My favourite read

Of all the beautiful reads I had, the one that I could not get over was Rachael Lippincott’s five feet apart. I remember waking up for hours in the middle of the night, checking up my tab and having the long read. Intriguing, emotional, heart-wrenching and absorbing is how I define my favourite book.

Picture Credit : Google

The story of the Stella Grant and Will Newman still makes my heart flutter. It dealt with Abby’s and Poe’s death, how the two affected Stella’s life and Will left her amidst this giving her a new life. The drug trial involved with cystic fibrosis patients having B.Cepacica was a whole new concept that gives us a sense of hope and the author wishes it too that one day such a treatment be found.

Having five feet apart in my collection is what that made me ponder about the life, the death, the love and the perseverance. It’s written with a heart that believes true love exists even in the most unrealistic circumstances. Don’t know where to start but this book has so much to say and what not to teach. A careful read of this book taught me that the death is inevitable to all and what we are supposed to do is to live in the moment and make the best use of it. When on medications what one must not lack is perseverance and the faith. It proves that love is the ultimate expression of the will to live. And children’s love is what binds the parents together when the terminal illness evokes in. Where there’s a love, there’s a sacrifice. It values the human touch as the premium ease of all sufferings. The protagonist of the story, Stella shows that girls know coding too. It shows how the transgenders share the equal rights and how the socialisation and technology has made living easy, causing awareness and helping people win the battle over a terminal illness such as that of cystic fibrosis. And above all, what this book had for me is one more lesson teaching never to take your health for granted.

LIVE – MEANING OF LIFE

Albert Camus

‘You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.’

Religious texts, prophets, saints and the newest fads in wholesome living all advocate you to find the meaning of life – find out your purpose and live the way you ‘ought’ to live life.

Quite frankly and I’ll be blunt about it, I don’t get it. I don’t understand why we are so preoccupied with the true meaning of life. What I don’t understand even more is what finding out the meaning of life has to do with religion, because life, in my opinion, came before we found religion. In fact, at the cost of being branded an atheist, I’ll admit here that I feel life is far bigger and more complex a concept than religion. It may be just a four letter word, but it encompasses within itself concepts that none of us mortals will be able to figure out within one single lifetime, and that religion is only a part of life itself. Even if someone served us the meaning of life on a platter, it will take a much more evolved human brain than ours to grasp its entire meaning. For who are we, but puny human beings, living on limited air and time?

To me, the exercise of devoting one’s entire life to finding the meaning of life is a life not lived because life has so much to offer than trying to figure out what it’s about. To me, the question is rather subjective. The meaning of life could mean different things to different people. If a saint comes and tells me that the meaning of life is blah, blah, blah, I won’t nod my head in mute acquiescence. I’ll say, ‘that’s your way of thinking, not mine’.

To give you an example, a few months back India was witness to two parents abandoning their toddler to the care of her aged grandparents, in order to become Jain monks. They relinquished the world and embraced monkhood. For those of us who do not know about this, please read about it here. I don’t know about you but when I read the news I felt that they had wronged their toddler daughter by relinquishing her to care of their parents. They relinquished their duty as parents, something that should have come over and above everything else to them. But that is not what they think. To them the true meaning of life lay in religious pursuit.

My reason for giving you this example was not to tell you my opinion of whether their action was wrong or right, it was to show you that there is a difference of opinion in what matters in life most. There is thus, inherently, a difference of opinion in the assumed answer to the question ‘what is the meaning of life’.

To a pauper, the true meaning of life may be to earn enough one day to leave the footpath for good. To a rich man, it may be finding a balance between his work and home life. The purpose of a mother may be to ensure the good upbringing of her child, but the purpose of a career woman would be to be the CEO of a good company. A priest may find peace in devotion to religion, while a scientist may find it in a new invention. Who do you think is right or wrong? None of them!

So when two people, their desires, the way they think, the way they attain their goals, their very raison d’etre are different, how can they concur on what is the meaning of life?

Life is so many things to so many people, it’s meanings cannot be ascribed to a few set ways in which a few of us perceive it. To me, life is about a careful balance of pleasure and duty, ambition and sacrifice. I believe there are a set of duties that all of us mortals were born to fulfil, and some pleasures that every one of us must be entitled to enjoy. If we have ambition then we must remember to let it not trample on the lives of others. That is a kind of sacrifice and a duty. And that is not the only sacrifice that a human being must make in his life. When a person achieves a near perfect balance in these two sets of extremes, is when I believe we have found meaning in life.

My point is, and you may not agree with it, but that’s your opinion, that figuring out the meaning of life is keeping you from fulfiling your very purpose of existing on this planet – living your life – which is why you have life running in your veins. All of us have a life because we were supposed to live it. We have different ways of living it and that is fine, because there cannot be a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ way of living. We all live according to what our circumstances allow.

I believe that we have only one life to do and be all that we wish to do and be. I feel that if we do not forget to be ‘humane’ at all times and lead a life of peace and harmony, balancing our duties against our pleasures at all times, is when we will not need to search for the meaning of life.

MEANING OF LIFE – WHO CAN EXPLAIN?

Award winning world-class novelist Jack Higgins was interviewed after his award winning book “The Eagle has landed” and he was asked,

“Mr. Higgins,What do you now want to know as you wished to known as a younger man?”

He replied, “I wished to known then what I know now that –

When you get to the top, THERE’S NOTHING THERE…”

This has been already mentioned in the Mega, last Sunday.

It’s been 8 years for me working among the young influential urban youths, every time they quote me “Zindegi do din ka, khao, pio aur aissh karo…” which means “Life is for two days. Eat – Drink and Enjoy it…”

But my question is “WHAT IS NEXT???”

Even going to the top WHY we don’t find anything there?

Why still there’s EMPTINESS within?

Why we are happy but NOT joyful?

The last three wishes of Alexander, the Great was,

“My Physicians alone must carry my coffin”

(Reason is, “the world will know that even best of best doctors are helpless about DEATH”)

“When my coffin will be carried to the graveyard, the path leading to the graveyard must be strewn with Gold, Silver and precious Stones that I have collected in my treasury”

(Reason is, “even my wealth cannot save my life it is sheer waste of time to chase wealth”)

“Both of my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin”

(Reason is, “I came with empty hands to this world and is going back with empty hands)

Alexander’s last wishes have great analogy with Bible. The Bible says,

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun;

all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.’

In fact it’s true! We toil day and night to earn Gold & Glory but what do we carry with us by our death bed? Even by our 4th generation we are a forgotten person in this world.

In midst of life, death & knowledge the greatest achievement is to understand the meaning of our life and living it purposefully yet the question remains

“WHO CAN EXPLAIN ME THE MEANING OF MY LIFE?”

Is it possible by another human being? Every human is uniquely created for a unique purpose. Though probably there are 4 people just like us in this world yet each one is different from another. Since our childhood to till our death we all are busy in chasing to discover ‘Life’s meaning’.

A handful of mud never knows what shape it will get and how it will be used. But the potter knows it very well, as he holds a picture in his mind before the creation of a pot.

God in his Infinite knowledge and Eternal existence

Knows better than any human being and can explain individually….

We just have to SEEK, and we will find.

LIFE – A MYSTERY YET TO BE COMPLETELY UNRAVELLED

Life is an adventure, say some.

Life is a challenge, say others.                     

Life is a puzzle for many, while for some others it’s just a smart juggle.

No great philosopher of the world has been able to give a comprehensive definition of ‘life’. Many have tried, but succeeded in giving only a partial picture.

Thinking of ‘life’, the first thing that comes to mind is the biological aspect of it. In simple terms, anything that has breath is said to be living.

So then where does this breath come from? You and I cannot infuse breath into a non-living object and make it living. We do not have that power.

To quote a verse from the account of creation given in the Bible – “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.”

Hence, the source of all life (plants, animals and human beings, though we will limit the purview of this article to human life only) is the Creator God Himself. He alone is the source and the sustainer of life. For this reason, keeping all debates aside, taking of life – be it by abortion, euthanasia, suicide or murder is a sin against the Creator – the life giver. Scientific advancements have made it possible for clones and humanoid robots to be invented, which is all marvelous indeed but, cannot in any way be equated with the creation of the Creator.

Life is meant to be social. The social aspect of life ensures that human beings live in a social relationship with fellow humans and not in isolation. Hence, the innate desire of human beings to seek and forge relationships of various kinds. Sociological research has enough data to establish that lack of human contact robs humanness of human beings. Social apathy is considered to be a sign of an underlying psychological disorder.

Life is a myriad of emotions. Without emotions, there won’t be much of a difference between human beings and vegetables. Socio-biological humans laugh, cry, love and live as an expression of their emotionality.

Adding to all the above, is the spiritual aspect of each human being. Having been created by God, there is a God-shaped vacuum inbuilt within each person. Some choose to seek and fill this vacuum by a relationship with God, some choose to substitute this space by things and people other than God, while some others decide to ignore and stifle this vacuum altogether.

All the above aspects put together give us a holistic picture of human life in general – as it ought to be. Take one slice out of it, and the picture will be fragmented.

This being life, the purpose of it is important as well. At times, we tend to flow along with the tide without sparing a thought towards its purpose and direction. That’s when the going seems easy. But, if we stop and ponder, things may not make much sense. Where is all this heading? Where am I heading? Earning, eating, drinking, enjoying, raising children, taking care of family, growing old and then waiting for death – is this all what life is all about? Or is there anything beyond this?

Sometimes, our actions seem meaningless. Sometimes, the daily toils and struggles seem monotonous beyond description so much so that we try our best to attach meaning to life by way of our jobs, children, spouse, etc.

If we look around, try to stretch our thinking skills and try to look for a complete meaning of life, it would not be possible for us to succeed at it. The reason being that while in our physical states we cannot, completely comprehend the meaning and purpose of something that has more to it than mere physical existence.

Life is more than the body.

Life is more than living, earning and procreating.

Life is more than the mundane humdrum of daily hassles.

The entirety of life can be understood only in eternity. Till then, a part of it remains a mystery. Instead of unsuccessfully trying to unravel the mystery (which can never be unraveled in the duration of our earthly existence), we can live this life to its fullest by living the revealed life to the best.

 

 

 

 

 

LOOK WITHIN…

Meaning of life… What have I got myself into? Am I really equipped to write on this topic? In my 40 years of life on this earth have I really understood the meaning of life? Or have I just existed?

Human kind has been searching for answer of this question since their very existence. People have gone to the Himalayas to find the meaning of life. Some have immersed themselves in God others in social service. All seeking this one elusive answer.

Well I am not such a deep thinker. So I don’t know if I am equipped to write on this topic. But still I would like to share, what I have understood, through my experience is that we are where we are for a purpose. To understand this I took help of some great minds and famous people

Albert Einstein in one of his books wrote

“The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life,”

So having established that there is a meaning or a purpose for us being born as humans. Let us now try to find out what that meaning is?

Pablo Picasso once said

“The meaning of Life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give it away!”

What does this mean? Most of the humans are merely existing. Like a boat without a sail drifting in water, going in whichever direction the current takes them. What we need is to find that one gift in us which we can give to others and spread happiness. That gives meaning to life. I don’t mean leave all your work and immerse in social work. I mean look for that one small thing in you that gives joy to the people around you.

I don’t need to go far to look for an example.  We all know our mentor at Candles Online – Chiradeep. He has a gift for writing, reaching out to people and motivating and counselling people. Look how beautifully he has used it to reach out to the world and touch so many hearts. He not only created “Candles Online” but also motivated a group of 20-25 young writers to write for the magazine every week. Looking at the readership statistics, Candles has reached every corner of the world and touched thousands of hearts. I admire the fact that he has beautifully woven this activity into his daily life while not missing out on any of his responsibilities of a being a family man, an employee etc.

Recently, I was in a seminar on Saga of Success. Dr Tuli (of Akash Tablet fame) was the speaker. He said that to build a successful business identify one cause that you will work for. How your business will make a difference in any one area. Work towards that goal and your business will flourish automatically. They made low cost computer tablets (costing less than Rs 5000/-), they created a market where there was none, build a successful business and helped a lot of low income households get access to computers.

These words hold true not only in business but also in our life. Look inside yourself, what is it that you can give to the world and spread happiness. The moment we find that we will also find the meaning of our life. In trying to spread happiness we will realise that we too feel happy and satisfied and life becomes meaningful and complete.

THE GIFT OF FREE WILL

What’s the meaning of life?

I don’t have a definite answer to this profound question asked by many a people over eons.

Philosophers have debated over it and there has never been a one-for-all answer. May be that is what makes this question intriguing and yet so infuriating at the same time. Man has tried to answer this question since the beginning of time and this search has led to much philosophical, theological and scientific speculation. The diversity of this world and its cultures presents a myriad collection of answers different from each other.

Pico, in his famous “Oration on the Dignity of Man” published in 1486, states that God placed man at the midpoint of the world and addressed him thus:

Adam, you have been given no fixed place, no form of your own, and no particular function, so that you may have and possess, according to your will and your inclination, whatever place, whatever form, and whatever functions you choose…by your own free will, in whose hands I have placed you, will determine your own nature…You will have the power to degenerate into the lower forms of life, which are bestial. You will have the power, by the judgment of your soul, to be reborn into the highest forms of life, which are divine.

Pico sees this free will as the supreme generosity of God through which man will himself become the fruit of whatever he cultivates. According to him this is what qualifies man as the most supreme creation of God.

Any living being on our planet primary goal is survival. Man is not any different in that matter but because of his rational faculty he tries to find something more than merely survive. This is what makes us more than an animal and adds color and flavor to our world. Finding the meaning of life in general seems like a futile exercise. If you look at the whole, the idea of finding or attaching a meaning to our life in this complex world appears pointless.

For every good act there is an evil equivalent. For every honest person there are plenty of dishonest persons around. An honest politician remains an oxymoron. Innocence and purity are shunned since the innocent and pure of heart are inevitably duped and exploited. Our faith which is meant to elevate us closer to God is used to divide us, and used against us. Instead of getting us closer to the divine it brings out our bestial nature. As you can see our world is imperfect. But does that mean that we cater just to our own self-interest and don’t try to look beyond ourselves?   

 The free will gives us the power to not succumb to this world’s corruption and find our personal meanings of each of our lives. The materialistic world which runs on ostentatious displays of wealth and merriment makes us afraid of delving deep into ourselves. All that is cared about is the superficial appearance and every achievement has to be measureable. I too have joined the pursuit to find the meaning of life—my life. I am sure that in due time I will find something but I can’t be sure if it will be worth it or not. One thing I am sure of is that the experience will be of personal benefit and that in itself is a reward.

Oliver Sacks, when he first discovered his diagnosis of terminal illness: staring death in the face, he wrote, “Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”

Let’s not lose hope in these dark times we live in, and let’s choose to believe that our life has a purpose and a meaning, whatever it may be. If we persist enough, our brief-lives on this earth can be worthwhile and we can definitely make at least a teeny-tiny positive difference to our surroundings.

ARE YOU CHASING AFTER THE WIND?

One of my very closest friend told me few days ago, that she is searching for the meaning of love, life, inspiration etc… I immediately understood how that feeling is. It is a feeling which can literally make you quiet and disturbed within. I had gone through that experience many times before so I know how a person can feel when he or she fails to understand the meaning of life and all that is within it. I didn’t answer back but thought of writing this article where I can express well and make my friend understand what I mean.

I remember a statement made by an successful athlete who was asked what he wished someone would have told him before reaching to the top, he replied, “I wish that someone would have told me that when you reach the top, there’s nothing there.”

The statement of the athlete made me to quote the wise words of a wise king in the Bible, who says:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

“What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?”

“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

“I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless.”

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.”

“So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.”

Now, a man like him who can hate life realizing that everything is meaningless then just think about me and you who are so mere that can easily be frustrated and get away from the real meaning of life.

In search of the meaning of life many go after things like business successes, wealth, good relationships, sex, healthy lifestyle and doing good to others. But after achieving everything in life many have testified like that athlete that there was still a deep void inside them…, there’s a feeling of emptiness that nothing really can resolve for them.

When God created us He created us for a purpose. He blessed the mankind and said:

“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

All these He did for us so that we can have a fulfilling life on this earth and glorify His name for the gift of life. But that really didn’t happen. If it would have happened then we would not have felt so empty and void within ourselves… we would not have searched for the meaning of our life.

Sin was the reason which literally changed the meaning of life and left us frustrated and craving for the things which God gave us naturally in the beginning. Now we run after all those materialistic stuffs which were actually supposed to be ours. We try to earn our own thing. We have to toil for the fulfillment of life which were supposed to be by default ours when we take birth on this earth. That’s funny… That’s the irony… Isn’t it?

So many times I feel very broken. Even this morning I was sad and broken though I didn’t show up yet I feel my sorrows making me think about ‘why on earth I am still existing…’ But again I was reminded of that loving call of my God, my Saviour who says:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Yeah, it is only God who can make the difference when we are going through the turmoils of our heart. He gives us a choice to seek Him and His will for our lives; the result will be a life finding contentment and satisfaction which is way different and better than a life of discontentment and emptiness. 

To conclude, as we are about to finish this year 2017, I would like to invite you all to seek God instead of chasing after the wind and… 

Delight yourself in the LORD and HE will give you the desires of your heart.