Ask Himanshu Rai

Have any questions about management, philosophy, education, literature, yoga, mountaineering in India, or psychological issues or all of these?

Disclaimer:The responses in this column given by me are based on my learnings and experience. They should, by no means, be taken as a substitute for medical/professional help.

    1. Dear Sir,

      This question relates to the right age of marriage for an urban girl in India, if there exist any.

      My sister turned 23 last Nov. She is a Post Graduate and working in junior management cadre in a reputed Indian corporate. I would not say she has settled or achieved significantly in her career, but she is clearly set in the right direction on the right path. Besides there is no such thing as ultimate goal. While we feel this is the right age to at least start looking for prospects with a target marriage age of 24, sister is not willing. She has some further career goals which she would like to achieve before getting married. Now we have following apprehensions –
      1. Beyond 24-25 years the options get limited and this challenge gets compounded by the fact that one becomes more selective with the age. I have seen people in 28 upwards bracket facing serious issues in finding a decent match.
      2. 26-27 is probably the age for becoming a mother. And if one gets married only by this age, she would hardly get enough time with spouse as a couple (without kid), which I believe is essential in a relationship.

      Having said this, I am myself not sure whether this perception is correct or not. Please guide.

      1. While I understand the confusion and concern that plague you, I am afraid I do not agree with your perspective.

        To begin with, there IS something like an ultimate goal. And that indeed is your Swadharma. What you mention as goals, are in fact, milestones towards that ultimate goal.

        The first thing you need to do is extend the courtesy to your sister that she is an educated independent woman perfectly capable of making her own decisions. Marriage is a choice, and more importantly, it is HER choice. She is the one who has to live with it. Later, motherhood is also a choice which is for HER to make. Trying to tell her how to plan both is outright patronising and condescending.

        I do however, appreciate the concern that you have as a brother. Let me address those concerns now. First, I am not sure whether there is something called the right age to marry; you are however right about the motherhood, in the sense that beyond an age both conception and delivery are susceptible to complications according to medical sciences. With better standards of living and quality of health services however, this line would be 35, and as a point of fact, it is not surprising to see many women opting for motherhood in the late 30s or even early 40s.

        My suggestion to you, therefore, is to be supportive of her decisions and help her in making a choice for herself. Share with her your concern as a brother but do not try to direct her life. I know it is hard to let go of the roles we have taken for ourselves, courtesy our own upbringing, but then life is all about learning and changing. In this case, you need to change, not her!

        1. Thanks for your advice sir.

          We fully agree that it is ultimately her decision. I just wanted to do my part – offer the right advice. However, being confused myself, I sought your thoughts on the same. Thanks for clearing the doubts.

          I really appreciate your efforts despite other enormous responsibilities.

    2. Hello Sir,
      I aspire to be a visionary leader and an entrepreneur in the near future, but I feel neglected when I share my views as they are more ethically based rather being practical according to the peoples. Facing these reviews from them, Sometimes I even question myself Am I really thinking impractical?. As a result to these constant remarks, I feel devastated and loose temper. Please suggest some meditations or deeds to get that leader out of me and also to have control over my temper.

      Warm regards!

    3. Hi Sir,

      I have applied to MISB Bocconi from Delhi. Would I be meeting you in the interview process?

      Please attend it sir. Me and my friend Sakshi both wish to interact with you

      You are a great person!

      1. Thank you for your nice words. I am afraid that I wont be in Delhi for this round. However, I shall certainly interact with you once you join us. Even otherwise, drop in whenever you are in Mumbai.

        1. Sir,

          What about the February session in Delhi?

          So many of us are dying to meet you. We all took part in the live chat session with MISB, and would love to see you back here in Delhi.

          Please let us know!

    4. Dear Sir,
      Are you the same Professor Rai who has provided consultation to the UP high court re: arms license?
      I would like to use your research in a study that I am doing re: violence.

    5. Hi Sir,

      Hope this message finds you well.

      I was privileged to have attended your very insightful sessions as part of APHRM batch @ IIML.

      I carry more than 8 yrs of HR generalist role, and worked mostly in IT industry. After completing my program I moved to Noida to join a small IT Product company, in May 2014. Before that I had taken six months sabbatical.

      I like my profile here and its been a learning experience professionally and personally. But since last few months I have developed some vascular health issues and finding it very difficult to give nine hours a day at work. The company does not provide telecommuting flexibility. You can imagine the conflict here.

      While I am really interested in pursuing my HR career, and took this conscious decision to move to NCR, from a smaller city, only for career advancement, I am finding myself at a loss, as there are not many employers whod provide such flexibility to HR.

      Sir, could you pls guide me what should be the best career move for me in such a situation.

      Thank you very much for your help.

    6. Respected Sir,

      What is the difference between a good-logic and majoritarian-logic? Nowdays, in era of social networking, the logic supported by (or seems to be supported by), greater number of people become most powerful/valid idea. What is your view on this?


      1. Logic, by definition is the use of valid reasoning, and hence, cannot be qualified as good or bad. Philosophers like Kant did assert to bring in the element of judgement in its conception, but the idea ofthought and truth need to be separated. Essentially, two forms of reasoning are considered valid: deductive (conclusion drawn from axioms or established premises), and inductive (conclusion drawn from multiple empirical observations),. Some philosophers also consider Abductive reasoning as a valid form that considers inference to the best explanation. The Indian philosophy also talks about transcendence as a valid form of seeking truth.

        If not internally valid, the content of a seemingly logical conclusion is likely to come apart sooner or later. Sometimes assertions made through pathos (emotion), are mistakenly taken as logical statements, however, these logical fallacies are usually short lived. Most of these are logical fallacies arising out of the error in logical argument independent of the truth of the premises.

        Some of the examples of such popular fallacies are as follows:

        Ad hominem abusive:Example: He cannot take this responsibility because he is an atheist/religious.
        Ad hominem circumstantial: Example: Cola manufacturers are wrong when they say that their products do not contain pesticides because they want to sell their products.
        Appeal to emotion: Example: You must perform well or you will disappoint your family.

    7. Respected Sir,

      What are different types of yoga? What are your views about Iyengar way of learning yoga? What are its advantage-disadvantage compared to other school?


      1. There is just one Yoga as explained in the Yoga Sutra by Patanjali, and it comprises eight limbs: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahar, Dhaarna, Dhyan, and Samadhi. There are many schools of Yoga though that focus on a particular aspect of Yoga or create some variations or fusions of asanas with other forms of exercises.

        To prepare your body for Yoga, you need to start with the first limb (phase),: the 5 Yamas: Ahinsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Aparigrah (non-possessiveness), and Brahmacharya (energy conservation),.

        The second limb of Yoga: The 5 Niyamas (rules, discipline),: Shauch (physical and spiritual cleanliness), Santosh (contentment), Tapa (hard work, focus, dedication), Swadhyaya (self-learning and introspective reflection), and Ishvara Pranidhan (connecting with the cosmic consciousness),.

        The third limb of Yoga: Asana: refers to the mastery over the body (Kayajeet),. Asana implies the ability to sit in a position (to be later used for pranayam and meditation), for extended periods. Some of the yogic asanas include padmasana, siddhasana etc. All other asanas practiced in typical hathayoga exercises, such as sarvangasana, dhanurasana, surya namaskar etc, are directed towards developing this capability. Most yoga teachers agree that one is believed to have attained mastery if one can stay in a yogic Asana for a period of 3 hours and 45 minutes without discomfort.

        The fourth limb of Yoga: Pranayama: refers to the mastery and control over the breathing. This relates to controlling the apana vayu and prana vayu and ensuring its free flow through the seven chakras, viz, Mooladhara, Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddhi, Ajna, and Sahasrara. This in turn ensures control over mind and longevity with good health.

        While the first four limbs of Yoga, Yama, Niyama, Asana, and Pranayama are the external (bahiranga), aspects, the next four limbs, Pratyahara, Dharna, Dhyan and Samadhi are the internal (antaranga), aspects in so much as that they are the result (pratifal), of the mastery of the first four!

        The fifth limb of Yoga: Pratyahara: refers to the withdrawal of senses (mastery over senses), thereby preparing the mind for the next three stages of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. This is achieved through practice of pranayama while concentrating on the third eye (Ajna Chakra),.

        The sixth limb of Yoga: Dharana: refers to the steadfastness and is the initial step of deeper meditation (Dhyana),. Here the meditator is conscious of the object of meditation and the act of meditation. In the subsequent stages, this consciousness disappears. This is the first stage of Samyama.

        The seventh limb of Yoga: Dhyana: refers to meditation, where the meditator is conscious of the object of meditation and also conscious of being but is NOT conscious of the act of meditation.

        The eighth limb of Yoga: Samadhi: refers to the highest level of meditation, the transcendental state, where the consciousness of the subject becomes one with that of the object, where the connection between the body and the soul is suspended at will, and the mind is completely still.

    8. Dear sir,

      I have a stage fear. Whenever I have to speak in front of public or a group my legs shiver and I become very conscious of myself. It obviously affects my public speaking. I am 24 years old. How should I overcome this fear.

      1. First let me assure you that most people have a fear of public speaking, and second there are easy ways to counter it. Stage fear is usually a reflection of lack of confidence, and manifests symptomatically in the form of shaking hands, shaking knees, drying throat etc. Stage fear leads to secretion of extra acids in the body and that causes most of the symptoms I have listed above.

        You need to address both the root cause and the symptoms. Prepare yourself well and dont try to rely on your extempore skills unless you have ample experience in public speaking. Try to rehearse your speech/presentation in front of a live audience (friends who can point out some obvious mistakes), or a mirror. Time yourself and organize your speech in such a manner that should there be a time crunch, you could just peel away portions and not try to make up for it by speaking fast),. Drink a glass of water about 30 minutes before you go on to the stage/podium, and take several deep breaths just before entering. Pump your fists in the gesture of celebration just before you enter the stage and tell yourself aloud that you can do it.

        To reduce anxiety, take Ashwagandha Choorna-half teaspoon with warm milk before sleeping.

    9. hello sir, im in a total strange situation. Because of immaturity or some other unknown nature, I used to get these thoughts. I dont want to get married, I dont want to live normal life but abnormal as per the current system, I dont want to live according to rules of my family because of their conservatism. These are all because of sheer dissatisfaction and immaturity. But I love my family. Even I didnt take any serious actions to live like that. But suddenly because of some others stupid actions(Which was totally not under my control), I got involved in serious problems. My life is totally changed now. The current situation will lead to the life which I aspired because of immaturity, innocence and disappointment. Sometimes I wonder, why it happened. Is there any connection between our thoughts, occurrence of random uncontrollable events and the fruits? Is there any supernatural power which govern our life according to our wishes? Is there any concept of previous life(according to your personal belief system),? If so, is there any possibility that I owe something to those people who created problems for me?

      1. I am afraid that I havent understood your real problem. You will need to tell me exactly what happened and why is it bothering you.
        To answer your generic question, yes, I do believe that your past life influences some of the events of your present. The debit and credit of our Karma continues till we transcend beyond it all and achieve bliss.

        1. Dear sir, what happened my friend and I were going on a bike, and met with an accident in which we were damaged physically so much. In current situation, Im almost unfit for normal social life. I always regret that bike journey, always wanted to go to past and change the course of action, which is in fact impossible. Im regretting about my friend as he is the only child in the family. Because of this accident, my life totally changed. I couldnt even predict this in my dreams, in fact its a tsunami in my life. In childhood I used to think of non-marriage, living away from people, living extraordinary life(opposite to this normal life like, study, job, marry, children , die kind of life),. I really didnt want that life seriously, now the reality is I am living that life. I am unable explain my situation to anybody because of my stupid action of bike riding. Please help me… Is there any explanation about why such bad things(like accidents, death, poverty, betrayal, injustice, false imprisonment, rapes, bombings etc), happen to good people(who are righteous, honest, loving and caring, soft, generous, innocent, etc),? Does the concept of Previous life and its karma exist? Did I do anything bad in my previous life?

    10. Dear sir, usually people will be born, study, get job and earn money, marry, and the cycle repeats for their children. They consume food, sex, other essentials and media . In the end, they die regretting. This happens to 99 percent population. I dont want to live that consumer life.
      I want to live differently by making some contribution and some recognition.. How to find out my that living?

      1. As answered elsewhere, you need to figure out the purpose of your life, your Swadharma. Swadharma is your responsibility, your duty and your Karma, that you are good at, and by virtue of you being good at it, it becomes your responsibility to follow it! It’s a realization of your potential (in the sense of self actualization), and then acting on it. Thus, simply trying to be happy cannot be a Swadharma. You need to find that which is your calling, your destiny!

        If you wish to find it out you can try any of the three ways: One, try out different things and then figure out what you enjoy the most without being fearful, shameful or doubtful. Two, you could reflect on your past: what kind of stuff did you like, what kind of assignments did you enjoy, what kind of things excited you in your life, and so on, and then intellectually draw a conclusion through deductive reasoning. Or three, seek a guru, a teacher, a guide, who could talk to you, evaluate your skills, your attitude, your personality, and then suggest what is it that you ought to do with your life. Either of these ways is effective, so just go ahead and make your choice!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Message *
    Email *