Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Living Life v/s Leading Life

On the pleasant evening of Sunday, 1st March 2020, SEVA volunteers along with friends and families seemed full of excitement to celebrate SEVA’s 26th anniversary.

There were multiple reasons behind the excitement. Multi talented chief guest Dr. Mahesh Joshi had chosen interesting topic: “Living Life v/s Leading Life”. Dr Joshi was also going to entertain with popular Bollywood songs.

SEVA enjoys the patronage of volunteers. Few are associated since inception and many from 10 to 15+ years. Recognition of such volunteers with memento on anniversary day motivates new volunteers for sure.

Dr. Joshi reached the venue well in advance. Tall personality sporting dark Indian suit enhanced with red pocket square was perfect blend for the speaker and concert performer. Senior accompanying artists Mahavir and Sridhar helped Dr. Joshi to ensure perfect music arrangements. Simultaneously laptop was being checked for notes related to talk; everything with confidence, friendly smile and a down to earth attitude. Dr Joshi himself wears multiple hats and empowers others for the same. Sound controller Rahim from his team was  doing photography too.

Ever smiling Madhu Verma anchored the event with perfection. 

Prayers by Saroja and Valli added divine touch to the ceremony. 

SEVA Director Raj Tapadia explained SEVA’s vision and ongoing activities in welcome address.
Language of Dr. Joshi’s speech was very simple with touch of humor and examples to keep the listeners glued. 

Dr. Joshi appreciated SEVA volunteers for their art of listening.

Dr. Joshi believed what is learnt is important than number of years spent and shared his knowledge. Very swiftly topic was introduced, elaborated and summarized towards conclusion.

Most of the audience chose ‘Living Life’ over ‘Leading Life’; same like result of study at Harvard. 

Living is not just breathing but can be correlated to terms like enjoying, satisfaction, beyond oneself etc. Dr. Joshi named them as feelings. 

Living is a passive process but creating feelings like happiness is active process termed as ‘Leading Life’. When you lead your life in the right manner, it translates to feel  good about life;  living life to its fullest.

Search for happiness leads to unhappiness; search for satisfaction makes you dissatisfied. So think of action plan to live life.

From Dr. Joshi’s experience there are 
3 pillars to lead life: Purpose, direction and value system. Clear purpose gives right direction. This is helped by values inculcated. If value system is not aligned to objective that is holistic in nature, you can take wrong decision. This leads to unsecured and unhappy feeling.

There are 3 enablers to lead life
  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health - Emotional quotient and emotional intelligence is an important facet as to how you  enable yourself to lead to living life.
  • Wisdom to choose right and wrong beyond domain knowledge
Influential people prioritize things compared to ordinary people. 

Decisions depend on circumstances. Study conducted at Harvard involving 800 persons over 70 years of span concluded that “Healthy relationships lead to happiness” however 
unhealthy relationship over long duration is detrimental. So right choice is necessary. For right decision, go back to value system, use wisdom to choose right.

Obstacle in journey of leading life is ‘Lack of desire or inner urge’. Best example of inner urge is: Royal couple foregoing Royal status and leading normal life.

Living life has subjective element and can be measured in happiness, satisfaction etc. However, leading life is objective. 

Leading Life involves 3 achievements:
  • Wealth earned
  • Relationship that gives sense of accomplishments, sense of belonging
  • Impact for yourself, family and society

The way you are leading life determines the way you are living life.

In initial part of life materialistic things don’t matter to you. Feeling of being loved, respected and wanted brings happiness so we are living life. Then we start leading life – wealth, achievements. However, we stop living life because of wrong priorities, wrong decisions. We get unhappy and it impacts the way we are living life.

There is improvement in quality of life. It is path to lead the life. It's impact is not understood on living life so illness, suicide, divorce have increased.

Living life is passive element, an outcome, not the action. Leading life is active, more proactive, an action resulting in experience to feeling of living good or bad life. 

After acquiring wealth, impact in society, regard, respect, travel etc. do you stop urge to achieve more? Is the plateau is reached? This was the thought Dr. Joshi left with the audience.

It was time to start much awaited concert. Dr. Joshi knew all the songs by heart; he was confident to take song names  on the fly from crowd. Songs just continued flowing one after the other. Rapport with musicians was perfect to accommodate the flow.

Crowd was getting  soaked in lovely songs and failed to realize sudden downpour outside the auditorium; that conveyed God’s blessings. Dr. Joshi’s songs in Malhar raaga and dancing rains were like jugalbandi. 

Short power cut period also didn’t hamper the enthusiasm of singer and audience. Spice was enhanced by adding Bengali song. Audience was encouraged to sing and clap saying it is oxygen for the artist. From Rafi, Manna De, Kishore Kumar, Sehegal all singers came live. No one wanted this treat to end but timing could not be ignored and Bhairavi raaga was started to conclude the concert. ‘Laga Chunari me Daag’ song with tabla by Sridhar mesmerized the crowd. Swift transition to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ was cherry on the cake.

 Vice Chairperson Thiagarajan gave concluding speech.

Mind is the reason that brings freedom and bondage. Most callers coming to SEVA are in bind, they don't know that freedom already lies in them so volunteers empower the callers.

Importance of decision making was narrated with Nachiketa and Yamraj's story. In decision between preya, "what is pleasant", and shreya, "what is beneficial.", Shreya will take you to right place.

Clarity of purpose leads us. This used to be referred as Purushartha.  Charity is Dharma. Earning in right direction is Artha. Man and Woman in alignment of values, thought, purpose and way of life is Kama. Moksha is freedom - give up Dharma, Artha, Kama. Sense of detachment.

A good life is to know other person's pains, needs and be of service then only life would be meaningful.

Sridhar Vemuri gave vote of thanks.

After the concert, one lady met Dr. Joshi and gave biggest compliment. She lives in a neighboring building and magic of good music brought her to the  auditorium. This made the artist’s day.

Dr. Joshi’s good qualities were noticed one after the other. He was so humble that he insisted to stand in queue for buffet.

All bid good bye with wonderful memories, and best wishes to SEVA to bring brightness to many lives.


  1. Excellent. Covers every detail. Thank you Monika.

  2. Indeed an evening well lived !
    Sega's life itself is a great example on living with a purpose.
    Thank you, Seva.
    Thank you Dr Joshi for a delightful evening.

  3. Monokaji,It is indeed an excellent narration of the entire program.
    We felt as if we are seeing the program while we read your blog.
    Your beautiful narration enhanced the effectiveness of our event further.
    Thank you.

  4. The above comment is by Amrutha Valli and Prasad

  5. Excellent program
    I am speechless to say anything about the talk, song & hospitality