To serve, ahead of saying you deserve, is a beautiful way to make your Life meaningful.
An interesting story in today’s Economic Times caught my attention this morning. The story was revisiting and reviewing the legacy of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – today marks her 100th birthday.
I have seen Indira Gandhi once. She came to campaign for the elections in Kerala in 1982. I was living in Kollam back then; I was a student, barely 15 years old. Along with a few of my friends I had gathered close to a special stage that was erected in the middle of the Asramam maidanam in Kollam. The crowds cheered lustily when she landed in a helicopter some distance away from the stage. She walked briskly to the stage and raced up the stairs to reach the top – and delivered a great speech in flawless English. She must have been 65 but she had so much energy. I was mesmerized by her aura, her power, her diction and her energy.
I resolved right then that someday I too would be the Prime Minister of India. I wanted to be like Indira Gandhi – powerful, charismatic and in control. That was an ambition that I nurtured till a decade back.
But over the past 10 years – thanks perhaps to my personal evolution through our bankruptcy – I have let that ambition dissolve. Someone recently asked me if “spirituality dilutes your ambition, your worldliness”. And I replied, “Spirituality helps you realize the futility of mindless pursuit and avaricious ambition. It awakens you to a Higher Purpose – you begin to see the opportunity in being useful, in creating value for people around you, than wanting to cling on, to control and to only be individually successful.” While I certainly don’t plan – not anymore – to enter politics either for the sake of power or for wanting to be Prime Minister, I must confess, I have not really turned less ambitious. I will say that my personal evolution has helped me realize that to serve selflessly is more purposeful, more meaningful, than pursuing what you think you deserve. To serve, ahead of saying you deserve, is a beautiful way to make your Life meaningful.
Reading about Indira Gandhi this morning made me reflect on my journey, my evolution. I still count her among my icons. She had this unique ability to blend her personal ambition with her deep desire to serve India. In a way, her vision for a secular India is more relevant today than it ever was. I sincerely hope a leader who can revisit and reclaim that idea of India emerges soon.
As for me, along with Vaani, the focus in Life is just two-fold: one, work hard and repay all the money we owe to our 179 creditors/Angels (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal) and two, be driven by our Higher Purpose of Inspiring Happiness – helping people understand that it is possible to be non-worrying, non-frustrated and non-suffering. In the time we have remaining on the planet, we want to be unwavering in this focus.
Having said that, I must clarify that ambition is not a dirty word. Ambition is very important for progress, for human achievement. But I now understand that ambition must go beyond you. It must benefit others. To want to leave the world better than you found it is ambition too. I believe I am blessed that my bankruptcy revealed the Purpose of my creation to me and has helped me see my congenital ambitious streak in a meaningful light!