Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Life and Times of a Bhogi

I must have been in grade 7 or 8 when I came across the term bhogi. (Obviously not a reference to the Bhogi Festival before Pongal!) Appa and his brother, my valiacha were engaged in a deep discussion about spirituality and I was trying to join the conversation so that everybody would be impressed. They were discussing a book called Autobiography of a Yogi. The book, one of the most widely translated in the world, is a spiritual gem, and it tells the story of Paramahansa Yogananda and his quest to realize God. At the end of the discussion, valiacha remarked that if he were to write his own story, he would title it Autobiography of a Bhogi. They all burst into laughter and I joined in too, although I didn't understand what it meant.

Today, nearly six years later, I think I have realized what the term means. The bhogi's story completely describes me. In a nutshell, a yogi has given up all attachment and is indifferent to whatever happens to him. Do not mistake it for passivity. He becomes a witness and doesn't struggle with emotions, having perfect control over them. In other words, come what may, a yogi remains unaffected.

In sharp contrast, to see how a bhogi's mind works, take a look at my schedule:

5 AM- wake up call from Amma, who dutifully gives me a missed call every morning, despite the fact that she's four hours behind me.

5.05 AM- My own alarm goes off. I hit the snooze button, tell to myself, '5 more minutes' and go back to La La Land and my exquisite dream.

8.00 AM Wake up with a jolt, realize am going to be late for my lecture and hurriedly get ready.

8.30 AM Make faces at the lift because it takes it's own sweet time to come.

8.45 AM Hurriedly grab breakfast, (most often scowling at the vegetarian choices) and run to the bus stop.

9.00 AM Make faces once again when I realize I've just missed the D2 that takes me to Business school...

And so I move on to lectures and tutorials, each time telling myself oh no so much to do! Each time this happens I tell myself to stay calm, and yet the mind begins to worry. What if's begin to attack my mind and I find myself a victim of 'Paralysis by Analysis', once again.

So much for controlling the mind! And then, the question of how I react to comments from others- for example, when I received positive feedback from a lecturer, my heart filled with pride and if my mind could dance, I can assure you it was doing the bhangra. At the other extreme end, I received my midterm feedback for a very difficult module yesterday. I wasn't expecting it to go well, and sure enough, it didn't. I was upset the whole day and worried myself to wits' end. (If this happened last year, I'm sure I would have spent the whole day in tears. Maybe, I'm improving already haha!)

Why does this happen? Is it because we become too attached to the process, the results, everything associated with it? Is it because we take pride in it, a sense of ownership for whatever happens?

This afternoon, I was walking back to my room after a long project meeting, and suddenly thought about the yogi-bhogi conversation. I realized the best way to look at things is to view it like a yogi would. Just do whatever I can, without worrying about anything. With a sense of yogic dispassion. I agree, the term sounds rather dismal. After all, what is life without passion, you might ask. I feel passion is required to keep you alive, to ensure you enjoy your work; at the same time dispassion is needed to ensure you don't get too attached to it. Something like the Taoist principle of wuwei. (Again do not confuse that with inertia!)

I'm resolving to myself that today onwards, come what may, I shall not worry about things I have no control over. I shall just do my best and see what the world has to offer me. After all, a yogi doesn't just ignore everything because of his dispassion. He has faith and that inspires him to move on.

Okay, enough tattvam for the day. Now that I've keyed in my words of wisdom, I shall just keep calm and move on.

P.S: No disrespect/criticism is intended at the book. I loved reading Autobiography of a Yogi and it continues to be one of my favorite books.

On a different note, being the 'quotehanger' that I am, I came across this wonderful quote, shared by a friend on Facebook today, and it just brought a smile to my worried self-'If you don't believe in miracles, perhaps you've forgotten you are one' :)

3 comments:

  1. Nice post. I agree with you, Passion is required for life, but we shouldn't be emotionally attached with everything and let it affect us. The day we learn to react the same way for extreme happiness and extreme sadness, is the day when we can call ourselves perfectly balanced.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like too much paranoia.:) Its ok. It happens to all. Attachment and Detachment aren't that easy to hang on or let go off. You will learn it with time...:-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Ashwini, Thank you! :) No wonder Kipling wrote about meeting with triumph and disaster and treating them both the same- Difficult indeed!

    @Kanthu, haha yes, trying to learn but it's not easy!

    ReplyDelete

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Life and Times of a Bhogi

I must have been in grade 7 or 8 when I came across the term bhogi. (Obviously not a reference to the Bhogi Festival before Pongal!) Appa and his brother, my valiacha were engaged in a deep discussion about spirituality and I was trying to join the conversation so that everybody would be impressed. They were discussing a book called Autobiography of a Yogi. The book, one of the most widely translated in the world, is a spiritual gem, and it tells the story of Paramahansa Yogananda and his quest to realize God. At the end of the discussion, valiacha remarked that if he were to write his own story, he would title it Autobiography of a Bhogi. They all burst into laughter and I joined in too, although I didn't understand what it meant.

Today, nearly six years later, I think I have realized what the term means. The bhogi's story completely describes me. In a nutshell, a yogi has given up all attachment and is indifferent to whatever happens to him. Do not mistake it for passivity. He becomes a witness and doesn't struggle with emotions, having perfect control over them. In other words, come what may, a yogi remains unaffected.

In sharp contrast, to see how a bhogi's mind works, take a look at my schedule:

5 AM- wake up call from Amma, who dutifully gives me a missed call every morning, despite the fact that she's four hours behind me.

5.05 AM- My own alarm goes off. I hit the snooze button, tell to myself, '5 more minutes' and go back to La La Land and my exquisite dream.

8.00 AM Wake up with a jolt, realize am going to be late for my lecture and hurriedly get ready.

8.30 AM Make faces at the lift because it takes it's own sweet time to come.

8.45 AM Hurriedly grab breakfast, (most often scowling at the vegetarian choices) and run to the bus stop.

9.00 AM Make faces once again when I realize I've just missed the D2 that takes me to Business school...

And so I move on to lectures and tutorials, each time telling myself oh no so much to do! Each time this happens I tell myself to stay calm, and yet the mind begins to worry. What if's begin to attack my mind and I find myself a victim of 'Paralysis by Analysis', once again.

So much for controlling the mind! And then, the question of how I react to comments from others- for example, when I received positive feedback from a lecturer, my heart filled with pride and if my mind could dance, I can assure you it was doing the bhangra. At the other extreme end, I received my midterm feedback for a very difficult module yesterday. I wasn't expecting it to go well, and sure enough, it didn't. I was upset the whole day and worried myself to wits' end. (If this happened last year, I'm sure I would have spent the whole day in tears. Maybe, I'm improving already haha!)

Why does this happen? Is it because we become too attached to the process, the results, everything associated with it? Is it because we take pride in it, a sense of ownership for whatever happens?

This afternoon, I was walking back to my room after a long project meeting, and suddenly thought about the yogi-bhogi conversation. I realized the best way to look at things is to view it like a yogi would. Just do whatever I can, without worrying about anything. With a sense of yogic dispassion. I agree, the term sounds rather dismal. After all, what is life without passion, you might ask. I feel passion is required to keep you alive, to ensure you enjoy your work; at the same time dispassion is needed to ensure you don't get too attached to it. Something like the Taoist principle of wuwei. (Again do not confuse that with inertia!)

I'm resolving to myself that today onwards, come what may, I shall not worry about things I have no control over. I shall just do my best and see what the world has to offer me. After all, a yogi doesn't just ignore everything because of his dispassion. He has faith and that inspires him to move on.

Okay, enough tattvam for the day. Now that I've keyed in my words of wisdom, I shall just keep calm and move on.

P.S: No disrespect/criticism is intended at the book. I loved reading Autobiography of a Yogi and it continues to be one of my favorite books.

On a different note, being the 'quotehanger' that I am, I came across this wonderful quote, shared by a friend on Facebook today, and it just brought a smile to my worried self-'If you don't believe in miracles, perhaps you've forgotten you are one' :)

3 comments:

  1. Nice post. I agree with you, Passion is required for life, but we shouldn't be emotionally attached with everything and let it affect us. The day we learn to react the same way for extreme happiness and extreme sadness, is the day when we can call ourselves perfectly balanced.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like too much paranoia.:) Its ok. It happens to all. Attachment and Detachment aren't that easy to hang on or let go off. You will learn it with time...:-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Ashwini, Thank you! :) No wonder Kipling wrote about meeting with triumph and disaster and treating them both the same- Difficult indeed!

    @Kanthu, haha yes, trying to learn but it's not easy!

    ReplyDelete