Friday, April 29, 2011

What is your priority?

How important is money to you? What will you do without money? Can you live without money? When will you feel you have enough money? Is a life of poverty worth living?

Some of these questions popped up in mind after a recent discussion with an acquaintance. She was of the firm opinion that money is critical and that it is easier said than done to live a life without money. People will intellectualize that money is not important but in reality will actually crave for it. Without money life is full of suffering and hardships etc.

It led me to think deeply on this subject and below are some thoughts that occurred to me. I give below 4 specific thoughts that came to my mind which makes me believe that there are other more important things than money. Yes, money is a tool and helps live life comfortably but it is not worth putting money into the center of our lives.

The first thought that came to me was of Steve Jobs. Here is a man - undoubtedly successful and extremely rich but with a terminal sickness at a fairly young age. What would be his priority? Will he not be willing to give up his entire wealth for the sake of a few more years of healthy life? His confidence in his abilities would be certainly high and he would probably give anything to have more time in this world. If not for anything else, he would want to live so that the ideas / innovations in his mind can see the light of the day. So, health probably is more important than money.

The second thought that came to me was of my mother. She passed away a few years ago. What use is wealth if it cannot be shared with ones loved ones? There might be so many people with no dearth of wealth but with a certain feeling of loneliness in their lives due to the absence of loved ones. So, between wealth and love, love takes a higher position.

The third thought that came to my mind was integrity and values. To what extent would one go to earn money? Is it right to compromise on morals and give a higher ranking to money. Most of us would emphatically draw the line and say that on the question of integrity there can be no compromise even if it means sacrificing lots of money.

The last thought that came to mind was the situation in Mahabharatha in which Arjun and Duryodhana are in Lord Krishna's chambers seeking his help in the Mahabaratha war. While Duryodhana chose the vast armies of Krishna (symbolic of worldly wealth), Arjuna was content with Krishna on his side. He thought that if I have God on my side, what else is required.

Money is no doubt important to get us material comforts. But matters like health, love, integrity and spirituality are more important and if we focus on these, money will never be a priority or a scarcity in our lives.

So, what is your priority?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Awaken your Hanuman

Today is Hanuman Jayanthi. Practically every Indian is familiar with Hanuman - the monkey with supernatural powers who is an eternal devotee of Shri Ram. His contribution to locating Sita and in the war against Ravana is legendary. People love his accomplishments, knowledge and his steadfast devotion. His ability to fly long distances, increase / decrease his body size etc. never ceases to amaze. Scores of people worship Hanuman and seek strength, wisdom, devotion etc. from Him.

There is a Hanuman within each of us. That is our mind. Like a monkey, the mind is restless and ever active. At the same time, our minds have great power. It is magical. We can fly. In an instant we can travel across great lengths. We can defeat powerful armies fighting single-handedly. We can subjugate fierce wild animals. We can sing. We can do almost anything within our minds. In that sense, we are as powerful and endowed as Hanuman.

What we might be lacking is in humility and in our inability to control our egos. This is what we have to learn from Hanuman. Despite our strengths (real or imagined) we should consciously subjugate ourselves before the Almighty and be willing to do His bidding. There should be no sense of "I"ness and all personal needs / desires should be eliminated. An intense devotion to the Lord is all that we should be conscious of.

We can thus awaken the Hanuman within us. That is what we should strive and pray for.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Be a role model

Each one of us is good at giving advice. We tell our children to be obedient, have pleasing manners, be disciplined etc. We tell our juniors at work to be punctual, focused, over-achieve etc. We tell our spouses to be balanced, mature, cool etc. We tell our neighbours to be friendly, helpful etc. Our expectations from others always borders on perfection.

Ever wondered what the expectations of others are? They expect us to be perfect too. At the very minimum, they expect us to practice what we preach and "walk the talk". It would seem too far fetched if we demonstrate some behaviour and expect a contrary behaviour from others. For example, if we were to be short tempered ourselves, how can we expect our children, spouse or neighbour to be any different?

If we strive for perfection ourselves, without worrying about others, we might soon end up becoming a role model for others. People might start looking up at us and emulating us. We might create the change that we wish to see merely by adopting it in ourselves. What greater achievement can there be when we have conquered ourselves and, in the process, unleashing a wave of change around us?

The world, that we perceive, is merely a reflection of ourselves. If we are filled with positive thoughts and emotions, we will see a wonderful world around us. Every moment will become a moment of joy and every person an angel from heaven. All we need to do is to adjust our lens and improve ourselves.

Be a role model in your circle of influence. Embrace a life of values.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

On Sensitivity

I was driving with a friend one day when we came across a strange spectacle. By the roadside, we saw a person seemingly crazy or drunk, throwing rubbish on passing cars. When our car neared her, she threw some garbage on our car too. Although our windows were rolled up, we instinctively ducked. Then, my friend got worked up and started scolding the mad woman from inside the car. I did not stop the car and drove on.

Later, my friend, in a pensive mood said "I was stupid to react. Knowing fully well that the person was not in her senses and that there was no point in trying to reform her, I should have been more cool."

This is a common occurrence in our lives. Whatever we do or don't, there are always people criticising us. Some will be constructive while some will be downright lies or false allegations. Why should we let this this ruffle us? It will be foolish to expect nothing but praise from others. There are many who relish rubbishing others and imagine that it makes them superior. If we have a clear conscience and heart, nothing should disturb our equilibrium. We should learn the art of avoiding being too sensitive.

Why do we tend to deem it necessary to react to every provocation, every comment, every thing that disturbs us? In a way, we are trying to do the impossible here - to change the world to suit us. In a way, we are showing our insecurities and our lack of confidence in ourselves when we feel upset or sensitive to things that hurt us.

We display maturity when we allow others to criticise or comment negatively without getting upset.