For the last 5 years Rohit wanted to go to an onsite assignment from his company. Today when he got an opportunity, he does not want to go anymore. He does not feel the need any more to go. Why? Because, whenever he thinks about going, face of his newly born son comes to his mind – and he does not want to miss being together with him. It is a classic case of changing priorities. And I think there is nothing wrong in it. What appears important today, may not appear important enough tomorrow. So what do we do with this learning? Let us not be rigid about anything – this can be a good lesson.
One of the truths of life is that no goal is permanent. We all are taught in the childhood and younger days to be ‘focused’ towards our ‘goals’. But most of those ‘goals’ are not ‘our’ goals to begin with – those are the goals which our parents, family members and society have decided for us. When we are young, no one cares about what we want – because they don’t trust our instincts – and hence they write prescriptions for us based on what they think is best for us. But sometimes we get so much used-to with this prescriptive mode of decision making, that we waste a large part of our life in fulfilling others’ dreams rather than our own. Some of us even forget that we could have our own dreams.
Relationships are the most difficult stuff in this world. Because it is one area where you don’t have individual control over it – you depend on the other person or persons for doing anything. Sometimes I feel that to find someone who goes on nicely with you – is such a rare thing in this world! The other person need not be like you, or think like you, or do things the manner in which you would do it too, but that person’s thinking, way of doing things and being makes you ‘complete’ and ‘content’ – and that I think is the ultimate test of compatibility.
Even in the matters of relationships, I think our society has taken the easier path. They tend to find ‘equality’ most of the time – which may not be the same as ‘compatibility’. Most of the social conventions and norms are made with ‘simplicity’ and ‘practicality’ in mind, not specifically efficiency and effectiveness. This can be understood because it would not be possible for society to determine and guess things are a micro level. And hence they made rules at a macro level. It is up to us to remind us of these limitations while imitating what society has framed for us without customizing it according to our needs or situations.
The most unfortunate thing in life would be to lead a long life lived on others’ terms. For life is often judged by its outcomes and not on its insides or content – which again is due to limitations in social control. I think we ourselves are the best judges on our lives. There is no one else who knows us and our situations better than us; and hence it would not be possible for others to judge us and our life.
This is one subject where thinking and talking does not help. Everyone is constrained by a numerous things and hence for us to expect the other person to act or react in a particular fashion would be a wrong thing to do. But where does this leave us in the matter of relationships where we are forced to depend on the other person for its success? A lot of people either go into a shell or end up breaking the cord when faced with an intolerable prospect. It would be harsh to judge them – a principle we made and must follow. So where does it lead us to – can we conclude anything on relationships?
I think where it leads me to is the realization that it is a matter of great luck that we come across the ‘right’ person or persons. Having once found such persons, it is our responsibility to tread cautiously and ‘protect’ the relationship. But here again, it gets tricky. As someone said – relationships are like holding sand in our fist – if we put pressure, it escapes from the gaps of our fingers and if we hold on it too softly – it again is lost. So all that is in our control is to try and hope for the best.
So does Lord Krishna’s teaching on Karma comes best to our rescue? To do best that is in our hand and to leave the results to the Supreme? Well, it may be unexpected but it indeed seems so…
- Rahul Tiwary