Once a wise man was meditating in fields near New Delhi. A man (Mr.A) was passing by, he was shocked to see someone meditating in the fields at such high temperatures during the summer. As he was struggling in his life, he thought of giving a chance to the wise man to solve the problems of his life.
As he reached near the wise man, the wise man woke up from his meditation to drink water.
The Wise Man (TWM): Say, son, how may I help you?
Mr A: Sir, don’t take me wrong if you are really wise could you answer some of my questions?
TWM: I can’t comment on my wisdom, still I will try my best.
Mr A: I have so many degrees, I cleared almost all entrance exams in life in the first go, still I am struggling a lot while my friend he who has never gone to school is enjoying his life.
TWM: First, you are comparing yourself to your friend, it means you are envious, “You will never be able to enjoy your life thinking what your friend, relative or neighbour or someone else in the world is making.”
The path of each person in this life is unique and something which can be good for you can be wrong for the other person.
There is not one path to see the truth of life. Similarly, there is no one path to do anything in life. The way of the ignorant is who thinks that there is only one way and that is the truth and rest all are wrong. While the wise are completely opposite who see different paths to be correct in their own context.
Mr A gives a confused expression on his face.
TWM: You seem to be confused. Let me explain you with an easy example why you love binary thinking in your life. So tell me how was your study in school or colleges? Did your exams had fixed answers?
Mr A: Yes, I was an excellent student in them. I was the topper in the class. Clearing any entrance exam was super easy for me.
As all our test told us that there was only one right answer.
While most of my entrance examinations were based on multiple choice questions. Like for each question we always had 4 options and one was always right.
TWM: That is the problem of over-relying on the formal education system. In the olden days, in India, our education was philosophical and practical. I have no problems with the current western education. In fact, it has helped the world grow. Definitely, there is one con with over-relying on only one kind of education, that it makes you feel that world is predictable. Further, it makes you programmed in such a way that you think that there is always one right answer (Like your Multiple choice questions or your exams).
In your life, no choice is right or wrong. It all matters which path you take the other path subsides. Life or any situation in life is rarely binary. Like when you speak it is good, as it helps humans to communicate while on the other side it is worse for microbes as you are killing them while speaking. So what may be good for one may be bad for the other. So your every action is good in some respect and bad/evil in other respect. ( This point has been reiterated many times in the works of the Great Swami Vivekananda (source))
That is the beauty of our world it loves imperfections and it is not binary at all.
Son, there are gradations of duty and morality. All people do not have the same capacity, power, mind, circumstances, environment, wisdom to do the same things. They all should have different idols. Nor it is right that someone should be judged by another person’s standards.
Mr A: Yes you are correct. (Still in his thoughts thinking and pondering over what the wise man is saying)
TWM: Think the duties of a sanyasi, Think of a householder, Think of a politician, Think of a social worker, Think of each one. Each one is good in his own place, we have no right to judge the other person. But they all have one thing in common. They work for the welfare of others.
Think about these questions:
1) Monogamy or Polygamy?
2) Delhi Road vs Foreign Roads?
3) Inclusivity vs Exclusivity?
4) Single God vs Multiple Gods?
5) Eating Onion or not eating onion in food?
Mr A: See I thought you were a wise man. It is obvious monogamy is the only right solution. Who does not know that the roads in foreign (developed) countries are better than those in congested places like Delhi where even people, cycle, rikshaws all move on the road there are no defined paths. Obviously, you need to be exclusive sometimes overall I am pretty inclusive kind of person.
Multiple gods are not my faith. I believe only in one god. I think the Indian culture has made a mess out of it. It is useless to ask this question regarding onion. In fact, who cares, I don’t understand why some people don’t eat onion.
TWM: See son, this is the problem in your generation. You have your own definitions of correct. Secondly, your mind loves splitting the world into two. There are many cultures in the world where there is polygamy while there are many where there are many where monogamy is the norm. Both are right in the right environment. That is the beauty of nature it believes in inclusivity it takes all people along.
Regarding Delhi roads or Multiple Gods, it is in the ( Devdutt Patnaik) culture of India to have inclusivity or multiple people grow together. It can be seen in our gods. While all the other religions or countries have a single god. Does it mean that their gods or our gods are better? Same applies to roads? Mostly Delhi roads are called chaos in the organised world. It is just a different way of living on the road not chaos.
Eating onion or not, is the choice again from different cultures and our country loves them. Both are correct in their own context.
Unless the act or activity of someone is not harming the other person till then it is right in its own context.
Mr A: Now I get it, What I have realised is that most of my life I have categorised people as good or bad on my own definitions of good or bad. I started ignoring or eliminating such people. Like I thought uneducated people really knew anything. This further strengthened my ego. I am really sorry I questioned your wisdom. In this process of dividing the world, I rarely saw my own mistake hence always lost the chance to gain again.
Can you help me with another question. How do I make decisions?
TWM: Dear Son, your decisions depend on what principles govern your belief system. These principles or beliefs will govern your own behaviour. If you believe all people in the world have some good in them.
The beauty of the world is such it will show your the good in people. As you would perceive the good in people and ignore negative. Our world gives you what you want to see and experience. Our world is not separate from your mind and your thinking.
If you believe in win-win relationships you will create them and bear the fruits from the same while if you believe Help- Others- win Relationships, in the process of helping others you would be helping your self on the path of truth.
Though there is no use of discussing all these things intellectually, it is always better to see these laws or principles through practical experience. Practical experience is the highest wisdom above the intellectual experience.
Your inner intuition gives you another viewpoint of truth. Never ignore intuition. Both logic and intuition are just different ways of seeing the truth. However, over relying on one side will hamper your thinking process. This happens particularly with scientists.
In your daily life, you can apply the principles and see the results. Though its no use for me to tell you anything as unless it comes from inside you. Meditation can be used to explore that inside you.
If you are just listening to me you are just intellectually satisfying yourself in your brain. The highest level of wisdom is practical experience. Intellectual stimulation is necessary but it only motivates you to do something practical.
Mr.A is again lost. He is in a dilemma.
Mr.A: I am unable to work, I got a job which was against my wishes. Can you help me on this?
The Wise Man Smiles
TWM: Our job in this world is to do work without expecting results. We can plan, prepare or do anything, but the biggest myth which operates in the society is that we can control outcomes. I sometimes laugh a lot when people say everything is under their control.
This myth has even resulted in manipulation of the meaning of freedom. Yes in most societies we are democratically free, but how many of us are really mentally free? Does not your subconscious brain control you?
Think of the time when you are in anger, you speak something which you regret later or the ice cream which you know is not good for you still you consume it.
This misinterpretation of freedom has resulted in tremendous problems for all of us today. The kids who grow up are unable to accept differences in people or their way of working. As they think this is against freedom. They think they can control their outcomes.
Most of us don’t accept reality as it is. We don’t accept the decisions of the cosmos. This happens particularly when the decision is against us.
You don’t like your job due to your circumstances you have to do it. Then accept the reality and make the best of the situation. Rather than cribbing over what has not happened focus on what has happened and give your best to the job. Maybe life has some different flavour for you. Later, when you find an opportunity you may go quit.
I see this a lot. Some of the students of my generation got to go to factories of their parents. They were always cribbing against it. Even if against your wishes sometimes you should accept it and make the best of every situation.
Think of the marriages and divorce issues theses days. We think people have independent. In reality, they have become more dependent, their brains control them more than ever.
Think of the time when you are struck in traffic or when you have an accident and instead of praying to the god you are fine, you are ready to kill the other person if given a chance.
This can be also seen in politics, when the results of an election come out most of us are unwilling to accept it if the other candidate wins. It means we are undermining the decision of other people. The decision may be good or bad, just accept it.
Mr. A: Can you come with me or will you always be here for advice?
TWM: Enjoy life, remember if the sun has come up the day can’t be bad. As if the sun does not comes up for a day majority of the earth’s species would vanish including you.
The Wise Man goes back to his meditative pose and closes his eyes. Mr. A very satisfied leaves again on the road. Yet when he re-goes the conversation in his mind, he realises that The Wise Man did not reply to his last question. Panicked he runs back to the place again. He searches the fields and cannot find the wise man.
Then his alarm clock rings. Its six o clock in the morning and his wife is preparing tea for him. He laughs to find out it was a dream. He hugs his wife and promises never to fight again………