Say no to the dream merchants and face reality instead

by | May 15, 2020

Embed from Getty Images

When I look back at my life, I can see a shift in collective consciousness. When I was a teenager, getting educated and earning a salary was the goal given to me like most of the other youngsters of my age. Then I saw competition building up and with it, social acrimony on getting jobs. Our politicians played to the hilt on the sentiments of the educated youth, divided society and ruined the economy in the process. In 1991, the old system crumbled. The new ‘open economy’ brought in prosperity but also scaled up corruption and scams. 

Education was commercialized and professionals started working for money, diluting their standards and forgetting their principles. With everything on sale, including status, privileges and even honours, those who did not have money, walked into the snares of easy loans, propelled by their desires. Credit cards flooded the markets and purchases on EMIs become the order of the day. Television became a 24×7 desire shop breeding a ‘fair and lovely’ culture. People started living beyond their means and consumerism flooded the veins of our society. Addictions turned into fashions. 

With the coronavirus pandemic, the ‘merry-go-round’ came to a screeching halt. For a while, one couldn’t buy anything. Starting with the closing of malls, cinemas and restaurants, even home delivery of food, and online shopping were stopped. There was no alcohol and no cigarettes for a while during the lockdown. After the lockdown, fortunate will be those who shall have their jobs and salaries intact. But these will be only a few. For the majority of the people, default on their loans is staring upon them. The nightmare will not end even after the morning arrives. There is fear everywhere, crawling behind us, wherever we go.

While the government will find ways to help the poor and also help businesses remain afloat, no one is going to come forward to help the millions of people who will not be able to repay their loans. Many businesses will not restart. Money lost in the stock market will not be recovered in the foreseeable future. What will the migrants who returned home after the great ordeal do there now? As a society, how do we face this reality? Ponder upon four suggestions.

First, start saying ‘No’. Don’t cave into whatever happens. Resist, if fighting back is not possible. Let your tormentors figure out what all they can do without you. Trust your version of reality – what you see and feel by yourself – and not what is being told to you. Your resistance will protect you from your anger against this falsehood and will make you resilient. Had not Gandhiji demonstrated the power of civil disobedience (सविनय अवज्ञा) to startling affect? 

Recognize that there will never be accountability from those who are in powerful positions – your leaders, your bosses, your lenders, even your dominating family members and relatives. Some people will never be able to see your point of view or own accountability of their actions. Take the unfairness of this world in your stride. Do not feel like a victim and cry in helplessness. Endure the pain and you will emerge stronger. 

Grow out of your childhood wish habits. Stop getting upset when logic and reason do not prevail. Mostly in the short term, they do not. Stop believing that the other person will change. Your health, peace of mind and safety are the only things that matters. The rest is all nonsense. Anything that is harmful to you is bad, anybody who agitates you is wrong, and whoever puts you at risk is a criminal. Period! 

And finally, and most importantly, develop healthy detachment. Consider yourself as an immortal soul and this world as a sojourn. You are passing through what is going on around you as a traveler. This planet is not your permanent address. Even the people in your family and your colleagues are like co-passengers. They are sitting by your side only till their destination arrives, and not for a moment longer.  

All said and done, the world we live in not fair. The biggest problem of the modern world is income inequality and no individual effort can perhaps change this.  The income of top executives are not ten times, but hundred and thousand times the income of bench level people. When security staff, valet parking assistants, and the staff in malls and hotels see you splurging money, and serve you with fake smiles, they are actually cursing the inequal world. How to survive this and not succumb to is the issue.

The timeless teaching of the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita that the mind is superior to the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and the soul is even higher than the intelligence – इन्द्रियेभ्य: परं मन:, मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्यो बुद्धे: परतस्तु स: – can be ignored only to our own destruction. People of fickle minds, who are slaves to their senses, and deaf to their inner voices are doomed to perish at the end of their lives. Spend a few minutes every day to listen to your soul and discipline your mind and senses. You will realize that most of your desires are bogus and your dreams are delusions. Your money can send your child to a great school, but what if he lands up in some BoisLockerRoom?

The personal lives of neo-billionaires, the plight of neglected children growing up in nuclear families, and the loneliness of old people in ‘rich and modern’ societies should not become your reality, or that of your own family members. Your health – a good digestive system and sound sleep, life without loans, and harmony in the family are not small achievements. If you possess them, what more do you need? And if you don’t, of what value is all that you have achieved? 

MORE FROM THE BLOG

The Mystical Language of Numbers

The Mystical Language of Numbers

Is there an occult, divine or mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events? In ancient Greece, Pythagoras propagated the idea that reality at the deepest level is essentially mathematical. He and many after him believed that a system of principles existed behind numbers…

A Moment of Civilisational Pride

A Moment of Civilisational Pride

I was born in 1955 in independent India. When I look back today, without hesitation, the best moment in public life I witnessed is the construction of a grand temple and the consecration of the idol of Shri Rama Lalla in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024…

Heaven, Not Up There, But Right Here

Heaven, Not Up There, But Right Here

The Tower of Babel is mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 11:1-9). The prideful ancient Babylonians wanted to build a mighty city and a tower with its top in the heavens. The work remained incomplete after they were cursed to speak different languages…

50 Comments

  1. Thanks Sir for summing it up in simple words, Contentment is the key to living a fulfilling life, Unfortunately, when we hear of the unexpected end by persons we believed were successful, we begin to realize that many find it hard to remain content with what they have. We have learnt of motivation and the positive impacts of being motivated. But people seem to have a tough time coming to terms with reality and fail to look for help in dealing with tough realizations. So what’s next for them? Is it not a situation that can be helped?

    Depression seems to be a bigger killer now than ever. We have moral science classes at school. We push them to dream big, aim high. And what if they aren’t able to get there? do they simply pull the plug on themselves? Why haven’t we taught children to not be lured by the worldly demands or fancies and maintain a healthy mental balance. Why aren’t we preparing them to accept that things will not necessarily go the way they want? We work so hard to prepare our children for success and bright careers. But we forget to prepare them for tough, unexpected situations, rejections, disagreement, even to the point that they cannot compromise with their own family members.

    We need to re-work the moral science in schools to include emotional and social quotients as well. Let the child know that he can feel low or upset if things don’t go as planned, but he cannot sulk in that failure mode. He has to learn to find alternatives and carry on with life. We must necessarily address this aspect in our kids’ lives before we create a generation that takes away lives – their own or of others – before its begun. Schools and NGOs must take lead in this matter.

  2. Dear Arun ji, A wonderful piece and most of us fall in this trap. The surroundings and the teachings we give to our kids are responsible for the current status of the society. The CORONA did a wonderful thing by raising the red flag and if we don’t heed the warning it will be catastrophic for the humankind. The race must stop and exploitation of nature as well as other living beings including human need to stop. I am sure you will use these in your teachings through various lectures. The model of Sustainable Development must be reworked based on our self reliance. Well job done is great

  3. Namaskar Arunbhai, You’ve highlighted the very problem that this world has been facing for years. Do you think we can bring equality in this world by our own selves? We are too selfish in everything that we do! I think an external force like Covid19 (may be a crude example) is giving us message to think Unselfishly and make us understand that we are not the only being living on this planet that matters. On the other hand my mind also says that there is an absolutely fair Law of Karma that plays big role in inequality. You Reap what you Sow! This Law may be keeps all beings in line. Do you think this has a major influence on us.

  4. Dear Arun ji, I love reading your blog and more so your titles as they are thought provoking. This interim between the old normal and the new normal that is going to come has been a life how it probably ought to be. Our life still exists without the wants while catering only to the basic needs. The world will surely change and as long as we continue with what the past two months have taught us, it would be peaceful – Good digestion and sound sleep.

  5. This blog pointing the essential achievements in one’s life is a must read for today’s youth who (most of them) as you mentioned are addicted to ‘merry go round’ lifestyle. It is a fact that commercialism is deeply inherent in todays society unlike yesteryears where values and principles were the priority.

    I just hope we the Indian society learn the lesson and set our lives straight and happy.
    Hope the fresh morning brings a nice breeze and help the Indian society realize and re-evaluate its priorities.

  6. “Endure the pain and you will emerge stronger.” is perhaps a great lesson out of many lessons in this script.

    Amazing Sir!

    Keep Guiding us!

  7. In the blog you have lucidly elicited the state of social milieu by peeling back the facade of culture built by the dream merchants, Prof Tiwariji !

    Our nation has rich cultural heritage and will successfully face the reality with the value system carefully nurtured over the years.

  8. Dear Sir, What a wonderful blog it is. You have described the complete philosophy of life and the present situation bringing out the ills of society. You have raised the issue of inequality in terms of rich and poor, powerful and not so powerful, have and have nots’. These are the issues why, India has found it so difficult while dealing with the present COVID 19 situation in spite of the top leadership and excellent governance at the center. A very important and valid point that the open economy in 90’s brought economic gains but many ills like corruption came with it. Then the commercialization of education took place in India and all the education system and its values were destroyed.

    Corona-virus has exposed the artificial growth system of the country in a big way and it is going to take many years to come back and stabilize The economic challenges post COVID 19 is going to be an herculean task for any Government and the society as whole. Gandhian principles are very much valid even today and the power of disobedience can really act as a balance of power even in today’s times. .Today the situation is such that whatever happens, it is difficult to fix the accountability. The high and mighty are still getting away even after committing murders, atrocities and loot.

    Your spiritual mind is working when you are advising an individual to look at oneself through inward looking rather than trying to change others. The immortal soul and the world as its sojourn, is the true knowledge for mankind to understand and practice in these difficult times. You have beautifully ended with the teachings from Bhagvad Gita when you say that the man is a traveler in this world and he has no permanent residence here.

    Hopefully, world will change for better and the life will be more peaceful and fulfilling. Regards.

  9. Arun ji, one thing you said “healthy detatchment” resonates well with my father (who is 93 and healthy) always said “detached attachment” which is the real reality of this world. I get reminded of a poem I learnt in high school a river singing “men may come, men may go, but I keep on flowing forever”. Now I realize even the river cannot be there forever because of continental drifts that happen over hundreds of millions of years…..So, nothing is permanent….Even our earth may live for another 5 billion years until our star dies away after which earth will become a lifeless dead planet.

    But MAYA (illusion) controls our brains and it is the “hope” we try to live our lives with. However, in the process we loose our moral compass. One quote is true for today’s human life is “All the things I like in this world are either illegal, immoral or fattening”. I guess that is God’s way of telling us “Live in the Illusions until you die. We know nothing is permanent but we are after something all our lives. Life must go on may be for another 5 billion years in which many more deadly corona viruses may come and go and threaten the advanced superior life beings on earth (I mean humans may eventually evolve into another superior species or become extinct in the process). But, in my opinion viruses are part of life evolution on earth and struggle for existence between viruses and other superior living beings on earth will continue until virys finds itsy if synergy with other life girms.

    Corona virus in batsdoesnt kill bats – luveswith synergy. Anyway these evolutionary processes on earth will continue until earth becomes a dead planet, perhaps five billion years from now.

    Thanks again for stimulating thoughts. Stay home, Stay safe. I will try to stop by whenever that may be in the next six months or more, after corona is behind our lives and humans are back on the streets running for something they don’t know what it is ….

  10. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading what I have been experiencing for the last few months. While I am not one of those who has expensive tastes or feels the need to dine out often, I did have ny own fair share of things I used to spend indiscriminately on! It all changed since the lockdown and while initially I did have those moments when I would feel restless, today I believe I am a lot more in control and sorted.

    It is best to accept that life post the Coronavirus will not be the same and maybe in some ways its good that this change has happened. Maybe we all needed a jolt from the kind of life we were leading. I not saying I am completely there, but there is definitely this tendency to believe that having less is better than craving for more and then having a mental collapse if those things get out of reach. I hope I continue on this path and eventually tone down on the few things that I still crave for but are not really impoetant in the larger scheme of things.

  11. As this pandemic takes us through untrodden paths, I envy countries who have handled this with alacrity. To advocate a worry-free nation is truly a baptism of fire given the reality that stares at us. Most countrymen do not understand economy terms and definitions and they don’t care. All people know is, as long as they have some reserves they fare better. And the ones those who are worst positioned to weather this storm are the ones on the move, petrified and penniless.

    The neo-billionaires, businesses, open/closed economy, executives, NPAs and write-offs are Greek to those at the lower layers of hierarchical Indian economy. We cannot wake up happily and go to bed fully fed shutting our minds to the livelihood and existential issues faced by majority of our countrymen and their dependents, can we? Announcements of a slew of relief measures should not remain as announcements, at least till we outlive this crisis.

  12. Gandhian values enshrined the best elements of Indian culture – and it includes each and every Indian irrespective of religion or cast – but as you have pointed out, we moved away from it towards a consumer culture forsaking our value system and are paying the price of it. Growing up in joint families, children learnt to give and to share. Growing up in nucleus families of “hum do, hamare do” children grow up learning to take. Parents do not have the time for their children so they seek to make up with gifts. Its actually a culture of bribe, they are teaching.

    Soon the child learns to demand and so you have a generation of takers. Take without giving back..from nature,from neighbour to nature its just taking..for i,me,myself without a thought to giving back. Remember nature has a way of getting even. The pandemic is just a warning. Change to the gandhian simplicity of indian values..learn to give back.There is enough for everybody’s need but not for everyones greed. Civilizations got wiped out. Learn to live together,to care,to give and nature will carry you aloft.

    We are at the root of the problem.Honesty begins from the home. You cannot bribe the policeman and hope to have honesty in your system. We are harvesting in the country what we sowed in our home. Still time to think and change. Woe betide the wrath of Nature and the havoc that suffering humanity can cause.All the materialism will be wiped out and we will be left standing.Hope your readers understand your simple ,lucid appeal to reason.You have put it very succinctly.

  13. Income inequality is the central problem for both India and the United States. How can we resolve those income inequalities in a way that does not diminish incentives for the best and the brightest to make it to the top? With regard to the United States, this problem can be partially addressed by tax reform and vigorous enforcement of the U.S. antitrust laws.

    Our current world resembles the law of the jungle environment envisioned by Thomas Hobbes (nasty, brutish, and short) more than the idealistic world of John Locke. The inequalities in U.S. society have been thrust into bold relief by the COVID-19 pandemic. The persons most responsible for keeping ups safe–health care workers, first responders, police and fire personnel, make much lower salaries than they deserve. And African-Americans and Hispanics have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time to revisit our value system, and take care of those who take care of us.

  14. This is a fantastic analysis of the current situation and philosophically put. The questions raised by you are thought provocative and made your readers to think about the meaning of life. Societies and we are responsible for our fellow human being and travellers in life. Governments are not responsible for our collective well being.

  15. अहं ब्रहास्मी .
    तत्त त्वं असि .
    अप्पो दीपो भवः..

    The above three great wisdom, I learned when I started reading, listening other than my graduation course’s. Then my first reaction was its so simple, what is great deal in understanding these. In the mean time I realised that the relation between simple wisdom and its understanding is inversely related. One probable reason among many can be, we are living in merchant’s dream instead of our reality.

    Arun Sir, this blog of your’s is giving us courage and reason in saying no to that dream . Reflection of it catalyzing us to take a step closer to our reality.

  16. Amazingly portrayed sir especially for every youth who needed this type of “thought provoking and reality” antidote in this time. As every individual I must say we can easily agree with all the points. When I self analyze my self this question always comes in my mind “what I am doing today” will add in my life. We set goals then after achieving that goal we again reset new goals for ourselves. And very time in the process of resetting those goals we all squeeze our morality. We start becoming more and more selfish. And frankly this “selfishness” is affecting us and in larger picture our society.

    In schools they are teaching about new languages like French, German, etc. and forget to teach Moral Science, Humanities, etc. The parents of those children are equally responsible (Bois locker room case) these parents can discuss the marks, English talking, sophisticated life style but never discuss the true sense of knowledge and education. To give respect to every individual I don’t think they ever discuss with their kids.

    Further, you added about saying “NO”. Sir we live in a society were the most easy way of getting success is “pampering” and this pampering occurs because here system for promotion is “appraisal” which indirectly-directly means the bosses have all the power which they misuse and when the people who pampered their bosses comes in that position they similarly behaves like them. I do feel that when we divide this society in “poor and rich” we can also divide them in “morality and immorality” and to be very frank the order will be same. In every jobs the bosses have hijacked all the monopoly and worst part is the second class people are directly dependent on their bosses for their own growth. So until and unless we fix the accountability of the bosses I personally don’t see much change in this. And to change this “BOSS CULTURE” lots and lots of reforms in society is needed.

    I know that “Change comes from within” and I will pray that if this “change comes in all of us heart” we will see a better society. We got one independence on 15th august 1947 and one more independence is needed against the evils presents in our heart for a more beautiful society or I can say “RAM RAJAYA”.

  17. What an article….what an article…zabardast…not just enumerates the present situation, but also provides some tangible solutions to approach this unique situation in which we find ourselves as individuals and collectively as a nation & a global populace.

    First important point: “Don’t cave into whatever happens. Resist, if fighting back is not possible. Let your tormentors figure out what all they can do without you. Trust your version of reality – what you see and feel by yourself – and not what is being told to you. Your resistance will protect you from your anger against this falsehood and will make you resilient.”

    This is so valid especially when the media is going overboard on presenting lopsided facts and figures regarding the situation. Its like they are actually marketing the entire C-word with an agenda. For example, they show the number of cases rising each day, but what they conveniently don’t show is parallely the number of testing has also increased each day. So if you compare the figures over the last three months, the precentage is virtually the same, in fact declining slightly hinting towards a herd immunity growing amongst the populace.

    Second Important point: “Take the unfairness of this world in your stride. Do not feel like a victim and cry in helplessness. Endure the pain and you will emerge stronger.” This is such an empowering advice. This readies the individual to accept the fact that till humanity as a whole evolves to its Higher Plane of Existence, we will have situations where one just feels that there is severe inequity that needs to be addressed. Once you observe the situation in its present condition and in a detached manner, one moves from being a victim to being a game changer.

    Third and THE MOST IMPORTANT point:”Develop healthy detachment. Consider yourself as an immortal soul and this world as a sojourn. You are passing through what is going on around you as a traveler. This planet is not your permanent address. Even the people in your family and your colleagues are like co-passengers. They are sitting by your side only till their destination arrives, and not for a moment longer.”

    Spiritual Values are the key towards real LIVING. Without these values, one is merely existing driven by his emotions and desires. When one develops a healthy detachment, one starts to see the bigger picture and the focus than shifts from a senseless materialistic pursuit to things that really matter.

    Param pujya Pramukh Swami always said…In the joy of others lies our own….
    This may sound easier said than done. But when one is with the Guru, the whole thing turns around…believe me…under the Guru’s guidance, its easier done than said.

    Arjuna became clueless at the onset of the battle of Mahabharat in Kurkshetra, but then his Guru was the Lord Incarnate, and after listening to his Guru’s words, which are the nectar called Gita, he could see the bigger picture clearly and declared “Karishye tam vachanam”…will do as per Your Will….and moved headlong into the battle without a second thought, having full Faith in the words of his Guru, Lord Krishna.

    Thank you once again sirji for such an inspiring article. Jai Swaminarayan!

  18. In sub-conscious, our society stands divided. Many may find it difficult to digest but this a ground reality. The politicians, religious leaders, community leaders- all have contributed to this divide, which has percolated to our sub-consciousnesses. Now, for every ill in the society, we blame these leaders. But, they are impervious to our criticism.

    I wonder why we get carried away by the sermons of these leaders knowing fully well about their intentions. Why can’t we resist them at our own level! I think a greater responsibility for this lies on family upbringing (parents) and teachers. Education has been commercialised and so are the teachers. I had never heard about the capitation fee etc. when I was studying. Values of the family system have been largely corrupted. Now, who is the saviour for younger generation, who are most vulnerable?

  19. Amazing Sri Arunji..

    Your pure heart, sharp intellect, commitment to overall good and hard work along with God’s blessings probably has given you a third eye that sees things very differently than how the most of rest of us see.

    You said –

    “Your health – a good digestive system and sound sleep, life without loans, and harmony in the family are not small achievements. If you possess them, what more do you need? And if you don’t, of what value is all that you have achieved?”

    This is just so naturally true and obvious but how often we forget this basic sense and get into the rat race of materialist success & achievements..

    To add to this – “Endure the pain and you will emerge stronger.” is another great message. Very much the need of the hour..

    Thanks so much Arunji for continuing to enlighten with your noble insightful thoughts.

  20. Nice piece of advise adopting sustainable model which we were adopting earlier and later taken over by consumerism, exploitative approach. Well written, warm regards.

  21. How often do we find ourselves lost in our own thoughts when what we should be doing is focusing on the task at hand? How often do we defer to our phone as a security blanket so we don’t have to experience the world around us? How often do we spend time with family and friends, only to later realize we weren’t present and can’t remember what was talked about?

    Sir, for most of us this is our daily narrative. We’re so busy being busy that we forget to actually live. Very brilliantly crafted thoughts are found in your blog. Very simple are the rules of the game, Spend a few minutes every day to listen to our soul and discipline our mind and senses. We will realize that most of our desires are bogus and our dreams are delusions….and more importance of saying ‘No’. Best regards.

  22. This post, not only illustrates the current facts, but also have an in-depth analysis of the situations that we are all facing or have faced at least once in our lifetime. Covid-19, provided another dimension and has left us with more options to figure out what’s actually best for us and best for our country.

    While we are all young, we are told to chase our dreams. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, on many occasions tried to help us understand the power of a dream. But sadly, the reality today is that we are chasing money rather than our dreams and passions. The common tagline among the middle-class or poor families is that, “your dreams will not buy you food.” The education is gradually losing its value over time. The joy of learning something new, or that experience of building something from scratch, or even improving knowledge is hard to find these days. The commercialization of education created skill gap. We need to start asking question like – what did you learn today? or where did you apply your knowledge? or what’s the problem that intrigued you most? There are less libraries compared to movie theatres, few people who actually read books rather than browse the social media.

    As the post mentioned where the ‘merry-go-round’ came to a screening halt, will at least help people to understand the difference between what’s a necessity and what’s a nice to have. Long gone are those days with social interactions, learning from each other. With our smartphones everything is just a click away! When everything is fulfilled virtually, people will start losing the basic human emotions.

    We all are living in a world which now run only by the term “INSTANT”. For many of us, everything has to be instant – let it be success, let it be life, let it be money, let it be the joy. We forgot that its the journey, the lessons that we learn in the process, is what shapes us. Thanks to the constant social media feed, which makes us realize only of what we don’t have, reminds us of what we cannot be. We stopped taking time to breathe, taking time to respond to other people’s views or even taking time to improve ourselves. We are constantly chasing after something – which we are not sure that’s the thing we wanted in the first place.

    No matter how many schemes the government plans to save us from the pandemics, it’s the responsibility of the citizens to think collectively rather than individually. It’s time that we reflect upon things that are important to us.

  23. A hard-hitting article, Sir, and one that should be widely circulated, and read over and over again.

    Most of us are acknowledging the `benefits’ of the lockdown – the reviews and reflections, the growth, the family time…

    Yet, one suspects, everyone is waiting for things to “get back to normal” and to “business as usual”. Believing that, after a blip, the graph will continue upward. It will be another thing altogether when realisation dawns that the old “normal” is a mirage. We pray to God that the changes everyone experiences will be gradual and bearable; and that alternative ways of living will be obvious to all and within everyone’s reach.

    Distractions such as cooking, other talents and learning new skills to bust anxiety are, at best, temporary. They are part of the same malaise we have been suffering — a part of conspicuous consumption. They will be unsustainable soon, in the face of sustained “struggles”.
    As you point out, the anxiety levels on account of unpaid loans, fear of loss of homes, etc are going to be harsh.

    Perhaps, developing a Stoic attitude is the only way out — and that may not be easy for us, who have perfected the art of running away from realities and even ourselves by drowning in distractions and addictions.

    How to develop a stoic attitude and inner strength; what practices and routine can help aid that? Perhaps, the answer will emerge again from our wealth of Indian systems.

    When one reads of the suffering of millions in different ways, one realizes how fortunate we are. Just as a mark of respect for those suffering, we can sacrifice each day, a bit of “lavish” living we are still indulging in.

    Also, if God has been kind enough to have given us the things you talk about — “Your health – a good digestive system and sound sleep, life without loans, and harmony in the family”, we must sincerely take out time and pray for well-being for those suffering, and for all of humanity.

  24. Dear Arun, You are bringing up contemporary issues of modern society in your blog. In 1991 financial crisis came and new open economy took birth. It brought some good things and some bad things also. No system can be perfect. Again this crisis will bring new kind of economy. The kind of stimulus packages are being announced by Govt in last 2-3 days, it looks that Government is aiming at strengthening rural economy. The stimulus will transform rural scene or not, that is to be seen. It may, if the policies and schemes are implemented in true spirit. I fully agree to your final point, ‘develop healthy detachment’; most of us need to focus on this thought at this juncture.

  25. We are fortunate to read the transition from then to now through your lens. I would like to take the following from your article: 1. First, start saying ‘No’. Don’t cave in to whatever happens. 2. Do not feel like a victim and cry in helplessness. Endure the pain and you will emerge stronger. 3. Anything that is harmful to you is bad, anybody who agitates you is wrong, and whoever puts you at risk is a criminal. Period!

  26. Dear Sir, Yet another thought provoking article!

    I was going through one watsup video which was quite educating. The video says count those which you have and feel happy rather than worrying or feeling about things you dont have. most of are blessed with so many things which majority doesnot have, still we donot find reason to feel happy . This pandemic has taught us many things and most importantly that money cannot buy many things.

    As you rightly brought out post pandemic world will be different. some would have learnt the lessons of life and some would have decided not to change. But my hunch is there will be increase in the no of people who believe that beyond all humanly efforts there is a super power called GOD. It has become very clear that the super powers that we know off have very limited reach!!!. Let us all learn to be humble and know limitations and surrender ourselves to the supreme self.

    Let us believe strongly in the philosophic saying “Nothing lasts for ever even this PANDEMIC”. Hope is the only thing we all have today. Let us be hopeful and look for brighter side.

    Thank you once again for enlightening us.

  27. Respected Arun Tiwariji, Namaskaram and Thank you for the nice article.

    Covid has made the world brace a very harsh reality and left us no option but to come to terms with it. “Say no to the dream merchants and face reality instead” is a very ideal tag line for the people Dreams cannot be sold, and the fear-ware that is selling in “dream packages” in this time of crisis can only add salt to the wounds of the people.

    Of the four pointers provided by you, 3,Fighting Back/ Not Caving in, Not expecting accountability from the ones in power and to stop believing that other people will change ,
    are psychological behavioral lessons that people will have to learn either naturally or forced by circumstances.The 4th one is quintessentially Spiritual, the kernel of Krishna’s teachings of mankind, put forth in a simple way- “Develop healthy detachment. Consider yourself as an immortal soul and this world as a sojourn. You are passing through what is going on around you as a traveller.”

    “After the lockdown, fortunate will be those who shall have their jobs and salaries intact. But these will be only a few. ” These words are a very grim reminder of a sad and inconvenient truth for which Detachment can be the only insulator.

    The third pointer makes me ponder. Though, I am not a seller of dreams, I am still holding onto one dream which am sure covid will not succeed in stamping it out of me.

    While i don’t keep my belief in people for I have seen that some people never change, I firmly believe that the world will change into a better and fairer place and this change will only be brought about by Divine intervention whenever the time is right for the transformation.

    I pray that the listener of all prayers grants my dream to be fulfilled and that I get to see a changed world with my own eyes, either in this birth or the next. Vande Krishnam Jagadgurum!

  28. Dear Bhaisab, What a thought provoking blog! You have summed up the highlights of the current affairs very nicely and effortlessly. Very true that we are very much engrossed in luxuries and worldly matters. Current pandemic has in a way helped the making to know their true worth showing us the supremacy of the nature. We certainly needed a pause. It is high time to reinvent ourselves.

    As HDH Pramukhswami Maharaj use to say ब्रह्म सत्य जगत मिथ्या. We must know the soul is eternal, your body and the worldly matters are not going to remain foe ever. As you rightly said all we need to live is – “our health, sound sleep, life without loans, and peace in the family”.
    We pray the mankind take the current situation positively and learn to live the life that we are born for with spirituality.

    The government is doing their job and hope the poor and needy ones are taken care of. Wonderful and very inspirational article. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Dear Arun, Thanks for this thought provoking blog which should make everyone pause and reflect on where we are going and what we should practice. I specially liked what you said “Your health – a good digestive system and sound sleep, life without loans, and harmony in the family are not small achievements.” These are big achievements and are no less in comparison with financial success achievements.

    I can’t resist sharing a personal example. Few years back both of my daughters told us that the greatest gift we have given them is the culture of financial discipline we taught them during school and college days even though we were in a position to indulge them. This is what we as parents considers an achievement.

    From what I am observing around us I am not very optimistic whether people will take a hard look at their lives and change. We will be back in the rat race once things stabilize. Businesses have already downsized, reduced salaries ruthlessly in anticipation of loss of business . there is a race to grab tax payers money dole outs and profit from it. However, if people start thinking the way you have suggested change can come. But will they?

  30. Dear Arun, You have seemingly effortlessly and in short order summed up all the relevant highlights & turning points of our society over the last three decades! It was a quick trip down memory lane, reliving & realising nostalgia & angst. What started in the early nineties as the great liberalisation and levelling of the playing field appears, in retrospect, to be the beginning of the end of an era of simpler living & high thinking leading to a letting loose of sensory appetites with rampant consumerism taking free reign.

    The wake-up call of Covid-19, forcing us to pause & reflect, may be the trigger, as you suggest, to help us, and the younger generations, revisit the teachings of the vedas and understand the hierarchy of our faculties and self. With the right focus and effort, this challenge can be made into the opportunity to develop the moral fibre, strength of will and force of character to embark upon the 4-way path, that you eloquently elaborate, to emerge stronger & better from this unprecedented crisis! Warm regards.

  31. Prof Tiwari, thank you for another piece that stimulates thinking and action.

    Habits entertained become character which like iron chains are very difficult to change if not impossible, want versus need has created more problems in this world than the current aftermath of the SARS-CoV-2 we are living with in our society, nutrition, shelter, clothing to cite a few. However rich a person is, they need only enough to sustain their livelihood, the rest is vanity, if we were to reflect the generosity of the giver, The Creator of the Universe, by sharing a portion of what we possess, this world will have solved three quarters of the inequality problems, selfishness leads to hoarding, overeating and the untold consequences in the modern society both in the developed and the developing nations.

    Education that does not transform the way we think and act is of no good use to the holder and those who surround you, in short it is not synonymous to knowledge neither is it useful in filling the skill void. That ‘the Education was commercialized and professionals started working for money, diluting their standards and forgetting their principles, everything was on sale, including status, privileges and even honours, those who did not have money, walked into the snares of easy loans, propelled by their desire’. Education should have guided us to know better than to pronounce our price at the cost of integrity, this price we shall pay for a long time.

    The mitigating avenues suggested are fitting in as far as the current situation is concerned, contextualization to meet personal circumstances is very crucial if dividends are to be realised, what works today may not necessarily work tomorrow in the same way for the same results, where necessary more brains than one are needed to address complex challenges for mutual good in the end.

    You correctly pointed out that growing out of childhood wish habits, is a preferred solution, one should stop getting upset when logic and reason do not prevail. One should stop believing that the other person will change, but should endeavor to effect change in themselves. “Health, peace of mind and safety is the only thing that matters. The rest is vanity. Anything that is harmful to you is bad, anybody who agitates you is wrong, whoever puts you at risk is a criminal!”

  32. Dear sir, because of this Coronavirus pandamic time we are soo luckily to spend more time with our family members. share our ideas, plans and feelings.

    Golden words of this blog are “our health, sound sleep, life without loans, and peace in the family”.

  33. The points raised in this article are based on a deep understanding of humanitarian and life-nurturing perspectives of Indian civilisation.

    The emphasis on pursuing social equity and human happiness goals rather than current focus on acquisition of unrestrained material gains is very timely. The lock down period is a good period for reflection and self inquiry for all of us.

    The Government should devote more resources for providing Social Security for the citizens of India.

  34. Thank you Sir for sharing this article. It is emotional and surreal to look at the condition of the world right now.Especially USA, where the death rate has gone up to eighty seven thousand and more. America is flooded with the huge number of deaths and the funeral homes are running out of capacity to store and cremate the bodies. Yet, they are trying to conduct online funeral session keeping in mind the local traditions, allow only close members at the burial site and provide condolences even in these trying times. This hows how humanity can prevail under the strongest of the odds. Media shows us the gory details that can scare any individual and neglects the positive and the good that is being done. 

    Yesterday, I was reading an article on how an Indian family staying in New York had to face this grave reality and bid goodbye to their family member who died of Coronavirus. He died at home in the presence of his loved ones. And that is what gives them solace. They did not get to do a proper funeral. But they did not crib or hate on it. They celebrated him and his courage. They celebrated the fact that the city is trying so hard to be efficient and yet polite in their ways when it came to disposing the body of their loved one. They understood that not being allowed a proper funeral is a way to keep everyone safe. As life matters the most.

    And that made me realize that life is all about the perspective, as you correctly pointed out in your article. We can either succumb to the harsh reality and cripple under the pressure, or we can emerge out stronger with a lesson learnt.

  35. It is recognisable in these ‘different’ times that, family, own peace, being able to live in our own culture is gems. It is important, sadly, lots of people crave for that when they achieve everything,they desired and fought to get those things and status in the life. Although, it is just a matter of moment when disasters like this pandemic arrives and teach and realise us “it’s not the choice”. However I think, between saying and learning to express ‘NO’ and the healthy detachment, the latter requires tremendous amount of efforts.

  36. Wow Uncle!! Such small things that we otherwise took for granted and never ever noticed , actually forms the essence of one’s fulfilled and happy life. Rightly said by you “What more do we need”?

    This lockdown gave me time to cook my favourite Domino’s style stuffed garlic bread at home(I never thought it could nbe prepared at home),I could talk to my parents as much as I wished to, I could do N number of things which otherwise I often craved to do in my busy days or rather ignored the nuances of life by running behind the pseudo-passion.

    The lockdown will teach us to evolve, upgrade and be resilient to change and overcome the challenges. Not everyone is lucky to see another day nor will we get a chance like this to be at home with people we love. Life and its chapters will grow but we need to adapt to positive and lateral thinking to fit into the fonts of the book.Mother Earth will survive with or without us. The contra is not true.

    Let us learn to unlearn and get reintroduced to our true selves so that we can walk out after the lockdown as a new person into a new healthy world with new experiences and challenges.

    Gratitude!!

  37. Wow Uncle!! Such small things that we otherwise took for granted and never ever noticed , actually forms the essence of one’s fulfilled and happy life. Rightly said by you “What more do we need”?

    This lockdown gave me time to cook my favourite Domino’s style stuffed garlic bread at home (I never thought it could be prepared at home), I could talk to my parents as much as I wished to, I could do N number of things which otherwise I often craved to do in my busy days or rather ignored the nuances of life by running behind the pseudo-passion.

    The lockdown will teach us to evolve, upgrade and be resilient to change and overcome the challenges. Not everyone is lucky to see another day nor will we get a chance like this to be at home with people we love. Life and its chapters will grow but we need to adapt to positive and lateral thinking to fit into the fonts of the book.Mother Earth will survive with or without us. The contra is not true.

    Let us learn to unlearn and get reintroduced to our true selves so that we can walk out after the lockdown as a new person into a new healthy world with new experiences and challenges.

    Gratitude!!

  38. Hello Tiwariji, While reading this article I could see the common vein that runs through your recent posts – Investing on a holistic life and giving importance to health. Health is indeed a broad term encompassing physical and mental well being. As you have rightly pointed out, we are blessed to be born in the land of ‘Bharat’ where time-tested robust support systems are already in place – in the form of scriptures and teachings 🙂 We just need to get back to our roots and they will show us the way ahead.

  39. Respected Sir, This is a very important point raised by you but in today’s scenario where is demand from end user?

    There is big gap between each stake holders in our life and most of them roam around with expectation from each other such as employees from employer, parents from their children, government from its citizens.

    We should respect each others’ capabilities and strength.

  40. My dear Arun, No surprise; as usual, you have written a nice piece of literature documenting current affairs. Your blog rightly brings out the hard social and economic realities surrounding the man viewed against transcendental reality of life. You have also rightly emphasised the rapid fall in values and the need for touch with inner soul to build a peaceful and happy society.

  41. Dear Arun sir, Thank you so much for this touching blog – a sorted expression and emotion of what is going on in our minds in current situation!

    Your blog echoes the message of nature that “enough is enough!” And a way nature know how to bring back the “equilibrium” – with a gram of virus. All for our good in the end!

    Currently am in UK and witnessed the situation here since the outbreak. Sharing some thoughts on the story from UK.

    Corona outbreak: Certainly there was a lag in taking decisions to react fast on what was coming. The intensity of virus and the damages it could cause were under-estimated even if the government claimed that they were preparing for this since end of January 2020. However, since the time government realised the destructive nature of this virus, and based on “scientific, realistic and reasonable” criticism from citizens, media and opposition parties, the government took immediate and corrective actions to manage and reduce the impact! I see the maturity of democracy here!

    Medical facilities and mortality: UK stands 2nd in the numbers of deaths in the world (for now) due to corona and that is shocking! The people here are anguished to know that this numbers could have been less if the actions were taken on time! There is a grief and so they do dare to question the government during the media briefings everyday! However, since the wakeup call, it is was very clear that the pace at which they reacted to reduce the impact and number of death was possible only due to a great and well managed centralised medical database system in place of every citizen through NHS (National Health Services). They isolated the high-risk people (as the data was available for all, including their health history) immediately by notifying them through letters, digital platforms, etc. a much required action in need that averted even major destruction here!

    Economy management: The major concern as emphasised in your blog is the economy. The time government announced a lockdown, and urged people to stay at home, the same day they launched a strong economic scheme to support small/big business and JRS (Job retention scheme) where government pay to employee/businesses based on the tax record, to avoid the job losses in the situation of crisis and to assure the bounce back to economy. Though they cannot save all the job and businesses here by end of 2020, the quick economic action was big saviour – to help reduce fear and anxiety in the minds of all, which could reduce the death due to mental health issues to certain extent.

    However, the life message we all take as humanity is the same here too. Everything you mentioned in the blog is true with the human aspect everywhere. That is to live a life with a purpose more soul-centric than body-centric.

    Arun sir, keep inspiring through your blogs – Very insightful, thought-provoking and inclined towards positivity! Involving and letting us add our thoughts to your blog is a great privilege for us. Thank you!

  42. Sir, I am not sure how other generations would feel, but to those 60 + your observations would surely resonate. The past narratives put the present in a clear perspective.

    We wait for your blog; not just for defining the problems of our times but mainly on your solutions. My take on the four gems of recommendations!

    सविनय अवज्ञा – Would surely keep us afloat and not let us cave in. Keep on sharpening this skill is essential.

    Enduring pain – is the key to emerging stronger, and identifying the trap of the more comfortable option.

    Your health, peace of mind and safety are the only things that matter- What else would?

    Developing Healthy detachment- Step back and get a bigger picture.

    All the gems open us to better sleep, health and wisdom.

  43. Sir your mention of neo-billionaires is hard-hitting. There are hardly any good hospitals, schools, colleges run by these people. Even if they create one, it will become another business. No wonder that the wealth of most of them are not able to last beyond three generations. Mumbai and Surat is full of such stories where people are in courts fighting bitterly their siblings to take control for the institutions created by their parents and grandparents rather than emulating their example of giving. There is something terribly gone wrong with us even before coronavirus has came.

  44. Nicely written as usual. It’s really a true that, we should focus on what soul need compare to what’s body requirements. Whole life we work for body but important we forgot that soul is superior than anything else.

  45. Sir, It is a sensible blog in every way. It teaches everyone about life in all phase whether it goes on rough or smooth manner. I gained a lot in my life. So I consider me as a man. The man means every sense in simple in the configuration. I rise in the earth above and soon set under the earth. So, no argument about any topic or anyone. Thank you. God bless.

  46. Dear Arun, You have evolved to the extent that I keenly await your well crafted thoughts.The essence of Soul, Intelligence, Mind and Senses hierarchy was getting lost in the myriad hues of present society. May be Nature has taken upon itself for course correction to save the Mother Earth and rest are matter of consequences self – imposed by greedy human kind.

  47. Namaste sir, You always come with something Cognitive.

  48. Sir, I am indeed moved by reading your blog today. How can you see and feel what others turn blind to and ignore? “The biggest problem of the modern world is income inequality. When security staff, valet parking assistants, and the staff in malls and hotels see you splurging money, and serve you with fake smiles, they are actually cursing the inequal world.”

    Dr Kalam and you always talked about self-reliance and inspired us. Now when PM is talking about it and everyone is suddenly bothered about MSME, it is natural to remember Dr Kalam. Yesterday when our PM spoke to Mr. Bill Gates, I remembered Dr Kalam’s meeting with him in November 2002. You told us at NRDC about the meeting and Dr Kalam telling him, “I am an open-source guy Mr. Gates.”

  49. Sir, the lockdown had taught me this much that people in powerful positions are out to use everybody else for their own benefit. Till their interests are served they are good, else they turn the cruelest people. I feel reading your words, “Take the unfairness of this world in your stride. Do not feel like a victim and cry in helplessness. Endure the pain and you will emerge stronger,” that I am sitting in your class. As soon as we are open, I am going to host you on a webinar.

  50. Sir, In fact young people are saying ‘No’ to their parents, traditions and good counsel to justify their unsustainable lifestyles. “Don’t cave into whatever happens. Resist, if fighting back is not possible… Your resistance will protect you from your anger against this falsehood and will make you resilient,” is the ultimate advice anyone can have at the moment. All migrants need is to say no to return and our heartless cities will get a heart attack.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This