“The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself and watch his own reactions like an observer.”
– Adam Smith (Scottish philosopher and economist of the 18th century, also known as the Father of Economics)
Sanjay Kumar was an unknown taxi driver in Delhi who desired to join the Indian army. He was one amongst the nineteen million that populated the city, and amongst the thousands who were unsuccessful. He tried thrice and each time failed to make it to the army.
Statistically lost in the teeming millions, he trusted his inner voice; he pursued his calling and tried again. Eventually he made it as a member of the 13th Battalion J&K Rifles.
During the Kargill war in July 1999, he led a team to wrest an area from the Pakistani soldiers. Single-handedly he charged at the enemy with utter disregard for his own safety. He took bullets to his chest and forearm but continued the charge. In hand to hand combat, he killed three enemy soldiers and attacked the next enemy bunker. His bravery shocked the enemy, and as they fled in fear, the rest of his team charged and captured the area. For his exceptional courage, he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military award.
Sanjay Kumar had his share of anxieties and daily worries. Yet he chose a career that could threaten his very life. He decided to live for a vision, an aspiration that was beyond what he was doing for a living. Today he is a role model for millions of Indians.
When trapped in the daily routine we tend to think, “My life is already stressed. Don’t ask me about my goals, aspirationsx and legacy. I just want to pay off my mortgage, I just want to be happy, that’s all!”
From Happiness to Purpose
The Vedic literature offers an exciting paradigm shift: forget happiness and seek a noble aspiration – a contribution to the world or a desire to leave a legacy. Happiness will then be a by-product.
To be continued…