Episode # 75 – Is “Societal pressure” playing spoilsport in our spiritual development? A key discussion!!!


In the previous episode we had continued an important discussion as to how “fear” grips us in today’s life and how is this pegging us back from our pursuit towards Atma-development. In this regard, we had witnessed the role of media (both print and electronic) in spreading and injecting fear and distress amongst people, which directly results in a subconscious level of scare towards life as a whole. This results in people getting afraid to face the realty of life many a times and we can witness too that many of us getting afraid and tensed even for small things in life, owing to a wrong perception of the bigger picture. Subsequently in yesterday’s episode we had witnessed how “pursuit towards excellence” is also a huge factor contributing to our fear in life as a whole. We had spoken in this context on how we get terrified with many things, right from childhood and how this fear develops and manifests itself as we grow older, thus eventually leading to the losing of our individuality completely.

Especially with the Indian context, we witness every passing day how children who are in their 10’th or 12’th class pressurized so much with so much of academic work to do. On top of all this, an illusion is created as if it is only these marks that a student scores in the board exams would determine his / her entire future of life! How stupid is this? Does it mean that all those who haven’t secured the top marks or ranks in board and competitive exams dumb in nature? It is never the case! Personally I’ve seen many of my friends who scored less in board exams, excel in their professional lives beyond par! Hence, all of this “ideologies” and “beliefs” that it is only the board exam results that determines the entire future of the child is totally false and baseless. Of course, I’m not saying that board exams aren’t important or anything of that sort. Readers shouldn’t be misled here. All what I’m saying is that, life has lot more to offer than just these examinations. A human life is beyond all of this, and during the process of it, we sadly fail to realize it!

This can be viewed in another dimension too – In terms of something called “Society” and “Societal Capital”. Now what is this society and how does the society contribute to the fear factor in an individual? Let us take this discussion forward in today’s episode. Basically when we talk of the society, it includes a wide variety of people with whom we are in contact with us in our everyday life – both directly and indirectly. This includes family members, friends, neighbors, people in our locality, village or town, etc. who know about us directly or indirectly. Of course, with today’s advent of social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) the whole world has shrunk into one small village or into one society!

Now how does this society contribute to the fear in an individual? Many a times, especially in the Indian context, we would be able to witness that we live our life not for the sake of ourselves and our spiritual development, but for others! In other words, most of the time we are worried about what others would comment about us if we perform any action, irrespective of whether it is good or bad! For instance, in many parts of India, it is a societal belief that a child should mandatorily do a graduation in either Engineering or Medicine and nothing else! All other professions aren’t looked upon with dignity amidst the society. What are the implications of this societal perception? Say for instance, I’m a woman and I’m aspiring to make a career in modelling and fashion designing – Will this become a realty for me in my life? There would be stiff resistance and opposition from many quarters – Parents, immediate family members, friends, etc. The moment my parents come to know of my interest in fashion designing or modelling, what would be their reaction? Immediately they would say, “Oh! These professions aren’t a sign of a decent girl!” Now what do they mean by the word “decency”? The meaning for this word is given by the society that a woman should be conservative in many ways! If I as a woman want to break the shackles and come out of this, it wouldn’t be possible in many cases! A sense of fear is always induced by parents that I wouldn’t be “socially accepted” if I take up such “glamorous” professions! Some people of course have the mental strength to challenge this societal perception and come out of it, but sadly and unfortunately, many women in this country aren’t able to do so! This creates a subconscious fear within them that if they take up such professions, they would face rejection in the society and would be branded as “anti-social”!

Thus, this fear of “societal rejection” is fast gaining prominence amidst our people, irrespective of any gender. In case of males, this fear looms large if they’re not enrolling themselves into an engineering or a medical school for graduation! How stupid is this again? Can everybody in this world become engineers and doctors? If all of us were engineers or doctors, who will be technicians or patients? If all of us were engineers or doctors, who would manage our income and money? Don’t we need dedicated Chartered Accountants? If all of us are engineers or doctors, don’t we need some recreation activities to relax ourselves? For that, we would require people who are excellent artists, like dancers, musicians, painters, and those who are experts in various forms of theatrics! Moreover, we would require people who excel in various kinds of sports as well! Thus, the world is wide open to be explored! There are truckloads of opportunities to excel in this world, but sadly because of societal pressures and fear of rejection amidst the society, we turn blind towards these opportunities to succeed and make an excellent career!

So what is the main lesson that we learn from this discussion? The primary point here is that, if we’ve to succeed in life, we’ve to at some point in time, try and break the shackles of the society and move ahead to follow our goals and passions. Of course I understand that it is easier said than done, but this should not result in our complacency. We should make a conscious effort to follow our heart and passion and success would reign in only when we do it. Once we’re going as per our passion, we would become free of fear and unwanted stress. This can directly be converted into spiritual progress, as we would be able to spend more time in Atma-development.

Hence for today, let us ponder over this important point and do the needful. We shall wait till the next episode to witness Sage Kapilaachaarya’s next important message! Stay tuned! 😊


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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