Five Actionable Insights for a Meaningful Life

As we often go and perform in public, through our musical discourses or through formal talks, a common reaction that we get from people is- you have such a meaningful life; I feel as if I wasted my complete life.

Initially, I thought people are just saying it, out of some momentary feeling of meaninglessness. As I meet more people, at a higher frequency, I realise that many amongst us, are questioning whether their existence has meaning or not.

I do not claim that I know what a meaningful life means. But, experimenting for past few years, I came to understand certain things about what ‘meaning’ means and how can one discover it in his or her life.

Instead of making it quite philosophical and complex, I thought of making it simple, straight-forward and actionable. Here is the list.


  1. Spend more time with yourself (even if you don’t get paid for doing that)

Meaning is not an absolute term, it is subjective, different for each one of us. The process of discovering meaning starts with discovering oneself. The more the time you spend with yourself, understanding and observing yourself, easier would be the process.

We hardly spend some time just being ourselves. We rather avoid being alone, finding avenues to meet more people, or forgetting ourselves while watching a movie.

  1. Stop concluding

We are often fast to conclude things. We are very quick to evaluate a person, a thought, a concept or a piece of art. Conclusion means a dead end, without any possibility of going further into something. Meaning is a subtle term, often unveils itself in a form you would not have expected. If you have already concluded, you are bound to miss it.

One has to be an explorer, always. The mind has to be pliable, easy at changing itself. A mind that has concluded, is dead.

  1. Manage time, wisely

Kabir says, start working in the morning so that the work will be ready till the evening comes. Same applies to our lives. We start about thinking about meaning after we realize that everything else that we have acquired so far has no meaning. Typically, till we turn 40, we will be busy making financial provisions for ourselves and then our kids. Certainly, that’s going to be late. One has to understand this and has to start early.

Manage time wisely. That does not mean one has to stop doing everything else. It simply means one has to act with awareness; not doing things mechanically, but with awareness. You might also have to stop doing certain things-like meeting friends and watching movies. It’s your time and hence, your decision.

  1. Listen to yourself and not others

When one starts discovering the meaning, his path separates from the others. He or she behaves differently, not as the typical pattern which is followed in the society. When something like this happens with someone, there will be a whole lot of people telling him and persuading him to join the trend, the conventional pattern.

They will ask him to do a typical job which pays more or to blindly collect degrees and doctorates. One has to listen to oneself and act as per what he or she feels right.

  1. Be ready to let go certain things

While doing all this, you might have to let go certain things; you might not be able to earn enough to jump on the latest version of iPhone as soon as it comes in the market or might not be able to match the standard of living of your other friends (perhaps you might do!)

One has to let go certain things; of course, the joy coming out of living a meaningful life is more vital and lasting than other possessions.


What Will Change Your Life: Access or Desire to Get Changed?

Does access assure that there will be an impact? I was thinking on this question for quite some time. Many times we feel that we do not have access to many valuable resources. The other part of the story is, what are we doing with the resources to which we already have an access?

access impact

Take the case of Kabir and his literature as an example. Saint Kabir’s literature is available across the internet free of cost. I have myself visited dozens of website to collect more and more Dohas i.e. couplets of Kabir. On one particular website, I found a PDF which has more than 900 verses of Kabir.

To cut it short, Kabir’s literature is easily accessible to the majority of us at our fingertips. So, there is 100% access. What is the impact but? Sadly, though we have good access to Kabir’s literature, the impact which it has made is independent of the access. We all quote Kabir and his couplets quite often. Has it made an impact so deep that we live Kabir in our lives?

This highlights a very basic rule about access and impact- Access does not necessarily guarantee an impact. Impact is made when you are ready for it. Impact is made when you are ready for a change. Everyone around- human beings, organizations, companies, not for profits are trying to make access easier. No one stands for doing the hard job- making people willing and passionate about the change and the impact.

Leave Kabir and his wisdom aside, but same is the case with almost everything. We have thousands of mobile Apps which aim at making us more productive. Have we become more productive? Hardly.

This rule holds true in almost all the fields- In music, we have better instruments and acoustic equipment; but today’s music hardly has the magic.

It is very easy and hence common that most of the people always cry about not having access to something. Instead of cribbing for things which they do not have an access to, change makers are more concerned about the impact they make with whatever resources they have. What about you?


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The Best Way to Deal With People Committing Mistakes

How do you react when people commit mistakes when you are in hurry? What could be the best way of dealing with them? Sharing this incidence which made me think on this.

While on our way to Mumbai, I and my wife decided to stop to have breakfast at an insanely famous fast food chain outlet. We were literally rushing to Mumbai as we had to finish some work and meet friends and relatives after that.

The purpose behind choosing this place to have breakfast was their efficient delivery system, which hardly takes a minute to deliver your order. As it was a morning time, there was little crowd and hence, most in-efficient staff in the store. Whenever I am in hurry, I try to go to the counter which seems to have most efficient person there. Unfortunately, we landed up so early that only one counter was open, with a newly joined girl standing behind.

As per my guess, my entire purpose to stop at that place was defeated. Firstly, the girl took the order wrongly which kept me away from getting a combo offer and hence, ultimately (after I noticed that the order was taken wrongly) I had to pay extra to get the stuff I wanted. We collected the food and started to finish it as soon as possible. Within seconds I realized that I was given something which I had not ordered. I had to go down and get a replacement.

Both I and my wife were observing the staff. What bothered us was not the fact that they were committing mistakes endlessly (which got me a free burger!), but the unwillingness which they had towards learning and not committing any more mistakes.

I never get angry when someone commits a mistake but lack of willingness to learn and improve disappoints me. It is quite common for us to shout at waiters and maids who don’t do their work properly or within time but we never think of what can lit within people the urge to learn and progress.

On the similar note, when we commit mistakes, we tend to blame it on someone else, not stretching ourselves to do things without committing mistakes. We all encounter people not so good at doing their work every now and then. We either shout at them or curse them silently. Do we even bother to encourage them to get better at what they do?

The girl at the counter who wrongly took the order, doesn’t deserve my anger. It was quite sad to see that she was not even keen to get better and avoid further mistakes. But still, the best thing which I could do was telling her a better way to do what she was doing and encouraging her to follow that way…



What is the net worth of your life?

They say everything in this world is measurable. What is the net worth of our lives then?

Development and progress have helped us a lot to improve the quality of life. It is a fact that life today is much comfortable and luxurious than what it was years ago. Of course, the credit goes to the development.

Development has many advantages and also a few disadvantages which are worth not to be overlooked. One of the gravest disadvantages of development is that it taught us to measure everything in terms of money.

I am not against money and I always keep on saying that money is the inseparable part of our lives. It has a utility value which nothing else can replace. While saying so, we should not forget that it is just a utility and there are many things in life which cannot be replaced by money.

Have you ever tasted the pleasure of getting someone back on the right path?

Or pleasure of adding immense value by doing some unique contribution?

Or pleasure of bringing a change?

If the answer is yes, you already know that these kinds of satisfactions cannot be bought by money.

This takes me back to the question which we were talking about- What is the net worth of our lives.

Is it sum of money that we earn over time? Is it sum of net worth of all our assets? Our net worth is something which cannot be separated from us. Our money, assets, estate add to the luxury of our life, not to its value. Net worth of a primary teacher can be much higher than an engineer. It is quite hilarious and sad to see people around who bother much about money and other luxuries in life but completely neglect the ‘net worth’ of their lives.

What do we need today?

People earning more money or people bringing more change?

People piling assets or people adding value?

For those who are afraid of living life without money-

If you go after increasing your net worth, money and luxuries are bound to come to you. The converse is not true!

 Read More-




Knowledge, Money, Respect and Fame : Are you sure will make you happy?

Today, I got a sweet surprise when I suddenly met a family friend of us after many years. To be precise, we met after 11 years. I remember this person, often visiting our house, may be once in three months to chat with us. He was a faraway relative of us. I was quite impressed with this fellow even at the young age, mostly because of the way he talked. He was a post- grad of those days, may be only one of our relatives who had dared to go to the States to acquire a masters. As it logically follows, he was one of the most knowledgeable persons I had seen those days. He was also the most professionally successful of our relatives. One could easily make out from his attitude that he wanted to be successful on all the fronts- knowledge, money, recognition and fame.


He was quite busy those days consulting newly emerging firms and start-ups. He was advisor to many government departments, laboratories, committees and colleges. As it always happens, money failed to motivate this genius and a thirst for respect and recognition dominated his life. He started devoting more of his time to teaching. And then there was a stage, where he had nothing to do except being at this college, which was one of the best colleges India had in those days.
Within seconds, these old memories flashed in front of my eyes. He looked equally knowledgeable today also. Rather, his looks conveyed a more matured and contemplative personality. He should be somewhere in his seventies now. My minute observation could not miss a thin shade of sadness and emptiness running on his face and his entire being.
“I am so happy to see your snaps with your flute on Facebook” said this fatherly figure to me.

“Thanks, somehow I really enjoy it tremendously. I do not even recognize how the time slips away when I am with my flute.”
“You are very wise to do something like this right at this stage.” And he abruptly stopped the conversation.

“What do you do these days?” I asked him out of curiosity. I was very sure that he must be living the most lavish life. He had knowledge. Though it rarely happened those days, his knowledge was well recognized. He had a little extra of everything- knowledge, recognition, money and respect.

After listening to my question, he laughed out; which was more of an inner cry than a laugh. Somehow I felt very sad looking at the way he laughed.
“My day is almost the same as it was 10-15 years ago”, he said.

“I still go to the college early morning, to see the empty staff room. I sit there, though I have no lectures or lab sessions. I go there, sit there. For some time I take a walk, then again I sit down.”

“I was not lucky enough to realize value of a flute or any other hobby for that matter when I was young. I cannot live without this staff room now” he was speaking.

“Most of my colleagues have passed away, many bed ridden and many enjoying their retired lives. Neither students here nor the staff here know who I am; they look at me as if I am some whimsical, mad and homeless fellow. I indeed must be.”
Somewhere I realized that knowledge, money, respect and fame are too risky things to rely upon and to neglect your passions for. In a practical sense, they are more like utilities than core things to live life for. One should never neglect them, but should also be aware enough to not to get trapped in those chains. These utilities play a very crucial role in our lives but we cannot be happy if we spend our life solely in their pursuit.

On the other hand, I have seen a sculptor in Pune, who enjoyed moderate fame and reputation while at peak of his career. But, very smartly, he moved away beyond these things. This joyous grandpa is in his eighties now, giving away his art and skills to enthusiasts without charging a single rupee.

Both the grandpas above were equally knowledgeable in their fields. At the dawn of their lives, one of them feels that he has walked a wrong way, while other is still enjoying the way- being happy and making others happy.

I guess, what made this difference is quite easy to figure out. Due to challenges associated with the modern lifestyle, for most of the part of our lives, we have to prefer utilities over the core things. The second grandpa very well understood when one should start living for the core and stop madly accumulating heaps of utilities.

More to Read:

Are you leaving a hollow life?

Fearless lives the life

Our life is just a pretension 

Lifestyle Uncategorized

Are dogs happier than humans?

Ninad Gadre, who used to be a good friend of mine always used to say that dogs look much happier than humans. He somewhere really felt that humans are sinners and that’s why they are humans and the dogs have must have done something really virtuous in their past life and hence they are happier than humans. The reason behind saying so was the calm and relaxed appearance of dogs, which used to be sleeping on the boat club while students running around doing lectures and submissions with their faces much sadder than those of the dogs.  Some authors have written about dogs being better than humans. But no one has taken efforts to find out if dogs are really happier than humans or not.

Are dogs happier than humans?

Though religious scriptures claim that human life  most valuable and most difficult to get, it can be seen that many dogs are living happier than human beings. At the same time, if you look at road side dogs also, they look much silent and satisfied than human beings. This might very well create the illusion that dogs are happier and even more satisfied than human beings.

Just as dogs do, babies also appear to be happier and satisfied than the grown up humans, The curiosity, innocence, calmness and completeness in the eyes of small babies is completely missing in the eyes of grown ups. Grown up human beings are mostly frustrated, angry, annoyed and cursing things around them. So, would it really be better if we were dogs instead of humans? Or, would we have been more happier if god kept us always like a baby? I know many people around who cannot forget their childhood and repent being grown up.

Happiness: Innocence and ignorance

As always, Osho comes to our help to solve this issue. As Osho says, both ignorant and innocent beings are happy. But, this does not mean that one should be ignorant all the time. In our day-to-day life also, we can see that persons, who are ignorant and reckless, are always happier than those who are serious about things. Dogs and babies are happy because they are ignorant- natural ignorance. So, are dogs happier than humans? No. They cannot be. Momentary calmness should not be confused with happiness.

Considering all this, where do we human beings stand? We are somewhere in middle- between ignorance and innocence; struggling to attain permanent happiness.  As Nietzsche also says, we are standing somewhere on a bridge between divinity and devil. I guess, this devil nature is another word for ignorance and divinity being the another word for innocence.

I also remember a very famous statement made by Socrates-

I would rather live as dissatisfied man than living as a satisfied pig.

I guess by saying this, Socrates also wanted to warn human beings that do not be satisfied pigs or in other words, do not be satisfied with happiness which comes out of ignorance. In order to be innocent, first one has to be aware and awareness initially brings dissatisfaction. But, as one tries to understand the things around him, the ignorance gets transformed into innocence which brings the eternal joy, which is not dependant on external situations but something which comes from inside. This joy cannot be taken away from you, as it was with Socrates even when he took the poison and left this world!




Are you living a hollow life?

If reading the very title of this post makes you sad, the answer for you is yes! Well, I keep on thinking over this particular question many times. For me, nothing is worse than living a hollow life. Living a bit harsher life is better, I would say, than living a hollow life.

What I keep on wondering about is, how can you define the term ‘hollow life’? Is there any fixed, concrete definition of this term? Or, is it a very dynamic term, changing as per the age, occupation and types of people around us? In this case, how can we define it for so many different kinds of people?WP_20140329_001

Apart from all this philosophical discussions, how should one find out if he is living a hollow life or not? If yes, how to make it meaningful and full of substance?

How to define ‘Hollow Life’ ?

As I have already said, the term is very dynamic, changing almost person to person. I would also like to clarify that all the points which I am making here, are my personal thoughts, which can be wrong and challenged by the readers. I am open to discuss the same and change my opinion.

In order to define this term, I would chalk down some indicators which indicate that something is going wrong and needs attention.

1. Having no time for yourself

If you cannot spare some time for yourself, there are very high chances that you are living a hollow life. Finding time for yourself does not mean caring too much for oneself. It also does not mean spending time (solely) on superficial transformation- like buying good clothes, working on one’s appearance etc.

When I say spare some time for yourself, I want you to communicate with yourself. How many of us communicate with ourselves? Do we ask ourselves if we like the way we are living life? It is very sad to find that in this well connected world, no one is really connected with himself or herself. We can create substance in our life only when we know what matters for us. Though we have to many things to do, some portion of our time (may be as small as ten minutes) should be kept aside for ourselves.

2. Doing things for someone else

I remember my discussion with a junior student from my college. His first year of engineering was descent and the grades were quite good. In second year, he stopped attending classes and ended up with having 4 backlogs. In our casual discussion, I humbly asked him what was the problem he was facing. I got a very cold reply from him, saying that he never liked engineering. I had another obvious but humble question for him, “Why did you opt for it then?”

Very proudly he said, “Engineers are respected in my town. People in my town treat you very differently if you are an engineer and also, your status gets elevated”

If you are living your life to please people from your town and are not wise enough to think about what you like, you are living a hollow life. We can find so many people around; someone doing MBBS as her mother wants her to be a doctor, someone not marrying the girl he likes as family members will be furious. At the end, people who live their life to fulfill expectations of others end up blaming those people. Instead, why one should not find out what he likes and take the complete responsibility of his own life?

3. Afraid of being alone

Though this does not apply every time, most of the times, it does. If someone is dependent on others- friends, colleagues, family etc. something is wrong. Many of us are afraid of being alone. They need someone to talk to. They even cannot imagine their life without these people. As Osho has often said, there is a difference between loneliness and  being alone. When you are alone, you encounter yourself. You dig within yourself. Most of the times, we are afraid of doing this. Hence, we keep on finding company of people. This may be a very bold statement, but people who live a hollow life will always try to not to be alone. They will keep talking without any purpose for hours, after that they will go for shopping, then a hair cut,  then again a different group, then drinks and over…If this your typical day, something is certainly wrong.

The list is literally unending. But, If someone starts working on these three focus points, he will find out the way ahead for himself. The most important thing is taking out time for oneself. When we spend some time with ourselves, the hollow life comes to an end with happiness and creativity overflowing from it.