Mr. Shantilal Shah

I recently attended a memorial service for a very special man. During the thirty years I have worked with the elderly population, I have learned a great deal. Needless to say, I have met many wonderful people. Mr. Shah was not only wonderful, he was exceptional.

I have heard there are a few special people who walk among us. They can and do make a positive difference in the lives of many individuals in this world. I believe Mr. Shah was one of those special people and I feel blessed to have known him.  When I was with Mr. Shah, I felt that I was in the presence of a Holy Person who was close to God. He was never judgmental. He always showed care and concern for his fellow man.

On several occasions, Mr. Shah met with me at the Farrar Home. We discussed social issues and eldercare in the United States, India (his homeland) and the world in general. Caring for all people, he worked not to better his life but the lives of others. His infectious enthusiasm always left me wondering what I could do to improve the lives of other individuals.

Mr. Shah smiled frequently and always seemed at peace. Above all, he was a teacher. I loved being with him and learning from him. I soon realized that he was a person who had, in psychological terms, reached “Self Actualization”. This term, according to the theorist, Maslow, describes someone who has attained his full potential in all areas of his life. I shared this fact with Mr. Shah during our last visit.

My friends and family were aware of the impact Mr. Shah had on me. I would repeat to them everything I was able to remember that he had talked about. I wanted everyone to experience his remarkable impact.  All who knew this man spoke of him in a similar way. We felt we were better people for having known such a remarkable person.

Mr. Shah was a scholar and a writer. The following quotes express some of his thoughts.

Charter for Happy Living

  1.  Look to the positive aspects of life; “The best is yet to come”.  Difficulties and problems make you stronger and wiser.
  2. Discipline and organize yourself; do not procrastinate; do your best in whatever you do, without worrying about the result; hard and honest work is always rewarded.
  3. You cannot enjoy life if you are not healthy; money cannot buy health.  Money cannot buy relationship, either; love can.  Be ambitious but not greedy.  Your real lasting wealth is your character and your values; they represent your inner strength.
  4. Try to help others; joy of giving is always better that joy of taking.  Anything that is not shared is lost.
  5. Love is the greatest weapon.  Your children need your unconditional love; they cannot get it from anyone else. When they reach 16 they become your friends.  Grand parenting is different from parenting; you have a lot more time to get involved with your grandchildren’s homework and extra-curricular activities and character building.
  6. Have at least a few good friends before whom you can open up and unburden yourself.
  7. Always listen to your conscience; you will get the right advice.  Then, do not worry about what others say.
  8. Do not expect anything from anyone, even from your own children, much less from others even in return of something good done to them.
  9. After your children are married, the bottom line is: are they happy?  And not how much money they make or how much they care for you.   Let them lead their lives and raise their children their way.  Do not give unsolicited advice unless it is compelling.
  10. Learn not to be lonely even though you may be alone; reading, gardening, music painting, social and community work keep sadness and depression away.  They help your maintain your identity.

More to share:

“Do your best.  Leave to God the rest”.

“Purity of mind and purity of soul mean happiness”.

“Love is the best discipline in raising children”.

“Ego is ejecting God out”.

“Your greatest strength is your Character and Credibility”.          Shantilal Shah 1921-2013

I believe Mr. Shah has given us wonderful advice on how to live our lives. Living life to the best of our abilities and taking good care of ourselves and other people will help to make the world a better place for everyone.