Across the world, a generation is multiplying rapidly which is passionate, informed, and brimming with potential. This is the generation of young people a.k.a., the youth of India, and their power to transform India and the world’s future is undeniable.
The youth of today’s era is equipped with a potent blend of dedication, energy, and young perspectives. Their fearless ability to question conventional thinking, challenge traditional norms, and think creatively is an asset that can revolutionize the way we address social, economic, and environmental issues.
With 66% of its population below the age of 35, India has the world’s largest youth population which is extremely crucial for progress and success of a nation. This demography isn’t just a number; it’s a vibrant tapestry of aspirations, dreams, and transformative potential. This demographic dividend, if harnessed effectively, can propel the nation towards extraordinary growth and expansion. To harness this immense potential, it is extremely crucial to channelize their energy towards constructive avenues and provide them with the necessary aid and platforms for self-expression.
Education and Skill Development:
As Nelson Mandela quoted “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The foundation of India’s future will be having access to high-quality education that is adapted to the changing demands of the 21st century. With advancements in technologies, the youth of India have relevant access to immediate information, and by equipping them with relevant skills, they can contribute significantly to sectors like sustainable development, AI, and data science.
The world is a global village and the well interconnected world of today provides young people of India with abundant global opportunities to connect, collaborate, and learn from global experiences. By fostering international collaborations, the youth can gain exposure to diverse perspectives and best practices, contributing to a more holistic and across-the-border approach towards problem-solving.
Youth Are the Catalysts for Change
The younger generation in India is growing more and more influential in promoting social justice and driving global association. They are strongly impacted by issues such as social justice, gender equality, and climate change. They are using social media and grassroots movements to amp up their collective voice. Their ardor for social causes has the power to promote inclusivity and change cultural norms.
To conclude, Indian youth’s power to transform the country and the world’s future is undeniably immense. By harnessing their energy, creativity, and passion, the country can combat challenges and come to the fore as a global leader in various fields. It is imperative for society, government, and educational institutions to provide the necessary support and platforms for the youth to thrive, ensuring a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come. The time is now for India to unleash the full potential of its young population and chart a path towards being a global leader.
The alignment of events in Narendra Modi’s life is nothing short of extraordinary. Over two decades ago, he took his inaugural oath as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Today, his legacy stands as a testament to unparalleled achievements, excellence, and performance. As we celebrate the birthday of India’s Prime Minister, let us delve deeper into the essence of the man behind the leadership—a spiritual beacon marked by resilience, unwavering dedication, and an indomitable spirit.
The Spiritual Essence of “Narendra”
Originating from Sanskrit, the name “Narendra” holds deep spiritual significance. “Nara” represents the eternal soul, and “Indra”, the king of gods, symbolises dominion over both earthly and spiritual realms. Thus, “Narendra” translates to “Lord of Men” signifying not just a political leader but a guiding force towards divinity and self-mastery.
A Decade of Distinct Qualities: Narendra Modi Ji’s leadership over the past ten years has transformed India’s economy through impactful decisions. His leadership journey showcases qualities that have shaped the nation and set global benchmarks:
- Dedication to Yoga and Meditation: Beyond physical well-being, Modi’s commitment to yoga signifies a quest for mental clarity and spiritual alignment. His initiative of International Yoga Day envisions a world united in wisdom, embodying the essence of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam—the belief that the world is one family.
- Unwavering Discipline: His structured lifestyle, from early risings to a balanced diet, mirrors the attributes of a spiritual seeker. This commitment has garnered him respect in the demanding world of politics.
- Rooted in Faith: Regular temple visits and participation in rituals highlight his deep connection with India’s spiritual heritage and commitment to preserving its traditions.
- Embodiment of Simplicity: In a materialistic world, Modi’s simple lifestyle resonates with teachings of ancient sages, emphasizing that true wealth lies within.
- Commitment to Service: “Seva Parmo Dharma” (Service is the ultimate duty) is more than a mantra for Modi—it is a way of life. His public journey testifies to his dedication to societal upliftment and national development.
- Ascetic Foundations: His early years with Himalayan sadhus have shaped his spiritual worldview and life approach.
- Resilient Spirit: His rise from modest beginnings to national leadership embodies resilience and determination.
- Nature and Harmony: Initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan emphasize living harmoniously with nature, while his push for renewable energy highlights a balance between economic growth and environmental care.
- Mindfulness in Leadership: His thoughtful decisions and calm presence, even amidst criticism, reflect a leader grounded in mindfulness.
- A Beacon of Positivity: Modi’s consistent focus on positivity, evident in “Mann Ki Baat”, serves as an uplifting force for the nation.
Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas: Under Modi’s leadership, the government has embraced a culture of collective efforts, inclusive growth, mutual trust, and everyone’s participation. This ethos is not just a slogan but a reflection of the government’s commitment to ensuring that every citizen, irrespective of their background, benefits from India’s progress.
As we honor his birthday, let us recognise not just the political figure but the spiritual guide urging us to introspect, transcend our boundaries, and selflessly work for a brighter future.
Happy Birthday, Shri Narendra Modi Ji. May your legacy continue to inspire generations!
समुद्रवसने देवि पर्वतस्तनमंडले ।
विष्णुपत्नि नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्शं क्षमस्व मे
Mother Earth, who has the ocean as clothes, adorned by mountains and forests,
And is the consort of Lord Vishnu,
I bow to you to please forgive me for touching you with my feet.
The Vedas have endowed us with a vast array of knowledge that range from environmental protection to ecological balance to rainfall cycles, and just about every phenomenon that occurs on planet Earth. Our ancestors believed in ‘sanrakshan’ – mindful of the society’s role towards sustainability and ecological preservation.
Unfortunately, since the world seems to have grown around us, we have forgotten to fear the invisible cause-effect relations that drive our reality. Now, despite receiving light nudges and warnings across centuries, our collective ignorance in pursuit of creature comforts has lead us to cause irreversible damage to Mother Earth and she is done with throwing us humans helpful hints.
Transverse Impact of Climate Change
A clear, impartial observation highlights the impact climate change has had not only on the current Covid19 Crisis era but has been felt for many decades, amplifying with each year and observed on a worldwide scale. We have always sensed the wrong and harm we have inflicted on nature for centuries. Mother Earth has had many warriors and champions, they warned us, threatened us but humanity never heeded.
Now that nature has taken matters into its own hands and we have been – as a species – driven into hiding and we need to press the refresh button. Things can’t go back to the ‘old ways’ so we have to look, learn, adapt and evolve. From factories to everyday grocery shopping – nothing can stay the same. Burning fossil fuel, the Amazon forest fires, bush fires as well as rising sea levels can no longer be terms we simply find bound between pages inside dusty, old libraries. The wrath of nature has brought these facts closer to home and impacted our everyday lives.
As per the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), fuel emissions alone kill an estimated 7 million people worldwide every year. The ice caps are melting and the sea-water levels are rising by 7 to 8 inches on average since 1900, slowly swallowing land and homes while fueling more inland flooding. From our homes to health to food scarcity if we don’t learn to adapt and grow – extinction isn’t a far off concept.
Playing a balancing game with nature
Humans are driven by comfort and are constantly challenging Mother Nature. Human activities like urbanization, deforestation, infrastructure building, etc. have led to severe decline of pristine natural environment. Rapid ice melting to glaciers floating along with an ever increasing human population had led to depleted biodiversity and loss of multiple essential natural habitats.
From polluting the water to excessive vehicular use, we as a species have pushed a multitude of flora – Silphium, Rhynia, Sigillaria – and fauna – the Black Rhinoceros, White Dolphin, Passenger Pigeon – towards absolute extinction. We have destroyed the balance between several ecosystems whose stability is amicably interdependent.
So then the question arises – ‘Can we undo our harmful actions?’
Even though the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as a yes or a no we need to try.
The solution, it seems, lies in one simple concept – Harmonious Sustainability.
Luckily a lot of research and holistic studies have been done for us. Extensive studies on the ‘Charak Samhita’ with special focus on the third chapter on epidemic diseases could be a start. It elaborates on living together as one with nature and learning how to notice warning signs.
Technology has brought us far. By rebuilding the world and marrying it to nature through eco-friendly methods is a successful step forward. From celebrating renewable energy to growing with plants and trees in their natural habitat to co-existing peacefully with other species are some foundational ideas that encourage Sustainable Living.
Just have faith and take a step forward. For now, Nature has begun to heal; let’s not miss this chance to create a sustainable future for the many generations that are yet to come.
विश्वंभरा वसुधानी प्रतिष्ठा हिरण्यवक्षा जगतो निवेशनी ।
वैश्वानरं बिभ्रती भूमिरग्निमिन्द्रऋषभा द्रविणे नो दधातु ॥६॥
She (Mother Earth) is All-Bearing, She is the Producer of all Wealth,
She is the Foundation on which we live,
She is of Golden Bosom, the Dwelling Place of the World,
She holds The Universal Fire within Her,
May the Mother Earth bestow on us the splendour of that Fire and make us strong.
“It is a mistake to think time is going away. Time is not going anywhere. Time is here until eternity. It is you who is going. You don’t waste time. Time is infinite. You waste yourself. You are finite. Your time on earth is finite. It is you that grows old and dies. Time doesn’t. So make better use of it.
Think of a lion & a shark. Both of them are natural-born hunters. But, a lion cannot hunt in the depths of the ocean and a shark cannot hunt in the jungle.
That a Lion cannot hunt in the ocean does not make it useless, and the same holds true for a shark that cannot hunt in the jungle. Both have their own environment & territory where they can flourish & grow.
If a rose smells better than the tomatoes, It doesn’t mean that it can make a better stew. Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, use the time to discover yourself. Find your strengths & abilities. Look for them and build on it. All animals that exist, were in Noah’s ark. Snail is also one of those animals. If God could wait long enough for the snails to enter Noah’s ark, his door of grace won’t close till you reach your expected position in life. Never look down on yourself. Keep looking up. Remember that broken crayons can still colour & can craft a new artistic masterpiece.
Keep pushing. You can never tell how close you are to your goal!”
“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you.” – Lord Buddha
Lord Buddha is said to have found the answers to the most daunting questions pertaining to human existence. His quest started at the age of 29 and ended at 35 with enlightenment.
Post his enlightenment, Buddha spread his wisdom to his disciples & followers on many subjects related to misery, suffering, restlessness & eluding peace in human life. And, these pestilent problems still plague the modern society, and man does not know an escape from them. This includes not just the personal well-being, but also the preservation of the environment that interacts in complex ways with us. This is explained in Paticca Samuppada or ‘Dependent Origination.’
For Lord Buddha, purity of the mind & purity of the environment one lives in, were crucial to attain enlightenment.
Lord Buddha, if he lived today, would have followed the same principled path to help all of us.
His enlightened aura, the grace of his words, the shower of his knowledge and his pious preaching would have had a far grandeur effect on our society. He would have been the supreme sermon on earth, guiding us in the right direction through his halo.
He would have worked for the exaltation of both, the man & the nature he dwells in.
The wisdom discovered by Lord Buddha after enlightenment
Buddha gave the foundation of peace for all of us. He compelled us to comprehend the reality as it comes. His wisdom begins with;
The Four Noble Truths
- Dukkha: Suffering exists: Life is suffering. Suffering is real and almost universal. Suffering has many causes: loss, sickness, pain, failure, and the impermanence of pleasure.
- Samudaya: There is a cause of suffering. Suffering is due to attachment. It is the desire to have and control things. It can take many forms: craving of sensual pleasures; the desire for fame; the desire to avoid unpleasant sensations, like fear, anger or jealousy.
- Nirodha: There is an end to suffering. Attachment can be overcome. Suffering ceases with the final liberation of Nirvana. The mind experiences complete freedom, liberation and non-attachment. It lets go of any desire or craving.
- Magga: In order to end suffering, you must follow the Eightfold Path. There is a path for accomplishing this.
Lord Buddha also gave the Three Universal Truths;
- Nothing is lost in the Universe: Everything that exists is a part of an endless cosmic cycle. Everything flows through time and seems to change. Life & death, are thus, just repetitive cycles.
- Everything Changes: Change is the only constant in the Universe.
- The Law of Cause and Effect: the law of karma says -for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful.
His wisdom gave his followers a new way to see the life & reality around them. “You are what you are becoming,” Buddha preached.
What would he say to us today?
Seeing the fast pace of life, restlessness, anxiety, pain & suffering that humans experience today, Buddha would recite his noble practices as a remedy to our toxic lifestyle- Sila (Virtue, Good Conduct & Morality), Samadhi (Self-development & meditation lead to wisdom) & Prajna (That wisdom will emerge for a calm & pure mind).
He would also recite to us the teachings of Adhammika Sutta that says- ‘Being a member of the environment the actions of man’s imprudent behavior damages the environment.’ Man is subject to his Karma, good and bad. Thus, his misdeeds can be punished via nature. Living a righteous life and maintaining a pristine environment would have been his lessons for us.
“In the end, only three things matter: How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” The essence of all his teachings rests in those words.
After all, Lord Buddha’s eternal presence remains with us in the form of his legend & words. Maybe he is all around us, waiting for us to wake up…
The society, built around our understanding of the world, was designed to provide us with food, shelter, security & well-being for a peaceful life. Our souls were manifested for compassion, love, spiritual awakening & liberation. However, we strayed away from the path of exaltation by the way of leading a harmonious life. Man became an instrument of selfishness, lust & greed. Now, it yearns to find its way back home.
Our society, which was meant to be a blessing for our future generations, has now come to detest us. Man is restless, anxious, and unhappy- and it is our own servile attitude towards the ‘wants’ & ‘desires’ of life. We forget that life is a balancing act, and on this tight rope we must strike a balance between our desires and virtues.
But, our consciousness has the power to manifest the truth at its will- The answers we seek lie in our roots, in the golden wisdom of our ancestors, which can guide us back to home.
Concept of Purushartha: Centuries old wisdom
According to the ancient Indian texts, a human born on earth must pursue ‘Purushartha’, (पुरुषार्थ), the only way to seek truth and attain salvation.
Puruṣārtha literally means an “object of human pursuit”. It is a key concept in Hinduism and refers to the four end goals of a human life. The four puruṣārthas are Dharma (righteousness, moral values); Artha (prosperity, economic values); Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values); and Moksha (liberation, spiritual values).
- Dharma: It signifies behaviours that are in accord with the order that makes life and universe possible. Dharma includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and the right way of living. It enlists behaviours that enable social order and virtuous conduct. Dharma is that which humans must accept and respect to sustain harmony in order to create a world worth dwelling in.
- Artha: signifies “means of life”, activities and resources that enables one to be in a state one urges to be in. Artha incorporates wealth, career, and activities to make a living with financial and economic prosperity. The pursuit of Artha is an important aim of human life in Hinduism.
- Kama: It encompasses desires, wishes, passions, emotions, and pleasure of the senses. In other words, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, and love- with or without sexual connotations comprise of Karma. Kāma is “love” without violating dharma (moral responsibility), Artha (material prosperity) and one’s journey towards Moksha (spiritual liberation).
- Moksha: Emancipation & liberation from the cycle of mortality by cultivating virtuous values through meditation forms the basis of Moksha. In some schools of Hinduism, Moksha connotes freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth. In other schools, Moksha connotes freedom, self-knowledge, self-realization and liberation in this life.
Relative Importance of Goals:
According to Kautiliya’s Arthashastra, artha is the foundation for two goals: Dharma and Kama. Without prosperity and security in the society or at individual level, both moral life and sensuality becomes difficult. Poverty breeds vice and hatred, while prosperity breeds virtues and love.
Kautilya also adds that all three are mutually connected, and one should not cease enjoying life, nor virtuous behaviour, nor the pursuit of wealth creation. However, Excessive pursuit of any one aspect of life with complete rejection of the other two harms all three- including the one that is excessively pursued.
Moksha: the ultimate end or the ultimate beginning?
In Hinduism, Moksha is considered as the ‘parama-puruṣārtha’ or the ultimate goal of human life. Indian scholars recognized and debated, on one hand, the inherent tension between renunciation and Moksha, and on the other, active pursuit of Kama and Artha. This conceived the concepts of Pravrtti (प्रवृत्ति, Pravritti) and Nivrtti (निवृत्ति, Nivritti). The former means giving or devoting one’s self to external action, while the latter means withdrawing and restraining one’s self from external actions in order to focus on one’s own liberation. Both are considered important in Hinduism.
“Action must be taken because it is Dharma, that is, it is good, virtuous, right, a duty and a moral activity, and not because of one’s craving for the results or material rewards.”
This idea of a “craving-free, dharma-driven action” has been called ‘Nishkam Karma’ in the Bhagavad Gita. In fact, Karma-Yoga, a spiritual path based on ‘Yoga of Action’, advocates the same. It is about performing our duty the right way without thinking about ourselves, and even the results. This can be only attained when one overpowers his/her ego. Only then the attachments & desires can be decimated and the right outcome manifests.
Whatever we have today- big or small, trivial or vital, cheap or expensive, rare or abundant, is the result of Karma Yoga of those around us. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the car we drive, the knowledge we attain and the joy we derive from these things. We are actually a big family where we work to make each other’s lives better. But, do we see the world like that anymore?
If we begin our day with the simple principles of life, orient our minds towards Karma Yoga to benefit others selflessly and take joy in the simplest things in life, salvation shall be found. We are all just a thought away from making this a reality!