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Why Your Soul Chose to Be Born In India

Several years ago, my husband was offered an overseas posting that seemed really promising. He was quite excited at the prospect and so we decided to visit Seattle to explore housing and schools for our children. That visit brought up such a deep awareness of my patriotic sentiments that I just couldn't fathom the idea of living away from my homeland. Even though everything was perfect on the surface, I felt a deep emptiness and ache within me when I thought of living overseas. In those moments, I truly understood what Raj Kapoor meant when he sang the words phir bhi dil hai Hindustani (but the heart is truly Indian).

In the few days we spent there immersing ourselves in the local ecosystem, I found myself acutely missing the rich palette of Indian colours and sounds. Suddenly, the crowded Indian streets seemed so appealing. I missed the familiar sounds of evening prayers and temple bells, the friendly gestures of morning walkers, the street vendors calling out to customers to come get the freshest vegetables and so many other things that we not only take for granted but are sometimes irked by. As we drove through silent stretches of forest land and quiet neighbourhoods, I missed the vibrance and pulsating aliveness of every street India is imbued with. Often at such times, one can feel very torn within, as I was then. The head wanted to journey afar and explore foreign cultures and lands, but my heart simply yearned to go back home.

It is a popular idea among spiritualists that the human soul chooses which set of parents it will be born to. The chosen parents provide the incoming soul with an ideal social, psychological and economic environment that supports its unique soul journey, karmic redemption, and growth in that lifetime. However, what isn't usually spoken about is that the soul's choice of nationality also plays a big role in its life path, receiving lessons and enrichment by marinating itself in that specific culture, in order to grow. It is in this context that I share my ideas about what it means to be born an Indian.

1. Being Indian - Inspiration

The first alphabet in the word Indian also stands for inspiration. This derives from two other words, “in” and “spirit”. It is indicative of having a deep connection with one's soul and with divinity. Being born in a country of sages and rishis gives you the advantage of having easy access to the wisdom of sacred scriptures and yogic methods. These teachings can help you develop a meaningful connection with “Self”, thereby helping you to evolve your consciousness. For as Sri Aurobindo mentions, "evolution of consciousness is the central motive of terrestrial existence."

By connecting with your higher “Self”, you are able to live with one eye firmly focused on the inner world while the other is actively engaged in the material reality. This elliptical awareness makes rightful action or good karma possible because you are driven by the idea of the highest good of all. The understanding of Dharma and Karma can then navigate and harness your pursuit of success in a world that is largely driven by self-absorption, greed, and hunger for power.

India's spiritual treasures offer marvellous tools and techniques that can help you develop your prefrontal cortex or super brain capacities. You can learn to be more empathetic, generous, and compassionate and become a great and wise leader by simply practicing and embodying this organic knowledge.

Western cultures have derived great benefit from the wisdom of Yoga, Ayurveda, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and other Indian scriptures, but we, who are the primary beneficiaries of these treasures, are yet to own these ancestral gifts fully and must claim them urgently. If you choose to embrace this knowledge and practice it diligently, you can lead your life with great power. And when enough Indians choose to do the same, our country will once again become the leading light in the world.

2. Being Indian – Nurturing

To nurture means to nourish and we learn this best from nature. Nature gives abundantly without asking much in return because it respects the interconnected nature of all things. It spontaneously gives and receives without ever needing to ask. Water in the ocean becomes a cloud that falls as rain to nourish plants. Plants receive carbon dioxide expelled from man's lungs and in turn, they offer oxygen to us. Everything nourishes the other, and everything thrives when the principle of reciprocity is honoured. JD Krishnamurthy made a profound observation about what happens when this connection with nature is lost. He said, "when one loses the deep intimate relationship with nature, then temples, mosques and churches become important."

To live a life free of man-made suffering and destruction, we must look at our home-grown wisdom. As Indians we have often been reminded of the Atithi Devo Bhava dictum which means to revere the guest as God. This allows us to be generous and nourish the other wholeheartedly. It is the antidote for our self-obsession and greed. Thus, being Indian teaches us to nourish our soul, nourish others and to nourish our ecosystems by contributing to the welfare of all through seva or service activities. We also learn to nourish our past by atoning for our sins and making amends. We nourish our present by contributing to the growth of the country through our chosen field of work. And we nourish the future by doing right karmas that shall bear fruit in the future, and also by offering right values to our children and setting the right examples for them through our own wise thoughts, speech, actions and behaviour. In this way we nourish kaal chakra or the passage of time by practicing mindful presence.

3. Being Indian – Development

We develop our character by expanding our consciousness and becoming more aware. The aspiration for growth, to be a better human before all things must precede our need to grow our wealth, name, and fame. If we are not careful about this goal, we can easily succumb to the trap of living without integrity. Then our actions may not match our words and our words may not translate into action. Or worse still, we may not mean what we say and not say what we really mean because we have not developed enough inner power to remain steadfast in the principles of honesty and collaborative coexistence, thus resorting to manipulations or force to feel powerful.

Allowing yourself to be guided by the following words of Mahatma Gandhi can offer you strong protection against selfishness, greed, and harmful thoughts. "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” We must learn to develop our character before we can build successful start-ups and hope to become conscious and compassionate leaders in our chosen fields.

4. Being Indian – Ideas

Without the power of imagination, God could not have created this world. To be creative is thus to be in touch with the divine flow and all ideas are born of it. We Indians are instinctively solution-oriented and are willing to find creative solutions to every daunting challenge. The idea of jugaad is so intrinsic to us that it makes us naturally creative. Pinterest may have popularized the idea of upcycling things, but we Indians have been masters at this for decades now. Even uneducated villagers are highly skilled in finding innovative solutions to every problem such as using solar cookers to cook food and creative methods to irrigate their fields.

As Indians, we have grown up on the principle of economy and not wasting anything. We even cook or use the peels and seeds of fruits & vegetables, being mindful to honour and respect all our resources. Being creative with our ideas is our natural potential but we must be careful to apply this creativity only in useful ways and never to harm others. For as Paramahansa Yogananda warns us, "success is hastened or delayed by one’s habits. It is not your passing inspirations or brilliant ideas so much as your everyday mental habits that control your life."

5. Being Indian – Action

It is useless to have great ideas, inspirations or intentions that never get to see the light of day. To keep acting and making small or big efforts as required is essential for growth. But actions must be whetted by discernment. Is your action correct? Does it have harmful consequences for other stakeholders or the environment? Is it damaging for you in the long run? These are questions you must continually ask yourself.

One must also be mindful that whatever actions are frequently repeated get hard wired in your brain and then become your habit. It is therefore of utmost importance that you closely observe all that you think and do. In the Indian ethos great emphasis is laid not only on being in action, but on doing the right action. The teachings of karma help one to remain ever mindful of this fact, that nothing is ever missed by the auditors of karma who are always watching even your hidden motives. Every intention you have, every thought, word and action are recorded in your akashic (heavenly) records and is self-corrected and perpetuated by karmic law until your consciousness is completely purified and you are ready to enter into your god essence. This marvellous law can navigate your life seamlessly towards self-perfection if you are willing to understand and practice it. Those wanting to investigate the law more deeply can read my book, 7 Karma Codes.

6. Being Indian – Natural

To be natural is to be devoid of any masks or pretenses. It takes a great amount of humility to become aware of your flaws or to accept the greatness of another. However, once you have witnessed your own strengths and flaws in the most transparent and naked way possible, you embody and own the power of authenticity. An authentic person knows what they are skilled in and what they lack. They are so comfortable in their skin that harsh criticisms and false compliments do not faze them. They do not rely on fancy clothes or big cars to make them feel adequate or enough. They do not hide behind brands or name dropping to feel important but have the courage to own their own path of simplicity, with gentleness.

When you stand in the presence of one who is natural, you can be quite in awe of them for you intuitively sense that they are anchored in truth and cannot easily be tempted or swayed. It is for this reason, Sri Aurobindo stated that, "our actual enemy is not any force exterior to ourselves, but our own crying weaknesses, our cowardice, our selfishness, our hypocrisy, our purblind sentimentalism."

If we learn to own the above aspects of inspiration, nurturing, development, ideas, action and being natural, we will be honouring the choice our soul made to be born on Indian soil. We can then align ourselves even better to our soul objectives in this lifetime and we will be aptly instructed and guided by the rich spiritual heritage and sentiments of our country. Then, even if we travel to faraway lands, we will never stop being Indian.

About the Author:

Author of the International bestseller, 7 Karma Codes, and Creator of the world's first Karma Wisdom Oracle in Italian, Suzy Singh is a Mental Health Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Karma teacher, International Wellness Speaker, and Advisor to the Board at NGO We-Listen. As a therapist and coach Suzy has helped thousands across the globe. She writes extensively for several Wellbeing publications & has been an active jury member on the Business World 40 under 40 Wellbeing and Healthcare Awards 2021 & 2022. She is the founder of Grief Circle, a humanitarian service that offers support and healing to grief-stricken individuals and a YouTube mentor to the youth. She can be reached at suzyhealsme@gmail.com