Fiscal security, physical wellness
Editorial

Fiscal security, physical wellness

Old people used to be considered as oldies in days gone by until not too long ago, not without a hint of derogatory sense attached to them and the now-not-much-in-use term. They are referred to as senior citizens nowadays with whatever sense of respectability that their new image in society has been bestowed. In any case, the glamour side to the new dispensation generously adopted to describe the oldies ends where it begins, given their plight in our times at which the younger generation would not relish even winking at it. Sandwiched between the two — the oldies and the youth — are the middle-aged flock, looking back with some pride and looking ahead with dim vision about what awaits them as they are heading for their closing chapter of life. Taking 40 years as the mark of youth entering middle age, experience has led to the inference that life begins at 40 but starts showing. That is also the last point of halt in time to bestow attention on fiscal security in old age and physical wellness as age advances further.

The land’s philosophers of a distant past including the three Acharyas (Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhwa) and the 12th century social reformer Basavanna are known to have laid the ground rules of life taking one through the years without any glitches. Scholarly speakers of our times take fascination to elucidate the diktats of ancient leading lights of the land, but there doesn’t seem to be many takers, particularly the youth.

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In the context of life’s journey accompanied by a change of outlook from materialism to spirituality, seeking liberation from the cycle of birth and death, a story attached to the composition Bhaja Govindam by the eighth century savant Adi Shankara is narrated. While walking along a street in Varanasi, accompanied by his disciples, he came across an aged scholar reciting the rules of Sanskrit grammar repeatedly. Taking pity on him, Adi Shankara went up to the scholar and advised him not to waste his time on grammar at his age but to turn his mind to God in worship and adoration which would save him from the vicious cycle of birth and death. One may not be faulted to imagine that the legendary philosopher would have added a postscript to his prescription, to be imbibed by all middle-aged sections in society to plan in advance for facing the contingencies of old age namely, enough cash and taking care not to fall ill.

The foregoing narrative, essentially zeroing in on the all-too-familiar current scenario of sons pushing their aging parents to old-age homes, is to be taken as a wake-up call for all not to regret in old age for neglecting fiscal security and physical wellness.

August 7, 2018

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