First of all, please listen to this question. “Who is the biggest fool in this world?”
As soon as you heard the question, a smile blossomed on your lips, isn’t? Now just listen to the answer.
“You and me. I and you. Means all human beings.”
If you fully agree to this, then please realize that you are no more a fool. Otherwise….
Only human beings feel envy when another human being gets some benefit. And this envy eats him from within, damaging his health and mind.
Is it not acute foolishness?
It is only human beings who cheat another. He does not see anything wrong in cheating another human being, sometimes just for a temporary, negligible benefit.
You may now ask: “How can you brand it as foolishness?”
We take it as granted that getting something will make us happy for ever. But when we get it, we realize that it brings only a temporary pleasure and not perpetual happiness. Throughout life, we realize this and yet many of us are prepared even to cheat others for such flimsy benefits. And the negative reaction of it will spread within the mind of the deceiver like poison. And we all know the action of poison on body and mind. But we never realize? We do not even know that hiding a truth will not destroy it. Truth will have to, and will, come out in the open, sooner or later.
Are we not fools? A society with many many fools as members of it.
Have you ever seen an animal, which deceive another animal or man? Maybe there are, but only in man-made stories.
Forget about cheating others. Man even cheats himself!
Now let me tell you a story.
It is a story from the olden days. Many people were taking bath in a holy river chanting various names of God. It was early morning and the water was ice-cold. It was a holy day and the belief was that whoever took bath in the river at that time will get salvation (reach God).
Then a sage happened to pass through that way. Now, a sage is a man who has crossed the foolish-nesses of life. He went straight to God and said:
“God, didn’t you see those people who chant your names and take bath in the cold river with the only desire to reach you, leaving everything. Why not you call them to you?”
God said: “You are right. Now you do one thing. Bring them all here.”
The sage returned and said to all of them. “See, God is very happy at all of you and has sent me to show you the way to reach him.”
Now you may be thinking that the news made all of them very happy. Right?
Wrong. When the news was announced, pandemonium broke out there. Many people ran away from there and many of them were crying: “Oh, God. What did you do to me...?” And some of them were saying to the sage that they cannot leave home at present because they have to make food for the children and have to send them to school/they have to arrange for the marriage of their daughters/their children are very small and they have to bring them up/parents are bed-ridden etc.
Now you may be thinking that everyone of them withdrew giving such lame excuses. No. Some of them were determined and they walked ahead with the sage.
After some time the sage said: “Now we have to cross a forest. There are wild animals in the forest. But they will not attack you because you are going to God.”
Hearing him, almost half of them withdrew. “Why should we take unnecessary risk?”
The sage walked ahead with the remaining people. After some time, they reached a small village.
“It is here where the beautiful apsaras (minor goddesses who entertain small gods) live.”
No sooner than he said it that almost every one of them, except some very old ones, stopped their journey. “Why should we need salvation, if we can live with these beautiful apsaras?”
The sage felt disappointed, but he controlled it soon and moved ahead with the remaining people. And they reached another place.
It was a very beautiful, vast garden. Innocent animals like stag and deer and hare and rabbits were everywhere. There were beautiful flowers all over the place and their sweet fragrance filled the air. The trees bore tasty fruits and they moved the branches in such a way as if inviting the passengers to eat the fruits. Chirping of small birds covered the atmosphere like a divine music. An innocent brook flowed through the centre of the garden and the sound of its flow echoed in their ears like a beautiful, sweet melody from heaven.
“This is enough. We will live here. Here is the end of our journey.” Said all of them together and sat down.
The sage moved ahead alone and reached God.
“What happened?” Asked God. The monk bent his head.
“They did not…” The sage could not complete the sentence.
“I knew it. Do you think I will not bring them here, if they had sincerely called me at least once?”
Is it not self-deception?
In every life, there are more sorrows and less pleasure. At least we think so. Now let us see the reason for this situation? What makes us sorrowful?
The present is like a straight line with no width. It just enters from future and exit to the past. Then where we will search for the root of all sorrows? It can either be in the future or in the past. Future is non-predictable and the past is dead and gone.
When that is the fact, why should we be sorry? The experienced sorrows have already merged in the past and the future sorrows too will melt into the past within no time. Just keep the mind and intelligence and body concentrated on the straight line-like present and then see what happens. Life will be peaceful. But we cannot do so. Always we bear the burdens of sorrow and anxiety from the past and future. No other animal is so foolish, I think. To them, past is past and future is future.
Now listen to something more interesting. The length and breadth of this earth is limited. And it is also a fact that whoever takes birth here will have to live here and die here. This earth belongs to all. The ocean and fire and air and sky belong to all. These cannot be of one person. Yet we say that a particular portion of earth belongs to one person and nobody has any right on it, as if earth is an object which we can take anywhere we want to take. A thing can be owned by a person, only if he has the right to move it or take it anywhere he likes. The chair in our office is ours only till we sit on it. Once transferred, we have to leave it. Why? Because in reality, it does not belong to anyone of us, but to the office. Just like that, a portion of planet Earth too cannot be of anyone in particular. But we do not realize even this simple fact!
Once upon a time there was a drunkard, who was the personification of all sorts of evils. He knew nothing else except to beat his wife and little children and to take away their hard-earned meagre income. The children were so afraid of him that they used to spend the day-time below a mango tree in the compound. During some nights also, they sat and slept below the tree for fear of their father. The tree helped them so much that at least three months during a year, they subsisted mainly on its fruits. It was not only a tree to them, it was their God.
One day the drunkard died and his corpse was to be burnt. There were other trees, even other mango trees, in the compound, but the people cut down that mango tree. His wife and children were crying, thinking that it was their duty. But nobody felt that it was their duty to save the tree. Probably the children might have cried in their minds for the tree.
Now what should we call it? Foolishness or something else?
The effort to learn the secrets of nature is definitely admirable. And with hard work and determination, we have learnt many hidden facts. But how we utilize the knowledge?
In the olden days, there was a man, whom everyone took as mad. Every day he had only one work. To push a very heavy stone towards the top of a hill with great difficulty and then to kick at it, to make it plummet down to the bottom of the hill. And to chortle with amusement.
Was he really mad?
I don’t think so. He was just showing us the limitless-ness of human folly.
After so many years of hard work, we had learnt the secret of atomic power.
But how did we utilize this worthwhile knowledge in the beginning? To make bombs. Using this knowledge, we made bombs, capable of killing thousands of people in no time, capable of spreading various diseases, capable of achieving anything destructive to life on this earth. To make use of this knowledge for a good cause was also possible. But we did not do that. After all, fools dream of wisdom only in the end. They are unable to think in time about good and evil.
We have no qualms about hiding and hoarding too much wealth with ourselves, while it can be utilized for the well-being of a lot of people. And the greatest joke is that many of us cannot even take a tasty meal, as we suffer from various diseases! Yet we keep the wealth with us. In so many cases, even our siblings cannot utilize the hoarded wealth, as they will be living and working elsewhere, earning more than enough for their livelihood. What a joke? Not only joke, but acute foolishness! And there are girls, with so much costly ornaments on their bodies at the time of marriage, making it impossible to them to stand erect due to the weight of it. And after marriage, they keep it in lockers, never taking them out again during their lives. Their parents or they themselves could very well have given some of it or all of it to some poor girls as a gift. But they won’t do so, neither the husbands suggest it. After all, they have to keep up their negative quality, isn’t it?
People spend a lot on marriages of their children, as if such extravaganza will ensure a happy married life to the children. We cannot even understand the meaning of the old saying: “SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL”. We do not even realize that it is the harmony of the relationship which is important and excess display of wealth will create competition, hampering the pleasant and free growth of relationship. Piteous indeed. Is it not? We don’t even know that peace is in silence and not in hullabaloo.
Enough. Now let us open our eyes and ears and mind and look and see around and understand what is wise and what is foolishness. Let us understand what is meant by happiness.
It is not a difficult job. Let us reverse our thought process.
A storm made a tree fall across a small path. Just by stooping a little, anyone could have crossed the hindrance, without any difficulty. But if a man try to cross it by climbing above the fallen trunk and then jumping down? Apart from being difficult, it may at times be harmful too. But that is what we are doing in the name of living.
Let us see life from the opposite angle. It is so simple to make our lives a pleasant experience, provided we read it from top to bottom and not from bottom to top.
KRISHNAN KUTTY NAIR