A Life Of

Learning, Relating and Gratitude

With Linesh Sheth


About Rukaiya Joshi

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

By Viktor Frankl

Rukaiya possibly did not know what Viktor Frankl had said years ago, but she somehow examplified the above statement. Rukaiya is a muslim, married to Kirit Joshi, a Bhramin, out of sheer commitment they made to each other. In face of difficult circumtances of life, they both chose the human freedom and attitude to follow their own way.

Both were highly educated. this courage to marry in face of resistance from the tradition indicates their strength, character and conviction about the value they attached to their meaning of life.

I met Rukaiya through a common friend, when Kirit was diagnosed with cancer in the year 1998. Kirit believed that he can be cured with Trascendental Meditation. During that period i was already a teacher of TM, taught to me by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Kirit passed away in process but Rukaiya chose to learn further meditation from me. At one point of time. I introduced Humanist Movement to her. She was fascinated by a statement in Silo's book, called The Inner Look which said "There is no meaning in life, if everything ends with death".

It was a fortunate coincidence that out of the synchrony of meeting between me, Dr. Manu Kothari and Dr. Shrikant that Rukaiya joined SP Jain school of management at Andheri.

As the shock of losing a spouse got reconciled, living circumtances gave way to openness of life. As Rukaiya began to meet diverse sections of people, she got more inspired to participate actively in Humanist Meetings and retreats. Her conviction to make life more meaningful led her to work in Nehru Nagar slum, to give support and direction to people living in difficult circumstances.

Although i did not have much opportunity to orient Rukaiya in internal work of Humanist Movement, she was greatly inflenced by my activities in diverse fields. She liked my participation as a trustee in Vivekanand Hospital at Latur, in earthquake relief there, and in collection of sizeable funds.

It was interesting for her to see me learning about man's internal world from different masters in the world, synthesizing their teachings into different practices and instantly giving them to others voluntarily. She learnt the importace of unfailingness in spiritual practices and putting them into our daily life as a conscious behaviour.

Rukaiya believes in Humanism, in Gandhism and she appreaciates Vinobha's thoughts. In general, she directs her life with a voluntary spirit towards others. She develops long and meaningful relationships with people. She lives in great harmony with her family and with her surrounding even when she has, many a time, a dissenting stand in certain circumstances.

Rukaiya has a son named Cyril who has done his masters in IT from USA. Cyril, has now married to Afreen, both of them works today in Seatle. Cyril is inspired with her mother's trust in me. He tried to learn from me, what it is to meditate and what it is to produce and direct the energy within us for positive transformation of our internal conditions.

Overall, Rukaiya's entry into my life, with my family and in Humanist Movement has been constructive, engaging and meaningful. Because of her profession as a teacher, she has a facility for dialogue, constructive enquiry and in grasping useful understanding. It is this trait of hers that is the bridge of communication between us on many crucial aspects of life.