Sunday, May 23, 2010


For nearly two years now a thought has been going on in my mind, what is liberation or mukti or moksh and how to get to that condition? Why do some handful people reach it, many try to walk the path and majority others don’t want to bother about it? Is it a worthwhile pursuit? Does it make sense? I have been struggling with so many doubts and my mind has been tossed about like a toy from one end of the argument to the other as well as deep into its various angles. Finally I am sure of very little. One is that this is real and the second is that if one works for it then it will happen. I do not know anything more than this.

What is the big deal? Everybody in this part of the globe knows this much! Well.

This is a very personal matter, a very personal choice. For starters let me look at the question, why? The simplest answer that comes to my mind is why not? I am interested. I have a strong intent. I believe; the time has come. All the experiences that I have gone through in this life so far, confirms this and points to this. The next question is am I prepared or can I? Answer is that is I have no clue. My mind and body have been consistently throwing spanners in the wheel, trying every trick in the book to divert my attention and get me involved into various desires, fears and temptations. The credit goes to my intellect i.e. my life that I have not been trapped yet. Knowing them, both the mind and body won’t give in easily and will try again. But my life has other plans. The third question is what should I be doing to walk this road? Once again the frank answer is I have no clue. I am not going to become a sadhu. I am going to live in society and continue to work for a living. I understand the various dos and don’ts in this enterprise. I am confident to live my life at those terms which my life alone will decide. I trust my life. I want to make this one count.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


My Mesho (Mausaji in Hindi) retired from Ordinance Factory Jabalpur a few years ago. Today he spends his retirement at Durgapur West Bengal in his own flat along with his family. My Mesho has always been a fidgety and an alarmist of a person as I have known him, but pardon me, I don’t wish to judge him.

I spent a few hours with them this month on an overnight trip to Durgapur. We got talking and he started with his take on the social scenario in the country today. This blog is dedicated purely to his thoughts for the simple reason that I wish to put forth the views of a senior citizen living in a far flung place in an undeveloped parts of this country.

“Bobby, privatization is only making the rich richer and the poor are not getting anywhere. During our days the public sector had a lot of strength, but today the government is liberalizing the private sector and then pitching the public sector to compete against them. This is not fair. The public sector pays good wages to their employees and has work ethics. How can they be competitive against the private sector which has no scruples?”

“Bobby, the public sector hires from all sections of society. The government hires on quota basis in the public sector. Therefore even the poor find jobs even though they may not have good education and training and may not be very skillful. This way society has been benefited. But look at the private sector. The quota system does not apply to them. They only hire the best few and pay them.”

“Bobby, my daughter is working in Axis Bank a private sector bank where she has a time to go to work but there is no reasonable time to leave office. She has to complete all her tasks and only then leave. She has so much work pressure. They won’t hire more persons and make each of their employees to do the work of four persons while paying for two persons. So now she earns more then what I earned at the time of my retirement but she hates to go to her office.”

“Bobby, look at the public sector banks, the bank employees do not work efficiently and they come to office just to chit chat and read their newspapers. Nobody in the management is bothered about service to customers. I had to run from pillar to post initially to get my pension through from the central government.”

“Bobby, look at the corruption in the private sector. The more there is liberalization the more these private sector companies think that they can get away with anything. Such things don’t happen in the public sector. Look at Ramalinga Raju, look at Lalit Modi. See how they have twisted the system.”

My poor Mesho! He spoke from his heart. He may be one sided in his views but sadly the other side has never been placed before him. The media does not report in a balanced manner. The government policies are never explained. Public debates never take place in this country. Is this a good sign for the future?


Of late during the past year, I have observed a remarkable awakening in society. The bar has been lifted. Topics concerning social behavior norms which always used to get shoved under the carpet since long in this country have all of a sudden been transformed into ‘ah-that’s-not-a-big-deal’ kind of subject. I am referring to a) gay sex and marriage, b) same gotra marriage, c) live-in relationship and d) pre-marital sex. The agency showing the way and providing protection is the Supreme Court of this country. The Supreme Court has single handedly allowed fair discussion and arguments to come into the open and stood like a rock for personal freedom of the citizen as long as he or she is not harming another. Wow!

For starters, such behavior is taken for granted in the west. It has absolute acceptance over there since centuries. The west thrives on individualism and they recognise individual rights as paramount in all business of social living. Therefore they are fiercely competitive as individuals. The thought process is unique to the individual and therefore they shine as personalities like the richest, the most beautiful, the fastest, the funniest, etc. So you have the Guinness Book of World Records originating from the west.

In India we have always had the family to support us, the family to fall back upon. In India we have always had the panchayat raj where the elders decide on any argument and their view was accept as final. The family and the elders have now given way to the courts of law. Call it the aping of the west, or promulgation of wrong policies by government, or the pressures of modern living; we are seeing in India that society has been fragmented to such an extent, that the old value system is no more in place.

Industralisation and economic reforms have brought in the wealth which is now shared by the poor and the middle class also. Now everybody thinks that they have an equal opportunity to compete and shine. We are seeing the poor having television at home, talking on mobile phones. We are seeing the middle class going to Dubai, Malaysia and Singapore for holidays. We are seeing more houses being built, more two wheelers and four wheelers being purchased. We are seeing students applying to foreign universities for studies. When there is so much of aggressive competition and resultant change in every sphere of social life, why should the private life of individuals be left behind in the stone age?

Fragmentation of society has also occurred due to movement of people from one state to another for jobs and better prospects. In the past mass movement of people was always preceded by environmental upheaval like earthquake and flood. Even in that joint families and groups moved together. Sadly in the current days, a nuclear family moves out and has to fend for itself. It is all alone in its struggle for survival.

So now nobody cares for past traditions and beliefs. The Supreme Court in its wisdom, probably sees this change and is of the opinion that for the citizens to be happy in this present day tough life, they need as much freedom as they can get within the four walls of law. As long as they do not harm anybody else, the people should be permitted by law to do whatever they want.


So have I heard; Life has four aspects or in the common mans idea of creation, life has the following four objectives. Kaama, Artha, Dharma and Moksha. Kaama stands for desires of the mind and body. Such desires could be of various unending kinds depending on the physical and emotional needs of the person. It could range from property, physical comforts, sex, spouse, family, children, recognition, fame, respect, designation, etc. Feelings like craving for such desires and the fear of losing out on enjoying them, drives every individual in the daily rat race. Artha stands for money and wealth. Accumulation of wealth is also a major driver in life. The more one has the more one wants. However the less one has also the more one wants. There is no limitation to this wanting. Money has three outflow avenues, self consumption, donation and falling into the hands of others. While there is a limit to what one can consume, the other two roads are without limits. Most fall prey to the third road. After their death, their accumulated wealth gets transferred either through stealing or bequeathing. Dharma stands for behavior and character. Life has its own laws very natural to it. As you sow, you shall reap. You are what you think. Your thoughts, words and actions come back to you in the same form. Therefore you alone are responsible for your state of life. To overcome the uncertainties involved in this philosophy, man created religion, rituals, worships and mantra to ensure happiness rather than suffering. Moksha stands for self realization. It is the liberation from the cycle of birth and death. You fall into this vicious cycle because of your accumulated and unresolved karma or the consequence of your thoughts, words and actions.

Moving from the first to the fourth is a gradual evolution of the person. Everyone tries to make an attempt because everyone primarily wants an end to their sufferings. However one cannot move from one level to a higher level just by wishing so. One has to work hard, allow ones’ own karma to play out, not get affected or be reactive, neither like or dislike it, thus ensuring that no new karmas are created and the existing ones get eradicated. This is an uphill task, which most do not want to undertake. Never the less, one can continue to exist in the first two categories and still lead a fulfilling life provided the three broad faculties of life namely mind, body and intellect are properly balanced. While intellect is the higher faculty for most persons it becomes the least important. One has to listen to all the three, restrain from excesses and learn to be satisfied with whatever life provides.