All posts by tskraghu

Happiness In Life

Conversation with SR continued from here: The Higher Purpose In Life.

SE had a follow-up question (a lightly edited extract):

…I have a question on tour analogy you given. I have similar experiences in multiple group tours and I had wondered why do these group tours create happiness which is not found in our normal day to day life journey? I tried to analyze and had identify certain attributes of these tours; noting them down here:

1. When we go on a tour, for those few days, we take a break from day-to-day life and let go our thoughts of past and future for duration of the tour.

2. During the tour, because we are in different environment and with new people, most of the time we stay in present experience. All the time alert, watching, experiencing, interacting so that we do not miss even a bit of the tour. 

3. Because we know we will not see these people again in life after this tour we are more friendly and accommodating than normal. Also we do not feel that bad when these people say or do something not matching with our expectation.

4. Inner state during these tours is relaxed. After all we are on break and came on tour to relax and enjoy.

Those are few of the critical differences between tour analogy and day-to-day life journey….

**

Loved the question. Set me off thinking about it.

My two-bits in response:

Before attempting to project the experience of a tour and the camaraderie/happiness enjoyed therein onto the larger canvas of our life, it’s useful to look at some other experiences too and recognize underlying similarities. Note some of them could be more towards alleviating grief/trouble leading to satisfying outcomes than generating raw happiness per se.

In these cases, we create and inhabit a small world of experiences shared with a few others bound by a common purpose, more to do with mundane living than exalted, such as enjoying the sights, company and amenities in a group tour, travelling to the destination safely on any kind of mass transport, being in a hospital ward with other patients to get treated during sickness, providing as a team, relief to disaster victims…

The ‘small’ ensures homogeneity  and congruence of purpose.  Membership to this world is one of low on maintenance and short-lived only for the duration of the experience (also a reason for low maintenance, besides the smallness). Note nishkama karma too, is low on maintenance not expecting anything in return!

Now, going from the tour to life looks simple!! For happiness and satisfaction, the solution, to think aloud, may well be: Fill your life – at least some part of it – with these worlds, as many, as varied, as frequently and as long as possible!

Well, not so fast and simple😊 Of course, life is more complex with its share of high-maintenance groups and their activities one cannot shy away: employment in an organization, a competitive team sport, etc. And not to forget, the Family and Friends!

End

The Higher Purpose In Life

An ex-colleague of mine, SR, popped up this question after sending me birthday wishes:

…Last time when we had email conversations, you mentioned that person needs to have a purpose to get going. I have a query on that. How to know or find a right purpose? Earning money, taking care of family is the purpose with everyone. How to know or find higher purpose to make best of this human birth and remaining life?

A few words about him. He worked with me in our Software unit. Qualified in Textile Engineering from a premier technical institute in Mumbai, he was easily the best OO designer I had seen in sometime among the good many that passed through my hands. When I was down and under after a serious heart ailment and a major surgery, this young man would take a break from his project, come up into my cabin, chat with me about this and that simply to pep me up!!! Not just once. Absolutely unforgettable. Have been in touch with him on and off. And now here he is…

With a question people spend a life time to find an answer:-)))

Will share my views on the subject.

Many believe living is doing what gives one happiness. After all there’s just one life to live. Everything else like karma, rebirth….is a conjecture. To be happy is the key to life.

Intuitively we know there’s much more to life than happiness which is a state of mind, largely a  function of the present, hence evanescent.

Brought up in our tradition, we all know life is to live the role we assume as per the prescribed dharma withstanding the challenges encountered on the way. For example, a parentis required, among other things, to bring up the kid to become a good citizen in the society. Happiness is nothing more than a by-product generated in the process of fulfilling the demands of the role taken.

While this may be the basic purpose in life – to play the role well – what then is a higher purpose in life? The original question.

For the spiritually inclined, the question is easy to answer. For example, in the system of belief’s I belong to, the highest purpose of life is salvation, freedom from rebirths that one achieves when one has discharged all karmic debts (bad karma) and, yes, credits (good karma) too! In this state the jeeva (Self) goes back to its natural state of oneness with the paramathma (Supreme). In its framework, the theory holds together good and it’s difficult to pick holes. And how does one go about working towards it? Well, it’s said: “Lead a life as per prescribed dharma and, as one matures, engage more in meditating upon the Supreme in progressive renunciation of this world.

The specific system I belong to says more on the subject. Will not dilate beyond summing it up as: The karmic load is not easy to be reduced to nil. Requires innumerable janma’s (births) of high merit. An easier and a quicker way is to completely surrender oneself to the Supreme and dedicate all thoughts and actions in its service. Prapatti proposed by Ramanuja versus Karma, Gyana and Bakthi yoga’s enunciated in Gita .

Am sure the various faiths under the umbrella of Hinduism likewise have their own theories on the subject. And other religions too. 

What about those not deep into spirituality? Answers are many.

Picking on one, let me cite the example of our ten-days tour of Egypt and Jordan three years ago. My cousin got us to join. As families, we are similar and different in what we enjoy, our need for private/shared spaces, our eating habits, etc. Likewise there were another 10 to 15 families with us on this tour. We had such an enjoyable time on this trip being together with my cousin and others.  Happiness shared was happiness multiplied in a group tour far outweighing the convenience of a private tour!!

Life is no different, a journey shared with many close/known to us and the multitude out there each fighting his own battle. Can we make the journey a wee bit better in some manner for each other?  At the lowest point of altruism, someone suggested, costing nothing, why not greet with a sunny smile 5 perfect strangers we see in a day? Could be as easy as that.

An employee in an org, for instance, through his work, touches the lives of his employer, colleagues and customers. Opportunities unlimited! It’s not too difficult to imagine ways he could do a bit of good in his line of duty going beyond its call!  An interesting implication: In order to serve them best, it is incumbent on him to operates at the peak or near-peak of his efficiency and up-to-date knowledge and skills!

Not to be left out, Artists, Scientists, Professionals…all have their own ways of threading a higher purpose into their lives and their work.

And that’s what makes life worth living, even enjoyable, regardless of one’s station in life, each new day loaded with opportunities.

End

Wo(w!)men

Regrettably, unable to speculate creatively as would an artist or a wordsmith of merit on what would be a man if not civilized by the women in his life, am content forwarding some beautiful thoughts related to the subject, anonymusly authored:

**

LET HER TAKE HER TIME!!

vide Anantharaman Mahadevan

When she takes her time to drink a barely warm cup of tea, let her. She’s given her time to cook your meal and serve it to you before she sat to drink her tea.

When she takes time to select a dish from the menu, let her. Every day, for every meal she has prepared she has given her time to think about what to make, how much, and for whom.

When she takes time to dress up to go out with you, let her. She has given her time to make sure that your ironed clothes are in their place and knows better than you, where your socks are. She has dressed up her child thoughtfully, to look like the most smartly dressed up child around.

When she takes time to watch TV mindlessly, let her. She is only half concentrating and has a clock ticking in her head. As soon as it’s nearing dinner time, you’ll see her disappear to get things ready.

When she takes time to serve you breakfast, let her. She has kept aside the burnt toast for herself and is taking the time to serve her family the nicest ones she could manage.

When she takes time after her tea to just sit by the window and stare into nothingness, let her. It’s her life, she’s given you countless hours of her life.

Let her take a few minutes for herself.

She’s rushing through her life, giving chunks of her time whenever needed, wherever needed.

Don’t rush her more than she rushes herself.

Don’t push her harder than she pushes herself.

A tribute to all Women…

**

Survival kit for Mothers!! Another beautiful thought to share, what if a bit wordy!

Vide Sarabada Gopinath in PCK

LESSON FOR LIFE💝 

My mom felt exhausted. She was irritable and grumpy, until one day, suddenly, she changed.

One day my dad said to her: ‘I’m going to have a few beers with friends.’

Mom: ‘Okay.’

My brother said to her: ‘I’m doing poorly in all subjects in college.’

Mom: ‘Okay, you will recover, and if you don’t, you repeat the semester, but you pay the tuition.’

My sister said to her: ‘I smashed the car.’

My mom replied: ‘Okay, take it to the car shop and get it fixed.’

All of us were worried to see these reactions coming from mom.

We suspected that she had gone to the doctor and was prescribed some pills called “I don’t give a damn”.

We then proposed to do an “intervention” with my mother to remove her from any possible addiction she had towards some anti-tantrum medication.

But then mom gathered us around her and explained:

“It took me a long time to realize that each person is responsible for their life. It took me years to discover that my anguish, anxiety, my depression, my courage, my insomnia and my stress, does not solve your problems but aggravates mine.

I am not responsible for the actions of anyone and it’s not my job to provide happiness.

Therefore, I came to the conclusion that my duty to myself is to remain calm and let each one of you solve what corresponds to you.

I have taken courses in yoga, meditation, miracles, human development, mental hygiene, vibration and neurolinguistic programming and in all of them, I found a common denominator. I can only control myself, you have all the necessary resources to solve your own problems despite how hard they may be. My job is to PRAY for you, LOVE you, ENCOURAGE you, but it’s up to YOU to solve them and find your happiness.

I can only give you my advice if you ask me and it depends on you to follow it or not. There are consequences, good or bad, to your decisions and YOU have to live with them.”

Everyone at home was speechless.

From that day on, the family began to function better because everyone in the house knew exactly what it is that they needed to do!

End

Kindness Knows No Home!

Source: A WhatsApp forward

**

It was the night of 30th Dec. And it was cold out there.

They were returning from a party at a friend’s place. 

As they were hitting the main road, at the corner he caught sight of a homeless beggar squat on the pavement and pulling tight around himself a torn shawl, not entirely successful in holding off the shivering cold.

He slowed down and stopped the car a little distance ahead.

‘What happened? Why’re you stopping the car? Any problem?’ his wife got a wee bit tense.

‘No, nothing wrong with the car. Look there, an old man shivering in cold.’

‘So?’

‘We have a shawl with us in there. Let’s give it to him.’

‘What? That expensive stuff we bought for my mom?’

’Let me get it…what to do? There’s nothing else to spare…we’ll get another one for your mom.’

‘You know what? He is not going to use it, let me tell you. He’ll trade it in for some weed. They do it all the time.’

He picked up the shawl from the seat behind and got down.

Went up to the man, draped the shawl around the startled man fearing worse. Stepped back to have a look. With a wave of has hand, left him behind and returned to the car.

They came home in silence.

On 31st night once again there was a party they attended more or less in the same area.

Later they took the same route on the way back home.

The homeless beggar was at his spot.

‘See, what I told you, I can’t see the shawl,’ observed the wife.

He stopped the car and both of them got down.

‘What Baba, where’s the shawl we gave you yesterday? Bought yourself some ganja with it, eh?’ the wife said mockingly.

A bony arm stuck out pointing to a figure crouching on the pavement some distance away, shrouded in what appeared to be the shawl.

His voice was tremulous: ‘One leg, polio affected. Draws unwelcome attention from passers-by. She is without clothes even to cover herself properly. At least I have this for myself.’

They returned to their car without a word. She was sure there was another shawl in the bedroom closet.

End

In This World Of Connected Computers….

vide Gopalaswamy

Perhaps more appropriate to eastern cultures?

**

Father is flying a kite.

His son is watching him carefully. After some time son says:

“Dad. because of the string the kite is not able to go any further higher.”

Hearing this, the father smiles and breaks the string.

The kite goes higher and then shortly after that, it comes and falls on the ground.The child is dejected and sad.

The father sits next to him and calmly explains:

“Son, in life we reach a certain level and then we feel that there are certain things that are not letting us grow any further like Home, Family, Culture etc. We feel we want to be free from those strings which we believe are stopping us from going higher.

But, remember son.”That our home , family and culture are the things that will help us stay stable at the high heights .If we try to break away from those strings our condition will be similar to the kite – we’ll fall down soon.”

**

Life is Beautiful 😊Stay connected👍

Wishing you A Happy Makar Sankranti. Pongal Lohri, Bhigu…

End

PS: Makar Sankranti marks the arrival of harvest season. Widely celebrated, kite flying, bonfires, fairs, surya puja in river, feast, arts, dance, socialization, Cow Pooja…mark the festival.

Good Reasons To Be…

…doing the right thing!

A story from Africa vide V Narayanan

**

At the time of the great King Obatala:

Three people came to him dragging a young man with them and said to him:

‘O King!! This man has murdered our father.’

Obatala: ‘Why did you kill their father?’ 

Young man: ‘I’m a goatherd. My goat ate from their father’s farm, and he threw a stone at my goat and it died; so I also took the stone and threw it at their father and he also died.’

Obatala: ‘Because of this, I pass judgment, on charge of murder, by sentencing you to death.’

The Young man said: ‘Oh King, I ask for 3 days before you execute the judgment. My late father left me some wealth and I have a sister to take care of. If you kill me now, the wealth and my sister will have no guardian.’

Obatala: ‘Who will stand for your bail?’ 

The Young man looking into the crowd, pointed at Lamurudu.

Obatala asked: ‘Do you agree to stand for him, Lamurudu?’

Lamurudu answered, ‘Beeni (yes).’

Obatala enquired further: ‘You agree to stand for someone you don’t know, and if he doesn’t return you’ll receive his penalty.’

Lamurudu answered: ‘I accept.’

The Young man left; but after two days and into the third day, there was still no sign of the Young man. 

Everyone was afraid and sorry for Lamurudu who had accepted to receive the penalty of death if the man failed to return.

Just before it was time for meting out the punishment to the poor Lamurudu, the goat herdsman  appeared looking very exhausted and he stood before King Obatala. 

The Young man spoke up: ‘I have handed the wealth and the welfare of my sister to my uncle and I am back to receive the penalty. You may execute the penalty now.’

In great shock and surprise, Obatala said: ‘And why did you return after having a chance to escape the death penalty?’ 

Young man: ‘It would then appear humanity has lost integrity and the ability to fulfill promises kept.’

Obatala turned and looked at Lamurudu and asked him:  ‘And why did you stand for him?’

Lamurudu responded: ‘It would then appear humanity has lost the will to do good to others.’ 

These words and events moved the complainant  brothers who had  wanted justice for their father’s death very deeply and they decided to forgive the young goat herdsman. 

A furious Obatala asked: ‘Why?!!’

They said: ‘It would then appear as though forgiveness has lost place in the heart of humanity.’

End

A Very Short Story By Osho For Kids

Vide Jaishankar Ramachandran

There was this man who had no means of earning a living. He went out every morning into the village and sought biksha (alms) from the houses therein.

So it was this morning too as he stepped out with his joli (actually a piece of cloth folded like a pouch to hold small stuff). It held at its bottom some grains of rice put in by his wife. There was a reason for it. The householder offering biksha would be satisfied on seeing the rice he/she was not being fooled, safe in the thought someone else too saw it fit to offer it to him.

As he began his morning round, he saw a cloud of dust kicked up at a distance and also heard the rumble of wheels on the road.  It was the Raja’s chariot, royal flag with the insignia fluttering atop. He was at once delighted. Finally today was his chance to seek alms from the Raja himself. So far he was always thrown out whenever he tried to gain admittance to the palace. He thought furiously about what he would ask of the Raja…this, no, that…

In a few moments, the chariot reached the point where the man was standing and, what more, it conveniently stopped by his side. Providentially his job was made easier now.

Just as he was ready to get going on his act, to his utter surprise, the Raja himself sought him out and held out a joli, his, in front of the man!

Raja: ‘Today I decided to ask and receive something from the first man I meet. It’s you. Please give me something you have!’

Well, the man just stood there in a daze for he had nothing on his person to give. Also he had only known about receiving all along. Here was the Raja of the land standing before him asking him for alms!

‘Come on, you must have something…what about the joli you’re carrying? Surely…’

He remembered he had some rice grains left in there by his wife. So he put his hand into the joli and managed to collect a handful.Then he thought it was too much. He dropped half of it back into the joli. Then again he felt he was still giving away a lot more than he should. So some more grains dropped back into the joli.

Becoming impatient, the Raja ordered him to expedite.

The man finally parted with one grain, just one.

The Raja without a demur thanked him for it and drove away.

The man was sad at what had happened. Not only he did not receive any dhaan from the Raja, he had to give away a grain of his own.

He completed his usual round and returned home.

‘Why, what happened, you look distraught?’ the wife asked him as she relieved him of the joli.

‘You know I lost a grain today…’

Wife said: ‘Why, you’re joli feels full…in fact today you seem to have collected far more than usual and you’re sad for losing a grain?’

‘But I lost a grain…’

As she ran her hands through the collected grain, she suddenly whooped in glee:

‘Look, what we got here…a grain of gold!!’

The man cried inconsolably leaving his wife nonplussed.

End