Before I try to answer that question, let me confess. I am approx 2 months late on a self-decided deadline for writing this post on os.me. The primary reason being my “self-limiting belief” that I cannot write. It’s one of my many self-limiting beliefs that I am ready to step out of. That said, let me also warn you that I have never written outside of work requirements. So if you happen to enjoy anything in this post, I am just lucky.
To the question, who am I? My bio below tells a bit about myself. Some of the lovely os.me community members know me. We have met in person, broken bread and laughed together mostly at Sri Badrika Ashram. We have sat together and listened to Swami Ji’s discourses, my tiny mind trying to absorb more than what it eventually would. Many others probably know me as “Nikunj’s husband”, a title that I am more comfortable with than I should be.
Sometimes, I think of myself as a collection of titles that I have gathered over the years. Not that I want to believe any of those titles but these titles are fairly important to operate. I can imagine a fiery, emotional and very upset thirteen-year-old girl if I decide to drop the title of “father” for example. That brings me to the latest title in my forty-seven-year-old journey. Before I share the “title”, let me share just a little bit about my journey so far. Whether it’s spiritual or not – I would love to hear back from you in the comments.
It’s difficult for me to point out exactly where it started. The only bit I can tell with confidence is that it started with “grace”. I have done okay in my life for the first thirty-odd years. Till about the age of thirty-five, god to me was someone that you put on a high pedestal where the steps are made up of all the bits that a normal person would find extremely hard to do. For ex: Intense Meditation. So reaching God was a dream to me. A dream that my mother fancied and often talked about. I dutifully listened but that’s that. There was nothing beyond those conversations, I did not think much about God and obviously, God didn’t either.
Some small bits started changing when after a decade of my marriage, I started seeing my wife’s behavior a bit closely. It was “grace” that somehow allowed me to see beyond what my male ego wanted to see. Her conduct has always been very different from mine. There were also some incidents that influenced me significantly but those are topics for another post. It took me some time to recognize that God was not on a high pedestal but was right next to me, sometimes as an auto-rickshaw driver who almost banged on my car and at times as a client who was extremely upset or happy for good reasons. “How I felt and conducted myself at those moments” was the prayer that I was slowly learning to recite. And as I was trying to make sense of these discoveries, grace in my life continued and I met Swami Ji in Singapore. Like most of you, my life changed after meeting him.
What I realized pretty soon though was that Swami Ji is a lot more than what my senses could perceive. And what he stands for can only be truly honored if we can learn to “serve”. I have tried to serve where opportunities have presented. When Swami Ji launched os.me, I was pretty excited. There was a place on the internet where I could go and read about things that truly mattered, the place where I could go and find answers to big questions of life. More importantly, I could find important life questions that I never asked in my ignorance and could now ask and learn from. Another title of mine “engineer” could see the possibilities that a website like os.me opened “to serve”.
Thanks to my changed vantage point, I had also become acutely aware of many individuals who have been dealt different cards and they had no Om Swami in their lives. In some cases, they did not even have a loving and caring family in their lives. For some reason, many such individuals talk to my wife. It’s been a mystery to me to this day, how come not a single person has opened up like that to me while she keeps meeting people and they keep opening up. But the “entrepreneur” in me could see how os.me can become that shiny wand to bring peace to millions of lives that are lived in ignorance.
In my visits to Sri Badrika Ashram and while organizing events I bumped into a number of extremely kind people who have imbibed the spirit of “serving”. These kind souls make our world a better place and I thank and wish them well whenever I pray. That’s how the discussion about building an os.me community started with Swami Ji. If a platform can be built where these kind souls could connect and help beyond what physical conditions permit and if the platform allowed others to share those stories and hence inspire and give hope to more individuals. Wouldn’t that become a multiplier force? That was and continues to be the basic seed behind os.me community. Two years and almost ten thousand member posts later, we have made some progress and os.me now has a community of over 20,000 members.
And that brings me to the latest title in my life, “CEO of os.me”. I have been playing that role for a little more than the last twelve months. There is a crazy good team that has built various features and improved the website in bits and pieces. It’s been my pleasure to work with this small but energetic team. I also know that the website has not always worked for everyone, and that is squarely my responsibility. I am sorry for every hiccup that you might have faced using this platform. Such hiccups are not befitting for any world-class organization and I recognize that we have improvements to make.
Swami Ji as the founder remains the guiding force behind os.me. One key criterion for me to measure os.me success has been what can this community do “without” taking Swami Ji’s time. I fully understand the need for a direct conversation or time with Swami Ji. But whatever little I have learnt, tells me that there is a Swami in each of 20,000+ members here – my job is to care for that Swami and see if we can discover him together.
Os.me is a journey which has just started. With 20,000+ members, we are not big but we are not small either. I intend to share more on what we are planning to do with this amazing community and I do plan to post more regularly with my thoughts about community initiatives and os.me platform direction. I also have a goal for myself & this community – the day when we can all feel “aham brahm os.me.” (I am the creator of os.me)
So there you have it — my latest title and our goal.
Image Credit: Ben Sweet at unsplash.com