Quotes n’ Notes : Jeanne Calment # …but everything is fine

“I see badly, I hear badly and I feel bad, but everything is fine.”                                                      # Jeanne Calment, (a Japanese super-centenarian, on her 120th. birthday.)

Notes: The quote sums up the key to longevity – positivity and…humour. Body grows old. As it goes into ageing, it’s crucial systems start losing their effectiveness and perfection. Thenceforth starts a greater role for the spirit, which operates through the mind. It says, ‘The soul never grows old, nor dies.’ If we think healthy and act healthy, we keep going, living on and on, longer and happier than the one who measures life in years, feeling older, feebler and sadder each passing year.

The last three words in Jeanne Calment’s above quote state her golden mantra for longevity. They say – ‘…but everything is fine’.

                                                                   * * * * *  

Enlightenment is Bliss – 080 # Holy Gita # Karma yoga

Right to work alone…free from desire for fruits*


“You have the right to work, but for the work’s sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working.” 

*कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥
अर्थात्, तेरा कर्म करने में ही अधिकार है, उसके फल में कभी नहीं। इसलिए तू फल की दृष्टि से कर्म मत कर और न ही ऐसा सोच की फल की आशा के बिना कर्म क्यों करूं।

My Reflections: On Life’s basic elements

My Reflections: On Basic Elements of Life

As we grow up, our mind too grows, in maturity. A new kind of curiosity gets into us and we start asking basic questions about – ourselves, life, cosmos, divinity, and so on. Faced with life’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows, gains and losses etc., we try to find crucial answers.

We crave for love, happiness and …peace. This quest has become more pronounced now-a-days. The media, consequently, is flooded with spiritual philosophical contents coming from sages and spiritual gurus, and motivational leaders.

Through our quest, we realize that life happens to be one of the foremost mystic topics attracting curiosity. ‘What is life and its origin?’ ‘Who creates it and how?’ ‘How it ends and…what happens after it passes away?’ We start asking ourselves and go pondering over. To begin with, life and its origin come first and foremost.

At the outset, we find that life is composed of many constituents/ aspects. They are – body, mind, emotions and soul. They represent the – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects. But that is not all. Our craving does not stop there but grows more intense. We start looking around for deeper gyan in the true sense.

Books usually come up as a good source for learners in this vast field. Through them, they can at least pick up the basic vocabulary to decipher the mystic script. In this era of Google and Wikipedia  as you know,  there is no dearth of basic contents online on this crucial topic. Almost every spiritual guru and leader is online in LIVE or recorded form.

Basic Elements or Panchamahabhootas: Life, as the theory goes, is composed of five basic elements. According to Hindu philosophy, the entire cosmos, that is, srishti, is made up of them. They are – Earth (Prithvi), Water (Jal), Fire (Agni) , Space (Akash) and Air (Vayu). Ayurveda refers to these Five Elements as Panchabhootas, and calls them – Khshiti, jal, pawak, gagan and sameera.

Each of these elements has its own character and characteristics, which it lends to create a life. Their energies flow in a living being and perform various roles. Together they combine to form life reflecting their respective characteristics. If they act in harmony, one is able to live a perfect life.

Gross and Subtle Elements: Out of the five elements, three, i.e., earth, air and water are gross and are responsible for creation of the gross body. The rest two – fire and sky are subtle. Fire is energy which runs the thought and emotion system. And both are located in the sky, which is vast, open and untouched.

Material body is created by earth, air and water. Fire is the energy that fuels the mental or thought producing system. That is located in the sky. According to scripures, God is in the form of the sky. Being with Him implies that we become sky-like. Sky is infinite. Nothing touches it. Nor does it contradict with any person or thing.

If our mind becomes infinite, untouched by petty worldly things, benign and empathizing with everyone, we can experience closeness with life and God. Open-mindeness has a direct impact on the body. Despite being based in the self, it can remain healthy  being free from contradictions gives a sense of satisfaction and contentment to a person.

Basic Traits of the Elements: Let us try to have some basic idea about the traits various elements carry and which we acquire from –

Element/Bhoota Trait
Earth/Prithvi/Khshiti Stability, support
Water/Jal Joy, well being
Fire/Agni/Pawak Wisdom, power
Sky/Aakaash/Gagan Oneness, knowledge, intuition, dignity, trust and creativity
Air/Vaayu/Sameera Compassion


Importance of the Elements: As mentioned earlier, each element plays some important, rather crucial role in creating and running the cosmos and all its beings. Let us have a quick look at what each does:

Sky is the origin of light, heat, gravitation etc. It produces waves/rays which affect the life on earth. It also gives the man qualities like – openness, generosity, enthusiasm and hope.

Air is the source of oxygen we use for breathing. Thus our breathing system is entirely supported and fed by the air. Without that life on earth cannot even be imagined.

Fire is the provider of light and heat, so cruicial for existence.  Sun and Mars are regarded as the sources of fire. Fire from the sun is the force behind the system of the life cycle on the earth.

Water: Life on earth cannot exist without water. It helps in blood circulation as well as digestive and cleansing systems of the body. So the entire plant as well as animal life is wholly dependent on water.

Earth: The entire life in the universe is basically supported, nourished and regulated by the earth.

However, the material body composed of the five elements is inanimate or lifeless. To bring it to life, it requires the life force – the soul, which complements it. The soul activates the body and makes it start on the journey called the life.

The Five Elements and Yoga  

The entire creation, inanimate as well as animate, can exist only when all the five elements combine in appropriate balance and function in harmony.  Among the living beings, that is, plants and animals, any disturbance has a direct impact on life. It could produce setbacks like illness and other problems. Life becomes full of hardships and misery.

To live a smooth and successful life, we need to have mastery and control over ourselves. That comes by adequate understanding of our basic elements and having them in harmony. Yoga is one option. It trains us to acquire mastery over ourselves. That is achieved through yogic practices or sadhana of individual elements. For   instance, activation of chakras. The process is known as Bhoota Shuddhi. There are specialized temples for sadhana of individual elements in India.

In Hindu system, it is customary to regard, offer prayers and worship to all those who give them something, as Gods. Since the five elements happen to be the very genesis of life, they too are their Gods. That is why, before any auspicious ceremony (puja) starts, they invoke each individual element, offer prayers and worship to have their blessings. So that, there may be peace, harmony, love and happiness all around. Amen!




Alive…until the last breath

Growth – the sign of life…living


Growth is the sign of life…living!
Anything, they say, that stops growing
is dead…or dying –
literally or virtually.
So keep growing, bit by bit,
in whatever ways you can, and
you’ll keep living…alive,                           until your last breath.
Remember, the body ages, gets feeble, and dies, but                                                the soul…spirit doesn’t.
* * * * *
# Ashok Misra 

Quotes n’ Notes : W. Wordsworth # The World is…

The world is too much with us

– William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

* * *      * * * *     * * * *.   * * * *
I’d rather be
A pagan
suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton*** blow his wreathèd horn.

Notes: Wordsworth has been one of the most prominent English poets of the 18th. century Romantic era. Romanticism was firmly grounded in Love of Nature and Wordsworth was known as the Nature’s Priest. He was deeply upset to find material progress overwhelming the simplicity of life spent in the nature’s benign lap. Wordsworth wrote many poems expressing his deep anguish, and in this poem, in the opening lines, he laments that –

The world, i.e., materialism has too much occupied us. We are all the time engaged in in the rat race of earning wealth and spending it on our materialistic requirements and desires. We do not see in the nature what was always ours, and have given away our hearts to materialistic accomplishments which seem a boon to us but in reality, are sordid. They in fact, spoil our lives and happiness.

By the time Wordsworth reaches the last stanza, he gets so disenchanted and detached from the current scenario that he is ready to quit, even his own creed, and go back to some outworn or old-fashioned one which entirely belonged to forests, i.e., nature, so that he could stand at that pleasant lea, gaze at nature’s beauty that would make him feel less lonely. He would be in an exclusive world of mythology only poets can join. Oh how he would love to have a sight of Proteus, the sea-god rising from the sea; Or hear the old Triton, the Greek god of the sea, blowing his wreathèd horn.

# Ashok Misra

P.S. : Ages have come and gone since Wordsworth poured out his deep anguish. Don’t the current global catastrophe and chaos evoke the same gloomy thoughts within your heart? Well, his words still seem to echo in our ears.

References: *a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.
** In Greek mythology, an early prophetic sea-god or god of rivers and oceanic bodies of water.
***Triton, a Greek god of the sea, the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, god and goddess of the sea respectively. Triton lived with his parents, in a golden palace on the bottom of the sea. Later he was often depicted as having a conch shell he would blow like a trumpet.