Though the heart-felt sentiments of distinguished individuals towards India are over-whelming and much appreciated, it is fascinating to me how a majority of Indians feel very proud about Bharat or themselves particularly when others (most importantly foreigners!) recognize it. We moan about each other’s idiosyncrasies or the irreparable roads in the monsoons, or the catastrophic proceedings at Parliament, or this and that, but tend to accept the amazing virtues of this land and its people mainly when someone out of the Indian orbit points it out - why? What is lacking in our spiritual composition that obstructs us from living ‘constantly’ with the reins of determination, righteousness, self-respect and clarity of intellect in check?
Though I was physically and spiritually born out of India, it is India alone that I have ached to live in since I was a child. Undeniably we are a civilization that is spoken of with admiration, awe and good feelings around the globe in all spheres. We even astonish ourselves with our own resilience, intelligence, innovation, determination, far-sightedness and love for life that all emerge naturally during the least expected hours. And yet with the progress India is making, there remains an unfulfilled desire to see every Indian more empowered and leading a carefree, but secure, life of dignity and harmony with all.
Tagoreji’s prayer, translated into English and published in 1912, begins with a powerful line: 'Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high…' But can we honestly say we have realized this dream in 2015? Our well-being and triumphs do get affected by our physical surroundings, the support of relatives and loved ones, efficiency of our government and how we maintain relationships with other nations. We don’t live in a vacuum and could not manage or appreciate life without any one of these factors. Yet how much do we allow external factors or resources to dominate our thinking, emotions and decision-making?
68 years back, the fight for freedom was a very ‘real’ battle where our ancestors could see and fight the opposition. But today, we wage a battle with near invisible enemies: poverty, corruption, religious and gender discrimination, weak educational systems, fragmented relationships, disappearing moral values, authoritative higher officials, terrorists and much more. We are all suffering, irrespective of whether we are the oppressors or victims. It’s a fact that we cannot transform every terrorist or corrupt politician or chauvinistic boss or teacher, or abusive relative. But at the same time we can neither keep waiting for them to change nor allow ourselves to become cynical about positive transformation.
We can however work on what we have right now, namely our self-esteem, positive and unlimited vision, education and courage, and our right to dismantle the negative forces that pollute our mind, heart and destiny. We can start by realizing that ‘I’ have the solution, or more importantly, ‘I am the solution’. India’s power lies within its common woman and man, but only when we listen to our conscience and choose to empower our inner world.
Spirituality is India’s gift to the world; spirituality is the need of the hour; spirituality is India’s last hope; spirituality is the mirror, blue-print, catalyst, and elixir for each brave-heart who chooses to create his or her own destiny. Spirituality quite simply but effectively answers three crucial questions we face at different milestones of our lives:
• Who am I?
• Who do I eternally belong to? (in other words, what is my relationship with and duty towards the Divine or Supreme Parent or Almighty?) and lastly,
• What am I here to do?
Everything and anything of substance reverts back to these three questions. Human beings innocently forgot that they had to focus on the above, and lost their way and self-esteem by indulging in mundane, materialistic and spirit-debilitating actions and behaviour. Just as a spider weaves the most delicate but robust web, we got entangled unknowingly in several subtle chains. These inner limitations appear to be as natural as life itself, but they are not really part of our original emotional, intellectual and spiritual make-up. These are the demoralizing traits of ego, giving and taking of sorrow, inability to empathise with others’ misfortunes, anger, greed, selfishness, distaste for honesty, impure vision and the like. Though it doesn’t seem like these weaknesses could be the reason behind our problems, they are the poisonous seeds that give birth to frivolous minds, blocked and wavering intellects, fragile and unfeeling hearts, and stubborn sanskars (personality traits) that work against our better judgment and kill our pure conscience bit by bit…
Could there be anything more tragic than the human soul stifling its own personality, integrity and power to develop? How ironic that on one hand, we fight for our rights for good education, better jobs, safety, dignity, enriching relationships, and yet simultaneously we are being unjust to ourselves by allowing negativity to taint the inner being…
I, the human soul and a divine point of consciousness, have been entrusted with body, mind, intellect and sanskars to enact a role and fulfill responsibilities towards my family, friends, work place, society and country. Whatever is rightfully mine will come to me at the right time and in the fair quantity, but I shouldn’t forget that I have to think, speak, create an attitude and awareness, and perform actions in a truthful and respectful way.
Then emerges the question: It’s easy to speculate about these things, but where do we turn to accumulate enough spiritual power to live that transparent a life of principles?
They say love is a flower so delicate that a single touch can bruise it and yet so strong as to face the biggest storms; this describes the perfect love, as the Divine has for us. When sustained on faith, it carries us across the most difficult hurdles of life but dies instantly with the touch of impurity (i.e. negativity, doubt). This spiritual love is our birthright as the Divine Being’s spiritual children:
“The basis of self-respect is the faith that God loves me. Through this experience, I will be able to start loving myself. By studying God’s virtues and incorporating them in my daily life, faith in my own inherent worth is enhanced.”
- Rajyogini Dadi Janki, Administrative Head of Brahma Kumaris
By spending regular periods of time in self-contemplation and connecting lovingly with the Divine, I break the bondages that limit my progress and re-emerge my permanent qualities of love, wisdom, purity, bliss, joy and power. With love and discipline, I can oversee the activities of my mind, intellect and personality traits and use my thoughts, words and actions in a beneficial way. These kingly sanskars will slowly make me a leader of the self and worthy example for others. It then becomes simple to care for the self, others, for nature and progress in the world by maintaining an unlimited, untainted consciousness.
When I experience the joy of spiritual living and being in this way, how can I not become an instrument to assist others in reaping the same benefit?
In conclusion, I would like to pay my deepest respects to India’s People’s President, the phenomenal saint-like Scientist, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam by aiming to fulfill one of his good wishes for all of us: “We are all born with a divine fire in us. Our efforts should be to give wings to this fire and fill the world with the glow of its goodness”…
About the Author
Urvashi Shetty is a graduate in Child Development from San Jose, California, in 1999. She is a dedicated member of the Brahma Kumaris. Urvashi Shetty lives without expectations but strives for illuminating the positive in herself, in others and every scene of life.