I BELIEVE IN GOODNESS
Hello friends! My name is Vikas. I present to your judgment my first interview, my first conversation. The first one, because I plan to make a whole series on the same topic: “Unity”. Unity as a way to survive in our world of all that is light, good, pure and real.
We will talk to ordinary people from all over the world, and of course, Russia is no exception. Will be sure to talk to famous and famous people. Please do not judge, I am not a professional journalist, and do not claim to be professional in this sense. It will be just a conversation. Conversations about life. But, I will try very hard to make it interesting for you.
If you think you can, send in your questions, to which you would like to hear answers from people from completely different countries and different continents. Let’s be co-authors. Together we will create, make, give birth to a project called Unity. That’s how I started. I do not know what will come out of this yet. I will try. I will try.
We will talk about many things: love, peace, good and evil, people, countries and life, different cases — funny, sad and touching.
Please forgive me if there are any mistakes. English is not my first language.
India. Mysterious, distant, different … This country has always held a special place in my heart. Therefore, I must confess, I was looking forward to a conversation with a representative of India. Or rather, with the representative. Kind, bright, friendly, smart and beautiful. The singer.
Personally, our conversation did not disappoint me. It was very warm, with notes of nostalgia and touching moments. Akansha turned out to be a surprisingly pleasant conversationalist. It is a pity that our conversation did not last very long because of Akansha’s busy schedule. But, I’m glad this conversation took place at all.
So, let’s move on to the path of Oneness. That’s right. Exactly on the path of Oneness.
When you talk to people from different countries, especially clearly and deeply you begin to understand and realize that despite the difference in cultures, traditions, habits, differences in perception of the world and even differences in appearance, we are all one. We want peace. We all dream of love. We want to live in a better world. We value: understanding, compassion, mutual respect… We want it. But we don’t know how to make our dreams of a better life come true.
And the recipe is one — Oneness. Oneness of hearts. Oneness of minds. Unity of desires to become better ourselves and make this world a brighter, kinder and cleaner place.
I hope our project can bring closer the time when this Oneness will happen.
That’s it, let’s talk to Akansha.
Hello, Akansha! I know you’re busy and busy, so I’m very grateful that you agreed to chat with me!
Hello, Sir Vikas! Yes, the schedule is very tight. How long have you been waiting for our conversation, a month? (laughs).
A month and a half.
It’s okay, Akansha, I understand. It’s okay (I smile). Okay, tell me, where do you live? Is your native language Hindi?
Since 2000 I have been living in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh. But I am originally from Lucknow (in the same state) This is in the north of India. My hometown dates back to the era when Nawabi (a viceroy in the province of the Mongol Empire, in the 17th century) ruled. Lucknow is still famous for the sophistication of the era when we had Mongol rule. It is a unique combination of ancient and modern. We also have very good food (laughs).
You talk so inspirationally, it makes me want to be in Lucknow right now.
Come, we’ll be glad to see you! Yes (smiling), I love my hometown! My native language is Hindi. Hindi, it’s a magic language. It’s very expressive.
Yes, I always enjoy listening to this language, if I may say so. It’s also very melodic. It’s beautiful.Tell me, why did you decide to sing? How old were you when you first sang?
Life is worthy to be sung, why not? But I’ve never thought about singing. And I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know anything about music, in the sense that I’m not a professional. I didn’t study anywhere, so don’t ask any questions about music, I can only talk about it in general terms (laughs). The first time I sang was when I was about 11 years old. In sixth grade, I performed Saraswati Vandana (a song about the goddess Saraswati, who is the embodiment of all knowledge, sciences and arts, in some strands of Indian beliefs) at my school. It was the first performance. I remember as I do now — the whole school applauded me then … (there was a note of nostalgia in my voice).
Yes, such moments are not forgotten and often warm the heart… Well, since we touched on the topic of childhood, tell us about your family? Does your family support what you do?
My family is not very big: me, my mom, my brother and my pet dog Kalu. I live with my family. You know, my family really supports me in all my activities and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be singing right now. And probably wouldn’t be as happy as I am now! My brother always helps me with my song projects, even though he has his own business. I’m so thankful for my family’s support!
Akansha, you have very expressive eyes! You talk about something and your eyes express what you’re talking about: they’re sad, then they have happy lights, then there’s a warm light in them…
Don’t embarrass me (laughs)…
What are you like in life? Do you like yourself or not?
I am just an ordinary woman, I believe in God and follow a spiritual path that helps me to keep away from many vices and I am satisfied with this fact. I love myself (my spiritual self), I love my family and loved ones. They give me strength and support to enjoy life and to do things I love and are important.
You’re a happy man, it shows. Your eyes say it again (I smile). What do you like about people that you don’t like? Do you always feel happy or only when you sing?
I don’t want to hurt anyone. Because I have experienced firsthand how painful it can be when you are betrayed and when you suddenly realize that you cannot trust someone you trusted. Anyone alive has probably experienced that. The only pity is that not everyone draws the right conclusions from their own experience. Many, on the contrary, become embittered.
The perception of people depends on the person, on what you have in your soul. Whatever happens in life, you should be happy. I think life is like two sides of the same coin: there is happiness and there is sadness. But no matter what happens around us, we have to take everything calmly. And tranquility and balance give us the joy that makes us happy.
I have a friend, Ravi. He lives in Delhi. He often tells me: “Vikas, whatever is around, good or bad, the main thing is the Pope (he calls God, meaning the Father). And you have to take everything equally calmly. Then you will be happy”.
Ah, Sir Vikas, your friend and I think alike. That’s nice!
I know you sing about God. Tell me about the meaning of your songs. What language do you sing in?
I mostly sing a devotional (prayer) song. A devotional song is a hymn that accompanies religious rites and rituals. Traditionally devotional music has been part of Hindu music, Sufi music, Buddhist music, Islamic music, and Jewish music. Each major religion has its own tradition with devotional hymns that are expressive and speak of devotion to God, conveying a particular religious character. I mostly sing in Hindi. This language is indispensable for singing. You and I have talked before about how Hindi is a very musical language.
Yes. I often listen to songs in Hindi. Melodic, calm and joyful, I’d say. Well, at least I have that association.
Do you understand Hindi?
No. Not a word (I smile). I like the way he sounds. Especially in the songs.
I see (smiles back).
What gods does your religion worship?
I am a Hindu. Hinduism is not only a religion but also a way of life and culture. We worship Sri Krishna (Shri khatu shyam Ji). We are devoted to Him and show the utmost faith.
How do you live your life, hard or easy?
I usually think of life as easy because even if it’s tough, you have a choice about how to take it: easy or hard. We just have to accept what’s going on in our lives, whether it’s bad or good. Accept with your heart and spirit, not just your mind.
Do we do this again? We’ve already talked about it (smiles).
That’s okay. You have to remember these things all the time. There is a Russian wisdom: “Repetition is the mother of learn”
Hmm … good wisdom! Life’s difficulty is simply a way of thinking and relating to life. If you get it right, life won’t be so hard.
Yes, of course. But it’s so hard not only to realize it, but it’s hard to learn how to perceive life that way in practice…
I agree. But there is no other way. We have to try (smiles).
Once again, the support of my family, friends and people important to me actually makes my life easier. I am very grateful to them for that! An understanding and supportive family is important!
Yes. But not everyone is so lucky.
Well, what can you do … everyone’s karma is different.
Okay. Let’s not talk about sad things. I want to ask you what the meaning of life is, don’t you think?
We are born with dharma (certain life tasks and goals) that calls us to improve ourselves spiritually and help others do the same. We must do something to improve society, love God, etc. Life is not just about living, it is about rejoicing in helping people. It is to be devoted to one’s cause. It’s being kind to all living things and keeping an inner balance between happiness and sadness. I believe this is the meaning of human life.
What is Beauty for you?
Beauty … it can be spiritual, physical, and behavioral. Let me explain. We can be spiritually (internally) beautiful. We can be beautiful physically. We can behave in relation to the world beautifully. Yes, all people’s understanding of beauty is very subjective. This is especially true of physical forms. But we will not say about the person who harms others, that he is beautiful internally, will we? So we would say about someone who lives for the sake of others, who helps, has compassion, etc. And an understanding of the beauty of the physical forms must be nurtured in oneself.
Faith in God and the arts will help. And behavioral beauty depends on spiritual beauty directly. It’s impossible to be beautiful on the inside and not beautiful in behavior (smiles).
I couldn’t agree more. The subject is deep. I’d say it’s infinitely deep. I get your main point, so let’s move on, shall we?
Yes, let’s go (smiles).
What is Happiness for you?
I’ll be brief here (smiling). The greatest happiness for me is when I realize that my life is not in vain. I am happy when I help people, when I sing about God, when I am surrounded by love…
I see. Unexpectedly changing the subject (laughs). You know, I believe that only thanks to women, all the great things in the world were created. A woman is an inspiration and a muse for a man. I have great respect for women. They are part of the Great Cosmic Feminine Element. How do women live in India?
Thank you! It’s nice to hear that! (smiles). Without a woman, there would be no peace. Women have a very important role in the life of the world. I have always respected women for their strength, wisdom, passion and kindness. Yes, the life of women in India is often difficult. Our country is not rich, so it is often hard for women in India. There are still old prejudices and echoes of ancient laws that make the life of women difficult. But still, it is good that in many states now, the woman is like a goddess: she is worshipped, respected and loved. That’s a good thing!
I’m sure that, in time, all the bad things will go away, and women in states where they are still disrespected (and often, let’s face it, humiliated) will improve.
Yes, I hope so.
Okay. What are you interested in in life? Any hobbies?
My biggest interest in life, though, is music and singing (laughs). But I love reading books, listening to music that isn’t my own (laughs again), helping people as much as I can and meeting good, kind friends. That’s what my life is all about.
Your attitude toward the world ?
The world, unfortunately, is selfish. It dictates its selfish will and demands that it be done.
When you are useful, you will be seen as God, but when you refuse to live by the laws of selfishness, you will become the devil to everyone. Such is the paradox. It’s sad … But I love this world. Still, it is beautiful where there is still primordiality: in nature and in human goodness.
Your attitude toward people of other nationalities, people from other countries?
The planet is very generous with different nationalities and different peoples. I like getting to know them. I like to learn about their attitude to the world, to nature. I love people and it doesn’t matter what nationality they are.
Speaking of the peoples of the world … do you have a favorite custom or tradition of your people?
I celebrate and enjoy all festivals according to Hindu traditions and customs. I love celebrating the festival of Holi*, which fills different events in our lives with a certain color. It gives the essence of spirituality and faith in God.
I already told you today about my friend, Ravi. Well, he was studying in Russia in the 1980s. I asked him one day, “Ravi, what is your favorite holiday in Russia? He answered, “New Year’s Eve. It’s one of the favorite holidays of Russians. It’s not a religious holiday, of course. But everyone rejoices in it: children and adults.
Will you tell me more about it later?
No problem. I’d love to. Tell me, would you like to change something in your life?
No. The only thing I’d be glad to do is go back to my childhood. It was a carefree time back then. There was no pressure, no anxiety, no ego, no tension; just fun and … fun (laughs).
Yes, I’d like to go back to my childhood too. Grown-ups will clothe you, feed you. All you have to do is run around and play with your friends (I smile). Well, sometimes you get a slap on the wrist for a prank, but it’s no big deal…
(laughs gleefully) You had a tough childhood. I didn’t get a slap on the wrist.
Yeah (laughing)… What countries would you like to visit?
My sweet home is the best place for me. Even if I have a desire to go abroad, I will choose Singapore. I like everything there: the weather, culture and customs.
I get it. We were talking about other peoples. Do you know the history of your people? What don’t you like about the history of your people?
Yes, I do. My people belong to the Aggarwal family (Aggarwal. It is now a common surname in India). Belonging to this lineage, Maharaja Agrasen was the legendary Indian king of Agroha, the city of merchants. Maharaja Agrasen was the embodiment of sacrifice (spiritual), compassion, non-violence, peace and prosperity. The people of Aggraval and Rajvanshi claim that he comes from a lineage of … There is only one thing I don’t like about our people, in today’s world, and that is disorder and ego. Laws are not enforced and people have become selfish. They have forgotten their Maharaja. It’s sad …
Sad. But it is not only India’s problem. All over the world there is such a process — degradation. But people like you, Akansha, will save the world (I smile).
Thank you, Sir Vikas! Great responsibility.
I believe the world is saved by Culture. I will deliberately not say what I mean when I say this word. I want to know, what is Culture to you?
Culture, in my opinion, is basically the traditions of a particular group. These are ideas, beliefs, and rituals that take place in a family or group of people. When people talk about their roots (traditions, customs, everyday life), they are talking about their ideals, which form a person’s soul. In other words, culture shows the image of people as they really are. There is the culture of the peoples of India, there is the culture of the peoples of Russia, there is the culture of the peoples of, for example, China. We look at the culture of a people and we understand what they are like (smiles).
When I say Culture, I mean art (beyond nations and nationalities), human thoughts and actions, science, the level of communication in everyday life, etc. That is, I understand culture, if you will, on a cosmic scale, beyond nations and peoples. For the real Culura, there are no divisions according to the color of one’s skin or the language one speaks.
There is one nation, the cultured man. He cannot offend, humiliate, destroy. He only creates, comforts, compassionately helps. And it does not matter where: in science, at home, in art, in construction or in love. The main thing is to create! That’s what I think (smiling).
Oh, that’s the side (laughs) ? What can I say? I agree (smiles).
Art makes a man a better person. It cleanses his heart of all that is dark. Why?
Art tells the truth because it comes from a pure heart, if it is certainly real and gives birth to real feelings and valuable thoughts that make one a better person.
What is real art?
This is the art that gives birth to the desire to be better, the desire to create and love the world.
Why is there so much evil in the world? What do you think?
In fact, it is because of envy, greed, selfishness, and ignorance of the importance of God.
Because of ignorance, in another word ?
Yes, that’s right. People are not afraid of the consequences of their actions. Corruption, evil and selfish thinking, envy, and the craving for vice. I think there is always punishment for sins, and God must show His power. So, believe in God, be good and humble, and spread the name of God to the world.
Humble, in the sense of accepting everything that happens to us in life equally: both sorrow and joy? And humble, in the sense of forgiving other people for their negative actions? Did I understand you correct
Yes, of course it is.
Okay. Tell me, do good people all over the world need to unite? If we must unite, how do we unite?
Good people always need to unite and fight against bad things. There are many ways to unite: the media, social networks, if possible, you can gather in one place and talk. Good people will always find a way to unite to make this world a little better. But we must not forget that we must not forget about ourselves. We must make ourselves better. Otherwise, we won’t be able to help the world.
Do you know anything about other peoples’ cultures in the world? What surprises you about other peoples’ cultures? What seems unusual?
There are many different nationalities and peoples in India. Many different customs, traditions, languages (15 major languages, not counting the many dialects). Even the meaning of dress is different for each nation. We believe and respect cultures and traditions in society and in the world. Muslims are completely different in their culture. This surprises me, in a good way. And interesting. Their way of thinking, traditions, and sense of the world are very unusual. It would be interesting to understand them.
Do you have a dream? Tell us about it, if possible?
Dreams are the essence of life. If there is no dream, there is no life. No dream: no goal, no path. I want to become more successful in my career as a singer and on the other hand, to achieve real spirituality.
What do people need to do to make the world a less evil place?
God (Shyam baba) exists. People should know about it, share this knowledge and spread the knowledge about the importance and power of God. We must have faith and spread love and kindness throughout the world.
And unite in goodness?
I’m suddenly changing the subject again. May I?
You can (smiles).
Tell us a funny story from your life?
One day I went with my friend to the exam center and waited for him to finish his exam. I was sitting on my scooter. After a few minutes, a guy came in and asked me to make room to sit down. I made an important appearance and asked him to go somewhere else… Then he said: “Honey, this is my friend’s scooter and he was kind enough to let me sit on it.” It turned out that this guy was also a friend of my friend’s and he too was waiting for him to take his exam. He thought I was just a stranger and got on the first scooter he saw to rest. So we almost had a fight over nothing. Then we became friends too. The moment was very funny. I’m still embarrassed when I remember that incident.
Yeah, it’s really funny. If we hadn’t figured it out, we would have fought, become enemies. But this way, they became friends.
Tell us the most touching incident from your life.
In fact, I have very few friends. And they are very close to my heart. And we communicate a lot, share our thoughts, believe in each other and fight for each other if suddenly someone has some problems. But sometimes we fight. Once we had a very tough quarrel and we didn’t speak to each other for days. But we have a common destiny. We know that we will still be friends.
Realizing this, we agreed to meet and within seconds we had forgotten about the quarrel. It was as if nothing had happened. Now we are fine. We trust each other again. We communicate, share feelings and care about each other. Understanding the other person, compassion and empathy, is the way to joy and a beautiful life. We need to let go of selfishness and all will be well.
I was moved by your story. It was enlightening.
Is there any incident that you will remember for the rest of your life?
There are many stories that I remember always. But there is one that I will remember for the rest of my life. During my college vacation, I went to my homeland, Lucknow. Usually in Lucknow, I spent time with my best friend and his family. His cousin also came for the duration of my vacation, on vacation. We used to talk a lot, play games, sing and have fun. I had no idea he had a crush on me, he never talked about it.
I just accepted him as a friend. After his vacation, when he went back to his house, he asked to meet in person. And at that meeting he confessed his love to me. I didn’t know what to say. It was unexpected for me. And suddenly … he started crying. I felt very uncomfortable. I couldn’t reciprocate. He was just a friend to me. He taught me a lot of things about life: the meaning of emotions, taught me to care about other people, to trust those around me, and so much more. I really want to remember that for the rest of my life.
And touching, and sad, and sweet … At all times poems and prose have been written about unrequited love. But what can you do, that’s life.
Yes. It’s life.
Thank you for your life stories, your openness, and your honesty!
What else could it be? (smiling)
Shall we go back to peace?
What would you like to say to the people of the world?
Always believe in God and trust God! He is the ultimate power. Spread His love and do only that which is for peace and good!
What is love for you?
Love is a bridge of trust and faith between two people. Love is just one word, but this feeling requires: mutual understanding, sacrifice, care, respect. If we talk about love for God, for the world and for all living things, then it is necessary to have a big heart that can embrace the whole world. We have to grow and educate such a heart ourselves. Otherwise we will not know the happiness of true love.
I believe in kindness and love. I believe in God. My whole life passes with these feelings, with these concepts, with these thoughts and with these aspirations. I wish the same for everyone! Thank you!
Akansha, thank you for the conversation. I liked it very much! It was warm, kind and informative. Thank you! May your dreams and your aspirations come true! And I’m waiting for your new songs (I’m smiling).
Sir Vikas, thank you for the wishes! I’ll see you again. We know where to look for each other (laughs). Bye!
*Holi is the oldest festival that symbolizes the coming of spring, the rebirth of life, and the banishment of evil. The Holi festival of colors is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts and described in detail in the Vedas (the collection of the oldest sacred scriptures of Hinduism in Sanskrit) — its celebration is evidenced by an inscription on a stone made 300 years before our era. Holi celebrates the festival of colors with colorful parades, accompanied by folk songs, dances, and general merriment. Holi participants shower each other with brightly colored gulal powders made from finely ground corn flour and painted red, green, pink and yellow, and pour water on each other. Everyone participates in the festivities without distinction of class, caste, age, or gender.