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Development of Self

Saumitra Mohan |

Many of us are very discontented and disgruntled, whining about everyone and everything around us. Incapable of exploring their own immanent potential and savouring the splendour of life, they are busy cribbing about anything and everything.

Such people don’t spare even the Almighty, cursing Him for all the mess in their personal and public life. They are indifferent towards the good things around them.

But as Mother Teresa once said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them”. The truth is that if we start looking for joy around us, we will have no time to engage in negativity. So, instead of finding faults in others, we should rather count our blessings.

As they say, life is like ice. We should enjoy it before it melts. But most of us seldom feel cheerful and fulfilled because we worry about inconsequential matters, and thus sapping peace and pleasure out of our life.

Our condition could be related to the story of the poor man who had complained to Swami Vivekananda about the miseries of his life. After his interaction with the Swami, the man was convinced of his riches compared to others.

Swami had offered him millions of rupees for parting with different parts of his body which the latter refused. As someone said, ‘I was unhappy because I did not have shoes till I met someone who did not have legs’.

Have we ever paused to reflect on the bounty that God has blessed us with and how many of our wishes have been granted by Him? Despite positive developments in our lives, we are dissatisfied if certain wishes are not fulfilled.

We have our plans but the Almighty has His own plans. If things happen our way, we should be happy. But if they don’t happen our way, we should be happier because they are happening God’s way.

We generally don’t appreciate the fact that the life we lead is much more blessed than million others’. After all, don’t we all have many of life’s goodies including parents, siblings, family, children, friends, relatives, country, education, bank balance, house, cars, good health, wealth et al? We often take these benedictions of life for granted, indeed a package for existence.

Not really. There are hapless millions who can only dream about the things we take for granted. Being God’s chosen ones for being endowed with these bounties, are we not duty-bound to care for others over whom we were preferred?

There are millions of people amidst us who don’t have any or many of these things and who would love to live a normal life with basic creature comforts that we take for granted.

There are people who are born orphans, have no family or no nationality (aka refugees), have never been to a school, who find it difficult to make ends meet, who are suffering from various ailments or are troubled by the chronic illnesses of their near and dear ones, who are deformed or are born with missing limbs. So, before cursing our situations or moping about our privation, we should count the blessings that we take for granted.

We often come across people who don’t like their colleagues, neighbours, spouses, children, relatives or the leaders. If you don’t like some, there would definitely be some who despise you.

We need to remember that this is a mortal world and not the Heaven where things are perfect. If we were perfect beings without folly or foibles, we would not have been born into this world.

Our very presence on earth means that we are still not liberated from the divine drama because of our myriad imperfections. Being the fellow passengers on Spaceship Earth, all the people around us are imperfect in their own way, born here to get over their imperfections in their onward spiritual march.

Life actually comes as a package. If there are many pleasant features, there are many hideous and morbid aspects as well. We will have to accept them cheerfully, just as we need to accept the difficulties and problems.

All such things together provide the template for testing our mettle for chiselling away our imperfections to enable us to gradually merge with the Supreme Being.

So, all the dramatis personae in our life form an inalienable part of the cosmic drama with whom we share the ‘Give and Take’ account generated through present or past lives as per our karma. It is entirely up to us to make the best of a distressing situation.

The so-called crooked and difficult people will always be there as direct or indirect educators to put us through an ordeal to learn lessons for further progress of our souls.

If we don’t like the people around us, we had better go and stay in a jungle or die to meet our Maker instead of living in society. There would be none to disturb us there, though there is no guarantee of the same. After all, there are more rabid creatures in jungles or more insufferable spirits in the after-world.

Trying to have a world completely customised to our likings is like running our race all alone or a race on our terms. This is nothing, but a chimera which does not subsist in reality.

Life would actually turn out to be very ‘boring’ if something like that ever happens. The graveyard is full of people who believed themselves to be very important and indispensable in their times, but were instantly replaced by others and soon forgotten.

We ought to make the hay while the sun shines, but we often end up wasting our time and opportunity by engaging in acts which impede our spiritual growth.

Most of our problems with others arise because of our misplaced assumptions about others’ thoughts, plans or feelings. More often than not, we presume things and attribute motives to the actions of people in our lives, thereby making our lives hellish.

We are often disturbed with others’ achievements or perturbed with their ‘presumed’ plans rather than focusing on the development of our ‘Self’, something which would help us in this or the next world. Splurging our energies on machinations, resentment or negative thoughts about others doesn’t get us anywhere as we can never snatch someone’s just desserts.

We need to look beyond our mundane existence to ascertain the whys and wherefores of the transcendental scheme of things behind the cosmic drama.

We should realize that with some understanding and maturity, we can all succeed and achieve together. We shall actually make faster and superior progress as a civilisation if we learn to love and value each other as we all are different, endowed with different capabilities.

We merely need to identify our hidden talents and assigned roles to play the same successfully in a spirit of peaceful coexistence. As we are not going to last here eternally, we should concentrate on improving our scores in God’s ‘Scorecard’ otherwise we will remain condemned to this mortal world forever.

The writer is an IAS officer, presently posted as the Commissioner of School Education, West Bengal. The views are personal and don‘t reflect those of the Government