Monday, May 23, 2011

My take on T T Rangarajan

A friend of mine insisted that I listen to a CD of T T Rangarajan’s speech titled “Complete Adulthood”. That device did not open on my computer from a glitch beyond my comprehension. The friend persisted: he changed this CD to another. Seeing his determination I was now even prepared to call the maintenance person to make this CD run. I heard it and instantly realized why my well-wisher had been so pushy. This man packs a punch.

One thought from that CD – a two hour lecture – stood out: Each time you are stressed, ask what is it in the circumstance or person that you are not accepting? I did use this thought during my mind’s restless moments, this insight does attenuate the mind’s feverish energy.

Then I saw two capsules of TTR on Headlines Today channel. His words have a way of triggering the mind straight as a arrow, wisdom presented in a language and manner I cherished: One part of your mind is the conscious part while seven parts are unconscious. They are times you take a decision but your core-being revolts or goes slow. Listen and pay heed. 

I loved this analogy: While driving on the road we don’t ask who is wrong or right? We instinctively correct our course because “my life is dependent” on it. Why don’t we take this road insight into our relations? When you take a “U- turn” the world likewise turns to the degree and makes you more at ease.

Sankaran has been a regular attendee of TTR’s Sunday lectures in the city. This man is hugely popular; his shows are packed one hour before time. He closes the auditorium entrance on the dot; no latecomers are allowed. The same discipline holds for mobile phones. His lectures start with a Swiss efficiency; not a minute late. T T Rangarajan is a man in mid-forties and perhaps India’s best motivational speakers. I only heard him for the first time last week and now doing a blog!!!!

Yesterday I heard his lecture on “Untold stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata”. Some learning and excerpts:
a)      We are made of both emotional and rational; we should be prudent to use them depending on the occasion. You don’t go to a dead man’s house and enquire,” How did your father die?” rather better to keep quiet and quietly assure.
b)      Never take a decision when you are emotionally surcharged. Tell yourself,” I am going to give myself two days and see if the decision is still valid”. Likewise never assail anyone on facts when they are not in a position to grasp being doused emotionally. Give them time to recover their poise when their mind is amenable to reason.
c)      We as individuals need both “emotions” and “reasons” – one to appreciate nature, feel the emotions of love, loyalty. These add meaning to our lives while reason helps us plan and take informed decisions.
d)      In Ramayana, every character suffered misery because they all took their decisions in an emotional state; they were not aligned to the natural law. Dasaratha could have satisfied Kaikeye with a rose and hug instead of conferring,” Ask of me anything by way of two boons.” (never promise anyone anything that you may not keep up!!!!) When Mandira corrupts Kaikeye’s mind, the queen could have said,” There is something in what you say. Just give me two days to reflect over.” Or even the king could have said,” I will halt Rama’s ascendancy and wait for Bharata to come.” Or Rama could have postponed going to the forest and waited for the younger brother. Everyone was in a tearing hurry as though to catch a train!!. Dasaratha died heart-broken, Kaikeye shunned by the world, Rama terrible afflictions from separation after Sita’s kidnap, Laxman away from his wife, Bharata living in the outskirts like a hermit. All this could have been averted if anyone had the foresight and said,” Just give me two days to mull over”. Bharata would have come and solved all their problems. But they acted in haste reserving no space for patience.
e)      Rama was born in a palace but spent most of his life in forests. Krishna was born in a jail but spent most of his life in palaces. So it does not matter where you are born and yet you can go on to achieve to any extent. Don’t blame your parents; those have an expiry date. Instead take responsibilities.
f)       The god you worship is an object outside. Whether Jesus is great or Allah or Krishna does not depend on them; but on the strength of your faith, the subject. An atheist may see a sculpture as a stone engraving while a devotee sees the divine within and that leads to feeling the presence of the divine inside himself.
g)      Sita would have done anything for her husband Rama including jumping into the fire-pit as many times as was needed to convince him of her purity. When the dhobi berated Rama for taking his wife back, Sita said to Rama,” I love you and will do anything to convince you. But I will not convince a dhobi today, carpenter tomorrow, and electrician the next day by jumping into fire each time. So I am going to leave you and reside in the forest where I don’t have to prove my innocence”. So the lesson is: When you are in love, don’t end up being a doormat. (Aside point: in today’s times a woman can sleep with any number of men and yet be high on the social register. Why? Money absolves a lot of things!!!)
h)      A man complained that Krishna is a womanizer with 18,000 wives. The Swami asked,” Are you married?” Yes. How many wives? One, Swamiji. Do you keep her happy? We have our off days and some on days. The Swamiji thundered,” You cannot make one woman happy while Krishna kept 18,000 happy. On that score alone, he is God.”
i)        When Duryodhana got the Yadava army in preference to an unarmed Krishna in the battle, Dhritarashtra was very sad: If God is on their side, they win automatically. Of what use is anything else?
j)        I loved the way TTR analyzed Hanuman’s devotion (perhaps the only character in Ramayana who was not muddled or took any decisions when emotionally distraught) and I enjoyed his interpretation of the Gita. Arjuna could have done “abhisekham” to the Lord, circumambulated, and waved a camphor praying for the Lord to take the weapons. Arjuna would have happily become his charioteer. The truth is: Lord can only guide us and not fight our battles.

I loved the two hour lectures; they were so many gold nuggets. There is a sense of immediacy about his appeal. This man is definitely worth a listen and he serves many lessons in his unique way. I generally don't recommend "motivational speakers" but this is a glorious exemption. Alma Mater's T T Rangarajan scores in the minds of his listeners. 

Six months later....

If there is a crib, it is the cult status that his followers confer on him. Besides the "almanities" and "non-almanities" nomenclature as though a passageway to heaven and "Happy morning" and the unabashed self-congratulatory speeches from the podium (this is very much a talking obsessed group) are irritants that lowers the credibility. TT Rangarajan is still worth a listen or two, gets tediously repetitive after that.  

Of late, it is painful to see a man who talks so much sense seek such absurd levels of grandeur and promotion. T T Ranganathan is now the "voice of Ra"; "alma mater" is now "infinitheism". My initial impression of the "Complete Adulthood" has a bit frayed. But there is no doubting the oratory prowess of TTR. He has his crowd and I have my Swami Paramarthananda weekend lectures and daily dose of Vipassana. I have one advice for any spiritual/self-improvement seeker: Never follow a guru who is heavy on self-promotions. Let him make a career but don't be an impediment to his path on the progress by signing as a follower!


Kaber Vasuki said...

Hey. I'd like to read your book "darling India".

Do you have a copy? I could put it up in my library too, so more people will read it.

Ravi said...

Cannot agree with you more on the post especially after the 11.11.11 madness. He is a good speaker but the blind expectation of faith, the opulence and pictures of him resembling peace is very 'cultish'.

PT said...

Agree about success going to the head and needlessly reinventing oneself and the cult following but I think it just goes to show that many people are indeed more human than they wish to be ! But ultimately, In my opinion, if we can grasp the essence without concerning ourselves about the packaging, we are still good !

A.Sathyanarayanan said...

A teacher without credibility is worse than a maligned politican (at least we expect of that class). Teachers are different for no teaching happens when he/she loses respect in the class. This man has become an insufferable parody today; suddenly he seems stuffed with octane of both a spiderman and a superman just by wearing an "jock" outside. I have no rhyme or reason to pick on him except as an instance of a world fast losing its bearings.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know from where can
we download tt rangarajan's speech

PEnaPunaivan said...'s more than 1 year since you made your last post...I started listening to him around March 2012, and I had gone through your review around the same time...While I was a bit circumspect after reading all you have said ("six months later..."), I still persisted...I incidentally bumped into a video from one of his lectures where he picked up a live case-study of someone whose son could not stand on his own legs due to a bone disorder, and fighting all odds, he persisted for years together to get his son up on his own legs - succeeding after years together...He brought them - both the father and the son who was now in his 20s - on the dais, and demonstrated to the world what faith can do...This father-son duo had been towing his path for many years, as I could figure out from the lecture...Another incident - a lecture in July 2012 around Father's Day...when one of his followers - a young, upcoming music composer - had composed and sung a song dedicated to fathers, and he played that song in his lecture...All these re-ignited my verve and belief that this man had something special in him...
Thank God, I persisted...To this date, he continues to inspire me...he's been pushing me thru' his lectures to go the extra step...I'm not a complete follower of his Infinipath...I only listen to his lectures offline while driving to/from work every day...but I can definitely say that even a single ride without his lecture makes me feel incomplete...I think you should just throw away any pre-conceived notions and just follow his lectures..I'm sure you'll begin to feel a new peace of mind and sense of control ! God Bless !!
Loving you so much...

A.Sathyanarayanan said...

Thanks for writing in Pena. I am sure each of us will find a guru to the level we are ready to listen/receive. TTR is very good; he has a good influence to so many of my friends. So please don't mind my observations - I have tempered them down after your comment. Personally I take my spiritual edification from Swami Paramarthananda and a daily Vipassana meditatoar - these two influences are 100% pure that I am in a position to evaluate others (from my own limited self). I wish to cause no offense to anyone but since TTR is a public person and since this is my private space; I choose to comment as I see from my eyes and ears. Of course he is good otherwise we would not be talking. All the best in your spiritual progress. Regards, Sathya