An Open Letter to Malaysian-Tamil Society: Trapped in a Culture of Dependency, Entitlement and the De-Valuation of Social Service

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Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD speaking on ´Re-wiring The Human Brain´ at University Malaya,  2013

I am the daughter of Mr. Thannambikai Balasubramaniam, the man who introduced the phrase ´Thanmunaippu Payirtchi´ (Motivational Seminar) to the Malaysian-Tamil people. He pioneered most of the techniques, formats and even developed the conceptual language that acts as the basis of most of what we see in the motivational scene today. Over the past few decades, since my father´s time, that industry has sadly become far more commercialized whilst our society – for the most part – is still struggling to find its feet. Consequently, whilst there is a recognition of the need for this type of service, people don´t know who to go to, and when they do find someone decent – they demand their services for free.

I began speaking in Malaysia when I was 16, mostly on matters of education, learning paradigms and the consciousness of the brain. I was recognized as a Mensan Genius (172 IQ) and accelerated my own education by teaching myself most of secondary school syllabi in under a year at the age of 13. Three years down the line, I had developed my own modules and spoke to thousands of Malaysian-Tamil children through mass programs and on the radio alongside other speakers and my father, of course. I had to stop when my work began to raise too many uncomfortable questions, and it was then that I began my tertiary education overseas. Financed primarily by merit-based scholarships and a lot of hard work, I obtained my PhD at the University of Warwick, UK in Political Science just after I turned 25.

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Me and my father, Mr. Thannambikai Balasubramaniam, the pioneer of Tamil-language motivational seminars in Malaysia, 2013

I still get invitations (and sometimes demands) from members of the concerned public to return to the work I once did – and to do so for free. I believe that social work and service should not be done for a commercial or profit motive (if so, get into business instead), but that the facilitator or trainer should receive something in exchange that is of use to them. Let them get paid – and as long as they do something useful for you – let it be a fair exchange.

A good service provider will give what they can without expectation, but try not to assume that they must always do so. Most people with integrity in this field struggle to even break even – and remember – they´re people, just like you. They have kids, or need to pay bills or debts – just like you.

In my experience I have seen that what is taken for free is never appreciated – and what is a heartfelt gift cannot be something that you shame, bully or guilt-trap someone else into giving. In all honesty that is one of the reasons why so many motivators have come and gone in this society, and even fewer of worth stay behind. Valuing the worth of the individual and the service that individual provides is one of the biggest lessons that our society has yet to learn.

There is a refusal to honor the time of people who genuinely want to do good work. And yet, we would cash out the same money for entertainment, luxuries and spiritual charlatans who claim to fix our lives but ultimately don´t – without a moment´s doubt or hesitation. There´s some good spiritualists out there, but a lot of quacks as well. The same applies to motivational speakers in this country, and in other parts of the world.

So really, it´s not a question of lacking resources. It´s a question of what we truly value and whether we´re willing to put the time into evaluating who or what we choose to seek help out from.

And if we do not value the help we seek, what use is there in providing it, except to feed the bottomless pit that says ´give me, give me, give me – or you´re a bad person´.

We, as a society, constantly expect someone else to come in and solve our problems for us, or show us a way to do so without developing the individual ability to do so. And that has created a culture of extreme dependency. We expect to be saved.

I still go back to public speaking and pro bono work here once in a while. What I´ve seen is that the mentality of entitlement, of individual inability, and of devaluing work and service has all but intensified.

The gap between the haves and the have-nots in our society has all but widened. And that scream that says ´give me, give me, give me´just keeps getting louder and louder. And no matter how much you do give, it´s just never enough.

And that cycle needs to be broken.

But here´s the simple fact of the matter:

Until we learn to value our teachers and facilitators – whoever they may be, we will not learn to grow. We will not even be ready to begin to learn.

I am thinking about ways to contribute, but it´s really got to be something new. Otherwise it´s just going to be feeding into the same old thing, over and over and over again.

Just as it is pointless to throw salt into the sea, it is pointless to try and drain away the people who can (and are willing to help) in the name of ´social service´. Believe me, if this society spent just a fraction of the amount it spends on other things (beauty treatments, entertainment, luxury goods), we wouldn´t need to be having this conversation.

If I do decide that I want to work with the people here, it will be in a way that honors my time and commitment as a professional – and that allows an individual to actually empower themselves, rather than to simply make them dependent on yet another motivator, course or training program.
Regards,

Dr Bairavee Balasubramaniam

SPIRITUALITY & SUCCESS: AN INVITATION TO REFLECT

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I’ve been doing a lot of work and getting a lot of recognition for the work I do lately, and it has made me reflect upon the way I see success, especially for the spiritual servant or facilitator.

There are many ways to define and measure success – its more common association is with recognition, authority, achievement and power (a theme connected with Capricorn, the sign that the New Moon will be in at 0 degrees).

As far as I am concerned, titles, positions, achievements and/or recognition – these are sometimes necessary manifestations and tools to do the work one came to do, but they are its externalized forms. Just as an apple must have a solid form to be crunchy to taste – simply a means to an end.

I came to this conclusion after looking at the continued evolution of a member of my household, one of the greatest people I know and love, and who has had a profound influence on my path: My Father, Mr. Thannambikai Balasubramaniam. A bit of back-story will put my views in context:

A man who began with humble origins as the son of a cook and a rubber tapper – who rose to power and carved out his own niche in the world. He inspired thousands of people to become multi-millionaires and to understand that Success was in their own Hands. As a motivational speaker and trainer he is the pioneer of many concepts, approaches, formats and programs, within the Tamil-language motivational circuit.

Over the years, I saw my father transform and with it his understanding of what Success meant. As his vibration continued to evolve, so too did the content and level of awareness in his programs. He now speaks on the bridge between Spirituality and Prosperity, anchoring the awareness that both are required for us to do the work we came to do in this 3-D Manifestation of Reality.

The funny thing is that my father, brother, mother and I tend to evolve in parallel, even if we’re thousands of miles apart. Just one of those deeply connected family ties, in which are all the other’s Teacher. My ideas impact my father’s path, and his impact mine – it’s quite an interesting household. I’ve also been working with my father in a professional capacity for about 17 years.

What I’ve (and certainly my father has) noticed was that people got caught up in the success and power they manifested in their lives. Egotism, a false sense of authority, over-confidence, a disregard for empathy and morality are some of the things that can result when you consider ‘money as the measuring gauge of the soul’ (to quote my Mother) .

That’s not a great thing in itself, but it gets even worse when you see how spiritual work becomes over-commercialized and a means for individuals to solely gratify their own egoic desires. Within the Tamil community (and certainly in other communities and diasporas across the globe), there is this horrible muddling of spiritual work and material success that sometimes ensues.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against a spiritualist getting money or recognition for the work as a natural consequence of their spiritual service – the problem is when that desire for power or recognition trumps the work itself!

*** And – to add a perspective from my Mother – sometimes we do need tools like a position or finances to actually do what we need to do. Whether it’s funding for research or building a spiritual retreat, or having a roof over your head so you can meditate in peace and make sure you or your kids don’t go hungry, or being able to to contribute to a charity to your cause. Money and Power are important Tools on the contemporary Spiritual Path. ***

The level of that importance, differs by the individual Soul’s purpose of incarnation. When Money, Power, and Recognition become the Goal in itself, rather than your Tools, I see it as an ‘Inversion of Energy’.

Moreover, I have found that the necessary tools – be it money, power or a platform to speak on – generally do present themselves with ease to one who is aligned with their purpose. These are things that you do not have to go and seek – do your part and the right tools will come. Have the skills and preparation you need to work with them when the time comes. And it will.

Unfortunately, the inversion of energy (Tools that become Goals) that I spoke of is becoming so widespread that any indicator of worldly success is seen with increasing skepticism and sometimes resentment in spiritual circles.

This need not be the case – as long as you know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. Stay true to your own Path and Soul Purpose, and you’ll be fine.

I see the Ego as the Root of this skepticism/resentment/defamation of ‘Success’ in Spiritual Service.

The fear of falling into the trap of the Ego has resulted in a fear of anything that the Ego might enjoy – be it success, wealth, pleasure, achievement or recognition. However, I find that running away from something because you’re afraid of it is simply another form of spiritual evasion. A point of reflection which I would encourage exploration of and reflection on. (Hence why I chose to write this post)

In the shadow of the Solstice, the New Moon in Capricorn, Uranus now having stationed direct and the still-potent energy of Venus conjunct Pluto (in Capricorn) squared Uranus … here’s a small exercise of reflection I invite all of you to participate in.

(1) Define what Success is to you. What does a Successful Life Look Like? You can answer in terms of imagination, energy, abstraction – whatever you like.

(2) How do you measure that Success?

(3) What will and won’t you do to achieve that Success?

(4) Who were your mentors, role models and Influencers who taught you how to think about and access the Vibration of Success?

Answer these questions and that’s half the battle won.

For example: Success for me lies in the Spiritual Service that I Perform. I measure my success by the way I feel about what I do and how I accomplish it.

Questions that I ask myself:

Am I happy with my work? Am I happy with myself?
Do I remember that I am but a Vessel, or Channel for the energy of Source that comes through?
Do I remember to connect with each person as a being worthy of respect and love, with a Shared Cosmic Origin?
Do I stay connected to the Divine through my Heart, Womb, Soul and every aspect of my Being?
Do I manage to Balance all aspects of my life (my inner world and outer world) with the work that I do?
Do I perform my task in a way that resonates with my sense of ethics?

These questions also represent my inner barometer. Astrologers amongst you would probably giggle at the fact I have Vesta (Priestess / Spiritual Servant) in Aries (Sense of Self) at my Midheaven (10th house Career or Legacy Point). My Sun is in Capricorn, in the 6th house of Service, bordering 7th house.

So yes – whilst these answers make perfect sense to my Soul, they don’t need to be the same for You!

Find your own answers my friends and that is half the battle won x

This is a powerful time to be performing this introspective exercise on account of current astrological alignments. Set your intentions with integrity for that which you seek to accomplish – and you’ll see some form of a culmination/answer/fruit to during the Capricorn Full Moon, 6 months from now.

Infinite Blessings to you All From the Very Source of Creation itself x

Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
Founder & Editor of Aanmavin Kural: The Voice of The Soul E-Magazine
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

Image: Kamatchi Villaku, Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2014

A TRIBUTE TO MY FATHER: HAPPY 65th BIRTHDAY, THANNAMBIKAI BALASUBRAMANIAM by Bairavee Balasubramaniam

Today, August 18, 2016, my father turns 65. Known as ‘ Thannambikai Balasubramaniam ‘, or ‘Thannambikkai Bala’ to the Malaysian-Tamil public, my father is known as the Pioneer of Tamil-Language Motivational Seminars in Malaysia. It was he who coined the well-known phrase ‘Thanmunaippu Payirtchi’ (Self-Confidence Seminar) in the Tamil language – a term that so many now use without a second thought.

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He has literally spoken to hundreds of thousands of people in Malaysia and abroad, through live audiences, through TV, Radio and other platforms in over 25 countries and global cities across Europe, Asia and Africa. He has dedicated years of his life to the service and upliftment of the Malaysian-Tamil community and of preserving the cultural integrity and artistic heritage of the Tamil culture.

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An entirely self-made man, my father rose from very humble beginnings. He was born in a rubber estate, his mother was a rubber tapper and his father was a cook for the British overseer running the place. As he got older, he ventured into different kinds of businesses, and was fueled by idealism, passion and strong sense of destiny. Eventually he entered the insurance industry, and later built his own platform as a motivational pioneer and speaker.

Some of the high points of his career took place in the 1990s, with the foundation of Thannambikkai Maiyam (Center) that pioneered a new format for the motivational seminar (in the Tamil language), that introduced the concept of motivation for students (academic motivation), that broke so much ground in the attempt to raise consciousness and awareness of the power of the Self through the Sub-Conscious Mind. Thousands of Malaysian-Tamils have kept my father’s ‘Vetri Nitchayam’ poster in their homes – Some of them still do. During this time he also released the ‘Vetri Nitchayam’ tape cassette – a recording of his speeches – Many a Tamil has been moved to transform his/her life by listening to that one tape alone. I’ve seen so many people come up to him over the years – never having met him in person – but thanked him for the change he made in their lives – just through that one tape

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In this period he also edited the Thannambikkai Magazine, the first Tamil-language publication devoid of politics, cinema, religion, gossip or current affairs. He facilitated the publication and sale of the ‘Thangga Thirukural’, a Gold-Dusted Tome housing the intellectual heritage of ancient Tamil philosophy as written by Sage Thiruvallular. He even founded INTAMM – the International Tamils Motivational Movement.

There’s so much more I could say about my father, in terms of achievements, his evolution, his legacy and contribution to the global Tamil diaspora – but I think I’ll stop there as there is so much more he is yet to accomplish – as he enters a new phase in his life: of the spiritual seeker.

For me, watching my father on stage as I was growing up was like watching a volcano dance. He roared, he raged, his passion and convictions lit up the aspirations of an entire generation. He summoned the sleeping warriors within so many and awakened them to the possibility of their own greatness. Many, including myself, saw him as a Lion. Some of us still do.

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But that’s just one side of him. The social reformer, the visionary, the humanitarian, the motivational speaker – these are just selected aspects of a truly complex human being.

For me, my father’s greatest strength and gift to society, to the world – isn’t his voice or his passion – but his heart. He inspired people – he inspired me (and continues to inspire me) through the sheer greatness, the size, the breadth and depth of capacity to Unconditionally Love another human being.

I call him a ‘Champion Hugger’ – if there was an Olympic contest for hugging – he bags the gold every time. He is a deeply loyal, caring and nurturing man and many call him ‘Appa’ or ‘Uncle’ out of the love that his heart spontaneously evokes in others. I know one young man who searched for him for 10 years just so he could have a hug from my father once more. It’s a different kind of magic – us Tamils would know it as ‘Anbu’ (Compassion).

It is difficult for some to even find the space to love one person in their heart (beyond their own family), but somehow – my father managed to fit in an entire society.

He has so much Love to give, and when he stands by you it is as though no force on earth can shake you or move you. For when my father believes in someone, they feel invincible. They grow their wings, and learn to fly. Eventually, they Soar.

Perhaps that is the greatest secret to his success as a motivator, to his unquestionable legacy of awakening that he has created within Tamils across the globe, within all those who have been touched by his words or his heart – and within myself.

To honor my father on his 65th birthday, I thought that the best I could do was to tell a small part of his story – the Man behind the Motivation. There’s so much more that one can say, but I’ll end it here saying:

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I consider it one my life’s greatest blessings to have the honor and privilege of being your daughter.

Here’s to many more decades of Inspiration, Love, and Awakening. I know that the best, for you, is yet to come.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, APPA

Best Wishes from Your Daughter,

Bairavee Balasubramaniam

THE LESSONS OF MISUNDERSTANDING by Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD

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A test of spiritual maturity and self-understanding occurs each time you are misread, misrepresented, misunderstood. Whether it be by strangers, friends, family members, kindred spirits and/or members of your Soul Tribe.

As you go through the world, spreading your messages, embodying your Essence, you are heard. But what is understood may be something wholly different. For we respond to who we think we speak to, not so much the person sitting right next to us.

Especially as human interactions are increasingly interfaced and facilitated by technology, it is wise to remember that very often – we are speaking to _our_ representation, or mental construct of a person – in our own heads, as opposed to who they are as an energetic being in embodied form.

That representation is layered by our assumptions, pre-conceptions, mis-conceptions and experiences of reality, it is filtered through our perspectives and tastes. So very often, that image you have of someone as you speak to them – says a lot more about you, than who they may actually be.

Cue Projection!

When this happens, smile. Try to clarify your position. Try to make your stance clear.

Getting into a fight, taking it personally – it helps no one, it achieves no thing. Accusing the other person of ‘How could You?’ doesn’t really do much either.

The best you can do is speak with clarity, and hope for the best. If one is intent upon misunderstanding you, there is little you can do about it.

Their battle is with the ‘you’ in their head and what that means to them – an internal process of mirroring, and not being pleased with one’s reflection.

Try to avoid judging them or labeling their responses to you as ‘good’, ‘bad’ – or even feeling the need to take it personally. For they’re not actually ‘attacking’ you, just parts of themselves they have not yet fallen in love with.

And for the love of all things Divine, stay as You Are
To Thyself Stay True!
For in the end, it wasn’t really about you anyway

Blessings To All, Keep Smiling Amidst The Storm,
Priestess Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD
www.bairaveebalasubramaniam.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Information: By Stefan Krause, Germany (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

YOU ARE YOUR GREATEST TEACHER.

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I have found, through my own journey, that I have always been my best teacher. That doesn’t mean not taking advice, or not seeing other perspectives outside of your own …

To me, being your own teacher is about taking responsibility for your spiritual journey and your emerging (awareness of) power. You make your own choices, you do the work you have to, you direct your learning to heal the parts of yourself you need to and respectfully seek out those who can facilitate different parts of your journey which you may feel you need help with. 

It’s about ‘owning’ your spiritual experience and not delegating growth or the pursuit of knowledge to others – even if you pedestalize them as teachers, mentors, gurus, etc. Well, that is one part of it.

Another part of it is having the humility to ask help when you need it and to accept that your truth, no matter how strongly you feel about it, is no better than anyone else’s.

So.. yeah… Be Your Own Teacher. You always have been and always will be. You just have to remember 

Blessings,
Bairavee Balasubramaniam, PhD