This world is a stage, not a multiplex

by | Sep 1, 2020

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Commenting on the blog article – Hack Your Time, Do More of What Matters – a long-standing friend and a spiritually evolved and worldly successful person, RN Bagdalkarji, suggested to me to “write one more blog wherein you can bring out how effective people make use of their time.” This led me to wonder how confusing this issue actually is. While I was pondering over this, an image of a person from a small town, who has been watching films in an old theater since his childhood, now going to a multiplex with eight screens showing different films with no one really restricting entry if one wants to see a little bit of every film, came to my mind.

What if this person decides to maximize his expenditure by enjoying the best of eight different films – a song here, a dance there; a fight here, a love-making scene there; a courtroom argument here, a devotional song there? Of course, it is funny and silly. But this is exactly what most of us are doing with our one life – we are not living through the drama of our own world as our seers advised. We are indulging in the various dramas going on around us, including those where there is no role, or even a dialogue for us in the script. Surprised? See people betting during an IPL cricket match; getting emotionally involved with the characters and events in soap operas; investigating suicide-murder mysteries and passing judgements on the happenings of the world.

We exist in two states – the waking and the sleeping – divided into 16 hours and 8 hours respectively. Wise people divide the 16 hours of waking into two equal parts of 8 hours of work – their livelihood, and 8 hours of leisure – family commitments and pastime. The eight hours of sleep are also divided into two parts – the sleep with dreams, and deep sleep. In dream sleep, our mind “watches” a grand emotional drama where we are naked in a public place, have lost our way in a maze of lanes, are being chased by a beast, bitten by a snake, or flying over things and people, and so on. 

In his 2017 book “Why We Sleep,” Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, explains that we naturally sleep for 5 cycles of 90 minutes each, totaling seven-and-a-half hours. Most of the earlier 90-minute cycles are deep sleep and later, towards morning, most of it is dream sleep. So, if you are sacrificing the initial cycle by staying up late partying, or watching TV, or whatever, you are losing deep sleep, meant to repair your body. If you are sacrificing the later cycle, getting up early to catch a flight, you are losing the dream sleep meant to repair your mind. Of course, some people do recommend getting up early morning to take advantage of the calmness and the solitude. However, if one follows the saying, “Early to bed and early to rise…” one can do so and yet fulfill one’s need for proper sleep. 

Bill Gates recommended Matthew Walker’s book for everyone saying, “I realize that my all-nighters, combined with almost never getting eight hours of sleep, took a big toll.” So, all of us, who are nowhere near Bill Gates in our accomplishments live ignorant about the importance of sleep, causing our health – both physical and mental – irreparable damage. The damage caused by inadequate sleep is compounded by sleeping with the mobile phone under the pillow, the LED light in the bedroom, watching TV in bed till your eyes close, and drinking tea/coffee after 8 p.m. Alcohol is a big disruptor of sleep cycles, leading to permanent damage of the brain over time. 

So, having made a mess of your sleep, the Rta of repairing your body and mind, now come to the waking hours. Commuting long distances to work is a curse for a large number of people, especially those living in metropolitan cities. Doing a job you don’t like is another torture, the stress of which does not end after finishing the day’s work; it lingers beyond that and comes home with you. Similarly, arguments and fights at home reach the workplace. 

Now enters the TV with a “manufactured reality” presented by every channel in its own taste and style. And finally, the Internet, the free-for-all gutter of profanities, sacrileges and misinformation that initially started with the omnipresent stream of knowledge with good intent and has now turned into an “Indra Jaal” – hacking human minds like insects trapped in a spider net. The AI engine knows what you are doing, where are you going, what mails you are typing, which calls are you taking and making and then turns you into “an ideal consumer.” And then we are taught to manage our time, when in reality, we have lost control of our lives – like a drowning man holding a stopwatch to see if his sinking is perfect!  

Shakespeare wrote so sagaciously, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” So, first and foremost, live your age. Allow your children to live like children, take risks when you are young, travel, live your dreams, and as age sets in, settle down, withdraw from the world gradually and then bow off the stage with grace.

Know yourself as a soul – an eternal witness – now in this body, watching this particular film in the small-town single screen theater. Connect to your childhood. Remember your grandparents, and your primary school teachers. Life is like a yarn over a spindle, everything is right here, with you every moment. In your struggle to become somebody, you have lost somewhere your real self. But the good news is that it can be recalled and felt. And it will also bring you a lot of healing. 

Close your eyes and remember sitting in a theater, enjoying a movie. None of us is born to sit through different screens in the multiplex. Still better, don’t miss out on the drama of your own life, while watching the film that is this world. Find out your lines in your drama, say them with conviction and get out of the limelight as soon as your part is over. You will find yourself living with a deep sense of satisfaction, peace and fullness during the time that you spend on earth. 

Say “Thank you” and “I am sorry” more often, even if you are not. This is the easiest way to participate in the world. Don’t manage time, manage yourself. You are actually the eternal consciousness, which is true, pure and blissful – Sat, Chit, Ananda. It is the ever-changing mortal body and drama around it that is not this – that is false, deceptive, and painful – allow it to roll over, like a scene in the film. Cry, laugh, jump or sink in your seat, but don’t try to run into the screen and break your head against the wall behind it.

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31 Comments

  1. Very nicely portrayed everything. This type of article is needed for all of us especially in this highly competitive lifestyle.

  2. Dear Prof Tiwari Ji, what a thought again! It is true Rta is important and in the process, we have lost contact. Man evolved according to the surrounding and therefore key rules of life that we learnt in our primary schools are still the golden rules.

    Conditions are changing but at a much faster rate now and evolution of human being is not able to keep pace with. May be our altered life style will lead to a new race! Is it Nature’s secret plan! Or, we are going against nature and hence this discussion to set the life on right track.

  3. On reading this article posted by Prof Tiwari sir, I can summarize that the true essence of living life is gratitude. More often than not we use the word thank you although not necessarily always reflecting gratitude. But at least the word comes out often enough. The other term “I am sorry”, now that is where I feel we all falter. The reason for this is the ego that grows at a much faster pace than the actual human being we develop into.

    There is a constant flutter in the mind saying that you are always right and do not have to listen to anyone. The inner conscious always raises alerts but the ego in oneself shuts it off. If this can be controlled then I am sure that it will help the person live peacefully within and to people living around them.

    Much as we like to believe that life is complicated with situations and circumstances, seldom do we acknowledge our role in making life like this. Awareness and keeping a still mind in the variety entertainment stage of the world that we live in, is possibly the way forward to live a peaceful life and in that process make life meaningful for us and others around us.

  4. Great analogy Arunji with correlation of life to single stage vs multiplex.

    “Life is like a yarn over a spindle, everything is right here, with you every moment. In your struggle to become somebody, you have lost somewhere your real self.”

    This is such a deep and profound thought that most of us miss almost all through the life. And we keep running around directionless just targeting to run faster next day..

    “We are indulging in the various dramas going on around us, including those where there is no role, or even a dialogue for us in the script.”

    Again, this one I think most of us will be able to correlate. We connect ourselves to some game, event, story or drama and making a fool of ourselves being happy and sad in cycles with zero role to play or impact..

    And finally, “Find out your lines in your drama, say them with conviction and get out of the limelight as soon as your part is over. You will find yourself living with a deep sense of satisfaction, peace and fullness during the time that you spend on earth.”

    Can clearly see the reflection of this great ideal in your own life. The four ashramas envisioned by our great rishis suggest similar approach to life. Hope at personal level, can follow such beautiful and humble path.

    Thanks so much Arunji for making us take a pause, think where we are and guide subtly how to march forward..

  5. I agree with Bagdalkarji – ये दिल मांगे मोर…. We all need to create an awareness as to what do we do the whole day? We are never “Here and Now “ so many distractions ! and this is self-inflicted… क्या आजका अर्जुन कभी मत्स्य वेध कर सकता है ?

    Students are also not able to concentrate and accordingly the study suffers. More so WhatsApp/FB and other social media have entrenched their power so much that we can’t remain without checking on messages and likes almost every five minutes. The pattern continues even in our sleep as rightly pointed out.

    A superb solution is offered by Arunji i.e. to think of us as an ATMA .. How by training our mind we can become a साक्षी – witnessing our own actions, which gives us a chance to review our own actions and the objectives of doing so all the time. If we are told that we have got only one week to live… how would we live that week ? Well, we will never know when the end is coming, but by becoming aware of it, we will live our life in a better way.

    Let us take a “pause”

  6. I see nothing wrong in a person, who wants to maximize his/her pleasure by going to various screens in a multiplex watching his/her selected favored scenes, dance sequences, dialogues etc. It can be funny to others but not silly. If somebody is happy watching the full movie, so be it. Its individual’s choice. Modern communication infrastructure has brought people together. Today, all people across the continents are interconnected. Our climates are also interdependent. We all influence each other consciously or unconsciously. In the past, most of us were confined to our villages or towns rarely venturing outside their boundaries; exception being visits to maternal grandparents during summer vacation. This isolation did not provide opportunities for promotion of inter-connectivity.

    Human beings are biological entities, which are highly resilient and skillful in adaptation. In today’s business world, inter-connectivity has leveled day and night, and the various time gradients. Now a days, many young persons have to work during night and in odd time gradients. It takes 7-10 days for biological clocks to reset and acclimatize to new environments.

    Messages/recommendations on sleep are very confusing. The same applies to the other aspects of life as well. What is a good food to one person, the same could be a poison for another person. Doing a job one does not like is a real torture. It affects not only the health of the individual but also his/her over all personality and behavior. If one cannot get out of such a job, one should try to develop liking for it to avoid damage to one’s health.

    The quote of Shakespeare reminded me of the famous Raj Kapoor’s movie ‘Mera Nam Joker’ and the famous song in it. Moderation in every aspect of life is essential. One needs to listen to one’s own body to stay calm, quiet and contended. Our seers lacked inter-connectivity and often went into seclusion to attain eternal consciousness, which was true, pure and blissful. I am not sure if the same recommendations that they made at that time, would apply to day’s interdependent, impatient and chaotic world.

  7. Prof. Tiwari- How we take control of our time is critical to our entire existence? It is the only commodity that cannot be bought or sold for any cost. The bits and pieces approach can never work in this world of constant distractions – the most basic one the notifications on the phone. We have find a way to go back to normal circadian rhythm and ensure that we sleep well getting up fresh rather than relying on caffeine several times a day.

    In order to make the most of our time we should consciously spend time on things that matter rather than getting distracted by all the marketers who are trying to change our behaviour to suit their needs in this digital world. On my side, I have stopped all notifications on my phone. The one that used to distract me was Whatsapp. It allows me to focus for longer periods on things that matter.

    Prof. Tiwari, it would be good to learn how to get our mind to focus on things? Our mind has amazing capability to master the abstract and find new things. If only we could concentrate. We tell our kids to focus and concentrate but the the how to do it never taught. Do you have any suggestions on this topic? Would love to know your thoughts.

  8. “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” —Mohandas K. Gandhi

    I have seen people who are 80-85 years of age and still feeling the pressure of maximizing their time to do what all they can.

    In school, we’re encouraged be a part of as many activities as possible to make the most of our educational experience. At work, it’s expected that we’ll be uber productive and take on more and more responsibility. Even at home, there’s a never ending to-do list of things.

    And we go on living as if there’s nothing wrong with this system. As if the natural progression of humankind is to become the most efficient life form on earth.If there’s nothing wrong with this system, then why are so many people unhappy? Why are so many on medication to control anxiety, stress, and depression?

    This craziness ends when people embrace the alternative: slowing down. We can follow few things I believe:

    1. Find a hobby
    2. Embrace quality over quantity
    3. Learn to say “no” on taking more responsibility
    4. (This one might sound strange but) Be unproductive- atleast 20 mins a day
    5. Spend time with people you love ( Covid’19 already gave us this opportunity, why not take advantage?)

    Any one of these if not all, will surely get one the sleep with beautiful dreams that you’ve talked about in your blog. Loved reading it!!!

  9. Prof Tiwari, Thank you once again for allowing us peep into the sage this life has taught you to become, by actions done, the knowledge God Almighty has blessed you with and experience borne of it.

    Time is a gift that all humans are endowed with equally, irrespective of their status, location on earth or class, what we do with ourselves on a daily basis multiplied seven days, four weeks and twelve months equals who we are or might have become in our life time, your argument on how this this should be done is thought provoking.

    In the Holy Bible, Moses one of the greatest leaders this world has ever seen writes in the Book of Psalm chapter 90 verses 9 to 12 says the following (in the New Living Translation):

    9 We live our lives beneath your wrath, ending our years with a groan.
    10 Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.
    11 Who can comprehend the power of your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.
    12 Teach us to realise the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

    Meaning, for our lives to be ordered wisely, Divine guidance is of paramount importance, what we do in the 24 hours of the day has more than just the 1440minutes given us, wisdom is to what have we committed our persons to do in the daily time frame. Answers to this question, provide a clear description of who we are and explains the difference between personal failure and success, both in life as generic time and our professions.

    Our bodies are precise machines like no other, that internal rhythms provide space for healing and rejuvenation is a fact we do well to respect, what we do in compliance or non compliance results in the reaping that manifests in our health. The contracting of non communicable diseases wrecking havoc in the world today has its explanation in this, on the other hand that which we choose to ignore despite the information at our disposal, contribute to the acquisition of communicable diseases which get transmitted from one individual to another.

    End of the day the major question each of us will be called upon to answer is what choice(s) did we make when we were confronted with life’s options, as you pointed out AI engines should not fan the loss in ‘the control of our lives – like a drowning man holding a stopwatch to see if his sinking is perfect!’

    I totally agree with the suggestions you have given in the context of the Shakespeare’s writing, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

    1. Living ones age, wisely though.
    2. Knowing one’s self, what one can do and the limits.
    3. Remembering one’s roots! grandparents, primary school teachers, etc.
    4. Look for lost potentials and healing will result
    5. Find out your lines in your drama, say them with conviction and get out of the limelight as soon as your part is over, wisdom is knowing when.
    6. Say “Thank you” and “I am sorry” more often, even if you are not. This is the easiest way to participate in the world.
    7. Don’t manage time, manage yourself in the time given.

    Blessed are those who are in the habit of doing this regularly!

  10. The article is apt for all generations. Thank you Arun Ji for reference to sleep cylcle

    “In his 2017 book “Why We Sleep,” Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, explains that we naturally sleep for 5 cycles of 90 minutes each, totaling seven-and-a-half hours. Most of the earlier 90-minute cycles are deep sleep and later, towards morning, most of it is dream sleep. So, if you are sacrificing the initial cycle by staying up late partying, or watching TV, or whatever, you are losing deep sleep, meant to repair your body. If you are sacrificing the later cycle, getting up early to catch a flight, you are losing the dream sleep meant to repair your mind. Of course, some people do recommend getting up early morning to take advantage of the calmness and the solitude.”

  11. Dear Sir, THIS WORLD IS A STAGE, NOT A MULTIPLEX, is the thought process, you have very nicely and aptly brought out in your present blog. Once again the topic revolves around our daily chores and you have analysed the sleep pattern and many other aspects affecting our day to day life for the benefit of people. Your love for people, your desire to improve their lives is evident from your every blog!

    You, very rightly say that mostly people are spending life by trying to experience it in bits and pieces of every thing by indulging in various dramas of life going on around us. Instead you advise that one should live the drama of his own life as our ancient Seers said and taught.

    You have very beautifully and thoughtfully divided the 24 hour cycle into two – that of 16 hour work and 8 hours of sleep. Further you say that out of 16 hours, 8 hours for work and rest 8 hours for leisure. 8 hours of sleep has been analysed by you into deep sleep and dreams towards end of sleep, early in the morning.

    Mathew Walker, in his 2017 book, ” Why we sleep” also echos your analysis of sleep. You have also advocated rightly the age old saying that “Early to bed and Early to rise, Makes a man healthy and wise”. Importance of good sleep is advocated by Bill Gates also. The lack of sleep not only damages the body and the mind but also the next day’s daily routine. The evils like Television, internet and all the gutter of profanities has turned into a, “INDRAJAAL”. You have described the chaos created by the digital world in every day life very beautifully.

    You have so beautifully described the Shakespearean philosophy like the world is a stage and all the men and women are mere players. Your advise to live life on these principles is testimony to the fact that you want the modern world and its mankind to live a meaningful life.

    You further profess to consider life as a soul and to witness life events as a film running in a small theater. You further evolve to say that just close your eyes and feel that you are sitting in a theater and watching a movie. Similarly watch your life play out various roles in different times of your life. Play your part well and say good bye when time comes with deep sense of satisfaction, peace and fullness.

    You conclude by saying that, “to manage life, manage yourself and not the time”. You end by saying a message from Bhagvad Gita that, “you are actually the eternal consciousness which is true, pure and blissful”. Whatever is happening around us is false, deceptive and painful. Live life on the principles of, “SAT CHIT, ANAND”. Jai Hind.

  12. Dear Sir, Once again a master piece from your Pen.

    Saying “Thank you” and “I am sorry” is indeed Panacea for resolving most of our dispute within family, friends and at work place. I personally feel that if anyone practice this in his life, he would be able to reduce 90% tension of his life but our Ego is the greatest hurdle to accept this best solution.

    One important thing I observed here in Australia, that mostly the people are very polite and ground to earth. They give smiles and greets you even though they don’t know each other. Often I have seen people saying thank you and sorry even if ut was not required according to my perception, may be this could be my view but that is how Australians are enjoying life and are considered one of the happiest country in world.

    Also, the life expectancy is highest in world. I have seen old couples in 80s walking together and expressing their love.

    Once I asked an old man about his fitness who was in 80s and he said I do take good sleep of 8 hrs with vegetarian foods, regular gym and spending time with family and friends. And the intresting part was that, he was the managing director of a leading company of Australia. So, nicely managed himself.

    On this Teachers’s day 5th Sep 2020, reading your blog and upgrading my knowledge and wisdom is the greatest blessings of God. Warm Regards,

  13. Respected Sir, Thanks again for sharing information. According to me taking what comes and giving it all of one’s attention, focus and dedication leaves us with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Small achievements count for better health that is linked with good sleep.

  14. This post is an eye opener for many, reminding the readers to slow down, embrace life, count all blessings and be thankful for them. I completely agree with you that taking care of our mental and physical well being is the first important step. The sooner we understand that health is wealth, there’s nothing we would spare to earn it. In spite of all the R&D on health and technology, we aren’t invincible as we may have led ourselves to believe.

    We can’t afford to be in the middle of burnout from spreading ourselves too thin between too many things half- heartedly. Living the length and width of our lives could mean different things to different people. Let’s just do them with all our heart and soul.

    At the end of everyday, let’s remember to do the gratitude exercise which is as simple as imagining to lose some of the things we take for granted. May be our home, our abilities and capabilities to love, comfort, give and receive. Beginning and ending our day with gratitude for people in our lives who make our life worth living is the master key to a fulfilling life.

  15. Thanks Arunji, for effectively busting the much hyped myths around the merits of multi-tasking! As you say, multi-tasking is more by way of being a bane (and maybe even a necessary evil in some contexts) of modern life. I recall a time when I was generally fully immersed into the single book I used to be reading to completion at any time before I moved to the next, and how fulfilling and satisfying that was. This was before I got into the book publishing industry in 1999. Once I got into publishing and marketing of the hundred plus new books published by us and our parent companies in the US and the UK and the agencies (other, smaller publishing companies in the US and the UK) we represented for India, I had to know something about each of these books, as also about the dozens of manuscripts received every month for possible publication, and, of necessity, ended up reading just the blurbs and random passages from different parts of such numerous books and manuscripts and the few books read fully being read 2-3 at a time resulting in a lingering overall restless, incomplete and unsatisfactory feeling. And sustained multi-tasking over long years can lead to attention deficit disorder apart from becoming an addiction that is difficult to wean away from. The lockdowns over the last few months and the stepped up TV viewership and social media involvement has resulted in a practical realisation of the addictive aspect (middle of the night WhatsApp Messages, panic attacks when you can’t see your phone, watching/hearing you tube/soaps in bed and bath!) and of shrinking attention spans (compulsive channel surfing and visible withdrawal symptoms if tv remote not in hand or within reach). Most people have begun to behave like cardiac surgeons on call 24 hours a day, unable to address the increasing mess of their lives.

    The merits of mono-tasking are not too different from the primacy of the present moment that is the greatest wisdom bequeathed to us by our ancients. Mono-tasking avoids the distraction of other tasks (which is like an overhanging cloud in the multi-tasker’s mind) as also the warm up (or settling in) time needed to get into the groove of the variety of tasks as & when one tries to take them up, and really staying in the present does away with the doer (ego) and the deed (result) and there is just the doing.

    I recall your mentioning about how, in the writing of ‘Transcendence’, it was as if the book wrote itself, seemingly without your volition! And we all have of course experienced or are aware of sportsmen, athletes, artists, spiritual seekers etc being in the ‘zone’ or ‘flow’ or ‘trance’ giving birth to the greatest human achievements and output. These, I suspect, are a result of the power of now and complete presence in the moment.

    As you say, we must indeed manage ourself and not time which is not actually part of existential reality. Past and future arise out of human memory and imagination and are a convention & construct of convenience (just as even space is) for ordering the entropic reality out there. The yarn is all right here, right now but the chaos needs to be ordered for our limited human perception and understanding.

    “Not this but that, not that but this” is the way of our mind as you say and I agree that choice-less awareness and desire-less action is our true sat-chit-ananda nature and mind needs to be used as the very useful instrument and tool it is & not allowed to commandeer our lives and peace whether under the garb of multi-tasking or imaginary (past-future) time travel.

  16. Thank you, Sir, for a brilliant article. We are all watching how for the last few weeks our TV channels are presenting “manufactured reality” of the unfortunate death of a young film star. Every channel ‘s presentation of “truth” is in its own taste and style. Who knows what exactly is happening in Ladakh? Two great countries are telling “different truths” for “one happening”.

    When you wrote, “And finally, the Internet, the free-for-all gutter of profanities, sacrileges and misinformation that initially started with the omnipresent stream of knowledge with good intent and has now turned into an “Indra Jaal” – hacking human minds like insects trapped in a spider net,” it was before the Prime Minister of India’s Twitter account is hacked. So, true is your observation.

    After reading this article I now realized how I messed up my sleep, in my pursuit of being successful, efficient and ahead of the others. And yes, the more you watch the world, the more it appears a huge stage, where we are made to see a drama. I liked the couplet in R.N. Bagdalkarji’s comment. I must know my script, perform as per that and bow out. This idea takes off so much “self-created” stress and burden.

  17. Hari Om Sir, This is a very nice concept and imagery sir,, that of a villager in a mulitplex screening 8 movies and trying to watch bits and pieces of all the movies.. Most of us are doing exactly this, despite knowing how illogical and silly it is.. how ironic?.. so many moments are wasted in fake enthusiasms and false emotions, when the same bliss can be got in a simple moments of oneness with a cup of tea and biscuits.

    That trinity of “Sat Chit Ananda” that is waiting to light up the nine gated city is engulfed in the darkness emanating from the never ending entanglements that drain the joy of life. As rightly pointed out by you…. we are children of bliss.. reminding me of Shankaracharya’s Atmashtakam (आत्मषट्कम्):

    न मे मृत्युशंका न मे जातिभेदः, पिता नैव मे नैव माता न जन्मः ।
    न बन्धुर्न मित्रं गुरूर्नैव शिष्यः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।

    I do not have fear of death, as I do not have death. I have no separation from my true self, no doubt about my existence, nor have I discrimination on the basis of birth. I have no father or mother, nor did I have a birth. I am not the relative, nor the friend, nor the guru, nor the disciple. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, the auspicious (Shivam), love and pure consciousness.

    Thank you for the nice article.

  18. Thank you Sir for again sharing such a wonderful and well written article. Your thoughts teach me and make me ponder on my actions and well-being. The pandemic has taught us to stop and think about what really is important. The well being of an individual does not solely depend on the worldly pleasures and money.It is constituted by the wholeness of being mentally and spiritually fit. Everyone is trying their bit in maintaining that these days.

    Here in the US, people are realizing the importance of the healthcare systems and how significant it is praise every individual who is helping in fighting with the pandemic. I have seen people take their time off and drop off a thank you card at the doorstep of a healthcare worker, or my neighboring aunt bake cookies for a Target store worker and keep it in her backyard. The best one is that everyday in New York we still hear bells and songs played at 7 pm to praise and uplift everyone’s spirits.

    Kindness and compassion is increasing amongst people and everyone is doing their bit to help anyone in need. People are spending more time with their family and working on how to minimize the expenses to cope up with the lost jobs. My neighbouring aunt asked me to join an online meditation session to calm oneself in the midst of this chaotic reality.

    It is an unusual time and my heart warms up to see everyone dealing with this in their own little way with love and positivity. Like you said, we are trying to manage ourselves instead of managing time. This too is a part of the stage drama and this too shall pass. How well we play our part is what matters.

  19. This is a masterpiece-article, magical in the effect it creates through weaving together images, words, ideas, philosophy and wisdom! I can only ponder over and over on what you have said, Sir —

    “Don’t manage time, manage yourself”;
    “Live your age”;
    “Find out your lines in your drama and say them with conviction”….

    — all point towards discovering who we truly are and living our reality. Which is often so far-removed from what we have become!

    We have started belonging to our jobs, our status, our political correctness, our images, our views, our large homes, our loans and liabilities,… Everything, but belonging to our own selves (or Self), and acting from our innate tendencies and abilities!

    Also, Pop psychology-spirituality, in the garb of “self love and self care”, encourages many selfish (futile?) actions. These have become the buzzwords and the norm, unfortunately. We have lost sight of the real `right activities’.

    And then the multiplex called the “Smartphone”!

    Thus, we don’t sit still, sit in one place, sit at home, sit with ourselves. But Sir, all this is so part of ourselves and our habits, that change seems overwhelming. One takes solace from your words: “In your struggle to become somebody, you have lost somewhere your real self. But the good news is that it can be recalled and felt.”

    Perhaps, when the chips are down — really, really down — we will then be forced to breath deeply, and be happy doing work that is truly meaningful, which can even be keeping water for a bird, or saving an ant from drowning! And of course, serving human beings in ways small or big, and making a real difference in even one life.

    These will count in the “final analysis”, and be the means to our peace and blessedness!

  20. Dear Arun, From college days I know that you are a fast and great learner. And now your blog forces me to believe that you have become a great thinker also. In each of your writing you are touching upon a social and human behavioural aspect with a purpose. You have rightly pointed out that one should take adequate sound sleep in order to repair mind, body and soul. One needs to maintain work-life balance. Often, our work takes precedence over everything in our lives. Our desire to succeed can push us to set aside our own well being. Maintaining a harmonious work-life balance is critical to improve our physical, emotional and mental well being.

    Making balance in life, one may need to bring change in life. People love familiarity and patterns. They cling to them. Human nature only. But, attributing a behavior to human nature doesn’t mean you have to be controlled by it. One should refrain from indulging himself/herself in too many varieties of activities. Focus on one activity at a juncture may be useful. Managing change can sometimes feel like moving a mountain. But it can also be incredibly exciting and rewarding, particularly when you start seeing results. This may bring satisfaction. in turn happiness in one’s life.

    Wish you good health and success in all your endeavours.I wish that you continue to write the way you are writing. Looking forward for your next blog.

  21. Dear sir, the blog is absolutely well timed. The phase we are going through has taught us many lessons. I am reminded of one Waseem Barelvi’s couplet:

    आप बस किरदार हैं अपनी हदें पहचानिए
    वरना एक दिन कहानी से निकाले जायेंगे।

    You are just a character, recognize your limits,
    Otherwise one day we will be removed from the story.

    We think we are too big and too importtant but the pandemic has very clearly brought out our limited reach. As you have brought out, quickly complete your part of the dialogue and get out of the lime light. That should be our approach to life.

    The blog has really brought out the importance sleep-wake cycle. Most of us don’t follow very strictly but importance of sleep cannot be ignored. Ability to fall asleep shows the clear conscience. One who does believe in simple living and straight thinking can afford and will get sound sleep. As rightly pointed out out many of the health issues are related to good sleep. He is the richest who gets good sound sleep.

    As you have brought out the TV and the mobile have really taken away our ability to write and read. With mobile we have forgotten the art of writing letters. Which otherwise was a first practice to our thoughts in a coherent manner. Writing letter was and is a creative activity. We almost have lost this beautiful art of putting our heart and soul on paper. I strongly believe this has to be nurtured. If you cannot put your thoughts on paper clearly then I feel your whole thought process is incoherent. Mobile and WATSUP have given permission to write which ever way you want and spelling has no importance and grammer has been given a go by. How can we expect people to write formal, coherent and mistake free letters. Like wise TV has taken away our time for reading. Since we go through so many channels , we feel that we need not have to go through news paper. Even that bit of reading is done away with.

    My next request to you is for a blog on HOW TO BRING BACK THE HABIT OF READING AND WRITING. Sir thank you once again for bringing out a timely and well articulated blog.

  22. Interesting article.

    Reminds us of the us within ‘us’ (nothing to do with Nityananda’s me and me !!!}
    We need to recognise ourselves and organise everything within us and around us. The around is more necessarily – our family, our circle of relations and friends – a Vasudeva Kutumbam indeed.

    The prayer that we were taught to us ‘Sarve janah sukinaha….’ should not stop at reciting at the prayer mechanically and should be implemented in our own way – small steps and then large ones. Let us pray that we find ourselves out of this pandemic – vaccine or herd immunity or otherwise. Best withes and prayers to all.

    N.B.: Talking of what Shakespeare … the presiding deity at Srirangam (Tamil Nadu) is .. Ranga Natha (loosely translated … the Lord of the Ring, or Stage)

  23. Your blog reminded me of the “Circle of Concern” and the “Circle of Influence” concepts of ” The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. As citizens of India and as a human being, we feel concerned about so many topics and issues. This broadens our perspective. But we should carefully choose our own role in the world drama where we can make some meaningful contribution towards being a ‘part of the solution’ rather than a ‘ part of the problem’. Rather than spreading ourselves too thinly, we should focus on some specific causes.

    Again, thank you very much for sharing your rich insights. Warm regards

  24. Splendid piece touching upon the Changing lifestyle and its ill-effects on our physical & mental being, effects of media on our lives and more importantly, managing time for self and fondly recalling the good days of past life. Such not-so-important topics, however, supremely significant in our life amidst hustle and bustle don’t surface in our brain until someone stirs our thought-process that these are catalysts for satisfied and peaceful survival. Sir, you have aptly quoted Shakespeare that ‘all world is a stage and…”, and this reminds me of an immortal dialogue from the Film Anand by Rajesh Khanna. Seriously, we all have to play a role and exit gracefully. In today’s world, when everyone runs helter-skelter to create an identity and in this race we can’t accord due priority to our real self. It is well said that the best part is that time can’t come back but we can fondly recall our unusual deeds full of adventures and excitement during our adolescence, fun time and the precious time spent with beloved ones. I may have read in one of your books wherein Late Kalam Sir has suggested students to give space to funs during their schooling period also which can be assets to one’s life. These fond memory really works as ointment, especially, during difficult time. Thank you so much for bringing these issues to the fore in very interesting, insightful yet simplistic way.

  25. Another insightful article sir.

    This article is apt, as to what we do in our every day life. We spend most of our time up, worrying about things that are beyond our control, run after things that are only good to haves. This is such a gentle reminder on what to focus on.

    “Take risks when you are young, travel, live your dreams, and as age sets in, settle down, withdraw from the world gradually and then bow off the stage with grace”, this line resonated with me sir. We need to set our priorities straight, work towards achieving our goals, and need to take risks.

    This Pandemic gave us an opportunity, time for us to take a step back and reflect on our habits, things that are important, and take necessary actions that would help achieve the needed.

  26. Masterful writing Sir, simple stories communicating deep wisdom is magical—thanks for bringing out what is best for us.

    We, especially the older ones, never know when we could blowout the stage— contributing with focus till we can and fading away with grace becomes our mantra.

    Following words of wisdom deserve the attention of our younger lots — So, having made a mess of your sleep, the Rta of repairing your body and mind, now come to the waking hours.

    Commuting long distances to work is a curse for a large number of people, especially those living in metropolitan cities. Doing a job you don’t like is another torture, the stress of which does not end after finishing the day’s work; it lingers beyond that and comes home with you. Similarly, arguments and fights at home reach the workplace.

  27. Thank you for another informative article. I found this line quite interesting – “Find out your lines in your drama, say them with conviction and get out of the limelight as soon as your part is over. “

  28. Very interesting concept. The coronavirus, the way locks out was called, the way it has been rolled back, the pay people are behaving …. I wish it is not real, but it is, and the way I used to look at everything, including myself, my job … everything has changed. Blessed are those whose work is useful to the society. So even if they are not paid, they have served a cause.

    People running businesses have used this opportunity to fire employees, cut salaries, all in the name of the pandemic. My line from this blog is, “It is the ever-changing mortal body and drama around it that is not this – that is false, deceptive, and painful – allow it to roll over, like a scene in the film.”

    I have learned in the last few months how badly written roles have been performed even more badly. The concern of big people is not to pay banks their loans also, as the pandemic is already being called `The Act of God.’ The concern of small people like me is how do I get my hard salary. I wish I would be sitting in a multiplex, but it seems, same film is running on every screen.

  29. Sir, I am surprised after reading this article, how ignorant we all are about sleep. Thank you for bringing out the importance of eight hours sleep, and especially the differently importat early hours and the late hours of the sleep.

    Deep sleep is definitely related to health and most of our chronic problems have roots there. I recall reading about it not in science books but in our scriptures, it was called the Prajna condition.

    Lord Krishna indeed has explained all about it in Bhagavad Gita, only if one bothers to read it. Thank you for talking about it. During deep sleep we are naturally sent to Sthitprgyata condition, which yogis can get whenever they want. In this condition the ‘neutral axis’ is aligned as wheel alignment of a car during servicing.

  30. It is very insightful Arunji. Thank you. Last six months of home stay due to Corona made me improve productivity of waking time of 16 hours by reprioritising certain activities such as reading and renewing and including new activities such as Yoga and 5 KM walking twice a day. Sleep time of around 8 hours did not have the baggage of in healthy out side food, stressful commute, stressful conversations and in resolved issues. Hence, sleep was reasonably deep and with dreams many times.

  31. Sir, This article sinks deepest of all your writings. You so simply lay out before us how our life is. We may be going peacefully along our routine path, and then someone pushes us with an insulting, angered or biting comment, and then we’re off in another direction. This is what coronavirus has done to people’s plans. Suddenly even the “powerful”, “peaceful” and “content”, are playing the role of the victim, the one who is wounded, hurt, angry and resentful, etc.

    As you put it in a very straight manner, life is actually an improvisational play, then we can also see that we have a choice in our response). Even though someone insults us or barrages us with anger, we still can respond in whatever way we choose. (say more of thank you and sorry) And that is the key. Choosing. When we’re in a play, we don’t usually get “caught up” in believing we are the character. But in “real life” we have identified with our role, thus making it harder to keep our distance from the emotional reactions. Om Shanti!

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