BATURAM NAYAK walks us through a practical and holistic approach to dealing with friction that we all encounter in various phases of our life

Baba Amte, the extraordinary humanist of our time made a very significant remark when someone asked him how he thought about himself. He said: “I don’t want to be a great leader. I want to be a man who goes around with a little oil-can and, whenever he sees a breakdown, offers his help. To me the mechanic with the oil-can, that is my ideal in life.”

Baba Amte’s remark shows that he was an authentic person, who believed in the philosophy of humble ownership to deal with our strife-torn life with the help of a simple handy solution.

Any system analyst would agree that friction is a natural outcome of a running system, be it organic or mechanical. For the optimised functioning of any system, we need a catalytic or lubricating agent of an appropriate proportion, to prevent the system from getting over-heated or over-burdened to the point of collapse.

Baturam Nayak

The very best of mechanical engineers know this, the very best of social engineers know this and the very best of spiritual-engineers too know this very subtle management ethic and deftly carry out the smooth functioning of the system they deal with.

However, it is an undeniable fact that frictions are here to stay. In fact, that is a reassuring signal that the system is in running condition. Then where do we fail in optimising the functioning of our systems with the result that the rattling of the links, the cracking of the joints, and the groaning of the spirit with pain are so deafeningly apparent in almost every sphere of our life?

A Friction Free World is perhaps an unrealistic proposition, because that can only be the hypothesis of a dead world, without growth and without progress. Isn’t it?

A Friction Free Man too would be an unrealistic proposition, because the presence of friction in one’s mind speaks about one’s vibrancy, the straining and stretching of one’s individuality to a still higher level of equilibrium, for that itself is the hallmark of a growth-motivated, progressive life.

However, effective management of friction is all that counts for the conduct of a practical life with minimum of friction and a goal-directed fulfilling life. The day we understand this basic principle and live constructively aligning with our distinctively ordained vocation, then only all things will simply fall in place, being and becoming what one is and could be ― and also helping  others too, to be and reach their full potential.

Frictions settled effectively within ourselves can only foster a friction free world outside.

I believe, this is the greatest insight that we can derive from the observation of Baba Amte. This is of course a very practical, holistic and more particularly, all inclusive, compassionate approach to life, which can shape the life and destiny of humanity.

This, in essence, is all about the art and science of management of friction which, for the sake of a good life, we all can imbibe.

Baturam Nayak, a postgraduate in economics, joined the banking sector in 1983 and retired in June 2020. He is a firm believer in simplicity and minimalism. “My faith is Oneness, एकत्वम्; that’s the way I would express myself and live in harmony with everything,” he says.

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