FLOW LIKE A RIVER; Life is to live – Interview with Dr TPS

published on June 26, 2013

Osho once remarked, “Life is not a problem to be solved. It’s a mystery to be lived.” But are we aware of ‘Life’ that we often talk, philosophise, dream and worry about? When we talk about the various aspects of life; the uncertainties and experiences do we really understand what life is?   Rarely do we realize that we are floating in an ocean of life- a big life. It is not simple. But it can be made simple, assures Dr. Thavarool Puthiyadath Sasikumar, popularly knows as Dr.TPS, Spiritual Director and a Life Skill Trainer based in Banagaluru.

Born in Naduvil, Kannur, Kerala on 2 October 1964, Dr TPS is a blessed being who has received a special stroke of Grace to understand that life, from birth to death, is essentially a learning experience.  He believes that each situation, challenge and relationships contain messages that are worth learning and teaching.  He has critical and powerful observations about life.

He is a mathematician, space scientist, programme planner, project manager, psychologist, writer, educationist, public speaker, spiritual coach, life skill trainer all rolled into one.   All his credentials are duly authenticated by academic qualifications. Ph.D in Mathematics, MS in psychotherapy and counselling, MBA in human resource/ knowledge management, LLb in General law, certificates in Remote Sensing, GPS, Scanner maintenance, mapping, etc.  He is also a keen student of therapies, self hypnosis, Yoga, meditation, astrology, vastu , Vedas, etc.  The inherent quest for knowledge led him from one subject to the other.  Knowledge to him is a flame to be kindled to another. His life mission is to disseminate what he has acquired to other, particularly students. In order to devote more time to public talks and classes, he took voluntary retirement in 2009 from the Department of space.  He says that over the years, in thousands of sessions he had addressed more than three lakhs of students, over a lakh of teachers and around the same number of public.  He is a proponent of Eastern philosophy and Vedic science with a scientific outlook.  He conducts classes and workshops not only on various topics related to motivation, learning, teaching, career and life management but also in pranayama, meditation, spiritual direction,  life-skill training and counseling.

During his recent visit to Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, to address the inmates of Santhigiri Ashram, I met Dr. TPS at the guest house of the ashram.  Excerpts from the exclusive interview:
1.       What is spirituality?
Spiritual means Atmeeyam, i.e. being in the Atma level. In short, being spiritual means a engaging in activities in a meditative mood. Such a person indulges in different activities in a natural and unattached way. His activities will emerge from Atma, so that Buddhi or Manas is not taxed.  In such a level the person may not be even aware that he has reached that stage. Rather than becoming spiritual, being Spiritual is important.  By being spiritual ones life becomes bliss.

2.    How can one grow spiritually?

By practicing meditation. But before taking meditation, one has to control the indriyas and manas.  In the asthanga yoga propounded by Patanjali, one has to practice Pranayama and control of indriyas before attempting meditation. Ramana maharshi says that Pranayama is like the nested bird. The practice has to be under the direct supervision of a guru and reaching to meditation is a long step and not a pick-and-go road-side packet solution for all the problems as being advertised nowadays by many.

3.    The range of subjects you have studied is vast and amazing.  How were you able to connect with several different subjects/topics?

Every subject is related and connected as there is nothing in this world which is not connected. In school classes students learn different subjects such as Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Social Studies, etc. However, in their higher classes, instead of learning variety of topics, they are compelled to learn subjects in isolation.   I love to connect and learn.  If one learns about Brahmandam it become Cosmology, close to physics into orbital and planetary motions, but if you learn about one of the planets – Earth – then it becomes Geography. If you zoom further in – you will learn biology, zoology up to cell level and then micro-biology up to micro-meter level. Further inside takes you to atoms, which is Chemistry. If one goes deeper inside to reach electrons and electro-magnetic-energy, it becomes physics.   Get to nano meter to learn nano-technology which branches into many different areas. If one observes the changes that had occurred in a geographic location over a period of time, it becomes study of History.  Learn from observing and connecting.   

4.    You advocate the study of Bhagavad Gita, Yogavasishta, Upanishads etc? How is this going to help the modern man?

The confusion and conflict Arjuna faced is prevalent among the modern man.  Bhagavad Gita offers solution to Arjuna’s confusion and tension.    He was not able to practice whatever he had learnt due to conflict / stress / confusion / attachment.  Krishna as an excellent psychotherapist convinced Arjuna the need to perform. Like wise, the Upanishads and Yogavasishta also contain a lot of questions and answers related to Psychological problems, often faced by us.  The psychological problems faced by Arjuna and the modern man are similar.  Our scriptures, particularly the Bhagavad Gita gives clear answers to human problems.

5.    Every reformer suggests drastic changes in our educations system.  You often interact with teachers and students in a big way.  What are your suggestions to improve our educational system?

The major problem faced by the education system is the non-availability of quality teachers. We have a good system, nice textbooks and syllabus.  But at implementation level, teachers are not fully putting their heart and effort.  If our teachers put their heart and soul in teaching, our education system could become one of the best in the world.  Our children are very receptive to quality teaching. I train teachers to be Effective and Affective. A good teacher is one who is able to prompt his/her students ask questions and visualise things.  Simply giving data can be done by a textbook or a library.  The teacher must inculcate the ability to analyse / interpret / compare / judge / criticise in his/her students.   A good teacher must be able to motivate and should create interest in his subject.

6.    What do you mean by human value education?

There is manushyatuvtam (Humanness) in every human being. Manushyattam is the humanness in a person.  If one has to be social one need to have good value system. For being social one has to help all beings around. By birth human beings are useless for most of the other animals. Almost all other animals and plants are one or other way useful to other living being.  At least as human being one must be useful to other human beings. As a human being what makes us distinct from other animals is learning and teaching. Education has to be that leads to being human and social. Making others happy is the best value system people should have, but happy not temporary, but longer. Teaching all this is is value education.
7    What was the turning point in your life?  

Any day – any moment can be a turning point in one’s life. A good question may be a turning point. I have written my philosophy of Life in my book. Fall like a river and grow like a river. Failing in some class, probably throwing out of a school for being bad, getting less marks and not able to get a seat for higher studies, getting zero mark for internal examination during post-graduation; anything can be a turning point. May be meeting different people, getting a higher job, recognitions, large audience to listen etc. could be a turning point.  A failure or a success can be a turning point. There are many such occasions / moments in life. Every activity what I do and its memory is a turning point. It has a shorter or longer impact of thoughts and that triggers a new activity at times.

8.    You are an admirer of Swami Vivekananda. Your views on Swamiji…..

Swami Vivekananda was a highly evolved spiritual being with a core Nationalistic view. The oft quoted words “if u want to know India, learn Swami Vivekananda, ” reveals all that he stood for.    He practised what is told in the Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures.  He had the most modern outlook, wandered around India and understood the problems Indian society of that time faced.  Like a doctor, he prescribed ‘medicines’ to recover from our slumber and illness.  Perhaps in history you may not see any other Swamij who had started an Ashram in his Guru’s name, instead in his own-name. Vivekananda loved his Guru so much and established Ramakrishna Ashrams in different parts of India.  But at the same time Vivekananda could not make another Vivekdananda, only Sri Ramakrishna could do that.   In that way my respect to Vivekananda, goes directly to Sri Ramakrishna.

9.    Are personality and individuality different?

“Persona”, means mask. Personality is revealed through ones behaviour, how one interacts with others.  Personality is one which gives recognition in society. One may not be very good, but may always act as good.  That is the reason it is called as a mask. On the other hand ‘Individuality’ is what you really are.  At times one who shows his individuality is disliked by others.  Many a times one may have to put an artificial way of reacting to people and situations.  Individuality is what you are and personality is what others think you are.

10.    You are active in social network groups such as Orkut, Yahoo, etc.  In what way such groups help in individual growth?

Today’s youth with whom I frequently interact are active in social media. The best way to convey a message to them is through this medium.  Virtual sathsang has been taking place through social media.  The participants, without any inhibitions, freely open up and exchange ideas. When a topic for discussion is opened, a lot of ideas are exchanged, benefiting all the participants.   

11.    How to bring out the divinity within each soul as advocated by Swami Vivekananda?

In order to bring out the divinity within, the intelligence inherent in each being has to be developed.  For this the brain has to be given proper exercises.  The habit of reading, asking questions, developing curiosity, etc has to be developed.  As an individual one should be a good human. In my sessions, I try to bring out the Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Social and Spiritual aspects f the individual. This is the way to make the individual divine.  In such a person there will not be any conflict between his Individuality and personality, i.e his character and the behaviour will not be in conflict.

12.    Your prescriptions for managing life beautifully?

Live in present. Take-up variety of ideas / projects / activity and always keep busy. Involve with society. Understand that worrying will not solve any problem.  See the beautiful life outside as well as inside. Grow from looking good to feeling good to being good.  Life becomes beautiful only when one himself is happy and contended.  Enjoy LIFE!.

13.    How to manage stress, faced by a lot of professionals?

Stress is an emotional feeling. One, who enjoys a drive, even though physically tired, will not be emotionally down. Anyone who is completely immersed in his work won’t have stress. One can overcome Stress by channelling the mind.  Look back on the achievements in life to draw energy and work will be a thrilling experience. Be like a mountaineer, the more goes to the top his visibility increases and that gives him the energy for the next steps ahead.

14.     Your message to our readers?

Live LIFE in Full Enjoyment. Flow like a river and grow like a tree. Keep serving all around. Learn and Teach. Enrich LIFE with energy, enthusiasm, creativity to fill it with bliss. Create moments that are memorable.

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