Of Heart & Harmony


As our day begins, there is frenzied activity in each of our lives. It all points to a bagful of actions to be performed during the course of the day. The pace at which it all gets packed is also amazing. We often fail to realise what is accomplished during the course of the day. A paradox to look at, although it is often factual… as we begin to introspect.

Do we call this state living, or do we call it surviving? Whatever name is given, it doesn’t provide a reason for us to cheer about. Because, our bunch of activities never gets captured, as they are not worth remembering, or cherishing. Thus our routine continues, endlessly, day-after-day, without any fruit being produced.


In the Ramayana, the monkey king Sugriva is the sad, dethroned ruler. There’s no ray of hope for him to become king again. Yet, he looks for an opportunity to re-capture his lost kingdom from his mighty brother Vali, who has usurped not only his kingdom, but also his doting wife. Although Sugriva leads a life of desperation on the mountain Rushyamuka, he develops a host of strategies to re-capture his kingdom, with his best friend, Hanuman. He therafter waits for Lord Rama, develops a friendship with him, and helps himself to become king again. He also assists Rama to accomplish his mission, no less — to destroy evil [Ravana] and resurrect justice. The story conveys the central theme that despite frustrating moments, persistence towards a goal is keyed to bring us success and something to relish too.

On the downside though, some of us are often placed in the grip of a wobbling dichotomy. We question our own set of mundane activities we are all involved in and the accomplishments that we possibly only dream of, and never achieve. There are no easy answers to this conundrum. But, the simple percept of questioning triggers an awakening call, a call for introspection, a call for reasoning, and a call for justification. This is the beginning of living, for we have now started observing what we are doing. Deliberating, defining, directing and deducing — all of them give rise for us to attain the Principles of the Heart of Living, or a living with purpose and clarity.


Adi Sankaracárya, the great philosopher, lived an ordinary life. But, as he grew, he started observing things which no other contemporary thinker observed. He saw god in every human being. Without renouncing his earthly bondage, Sankara attained nirvana at a young age.

This brings us to what differentiates saints from others — yes, it is their understanding, compassion, vision, and concern for society. It also exemplifies elevated living, a living of creativity. In other words, it means the Heart of Living. It also propounds a host of contours of healthy living — for all of us to be human beings of substance. You may have guessed it right. Dhyana is the first step in Hearty Living; it gives us the focus to begin our day. With focus comes clarity; this assumes the form of our definitions in living life with purpose and dignity. Every individual can develop a set of convictions, based on the clarity attained — they become our self-goals.

It is often said that when a canvas is set, a brush could move automatically. Here comes the direction for every individual to attain objectives in accordance with our definitions. The paint brush would start drawing pictures, some perfect and some imperfect. But, as the days roll by, a seemingly confusing canvas starts assuming a pattern, which is unique to the painter. This is deduction, or near-achievement, or task achieved. It now requires nurturing, reinforcing, and showcasing.

We all have our Adi Sankaras within us — especially, when it comes to not just living, but contentment just as well. This determines who we are. This is the path of Hearty Living — the roadmap to accomplishment, to fulfilling other individuals with love, including your immediate family, besides enriching your society, enterprise, and the country.

A gentle thought about Mahatma Gandhi would drive us all to such a destination — of how a frail, ordinary individual could lead us to victory, not by war, but by a noble path, the path of ahimsa. If this isn’t the ‘heart’ of heightened, harmonious, or hearty living, what is?