The key to living happily is to be willing to experience Life in its myriad forms.
A young actor I met the other day wanted to know why we can never understand Life. He asked me, “The spiritual path excites me, but I am not sure it offers us an explanation that can be reasonably, logically understood. So, is Life really a mystery or is it a scientific process?”
The answer is that it is neither. It is a grand experience made up of several million experiences.
As the famous song sung by Kishore Kumar from ‘Safar’ (1970, Asit Sen, Indeevar, Kalyanji Anandji) goes: “Zindagi Ka Safar…Hai Yeh Kaisa Safar…Koi Samjha Nahin…Koi Jaana Nahin…” It means, “what kind of a journey this is, of Life, it is so inscrutable…” So, surely, the debate will rage on, on what Life is. But that debate’s immaterial to the reality that Life will go on, giving each of us myriad experiences in our lifetimes.
The Greek word ‘philosophy’ means love of knowledge. From an ancient Indian point of view, we have not used the word ‘philosophy’ much. Here, we seek ‘darshan‘ or we attempt to ‘see’, to awaken in realization, to the truth of being part of a larger whole. To scientists, Life is about conquest, about unraveling and controlling, replicating the method behind what is; to philosophers it is about reasoning the mystery of what is. Spiritual insight implores us to know that because there is, something, a whole, that there is a conquest possible or a mystery surrounding it exists! Ultimately, all disciplines teach us to learn and evolve from, in and through Life.
Interestingly, I was among the audience yesterday at a conversation centered around Akshay Manwani’s biography on poet and songwriter Sahir Ludhianvi (1921~1980). Yesterday also was Dev Anand’s death anniversary. As I write this blogpost, the song that Sahir wrote for Dev saab in Hum Dono (1961, Amarjeet/Vijay Anand, Jaidev, Mohd. Rafi) comes to mind: “Mein Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya, Har Phikr Ko Dhuein Mein Udaata Chala Gaya…” It means, “I just went with the flow of Life, letting go of my worries…” I am told that Dev saab retained this song as his Life’s anthem till he passed on in 2011. It can be yours too. It’s a beautiful reminder that the key to living happily is to be open and willing to experience Life in its myriad forms – good-bad, bitter-sweet, bright-dark, summer-winter, ups-downs, happy-sad, bliss-sorrow – and to go on experiencing it. The more we experience Life, and the more we accept and learn from each experience, the more it becomes easier and simpler to live. It is because we resist some experiences that we suffer. Life is like the beautiful, seductive, bountiful ocean. Each experience we go through is like a wave; it may perhaps be right to say a wave has ended by crashing on the shore, but it also marks the beginning of a new one. And that’s why the ocean of Life itself remains inscrutable, magnificent and infinite!
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