Make your own mountain
   Date :01-Jun-2022

Make your own mountain
By Biraj Dixit :

Beware of the barrenness of a busy life
-- Socrates
 Just like that  
Busy and barren are such paradoxes in terms that to put them together in one framework of a sentence seems odd. But we, the living epitomes of a busy life, know how desperately we need to remind ourselves of the wisdom of this caution – ‘Beware, for your seemingly busy life is hardly as productive as it should be.’ For, may be, it isn’t producing anything worthwhile but money. Freedom, stability, respect, happiness and so many more true-to-life things are all not being earned but lost in this donkey work of making money. “I got so busy surviving, I forgot to live.” Stupid as it may sound, this is the story of most people of our times. People in the grind hardly know when to stop. We even forget to look around and see that while doing things there has been so much, we did not do. There has been so much we saw but did not feel, so much we felt but did not give it a thought enough to understand, and so, so much we understood but did not act upon.
We are so worked-up, working! They say hard work never kills anybody but it is actually killing, as many Japanese deaths would have us believe. Sitting on the ruins of disaster inflicted by the Second World War, the Japanese re-evoked a Samurai code – ‘Bushido’ to rebuild the great nation. And they did it. Japan’s economic rise from ruins has been exemplary. The Bushido code is all about courage, loyalty, excellence and dedicated hard work. All are perfect ingredients for success. Except, when their degrees stretch so much so as to engulf entire life. The very broad line between work and life was getting thinner and thinner, but the workaholics did not realise it until one day their being could take it no more. The best of things is best only till the time they cross no limits. Extremity, even of good, is dangerous. So, the Japanese are now dealing with what they call ‘Karoshi’ – death due to overwork. Thankfully, majority of us Indians can never be accused of overworking.
Overthinking, overanalysing, even overlooking! Yes. But overworking? No. We have our traditional codes, too, ingrained in our individual thought and societal approach – that of seeking balance – in pain and pleasure; in senses and spirit; in chaos and quiet. These give us a cushion of sort, keep us aware of the reality. Reality – that this life is extremely precious and time is fleeting. And in this precious life’s expanse one has to achieve the ‘Self’ in its highest form. The ancient system of ‘ashrams’ dividing life into pursuits of learning (Brahmacharya), living (Grahastashram), giving-up (Vaanprastha) and achieving the spiritual height (Samadhi), worked to that end. Present times hardly allow such a wonderful space for the realisation of the ‘Self.’ But often life does ache for true living for there alone lies the fountain of lasting happiness. And we all know it. Yet, somehow the routine or the lethargy of getting out of the routine gradually devours on that joy and even before we know it work becomes a job and time, a dull stretch of hours. Life remains busy yet barren. The drudgery sups on mind’s enthusiasm to create, hands’ dance to mould and heart’s leaps of joy. The end result is a barren desert of active inactivity.
Not just Socrates but philosophers after philosophers have warned us against falling prey to this barrenness. “You are born with wings Why prefer to crawl through life?” - Rumi “You must understand the whole of life, not just part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance and write poems and suffer and understand for all this is life.” - J Krishnamurti Remember the lazy lad from Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Wrong man in workers’ paradise’? How, he takes the pitcher from the ‘Girl of Silent Torrent’ and draws lines thus instilling art in the workers’ paradise! We all need to take that pitcher from ‘Girl of Silent Torrent’ within and paint a few lines, seemingly useless at first, but one that can liberate the joy within so much so that one can leave a paradise behind. For, we are all artists. How can we be happy without creating a few sketches of our own in our life? We need not just hold the pencil and run it in a line. We must make our own mountains and rivers and trees and birds and sing and dance while doing so. For, like Nature, life too, smells sweet, when the first rains disturb a busy day taking all of life’s barrenness away. n