You come with nothing. And you will go with nothing. Then, as Osho, the Master, asks, “Why all this drama in between?”
Social media is afire with the Ilayaraaja-SPB issue. Ilayaraaja’s attorney has served a legal notice on SPB restraining the renowned singer and his troupe from performing the music maestro’s compositions. SPB is currently touring the US as part of “SPB50 – a concert tour celebrating 50 years of SPB’s musical journey”. SPB, via his Facebook Page, has been dignified in not taking on Ilayaraaja; he has politely said that he will go by the law and respect the notice that he has been served. But social media has not been very considerate to Ilayaraaja. Most opinions are critical of Ilayaraaja’s action. They believe music is universal and by trying to regulate and control the use of his compositions, Ilayaraaja is likely to lose the halo around him and the aura around his body of work.
I believe there’s a deeper spiritual message for all of us here. If we examine ourselves and our attitude to our work, our Life, our possessions, each of us, in some way or the other, is behaving like Ilayaraaja is. There’s surely an Ilayaraaja in each of us. I come from the Osho school of thought. And hence this perspective.
Think about it. This whole lifetime of ours is spent in acquiring – from a name at birth to qualifications to wealth to patents to relationships to assets – only to leave behind everything, that is, “stuff”, that we cannot take with us, when leaving this planet. So, this way, living in a forever-acquiring-controlling-mode, we are completely missing the essence of Life! Our possessing, controlling, nature makes us feel miserable, insecure and causes all our suffering.
To be sure, you must never be serious about what you can never hold on to, what you have to lose any which way and what you can never save for use in another lifetime (as far as each of us experientially knows, there isn’t another lifetime; this is it!). So, there really is no point in being so serious about what you own, what you claim to be yours and what you want to fight for. Even this lifetime is a gift – you didn’t ask to be born, did you? Your birth, as a (well-ordained, well-endowed, in most cases) human, is your biggest, priceless, gift. (And yet, imagine, so many sweat or sulk over material birthday gifts that money can buy!!!) By fighting silly battles with people, and over issues that are inconsequential in the longer term of your definite-to-expire lifetime, you are squandering precious time.
Clearly, nobody takes anything with them when they depart. This is as much a certainty about our lives as death itself is.
I believe Ilayaraaja (and his effort to regulate the use of his much-loved compositions) is but a metaphor. We too are often clinging on to people, relationships, ideas, opinions, IPRs, property, money and what not. And through each act of clinging on, and with each avoidable battle we fight, we are suffering.
The only way to escape all that suffering is this: let go! Whatever you do, offer it to the Universe. Life expresses itself through you. Your art, whatever it is – just as music is to Ilayaraaja – is flowing through you. You are merely an instrument delivering it in this Universe. If you can internalize this perspective, and have it stay there, well, you will be eternally peaceful, blessed and happy!
Unless you “allow” someone to hurt you emotionally, you will never suffer.
Facebook reminded me yesterday, December 29th, that it was the fourth anniversary of a very painful incident in my Life. In the wee hours of that morning, after several rounds of drinks at a school reunion, I had prevented my chaddi-buddy from riding his two-wheeler back in a drunken state. Besides Vaani, I had a driver with me, so we offered to drop my friend home. He refused to take our advice and rode away. However, at the kerbside outside the club, where we had met, he was stopped by the cops. I saw him trying to deal with the cops. So I got down from the car and implored the cops not to allow him to drive back home in that state. The cops seized his vehicle. My friend slapped me in a rage of fury. And grumpily took an auto-rickshaw home. Later that day, without naming him, I posted on Facebook that people of my generation, with teenaged and young adult children, must avoid drinking and driving; we must set an example. Some of my class fellows took objection to my post as a. it washing school group linen in public and b. I was interfering with the personal Life and choice of my school buddy. I tried explaining my point in the school group. But I was shouted down. It was this post that Facebook threw up yesterday as a memory!
My friend, whose vehicle had been impounded, pinged me the next day saying that he had spent Rs.3500/- on getting it released. He said my ‘over-zealousness’ had, apart from causing him emotional hurt, apart from intruding on his privacy, also cost him a princely sum. There was not much money I had, we were struggling as much then as we are today, but I reached him Rs.3500/- to compensate for his financial loss.
That was the last I interacted with my friend. We did meet here and there; he would barely acknowledge my presence or disapprovingly look away. He also unfriended me on Facebook.
When I looked back at the incident after I re-read my old Facebook post, I smiled to myself. What a powerful lesson this painful episode had taught me! Which is to move on, to emotionally free myself from an incident and its fallout. This is how I have remained without suffering although the pain from it all sometimes comes back trying to stir my emotions – as it happened when the Facebook post resurfaced yesterday!
My experience with my friend may appear unique. But it is not.
People often do things to us because of how they see Life. We see Life differently so we don’t quite appreciate or agree with what they are saying or doing. The best way to deal with such situations and people is to simply move on. It may not always be possible for us to forget whatever has happened, but we can surely forgive ourselves and others for what happened. The more you cling on to a hurt, an insult, an abuse, a betrayal, the longer you will suffer. Interestingly, unless you “allow” someone to hurt you emotionally, you will never suffer. If you treat people with the view that everyone is entitled to their opinions and behaviors, you will never be emotionally disturbed no matter what people do to you. I am sure my friend had reasons for the way he saw the episode and my involvement in it. And I have my reasons. Through this experience I have learnt that, no matter what a context is, you must never “wish” you were treated better. It is this wishing that causes your suffering. And never really the person or the event that has upset you.
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