- Religion and Philosophy
Joys of narrow mindedness
Thank God we are petty minded!
Thank God we indulge in pettiness: we routinely squabble over pieces of land, over my-religion-versus-your-religion, my-culture-versus-your-culture & so on. And we should thank God for that.
All this pettiness keeps us preoccupied. It keeps us distracted from more sinister, more forbidding facts of life.
How many people would rather like to be reminded of the fact that they are going to die one day leaving all good & nice things they see around them behind? No shopping malls, no jewellery, no yachts, no scuba diving , no TV serials. None of our hard earned riches are going to matter the moment we cease to exist. How many people would want to be reminded that as we are slowly inching towards our graves, the earth, the Sun & pretty much everything else is inching towards its own doom ? And the fact that the climate is steadily , albeit slowly, getting warmer? The sun is burning itself out, the galaxies are spreading themselves thin, everything else is really wearing itself out. One fine morning there would be no earth . Another morning there would be no sun- and hence no morning! As our earth spins round its axis & the revolves round the Sun, it dodges- and nearly misses- a lot of celestial debris which has the capacity to wipe all of us out of existence.
Isn’t it better we get up cheerfully each morning thinking about all the tricks we would adopt through the day to bed our neighbour’s wife? Or the misdemeanours we are ready to commit to buy a fancier apartment or a fancier car than our neighbour ? Isn’t the fulfilment of petty but innumerable desires a blessing in disguise to keep us from killing ourselves ? This is summed nicely by an Urdu poet known for his melancholic outpourings :
Hazaaroon khwahishien aisi ki har khwahish be dam nikle,
bahut nikle mere armaan lekin phir bhi kam nikle....
( Innumerable and intense desires seldom get fulfilled
As each fulfilled desire brings forth a fresh one.....)
Desire, says Buddha, is root cause of all pain ,anguish & Dukkha (suffering). I have my own doubts. Our small fulfilments, our petty desires keep us going. These keep us from getting insane . Otherwise our existence , meaningless as it is, does not seem to matter at all- neither to us nor to anyone around us. (Someone was utterly succinct when she wrote an epitaph for herself : First I was not , then I was & now I aint again. The underlying point being, what if I ‘was’ not? )
Our ephemeral existence grants us no mercy, makes no promises to us other than evil, dark ones. Howsoever careful we are , we can hardly escape the insalubrities Life would bestow on us. The promises of afterlife are rather feeble and somewhat doubtful. That leaves us with little choice but to eat, live and ignore all that even remotely hints about the ‘ultimate purpose’ of our flower-like fugacious existence.