Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Remembering Swami Vivekananda

An important lesson on how to banish misery

This year, we celebrate the 150th birth anniversary (12th January) of one of the greatest Indians of all time—Swami Vivekananda. There is so much one can learn from the life of Swamiji. If one has to understand the full implications of his teachings, it is imperative to read the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda that run into several volumes—a huge task. This article is an attempt to pay a tribute to Swamiji, by delineating some of the subjects close to his heart. One subject that holds great relevance even today is: Why does man feel miserable?


In chapter III Part I of the Complete Works, under the heading “The Secret of Work”, Swamiji states, “Helping others physically, by removing their physical needs, is indeed great, but the help is great according as the need is greater and according as the help is far reaching. If a man's wants can be removed for an hour, it is helping him indeed; if his wants can be removed for a year, it will be more help to him; but if his wants can be removed for ever, it is surely the greatest help that can be given (to) him.”


However, the million-rupee question that needs to be answered is: How can man be free from misery? Swamiji says that spiritual knowledge is the only thing that can destroy our miseries forever. In the words of Swamiji, “He who gives man spiritual knowledge is the greatest benefactor of mankind and as such we always find that those were the most powerful of men who helped man in his spiritual needs, because spirituality is the true basis of all our activities in life.” Swamiji says that until there is spiritual strength, even physical needs cannot be satisfied and, therefore, mankind must develop spiritual strength.


Second to spiritual help is intellectual help. It is said that the gift of knowledge is a far superior gift than that of food and clothes. Swamiji said that it is, “higher than giving life to a man, because the real life of man consists of knowledge. Ignorance is death, knowledge is life.” Swamiji beautifully highlights the worthlessness of life devoid of knowledge and states, “Life is of very little value, if it is a life in the dark, groping through ignorance and misery.”


The next level of service, after knowledge, is physical. Swamiji said, “In considering the question of helping others, we must always strive not to commit the mistake of thinking that physical help is the only help that can be given. It is not only the last but the least, because it cannot bring about permanent satisfaction.”


Swamiji rightly observes that misery is felt when one’s hunger is satisfied by eating, but only to find that hunger returns. Hence, misery can cease only when a man is satisfied beyond all wants. When a person reaches such a state, then hunger will not make him miserable nor will distress or sorrow.


He very clearly elucidates that the miseries of the world cannot be cured by physical help only. He reiterates that until man’s nature changes, his physical needs will keep arising and, consequently, miseries will continue to be felt. Any amount of physical help will not cure all miseries completely.


In the words of Swamiji, “The only solution of this problem is to make mankind pure. Ignorance is the mother of all the evil and all the misery we see. Let men have light, let them be pure and spiritually strong and educated, then alone will misery cease in the world, not before.”


To cease the miseries in the financial world, it is important for the investors to educate themselves and to understand the underlying issues. Any ignorance, on their part, could only bring them losses and, thereby, result in misery. To achieve this, investors have to develop a mindset and character that would enable them to understand the intricacies and the risks involved in every financial decision. Investors should become enlightened and not allow their greed to rule their mind; else the result will be misery.


(Dr SD Israni, advocate & partner, SD Israni Law Chambers, is one of India’s leading authority on corporate, commercial and securities laws. He was a member of the Naresh Chandra Committee for simplification of Company Law relating to private and small companies. He has been on SEBI's committee on disclosures (called the Malegam Committee) and the one on buy-back of shares. Dr Israni has been a member of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Indian Merchants' Chamber and Indian Council of Arbitration. Dr Israni is an active member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India and was on its Central Council for four terms and headed the Capital Markets Committee of the ICSI.)




4 years ago

It is very good to see such an article in Moneylife. We must not forget his Guru Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa when we remember Swami Vivekananda. Whatever Swami Vivekananda achieved was only by the grace of his Great Guru.



In Reply to Dev 4 years ago

Very true. No way we can forget the Guru Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa without whose grace nothing could have been achieved.

Sameer Thekedar

4 years ago

Very thought provoking Article by Mr.Israni.If we imbibe the teachings of Swamiji in our day to day life,it will definitely help in alleviating the miseries of life.




In Reply to Sameer Thekedar 4 years ago

Thanks Sameer for your kind words. You have rightly observed that if we imbibe Swamiji's teachings it will go a long way in giving us happiness. Personally, I found answers to most of my questions in the complete works of Swamiji. He seems to have answer for almost every issue.

Credit Suisse cuts India’s FY13 growth forecast to 5.7%

The moderate recovery in the economy depends on to what extent finance minister P Chidambaram is able to credibly meet his ambitious medium-term fiscal consolidation plans, Credit Suisse Research Analyst Robert Prior-Wandesforde said

New Delhi: Global investment bank Credit Suisse has lowered India’s growth forecast for the current fiscal to 5.7%, but said the economy has bottomed and will see a moderate recovery during 2013, reports PTI.


“We have made a small further downward adjustment to our 2012-13 GDP growth forecast to 5.7% from 5.9%, while opting to leave our 2013-14 forecast at 6.9%,” Credit Suisse said in a research note, adding that growth is likely to average an above-trend 7.5% in 2014-15.


The three main reasons behind the cautious optimism about Indian economy include, firstly, weaker rupee which will boost net exports, secondly, the government's reforms will provide a quick boost to business confidence, and thirdly, the previous rate rises should support investment and durables consumption.


“Meanwhile, we believe the drop in market interest rates, the diminishing lagged effects of higher policy rates, the weaker rupee and the confidence-boosting effects of the government's reforms mean economic growth has bottomed,” Credit Suisse Research Analyst Robert Prior-Wandesforde said.


A lot however depends on how effectively measures such as the opening up of the multi-brand retail sector (and others, including broadcasting, power exchanges and domestic airlines) to foreign investment are implemented, Credit Suisse said.


Moreover, the moderate recovery in the economy also depends on to what extent Finance Minister P Chidambaram is able to credibly meet his ambitious medium-term fiscal consolidation plans, it added.


In October, finance minister P Chidambaram had suggested a fiscal deficit of 5.3% of GDP in 2012-13 was ‘doable’, followed by 4.8% in 2013-14 and further gradual reductions to 3% by 2016-17.


Meanwhile, HSBC has cut India’s growth forecast for this fiscal to 5.2% from 5.7%, while rating agency Fitch warned this week of a downgrade in India’s sovereign rating in the next 12-24 months citing slowing GDP growth and weak public finances.


 In April and June last year, another rating agency S&P, had warned of further downgrades, which would put India into a junk status from the current lowest investment grade rating of BBB-.


In the first half of FY13, the GDP clipped at a poor 5.4%, and the government expects to close the fiscal year under 5.7%.


SAT adjourns RIL-SEBI case till 24th January

SEBI sought more time from SAT to study the RIL petition, pursuant to which the Tribunal adjourned the matter till 24th January for further hearing

Mumbai: The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) adjourned hearing on Reliance Industries’ (RIL) appeal against SEBI till 24th January, after the market regulator sought more time to study the petition in a case related to its rejection of a settlement plea by the corporate major, reports PTI.


RIL had sought to settle certain investigations into alleged violation of insider trading norms in sale of shares of its erstwhile subsidiary Reliance Petroleum, but the application to settle of the matter under the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) consent framework was rejected by the regulator.


Consequently, RIL filed an appeal before the SAT, which had listed the matter for hearing today. SEBI, however, sought more time from SAT to study the RIL petition, pursuant to which the Tribunal today adjourned the matter till 24th January for further hearing.


RIL's appeal against SEBI was earlier scheduled to be heard by SAT for admission on 4th January, but it had adjourned the hearing to 11th January.


RIL is believed to have challenged SEBI's decision to reject its application and also the changes made by SEBI in the regulations governing settlement of cases through consent mechanism—especially for cases already under consideration.


Under SEBI’s consent mechanism, companies can seek to settle cases with the market regulator after payment of certain charges and disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains.


In May 2012, SEBI tightened the regulations for settlement through consent framework, as a result of which many cases including those related to insider trading, cannot be settled through this mechanism.


On 3rd January, SEBI published a list of 149 consent pleas, including 16 from entities related to RIL group, which it had found unsuitable for settlement through consent process.


These include applications of RIL itself and that of group chairman Mukesh Ambani’s close aide Manoj Modi.


These include 13 applications from various entities in a case involving alleged violation of SEBI regulations for “Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices” in a matter of RIL’s erstwhile subsidiary Reliance Petroleum.


Besides, there are three applications related to alleged violation of “Prohibition of Insider Trading Regulations” in the matter of another erstwhile RIL group company—Indian Petrochemicals Corporation (IPCL)—which used to be a government-owned company and was later acquired by Mukesh Ambani-led group as part of a disinvestment exercise.


Both the companies, Reliance Petroleum and IPCL, used to be separately listed entities, but were later acquired by RIL and got delisted from the stock exchanges. The merger process for RPL was completed in 2009.


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