Student and teacher of Vedanta, Mentor, Writer, Motivator.
Founder Trustee – Vidya Vaaridhi Trust
Uday Acharya on Times of India and Mumbai Mirror
U day Acharya was interviewed by Ranjit Hoskote in Times of India August 8, 1999 Mumbai:
‘Interactive Vedanta’ is probably how Mr Uday Acharya would describe the series of talks on the Bhagavad Gita that he is giving at a city book store every Saturday afternoon this month. His name may conjure up the image of a story-book guru given to heavy-duty Sanskrit pronouncements, but when Acharya talks about the spiritual quest, he employs the language of the Internet buff.
“We do have the power to unscubscribe from unhealthy ideas and subscribe to healthy ones, as though they were list-servers,” observes the 43-yearold teacher, whose journey as a seeker began while he was a schoolboy in Mumbai and came under the influence of Swami Chinmayananda and his disciple, Swami Dayananda. “And the spiritual quest is rally a constant process by which we upgrade ourselves.”
It is scarcely surprising, then, that many of the people who visit Acharya at the book store’s website (where he answers questions relating to spirituality and personal development) are young people. Students and professionals, they speak from a condition of distress brought on by an inability to balance happiness and spiritual purpose with career demands and material rewards – Acharya transfers the healing insights of the world’s religious traditions for them in a terminology they understand.
His sensitivity to this new, growing audience may also explain why Acharya, despite having 12 years of teaching on the Upanishads and the Gita behind him, calls himself “an explorer, a continuous student, not a teacher on a pedestal, but a friend.” This reinterpretation of the guru’s role gives him the opportunity, he says, to learn from contemporary experience while sharing the knowledge he has inherited from the past.
“There is enough wisdom available in the world to see us all through,” smiles Acharya, who imbibed both philosophy and tact from his teachers in Rishikesh during the early 1980s. “My aim is to cull and share as much of it as possible with people across religions, cultures and generations.”
Acharya gathers that wisdom from an eclectic array of sources, including the Upanishads, the Dhammapada, Anthony de Mello’s parables, Richard Bach’s meditations, Edward de Bono’s courses in mental agility, Fritjof Capra’s attempts to bridge science and religion, as well as the often riddle-like teaching stories of the Zen and Taoist masters.
Emphasizing the self-development aspect of these legacies over the religions one, he reminds us that the essentially similar core teachings of all the wisdom traditions should not be obscured by outward differences.Although not an ordained sanyasin, Acharya leads what he terms “a sadhu life in society, dedicated to putting people in touch with their inner resources, helping them to optimize their time and energy, to fulfill themselves at play, at work, in their relationships.”
Through the periodic workshops that he holds for students and corporate groups, Acharya helps people to help themselves in very practical situations. “I show them that problem can be turned into opportunities, because growth takes place at the point where challenge stimulates response,” he says. “Each of us must lead an authentic life, tapping into our creativity while generating synergy with others.
Working with colleagues like the spiritual teacher Ram Mohan and the psychologist Rani Raote, Acharya guides students through minefields like success and interpersonal relationships, stress management, love and obsession. To his corporate shishyas, he speaks on themes like leadership, ethics and managerial values, competition and achievement.
“Those of us who occupy positions of authority should learn that the win-win situation is the best,” he muses. “You don’t have to be either a clone or a control freak to get ahead of the competition – just keep upgrading your own abilities and you will surpass the competition anyway.”
Renouncing competition in favour of co-operation as a ruling paradigm, Acharya insists that the inequities of human society can be dissolved only when networks of individuals and communities act on a commitment to positive change. “This is just an updated version of the satsang,” he says. “In the network-satsang, people will reinforce one another’s best qualities. They will learn to use desire instead of being used by it, to adopt constructive attitudes and manage their choices intelligently.”
Don’t Try To Be Super Human
Uday Acharya, Director, Mind Flex, a training institute gives tips on time management
People often cut down on activities that are healthy, and helpful in building relationships, to save time. This only increases stress levels as you neglect yourself which leads to health worries later. Keep these points in mind for effective time management:
- Do not over-commit, especially if you are not sure of fulfilling the tasks.
- Delegate work, train others to do activities that you can do.
- Find ways to merge different aspects of your life rather than treat them as watertight compartments. For instance, if you are into physical fitness but have to spend that time with the family too, try to enroll the entire family in a yoga or fitness class.
- Working continuously adds to stress levels. Take frequent coffee breaks (without the coffee!).
- Use train travel for contemplation or planning.
- Maintain a diary and see what’s dispensable and what’s not. Don't postpone the indispensible.
- Avoid procrastination.
- At the same time, stop thinking of everything in terms of emergency. Most things can wait. But that doesn’t mean you postpone things deliberately.
- Use the time on hand well. Instead of watching TV on an off day, go to a garden, or meet friends.
- Think beyond the immediate; think long-term
ARE YOU EQ AWARE?
Experts tell you how to save yourself from emotional atyaachar at the workplace. Just ensure your emotional quotient is as high as your IQ
EQ is about building a relationship with yourself first and then with others, says Uday Acharya, director of Mindflex, a learning and training organization. If you are facing problems with your boss or your company, it's you who should take the initiative to change. Acharya lists out simple ways to achieve this at your workplace:
1) Find a mentor. Choose a senior with whom you can have a frank discussion on any problem. The mentor should be so senior he/she is not insecure and hence can guide the junior. If you're a senior‐level professional, join a forum or self‐help group (within or outside your company) where you meet and interact.
2) Keep a diary. Keep track of the times you lose your temper. Then grade your anger level on a scale of 1 to 10. Keep track of the occasions when you get angry, and tally whether they are with similar persons or situations. Of course, you might not be able to do it while you are boiling with rage, but you can definitely analyze yesterdays anger today. Then talk to someone who can help, if not for advice, then at least by hearing you out.
3) Plan out your work. And keep some room for emergencies. Promise something less than you can deliver and then deliver more than your promise.
4) Face unpleasantness. If your fears are not too important, don't worry about it. But if it's important, don’t postpone it. It's worth going through the unpleasant situations at work; don't give up your dreams because there are fears you feel you can't face.
5) Improve relations. Give a hand to colleagues. Be courteous. Smile when you see them in the lift or at the lobby. Acknowledge their efforts. Take care to remember birthdays.
6) Go to the core. Explore a problem fully and understand if you are contributing to it in any way. Next, ensure there is proper communication at both ends for the handling of the issue. Ask the boss for help honestly in solving a problem, frankly. The outcome will be positive if there is emotional intelligence.
Mumbai Mirror July 8, 2009 Column by Lekha Menon