Don’t postpone intelligent living anymore

What is yours? What is mine? Everything is so transient.
What is real, true, untouched, eternal is the soul. This concept is so simple and a part of every scripture. But this Truth is lost in the maze of religious brouhaha and communal theatrics. Another reason is that its espousers are all people who have renounced the world, and have taken to wearing orange or maroon or white or black robes, grown flowing beards or matted hair and sit in inaccessible, distant, lonely locales. That too is a way to attain the eternal and to encounter and internalize this Truth. But a simpler, easier, practical way, is TO LIVE IN THIS WORLD and yet BE ABOVE IT.
Enlightenment does not require you to be seated under a tree nor does it champion abstinence, renunciation and running away! Enlightenment requires awareness, it asks for you to open up your soul so that the light can illuminate your Life. And the soul is not some unseen metaphysical dimension to your Life. It is a presence. It is you. It is who you are. Have you seen air? But don’t you believe that there is air in this Universe? Similarly, you must believe that there is a soul, yours and everyone else’s. That everything, including this body of yours, will eventually perish. But the soul, like Life, will go on.
Subhashini Kaul, 43, a former IIM-A professor realized this when she was in her late thirties. So did her husband. Resultantly, both of them gave up their lucrative corporate careers. And decided to find meaning in their lives. While her husband roams railway stations across the country, preferring to be a fakir, Subhashini, has become a ‘sadhak’ (seeker). Her religious views are that the ‘Truth is One’! She’s on facebook and stays connected with like-minded people. “It’s not because of any incident that I turned a sadhak… but I started feeling that all the effort one puts in the materialistic world to get ahead isn’t worth it…God directed me to another way of Life. That was a monkey world where everyone was in the rat race to get ahead. But I blame no one for the happenings in my Life. I have pulled out from all relations. Now, I dance when I want to and sleep when I feel like it. An atheist earlier, now I feel closer to God,” she once told the Times of India.
The God she speaks of, to me, is the One within. The Truth. We don’t have to take such a dramatic step, as Subhashini and her husband took, to renounce the world. We can continue to have our Ferraris, our Single Malts, our First Class Seats….the only thing we must give up is all attachment to any of these. Because attachment brings grief. And detachment is bliss! What happened to Subhashini in her late thirties I believe, happened to me when I was 35. Over time, my awareness has helped me to accept whatever comes my way in Life – unconditionally. You too can get there if you don’t impose conditions on the Life you have.

But please don’t postpone intelligent living anymore. Because, as the Buddha reminds us, “The problem is that you think you have time!” 
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Friendship and Relating – the twin factors that make great relationships!

No one is inferior or superior. In a relationship, it is the relating which is important. Not who’s more powerful or articulate or successful.
The Airtel “Priya -Boss” Ad
A TV commercial for Airtel is making news in India for the wrong reasons. It shows a man taking orders from his boss, who is also his wife; while at the same time, she,  as his wife, offers to cook dinner and invites him to come home soon. The debate on social media is on, as one analysis on IBN Live argued, “whether the campaign enforces stereotypes, breaks established family roles, is a modern twist to same old misogynist propaganda or just neo-feminism riding on compromise.”
Watch the ad here

Honestly, I don’t see why there must be a debate in the first place. Why can’t a woman be a man’s boss at work while still offering to cook a meal for them at home? Why do we typecast people in specific roles – that a man should be the boss or should be the bread-winner or that a woman must primarily be a home-maker and not have a career of her own? When I got married, my wife used to earn a salary higher than I did – she worked in the computer education field while I was a journalist, earning a measly income that was determined by a government-regulated wage board! But this never really affected either of us. And then she gave up her flourishing career to stay back at home and help us raise a family. Again this decision never affected our love or respect for each other. I know a couple, both of whom have IIM-A degrees, where the wife is a high-flying software professional with India’s # 1 IT company, while the husband keeps the home and helps their young teenaged daughter cope with high school and now, recently, college. For years now, they both have kept these roles and continue to have a very happy marriage.
So, I don’t think a reversal of roles affects a marriage. Whatever be the role, as long as the friendship between two people is intact, they will continue to relate to each other. I, in fact, salute the Aritel commercial’s director, Vinil Mathew, for choosing to make such a sensitive film. To me, the ad celebrates friendship and relating. And these two are above everything else – even above the label of a “respectable relationship”. There’s no meaning in a relationship if people in it can’t relate to each other or enjoy each other’s companionship. What’s the point in strutting around trying hard to prove that everything’s normal, when nothing really is, to please a decadent society? It doesn’t matter who earns, who cooks, who does the dishes or who fetches the groceries – as long as the two people in the relationship continue to love each other and are willing to grow and evolve through Life – together!