Earth Day celebration!

Once again we celebrate Earth Day and I am reminded of the time when his first five disciples questioned Buddha, on how they could confirm that he had indeed attained Nirvana, he touched the earth and said that this earth is my witness. Since then our world has not been the same as his teachings improved the lives of millions and showed us how we can live peacefully with nature.  I am happy to read that even today Earth Day draws on astronomical phenomena in a most ancient way – by using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making the length of night and day equal in all parts of the Earth. Earth day is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space. We celebrate Earth Day with the following anthem and ringing the Japanese Peace Bell at the UN. We pledge to live in equality and harmony with everything around us on our Earth..

 “Earth Anthem” by Abhay K

Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the continents and the oceans of the world
united we stand as flora and fauna
united we stand as species of one earth
black, brown, white, different colours
we are humans, the earth is our home.

Our cosmic oasis, cosmic blue pearl
the most beautiful planet in the universe
all the people and the nations of the world
all for one and one for all
united we unfurl the blue marble flag
black, brown, white, different colours
we are humans, the earth is our home.

The beauty of Earth Day is that we are no longer bound by man-made National boundaries or regions, we live on one warm blue planet, clinging on to precarious life, in a frigid universe. It is a celebration of life’s diversity, which nature allows in such abundance. We take time to understand what a miracle creation of life is and what we must do now, to preserve it for the future. The profundity of creation is reflected all around us on Earth and on this day, we cherish its diversity and its value. Some also play the following Anthem to the tune of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.

Earth Day Anthem:

Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment

Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world

As we all join in this celebration we can walk around and join other likeminded folks who treasure their time on this Earth. We may find some kindred spirits, who will be happy, to walk along with us today. We can develop a camaraderie to protect our environment and our way of life, and leave it unharmed, to our progeny. All Flora and Fauna must be allowed to bloom, and we must never destroy nature, but come together, to help it prosper. We have a responsibility to our Earth Mother who sustains us, that we provide back in ways, which will ease her burden. We cannot subsist on our own, but must live in a cohabitation life, with all other creatures. We sustain each other and grow stronger with each other. We are bound to find our rightful place on this Earth, as all its creatures live and die here. We may roam the universe, but this Earth will always be our home. We have to learn to celebrate Earth day and our biodiversity with a joy, that transcends our basic human nature of self preservation!

Modern State of our Union

Am exploring the State of our Modern Union, to celebrate human life which is fast approaching a digital world, of Big Brother episodes!

India:,

The writer of Business Sutra working towards the ultimate goal of a reasonable State, explains, “So you have the all-powerful God (the state), the commandment (the Constitution), and the prophet (the prime minister) who is supposed to lead the enslaved people to the Promised Land of development, prosperity and peace. The prophet’s power is supposed to be regulated by God’s archangels (opposition, bureaucracy, judiciary, army, and media)”. So currently we have Mr. Modi as the PM in India, who hob nobs with other Global leaders like Trump, Putin, May, Merkel on a regular basis. He still has a distance with Chairman Xi of China and his immediate State neighbor’s leaders, none of whom he truly gets along with, except tiny Bhutan. The BJP is a nationalist party and the policies of his government and a history of distrust in the sub-continent, do not make for very neighborly trade exchanges.  Unlike NAFTA between US and its neighbors which led to great prosperity, the sub-continent is carved by a colonial knife of differences in faith and opportunity. It is unable to become a global player in International Trade due to petty differences, which hold back development of open trade and borders, where it historically excelled for many millennia.

It feels like ‘Big Brother’ is coming to the Indian State, as it is pushed into modernity against its own free will, crying and bemoaning past freedoms. Adhaar card issuance is a tremendous feat, as it allows the government to track a majority of its households, into one system digitally. Artificial intelligence can now be used to do analytics on this huge database. Modi plans to use its power “to regulate human behavior, make people good through policies and taxation that would ensure there is fair distribution of wealth and power and a fair access to opportunities”. In this diabolic plot the leading Agency is planning to collect and pool data from central ministries and state governments into a central Big Data pool. This most intrusive gathering of its citizens data is aimed to aid more informed policy making (Real Big Brother is yet to come). “NITI Aayog is working on a plan to develop the National Data & Analytics Platform” which is going to look and feel a lot like Big Brother is watching you all the time.

Demonetization brought majority of the nation’s currency into its nationalized banks, effectively digitizing it and bringing it into the open economy. The E-Bills and GST has digitized the logistics and movements of goods and trade, across the nation and has augmented, existing digital tax collection. There are numerous employment and housing schemes under Mahatma Gandhi’s name and State and Central schemes which track rural workers and their income digitally. The ability of God to command the Hindu people, and to allow Modi to lead them to the Promised Land, seems just another digital election away.

CHINA:

With the anointing of the next Chairman Xi, the Chinese Politburo have declared him their prophet for the coming decades. This is the same Politburo which has led China on the path to be the greatest nation state, by building out magnificent National projects. Their central and state planning efforts have created one of the greatest growths in GDP, seen in modern times. They have risen from a regional sleepy economy, into one that will lead the world by the 2050’s, if its plans go well. The Chinese are getting richer and will continue to do so, in an autocratic communist State. The Mandarins in Beijing still track output, trade, population and social metrics in a very thorough and digitized manner. The great counting and enumeration that the Chinese have always been so great at, is now taking on a new meaning for its citizens. The State knows them better now, than what they know about their own State. A hegemonic China is now reaching across Asia, Africa and the world, to bring its public corporations and digital systems to the rest of the world.

Japan:

The Land of the Rising sun has discovered Abe as its prophet, and Abenomics is practised, across this digitally connected land.

USA:

President Trump has an 86% favorability rating amongst Republicans, in a recent poll on TV. The unleashing of Trade Wars by his administration, is like watching Disney roll out Star Wars Prequels or Sequels, as one is never sure which one is better. China (Trump vs Xi)  is going toe to toe in the global ring, in a tit for tat, by announcing more tariffs on more goods, as either side issues more retaliations. Nobody knows where it is going and even Wall Street is volatile and disturbed. For that matter most of the citizens do not know where their nation is going, due to the steady volatility in the turnover in Administrative leaders like Cohn, who advocated against this madness. The world is cheering the bold moves, but hoping cooler heads will prevail and it will all fizzle out, to become status quo in the end.

Russia:

The Russian elections have similarly extended the rule of their current prophet Putin. He rules with an iron fist over his domains, and occasionally aids in neighboring Crimea and Syria. His rule is despised by the West, but he plods on with the Great Russian proletariat on his back. He will carry them on his wide naked shoulders, to their promised land, and none may oppose him or else. Expulsion of Diplomats or more sanctions will not stop him from reaching out and doing his will, as this Bear can hibernate for long periods, and still come back stronger.

In conclusion I declare that the State of our union is strong. We have great leaders amongst our people, and I could go on and on extolling their virtues, to the high heavens. It is only the plight of the poorest of our poor, which stops me from bemoaning the sorry state, we are in. It is my reverent belief, that a time will come in our future, when we will all be alive and equal in faith, opportunity, happiness and humanity. Blessed are those who are in sorrow, as they will once again be happy. We have just started this journey and many more milestones are ahead of us. The reign of Man has just started and our blue planet is our only home, in the vast surrounding space. The universe awaits us and may we journey gloriously, and with us bring the greatest qualities, of compassion and peace. Our Cosmos still remains our final frontier, as the Promised Land. It is up to us to become free and live unto our potential. Let us seek out our glorious destiny, from this grim present.

 

Mass unemployment in developing nations

It is well known that in our 21st century there is currently huge mass unemployment in the less developed and developing economies. The more developed economies on the other hand have severe human capital shortage looming in their future, in Japan, Europe, China and the US. Due to this demographic divide between the have and the have nots, the future of a nation’s economy and civilization, may be thrown into peril. Currently there has been a huge urbanization in the developed economies, with mass movement of labor from the agricultural interior, to the large urban centers. World civilization lives and works in these new Mega urban clusters, formed by modern cities. Shanghai, Tokyo, Mumbai, New Delhi, London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Brazil to name a few, have continued to grow bigger.

India has the greatest potential for mass unemployment, or mass growth on a scale, which can drive the world economy. The consensus from even Nobel Prize economists is, that India has to grow its Industrial base and urban centers, to provide employment to the million young people, who will join its workforce every month. This trend is likely to continue for a decade or more, as the young population enters its work force.  The new arrivals are just the tip of the iceberg, as there is a mass underemployment in its half a million villages. Most statistics indirectly say that almost 80% of the rural population, is engaged in “agriculture”.  This disguised unemployment leaves a vast labor force, available for taking up the new services, which the world will need.

Indian history does not show a goods exporting nation, but one of ideas and aspirations. The new Digital revolution suits India well, as a first mover, in the computer services industry. The Independent nation of 60 years, is finally throwing off its colonial past, and getting into its stride. There is resurgence of public works which will truly benefit its hinterland. More people are getting Highways, connecting their remote regions to the rest of the world, in this decade, than has happened in the history of the sub-continent. Similarly more people are getting electricity, sanitation, education, health services in the coming decade, than in the many decades since Independence. There is a remarkable will to overcome the past and leapfrog into a green future, and to provide services to its citizens,especially in its undeveloped areas.

On the other hand we have the economic sceptics, who question every move, and state that the implementation of truly global and far reaching reform, is beyond the capabilities of India’s people. They will plod on at their usual uneducated, undeveloped, unhealthy pace and the promise of a bright future will come, but not now, they claim. They question the competence of its democracy and the will of its public and private sector’s ability, to provide the productivity and investment needed, to provide employment at scale. They fear that a state of mass unemployment is coming, where lack of Industrial growth will hold back employment, and bring untold misery to its farmers and urban poor.

To all these naySayers I can only advise that it is time to read Indian history again. For most of human history till the 18th century, India had the highest GDP in the world. Whenever its people had a stable just and fair society, its people have prospered beyond expectations. The producer of Buddha,Ram, Krishna and the Vedas is a land steeped in time and evolution, of humans themselves. It has reinvented itself many times and still kept its culture and belief system intact. There is a secular society that has prospered in its diversity, from the time of the Greeks at tIndus. Chandragupta who was Alexander’s contemporary and ruled a huge empire left his throne, to seek salvation. His grandson Ashoka the Great renounced his prosperous empire, and started to serve humanity. His edicts and efforts spread Buddhism across the world.  The most dangerous ideas that promote all life, like non-violence, vegetarianism, salvation arose in these lands. These ideas and aspirations come only, after the basic human needs are met.

The service industries will be India’s savior, as our world moves into a new era of prosperity for all. The basic hypotheses is changing as the solution is no longer in Industry, but in the new world of communication and service. Industry is required and China, Germany and the US have mastered it, and other nations will also catch up; based on their investments, and needs. It is in the new world order of ideas, compassion, health and love that change will come. Once the basic needs are filled for the developing world, it is then that India will play its part. Whether it is in providing basic services or in art, music, philosophy and the striving for a higher life, India will have a role to play.  Its demographic dividend will become the world’s greatest asset, as the developed world will welcome Indian’s help, to become better. Currently only about 53% of India’s young people are employed, and the rest are a lotus bearing gift, which will open, when the light shines and the world opens its arms to welcome them. I say the Phillips curve shown above, is going to be severely tested in the future for the good or bad of humanity, based on what steps we take today. India is the diamond in the rough, getting ready to shine (at least it has the diamond cutters, to do so for the world)..

It is in the very nature of the capitalist mode of production to overwork some workers while keeping the rest as a reserve army of unemployed paupers.

Marx, Theory of Surplus Value

FOMO and other phobias we suffer from

Fear has been the greatest force that evolution has unleashed, amongst all living beings and is wired deep into our brains. Despite all the advancements in humans the instant reaction to our environment, is automatically triggered in our reptilian brain, where the decision is made to fight or flee. It is only after that initial knee jerk reaction, that our logical brain takes over and analyses the situation, based on personal past experience and actual knowledge. The adrenaline surge and preparation of the body to fight or take evasive action, happens in milliseconds, and only then do the force of civilization and culture kick in. Unfortunately the truth is that we remain animals first, and only with a great effort rise to becoming humans.

FOMA or fear of missing out was just called by Bloomberg to be the driving force, behind the current and future S & P index rise to greater heights in 2018. It best describes the irrational exuberance which led to the Tulip craze, or Dot com rise, in the past, and the Bit Currency mania sweeping some up today. It is a fundamental force that takes hold of large areas of our populace, and creates an unnatural state of economic and financial bubbles, unsustainable by fundamental economics. Property and commodity booms and busts are similar in nature where by the time the ordinary investor gets in, he/she is just joining the others in the late cycle of a giant Ponzi scheme, which is bound to crash. I am not advocating we stay away from markets, but trying to make the case that they can be a potent tool, for long term human development if used correctly.

Our greatest inventions and achievements were driven by our survival instincts. Humans are inherently weak creatures and there are far hardier living species, who have survived successfully for millennia, even before the arrival of the great apes. Prometheus stealing the fire from the Gods is a great example of human fear, capturing and taming a destructive force, to aid its own survival. The evolution of tools though not unique to humans, has also been driven by fear, to overcome the adverse conditions that seem to overwhelm us, in nature. Modern cities are just an example of how fear pushed us to come together, for our common benefit. Religion and cultural norms are all a result of the paranoia and fear, which we all face when faced with complex phenomena which we cannot explain. Out of fear comes resolution and mental makeup, which helps us to not only survive but prosper in a new reality.

The Hindu sages debated for centuries on what is existence, what is reality, what is our state of knowing, what is life, what is death, what is our purpose, what is the creator, what is the culmination of desire, what is truth and finally what is reality? They distilled this wisdom in Sanskrit in the Vedic and Vedanta strutis memorized and passed down generation after generation.  While the names of the sages may be often lost, the wisdom still remains. A philosophy rose not based on the fear of the unknown, but on the myriad paths to overcome the unknowns. “Agni Miley Purohitam..” starts the first verse of the Rig Veda the oldest of the surviving strutis and talks about the taming of fire by the householder for greater good. In another example “Isa Vasayamidam Sarvam… “ The creator envelops everything and all our individual moments, are only part of the universal movement. By renouncing (the unreal) we can enjoy (the real), do not lust after another man’s possessions. In only 18 verses it lays out the relationship of the soul to our universe, and forces our eyes and mind to what is truth (eternal), and goads us to not stray into the world of untruth (transitory), which leads to fear, wrong karma (thoughts\actions)and braking of our dharma (rightful duty).

I admit it is a long way from obscure Sanskrit texts to the happenings on modern day Wall Street and the state of the human mind today. We have Fire and Fury and God on our side in multiple conflicts, and potential for far greater Fire and Fury if we stay on the current path. The Jewish, Christian, Muslim divide of the Judeo-Christian world, and the destructive Shia-Sunni divide, will not be resolved in our lifetimes. The Middle East burns and each new atrocity, fans the execution of another, more severe retaliation. The Buddhist are committing genocide against the Rohingyas in Myanmar, and the recent Hindu/Buddhist war in the Pearl in the Indian Ocean, is still healing. These are all the outcome of the stroking of fundamental fear amongst communities, bring out the worst in humans. Defenseless woman and children suffer the most, while men announce new victories every day.

My fear is that in the stock market or in society, if we are driven by the basest of emotions then our humanity will be lost. We have to go beyond the boom and bust of our stock markets, or the fear of an imminent nuclear Armageddon. The stock market and our society should be used to bring progress and peace to improve our health, happiness and living standards. We should harness the forces of progress to be funded and unleashed for the collective greater good, and release ourselves from our fears and phobias. We have been given a whole universe by the creator, and our petty squabbles and fears will keep us rooted to this earth, when we have a far greater future to look up to. We all have only one life to live and our end is certain. It is how we live this life that matters, and it will determine the fate of our progeny for eons to come.

When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it. -Charles de Lint, writer (b. 22 Dec 1951)

Be Free

It is Friday night and the moon is mostly full, on this not so cold, winter night. The house is empty and quiet; once I turn off the PBS serial of Masterpiece Theater, which I am watching on the HDTV. At the end of the episode I rise and think of dessert. A ripe pear yellow and blushing red from the fridge, is ever so juicy and delicious. I follow it up with a scoop of butterscotch twirled Friendly’s extra rich and smooth Vanilla ice cream. This I top with a darkly intense chocolate, with blue berries and grapes, which adds a subtle, yet deep aroma and taste. I enjoy each bite and relish every single moment and intense flavor, as it stays on my tongue. My senses of touch, smell and taste are overwhelmed with a love for life. which only I, can experience!

I am not beholden to anyone or anything and on this night, I hold my head high and think from my life force and meditate on reality.This is the supreme existence, the sages talked about, but we ignored them, in our modern urgency. We have to slow down, to speed up, as the saying goes. Soon I am so inside myself, that I explode into eternity. This moment is stitched in the space and time continuum, and I rest in peace in a turbulent universe. What if I never existed would I have had this moment, or is this moment the cause of my existence? No one answers, as everything is only me, and I make myself to be free. There are no questions, where I have arrived..

I put away the dishes and wipe the counter clean, suddenly a very content man. My life force is still strong, yet it does not have the recklessness of youth, or the doubts, of our early attempts at life. Now I am alone in my strength and all else exists for me. I do not serve anyone and nobody serves me tonight. We have become free at last in the long history of humankind, as now we have the means to be truly independent. It is sadly an independence of decadence and extravagance of modern life, and no longer the sparse, simple garb of the ancient yogis.

The week end approaches and the choices are multiplied, if one only opens a travel site and looks for deals. We can go anywhere in days and enjoy exotic food and locations, if we so wish, at a few hours’ notice. We have become slaves of our daily habits rather than the fearless travelers and nomads, we used to be. At the end of the day I would rather live alone and not serve or be served; to enjoy the proverbial, thousand years of solitude. There is a dignity in becoming self-sufficient, but not all of us achieve this. We remain mired in our desires, fanned by our senses and memories, to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  The cycle of slavery perpetuates itself in us, as we become dependent on others, for our own happiness. This co-dependency only adds to our attachments and we can never break out, and be free.

“Here lives a free man. Nobody serves him.” -Albert Camus, writer, philosopher, Nobel laureate (7 Nov 1913-1960)

Our dying planet

The Alliance of World Scientists have issued their second dire warning about the state of our earth, 25 years after their first stern warning issued in 1992. The scientists have collected and analyzed data about our planet and things have become worse, since their initial findings published over 2 decades ago. We are killing flora and fauna and other living creatures at a furious pace, and this destruction is unsustainable, for a living planet. Billions of years of evolution of species are being wiped out, in our thirst for water, food and our own human habitation. .

“Global climate change sits atop the new letter’s list of planetary threats. Global average temperatures have risen by more than half a degree Celsius since 1992, and annual carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 62 percent.

But it’s far from the only problem people face. Access to fresh water has declined, as has the amount of forestland and the number of wild-caught fish (a marker of the health of global fisheries). The number of ocean dead zones has increased. The human population grew by a whopping 2 billion, while the populations of all other mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by nearly 30 percent.” They have reported.

The scientists have come up with 13 suggestions for a greener planet and more sustainable practices, which we need to adopt. We need a vigorous debate on each of their propositions now, as if we wait another 25 years, things will not magically become better. Our consumption patterns have to change dramatically to bring about a brave new world. If we shy away from this responsibility our children and grandchildren will never forgive us. The time to act is now before more waterways, forests and myriad species disappear forever. We live in a time of great scientific discovery and new technologies are developed every day. From this complexity of science we have to develop a simple method to live and let live. The 1% control our economic reality, but should we let them control the destiny of our planet also?

The self-righteousness of our super rich and inflated egos of our political leaders, are leading us down a path of death, destruction and ruin.  If a butterfly does not flap its wings in China any more, will my grandchild still see a rosy sunrise? I fear for our future and can only hope to awaken our consciousness, towards compassion and love. There is much we still have to do and only if we take a stand to do what is right and reduce our wanton consumption, will we be able to save our earth and its creatures. I want my grandchildren to walk barefoot on the dewy grass in the morning, and watch the cottontails playing in our yard. I want them to see the swans living in our lake, and not stuffed in some museum. Maybe I have too much faith in our humanity, as science does not lie.

“For all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner … on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies. … That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that.” -Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (9 Nov 1934-1996)

Great Banyan story

By Biswarup Ganguly – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12679235

Long have the mystics I have studied instructed followers to stay away from Anger, Lust, Greed and things unnatural. They have all advocated that life has enough to offer without needing any artificial enhancement. In a world of plenty we need to get closer to mother nature and our origins. There are so many wonders around us that we can lead a full life, without having to travel to exotic locations. If we want to travel to exotic locations, then there is no harm, in that either. We just have to follow our own path, and not let life just happen to us. We can pick any path our heart desires, and proceed along it, to a goal, or a state of being. We must seek joy, happiness and mirth in everyday situations. If we are happy now with what we have, then start giving the extra stuff away. To live like a mystic, is to not have attachment, and hence one does not accumulate anything. One lives and discovers wonders of the world like, the Great Banyan tree as life progresses. Let me tell you a little more about the wonder of this tree:

A 255-year-old Great Banyan at the Indian Botanic Garden, Shibpur, has increased its girth by a massive two acres in a little over 30 years, from 3 acres in 1985. The Great Banyan lost its main trunk long ago after surviving two cyclones. The tree is now balanced on its growing new roots. The new roots seem to be walking east towards the sun. It is also the direction away from human habitation in the city and its pollution. 4 senior botanists and their assistants take care of the Great Banyan ensuring its health, and have built a new barrier around it. This is a remarkable tree like the Redwoods in California. They are massive and live for centuries yet this covers far more space. It continues to flourish and has grown into the largest single canopy, on earth.

We must praise nature as the more we take care of it, the more it gives back to us. We must take care of the fauna and the flora, of our native lands. Like the huge store in Norway of all the world’s seeds is good for preservation, but there is no sight like looking up from the base of tall Sequoias; and wondering how tall the trees were, as one could not possibly see the top of the trees? The real life is in our fields, our forests, our woods, our lakes, our rivers, our mountains and our oceans. They have to be nourished and cared for, by an army of people, to make them whole again. We have taken and destroyed so much, that we have to take a joint exercise, just to count the tigers, living in Nepal and India. The numbers are low, and preservation is just starting to work, and a lot of work still needs to be done to preserve the jungle species. They need their own habitats with grazing lands, rivers, woods to continue to do what nature does best. Life is to be enjoyed in its enormity and not in narrow dogmas preached for human consumption. We have become very powerful and with power also comes great responsibility. Let us use our powers wisely, to grow ourselves, and allow others to prosper also, as there is a whole universe still to explore. If we must dream then let us dream big like the Great Banyan!

We become what we desire

Very early on I was given to understand that I would never be an emperor of India. I was all of 12 and dreamed all the dreams that Alexander the Great (my hero) would have dreamed, at my age. The tall Qutub Minar towered proud above me after all these centuries in the gardens of Delhi. Gardens and monuments surrounded me from the early Sultanates of India. None was more powerful than the Slave Dynasty that established Muslim rule in India. Ruling from Delhi they conquered the Indus rich lands and a large part of the Gangetic valley and prospered. The pillar was of course much older and had fascinated me for years in its height and girth.

The Ashokan Pillar marks an older tradition of Buddhism, in India. This rust less iron pillar is ascribed to emperor Ashok and was part of his many edicts and signposts, laying down the rules of Dharma. Those rules had been long largely discarded, in the India I grew up in; and long consigned, to the pages of history. Modern Indian politics of Independent India, has been turned towards a new national identity. I had stood with my back resting against the pillar, preparing myself. I looked up at the beautiful carved stone archways, left over from a past kingdom. Vainly I tried to reach around my back, and grasp both hands. Soon I knew that there was no hope, as I was short. Maybe if I had been two feet taller with longer arms, then it may have been easier as the pillar did seem to taper slightly, from the broad base where I stood, reaching our blindly.

The one thing Ashok and Buddha consistently talked about was that compassion and contentment are noble attributes. The sooner we acquire them the easier is our trip to Nirvana. We must not follow our desires as like Lucy in the Sky with diamonds they can never be satisfied in our lifetime. We can take a strange trip of chasing all our desires in a distorted reality, or one with all ones lucidity and love. Just contentment stops a lot of things from happening – mostly with positive results. We do not seek, so are not disappointed, and also do not have any guilt of missing the next high. Desires continue to flourish in our imagination as human beings desire more and more as the world unfolds before us. Every new vision or revelation makes us children again reaching out for a newer shinier toy.

Some seek God and salvation in narrow beliefs and blind faith, while others like the Isa Upanishad say God is in everything so nothing is ours and it is all His, so renounce and enjoy. Buddha did not destroy desires but he found a path we could follow, which would help us overcome becoming trapped in this world of Maya and endless rebirth leading to a state of Nirvana. Great saints have all proclaimed the supremacy of their God and shown paths to serve Him as in the prayer of Saint Francis to his Lord to, “make me an instrument of your peace.”   The end result of many of these learned beings is the concept of Sangha or society that is equal and everyone works for its betterment. God does not dwell in Churches. Temples or Mosques but in each of us and his laws do not differentiate between rich and poor. Follow your Dharma or beliefs and you will find the right path.

So to conclude we remain largely the slaves of our desires. We indulge in more ways to enjoy them and seek the company of those who are followers of the same path. The Germans did not start off as evil under Hitler but they took his beliefs to an extreme and became evil. Similarly we need to ensure we seek contentment versus the fulfillment of all our desires. Desires come and go and we need to be in harmony with nature. The universe has forces far larger and stronger than us puny men trapped on this blue planet. We are only as great as our belief and so seek higher living and thinking. When we destroy whole species of flora or fauna, we are destroying a little bit of ourselves. We have the power to create a new world, full of goodness and hope. Seek to live righteously, as in the end all of us must die.

The Path in the Woods

There is a path in the woods, which I believe leads to change. We must all seek this path, as to stay stagnant is to slowly die away. We do not know what we will find on this path, as we are not sure what we want. We must seek the path and follow it to where it leads, as that is why we are here. We were not given this life to only rot in our internal turmoil, and not seek what is freely given. We are free to explore and find the meaning of life in our own way. We must change to find love, compassion, balance and life itself.

There are many paths I have walked on and many more left for me to explore. I am angry about many I have taken in the past, as they took me to misery and pain. I am anxious about the ones I have to take in the future, as they are unknown and may lead to even more pain and sorrow. The one I am on now is the best, as I know exactly where I stand and also know, where it is taking me. I know my love is with me and I have compassion in my heart for all creatures, on this path. I am blessed to feel this passion for life, as it drives me to move faster and seek more. Love is boundless and compassion expands our hearts even more and we attain happiness, when we experience joy in even the smallest of happenings.

As we change so does our life and our path to joy. This path of happiness is so subtle that we have to experience it, to understand the true meaning of life. Many a year has gone by when we did not know what our life was meant to be. Many a day I was lost and many a night I cried that this meaningless life, was better off without me. Pain and suffering surrounded me and all that was dear was forlorn, and all that was near, was just a reminder of my past failures. How could I continue to live and I withdrew into my skin and dared not look, feel, or reach out around me, afraid of human emotion and touch.

Then one day I met a person who had nothing and was happy and laughing at the world. He was ugly, poor, disabled and had no economic future, yet he was happy to meet me and laughed at me, for what I had become. He had known me when I was young and lively and the whole world was within my grasp, and he had been the same. Now I was morose and even though I had everything, he told me I did not value what was given to me. I looked into the twinkle in his eyes and realized I was looking in a mirror of time, and wondered why I would let myself become him.

I learnt a lesson that day and now every day, I walk fearlessly on a new path and find all that my heart desires and more….

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die.”- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Life of meaning and value

 

We are here only because of our desire for being. Our egos are satisfied only if we live for ourselves.I have always admired Sartre and Bertrand Russell for their existential philosophy, as their writings first opened up my mind to a life lived with meaning and having values. In our life we have the choice to live in a manner deserving of our aspirations. If we have very high aspirations our life is a little more complicated, than if we have lower expectations.  This choice is critical for the life, we are about to lead. Thus it is clear that the more we live our aspirations, the more meaning our lives have in the end.

The second more important truth is the value in our life that we seek. If we seek a higher purpose and always strive to achieve that high moral ground, bound by our inner conviction, then we cannot go wrong. The value of our life increases exponentially, the more creatures we help around us. We have to start small and walk along this path of eternal values, as only by following the laws of nature, can we be successful. Evolution of our species has allowed humans to evolve, into a higher life form on earth, but we still remain but specs in this universe. There is much still for us to explore and much around us, that we still have to understand.

The merging of meaning and value in one life are a beautiful creation. The greatest achievements in our human evolution, have been done by these great thinkers and doers, who have come before us in this realization. We have a collective memory of survival and prosperity from our Parents and Grandparents and what they achieved. Their values and meanings have now become ours and we have to bring fruit, to those aspirations. Those of us who rise socially, economically or spiritually all live our own value system, which gives meaning to our life. We are all individuals but are tied up in this world wide web of human endeavor, and achievement. Some are of course more successful than others like me, in achieving a state of perpetual awareness and serenity..

It should not stop us from striving for betterment. We still have time long as we live, to adhere to our values and to add meaning in our life. Since infinity is available, we can strive for that. That is the most beautiful piece of truth in our our life that nothing is in our way to achieve, our goal, except ourselves. Existence is only for us to live to our potential. Do not short sell ourselves as all that is here, is ours; and all that we seek, is at hand. Pick the right values, and the true meaning of a compassionate and peaceful life will emerge. The greatest men have always emphasized human equality, and the rule of law. Enjoy walking on their path as it leads to greatness, and gives us a a freedom from unneeded action and strife. Live life as the great gift, where we will leave a better universe; for all our succeeding, generations!

Life has no meaning a priori. … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose. -Jean-Paul Sartre, writer and philosopher (21 Jun 1905-1980)