Thiruppavai – Goda’s Gita Volume 1 | My Take

Book Title: Thiruppavai – Goda’s Gita | Volume 1

Author: Swetha Sundaram

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Kindle Copy: Amazon US | Amazon India 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Swetha Sundaram an Instrumentation and Controls Engineer who lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her narrative style was exactly like the ones of my grand aunts who would entertain my siblings, cousins and me with stories from various Puranas. Her narrative had a similar fault of meandering through the maze of stories.

Of course, there is no doubt that the stories are so interesting that you would not mind being deviated from the main course. In this volume, she sets the stage for the pasurams by providing a wonderful introduction to the primal God Varahar Perumal. She informs the origin of the thought seed of Thiruppavai to the moment when the Earth got saved by Varahar Perumal.

The first volume covers five pasurams and the main space is provided to the beginning and the life story of Godai and how her adoptive father Periyalvar found her under the Holy Basil plant. Her brilliance as a child and her love for Perumal is beautifully articulated in the early chapters.

The Story in a Nutshell

The story is about gathering all young girls to perform the Pavai Nombu with a secret agenda of acquiring Krishna for a husband. Godai the cheerleader of the group of young girls undertake the task to bring about this group worship of Lord Krishna. The first five pasurams deal with the first meeting to undertake the fast.

The entire setting is Gokulam of Godai’s imagination with River Yamuna playing some lead parts in the narrative. This volume deals with the part where the plan is set up to meet at predawn hour and perform the fast on Lord Krishna. The setting is a group meeting near the Yamuna with elder’s consent and a secret agenda of unifying with Krishna.

Godai and girls meet near the River Yamuna and discuss the purpose of the meeting. They then set up a plan to worship Lord Krishna with the secret agenda of getting Him for themselves. The girls are thrilled about the agenda and are excited to start.

Next day, after the late meeting, some ten girls are found missing. So Godai with few other girls who have arrived for the meeting sets out to find them. In the course of finding those girls, Godai wakes up each girl giving her some really nice stories in the wake.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked all the connected stories that are displayed like a bouquet of fragrant flowers. The stories brought back childhood memories of how the story used to be told. There was no fixed rule for the order in which the story needs to be told, a story could evolve from one look or one word uttered and completely sidetrack the narrator and listener. But then when it comes back to the strayed track to the main agenda, that is, to attain Lord Krishna; it has been beautifully done.

One thing that I would not say that I disliked it; but more out of concern for the readers who are not well-versed with Indian Mythological stories may need some context fixing especially when the conversation moves towards Alwars and their magical experiences.

My Opinion

I feel this volume was such a pleasure to read for two main reasons. One reason is that the small and big stories about Lord Vishnu and his many avatars were simply superb to read. The other reason being that I got to know so many unknown stories and the wonder of it is present like nectar consumed in Godai’s Vrindavan along with the Gopikas as another Pillaiy.

Image Source: Amazon India

Motivational Speech and Their Role in My Life

What really motivates human beings? Is it a few words of encouragement, or is it an entire mindset to think differently, or is it, that you find your motivation in self-talk and self-encouragement?

I have often wondered, how I could get motivated and make self-progress in life. How much of these thoughts are just vanity trying to please itself? Because, at every point, there is a need to find a purpose to support the activities, that human beings perform in their life.

The Unchanged Self

So given my desire for books ranged on different topics, motivational and self-help books were my favorite ones. The interesting part of these books is the fact, that their influence on me remained right up to four hours. Because at the end of the four hours, I am back to my old ways. So technically the motivational speech didn’t change me! This used to disappoint me to a great extent.

Temporary Influence of Motivational Books

So then, is motivation just a temporary influence of mind by the words written by an author, that loses its effect after some time or after the mind is away from the text for a specific duration? This question has haunted me a lot and the fact that I have not scanned the entire book into my brain like a computer, thus I am unable to hold on to an ideology which is different from what I believe in.

For me, every book that I read, I would focus on the message only for a prescribed space of time. Once, there is space from the influencing thoughts, then, I am back to my old thoughts. So, does it mean, that motivational speaker’s thoughts and ideas are not easy for me to internalize and carry forward?

Power of Positive Thinking

Among my various books, that I enjoyed reading were those related to self-help and motivational books. I began reading the first book on Self-help when I was 14-years-old. “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale was a very difficult book to read since the writer wrote in a heavy restrained tone.

Moreover, I was at the beginner level with language. So, the writer’s personal choice of words kept getting in the way of my understanding of the text and its central meaning. When I read this book, my understanding of the text was very limited.

By the time, I came to a settlement with my warring thoughts, I was forced to come to an assumption, that I have understood what Peale was trying to say, or at least the general idea of having a positive thinking mindset.

Who Moved My Cheese

Later maybe after about four years, I came across a book, which was light to read and was different from all the other self-help book. The author fixed the life’s variable at change is a constant and the cheese of happiness will be moved under all condition. Given the interesting take on the choice of seeking cheese in our life, I found an interesting connection. But still, it was a hard job to change with time and move with the cheese.

I found Dr. Spenser Johnson very easy to read but did I understand the concept, that is the question? I remember reading the thin book at least five times before I set it back on the shelf and resolutely told myself that I need to make space between the new thoughts and my old ones.

And the Monk Spoke After Selling His Ferrari

Robin Sharma’s book was an interest read for me. There was some connection because the language used had become slowly familiar by the time I reached “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.” There were some thoughts that felt a little difficult to come to terms with, but then, the book flowed well in its own set of requirements.

Of course, I am in Robin Sharma’s mailing list and there is some interesting self-help content that includes audio-visual, written, and encouraging snippets of inspiration. While I look thoroughly perplexed with the fact that change of self is inevitable and the principle of change being a constant has entered the literature of self-help book.

Work Effectively with the End In Mind  

Stephen R Covey made an interesting read, but then, I kept comparing the material with my inner perception. I liked the fact that he spoke of the Inside-Out process and that was helpful for me. The seven habits are something that is really hard to earn and to keep.

But when you read Dr. Covey your understanding takes on a new level. Maybe over the years of self-help book reading, I had acquired an inkling into my own thought process and come to a new understanding.

Finally…what?!

All the self-help cannot add up to one small step of effort taken to regularly make a change happen in one’s life. Before that, it is essential to know that your life requires change and understand the need for a change. I still believe that self-help is a great help when there is no confusion in the thought process. A confused mind cannot bring change. Only a clear mind can bring about change that is effective and positive for the person seeking change in life.

Speeches that were interesting with notes:

  1. Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
  • Connecting the dots in the future
  • Love what you do and don’t settle until you find it
  • Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

2. Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson ► Animated Book Summary

  • Change Happens (They keep moving the cheese)
  • Anticipate Change (Get ready for the cheese to move)
  • Monitor Change (Smell the cheese often to know when the cheese gets old)
  • Adapt to Change (Learn to let go old cheese and enjoy new cheese)
  • Change (Move with the cheese)
  • Enjoy the Change (Savor the new cheese and enjoy the adventure of finding new cheese)

3. How to react when someone insults you? Dealing with Rude People – Personality Development Tips

  • Why do people insult others?
    • Insecure feeling as against others
    • Unexpressed Jealousy
    • Lack of Understanding
    • Teasing is Cool
  • How to respond to Insult?
    • Stay Calm | breath if required to calm down and not react but proact to a situation
    • Express How You Exactly Feel without getting affected by the insult
  • Simply Ignore the insult and focus on what is important in your response to insult
  • Use Humor to Turn the Table of Insult on the Insulter
  • Report Chronic Insult related to gender, sexuality, religion or disability