Home / Blog / How Do You See the World?

How Do You See the World?

Deepa Krishnan

Author: Deepa Krishnan

Date: Sun, 2016-09-04 18:56

Recently, I delivered the first lecture to the new batch of PGDM students. I spoke about a 14-year old girl; a student of Std 10, who is very interested in science and loves doing experiments and learning. She comes from a family that cannot afford to send her for a science camp, or to learn robotics for fun, or do any of the things that affluent kids can do.
 
In stark contrast are my friends' kids, whose parents drag them to various science events and competitions, even completing half the entries themselves.
 
The unfairness of life strikes me at every turn.
 
Today I read this, from a facebook page that gives me daily "Subhashitam"; this one is from the Yoga Vasishta:
 

 अन्तस्तृष्णोपतप्तानां दावादाहमयं जगत्
 भवत्यखिलजन्तूनां यदन्तस्तद्बहिःस्थितम्

 

(-योग वासिष्टं: 5.56.34)

 

 

Translation: For those whose insides are burning with greed, the whole world is like a wild fire. For all beings what is inside is reflected in the outside also.

What does it mean? It means our world view is defined by who we are. We see the external world according to the state of our internal world. I see the world through a "fairness lens" and so I am always struck by any unfairness or injustice that I spot. I know the same is true for many of you, too.
 
I explained to the batch that at Abhyudaya, we work to narrow the gap between haves and have-nots. We come every day, dreaming and hoping, because we want to remove some of the unfairness in the world.
 
What is the lens with which you see the world? We must all ask ourselves that.
 
Yesterday, I also spoke about Sudiksha, a company which has opened high quality pre-schools for children at only Rs 400 per month. Sudiksha was originally designed for slum residents in Hyderabad and has now spread to multiple centres. The "teachers" are actually woman entrepreneurs; they are local women (usually educated housewives) who have taken up the business as franchisees. A nice step in reducing the unfairness in the world.
 
 

 

Share

Comments

If some lives form a perfect circle, others take shape in ways we cannot predict or always understand. They have their own meanings. I believe that God has given the best shape to our life and shown us what is precious. He whispers into our hearts and introduces us to our parents, friends & relatives, soul-mate, we hear His voice say ‘That’s him’. When we keep swirling into nothing, He steers us towards our true North Pole, a place we call Home. He gives us the strength to hold on to ‘WE’. He teaches us to love unconditionally. But in return we react on the differences rather than responding to the differences and hence the anger/hatred gets into this vicious cylce of Karma. We do not appreciate nor do we accept the differences. Not all of us are similar, we all are unique, hence one needs to really understand and appreciate these differences in human beings. Our life together is a timeless treasure hence Stay Positive and Stay Happy!

It is absolutely true that not only we see the world through our own lens but through a “magnified lens” framed by our mind. I think the topic is very important and no government can fill the gap between the haves and have-nots unless the society shoulders it with its extended hands. It is heartening to see lot of such efforts emerging from various corners as a ray of hope. I think in today’s world, well known institutions and corporates have a larger role to play in building up the society through younger generation.

I like the movie ‘Sister Act’. A big part of the appeal of the movie is the music. Sister Mary Clarence’s (a lounge singer disguised as a nun) recipe for the choir is to spice it up with by setting the hymns to pop-music tunes. It makes the choir more accessible to the community, expands the congregation, and fills up the pews. During Ganpati festival in Pune, it’s not uncommon to find traditional aartis set to the tunes of latest songs from the hindi movies. I used to detest hearing these. I thought it was juvenile and unsavory practice, and was very likely offensive to religious people. I came across a striking review for ‘Sister Act’ from a person who was evidently more than just a little displeased with the movie. The main point of contention was the blasphemous use of pop-music in a place of worship. Reading the review gave me pause – what I saw as fun movie with catchy tunes was seen as coarse and impolite by this person. This moment offered an amazing opportunity of self-examination. It made me see that I was being unfairly critical about the music choices of people celebrating their religious freedom at the Ganpati pandals in Pune. They were not setting traditional aartis to new tunes; they were creating new traditions. The practice wasn’t juvenile, it was frank and uninhibited. That moment really brought home the importance empathy – seeing the world though other people’s eyes. Much like how you, Prof. Krishnan, see the world through the lens of fairness, I see the world through the lens of empathy. I think it makes me a more open and accepting person. I also think it helps me as a management student – so much of marketing is about developing a deep understanding of the customer needs. I also think it’s important to examine if our lenses deepen or distort our view of the world. Fairness and empathy may be desirable, but prejudice and dogmatism are certainly not.

Thank you mam for highlighting the sorry state of today’s world where we live in. Every day as we walk towards living our dream and work to achieve it, the myriad of obstacles life throws at us id unimaginable. But still we carry ourselves up and move. Every person has his or hers demons playing inside her head but it is his or her option to listen to it or to do what is right given the circumstances. Life is a path where only the fittest will survive. Hence, it is our duty to ensure we are fit enough to run the race. In this race some will win while some will fall out and that is the least fairness one can expect. You spoke about the fairness lens, but I want to emphasize on the perspective. Every individual’s life is shaped by his or her surrounding and experiences. The term fairness is pretty relative and is subject to an individual’s prerogative. The only common thread that binds each of us here is empathy for each other. If we inculcate this habit and make it the mantra of our lives, the perspective will widen and the talk of fairness and unfairness will eventually vanish. The company Sudiksha is a glowing example of the empathy streak which has motivated it to come up with a solution for the underprivileged. The world would definitely be a better place if we are optimistic and empathize with each other.

Thank you mam for highlighting the sorry state of today’s world where we live in. Every day as we walk towards living our dream and work to achieve it, the myriad of obstacles life throws at us id unimaginable. But still we carry ourselves up and move. Every person has his or hers demons playing inside her head but it is his or her option to listen to it or to do what is right given the circumstances. Life is a path where only the fittest will survive. Hence, it is our duty to ensure we are fit enough to run the race. In this race some will win while some will fall out and that is the least fairness one can expect. You spoke about the fairness lens, but I want to emphasize on the perspective. Every individual’s life is shaped by his or her surrounding and experiences. The term fairness is pretty relative and is subject to an individual’s prerogative. The only common thread that binds each of us here is empathy for each other. If we inculcate this habit and make it the mantra of our lives, the perspective will widen and the talk of fairness and unfairness will eventually vanish. The company Sudiksha is a glowing example of the empathy streak which has motivated it to come up with a solution for the underprivileged. The world would definitely be a better place if we are optimistic and empathize with each other.

The question of the blog heading is a powerful one. Prof Deepa has thrown a simple yet thought provoking question to all. The question silently carries a message that our approach to anything would be different if we see the world differently. The shlok from Yoga Vashisth mentioned in the blog is extremely fundamental to the nature of human being. However we remain ignorant about this aspect of life and remain busy in our activities. It is said “We see the external world according to the state of our internal world”. Hence, it becomes important for us to look at the world through an unbiased compassionate lens. Prof has mentioned about “fairness lens” and this is what keeps her motivating to work relentlessly as part of Abhyudaya. The organization Sudeksha has also been doing a tremendous job by providing education to slum children. The educated house wives are the teachers who have perhaps changed their lens from a smaller one to bigger one and taken one step ahead to bring more value to the society around them. As human being if we keep our lens clear and fitted with compassion, it would help us to contribute our part to make this world a better and more beautiful place.

This blog truly captivates my thoughts and reminds me a very similar situation which I experienced and from which I derived a very similar perspective – however the context was slightly different. The story, as it goes- Being a nature photographer, when I began toying with my DSLR – I was unaware that the lens that the camera has is interchangeable. Change the lens; you see a new perspective unfolds – How amazing is it! Look at the same scene through two different lenses and you see two different aspects of it. Use a “Wide angle” lens and it compresses everything and lets you capture every tiny nuance before you. Use a “Super Zoom” lens and it brings out the focal aspect of your photographic universe. Now! Which lens would you choose? Answer is never black and white. It depends on “How do you see the World?” – And how do I really see the world? Every time I asked myself this question, I found my betraying self, giving me a different answer – and there lies the truth of life. Everything changes when we change our Focus. An important object becomes insignificant to us when our focus shifts. A small insignificant flower may capture our mind and blur a spectacular scene in background. So, the answer remained uncertain while the question remained tall – How do you see the world?

Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place” – Paulo Coelho. More often than never, we prefer having a point of view which best suits our interpretation of a situation than the one which is more appropriate and this is where, I believe, the world starts to hurt. It is how you feel within that reflects how you look at things outside and most problems in the worlds arise because we’re so stringent in our outlook and refuse to be flexible. Since I was a kid, I was told to look at situations, people and things from an all-around perspective and then choose the lens that best suits the scenario. It’ll be naïve to say that one lens suits all situations. To change your lens of looking at the world according to the situation is of critical importance. It reflects your openness to let everything in and to give your two bits in the most uninhibited and fluid manner. An individual can have different points of view in different situations. There was a point in time, when I was low – never wanting to talk with or be around people. I used to feel lonely even though there were a 100 helping hands to pull me out of my darkness. I was looking at the world in despair and despair stared back at me. If only at that moment, I could have changed my perspective. Now, When I teach kids and laugh with the oldies at the old age home, I look at life through the kindness and empathy lens. I believe if you give love, you will receive love. I try to follow what has been taught to me time and again – Have courage and be kind and I try to reflect the same in my thoughts and actions too. This article sums up the essence of the human mind and how we react in a short and crisp manner while challenging you in a subtle manner to be accessible and flexible while looking at situations. Thank you Deepa Krishnan ma’am for this read.

I was lucky enough to be a part of an audience addressed by the author on this year’s Womans day celebration and even more delighted to see her flatten the world and simply distinguished its two sides like a coin. On side are the affluent, controlling rich or we may refer to as ‘Heads’ and on the other side are the impoverished, underprivileged poo or we may refer to as ‘Tails’. A world so flattened that it is as easy to distinguish the haves from have nots by just flipping a coin. Unfortunately, one side of the coin is the heavier side while the other is heavy just by the money they hold in their banks. But then this is how it was and history is a proof to this. Humans were never taught this quality yet cultures across the world which grew in isolation had the rich and the poor in silo societies for ages. It is the human nature of greed that differentiates this quality and creates the haves and the have nots in the long run. Even Sanskrit speaks about this and the language is quite old. But then there are people like Deepa Krishnan who make a difference with what they do and inspire others to look at plausible outcomes in life. I would love to imbibe these qualities in life someday only to inspire others to contribute to the society. Saying so, I choose to switch on my Air Conditioning in the room and sit in the comfort of this cozy environment commenting on this blog while someone in this Maximum city is earning his bread in a hot summer night.

Thank You Mam for bringing up this topic for discussion. I always wonder on how people behave / think when they do something which is violent or inhuman. Whenever I watch news about farmers strike, channels showing crime scenes or see a fight on the street, it makes me sick for a reason that there is no justification for such act. With this when I read your blog, the lines from the 'Yoga Vasistha' hold good. It’s all about removing unfairness in this World. It’s the thoughts that are nurtured inside, which reflect as actions. When a Psychiatrist studies one’s behavior, has always given importance to the patients past life, upbringing, influencers which has made him a person who he is today. Changing a person from inside is a challenge, but it’s the only way to bring change from his current state to an improved state. Else it will be superficial / temporary. When we talk of our country, we think of corruption, crime, injustice, unfairness which is very much true, and we are also a part of this system, contributing in some or the other way towards promoting these unfair acts. The explanation here is we think the entire world is corrupt, so we are. We will not survive if we are honest and try to be fair in this World. Think of the World wars. Hitler from inside, hated a particular community and he acted with this as the basis leading to one of the worst human loss in the history of mankind. Now to just see how good thoughts can bring positivity to this World, think of Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and many more personalities who have brought in such drastic change, influencing millions of lives across countries. But the external effect was of love, togetherness, nonviolence, care and much more. So it’s time to change our thoughts as well. See the World around us as beautiful, fair and kind and start reflecting these thoughts in practice. Though changing internally is not as easy as changing lens of a DSLR, someday you will be able to make it and view the beautiful world around you. Eventually a person next to you can feel the difference.

At different stages of life, we experience different emotions but one emotion which everyone displays from young age is comparing with others. When our brother or sister gets a bigger chocolate or new dress we all felt our parents were being unfair to us. This feeling evaporates as we grow up and gain worldly knowledge. Does this unfairness in the world start and ends at personal relationships? Does every instance where an individual felt unfair, does rest of the world feel same way? On few of the instances yes but not all. Why this difference? Every individual has an influence of his family, teachers, friends on framing his opinion. This opinion is guided by the value system an individual has developed over a period. For example, in India reservations in education and jobs is debated a lot and there are many who feel these reservations are unfair. But there are equal number of people who feel that for many decades few people have been suppressed without access to education and better means of living so reservations are fair. Similarly, when a legislative member is passing by all the traffic on the road is held up to the member pass. People feel it is unfair to hold the traffic but from legislative member perspective his time is valuable so every second counts. So, as we grow the feeling of unfairness extends from being internal to external. What does this mean? We can connect to instances which we are not part of but still experience a feeling of unfairness. Can we do anything about this unfairness in the world? Yes, we all can. Whenever we feel we have time /money/means to alleviate this unfairness we need to do our part. For instance, when can we celebrate our birthdays in an orphanage or home of aged, can we fund a child’s education or distribute the excess food of our parties for hungry people. If we can internalize this external approach, then everyone of us will think about the world around us and will do our bit to make it fair for all.

Add new comment

SPJIMR
Bhavan's Campus
Munshi Nagar | Dadabhai Road,
Andheri West | Mumbai - 400 058, India
Tel:+91-22-2623-0396/ 2401
      +91-22-2623-7454
Fax:+91-22-26237042
www.spjimr.org