Tag Archives: Life

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

In Celebration Of Life…

Forwarding few lines that I enjoyed reading, lightly edited subjectively:


Sometimes I feel I want to go back in time… Not to change things, but to feel a couple of things twice…

Sometimes I wish I was a baby for a while… Not to be walked in the pram but to see my mother’s smile!

Some times I wish I could go back to school… Not to become a child but to spend  more time with those friends I never met after school!

Sometimes I wish I could be back in college… Not to be a rebel but to really understand what I studied!

Sometimes I wish I was a fresher at my work… Not to do less work but to recall the joy of making myself useful and being paid for it!

Sometimes I wish I could marry again all over… Not to change the partner but to enjoy her companionship more deeply!

Sometimes I wish my kids were younger…. Not because they grew fast but to tell them more stories…

Sometimes I wish I was more expressive…Not to pursue prose or poetry but to to say thanks to my kith and kin.

Sometimes I feel I still had some more time to live… Not to have a longer life but to know and do things differently…

Since the times that are gone can never come back, let’s enjoy the moments as we live them from now on, to the fullest…doing what we could and celebrate our everyday life*

🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

Raya Asked A Question…A Story For The Young And Old

Part 1

One day Emperor Krishna Deva Raya (of Vijayanagar empire, 1509-29), aggrieved by a recent loss of a dear relative, fell into a spell of serious introspection: ‘What is the most important lesson in life to be learned?’

He knew there would be many answers to his question. So he decided to hold a sadas – like today’s conferences, it’s a forum, practiced even today, for enriching discussion and debate, not necessarily competitive – of learned pundits from near and far.

On the appointed day, the Royal Court quickly filled up.

Tenali Raman was also present…

Hey, wait a minute, a mere court jester, he’s no way a pundit qualified to be part of this assembly.

 …bringing along a guest of his, a guru, not widely known outside his circle.

Sadas commenced with a brief introduction from Raya, followed by the Raja Guru (chief guru of the Royal Court) explaining the protocols and rules. The floor was thrown open to the participants.

The learned pundits from the assembly presented a variety of thoughts and theories drawing heavily from the veda’s, upanishad’s, purana’s and epic’s. Probing questions were raised and answered. Theories dissected and interpretations offered. A parade of knowledge and a veritable feast for the intellect.

A couple of hours passed thus and finally it seemed all who came to speak had been heard and the sadas ready for closure.

That’s when the Raja Guru requested Tenali’s guest to also contribute to the proceedings. Tenali too entreated him to share his views on the subject. 

The guru obliged.

Part 2

At the podium, he requested for and got a bunch of samit’s (short sticks of wood usually from peepal tree offered to agni, the fire-god in homam’s and three chords of adequate length.

The audience was intrigued.

A volunteer from the audience was asked to come up. He had to take a bunch of samit’s and tie them tightly up into a bundle at two places near the center, a few inches apart, using the two chords. The free ends of the chords were nipped close to the knots, offering no grip at all and the knots themselves not easy to undo.  Now the bundle was ready.

He invited anyone from the audience to step up. He had to pull a couple of samit’s free from the bundle without tampering the two chords in any manner or breaking any samit. It meant the samit’s had to come out, if at all, through the edges of the bundle.

When one of them tried with all his might, the samit would not slide out. Reasons: the bundle tied tight held the samit in its place, no good grip available on the samit to pull it out and the small protrusions on the samit snagged on one chord or the other preventing its sliding out.

More tried…without success.

Clearly now it was left to the guru to come up and show…

Part 3

He did. He took the third chord and right at the center between the other two chords he wound it around the bundle more than once, making it a wee bit tighter than others. A knot was not even needed. The chord crunched the samit’s together a little more than before, of course without breaking. This had the effect of loosening a little bit the other two chords riding either side on the bundle…allowing them to slipped out free over the edges. With them out of the way the third chord was simply unwound to free up the entire bunch!!

Jaws dropped in the audience.

“It is actually very simple like this bundle of samit’s. For lasting peace of mind and meaningful happiness, there must be, for everyone, a philosophy of life, ideally structured around a single higher purpose or objective worth striving for – could be based on dhaana, (charity), ahimsa (non-violence towards all sentient), bhakti (devotion), community service or anything else one (or the group) chooses, usually dictated by one’s dharma (simply, the ‘done’ thing for one’s group), guru followed, family tradition, law of the land or learned wisdom. Regard this chord tightly wound at the center as representing the same. All activities and sub-goals in one’s life must be touched by, subordinated to, strongly held together by this single objective like the chord does to the samit’s.  Faced with it, all other bonds in life slip off like it happened to the chords on the sides. The entire energy of life is focused on just that one purpose, none wasted. No duvidha (confusion of choice or priorities). That’s all there to it.”

“This, I submit, is the most important lesson in life to be learnt.”

He returned to his seat.

It took a little while for the awe-struck audience to collect their wits and give him the ovation due to him.

They were quite impressed at his cleverness in using very dramatically a mere bundle of samit’s as a model for putting forth, on a complex question, his views which seemed to make good sense at first glance. Also they were at once both unhappy and happy; unhappy because a specific philosophy, school of thought or a higher objective not being prescribed as the solution – it meant they had to exercise their grey cells, find and fashion it all by themselves; and, paradoxically, happy because it was entirely left to an individual’s choice or a collective volition. They agreed the profundity of what was said needed to be followed up with much more serious contemplation.

The sadas was declared closed.

With a lot on his plate to sift, select and digest, Raya sought a follow-up meeting with the guru.

End

Source: Inspired by a post in some aanmeega forum (cannot recall)

Images from Pinterest, amazon.in

Destiny, Circumstances, Fate, Luck, Krishna…Call Whatever

A very short beautiful story on the inexplicable…the invisible hand!

This refers to swayamwara arranged by the King Draupad to find a suitable match for his beautiful daughter, Draupadi.

A tough competition was set up: There was a wheel carrying a fish on its rim and revolving at the top of a pole. The pole was rose erect next to a water-body at its base. One who shot an arrow through the eye of the fish looking merely at the reflection in the waters below would win Draupadi’s hands.

The night before, a vexed Arjuna was talking it out with Krishna.

Krishna advised him: ‘ Arjuna, take care, put your foot forward, concentrate on the eye of the fish in your mind.’

Arjuna, more in despair: ‘If I do everything, what will you do, Krishna?’

Krishna smiled and said softly: ‘What you can do, I know, you’ll do and do well. What you can’t, I’ll.’

Arjuna: ‘And, what would that be?’

Krishna: ‘I’ll hold the water steady for you.’

…call it what you like, no denying the hand of the invisible in our lives.

End

Source: Based on a post from Vasu Kadambi