Life is Leela, enjoy it to the fullest

  • By Ishita Sharma
  • November 9, 2017
Sanjeev at Bridge to Rameshwaram

Sometimes, your spiritual dose can come from the most mundane of places --- a job that gives you satisfaction, but not solace, a random conversation with a stranger or a trip that can end up changing your life. For Mumbai based, ex accountant Sanjeev Nayyar, a chance trip to the Kailash Mansarovar in 1998 ended up making him get in touch with his inner self, and post that his life has all about “zigyasa” (curiosity)”, as he nonchalantly puts it! In a freewheeling chat, the founder of, an online encyclopedia of Indian culture and travel tells us why how life can throw wisdom at you, from practically anywhere!


Tell us a little about your beginning


I was born to a family of doctors and engineers --- and had worked as a CA in leading companies such as HUL and Star TV. I was always passionate about travelling, so in 1998, I took a trip to Kailash --- I was the youngest and the loudest man in the group! I was the one asking questions and soaking in the divinity that place had to offer --- however, I remained quiet on my way back and my family told me that something in me had changed.


I cannot pin point what exactly it was, but I felt a divine sense of being after having visited the abode of Shiva.


What happened next?


Even all through my corporate career, I had a deep, almost insatiable thirst for Indian culture and tradition. The struggle however was how to document all this to make people read it. A friend of mine suggested that I could perhaps start putting it all together on a website and this was how eSamskriti was born in 2001, with 25 articles and 40 photos! Soon, I started writing articles for leading publications like Business Standard which received tremendous feedback. I started writing and collating articles extensively and by 2009, the site was redesigned and garnered attention from all quarters!


Most of the content that is there on your site combines travel and spirituality. Tell us something about your travel escapades


When you travel, either with someone or alone, your mind is away from the daily hustle bustle --- you evolve, you learn, you unlearn, your thinking opens up and even though you might or might not interact with many people, it is your relationship with yourself that improves. You discover a deep sense of happiness and learn to look for it within rather than the external world. I have travelled the length and breadth of the country and discovered as much the solitude of Mizoram as I have the devotion of the temples in Tamil Nadu. I have witnessed the Dussehra of Mysore and revelled in the Sangai festival in Manipur --- this apart, I have undertaken trips and photography tours to places like Kumaon, Bastar, Bodh Gaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Anandpur Sahib, Thrissur, Orissa, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, Jammu region, Ladakh, Hampi, Nagaland, Meghalya, Tripura and Assam.


After every trip I return with higher levels of consciousness. Memories and experiences from every trip bring a smile and form memories that are cherished forever. Every trip has improved my understanding of Bharat, given me rare insights and build a network of friends across the country.


What does spirituality mean to you?


According to me, spirituality means different things to different people. For example, I am a Shiva bhakt and used to go to temples on Tuesdays to pay obeisance to the Lord. However, I soon realised that for me, If God is within you, then why do you need to go to a temple to visit him? I can pray to him right inside my home, since I can feel his presence everywhere. I live in the material world, and even though I might visit the Himalayas sometimes, I can still meditate and chant inside my home, provided I do it with the right bhavna (feeling). For me, spirituality is a two-pronged approach --- the first is the need to look within yourself and the second is to be compassionate – to yourself and to others around you. Finally, my spirituality also stems from the fact that in life, I often remain detached --- I give my best to things and disassociate myself from the world --- I remain concerned, but not worried. 


Spirituality also means accepting shortcomings and correcting myself. I am trying to improve myself rather than find fault with others. It also means having an open mind and listen to different points of view. For me spirituality is a combination of inward and outward looking that is powered by the Self or Atman.


How can one achieve happiness?


By remaining “Sthir” (stable). Happiness is fleeting, but that does not mean that you too have to. Also, the second thing to do is to accept that you cannot remain happy forever --- If there are 7 days in a week, you might feel great on 4 days, average on 2 days and not-good on one day. The trick is to not let your mind deviate too much. Secondly, try and surround yourself with people who accept and like you for what you are and do not judge you. Do things that make you happy, whether it is listening to the latest Bollywood song or having paani poori in the rain! Finally, have a deeper purpose in life that goes beyond work. This makes you focused, content and most importantly gives you the confidence to take life in your stride. Also, always keep the child within you alive, however old you may become.


Finally, what motto of life do you live by?


Life is leela (celebration), enjoy it to the fullest! Make the best of every situation that you find yourself in - flow with the tide.


First published


Do visit Speaking Tree. Lots to unlearn, learn and enjoy.


To hear Sanjeev in conversation with Hrishi K on 94.3 FM Radio One 


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