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29 October, 2011

Teach the seed to be a Tree


        One does not become a Mahatma Gandhi and then develop the qualities he is identified with.  When you are still Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, you develop certain qualities, and these qualities make you Mahatma Gandhi.  You don't become extraordinary and then develop extraordinary qualities.  When you are still ordinary, you develop certain extraordinary qualities, and these qualities make you an extraordinary person.  What you sow today, you will reap tomorrow.  the world-class citizens of tomorrow are developed in the cocoon of homes today by the responsible hands of parents.  The seed must be taught when it is still a seed on how to be a tree.

       It seems...  A father requested an old scholar to wean his son away from one of his habits.  The scholar took the youth and the father for a stroll through a garden.  Stopping suddenly, he asked the boy to pull out a tiny plant growing there.  The youth held the plant between his thumb and forefinger and pulled it out.  The old man then asked him to pull out a slightly bigger plant.  The youth pulled a hard and the plant came out, roots and all.  "Now pull out that one," said the old man, pointing to a guava tree.  The youth grasped the trunk and tried to pull it out.  But it would not budge.  "it's impossible," said the boy, panting after the effort.  "So it is with habits," said the old man.  "When they are young, it is easy to pull them out; but when they take hold, they cannot be uprooted."  The session with the old man not only changed the boy's attitude towards life, but it also helped the father to realise the importance of investing time on parenting, when the boy is still a boy, and not yet a man.

       At a time when there is exaggerated focus on which school, which college, and which institution a child should pursue education, are we grossly underestimating the role of parenting in the making of an individual?  Has there ever been a greater institution than parents and family?  Institutions build professionals.  Parents develop the person.  Much more than the time children have at school, the time they have with parents is going to have a greater bearing on their character.  I am not undermining the role of educational institutions, but I am emphasising the role of parenting, and without an iota of doubt parents are the primary architects in the development of character in children.

       How often we hear Sachin Tendulkar say, "My father always told me..." and "My brother used to tell me..."  When Yuvaraj Singh was asked about his comeback, his reply began, "My mother is a very strong lady..."

       It was Jawaharlal Nehru, who told his daughter Indira Gandhi, "You will often find your life splitting into two roads - one, the easy and the crowded and the other, the tough and less crowded.  Take the less crowded and that will make all the difference."  Much later in her life, Indira Gandhi acknowledged, "That is exactly what I did and that has made all the difference."  Mahatma Gandhi's mother told him:  "Even while in London, you will not touch meat, women and alcohol."  Much later in his life, Gandhiji acknowledged, "I exactly did that and those years shaped the character of my life."

       In fact, any time you admire somebody for their character and ask them to speak about it, almost every time, they will begin, "My grandfather used to tell me," or "I have always seen my grandmother doing this," or "My father told me once," or "This I learnt from my mother."  The reason is very obvious.  We learn much more by what we see than what we hear.

       That's why the primary responsibility in parenting is to be a role model worth emulating.  The only scripture most children read is the life of their parents because they get to watch it from the closet proximity.  The life of parents is the only Koran they will read in their lifetime; the only Vedas they will see; the only Bible they will experience; the only Dhammapada they will imbibe; and the only Dharma they will follow.  As parents, your life will serve either as a warning or as an example to your children.  I know it is an awesome responsibility, but how else can you explain why you came into this planet before them and then took the initiative to bring them to this planet.

       A child need not be a first rank holder for him to be first in life.  In every field people who have the lead role are those with horizontal exposure and vertical expertise.  So, parental responsibility is to create avenues of horizontal exposure to your children and they will grow up to find their vertical expertise.  To understand horizontal exposure, we must first understand that every human being has Multiple Intelligence.  For example, your ability to understand, appreciate and perform music is one form of intelligence - Musical Intelligence.  This is completely different from your ability to think in pictures, to be creative - that's another form of intelligence - Spatial Intelligence.  Those good at Math - that's Numerical Intelligence.  Those who have a way with words - that's Linguistic Intelligence.  People who usually make it to the top are those who develop themselves in Multiple Intelligence.

       A singer who also knows to communicate well is always more successful than the one who knows only to sing - for example, that's Shankar Mahadevan's edge -a great singer who is also a good communicator.  A cricketer who is also good at relating with other people has an edge - for example, that's what makes Mahendra Singh Dhoni such a successful captain.  A student who knows four languages has an advantage over those who know only three languages.  That's the edge of an Indian student when he goes abroad.  Get your children to play a team sport.  It will develop their Interpersonal Intelligence.  Expose them to an individual sport.  It will develop their Bodily Intelligence.  Encourage them to participate in Guide, NCC, NSS, Red Cross, RSP, etc.,  It will develop their Social Intelligence.  Parents who help their children to develop multiple intelligence will enable their children to be spotted in a crowd; such children stand above the crowd.

       Every child is a rare, unique, original, masterpiece...  Master's piece.  Don't mould him into a showpiece.  He is here to be 'he' and no one else.  So, preserve, the originality of the child.  Communicate enough to your child and instill in him the confidence that just because a group of his friends do not accept him as he is, there is no necessity for him to drop his originality.  The more and more parents appreciate children for what they are, children will never have to stoop down in order to gain recognition.  It is only when children are starved of appreciation at home, they lose themselves to gain someone else.  When parents take the responsibility to preserve and build the self-image of the child, he will understand that the group that doesn't accept him is not his world.  It is easy to be one in the crowd.  It needs courage to be different from the crowd.  And what your child will be will depend on the role you play as parents in shaping his self-image.

       How much ever scientifically explained, parenting is still an art that parents have to customise according to the temperament of their children.  Children, basically God's creation, have been entrusted in the hands of parents in the trust that you will play your part.  Please play your part diligently.  It is worth everything when you realise you will have an opportunity to parent a world-class citizen.

       People ask me often, what is the purpose of life?  Apart from all that you may discover, parenting is certainly one of the purposes... for being a parent.  Serve the purpose.

Source: Excerpts from the article published in the magazine FT.

23 October, 2011

Peace of Mind: A Birthright

      Like love, peace is to be felt.  I may tell you what peace is in many words, but you will not understand those words until you yourself have felt peace in the heart within.

       There is truly one way of achieving peace of mind.  And that is the way of Self-realization.  Once you realize yourself, there is no more tension, no more stress.  You abide in a state of tranquility and peace.  You may not be able to achieve it overnight.  It is a process through which you have to move.

       Therefore, one very easy way of attaining peace of mind is to sit in silence  everyday for 10 or 15 minutes and explain to yourself this one thing -- that whatever happens, happens according to the will of God.

       Why is it that we lose our peace of mind?  Because our wishes, our desires are crossed.  I want a particular thing to be done in a particular manner, if it has happened in an opposite manner, my  peace is disturbed.

       A girl met me this afternoon.  She said, "I don't want my child to cry but the child keeps on crying all the time.  That disturbs my peace."  Then I asked her, "Were you a child at any time?"  She said, "Of course, I was child only 20 years ago."  I asked, "Did you ever cry?"  Of course I cried," came the reply.  Then I asked, "Why don't you permit your child to cry?  You cried and you don't permit your child to cry!"

       We must understand, that whatever happens, happens according to the Will of God.  This, which has happened contrary to my wishes, contrary to my desires, has happened according to God's will.  There must be some good in it for me.

Accept His Will

       Explains this to your mind everyday, "O mind, why is that you lose your peace?  You lose your peace, because your wishes are not fulfilled.  But above your wishes is the Will of God.  Accept His Will and you will never lose your peace."

       You will get peace of mind, if you give your own "piece" to others.  The great saint, Tulsidas says that keep on giving.  When you have learnt to give, you have learnt to live all right.  Then peace automatically wakes up in the heart within.  It s only because we are so selfish that our peace is disturbed.  Peace is our original nature.  We are built of peace.

       What is that has disbursed our peace?  Sordid selfishness.  We have to overcome this selfishness, only then can we return to our original state.  Each one of us is sat-cit-anandaAnanda is the joy, the bliss that no ending knows.  We have only to get back to our original state.

       Anandam is your birthright as children of God.  Each one of you is a son or a daughter of God.  And God is the source of Ananda.  He is an unending source of bliss.  The moment I realize that I am child of God, nothing is going to affect me.  In order to live a life of bliss, all we have to do is to transcend the phenomenal, transcend what is happening around us.

       You must have seen on several occasions when your mind is terribly disturbed and you go and do a little painting, you find that you have become peaceful suddenly.  Why?  Because you forgot yourself in this creative work.  Likewise, when we move out of ourselves and give joy to those who are in need of joy, we forget ourselves.

       All we need to do is to forget ourselves and peace will be ours.  When we forget this outer self, we draw close to the real, the inner Self, which is peace.

       God loves each one of us with a love that is immeasurable.  He has given us the most perfect machine -- the human body -- and the most perfect computer -- the human brain.  Let us not forget that every breath is valuable and must be spend in worthwhile pursuits.  Let us set aside a portion of our daily food for a hungry one -- a man, bird. an animal.  Let us speak the truth, kindly and softly and do all we can, to help as many as we can, to lift the load on the rough road of life.  That is the way to peace.

Source: From the Lecture of Dada J.P. Vaswani.

15 October, 2011

Get your magnet right

In the beginning there were just the five elements, namely, earth, water, air, fire and space.  Then, as a part of the evolutionary process, the first element of earth manifested itself into the sense of touch, and one-sensed creatures came into being.  The vegetable kingdom came into existence.  Plants are one-sensed creatures and they stay rooted to the earth, and it is the earth that nurtures them.

Centuries passed by.  Then the second element of water manifested itself into the sense of taste (saliva), and two-sensed creatures came into being.  Water also symbolises movement.  Insects and worms, moving in search of their food, came into existence.

Centuries passed by, Then the third element of air manifested itself into the sense of smell, and three-sensed creatures came into being. Air is the fundamental carrier of smell.  Air also symbolises flight.  Life forms that can fly in search of their food came into existence. 

Centuries passed by, Then the fourth element of fire manifested itself into the sense of sight, and four-sensed creatures came into being.  Without light outside, which is darkness, and without light within, which is blindness- one cannot see.  Fire symbolises both the light without and the light within.  Life forms with sight came into existence.  

Centuries passed by, Then the fifth element of space manifested itself into the sense of hearing, and five-sensed animals came into being.  Sound travel in space.  The animal kingdom was fully in place. 

That's how, over the centuries, the five elements through the evolutionary process evolved into the various multi-sensed life forms.  Now the big question is, "So what manifested into the six sensed human being?'

Our Universe is a cosmic magnetic field.  Gravity is fundamentally magnetism.  From our galaxy - Milky Way, to our solar system to every celestial body in it, everything is suspended in space, controlled by mutually acting magnetic forces.  All of them are attracting and repelling each other, thus holding each other in their respective positions, and also aiding the rotations and revolutions.  Any imbalance in the cosmic magnetic field, even momentarily, results in the cosmic accidents causing the big bangs ad the falling meteors.

The Bible states, "God created human beings after his own image." 
The Vedas explain, "It is the Paramathma that manifests as the Jeevathmas." 
The Koran assets, "There is Allah, and everything else descended from Him."
Scientifically explained from the cosmic magnetic field manifested this bio magnetic field called human.  The manifested essence of Existence is man.  The basic properties of the magnet, attraction and repulsion, manifested itself as the sixth-sense in man, the sense of discrimination - pain or pleasure, right or wrong, good or bad, this or that  - choosing one and repelling the counter possibility. 

As important it is that the cosmic magnetic field be in perfect sync for the cosmos to be hassle-free, man has to get his magnet right his life to be flowing zero-defect.

There are three components for man to get his magnet right:

1.  His dominant thought and feelings have to be right.

2.  His processes have to be in congruence with his desires.

3.  His energy levels have to be high.

Firstly, whatever your dominant thoughts and feelings are, that become the direction of your magnet, and you attract more of it into your life, and repel the counter possibilities.  This explains the theory of "Like begets like'.  It also explains the prophecy, "Those who have will be given more."  It also explains why the rich get richer and the poor become poorer.  If you are abundant-conscious, then that's what you will attract into your life.  If you are scarcity-conscious, then that's what you will attract into your life.  It also explains why for some people everything is problem and why for some nothing is unsolvable.  It is their dominant thoughts and feelings that make it so.

Let us discuss a few examples.  You have lost a relationship.  You are perpetually lost in the thoughts of that lost relationship.  Feelings of hurt, hatred and revenge engulf your heart.  Now this will become the direction of your magnet.  As a result you will not only draw more and more incidents into your life that leaves you hurt, but will also repel the avenues of love.  When you are attracting the negative, you are obviously repelling the positive.  This explains the reasoning behind, "Why positive thinking?"  Positive thinking helps you to attract the positive, and thus repel the negative.  So it is not without a reason that every religion insisted on the practice of forgiveness.  Blatantly stated, forgiveness is not some saintly quality to emulate, but for the sheer selfishness of getting your magnet right, you need to practice forgiveness.

It is not enough what you think for yourself.  It is  equally important what you think for others.  It is not enough you think good for those who have been good to you.  It is equally important that you think good even for those who have not been good for you.  It is not enough you celebrate your success alone.  It is equally important that you celebrate everyone's success.  Stop looking at what has left you start focusing on what you are left with.  Count your blessings and never your troubles.  Don't feel too much with your failures, but focus on the lessons learnt.  Celebrate every success of yours - run your victory lap.  Never get even with others, but always get ahead.  Never expect gratitude, but never fail to express gratitude. Seek His grace to outperform the competition, but never pray for others' downfall.

Let problems come from anywhere, but let solutions come from you.  Counter every negative thought with five positive thoughts, even if it is a mere mental imposition.  Every time the world tells you, "You can't", remember, "The loudest way to tell the world to shut up is to produce results."  Every time the world tells you, "You can," acknowledge by telling them, "I will prove you right."

Secondly, your processes have to be in congruence with your desires.  It is an eternal law that we do not get in life what we desire, but we deserve.  It is only in getting our processes in congruence with our desires we deserve their fulfilment.  You cannot desire east and go to west.  It takes what it takes to be healthy and fit.  Discipline.  Unless you are tough on yourself life will not be easy on you.  If you want to be a pathfinder you must dare to be pathbreaker.  Risk.  Unless you are willing to subordinate your likes and dislikes you cannot fulfil the purpose of your life.  To be Numero Uno, you got to be the best in what you do.  Learn more than what others know.  Do more than what others expect of you.  If you want Krishna beside you, then you have to qualify yourself as the best warrior.  Simple.  Competence magnetises the divine grace.  If you want the best from life, you  got to give your best in life.  And without purity, there is no spirituality.  Without self-purification the divine shall not descend.  This explains how when the so-called spiritual gurus lose their inner-purity they also lose their spiritual grace.  Without process excellence there cannot be excellence in results.  Consistently perform this process-audit - "Are my processes in congruence with my desires?"

Thirdly, you need to have connectivity to a source of energy, a place or a person.  A house can be run with a residential electricity connection, but not a factory.  A factory would need an industrial connection.  Similarly, our private reserve of energy is enough for us to meet up with our day-to-day demands -  even in that we are fatigued by the end of the day.  Higher the ideals, bigger the goals, deeper the purpose, then greater are the needs for high reserves of energy.  Places of worship, irrespective of the religion, are supposedly spaces with high vibration.  Spiritually evolved people are supposedly the souls with high vibrations.  That's why, some people fill spaces with vibrations.  That's why the saying, "Where he sat became a temple."  Our physics laboratory experiments reminds us that an electromagnetic field cannot function effectively with a voltage drop.  Similarly, for your magnet to work effectively, your energy reserves have to be high.  Stay connected to a spiritual source.  The more you stay in the presence of a rose garden the more you will begin to smell roses.  Find something to hold on to and hold on to it.

The Vedas suggest, true growth is only when a man from a life of 'maximum efforts giving him minimum results' transforms into a life of 'minimum efforts giving him maximum results'.  And the only way to achieve it is by getting our magnet right.  Thought management plus process management plus energy management - all the three have to be right for your magnet to be right.

Gautama Buddha is just a Siddhartha who got his magnet right.  Get God into your team by getting your magnet right.

Source: Excerpt from the article published in FT magazine.

08 October, 2011

Classification of Food

       For every human being is composed of the three gunas known as sattva trans-active, rajas active and tamas inactive. Mixed in different proportions they constitute different individuals. Sattva being pure, stainless, appears to be luminous and healthy. Sattva expresses as happinesss which keeps the sattvika people engaged in the world. A sattvika person promotes peace and happiness both for himself and the world around. He does not rest content until he reaches the state of supreme bliss. The fruit of good action, sattva purity. Knowledge arises from sattva guna.

       Rajasika persons become fully involved in the affairs of this world. They act incessantly for fulfilling their manifold desires. In the process they develop more. Thus generating endless desires they engage themselves in feverish activity. Rajas expresses as thirst, longing, craving for what you do not possess and as attachment, belonging, possessiveness for what you possess. Rajas expresses as agitation at the mental level. The fruit of rajas, sorrow. Greed arises from rajas guna.

       Ignorance, inertia, heedlessness and delusion arise from tamas. Tamas expresses as ignorance at the intellectual level. Tamas expresses as heedlessness, indolence and sleep. A tamasic person lives through inertia, laziness and sleep. The fruit of tamas is ignorance.

       For every one food is threefold. How? Is it in terms of nutritional value? Should everyone take threefold food, like protein, carbohydrate and fat in a certain proportion? Or should we take a little bit of sattvika food, a little bit of rajasika food and some tamasika food? It is not threefold in these senses but in terms of guna, it is so according to what is liked, priya, by people,

       Lord declares in Verses 8,9 and 10 of Chapter XVII Bhagavat Gita about the food choice of sattvika, rajasika and tamasika types. This classification has led to an erroneous belief. That consumption of the type of food determines distinct human nature. People wrongly believe that sattvika food will make a person sattvika. And rajasika and tamasika food will create rajasika and tamasika persons. The verses in fact do not convey that. Food is gross. Human mind-intellect is subtle. Food can mould the physical body. Not the subtle body.

       These verses actually mean that beings naturally choose the food designated as their type. A sattvika person would choose sattvika food. Likewise the rajasika and tamasika persons choose rajasika and tamasika foods. The word priya means dear. This word indicates that the food described in each verse is agreeable, pleasant, dear to the respective class of person. They prefer that particular food.

       Also the type of food consumed becomes conducive to growth of their respective nature. Though there may be no direct cause-effect relationship. Sattvika food promotes sattvika nature, not produce it. So do rajasika and tamasika food promote their respective nature. Food therefore is related to personality development as soil to cultivation. Seed and not the soil is the actual cause of vegetation. Yet the right type of soil becomes conducive for the growth of the particular flora.

       This truth is clearly seen in the case of animals. The carnivore and herbivore. Carnivorous animals consuming meat are ferocious by nature. They cannot be tamed, controlled. Whereas, all herbivorous animals living on vegetation can be tamed, controlled. Hence, vegetarian food would be more conducive to control the mind and be peaceful. Sattvika people thus tend to take to vegetarianism. However, mere consumption of vegetarian food will not make the one sattvika.

I.Sattvika food is that which develops and promotes the following:

1. Longevity – duration of long life, longevity and vitality.

2. Purity – keeping the mind un-agitated, pure. Makes the intellect sharp, subtle.

3. Strength – Food give you strength, energy & vigour.

4. Health – you eat food which are purely healthy to keep body’s fitness.

5. Happiness – Food give you taste and gives you some pleasure - Mind’s satisfaction, contentment and fulfillment.

6. Cheerfulness – some food is esthetically pleasing and amiable attitude towards life.

       Again, the food that is eaten is divided according to its nature. Some Sattvika foods are:

1. Savoury – some food is succulent, juicy; appetising food.

2. Oleaginous – some are creamy & Oil producing like nuts.

3. Substantial – some food remain for a long time in the body like that meant for building bone etc., which sustain the body well.

4. Agreeable – Some foods are pleasing to your mind. Pleasing taste and flavour. The presentation of the food, how it looks, is very important because the very sight of the food should please you.

II.Rajasika food. All these things viz., bitter, sour, salty, are necessary for all for good health and even prescribed for Ayurveda. But they have to be used in moderation. But Rajasika person goes to the extreme with these. What is said here is that they are to be avoided in extremely. Rajasika people have a distinct tendency to choose foods which are:

1. Highly Bitter

2. Very Sour – like yoghurt that is fifteen days old.

3. Excessively Salty.

4. Very hot – it is so hot and you cannot touch it without burning your tongue or shedding tears, like red chilies or jalapeno peppers.

5. Excessively pungent – Food that is excessively pungent like chilies for the tongue. Like food offensive to the nose.

6. Dry –very astringent like parched grains, dry fruits.

7. Burning – any burning food that causes inflammation. Stinging the tongue causing eyes and nose to water.

       And these Rajasika food produces:

1. Pain – Negative effect, hangover.

2. Grief – A sense of remorse following consumption.

3. Disease or ill-health – Unwholesome food causing distemper, disease to the body.

III.Tamasic people relish food which is:

1.Stale refers to food cooked more than three hours earlier. When there was no refrigeration, cooked   food  that had been standing for three hours in a tropical climate would be teeming with bacteria and therefore, unfit for consumption and inadequately cooked.

2. Tasteless – food has lost the taste, essence, it once had, and therefore, its nutritive value. Insipid, flat.

3. Putrid – Foul-smelling, obnoxious.

4. Rotten – Cooked food that has been kept overnight – yesterday’s leftovers. It includes all fermented things, which are sometimes used as medicines, as ayurvedic medicicnes but are not good for you as food.

5. Refuse – Polluted food left over in one’s plate after the meal.

6. Impure – Unclean.

(1) Swami Dayananda’s Bhgavadgita Home Study Course and
(2) Srimad Bhagavad Gita Commentaries by A Parthasarathy.

01 October, 2011

You are Unique… You are Original

We know that life primarily hinges on three relationships – your relationship with yourself, your relationship with others and your relationships with the force above.

Your life will be complete only when you develop yourself in all the three relationships. Start from where you can start – your relationship with yourself.

I can only give you what I have. If I have wisdom, I can share my wisdom with you. If I only have ignorance, I can only share my ignorance with you. If I am full of love, I can share my love with you. If I am full of hate, I can only share with my hatred with you. Kabir so beautifully said, 

“If the Guru be blind, the disciple is born blind. When the blind leads the blind, both fall into well.”
Only if I enjoy a good relationship with myself, I can enjoy a good relationship with others. If I am too critical about myself, if I have a complex about myself, if I keep thinking ‘I am not good enough’, if I constantly feel low about myself in the presence of others… when my own relationship with myself is lousy, there is no way I can enjoy a good relationship with others.

In fact, unless I have good relationship with myself, I cannot have a good relationship even with God. Swami Vivekananda said,
Basically, Swami Vivekananda wanted you to realize, your belief in the creator can’t help you much, unless you also believe in his creation – that’s yourself.

“He is not an atheist who does not believe in god. He is an atheist who does not believe in himself.”
So, even if no one likes you, you got to like yourself. In fact, only when you learn to like yourself, the world will begin to like you. Even if no one loves you, you got to love yourself. In fact, only when you learn to love yourself, you will begin to recognize the love the world has for you. Simply put, how the world see you will make only a small difference to you, but how you see yourself will make all the difference to you.

And, why would you not celebrate yourself when you are born winner. Do you know that long time back about 700 million participants ran a race, out of which only one emerged the winner. Those 700 million participants, I am referring to you are the 700 million sperms from the father racing towards the egg in the mother. Only that sperm, which is the fastest and the healthiest, first fused into the egg, for YOU to be born. YOU are that Winning Sperm. Your very birth is a symbol of victory. You are born to win. You are a winner by birth. Your very beginning was winning.

Every seed has in it the potential to become a forest, every rock has in it potential to become a statue, every human has in him the potential to become a Legend. And, you are that sleeping legend. Wake up to the sleeping potential within you.

Do you know what a blessing it is to be born as a human being?  If God wanted, he could have created you as a mosquito or as a monkey or as a pig. But God chose to create you as a human being – the greatest of all His creations. Abusing the gift is abusing the giver. Cherishing the gift is cherishing the giver. Cherishing yourself is your way of saying.

You begin to cherish yourself only when you begin to cherish your originality. It seems the plum fruit once said, just because a banana lover came by, I converted myself into a banana. Unfortunately, his taste changed after a few months and so I became an orange. When he said I was bitter I became an apple, but he went in search of grapes. Yielding to the opinions of so many people, I have changed so many times that I no more know who I am. How much I wish I had remained a plum and waited for a plum lover.

“Thank you God, for creating me as me, and as no one else.”

This is the story of most people. Just because a group of friends do not accept you as you are, there is no necessity for you to drop your originality. Never stoop down in order to gain recognition. Never lose yourself to gain someone else. It is not worth it. This is the only chance you have got to be yourself.

Life is to express and not impress. The group that doesn’t accept you as you is not your world. There is a world for each one of you, where you shall reign as the King, as the Queen – by just being yourself. Find that world … in fact, that world will find you. And only that world is your world.

What water can do, gasoline cannot and what copper can, gold cannot. The fragility of the ant enables it to move and the rigidity of the tree enables it to stay rooted. Everything and everybody has been designed with a proportion of uniqueness to serve a purpose. You, as you alone can serve your purpose and I, as I alone can serve my purpose. You are here to be you.. just you. You don’t have to try to be anybody else. Be yourself and be the best you can be. Don’t miss yourself and let the world not miss you.

It seems Vikas, a ninth standard student, had this habit of always carrying the pocket version of Jain Dharma in his shirt pocket. This was a source of major sarcasm, especially, for many of the senior students. Vikas would be bullied, joked at, laughed at, mocked at – and this went on. One day, a bunch of seniors surrounded Vikas and insisted he should not carry the scripture in his pocket anymore. Almost spontaneously, Vikas lifted the scripture out of his pocket, extended it towards the seniors and said, “Anyone of you carry this holy scripture in your shirt pocket for at least one day, and then I will stop doing so.” The first one retracted, ‘No chance – everyone will bully me,” then the second one stepped back, “No chance. I don’t want to be ragged,” so went the third, the fourth, the fifth and eventually all of them refused. With subtle pride in his smile Vikas concluded, “Anyone can be like anyone of you. It is easy to be one in the crowd. Not everyone can be like me. It needs courage to be different from the crowd. You be you. Let me be I,” saying so, he put the scripture back in his pocket and majestically walked away.

Most people cannot appreciate others that easily and they also cannot handle it, when others appreciate them. How will you celebrate yourself, if you cannot even accept the appreciation of others? So the next time anybody appreciates you, gracefully say, “Thank you,” and whisper unto yourself, “I deserve this appreciation.” Learn to feel good about yourself. Also, learn to see good in others and appreciate it. The more and more you see good in yourself, you will be able to see it in others. The more and more you are able to see good in others, the more and more you will be able to see it in yourself. It is absolutely reciprocal. So, express to your parents how good you feel about being their child. Express your gratitude to your teacher. Tell your spouse, “Thank you for putting up with all my nonsense.” Appreciate the top performers in your class. Tell the driver how safe you feel while he is driving. Recognise the servant for all that he is doing for you. Whenever you enjoy good food, never miss mentioning it to whoever had cooked it. Learn to appreciate. Learn to enjoy being appreciated.

And most importantly, to come out of the self-rejection mode, always take the initiative. Always be the first to take the first step forward. In fact, the more and more you take the initiative, the more and more you become self-accepting. People who refuse to take the initiative keep rejecting themselves. Instead, take the initiative to appreciate. Volunteer wherever possible. Never miss a chance to raise your hand for any opportunity presented to you. Never focus on what others would think. Focus on what you can do. Be the first to wish. Be the first to shake hands or extend a hug. Be the first to take the initiative in all matters.

Above all, celebrate your uniqueness. So what if you are imperfect. You are still the only one of your kind. So what if have erred in the past. There is no Saint without a past, and no sinner without a future. So what if there are blemishes in your personality. What’s the future there for? You can become what you choose to become. This is you. Period. Of course, you have the responsibility to strive to become the best ‘you’ that you can be.

It seems a man went to a studio to take his picture. The photographer gave him a warm welcome and said, “Just pay me 10 Rupees, I will make your picture look like Sharukh Khan.” The man hesitated and immediately the photographer said, “Okay pay me 50 Rupees, I will make your picture look like Sachin Tendulkar.” Looking into the eyes of the photographer the man said, “I need the picture that will look like me.” For that he photographer said, “I will charge you 1000 Rupees for that.” The man was willing to pay 1000 Rupees because only his picture will serve his purpose. Nobody else’s will. You can look up to anybody but you don’t have to become anybody. Become the best you can be and you will be looked up to.

This universe is made up of millions of galaxies and our galaxy, the Milky Way, is just one of them.  Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is made up of millions of solar systems and our solar system is just one of them. Compared to the size of our solar system, our planet earth is just a small speck of dust. And, in our planet earth YOU are just a speck of dust. And yet, in the entirety of this Universe, there has never been anyone like you and there will never be anyone like you. You are the only one of your kind. You are unique. You are original. You are the Master’s piece. So, simply live as a masterpiece.

Source: Excerpts from the magazine Frozen Thoughts.