Saturday, April 23, 2011

Activism - a personal journey

The rush of events tempted me to put off the weekly blog on spirituality, but then I remembered the principles that I espoused. One needs to keep on operating at all levels - personal, family, business and work, social activity and spiritual activity, together. Just because one has personal or family or business or nation building or spiritual priorities cannot be a valid reason for ignoring any of the layers of activity. Can the cell in our lung of our body say that because it needs to build itself well, it will not do any intercellular activities to sustain the lungs or respiratory system or the entire body. All activities need to take place together at the same time.

The last few weeks has been great fun, as we rode the crest and the trough of the anti-corruption movement with the "India against corruption" movement led by Anna Hazare. It was a kind of litmus test for me, on a personal level, too. Am trying to share my thoughts and reactions, honestly.

Some questions

I have prided myself in the fact that I have never been ruffled from within in the last 7 years. Never angry, upset nor perturbed with all that has been going around me. In the last few weeks, the adulation, the criticisms, allegations and mud throwing was at a much higher scale. I was observing myself keenly. Did the stithpragnata (tranquillity, serenity) that I was experiencing for many years get ruffled? Was I elated? Was I downcast? When the government gave in to the demands for a joint committee, did the victory excite me? When some people made allegations on me and my family- was I upset ? Was I angry? Was my state of equilibrium true or fake?

My concepts and understanding of "Why was I in equilibrium"?

Equality: We are all equal with the same power within us or in a colloquial term - we all have the power of the sun within us. Some may have lesser clouds and some more, which hide the sunlight. I have always tried to live on a 50: 50 basis. Never have I considered anyone less nor more than me and my relations with all have been on a basis of equality. Which is why I have stopped judging people. Analysing - yes, but judging - no.

Roles : I have never taken the roles of being a son, father, boss, employee, husband, friend etc. seriously. I do not play roles. My mother and family used to get pretty upset at my irreverence when younger. Now, they get scandalised at the liberty that I allow my children to speak as equals with complete irrereverence.

Approval : Because of the conviction in the concept of being a part of existence and not a separate part, I always felt complete. There has never been a need for appreciation from any one. I am complete, and I do not need anyone's approval to become complete. So, when for one of the events planned in Mumbai for the anti-corruption movement, when someone told me that it should have enough people or else, my reputation will get spoiled, I could not stop myself from replying that "I am not doing for my reputation, I do not care about that. Its a task that has been taken up and should be done to the best of my abilities. Reputation be damned."

LEELA : Also, I have started looking at life as LEELA - a game and have completely stopped taking myself seriously. Am getting more and more into a surrender mode - surrender to existence. Earlier in my activism days, I would feel that there is a need for change. And that I need to change the country, society, injustice, misery, systems, people and others. Soon I started realizing that everything in existence is exactly as it should be. The cyclic movement of existence, the events happening - positive and negative is exactly as it should be. Slowly I have started surrendering to existence.

Role : My role in this existence, is just to be a channel or vessel or player in a game"LEELA" played by existence. As Sri Aurobindo says "I am just the bamboo reed through whom God blows his breath. The music that comes out of the bamboo flute is not mine". So, the sense of ownership has left. And with that has come the realization of the truth of the adage in the Bhagawad Geeta "Ma phaleshu kadachana; ma karma phala he tur bhuh, ma te sangvasta karmani; karmanye vadhika raste" meaning that while you have a duty and obligation, you have no right to expect a particular consequence or result or fruit to follow from what you do. So, enjoyment and fun has replaced concern and anxiety.

So, what happened in the last few weeks?

Some years back, when all the gold jewellery from my cupboard had got stolen, my wife came and told me casually, that the jewellery is missing. While we suspected the maid, we had no proof and therefore my wife decided to be more careful and that was the end of that story. Her complete disattachment for material things as well as my natural casual reaction was encouraging for me.

Now in the last weeks in the midst of the agitation, when there were outcomes which were good - like the support from many quarters, like the victory when government capitulated etc, there was no elation nor excitement. The equanimity only got emotional a couple of times. I met many people - nice, decent, simple people who were willing to sacrifice everything for the country, I was overwhelmed and could not control my emotions.

When there was a vicious attack on me and my family on Facebook and similar, I did get a bit pensive. After I woke up in the middle of night, completely unemotionally, I created a blog stating the real position and asking my activist friends if they wanted me to resign. There was no anger or pique. I was not asking people if my action was correct or wrong - of course I had done no wrong. I was asking a specific question - in light of this vicious and dirty attack, would my continuation as the coordinator affect the movement? Once, they said that I should continue, the matter was over.

As I examine my reaction at that time, in the midst of all these dirty allegations, yes, I did feel out of place. Like being in a gutter. Or like being in a middle of a mud slinging arena. I did examine my thoughts and wondered if I was in the right place. Should I just walk away from this negative place and go back to my meditation, study of scriptures, reading and writing of spiritual issues? Or should I continue doing my nation building activities? The questions still exist and the answers will come when they have to. I am surrendered to whatever comes.

There are lots of lessons and learnings from this last few weeks and with this blog, would like to share some of the thought processes and ideation. While this blog might sound egoist and I-centric, but it is just an honest and realistic appraisal of myself in the last few weeks. I am sure all of you must be going through similar thoughts, self doubts and self examinations. Maybe this might help.


  1. .. might help? It certainly did :)

    Well, you are doing the right thing! Nothing else matters :)

    As your blog slogan says - "Dosh Shristi mein nahi drishti mein hai"

    You perceive negativity and the best way to deal with it is to fight it head-on.

    Since you are not being judgmental (as you said), your fight is without any violence :)

    on the way, you are gonna help millions of other people.. to do something positive.. to have a reason to do good deeds.. in return, all that is gonna help lift you up on a spiritual level ...more than hours of meditations in a dark room :)

    God bless you.

  2. yes it does helps, to know the existence I am trying to have is not something out of order...

    secondly I am into a lot of things when I returned to my family, as I felt they need me...and slowly i started loosing the independence I enjoyed...

    I still get frustrated many times, but then somehow I carry on in this gutter, which I dream everyday of escaping...
    I studied Architecture in Mumbai and worked there but then I returned to my city Gorakhpur, where my family is...and now something will change...

  3. Mayank, your reflections are interesting! Yes, as our identities are socially constructed, self-centric analysis has considerable limitations... I understand that what we do for a living,how we earn our economic sustenance determines our consciousness to a great extent...can somebody who does not have enough money to pay for his child's treatment remain unruffled? You are very lucky to have remained unruffled for long periods!

  4. Hi, cute expressions. it is so truthful that it shows how the power of `realisation` really works. the peace that you are enjoying out of this change process within yourself must be enjoyable for yourself. It is very inspiring. I am benefitted as I am undergoing the same phase and trying to xplore much more. It will be a great day when the realization will be at its peak. keep sharing.. sunil jogdeo

  5. Perfect. Continue flowing with the flow. At the end it is not even about nation it is about you, YOU. You want to reach YOU and this is the way.

  6. It's not what's your will but it's God's will that you go through this phase.It's not your way but God wanted you to walk through this way.
    As you said,you are walking the God's way and remember,the youngsters of India are behind you.I beg,lead the movement from front for us.No matter,what ever happens,we are with you and we will be with you.

  7. Keep roaring and ignoring the impediments..
    Always act like you’re wearing an invisible crown.

    “A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.” – David Brinkley

  8. Hi Mr.Gandhi,
    I'm Mrs. Vasanthi Srinivasan from Tallmadge, Ohio, USA.I was born and raised in Matunga, Mumbai-the city I love from the bottom of my heart.I have been following IAC and 100% believe that the "righteous" will emerge "victorious".The thoughts and feelings you have expressed in this blog is very refreshing as I'm experiencing the same over the past few months. I am a very emotional person- very high when happy and very low when upset- but over the years I have read many good positive mental attitude books, the essence of which you have summarized very beautifully here.I believe that the "world is in perfect order no matter what the negative people out there make it appear to be".Thanks,Mr. Gandhi.Keep posting and sharing your wisdom with all of us.

  9. as a creater nobody follow others idea. creater has his own thoughts to put to gather. individual wants to present his own craation. when we drive all vehicles distrect us but we cann't pay attention to them in life just listen to our own voice.

  10. For last few weeks since I joined IAC movement & had the opportunity to observe the views of so many on internet,I was wondering if I was a misfit.Now I understand I am nobody to change things my way,but let me stick to the center of my own circumference of ability & act listening my inner self.If things change for the betterment of my country I will be happy,if not I can always draw positive energy from people like you.

  11. Thanks a lot for such wonderful Sharing...

  12. These are really profound comments. If you are new to my blog, this is the 50th one. You might like to read some of the earlier ones.....most of them on spirituality

  13. Mayankbhai, for me a very apt & timely blog. I have always been interested in observing myself;I have been interested in Shri Ramana Maharshi's query, "Who am I?". But I am just a start up in meditation.
    The other observation of yours about operating at all levels is very interesting. I have observed that I used to get paralysed because I would start operating on other level only after I completed one level. Thus "I will do this only after I have....." kind of thought ruled. This has slowly started to change making me more effective.
    Thanks for sharing...