Excellence Reporter: Dr. Ananda, what is the meaning of life?
Ananda Shankar Jayant: Life is the greatest adventure we as human beings are blessed with! And like any adventure, brimming with learning.
I truly believe that life is actually one big school, where one learns, and adds to one’s knowledge and understanding, hopefully passing out with flying colours as we pass through the portal of death; hopefully, a little wiser.
Imagine, if we live, lives after lives, ad nauseam, ad infinitum, living the same kind of life – of being born, growing up, acquiring the many external trappings of what we think constitutes a good life, and then leave with the same level of learning that we came with .. wouldn’t that be like repeating the same class many times over!
To me life, is to learn to unlearn our many human frailties, and insecurities, to outgrow the physical understanding of humanness, and to be able to touch another dimension of our selves – that is expansive, encompassing and connected to every living being.
The easiest way to get there is to tap into one’s unique passion and talent, which then becomes the pathway to our purpose, a road to our nature and life’s every intention.
We are each of us unique and one of a kind, and are here to shine in that uniqueness, even as we try and help those around us on their own journey. And as we nurture and nourish our own strengths and talents, and grow, we co-create and contribute to our own learning and spiritual evolution
However, somewhere in the trajectory of mankind, we have been led to believe that the world outside us, is the Real Thing, to which we are constantly reacting to.
But the true world is inside us.. who we are, and what we do, are all governed by our thoughts, beliefs and thereby attitudes and actions. So instead of reacting to the world outside, suppose we turned the age-old paradigm and acted upon the world, with our thoughts, actions and beliefs, the world outside will shift and change to our own crafting it. Our purpose too will see new dimensions and thereby greater understanding.
The meaning of life, then, would be, the individual and distinct adventure that each of us craft and create for ourselves, an adventure that is suffused with expectation, eagerness, enthusiasm, exhilaration and excitement, of creating and living every moment in the highest way possible, of living our life on this planet with grace, learning, truth and knowledge, of being the best we could ever be, of growing into the divine that we seek to be, of aligning our beings with the pure energy of life, to become both the dancer and the dance, in cosmic awareness with our own eternal spirit.
A promise of learning and the exhilaration of adventure – that is the meaning of life !
~Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant, inhabits the worlds of administration, academics, and arts; straddling them with equal ease. Celebrated as one of India’s most eminent and renowned classical dancer, choreographer and dance scholar, Ananda’s artistic body of work, spans mythologies and abstraction, historical chronicles and women studies, poetry, abstraction, philosophy and humour. She is also the Artistic Director of Shankarananda Kalakshetra
For her contribution to the field of classical dance, Ananda was conferred the “Padma Shri” (India’s 4th highest civilian award) in 2007 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar (India’s apex cultural body) for Bharatanatyam in 2009.
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