In the whirlwind of our daily lives, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of a balanced existence. The idea that we need only five hobbies—one to make money, one to keep us in shape, one to stay creative, one to build knowledge, and one to grow our mindset—offers a holistic approach to living a fulfilled life. This philosophy resonates deeply within the Indian context, where tradition and modernity coexist harmoniously. Let us explore this idea through anecdotes, parables, and examples from Indian culture and history.

One to Make Money

The pursuit of a hobby that generates income is not just about financial stability but also about passion and innovation. Consider the story of Ratan Tata, a name synonymous with Indian entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Ratan Tata’s hobby was not just running a business; it was about creating value and giving back to society. His ventures into various industries, from automobiles to steel, were driven by a vision to uplift the economy and provide employment to thousands. Tata’s dedication to his work demonstrates how a hobby that makes money can also contribute to the greater good.

One to Keep You in Shape

Physical fitness is crucial for a balanced life. The ancient practice of Yoga is a perfect example of a hobby that keeps you in shape while also nurturing your mental and spiritual well-being. The story of B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world, highlights this. Iyengar turned to yoga to recover from multiple illnesses as a young boy. His dedication to the practice not only transformed his own health but also led him to develop a unique style of yoga that has helped millions around the world. Yoga, with its roots deeply embedded in Indian culture, is more than just exercise; it is a holistic approach to health.

One to Stay Creative

Creativity is the spark that keeps life vibrant. Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian poet, writer, and painter, epitomizes the importance of creativity. Tagore’s creative pursuits were not confined to one field; he wrote poetry, composed music, and painted. His creativity knew no bounds, and his work continues to inspire millions. Tagore’s life teaches us that staying creative through various hobbies can lead to a rich and fulfilling life. His establishment of Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan as a hub of creativity and learning is a testament to his belief in the power of creative expression.

One to Build Knowledge

Knowledge is the foundation of growth. In Indian culture, the pursuit of knowledge is often personified by Goddess Saraswati, the deity of wisdom and learning. One modern-day example is Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, India’s “Missile Man” and former President. Dr. Kalam’s passion for learning and his relentless pursuit of knowledge led him to make significant contributions to India’s space and missile programs. His autobiography, “Wings of Fire,” is a testament to how a commitment to building knowledge can propel one to great heights. Dr. Kalam’s life story encourages us to continuously seek knowledge and apply it for the betterment of society.

One to Grow Your Mindset

Growth mindset is about believing that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. The story of Swami Vivekananda is a powerful example. Vivekananda’s journey from a curious young boy named Narendranath Datta to a world-renowned spiritual leader underscores the importance of cultivating a growth mindset. His teachings emphasized the potential within every individual to achieve greatness through self-belief and perseverance. Swami Vivekananda’s address at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893 showcased the power of a growth mindset and the importance of breaking mental barriers.

Integrating the Five Hobbies

These five hobbies—one to make money, one to keep you in shape, one to stay creative, one to build knowledge, and one to grow your mindset—are not isolated pursuits. They are interconnected and together they contribute to a balanced and enriched life.

In the Indian context, the idea of integrating these hobbies can be seen in the holistic educational philosophies of institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). These institutions encourage students to engage in diverse activities, from academic research to sports and cultural pursuits, fostering well-rounded individuals.

Moreover, the Indian tradition of Guru-Shishya Parampara (teacher-student tradition) emphasizes a balanced approach to learning and personal growth. This tradition encourages students to pursue various interests under the guidance of a mentor, ensuring a harmonious development of their physical, intellectual, and spiritual faculties.

In conclusion, adopting these five hobbies can lead to a fulfilling and balanced life. The stories and examples from Indian culture and history illustrate how integrating these pursuits can enhance our well-being and contribute to personal and societal growth. As the Bhagavad Gita says, “Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” By embracing these hobbies, we embark on a journey of self-discovery and holistic development.

Prof. Dr. Prahlada N. B
28 May 2024

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