If Life is a Debt, how do I repay it; if it is Gift, how do I be grateful?

by | Jun 15, 2020

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I lost my father on June 25, 1979. He was 49, I was 24. He gave me my full education and married my sister even before departing rather early. I feel sad for not being able to do anything for him. Later in 2017, I lost my younger brother who was 55. I feel as if he broke the queue in leave-taking. Looking back, I can say without doubt that our existence upon this planet is indeed a fleeting thing.

Everyone who is born must die. We live as water spilt upon the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. What is the use of lamenting that man’s days are soon gone and doing nothing about it? How seriously, then, ought we to view life? How desperately should its moments be treasured? 

In Indian scriptures, life is seen as debt. A human life starts with three debts. These are: (1) debt to creation which sustains life, the five elements: air, water, earth, fire, and space – the things that give us our breath and food (देव ऋण); (2) debt to our parents and thereby our ancestors for the DNA that made this body of ours (पितृ ऋण) and (3) debt to the knowledge due to which our growth takes place, through doctors, teachers, technology, and so on (ऋषि ऋण)

Shatpath Brahman, a commentary on the Yajurveda, added two more debts. The debt towards knowledge workers who advance our standards of living – scientists, philosophers, etc. (ब्राह्मण ऋण) and debt towards the soul to dwell in this body-mind complex (आत्म ऋण). The Manu Smriti mentions debt towards community and society (आनृशंस). This is called ‘Ubuntu’ in African cultures – I am, because we are. Manu Smriti (6. 35) declares ऋणानि त्रीण्यपाकृत्य मनो मोक्षे निवेशयेत् A life without discharging these debts is a waste. It has failed to liberate the embodied soul from physicality.

Living in the awareness of repaying the debts is the most accurate definition of dharma. If prescribed duties at every stage of life are done diligently without wavering, one can liberate oneself from all debts in this very lifetime, that is moksha. If done half-heartedly, or conditionally, one remains entrapped in the web of karma and is reborn again carrying the burden of debt and accruing interest, at times even in lower life-forms. 

In the Western world, life is seen as a gift. The emphasis is to make the most of the senses in creating wealth, enjoyment and other intellectual and artistic pursuits. The idea is to become more, to feed experiences into your spirit. Whatever you think about, focus on, read about, talk about, you are going to attract more of into your life. Contrary to the idea of giving or paying back, it is about taking and accrual. Celebration and laughter are considered two of the richest gifts of life.

No wonder, contemporary youngsters prefer to take life as a gift and not as a debt. They derive meaning in enjoyment, adventure and exploration. But by the time the mid-years of life arrive, there are many break-ups and emotional wreckages created, and diseases meant for old age arrive early and squat into their bodies. 

Like breathing, life is also a two-way process of giving and taking. Breathe in, take what life hands you; hold it, accept it; breathe out, what life demands from you give, let it go. To live, to truly live, one must consider every opportunity as a blessing. Never take anything that is not given or earned, for you will be buying problems with them without any doubt. 

The most sobering aspect of life is its dramatic uncertainty. Our life hangs in doubt before us. There is no news bulletin without stories of accidents and untimely deaths. Millions of migrant laborers were uprooted in merely a few weeks’ time. Whether a debt or a gift, life is not to be taken lightly. 

In 2011, I was invited to translate in Hindi, Bill Clinton’s book ‘Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.’ The book shared Clinton’s own experiences and those of other givers, representing a global flood tide of nongovernmental, nonprofit activity. These remarkable stories demonstrate that gifts of time, skills, things, and ideas are as important and effective as contributions of money. Every time you give, your consciousness is expanded. 

I have received blessings from Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj, Mahant Swamiji Maharaj, Swami Tejomayananda Saraswati, and of course, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who was a saint in his ‘worldly garb’ of science and technology.  My learning from them is that the real gift of life is not what you give, but who you become in the process of giving. Truly great people give away their lives for the greater causes and good of other people. They live in austerity with integrity to build character in society, by example.

Even if seen as a gift, life cannot be wasted after sensory pleasures and endless play of opposites – liking this and hating that, chasing one person and running away from another, loving this and fearing that. This drama of dualities is created to school you that there is only One Consciousness that is operating in the rabbit and the lion, the cow and the pig, the thief and the policeman, and of course in you and others around you.

Goswami Tulsidas, towards end of Ramcharitmanas (7.121.12), used a striking metaphor of the foolishness of throwing away a parasmani to grab a piece of shining glass for not using human birth for devotion towards God – काँच किरिच बदलें ते लेही। कर ते डारि परस मनि देहीं। So, whether life is a debt or a gift is not the question. The question is how to ensure that it is not wasted. French Enlightenment writer Voltaire summed it up best, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” 

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54 Comments

  1. Namaskar Arunbhaiji, Another excellent thought provoking article, which highlights our human traits. We are so much engulfed by Maya that we tend not to realise our own short-comings due to many factors such as baggage carried from many many previous births, Vasna (desires), etc. Hence we become ungrateful, become arrogant and remain in selfish mode or ignorance. In this mode we do not appreciate the people around you and what they do for you. In order for us to change to unselfish mode and to escape from the clutches of Maya we need a God-Realised Guru, a Gunatit Guru, a Guru who is Aksharbrahman who will cleanse us of all our ignorances, make us pure and introduce us to Purushottam. The Aksharbrahman Guru therefore plays the most important role of cleansing us and making us like-Him – Brahmaroop and helping us attain Atyantik (Ultimate) Mukti. So i feel we are forever indebted to Aksharbrahman Guru. It is this Guru who plays the role of Manifest form (Pragat) of God-Purushottam in Universe and keep gateway to Atyantik Mukti open. It is this Guru which truly lights the flame of love and attachment towards God within us. It is this Guru which never leaves us astray. He ensures we are cleansed and delivered to God all the way. We are also indebted to Purushottam Bhagwan (God) by Gifting us most precious Human life, by we are more indebted to the Aksharbrahman Guru who does the hard work of nurturing us and making us pure. In our life on earth, it is this Guru who guides us to live a pure, unselfish life, respect our Parents dutifully, value their sacrifice and look after them till the end. I am totally indebted to my Guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj and present Guru Mahant Swami Maharaj for taking responsibility of taking care of me, not only in this world but also ensuring that I achieve the Atyantik Mukti in the life after.

  2. Hello Tiwariji, I read this article a while back and I was actually ruminating on this for quite a bit. The more I think about, the more I come in agreement with this. What a profound thought is is to say that life starts with a debt and the whole life is about repaying it.

    Sometimes when I come across our patients, the fact that life is totally unpredictable and ephemeral hits me like a bolt. Sound mind in a sound body is a phenomenal gift which is not acknowledged most of the times. Even though these have been beautifully described in our scriptures, the need for the hour is someone like you to bring these up and keep us reminded of our roots 🙂

  3. The article is as insightful as always. I feel that how life is viewed by a creature on this earth is determined by where the creature is in its evolution stage. By that I mean the spiritual evolution, not physical. A less evolved being will see life as a gift to experience and will engage in ‘only taking’ from the world. A mildly evolved being will see life as both a gift and a debt. They give to those below them and take from those above them. The more they give, the higher they evolve. The most evolved spirits are full already in their own self. They have everything that a spirit needs. So, they like God will always give to the world. This is my humble take on the subject.

  4. Respected Arun Tiwari sir , Thank you very much for such an enlightening deep insight about meaning of Life , Which most of us usually avoid due to fear of it’s complexity . Dear sir , My humble tribute to the good man who left us 41 year ago on this day . Also heartiest gratitude for his wonderful gift to all of us 65 year ago . My father also share his birth year with you .

    Sir, One answer to the topic of blog is written in 9th paragraph to which i completely agree ie ” The most sobering aspect of life is it’s dramatic uncertainty. ” To my mind life always have two sides ie Gift & Debt . It is our duty to get this clarity whether it is gift or debt . The practice of first sentence of 5th paragraph ie ” Living in the awareness of repaying the debts is the most accurate definition of dharma” will always help in distinguishing between debt and gift.

    The way you explained this question of life is excellent From “क्षिति जल पावक गगन समीरा, पंच तत्व से बना शरीरा” to conclusion of your experience of meeting & working with many august personality.
    “Every time you give, your consciousness is expanded…” is a great line and I am reading first time in my life.

    Sir one more thought. This blog making me to realise with clarity that life is Gift and debt both. Because at the same time I am enjoying this blog while reading as a gift and also realising the debt of life towards Creator, Parents, Knowledge, society, Knowledge worker and Soul. Sir I received much wisdom from your writing. So my first step in repaying this debt is to you is “Thank You”.

    Sir in last few blog, you have shown your concern for migrants workers.

  5. This is not a general article as you have so humbly described. In my opinion you have covered the whole universe and whole mankind. You have beautifully put the philosophy of life in terms of Debt and Gift and explained with your personal examples of life events. Every moment of life is to be treasured.

    If LIfe is a debt then how it is to be paid back. For this you have categorized Debt into three types. 1. Debt to Creation, 2. Debt to Parents and Debt to knowledge. Repaying these Debts in one’s life time is our Dharma. For repaying these Debts, one has to do his/her duties diligently so as to achieve Moksha. This has been our thought process from generations that the purpose of life is get liberation from the cycle of Life and Death. For centuries, to follow the path of Dharma and doing our duties diligently has been the Mantra to achieve Salvation. You have given deep insight into the traditional Indian Philosophy of Life.

    The other contemporary thought process borrowed from the western world is that the Life is a Gift of God. This philosophy says that attract more instead of giving back. Celebration and Laughter are the best Gift of Life. Today’s young people take life as a Gift instead of Debt. Enjoyment, adventure and exploration are considered more meaningful. But as these people grow, disagreements, break ups and emotional breakdowns increase.

    The best part of your blog is where you describe life as a two way process of giving and taking. The balance in life is most important for longevity. It is to be understood that there are dramatic uncertainties in life. Our life hangs in doubt and therefore, neither life can be taken lightly nor for granted.. The gift of time, skill, and ideas is as important as money.

    The giving is expansion and what you become in the process of giving is even more important. Even if Life is considered a Gift,it can not be wasted in sensory pleasures. Finally you have ended the blog with a Quote from a French writer and philosopher, “God gave us the Gift of Life, it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. You have given directions to coming generations to learn the art of giving and live a balanced life firstly to achieve meaning to life and ultimately the attainment of Moksha.

  6. Professor Tiwari, You words are some of the more simple and profound descriptions of what life is and how we should consider our place that I have read. These frames of debt and gift highlight the immense nature of what we have to consider as part of our own existence and something that I fear our societies have forgotten. While you are one of the few that clearly understands this moral imperative of being aware of your ability to give to others and to nurture, the society focus on pleasure and power are helping to destroy that humanity you so elegantly described. The current challenges of the world through this most recent pandemic are only a stress on the underlying cracks that I fear our countries had in their foundations. Just like the unending experiment with our environment has introduced changes in the global climate, our loss of comprehension of the immense potential of life is changing the direction of humanity in ways that I fear is not sustainable. The disparity in income, the loss of family and the rise of hopelessness are more common as result of this shift in focus from the sanctity of existence to one concentrating on the base needs of power. I am hoping that others read your words and more critically, use them as a reference to how they live their own lives. Thanks for sharing these ideas.

  7. Dear Arunji, I am glad you’ve taken a break from Covid to present a profound and thought provoking essay on the essence of Life in your latest blog post. Reading it led me into a stream of consciousness experience and I give below the random thoughts that resulted.

    Life is indeed a gift and probably the gift of all gifts since no other gift can be enjoyed without this gift. But as with all gifts it is thereby a debt too though maybe not one that can be repaid to the giver but one that can & needs to be discharged. So it’s not an either/or concept but both, just as Life itself, or Consciouness, is one and all pervading (the non-dual principle of Advaita).

    The individual ego based consciousness (or life- I am using these two words interchangeably) is said to be an illusion (like a wave in an ocean seeming an independent entity) and that all Life is part of one Consciousness (say Universal Consciousness). This Universal Consciousness includes not just the everyday, manifest consciousness in people, creatures, plants etc but also the unmanifest consciousness pervading the universe and the involved consciousness in (so called) inanimate matter like rocks, rivers etc.

    Consciousness or life in rocks and rivers sounds other-worldly and had seemed far fetched when I first encountered the concept in The Life Divine by Aurobindo. But then when I woke from a dream remembered: a little reflection indicates that the river, the rock and even me in the dream were all projections of my consciousness. And though the ‘me’ in the dream felt like the waking me, there was no such sense of identification with the rock & the river in the dream though my consciousness was sustaining them!

    Returning to the question of gift or debt, an understanding & acceptance of Universal Consciousness, or at least the interconnectedness of all Life and existence (which may be a little easier to accept since supported by science, we breathe in what the plants breathe out, a butterfly’s fluttering in Calicut could cause a quake in California etc) helps in seeing life as both gift & debt. You rightly say “Giving expands consciousness”: giving could be seen as discharge of debt but it also enhances the gift of life. It is in giving that we receive, as St. Francis rightly says.

    Your thought of ‘Living in the awareness of incurrred debt’ is a great approach to life, as such awareness could lead to more giving which redounds to enhance the gift of life in the giver. And the understanding of Universal Consciousness, or interconnectedness of all life, could lead to the giving, or any action or karma, being ‘nishkam’, or devoid of doership or desire, which is the path to true liberation.

    I would like to close with the words of the Buddha to an acolyte who wished to know if he should do the right thing or the kind thing: “do the kind thing and you will always be right”

  8. Sir, reading your blog today has reinforced all that I have been thinkimg for quite sometime now. I have a long way to go before I can pay my debts or do my bit for the society at large but yes that awareness is there in me that merely living for one’s own pleasure is not enough. There is a lot one can and must do for others as I am sliwly disvovering for myself. Petsonally, I have experienced losses which have had an impact on me and my thinkimg….sometimes for the good and sometimes not. I just hope that eventually I find a way to do all that I have wanted to do and make life better for others…in the process make the world a better place too.

  9. Dear Arun Tiwariji, Thank you for your article that causes one to introspect on life and also introduces all to the concept of the different Debts of life.

    In the Second adhyay of the Gita, Krishna counsels Arjuna to not be overwhelmed by death as it is but a natural human experience like birth, disease and oldage . he says that what happened before birth and after death is unknown ..only the middle part of life is known

    However one begins to wonder, on reading, how much does one really know about life other than the present moment that takes place.. the experiences of the past disappear into the folders of the memory that are not always accessible in the present and the actions in the present are governed by the available system space to run and function uninterrupted by the heavy applications called human emotions and intellect.

    And what will happen in the future no mortal can state with certainty

    In this uncertainty I beleive the only way out is in recognizing ones swadharma and upholding the duty in the best possible way until the last breath for when the time comes the Atman doesn’t hesitate in changing clothes and holds no debts to either Deva or Pitar or Rishi

    I believe the greatest gift is to recognize the Debt that we hold to our father, the creator and use the best of the talents he has bestowed us with to repay it. Lost in the material traps are those who do not see this gift and blessed are the tenants who are able to pay their debts to the Giver and Collector of all. Hari Om!

  10. Nice one Arunji…Message on “Life of austerity with integrity to build character” is such a noble one. With blessings from role models like you, wish that we can at least try to walk on such a path…

    Our nation is fortunate that we have had scholars born on this land since times unknown, who with their deep study, research, analysis and experiences; have presented us with the concepts like 3 debts, 4 ashramas, 5 koshas and so much more… They could slice and dice the meaning and purpose of life in so many different ways arriving at some amazing global concepts like Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaha, Ekam Sat Vipraha Bahudha Vadanti and so on. Even fraction of these concepts adopted at the global level, have potential to make this planet an amazing place to live and flourish together..

    And may enlightened scholars like you, keep bringing such pearls of wisdom to larger & larger audience for higher and higher good!

  11. The title has a great depth in itself which is very well reflected in the article under the heading. I am still not clear is a life debt or a gift?? Whatever, it is it’s beautiful. Someday we feel like its gift when things worked accordingly as we may wish but the other day its debt when we are just living. This Corona time had got us confused about what is actually living lifelike, I am afraid to go out of house fearing of catching infections, I want to go visit my parents but can’t as they live in a different city, I can’t call them here what if they get infections while travelling. But I am still grateful for the numerous memories and experience, life is worth living and learning from all the moments, not to be wasted.

  12. Dear Arun Ji, Gift and debt are same for some one who does not earn them. Gift is free and debt is never paid back so is free anyway. Unfortunately most of us don’t realise the value of life till we experience by ourselves and never learn from others experiences. There are very few wise persons who learn from others and use gift or debt with care.

  13. Sir your blog has come at a time when our belief system is severely shaken. I am particularly upset to see how badly American handled coronavirus shock. I studied and worked there many years and returned rather reluctantly to honour my parents’ wishes. But what happened there now left me a little confused. The coronavirus can infect anybody, but African Americans have died in disproportionate numbers, especially in New Orleans, Chicago and Detroit, and even in New York.

    The role of African Americans in building the great United States of America is a well settled issue and I thought after two Presidential terms of President Barack Obama have sealed it for good. But the way things are now rolling out it appears that American nation has not settled its debt to the African Americans.

  14. Dear Uncle, Let me put a different point of view forward: “As per me this universe is conscious and is full of cosmic objects operating at different realms of consciousness e.g. Sun is conscious. Human being is just another cosmic object lierally made up of stardust. As per research studies, Humans and their galaxy have about 97 percent of the same kind of atoms (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and phosphorus), and the elements of life appear to be more prevalent toward the galaxy’s centre.

    In cosmic evolution of billions of years, humans as cosmic objects are very new. Every cosmic object goes into endless cycles of taking birth and dying, the universe will die and will born again, stars will die and born again, and so on. Also each cosmic object has its constituents which also goes into this endless cycle of birth and death. Example humans are born and die but inside our body at cellular level, billions of cells are born and die each day. So just for the sake of our discussion if we talk of one human being, then human starts dying the moment he is born. We all know we have limited time before we die. The objective of this endless cycles of birth and death is just one – to maximize the human potential as then we can enhance the human consciousness (as a whole) to next level.

    As unless we do it in the limited time we have, we are just taking birth and dying without contributing anything towards this human cosmic object which is still trying to find its place in universe and trying to get to the higher realm of consciousness. Now science, religion, yoga etc ..all these are tools developed by our ancestors so everytime we don’t have to start the process from scratch. We can already use these tools to maximize our human potential and to go to next level and to next level and so on.

    So I actually don’t understand the concept of life as debt or gift. We are here just for one purpose – to maximize our human potential and to contribute towards developing the consciousness of this human cosmic object to higher realm. Now there is no one single way to maximize human potential as its so multifaceted. You can be scientist, poet, engineer, writer, doctor, religious scholar, traveler etc and each one is contributing in its own way. Though many people will live a below par or ordinary life or life of ignorance (for whatever reasons) and will not be able to contribute anything. Lately that’s more of the case with new generation.

    So I believe these concepts of life as debt or gift are just created to keep us humble and happy and sane so we are on right track during our life to serve its true purpose and nothing else. As if we think it as debt then we will try to repay it and if we think it as gift then we may cherish it. Same way the process of giving is another concept to help other human beings and bringing them on this right track. I am not sure if all this is making sense or if I am able to explain it clearly.

    The last thing I want to add is that in order to maximize human potential, most important thing required is passion and free mind and free spirit. Therefore for me life has always been about being passionate about something, being free, maximizing my human potential and about finding my place in cosmic realm. Though I do count my blessings at each moment – again a tool developed to value the process of life. And may think it as debt or gift sometimes but then it’s not how I see it at large.”

  15. Thank you for sharing this excellent write up sir. Fully agree that we have to give and during this process of giving we have to become. Acutely aware of this, hope to reach that state of giving and becoming.

  16. I felt the opening of this article very emotional and contemplative. The title itself is quite philosophical. This article stirs and introduces prime questions about our existential purpose. You have embedded the principle of debt and its repayment as the actual definition of dharma. As a reader, I feel much more awake and thankful after studying this article.

  17. Thank you so much sir for the blog, Its God’s grace that I had been your student. Very thoughtful writeup, and i also take Life as a precious gift of God and if not used in the way it should, then we disrespect the Giver who only wants us to bless us and make us a blessing to many. God has given us the freedom to choose if we want to be giver or only keep taking and the latter is easy. With this covid all would have realised that we have no control over things and if we sow good we will reap good. We are all born for a purpose and with harmony we need to fulfill that purpose. I pray that Almighty would bless us all and would help us in sowing good.

  18. A very well-timed write-up, Sir, as occurrences across the globe make us ponder on life’s uncertainty and therefore, its purpose.

    You have beautifully brought out how, no matter whether one views life as a debt or a gift, the well-lived life is one where one gives – whether time, skills, ideas, things or money.

    Some people are natural givers; others must be coaxed into giving. But even the latter, after their desires have been met to a considerable extent, do demonstrate a desire to give. “What you become in giving” — this feel-good factor, is perhaps a goal that all people crave, even if subconsciously.

    My main takeaway is — “life is a two-way process of giving and taking”. For givers to give, there must exist takers, and they must know how to accept graciously what is given, knowing that One Consciousness runs through everyone. Who you become in the process of humble receiving is also significant!

    If God be the real doer, both the giver and the taker need to live and act in utter humility. Debts are thus, settled bothways; desires are fulfilled, leaving no reason finally for the mortal coil to remain.

  19. Without touching the contemporary issues you have posted a refreshing blog dealing with the philosophical paradigm of life Prof Tiwariji !

    You have thoughtfully embedded the exploration from time immemorial for the purpose of life and spiritual enlightenment.

  20. Dear Uncle, I have learnt life’s precious most lessons from you only. I am one of those many privileged people to learn such learnings from you in person. This blog adds to those and gives me a greater insight to life.

    A person crossing his/her limitations and not getting trapped in them lives life the right way. Only when one’s life is burdensome one asks to himself “Is there a reason for me to live?” However when one feels blissful he/she never asks “Is life a debt or a gift?” Thus, to begin with, one should make a conscious effort to at least live one day of the week without being agitated, irritated, anxious or anything like that. Being alive is in itself a grand thing. Why waste it?

    We don’t have to know a lot of things in life to make a lasting difference in the world. But we do have to know a few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them.

  21. A very profound and thought provoking article involving deep analysis of philosophical questions. Since your views are anchored in Hindu scriptures and the theme is rooted in Karma theory, let me use the karma lens, to start with.

    The wheel of life must continue until the soul has Karma attached to it. The cycle of birth, life, and death will continue until all Karma is fully consumed. When one revolution of the wheel (one life) is completed, life begins again with a rebirth. The process of rebirth continues until there is no balance in the Karmic account. This is how the law of Karma works.
    In this way, life is an infinite chain of cause/results of actions (Karma) in the past. As we sow, so we reap. Desire produces karma. We work and exert to acquire the objects of our desires. Karma produces its fruits as pain or pleasure. Karma is a passport for birth. Karma needs a body. Hence we will have to take birth after birth to reap the fruits of our karmas. However, Karma operates independent of any deity or process of any divine judgment.

    If seen from this perspective, life is potentially a gift or debt earned by oneself for oneself, proportionate to the admixture and permutation combinations of punya or papa actions coming from previous births. Man, therefore, is himself a contributory factor for his life in the form of rebirth, partly arising, interalia, out of papas of earlier births. If he is going to use this birth to get over the papas and redeem himself, it is potentially a gift to himself. On rebirth, man avails, yet again, the same reservoir of opportunity in the garb of similar or dissimilar, favorable or unfavorable circumstances, to turn life into a gift or embellish the gift or reduce/ enhance / maintain status quo of papa karmas. He is the architect of his own fate.

    In a transactional sense, by thus acquiring rebirth , man comes with some assets and some liabilities to dispense with. With fresh lease of life, there is a recasted profit or loss account/debit and credit account waiting to be tallied or balanced at the end of this life. Conversely, when there is no birth it means no loss and only profit, since he has finished his karma and merged with the divine. Accounts are deemed settled and hence the concept of ‘ gift’ of life ceases to exist, as he has used life/lives to surpass life itself. So ‘no life’ is the only gift in an absolute sense. At best, human life can be called a preconditioned gift. It is therefore, a gift in a relative sense.

    It is a matter of becoming a gift or debt depending on how dharmic a life one has led. Hence, whether this life is, in the ultimate divine judgment, a gift or debt is decided at the end of this birth and not at the beginning of the birth. If he is born again, then that life is a gift, gets negated or diluted according to the varying degrees of papas and punyas .Consequently, he has also left debts for himself to be paid off for a certain next cycle of life. In all this, there is no physical debt. There is no external or physical giving or taking of gift. It is a debt or a gift one qualifies/disqualifies to give oneself. The above is premised on the karma of past lives-oriented perspective. This pertains to karma yoga and not just karma alone. The attitude with which karma is done makes it Karma yoga or just karma.

    Alternately, we can view life from a goal-oriented perspective, from the other end of the telescope, which is also the other side of the coin. Life is a gift if we have the vision of truth, which one gains with healthy attitudes. This is Gnana yoga. If the life led is devoid of holistic knowledge of supreme Truth then it is a debt. Therefore, Sastra says it is a debt so that you live a life that will help you to gain that vision. Karma yoga is the pathway to Gnana yoga . So three debts are mentioned. One to Rishis for having given us Sastras. This debt is repaid by studying Vedas . Another debt is to ancestors – pitris – for their role in my being what I am . This is repaid by doing the regular rituals and remembering them. The third debt is to gods called deva rinam. This is repaid by doing daily rituals and worshipping them through puja, etc.

    One more dimension needs mention. So far, discussions have pertained to individual life with individual karmas. This is called yashti karma and pertains to the journey of an individual soul. But there is something called samashti karma, which is the karma of the entire creation. When we apply this to corona, it means that because of the accumulated, collective and overwhelmimg papas of the majority, all lives have to suffer rendering life debt-ridden. overriding the gift of life. One mans gift of life is another man s debt of life and so on. There can only be collective redemption. But that’s another story for another day.

  22. Sir, the article has so much truth in it……’Whatever you think about, focus on, read about, talk about, you are going to attract more of into your life’…. This sentence sums up that if we train brain to think negative, we give significance to negative content and talk negative, Universe will give that back. Life just gives what it has to give, its us with our own ways feel debt or gift.

  23. Dear Sir, very true and apt lines. This is a concept which all religions and faith too preach in same manner. Its said that health, wealth and accessories which we receive as gift during our child birth, also add a responsibility towards us that, if we have something more in high volume, we should share accordingly with other fellow humane beings, whom dont possess. God and nature have created every humane, animals and various aspects of nature in same pattern that everyone has some negatives and some positives and some rare features. The problem is when we start thinking and behaving purely selfish manner and want all features and accessories of life only to us.

  24. Very nicely described what one’s life should be. Giving provides immeasurable satisfaction and happiness. In these times of misery and agony reading such though provoking articles gives a great solace. Your message gave me some happiness and I am active today. These days everything seems uncertain, even the next moment seems uncertain and future looks much much worse. Unfinished tasks and unaccomplished targets all are haunting. Lost opportunities are staring at me but must be taken in stride thinking what ever is destined will only happen. By worrying about the uncertain future is a waste. So attending to duty almost daily.

  25. Thank you Sir for sharing such a beautiful thought about Life. Very nicely elaborated. Life is all about Karma….

  26. Namsakaar Arunji, This fortnight’s topic is a welcome change away from the current scenario – back to Basics- of human life. Hindu Scriptures say that there is a long delay in getting the birth as a Human, after completing the 84 Lakh births. One must do best with it and to achieve Moksha for the soul is the only goal. But during the journey of birth to death we need to be guided by our scriptures on the way to live the life and once again scriptures are our instruction manual.

    Life is also a gift not for enjoying worldly pleasures but to be engaged in the service of God and mankind. As per Vachnamrut Gadhada section II – 11, the same karma that we do, if they are done as per the commands of God and Guru and without selfishness (Niskaam) all those karm will be counted as Bhakti. Ishvashya Upanishad says त्येन त्यक्तेन भुंजीथाः “Be Happy by giving up” The path shown by God would automatically include, repayment of our debts too.

    We are lucky to have got the parasmani (If we recognize it) of God and Guru and if we can surrender to him while doing our karma, we will definitely attain Moksha.

  27. Arun ji, very thought provoking and well written. Life is a debt as well as a gift. We have to repay Deva, Pitru and Rushi Runas for what we are today by following certain rituals. The concept of breathing akin to taking and giving is very appropriate. I left my corporate job to start 108 emergency services in India was part of giving back to society. I am grateful to Dr Kalam for his presence in EMRI to make me give back more and more. I experienced Joy of giving back as my Dopamine have increased to give satisfaction, Oxytocin have increased to improve my attachment and frontal Cortex activity expanded to adhere to morals. LIfE for me is Leadership, Innovation for Execution.

  28. Dear Arun Tiwari ji, It has always been a learning experience to interact with you with different forms of communication, be it be a book, a blog, a talk or a walk. Few of the thoughts which came to my mind when I read the blog on DEBT – GIFT and LIFE were:

    -Lucid presentation of core of eastern and western philosophies on purpose of life
    -Informative since several pertinent cross references were cited
    -Inspiring, owing to the quotes from Indian scriptures to international philosophers
    -Thought provoking as to what one has to choose between the two
    -Created an opporunity for an introspection

    But for a doctor with about four decades of professional experience in the business of saving lives, one durable take-home message is BECOMING WHILE GIVING (who you become in the process of giving).

    Wholehearted thanks to the reference of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and sharing your DIVINE experience. Like me, many of the readers must have read two or three times the blog with keen interest to enjoy the essence and nectar of these paragraphs.

  29. Thank you Sir for sharing this insightful article. Interestingly, I was watching Mahabharat recently and understanding the teachings of Lord Krishna and Bhagwad Gita. I was young when my parents had narrated the stories and teachings and now, I wanted to know the level of my understanding as a young adult living in the contemporary times.I resonate the same thought as yours. Life should not be wasted. Taking it as a debt or gift can differ from person to person.
    What I have learnt from the teachings is that God is life. And life is God. We are a part of him. Each human is a part of him. And each human’s life should be treated with the same respect and admiration. We are made up of earth and the only thing that matters is the soul. The soul’s prime aim is to unite with God. And that is only achieved when we can understand the true meaning of life and sacrifice the negative desires like love, lust, greed and anger. Our commitment should be towards God.

    And after hearing these words, I take Life both as a gift and a debt. It is a gift to be nurtured and taken care of and a debt to be paid back by following the almighty’s footsteps.Adulthood deviates us from these pure teachings as we are caught in the maze of achieving unattainable heights and taking small failures as the biggest failures of our lives. Not realizing that the one who doesn’t give up after a failure and the one who doesn’t pride over his success is the one who has understood the true meaning of life and that everything works according to God’s plan. Our duty is only to mold and work in the directions he provides us. Ultimately, things will work out and we will realize that it was all worth it. Being honest and persistent in everything we do should always be the aim. I will henceforth always try to remember that and apply these teachings in my life.

  30. Life sure is debt and a gift. As a young individual we would like to treat it as a gift, have as many experiences as possible, and explore new things. In a way, we try to ‘live a life.’ But, it’s not until later we acknowledge the responsibilities. We try to make ends meet, own our actions. There is a time we run after things, things that probably wouldn’t mean anything until later age. It’s all about priorities and priorities do change as time goes by. Life is a two way street, we take what is given to us and we should give back what is needed and what is capable of us. It’s about being grateful to what we have and not complain about the wants that we cannot have.

    Life is about being grateful, true to oneself, selfless, trying to make a difference, have that positive impact over people. The purpose of life, the soul searching, the meaning of life, they are all about acknowledging the life we are given, the opportunities given, the mistakes made, the lessons learnt, the hardships faced, them happy and miserable instances, helping out wherever we can and however we can, the person we have become experiencing all of this. Debt and gift coexist!

  31. Dear Arun, very thought provoking. I particularly appreciated the statement ‘what we become in the process of giving’. It is the transformation within which brings meaning to life.

  32. Life is gift.. and also a debt.. and all the teachings for life from birth to death..have brought out essence of gratitude to all to love, serve and help…and to live selflessly. In the web of worldly desires, aspirations and egos..slowly the gratitude is lost and selfishness rules the roost. Though it is the world order in this Kaliyuga, but it is not a rule. We need not be like every one. We can break the set themes to create ours to spin again the sense of gratefulness to creater, parents, elders, teachers, society, mother Earth and the siblings who enable us to develop what we are today.

    Serving them to our ability is possible and it requires a mind-set. Hence it is possible to be debt free in this life itself we live in our conscious. The life as a gift concept is part of subconscious that dominates when we forget to remain grateful. Hence balancing life both as debt and also as a gift is possible, but needs conscious efforts to break the shackles of slavery to the concept of Me and Mine. When consciousness breaks this bondage We and Ours become prevalent to become one in unison with all the Panchabhootas…Prithwi, aap, tej, vayu, aakash… to attain moksha from all eternal things. But what is important is to leave a milestone that may become a benchmark or a cornerstone for generations to inspire…

  33. Life is best enjoyed when it is shared or given. It is said that we should gift what pains us. With these few words, I agree to what you have written.

  34. Prof Tiwari your discourse on our existence upon this planet as a fleeting phenomenon is accurate and timely, sadly death knows no borders and is no respecter of status among humans. As you celebrate the life of your late father, please accept my sympathies.

    The Bible has many passages addressing this very subject and has given many insights into it one is found in Job 14:1-2 (KJV) ‘Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not’. Its no wonder that everyone who is born dies and you as correctly put it “We live as water spilt upon the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. How seriously, then, ought we to view life? How desperately should its moments be treasured?”

    While the questions you have raised call for serious soul searching, answers to them have never been standardized nor customized from the outside of ourselves, they only can be answered if one pauses to think and address them individually as no two people on this earth are the same not even identical twins. They call for a Divine power out of us to come in us and work the transformation. Individual answers provide a fertile ground for harmony as they would be complementary and not competitive with other people’s views, a nursery for respect and peace in a world that has limited supply of the same.

    The Holy Bible has gone further while addressing this very subject in Psalm 90:10 – 12 The years of our life are threescore and ten, or even by reason of strength fourscore; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of thy anger, and thy wrath according to the fear of thee? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.(emphasis supplied).

    What we all need is the wisdom to occupy efficiently the time between our birth and the day we shall draw our last breath! This is best obtained by allowing our eyes to transcend the obvious and common but to emphatically observe the real need of those around us, also going beyond the mundane and status quo carried in the old adage ‘how can I solve all the world’s problems?’ forgetting the fact that to some of us are the whole world to some of them, you can do all that is in your power in the catchment area of your sphere of influence, bringing joy and happiness that otherwise would not have been realized if you had not done anything.

    Consumerism has replaced compassion in so many of our kind, the desire to won everything that is attractive has eroded self-control/temperance with sad consequences. We are addicted to collecting things and attaching value to things, fashionable things these are, at the expense of filling the needs of human beings around us. This we need to address as a matter of urgency if our existence is to be of any greater meaning before it influences the change that we desire.

    This can be done, by each of us, not once but this has to be done every day, till it becomes a habit, for Ubuntu: “I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours: I am because we are.”

  35. Thank you Prof. Tiwari for a great article and topic for discussion!

    Life is indeed a gift from God and we have a duty to give thanks to God by living a purposeful life and improving the lives of others while we’re on earth.
    This particular blog reminds me of a few things.

    I’m reminded of my father who loved the Lord and lived accordingly. This week in fact marks 18 years since his passing on his 100th birthday, June 15, 2002. I’m grateful for the kindness and generosity he showed others and the example that gave me. What a wonderful way to pass – after a birthday party on year 100! Another small gift from God I truly believe.

    I’m reminded of the book I read at a fairly young age by Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning. The book describes Viktor’s time while a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps and how the strong love for his wife is what pulled him through that horrific experience. We should be grateful to God for providing us the wonderful gift of love and related experiences of love that comes with life.

    Finally, I’m reminded of the following which was given to me by a successful person who said he recites this first thing each morning:

    “This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important, because I’m exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss; good, not evil; success, not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it.”

    Life is a beautiful gift from God which we should be grateful for each single day of our lives.

  36. Well articulated blog as always and nicely put thoughts.

    Indeed as per our Indian Scriptures there is a notion of debt (multiple of thtose) associated with life. We are expected to repay this debt while living our life. Taking care of parents in old age is very much important. Some take care, Some dont and some cannot due to various situations such as globalizations etc. In the current econimic situation, i would like to not treat this as a debt but more of a moral responsibility. This is because the materialistic aspect of our living already has driven people into too much debt.

    I also like to look at life as a gift. A gift which cannot be necessarily measured in financial currency but more in terms of having a family, friends, family, education, mentors etc. As i mature (or so I think 🙂 ) spiritually, i have learnt to be grateful for every single thing I have in life, forgive and seek forgiveness and keep working towards finiding your true purpose. This should happen daily and whenever possible grab the opportunity to help anyone either via your services or financially etc. Though i believe helping others byt providing your time is more fulfilling as well.

    I need to put my head around a bit more on the paragraphy “This drama of dualities”.. I willl think more on this.

    Ir-respective of how people across the world live, and treat the life as a gift or debt to pay, I am aligned in the thought when you say “life is also a two-way process of giving and taking.” This is exactly how to look at it. It is all about balance just like yoga. You need to bring in balance in your head, mind, soul, physical body and overall living. Hence making spiritualism a part of life from early years will help along with the accessibility to mentors. This will groom the next generation to lead a balanced way of life with respect to everyone around them and give back as welll from an early age. This frees you to look at life as a gift or a debt and help you lead it in a right way.

  37. Thank you so much Arun sir for this wonderful blog which takes us deep into our consciousness and makes us think towards a more meaningful life. 

    My take from the blog is that we need to have a meaningful and higher purpose of life. 
    Mul-Aksharmurti Gunatitanand Swami says in his talks: “We are born to be Akshar Rup!” (Swami ni Vato 4:99). It is important to establish the purpose of our human birth. 

    Any creatures; ants, dogs, fish, birds, lions; all animals do three basic things in and as part of life: (1) Build a home, (2) Get food, (3) Reproduce. Though they don’t have any sort of education, job, bank balance or knowledge of reproduction, they still carry out these functions very well and have been doing so for centuries. In fact, they are doing it better than most of us. If we spend life just for any of the above three fulfillments, we have lived a life of a normal animal. Yes, the difference might come in the size of the home, quality of food and number of children but nothing more really significant in the eyes of nature. That leads us to think above and beyond what we can achieve from life as humans.

    If we were allowed to take a calculator in the mathematics exam hall, and if we fail in the exam for not being able to calculate, whose fault is it? Humans are gifted with the intellectual ability to think and execute those thoughts into action. Most importantly is that we get ideas and we have the potential to convert that idea into a shape. This blog reminds me of the famous thought – “The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude!” – William James. The power of thoughts can help us understand life, the soul and elevate it – to be AksharRup, as mentioned by Arun sir in the blog as to get “Moksha” – the utmost purpose of life.

    Thank you so much again Arun sir for inspiring through your thoughts, blogs and books. 

  38. Very thoughtful, and, thought-provoking piece! Congratulations.

    Man’s true yearning is to know the Purpose of life. It’s an eternal quest. Man seeks it in sensual pleasures, and finds these are very short lasting and usually designed to serve a physiological need. Then, if one is evolved enough, one seeks answers in the mental world. What follows are the finer things that arise from knowledge coupled with imagination. What you see around in the world and which we deem as progress are a direct result of this subtle union.

    However, a very few individuals become the cradles for this accomplishment of humans. Most come, eat and procreate, and then depart. Are these lives valueless as compared to the more accomplished- scientists, philosophers and leaders of men? Who can say. All humans are said to be made in the image of God.

    In my personal view the purpose of life is somewhat different. It is to seek our maker and merge in Him. The hidden message of all religions is exactly this. In fact religion is derived from the word – religos or relinking. With our Self, our Creator. All living things are destined, slowly, to attain that end. Like the Ganges, which starts as a pristine stream, and although over time it becomes large and dirty, it eventually merges in the vast ocean. And evaporated to reach the highest white peaks of the Himalayas. And thus finds fulfilment.

    We are all – souls- like the uncountable molecules of H2O in the vast stream which is the Ganges of life. We should “flow” with it as life unfolds for us. And enjoy as much as we can with acceptance. And thus seek union with our Source.

    Await the Grace!

  39. I was a Boy Scout in the United States. The Boy Scout motto was “Always leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.” So, the best thing to do when you encounter a mess on the ground is to clean it, regardless of who might have made it. The constant quest for self-improvement and for improvement of our planet should be our goal. That applies to the current novel coronavirus pandemic. Rather than pointing fingers, organizing consumer boycotts against China, and blaming China we just need to solve the problem through developments of treatments and vaccines. You should always have the future in mind, and try to help the next fellow coming round the pike, As was stated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Psalm of Life:

    Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave our footsteps on the sands of time;
    Footprints, that perhaps another,
    Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
    Seeing, shall take heart again.
    Let us, then, be up and doing,
    With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labor and to wait.

    So, your observation is correct that we are on this planet a very short time, and should not waste our brief time here. Every day is a blessing, and we should make the most of every day.

  40. Sir, Of all the sentences which you expressed here, this one touched me most – ‘The most sobering aspect of life is its dramatic uncertainty.’ All of us from our own vantage points experience life. What is a purpose of life? Trying to discover the point of life is an often unrewarding journey. It feels like the answer we’re looking for is forever out of reach. Gift?Debt? Human life is truly a very precious. Each and every moment of human life brings us an opportunity. An opportunity to think, to feel, to judge, to act, to develop and to express. Life is Yin Yang. Drama of dualities is created to teach us about oneness of all. My takeaway from you is..Live Beautifully to Leave Beautifully. Regards.

  41. I believe that life is an opportunity to develop and express ourselves in multiple ways. Although many things are beyond our control, we still have considerable scope to shape our lives. The lives of people like Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam bears testimony to human potential and a person’s capacity to mold and shape his or her life.

    I think life is a debt as well as a gift. However, nobody should think of life as a burden. Unfortunately, life does become a burden for some people. The recent suicide of a well known actor is a case in point. This is painful. We must strive for a better society where people have more fulfilling lives. Thank you for your valuable blog post.

  42. Sir, people who treat life as a “gift,” run the risk into believing that they ‘own’ their mind and body and it is something they can do with as they please. Their body is to eat and drink and their mind is to create and believe any fantasy. They are not tied to any obligations. Thank you for reminding in your simple and direct way that life is part of a deal, so to speak, or to be more precise, part of a contract from which serious obligations follow, obligations to ourselves as well as to others, to society. The indifference shown to the migrant workers by the city people and even authorities is going to bite them very bad.

  43. One’s life, as per Indian scriptures and traditions, appears to be in perpetual debts. There is nothing like ‘one time repayment’ to these debts. They continue to exist till the debtors are alive or you depart from this world. Further, they even influence your next birth as per the rules of Karma. On the other hand, when life is taken as a ‘gift’, it implies enjoyment, adventure, exploration, laughter and celebrations including innovations.

    Debt or gift, the life must be lived and lived well. How does one achieve the status of ‘living well’ in life? It is not an either or or situation between ‘debt’ and ‘gift’; one must strike a balance between these two situations. While enjoying the ‘gift’ , one must not ignore pending ‘debts’ and continue to clear them to the extent possible while meeting other obligations lying outside the scope of debts in perpetuity.

  44. Indeed, Life is a Gift or Debt depends on visualisation of the moment. That you have so well expressed it in the moment of FLEETING thought does provoke the bearing of existence. The Peace, Calm, Happiness and Nirvana are all the manifestation of our Mind. It depend on how one relates with the Reality of this existence .

  45. Respected Sir, Thanks for informative article. Every experience is part of His (God) divine plan and we are just executing the plan.

  46. A well written piece on the purpose of life. Enjoyed reading it. Many of us want our lives to mean something to us, others around us and are ready to live our lives to make an impact, to creating positive change, to doing more than just making ends meet. Great souls you had taken inspiration from were on a quest to find their purpose, or find a deeper expression of it even as they went about doing their destined roles.

    Dr. Kalam as a citizen, first and foremost, has always considered it as his privilege to give without an obligation or expectation and without making it known in accordance with “but when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth”. With Dr. Kalam as a role model, we can come into balance and connection with each other and life by giving from the heart, with all our heart.

    Every day as we crumble more apart and yet fall more together all at the same time, may we find our calling. For decades, I have known the joy Dr. Kalam felt in giving away a considerable part of himself to raise people up, to help them live their dreams and help many meet their needs. Giving and gratitude takes practice.

  47. Profoundly meaningful and beautiful. Thank you, sir, blog’s fortnightly dose of wisdom is addictive.

    Am I wiser after reading it? Sure.
    Did I get a new and better perspective? Yes.
    Did it inspire us to live well? Indeed.

  48. Another thought provoking post sir. As I am student so many times I ask question from myself regarding different incidents happened in my life and how those incidents helped me in shaping my life especially as a person which includes my mental strength, my thinking etc. So when I start with myself “Life is a story” we all are reading/watching from the day we all take birth and that “story” ends with our death. Meanwhile all moments of happiness, sadness, etc. comes one by one just to help out in moving towards our ” yatharth ending”. So for me life can be sum up in these lines “mere do chaar khawaab hai jinhe mai assman sa duur chahata hu…..Zindgai bhale hi gumnaam rahe par mauth mai mashoor chahata hu”.

  49. Sir, it was such a thought provoking article. Indeed these times due to materialism and competition to become better from each other ‘we’ human beings have forgotten the true essence of life. Nothing ‘too much’ is good. We all know that balance is everywhere exist in the world and I presume that’s why the world exists.

  50. Sir, Our life is coexistence with people around us. Each day passes with giving and taking from surroundings. If we are doing a lecture to an unknown audience it must consider as our duty bonded by gifts of people. Every one of us is living a life of bonded man. I consider parents are eternal source of light to think,act and take. We are social animal so first priority should be to oblige social norms rather individual considerations. COVID period underlines this fact. Live a life for social cause is very successful rather than to be a personalised and satisfied life. God gives us gift with not the intention on expecting gift from us.Thank you. God bless.

  51. Pranam Sir, You are right. However, personally I feel that paying all types of debt in anyone’s life is quite difficult. Sometimes people don’t want to spend time and money to repay these debt and sometimes nature doesn’t give people sufficient time and money to repay all. What best a person can do is to concentrate on one debt of his choice and repay fully, whether its God’s debt or Father’s debt or brahman debt its upon him to choose. In my view even if a person gives back something to the society to improve the lifestyle of poor and suffering humanity by doing any good work then he might be doing a fare deal with all including God.

    But to know these things someone must have a teacher/Guru like you in his life. At this stage of my life and career in Sydney, I feel my life is still a total waste until and unless I repay to my society, to my nation by doing something extraordinary which helps my citizens to get benefited and happy.

  52. Sir, Your blog this time has come as a fresh air in the coronavirus loaded mental space. The credit card- EMI culture had slaved millions of young people even before they started their families. I remember my father telling me very early in my life: ऋणशेषः अग्निशेषः च शत्रुशेषः तथैव च ।
    पुनः पुनः प्रवर्धन्ते तस्मात् शेषं न रक्षयेत् ॥ Any remainder of debt, fire and enemy grow rapidly again and again, hence no remainder should be maintained (debts should be completely paid off, fire should be completely extinguished, and enemies should be completely disconnected and neutralized by repositioning.

  53. Sir, your blog comes a day after the suicide of a 34-year old successful and loved film star. How can life be a “gift” because in order to have gift giving there must be a giver and a receiver, as well as something given. But though there may well be a giver of life, there is no receiver of life. I am not separated from “my” life, or “I” would not be at all. So many people make every individual functional and I have no doubt that to be alive is a debt. We are obliged to help, assist, serve people around us, connected as well as unconnected.

  54. Sir I come from Kumaon Hills. The congested, hectic life I lived in Delhi looks due for a rinse – a gift turned in to a debt. The new, slower pace of living—as experienced during lockdown—was like living in the crisp, clear mountains for a change. Like pilgrims, we may learn to stop and listen, enjoy the world around us, and appreciate our time together. Perhaps going forward there will be less traffic, distraction and greed. Thank you for this insightful writeup.

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