To avoid suffering – simply let go!

We all resist and grieve when things__or people or opportunities__get taken away from us. Actually, what has to happen will happen – so why cling on to what’s being taken away from you and create so much suffering for yourself in the bargain?
Sunita Naik: Pic Courtesy: Shailesh Bhatia, India Today
I read the moving story of journalist-turned-editor-turned-millionaire-turned-pauper-turned-destitute Sunita Naik, 65, last week. A former editor of the Marathi magazine Grihalaxmi, Naik had at one time, just over a decade ago, two apartments in prime locations in Mumbai, cars, a good, steady income and a solid cash reserve. She is single and does not have anyone in the world. Then, over the years, she lost her job, got into debt, had to sell off her apartments, and live off the interest her cash reserve was generating each month. However, someone known to her, under the pretext of helping her with her banking work swiped her accounts clean, leaving Naik penniless. Evicted from her rented house in Thane, Naik came to the streets. She took refuge on the pavement outside a gurudwara in Versova and lived there for a few months with her pet dog, Sashi. A Mid-Day reporter bumped into her one day and ran her story in the paper. People pitied with her. But few showed active interest in helping her. She was not begging. She was just homeless and penniless. Finally, a compassionate couple, Christine and Gregory Misquitta offered her shelter in their home. They love dogs so Sashi found a home too!
This story, of course, reminds us yet again of the fickle and fragile nature of Life. But I also learned from Sunita’s story that she displayed a great sense of “let-go”. She seemed to be in great acceptance of the whatever was happening to her Life – whether it was a career-high at one time or numbing penury and homelessness at another! And things did happen to her – just the way they had to, right up to good folks, the Misquittas, taking her home!
A prime cause of suffering in our lives is that we resist whatever we dislike. But whatever’s happening to you does not pause to enquire whether you like it or not. It just happens. So, when you can’t prevent whatever’s happening, the best way forward is to stop wanting to and trying to control it. Simply let go. And let things happen! Irrespective of what you believe or think, whatever happens, eventually happens for your good __ every single time!
On this Gokulashtami, Sri Krishna’s birthday, revisiting the Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, can, I believe, have a calming, uplifting effect on you – no matter what you are dealing with currently!
Whatever happened, it happened well.

Whatever is happening, it is happening well.

Whatever will happen, it will also happen well.
What of yours did you lose?
Why or for what are you crying?
What did you bring with you, for you to lose it?
What did you create, for it to be wasted or destroyed?
Whatever you took, it was taken from here.
Whatever you gave, it was given from here.
Whatever is yours today, will belong to someone else tomorrow.
On another day, it will belong to yet another.
This change is the Law of the Universe.

To be compassionate is being human

If there’s something you want to learn in Life, learn to be compassionate.Compassion is the purest form of love. When you have something to offer, something to give – out of a deep understanding of the other’s predicament or need, out of purely being human, without really worrying about what’s in it for you! When you pity someone, you don’t really understand that person’s situation. You merely feel an emotion that makes you feel superior than the one that you are pitying – which is, in a way, you feel subconsciously good within you that you are mercifully not in that person’s shoes. Compassion, on the other hand, helps you relate to the other person and gets you to see the world from that person’s situation and act from that reference point!
Devi, Sharma, Khan, Azmi – Being Human!
Pic Courtesy: The Indian Express
This morning’s papers in India have led with the story of two women who offered their kidneys to each other’s husbands in order to save their lives. These women are as disparate as you can find any two – age-wise, social-strata wise, education-wise, income-group-wise and religion-wise. Yet they reached out to each other and in the name of humanity offered to help each other. Fitraus Azmi, in her 20s, from Aurangabad, gave her kidney to save the Life of Uma Devi’s (in her 40s) husband, Devaki Nandan Sharma (52), who hails from Patna. And Devi, in turn, gave her kidney to Azmi’s husband, Mohammed Akhtar Khan, 29. The entire operation, in fact four of them, has been successful and has given the two men another lifeline from the acute renal failure situation that both were faced with. In a world where religion divides people, here compassion has brought them together. And how!
I am reminded of what Osho, the Master, has once said: “In compassion, you simply give. In love, you are thankful because the other has given something to you. In compassion, you are thankful because the other has taken something from you. You are thankful because the other has not rejected you. You had come with energy to give, you had come with many flowers to share, and the other allowed you, the other was receptive.”
Giving compassionately, contrary to popular sentiment, is not at all difficult. Though many will submit that getting rid of the what’s-in-it-for-me question is well impossible. To get over that limiting thought, to scale that hurdle, remember these (relevant) words from the Gita Saram (Essence of The Bhagavad Gita):
“…What did you bring with you, for you to lose it?

What did you create, for it to be wasted or destroyed?

Whatever you took, it was taken from here.

Whatever you gave, it was given from here.
Whatever is yours today, will belong to someone else tomorrow.
On another day, it will belong to yet another.
This change is the Law of the Universe.”

To be liberated, therefore, be compassionate, be human – give freely!

You are here to just play well and enjoy yourself

Don’t let either success or failure touch you. Accept that everything is impermanent, transient. When you live, work and play with this perspective deeply embedded in you, in your subconscious, you will perform best __ in whatever is your chosen field!

Last night, at the post-match presentation ceremony of the IPL (Indian Premier League, a top-draw T20 cricket tournament) in Chennai, Chennai Super Kings’ strike bowler, Dwayne Bravo, was invited by the anchor of the presentation party, Sanjay Manjrekar, to receive the Purple Cap. The Purple Cap is given to the highest wicket taker in the tournament. In IPL 6, the Purple Cap is being closely contested for by Sunil Narine, Vinay Kumar, Mitchell Johnson and Bravo. After last night’s match, the Purple Cap returned to Bravo, whose tally of wickets then stood at 24 this season.

Dwayne Bravo: No attachment to the Purple Cap
While presenting it to him, Manjrekar asked Bravo: “Did you imagine that this season you would be sporting the Purple Cap?”

Bravo replied with his trademark, genial, West Indian, swagger and beaming smile: “Not really. I just wanted to play good cricket. I did. And the Almighty Lord took care of the rest. I know this is with me today, as it has been a few times this tournament. And I know it will go away from me if someone takes more wickets than me. I am perfectly fine with that. It’s mine today. It may be with someone else tomorrow. I am here to just play well and enjoy myself.”

Bravo’s simple, down-to-earth philosophy inspired me. And so here I am sharing it.

Let’s understand and appreciate that we are all here on this planet to simply play our lives’ parts well and enjoy ourselves. And we can do that by choosing not to cling on to anything. Success and failure are both events. They occur as a culmination of effort. Either our own or of others. When an event occurs, it also ends. For instance, with daybreak, an event, daybreak is over. With a sunset, an event, the sunset is over. With a victory, an event, the victory is over. With a loss, an event, the loss is over. It is when we take an event and make it a label and wear it on ourselves, is when we suffer. Because both success and failure are impermanent and transient. In a moment, they both have become the past. Clinging on to the past is never wisdom. Being aware of this truth, accepting, as the Gita Saram (the essence of the Bhagavad Gita) says, that what is yours today will be someone else’s tomorrow and another’s the day after, is what intelligent living is all about.

When you live this way__playing your part well and enjoying yourself__you live freely. Without any shackles. That’s when your inner spirit is drenched in joy and you, therefore, perform best __ as if, like Bravo, you were on a song!