Archive for April, 2014

Some people demonstrate a refreshing naivette by wanting everything good all the way through life. Wouldn’t we all want that? In fact, the truth is, much in life is a tradeoff. Everything has a price to pay, even the so called “goodness”. I would like to improvise a popular saying this way:  “I am responsible for what I say and do but I am not responsible for how you understand or interpret it.” Therein lies the catch!  However “good” the intention is, we don’t really have a control over the mind of others.

Every day, we set our goals for the day and act accordingly. But, is it so simple? We have to make choices all the time. And making choices means letting something go in favor of retaining that which is more important. Often , it also means letting people go out of your life as a trade off for, maybe, less conflict and stress, more peace, duty towards someone in particular, a gradual neutralization of emotion , guarding oneself from hurt and maybe many other reasons.

I have realized that in some cases, we move away naturally and there doesn’t seem to be a price to pay. Yet, there may be a twinge of regret while thinking of the phase of happiness which is now past and that might leave a residue of emotion which needs to be cleared. Along with this, there also needs to be a deeper understanding that for all of us, it is the karmic balance sheet that is at work. When an event in our life comes, has its impact , it is up to us to either let it go as a lesson learnt, or hold on to it pouring wasted energy of negative emotions like anger, sadness, a feeling of being cheated and so on.

Similarly, relationships take their toll on us when attachment becomes an obsession. The imbalance created as a result spirals towards a depletion of energy and consequently, we pay a price by ending the relationship.

I see people paying a huge price in maintaining friendships. Individuals forming “close” groups also become “closed” groups. The individual preferences of each among the group have to be sacrificed to an extent as a price of conforming to the unwritten rules of that group, even if they are not palatable to one or more people in the group. I have seen friends changing color and dropping friends when they choose to associate with the rich and the famous in the hope that a little bit of the stardust will come their way, never mind if it is only “dust”. They prefer the leftover dust from a star than the light of a sincere and loyal friend who apparently is of no value but may actually be a shining star in the relationship.

So, these tags are directly connected with the aspirations of people, their brand of self esteem, their modes of behavior and their attitudes towards people, events and life in general. These considerations determine their preferences and actions. Thus, we see tradeoffs between success and loyalty, fair play and foul play, personal gains and justice for all, etc.

Many get stuck within their own reactions, retaliations, playing the blame game and being judgmental. Moving forward is for those who can, with a clear perception and intellect, make the choices for their own evolution and growth. There is always a voice within that tells us where we need to go. But we have to pass through the events brought on by old “karma” to be decidedly and inevitably experienced in the “now”. The ignorance of “karma” and the lack of understanding that we are paying a price for what we have done earlier is like wearing a crown of thorns at the time. If we perceive these events as adversities coming our way and react to them, this would only build up a new negative body of “karma”.

All this changes when a deeper understanding dawns. This is when we are actually able to “see” why things happen, what they are supposed to do for us and what must be our attitude when we are experiencing them. As soon as this understanding dawns, we also understand where our choices could have been better and how we can better our choices in future on the basis of the new awareness and insights we have acquired.

As long as we have a free will, our choices make the existence of price tags inevitable. Maturity lies in paying the price willingly and with an understanding that we are doing this in the interest of ourselves and all around us. It boils down to the fact that we must make enlightened choices to eliminate the “price tag” perceptionbecause that is what price tags actually are – a perception.

Surekha Kothari


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India is suddenly waking up to this word. Accountability in politics has become one of the most burning issues today. But accountability is or shall I say, should be an all pervasive word and in every walk of life. Not only is it at the core of free will, it is also relevant at the macro and micro levels of all existence. It defines freedom as meaningful only in the context of accountability. It is the benchmark of harmony in the hierarchy of relationships. It denotes a system of checks and balances in families and societies, and therefore, logically starting at the micro levels, the individuals. Accountability is a discipline which can sustain peace and prosperity of every unit in a country and ensure a continued and constructive growth of the nation.

Thus, we have a child accountable to parents, family members accountable to each other, individuals to society, societies to their regions, all the regions to each other, the judiciary to its conscience and the people and the government to its people. This doesn’t mean that the creativity of people will be curbed. This merely means that within the framework of what is good and applicable to all, individual growth can and will be ensured.

What is important to note is that accountability incorporates many attitudes automatically.

The first one is acceptance of all, however different they may appear to be, knowing that the soul within has the same source.

The second one is respect for all, conceding that everything and everyone in Creation has a place and is not superfluous.

The third is the knowledge that everything grows only when given space. We are therefore, accountable for the space we are required to give ourselves and others.

The fourth is the accountability of our thoughts, words and actions. All these three should be tempered with love and acceptance, and with respect.

The fifth and as important is the aspect of responsibility which goes hand in hand with commitment: responsibility towards commitment towards the well being of oneself while ensuring that of others.

Today, India is clamoring for the return of this quality of accountability because this has been previously experienced in this great country more than in any other, despite the constant attempts to bring in a state of anarchy inspired by the greed of self seeking groups who have forgotten the days of nationalistic spirit and sacrifices by proud Indian citizens. Their solidarity against so many odds was actually instrumental in giving “Bharat” its freedom. In accountability and responsibility lies freedom for one and all.


Surekha Kothari


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Our ego driven insecurities have colored our vision so much that we have conveniently given narrow and perhaps negative connotation to words like “Hindutva”. This word is not merely a word but a philosophy, a way of life. Just as “guru” symbolizes the essence of the qualities of “gurutva”, “Hindutva” symbolizes the principles of life given to the people of India.

The divisive forces interpret “Hindutva” as an intolerant and fanatic religion of the Hindus. I beg to differ. While Hinduism is the religion followed by Hindus, the term “Hindutva” is inclusive of the entire “Hindustan” which we call India. There is a huge difference. “Hindustan” is the land of all Indians.

It is important to note that “Hindustan” should not be considered synonymous with Hindus. This is a basic interpretation which colors this unique country as a land of Hindus only, a complete fallacy.

“Hindutva” is the body of codes of conduct, a philosophy that citizens of Hindustan shall follow, a set of norms based solely on spirituality which is not religion oriented as has often been falsely indoctrinated in people . Intrinsically, it spells out that Indians should abide by its democratic nature of governance and regulation of society on the principle of secularism, based on rights to freedom, equality and education for all. It symbolizes secularism as the larger framework within which these shall be the right of every citizen. It respects the freedom of all the people irrespective of religious preferences, case and creed and their harmonious co existence while practicing their own individual belief systems, above all, while accepting those of others.

Now, anything which is distorted or taken advantage of for specific, “unholy” gains such as the communal divides or brain washing of people to deviate from their right beliefs to the ones inculcated with the carrot and stick policy by a few, are practices which need reforms.

Symbolizing my thoughts is a beautiful story I want to share. Peace, Wealth and Love came to the door of a poor couple and asked to be hosted. The condition was that they could choose only one of the three. The couple debated among themselves and decided to invite Love in because they could not live without love. When they stepped aside for Love to walk in, Peace and Wealth also started walking in. When the surprised couple asked why all three were walking in, Peace and Wealth said that they always accompanied Love wherever Love went. This is not only a story but a universal truth which is time tested and found to be completely true when practiced.

To conclude, no religion has advocated non acceptance, intolerance or destruction of any kind. Why then don’t we CHOOSE love, peace and harmony, so evidently the first choice for any sane person?

Love means compassion, tolerance and acceptance. This is also the base of “Hindutva “as I understand it on a deeper, spiritual level. I have often been cynically accused of being an “idealist”. I take this as a compliment. You see, I am not a cynic.

Surekha Kothari


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There is nothing superfluous in Creation. The greatest lesson in humility, therefore, is showing a healthy respect for everything. Translating from a Gujarati saying, “We may need even a grain of sand in life”. Let us therefore, show respect to the grain of sand also.

Another great truth is that the people we meet climbing up may be the ones we meet coming down as well. To my mind, the two sayings are linked. The fact that the Congress party has had to scamper back to the Communist party for an alliance, a party that it had shunned, is a prime example.There seems to be a natural system of justice, checks and balances that seems to work above themachinations of man. Surely, we must believe in the law of karma.

In everyday life, too, we see this all the time. Genuine friendships and relationships survive the onslaught of time because of the steadfastness ingrained in the sincerity of bonds which stand the test of time. But in order for this to happen, we have to burn a lamp in our hearts all the time, however dense the darkness around us, or within our sense of perception. The underlying theme here is humility, mutual respect and love, in that order.

If we have disregarded and disrespected, or even tried to harm anything or anyone, it has boomeranged on us some time or another. Promises, if made pretentiously and not fulfilled carry the huge burden of false intentions which perhaps build a chain of actions and reactions and a cloud of escalating negativity which has to end in disaster of some kind.

We see all this happening around us but, for some reason, we seem immune and continue to be immune and insensitive till it happens to us directly. This is one of the reasons that we wait for a crisis to happen before we begin to act.

The time to act is here, in the present moment, each minute and every day. If only we could wake up to facts and observe reality, which is intrinsically pure and simple, to counteract and avert disasters of distorted minds!

The burden of my song is that if nothing is superfluous in Creation, there are codes of conduct to live by to make Creation meaningful. Greed, hatred, self promotion at the cost of everything and everyone and subversion are certainly not within the list of this code designed for world peace and prosperity. We have seen disastrous consequences of violating the natural laws of the universe, decade after decade, century after century and spilling over into the currently chaotic times.

Think about it! If politics means good governance, can we ignore the well being of the citizens whose responsibility politicians have taken on, without dire consequences? If regulation of societies is the aim, can we achieve this without first organizing the individual, families and social groups into right thinking and values, right speech and right action? We nurture gardens in our backyard but fail to nurture individuals. We have animal pets but disrespect our own family members. We lap up generosity from others but fight shy of returning the same. We want to be acknowledged and rewarded for whatever service we do or laurels we gain, but are reticent about encouraging or praising the good deeds of others.

What kind of trends we are painstakingly cultivating and what effect they are having in the world today is for everyone to see. I believe it is never too late to make a concentrated effort to reverse these harmful trends, however deeply they may be woven within the fabric of the country and the world at this time. The amazing brain of man that can wreak havoc and destroy can also stem the tide of anarchy, consolidate and build again.

Surekha Kothari


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