The last week’s Vedantic Wednesday post on “Instability of Life” ( https://rajshankar.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/vedantic-wednesday-instability-of-life/ ) received number of responses, likes and shares. People even wrote back asking how to take this thinking ahead. Here is my humble learning so far on this topic.
The essence of last week’s thought was this: “Life is like a dew drop on a lotus leaf”
But looking at it this way seems so pessimistic. Then why would a great teacher like Bhagavadpada Sankara Acharya give us such a lesson. The man, who in less than 32 years of life on Earth performed more work than even most performing people, could not have written this to share his pessimistic view of life. There is a deeper message for us.
When we understand that life is uncertain we begin to appreciate the importance of not taking it too seriously. When we are advised to take it too seriously the immediate reaction is to give up – but that’s where spirituality and spiritual knowledge is misunderstood. If life is to be lived like a sport (‘Leela’ in Sanskrit) then one needs to learn how to play! When you see children play sports we don’t see them go to a game to lose, but at the same time they don’t go to win either. They go to play. But soon we start feeding them that winning is important. This is the place the fun part of sports is lost and the seriousness of a game comes into picture. When this happens we begin to start experiencing pressure, expectations, happiness and disappointment. It doesn’t stop there, this spreads to all aspects of life. Instead of being a good writer we want to be a New York Times best seller or an Amazon best seller! Instead of being a good businessman, we want to be the most famous businessman, etc.,. The misunderstanding of the statement makes people who achieve things dismiss philosophy and those who lose either dismiss it or use it to justify their pessimism in life. Both are not true. Religion wants you to live life fully, but joyously. We misunderstand, think that life is a race and end up beating ourselves down to stress, disappointments, and sadness.
Life is unstable. But isn’t that what makes life interesting? If you knew what’s coming next all the time, do you think life will be interesting? Never! We get bored even with mundane repetitive actions, then if every next thing in life is predictable and known, we would all become extinct through boredom. Human beings are the only species given the faculty of reasoning and thinking, but we use it for everything other than thinking about how to live? Think about it.
The great acharya is only reminding us about the futility of our actions and urging us to think about our misunderstanding of the truths of life. If we get the message right, we will start re-thinking about the importance of having the right attitude towards life and living.
Have another great week of contemplation and reflection!