None of us deserves anything more than all that we have. Seriously!
Yesterday was a long day. We were having legal issues to deal with, followed by a potential business opportunity being explored, then meeting with someone who will be a guest on one of the live events Vaani and I curate and finally having to explain ourselves – over the inability to repay money we owed him – to a creditor. Eight hours of meetings that were spread across different parts of Chennai. Phew! When we got home, I settled down for a quick throwback to my kind of music, from Hindi Cinema of the 50s ~ 80s, on Raina Beeti Jaaye on Sony Mix.
Last night it was a Madan Mohan special. And it was magical! As Lata Mangeshkar sang Lag Jaa Gale from Woh Kaun Thi? (1964, Raj Khosla, Madan Mohan, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, Sadhana, Manoj Kumar), I could feel my fatigue dissolve and my spirits soar!
Show anchors Sumeet Raghavan and Akriti Kakar kept filling us in on trivia related to the great composer. But what caught my attention was the fact that Madan Mohan had died a heart-broken man, at 51, in 1975, because he had felt that the world didn’t recognize him as much as he thought he had deserved. He died of liver cirrhosis having taken to drinking heavily. I found this genius’ story very heart-rending.
Why do we expect Life to reward us with fame, wealth, adulation and recognition? Why can’t we simply use the opportunity of this lifetime to offer what we have, within us, to the world, to leave it a better place than we found it? Why must we expect and then suffer when our expectations go unmet?
Simply, expectations – of any sort, from anyone – bring agony. All human suffering is rooted in our desire that our Life must be different from what it is. I think if we remove our desires, our expectations, from the scene, Life is a wholesome opportunity to be blissful. Each of us is blessed with a bliss, which when we follow, we will be unconditionally happy, despite the circumstances we are placed in.
Among all the emotional issues a human being grapples with, when trying to seek inner peace and happiness, the principal debilitator is self-pity. It is your desire to stake claim for what you believe you deserve, that makes you brood, that makes you compare yourself with another, that makes you feel jealous and that makes you look outside for external validation and recognition. Osho, the Master, says self-pity is the highest form of ego. And as long as you don’t dissolve your ego, you can never be. And if you can’t just be, you will never be happy.
Whether it is Madan Mohan or me, or you, no one escapes this desire for deservance. It strikes everyone. But some people do rise above this desire. This is where embracing the witness state is very helpful.
I have gone through this process of catharsis and awakening, so I speak from personal experience. I have craved for attention, adulation and recognition too. And whenever I didn’t get it, I always suffered. I hated it, of course, when I suffered. So, it was my suffering that led me to seek ways to get rid of it. I found that the only way to be non-suffering in Life is to be expectation-less. I learnt, through Osho’s perspectives, to master the art of being a witness of my own Life. If you are an observer, you are engaged enough to report, to analyze. But as a witness, there’s no engagement; a witness is just seeing what’s going on. When you are a witness, you don’t expect anything, so you don’t suffer.
In that state, I discovered that each of us is special and is filled with a unique music, a personal signature tune if you like. And all we must do in this lifetime is to offer that music in us wholesomely to the world. Period. Someone’s a great cricketer, someone’s a wonderful gardener, someone’s an outstanding chef, someone’s a brilliant writer, someone’s an inspired teacher…so each one’s music has to play, to heal the world, to make it a better place. That’s the only reason why you and I are created on this planet. So simply offer yourself, selflessly, and quietly go away when your number is called. Seeking deservance is wasteful and self-destructive. You already have, and you only get, what Life believes you truly deserve. Even so, while on this human journey if some fame, wealth, reward and recognition comes your way, accept it humbly, acknowledging to yourself that you are but a messenger, a delivery channel. The music in you belongs to the world and all the credit for it therefore belongs to the Higher Energy that created both you and this world!
When you live your Life this way, offering yourself selflessly, without seeking deservance, you can only be non-suffering, you can only be happy.