Saturday, January 10, 2009

Of Life , In Life

The most noble truth amongst the 4 , which Buddhism preaches is that 'attachment is the root cause of all suffering' .I can’t decide whether to appreciate the simplicity , or the complexity of this statement. It took me a few years , number of books, a small amount of research, some “enlightened” people and hands-on exposure (ouch ! ) to realize that why everyone from parmhansa to osho invented the same recipe to moksha.Recently, I witnessed something that made me think of a slightly different version of this noble truth .

Waiting for my friend on the station, I was busy preparing a mental list of what to shop , where to shop and plunder as much as possible with my limited resources. An unkempt malnourished middle aged man, stinking of a mixture of sweat and ammonia in oversized clothes came and sat right next to me. My reflex - a disgusted look and an intentionally rude, audible “tch ” , before I occupied another bench nearby. I later noticed that he was a blind fellow and the guilt pinched me hard.

He was holding a yellow/ now black bag close to himself with his two arms wrapped around it – staring into the darkness, closely watching the void with his fictional eyes. He then lit up a beedi , holding it between his third and fourth fingers , thick end inwards , followed by deep drags . He seemed to be in bottomless thoughts, his head tilted in an angle as if sensing everything around him.

He took a half-torn piece of paper, and scribbled something on it, or attempted to do so. To check whether the pen worked - he held the paper close to his nose and smelt the paper, then the tip of the pen- one by one for 20 odd pens and bundled them together .They were cheap plastic pens – fluorescent green and shocking pink – which u and me will never buy.

The train approached, he headed towards it making his way through the crowd. Each individual in isolation would have been keen to the poor guy, but when the same individuals make the crowd – cruelty creeps in. He was pushed and yelled at, was given those contemptuous looks when he brushed against anyone- the same treatment which I gave him moments ago .

He managed to board the train and tried to earn his evening bread through those cheap 20 pens, which he made sure worked, but about which no one really cared. His feeble life, a hopeless one …
I wondered why the effort to cling on to such a fragile life after all? “To attain moksha give up attachment with happiness.” ----In this case where was happiness in first place to be attached to?
Each noble truth has an answer in spirituality, but there needs to be one more truth and one more answer.
Why In spite of utmost suffering, there is utmost attachment? Or is it because of utmost suffering, there is utmost attachment? .I wish there was a recipe to overcome just this only inconvenient truth – of life, in life!



11 comments:

isha said...

In my view because of utmost suffering there is utmost attachment- when u go through suffering , you make your utmost efforts to end it ...and then after sometime you become so used to it that it becomes a part of your life and when its supposed to come to an end you feel that something in your life is missing- thats attachment...

Naval said...

hii...I read ur blog..I understood the concept but I think u clearly did not consider one thing which may explain the whole thing leaving no confusion..what I think is that u have missed the frame of reference..u r observer and that blind man is object but both are at different point on the frame of reference..thats why he is not able to feel like u..he has never experienced ur world..he has just seen the life throughout like he is living at present..and that is his world where he is happy so loves his life like u.. u also might have heard about millionairs who commit sucides after loosing big amount of money because they cant live like an ordinary man or say like u and me..so I think everybody is living in his own world which is being gifted to us by destiny and we know our boundries. and within those boundries we love our life.. this is solely my feelings u may sure have disagreement with this

pooja said...

Naval, I appreciate your analysis ….but wud like 2 point out that this post is a reflection of my “baffled” mind over why people – doesn’t matter happy or unhappy ( that’s a totally diff. mater with lot of subjectivity involved ), cling to life ?
while most answers lie in non-attachment …there still isn’t a cure for the biggest attachment , and that’s the attachment to live on …while abstinence from living things may guarantee peace , I was thinking what’s wrong with abstinence from life …

Its def. written in a pessimistic tone, I agree …and the same instance can have a number of positive dimensions to it as well , one of which u have rightly pointed out….:)

Naval said...

With due respect to your feelings then first I should know that why a person should not cling to life. What he knows about the life beyond this life? Nothing as such..Lot of explanations are there in mythology but still no concrete thing a person knows..so a known devil is always prefered.. Though my answer is fairly simple answer to a complex question but I think it explains most part of the confusion..May be it is an economics kind of answer to a behavioral question.
Or may be I m still not able to understand the question
But according to me certainity is always better then uncertainity and most people are risk averse..Life is a certain thing but life after life is not..

But yes I appreciate your viewpoints and feelings and concerns about the suffering of life. I do not think that your tone is pessimistic. It is definitely optimistic because you are trying to find answer to a baffeling question. And yes if you are baffled by such questions about life at this age then I am sure you are in the process of evolving into a nobel humanbeing..

Rag said...

Touching..!! that was definitely an observation that all of us fail to make. The only fact that the blind man made sure all the pens wrote was something we as humans got to learn.
In spite of utmost suffering, there is utmost attachment?- yes! he sees his happiness in that.. may be it might look quite disturbing for us.. but then.. that's how his life is.. and that's how used to it he is..!!

nea said...

you know you are really making it hard for me to guess which is your best work, cz with each work you just get better...

wonderfully apt potrayal of human behavior..

words fail me as i try to communicate what i wish to.. hence I sign off here...

Ajay Hosur said...

Touchy and profound !!!

pooja said...

@ isha ,naval and rag
nice 2 see ur prespectives about this post ...
and thanks nea , ajay fr the encouragement

anuj said...

hmm .. something very true and very touching .. well abt the attachment part I would reiterate what you said .. if it was not there life would be so verbose ..

and a vry touchy example of the blind man .. there is a lesson for all of us isnt it .. when we keep dreaming of donating some money .. buy the pens at (SP + 5 Rs) .. and not just 1 .. may b 5 .. may b 10 .. I'll surely try to do that next time :)

pooja said...

yes anuj ..i agree with you , something that is just very casual and minor for us is a "big deal" fr some1 else...
glad u like it :)

Kaber Vasuki said...

It's easier to live than to give up isn't it. He probably never thinks of his lack of eyes as a disability. But to think that he has only one life, and he has to live it that way is really sad, though, I don't think he bothers about it too much.

Cheers
Kaber

P.S I generally don't leave links in my comments but I've written a poem called 'The Blind boy and Rubik's toy' which has a lot to do with this post so check it out here