It is far, but it is near ………..12th Chapter of the book ‘Address of Happiness’ [a.k.a. સુખનું સરનામું] by Shri Haresh Dholakia

Posted in Haresh Dholakia's Writings, સુખનું સરનામું

A friend of mine, who is a footloose person, like Kalelkar, asked me, “ where should I travel so that it is the best place?” He is very much fond of travel. As soon as he gets some leisure time or gathers enough money, he sets out on a journey. In case otherwise, he rides his bicycle on Sunday to visit surrounding places, but he never stays at home, relaxing. He has travelled whole of India in all four directions. He does not have enough funds to visit foreign countries, otherwise he is prepared for it. Now, he visits the places twice or thrice. He has converted the call given by Subhashchandra Bose, “Chalo Delhi” to “Chalo Gumava”.

He asked the above question to the person, who himself very rarely goes out on travel.

He said, “Ah! I have travelled right from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari and from Kutch to Assam. I have enjoyed the culture and the nature there. I really enjoyed them. Still, I want to visit some place, which is more beautiful and enjoyable. Do you know any such place?”

I answered, “Are you prepared to sit for going on a journey?” He stared at me and said, “What do you mean by sitting for going on a journey? Sitting in a train or a bus?”

“None of them. Sitting at home.”

He thought of me going mad. If somebody sits at home, the question of travelling does not arise. He stared at me with a question in his eyes.

Smilingly I said, “The answer to your question can be given only by Daag Hammarskjold.”                

“About sitting at home?”

“No, setting out on a wonderful journey.”

He got excited, “Who is this Daag Hammarskjold? Is he a world traveller? Is he a tourism minister or a travel agent or a person , fond of travelling like myself?”

I laughed. “C was none of them. Though he has travelled a lot, he is not a world traveller. He was the Secretary General of UNO”

He said with frustration, “You seem to be talking about politics.”

“No, I am not talking about politics. I want to talk to you about an enjoyable journey, which you want to undertake.  Promises to talk about the journey that is not only enjoyable, but is the longest also.”

The friend got excited again, “Wonderful! But then, what does it cost?”

“Nothing in money.”

“Is it really so? An enjoyable and the longest journey without any expenses?”

“Yes.”

“Then you better tell me about it immediately.”

I gave him the statement made by Hammarskjold, “The longest journey is the journey within.”

“Oh, now you are talking about religious topic.”

“But it is about journey.”

Even if you take out humour from this dialogue, the statement is worth attention. He says that you may travel around the world, not only once, but many times, reach the remotest corners, they are all shorter than the journey within.

Why?

The characteristic of a visit of any place is that it has to end somewhere. You can never cross the boundary of the earth. Also, the earth is round. So, go on travelling in a straight line however far, you reach the place from where you started. So, every journey has an end.

But, the inner journey is endless.

How?

First, you need to have proper perception of inner journey. You have to travel within “Yourself”. It is not real, it is spiritual. You need not go anywhere in this journey, but you have to get settled in your “inner self” here. That is why we talked about sitting.

What do you mean by  “in your inner self”?

It means that you are going towards your conscience, which is inside yourself only and not anywhere outside.

How does one undertake this journey?

By observing oneself.

Why is this journey the longest? Conscience is one’s own existence. Where is the question of it being distant?

In fact, it is not distant, but the position in which the person is at present, makes it so. Many hurdles have to be crossed to reach there.

You have to understand it properly.

To begin with, we think about the path of our journey. There are four stations on this path. First is the body, then mind, then intellect, and lastly the conscience.

How are we going to travel? We travel by self-observation. There is no need to ride any vehicle. You can sit wherever you like. It is enough that you sit comfortably.

First of all, you have to observe your “Body”. You have to observe all the organs, each and every nook and corner of your body. You have to consciously experience their processes. As you go on doing this, you will come to know the structure, functions and the beauty of your body. You will realise how wonderful body you are gifted and how beautiful each organ is!

When you consciously observe your body, you will realise that the body itself is lifeless. It cannot function by itself. It is only a “vehicle”. The reign is in the hands of a driver. Your observation will tell you that the driver is “the mind”. The body obeys the mind’s commands.

Now, you start the second lag of your journey. In that you will observe your mind.

As you go deep into your observation, you will realise that there is no independent entity called “the mind”. The mind is the virtual sum-total of thousands of thoughts, imaginations, and perceptions. Continuous thoughts prove the existence of the mind.

So, now you really observe these thoughts and perceptions. Then you realise that the most of them are unnecessary and meaningless. They are trespassers from outside and give rise to chaos. The thoughts are uninvited guests. One accepts them as true and their own, by mistake. That results in many problems, which are called “Politics in day-to-day life”. The body suffers as a result of these problems.

Once you understand this mind being virtual, you will be able to go further in your observation Now, it will enter the intellect. The intellect takes decisions based on these perceptions, but it can take decisions independently, if it is aware and wishes to do so. Acute observation will show you the futileness of your mind and will teach you to take right decisions, using your intellect Observation will make your intellect clear, clean and healthy. It will make it mature.

When this acute observation of the intellect is undertaken, you will realise that this decision-power of the intellect is not it’s own. It is really the power of the conscience. The intellect is like the moon. It shines only as reflection of light from the Sun in the form of the conscience. Thus, the conscience is the basic thing.

Thus, the last thing to be observed will be the conscience. It is sourceless.  Its light is as powerful as that from the thousands of Suns. It is free from thoughts perceptions and decisions. It is pure.

As your observation becomes deep, you will have an altogether new experience. The observation and the observer both will get absorbed in the conscience. The conscience will spread wide. Both will become unimportant and suddenly a moment will come when both will disappear. Only the conscience will remain.

The journey will end here. At that time, you will realise that there are no four different things like the body, the mind, the intellect and the conscience. Only the conscience exists. There are thousands of places on the earth, but ultimately they all are the earth only. They are parts of the earth. In the same way, these three seem to be different, but are parts of the same conscience. The conscience reveals itself in three different forms.

The conscience is itself a formless existence. It takes the form of the intellect, when it wants to think. It takes the form of the mind, when it wants to imagine. Based on these two, it takes the form of the body, when it wants to perform any physical deeds. The body is the visible vehicle of the conscience and the other two are invisible vehicles. But, all three are the parts of the conscience.

Imagine visiting thousands of earths universes, Himalayas, oceans, and think of the joy you experience. The joy at the moment you touch the conscience is many more times than the former and will last for ever.

A person experiences the fulfilment at the end of the journey.

We feel this journey is extremely long, because it is very difficult to be objective towards the body, the mind and the intellect. It is very difficult to make them free from indulgences and jealousies. The journey is not tough, but it is difficult. Once you learn to see the perceptions objectively with awareness, the progress of the journey becomes faster, and then perhaps ,you may reach the end of it suddenly. The speed of the journey depends on “Aware witnessing’. Fast completion of the journey depends on the  acuteness of this aware witnessing. In fact the journey is neither long nor short. If the longing is acute, it is fast and if the longing is confused, it is very  long.

That is why the Upanishads preach, “Tad doore, tad vantike”.It means, it is far but it is near.

What is the result of undertaking this journey?

The answer is given by Saint Kabir. There are two results according to him. The first is you will experience the divine light and sweet music. The second is if this journey is completed then you feel the joy of journey of the whole universe.

So, run. The season to travel is already there, here and now. The price, “Acute longing to undertake it.”

- Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad

The sweetness that we never loose………..11th Chapter of the book ‘Address of Happiness’ [a.k.a. સુખનું સરનામું] by Shri Haresh Dholakia

Posted in Haresh Dholakia's Writings, Translations - From Gujarati To English, સુખનું સરનામું

Which is the best occupation?

In fact, all occupations of our own choice are the best.

Even then, in my opinion, a teacher’s occupation is the best.

Common belief is that a teacher’s occupation is not gainful for anyone so much as the high profile occupations of an engineer, a doctor etc. Why should anyone choose to be a teacher instead of being an engineer or a doctor?

Perhaps, this belief is justified if we look at the “High profile” means “High salaried” occupations. But, the teacher’s occupation is most enjoyable in our life. If you are a doctor, you have to be always with the patients. You hear and discuss about sickness for ever. Your field of working is health, but you are always with the sickness. After hearing of and facing the diseases and death continuously, one may get depressed at some point of time. Same is the case of engineers and other professionals. Their occupation is the best, but they have to work with dead stock, files and materials!

A teacher’s occupation is the only one, when a person is continuously in touch with the youth. Childhood, adulthood and youth all three are the best stages in our life. A child, an adult teenage and a youth are always very enthusiastic. They are hopeful about achievements. Enterprise, curiosity, optimism about the future are the main features in these stages. They are full of strong desire, “let me do something.”

The teacher is always in contact with such children and youths. Naturally, he also gets infected by this vigour. He forgets his growing age and other problems, for he is living with the individuals bursting with freshness and energy. His mind experiences their freshness. The teacher may have been retired, but the effect of youth contact is still there in his mind.

The teacher and the gardener both are very fortunate. They are always in contact with youth and fragrance. They bring up the young. Their main reward is they remain young doing this work. Salary is of less importance for them. It is only bonus.

The good characteristic of the youth is that you are never sure which question will arise in their minds. They are not stagnant personalities, programmed like a computer. Their minds overflow with curiosity. Their teacher has to remain alert all the time. That may be the reason why some teachers always keep a distance from children.

Once, a young student asked abruptly, “Sir, can you please tell us, which are the best and the most important words among such a huge dictionary?”

This is a very strange question. A dictionary lists the words only. There is nothing like good words and bad words. It contains all the words existing in the language. It is only a compilation.

But, let us examine this question from somewhat different angle.  Let us put it this way. “Is it necessary to know all the words in the dictionary for living a good quality life?”

Of course not!  Only a few words’ knowledge is enough for our life. In spite of limited knowledge, we can enjoy life.

If we extract the essence of the entire dictionary, we find four words, which can make our life enjoyable.

First word is “Discretion”.

Our life is full of temptations and choices.  It is very difficult to keep away from them. All these temptations are such that one seems to be always better than the other. We are quite confused about the choice. In this situation, it is desirable that we can right choice, which helps to make our life beautiful, saves us from troubles, maintains our mental and physical health and gives us everlasting joy.

For this purpose, “Discretion” is must.

Discretion means perfectly identifying the wrong from the right and choosing the right one. Once we master this technique, we would always choose spiritual happiness, and the discretion’s lamp would continue to give light for ever, even if we wander amongst numerous temptations.

Discretion is the base of happy life. One, who wants to be happy in an easy way, has to practice discretion. Then, the mind, intellect and outlook would be very clear and the blur will disappear.  Conscience would sparkle.

The second word, in order after discretion, is “understands”

The two words may look synonymous of each other. On the surface they may be, but there is a very minute difference between the two.

Discretion is the process of living, while understanding is the technique. Discretion means you have to be alert all the time and think about the self. Understanding is the technique of life which is created as a result of this process. Understanding means the life with discretion.

An individual’s intellect, called “Pragya” in Sanskrit , will then become so subtle that he would not need to use discretion every time. Discretion would become his habit. It will be part of his nature. This way he would live with understanding, always. When discretion becomes the nature, understanding is created. The life of such a person would be so healthy that he would hardly make any mistake or would face any trouble.

Many times, we hear the words, “A mature person” in our society. But, they are used in a practical sense. Many people compromise their personal thinking to be considered “mature” That is why they are called “Understanding”. This is the process of adaptation. It is only a small part of understanding.

But, what we discuss here is the natural rule of life, which is followed by a person and is called understanding.  Such a person mostly adjusts to the ways of the society around him.  Sometimes, the height of his understanding is so much that even the society cannot realise it. So, often such persons are also in trouble but their level of understanding is so great that they do not care about the troubles.

The result of understanding is “Love”, the third word.

Discretion means the acceptance of spiritual happiness. To live with discretion is understanding. As the understanding becomes deep, we realise that the life seen among the differences outside is only one. There is unity within diversity. Only one element of soul exists everywhere, and this element of life is lovable only. We find this element of life in everything and everywhere.

A person, who realises this, experiences great love for the whole world. He is left with only one feeling, “O God, you are the only element that exists everywhere in the universe, you may take different forms.” The shower of love from such a person’s heart drenches all. He feels identified with the whole universe.

The fourth word “Enjoyment” is the result of this feeling.  Many people ask, “How to get enjoyment?” There is only one answer to that.  Love all, without any reason.

Enjoyment is the result of love. One, who can love, gets joy. Deeper your love, stronger is the flow of joy, like waterfall. As the cow’s udder becomes full of milk at the sight of her calf, a person’s whole conscience experiences joy as the love grows deep.

How does the world look like to such a person?

Everything looks very sweet. Birth is sweet, disease is sweet, health is sweet, Happiness, sadness, death all are sweet for him. The experience of sweetness is the expression of joy.

That is all.  The aim of life is achieved here.

So, the first step is discretion.it is the base. As you enter an old labyrinth and proceed to find one door after the other, you practice discretion which pulls you to understanding, then the depth of understanding will create love in yourself and this plunge in the sea of love will get you the pearl of joy.

Thus, concentrate on these four words from the whole dictionary in your life and they are sufficient to make your life blessed.

See, how far one is led by the curiosity of a young child!

THANKS A LOT, MY FRIEND!

Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad

Open your mind’s eyes………..10th Chapter of the book ‘Address of Happiness’ [a.k.a. સુખનું સરનામું] by Shri Haresh Dholakia

Posted in Haresh Dholakia's Writings, Translations - From Gujarati To English, સુખનું સરનામું

Let us read a dialogue.

“Why, what are you afraid of?”

“The bird that is born inside a cage, fears the sky the most. It is true that it is unhappy behind the iron bars, but its heart beats fast if we open the door of the cage. It is confused as how it will manage to live outside. It thinks it cannot yet jump into fearlessness. It is used to live confined in the cage since long time.”

“You believe it is always good to keep the box closed using numerous locks. You do not care to know what there is inside the box.”

“My elder brother says that when we get detached from everything subsidiary, then only we get the main thing. So, we are continuously occupied with getting rid of anything we come across. We keep an account of only number of things we let go; there is no end to it.”

“Your elder brother may be telling you this way, but my elder brother tells me that we get the main thing only when we get everything else. So, we do not close the doors of our house, they are open day and night.”

This dialogue has been written by the great poet Rabindranath Tagore in his book, “Achalayatan.”Do not you think of present mind set, present sight, when you read this? Do not you think these dialogues written in the past century are relevant today also after a whole century has passed?

Our country has a great faith in religion. Most of the religions of the world are founded here. Indian religions have contributed a lot in the development of other religions. Followers of many religions have stayed in our country Today, the followers of various religions inhabit our country.

But, Achalayatan……?

When we see the condition of religions and the followers of them in our country, Tagore’s comparison with a caged bird and what he wants to say in, “my elder brother says……” are relevant. We react with a grim smile and nothing else, when we look at the pitiful condition the religions and followers of religions are in today.

Most of the religions today have become religions of traditions instead of being religions of soul or conscience. So it’s soul has been suffocated. A religion is in fact, a dance of conscience. It is never enclosed within temples-mosques-churches or the holy books. It is omnipresent in every atom of the universe, it dances, it flows sweetly like a spring.

But, it is in a pitiful condition today, more than ever in history. The soul of the religion is thrown and they try to preserve its dead body. As Kaka Kalelkar says, “In trying to make the religion stable-achal – we have discarded the religiousness out of it. Our religions have become the one which like to throw out and not taking in.” Today, we see the violence, terrorism and hatred everywhere, our perverted attitude to destroy other religions, oppose them. These are the results of worshipping these dead bodies.

What may be the reason?

Whatever, the social-economic- political reasons, but the main reason is that we have kept the window of our mind closed. Every religion firmly believes that it is the best religion only. The followers of any other religion are nonreligious, sinners! In fact, every religion is an open ground, but their followers have constructed walls around it. They have constructed roof over it. They have kept no windows in the walls. As a result, the open ground has been converted into a closed jail. There is only darkness prevailing in it.

The second blunder we have made is to believe that this darkness itself is a religion. We believe that traditions, commands in holy books, superstitions and fanaticism comprise of the religion. We make meaningless great efforts to justify violence, hatred and terrorism, by giving them the label “Religious activity”, for the survival of the religion. The whole society turns upside down, if somebody tries to bore a small window in the wall for little light, little fresh air. All the “Religious people” immediately react and investigate, “Who bore the window? How was it possible? They act very fast on two fronts.

One, they fill the window space immediately. Besides, they make thicker layers on the wall, so that the light cannot penetrate inside. Not a small hole is spared, through which the air enters.

Second, they try to murder the person concerned as far as possible. If that is not possible, they harass him. If that person surrenders, he is lead to darkness and his eyes are pierced. If the person is still strong not to bow before them, he is out casted helplessly. They think that our religious darkness has to be preserved at any cost, thousands of people may die or the whole world may be destroyed. The pleasant orange colours of dawn or the beauty of dusk should not be seen in it .Beautiful Sunrays should not enter it.

Bravo, darkness!

Thus the birds are brought up in cages in windowless houses. The bird becomes so accustomed to the darkness that if by any chance or by mistake, a window is bored and the light is seen, it will shout in panic, “Wake up, run, the religion is in danger. SAVE YOURSELF FROM NON RELIGIOUS PEOPLE. Bring stones. Fill the hole somehow. I cannot tolerate this atheist light.”

That man who bored the window says, ‘Hey! Come out. Darkness is not the truth. The religion is here, outside. Religion is light, it is conscience, it is a dance, it is an effortless process, it is love, it is knowledge, it is a global relation. So come out. Let us dance in open, sing, enjoy the freedom. Your walls are not the religion, there you have hatred, no fragrant freedom. There is only crematorium.

The religious bird shouys,”Do not disturb me. Cannot you see , my wings have weakened due to religious practices. Now I cannot fly. I am free here. Get out, do not disturb me in my meditations. Let me read my religious books.”

That man says, “Oh! To be in constant light is the only true religious reading. It is in embracing the fellow standing outside your wall.”

The bird says, “No, they are from different sect. They are ignorant. They are the men of evil thinking. They do not follow our religious principles. They do not worship darkness. Their light is atheist.”

“But, they are also the birds like yourself!”

“So what? Are they brought up in this house? Have they enjoyed the darkness of this house?”

Somehow, throwing tantrums, the bird gets the window filled. It puts extra locks in the house. Then, calmly, it closes its eyes in the darkness and goes into deep thinking about religion.

How long the lovers of twenty first century will accept this hateful religion! Will they endure for ever? As Tagore says, “The physical form of the religion is given by them in the pure darkness of dawn and then in an effort to preserve it for ages, they have allowed it to rot. If they want to preserve ever-growing soul of the religion, they have to throw away the rotten body and replace it by one that ever fresh at any moment.

Now there is only one religion- ‘Love for all’

The true religion is that which teaches us to surrender before the vastness of the cosmos and break the walls of caste-creed-sect. The four directions are the only walls of the religion. Now, the God is the only one. The person who cannot love any live being or the whole world is in fact terrible atheist. One who favours this non religiousness is a big sinner. Association with such a person is more dangerously contagious than even the AIDS patient. We must keep away from him.

When will such a religion spread?

Such a religion will spread when the windows of our minds are open. The true religious people are those, who are governed by the intellectual light. They use their intellectual scissors to cut injustice, darkness, exploitation, and fanaticism, wherever they feel them. The shower of love from their intellectual light drenches the whole earth.

At last, the only best wish to the mankind when we enter the twenty first century, “Every new day should enable us to break free from the cages, either self-created or forced by others, and love all impartially.”

Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad

Small Talks………..9th Chapter of the book ‘Address of Happiness’ [a.k.a. સુખનું સરનામું] by Shri Haresh Dholakia

Posted in Haresh Dholakia's Writings, Translations - From Gujarati To English, સુખનું સરનામું

The aim of a man’s life is to progress. Often, he is unable to create necessary force from himself needed to progress. He needs “Inspiration” at that time. He wants to get it from live illustrations or small talks and not from preaching and philosophy. It is a fact that often small stories can tell you much more than lengthy ideal preaching.

Here, we try to go through such small stories.

Victory or defeat in life depends on the individual’s attitude towards them.

A Biology teacher was once teaching his students about how a larva gets transformed in a butterfly. He told the students that the butterfly will come out within a few hours, but yes, nobody needs to help it. He then went out.

The students saw this process calmly. After some time, the butterfly started struggle to come out. One of the students felt pity for it and decided to help it come out, in spite of his teacher’s advice, not to do that. He broke the hole to make the butterfly comfortable. It came out, but died after some time.

When the teacher returned, he came to know this. He taught the students that he had killed the butterfly in trying to help it, because it is the rule of the Nature that the struggle to come out only helps it in the development of its wings and make them strong. The student stopped it in its struggle, so it died.

This rule applies to lives of human beings also. We never get anything useful without going through struggle for it.

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Success stories are created from dangerous failures. Failure is the highway to success.

Consider the way to success travelled by Lincoln. He failed in business at the age of twenty one. At twenty two, he lost a seat in legislative assembly. At twenty four, he again failed in business. His beloved died when he was twenty six. He suffered emotional breakdown at twenty seven. He lost in congress election at thirty four. At forty five, he lost a senator election. At forty seven, he lost vice president election. At forty nine, he again lost senator election. He became America’s President at fifty two.

Most of the editors of newspapers rejected the cartoons sent by Walt Disney, when he was young. Everyone was of the opinion that he does not have talent. Once, he was hired for drawing cartoons by a priest at church. He was staying in a room, filled with mice at that time. He was inspired to see a small mouse. This is how Mickey Mouse came into being.

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One day, a four year old and a semi deaf boy came home with a note from his teacher. The teacher had written, “Your son is a fool. He will not be able to study. Take him away from school. His mother replied in a note,” My son is not a fool and will learn. I will teach him myself. “This man grew up to become a famous scientist Thomas Alva Edison. He attended school only for three months and he was partially deaf.

When he was sixty seven, he lost his factory worth millions of dollars in 1914. It caught fire. Besides, there was no insurance. Old Edison saw the hard work of his life being converted to smoke. He said,” even loss has a great value. All our mistakes are destroyed in it .We can do a fresh start by the grace of God.” In spite of such a great loss, he invented phonograph after three weeks.

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Why does one get success?

An officer at a company wanted to employ one fellow and so he asked a supervisor about him, “How long has he been working with you?”

The supervisor replied, “Since three days.”

The officer said, “But he says he is working since three years with you!”

The supervisor answered. “It is true, but he has finished only three days’ work.”

A world famous violin maestro finished his concert at one place and one person from the audience came on the stage at that time.  He said, “I am prepared to dedicate my whole life to play violin like you do.”

The maestro answered, “That I have already dedicated.”

−                                                      −                                             −

The necessary condition for getting success is to enjoy your work. Three men were making bricks. A person who passed by them, asked, “What are you doing?”

The first man answered, “Don’t you see that I am doing hard work?”

The second man answered, “Don’t you see that I am making bricks?”

The third man answered,” I am building a beautiful house.”

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Indecisiveness is the hurdle in the path to success. Somebody asked a farmer, whether he had sawn wheat. The farmer replied, “No, I am afraid. It will not rain.”

“Then, have you sawn any other grains?”

“No, I am afraid the insects would eat them.’

“Then, what have you sawn?”

“Nothing, I am secured.”

−                                                        −                                                 −

Often, the easy looking way becomes harmful.

Once, a bird was singing in the forest. A farmer passed by it who was carrying a box of worms.

The bird asked, “ what is there in your box? Where are you going?”

The farmer answered, “There are worms in this box. I am going to the market to sell them. I will buy feathers in exchange.”

The bird said,” I have many feathers on myself. I will take out one for you and you have to give me worms. I will be saved from the labour of finding them.”

The farmer gave it worms and the bird gave him a feather. Then this became a daily practice. Ultimately, there was not a single feather on the bird. It was now unable to fly to catch the prey. It looked ugly. Its song ceased. In a few days, it died of hunger.

−                                                        −                                                    −

The results of greed are queer.

There was a rich farmer. He came across an offer that he would be awarded the land, free of charge, with the condition.  He had to start walking in the morning from some point, continue and come back to the starting point by Sunset. The land on which he walked will be his.

The farmer agreed.

He started to run in the morning, because he wanted to grab as much land as possible. By noon, he got tired, but he continued to walk. He did not want to lose his life-time opportunity.

By late afternoon, he remembered the condition that he had to reach the starting point before Sunset. He had gone very far due to greed. He started to return, looking at the Sun. As the time of Sunset approached, he started running fast. He was dead tired. He could not breathe. He was running beyond his capacity to endure exhaustion.

He reached the starting point though. He collapsed there and died. He was buried there. Six feet of land was enough for this.

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God helps those who help themselves.

The town was about to get flooded. Everyone was in a hurry to reach some secured place. A man was sitting. Somebody asked the reason and he said, “ I trust , God will save me.

The water level began to rise and then one jeep approached and he was asked to get in. The man denied and said, “I trust God will save me.”

Water level rose still higher, the man went to the first floor and then a boat approached and the man was asked to get in. He denied.

Again the water level rose further and the man went to the roof. A helicopter approached, but he denied getting in.

At last, he was drowned.

When he met God, he asked angrily, “O God! I had a complete faith in you, Even then why did not you accept my prayer and let me get drowned?”

The God answered, “Who do you think sent a jeep, a boat and a helicopter for you?”

Does destiny play its part in getting success? A poet has an answer. He worked whole day and night. He never went to play. He used to read boring books. He learnt new things ever and advanced. He continued to work hard faithfully. When he emerged successful, the people said, “He is fortunate!”

Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad

“A small, but a great idea”………..8th Chapter of the book ‘Address of Happiness’ [a.k.a. સુખનું સરનામું] by Shri Haresh Dholakia

Posted in Haresh Dholakia's Writings, Translations - From Gujarati To English, સુખનું સરનામું

Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, gave many preaching to the mankind, and “The sermons from the mount” are considered important among them. They contain the essence of his preaching. In these, he has told us a very important point, “Love thy neighbour as thyself”. Among numerous preaching this statement shines like a king’s crown. As we go on thinking about this further, we feel the fragrance of it more and more.

But, this statement, which looks very simple at first, is not easy to understand. There are multiple meanings of it.

He insists on the word, ‘Love”. But, before anything, first question arises is, ’Does a man know his neighbour? Does he know him in spite of staying near him for many years?” It is quite possible that the two neighbours see each other daily, may talk for hours, and even then they are strangers.

The first step to “Love” is “To know”.

Here it is not enough to know your neighbour physically only, but know his whole existence, the flows of his mind.

Generally, what we mean by a word “Neighbour” is that one resides in a nearby house, or street or colony. This meaning is a very narrow one. In fact, the neighbour means one who is in continuous contact with us If this meaning is justified, the number of them increases. Are not our parents our neighbour? Do we know them? We give them natural respect because they are our parents, but do we respect them by knowing them? Same is the case with our siblings. Do the husband and wife, who claim to merge their separate existence into a single one, are together for years and still know each other truly? Is not the physical intimacy only claimed as knowing each other?

How much the parents know their children? Did the king Shudhhodana know his son Sidhhartha ever? He could not stop his son from leaving home, even after providing him all luxuries. Cannot we consider this as a sign of his being stranger to his son? He asked Budhha,”I am your father, so obey me.” Was not it deception? At that time, Budhha gave an interesting reply. ”You were the door from which I emerged. Not anything more.” How much truth is revealed in this reply? It is relevant to almost all parents. That is why Kahlil Jibran says, “Give your love to your children, and not your thoughts and imaginations.” The reason is that we do not know the thoughts and imaginations of our children, and we try to force ours on their minds, which makes them revolt against us.

So, do we know these neighbours?

Everyday a sweeper sweeps our street. We see the milkman first thing in the morning, the postman meets us regularly. Is not the hawker also useful? We are in continuous contact with  the persons like the housemaid, the peon, the colleagues the vegetable vendor etc.  The question is, do we know all of them? They are also our neighbours. Have we ever thought, how they have made our life very comfortable? Have we ever stopped by any one of them and tried to ask, “Hello! How are you? Do you need me?” Have we offered some money for their children? They are also human beings like us besides being a milkman or a postman.  They have their joys and sorrows .They also need some words of consolation sometimes. Have you ever felt it? Have you taken interest in their advancement? Have you tried to play some part in their life? Have they ever felt that “we” are their neighbours?.

In addition to these, the tree inside or near our house is also our neighbour. We have a strong bond with them. The “Life” inside them and us is the same. Have we ever stood supported by the tree sometimes leisurely? Have we touched “Life” that exists in it? Have our body and mind thrilled by the softness of its delicate leaves and flowers? Can a dog or a cat from our surrounding sit beside us? Do they feel neighbourly? Are we overjoyed to see the birth of their offspring? Do the pigeons and sparrows feed on the grains in our presence? Does the sky above or the sea beside us see the sparkle of astonishment in our eyes? Can the soles of our feet talk to the soil under them or the stones on the hill? Do we really “know” all of them?

The first and the basic point is: “To know”.

Then only follows the second point, “To love”.

This is very difficult aim to achieve. We love the whole world easily, because it does not require any effort. But “The neighbour”! He is there in front of us, very real, having a unique personality, and if he is our acquaintance also, it is impossible. Aquaintance with any person gives us joy but at the same time it is risky. We come to know of his mind set. His mind is full of likes and dislikes, prejudices and love and hatred. So suppose we feel that his thought process is totally different from ours, then is it possible to love him? What if he is against us or he hates us? What, if he belongs to other religious community? What, if he is selfishly interested in our money or belongings or us? What, if he wants to harm us? What, if he initiates bad publicity about us? What, if he is trying to trap us?

The ready answer is, “Do not talk nonsense. To love them is possible only for the great saints, in spite of all these facts. It is not possible for common people like us “

This point is the only important one.

We need to understand two things here. We think that the saints are some different beings, for whom high quality standards are reserved, not for us. If sanyasins talk about something like this, we would say, “Sir, you are a saint so it is possible for you. We are common worldly people.” And we escape.  This creates an image that a worldly person is some useless, stupid and lowly being. This image is wrong. Sometimes, so called spiritual people have tried to support this image and consider the common man as a low being.( To hide their own worldliness) Or, the feeling of our sins is so dense t

hat we feel guilty conscious. As a result, we insist on considering ourselves lowly..

Both these beliefs are not true. “To love” is a man’s own duty and perhaps the only true one. In fact, the definition should be, “The person who can love is a saint and all others are worldly.” The saint is not an impressive great person; he is the one who loves all. He has the capacity to love all.  Materially, he may be a labourer or an ordinary man. The condition to be called “saint” is to love unconditionally. It is not difficult. It is the nature of the person. The quality of forgiveness does not adorn a courageous man; it adorns a man who loves all. One, who loves in a true sense, will definitely forgive. He will love any other person without thinking, which type of person that other man is. Prophet Mohammed was bitten by a scorpion again and again; even then, he saved it. The people of mecca tried to kill it, but he loved it. Jesus Christ forgave the people who crucified him.

“But he was a saint……..” we would say angrily.

No, he “made” himself a saint. He was aware of the vices of human beings. He had never used a sword or a whip to make them free from vices. He loved them all heartily. That is why he was considered a saint. Thus, this point is no “nonsense”. It is the only sensible point. We need to follow it.

Jesus Christ has preached us to love our neighbours with their vices. The third thing he told us is rather strange, “Like ourselves”. A person must love his neighbour with the intensity he loves himself. He himself has a strong will to live, he wants to progress, he has his ambitions, he wants happiness- joy-love-co-operation-comforts everything in life. He has to protect his individuality!

Jesus Christ preaches in this reference, “As you have your wishes, expectations, feelings, and aims in your life, the other person has all these in his life also. You love him like yourselves means that you have to accept all these things about him. You have to co-operate with him and help him so that he is able to achieve them like yourself.

It is really very difficult. Particularly, more so, in this age of competition. It is difficult when we live under the rein of prejudices, but it is very much necessary.

Roots of all the problems of today’s world lie in this. “I want everything even out of other’s sacrifice”. The other person also thinks in the same way. The world war erupts as a result, when nobody thinks of the others, considers them competitors, and wants to defeat them somehow. The first sentence in Unesco’s charter is “The war is born in a man’s mind.” The reason is this, “Myself, and only myself”. How can we get rid of such thinking?

Dhumaketu, the Gujarati writer of the past, says in his short story named “Post office”,” If a person observes the world objectively and not subjectively, then half the world will become peaceful.”

How is this achieved? This is achieved by loving the others like oneself. When is he able to love? He is able to love others, if he considers others his nearest ones.

When can he do this? He can do this if his love for them is selfless and true.

When is this possible? It is possible if he fulfils his duty sincerely towards them as said in “Geeta”

What is one’s duty to them? One’s duty to them is “Love all “, for ever.

As you light a small matchstick and the long prevailing darkness disappears, all the problems in the world will disappear with “Love all’ attitude and only joy, peace and love will exist in the world.

Seemingly a small thought may result in great possibilities, how wonderful!

This is the strength of quotations. Analysing, understanding and following this idea is worth it. It is worth “living’, is not it?

Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad

Today and now only………..7th Chapter of the book ‘Address of Happiness’ [a.k.a. સુખનું સરનામું] by Shri Haresh Dholakia

Posted in Haresh Dholakia's Writings, Translations - From Gujarati To English, સુખનું સરનામું

What is the tragedy of a human being?

The tragedy is that he always lives in an illusion.

What does it mean? It means that he does not see that he must. He does not hear that he must. He makes a wrong interpretation of what he hears. He does not understand the truth of life or the wisdom and what he believes to be wisdom is not truth.

He lives in great mental confusion.

As a result a man is permanently upset, lives in vagueness and remains irritated. He becomes a complainant. He does not realise that the matter about which he complains is his incomplete understanding of it. So-called difficulties and incompleteness are proper in their place. They are also important. Unfortunately, he does not understand this and permanently lives a complainant’s life.

As a result, he forgets to live his life and perhaps, when he realises this, it is too late.

These important points are clarified accurately by small incidents or stories sometimes. We are in the midst of darkness, not able to see anything and within a moment, a flash of lightening occurs and our way becomes clear. In the same way, such small incidents or stories clarify our understanding of life, if we read and think about it with alertness.

Internet does not give us information only. It gives knowledge also. If we strike against some such subject on internet posted by someone, we are overjoyed.

Two such internet stories reached the newspapers. Let us enjoy them.

A mason worked for many years. He built thousands of houses. He built many towers. He passed thirty to forty years in this occupation.

Now he was middle-aged. He was bored of monotonous work. He thought about retirement. After much thinking he decided to retire. Enough! Now, no work and rest.

The mason told his employer about his decision. He was shocked to hear this. He tried hard to make the mason reconsider his decision, but the mason was firm. He stuck to his decision.

At last, the employer said,” All right, I agree with your decision. But do me a favour, before you get retired. I want to build a very nice house for myself. Please, build it for me.”

The mason did not want to work at all, but could not refuse his employer .He agreed with reluctance.

He starts constructing the house. He had no interest in it, so he was working carelessly. The quality of work was poor. The raw material used was also of poor quality. The house was built with weak construction. He observed this process, but never tried to improve the work, out of lack of interest.

At last, the house was complete. He brought his employer to the site and said, “Sir, this is your house and now please, grant me leave.

The employer took out the keys of the house from his pocket and put them into the mason’s hand.

The mason looked aghast.

The employer said, “You have worked with me all your life. I wanted to appreciate. So this house which I made you construct was in fact for you only, as a prize, take these keys. The house is yours from today.” The mason was shocked, “My house?” I would have constructed it carefully, if I knew this. I would have used the best raw material…………But, this house has a very weak construction!

Has not a human being received his body-mind-intellect as gifts? How much does he take care of them? How does he work for his employer?

Can a man understand “Blessing” properly?

There was a ship sailing in the sea. Suddenly, the storm struck. The ship was dragged and broke down. All the passengers drowned and died. Only one of the passengers was saved. He was dragged in the sea and landed on an island. The island was deserted.

He prayed God very much, but nothing happened. He looked at the horizon daily to see if any help arrives from there, but no such thing happened.

He got tired. At last he gathered some wood from the surrounding and built a small hut. He had some belongings which he kept in the hut and lived in it.

One day as he returned from the hunting, he saw his hut under fire. The smoke had risen to the skies. He broke down. Everything he had, had vanished. He became numb. He shouted in anger, ‘O God! Why did you do this with myself only?”

He went on abusing the God in anger, frustration and helplessness for the whole day and then went to sleep out of exhaustion.

Next day as he awoke, he heard the bugle from the steamer approaching the island. He almost jumped to his feet and ran. This steamer had really come to save him.

“But, how did you find out that I am here?”, he asked joyfully though in frustration.

“We saw the smoke signal put up by you. We came here following this sign.” The captain answered.**

Nature has given us wonderful gift.

That is ‘Today”.

Whatever a man wants to do, to live, to enjoy, he has only ‘Today” to do that. The past will not come back and the future is uncertain. “Today is the only certainty.

And the tragedy of a man is that either he lives in his past or dreams about the future. He forgets to live in the present, like Peter.

Peter was a very smart boy. Everybody liked him but he had one weakness. He never lived in present  He used to think about home when he was at school. If he was at home, he used to think about playing. He was always in daydreams and could not enjoy the present moments.

One day he went to the jungle near his house. He fell asleep on the grass. At that time , he heard someone call his name. As he opened his eyes, he saw an old fairy. She had a golden ball in her hand, with a hole in it and a thread was passed through the hole.

The fairy said, “Peter, see, this is the thread of your life. Pull it a little and the hours will pass like seconds. Pull it a little more and the days will pass like minutes. Pull it with force and the months-years will pass like days.”

Peter got excited. “Will you give it to me?” he asked the fairy. She gave it to him.

Next day he was sitting in the classroom. He was getting bored in studies. Suddenly, he remembered the ball. He pulled the thread! The scene changed. It was evening and he was playing in his home-garden. In fact, peter did not like to remain child. He wanted to become an adult. He pulled the thread with force.

Oh! He was a young man now. There was a girlfriend also with him. But, Peter was not interested in enjoying this friendship. He wanted to be older.

Again, he pulled the thread and the scene changed. Now he was middle aged. That girl was now his wife. His children were playing around.

Peter was never interested in today. He again pulled the thread. See, now he was an old man of ninety years age. His black hairs were turned into snow-white. The wife had died some years ago. The children had grown up and had gone away to manage their independent homes.

For the first time, he realised that he had never lived his life leisurely. He did not love his girlfriend enough, did not play with his children enough, did not enjoy the full moon nights, did not read books, did not travel and life passed very fast.

He became depressed. To avoid this feeling, he came out of the house in the jungle.  The tiny trees of his childhood had become huge trees by then. He lay on the grass. Soon he fell asleep.

Suddenly, he heard that fairy’s voice again. She was calling him.   She asked, “Did you enjoy my gift?”

“I enjoyed in the beginning, but now I hate it. Whole my life passed before my enjoying it.  Did  not enjoy the gift of life.”

“O boy! You are really thankless. Anyway, even then you can request for the gift once more.”, the fairy said.

Peter was silent for some time. Then said, “Make me a little schoolboy once again.” And then he fell asleep again.

Again he heard someone calling him. He saw his mother scolding him, “Don’t you want to go to school?”

Peter jumped to his feet and ran to school.

Yes, so stop being the complainant. Stop living your life in haste like Peter. Live the gift of life fully today. Be thankful for it.

Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad

Awaiting an unprecedented occasion………..6th Chapter of the book ‘Address of Happiness’ [a.k.a. સુખનું સરનામું] by Shri Haresh Dholakia

Posted in Haresh Dholakia's Writings, Translations - From Gujarati To English, સુખનું સરનામું

What is the proof of being a human being?

Only that he does not have four legs and horns and a tail?

How does a man differ from other living beings?

Renowned economist Schumacher has written a great book, “Small is beautiful’. In that he has discussed economics based on the principles of Gandhiji and Budhha. He has written another wonderful book titled, “Guide to the Perplexed.’ He has written about the characteristics of various living beings in it. He has classified them in four groups.

First is, “Rock”.  Its characteristic is “minerals.”

Second is “vegetation.’ It possesses life in addition to minerals.

Third is “animals”. They have consciousness in addition to two characteristics of second group.

Fourth is ‘human beings” They have awareness and the three characteristics of third group.

“Awareness’ means the ability to think about this analytical power. The management Guru From America, Stephan Covey adds to this theory about a man and says, “The Nature has gifted a man with four abilities, awareness, imagination, intuition, will power of the self.”

Unfortunately awareness among them is the least acquired ability. If awareness is increased then one becomes more fit. He becomes less mechanical.

Based on this, Covey says, ‘It is wrong to believe that a man is a result of his parents or the earth or relations or environment. In fact, his life is the result of how he reacts to all these factors and then which factor he chooses out of them.

Awareness plays an important role in this process. A person’s self-awareness develops more with his training. He needs to develop special language for that because nobody can think beyond his vocabulary. This experiment is worth it. When a person goes ahead in the direction of impressing others consciously or unconsciously, he succeeds in doing so by his thoughts and deeds.

The true teacher is he who inspires the student to be independent by creating awareness in him. He discourages him being dependent on the teacher. The teacher inspires him to think on his own and proceed to success.

There are many such teachers, fortunately. But they work without publicity, so the society is unaware of them. Stephan Covey has noted the examples of such teachers, which explain their effectiveness to us. He has noted many examples, let us take consider one here.

Some years ago, twelve students received special prizes for leadership and achievements in a certain school. This is a very common matter. Such students are found in every school. But, what drew attention of the parents was the fact that the six out of twelve students were from the sixth standard and they all had the same class teacher. The parents met the class teacher and asked about the secret of this.

The teacher said smilingly that there was no secret. She had read the book, “seven habits’ by Stephan Covey and she had taught them to the students. She gave an illustration of one of her girl student to explain the point. She had a student named Hindy in her class. Though she was very intelligent, she was shy and did not mix with other classmates. She was afraid that she would not succeed. When she gave incorrect reply in the class, she soon became frustrated, began to cry and became so upset that she was unable to do anything then for the rest of the day. The teacher could see that the children, who were perfectionists, have to undergo this ordeal.

Hindy had developed a firm impression that she would not be able to do anything without other’s help, and if she tried, she would fail. Even though she was intelligent, she lacked self-confidence. Such children should be taught that failure is a part of the learning process. They should remain free from their perfectionist attitude and the fear of failure. If they cannot do that, they remain backward.

The teacher had put up one poster in her class, with seven habits written on it. They are as follows:

  1. To be positive and proactive in every matter.
  2. There should be a clear motive, before one starts work.
  3. One should decide the priority of each work.
  4. If you work with somebody, both should get benefitted from work.
  5. One should understand the other person first, before he does the same.
  6. One must know the thought processes of the self as well as the other’s and then communicate with him to find new ways.
  7. Update your knowledge continuously.

The teacher showed these to the students at the beginning of each year, explained them. She suggested that these are classroom rules so they should behave accordingly until they are in the school. She sent a letter to their parents also, explaining these habits. Next week, she gave homework to the students to give one example of each of the habits. While teaching, she made their minds firmly believe in them by giving examples. E. g. When somebody presented a problem before her and she began to find solution, she would say,” See children, I am being proactive or I make my target clear. If you become proactive, how will you react?” Thus she inspired to find proactive behaviour through the medium of all subjects. For the teacher, every subject was the medium to impress these seven habits upon the student’s minds.

Her student Hindy’s behaviour was “To react’, so in the beginning when this habit was considered, she was getting upset. E. g. She forgot to bring book or notebook from home and then she got panicky and start crying. Then the teacher would tell her, “Let us think about this problem.” Then the teacher would hear her. After Hindy finished, the teacher would ask, ”Tell me, which habit am I using?”Hindy would say, “Madam, you are trying to understand my problem.” The teacher would ask, “Which habit would help you find the solution?” If Hindy could not reply soon, she would explain her how to be proactive and which possibilities are there in herself.

Next week, she would impress this habit on student’s mind again and again, so that it becomes their nature. She would make them revise them. In the beginning, Hindy was finding this difficult. The root of fear was so deep in her nature that she exhibited it often but after certain time, she learnt how to find solution, rather than thinking about the problem only.

The teacher wanted the students to understand these seven habits clearly, so she opened an “Emotional bank account” for each student. She would give a certificate to the student, who found a solution of the problem, selected the work or became proactive. If some student sympathised with the other or understood him properly, she would make more deposit in his account. If somebody remain backwards in studies or delayed in work, she would let him defend himself using this deposit. The teacher would inspire all the students to evaluate their behaviour in this context .She often pressed the point that all the students have to act according to these habits. The students were so much impressed by her insistence and related examples that they understood them easily and tried to act accordingly.

For example, some student says that his mother asked him to go to sleep early, so he could not finish his homework. The teacher would not accept this and label him ‘a mummy’s boy”. Then she would ask other students to find such boys in the class and find the ways to come out of it.

She produced the skits to train the students in awareness and the children played them. They played the characters of some famed person from the history or of the parents. Then they would analyse the behaviour of these characters and find the improper one among them. At that time they understood that the problem with that classmate was not his mummy’s order to sleep early but it was his own wrong choice of work. He would have finished his homework first instead of going to play.

The teacher had put up one “List of problems” on the blackboard. The students used to write about their problems on it. This way, they were getting right to talk about their personal problems with the teacher. Suppose they have forgotten their homework notebook at    home, then they would find the solution which was acceptable to the teacher and themselves both. But she would insist on giving proof, e.g. the parents’ note that the child had finished his homework but forgotten to put it in his bag.in a hurry. If the proof was acceptable, she would not fine him because he had exhibited a proactive habit. But if nothing like this happened and he did not do his work, then he would get zero marks. As a result, the children learnt to be proactive and also about the decisions which lead to either positive or negative results.

Hindy studied these seven habits and became proactive. Gradually she could understand that she had choice of beating her circumstances and using her intellect more fruitfully and satisfactorily.

After about seven months, Hindy came to the teacher one day, not with a problem, but with a solution. When she dared to come to the teacher with a solution, the teacher felt that Hindy had undergone a change in herself. The teacher then became witness of such change in many children. She continued to work with Hindy for the second year also. Now, she enjoyed working with Hindy  because she knew that Hindy had cultivated the seven habits in her behaviour.

Normally, the children evaluated their behaviour every six months and say, “When I chose to play instead of doing homework, I had made a wrong choice.’ Gradually, the children reached that level of self-awareness where they could identify their own problematic behaviour. This was the fulfilling moment for the teacher. Not only that, often the parents said that their children scolded them or their siblings for lack of understanding among them or lack of co-ordination.

What was the effect of these habits on the children?

The answer to this question is obtained from the notes from children to their teacher. They are the proofs of the effectiveness of these habits.

Some examples:

  • While doing homework, I saw that my friend was slower than myself. I did not press him to work at my speed. Instead, I tried to understand why he was so slow. when I asked him, he told me that it was because his reading speed was very slow. I could understand his problem.
  • My motive is clear before I start any work. That is why I finish my homework and home cleaning before going to school.
  • I have become proactive about my homework. It was never so in the past. But now as a result I get good marks.
  • I try to understand the other person, though he may or may not try to do so. So now I first try to know what my friends want to do and not what I have to do.
  • I think of winning from both sides. So when I am playing, I only think of playing  to my best ability. I do not care whether I win or lose.
  • First things first. When I go for shopping, I purchase all the necessary things for home first and then I purchase ice-cream at least.
  • My sister needed one thing of mine; I also needed one of hers. So we bartered among us. We really enjoyed the barter.
  • Our teacher was standing in the midst of the classroom, so I could not read the writing on the board. Instead of requesting her to move a little, I moved myself a little. I can take this as example of being proactive.

The teacher notes that she was very much satisfied by the training she gave her students. She was not always successful. But her motive to make the children self-dependent was achieved partly. She does not need to control the children after teaching these habits. They remain self-controlled. So their potential also increases. All of them progress together. The teacher does not play the role of a preacher but that of a guide. She may not have the answers to all questions but she helps the children find answers to their questions.

The students of this teacher have become the problem-solving citizens instead of being preoccupied with problems.

That is all. The important characteristic of being a human-being is, ‘to be self-aware.”

Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad

Before You Win Others………..5th Chapter of the book ‘Address of Happiness’ [a.k.a. સુખનું સરનામું] by Shri Haresh Dholakia

Posted in Haresh Dholakia's Writings, Translations - From Gujarati To English, સુખનું સરનામું

It is early morning. Bright rays of the Sun from the east spread on the ground and make the atmosphere golden. Diogenus is resting naked on the green grass. His eyes are staring at some unknown point without blinking. They are absorbing the ultimate element of nature.

Young Alexander is sitting beside him. He is restless but looking at Diogenus respectfully.

Diogenus asks Alexander, “Son, what is your aim?”

‘Sir, I want to conquer Europe.”

‘What next?”

“Next I will conquer Iran.”

“What next?”

“Next I will conquer India.”

“What next?”, Diogenus asked calmly.

Alexander’s face shows confusion, says, ”Next………, next I will rest.”

Diogenus gives an innocent smile and says,” Then son, why aren’t you resting just now? Why should you go through such an ordeal to get rest?”

This Alexander fulfilled his dreams. When he was about to die, he instructed his attendants that his two hands should be kept free when his body would be placed in the coffin. The whole world should realise that the conqueror of the world, left with empty hands.

Most of the people are in the same situation at their respective levels. They spend their life doing host of activities and, still at last, they have not gained anything. How much pain do they undergo to feed their ego, they spoil other people’s lives, they turn their family, society and the nation upside down in the process. In spite of their getting everything, they are not at peace. The persons who leave others behind in the race seem defeated themselves.

At this point I remember an incident from Mahabharat. The Great War is over. Pandavas have won. Flag of their victory is flying in the air. There is joy everywhere and nothing else. At that time the only person who is very upset is Yuthisthir, the king himself. He does not hear the sound of flutter of his victory flag. He hears the cries of widows of thousands of dead soldiers on the battlefield. He thinks this as a defeat disguised as a victory. He feels his throne is soaked in blood. His mind is inconsolable in spite of being stable.

Shri Krishna is very much aware of this situation with Yuthisthir. He makes a wonderful statement ”O you, The destroyer of the enemies, you are facing the same battle that you fought against Bhishma and Drona, but now you have to fight it alone, with your mind.” What an ultimate truth is referred to by Krishna! It is the essence of all the philosophies and psychologies of the world. There is ultimate, whole-time truth in it which applies to everyone from Alexander to Shamji.

The greatest ambition a man has is “Being victorious. He wants to be the best among all groups, family, neighbours, office staff, society and if possible, among bigger groups. He is all the time occupied with the thoughts of how to be a boss, a leader, how to win others.

But the nature is very strange. Sometimes it is cruel. It has its own specified rules. If a person or society behaves without understanding these rules, it definitely fails always. If he acts according to the rules of nature, then he succeeds.

What is the rule of nature to come out victorious?

First thing is the biggest illusion that we can win over the others. One can pressurize the other to make him dumb temporarily, or one can frighten the other by snatching his belongings, or sending him to jail or pointing the gun towards him. But all these situations do not mean that he has won over the others. It is quite possible that the other person or the group of persons is unable to fight him for various reasons, they are less in numbers, they are not united, or they are weak physically or mentally.

For the time being, they may come under his power, but it is a mistake to believe that they have accepted their defeat. Temporary victory soon becomes void because this pressure or fright creates reaction and the weaker group begins to fight. This process gives birth to revolution and the victorious person becomes defeated in the end. Sometimes, the weak person commits suicide but does not accept his authority. Thus, on the surface the weak persons may seem to be under his authority, but the victorious man continuously feels that he has been unable to control them completely.

So, the forced victory is never permanent. It is like a bubble. It will burst in short time. It may be a home or the world, this happens everywhere. The labour of the winner is lost.

Yes, there is one subtle way to win and that is “To win by love.’

Pure love wins the other person immediately. He is prepared to do anything for the love he is showered upon. So, the shower of your love on others makes you a winner.

The contradiction in this fact is that the person, who really loves others, does not wish to be a winner. He only gives. There is a unique joy in giving. One is so absorbed in this process that all his desires vanish. Even then, we can say that one can be a winner faster by way of love than by force, and more long-lasting. The saints, parents, friends and relatives are in this category.

But thinkers say something different. They ask, “what is the need to be a winner?’ This longing is wrong and unnecessary. In fact it is the low self-confidence. One feels he lacks something important and that is why he wants to impress others. Evidently he cannot deal with others with his self-confidence, he is afraid, so he exerts outside pressures to impress them. But, as said before, he fails.

The thinkers go a step further to say, “Even then, if you must win, forsake the desire to win others, win over yourself ‘

“Win over the self? What does it mean?”

Yes, it is easy to win others. There is nothing much to do. You need a weapon or a small army. But it is very difficult to win the self.

‘Why?’

To win the self means to understand your existence. Your existence comprises of mind-intellect-nervous system. The mind is unstable like mercury. It is not in our control. It acts as it fancies. It wanders in all directions at every moment. A person may want to do something but the mind makes him do something else. The intellect has also problems, either it does not work or it constantly raises doubts. A person does not have any remedy.

After these two, the nervous system is also like a horse without controls. In Bhagvad Geeta, the word used for it is “Pramathini’, meaning one which makes you restless. Each part of the system craves for so much luxury that a person is shattered totally if he fulfils these cravings. A man is in the same situation. He is pulled from all directions. The mind and each part of the nervous system pull him towards itself. As a result the person is ruined. He loses his identity. He may look sane from outside, but he is on the verge of being insane from inside. He is very near the condition, ‘neurosis’ or ‘psychosis’. Some strong push from the circumstances and he becomes suicidal or insane. Once a person proud of himself, becomes helpless before his mind.

That is why the thinkers insist that if you want to win, try to win yourself. Bhagawan Mahavir says, “the person who gets victory only over his soul is an ultimate winner, rather than the person who wins against lakhs of soldiers on the fierce battlefield.”

Completely controlled mind-intellect-nervous system makes you the true winner.

And see, everybody surrenders to such a person. He wins others very easily and unknowingly.

How to win over the self?

Not by fighting the mind and the nervous system. They are metaphysical so there is no way to fight them. And, who will fight? Would the mind fight with itself? It will result in a split personality, which will destroy the person. The true solution is, “Develop” understanding.

We must know the nature of the mind and the senses. We have to arrange them properly and deal with them. We should not exert force over them, but develop analytical approach. We have to think in terms spiritual welfare and material pleasure of and then lead them to spiritual welfare.. In the beginning they will revolt, but gradually they will co-operate with your discerning judgement and obey it. The awareness of the person will keep him alert and as a result the stronger than the wind mind itself will calm down. As the degree of calmness increases, the mind will be increasingly free. Understanding, discretion and Awakening are the weapons of the mind to win over itself. And then one gets ultimate joy. One becomes “the Ultimate Victorious” [Mahavir].The whole world is then his kingdom.

Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad

Worthy To Be Acquired Art ……. 4th Chapter of the book ‘Address of Happiness’ [a.k.a. સુખનું સરનામું] by Shri Haresh Dholakia

Posted in Haresh Dholakia's Writings, Translations - From Gujarati To English, સુખનું સરનામું
  • The Government is seriously thinking of reducing the retirement age.
  • The private companies offer voluntary retirement scheme to employees beyond 45 years in age.
  • The Indian politicians are too old to remain efficient. The youth should be given the due opportunity. – An opinion
  • A very old president of the trust, who had stuck to the post for many years, removed at last by the demand of the majority.
  • An old man was caught eve-teasing.

A middle aged lady came to a professional counsellor and narrated her problems as hereunder;

“I will be 60 very shortly. I am from rich family. I have all material comforts. I have a vehicle, servants, everything at my disposal. I have travelled to many countries either alone or with my husband. I have travelled all over India, too. In short,  I lead heavenly life.”

“In spite of all these, why is mind so restless, why so loss of peace? My husband is a true gentleman. Even as he is fully engrossed with his business, he does respect me. My sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren are all very nice, too. Of course, they are occupied with their activities and do not find much time to talk to me. I am alone at home. Everything is so all right, still, why am I restless?”

The counsellor stares at the lady and replies: “Madam, do you want the real answer or the answer that you would like to hear?”

The lady looked back confused and said, “of course, the right answer.”

He said: “You will not like it.”

The lady was now more upset, but said: “It doesn’t matter. I wish peace, hence give me the right answer.’

He said: “Your restlessness is not because of material comforts but because of individuals.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that your husband is a nice person, but does not have time for you. Can he not spare even some time for you? Sure, he can. But he no longer needs you. He is no more dependent on you. His all requirements are met, even without your physical presence. He gets more pleasure in company of others, may that of his young professional colleagues, which he used to get in your company earlier.

“In the same way, your sons are occupied with their families. Your place is now occupied by their wives and children. Your daughters-in law have to look after their husbands and children. The children have their parents, their education and have other activities to enjoy. For all of them, you are an old, out-of-date person, so they avoid you.

“You have all material pleasures, but you do realize that no one needs you. This is what pains you. That’s why you are not happy.”

She then continued in the response: “But, sir, I have observed one more thing these days. They all get-together and talk very happily when one someone visits us. The moment I enter the room, they will recall some task and start dispersing one-by-one. Why?”

The counsellor smiled and said: “Because you carry the smell of your past birth with you.”

“What does that mean?”

Have you experienced mosquito repellent? How the mosquitoes get repealed by its smell? I am sorry to say, but you are probably human repellent!”

She responded with visible irritation, “But why? I love them all a lot.”

“True. You love them a lot. But, possibly, you have two common weaknesses of old age.”

“Which are they?”

“Whenever old people are with the young people, they talk of two things – one is: “The youth is quite spoiled” or the other one is: “Ours was such a good period.””

“The youth dislikes the first one and either they are not interested or are doubtful about the second one. This why they run away from the company of the old as if they see bomb to explode, even though they love them.”

‘’But then, what is the solution?” the lady asked.

The counsellor was now quite pensive while replying to the lady: “First, accept candidly that ’you are no more wanted’. Never be under the illusion of indispensability.  Accept that your time is running out. Be prepared to live alone. That is important.”

“You need to develop a sense of detachment. If anyone, either your husband or your children, seek your help, please do so, but do not interfere if not called for. Don’t’ proffer unsolicited advice. Do love all, but do not be possessive. Provide freedom to them. This is called – (disciplined) detachment. Accept their non-acceptance, even though they are yours. That’s all. You will have your peace in no time.”

This is common story at all levels – at home, at organizations, at national level. Most of the people suffer from this disease of ‘indispensability’ as they grow old. The illusion develops like rheumatism in the minds of the old people. So they get hyper-active, increasingly try to grab the status, counsel more whether called for or not. Then dawns, the grudging realization. People look at them, listen to them but their attention is somewhere else. The old now feel neglected.

Why this illusion?

As a person grows in retirement, he nears retirement. He sees reins of control passing over to the young. He seems to be getting pushed to the backseat. Because he is now on pension, his earning has gone down. That breeds more insecurity. His authority, status, power, respect are on the wane, which were his symbols of existence till today. When these things have receded, what is now left out for him? This phobia further fuels possessiveness to these things. He catches hold of his family members, seeks more status in his organization, yeans for more power, and in turn becomes more unpopular. He is further neglected. This sets in a vicious circle. No harsh dialogues, no insults traded, no visible signs of violence, but still, there all pervasive feeling of neglect is now being felt all the time.

As they become more upset and restless, they seek solace in meditation camps and religious discourses, but return home in the original state of mind. They waste a fortune in this way.

In reality, this never was the problem. If a problem has to be identified with a name, this will be known as ‘problems of lack of understanding.’

As one gets old, one needs to learn the art – the art of retirement. Retire voluntarily, before it enforced.

The Indian Culture calls this as ‘vanprasthashram.’ – the stage in life where one takes voluntary retirement from the active life of ‘grihasthashram.’

As a sage has said, “’Sanyas’ means become sanyasi before the god forcibly does do” .In other words, one of the spouse is bound to die of old age earlier than the other one. This is when the other one will be compelled to live alone – the life of a’sanyasi’.  So why not cultivate the habit of staying alone, before forced, while living among all. This is called ‘sanyas.’

“But would one not be bored after retirement?”

Retirement does not mean being inactive completely. You are free to work or serve, but not with any ambition of status, appreciation or frame in return. Dedicate your remaining life towards discharging your dues to the society, which is possible with only the selfless service. Advise the new generation only if asked. Else, follow them and do what they say. Leave the organization if you cannot do this. But do not carry illusion that the organization will suffer in your absence. Even if such an eventuality does happen,  be at ease, with reasoning – “what would have happened, If I had died?”.

Your desire and insistence should be dead. Then you are free to work.

The following sentence in Karsandas Manek’s “Mahabharat” is worth remembering, “The most important characteristic of Purushottam or the greatest person is they have the intuition, when to take leave from the stage of life. They know when to retire.

It is all right  if we are not Purushottam, but we can develop this intuition, we can be one.

And then our life will be full of peace, calmness and joy.

Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad

Five Remedies To Minimize the Misery……. 3rd Chapter of the book ‘Address of Happiness’ [a.k.a. સુખનું સરનામું] by Shri Haresh Dholakia

Posted in Haresh Dholakia's Writings, Translations - From Gujarati To English, સુખનું સરનામું

“I am sad”. A woman bemoans- face down, wiping off the tears and sobbing – her awful miseries.

“I feel as if my parents do not care for me. They want to marry me off with a person I don’t like. I want to work and earn but they do not agree. They even did not support my studies. I do not know what to do. I think I should end my life in order to be free.” She is a post-graduate, used to read good books, was interested in meditation when young, fond of social services and was intelligent as well as beautiful. And yet, she contemplated suicide.

How did this happen? Was she really unhappy?

There are no reasons not to believe her. All her complaints may be genuine, but her decisions were not correct. The fault, at the root, of her thinking was: “Everyone wants to make me unhappy. They want me to act against my wishes. Hence, I am unhappy.”

First two statements may be true, but the third one is not. The young lady is not the only one to talk and conclude in this manner. Many young and old men and women complain: “I am miserable, because everyone is out to make me unhappy.”

Why are they unhappy?

Many times, people experience miseries in their lives. Some of these are physical, like fire, destruction of house, failure in the business, failure to get education of choice, sickness, not meeting the person whom you like the most, etc. But, these are inevitable, and one has to live through these.

Some of the sorrows are of different type. Here the person makes one’s own self prone to failure. Many times quite inconsequential matters are responsible for this – one’s own perceptions and relationships with others, to endure what ought not have to be endured, cooperating with those who exploit us, to create difficulties by own behaviour , imagine wrong things and then feel sorry.

Miseries on account of external, occasional calamities may be justified, but if someone is miserable because of one’s own thoughts or behaviour, they themselves are responsible for this state of affairs. They inflict these miseries themselves, thereby inviting the unhappiness of mind. Their unusual mental setup is the cause of their miseries.

They are ‘emotionally’ unhappy. They have everything to be materially happy, but have developed feeling that they are being exploited by others, and hence the unhappiness.

This is a queer situation. Such a miserable mind-set limits one’s life, the development and the potential. Sometimes this turns out be ruinous for one’s personality.

We split such people in four groups.

First group comprises of the people exhibiting excessive unhappiness. They have indeed passed through the miserable phases in the life, but not to the extent that they project.

Often a person sacked from one job feels that he will never get another job, but he does get one. When husband and wife argue too much, once too often he or she thinks that “now he [or she] would never love me, would not ever talk to me.” In fact, on most occasions, the tension melts soon enough and things go back to normalcy again. Thus a person reacts to too trivial a matter as if it was a matter of life and death. Reaching late for rendezvous because of a traffic-jam is taken as personal affront by the lovers, start seeing indifference between them, break up relationship and be miserable.

Second group of persons seem to say: “Please, do make me unhappy. I am all set.” Such a person always makes a scapegoat of himself. He himself selects such lovers, friends and companions, who would exploit him.  He knows that his choice is wrong most of the times, but he still goes on with the choice. Then, he declares himself unhappy. They always complain of being abused. His friends would be heard saying that they have listened this nth time. This hurts them even more. They feel that the friends have now stopped caring for them. But the fact is that they love such dialogues. These people are also known as “fond of unhappiness” guys.

The third group is the people who are on the wrong foot. They do believe that they are unhappy, whereas, in reality, they are not. They believe that they are ill-justiced, exploited and unacceptable.  But all the situations are just not real, but are only imaginary. If they are socialising, but the neighbour is not equally responsive, they take it as non-acceptance. They go all out to decorate their houses, but the neighbour does not appreciate, on the same scale; they then complain fate delivering them such ridiculous neighbours. They insist that all should love them to their beliefs and standards. But, in fact, they themselves do not live in this manner. And hence, their unhappiness.

The fourth group is not ready to accept that they are unhappy. As soon as a husband reaches homes after a long strenuous day at the work, the lazy wife entrusts him with a list of her undone tasks. He obediently proceeds to carry them out. He would not acknowledge his internal anger, because he believes such an act would be termed selfish.

All these are the people who opine that ‘they are unhappy because all others take their undue advantage.’

We also need to remember that if someone continues to nurture the belief of being unhappy, he/she would indeed grow increasingly unhappy, without recognising the state of unhappiness. The life becomes restrained. The life will move in reverse direction and would end without having achieved anything.

The woman – referred to earlier in this article – does have some difficulties in her life. But she gives no consideration to the fact that, in spite of all these, she has completed her post-graduation. She remains worried of her woes (?) instead of visualizing her strengths, goes to the extent of committing suicide in absence of mature thinking.

This is not right. In fact, the thought-process should be on these lines:

  • Think of alternative solutions to be happy, in spite of unhappy circumstances.
  • That decision to be happy is of one’s own making.
  • We may not be able to influence external factors, but can certainly control own reactions, thoughts and feelings.

Use Five Remedies as a help.

  • Accept the confusion. More clearly the problems are analysed, easier come the solutions.
  • The unhappiness is caused by past- especially childhood – experiences, but why to keep on recalling them?
  • Having known this, it is better to learn how to change or improve on the positive note.
  • Control old habits. Learn new ones, introspect continually. Keep checking whether you are not exaggerating or seeing from the wrong end. And if so, try to mend ways.

Indeed, this is easily said than done. It is very difficult to get rid of all habits; it is more pleasing to put in efforts to be happy. This is beneficial in the long run. Hence, it is not impossible to go through this seemingly difficult process.

To be happy is easy and enjoyable.

It is fundamental right of everyone.

Shall we capture Swami Vivekanand’s message:

“Let even a millionth part of all living humans sit down peacefully for few moments and state: “Oh Humans, Animals and All Living Ones, You all are the lively form of the God’’, then the world can be transformed in half an hour.”

Translated by : Susmita Vaishnav, Ahmedabad