Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Are You Ready for Retirement “Nirvana”...?


Ideally – Retirement should be “Nirvana”. 

(“Nirvana means Bliss, Joy, Peace – an idyllic state of “Enlightenment)

Retired life should be free from all encumbrances and responsibilities. 

Retirememnt should enable you to live the life you always wanted to live.

You have played your innings – and now – you can relax and enjoy being a spectator.

But  is it so...? 

Despite having “Retired” – you keep getting involved in “wordly” affairs – instead of “switching off” and living the tranquil life you always wanted to live. 

Instead of reducing your “baggage” – and travelling light in your autumn years – you keep adding more “baggage” – material “baggage – emotional “baggage”  relationship “baggage”  all sorts of baggage – which spoils your “journey” in your “nirvana” years of retired life. 

For the past few years – after retirement  I am trying my best to live the life that I always dreamt of living in my retired life – to write/blog – for me – that is “nirvana”. 

But – despite my best efforts – I keep getting involved in all sorts of “non-nirvana” activities – some beyond my control – but some very much in my control to avoid. 

So – whenever confronted/tempted with things that try to deviate me from my “nirvana” track of writing/blogging – I tell myself this ancient wisdom story called “Vow of Celibacy

If you have retired – or are about to retire – here is a wisdom story for you to ponder over  the story is called “VOW OF CELIBACY

Are You Ready for “Nirvana”...?
Inspirational Wisdom  For the Retired and About to Retire

VOW OF CELIBACY - An Apocryphal Teaching Story by Vikram Karve

A worldly man was seeking Nirvana – true enlightenment. 

So – he renounced worldly life.

He took a strict vow of celibacy – which was the sine qua non – an essential condition – for attaining enlightenment and achieving a state of nirvana

The man then headed for the hills to live an ascetic existence of a hermit.

He found a secluded cave where he began his simple contemplative meditative life.

He survived on natural wild vegetation in the forest  and he began his journey towards his quest for enlightenment and attaining nirvana.  

One day  he noticed holes in his robe.

He discovered that there were lots of rats in the cave– and these rats were chewing off his robes.

 the rats were nibbling at his toes and disturbing his meditation.

Perplexed  he went down to the town  and he consulted his Guru

The Guru said: “No problem. The solution is simple. Get a cat.”

“A cat...?” asked the man, perplexed.

“The cat will take care of the rats...” the Guru said.

So our nirvana seeking man got a cat  and he took it up to his cave.

The cat took care of the rats 
 and the man was undisturbed in his quest for enlightenment.

A few days later  the cat had eaten up all the rats in the cave.

As there were no rats left to eat  the cat started feeling hungry.

One day  the famished cat started moaning with hunger.

The constant moaning and crying of the cat disturbed the man’s meditation.

So  the man again rushed to consult his Guru.

“Get a cow...” the Guru advised the man.

“A cow...?” the man exclaimed in astonishment.

“Yes. The cow will yield milk with which you can feed your cat and satiate its hunger...” the Guru said.

So – the man got a cow.

He took the cow up with him  and he tied the cow outside his cave. 

Now the man would spend some time milking the cow – then feeding the cat with cow’s milk  and then settle down for his meditation.

A few days later the cow stopped giving milk  and the cow mooed loudly in a sad tone.

The hungry cat too had started moaning again.

Totally disturbed by the shrill anguished moaning of the hungry cat – and loud disquieting mooing of the starving cow  the wise man ran to his Guru once again to seek his advice.

“Buy some seeds and plant them. Grow grass. Water your garden and tend to the plants. The crop will give food for the cow and for you...” the Guru said.

The man planted the seeds which yielded food both for the cow and for himself.

– now the man had to spend so much time tending to his garden  feeding and milking his cow  and giving milk to his cat  that he hardly got any time for meditation.

He rushed to his Guru again for help.

The Guru once again had a ready solution: 

“There is a young woman – she is a widow – poor thing  she is a destitute woman. She will look after everything  she will take care of all your needs  and you can meditate in peace and attain enlightenment.”

So – the man took the young woman up with him to the cave.

It was indeed a wonderful arrangement.

The young woman looked after everything.

The garden bloomed  cow and cat flourished  and the wise man could do his meditation undisturbed in his quest for enlightenment – and he was on the path to nirvana.

Then  the winter season came  and it started getting cold.

One day it began to snow  and the temperature fell to sub-zero.

The young woman started to shiver due to the freezing cold.

 the woman could not bear the freezing cold any longer.

So the woman snuggled into the wise man’s bed.

She still felt cold.

So the woman tightly embraced the man with her arms.

But this was not enough – and she continued to feel cold – so the woman put her legs around the man.

But – even now – she still felt cold – so she put her entire body in physical contact with his body  since that was the only way for her to keep warm.

Now tell me  which man can resist the tight embrace of an attractive woman in the prime of her life...?

His vow of celibacy lay shattered.

And so – with the vow of celibacy” broken  there ended the man’s quest for enlightenment and nirvana.

Soon  with all his new possessions to look after (the cat, the cow, and the woman)  the man returned back to the material world.

He began to live a worldly life as he used to do before  the same busy worldly life from where he had begun his journey towards enlightenment to attain Nirvana.

The “wise man was back to square one.

His dreams to attain a state of Nirvana remained unrealized  as he got busy with his worldly life.

MORAL OF THE STORY NO. 1 (for retired persons)


Metaphorically  retirement is supposed to be nirvana”.

And celibacy is the essential prerequisite to attain a state of nirvana”.

In the context of retirement – metaphorically – “celibacy” means burning your bridges to your previous material world  cutting off from your work life – disengaging yourself from financial matters – minimizing day-to-day activities and chores which are “disturbances – and focussing on whatever is your “nirvana”.

Once you retire  you are supposed to give up all your “worldly” activities  and attain a state of bliss.

But – does everyone do that...?

I have seen that – for many retired persons  there is no difference between their retired life and earlier busy work life.

Even after you retire  you keep getting involved in various worldly affairs due to which you are not able to achieve the idyllic state of a blissful retired life.

Read the Story again.

And think about all the worldly activities which are hampering your quest for a tranquil and blissful retired life.

Is your retired life “Nirvana”...?

Are you living the tranquil life you always wanted to life in your autumn years...?

Have you “switched off”...?

Or – are you still entangled in the hurly-burly of worldly affairs...? 

MORAL OF THE STORY NO. 2 (for everyone)


The Indian Railways had a slogan: 


Passengers were exhorted to carry less baggage on the train journey for a better travel experience.

This applies to the journey of life as well.

Every material acquisition – and every relationship – bring some “baggage” along with them

And this baggage” can sometimes reduce the quality of our journey of life.

Suppose you buy a house  or a car  there will be some baggage” along with it  like maintenance costs, taxes, insurance, parking hassles etc – and – you must do a cost-benefit analysis to see whether the comforts outweigh the baggage

Yes – whenever you are thinking of acquiring a material possession – please introspect – and do a cost-benefit analysis to see whether the baggage” the possession brings along with it does not outweigh the comforts the possession gives you.

This is true of relationships like marriage too – which also bring along some emotional baggage.

Yes – apart from material baggage” – we sometimes carry too much emotional baggage” – tangible and intangible emotional baggage – for example:

baggage of power, wealth, fame, ego, pride ... 

baggage of painful relationships

baggage of your past life
baggage like the debris of broken relationships ... 

all types of baggage which contaminate our minds and inner self. 

And  it is this baggage – that inhibits and spoils your smooth and enjoyable journey through life. 
Isn’t the story you read a few moments ago  metaphorically apt  to illustrate this point...?


So  Dear Reader:

Please scroll up and read the story of how the “baggage” of Rats, Cat, Cow and Woman destroyed the Guru’s Vow of Celibacy  thereby ending his quest for Nirvana (Enlightenment and getting him entangled once again in the material world.

Think of all the “baggage” in your life which is inhibiting you from living a blissful life.

Unburden yourself of all your “baggage” 



The Lesser the Baggage  the Better the Journey 

Remember the Indian Railways Slogan: 


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All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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