Why is it important for us to follow our hearts? To endure and work hard? To remain stubbornly our true selves ; even when the storms of outer influences try to sway us?
When I was a student, the nuns at school emphasised the need for discipline, for hard work, for selflessness and simplicity. To live for a cause beyond one’s own little world was a value instilled at both school and home.
But when we look around today, it is a different world. To live for oneself, to accrue, to hoard, to amass, to preen, to boast, to be cool are the values which are praised sky high. Outer appearances matter much more than what is inside.
In fact the mockery is intense if one mentions simplicity, high thinking, hard work, selflessness.
Yet, I remember the story of the emperor and the Sufi Fakir.
The emperor laughed at the mendicant mocking him about his lack of possessions.
“You are so poor, and I am so rich,” said the emperor.
The fakir laughed.
“Have you got everything you need?” The fakir asked the emperor.
“No, there are so many things I would like to have !”
“Poor man! I have everything I need. Am I not rich?” The fakir’s laughter resounded for kilometres.
The story was about redefining richness- from a point of view of needs than mere accretion.
Why is it that we still remember Dr.Abdul Kalam with reverence? Why do we admire him as a karma yogi? I do not think he accrued anything except knowledge in his wonderful life. He lived so beautifully-making every moment of his life matter- inspiring, teaching, leading, writing, following his passion.
Isn’t there a contradiction in admiring page three performers but folding hands before the pictures of karmayogis?
So what is the anachronism over here? What is the outdated fashion? Living beyond one’s own little world or living only for oneself?
Probably that is why it is important to detach at times and reflect on what makes us truly full of life. To think of the sort of people one wants to emulate, to have company of, to aspire to be like.