Opinion: Self-discipline and selfless service

PUBLISHED: 08:30 03 May 2020

Pranav Bhanot is reflecting on two of his father's principles to help cope with lockdown.

Pranav Bhanot is reflecting on two of his father's principles to help cope with lockdown.


Within a matter of weeks, the UK frontline key workers and public have worked to turn an exhibition centre into a 4,000-bed hospital, shuttle through the formation and testing of a vaccine and found innovative ways to communicate.

The loss of life and business interruption caused by the pandemic is devastating. However, it has also provided an opportunity to witness humanity at its best.

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As my father (Ravi Bhanot) celebrates his birthday, social distancing guidelines prevent me giving him a hug. However, I can use his birthday to reflect on two principles he has attempted to instil in my siblings and I, which are what Hindus call “Anushasan” (self-discipline) and “Sewa” (selfless service). During challenging times, these principles are proving useful and potentially lifesaving.

The self-discipline involved to socially distance to save lives, at a time when one most desires the opportunity to be close to loved ones, cannot be underestimated. However, we are quickly learning that to thrive, succeed and indeed survive there are often no shortcuts and no- one is exempt from requiring a degree of self-discipline. Whilst the exercise of such self-discipline can be challenging, this time can be used to channel negative energy into positive “selfless service”. Some say that a method of dealing with anxiety or negative thoughts may be to devote time to serving others.

There has been no better time to exercise self-discipline and selfless service – to enhance the community efforts to be rid of this virus.

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