Drinking nectar

Hello friends this is a  beautiful take on EI explained with profound insights by my dear friend Sriram. I have transcribed it from Sri’s reply on my earlier post on Raising EI levels and its correlation with Hummingbirds.

Thank you Sriram,

“one striking quality of the humming bird – its a perfect example of ‘action’ in
‘inaction’ and ‘inaction’ in ‘action’ – Sri Krishna in the Bhagvad Gita talks about this as one of the lakshanas (hallmarks) of a Karma Yogi – in chapter 4.

The humming bird does not ‘move’ (inaction) when

it is drawing nectar from the flowers (action) though it is flapping its wings very quickly (action) creating the humming sound though it is stationary (inaction).

This important concept is important for us to understand the heart of EI as well.

For me EI refers to that quality of an individual who is able to be steady in thought word and deed even in an emotional upheaval so that he is able to ‘see’ things as ‘they’ are and take the ‘right’ action in the given circumstance.

So if we are to act ‘rightly’ (action) then we must be ‘inactive’ – not allow us to get carried away by the ‘heat of the moment’. Thus action rooted in inaction is what EI helps us to achieve.

The best example of this would be the concept of ‘flow’ as described by the great psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. Flow is when we are at our best in terms of action, but we are so lost to the moment or lost in the moment that internally we are inactive (or hyperactive like the humming bird’s wings)!!

Extending the humming bird analogy – just as the flapping wings do not ‘move’ the bird and instead help it to ‘draw’ nectar (most productive moment-flow); so also the zillion thought-wings of ours must be ‘frozen’ for us to achieve ‘flow’. But the poor humming bird gets to do it as instinct only when there is the urge to feed itself… But we humans can ‘get ourselves’ to be in a flow without an ‘external’ driver or ‘instinct’.

Thats what it means to have a high EQ. to be able to switch on / switch off as required by the moment at the moment so as to maximise the moment!!

How does one go about developing this?

Awareness – being aware of our emotions & always taking a ‘witness’ perspective of actions

Living in the present – being focused on the NOW rather than the future or past – the future sets us off on an expectation-agitation path and the past sets off on a regret-agitation path – both lead to emotional turbulence leading to ‘active’ action – recipe for disaster. focus on the here and now – as Swami Chinmayananda always used to say – ‘are you where your hands are?’ – helps us to be ‘inactive’ and active – helping us to ‘act’.

As in 3 idiots – hum ko kal ki phikr sataati, woh to aaj ka jashan manaata, har pal khulke masti mein jeeta tha woh!

Goleman’s ‘discovery’ of EI is another example of the West saluting Eastern wisdom, but without acknowledging the source!! However it does help in understanding Eternal truth and creates a wider audience for further exploration and Discovery.

The Entire Gita is a journey of Arjuna – moving from being emotionally ‘dumb’ to becoming emotionally ‘intelligent’ from being a person overwhelmed by the situation to a person who is looking to do his best in the situation.

The Gita uses a nice word for the emotionally dumb – person who is in Moha or ‘delusion’ – only delusion makes us see what is not and confuses us, befuddles us into a make believe world of our own which comes crashing later when ‘Truth’ or ‘Wisdom’ dawns. However by then the situation gets so vitiated that there is but little we can do to undo the damage.

It took 18 chapters & some 700 verses to kill Arjuna’s delusion & the Lord himself as Mentor / Coach … so obviously its a tough ask – this transformation process ….

So let’s begin….


About Dilip

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are music and growing culinary herbs. Love to play golf and do yoga regularly. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

14 responses

  1. akash says:

    Respected Sir,
    Good Morning

    How to Raise E.I. in organization ?

    Unlike IQ, EI skills can be developed & improved over time.

    Daniel Goleman categorizes 5 key components of E.I. that are easy to understand for any team or organization.

    They are

    Self-Awareness:- Knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions and having the willingness to share them, being aware of our emotions & always taking a ‘witness’
    perspective of actions.

    Self-Regulation:- managing one’s internal states, impulses & resources & taking responsibility for said,Self Management,Self-Control.

    Motivation:- ability & emotional tendency to inspire, guide or facilitate the reaching of goals.

    Empathy:- awareness of others’ feelings, needs & concerns.

    Social Skills:- adeptness at effective change through listening and communication; openly communicating & nurturing relationships.

    Focussing on these essential components one can raise his/her E.I. which in turn will lead to rise in organizational E.I.

    Also,Living in the present – being focused on the NOW rather than the future or past;

    Stress releasing activities,programs & exercices such as Yoga, Meditation,etc could be incorporated so as to raise one E.I.

    Thanks & Warm Regards,


    • Dilip says:

      Hi Akash good to read your comments. Developing EI organization-wide is a challenge. And stress releasing activities such as yoga meditation will surely help. The main issue is how to bring organization members in a ‘receive mode’ for doing such activities – isn’t it?

      I appreciate your suggestions and thank you.


  2. Dilip says:

    Dear Lubna,

    Its gracious of you to wish me for ‘Teachers Day’. You yourself are a lovely combination of a finance consultant and a creative writer and I am learning from your writings.

    Wow its nice to know you enjoyed ‘Flow’. Yes to be in the ‘Now’ is to be practiced with awareness. I am sure you have read Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘The Power of Now’.

    Many thanks and kind regards!


  3. Lubna says:

    Dear Dilip Sir,
    This is a very useful post. Unfortunately most of us dwell in the past or worry about the future. Even I find myself saying: Why did this happen or what will happen at this meeting tomorrow, instead of immersing myself in the NOW. Flow was an excellent read. I really liked that book.


  4. Dilip says:

    Good one Akash! now that you are soon to become a HR professional … you will need to bring in practice ways to build HR credibility in the minds of your management as well as your line partners …I am sure with the points highlighted by you is the best approach to succeed … I am very happy to read your comments … wish you a great professional career ..

    A teacher is as good and as kind as his students 🙂 you guys have been patient and understanding towards me …

    Thank you! And do keep visiting the blog and be in touch …Regards


  5. akash says:

    Respected Sir,

    Good Morning ………

    Some ways to build HR credilbility :-

    Learn the Business :-
    Learning the business of business is essential in gaining credibility. Understanding how the activities of the HR department impact the goals of the organization will help you speak the language of the organization.
    If you are in a high sales culture, learn what HR activities impact sales revenue and create measures to prove it.

    Keep Commitments and Meet Deadlines :-
    Doing what you say you are going to do and meeting deadlines builds reliability. If something prevents you from doing so, be sure to keep others informed with updates.

    Own Your Mistakes :-
    If you make a mistake, don’t try to hide it or place blame on others. Admit when you are wrong. If necessary, ask for feedback on how you can improve or share what you have learned from the mistake. If an apology is in order, apologize.

    Learn to Ask and Listen

    Use Empathy and Keep Emotions In Check :-
    Showing empathy to others does not mean that you agree, it simply means that you understand the emotion they are feeling. Not acknowledging this emotion sends the message that you are not listening or do not care.

    Give Credit where Credit is Due :-
    Acknowledge the good work of others especially those who work under you. People feel threatened and lack trust for leaders who try to take credit for their ideas and work.

    Do what u are supposed to do.

    Build a strong Value Proposition.

    Show them that you belive in them,thier ideas,thier feedback.Tell them that they are an important link in the growth of the organization. Give them recognition.

    Remain objective and create balance between employees and management:-
    HR professionals are most often regarded as being on the management side. This is a tough position to be and while it is important for HR to work closely with management and align HR programs with strategic goals, it is also necessary to be the “trusted member of organization” who should provide advice to employees with objectivity and without bias.

    Thank you Sir for being such a kind teacher …..

    Thanks & Best Regards,


  6. Sriram says:

    dear sir,

    have given the link that works below:


    you are perfectly right when you say EI will follow – that’s precisely what our masters were after – that knowledge by knowing which all becomes known.

    the small text called tattvabodha is an introduction to the scientific study of vedanta, written by Adi Shankara in which he presents the qualities of a seeker of such knowledge.

    They are called Sadhana Chatushtaya (4 fold qualification)
    Viveka – which we have seen earlier, vairagya as you mentioned – dispassion, mumukshutvam – intense desire – (the example for this as quoted in the scriptures is – a disciple goes seeking God and the Guru calls him to the bathing pond. there as the disciple dips his head into the waters, the Guru presses the neck of the disciple with his legs and makes the disciple struggle for air and then lets him go saying – when your desire to know God becomes as intense as your desire for air when you were in the pond, come back to me, I will show you GOD! this is mumukshutvam – different from kama – also translated in english as desire) & the 6 qualities grouped together called shatka sampatti – which enumerate the discipline required for this kind of seeking. (Mind control, sense control, internal focus, mental toughness, faith in the scriptures & in the search and focus – are the six)

    the detailed discussion on these 4 qualities is presented in this transcribed talk of Swami Paramarthananda.


    This is presented as qualities of the student or disciple, who is going to seek the WORLD.

    Our masters founded the quest for self mastery as a science and that science is called vedanta – the other half – we have puranas & itihasas as veda purva (the prior half), the vedas and vedanta completing the study of scriptures!

    this was what a student learned as Management Science – depending on what his future career path was the course was tailor made and included the appropriate shastras as well – artha shastra for finance guys/ administrators as an example.

    So we had OB, OVBE as 75% of the syllabus on which was built any superstructure of specialization!!

    Can we bring back the Golden Era – Do we have the teachers? (Acharyas – Acharnat Shreya iti Acharya – One who is an Exemplar of appropriate Behavior) – Do we have the students? – whose motivation to learn is next to seeking air to breathe & live!




  7. Sriram says:

    Dear Sir,

    Having set the base in my previous post, let’s explore the EI landscape in greater details. The operational definition for EI as I see it is the quality in a human to be unperturbed in upheavals so that (s)he remains Master of the situation.

    So when do we normally fail to act with EI? Arjuna’s failure right at the beginning of the Battle is a classic example. A more recent version of that would be that of a famous surgeon who having performed a few thousand complicated surgeries perfectly finds his hands shiver when his ‘own’ son is to come under his knife. So the pattern remains though eon’s have passed!!

    So is it that we are prone to Emotional “hijacks” and we can’t ‘learn’ from history? The common thread in both the cases is – ‘attachment’ or what is called in sanskrit as ‘raaga’ (not to be confused with the musical cousin). The surgeon failed because he was focused on ‘my’ son; Arjuna failed because ‘they’ were ‘his’ guru, grand father, cousins.

    The Gita very beautifully deconstructs this Emotional Hijack in 2 verses in chapter 2 – Verse 62 & 63.
    ( the link below gives the sanskrit verses, their english meaning and word by word translation – http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-02-62.html) (please click the next button to see verse 63 – ofcourse you may read all of them – especially verses 54 – 72 of chapter 2)

    These verses are attributed to Lord Krishna in the dialogue. There are 8 steps to ‘self destruction’ of humans or the loss of ‘objectivity’ & ‘reason’ in a human being.

    it all begins with a human ‘brooding’ over a ‘sensory’ object. when we ‘meditate’ over an object that provides ‘entertainment’ to the senses, we develop an ‘association’ or ‘identity’ with it. when this ‘sense of identity’ deepens (because we continue to indulge), it develops into a ‘desire’ to ‘possess’ the object. once ‘desire’ takes over, any obstruction we face in our ‘attainment’ of the ‘desire’ leads to ‘anger’ or ‘frustration’.

    When ‘anger’ takes over, we become ‘deluded’, when ‘deluded’ we lose our ‘memory’ (our knowledge of right or wrong), when ‘memory’ is gone ‘intelligence’ is lost & when ‘intelligence’ is lost the human is ‘destroyed’.

    So where does it begin? – ‘meditation’ on a sensorial object.

    Let’s take the surgeon’s example & deconstruct his ‘failure’.

    When he would operate on ‘other’ bodies, he was the example or personification of perfection. He was in CONTROL. So what caused his ‘destruction’ as a ‘surgeon’ when the operation was to be done on another body labeled ‘son’?

    When the ‘body’ turns out to be ‘his’ ‘own’ son – so here is an object that he has ‘invested’ time in to make an ‘identification’ of ‘my son’ out of it, and his ‘desire’ to ‘ensure’ ‘his’ son’s long life, he becomes ‘frustrated’ (why ‘my’ son, etc.), leading to ‘delusion’, ‘loss of memory’, ‘intelligence’ that manifests in ‘his’ hands ‘shivering’ at the operating table, thus he loses his craft (the ‘perfect’ surgeon is destroyed).

    EI is victory over this ‘hijack’. We get ‘hijacked’ for smaller events & instances and we experience ‘hijacks’ almost on a daily if not hourly basis – hijack – is when i have become deluded and am not able to use my ‘intelligence’ to take the ‘right’ action.

    The ‘hijack’ is also a ‘flow’ – but results in just the opposite. ‘Flow’ as we saw in the earlier post leads to innovations, brilliant work, perfect surgery – leads a human to perfection as ‘human’…. and the Hijack takes us in the exact opposite direction – to destroying the ‘human’ in us.

    We all would have experienced ‘hijacks’ and our sense of ‘remorse’ or a feeling of having behaved in such a ‘silly’ manner after the ‘hijack’ passes over. Be it snapping at our sub-ordinates, children / spouse at home or road rage, all these hijacks ‘destroy’ the ‘human’ in us.

    If we deconstruct our hijacks on a regular basis, using this ‘template’ – going back to the ‘source’ of the ‘destruction’ – rewinding each of the stages – destruction – loss of intelligence – loss of memory – delusion – anger / frustration – desire – attachment – ‘brooding’ over sensory object (the 8 steps in rewind mode!) we notice patterns and understand our ’emotions’ better.

    The only good thing about ‘hijacks’ is that they come with inbuilt ‘expiry time’ (hence we feel silly after it is over; unless in extreme cases – leading to permanent impairment) and it is possible for us to notice the impending ‘hijack’ if we are a little ‘aware’ of what’s happening to us. Our physiological responses tell us the story – thumping (many times bursting) heart, sweaty foreheads, palms & soles, flushed face, shivering hands, weakness of knee, etc. But DO WE NOTICE?

    What Goleman calls self awareness, the Gita deconstructs into a ‘8 steps’ ‘how to’ process. and these are easy ‘do-it-yourself’ steps.

    Not all emotionally ‘un intelligent’ responses of ours develop to become a ‘hijack’. most of them become desire / frustration / anger – ‘stress’ leading to ‘delusion’ and ‘wrong action’.

    So in organizations, where the usual reasons for conflict – ‘my’ idea vs ‘others’, ‘my’ performance vs others, ‘my’ share vs ‘others, etc. can easily be resolved just by becoming a little aware of why we hold these ‘objects’ in such ‘esteem’ – because we have ‘invested time’ by ‘brooding’ over them?

    Being Emotionally Intelligent helps us be ‘objective’ about things in general and whenever we behave ‘subjectively’ we can ‘know’ that we are being ‘subjective’. This is possible only when we see ‘objects’ as ‘objects’ and not ‘coloured’ by the ‘my’ lense (subjectivity).

    Thus, EI can be easily harnessed in organizations to get everyone to focus on the WHAT (rather than the WHO) is right, leading to conflict free, ‘human’ interactions paving the way for ‘innovation’ and ‘growth’ and ofcourse an organization that is ‘HUMAN’.




    • Dilip says:

      Dear Sriram,

      You have touched deep levels of EI beautifully. To achieve a state where an individual remains ” unperturbed in upheavals so that (s)he remains Master of the situation” is what we need to work on. You have rightly stated that in our way forward we need to be free of ‘anger’, ‘frustration’ and such other obstacles.

      Now this means a total change in our attitudes and our lifestyle. A few that come to my mind are – letting go, acceptance, surrendering ego, genuine seva without strings attached and …. physical fitness too.

      I feel for this one has to decide on our – जीवन का लक्ष्य … and make it our life’s commitment. And EI and stuff will all fall in place en-route beautifully.

      In your words: ‘ so let the journey begin’ to which I may add “from NOW’.
      – I know you are way ahead… 🙂


      Oops – I forgot the link http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-02-62.html) does not open! kindly send it again! Thanks.


  8. Geetha says:

    So many fantastic lessons in this. Thanks a ton to Messrs. Dilip and Sriram!

    The humming bird analogy sure helps to distill complex thoughts and ideas into simple messages because the humming bird has been used beautifully and effectively as an “objective correlative” – a term made famous by T S Eliot – to explain EI!

    Yes, it is EI that helps us to overcome Maya (the power of delusion) by opening up our Inner Eye.

    And what can one say about the Gita and the essence of it? I think what is said of the Mahabharata applies to the Gita as well:

    “What is here is found elsewhere.
    What is not here is nowhere.”

    And it is indeed a fact that it is only now that the Western world has woken up to the importance of Yoga, Mindful Meditation etc. etc. whereas these have been a way of life especially in India from time immemorial.

    Thanks and regards,



  9. Jenni Wright says:

    What a great article! Thank you Sriram for writing it and to Dilipnaidu for bringing it to our attention.

    Jenni Wright