Workshops and Training Calendar 2011

Friday, June 20, 2014

Uday Acharya on Times of India and Mumbai Mirror

Contemporary acharya packages ancient wisdom in Netspeak 
Ranjit Hoskote

Uday 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 at the global headquarters in Rishikesh during the early 1980s. “My aim is to cull and share as much of itas 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
Mumbai Mirror of June 16, 2009

Column by Lekha Menon

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 enrol 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
Mumbai Mirror of June 16, 2009


Mumbai Mirror July 8, 2009
Column by Lekha Menon

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 organisation . If you are facing problems with your boss or your company, its 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 youre 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
analyse 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 , dont worry about it. But if its important, dont
postpone it. Its worth going through the unpleasant situations at work; dont give up your dreams because
there are fears you feel you cant 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 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


Friday, June 17, 2011

Doing What You Love

Doing What You Love
1. Passion for Learning and Sharing

I am fundamentally an idea person. I get excited about new concepts and possibilities. Reading, movies, lectures and conversations are all grist to my mill, and I like to mull over the possibilities connected to these concepts. It was but natural that I gravitated to teaching and training where I get opportunity to learn and to share my learning with likeminded groups and individuals.

I love Vedanta. Vedanta excites me much because it tells me there are no road blocks in life. Rather there are only events to be experienced and situations to be dealt with. At the end of the day you are left with just yourself….. plus the memory of experiences, and these you put behind you to start the new day with a fresh page.

Every new day is filled with rich possibilities and every evening is stock taking time in which you process experiences and carry forward the learning to the next day. Life is a play where you exercise your muscles and mind, building and testing your skills. I enjoy the process of joint exploration of issues in interactive conversations with people. I also listen to emotions behind the words to know how it is or was for the person on the other side of the fence. The process of heads and hearts coming together accounts for great breakthroughs in personal and professional issues.

I also am an out of the box thinker and usually come up with a totally different take on the issue. Sometimes, my contribution is accepted enthusiastically, but many times, the ideas are taken with a pinch of salt. Some of my most enthusiastic ideas have received cold water response, and it is a challenge for me to recreate the same ideas in a new format that is more acceptable and practical for application. This has helped me build new and novel training modules, one of which is an all time favourite in my ITM (Institute of Technology and Management) workshops...... Multiple Quotient – IQ EQ & SQ (Spiritual Quotient).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reminiscences of my student days

My Pranaams to Gurudev Pujya Swamiji, my lifelong teacher and guide from my school days onwards. I remember attending one of his earliest public talks in Bombay on Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 9). The first verse alone is what I remember from the talk... Rajavidyaa Raajaguhyam. Subsequently, our Vedanta youth group had an opportunity to meet him at a private residence, and we were regaled by his frank, humorous, and perceptive observations. His story of ‘Annammal and therefore logic’ still rings fresh in my mind.

The ‘Teenagers’ Group’ was very cohesive and enthusiastic, and we didn’t miss an opportunity of attending lectures and satang. Group members included Geeta (Swi. Brahmaprakashananda) and Ram Mohan (Sw. Brahmavidananda) and many others who have studied Vedanta from Pujya Swamiji over the years. My father S V Acharya was our ‘Saarathi’, driving us in his Ambassador to most of these sessions. Our group met at least once a week and shared and the precious learning gathered from the discourses. Doubts were debated and unresolved questions were reserved for Pujya Swamiji to answer.

Reminscinces of my Dad Sri S V Acharya

Late Sri S V Acharya

I grew up knowing my father as a strong person who could provide me support and quite acceptance. However, whether due to his or my own communication blocks, we could never really come to intimate terms. A quite mutual respect and admiration for each other was the closest thing I had in common with him.

Dad was inspired to study Gita early on when I had presented him Chinmaya's Gita as a birthday gift. Till then his interest was only in dramatics and he and my mother participated in the Kannada theater in Bombay. He joined our youth group for weekly forays to Powai Ashram and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for Swami Dayananda's lectures. We 10+ youngsters packed into his Ambassador and had a great time. He joined me in Rishikesh for 3 months during his vairagya period and had to be coaxed back to bombay by my mother and the rest of us. His streak of reclusiveness kept reoccuring but his attachment for family always brought him back.

A Lifetime dedicated to Devotional Music - Happy 81

Smt. Susheela Acharya, a long-time, senior member of BSKBA is known for her dedicated  musical contribution to Gokul and other associations of Kannadigas. Her self-written and tuned compositions are enough to keep one learning them for years together. About 70 such compositions have been compiled into 2 sets of CDs - one with Namavalis, and bhajans in Hindi and the other, with only Kannada devotional songs. 

A set of 7 CDs, mainly sung by daughter, Pramodini Rao and grand-daughter, Ujwala Acharya, was  released by Swami Tejomayananda at a function on 5th June, 2011 at Chinmaya Vibhooti, the Vision Centre of the Chinmaya Mission, at Kolwan, near Paud (Dist. Pune). 

This project was an contribution by students who have directly learnt from her, at offering back some flowers from where they have been plucked! The project saw its fulfillment due to the encouragement and blessings of Swami Tejomayananda, the Global Head of Chinmaya Mission, who, along with other well-wishers, have contributed their mite towards bringing out this collection of original compositions in praise of the Lord.