Friday, May 7, 2010

Love your self

Love your self. This was the advice given by a wise saint to a person who sought his advice on what is the best method of reaching happiness and peace. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Presumably, most of us are doing this without being told to do it. Yet, why is it that there is so much sadness, sorrow and depression in this world? If we are truly loving ourselves, what is blocking our joy?

Many years ago, I was attending a lecture on personality development when the speaker asked us to answer a simple question on "Who am I?". Many of us attempted to answer this by giving our name, our career details, our personal life details etc. Try as we did, we ended up describing ourselves by relating ourselves to someone or something else and was not a proper description. For example, our name is not us.

If we think deeply, as suggested by seers and philosophers, we will realise that we are not the body but only residing in it. A time will come when we will have to exit the body as it becomes frail, weak and unsuitable for us. Yet, most of us falsely identify ourselves as the body and seek to indulge the body by sense gratification. Any pleasant sensation that we get in the body, we presume is pleasant for ourselves. The truth is that our self is not at all affected by what happens to our body. The self, therefore, is not our body. It is also not our mind or our intellect.

The advice "Love your self" is not about loving your body or about being selfish. If we identify our inner self truly, we will realise that it is the same self that is present in all living beings - be it other people or other forms of life. The bodies are different and so are the minds and intellects but the self is essentially the same.

This self is called life by ordinary people. When the life goes away, the same body which was attractive starts rotting and decaying. People start shunning it and want to get get rid of it as soon as they can. The attraction in the body is only due to the life in it. So, celebrate the life that is in you and in others around you. Seers say that it is this life that is a representation of God. When they say love your self, they really mean love God. Love God unconditionally.

Love your self means love your life. Love the self in others. Live life selflessly.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Effort Or Destiny

Does man enjoy success through efforts or is it based on fate / destiny? This is one question that has been debated throughout the world endlessly from time immemorial without reaching any definite conclusions.

There are a set of people who swear by effort and action orientation. The firmly believe that our destiny is in our hands and it is we who can make things happen by having a firm resolve and by taking affirmative actions. They believe in taking charge, planning well and executing right. They feel people who talk about destiny are either cowards or lazy people.

On the other hand, there are people whose experience tells them that there is a larger power which controls things and that things do not always happen the way they are intended to. How else can one explain luck? Or love? Or unplanned events like accidents? There are many people who aspire and study for one profession (like me) and end up in professions very different.

One cannot deny that there is a larger power which makes things happen in ways which are unpredictable. "Man proposes, God disposes" goes an old saying. No wonder then many people use prayer as a method of connecting to and appease that higher power. Yet, it does not seem right to become complacent and give up all efforts and leave things to destiny.

Both the person who swears by effort and the person who leaves things to destiny are subject to disappointments. Sometimes, sincere and focused efforts end up in failures due to extraneous and uncontrollable factors. Similarly, sometimes prayers go unanswered and lead to frustrations. Efforts are necessary to make the world function. If everyone was to leave things to destiny, there would be no bread on the table and no clothes to wear.

Perhaps the right approach would be continue making plans and taking efforts tirelessly while being prepared for unexpected results. This is what Lord Krishna preached in Bhagvad Gita when he said "Do you Duty without getting attached to the results".

What do you think?