The Book of Life: My Dance With Budhha For Success
Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri also encourages every reader, regardless of their age, to write stories, on any subject, and share them with him through this website.
He would be publishing these stories on www. vivekagnihotri.com/stories.
This book is an initiative which will herald a new era in the realm of books, wherein the creativity that is innate in every one of us finds expression. For this, and to establish a connection between him and readers, Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri has linked this book to the Internet. Here, anyone can voice his opinions on the stories featured in this book and share his thoughts and perspectives, making this book interactive; only then will The Book of Life find its true meaning, Vivek says.
“I have always encouraged people to write, to create. Trust me, each one of us can write a story, because each one of us can ‘imagine.’ Take any three words, say—soldier, war and medal. Tell me, what comes to your mind? Perhaps…of a soldier who fought bravely in a war and got a medal. Thus begins a story… One could keep adding to this story—on how the war began, the circumstances, the result, and so on. Similarly, life is also a story. In fact, everything in this world is a story. So, pick up a pen and write your story; share it with me, and when we have enough stories, we will select the best and feature them in The Book of Life - Part II—which would be your book of life, my book of life, our book of life,” says Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri.
Fear and Courage
1. What is courage?
2. Why do we fear?
3. How do we live fearlessly?
Clear the Clutter: Rejecting Negativity
4. Be controlled by life, not media.
5. Why do we outrage?
6. Why does TV news work like slow poison?
7. What is diet culture?
8. Are you a victim of ‘awesome mediocrity’?
Explore and Experience
9. Allergy is nothing but your broken relationship with your environment
10. Why do we need to help others?
11. Why does swinging help you become more creative?
12. Why should we never try to be complete?
13. Why is slow fast?
14. How silence helps the truth to reveal itself...
15. How do you reboot your life...
16. What is purpose?
17. Why does all suffering lie in the future and all happiness in the present present?
18. Is ‘I don’t know’ the only mantra to creativity? Why?
19. Meditation by chaos.
20. What is truth?
21. What is the real meaning of success?
22. Your success depends on whether you are growing or co-growing
23. What is success? Big? More? Large? Is that success?
24. Why does success lie in execution?
Towards a Better You
25. Why is intent the mother of everything?
26. Who defines you?
27. Why is your mind your biggest enemy?
28. What should you do when someone lies to hurt you?
29. Why should you be suspicious of high praise?
30. Are you a puppet?
31. Being response-able. Be #IAmBuddha.
32. How do you get rid of your biggest enemy—the Inner Critic?
Ponder Why: Thoughts on Self and Society
33. Why do the secrets of this cosmos lie in a zero?
34. Why are ‘being politically correct’ and ‘being correct’ two different things?
35. Why can’t we understand the value of something without losing it?
36. Why do we procrastinate?
37. Why do we procrastinate despite all our good intentions?
Desh, Dharma, Dharohar: Thoughts on Our Country and Civilisation
38. Hinduism: A creative perspective.
39. What’s the root cause of violence in today’s India?
40. Indic Laws of War.
41. Are we less corrupt than the government?
42. What’s the real tribute to our martyrs?
43. Why Swadhyaya?
44. Creativity and Godliness.
What is courage?
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself.
—N.D. Wilson, Dandelion Fire
Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.
—Maggie Kuhn, Social activist
any of us think that we require courage only when we are in a fight or when our survival is at stake. We are made to believe that, in everyday life, we don’t need courage. That’s why when a student has exams or when one is in a financial problem, a marital problem or a situation wherein he or she is being tested, one prays to God, “God, please give me the courage to fight my problem.”
Is courage really something we can borrow for some time? Is courage something some people are born with? Very often people say, “I wish I had courage like you,” when they see a courageous person. We like heroes who are courageous. We elect leaders who are courageous. We like gods who are courageous. Rama is celebrated for his courage but do we worship him only for his victory over Ravana? Do we admire Gandhi’s courage only for fighting the British? Is courage an event?
Let me tell you what I think.
Everyone is born with courage. It is one of God’s gifts to us, like love and compassion. But, as we grow up, we are tamed by the education system, a system that believes in training an organised herd of sheep instead of lions. Thus, we become sheep who follow instructions.
Courage is not an event. It is not a trait we use occasionally. Courage is a way of life. Courage comes from caring. When we care enough about something, we also develop the courage to protect it. When the heart is filled with compassion, it is also fearless. We don’t remember Rama only because he fought the evil. We also remember him for his acts of goodness, which led them to his eventual victory over the evil.
If we care and yet feel afraid, it is not real compassion. It is sympathy. Sympathy is something when you understand the feeling of someone, but compassion is willingness to become the part of that suffering and attempt to relieve someone from the suffering. A sympathetic mind is always fearful. Fear of loss, fear of life, or fear of any kind makes us weak. It breaks our self-belief. It damages our natural ability to be courageous.
When we care, our mind becomes more aware. We become curious to know and understand better. Understanding is an antidote to fear. Only an unaware mind is fearful. When we don’t know what is in a dark room, we are scared to go in. Once we are familiar with the geography of the room, all the furniture in the room, and their placement, we also know where the switch to turn on the light is. It is this awareness and understanding that leads us to courage—the courage to go inside the dark room of life without any fear.
When we care, we don’t care once or on special occasions. Caring is a state of mind. We care like we breathe. All the time. This state of mind drives us to do good every single moment. Life is made of small and simple things. When the mind is active in caring and is being compassionate, it is aware of the smallest of things and the smallest of needs. Then, we act with goodness all the time.
For example, people who are passionate about gardening do not water from a distance. They become a part of the garden. They touch every part of the plant and the soil and remove insects with their hands. They care for the plant like one would care for life. Such people are not scared of snakes.
They are a part of nature.
They believe in it.
They care for it.
They are not scared of going into the darker parts of the garden. Their care and compassion ensure the good health of plants, which eventually bear fruits or flowers.
Caring results in a divine feeling. It is the divine feeling one gets when a plant flowers or when the early rays of the sun create a magical rainbow on the dew drops over petals. It is that divine feeling of helping something to life and then protecting it like we protect our own life. This is the act of real courage.
When someone tries to steal the flower that is the result of your care, you fight him with all your might and all your courage. People see this isolated event and admire the display of courage without realising that this act was the crescendo of caring for the flower every day. That flower was built on the harmony of small acts of goodness.
Everyone needs to realise their own strengths and build their lives with their own experiences. That’s why we have so many definitions of courage. Courage comes to me by simple acts of goodness. These acts do not come in theory, but they come out as a response to what I feel towards this world, its people and myself. They come because I care about the world around me as much as I care about my own breath.
The Vedas say:
Poornamadah poornamidam Poornaatpoornamudachyate,
Poornasya Poornamaadaaya Poornamevaavasishyate.
“You are the fullness. There is fullness, here is fullness. From the fullness, the fullness is born. Remove the fullness from the fullness and the fullness alone remains.”
What is this fullness, if not life? What is life, if not caring? What is caring, if not courage? How does one survive, if not courageous? Courage comes from caring.
Be caring. Be courageous. Be #IAmBuddha.