It was a long living room with beautiful tiles and minimal furnishing. At the end of the room, there was a large balcony that opened to the vistas and views of Kanha Shanti Vanam. I was here to meet my teacher and guide Kamlesh Patel, fondly called Daaji. The monsoon drizzle and the overcast sky lit up the room in a shade of gray light. A gentle breeze from the open balcony gently wafted through the entire room. In the last few months, thousands of trees had been planted and they were growing at an amazing speed.
As I entered the room, I saw Daaji seated in the traditional sofa swing at the end of the room. I had planned to say so many things to him, but they were all expressed in a silent nod. He welcomed me in with his usual endearing greeting “aao, Maharaj!” which meant “Welcome, Emperor!”
There were a few others in the room and I settled myself into a chair in the corner. In the last few weeks, I have been reading up on the growing trend of minimalism and sustainable lifestyles. I had also seen a documentary about minimalism on Netflix. I felt there was something missing in the documentary though I agreed with most of it.
Interestingly, the conversation in the room was about living in tune with Nature.
Seated next to me was a Heartfulness trainer who was working with teams to train school children on harmonious living with nature.
He mentioned, “Daaji, the environment in Kanha should teach a lifestyle that is in tune with Nature.”
Daaji heard the comment. He was lost in his own thoughts and did not answer for a few minutes.
Then, looking towards us he asked “Let me ask you a question. What do you mean by living in tune with Nature?”
Several answers cropped up from the room which included rainwater harvesting, conserving resources, zero carbon footprint, minimal lifestyle (the last being my voice chime) and so on.
There was a pause, which continued into silence.
Daaji gently moved forward. This is usually a cue that he will speak on the topic. He said “The examples you shared are good but they are only an external manifestation.
In the Heartfulness way of life, we say “Be simple and in tune with nature”.
However, interpreting this to things around external lifestyle is a narrow way to look at it. You should study Nature to be in tune with Nature. What is the fundamental thing in nature?
“It receives the least and gives you the most”, he continued. “Look at trees. It uses some water, cow dung for manure, sunlight and gives you the best fruit. Every intake in nature is minimal and we receive the best output. How to apply that principle in your life? We are taught the exact reverse in the world. We take the maximum and give minimum because we want to have more profit. Now we don’t want to run a losing business, but where ever possible, with least intake, we should give back the maximum, especially where love is concerned.”
He continued, “love is the highest quality for a human being. But we always calculate, we would like to give love to a certain person and not certain others. Why just certain people and not others?”
“The next thing we can learn from nature is not to complain,” said Daaji. “The trees do not complain. You will never see complaining anywhere in nature.”
He continued, “The third principle is that, there is no competition in Nature.”
“The fourth one is, there is no competition and no jealousy.”
“Finally, the fifth and most important one is acceptance or “choice-less-ness.”
“Plants and animals don’t have the concept of acceptance. It is. That is how they are. Even the idea that I accept means you are still aware.”
We were enraptured as he continued, “To practice such things, you don’t need anything special. You can begin this here and now. This also doesn’t mean that you cannot have air conditioning, elevators and other comforts to make life easier to get on with. People often get confused by these things. Sleeping outside and eating raw food from jungles is not the way to be in tune with nature.”
This Yoga Day, I want to make the resolve to be in tune with Nature. I have made my own simple blue print below from our interaction with Daaji.
- Expect minimum and give maximum especially love.
- Never complain, aka don’t sweat the little stuff in life.
- Compete within, not outside and with others.
- Avoid jealousy, just chill and take the high ground.
- Accept, keep calm and carry on.
In mathematics, the set theory states that there is a universal set. In this universal set, there are unions and intersections of smaller sets. If you take each of these five principles as a set each, then the union of these will be my universal set – my yoga.
With a prayer for resolve and resilience, I wish you all a progressive yoga day.
An Article by Uday Kumar, Heartfulness Trainer, New York, USA.