Friday, January 08, 2010

Clarification about the previous post, 'Hare and The Tortoise'

Following my previous post, a reader asked a few questions about the validity of my argument. While replying I realised that the explanation is too long for a comment. So here it is as a blogpost. All follow up comments can be posted on here or the previous post. So referring to Nukul's argument, it's all a matter of how you look at the matter. One can either take a reductionist, rationalist, pragmatic or an inclusive view. The only way to try and answer your question would be to go deeper still and start from the beginning.

A reductionist will simply say, there is race, there are good and bad guys and there is a carrot at the end. I want the carrot, rest can do as they please. Rationalist will analyse every aspect of the argument and in the end will say, well, each to his own. Pragmatic people will think of this as an unrealistic thing and would say that as long as you get that carrot, nobody really cares how you managed to get it. The one with an inclusive view, however, would say that ok the fact is that there is a race, there are good and bad people, there is carrot and there is the need to attain that illusive state of detachment. How shall I go about it? Firstly, the fact that I am suffering due to this stress of rat race implies my own deeds in the past which brought me here. Now that I am here, there are two things I must do. Identify how to be detached while being a part of this world and master that thing in a way that once you are successful, you can lead by example. Nobody takes a looser seriously. A winner, on the other hand gets accolades even the court of fools.

So if one is intelligent enough to ponder over these complicated concepts of detachment, eternal happiness, etc. then one must consider himself lucky, become a winner in the material sense and while doing all this, still remaining calm, detached, peaceful and have a humble attitude of surrender.

Simply put, the answer to your question is, you can't escape the need to work in this world, then do it in a way that you don't get entangled at least. So that you are a part of the race, but not stressed out like the rest. You can then even concentrate upon enjoying the race itself and learning along the way. It's like Mario...he has to cross levels and collect gems on his way to the final stage after which he is happy. It's the same with us. We are helpless only so long as we resist the flow of destiny, and make the mistake of thinking that the doer and enjoyer is "I"...the moment one realises what the real "I" is, questions simply dissolve. Pragmatists, reductionists and rationalists should try this approach. There is no harm in trying. If one is still not convinced after experiencing this for thmselves, then so be it. All izz well, regardless of the outcome. We change, truth doesn't. Only that which is stable despite changes can be real.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Hare and the Tortoise

I've been thinking for a while about the topic for my next blog post. While a friend was visiting for dinner tonight, he recommended me to watch a 1970's hit bollywood flick called 'Katha' (which means 'story'). It was inspired by the popular bed time tale of the Hare and the Tortoise, the one where the tortoise (who is slow and steady) wins the race...!BUT!...adapted to the modern society and how things have changed since then. The moral of this story was bit of a double entendré, so you decide. This post is not going to be a film review, but rather a narration of how another piece of puzzle fell in it's place in my mind after introspection.

Before I begin though, the nature of this post necessitates that I briefly introduce the plot and characters. Usual spoiler warning applies. So then, it begins with a stereotypical "nice" guy living in a big city, possessing the usual typical traits of excessive honesty, altruism, overly principled life, rigid notions of rights and wrongs, unambitious nature and a general inability to understand the machinations of this big bad world! He loves the girl who lives next door but can't gather the courage to tell her. One fine day, along comes one of his smart, forward-thinking, open minded, fast-talking friends who quickly makes himself at home. Mr. Nice Guy obliges and does not resist. Using his quick wit and charm, Mr. Friend manages to land a very good job at Mr. Nice Guy's company, that too as his manager. Effectively, Mr. Friend is a "bluffmaster", a conman who always manages to find his way by fooling vulnerable folks. Eventually he manages to woo the company owner's wife AND daughter at the same time, and while demonstrating his excellent multi-tasking abilities, he ALSO manages to woo the girl next door who Mr. Nice Guy loves like anything. Finally, he fools them all, and fooling an Arab Sheikh, flees to Dubai ready to carry on his business there. The girl next door is deeply saddened, but Mr. Nice Guy marries her. The film ends with a cartoon...the tortoise did win the race after all, but the hare arrived sitting on the tortoise's back and took away all the limelight, making the tortoise look like the hare's slave. Tortoise did get awarded with a bouquet, but of dead flowers, while the hare got fresh ones. Quite suggestive.

Apparently the script writer wanted to suggest that if one has to win in this competitive world then one has to be cunning, yes that's the word I was looking for. Perhaps honesty, polity, kindness, etc. are better left in the past, like museum specimens where the world could laugh at them. This is open to interpretation.

However, what difference does winning, indeed even loosing makes if all one is doing, is playing just for the joy of it? After all, the most successful sportsmen are always those who don't play to win but for the sheer love of the sport! Somebody's victory is another's defeat, and vice versa. Who looses now, may gain tomorrow. Change is the very nature of life. Just think for a moment, is it really needed to participate in this race? What we are experiencing right now, is an effect of what we did in the past. For instance, I am still not able to sleep because I drank too much coffee today. Then why create more causes and invite more effects and keep being obliged to participate in these races? What's the point anyway? I am not trying to say that being ambitious is wrong, but I strongly believe that it's not WHAT you do, but WHY you do it that matters. Intentions determine consequences.

¬¬Time and again I can't help but feel helpless for having to write in's such a dead and superficial language! No offences intended but I feel so fortunate to have a mother tongue in which at most times, a single word is enough to express the deepest feelings of the heart! ¬¬

Anyhow, back to the point, and taking this at a deeper level of understanding, I feel that the excitement of victory or the lamentations of defeat only affect those who are rigidly attached to these concepts. Concepts, that's all they are. Would we ever trust a fickle friend? Then why do we trust our mind, who is not only fickle but only pretends to be a friend?

It's funny to be a bystander sometimes and observe life. We tend to complicate it so much! It's always those thoughts which arise from passion or ignorance which complicate things and create suffering. Why not just be a free bird and make the entire existence a part of our being? The infinite joy of that feeling of oneness is beyond words; its brilliance outshines a million suns! Is it really that hard to be innocent? Is it really that hard to be righteous? It's only being cunning that takes more effort. When one experiences detachment even while living in this short transitionary world, which is inherently unfair; then alone one understands, in fact experiences even the futility of this rat race. Then alone, shall the hundred petalled lotus bloom! Lifetimes after lifetimes, we keep running like a guinea pig on a treadmill, never even sighting the perceived finish line, let alone reach it! All it really takes is simply realising that if I want to reach it indeed, then I simply need to get down from the treadmill and just take a real step ahead. The freedom one experiences thus, is truly incomparable. We just feel that these little victories make us happy. In reality, however, they are just pushing us deeper and deeper into the quick sand of suffering. There is only one way out, reaching out to those who have succeeded before you, they are right there beside you...just ask them!

There are over 7 billion people in this world, I wonder how many think out of the box, how many understand the need to wake up! People always run after objects of sense gratification...some are mad for more money, some simply want to eat, some are crazy in lust, while others still are haunted by the desire to achieve material success which they guise under the term, ambition; some others are just too lazy to be even bothered to wake up from their slumber! If I had one wish to ask for, then all I would want is to never become a part of that group of people, and for this feeling of detachment to deepen and blossom. Sadly due to recession most types of genie lamps are out of stock, so looks like I'll have to fend for myself. So be it.

P.S: If anybody is interested in watching the movie, then you can click here to go to the link on YouTube. There are 14 parts, but definitely worth it I'd say.