About P P Wangchuk

The writer, a senior editor, has seen life at the Hindustan Times for almost three decades, and  is obsessed with writing on issues that make or break life. Having joined the newspaper as an idealist at 23, he has come a long way, and is today a realist and down-to-earth person. In between, he has handled Page 1 and the Edit Page for several years.

Those who believe in the power of prayer feel that the non-believers are unlucky, if not foolish. Prayer is nothing but your understanding and reiteration of belief in your ability to handle the difficulties of life in a manner that you condition your mind to do so.

And, if you are able to get the gods and goddesses you believe in in your scheme of things, you will have an easier task!

I take the word prayer to mean one’s bid to rediscover one’s self; and if possible, to reinvent it. That is to say, having a relook into one’s own self to understand it and be closer to the real self so that you don’t stand to be seen what you are not, really. The gap between you, as seen by the outside world and what you really are within, needs to be bridged so that you emerge as the same as you are within.

Take prayer as an earnest desire and expression of one’s willingness to improve and do better each passing day. It has to be taken as if you are bent upon trying all possible ways to seek your destination. It should work as an effective tool to ‘melt down’ your stiff attitude towards your unwillingness to do better and create a more congenial atmosphere.

It should be used to make you see, always, the positive aspect of situations and the goodness in others so that you can endear even the worst of your so-called enemies. No one on this planet can be your enemy unless you seek one. The enemy lies within, and the key to turn it into a friend too lies within you.

Gandhiji used to say that “prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weaknesses. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” In other words, Gandhiji wanted us to believe that we have to be loving and compassionate; and that can be done by telling yourself day in and day out, that you can, and you will. It is a reiteration of your willingness to showcase your goodness and make the best use of it before your journey on this planet gets over.

Prayer is not an act to influence one’s gods and goddesses. You can’t ever do that. But you can certainly please them by doing good work. Prayer is an attempt on our side to reform ourselves and change our nature to be useful all the time, everywhere.

As Mother Teresa used to say, prayer is your faith in love; and love is supreme service.

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Most of us believe in luck. But some of us do believe and take luck as nothing but the “crystallisation of your hard work bearing its fruits.” It is because of this kind of attitude that one becomes capable of saying that luck follows those who keep on trying and never give up. Swami Krupalanand says this very point with great clarity: “Perseverance persuades luck to favour a pauper.”

That forces us to assert that luck does not descend from out of the blue upon those who are idlers. One has to create the ‘circumstances’ with meticulous planning and determination to let ‘lady luck’ come your way. All great men in history never relied on their luck; they knew luck is yet another name for perseverance and hard work. The Dalai Lama has an interesting point, “Remember, sometimes not getting what you want could be a wonderful stroke of luck.”

Herein you have an appeal that there is nothing like luck that can bestow on you whatever you want; it is all your doing/action that matters. At times, when you find a particular circumstance very ‘negative’, that could very well be a challenge so that you overcome it and make your own “luck”. It is only those who don’t work to their best capability and with great honesty and sincerity that they have to ‘get hold’ of something that they feel could take them ashore.

A man who is strong of will and willing to work hard believes only in the great potentialities of perspiration because he sees nothing coming other than the result of his own hard work.

That leads us to the ‘cause and effect’ theory; and it could be a much better way to go about explaining the point. ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’, is well-tested through the ages; and those of us, who believe in this wise counsel instead of someone/something coming to our aid/rescue, would be found to be happier and doggedly hard working.

There is this great saying by Thomas Jefferson, “I am a great believer in luck; and I find the harder I work the more I have it.” That is it; in fact, you are needed to earn your ‘lady luck‘.

It comes to you only when you are ‘deserving’ of her. And you become deserving, like a good and handsome bridegroom, when you have all the points cultivated for yourself.

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We have the saying that one must not hanker for what is not; be happy with what you have got. It maybe sounding good and may even be one of the ways to keep oneself in good humour. And, good humour, we know, is at the very core of good life. But there seems to be a serious ‘problem of limitation’ in this saying.

Doesn’t it suggest in more than one way that the limitation of our aspirations could be a good way to remain contended in life? Is it justified in today’s world where “to go for the impossible” is the goal?

Aspiration, much more than hope, is what makes life go forward. Hope gives the way to aspiration and aspiration to action and struggle. And, it is struggle that makes the impossible possible. Giving examples here maybe simply naïve but not giving maybe an easy alibi to escape cheap criticism.

Of course, one should thank one’s luck for what one has but aspiring for more and still more makes one more powerful and lands one in a position to do more for the betterment of one’s society. Service gets a severe limitation until you are backed up with the means to alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunate.

We have another saying that the greatness of a man is measured by the magnanimity displayed in his deeds. Who can do it? Only one who can go beyond the aspirations of his own needs and have more and more to share with the deprived. The needy needs you; and needs and deeds are complementary. Needs give rise to deeds and deeds fulfil the needs.

Henry David Thoreau, in Walden, has quite interesting things to say on dreams and the reality. “If you have built a castle in the air, your work need not be lost; that is there where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

All that it means is that you reach a height you aim at; the greater the bar, the greater the accomplishment. True, you have to have an action plan in order, and be determined with hundred percent will and hope to realise your dream. You have to be seriously careful; and even if you have to be careless, at times, you have to be carefully careless.

Let us remind ourselves, time and again, when we stop dreaming, we stop living. Dream high, act tough and scale great heights.

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A Guru, by definition, is a leader, a guide in matters of spirituality. You may call him the light that makes your darkened world clear and meaningful. You can also call him the anchor of your life that is in the pursuit of its destiny. In other words, Guru can stand for: Get Urgently the Required Understanding.

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One becomes great for what one does, and not for what one says. Action is what matters in life; and one who works for the welfare of others has understood the purpose of life. All men and women that we know today as great were wedded to action; they knew that work is worship and that one who keeps others’ interest in mind is living a real life. [Read more]

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