Perspectives

Optimism empowers, whilst pessimism disempowers says eco-spiritual leader, Satish Kumar.

History speaks of this fact very clearly. Behind every great transformation a band of committed and active optimists worked day and night to realise their vision of a new social order. And in the end their once radical and marginal movements became mainstream realities.

For humanity, the perfect relationship is one of love 

The thoughts and sentiments I express in my writings have their philosophical foundation, but I lack the training of the professional philosopher. In India, philosophy infects the very atmosphere we breathe. Quite unconsciously, I shape all my thoughts and my life on the philosophical teaching of the Upanishads. I can therefore only discuss with you what I consider to be the central idea in our own religion.

As a child growing up in India, one of the first things I learned was a hymn to Saraswathi, the Goddess of Knowledge - 

“Wonderful is your gift of knowledge. The more we share, the more it grows, the more we hoard it, the more it diminishes.”

The yogi T. Krishnamacharya had said that it is not bodily contortions or exceptional breath control that determines progress on the path of Yoga. He said that the key indicator of progress on this path is the quality of the relationships the person engages in. Of the eight different aspects that make up the totality of yoga practice, the first that is listed in the Yoga Sutra is yama - right relationships. Right relationship with not just other people, but right relationship with people and things external to the person.

 

My 16-year-old friend’s eyes gleamed with joy. She had just bought a new pair of shoes. Her older sister wanted to try them on. “Don’t touch them, they are mine,” screamed the little sister. The mother stood by helplessly, consoling the older girl by saying, “Don’t be upset, you can have one too.” Between the two girls, they had almost 30 pairs of shoes and although they had the same shoe size, they never shared them. Why do we as adults encourage such ‘himsa’ behaviour?

The human spirit goes beyond the violence and meaninglessness of a fight, when the way of fighting also becomes a beautiful expression and a search for self-realisation. Most people think that Martial Arts are only for wartime effort – but apart from helping its practitioners play a functional role in society, they help them stay fit, and can become a path of personal fulfilment.

Pages