पुष्प की अभिलाषा – माखनलाल चतुर्वेदी

I love this poem since I first read it in primary school. Simple words, powerful message!

चाह नहीं मैं सुरबाला के
गहनों में गूँथा जाऊँ,

चाह नहीं प्रेमी-माला में
बिंध प्यारी को ललचाऊँ,

चाह नहीं, सम्राटों के शव
पर, हे हरि, डाला जाऊँ

चाह नहीं, देवों के शिर पर,
चढ़ूँ भाग्य पर इठलाऊँ!

मुझे तोड़ लेना वनमाली!
उस पथ पर देना तुम फेंक,

मातृभूमि पर शीश चढ़ाने
जिस पथ जावें वीर अनेक।

Action is basic unit of life

Life as human beings live it is a field in which forms and forces interact to produce results. However, in this case the forms are not forms of material substance, they are forms of actionAs the basic building block of material forms is the atom, the basic building block of life forms is the individual act. In both instances, the real foundation for the form is energy in constant movement.

As atoms combine together to constitute larger inorganic forms ranging in size from the molecule to the planet, solar system and galaxy and more complex organic forms ranging in complexity from single cells, to organs, organisms and species; so too, individual acts combine to form larger, more complex and more enduring activities, systems, organizations, institutions, customs and cultures. Composing a letter, conceiving a child, establishing a business, and founding a country are acts. Farming, shopping, manufacturing and researching are complex recurring chains of activity. Social habits, customs, procedures, and laws are complex systems of acts. Like the atom, each of these acts and systems can be broken down into smaller constituent parts ad infinitum to discern the minutest sensations, impulses, thoughts and movements of which they are constituted. Each is itself part of a longer chain or larger system of actions.

Like the expansive movements of stars and galaxies, each act can be traced back to its origins in the distant past and to its explicit or subtle consequences in the distant future. The key to this evolution of complexity in life is tersely explained by Sri Aurobindo. “It (life) evolves through growth of consciousness even as consciousness evolves through greater organization and perfection of life[1].” A progressive emergence of a previously involved consciousness and a progressive organization of the consciousness that emerges are the twin principles of evolution in all planes of existence, material, social, psychological and even spiritual.

The forces that act in our lives include forces of material nature such as weather and gravity, but also social forces such as political power, social status and peer pressure, and psychological forces such as the power of ideas, ideals, opinions, beliefs, emotions, sensations, impulses, desires and aspirations. All these forces meet and interact in the cauldron of life to influence the course of the acts, activities, systems and organizations. When Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg in 1517 to launch the Reformation; when President Roosevelt halted the US banking crisis in 1932 by appealing to the American people over the radio; when Churchill single-handedly inspired the British people to resist Nazi aggression at a time when all of Europe had capitulated; when Mahatma Gandhi stirred the Indian masses to cast off two centuries of British imperial rule: when Gorbachev unilaterally dismantled the iron structure of communist authoritarianism that ended the Cold War – their acts expressed and mobilised forces of tremendous intensity to confront opposing forces and destroy or alter entrenched forms of social organization. The fields in which they acted, variously term economic, religious, political, social, psychological, are fields for scientific inquiry – arguably far more central and important fields than any that absorbs the attention of astrophysicists or evolutionary biologists. The material, technological, organization, social and psychological forces they wielded and unleashed are also proper subject for scientific study. The forms they created, altered or destroyed, be they forms of governance, law and social organization or forms of social attitude and mental understanding, are very much objects for scientific investigation.



Have you ever wished you could go back in time and have a conversation with one of the greatest minds in history? Well, you can’t sorry, they’re dead. Unless of course you’re clairaudient, be my guest. But for the rest of us, we can still refer to the words they left behind.

Even though these great teachers have passed on, their words still live, and in them their wisdom. I’ve made a list of seven what I believe are some of the greatest teachings by the world’s greatest minds.


“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
– Lawrence J. Peter

In order for us to achieve our dreams, we must have a vision of our goals. Writing down our dreams and creating a list of actions helps us stick to our plan. As it’s said “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. When we turn our goals into measurable actions, we gain clarity and are able to see the necessary steps we must take in order to achieve them.

Action: Visualize a life of your wildest dreams. What did you dream of doing when you were a child? What would you do if you had a million dollars? Create a vision for your goals and start breaking them down into small actions that you can take on a day by day basis.


“It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best way to learn something is to dive right in to it. When we overcome our fear of failure, we learn that only those who are asleep make no mistakes. Fear is the only thing keeping us from experiencing a life of love and fulfillment. If we make a commitment to an uncompromisable quest for truth, we will realize that as we grow more into the truth, our fears start to disappear.

Action: You must define your fears in order to conquer them. Create a list of everything you’re afraid of and start facing them one at a time. Make a commitment to yourself now to not let fear rule your life.


“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”- Guatama Buddha

Our thoughts determine our reality. When we stop thinking about what we don’t and begin thinking about what we do want, our lives begin to transform. Instead of working against our desires and intentions, we move into alignment with them.

Action: Create a list of your intentions and desires. Wherever you go, take this list with you. Read it when you wake up and before you go to sleep.


“Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Happiness comes from an inner peace, understanding and acceptance of life; a perspective of truth that opens your eyes to the beauty of life all around us. Happiness cannot be achieved by external status, it must be an internal state that we realize when we see our innate perfection.

Action: Realize that happiness is a choice. In every decision you make ask yourself “how can I respond to make myself happy and fulfilled?”


“If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” – Jesus

When we stop trying to be what we are not, we realize our authenticity. Before we had knowledge, we were completely authentic. We learn to use knowledge to measure and judge, which is a powerful tool we have as humans. However we create an image of perfection in our mind of what we should be, but are not. We confuse knowledge for nature. We believe in the lie of our imperfection. When we realize this we can reclaim the truth of our perfection and live in love and acceptance.

Action: Make a commitment to never go against yourself. Practice non-judgment and realize that the same part of your mind that condemns you is the same voice that caused you to take the action in the first place. We don’t even have to believe what we say to ourselves.


“So much has been given to me, I have not time to ponder over that which has been denied.”
– Helen Keller

How many times do we count our misfortunes rather than our blessings? When we take time to open our eyes to the miracle of life we can see the many gifts that have been given to us. Remembering all the beautiful aspects of life and all the reasons you are blessed can immediately shift our mood. We can move from sorrow and despair to appreciation and hope.

Action: Each time you find yourself complaining about something, re-direct your focus to something you are grateful for. Make a habit of transforming your awareness of troubles into an awareness of abundance.


“I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.”
– Blaise Pascal

Perfection is not when there is nothing to add, but when there is nothing more to take away. As Bruce Lee once said “the height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.” True mastery of our lives is realizing the simple joys of life, removing distractions and clutter from our lives.

Action: The art of simplicity is knowing what to take away. Practice recognizing when you’re spending your time on unimportant tasks and re-focus on theimportant.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are other many great teachings that I did not include here because I felt like they were already expounded on thoroughly elsewhere, such as Einstein and Gandhi’s timeless classics. There are also great teachings to be found from our parents or friends.

The Ant and the Grasshopper – A Story About Building for the Future


Grandmother told the fable of an ant and grasshopper who lived in the same meadow.

All summer long, the grasshopper would sing, dance and hop about, having a wonderful time.

Meanwhile, the ant worked diligently, gathering and storing grain for the winter.

“Stop and talk to me,” said the grasshopper.   “We can sing some songs and dance a while.”

“Oh no,” said the ant.  “Winter is coming.  I am storing up food for the winter.  I think you should do the same.”

“Oh, I can’t be bothered,” said the grasshopper.  “Winter is a long time off.   There is plenty of food.”

So the grasshopper continued to sing, dance and hop about and the ant continued to work diligently.

Inevitably, winter came, and the grasshopper had no food and was starving.

He went to the ant’s house and asked, “Can I have some wheat or maybe a few kernels of corn?  Without it I will starve.”

“You danced last summer,” said the ant.   “You can continue to dance.”  And he closed the door without giving him any food.

Are you an ant or a grasshopper?

Are you working hard to prepare for the future, or are living frivolously, assuming that the future will look after itself?

Are you continuing to learn, grow and develop, or do you mistakenly think that today’s skills will remain useful in the dynamic, ever-changing world that we live in?

As JIM ROHN once said, “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”

Winter’s coming and you can’t avoid it, so start planning and get to work.

A Story About Dealing With Critics




Who’s laughing now?

Lewis the Lion had a problem.

He was a young lion who was no longer a cub, but didn’t yet have the skills to hunt for himself.

With the assistance of his pride, he tried to get better at hunting, but would either make too much noise, move too soon or just wasn’t quick or strong enough to bring down and subdue his prey.

Whilst that alone was frustrating, to add insult to injury, the hyenas took great delight in Lewis’ failings as a predator and laughed raucously whenever the young lion let another zebra escape.

Lewis tried to roar at them, but he was only able to manage a loud squeak, giving the hyenas more reason to mock him.

“Just ignore them,” the older lions would say.

“How can I?  Every time I start to stalk another antelope, I can hear their voices in my head before I even have a chance to mess up,” Lewis responded.

Lewis was tempted to stop trying and talked about his doubts with his mother, Lizzie, who was an outstanding hunter.

Lizzie looked at her son and said, “We’ve all been there.  There was a time when I couldn’t catch anything and the hyenas would laugh at me incessantly.  This is what I learned.  If you give up, their mocking has worked and the hyenas have won.  But if you keep trying and learning, you’ll eventually become a great hunter and the hyenas will have nothing to laugh at.

Lewis nodded his head and agreed to keep trying.

The weeks and months passed, and Lewis became an accomplished predator.

He had a fine, flowing mane by now and had progressed from an awkward adolescent to a magnificent beast.  As he wandered through the Savannah he noticed the group of hyenas (called a cackle) who had laughed at his earlier failed hunting attempts.

He charged at the cackle and caught one of the hyenas, knocking him to the ground and standing over him.

“Please don’t hurt me,” pleaded the hyena.

“I’m not going to hurt you, I just have a message for you and every other critic.  Your laughter didn’t stop me, it only spurred me on and now that I’m the master hunter, I just wanted to let you and your pathetic friends know that you’ll be living off my leftovers from now on.”

He let the quivering hyena go and let loose a roar that echoed for miles.

If you have critics in your life, don’t let them win by giving up and hiding from the glare of public opinion.

Keep working on your craft, developing your skills to become world-class in your field.

There an old saying that, “There has never been a statue erected to honour a critic.”

The reality is that the critics never do anything remarkable themselves, but live off the leftovers that the predators leave behind.

Leap of greatness

Two students were asked to meet their teacher at the start of a track through the forest.

He gave them instructions to follow the path to its conclusion, in preparation for a test later in the week. 

The path had two sides, one side was clear and smooth, the other side had fallen logs and other obstacles in the way.

One student chose to avoid the obstacles, running around them and taking the easiest path to the end.  He felt clever as he dodged through without hindrance.

The second student chose to tackle the obstacles, battling through every challenge in his path.


The student who chose the easy path finished first and felt proud of himself.  “I’m glad that I chose to avoid the boulders and logs, they were only there to slow me down,” he thought to himself.

The second student arrived at the finish feeling tired and regretting the path that he had chosen.

The teacher nodded and smiled at them both.  He requested that they join him at a specific location in three days.

When they arrived, they could see that there was a ravine that was a few metres wide.

The students looked at their teacher and he said just one word.


The first student looked at the distance and his heart sank. 

The teacher looked at him.

“What’s wrong?  This is the leap to greatness.  Everything that you have done until now should have prepared you for this moment.”

The student shrugged his shoulders and walked away, knowing that he hadn’t prepared adequately for greatness.

The second student looked at the teacher and smiled nervously. 

He knew now that the obstacles that had been placed in his path were part of his preparation. 

He knew now that by choosing to overcome challenges, not avoid them, he was ready to make the leap.

He measured his run up, sprinted towards the ravine and launched himself into the air. 

He made it!

If you too want to make the leap to greatness, you must first understand that life is meant to be a series of challenges that we overcome, not avoid.

The messiness,  the difficult conversations, the hard work, the discipline, acting boldly when you don’t feel like it.  That’s part of the deal.

Don’t pray that God will remove the obstacles, pray that he will give you the strength to overcome them.

And then take the leap!


सच है महज संघर्ष ही

सच हम नहीं, सच तुम नहीं सच है महज संघर्ष ही।


संघर्ष से हटकर जिये तो क्या जिये हम या कि तुम।
जो नत हुआ वह मृत हुआ ज्यों वृंत से झरकर कुसुम।
जो लक्ष्य भूल रुका नहीं
जो हार देख झुका नहीं
जिसने प्रणय पाथेय माना जीत उसकी ही रही।
सच हम नहीं, सच तुम नहीं सच है महज संघर्ष ही।

ऐसा करो जिससे न प्राणों में कहीं जड़ता रहे।
जो है जहाँ चुपचाप अपने आप से लड़ता रहे।
जो भी पिरिस्थतियाँ मिलें
काँटे चुभें किलयाँ खिलें
हारे नहीं इंसान, है जीवन का संदेश यही।
सच हम नहीं, सच तुम नहीं सच है महज संघर्ष ही।

हमने रचा आओ हमीं अब तोड़ दें इस प्यार को।
यह क्या मिलन, मिलना वही जो मोड़ दे मंझधार को।
जो साथ फूलों के चले
जो ढ़ाल पाते ही ढ़ले
यह जि़न्दगी क्या जि़न्दगी जो सिर्फ पानी सी बही।
सच हम नहीं, सच तुम नहीं सच है महज संघर्ष ही।

संसार सारा आदमी की चाल देख हुआ चकित।
पर झाँककर देखो दृगों में, हैं सभी प्यासे थकित।
जब तक बँधी है चेतना
जब तक हृदय दुख से घना
तब तक न मानूँगा कभी इस राह को ही मैं सही।
सच हम नहीं, सच तुम नहीं सच है महज संघर्ष ही।

अपने हृदय का सत्य अपने आप हमको खोजना।
अपने नयन का नीर अपने आप हमको पोंछना।
आकाश सुख देगा नहीं
धरती पसीजी है कहीं?
जिससे हृदय को बल मिले है ध्येय अपना तो वही।
सच हम नहीं, सच तुम नहीं सच है महज संघर्ष ही।