The Vedic way of Living
The objective of writing this text is to explore Vedic ideas and principles for living, especially for people who are growing up beyond age 45, till age 45 people do not realize the importance of having a mature way of looking at life since they are busy in completing education, settling in a job, getting married and managing young children.
What about people who had bad luck in their lives? which had created unfortunate health and financial difficulties which are beyond their control. This is a question we will try to address though it is impossible to provide a solution that fits all, we can only provide thoughts about the thinking process to apply towards a resolution of these situations.
Chapter 1 The Vedic Way of Living
Humans experience stress much higher than animals, this is due to the biological way we have evolved over the ages. For example, we have a developed prefrontal cortex which gives us the abilities of reasoning, problem-solving, comprehension, impulse control, creativity, and perseverance.
From ancient times, different civilizations practiced and theorized a living model either in the form of a religion or philosophy, for humans to live a happy and healthy life, however, this is tied with some fundamental and probably unscientific beliefs in ancient times.
As in business management, planning and managing risk are two essential keywords, unfortunately, our behaviors and decisions are more often influenced by our emotions and irrational decisions.
“Strive to apply a rational thought process every moment of our life”
At the same time following old conventions and proven practices, we have to strive to apply rational thought as much as we can in our life decisions and financial decisions, being aware of different cognitive biases will be very helpful, please do your own research on this subject very interesting.
Chapter 2 The Vedic way of Living
Let’s take some wisdom from ancient Indian traditions, as per Vedic civilization human life is divided into 4 parts as given below, the age numbers need not be accurate they are just indicative.
- Brahmacharya ( Student ) Age 5-25 years
- Grihastha ( Householder ) Age 25-55 years
- Vanaprastha ( Forest walker/Dweller, not in today’s world however detachment is the principle ) Age 55-85
- Sanyasa ( Renunciate ) Age 85-Till death.
Also as per Vedic civilization, humans strive to fulfill the following aspects of life.
- Dharma ( Principles, Ethics, and Morals to lead a peaceful and happy life )
- Artha ( Financial matters and Money )
- Kama ( Ambitions, Wishes, Desires )
- Moksha ( Merge with God without rebirth )
Let us discuss the above framework in detail, this can be a solid foundation to lead a happy life, remember we are not discussing any religious beliefs you have or you have acquired since your childhood due to the circumstances and geographical location you are in.
The above framework will help us be aware of the passing stages of life and the important aspects of life like Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.
Remember there was no concept of Religion when vedic civilization prospered, it is all about living in harmony with the environment and practicing Dharma.
Let’s discuss the above Sanskrit words used in the context of the modern day. They might have had different and more stringent meanings in ancient times, however applying the same rules as in the ancient world is not possible in modern society.
In Ancient times in India, the child once grown to the age of 4 to 5 years, would be sent to a nearby gurukul (open school) where he would start learning different subjects under a learned teacher living in the ashram where the teacher resides or live with parents, in the modern day children live with parents and go to school, this is somewhat same.
Once the Brahmacharya stage passes, the child becomes an adult, he has two options: remain in Brahmacharya continue his education further, or get married and become a householder, what is the importance of Grihastha? it gives you the motivation to earn money and serve your family at the same time serve society, this comes with some overhead which the young man does not realize early but realizes that this is a difficult but worthy path that leads to gaining a lot of experience in life in handling relationships and moving along with other family members and society.
Our topic of discussion “Growing up with less stress” deals with age groups beyond 45, “Vanaprastha” and “Sanyasa” are more related to these age groups.
Example 1: You are a successful businessman or an executive and you were too busy till some major health crisis hits you and realize how stress had eaten away at your health, you start calibrating the way you are living and adjust yourself to live longer, however, the damage might be severe causing a lot of issues continuously.
Example 2: You are a working-class individual whose work environment itself is a health hazard if you continue work for a number of years in that environment.
Example 3: You have unfortunate family or individual health issues which have put a lot of stress on your life and personal finances.
Example 4: “Normal” you don’t have much work-related stress and have good finances, family life, and health.
It is often the case that 4 starts thinking more about philosophy and stress, not the others, as the other three examples are busy solving their life problems and will not have time or energy to think about growing up with less stress.
We aim to explore a common path for all types of individuals whether men or women.
Let’s discuss one solution in one word and it is called “Detachment”, the earlier you start detaching yourself from stress-induced emotions and disturbances the better you are.
As they say “Saying is easy but the practice is difficult” and it is true.
If we detach ourselves emotionally and disengage, what’s the point, we are not solving the problems or not helping anybody, then what is it we are solving? nothing right! so understanding the concept of detachment is important in the sense of purpose.
Let’s take another way of understanding detachment, we do our duty and leave the rest to God’s wishes or Karma. This method of thinking keeps you away from the burden of subconscious guilt( a feeling that you have not done enough), however, it may make you less motivated to try with your best efforts, however, if practiced can help in reducing emotional stress.
Another method is to practice detachment but engaging dispassionately, most of the “success gurus” talk about passion towards a goal, however how passionate you are, achieving a goal requires planning, execution, Knowledge, and execution with a little bit of luck, and the evolving circumstances.
The other most important aspect is having a “Sattvik Diet”, focusing on eating healthy, consulting a professional nutritionist and discussing current health issues, and request for a recommended diet plan.
As per the ancient Indian vedic text “Ayurveda”, the diet basically get’s divided into three types as explained below
Sattvik: Balanced food
All spices, freshly cooked foods, fruits and vegetables, nuts, dried fruits and seeds, honey and jaggery, herbal teas, salads, and fresh fruit juices.
Rajas: Energy and gratification of senses
onion, garlic, salty food, ready-to-eat canned food, paneer, ice cream, yeast, sour cream, basmati rice, pickles, vinegar, and sugar.
Tamasik: Dullness, Inertia
In microwave foods, tea, coffee, alcohol, drugs, beef, chicken, fish, pork, eggs, mushrooms, fried foods, and frozen foods. the diet consists of sour foods and oily foods, more spices.
Reading and developing skills slowly but continuously is important.
In one line the wisdom from ancient times and to the modern age
“Dhanam moolam idam Jagat” (Sanskrit)
Translated as the “World is rooted in the money”
Maintaining a balance with spending money definitely helps, this itself is an art itself. Educating ourselves in financial planning is important.
In ancient times the role of a Teacher or Guru was prominent in every stage of life, however, due to excessive individualism we lost the mindset of listening to experienced mentors, identifying the mentors in our family or friends circle and keeping in touch with them most of the times, this will help you a lot in reducing the stress in handling issues and planning.
Continuous learning and engaging in productive activities helps, though learning can be done via the Internet as a lot of online learning resources are available, however converting the learning and getting productive outcomes is a difficult and time-consuming task, the meaning of productive outcomes is to get opportunities which suit your lifestyle and geographic location is a difficult task for most of the individuals, the solution is to identify the key skills you have which can get you a job in the competitive market place, the other idea is to explore the local market on-demand skills which you might learn and then start working in those areas.
The most misunderstood concept for a lot of people who have heard about this already, however, sannyasa means practicing detachment more and at the same time engaging yourself in educating society and aiming to get more philosophical insights about philosophy and God, sanyasa does not mean isolating yourself completely rather you engage with society to share your positive life experiences and learning, usually in sannyasa phase the individual lives separately in an ashram under the supervision and does his learning and other activities beneficial to the society.
In the modern age setting up rules for each stage of life is difficult to be defined and each individual can decide the course of action required based on the above guidelines, though in ancient times each of these stages had elaborate rules and processes.
The perfect example personalities of Sanyasa are “Buddha” and “Adi Shankaracharya”, both practiced sannyasa and at the same time changed the society and in fact whole country.
There is another misconception that sannyasa is meant for old people, the answer is no, it can be taken by young people who have ambitions to serve society and bring reforms into society through teaching.
Let’s come back to the most difficult question which was mentioned in the beginning
What about people who had bad luck in their lives?
Let’s take some examples of what really bad luck means, it is often people see small problems as large problems in day-to-day life and suffer a lot emotionally, if you don’t believe me then talk to a military veteran he will explain. this you often see in marriages or relationships, at the same time it is possible that you might be dealing with a narcissistic personality, where you need to take help from a professional.
Let’s find a way to filter our problem through a checklist of actions.
Is your current situation life-threatening or a very serious financial situation?
If the answer is No then do not worry about it much, you will have to find solutions to your problem with collaboration and thinking through it or take professional help.
If the answer is “Yes”, then you can call it as bad luck, we need not be judgemental about this by blaming someone, the best plan of action is again to take professional and family help, instead of worrying about the problem, break the problem into multiple small problems and resolve them slowly.
We have barely discussed it from a top-level view, we did not go into detail, It is important to have a strong philosophical foundation for the Vedic way of living because digesting this philosophy drives your behavior toward the vedic way of living.
The two books which can get you insight are “Ramayana” and “Maha Bharatha”
Ramayana has a real story, however, it is a story told to influence your subconsciousness to promote the behavior of the Vedic way of living, the book discusses various conflicts and issues faced by Lord Rama during his life and how he resolved them by practicing Dharma, it is not easy to understand and follow this book on day one, it is slow learning may take few months, it is better to be taught by an Indian teacher who has experience in teaching Ramayana, please check in youtube.
Maha Bharatha is also assumed to be having a real story, however, this large book contains one of the most important philosophical texts called “Bhagavad Gita”, this book contains a presentation of different personalities you will see in your daily life. (Not many people realize this unless they read the complete Maha Bharatha)
If you want to deal with the subject in a technical way then reading “Prasthanatrayi” and getting trained under a guru is a good choice.
The text presented in this post can be corrected with your comments, please suggest by writing to [email protected], I know there are a lot of Sanskrit words used in this text, so please research them