I often ask in my seminars and workshops a question to the participants “Why did Sarvan kumar’s parents curse Raja Dashrath?” The answer I get is “because Raja Dashrath accidentally killed Sarvan kumar, which pushed the parents into desperation as they had nobody left to look after of them.”

I counter suggest that the underlying reason why Sarvan Kumar’s parents cursed Raja Dashrath was not because they were aggrieved that they had nobody left to look after them, but the fact that their son Sarvan who was devoted to the wellbeing of his parents, was experiencing joy while looking after his parents.  The parents of Sarvan were aggrieved because Raja Dashrath snatched their son’s joy, not for snatching their comforts.

Similarly, how do I view my relationships, as a way to derive comforts from them or as a means to provide them with comforts and derive joy in the process?

I feel that this age old wisdom should be interpreted as a way to uplift ourselves, so we may derive joy by serving others, not being self-obsessed with finding a place for ourselves in heaven, or to find ways to hoard comforts for ourselves, one way or the other.

I also have a habit of asking “what do you understand by the word ambition.” The tendency to explain the word ambition again is about making oneself more comfortable by hoarding material resources, and to become recognized in society as a successful person. The connotation of the word ambition as being driven to add value to the lives of others is largely missing.

Lasting success of individuals will be when they are driven to serve their family, friends, colleagues, and customers and by serving they derive joy.

Another question that I like to ask is, “what do you understand by, successful people work very hard?”

Alone, one individual can’t achieve much success in serving others, it is important for him or her to involve others in the “hard work” of serving others. A heart surgeon needs the help of numerous health workers and technicians to conduct an open heart surgery. The Prime minister needs the help of multiple other individuals to govern the country. You and I will live better by inculcating in self and others the habit of deriving joy by serving others to one’s best of abilities.

Individuals like Rahul Dravid, or Anil Kumble are role models to the current generation of cricketers like Virat Kohli because Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble emphasized on the importance of building the character, by developing grit, sports man ship, work ethic and playing the sport of cricket in a “gentlemanly” manner.

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Article by Vijay Michihito Batra