Who is your Hero?

In one of the interviews, Warren Buffet mentioned that you become what you admire. He said that your ideal will determine what kind of life you are going to live. When we admire someone, we appreciate the quality or qualities of that person. For, e.g. If someone is inspired from Dalai Lama, then he or she is attracted towards the kindness. When we observe closely, then we can find out that the person can either become a saint or a terrorist based on the hero he or she chooses.

Now there are many people who do not have any ideal. They are living the life as it comes. Somewhere they have chosen the average man as their hero and hence they live the life of an average person. It amazes me as for how people have never thought on this. I realized that they never understood the importance of choosing an ideal and following him or her. However, we all wanted to become something when we were kids. We admired all the great heroes. Some of us also saw our parents as our heroes and wanted to become like them. Somewhere along the way, we lost it completely and we lived an average life ever after.

The question is should you bother about having an ideal or not. The answer lies in what kind of life you want to live. If you want to do something with this precious birth, then you need a path. You need someone to show you how to walk on that path and that is the reason you need an ideal. For, e.g. if you think that you want to become the biggest philanthropist, then who can be better than Warren buffet or if you want to devote your life to the service of poor then you can follow Mother Teresa.

You can select your hero based on your material goals as well. For, e.g. if you want to become a successful businessman, then you can make Bill Gates as your hero. You will find such people in all the fields. The important thing is that you select your hero based on some values. You might find many rich people, but you need to select someone who reflects your inner values. I believe that you should be able to admire the person as a whole so that you do not have to struggle with your mind for the negative attributes of that person.

Somehow I like to bring religion in most of my articles. Religion is about devoting yourself to a perfect ideal, God. The mythological stories are there so that we can get inspired to have some qualities of God such as truthfulness, kindness and above all spreading love. The problem is that we have started seeing God as something we cannot reach to and hence we get happy in the lower level of worship. The real worship is to manifest God in our own self. I am not talking about performing some miracles, but being a pure human being. This is definitely difficult, but we will not be able to achieve if we cannot keep a perfect human as our ideal, as our hero.

In my previous article, I mentioned about finding out what we really want from life. I hope some of you are actually clear on that part and now it is time to find someone who can help us in achieving that. It is very important that we set some goals in life. After that, we find the people who have achieved them before you. I always wanted answers on spirituality and I found them through the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. Most of the time what we want to do is already done by people in the world. All the great people who lived left behind their legacy. We just need to find our own hero.

An ideal is not someone whom you will remember once in a while and then get busy in your daily life. An ideal is the one who can change the way you think. They need not be alive, but something has to be there to show you how they lived a great life. Once you know your ideal from deep within, you start thinking and acting like him or her. You can ask questions to yourself as how my hero would have reacted in this particular situation. You will get your answers in most amazing ways. You can have more than one, but there are chances that in the later part of your life you will create your own ideal.

So who is your Hero?

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What kind of life we REALLY want?

If I ask a question as what kind of life you want, then most of you will be able to answer without giving much thought. You want to become rich, want to get married, have kids, and want to travel frequently or at the most become a CEO or run a successful business. Most of the people will agree to above until I add the word REALLY in the question. Our idea of an ideal life is mostly derived from the society and people around us. Hardly people do an introspection of what we really want from this life?

We are a social animal and to belong to some place, we have to adopt. We have to adopt the culture, lifestyle and to a great extent thought process. We all know that we declare those people strange and mad who try to live differently. Obviously, we have to pay a price if we really live the way we want and we are not courageous enough to pay the price and hence we all live the same life.

Another modern evil is social media. I am really not against social media, but I am very much concerned about its effects which everyone seems to be ignoring. Nowadays everyone is posting pictures of wherever they go and they pretend that they are living the best life. People like us who look at the picture perfect also believe the same. I can see two issues here. One is that we are trying to show an ideal life to everyone, but the reality is different. We don’t feel the same pleasure which people are thinking we are having. The sad part is that we feel good that other people are thinking that we are having the best time of our life. Now, this motivates us to do more such acts and then we become addicted.

The second issue is that people who are watching these pictures feel jealous and want to live a life like that. They were happy when they had a great time with friends at some nearby picnic place, but their fun filled memory vanished as soon as they saw the picture of their friends enjoying at some international exotic place. Every time we see someone having fun in the pictures (not knowing the reality) we feel sad and we make our spouse also sad for not going to such places and not having such pictures. I have seen cases where couple posted very cute pictures of their honeymoon and after few months girl committed suicide.

Even if we get to live that ideal life it will be a borrowed one and after some time boring one too. We are not asking serious questions such as why was I born into this world? What am I supposed to really achieve? We are not trying to raise our thought level to understand the mystery of life and we are not asking as to how we REALLY want to live this life? People who say that just drink and enjoy are actually looser who do not have the courage to go against the wind and hence they just want to enjoy their beer at the beach only.

My life can be boring for some people, but that is completely fine. I am at peace with the world and I hardly care what other think about me. Instead of discussing sport or new model of BMW, I want to discuss what happens after death. I set my own goals and that does not depend on the ideal life defined by the society. Even if some part matches with ideal life, it is chosen by me and not by others. At the workplace, we will find many people who are not growing in spite of having potential. The reason is that they never wanted such life, but they are not sure how to disown it so they are continuing the way it is going.

We try to own a house by working day and night and sacrificing many personal moments. Nothing wrong in this, but we need to ask what is the most important thing for us. To live in a rented house or to miss our kid’s childhood. There is nothing right or wrong. What is important is that we need to be aware of what decision I am taking from deep within. Everyone has different definitions of success, just be conscious of yours. Someone feel peaceful only after reaching certain financial status and someone feels this peace every day when he or she is involved in kindness.

If you really want to know what kind of life you really want, then sit down and ask some serious questions and ask more. I am sure you will get your answers. By no means, I am saying that you should not live a material life, but be aware of it. Think about the real fulfillment and joy. Do not change it based on other people because they might change soon. The important criteria is that is should be a meaningful one, otherwise what is the point of this human birth.

There is one test to identify your current status. If you are not excited about every day, then you are not living the life you really want. Once you know your status, then start changing and start moving towards your own ideal which is not derived from society. Start moving by 1% every day and do not be in hurry. The real joy is in the journey.

Let us all say that Life is Good.

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Heaven – The way we look at it

We human beings have a very great imagination. We have imagined what will happen to us after the death. Good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. We have described the heaven with all the luxuries possible and hell with all the cruel punishments. The irony is that none of the human being who has gone to heaven or hell and have returned to tell us the glory. We get all the ideas from some books or what our ancestors or priest have told us. In reality we do not know what is there beyond the death. We only know that people who returned from the near death experience have mentioned that there is only darkness.

In Hindu scriptures, you will find that there is a king Indra who rules the heaven. There are beautiful women referred as Apsaras always in your service. You get to enjoy all kinds of pleasures possible there. This is one idea that is believed by the materialistic person. As he sees the same physical form of himself and the world in heaven. He is after the same desires he was when he was alive on the earth. The description of heaven can be found in Christianity and in the path of Mohammedans as well.

Many priests takes the advantage of these ideas of heaven and run their businesses. We also foolishly submit ourselves because we all want great life after the death. We have not understood what death is, but we are firm about the afterlife. How many times we actually introspects our thoughts, our beliefs? I asked few people about what they think heaven is? and I got different answers. Some have the old ideas I mentioned above and some people think that heaven is about nirvana. Some are not bothered about heaven as they have never thought about it.

In short, most of us think heaven as some better place than where we are living now. It sounds like a magical place which will sort out all our issues and we will be happy or in bliss forever. However, most of us also agree that we will have to work hard to go there. We will have to do good karmas for us to get the entry into heaven. How are we sure that this is the truth? How do we know that doing good karmas will give us nirvana or heaven?

If you study Vedanta, then you will find the explanation of many things and it helps in breaking ignorance. In the olden days, it is possible that there could be some place named as heaven or Swarga and the same was ruled by some king called Indra. People must be worshiping him because of his position and power. This is the only reason why they were described in human form and description of the place was similar to earth only with magical powers. As people realized that these Devas are not the ultimate reality and God cannot be so limited, people stopped worshiping them.

I do not know if heaven is true or not. The real question is what we really want from this life. Why do we do what we do? We are living a superficial life just like the definition of heaven mentioned above. We have become very limited to pleasure and pain and hence we can see heaven and hell. I believe that we need to go beyond that. I always feel that we are much stronger, but our thought has made us weak and hence we have started believing in many superstitions.

Vedanta says that the real search is not only to do good karma and go to some mystical place, but it is to realize our real nature, which is soul. We need lots of courage to accept the reality and challenge everything that we have been told from ages. Buddha has always preached that the real truth can only be known through experience. We can still go back to our mundane life thinking that all we have to do is to enjoy life or we can actually go after the real knowledge of truth.

Heaven can be a great place to be, but still there is a possibility of going to hell. Is there a place or a world where we are free from this bondage of pleasure and pain? Is there a place where we are not limited to our materialistic thoughts? Is it possible to get the freedom from all our misery? I guess we all have to find answers on our own.

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The Pressure that we build around us

Recently I received a news that one friend who studied with me in school and who was living in my society, died. I heard that he committed suicide and he was just 33. He left behind his family of wife and a daughter. I cannot imagine how much pain that soul must have felt that he decided to end his life. We can never feel the emotions he felt in his last moments. I do not know the exact reason why he did that, but we all know that people take such extreme steps when they feel tremendous pressure.

We get shaken when something tragic happens with the people we know, but in reality that must be happening every minute with someone in the world. Have we ever tried to ask us as why people attempt suicide? In recent times people from all ages consider suicide as the last options left for them. The problems are different for everyone. Someone is physically abused, some have financial trouble, some feel like loser and some are not good at studies. There are many more reasons, but the reality is that they all think that there is no hope left and the only way to end the pain is to end the life.

I am neither expert in counseling, nor do I have any experience in such matters. However, I understand that people of suicidal tendencies are suffering from depression. There are definitely external factors which make them depress, but it is the irrational thinking process that force them to take steps which are irreversible. Most of the time we think that the person was weak to fight the situation. But, the bitter truth is that as a member of this society we all are responsible for the depression, anger, hatred and yes suicide too. We have failed to create an environment where everyone can blossom. Instead, we have made it difficult for many people to survive.

The society wants people to be successful. The trouble is that it is society who has defined the success and individual do not have any right to challenge it. We say that if a student does not get rank in top 3, then he or she is not good enough. We also define that to be successful, person needs to have a decent job or a business, a car and his own house. There are unwritten rules that if person is earning low, then he is poor. If he is earning better than poor, then he belongs to middle class. Finally, if person is earning better than most of the average people, then he is called rich.

The irony is that each of this group is struggling. The poor have to struggle to get to middle class and the middle class have to struggle to get in to rich class. The struggle of rich class is to maintain their current lifestyle without letting anyone know what all they have to sacrifice. The pressure is everywhere. Many times I have seen that it is the label that matters most compared to an individual.

Another evil is the power. From thousand years, it is evident that powerful people have ruled the weak ones. Nowadays we do not see such rulers, but there are people who take the advantage of their power to exploit the weak ones. All these physical and sexual abuse, unethical loan practices and many more situations are prevailing in today’s world because some powerful people want to use their power on the weaker ones and we all just watch it in silence because it does not affect us or because we are the victims.

So is there any possibility to change the world? Is there any chance that we can create a prosperous world where each one has right to live their life without harming anyone? I believe yes. Till the time there is a hope that world will be better place one day, we can fight. And with whom we have this fight? We have to fight our own evil and then think about changing the world. We need to first take care of our own flower and then the world will become a beautiful garden.

We need to provide environment to our kids where they can grow and prosper instead of creating boundaries. There should not be pressure on them to get good ranks. Remember that many of the successful people were drop-outs. It is very important that we talk about hope. There are millions of people out there who talk about problems and how this world is the worst place to live, but we need individuals who can say that I have faith that one day we will overcome all the evils.

We can end many miseries only by removing discrimination and only if we can treat everyone equally. This is not an easy step and there are no practical steps to do it, but as I mentioned we just need to start from our own self. If we can only start thinking towards this, then there is a hope that one day we will find the equality in all human beings. Charlie Chaplin once said that we need power only for war, for everything else love is enough. We can decide that instead of becoming enjoying the power, we use it to help people. Instead of becoming the ruler, we become facilitator. Sometimes religion helps in this as it suggests that everything is given by God and we are only here to use it a way which pleases God that is by helping others.

Many feels that such talks are too cheesy or too positive and not realistic. My question is how does negative thinking becomes realistic? If negative thinking can become our reality, so can positive thinking. If evil can take over the world, then God can take it back because evil is nothing but the absence of God. As a first step let us all think that there is still a hope that we will see a world where there is no pressure and all the souls realize their ultimate goal.

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We the Sinners, or Not

From the childhood we are being introduced to the word Sin. We have been told that if you perform some bad acts, then you are doing a sin and God will punish you. There is a long list of sin one performs and there are related punishment as well. Every religion and every country have their own list. I believe that we have misunderstood the word sin. The word sin has weakened us and has created fear of God in our mind. Instead of acting as a path finder, it has been used as a punishment.

Many Hindu religions propagates that eating non veg is a big sin and we can never come out of its effects. If you try to explain this to a Christian or a Muslim, then they will not agree to it. The reason is that, in their religion this is not written anywhere. We are looking at only one side which is our side. Instead, if we try to look from the chicken which got killed for our food, then we can explain it better. It is said that animals have lower level of intellect and hence their energy mainly lies in senses. They feel more pleasure while eating the food compared to men. Similarly they feel more pain when they are hurt compared to human beings.

If I keep aside the sin, then I need to examine the effects of that act has on my body and my mind. Chicken comes to know that it is going to get killed and when a butcher kills it, the last thoughts in chicken are of fear and death. This affects their body and the same body is consumed by many people. Can you imagine what kind of energy is passed on to our body and mind? If I explain that it is a sin to eat non veg, then many people might ignore it due to various reasons. Some are atheist and they do not believe in God, so they are not worried about the punishment. Some feel that they have already done many sins and one more will not make much difference. Instead, if we can try to create compassion towards animal in the heart of those people, then we might have a better chance to convince.

We also talk about heaven and hell. We say that if you do sin, then you will go to hell and if you do good work, then you go to heaven. Many people have gone one step ahead and have also described what exactly happens in heaven and hell. They say that God stays in heaven and evil in hell. Not sure how many of them have actually visited either heaven or hell. The problem is that we never question on all this matter because sometimes that is also considered a sin.

You must have observed that there are two ways in which we can get the work done from kids. One is of love and another is of punishment. Some parents slap the kids to stop them from doing some of the activity which are harmful. Many times parents remind them the same punishment to stop them doing such activity in the future. There is a possibility that in the ancient time sages might have started using the word sin to stop people from doing things that affects the mind. If you observe closely, then you will find that all the religion and spiritual practices works towards purifying the mind. That is the only way to attain God. However, people have forgotten the entire meaning of the origination of sin.

Swami Vivekananda has said that we should ignore anything that make us weak and only accept that makes us strong. Here, he is not talking about physical strength, but the mental and the spiritual one. The concept of sin might have worked in the past. If we want to make changes in today’s world, then we need to create love and compassion. We need to show people as how to purify their mind, which is one of the main aim of religion. We need to show that God is not a punisher, but is the source of eternal love.

We need to realize that bad thing that happens to us is due to our Karma and not because God is cruel. The law and order will always be needed to keep us civilized. Above all we should always remember that our aim should be to purify our mind and raise our consciousness to go beyond our senses.

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