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.

Be a warrior and not a worrier. Those are lovely words from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest radio talk, Mann Ki Baat, to students across the country. As students, the Prime Minister said, they should be brave and should have vision; and that they should not keep worrying about their studies.

Instead they must tackle their problems with the zeal of a warrior; and it does not matter whether they get results or not so long as they have put in their best.

We know that any effort or hard work never goes unrewarded — sooner or later, that is. We must work hard, honestly and hopefully. That is the key to remain happy without bothering much about results. If you keep on worrying over results or failures, then you are surely asking for misery. Many a time, failures happen not because of your mistake or shortcoming but because of external factors over which you have no control. And, one must remember, that failures are a part of only hardworking and honest people.

Worry kills one’s vision as it darkens one’s way of life. That is to say, worry kills your enthusiasm to find a way out when you are stuck in a mess. You see nothing but a thorny path ahead and thus you lose the desire to tread to treat yourself to the fruits of success. The question one should ask oneself is why to bother about something that may or may not happen. As someone said, you should stay, always, in the sunlight, giving no chance to darkness to envelop you.

On this issue, the Dalai Lama gives a very apt quote: “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it is not fixable, then there is no help in worrying.”

What a striking statement that each one of us should be telling ourselves daily as a mantra in order to ward off the ‘waves of worry’. After all, worry is a “phantom” that will consume you eventually if allowed to ‘befriend’ you. Agreed, keeping worry away maybe quite difficult for many of us, but if you exercise rationality and see the futility of being worried about illusions, then you acquire the ability to ward off worry.

As Benjamin Franklin had said very rightly, “Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.”

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Each one of us has to realise the ultimate goal — the abode of peace and bliss. And for that one does not have to go far and wide; the place that will give us peace, joy and bliss is very much within ourselves. All that we have to do is to travel within with great attention and seriousness. A time comes when your ‘look within’ presents before you a heavenly abode where there is nothing but comforting light and bliss. You are then in a world different from this hurly-burly existence.

Sant Rajinder Singh, in his latest book, The Abode of the Beloved, says all this and more. “A place of peace, joy and bliss rests within all of us. We can enter this abode and enjoy a retreat of calm and happiness anytime we want through meditation. Through a simple technique of meditation on inner light and sound, we can enjoy a daily holiday from life’s stress, being refreshed by the Beloved’s never-ending inner stream of divine love and bliss.”

The entire theme of the book is on meditation and peace. Meditation not only helps us realise what and who we are, it also enables us to be an effective tool to be of use for those who need us to relieve them of their suffering and pain. That is because meditation enlightens us and we see the futility of selfishness and see the usefulness of service towards those around us. With meditation, one can exploit one’s inner talents and skills to have a world much more worthy of being proud of to live in.

On any given day, most of us get busy attending to the needs of our body and obeying the orders of the mind. We hardly pay any attention to the needs of the soul which is the very force of our life that can give us enlightenment. As the author himself says, “We may pray to God but are we mostly praying for something that is going to help our body, our mind, or the people we love? How many times do we pray to God for God?

That is the crucial point. Praying to God for God (meaning humanity as His creature) alone helps us uplift ourselves to a level where we can see everybody in ourselves. That is to say, we become one with the rest of the creatures of the Supreme Being. And there is no experience greater and fulfilling than that.

Therefore, one must be extra-careful to listen to the call from within – the sound or the music that alone can lead one to complete awareness of the futility of mere existentialism and the need to be an instrument of peace and love. Nothing else matters as much.

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There must be animals other than human beings who can smile. But since I do not know whether they can smile like the way we do, I resorted to a quick I-search, but could not get a satisfactory answer. So, I go with the assumption that some of them do smile; only that we don’t have the eye to see them. [Read more]

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We are lucky that we have the words ‘Thank you’ and ‘gratitude’ to express our hearty response to a good thing done by someone known or unknown. And this has changed our lifestyle, attitude, etc. in a manner that the arduous journey of life becomes a bit easier and interesting. [Read more]

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To be optimistic is to be hopeful with will power and hard work. And the New Year comes with an air of fresh hopes and aspirations that, one feels, may very well be coming one’s way. It is here that one has to seize the opportunity “while the iron is hot”, as the phrase goes.

Also, to be an optimist is the sure way of good living; and , on the other hand, to be pessimist is as good as being dead, as one lives in a state of ‘living hell’, never at peace with self and others too. What is life if it is not lived well and to one’s full capacity of body and mind?

We are always torn by ideas that quite often are conflicting in nature. The optimist among us see a chance to gain by making full use of even the worst situation; and the pessimist get lost in the realm of frustration and pain. It is all a state of mind that one has to exercise, just as some of us see a glass half full and some others see the same in a different perspective – half empty. All gains and losses in life are a result of such a perspective of one’s bent of mind.

It is not that one is born with a positive or negative perspective; and yet it is true that circumstances and one’s background do make the crucial difference that two persons look differently and see different things in the same situation. The “remedy” for the pessimist comes their way by being in tune with nature and changing the way of approaching things slowly. Good company and association with achievers and even reading books by successful people can help them a lot. One has to convince oneself that “if ‘he’ could do it, why is it that I can’t do? After all, I too am blessed with the same features and capabilities.”

Believing that one can do is success half way through. That is why people like Gandhiji always walked and talked with great optimism and faith in their own power to change things they thought not good for humanity. What is not good has to go and one has to make way for the good things to come in. And that is possible only by being an optimist to the core. Of course, one has to be very practical and realistic while pursuing one’s ideals.

That reminds me of Oscar Wilde and his Lady Windermere’s Fan. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” That is just for an ‘effect’ but the point is very well made. We have to come out of the ‘gutter” to see the brighter side of the universe. And that is possible if we, as someone had said, don’t cry because it is over; smile because it happened!

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