“Anyone who stops learning is old whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford

Learning is an important positive ageing strategy to help you remain vital in your later years. Learning in old age preserves intellectual functioning and ward off memory decline (dementia) which is very common in old age. By learning new things you are improving your brain health-your mental faculty, attention, memory. There is a saying- “use it or lose it”. If you are not using your brain you will lose its functioning. Learning is a lifelong process. If you are continuing yourself educating you will stay up to date.

Learning, like physical exercise, is effective when you develop a habit or pattern of doing it. Learning, to begin with, requires some initial effort. If you persist it will become easier to do and you will get satisfaction from the outcome. Learning needs persistence and sustained effort. Do not worry about the slow process of your learning. Remember you are not going to be examined. Suppose you want to learn some musical instrument you may encounter some difficulty, don’t lose your motivation to learn.


You may raise a question –“ what one should learn”? It is an important question. The answer is – it depends on your choice or interest or your curiosity to know. Learning desire is the strongest motivation. For learning in old age, a strict classroom setting is not essential. Life-long learning is expanding learning beyond classroom settings and into the home. You may use the Internet and computer, ( you may join senior internet networks) Radio, Television, Print media, etc.


Generally, people of different age groups, both male and female, ask me such questions: What is life and what is the aim of life, what should we do or what should we pursue in life? and a host of other questions related to such issues.

These questions are based on the assumption that there is something out there and we should try to achieve it. But we forget to see or unable to recognize what is within us. Humanity is within us and we have to use this source in its full force. We do not need to seek any other thing which is not within us. Unfortunately, we all waste our time and energy in achieving that which is not within us. The constant pursuit of something not within our reach is the cause of anxiety and tension in our lives.

Human life is a symbol of consciousness, strength, and faith. Real-life is that where we can reach our goal with ease by performing our duties to ourselves and society in general. It is seen that majority of people blame their situations for any failure in their lives. They consider their situations as sources of worries and anxiety. One should not be worried about the nature of his situations or resources, because a man with his sincere efforts can change the given natural situations. We should respect whatever situations we are in. The maximum use of given situations or given conditions is the real respect of life.

The word “respect of life”, does not mean attachment or fondness (moha) for luxurious things. It simply means that we should respect all the situations given to us. The proper use of the situation is always based on our KARMA (action). The thinking or brooding on the situation gives rise to attachment towards situations. Thus, thinking ( or brooding ) on the situations is the cause of many defects.

Action (KARMA) is related to the present and the leaning of thinking is towards the past and future. (Thinking, if it is necessary, should be done on that thing which cannot be achieved by action). Distancing (vimukta) from our knowledge (niz-jana) means distancing from our own life. This alienation from one’s nature is due to our lethargy (pramad). Lethargy keeps us away from our real knowledge. The awareness of this secrete results in embracing the situations given to the individual and by which he becomes one with life.

Life is a form of means to Humanity. Humanity, as a seed, is infused or is within all human beings. The seed of humanity, which is within us, is to be developed in the light of ones’ wisdom (Vivek) because the light of wisdom is potent enough in abolishing our failings or defects. The gradual abolishing of defects of life leads to the gradual development of life as a means to humanity. When all the defects are removed from life completely, life becomes means to humanity. Such a means (sadhan) is not merely a part of life but, of all the actions of life, from awakening to sleep (sushupti) and from birth to death. This is real human life. When life becomes such, then the doer or actor (sadhak) and means become identical or the same.

In principle means (sadhan) is the nature of end (sadhya). Means (sadhan) cannot be separated from the end (sadhya). The sadhan is the existence of an actor or doer. It follows from this that doer or actor, in essence, is identical with means. The felt difference between Sadhak from Sadhan is due to his attachment to the situation. But man by nature is free to remove this attachment and can realize the unity with the end. This is the meaning of becoming a Human being.

Generally, we believe that wisdom (vivek) is identical to intelligence. But it is not so, because intelligence is natural and mechanical and on the other hand wisdom is beyond intelligence. In other words, it is transcendental. To make my point let me give an example: electricity is energy and it expresses itself through electrical appliances such as bulbs, tube lights, etc. But this fact is known only by a physicist. Ordinary man thinks that bulbs, tube lights, etc. are examples of electricity.

Wisdom is changeless and intelligence is changing or varying in nature. Intelligence is the function of nature (prakriti) and wisdom is beyond nature or prakriti. All the so-called sources of light such as lamps etc. are finally, based on sunlight or sum provides light to them. Similarly, the knowledge of intelligence and sense organs are enlightened by the extraordinary light of wisdom (vivek). When the intelligence is enlightened by the pure light of wisdom then the pure intellect purifies the mind (manas). The purity of mind brings purity in the activities of sense organs. Man’s character is formed by the virtuous behavior generated by a pure or unpolluted mind. The virtuous behavior of an individual makes society beautiful. Therefore, vivek is the only power source that not only makes an individual’s life beautiful it also makes the society, to which he belongs, beautiful.

Wisdom (vivek)—intellect—pure intellect—-pure mind(shudh manas)—-pure behavior——character formation——-virtuous act—–beautiful society.


Generally, elderly people raise a question-“how long will I live”?. 

The right question which one should raise is – “ if I am going to live such a long time, how can I be happy in the process “?


The common worries of the elderly are- “I am losing my health”, “ I am losing the ability to take care of myself”. In late life person’s health declines, he loses youthful looks, feels functional loss and becomes physically vulnerable. There arises a gap between what he aspires to do and what he can do.


There are specific consequences of age-related declines, such as memory impairment (it can create a fear of loss of meaning as you get older), physical disability, etc. The age-related decline is different from decline due to disease. An age-related decline occurs gradually in stages such as by-function, disability, dependency and death. The pathway through these four stages of ageing is unavoidable. The decline will  affect you and influence your life satisfaction and well-being.

This process of decline is termed frailty which is not connected to illness and disease. Being frail means you are declining, it does not
mean that you are weak or unhealthy.


Worry is a mental preoccupation. It is always not bad. Sometimes it works as a motivation or may help in making a potentially reasonable strategy to deal with stressful life situations. In other words, it helps an individual in the preparation for dealing with a future challenge or a threat. In this sense, worry can be adaptive. An elderly may indeed have a real-life event about which to worry. For example, the cause of worry may be one’s poor health, worry about the sickness of a family member or death of a close relative, financial insecurity, changes in one’s functional independence and dying. When an elderly adopt some strategy to overcome that situation then his worry is adaptive.mental preoccupation

On the other hand, worry may consume your time and energy if it goes on excessively on the issues or things that are not worth worrying about. Such a situation is a negative psychological barrier affecting positive ageing. Excess worry over trivial issues will have depressive effects on your mental and physical health.

A person who has developed a worrying lifestyle becomes over-sensitive about the smallest things. The person may develop a physical illness or physical aches and pains which may result in narrowing focus on life challenges even when it is not possible to do much about them.