Saturday, January 01, 2011

Does your body 'matter'? Its your spirit that wins dammit

My evenings have become very valuable to me. I sift and sieve before deciding to attend any evening program. So when my good friend Nambi asked me to attend this Landmark Forum I asked adequate questions and finally decided to postpone a meeting to attend the Forum. The office was located in one of the prime gymnasiums – Fitness one, were people sweated out to derive their energy, purpose and strength from their own body. The entry to Landmark Forum office was at the side , and the office was narrow and small, and am sure it was a dump room of the gymnasium.  I was sad the knowledge and wisdom has been tucked to a remote corner and the world and matter and body has taken over, seemed symbolic of the material age.

This actually got me to write this blog post.

Somehow I had this strange feeling that we Indian were trying to find some meaning from the west (particularly American culture).  To me its like mixing water to oil. (oil is India) Its time we look at ourselves, for in us lies the future.

Devdutt Patnaik in his TED talk on East vs West the myths that mystify talks about the Alexander’s interaction with a gymnosophist (the naked wise man)

Alexander asked, "What are you doing?" the gymnosophist answered, "I'm experiencing nothingness." Then the gymnosophist asked, "What are you doing?" Alexander said, "I am conquering the world." And they both laughed. Each one thought that the other was a fool. The gymnosophist said, "Why is he conquering the world? It's pointless." And Alexander thought, "Why is he sitting around, doing nothing? What a waste of a life."

Even as early as 1980 the scientists believed to have established a ‘fact’ that  universe is a “matter machine” made up of physical, individual atoms that fully obey the laws of Newtonian mechanics. Ten years late scientists came to realize that the universe is not made of matter suspended in empty space by energy. Einstiein revealed that we don not live in a universe with discrete, physical objects separated by dead space.  Quantum physics talks about universe being an integration of interdependent energy fields that are entangled in an mesh-work of interacitons.

The west is propelled by American and European values, China by its ethnic homogeneity, India by its ancient religions and philosophy. Even as science is moving us towards the new understanding of proving the gymnosophist right, we Indians have suddenly found a hero in Alexander.

Ramesh Mohan writing about the Indian cricket’s team victory in South Africa says thus:

Unlike Australia's champion cricketers, who cultivated an intimidating air, doing little things that showed intent such as running onto the field after breaks, India has for the most part been calm and resilient. Where the Australians revelled in their athleticism, seeming younger than they were, the Indians have celebrated the wisdom that comes with age, appearing older than they are.

The council of elders — Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Zaheer Khan — has about it the reassuring comfort of a dark-wood study. Although they are essentially ‘skill players', they know how to get the best out of their bodies over five days, so they can compete with faster, stronger athletes.

It’s ordained for us Indians to look within, to derive power from within ourselves. Mahabarata has numerous stories of even powerful kings who took firm vows, ate sparingly, and curbed their senses. The focus was on celibacy, purity, self control, observance of vows and reverence. Its time we Indians get to understand our strengths and work through them.

Now you need to decide if you want to build a material body and invest your time and money in a gym or understand the ways of the gymnosophist.  Strengthening the spirit seems a much wiser option.  Human WILL, will emerge not when every thing is perfect around you.

My next blog entry will be on finding strength in the weakest moments


The Biology of Belief by Bruce H Lipton pg. 69
Rise of East in a new class of civilization by Minaz Merchant
The Hindu An appropriate end to a gainful year link

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