There is a process of observing a discipline in one’s later stage of life in our system called Aantara Sanyasa. It simply means that one renounces three things by observing an internal discipline. The things that one renounces are 1. the sense of ownership and control; 2. Worrying and 3.Special prayers to achieve some specific ends. I have tried to follow these disciplines in my life for the past few years with quite a bit of success. Or at least I was of that opinion.
Perhaps to drive home the point that it is not all that easy, suddenly a few days ago, a crisis hit my son in his business and he shared his worry with me. I immediately started worrying, the second item in the list and went through an agonising period and took recourse to prayer, the third item on the list and found some solace in the process.
The crisis blew over yesterday and I had a great sense of relief and felt a deep sense of gratitude for having my prayers answered.
The first item on the list, that I had no control over the events or their outcome was driven home with such a power that I understood in practice what it is all about.
It has been a momentous development in my spiritual pursuits.
Seven years ago, I had written about a remarkable teacher who had touched my life in my early twenties. Subsequently, Dr. Mote became friends with many alumni like me on facebook and kept us connected to him till he passed away earlier this week after a brief hospitalisation.
Since then, the WhatsApp application and my email In Box has been filled with so many messages from alumni and fellow faculty expressing their sorrow and nostalgia for his personality. Most talk about how he had touched their lives in some way or the other just like I had shared in my blog post about him touching my life at a critical point in my life.
Just to give a flavour about his impact here is a link to an article from another alumnus who is a very well know Management Professional.
He was truly a legend and will be missed by a lot of people.
I believe that I am a contented person. I have few wants and they have been provided in adequate measure for me and I am ever grateful for that. That I am at my twilight years helps where nature makes it easier to be content with one’s lot.
I was not always like that and like most humanity I went through various stages of life when “more” was the driving mantra till nature decided that I had had enough and put the brakes on. I only wish that it had in a different way but, that is for another blog post.
If someone were to ask me to describe my lifestyle, I would take two styles. The easier to understand one is the Western metaphor of “going through life like a homeless alley cat, living from day to day, taking it’s pleasures where it can and dying unnoticed.” Except that, I do have a home and the pleasures I want are very simple and door delivered, like my daily dose of newspapers and crossword puzzles plus enough books to read. I also have serious doubts that I will die unnoticed, not that it would matter when I do.
The other style would be my following the eight fold path of yoga that we in India call Ashtanga Yoga.
In the second limb of Niyama, the second “do” is “Santosha – contentment, acceptance of others, acceptance of one’s circumstances as they are in order to get past or change them, optimism for self.”
At least one reader is very likely to comment that I am aiming for sainthood and I would simply smile and respond with “no, just following a proven system that guarantees that one can live a life of joy. I am sure that the same person would grant me that I am by and large joyful! I am no saint and I do slip but it does not take a great deal of effort to revert to my idea of normal which is being peaceful and joyful.
Believe me, it is easy to live a life of contentment. Any one can.
I have suggested this topic for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 blog posts where Shackman and I write on the same topic. Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to read what his take on the topic is. Thank you.
No, I don’t mean the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde lives. I grant my readers that I do know some of that type too but, I mean the lives that Confucius talks about.My second life started, strangely enough in an ICU ward of a hospital here in Pune in February, 2001. I had undergone revision to a revised hip joint and the trauma almost killed me on the surgeon’s table. I was in the ICU for a week and subsequently in the private room for another week before I could get back home whereas, I was released from the hospital after the earlier revision, in just one week’s time.
Those two weeks on a hospital bed, gave me a great deal of time to think about my mortality and how ephemeral my life really is. That the period coincided with my retirement from active career pursuits made it easier for me to stop chasing rainbows and spend quality time with my family and friends. That it also coincided with my care giving duties for my late wife made it all the more imperative that I made the best use of the time given with her.
A bit of why-me-itis did follow when my late father moved in with me to spend his last days but though that was an unpleasant situation, I still did not go back to pursuits other than those that gave me joy. I continue to live like that and am helped in that way of life by very understanding family and friends who have seen me before and after and prefer the latter.
I am indebted to Ekoshapu for inspiring me to write this post. Please take a bow Sir! And, just to inspire you in return, here is something to mull over.
A neurotic is a man who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the man who lives in it. A psychiatrist is the man who collects the rent.
~ Jerome Lawrence
I somehow never built castles in the air. It is said that a man’s home is his castle and even that home that I bought was due to an unplanned for development. I have not however, regretted the purchase and in fact, it is indeed my castle.
I also flatter myself that I am neither a neurotic nor, psychotic. I neither pay or collect rent and so I am not qualified to be a psychiatrist. I however did consult a psychiatrist a couple of years ago for a spell of clinical depression but, I don’t think that the experience is relevant to this discussion.
So, what am I? Just a lucky old geezer! Grateful to have had his feet firmly on the ground all his life.
How about you dear reader? Have you built castles in the air?