Positive Approach to Life
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 6 Feb 2023
On many occasions adults wonder who they are, what is the purpose of their lives, and how should they live in the society where they find themselves. Answer to the first question: this is my name; I was born in a city (name of the city or town) of parents who were teachers, or farmers or business people. I studied up to graduate level, etc.
But do these answers give an adequate response to the question? Probably not — we also need to dwell on the question of what is the purpose of our lives? Is it to make money and live comfortably? Is it to be a good person, to do good to others — not only one’s family, friends or even those we meet briefly ? By doing good to others in society, we often wonder how can we do good when there is so much cruelty, disparity, sorrow, sadness around us.
This question begets another related concept — what is the meaning of being good or of goodness? On a basic level it means not hurting anyone — human being, animal or even a tree or flowers — in other words the environment around us. A green forest area is not only representative of a balanced life not only for humans, but also for rivers, oceans, animals and birds. Many birds that have to consume polluted water or food or face some other dangers have become extinct demonstrating this problem in no uncertain terms.
We have so much degraded our surroundings by our activities that the water we drink, or the air we breathe, cause illness or discomfort. Absence of different species of birds and the music they produce, leads to further grief and sorrow.
Another problem as I see it is our becoming more selfish and less religious in the true sense of the word. We must have faith in Hare Krishna or Hare Ram or some other God. However, we must not approach these Gods for selfish ends only but rather so that we have peace, tranquility and compassion for all forms of life around us — human, animal, birds or even trees and rivers.
With peace and compassion in our lives, we do good to others and feel blessed by our actions even if they are limited but have a positive direction to do good and remain unselfish.
We also begin to understand that life is complex and demanding of our efforts to be good and to do good. Sometimes the problem may appear complex and we may feel overwhelmed by it. However, many people feel that a religious attitude helps in overcoming the complexity of life and in succeeding in their efforts.
What I am calling as a religious attitude may not be so in the usual meaning of the word. What I am suggesting is to try various approaches and gradually you will be able to develop a means to tackle the problem of discord and uncertainty. You may call it religious or compassionate, but you will be able to develop the means and an attitude that will suffice in your case. Even if someone hurts or abuses you, don’t respond in the same manner and you will soon find yourself at peace, compassion and goodwill towards the world.
There is a well known expression In Sanskrit:
Sarve santu sukhinah
Sarve santu niramaya
Let everyone be happy
Let everyone be healthy–physically, mentally
So let us go ahead, and follow the above approach. Let us not lose heart at temporary setbacks.
Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 Feb 2023.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Positive Approach to Life, is included. Thank you.
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