Om Purnamadah: Peace Prayer on the Wholeness of Existence & the Vastness of Being

Here is a peace prayer (shanti mantra) from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, one of Hinduism’s sacred books, that is an appropriate paean to the wholeness of existence.

Om Purnamadah: Shanti Mantra, Peace Prayer

Om Purnamadah Shanti Mantra (Peace Prayer)

Om purnamadah purnamidam
Purnat purnamudachyate
Purnasya purnamadaya
Om shanti shanti shanti hi


  • Purnam-Adah: “That is complete.” Here, ‘that’ could refer to everything that is not part of one’s perceived sense of self (self-identify.)
  • Purnam-Idam: “This is complete.” Here, ‘this’ could refer to everything that is part of one’s perceived sense of self (self-identify.)
  • Purnat-Purnam-Udachyate: “From one complete entity, another complete entity is born.” The first entity refers to the ‘that’ and the second entity refers to the ‘this’—the two aspects of outer and inner sense of self-identity.
  • Purnasya Purnamadaya: “When a complete entity is taken away from a complete entity …”
  • Purnameva-Vashishyate: “… what remains is also complete.”
  • Om shanti shanti shanti hi “Let there be peace.”

Wholeness of Existence Acceptance: Om Purnamadah: Shanti Mantra, Peace Prayer

Interpretation: Wholeness of Existence & Acceptance

In our relationships, when we engage with one another, if we feel we lack in something or the other person lacks in something, then the engagement will be a transactional one. The very nature of such engagement might cause expectations and might foster feelings, thoughts, and actions that are selfish in nature.

When we engage with each other with the understanding that no one lacks anything and a consciousness that others are whole regardless of mere appearances, then all the feelings, thoughts, and actions fostered by such engagements are complete and selfless.

All of us must be giving, and by being available for others, we do not lose anything and remain complete. At the same time, the other who is receiving does not become “more” for her or she already is complete and stays complete.

Dave Packard’s 11 Simple Rules

Hewlett Packard: David Packard and William Hewlett

Dave Packard, along with Bill Hewlett, friend and fellow graduate of electrical engineering from Stanford University, started Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Packard’s Palo Alto garage with an initial capital investment of US$538. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard are known for their legendary people-oriented management style and community consciousness.

Below are eleven simple rules that reflected Dave Packard’s philosophy of work and life. These rules were first presented by Dave Packard at HP’s second annual management conference in 1958 in Sonoma, California. A memo containing these seven simple rules was discovered in Dave’s correspondence file.

  • 'Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company' by Michael S. Malone (ISBN 1591841526) Think first of the other fellow. This is THE foundation—the first requisite—for getting along with others. And it is the one truly difficult accomplishment you must make. Gaining this, the rest will be “a breeze.”
  • Build up the other person’s sense of importance. When we make the other person seem less important, we frustrate one of his deepest urges. Allow him to feel equality or superiority, and we can easily get along with him.
  • Respect the other man’s personality rights. Respect as something sacred the other fellow’s right to be different from you. No two personalities are ever molded by precisely the same forces.
  • Give sincere appreciation. If we think someone has done a thing well, we should never hesitate to let him know it. WARNING: This does not mean promiscuous use of obvious flattery. Flattery with most intelligent people gets exactly the reaction it deserves—contempt for the egotistical “phony” who stoops to it.
  • Eliminate the negative. Criticism seldom does what its user intends, for it invariably causes resentment. The tiniest bit of disapproval can sometimes cause a resentment which will rankle—to your disadvantage—for years.
  • Avoid openly trying to reform people. Every man knows he is imperfect, but he doesn’t want someone else trying to correct his faults. If you want to improve a person, help him to embrace a higher working goal—a standard, an ideal—and he will do his own “making over” far more effectively than you can do it for him.
  • 'The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company' by David Packard (ISBN 887307477) Try to understand the other person. How would you react to similar circumstances? When you begin to see the “whys” of him you can’t help but get along better with him.
  • Check first impressions. We are especially prone to dislike some people on first sight because of some vague resemblance (of which we are usually unaware) to someone else whom we have had reason to dislike. Follow Abraham Lincoln’s famous self-instruction: “I do not like that man; therefore I shall get to know him better.”
  • Take care with the little details. Watch your smile, your tone of voice, how you use your eyes, the way you greet people, the use of nicknames and remembering faces, names and dates. Little things add polish to your skill in dealing with people. Constantly, deliberately think of them until they become a natural part of your personality.
  • Develop genuine interest in people. You cannot successfully apply the foregoing suggestions unless you have a sincere desire to like, respect and be helpful to others. Conversely, you cannot build genuine interest in people until you have experienced the pleasure of working with them in an atmosphere characterized by mutual liking and respect.
  • Keep it up. That’s all—just keep it up!

For Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard’s legendary management style and the history of Hewlett Packard, read ‘Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World’s Greatest Company’ by Michael S. Malone and ‘The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company’ by David Packard.

Source: HP Retiree Website

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Tells Stories: Devotion and Grace or the Parable of Devicharan and Sarvamangala

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836–1886,) the eminent Hindu mystic of 19th-century India, used stories and parables to portray the core elements of his philosophy. The meaning of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s stories and parables are usually not explicitly stated. The meanings are not intended to be mysterious or confidential but are, in contrast, quite uncomplicated and obvious.

In the Hindu and other traditions of the major religions of the world, parables form the language of the wise for enlightening the simple, just as well as they form the language of the simple for enlightening the wise.

The Parable of Devicharan and Sarvamangala

In a village, there once lived a poor Brahmin named Devicharan.

Devicharan was a very good man and he loved the Mother of the universe with all his heart. He worshipped the Mother in the form of Durga.

Very often, people asked Devicharan to go and read to them about the Mother from a book called the Chandi. In return, they gave him gifts of food or clothing. In this way, Devicharan was able to get enough to eat. He lived happily with his wife and daughter, and although they were so poor, they never felt sad.

Devicharan’s daughter was very beautiful and very good. Her name was Sarvamangala. Her parents taught her all they knew and she learned everything very quickly. She worked hard and whatever she did, she did well.

The time came when Sarvamangala was old enough to be married.

“You must look for a husband for your daughter,” Sarvamangala’s mother said to Devicharan. “But who will marry such a poor girl? We have nothing to give her.”

“Do not be anxious, my dear,” Devicharan replied.”

“Our daughter is as beautiful as Lakshmi and as gifted as Saraswati. Where is there a girl as lovely and as brilliant as Sarvamangala?”

“You are right,” agreed his wife. “She is good and beautiful, and skillful in everything she does. Her cooking is excellent. Above all, she loves to make people happy by serving them.”

“So we must not worry, about her marriage,” Devicharan said. “Mother Durga will do everything.”

A few weeks later, a good man who was a landlord paid a visit to the village, and he happened to see Sarvamangala. When he found that she was as good as she was beautiful he wanted her to be married to his son.

Devicharan agreed to this and Sarvamangala was married. She went away to her father-in-law’s house in the next village.

Devicharan and his wife felt sad and lonely, without their daughter, but they were happy that she was no longer poor and had a good husband.

Soon it was the month of the Durga Puja festival.

“Wife,” said Devicharan,” “Mother Durga has blessed our daughter with a good and wealthy husband. This year we must perform Durga Puja in our own house.”

“But, we are so poor” his wife replied. “We have barely enough to eat ourselves, how can we think of-doing the Puja here?”

“What?” cried Devicharan. “Is Durga the Mother of the rich and not of the poor? Will she not accept our humble offerings? We shall offer her whatever we can afford.”

The time of the festival drew near.

“We must bring home the image of the Mother,” Devicharan said to his wife.

“I wish Sarvamangala could come home, too,” his wife replied.

Devicharan took a fifty-paisa coin and went to the image-maker.

“I am going to perform Durga Puja in my house,” Devicharan said. “Please make me a small image of Durga. I shall pay you fifty paisa.”

“Have you lost your senses, Devicharan Babu?” the image-maker replied. “It costs a great deal of money to perform Durga Puja, and even the smallest image costs more than fifty paisa.”

“I have no money,” Devicharan explained, “but I love the Mother and I am grateful to her. I shall perform Durga Puja even if I worship her with nothing but flowers.”

The image-maker looked very surprised, and he became thoughtful.

“I understand your feelings,” he said. “Very well, I shall make an image for you, and you need not pay me for it.”

“I must pay you whatever I can afford,” Devicharan answered, and he made the man accept the fifty paisa.

As Devicharan and his wife prepared for the Puja, their thoughts turned very often to their daughter. Sometimes they wept because they felt so lonely without her.

“She will not be allowed to come to us now,” Devicharan said, “because she will be too busy. In that rich family they will perform Durga Puja in a big way and Sarvamangala will be a great help to them. We shall have to manage without her.”

The next day, however, Devicharan’s wife fell ill.

“What shall we do?” she wept. “Tomorrow the Puja begins, but I am too ill to move from my bed. Who will cook? Who will help us? Oh, Sarvamangala, we need you.”

Devicharan comforted his wife. “Don’t regret,” he said. “I shall go at once and see Sarvamangala. Perhaps her father-in-law will allow her to come, as you are ill.”

Devicharan went to Sarvamangala’s home, but she was not allowed to go back with him.

“I am very sorry,” her father-in-law said to Devicharan, “but my wife just cannot manage without her.”

Feeling sad and worried, Devicharan said good-bye to his daughter, and set out for home. He talked to Mother Durga as he walked along.

“The image-maker has made a beautiful image for me,” he said, “and tomorrow I want to worship you. Now my wife is ill and my daughter cannot come home. What am I to do?”

At that moment, Devicharan heard someone calling him from behind. It seemed to be his daughter’s voice. He stopped and looked back. To his surprise there was Sarvamangala hurrying towards him.

“Wait for me, Father,” Sarvamangala cried, “I am coming home with you.”

“How is it possible for you to come?” cried Devicharan. “What will your mother-in-law say?”

“Do not worry about anything, Father,” Sarvamangala replied. “Everything is arranged. Take me home with you.”

Now Devicharan and his wife were very happy. Their daughter had come home. She seemed more beautiful than ever and her face was bright with joy. She took care of her mother and did all the work of the house.

The same evening Sarvamangala helped her father to dress the image of Durga for the worship, which would begin the next day. The image stood in a decorated shrine and when they had finished they were amazed at its beauty. Sarvamangala’s mother now felt much better and she too praised the image.

“See how beautifully Sarvamangala has dressed the image,” she said. “And see how beautiful Sarvamangala is herself. We have no costly silks and jewels, yet our goddess and our daughter will find no equal anywhere for charm and beauty.”

The first two days of the festival passed happily. Devicharan worshipped Durga and his heart was filled with peace. The third day came, and this was the day when guests should be fed.

“Today we must give a feast to all the neighbors,” Sarvamangala said.

“Are you joking, child?” Devicharan replied. “How is it possible for us to give a feast? We have only a few fruits to offer.” “I am not joking, Father,” Sarvamangala said. “You have worshipped the Mother in your house. The worship will not be complete if you do not give a feast. I am going now to invite all the neighbors.”

Sarvamangala went to the neighbors’ houses. Devicharan prepared for the worship.

“Now that my daughter is married to a rich man’s son,” Devicharan thought, “she thinks” it is easy to give a feast.”

When Sarvamangala returned, Devicharan sat down to worship the goddess. Sarvamangala assisted him. The image seemed to be living and Devicharan’s face shone with joy. The whole room seemed to shine with light from the goddess.

At noon, the neighbors began to arrive. Sarvamangala had invited them all to partake of the fruit offerings made to the Mother.

“Just see what a prank the girl has played,” Devicharan said, feeling very worried.

“We shall look very foolish when they find we have nothing to offer them,” his wife said.

“Now you are both to stop worrying,” Sarvamangala said firmly. “Leave it all to me. I have invited them and I shall give them the offerings.”

Devicharan welcomed all the guests, and then went and sat before the Mother. “Let me not be put to shame, Mother,” he said. He remained sitting before the image for now he was afraid to face the guests.

Sarvamangala asked the guests to sit down, and then she served the fruit that had been offered to Durga during the worship.

“My father is poor,” Sarvamangala said, “so he cannot give you a big feast. It is his good fortune that you have come and request you to partake of these offerings.”

The guests began to eat the fruit.

“What delicious fruit!” they exclaimed. “We have never tasted anything like it. Just a little of it is quite satisfying. This is better than a big feast.”

With great happiness, the guests went home. They showered their good wishes and blessings upon Sarvamangala and her parents.

“Have the guests all gone?” Devicharan asked. “Did they laugh at me or curse me?”

“Nothing of the kind,” Sarvamangala said. “They were all very happy indeed.”

“The strange thing is,” Sarvamangala’s mother said, “half the offerings still remain, yet the guests were completely satisfied.” “It is indeed strange,” Devicharan said. “Mother has blessed us,” he added, and tears of joy flowed down his cheeks.

The following day was the last day of the worship. Devicharan felt sad, for today the Mother would leave his house. He sat before the image, offering the goddess a special dish made of rice, curds, and fruit.

As Devicharan sat there with his eyes closed he did not notice Sarvamangala enter the room. Quietly she began to eat the food that was being offered to the goddess. Then Devicharan opened his eyes. He was shocked to see his daughter eating the offering.

“What are you doing, daughter?” he cried.

Without saying a word, Sarvamangala ran from the room.

Devicharan asked his wife to prepare a fresh offering, and when it was ready, he again sat down to worship the Mother.

Again Sarvamangala crept into the room and ate up the food that was being offered, and again Devicharan asked his wife to prepare some more.

For the third time Sarvamangala crept into the room and ate up all the offering. Now Devicharan felt angry with her.

“What is wrong with you today?” he cried. “Do not spoil my worship again. Go away.”

Sarvamangala went to her mother.

“Father told me to go away, Mother,” she said, “so I am going.”

“Today you will have to go back to your father-in-law’s house, child,” her mother replied, “for the festival is over. When your father has finished the worship he will take you home.”

When Devicharan at last finished the Puja, he went to his wife.

“Where is Sarvamangala?” he asked.

“She was here a short while ago,” his wife replied. “She must be waiting for you to take her home.”

They searched and searched for Sarvamangala, but could not find her anywhere.

“The foolish girl must have gone alone to her father-in-law’s house,” Devicharan said. “I must go and see that she is safe.”

When Devicharan reached the house, he was relieved to see that his daughter was there.

“I scolded you for spoiling the worship,” he said to her. “Is that why you came away alone? Are you very angry with me?”

“What are you talking about, Father?” Sarvamangala replied looking very puzzled.

“Did you not eat up the offering as I was doing the Puja?” Devicharan said. “Did I not scold you?”

“But, Father, I have been here all the time,” Sarvamangala replied. “My father-in-law told you I could not go with you.”

Devicharan was astonished. Then he understood what had happened.

It was Durga herself who had come in the form of his daughter.

“Mother, Mother,” he cried, weeping tears of joy. “You came to me and I did not know you!”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once said, “I see God walking in every human form. When I meet different people, I say to myself, ‘God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous’.”

Recommended Books

Cognizant Technology Solutions: An IT Juggernaut

Propelled by the increased outsourcing of health-care data processing and by a growing number of European clients and an mindful operational strategy to reinvestment substantially higher proportion of operating profits in the business drove Cognizant’s top line growth and lent a hand in maintaining operating margins over the years.

Despite being based in Teaneck, N.J., Cognizant had an organizational structure that was India-centric from the very beginning. Cognizant realized early that its business and customer service strategy required that Cognizant satisfied the needs of its customers locally and still operate an increasingly global workforce, most of which is based in India. Cognizant designed its organization around how the tactical or operational situations its customers are facing. Cognizant’s phenomenal growth was built around the USP that it is as American as the large consulting companies (Accenture, Cap Gemini, IBM) and as Indian in terms of workforce as its primary competitors Infosys, TCS, and Wipro.

Cognizant Technology Solutions Juggernaut

Cognizant was the fourth Indian IT services firm, to reach $1BB annual revenue milestone, but it was the fastest: TCS took 35 years to hit the $1BB annual revenue milestone, Infosys 23 years and Wipro 25 years, while Cognizant took just 12 years. To be fair, Cognizant never had a start-from-scratch beginning. The company was originally established in 1994 as Dun & Bradstreet Satyam Software (a 76:24 joint venture with the erstwhile Satyam Group) as an in-house technology unit of Dun & Bradstreet with headquarters in Chennai, India. In due course, as Cognizant started serving external clients, the joint venture was rechristened Cognizant Technology Solutions and spun off as a separate company in 1996. In 1997, Cognizant moved its headquarters from Chennai in South India to Teaneck, NJ. After a series of corporate splits and restructures of its parent companies, Cognizant had an IPO in 1998 and has never looked back. Cognizant experienced rapid growth during the 2000s and was a regular on lists of fastest growing companies compiled by Fortune and BusinessWeek magazines.

Cognizant’s operating margins have remained healthy even in the face of heightened competition for customers and talent, wage inflation, attrition costs, and fluctuations in the strength of the Indian Rupee. Historically, Cognizant’s margins of about 20% have been lower than the 28% margins earned by market leader Infosys. Francisco D’Souza, Cognizant’s CEO stated in the company’s release of year 2013 third quarter earnings, “We delivered yet another quarter of industry-leading growth that was broad-based across our portfolio of industries, services, and geographies. The sheer velocity of change in the industries we serve is driving the C-suite to challenge the status quo and rethink their business models to be relevant for the future. Our investments across multiple horizons of growth position us well to deliver differentiated value as we partner with clients in this journey.”

Wall Street was worried of Cognizant’s performance earlier in 2013. First, Infosys gave terrible guidance during its first quarter results compelling Wall Street to believe that Cognizant might lower its guidance as well. The earnings miss from IBM also hurt the information technology sector. Taking into consideration recent events, there are concerns about upcoming legislation may impact the status of foreign workers and profitability. Many of these factors are tangential concerns and do not impact the company directly.

Cognizant Technology Solutions, Cathedral Road, Chennai (Dec 2004)

Cognizant was a late participant in the rapidly-growing European region for demands for computer services. In response, Cognizant made aggressive efforts to increase its presences there—geographically and expertise-wise. In an interview with the Business Standard, R Chandrasekaran, Cognizant’s Group Technology & Operations CEO expressed confidence that his company is well positioned to meet the demand for IT services and consulting: “In Europe, clients are looking to move more work to a global delivery model. A structural shift from discretionary projects to larger annuity-based outsourcing deals across Europe is being catalyzed by the economic climate. Our continued investments in Europe, local leadership and broad range of capabilities make us optimistic in our long-term growth prospects across Europe.”

Cognizant, with a large number of clients in the United States, could confront problems in attracting and retaining highly skilled foreign workers—largely computer programmers from India—in the United States due to restrictions in the availability of H1B visas. The Obama Administration has not yet resolved the issue of immigration reform. In a recent interview with India’s Economic Times, Gordon Coburn, former CFO and Operating Officer and current President responsible for managing Cognizant’s P&L, stated, “We continue to work with our legislators to develop the immigration reform that would be good for the US economy and the clients. We are encouraged that our legislators understand that some of the components in the original bill may not have been good for the economy and the US clients. So we are seeing a better understanding around what part of the bill will be good and what part will be not. It is an on-going discussion and it will continue.” Cognizant will face challenges in deploying strategic and operational measures to shield its cost base from the impact of wage inflation and employee attrition.

There can be no doubting that Cognizant will continue to grow well into the future. Cognizant Technology Solutions will continue to exploit every opportunity to expand its top-line and bottom line further and garner significant market share.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Tells Stories: Desire and Indulgence or the Parable of the Barber and the Seven Jars of Greed

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836–1886,) the eminent Hindu mystic of 19th-century India, used stories and parables to portray the core elements of his philosophy. The meaning of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s stories and parables are usually not explicitly stated. The meanings are not intended to be mysterious or confidential but are, in contrast, quite uncomplicated and obvious.

In the Hindu and other traditions of the major religions of the world, parables form the language of the wise for enlightening the simple, just as well as they form the language of the simple for enlightening the wise.

The Parable of the Barber and the Seven Jars of Greed

A barber, who was passing under a haunted tree, heard a mysterious voice offer, “Will you accept seven jars full of gold?”

The barber looked around, but could see no one. The offer of seven jars of gold, however, roused his cupidity and he cried aloud, “Yes, I shall accept the seven jars.”

At once came the reply. “Go home; I have carried the jars to your house.”

The barber ran home in hot haste to verify the truth of his strange announcement. And when he entered the house, he saw the jars before him. He opened them and found them all full of gold, except the last one, which was only half-full.

A strong desire now arouse in the mind of the barber to fill the seventh jar also, for without it, his happiness was incomplete.

The barber converted all his ornaments into gold coins and put them into the jar; but the mysterious vessel was as before.

One day he requested the king to increase his pay, saying his income was not sufficient to maintain himself on. Now the barber was a favorite of the king, and as soon as the request was made the king doubled his pay.

All this pay he saved and put into the jar, but the greed jar showed no signs of filling.

At last, he began to live by begging from door to door, and his professional income and the income from begging all went into the insatiable cavity of the mysterious jar.

Months passed, and the condition of the miserable and miserly barber grew worse every day. Seeing his sad plight, the king asked him one day, “When your pay was half of what you now get, you were happy, cheerful, and contented. But with double the pay, I see your morose, careworn and dejected. What is the matter with you? Have you got ‘the seven jars’?”

The barber was taken aback by this question and replied, “Your Majesty, who has informed you of this?”

The king replied, “Don’t you know that these are the signs of the person to whom the Yaksha consigns the seven jars. He offered me also the same jars, but I asked him whether his money might be spent or was merely to be hoarded. No sooner had I asked this question then the Yaksha ran away without any reply. Don’t you know that no one can spend that money? It only brings with it the desire of hoarding. Go at once and return the money.”

The wise king’s words brought the barber to his senses. He returned to the haunted tree and said, “Take back your gold, O Yaksha.”

The Yaksha replied, “All right.” When the barber returned home, he found that the seven jars had vanished and mysteriously as they were brought in, and with it had vanished his life-long savings.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa concluded the story by instilling some wisdom into the hearts and minds of his disciples, “Such is the state of some men in the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who do not understand the difference between real expenditure and real income lose all they have.”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once said, “Rain-water never stands on high ground, but runs down to the lowest level. So also the mercy of God remains in the hearts of the lowly, but drains off from those of the vain and the proud.”

Recommended Books

What Makes Good People Do Bad Things? The Roots of Unethical Behaviour in Life and Work

The Root Cause of Unethical Behavior

The memory of ethics catastrophes at firms large and small like Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and Hewlett-Packard elevated public bitterness toward corporate executives as never before. Unethical behavior has spoiled the public’s conviction about the inherent goodness in people and spawned charges for more government oversight of private industry.

In free societies, many people identify with Milton Friedman’s laissez faire principle that if society lets its people pursue their personal and professional interests in the context of a capitalistic framework to operate without restraint, positive principled intentions and ethical consequences will naturally ensue. On the contrary, it turns out that most people unaware of the divergence between how ethical people think they are and how ethical they actually are.

Why do people behave unethically? Why do some employees engage in unethical acts such as lying on an expense account, accepting kickbacks, falsifying reports, and forging signatures? One or more of these root cause factors might be at play in unethical behavior:

  • Poor ethical leadership
  • Poor communications
  • Pressure to balance work and family
  • Pressure to meet sales or profit goals
  • Lack of management support
  • Resentment to the workplace and retaliation
  • Company policies
  • Little or no recognition of achievements
  • Long work hours, heavy workload
  • Personal financial worries
  • Insufficient resources

In the modern societies, with eroding adherence to personal and societal values, the temptation to behave in unethical ways is not going to go away. As young professionals go into business today, the enticement to evade ethics is mounting. We live in a time of deep obligation on individuals and organizations to cut corners, pursue their own personal and professional interests, and forget about the consequences of their behavior on others.

Traditional Recipe: Carrot Halwa or Carrot-Milk Concoction

Carrot Halwa or Carrot-Milk Concoction

In the Indian tradition, women learn how to cook from their mothers and their mothers-in-law. Historically, women learned how to run a household and women in elite and upper middle-class families oversaw servants who did the cooking. Every home therefore has collections of interesting traditional recipes. The family’s recipes tell a story, the story of how people lived and cooked at a particular point in time.

The nuances in recipes tell about a family’s place in the social order, their enthusiasm for serving others food as they engage with others in their social class. In India, food can be anything from hunger-satisfier, hedonistic stimulation or merely an object of intellectual and social curiosity that delights the mind and body far from the family’s dining table with one overwhelming bite after another.

Carrot Halwa is a rich concoction of milk-boiled grated carrot and syrup flavoured with cardamom powder. It is a very popular dessert in several parts of India. Across India, the carrot halwa is a cultural phenomenon. Made with various practices and conventions, flavor preferences of carrot halwa is influenced by cultural factors. And these delightful tastes evolve over time with social intermingling and cross-breeding of cooking traditions.


  • Carrot: 2 lb, finely grated
  • 2% Milk: 1/2 of the volume of carrot
  • Sugar: 1/2 of the volume of carrot
  • Half-and-Half: 1/2 a cup
  • Ghee (Clarified Butter): 5 tsp (can substitute with butter)
  • Raisins: 5 tsp
  • Cashew nuts, pistachios, almonds: 10 tsp (broken into small pieces)
  • Cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp


  1. Take a sauce pan and heat 2 teaspoons of ghee; fry raisins and cashew nuts on low heat until lightly roasted. Keep aside.
  2. In the same sauce pan, add grated carrot and milk and boil on a low flame until all the milk evaporates and the mixture looks dry. Keep the sauce pan open during this process; keep stirring regularly.
  3. Add sugar and half-and-half to the boiled carrot, keep stirring until all the sugar melts.
  4. Continue to stir regularly until about 80% of water in the sugar has evaporated.
  5. Add cardamom powder, the remainder of ghee and the roasted raisins and cashew nuts. Stir thoroughly and continue to evaporate the rest of the water in the mixture.
  6. When most of the water has evaporated, switch off the flame and stir. Do not allow the mixture to become hard. Remove the sauce pan from the stove, close the sauce pan and keep aside for 10 minutes.
  7. The carrot halwa is now ready. Serve it warm or chilled.


  • Makes 5 servings
  • Cooking time: about 75 minutes; slower the cooking, tastier the halwa.
  • Adjust sugar based on preference.
  • Grated carrot can be substituted with grated white pumpkin for another very popular dessert known as Kashi Halwa (named after the town of Kashi, a legendary city in the location of modern-day Varanasi and a prominant pilgrimage centre in India).
  • To make Carrot Burfi, continue to heat the preparation on low flame. Take a plate and apply some ghee/oil to the surface of the plate and transfer the mixture on to the plate to prepare a fairly dense bed. After the halwa solidifies down, cut the bed into rhombus shaped blocks using a knife.

Top Performers Make Corporate Values Visible and Champion Them

Most companies have precise corporate values, usually containing strong positive cultures and corporate philosophies. Corporate values can help companies engage consumers and employees. It is a company’s values that help bring about the kind of business behavior that the company needs to achieve it’s strategic and operative objectives.

Organizational changes—especially those are strategic—require a completely new array of attitudes, behaviors, and mindsets. The attitude of compliance—doing what’s been told—cannot bring about widespread organizational progress. To enable employees to assume responsibility, implement initiative and be directly accountable for the organization’s success, they need to be continuously reminded of corporate values. Far from mere words on a piece of paper, companies expect employees understand that “living our values” as part of the fundamental performance objectives for employees. Top performers intentionally connect values and operations and their management practices are effective in fostering values that bear influence on their performance assessment.

GE Corporate Values

General Electric Logo During the Jack Welch era, when General Electric (GE) first started considering assembling a list of core values that would set GE apart from the completion, over 5,000 employees who took training at GE’s famed Crotonville training center hammered out a values statement over a three-year period as part of their training classes. These values were so important to the company that General Electric put them on laminated cards that employees were required to carry with their identification badges.

All of us … always with unyielding integrity …

  • Are passionately focused on driving customer success
  • Live Six Sigma Quality … ensure that the customer is always its first beneficiary … and use it to accelerate growth
  • Insist on excellence and are intolerant of bureaucracy
  • Act in a boundaryless fashion … always search for and apply the best ideas regardless of their source
  • Prize global intellectual capital and the people that provide it … build diverse teams to maximize it
  • See change for the growth opportunities it brings … e.g., digitization
  • Create a clear, simple, customer-centered vision … and continually renew and refresh its execution
  • Create an environment of “stretch,” excitement, informality and trust … reward improvements … and celebrate results
  • Demonstrate … always with infectious enthusiasm for the customer … the “4-Es” of GE leadership: the personal Energy to welcome and deal with the speed of change … the ability to create an atmosphere that Energizes others … the Edge to make difficult decisions … and the ability to consistently Execute

GE Corporate Values, Version 2007

GE Corporate Values, 2007 Version

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Tells Stories: Devotion & Consecration or the Parable of the Milkmaid

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836–1886,) the eminent Hindu mystic of 19th-century India, used stories and parables to portray the core elements of his philosophy. The meaning of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s stories and parables are usually not explicitly stated. The meanings are not intended to be mysterious or confidential but are, in contrast, quite uncomplicated and obvious.

In the Hindu and other traditions of the major religions of the world, parables form the language of the wise for enlightening the simple, just as well as they form the language of the simple for enlightening the wise.

The Parable of the Milkmaid

A milkmaid used to supply milk to a Brahmin priest living on the other side of a river.

Owing to the irregularities of the boat service, the milkmaid could not supply him milk punctually every day.

Once, being rebuked for her going late, the poor woman said, “What can I do? I start early from the house, but have to wait for a long time at the river bank for the boatman and the passenger.”

The priest exclaimed, “Woman! There are people who cross the ocean of life by uttering the ‘name’ of God, and can’t you cross this little river?” The simple-hearted woman became very glad at heart on learning this easy means of crossing the river.

From the following day, she started to supply the milk early in the morning, as she was supposed to.

One day the priest said to the woman, “How is it that you are no longer late now-a-days?”

The milkmaid replied, “I cross the river by uttering the name of the Lord as you told me to do, and don’t stand now in need of a boatman.”

The priest could not believe this. He said, “Can you show me how you cross the river?” The woman took him with her and began to walk over the water. Looking behind the woman saw the priest in a sad plight and said, “How is it, Sir, that you are uttering the name of the God with your mouth, but at the same time with your hands you are trying to keep your cloth untouched by water? Your do not fully rely on Him.”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa concluded the story by instilling some wisdom into the hearts and minds of his disciples, “Entire resignation and absolute faith in God are at the root of all miraculous deeds.”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once said, “You can force your demands on God, he is in no way a stranger to you, he is your eternal companion.”

Recommended Books