Falling through the cracks or soaring up to the sky

Classical Landscape by John Wootton

A line in the morning newspaper (in the editorial section, Times of India) today caught my attention - Hemmingway said the world breaks everyone but afterward some are strong at the broken pieces. It is true that the world has both joys and sorrows but as to how much it breaks anyone varies from individual to individual. The nature of life is such that one begins with struggling through education and then spends the largest part of life at earning a livelihood. There are struggles in raising a family and when one becomes too old to work and the family has grown and departed, one struggles to maintain oneself in the interim before the final sleep. Through it all are also periods of peace and moments of joy, pleasure and merrymaking not just when time and opportunity permits but also when the mind can be freed from its numerous concerns. Such concerns often increase as one's riches increase. The rich and the ambitious try for success in life whereas the wise trying for happiness instead have a greater chance of finding such moments.

As humans compete with each other to get the best seats on the train called Life to Life or the train called Life to Annihilation for those who neither believe in God nor reincarnation,  there are also a few that fall through the cracks. A homeless beggar that you noticed on your trip downtown is one such. Then there are some that also soar up to the sky. Some such are the mystics  called Sanyasis in South Asia who have created simple abodes in the wilderness, on hillsides and forests finding that more beautiful and peaceful than creations of man. My book the ‘The Babaji Affair’ contains stories of a couple of such mystics.  

Neither the beggar nor the mountain mystic can completely detach themselves from society as Bhagvat Gita an ancient Sanskrit scripture has pointed out. Stepping out from society is not just a physical thing but has to be a state of mind because if one moves out physically yet the mind continues to dwell on worldly goals and pleasures then the situation could become worse. In this latter case the Bhagvat Gita points out that it is better to stay in the world but in order to evolve and gain peace, one must struggle to do the right thing at all times while not worrying much about the consequences, a course of action that has been termed as Karma Yoga.

As long as one is in the human body there are some minimum needs of food and shelter and some dependence or interaction with society at large is necessary. The mystics do this by providing wisdom and education to society that they are able to with greater clarity than the characters trapped inside the canvas, in return for some help with their basic needs. That wisdom is ignored most times but heeded when the going gets a bit too tough to handle. It would seem that many mystics, provided they are sincere and not hypocritical in their pursuit, do manage to achieve greater peace and greater evolution than those who remain to compete within society. However as mentioned this is not the recommended course for most and that is just as well because who would then till the fields, weave the garments or bake the bricks, besides with a seven billion human population the forests would become as crowded as the cities and the mystics would then have to escape to abandoned cities instead :) ? Competition and intrigue is an essential part of human society because the moment one has attained something good, many more wish for the same and may conspire to snatch it away and not all doing so shall do it ethically and justly simply because not all humans are ethical.

A day in the life of a Himalyan Mystic is described briefly in an older post here:


Mahatma Gandhi was more of a saint than many saints and more of a mystic than many mystics:He gave up all his worldly belongings-property,money,all assets everything except the loin cloth he wore.He periodically gave himself to self introspection to identify his negative points and prayed every night that he does not repeat such mistakes, his strong moral strength to tell the truth and fight for truth immaterial of consequences, his extreme compassion even for his worst enemies and most importantly his total selflessness: He would only pray for salvation of other peoples souls never for himself. Gandhi owned nothing yet the entire country was his ! He was the most amazing Indian of the 20th century and perhaps remains so even today !
Ashok said…
Well said Ramu. I fully second that. India's freedom from the British and subsequent democracy is largely due to him.
And what do we see today ? The man whom we should be celebrating every day,whose ideals and values we should be meticulously practicing, lies disregarded in the dustbin, relegated to the back burner while we Indians have thrown democracy to the winds,are cutting each others throats in the intense & frenzied competition to survive, succeed,amass, accumulate untold assets & thereby attain salvation at the "pinnacle of power,wealth & status". Very sad and sorry state of affairs !
Ashok said…
Ramu true but as pointed by Sudhir Goyal in the facebook link to this post hope is at hand, not very far away into the future.
Ashok said…
Much evil has persisted in the past in human society because of suppressed flow of info. Now with the net it is being exposed as a first towards eradication in the near future.
Ashok said…
Just added a little more content and a link to the post just now
This comment has been removed by the author.
The only hope is the cataclysmic cleansing in the foreseeable future !
Ashok said…
Yes Ramu, that is what some of the earlier posts of this blog suggest too.
Vinod Khurana said…
Only after one has taken some hard knocks
does he heed a sane voice, and the wise know that well and wait for that moment.
They are the lamps and hope of mankind, They come but rarely and at an appropriate time.
Ashok said…
Right Vinod, it is the way of Nature to restore balance.

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