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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Spiritual growth

Satish Kumar, Hindustan Times

Relaxing in the precincts of my house recently, I was pondering over the part of life gone. Age has withered my physique, perhaps in the right proportion as I am nearing 70. And then I asked myself: "What is the purpose of living? Is it merely eating, sleeping and perpetuating one's progeny?"


But that is what even animals too do. Then how are we different from the animals? Can't we, gifted with higher intelligence, do things different and better?

In childhood, one plays around and pursues studies till or a little after teenage. Then job hunting begins. After getting a job, one marries and settles down in life and strives to find happiness generally by maintaining a family in a proper way. Gradually, age catches up with everybody. And in old age, parents have to survive mainly on savings or depend on their children.

Meanwhile, their children grow up and they too do the same things their parents did. This is how the world goes. I became remorseful as I started thinking that a whole life time has run out.

But I could get satisfaction from the realisation that there is a great purpose behind our living. The motto of life may be to realise God by practicing spirituality for attaining salvation. Self-realisation may be a precondition for that purpose.

Besides, service to humanity is one of the best ways to serve God. The inner self feels very satisfied when you help someone in need. Remember, by helping others you help yourself. Rather you feel grateful to that person because he gave you an opportunity to help him.

I would like to recall the story of a rich man who earned name and fame.

He had toured the world many times over. But he felt that he lacked something. Perhaps he feared that he might lose his own soul.

The moral is that a man can hardly be at peace with himself unless he grows in spirituality. That might require the urgency of the advice of a Guru or the reading and understanding of religious texts.


innervoice@hindustantimes.com
read more "Spiritual growth"

The purpose of life

Satish Kumar, Hindustan Times

Relaxing in the precincts of my house recently, I was pondering over the part of life gone. Age has withered my physique, perhaps in the right proportion as I am nearing 70. And then I asked myself: "What is the purpose of living? Is it merely eating, sleeping and perpetuating one's progeny?

But that is what even animals too do. Then how are we different from the animals? Can't we, gifted with higher intelligence, do things different and better?

In childhood, one plays around and pursues studies till or a little after teenage. Then job hunting begins. After getting a job, one marries and settles down in life and strives to find happiness generally by maintaining a family in a proper way. Gradually, age catches up with everybody. And in old age, parents have to survive mainly on savings or depend on their children.

Meanwhile, their children grow up and they too do the same things their parents did. This is how the world goes. I became remorseful as I started thinking that a whole life time has run out.

But I could get satisfaction from the realisation that there is a great purpose behind our living. The motto of life may be to realise God by practicing spirituality for attaining salvation. Self-realisation may be a precondition for that purpose.

Besides, service to humanity is one of the best ways to serve God. The inner self feels very satisfied when you help someone in need. Remember, by helping others you help yourself. Rather you feel grateful to that person because he gave you an opportunity to help him.

I would like to recall the story of a rich man who earned name and fame. He had toured the world many times over. But he felt that he lacked something.

Perhaps he feared that he might lose his own soul. The moral is that a man can hardly be at peace with himself unless he grows in spirituality. That might require the urgency of the advice of a Guru or the reading and understanding of religious texts.


innervoice@hindustantimes.com
read more "The purpose of life"

Attitude of gratitude

I remember, as a child, being reminded that I should be grateful for all the good things I had in my life. As children, we were never allowed to gripe and crib about the food that was placed before us, whether it was karela or tori. We were taught to say "thank you God for the food" because mother would remind us that there are millions of children around the world who are going to bed hungry.

If something was denied to me as a child, I was told to go to my room and make a list of all the things I had which the other children did not. This was mother's way of teaching us to live with an "attitude of gratitude".

Today I see this attitude in a whole different perspective. I feel that it is important for us to be thankful for what we have, not only from a spiritual point of view, but also from a scientific point of view. When we count our blessings, our mind gravitates towards the positive, we then start concentrating on what we have and realise how fortunate we are.

In life, we find ourselves at a stage or state that we think about the most. If we think we are fortunate, that is the fortunate positive state we lie in. Look around you, the people who you think are leading fulfilling and meaningful lives are people who are consistently in a happy and grateful state. However, this is not a natural state. It is a "cultivated" state because we are socially conditioned to look at the negative side of life.

Living with an attitude of gratitude will help us focus on what we have as we will then see ourselves living this beautiful and richer part of life. If this doesn't make you grateful then the fool proof way of feeling grateful at any time of the day, anywhere, in any situation, is to remind yourselves of this pearl of wisdom, "If you are miserable about all the things you want but haven't got, think about all the things you don't want and haven't got!


innervoice@hindustantimes.com
read more "Attitude of gratitude"

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