It is to live dangerously that we have been created!
Ever since senior journalist and TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai asked Tennis ace Sania Mirza that question about ‘settling down and motherhood’ a couple of days ago, the question itself is being seen as an affront to gender equality. I believe going forward this question will be categorized as one among those that we must never ask a woman. I don’t disagree.
Further, while I believe that the entire argument in favor of ‘settling down’, if at all, must be gender neutral, I prefer to campaign for avoiding the very argument.
Anxious parents and a ‘holier-than-thou’ society define ‘settling down’ as ‘having an income, saving money, creating material assets, raising a family and begetting children’. It’s a simple thumb rule that the world expects you to conform to – “if you have attained adulthood, necessarily, you shall earn money, marry, buy a house and procreate”. If you notice, in the popular notion or context of ‘settling down’, no one talks about ‘being happy’. Which is why I find this ‘settling down’ discourse sinful.
I believe we are missing the moot point here. The reason we have been created – to be sure, each of us has been born without our asking to be born; that’s incontrovertible evidence that we have been created – is not to merely ‘earn a living’. We have been created human so that we can experience the beauty and magic of this ‘uncertain, inscrutable’ Life and be happy. Osho, the Master, says we have ruined this experience by building a social framework, partly financial, partly material, and wholesomely driven by our wants and expectations, around something that can never be boxed or contained. Life is free-flowing, it has a mind of its own. It is unpredictable. And every moment of living is like a bungee jump, a deep dive into the unknown. Into this deep dive, by introducing a pay check, we think we have stemmed the uncertainty and made the whole experience predictable. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Financial security is an illusion – it is human-made and so doesn’t conform to Life’s free spirit. Which is why, despite all the money you may have, you still can’t fix some quirky health situations, you can’t unentangle complex relationship issues, you can’t buy happiness, you can’t find inner peace or you just can’t get a good night’s sleep!
Osho encouraged us to dump the false comfort that financial security gave us. He invited us to embrace uncertainty and live dangerously. He called his point of view ‘the joy of living dangerously’. He championed for a Life beyond ‘earning a living’, beyond the ‘slaving-earning-saving-procreating’ paradigm. He invited people to be happy, doing whatever gave them happiness. Alan Watts, the British philosopher, invited us to choose the Life we want to live by first imagining what we would be doing in a world where money was not an object. Joseph Campbell, the American mythologist and author, beseeched us to follow our bliss. All their clarion calls asked of us to choose to be happy even if it meant being unsettled. Happiness above all else, was their mantra. I completely agree with all of them.
For reasons that I can never understand or explain beyond what I share daily, here on this Blog, or what I have shared in my Book ‘Fall Like A Rose Petal’ (Westland), Vaani and I have been ‘living dangerously’ for years now. We have no money and we have ceased to seek financial security. Yet we are not insecure, we are not unhappy and we are not spending all our time – or sleepless nights – worrying. In a purely worldly sense we have still not “settled down” – we have no income, no savings, no assets, no health or Life insurance and a mountain of debt to repay – yet Life goes on for us. Just as it goes on for so, so many “unsettled” people around us, all over the world. The common thread that links all of us “unsettled folks” is that perhaps through discovering the “joy of living dangerously” we have learnt the art of “living in the now, in the present moment”. Let me hasten to add that living “unsettled” is very, very challenging no doubt, but it is the adventure that is the reward here! Which is why, having tasted that adventure, and enjoyed the reward, we find that “settling down” is perhaps sinful – if ever anything is sinful!