Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Reflections 1

Following are some of my short writings, which due to their format, could not be devoted separate pages. I had earlier posted them in series form on my Facebook page: Amit's Notebook. This is the first part.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Is It That Important?

I propose that for one full year, all newspapers should change their emblems. Even the electronic media could do the same. All of them would have the same emblem -- a skull and two bones -- the usual representation of death. Let all people wake up in the morning, and before opening themselves to their daily dose of news and analysis come face to face with the skull, be reminded every morning of the inevitability of their end. All is going to end, all are going to end. In the conclusion, all is either ash or dust. Nothing else matters. That puts everything in perspective -- whatever news or analysis they read or hear in the next one hour, or may be rest of the day. Do any person’s opinion, habits, customs, caste, religion, political views, language really matter when all of us are, all the time, in the jaws of death? We tend to think that we are on a long, never-ending journey, and that the world and everything that it has to offer us, would forever remain so. So we spread ourselves, paying attention to each and every minor detail -- faults, mistakes, errors -- that should not have been there. Instead of brushing it off with a ‘Never mind, take care that you don’t repeat it’, we feed it, fuel it -- not for a moment offering solutions, for which we are certainly not capable or qualified enough -- creating mountains out of molehills. Most of the events or incidents happening around us do not carry any weight or importance at all; they are given demonic sizes and proportions only by the attention provided by us. Unfortunately, this way several other more important issues get eclipsed, sidelined. So let us remember death always; in every moment of our lives recall that -- ‘You too shall die’. Let us live our lives backwards -- starting from the end -- providing our attention and strength to the issues that are really important by the yardstick of time, and brush aside things that are not. After all, in the end, it is all either dust or ash.

photo credit: Light symphony via photopin (license)

Friday, 6 November 2015

Let's Be Lazy!


I expect the bones of an individual to be stronger and in better condition than the rest of the body constituents. How less effort is involved in vitamin D intake! Just lie down in the sun. You do not have to work out, sweat out, not even make the little effort of eating. Just keep lying there. If anyone tries to agitate you, rebuke you, and interrupt you in your occupation and urges you to do something else that is considered to be more important, you may simply protest -- 'Can't you see? I am making my bones stronger!'

There is a short story by Saki where the protagonist yearns for a life like that of a flower, which 'keeps sitting at one place for the whole day doing nothing except just looking beautiful'.

Lethargy has its importance, which is not generally recognised. It is a sort of social service -- our little contribution towards bringing peace and order to society. Elsewhere I have observed that the empty minds with no occupations could indulge in any type of destructive activity. Hence, by not doing anything, by not moving at all, we are keeping ourselves from contributing in any way to the prevailing social disorder. It is not a small achievement, my friend, people should understand and appreciate us. Further, given that our bones are now stronger by such a modest intake of vitamin D, our impact would have been highly disastrous. It has never been easy for the human beings to lead a disciplined and constrained life. Martial arts and Yoga try to help people in controlling themselves, and bringing their bodies under their own control. But with how much trouble and effort! And look at our efficiency --  with so less effort we have achieved the same goal of utter tranquility and cessation of thought!

Once I read in a book on computer programming that in order to become a good programmer, a person needs to be lazy, very very lazy. The teacher argued that only in that case the programmer would find ways to reduce the task involved and to get rid of the work as soon as possible. That involves writing good scripts for routine, intensive, and boring tasks. After reading the arguments presented, I started wondering whether it applies to other fields also other than computer programming, and whether laziness in fact increases or reduces efficiency and work output.

I asked a student what does he do when he does not feel like studying or working. His answer was simple -- ‘Youtube’. And he explained how intense an activity it was -- ‘...to search for videos, to sit or lie at one place hour after hour, doing nothing except breathing, and having nothing to eat except chips and biscuits. You can call it a spiritual exercise of a different kind. But then videos started coming in several parts, and the viewer was required to search and open the next part after every 15 minutes. Also, for full length videos, one had to get up and skip the ad. Of course, I could have allowed it to play if it was interesting. But during election time, it gets annoying. And there is no variety. Now I should search for other avenues. Don't smile Sir! It is a very demanding exercise, not all people are able to do it. In my opinion, there can be no better exercise for the eyes and the fingers’.

His friend added -- ‘For me it is not so intensive. I mean, I do not make so much effort for searching content. In this way, one step -- the most elaborate one -- is removed. I just open youtube and click whatever comes up. And I let it play -- whatever and however it be. Nothing else matters, as long as something is moving on the screen’.

One of my acquaintances returned from a conference. I asked him for his experiences and the sort of time he had there. ‘Very nice. Did nothing, nothing at all. Kept leaning on a sofa at the foyer, and watched the delegates. Did just that for 4 days. I was not doing anything. Not even thinking anything’. Now, my friend, that is called infinite bliss. That is the epitome of all happiness that the whole humanity is chasing.

When the weather is sultry, have you observed the stillness of trees, their leaves? In what a perfect state of tranquility and order they are! Only a mild perturbation of a light breeze would move them, otherwise ages would pass and they won’t even make the slightest movement. And what supreme beauty they possess -- artists from all countries and cultures, since time immemorial, have been trying hard to replicate that perfect state of serenity and immobility.

Newton told us -- ‘I won’t move unless you push me’. This is inertia, the first and the most fundamental law of mechanics. Inertia is thus inherent in human nature and personality. That is the only real philosophy. When someone asks you to know your real self, and realise your true nature, they are in fact asking you to be lethargic, totally and completely lazy. And if anyone asks you to shed away that momentary pleasure and take up some assignment that would definitely make you perspire and smell, then understand well that you are being asked to work against your real nature. It is for you to decide which way do you choose to go.

Disclaimer:- Practise lethargy at your own risk. While you cherish the pleasure of the moment, and look forward to that blissful state, be well-informed of its effect on your physical, mental, and spiritual degradation.

photo credit: lazy sunday via photopin (license)