Melting Pots.

melting pot
a pot in which metals or other materials are melted and mixed.
a place where different peoples, styles, theories, etc. are mixed together.
“Toronto is a melting pot of different cultures”

I have a number of melting pots of the latter kind in my life and I shall explain with just a few that have become part of my life in the last year or so. They are all groups on WhatsApp.

A small group of my Pune based Alumni. Two Maharashtrians, one Rajasthani, one Bengali, one Punjabi and me. All males.

A large group of my classmates from Business School. Almost every large state is represented by one or more friends all male and two ladies too.

A larger group of ex colleagues from my time in the corporate world. A mixture of Maharashtrians, Malayalis, Sindhis, Punjabi, Telugu, an Uttar Pradeshi, a Bengali and me. All males.

Another smaller group of my classmates from my Vedanta class. A mixture of Females and males. Tamils, Sindhis, Punjabi, Malayali, Gujarathi and Maharashtrian.

My immediate family group consisting of me, my siblings and our progeny. My daughter in love is also part of that. This group consists of our primary Tamils, Scots and a Maharashtrian.

Apart from these WhatsApp groups, my life revolves around a number of people of various categories including people from different religions, foreigners and people much younger to me. My extended family has people from other religions, languages and countries and so the family is also a melting pot of sorts.

My taste in music is another melting pot with preferences depending on my mood. Bollywood film music, Hindustani classical music, Jazz, Pop, Western Classical music and on occasion Carnatic classical music as well.

I live in a city which is a melting pot of many languages, cultures and religions.  That is but a microcosm of the larger country which is more complex in being a melting pot.

“India is a melting pot of the various religions and cultures of the world and it is the very nature of the unity in diversity, which has largely shaped the growth of Indian culture as a whole.”

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, grandmother of legend, and great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” – Mark Twain

And I am a product of this great melting pot.  A complete alloy!

I have suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

Meaning / Purpose / Happiness.

This Mark Twain quote was shared by a friend on facebook and led me to muse over it and the result is this post.

In Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search For Meaning, Frankl often quotes Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.” The “why” is what he calls the meaning of one’s life, which according to Frankl is the patient’s will to strive, succeed, and to live.

Man can also find meaning by suffering. When one is faced with suffering, and there is nothing he can do to change his predicament, the only remaining option is for him to change his perspective, to change the way in which he views the situation. An example that Frankl gives is of a story of a grieving widower who had lost his wife. The man came to Frankl to ask for advice. Frankl asked the man, “What would have happened…if you had died first and your wife would have had to survive without you?” Through this question, the suffering the man was enduring gained a new purpose, he was mourning, but his wife would not have to mourn him.

This story of the widower helped me overcome my own grief of losing my wife and friend of 48 years, but understanding that the relationship was because I was happy in it and the grief was in losing that state of happiness, came about by my study of Vedanta about which I shall elaborate a little later.

I had posted a video post of the Dalai Lama and in commenting on it, Monk had given me a link to one of her old posts that is very interesting on the subject of finding meaning.  She had written it before I started visiting her blog and so was not aware of that post.  Having read it, I was inspired to include the link here for reference, as the subject matter is the same as that of this post.

My regular readers will remember that I am a student of Vedanta. For a Vedantin, ie one who is a follower of the Vedanta system of philosophy, the purpose of one’s life is to find Moksha (Liberation) which is to get released from the cycle of births and deaths. A student of the system, tries to achieve jivan mukti, which is to find the liberation in this life itself. What this implies is that he finds and abides in the happy himself during this life itself. So, the purpose of finding out why he was born is to recognise that he was born to become a jivan mukta.

If all that sounds very mumbo jumbo, simply stated, it is to reach that inner space which is naturally a happy state, but which has been overwritten by other impressions which need to be discarded. The process of discarding those impressions and abiding in the released state is the purpose of, at least, my life.

If you are interested in probing further about your own purpose / meaning, you can try the twenty minute formula that Cheerful Monk shares in her post a link to which I have given above.