I hope anyone reading this and their loved ones are safe and trying to keep their hearts and soul happy and healthy. This is easier said than done, with not one, but hundreds of things happening around us, begging for us to lend them a piece of our mind (and keep us occupied/entertained/trapped).
The Modern World
Mental health has become a major center of focus across the global population due to various reasons – increased focus on competition/winning/race, hustle culture, the balance of societies being disrupted in some regions and countries, looking into the face of climate change, global pandemics, environmental catastrophes, major crises in different forms, all these things leading to anxiety, depression, uncertainty – which existed earlier too, but have been growing gradually and society is now becoming more accepting of such feelings.
While all of this is true and unavoidable, it sometimes keeps us from thinking about things that help us shape who we are, as individuals and society as a whole.
This has led people to take a break, stop for a moment and think about the reason for doing and chasing all these things. We are moving more towards a reflective and introspective state of mind and are looking for avenues to help us guide through this process.
This is not something that has suddenly happened. We have been observing this for the last many years with meditation, yoga, mindfulness, the sustainable and minimal living have started appearing in the mainstream across the world.
These schools of thoughts, either in the form of philosophies or religion, have originated in multiple different cultures – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism and many others – and have existed for hundreds of centuries, being passed down from generation to generation by people who have been able to preserve the core of the practices.
Indian Culture, Practices and Core of Spirituality
All Indic religions and philosophies are rooted in spirituality – Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism.
While Shri Krishna talks about karma Siddhanta and breaking from the circle of life and death in the Bhagavad Geeta, Gautam Buddha taught how suffering is an inherent part of living and that extinction of desire leads one to the path to end the suffering. Similarly, Mahavira preached about universal compassion through non-violence and truth, and the Sikh philosophy teaches practical living rooted in truthfulness.
These practices and philosophies might differ slightly, but all of them essentially focus on the concept of creating a peaceful society, staying away from illusory temporary satisfaction and living a benevolent life that sets oneself on the path to liberation.
Importance of Self, Soul, Altruism
These principles guide us on how to break from the shackles of materialism and rise above to identify one’s true nature and develop a sense of belonging with nature and all beings alike. It should not be confused with being selfish as spiritual beings care equally about the world and its beings as they care for their own soul, thus liberating themselves and everyone around them. Nor should it mean a complete sacrifice of everything in life.
The inherent purpose of being defined in spirituality is to be compassionate, caring and loving.
How it Can Benefit
How can someone truly benefit in the modern world while adopting these traditional practices and improving their life?
It might seem difficult to follow the teachings as is in the modern world, but that is not what philosophy is about. They are a guide for us in terms of how we analyse our own emotions, how we interact with other people, what factors we base our decisions on and what motivates our participation in various worldly activities.
While we cannot control the circumstances, we sure can control how we deal with those circumstances and the emotions they give rise to.
Having a strong spiritual outlook gives strength to deal with harsh situations and come out of them even stronger. The feeling of a shared emotion with the whole of humanity brings a sense of togetherness rather than that of being alone.
Today, a lot of institutions have adopted and propagated these practices and are working towards the betterment of society. Take the example of Art of Living, which works towards causes like environment protection, prisoner rehabilitation, education and much more.
There are several gurukuls, ashrams that are keeping this ancient wisdom alive.
It is these values that serve as a ray of hope in how we can become better individuals and uplift our society.
At Paavan, we’re building a space for people to re-discover Indian heritage and knowledge systems and lead a fulfilling and conscious life in the modern world.
While everyone is looking for solutions, there is no easy way to find the right information in a way that is easy to follow and applicable in today’s day and age. We want to become a credible source for people to come to and help them find a way of life they believe in, help them guide towards a practical way of living.
Our vision is to bring a sense of calm within people, become a better version of themselves, and bring light to the world!
Sankalp is the co-founder of Paavan, an app offering spiritual and Indic learning to help people lead a more meaningful life. Sankalp is an IIT Delhi alumni, a product enthusiast and takes a keen interest in concepts of spirituality and conscious living.