Niyam, Dharma, Karma - key to a good life..

Its been a long time, since I wrote here last. 

Life had been a little busy on work (specially book), a few travels and family fronts. I was just performing - and waiting to find a time to be with self - to reflect - to blog.

During this time, I also noticed that 'Murphy's laws' are not just jokes and time-pass - they do exist and happen in life. Last month-end there were two things planned for me - 
  1. My talk in a conference 
  2. My visit to my parents during Diwali 
- and both of them were planned at least a few months in advance. But as the dates approached, I saw that I am needed more - at all the places, I can find my belongings to  - exactly on same dates. 
I remember 'Murphy's laws' and smile - as I went through the hard decision making each day, where I selected 'what was absolutely must for me', and left 'what I would otherwise not wanted to have as optional'. 

During one such day, in a conversation, I heard myself saying, "I enjoy my confusion". And later realised, "Yes! I do". - Who wants an easy, mechanical and monotonous life? I love and want challenges - something new, different and challenging and probably I do enjoy that feeling of tearing apart. 

I see that I am adventurous - and now I understand why people love going for some of those adventurous activities and games, and even for the experiences of watching horror movies. We love to enjoy fears, thrill etc. If not in real life, then in a planned activity. But a few of us do it in real life too - I see me being one of those few - Not a statement full of ego - Just a realisation.

Then where do I find my balance? - "What is my key or balancing factor?"

Then I notice that in many other things, I am or I want to be very systematic, organised and planned - may be to balance certain thrills that I love to live with. What is the value addition of those elements (listed below) to my life? 

A habit - Waking up early in the morning 

As a student, I always used to put night-outs and sleep in mornings. About 12 years back, I had a presentation in a conference at IIT Kanpur, and Dr. Prabhakar reminded me many times (the previous day) to sleep on time and to wake up for the conference - that was the time, when I would even sleep after having my breakfast. 

I remember how it looks and feels at 3AM, in a cold winter night at IITK - as  one can see light refracting because of fog - when the typical 'night-birds' like me go for a tea and Maggie break. 

A smile comes to my lips as I talk about night-bird - a friend, in a good built, once said, "I am a night-bird", and other-one replied, "See your size first, you can only be a night-elephant". :)

Jokes apart - I was fun and freedom both. I did write thousands of lines of codes during those nights. That was independent work that we used to do, in the safe campus environment. 

Now, my world is more real, requires me to overlap more with it. My tasks are not so independent - and I talk about sleep-early and wake-up early - circadian rhythm - and energy flow with sunrise.

My younger siblings/cousins may think that I am going a generation behind - 'NO' - just that I could see the meaning of that olden/golden rule in the context of my life today. 

And then I realize that things were well researched when they were enforced, just that not everyone understood/ or could explain them. So, here I am - to see positives in those olden-golden rules - And this is not what someone has told me - these are based on my own observations/assessments.

A practice - Eating only after taking bath and Puja 

After waking up early, the next positive feeling comes from getting ready 'to face the day' - concluding your thoughts in the process, and 'BE present' with energy and plan. 

But its equally appealing to feel lazy and delay waking up and getting ready early and lose a few good things in life. 

So is the rule, "One eats only after Puja" - the rule that enforces one to wake up, get ready, do the prayer - have the refreshed body and mind to start the day with. 

Key 1 - Niyam - Discipline and predictability 

The best thing about the system and process is that it enforces you to do things in a manner, which again is thought by certain thoughtful people. However, as we become more independent, and individuals we all start to define our own rules, schedule etc and it adds to the chaos to the world. 

As long as things are separate,  its OK to live with the chaos but the minute, it starts to overlap, a lots of energy and time goes in figuring out the stuff, individuality and style. And, so comes the logic of being disciplined and predictable. 

It is so appealing to notice - when obvious things are really obvious for one to follow - one can save lot of mental energy, and spend it where it really is required - for the betterment of work, life and society. 

Many times, I hear people saying, "I didn't call thinking you must be busy" - while the underlying fact I notice is - "I am not aware of your schedule, or the discipline you follow and I am fearful to feel like bumping-in". 

That is when people go for digital-medium (like facebook etc), where there is more control, and less need to be disciplined in time - Needs have not changed, means have changed to minimize stress. But in real life - specially the busy one of today's era - discipline is bliss.

Further emphasizing on these, many personalities (like Usha Uthup, Bala Saheb etc.) even go to the extent of stereotyping their style - which results in less confusion and good brand recall. 

Often, we laugh about the following joke - 

But, don't you think that choices add confusion. Say, a women wears only one kind of dresses, limited colors etc - life is so simple --- but now we choose from various styles (South-Indian, North-India, Bengali, Western ... then formal, ethnic and casual etc.), fabrics, and colors, and have a few pieces of each type for each occasion - which soon get exhausted and repetition sounds like wearing uniform. 

So comes the statement - "I have nothing ... " then one feels the need of being so rich to have many more options, and resources to manage them :)... 

Then I notice - predictability does solve these problems to a great extent.

Key 2 - Dharma Religion 

Dharma, or religion is again an interesting concept that holds hands in that feeling of being torn apart. It is very close to understanding priorities right, and knowing your role etc. 

Many-times in life one has to make difficult choices, and my key is to see 'what' can not run without me - means 'where I am not optional'. And then 'which one' will have more impact because of my absence - and it helps me decide. Someone is there to judge me always, but then I know my rule and equation - and I love myself and feel good about my choices. 

There are also situations, where one has to do stuff/be in a situation that he doesn't like - there  also comes the 'Dharma' to guide. 'I do it as it is my duty' defined by my role etc. 

Dharma again is not so easy to follow, again because of human weaknesses. But practice makes (wo)man perfect. :)

Key 3 - Karma - Action - 

This is the last principle that I want to write about, today - Karma. "Karma kar, phal ki chinta mat kar" - as said in "Gita" - I associates, act with religion - which in turn is related to concepts like detachment - and in turn can be linked to 'Nirvana'. 

It is researched that 90% of the decisions are emotional. But even emotions need expressions - intentions alone do not help. And many times, emotions do get eased, changed, and triggered because of actions. Action is what gives results and contributes to the evolution. 

In simple words, doing things right, for good, with detachment, in disciplined manner is the key to live a good life.