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Life Positive December Issue

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Published by Aman, 2019-11-25 22:42:43

December LP Magazine

Life Positive December Issue

Swami Chidanand Saraswati
How to do JAL YOGA
Shekhar Suman: the mellow achiever
HR Nagendra: PM Modi’s yoga guru
` 100

Dear Reader,
Be brave, be gentle
Once again, we are on the brink of an ending and the dawn of a new beginning as the year 2019 comes to a close. A time which compels us to take a bird’s eye view of our achievements and setbacks in the past year.
But let me for a moment take you away from your goals and bucket lists. Life is inevitably tied to them, whether they are of our choosing or not. Even for people we judge as ordinary because they do not weave big dreams for themselves, life is not easy. Buying a house, getting children educated and married, ensuring sufficient savings to see you through old age, and meeting everyday demands and challenges can take a toll on anyone. Therefore, my request to you, as you take stock of 2019, is to go easy on yourself. Rejoice over your achievements but continue to pour love over yourself as you notice the missed goals and opportunities. Treat yourself with kindness and love, and nourish yourself with gentle and nurturing thoughts.
Promise to never abandon yourself in all your trials, and you will see that even your remotest dreams will come to life. The ones who do not give up on themselves are the ones with their eyes on the bigger picture, who realise that even though tiny, their role is crucial, highly significant, and thus pivotal in the larger scheme of things.
The cover story for December is on developing the ability to see this big picture of life. So many of life’s hardships become understandable and bearable simply because we have developed the power to go beyond our personal stories and consider broader perspectives. Enjoy it.
Another touching article by Jamuna Rangachari is on coping with grief. Losing a loved one irrevocably is one of the hardest blows one can receive from life. Although there is no fixed remedy to overcome this sorrow, we can learn from people who have found ways around this heartache and converted it into something memorable and beautiful. This article
chronicles the stories of a few such inspiring bravehearts. I hope many suffering souls will find succour through these stories and be able to infuse their lives with courage and renewed hope.
Have a soul-satisfying December.
- Editor
LP mascot: Laughing Buddha
December 2019 Vol. 23  Issue 09  Price ` 100
Chairman: Aditya Ahluwalia President: D R Kaarthikeyan Director: V Venkat
Editor: Shivi Verma
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losZ HkoUrq lqf[ku~%] losZlUrq fujke;k%
losZ Hknzkf.k i’;Urq] ekdf’pn~nq%[kHkkd~Hkosr!
May all beings be happy, May all be healthy, May people have the well-being of all in mind, May nobody suffer in any way. — Vedic prayer
Edited by Shivi Verma. Printed and published by
Aditya Ahluwalia on behalf of Life Positive Pvt. Ltd. from
F1/9, First floor, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase - I, New Delhi-110 020
Printed at M.P. Printers, B-220, Phase 2 Noida, 201305
Member, Indian Newspaper Society
4 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

full advt 8 X 10.4.indd 36 16/01/18 8:09 PM aroyga march 2017.indd 2 17/02/17 5:34 PM

A broader perspective
Shilpa Shah offers a deep insight into what it actually means to ‘see the big picture’
“I learn from everyone”
Shekhar Suman opens up about improving through self-effort, and dealing with the loss of his son
Destiny’s miracle child
Having braved the storm of an incurable illness, Shraddha inspires us to not lose heart, no matter what
The gift of Ganga
The author finds herself being guided and becoming one with mother Ganga
06 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

Have yourself a veggie little Christmas
This X-mas, tickle your taste buds with stuffed tomatoes instead of stuffed turkey
Going beyond grief
We are not alone in our sorrows as the Divine is always with us
Gift with love
Receiving with dignity is as important as gifting with respect and consideration
Meet Dr H R Nagendra, who has revolutionised the concepts of health and healing globally
Floating to stay fit
Jal Yoga is a boon for the disabled and weak as the asanas are performed on the water surface
Response 08 Mandala 10 Guruspeak 40 Aha-moments 54
Journey 60 Mudra Column 70 Spirit 78 Positive focus 80
Revelations 86 Banyan tree 88
Cover photo: Adobe Stock, Photo credit: Adobe Stock, Cover design: Sandeep Kumar
Total pages 92, including the cover page and the back cover
Contents 07

Letter of the month
Believe in yourself
The article Integrity: Guided by the inner light in the November 2019 issue of Life Positive not only gives a wholesome view of what integrity truly stands for but also provides the right perspective from which to view life. Integrity to me is having faith in oneself and holding your ground, no matter what the situation is. There will be times when you require introspection and soul- searching to analyse the path you are on, but that does not mean you start doubting yourself on the basis of what people around you think. If you believe in yourself, then adhere to your principles and to what your heart agrees with, no matter what anybody says.
This article beautifully brings out the real essence of integrity. It is great to read such articles.
Akshita Bansal, Jaipur
A fantastic issue
The article Conquering procrastination—today in the November 2019 issue of Life Positive captures the negative associations such as depression, irrational behaviour, anxiety, and most importantly, lack of self- esteem that are linked with procrastination. Fear of failure is the biggest cause of procrastination. We don’t understand that failure is never fatal. We forget that mistakes can be fixed if we give ourselves another chance. The more stressed you are, the harder it is to live. Don’t be angry with yourself. Move on and focus on what you can do instead.
Another article Sleepless beauty was a fantastic read. Insomnia is a complicated sleeping disorder. Having suffered from it, I can vouch for the fact that fatigue, low energy, difficulty in concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance at work result from acute insomnia. It is great to know that it can be cured without medication. I have been practising yoga myself, and not only has it improved my condition but also my core strength, flexibility, and stress levels.
Lipakshi Pandey, New Delhi
All the articles in the magazine Life Positive are amazing. It was recommended to me by a friend and reading it left me happy and more self-aware. The article Integrity: Guided by the inner light in the November 2019 issue by Nitya Rajagopal was enlightening and said what I truly believe in.
I was also glad to know that we have a vegan school in India! Given the rapidly deteriorating situation of our environment and climate, our future does depend on protecting the health of our future generations and the planet. It’s important for our children to learn moral and ethical values. I like how their curriculum includes humanitarian subjects like empathy, compassion, humanity, and healthy eating habits. It is great to know of such well-intended institutions. I also liked the Mudra column which is so practical and helpful that one can practise the mudras therein while sitting at home.
Nidhi Jain, Pune
A lighthouse like Life Positive
In the November 2019 issue of Life Positive, Naini Setalvad has shown a delightful way to incorporate plants and
08 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019
Mail from our readers, online fans and subscribers

vegetables in one’s diet through her article A smooth way to good health. I thank her for it.
Editor Shivi Verma’s column Free will and destiny was absolutely divine and shows how gifted she is in her thoughts. I humbly believe Life Positive guards and guides human beings just like a lighthouse that alerts ships to dangerous rocks. It gives the message of hope and brotherhood so we can bond with each other. Looking forward to more delightful and thought-provoking articles from LP.
Tariq Khan via email
Superb Editspeak
The Editspeak A tradition of happiness by editor Shivi Verma published in the October 2019 issue was a fabulous read. It is a great analysis of the human mind’s pursuit of happiness and how
we can achieve fulfilment, peace, and our life- purpose.
Ask any human being what they want most in life and they will say happiness. But happiness should not be confused with laughing or grinning. Happiness is basically contentment, but we do not know how to reach this elusive state. Shivi Verma elucidates that one gets the deepest happiness by serving others in need. The act of selfless service brings untold happiness, which is similar to experiencing the Divine and tasting eternity. You may say that there is nothing new about this thought and that we already know this. But the words Shivi has used to convey this sentiment fill you with happiness, stillness and a touch of divinity. It was exhilarating to read this article.
Sudhir Sharma, Batala ( Punjab )
Response 09

The second week of November saw India’s first world assembly on ayurveda, yoga, and naturopathy. Ayuryog Expo was held at Indian Expo Centre & Mart in Greater Noida from 7–9 November 2019 and was the biggest platform in the domain of ayurveda and naturopathy. The expo was held with the aim of laying a concrete foundation and setting goals which would help these sectors in globally increasing their market share and customer profitability.
The convention was inaugurated in the presence of the Union Minister of State, Ministry of AYUSH, Sripad Yesso Naik, who was the chief guest of the ceremony. “This expo is a great opportunity to spread the word about the ayurvedic system of medicine globally. Ayurveda is considered by many scholars as the oldest healing science. It is often called the mother of all healing,” said Mr Naik while inaugurating the event.
Dr Mahesh Sharma, member of parliament, was the guest of honour and Padmashri
Dr H R Nagendra
and Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, also presided over the event.
Bringing together
world leaders in
yoga, ayurveda, and
naturopathy, the mega
event shared its vision of
robust growth by encouraging
a 100 per cent FDI in AYUSH sectors in India. The ‘Mahakumbh
of wellness’ witnessed stalwarts of AYUSH, thinkers, and researchers who spoke about this ancient healing system and how it can be incorporated with all other systems on a common platform. “While on one side of the event, we have gurus and yogis like Yogrishi Swami Ramdev Maharaj, Swami Amrta Suryananda Maharaja, Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans, and Sri Swami Maheshwarananda Puri, on the other, we have scientific sessions led by the likes of Dr Lorenzo Cohen and Dr Sat Bir Singh Khalsa. This is to highlight that yoga and ayurveda are not merely a mumbo-jumbo science but evidence- and science-based,” stated Dr H R Nagendra in his keynote speech.
The sessions held by Yogrishi Swami Ramdevji Maharaj and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar were the main highlights during the four-day extravaganza.
Swami Chidananda Saraswati from Rishikesh, Jain Acharya Dr Lokesh (founder of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti), Dr Raghavendra Rao (director of Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy), and other dignitaries were a part of the occasion. Students from numerous institutes, entrepreneurs, and various scientific scholars attended this expo, thus concluding the first edition of Ayuryog on a
high note.
Sripad Yesso Naik, Dr HR Nagendra, Mahesh Sharma and Jain Acharya Dr Lokesh flagged off Ayuryog 2019
10 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019
Ayuryog 2019

Cleaning the air with cars!
It is no surprise that Delhi and many other cities are struggling to breathe, with a thick layer of smog looming over us causing breathlessness, itchy eyes, and whatnot. In addition to dust, soot, and other gases, it is mainly the fine particulate matter or PM 2.5 emitted by transport fuels like diesel, petrol, and natural gas that contribute to 39 per cent of the pollution. Recognising the need to work on eliminating PM 2.5, an IIT Kharagpur graduate, Debayan Saha, has developed a device called ‘Minus2point5’ which can kill both PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollutants. It can not only eliminate the polluting components of the car it is fitted in, but also of the cars nearby.
With the aim to find a more effective solution for air pollution, Debayan brainstormed and developed this device under the guidance of AIIMS Director Padma Shri Randeep Guleria. Its technology combines electrical energy with wave energy to
influence the pollutants. Particles like PM 2.5, which are invisible to
the eye, are altered
to act like magnets,
thus attracting
other particulate components to get attached to it. This
leads to the increase
in size of the matter, making it heavy
and causing it to fall
to the ground like soil, preventing the particles from
entering our bloodstreams and causing fatal diseases. The lab test results of this device show that if installed in one car, it can neutralise the polluting effect of 10 similar cars!
“If installed in all the public vehicles in the city, the hazy air that persists over Delhi year- round will be clear forever. It can transform the polluted cities all over the world into clean breathing places,” says Debayan. The device is developed for four-wheelers and is fitted on the exhaust tailpipes of the vehicle.
Debayan Saha, with Dr Shashi Ranjan and Yogesh Agarwal co-founded PerSapiens, a start-up offering technological and non- technological healthcare solutions which are user-friendly and accessible, in 2017.
The hazardous air condition of cities hasledtopollutionmasksandair purifiers selling like hot cakes, in a dire attempt to keep the toxins from reaching our lungs. It is only fair that the vehicles that add to the deteriorating air conditions, now play an important role and reach every corner of the cities cleaning our
Debayan Saha, co-founder of PerSapien, developed the device ‘Minus2point5’
Mandala 11

Life is a resonance of our inner state each moment; what we feel is how we interact
with life. Like a mirror,
life reflects our inner
projections back at us
and, therefore, what
we want from life can
actually be achieved
by creating the state
within ourselves. Being
in resonance with our
desires is necessary if we
want the communication
to begin. Partha Gupta, a
renowned healer and breath
master, believes that to connect to anything, we need to have it in our perception first. Right insights lead to this ability to perceive that which we wish to connect and communicate with.
His sessions on Resonance is a space for the attendees to become self-aware. The purpose is to dissolve resistance and proceed towards acceptance without interference from our natural tendencies and habits. The session begins by building a few fundamentals about yoga, meditation, ego, self, consciousness, breath, prana, vibration, projection, reflection, relationships, and more. He says, “Life is functioning in and through our breath,” and breathing free allows us to resonate with that which we want to materialise. “It is like identifying with that dream which is pulsating within to manifest,” adds Partha.
We are generally unaware of our own breath
Resonance session by Partha Gupta create space for people to become self-aware
and rarely do we develop a sense of intimacy with it. But the importance of breath has been stressed upon since ancient times and is considered one of the finest yogic learning tools to experience time. According to Partha, what we seek already exists in the consciousness in a certain frequency and breathing in the same frequency can manifest that. His four- hour session on Resonance enables one to find resonance with any space at will. Ambiguity is replaced with clarity in life as it becomes effortless to communicate with life through
each moment and breathe.
Partha has helped many entrepreneurs, professionals, sportsmen, entertainers, and creative persons with the insights of the sessions. It is the years of social moulding that has stopped us from exploring the power that lies in our breath. Resonance workshop by Partha Gupta will be held on January 11, 2020 at Life Positive’s New Delhi office. Address: F1/9, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase 1, New Delhi 110020.
For more information visit: Mirroring-Life
Mirroring life!
12 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

Destiny’s miracle child
Having braved the storm of an incurable illness to emerge victorious, Shraddha Parekh inspires us not to lose heart, no matter how tough the going gets
14 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

When I was a four-year-old, I was effects too. Some of them are visible on my
down with a fever. But everyone was
alarmed when the temperature was not dropping even after a couple of weeks. The doctor diagnosed everything minutely and came to the conclusion that I was suffering from TB. But that was not all.
Soon, there were blood-red butterfly rashes all over my face. My blood pressure was shooting up almost every day. My temperature remained high and severe stomachaches were making it worse. Some ointments for mosquito bites were prescribed to treat the rashes. What’s more, doctors were still diagnosing the main cause of all my symptoms.
When I turned nine, I wasn’t able to sit or stand still because of the stomachaches. And to bring the body temperature down, doctors were making me lie on a block of ice.
After changing doctors and visiting many hospitals, my family finally came to know that I was suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE.
And they decided not to tell me anything about it.
The fearsome diagnosis
SLE is an incurable immune system disorder in which antibodies attack the healthy and efficient cells of our body. It weakens the immune system and makes diseases more deadly. It’s more or less like an army of soldiers attacking their own king. Unfortunately, there are no medicines to cure SLE, but a few steroids can lower its intensity.
Now, steroids, as we know, have many adverse
body. My head was puffed up like that of a wolf. My body was losing all its strength. I had to go through a kidney biopsy, that too without anaesthesia because the doctors thought that I would go into a coma. To make me cooperate with them, they promised me that they would let me watch television in the hospital’s compound. So, I ended up witnessing the whole biopsy procedure.
I went through chemotherapy and lost most of my hair. People started gossiping that I might be suffering from cancer. I had multiple fractures because I had lost agility in my limbs. Even though distraught, my parents were strong enough not to disclose much to me.
And then, one day, the doctors declared that I had about six months of life left.
My parents finally broke down and gave me all the facts about the disease. They weren’t sure how their girl, who had just entered her teenage years, would react.
Instead of having pity on myself or cursing my fate, I decided that I would not die, with dreams unfulfilled. I was just not ready to give up. Instead of leaving the battleground, I decided to fight.
True grit in the face of insurmountable odds
I was sure that I couldn’t make this alone, so I decided to pray to that higher power. I always believed in the existence of a higher power which was taking care of me and would ensure my well-being. I wasn’t much concerned about what people were saying. People always believed that I would not be able to survive much longer, but I had that indomitable faith
Heartspeak 15

in something which can’t be seen but one can definitely feel its grace.
On the very next day, I had a paralysis attack. Doctors literally gave up and advised my parents to call our near and dear ones to see me for the last time. But that attack was not able to shake my faith even a little. By the grace of that power, the intensity of the attack was not so severe, and I started walking again in a couple of days. I was soon discharged from the hospital but because of water retention in my body, I had to survive on three glasses of water and three Marie biscuits.
At that time, I discovered the power of the Universe and how it is responding to our each and every thought. I started using that power for my own well-being, and I improved miraculously. One fine day, a friend of mine recommended me a book, The Secret, written by Rhonda Byrne. I read that book from cover to cover and after reading it, I started believing that there is some power which responds to our thoughts, feelings, and prayers. Slowly, I started applying it in my day-to-day life, though I wasn’t sure whether it would work for me or not. Still, with intense faith and devotion, I started believing that the Universe would respond to me. And it happened. I was healing like anything. Apart from The Secret, books like The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein and You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay made all the difference to my life and my overall well-being.
After a long period of darkness, the sun started shining again.
The miracle called Sharddha
I had no idea who archangels and guardian angels were, but for no apparent reason, I developed an interest in them. Soon, I started
working with them. I know it is difficult to believe, but out of the blue, I heard the word ‘angels.’ I was thinking why I heard ‘angels’ and had a word with my soul sister who explained that when angels want to work with you or help you, they appear in any form or communicate through recurring messages. Then I understood about angels and took up a course to learn more about them. I learned that they need our permission to work with us. My sixth sense is a God-given gift, but I always used to doubt the messages I used to get in my sleep or would wonder how someone in trouble would take it when I tried to offer intuitive solutions. But today, I never doubt my intuitions and the messages I get from the higher power.
And most importantly, my guardian angels, my parents, my sister, and my best friend stood by me. My father sold our home to pay my medical bills. He also left his job and started a business to spend more time with me. I started taking baby steps towards life.
In the year 2008. The doctors declared that I was totally out of danger and called me ‘The Miracle Child.’
Though I couldn’t complete my regular schooling like other kids, I appeared for examinations as a private candidate. In the year 2011, I lost my mother. But I’m happy that my mother saw me cured, healthy, and happy.
Sunshine girl
My wish is to live like a normal human. I want to make my parents proud. I want to help people live life to the fullest. I want to see happiness and smiles on every person’s face. I want people to understand that laughing at someone isn’t a solution, but it’s a shortcoming of one’s mentality. I love myself and want
16 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

people to love themselves as they are. And most importantly, I want to prove to the world that no matter how many scars are left on my body, or how I look, I’m still beautiful.
I work as an HR professional in an organisation based in Mumbai. I went to school up till the fifth standard. After that, I completed my matriculation and my twelfth standard as a correspondence candidate. Later I majored in HR. Presently, I’m a numerologist and an angels practitioner, and through my talks, I encourage people to not give up hope and faith.
My sister and I are working to spread awareness about lupus. We want people who are suffering to have hope and dreams. We want them to understand the importance of today, instead of thinking about the future. And we want to make everyone aware that one can overcome this deadly disease.
I lost my dad on my birthday in 2018. People used to say that there would be nobody to care for me when my parents were gone. But my sister proved them wrong: she is the one who is giving me wings to fly.
Life can be harsh at times, but quitting is not a solution. Never! Never! Never! Every ending has a new beginning. Just have faith, confidence, and desire to live. And most importantly, do not quit.
Every moment is precious, so one should invest it in paying their gratitude towards that higher power.
We welcome your comments and suggestions on this article. Mail us at [email protected]
Heartspeak 17

“I learn from everyone”
Shekhar Suman opens up to Rishi Rathod about improving through self-effort, keeping the ego in place, and dealing with the loss of his beloved 11-year-old son to heart disease
A fter changing the schedule a couple of times, I finally got the chance to interview Shekhar Suman at his residence at Lokhandwala in Andheri, Mumbai. The area is known as a place of abode for many TV and film personalities. As I entered his house, I could feel a distinct difference from the outside world. While, outside, it burnt with scorching October heat and noisy traffic, inside, the peace and quietude was disturbed only by the occasional chirping of birds. The walls were covered in a pastel shade of mint green, over which hung paintings and artefacts in contrasting colours, creating a subtle dance of creativity and play. On my right was an open balcony with two chairs that overlooked the green mangroves merging with the distant horizon. The entire
place was picturesque.
Suddenly, I could feel footsteps rushing down the stairs, and before I could get up, Shekhar was up close, shaking hands with me. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he had the body of a professional bodybuilder, the energy and enthusiasm of a youth, and the charisma
of an icon; yet, he was extremely down to earth. I was overwhelmed but somehow gathered myself and commenced the interview.
I have been watching you for years and could not help but think that you are always working on yourself. It’s not easy and I am sure you have encountered difficulties. How you do you manage or deal with them?
I have encountered every possible roadblock
18 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

that a human being can ever imagine. Roadblocks and impediments are part of life. No matter what you want to do, a couple of deterrents are already waiting for you. I guess one has to have the mindset: “I will cross all roadblocks. I may slow down, but I will never stop.” It’s like encountering a speed breaker while driving. You slow down but then you go over it and pick up speed later on. Life is full of hurdles. It is not a bed of roses as people think it to be, and when they look at celebrities—
people who have made it—they always look at the end results. They don’t see the means, they don’t see the trials and tribulations that have gone with it. I guess I come from a family that believes in perseverance, diligence, determination, and focus. I always keep these things in mind and they keep me going.
People start believing in their projections, especially celebrities, but you seem to have a good head on your shoulders.
Close Encounter 19

I think it largely and squarely depends on the kind of upbringing you have had. If you have a family that is grounded and level-headed, you are likely to follow suit. You are taught to be humble because everything is transient in this world. People who walk around with swollen heads either take their success for granted or are delusional, thinking that their success is everlasting. I guess it is very important to be grounded, to be human first. I come from a simple middle-class family, and I have retained the values that my parents taught me. Apart from this, your schooling, your friends, and the company you keep are very instrumental in shaping your character. I have seen the mightiest ones fall, so there is no point in being proud of your achievements. You should be happy to have inspired others. But I don’t think one needs to take it too seriously, that ‘it is my success,’ ‘I’m a celebrity.’ I don’t think I am a celebrity. Since I am in the glamour business, I am seen on the screen and everywhere else. I am recognised, but I am as much a celebrity as you are because you probably have a talent that I don’t have. So that makes you a bigger celebrity than me. If you think like that then probably all these things don’t matter.
In the world of glamour, where there are phenomenal highs and equally depressing lows, it is difficult to remain centred or grounded. You seem to be pretty cool with it.
I think it’s important to remember your failures and be on ground zero. You saw what happened to the twin towers? They were standing tall; somebody came and decimated them. No matter how tall you are, you have to remember that you started from ground zero. I think the ship sails more smoothly when it is anchored. There is a saying “Empty vessels make the most noise.” However, a full vessel will be still and calm. I learn from people
around me. I have seen super-achievers who don’t utter a word about their achievements because when talent speaks for itself, you don’t have to shout from the rooftops “I am the best. I have arrived. I am a star.” These things don’t mean anything. These epithets may please you for a while but must not be taken seriously.
You spoke about remaining grounded and humble on the way to stardom. I am sure you can give us a few examples of such personalities whom you have personally encountered.
You will be surprised if I say somebody like Dilip Kumar. The fact that he chose to do one film in two years speaks volumes about his patience, his understanding of his craft, his understanding of life, and the fact that there’s no point in just being part of the crowd. In Hindi, they say, “Goonj nahi banna hai; awaaz banni hai, ek swar banna hai.” (We don’t have to become echoes; we have to become a voice, a melody). I think he understood clearly that he doesn’t have to run with the rest. In a way, it is a therapeutic and meditative experience because when you have control over your thoughts, you don’t want to follow suit. Then it makes you a cut above the rest.
I have learnt from Mr Amitabh Bachchan too. Despite having achieved so much, he has never said, “I have great qualities in me. I am the best. I am here to last. I am a superstar.” As a matter of fact, every time you meet him, you feel that he cringes when you mention these words. He is modesty personified. Other than these two, there are millions of people around me: my parents, my friends, great teachers, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, and all the historical figures who have exercised restraint, and who have been my guiding light.
20 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

Close Encounter 21

Your language skills are superb—English as well as Hindi. Have you always been good with languages or have you worked your way towards it?
There is a lot of effort that goes behind being effortless. The trick is that the effort should not show. I think every talent is God-gifted, but you have to work on it to perfect it. I have an affinity for languages, whether it is Hindi, Urdu, or English. Hindi mein humare log kahte the ki jaise juban khulti hai aapki, log samaj jate hai ki aap kitne paani mein hai, kitna padha likha hai, kitna sabhya aur kitna asabhya hai. (In Hindi, it is said that the moment you open your mouth, people come to know of your depth, your education, and how civilised you are). No matter how good you look and how well you dress, your real worth becomes evident as soon as you open your mouth. So communication skills are important. Phonetics, semantics, inflexion, and pronunciation are a matter of great importance because that’s how we communicate. I think that when you are communicating, whether it is French or Spanish or Italian or any language, you should be proficient at it. There is a saying: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people imagine that you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Usually, actors do have some mentor or spiritual guru who keep them anchored in the reality of life. Do you follow any guru or any spiritual practice?
No, not anyone specifically, I learn from everyone. You don’t have to be a guru to teach. I think you can learn from anybody who has a special talent or a special thing to say about life. Whether it is from a newspaper or a magazine, the lady behind the camera, or even you who is interviewing me, I can always pick
up something. I keep my eyes open, and I am forever learning. So, I think life is my guru. I meet different kinds of people with different experiences who teach me a lot, but yes, I also listen to philosophers and gurus. If I feel a particular philosophy is going to change my life, I absorb it, assimilate it, and make it a part of my life.
We know about your personal tragedy. It must have been extremely painful to deal with and overcome the situation.
I think that’s a very deep, dark, and tragic corner of my life that I would not like to talk about, but I lost my elder son to heart disease when he was just 11. He suffered from one of the rarest heart diseases in the world. Suddenly, we discovered one day, that he was terminally ill. That he was going to go. From that time onwards till today, I have not been able to come to terms with life, but the bigger tragedy is that you have to live your life. There are other responsibilities that you have. You have parents, you have one of the two sons, and life has to go on. So we have learnt to live with the sweet memory of Ayush, which ironically means the one with a long life. I thought I would never be able to recover from that tragedy. It haunts me every single day, every single moment. I have never been able to get over it, but I try hard. I try to be with my family, give them as much happiness as I can, and that has kept me sort of anchored. I wouldn’t wish this tragedy on my worst enemy. But it’s He (God) who decides everything. I have to take it with a lot of dignity because I am not the only one that has gone through this tragedy. When you see things from this perspective, things look different. “I used to crib about my pinching shoes till I saw a man with no feet.”
22 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

Duniya mein kitna gam hai, mera gam kitna kam hai,
Auro ka gam dekha to, mein apna gam bhul gaya
(The world has so much suffering, my suffering is so insignificant;
When I saw the suffering of others, I forgot my own suffering.)
This pain is not worth forgetting, and it will go with me when I leave this body. But I would like to tell those reading this that we are all helpless in the hands of God’s will. If He has given this pain, for whatever reason, so be it. Whoever is born has to die one day. Some die sooner and others later. Whoever you loved and is no more, try to remember them. They have only left the physical body but remain in front of you and live with you. You can even feel them.
I feel my little baby has gone to the heavens and has become my Guardian Angel. He is guiding me at every step. Whenever I am in trouble, have a dilemma, or feel that I am going wrong somewhere, I just look up and ask him for help; so he is there as my son, as my father.
You mean he answers your questions and you get clarity?
Yes, I do. I talk to him every day. I feel that he is around; I can see him at times standing and smiling at all of us. So I try and remember all the good moments that I spent with him. God gave us the strength to go all the way as parents, and whatever we could do, we did. I tell people that if such a thing happens to them, then hang on to your strength. Better moments are about to come. If you live with their beautiful memories
Close Encounter 23

then they are going to be there with you, till you live. I am indebted to my wife for standing by me like the rock of Gibraltar and giving me the strength to accept the tragedy and that he is no more. But he is still there, so, I would like to tell people to not be afraid of tragedies. It can happen to anybody, and you are not the only one. It’s the way God has probably thought how the world should function, and in his own sweet way, He is trying to tell you something. Try and understand that. Try and speak to your loved ones when they are there and even when they are not there. It will bring you a lot of solace.
We see you as an anchor and actor who makes people laugh, but you seem to have borne and continue to bear so much pain.
That’s what I said right at the beginning that what you see is not what the truth is. We are here to perform our roles, and it should not be confused with our real self or our real-life persona. Acting is just my talent, my craft, that you see on television. As an actor, I am
supposed to do what I am asked to do, but beyond that, it has got nothing to do with the way I am. So a lot of people initially thought that because of comedy shows like Movers and Shakers, The Laughter Show, The Comedy Circus, my life was all fun; but it is far from it. As a matter of fact, if you ask me, comedy is the last thing on my mind.
So, what do you prefer as an actor? Philosophy or drama?
Yes, philosophy, drama, and romance. Two roles which I played recently on stage are of poet Sahir Ludhianvi and writer Manto. These are the kind of roles I associate with and like to play. Something that is more cerebral, more emotional, even dark, because I feel that the darker side of your life is the real side. As I said, life is full of tragedies, struggles, impediments, deterrence, roadblocks, and you know, you may appear very happy and one should be happy, but life is just not a bed of roses.
About Shekhar Suman
Shekhar Suman is an Indian actor, anchor, producer, and director, who debuted with the popular serial Wah Janaab! and then went on to feature in several shows like Dekh Bhai Dekh, Movers n Shakers, Simply Shekhar, Carry On Shekhar, and also hosted The Great Indian Comedy Show on Star One. Not only this, he was one of the judges of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge along with Navjot Singh Sidhu. He has acted in several movies like Naache Mayuri, Sansar, Tridev, Ranbhoomi, Chor Machaaye Shor, and Ek Se Badhkar Ek. He has won The Best Actor Aashirwad Award for the television serial Ek Raja Ek Rani. He also won the Best Anchor Award for Movers And Shakers at the 1st ITA Awards and the Best Anchor Award for Carry on Shekhar at the 3rd Indian Telly Awards. He even directed a movie titled Heartless in 2014, in which he stars with his son Adhyayan Suman playing the lead role. His 2017 acting venture includes the action thriller film Bhoomi, directed by Omung Kumar, which is a revenge story starring Sanjay Dutt and Aditi Rao Hydari in the lead roles.
24 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019
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Shilpa Shah offers a deep insight into what it actually means to ‘see the big picture’ and how imbibing such an outlook can help us lead a joyful life
26 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

W ednesday, 9 May 2012 was a hot, honking vehicles in the city traffic jam. The
sunny day like any other in the
scorching Indian summer, but in my tiny world, everything simply ‘froze,’ without a glimmer of hope or sunshine, for it was the unfortunate day on which I lost my dearest mother. She happened to be bedridden for a few days, and just the night before, I was cajoling her to eat so that she could get some of her strength back. While she responded with a smile, I could see some indecipherable emotions flickering in those large eyes, as if somewhere deep down, she knew what was about to happen.
I remember rushing her to the hospital, with the ambulance siren piercing through the
doctors on board tried hard to help her survive this fatality, but I guess someone up there had already decided for her, for no amount of the latest medical technology worked. Maybe it was time for divine intervention, for it seemed she had begun her onward journey.
Heartbroken and refusing to believe the shocking incident that had just occurred, I literally begged of the doctors to do ‘something.’ Even though I am known to be a strong and wise person, I had never felt this lost and confused in my entire life. I kept telling myself that it was just a bad dream, a scary nightmare that kills you with an indescribable fear, but once I wake up, things will have gone back to
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A mind that is aligned with the divince consciousness has better grasp over its emotions and feels empowered
normal again. My mom—in her simple cotton Bandhani saree worn around her rotund frame, with pallu (loose end of a saree) thrown across her right shoulder in the typical Gujarati style, a round maroon bindi (coloured dot worn on the centre of the forehead) adorning her serene and beautiful face marked with wrinkles and laugh lines that only decades of ‘having lived and not just existed,’ could grace someone— would be right here, calling out my name, “Shilu.” And I would run straight into her arms and hug her tight, really tight, smother her with kisses and never let her disappear, even for a moment!
But alas, no such happy ending took place. The tragic reality that she was gone hit me slowly but hard. The whole world seemed to have collapsed on me; I felt crushed and broken. Nothing or nobody made any sense. To be fair, people did try to console me, hold me, hug me, but frankly, I was incapable of any response; I was inconsolable. All that I remember is calling out to my mom again and again, asking her to come back to me.
They say time is the biggest healer, and though the days passed by, the long and dark nights were difficult. The world around me was in deep slumber, but I lay wide awake in deep pain. In my mind, I kept replaying hundreds of conversations that I had had with my mummy, but nothing had ever prepared me for this— her sudden and untimely disappearance.
And then I saw the BIG PICTURE
Everybody has a different way to cope with pain and sorrow, but being a spiritual seeker, I found solace in the knowledge and wisdom (meditation and other spiritual practices) of the enlightened masters and saints that India has been immensely blessed with. They allowed me to peel the layers of existence and penetrate deeper and deeper into the meaning of life and death.
And then it happened! One day, while in deep meditation, I could hear the soothing voice of my master. In His loving and caring manner, He literally opened my eyes to the ultimate truth and showed me the big picture—“When
28 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

a piece of cloth tears, you can patch it up. But when the patches too start tearing up, the cloth needs to be discarded, and so is the case with your mother’s body. It was tired and exhausted, and beyond any repair; hence it needed to be shed. She required a change of cloth, just the way one changes into a pair of fresh clothes after a bath.” And in that moment of divine clarity, I could finally come to terms of her moving on and understand the BIG PICTURE, the truth that death was no longer the scary villain which had ensnared my beloved, but, it was simply a comma in the ongoing sentence of Life. Now, I had realised that the soul is immortal, for energy can be neither created nor destroyed, and my mom, just like everyone else, would be eternally present in this vast cosmos in some form or the other.
Lessons for Life and beyond
The ability to see the wider picture helps one understand life deeply and live healthy and happily, as you are able to comprehend situations (especially the undesirable ones) and people from God’s point of view. It has been observed that when you don’t see things from the bigger perspective, your stubborn, small mind goes into denial mode, keeps complaining, and gets stuck like a broken gramophone record. In this whole process, you become miserable, feel victimised, frustrated,
and unhappy, with seemingly no control over your thoughts or emotions.
However, when you align yourself completely with the Universe and are in sync with the BIG MIND, the divine consciousness, you feel empowered and responsible towards all beings. You exhibit a better grip over your feelings and actions and don’t float around like a helpless victim who gets uprooted with the overpowering storm of emotions. By becoming aware of how things actually are, you stop the bad habit of overreacting and repenting later. Instead, you now choose to respond wisely to situations beyond your control. This approach of looking at the whole picture helps you to resist the urge to blame yourself or others or even engage in any kind of falsehood or negativity.
Research says that people with a larger perspective in life are joyful. They are also found to be healthy because the mind and body operate as a combined unit, where one affects the other. Once you get into the habit of understanding things from a wider angle, you tend to feel at home with everyone, as you start becoming more open and relaxed, and are able to accommodate different or, perhaps, even contrasting viewpoints. And even when things don’t seem to go your way, you may lose your
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cool for a few moments but are able to bounce back to normalcy just as fast.
Also, realising our own place in the scheme of things keeps our ego in check and, thereby, humble. We also become more receptive and adaptive to newer opportunities and experiences. We open up to learning from others, working as a team, and feel much more connected, as if the whole world belongs to us, which, in turn, help us blossom into better human beings, be it spiritually, emotionally, personally, or even professionally. Let us examine these wonderful aspects in more detail.
Know thyself
To offer a better perspective on where you and I stand in the universe, let’s digest this amazing fact:
You are one person in the current 7.7 billion population on one planet out of eight planets, orbiting one star out of 300 billion stars, in one galaxy out of 200 billion galaxies! And yet we completely miss the whole point due to our ignorance, our monstrous ego, our selfishness,
Big-picture thinkers broaden their outlook by striving to learn from every experience. They don’t rest on their successes; they learn from them.
John C. Maxwell
and our self-obsessions, turning completely blind towards the truth. We fail to see the obvious picture of how truly insignificant we are in this infinite universe and often end up making our lives miserable with half-baked concepts, demands, and expectations. But at the same time, to keep the balance going and to perform your karma, it is also important to acknowledge that however tiny your position may be, you still hold an important place in this universe, because the world can never be the same without you in it. You are special and unique. Never forget that.
Every soul has a divine purpose
Having lived through tough situations, I can now divulge that what death could teach me, nothing else could! And the truth of this experience was proved again when, just within the next two years, my father passed away. But this time, I knew in my heart that my father had moved on for the better. His soul had broken the cage of his sickly body and was thriving on its own, just like my mother. To be honest, I felt much relieved that they could now have a much happier existence, maybe in a new form and place. And truly, this is the most selfless I have ever felt; I simply prayed for them to be free and happy.
However, it is not that I don’t miss them anymore, but now that I have got the big picture—the right perspective that come what may, life goes on—I make it a point to celebrate their eternal presence, wherever they are. For now, I strongly believe that when you really love someone, do not try to trap or possess them or obsess over them. Instead, set them free and support them as much as you can to help them fulfil their divine purpose in life.
LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

We often drown in self-pity when faced with difficult situations but keeping a larger perspective of things give us the strength to move on
We are all interconnected
The attitude of seeing the big picture can be extremely helpful when we are forced to face difficult situations in life. In a way, too much mourning, self-pity, or lamenting is detrimental to our overall growth. In the journey of life, there are bound to be many ups and downs, and sometimes, what may appear to be a curse can actually be a blessing in disguise. If only people could see it, they would think of what to do in order to overcome the challenge instead of wallowing in it endlessly.
Take the case of a dear friend of mine, Kunal. Just a few years back, he happened to lose his job due to recession. Being the sole breadwinner, this came as a rude shock to him. He tried hard to bag a job, but given the prevailing market conditions, nothing really worked out for him. He soon grew despondent and suffered from depression to such an extent that he started having suicidal thoughts. But luckily for him, somewhere deep down, he was able to gauge the irreversible damage his cowardly move would cause his dear ones—his
loving spouse, his tiny little tots, and his old parents. The painful thought of them suffering due to his momentary foolishness opened his eyes. It is then that he decided to seek all possible help to fight the urge to quit and come out stronger. Luckily, his family and friends too rallied around him and supported him wholeheartedly. And thank God he persevered through those adverse times, for he emerged a successful entrepreneur post this trial. The small-scale venture that he had started not only supports his family but is also instrumental in providing several other families with their livelihood. This realisation of being accountable for one’s and other people’s happiness is itself an indication of seeing the big picture. It is related to the third eye, which sees things in unison and makes one understand the truth that we are all interconnected and responsible for all beings. The realisation that our every good or bad action creates a chain reaction which eventually comes back to us is seeing the big picture in totality. We begin to take greater care of our environment. We respect nature, waterbodies, plant and animal
Lead Story 31

kingdoms, as well as rules and regulations that are meant to ensure the greater good as we cannot help but see how they are essential for the happiness of the individual as well as the collective. And if we consider anyone or anything as separate or alien to us, we have to eventually face the consequences of our apathy and narrow-mindedness.
Secret to happy relationships
Have you noticed how we ruin our relationships and spoil our happiness due to ego clashes and unreasonable expectations? Sometimes, when we are stressed, we tend to lose our awareness, the sense of belongingness, and end up uttering angry and hateful words. These spoken barbs may soothe our ego and momentarily offer us false relief but can really cause long-lasting wounds. Later on, you may repent your behaviour, but by then the damage is already done. That is why a wise one once observed that anger is just one letter short of danger.
However, the one whose eyes are always on the big picture will avoid saying hurtful and demeaning things, no matter how hard the provocation to get even. In fact, we are all capable of seeing it, but we avoid doing so, simply because we are trapped in our personal drama and thus fail to rise above our narrow selves. Let me share the story of my next-door neighbour, the gracious Shivani Kapur. She is a bright working woman with stretched working hours and lives with her parents. Sadly, given their old age, they tend to suffer from age-induced severe memory lapse. This seemingly harmless habit of forgetfulness of her parents has led to many annoying episodes in Shivani’s life. At times, she has been forced to drop everything at work and rush to her parents’ help.
But full credits to Shivani, who, in spite of all
I work really hard at trying to see the big picture and not getting stuck in ego. I believe we are all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose...When you connect with that love and that compassion, that is when everything unfolds.
– Ellen DeGeneres
the irritation, tries her best to not react harshly. Anyone in her place would have possibly lost their cool and been bitter towards their parents, but Shivani manages the whole situation with utmost maturity and kindness. She has worked on herself diligently, developed her patience levels, and has even learnt to control her short temper. She understands well enough that her parents are not doing things on purpose; they are simply helpless and are, in a way, going through their second childhood. “My unwisely spoken caustic words can cause my parents utmost grief and pain and break their gentle hearts, which is far more undesirable than a few slip-ups here and there,” she says. In spite of all the unfortunate incidents, she believes in doing her best and taking good care of her parents. It is true that when we develop sensitivity and a sense of responsibility towards others, the capacity to see the big picture comes most naturally, and this is exactly how Shivani is able to maintain the harmonious and loving environment in her home.
When you see the big picture, you can easily
32 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

avoid falling in the trap of temptations. The lure of an exciting extra-marital relationship, can be successfully resisted if people could foresee its highly hazardous implications on all people connected to them. Similarly, there have been cases where many people tend to avoid seeing the truth, even when it is staring them right in their face. Say, your partner has been cheating on you, disrespects you, does everything in their capacity to hamper your esteem levels, and makes you feel unworthy and unwanted. If you are more worried about being lonely and not self-sufficient, then you will put up with the abuse and, in the bargain, miss out on the opportunity to create a new life, a new identity for yourself. However, a self-respecting big-picture person will see the futility of being in such a torturous and toxic relationship and will walk out of the living hell with head held high and pride intact.
You are a karma yogi
The capacity to see the larger perspective helps you to observe the interlocking designs of the Universe and find your place and purpose in it. I had once heard a beautiful story about three labourers who were working at a temple construction site. On being asked about the work they were doing, the first one replied that
he was breaking the stones, the second one said that he was laying the wall, while the third one responded that he was actually building a glorious temple where devotees would visit and pray to God and get relieved from their worries and go back happy. Such deep insight! Worth pondering and imbibing, isn’t it? Imagine, all three workers were doing similar work, but the third one knew his real role. He never, even for a moment, felt that he was just a mason. In his head and heart he actually thought and believed that he was doing noble work by creating a divine place of worship and thus contributing towards making the world a better place! When one is able to visualise the larger picture, no matter how small or big the job is, the person doing it with complete sincerity is bound to feel good about it and also proves to be an inspiration to others, becoming a karma yogi in the truest sense.
By the way, there is no need to go far to meet such karma yogis. Just look around you; there are millions of homemakers (mothers, wives, and sisters) who toil away for hours and hours in the kitchen, doing countless chores trying to ensure that the needs and wants of each and every family member are taken care of. Even on days when they are unwell or terribly
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No matter how small or big, it is crucial to understand the importance of individual contribution to the whole process
exhausted, they still continue to strive hard as they see life in the larger context and realise that their role is critical in keeping everyone in the household happy and healthy and the family glued together. And most importantly, they do all these sacrifices without any hue and cry or making any special demands. Unfortunately, in most cases, the hard work they do, consistently and selflessly, is taken for granted and goes unappreciated. It is only on days like the popular Mother’s Day or Women’s Day that the world wakes up to wish and click a picture with them, post it on social media, and then forget about it. And yet they continue to serve as they feel responsible for others.
But it is not so in the case of a woman alone. Even a man swallows his pride, takes orders, and bears hardships because he has a family to take care of. Many a time, he chooses to suffer injustice, bad bosses, colleagues, and customers, simply because he is well aware of his responsibility towards his family.
Therefore, he thinks of smarter ways to adjust and cultivate the ability to calmly respond rather than react to provocations and ill treatment.
Big picture at work
One of the most desired qualities amongst leaders, shares HR manager R Kamat, is the ability to see the bigger picture and rightly so! Just like in the story of the three masons, to be successful, the leader must have a clarity of purpose, a sense of the bigger picture about what you do, and its significance. What do you think about the work you do? What is your own vision? Are you just working to make a decent living, or are you giving the best to your job and contributing to the overall growth of the organisation? Are you also building a legacy, a shared vision, a powerful example for others to follow? True leadership requires one to view the whole picture and not just its parts, to know not just the how and what needs to be done, but also to know why it is being done. Peter Senge (an American scientist
34 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

and director of the Centre for Organisational Learning at MIT School of Management) aptly summarises, “Simply having the vision is not enough. The responsibility of a leader is not just to share a vision but to build a shared vision.” For example, a leader may have big growth plans for his company, but if he does not consider the everyday challenges of his employees and is unable to convince them of his vision and make them an essential part of it, then soon, everything will come to naught.
The guru guides
Even though seeing the big picture is a great attribute, overlooking essential details is not the right approach to live happily. Say, for instance, you may be planning to go on a dream vacation and might even be saving for it since long, but if you are not mindful of your impulsive shopping habits, you might have to lose heart on seeing your bank balance. Your dream vacation may just remain that—a dream. Or if you are working hard to lose weight but are unable to exercise self-control whenever a friend offers you calorie-laden savouries, or you pass by a bakery telling yourself, ‘it’s only this one time,’ you will be left wondering why you are unable to reach your goal despite going for long walks every day.
In an exclusive interview, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji—the global humanitarian and the founder of the largest NGO in the world, The Art of Living Foundation, which teaches human values and engages in many social causes worldwide, with over 370 million followers—draws our attention to a very important aspect about seeing things in the right perspective. He elucidates, “You already possess the ability to see both the small and the big picture. It is not an either/or, and if you want, you can use both simultaneously. While it is important to see life from the larger
May you find inspiration in the big picture, but may you find love in the details.
– Adrienne M.
perspective, one also needs to be aware of the important details. For example, if you plan to go somewhere, you need to take the first step to cross your door. You must remember that a long journey begins with tiny steps. You need to attend to that aspect too.”
Ways to cultivate this ability
Gurudev explains further, “Usually, when things go as per our wishes and desires, naturally, we don’t have any issues. However, when certain situations are unfavourable or troublesome, we find it difficult to cope and it is here that the mind gets stuck, isn’t it?” We are unable to accept the situation and start questioning the present moment. For example, take a scenario where you have worked really hard for a particular business deal. But, for some reason, you are unable to bag the project. Of course, there may be one or many reasons for it not working out. But due to lack of awareness, you end up either blaming yourself or others for the so-called failure, get completely stressed out in the process, and lose your focus and peace of mind. So then, what do you do? Is it really possible to overcome such challenges by cultivating the ability to see the big picture?
Lead Story 35

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path; and that will make all the difference.
– Steve Jobs
“Yes,” affirms Gurudev. It is very much possible to do so. He provides three easy and effective ways to do imbibe this ability:
•Firstly, when a situation is unfavourable and the mind gets stuck, just look back at your own life. Know that you have handled similar situations in the past and have sailed through those challenges and have come this far. Looking back at your own experiences will give you strength to move forward in life.
• Secondly, have a strong faith that only the right things will happen to you. Believing this will also uplift your energy and provide you
with the necessary will and determination to forge ahead.
• And most importantly, always remember that you are not alone; there is always a higher power with you which guides and protects you. Knowing this will help you remain centred in all circumstances, and at the same time, give you the courage to continue.
If we follow these ways, we can cope much better with any event and avoid getting swept in the highs and lows of life and stay committed towards our life’s bigger purpose.
Benefits of seeing the big picture
When you imbibe the skill to see events from a wider perspective, there are enormous benefits that you can derive from such an insight, to list a few:
• Leaders are typically viewed as having the big picture. People tend to follow those who seem to understand the direction in where they are headed and can also guide others to their goals. So, if you can see the big picture, you will find it easy to manage people and their aspirations successfully, and by creating a shared vision, you can reach great heights of success and also take others along.
•When you can see the whole picture, your vision becomes clear. You are then intrinsically motivated and can accomplish anything you set as your goal. You no longer get stuck on unimportant details which take away attention from the overall picture. You avoid procrastination or making excuses as it keeps you aligned with your target and helps you focus better.
• You find opportunities everywhere, and rather than dwelling on constraints such as
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why something cannot be done, you take it on as a challenge and respond by focussing all your energy, time, and other resources to come up with quick solutions to make the most of the available opportunities. Not just that. You even start creating more opportunities for yourself and others because, as intelligent beings, inherently we are all wired with the desire to feel big and powerful, not weak or insignificant.
• Seeing things from a bigger perspective infuses you with love, passion, and a zeal for life. You aim higher and bigger, and no longer settle for less. You go for that dream job, home, or destination, if that is what you want, but without being selfish about it as
you now realise your responsibility towards other beings.
• The ability to visualise the big picture also increases your own capacity vis-a-vis the challenges in your life. Looking at your past and how you have overcome challenges empowers you from within. You truly become unshakeable.
•You become much more joyful as you no longer obsess about things that don’t matter. You start valuing yourself, your relationships, your time, and all other things that you took for granted. You simply stop existing and truly start living your life to the fullest.
We welcome your comments and suggestions on this article. Mail us at [email protected]
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The gift of Ganga
A fter two years of intense practice of Kriya Yoga, one night, I had a dream: Mother Ganga is waiting for me and when I approach her, we both are very happy to receive each other. She hugs and welcomes me saying, “Why did you take so
long to come?”
I woke up the next morning with an intense desire to go to Rishikesh to see Ganga. The following day was Diwali (India’s biggest celebration). Without wasting any time in organising, I took the night bus to Rishikesh. I wanted to stay close to Ganga. It was pitch dark when I got down from the bus at 3.30 a.m. I looked around for a place to stay and came across an ashram. From the glass door, I saw two people sleeping inside. When I knocked, one came hurriedly and opened it. I asked, “Can I have a room, please?” to which he replied “No.” I waited for a while. The other person, sleeping beside him suddenly got up and said, “Wait! A room is available.”
I got a small room next to Ganga Ghat. It was 4 a.m., and after keeping my bag in the room, I went straight to Ganga. On seeing Her, I was overwhelmed! ‘Happiness’ is a very inadequate word for what I felt at that moment. I felt complete in Her presence. It was still quite dark and no one was around. Filled with uncontrollable joy, I entered Ganga and her
Vanisha Uppal fulfils her desire to be in the lap of Mother Ganga and finds herself being guided by Her and becoming one with Her
touch made me one with Her. With every dip, my inner self was surfacing—an unexplainable feeling. I was lost in Her, and my breath became so subtle that I did not feel its presence.
After the bath, I silently sat on the steps of the ghat. I was in so much joy that I could almost hug Her from one end to another. Suddenly, I saw something floating towards me. I stood up to see clearly what the object was. It was a banana. I grabbed it, thinking it might be a coincidence that it was directed towards me. Anyway, I was happy to receive a gift from Ganga.
In Ganga’s care
I kept sitting at the ghat for hours in bliss and joy. I realised it was 2 p m., and I was hungry for some simple bland food. I hurried to the dining hall of an ashram nearby. A few devotee scholars were sitting around the table. They were reading Srimad Bhagavatam. I asked for food and they said that lunchtime was over. I remained quiet as I was at a loss for words. One of them, a very strict-looking fellow, stood up and said, “I’ll get you some food.” He went into the kitchen and put some dal, vegetables, and rice in a polybag and gave it to me. I sat under the tree just outside the dining hall and had it. It was a fully satisfying meal. I went back to those scholars again and said, “Thank you for the food. Now may I sit with you to hear Bhagavat Katha?” They replied, “Mother, no females are allowed to sit with male scholars.”
38 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

“But you just called me ‘Mother’!” I retorted. “That is the rule,” was their response. It led me to wonder about the rigidness of rules in our great Indian tradition, not to speak of the significance of the word ‘mother.’ However, I greeted them and quietly returned back to Ganga.
I watched people from different parts of the country take a bath in the holy river, full of their faith in Ganga, God, and heaven. They worshipped and performed the ritual in their own different ways, which was beautiful to watch. Afterwards, they threw rotten flowers, old books, and ashes, along with polybags into Ganga. I was angry and was about to say something to them but, suddenly, I felt Ganga telling me to follow her example. Despite how everyone treats her, she is not angry and provides life to everyone. My anger turned into empathy and love. I thanked God that I did not react in anger. I quietly picked up as much garbage as possible and threw it in the dustbin nearby.
The gifts continue to come
I saw an old man quietly sweeping the ghat, oblivious to those around him. I offered to help him sweep the ghat, and he happily accepted.
Next day, I woke up and did my Kriya practice and went to Ganga at 5 a.m. I sat quietly at the same place as the day before. Yes! I was expecting a gift again, also thinking how stupid I was. Coincidences are not repeated. Guess what? I again saw a banana floating exactly towards me. I had no idea where it was coming from. It was no longer a coincidence. The waves were directing the banana towards me, without it being carried away in another other direction
by the wind. I received it with much love.
In the afternoon, some kind of fear overtook me. The river looked very strong and huge. Realising my smallness and feebleness, I hesitated to enter Ganga. I was surprised at how I could manage it earlier and felt the pain of separation.
The small children selling flowers at the ghat looked like little gods to me. It was difficult to refuse to buy their flowers, and so, I bought some snacks and sweets and enjoyed with them, making sure they threw the wrappers in the dustbin.
Suddenly, they got up, removed their clothes, and jumped into Ganga. They were swimming and having fun, completely devoid of any fear, enjoying in the lap of my Mother. And I was standing on the bank, hesitant with fear. Without wasting any more time, I too jumped into Ganga. Swimming freely in the company of fearless beings, all my pain and fear were gone. Oh, it was so wonderful!
Next morning at 5.30 a.m., I went to my ‘banana spot.’ Having no doubt in my mind that a banana would appear again, I sat on the high stone and asked Ganga, “Mother, please don’t take long; send me the gift now.” I was sitting alert because I wanted to know from where the banana was coming. I saw something pop up from the middle of the Ganga. It was my banana, and it floated towards me. I grabbed the banana with the full authority of a child who has the rights to his parent’s property.
I came back to Delhi but left my heart in Rishikesh.
We welcome your comments and suggestions on this article. Mail us at [email protected]
Experience 39

Solution for pollution
Turning agricultural waste into construction boards instead of burning it is the answer to escalating pollution levels, which benefits everybody, says H H Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji
This year, Deepavali We can overcome
turned bleak and smoggy
for Delhi with the sky turning dark with poisonous haze. The effects of firecrackers and burning agricultural waste from the recent harvest have turned the nation’s capital into a gas chamber. Flights are delayed and even cancelled, schools are closed due to the deadly air.
Air filters in homes, offices, and cars is the new norm for the affluent few. The masses who cannot afford them suffer in silence. Both groups have conceded, helplessly, to living and raising their children in a cloud of toxicity.
Clean air
Often, when people from Delhi visit Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, they exclaim how lucky we are to have clean air. But we have forgotten that clean, breathable air is not a luxury. It’s a basic human right, which we are violating by cutting trees that give us shade and clean air, in order to build factories, shopping malls, and new condo complexes.
The agricultural waste, instead of being burnt by farmers, will be purchased from them to make Agriboard, helping them financially, and will keep the Delhi air more breathable.
Agriboard is a low-cost biodegradable and completely recyclable product that is fire- proof, earthquake-proof, termite- proof, and water-proof.
Affordable Homes
Agriboard can be used successfully to construct public toilets and multistorey buildings and hospitals. At a cost of only Rs.1,000 per sq. ft., these structures can also be the building foundation of homes for economically-challenged people.
Agriboard is just one of the many immediately implementable solutions that can help our beautiful, sacred country develop economically while also ensuring that the rights of the people to a healthy life are upheld.
Swami Chidanand Saraswati is the president and spiritual head of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, a spiritual institution based in Rishikesh.
We welcome your comments and suggestions on this article. Mail us at [email protected]
Fortunately, this dark cloud does not have to hang precariously over our lives forever. Feasible solutions are available, and the time has come to implement them.
One excellent win-win solution is Agriboard Technology, which benefits all—farms, farmers, and families. The same agricultural waste that currently gets burnt by farmers, turning the air into toxic gas, can become a boon instead of a bane. In Agriboard Technology, agricultural waste is utilised for its agriculture fibres and natural binders to make highly compressed anaerobic boards, fixed in a steel frame to create a strong structure. The waste straw is cleaned and then compressed beneath thousands of pounds of weight. The board is then heated at a very high temperature, giving it durability and strength.
After intense research and development, this board is not only found to be strong and durable but also economically and environmentally friendly. It can be used to build buildings.
40 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

Gaurav Behl
Gaurav is a professional Life
Coach and an Up-lifter. He is
a Law of Attraction Teacher
Trainer and Master Coach,
Certi ed Personal Life Coach,
Transform Your Life Workshop
Leader, a Kids & Teen Playshop/
Workshop Leader, a healer and a channeller. He has been deeply impressed and inspired by Abraham Hicks, Bruce Lipton and Louise Hay.
In the last 6 years he has conducted over 130 Transformational workshops based on Law of Attraction and reprogramming the subconscious mind, the maximum anyone has done in India in this period and personally assisted thousands of people in making breakthroughs in their personal lives. Gaurav is the only Life coach in India to have been part of a workshop with Abraham Hicks in 2017 in France, in 2018 in Greece and in Barcelona in 2019. He was the only coach in India to have studied under Bruce Lipton and Gregg Braden in 2019 in Rome.
He is a Life Coach’s Life Coach and trains and nurtures Life Coaches and those who have a calling to assist others in their spiritual journey and helps them in creating successful and gratifying careers in the arena of personal development, life coaching and Workshop leadership through his LOA Teacher Training and LOA Coach Training Programs.
Golden opportunity to become aware of the latest discoveries in science, Quantum physics, medicine and bridge the gap between science, psychology, spirituality and Law of A rac on and to reprogram your subconscious mind during the course of the workshop and begin use the power of your subconscious mind to a ract the life of your dreams.
Anything unresolved in your energy eld keeps repea ng ll you heal and reprogram it.
14th & 15th December 2019, MUMBAI 28th & 29th December 2019, HYDERABAD 11th & 12th January 2020, HYDERABAD
Sampath Rani Momula
Vision Board Workshop
15th Dec
Miracle Manasa
Vision Board Workshop
28th Dec
Vision Board Workshop
14th Dec
Ruby Ajmani
Vision Board Workshop
22nd Dec
Sireesha Puduru
LOA Founda on Workshop
15th Dec
Madhulika Rao
LOA Founda on Workshop
14th Dec
LOA Founda on Workshop
21st Dec
Kshi j Gondhalekar
LOA Founda on Workshop
15th Dec
Mariselle Gomez
LOA Founda on Workshop
5th Jan
LOA Advanced Workshop
28th & 29th Dec
Mariselle Gomez
LOA Advanced Workshop
18th & 19th Jan

Have yourself a veggie little
This Xmas, Naini Setalvad invites you to tickle your taste buds with stuffed tomatoes instead of stuffed turkey
42 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

T he world over, Christmas is a time for celebration and giving. There is a lot of feasting and fun. Various kinds of meat, especially turkey, as well as white sugar and cream-laden savouries and sweets are laid on the table. I have found that many of my vegan clients want
to partake in the Christmas celebrations but are unable to enjoy a typical Christmas meal.
Let me share with you a vegan twist to Christmas feasting which I always share with my vegan clients so that they too can enjoy Christmas fully. Although their being vegan does not necessarily make my recipes healthy or low-calorie, they let you as well as your body enjoy the festivities.
The tradition of stringing before you decorate the tree with strings also involves munching on the popcorn while you do it. So, let’s start with yummy, salted, butter-free popcorn, which is vegan as you could toss it in olive oil and salt. It is a high-fibre snack.
1) Starter: Salted Pistachios
• Just buy salted pistachios with the shell. This makes for a good starter as it involves shelling and eating the nuts. It is also a good way to spend time with the family during the festive season. Gram for gram, pistachios contains more protein than chickpeas, salmon, or egg. 30 pistachios have only 100 calories. Additionally, pistachios are contributors of good fats which the body requires.
2) Main: Pumpkin Soup
• You can accompany the pistachios with some hot, delicious pumpkin soup without any added sugar or cream. This soup can be sipped on slowly while you are sitting at the dinner table with your family. Eating pumpkin soup is a win-win as not only is it yummy but it is also packed full of nutrients like beta-carotene which makes your eyes, skin, and hair glow. Pumpkin also has a low glycaemic index.
250 gm pumpkin
1 small onion
4 whole crushed walnuts 2 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste
• Sauté the onion and pumpkin with olive oil on a slow flame till tender • Once cooled, blend them into a thick pulp
• Add salt to taste
• Garnish with crushed walnuts
• Serve hot
Food 43

3) Entrée: Stuffed Tomatoes
• As an entrée, you cannot go wrong with stuffed tomatoes. This dish is simple but can deceive anyone into thinking it is calorie-dense.
• Besides ample flavour, it also has ample nutrition.
Tomatoes - 300 gms
Cauliflower – 50 gms
Coconut, grated – 15 gms
Peanuts, coarsely ground – 1⁄2 tbsp. Coriander – 1⁄2 cup
Chilli Paste – 1⁄2 tsp
Salt and lemon juice to taste
Slice off the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the insides. Put a pinch of salt inside the scooped part of each tomato.
Keep each tomato inverted to drain excess water.
Add grated coconut, peanuts, chilli paste, salt, lemon and coriander to the grated cauliflower.
Mix well.
Stuff the scooped tomato with the cauliflower mixture. Can be served at room temperature or chilled.
4) Main: Sweet Potato Bake
• Sweet potato boosts your immunity due to its antioxidant powers. Instead of gouging the sweet potato in butter before baking it, just sprinkle it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. It also contains good quality fats and protein from walnuts, cashew nuts, and sesame seeds.
500 gm sweet potatoes
12 pieces coarsely ground cashew nuts 12 pieces coarsely ground walnuts
3 tsp roasted, salted sesame seeds
1 tsp garlic paste
Salt to taste
• Boil and mash the potatoes
• Mix the rest of the ingredients into the mash
• Pour into a baking tray greased with olive oil
• Sprinkle sesame seeds on top
• Bake for 20 minutes till sesame seeds start browning • Serve
44 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

5) Sides: Braised Carrots, Peas, and Mushrooms
• Sauté the carrots, peas, and mushrooms in olive oil, salt, and herbs.
• This dish gives fibre and protein from the peas and mushrooms,
and antioxidants from the carrots
6) Dessert: Prune, Apricot, and Fig compost
• Prunes are traditionally served at Christmas. Try my yummy, high-fibre, natural sugar, mineral-dense and zero-fat desert.
4 dried prunes
4 dried figs
4 dried Indian apricots
2 cinnamon sticks, 1⁄4 inch each Water
• Chop the dried fruits and soak them in just enough water to cover them
• Place both the cinnamon sticks on either side of the bowl
• Cover and let it marinate for 12 hours
• Serve warm or chilled
The above recipes will satisfy your Christmas cravings while ensuring that you maintain your weight. Bon appétit!
We welcome your comments and suggestions on this article. Mail us at [email protected]
Food 45

Heal your soul & light your life
46 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019


Going beyond grief
By bringing to light how some individuals have undergone and overcome grief, Jamuna Rangachari assures us that we are not alone in our loss and sorrow. And all the more so because the Divine is always with us
48 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

G rief is something all of us encounter at children. Both of them were in their forties
some stage or the other in our lives. It is
a state of mind in which our whole being feels sorrow and suffering, for losing something or someone we dearly loved or resonated with. We become inconsolable, unable to face the catastrophe of our lives as nothing seems to make us believe that one day we will overcome this pain.
However, often we do not have the luxury to plunge ourselves in grief. We have people who are dependent on us, and we have to pull ourselves out of our sorrow to attend to their and our everyday needs.
Is there a method which can help us mitigate our suffering or give us emotional strength at a time when we lack it the most?
There’s no single right way to cope with grief, but there are methods that work for some people.
When dealing with grief and loss, it can be difficult to know whose advice to trust, and many people might try and tell you what worked for them. Ultimately, when it comes to bereavement, everyone is different and there’s no prescription or a one-size-fits-all solution. In this article we will study the mechanism different people adopted to cope with this aspect of life.
Narasimhan Gopalan (called Sim) was happily married to Bharathi Ramarao and had two
and lived in the US. Suddenly, Bharathi was afflicted with cancer. Sim had, of course, never imagined that his charmed life would be unexpectedly struck with this challenge. He did not find it easy at all and shares, “The day Bharathi was diagnosed, I was devastated. It was Bharathi who conveyed me the news in a casual tone. She did not want me to be shattered. Ten months of misery followed, and she finally attained peace on 14 July 2011.”
Sim kept reading the Bhagavad Gita for comfort and then redefined his life in an almost complete manner. “I had been involved with a few social causes prior to this. But now I got involved with more causes and each one of these enlightened me about what people who are less fortunate than us go through and how blessed we are. It could be the woes of families of leukaemia patients, the innocent smiles and expectations of the less fortunate kids, the pains of cancer patients, the struggles of human trafficking survivors, the hunger of the homeless, and so on.”
He adds, “I can only say how I’m trying to cope with grief and find peace. I say ‘trying’ because I believe you can never overcome grief completely. You can only lessen the effects and try and balance it with peace. The more peace you achieve, the lesser the grief.”
Acceptance of reality
More than the challenge itself, it is the acceptance of losing someone to the Divine
Transcendence 49

that many find hard to do. Only when we realise that we are not alone in facing this kind of grief that we understand that death is an essential part of everyone’s life as is shown in a parable below [Box 2].
When we surrender to a higher power in all areas, we become much more resilient like in the case of Preethi mentioned below.
At the young age of 18, Preethi got paralysed below the neck due to a freak accident. Before that, Preethi was the youngest member of the Tamil Nadu State Women’s Cricket Team (she started representing the state at just eight years of age), a national level swimmer, and was exceptional in academics as well. At that point, a moment of misfortune turned her life upside down. She completely lost her identity in the span of a split second! Still, with the help of grace and her parents, she carried on. She and her mother had another challenge to face when she lost her father due to a sudden heart attack. However, she coped spiritually and says, “We are happy he has attained moksha (liberation) and live as if his soul is still with us.”
Preethi herself has reached a state of equipoise which allows her to smile despite desperately heart-wrenching circumstances and is now known as, “The Cripple Who Is Whole!” So much so that her story has been included in the Tamil Nadu State Board English Literature book for the 10th grade.
Another such case is that of Swarnalata from Coimbatore, who is now grappling with multiple sclerosis. She remembers the time she lost her father when he committed suicide due to problems on the work front. At that
time, she went into a deep depression and even attempted suicide. It took several years for her to regain her composure. However, she soon got married and then found a new father in her father-in-law. It was then that multiple sclerosis struck her.
Though severely depressed, she then moved on and, along with her husband, founded Swarga Foundation, an NGO, to support those with neuromuscular disorders. Her father- in-law was suffering from Parkinsonism and Alzheimer’s. Even this they accepted and looked after him to the best of their ability. Then, when they knew about his impending death, they planned to donate his organs with his consent. Hence, instead of mourning his death, they arranged for the harvesting of his eyes and skin.
As we can see, she keeps herself motivated by doing all that is possible, for that is how she knows she will heal emotionally. This is what we all need in whatever challenges we may face in the circle of life.
Moving with the cosmos
Relatives and friends find it hard to accept that their loved one has been taken away as they often feel that they could have done something to prevent it. However, the knowledge that the mortal body may have gone but the soul lives on can help us find some relief from our sorrow.
Sunita Bakhru from Mumbai shares the story of coping with the loss of her ailing and aged father. Initially, it was difficult for her to cope with it for quite some time. She shares, “As is common, when one is helpless, a stranger’s
50 LifePositive | DECEMBER 2019

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