The more you think that Life happens because of you, the less you will see of Life’s magic and beauty!
I am often asked what have I learnt from this phase – our enduring bankruptcy – of my Life. And I always reply that I have been humbled by this phase, I have seen God through the compassion of so many fellow human beings, without whose selfless, spontaneous support Vaani and I wouldn’t be around today! I have learnt that I am a nobody – just a speck on the vast cosmic plane!
There was a time when I thought I was causing everything – my success, my fame and my wealth. But post-2007, as we grappled with imponderables – the bankruptcy and the ensuing pennilessness – and people just walked into our Life to help us – financially, emotionally, materially – I realized how wrong my whole thinking had been. I want to tell you that to be receiving help, and taking it, accepting it, from people can really be traumatic. It does not sit lightly ever. Your ego will hurt, you will find it being crushed like toilet paper and thrown away. After all won’t you feel like a worm if despite all your education, your work experience and your so-called intellect, you can’t get work and you have to depend on grants from people to meet your basic living expenses – your rent, electricity, phone and grocery bills? I struggled with this a lot until I learnt that you have to go with the flow; at different times in Life you have to go through different experiences. I spent over 10 years of my entrepreneurial Life as an employer, a giver, a benefactor. And I have now already spent the next 10 years as a receiver, a beneficiary. And I think both experiences are invaluable. The first experience made me believe that I was everything. The second experience has taught me that I am nothing.
I am reminded of an Urdu couplet by an unknown poet.
mita de apni hasti ko agar hazaar martaba chahe, ke dana mitti se mil kar hi gule gulzar hota hai!
It means let go of all your attachment to worldly possessions__including your ego, your desire for power and wealth__and allow yourself to be annihilated – to be razed to the ground. For only when a seed becomes dust, and is buried, does it germinate into a new plant!
So, I am very grateful to my bankruptcy for having cut me to size, for having humbled me. My only focus – and prayer – now is that somehow Vaani and I must claw our way back and turn around the business in due course and repay every single creditor of ours – with full interest due. Every morning we wake up in gratitude to the 179 Angels that we owe money to. We do our work diligently choosing to be unfrustrated by the results – which presently never quite add up in relation to our efforts.
I believe everyone should – and will – go through such an awakening, even if humbling, experience. And it need not necessarily be a bankruptcy. Any cathartic experience can awaken you. Without my experience I would have lived in my own delusion that my Life happened because of me. Now I live each moment with so much amazement, so much gratitude, so much joy. I live in total bliss because I see my God in the hearts and actions of all those who have helped us and who continue to help us!