To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child , a garden patch, or a redeemed condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


There is a cliched statement from the movies which goes something like this: "जब दो इंसानो  को मिलना होता है तो पूरी कायनात उनको मिलाने के लिए काम करने लगती है" (loosely translated as 'when two people have to get together, the whole universe works towards that').  The power of coincidence, that is...

One take on this thought is that whatever you believe in strongly (and send out 'signals' for) happens - see Making your dreams come true.  This is also the tack taken by Rhonda Byrne in her books 'The Secret' and 'The Power' which, however, are too materialistically inclined to be of taste to everybody.

I've felt this 'coincidence' sometimes while reading multiple books during a day (a quirk of mine).  I may come across the same, ummm..., 'theme' across (a) Bhagwadgita (Hindi interpretation by Swami Ramsukhdas), and (b) Bhagwadgita (different chapter/verse - English interpretation by Paramhansa Yogananda), and (c) Rubaiyat of Omar Khaiyam (interpretation by Paramhansa Yogananda).

Today again I felt the same thing happen.  I was sitting with a colleague (and a good friend) and listening, for the umpteenth time, to his grumblings about the workplace, bosses, et al.  (To give him credit, he also sometimes acknowledges that it's no good to grumble, and one should 'either shape up or ship out' - but then he reverts to the same mode of grumbling.)  Well, I've been thinking for quite some time to share some feedback with this colleague on his negative mode of thinking (not the least because some of the negativity seems to rub off on me too sometimes!).  It so happened that today, on the verge of starting to provide such feedback, I refrained from doing so, remembering an old adage that feedback (even if constructive) is best given when sought, in most situations.  And this is regardless of how much one thinks it'd benefit the receiver of such feedback, since the very act of sharing feedback may arouse certain negative feelings/resistance in the receiver if s/he is not receptive in the first place.

Well, after the colleague went off, I started reading my emails.  One of the regular emails I receive is a series of 'suggestions', based on thoughts of well-known thinkers of their time.  And what do I see, as the thought for the day, but this: 'Absence of criticism' - "...resist the urge to speculate about... neighbours unless with a view to their benefit" (see If I can).  (This was shown to be based on Jain Tirthankara Mahavira's thought "May no one speak harsh, bitter or unpleasant words.")

Regardless of what alternative interpretation/s I (or anyone else) can put on the above thought, the fact remains that it was relevant to my prevailing thought process of sharing feedback.  For me, incidents like these seem to indicate that (a) the teachings of thinkers and epics, Bhagwadgita among them, are not based on dry philosophizing or 'speaking from the pulpit' but are based on, and meant to guide, the living of life itself, and (b) we're all perhaps part of the same 'macrocosm' (for want of a better word), while existing as (within?) our own 'microcosm'...

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