In the time of kaliyuga, when the need of the hour is to spiritualise society, the role of the householder seeker is a crucial one. juggling career, family, multiple relationships and traffic jams, the householder must bloom like the proverbial lotus in the muck of everyday life
Confessions of a reluctant GrihastashramiteRecently, I met a guru who took one look at my face and told me, "You are a sanyasin, a rishi. You will never marry." I knew it. I knew it. And here I am stuck with a home and a job and even a commute, for crying out loud.
It hasn't always been an easy decision to stay stuck in samsara. I remember soon after I entered the path, travelling to a distant village for an interview with Medha Patkar. A bullock-cart ambled by, and suddenly the deep peace and silence of the countryside hit me viscerally. This was how life was meant to be, I thought painfully to myself; travelling at a sane speed, not hurtling through life like a supersonic jet, unable to even think straight. I never did know what village life would be like. For I had a mother to take care of; and that was a priority.
And in retrospect, I am confident that my growth in the hothouse atmosphere of city life, pungent with smoke fumes, traffic jams, loaded schedules, challenging relationships and unrealistic deadlines has been far more rapid than if I had slunk away to the great outdoors. In meeting and achieving the many tasks and challenges thrust on me, I have grown. My daily train travel has been a tremendous spiritual gym, pushing and shoving into a crowded train, dodging elbows and other weapons, trying to negotiate your way without stepping on toes or nerves – it's a tough call! I learnt to be assertive, from being a wimp, and at the next level I learnt not to give in to provocation. My job has probably been one of the most powerful growth programmes I could have ever enrolled upon. And its growth potential increased by a quantum leap when I took over the editorship. My nerves were stretched to their limit, especially on the nights we had to send the CD of editorial pages to the Delhi office for printing. The courier closed at 10 pm, and I would find myself silently shrieking with tension as the minutes ticked by, and 10 pm ominously approached. Editing has been one long tutorial in time management, and it is paying off. Now we usually close at 3 pm or 4 pm on the appointed day, and I actually find myself sauntering home early. Editing is still no child's play but it is infinitely easier today than it was earlier. Another tremendous area of growth in my life has been relationships – with significant others and with family. I learnt to let go of relationships I had outgrown, to cultivate only friendships that mattered to me, to nurse and heal a broken heart, to reclaim sundered relationships, and to work on building and strengthening existing ones. Relationships mean the world to me, and ultimately they are the comfort of my samsaric life.
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