Qawwali Songs (

Bhaja Govindam song By M.S. Subbulakshmi | Carnatic Classical Music | Krishna Bhajan | Carnatic Song (

Embracing Life’s Flavors: A Comparative Reflection on Ugadi Pachchadi and ‘Lilies of the Field’

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As we welcome the festival of Ugadi, it’s fitting to reflect on the symbolism of its central ritual, the tasting of Ugadi Pachchadi, and how it finds resonance in the narrative of the classic film ‘Lilies of the Field’.

Ugadi Pachchadi is a special dish prepared on this day, symbolizing the essence of life. Each ingredient in this dish represents a different emotion. Sweetness, bitterness, sourness, and other tastes are all combined in this dish, reflecting the various aspects of life. The sweetness may represent moments of joy and success, while the bitterness could signify obstacles and challenges. The sour taste can be a symbol of surprises and unpredictable events in life.

Much like the lessons drawn from the tasting of Ugadi Pachchadi, the classic film ‘Lilies of the Field’ also presents a narrative that is a blend of various life experiences. Released in 1963, the movie tells the story of a passerby who inadvertently becomes part of a monumental task – building a church for a group of nuns. The passerby, played by Sidney Poitier, initially views the task as impossible and expects a reward for his efforts. However, as the story unfolds, both the passerby and the elderly nun leading the group undergo transformative experiences.

Just as the Ugadi Pachchadi combines various tastes, the film combines the themes of faith, cooperation across racial and national lines, and the impact of one’s labor on society. It shows life’s unpredictability and the possibility of finding sweetness in what initially appears to be a bitter experience. Just as the passerby initially sees his task as a burden, he eventually finds a sense of devotion and excellence in the process.

The film also mirrors the symbolism of Ugadi Pachchadi in its exploration of the idea that appearances can be deceiving. What initially appears impossible or daunting may, upon closer inspection, reveal itself to be an opportunity for growth and learning. This reflects the essence of Ugadi Pachchadi, which teaches us to embrace all aspects of life and understand that nothing is as it initially appears.

In conclusion, as we celebrate Ugadi and partake in the tasting of the symbolic Pachchadi, let us remember the lessons it offers. Let’s embrace the unpredictability of life and the varied experiences it brings, much like the characters in ‘Lilies of the Field’. Here’s to a year that, despite its mixture of sweet, sour, and bitter experiences, leads us to growth, understanding, and wisdom.

Additional Trivia: Sidney Poitier, the lead actor of ‘Lilies of the Field’, made history by becoming the first African American to win an Oscar award for his performance in the film. Furthermore, thanks to Amazon’s acquisition of MGM, this classic film is now available for viewing on Amazon Prime.

ET, IT…and the rest