Being begins here and now

‘I am feeling peaceful’ is a temporary state of mind. ‘I am peaceful’ is a state of being.

Being begins here and now
Sunflower painted by me - Just being the best version of itself!

Ever wondered why the suffix ‘being’ is added to the word human? We never say bird-being or animal-being. Why? Is it a reminder that humans need to dwell on ‘being’? Most of us concentrate on doing, having, becoming … but do we think about ‘being’? Being means to ‘just be’ in the moment. This helps to quieten the mind. Being in the moment, living it, while being the best version of ourself, ensures that the present is good. The present being good, ensures a bright future.

We often ask young children, “What would you like to become when you grow up?” Here too, the focus is on the future. However if a child is a good student at present, that is enough to set the tone for a bright future.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “Life is lost in dreaming. Being is lost in becoming.” Indian philosophy is heavily invested in ‘being’. Being begins here and now. Most people are in the ‘becoming’ mode because they are vying to achieve targets set up in the future. Just being a good human, leads to a calmer persona, a focussed mind and better relationships with all those around you, be it family, colleagues, bosses, the society or the world at large.

We recently met the cricketing legend, Kapil Dev. He said that when he used to play cricket as a young boy, it was just for the fun of playing. He never then thought that he would become a professional cricketer and also the captain of the Indian cricket team! He just gave his best each time he played and things just happened. The rest of course is history and is inspiration for many.

Giving our best to our present, can keep the future clear of dust and rust. The present is said to be a gift from God. That is why it is called ‘present’! It however doesn’t come gift-wrapped with flowers and ribbons … many pins and needles come with it.

Human birth is valuable but it’s value has to be recognised. It’s not meant for just eating, drinking, sleeping, making merry etc. There is much more to it … Each ‘being’ is a sparkle of light that has emanated from the eternal light. We identify ourselves with our beliefs, emotions, feelings etc. We may say, ‘I am feeling tired’, ‘I am feeling peaceful’ etc. The day we transition from ‘I am feeling peaceful’ to ‘I am peaceful’, will be a turning point in our emotional health. ‘I am feeling peaceful’ is a temporary state of mind. ‘I am peaceful’ is a state of being.

I often contemplate on the four MahaVakyas which are the great utterances from the Vedas.

The first MahaVakya, Pragnanam Brahma, (Consciousness is Brahman) from the Rig Veda, is a statement of realisation that the knowledge of God is the ultimate knowledge.

Aham Brahm Asmi (I am Brahman!) from the Yajur Veda, is a statement of exclamation made after experiencing the Divinity within.

Tat-tvam-Asi (That is who you are) from the Sama Veda, is a statement of instruction from a Guru to a disciple.

Ayam Atma Brahma (Atma and the Brahman are one) from the Atharva Veda, is a statement of observation that the Atma and the Brahman are the same.

These MahaVakyas are all set in a state of ‘being’! It is said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. The change will happen outside only when it happens inside each one of us.

A man was very disturbed with the chaos and unrest around. Distraught, he exclaimed, “Oh God! What is the world coming to? Why don't you do something?” God said, “I did my bit. I sent you. It’s your turn now!”

Yes it is your/our turn now. Let’s improve our being and take the first step to bring about the change we strive for. What say?

This piece has been published in the Hindustan Times on 30.04.2023