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          Thursday, December 14, 2017

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This column is an eclectic mix of articles drawn from Ayurveda, mind-body medicine, yoga, spirituality, contemporary research, ancient Indian culture and timeless treasure of Vedic legacy.


The Illusion of Loss

It was on a busy New Delhi intersection that this cute boy of maybe 13 years approached me with a couple of books in hand. I was waiting for the red signal to turn green for a right turn. “Books Sir,” he said, of course pleading with me to buy one. Such boys and grown up men are commonplace on Delhi roads selling the Indian editions or pirated versions of the best-selling international titles.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, being much talked about in the Indian media, attracted me and I asked the price. “Rupees one-hundred-and-twenty-five,” he said and added “le lo Sir,” meaning ‘buy it please.’ “Seventy rupees,” I tried to negotiate hoping that he would go up somewhere to 90. Much to my surprise, he didn’t, but agreed instantly. “Ok,” he said, and as I would reach out to money in my wallet, the light turned green, and all cars behind me honked feverishly. While the boy was losing the deal and I was losing the Monk, one thing was establishing itself firmly – the whole of mankind is trying to race through life even though 80 percent of the same may actually have nothing worthwhile to do.

I moved ahead and in the meantime saw in my rearview mirror the boy appearing to go as much farther behind me. Something stopped me at the other side as I turned right. It was probably an intuition that the boy would try to catch up with me, and also a guilt that I couldn’t hand over the money to him that I had promised. A couple of minutes later I could spot the boy crossing the road, and I was delighted to see him run towards where I had parked, the Monk dangling in his small hands ravaged by a bad twist in his destiny. But that is the result of karma – of his own past life, and that of his mother and father, which we may talk about in this column next time.

“The Book Sir,” he said, gasping for a long breath. “Ok, ok, no problem,” I said and couldn’t help but come out of my car, hold him towards myself while asking him to relax. His eyes had moistened by now, which seemed to me was by tears that his physiology might be refusing to shed anymore. Clearly, the boy had lost his childhood, with the innocence on his face having been replaced by a layer of roadside smoke and dust. As I took the Monk and he took the money, I was compelled to think how big or small was my own loss, whatever it was, as compared to his.

Some of us lose the beginning, like this boy has; and some of us lose the end, like an average middle class person or a businessman would. Either way, loss throws us to deep anguish, pain and grief, which, it should not. If we cling to the grief, we lose the whole of our visible and invisible existence, but if we don’t, each loss offers another opportunity. Grief brings maturity in mind. Maturity leads to enlightenment. If we refuse to mature, we cease to learn. If we cease to learn, we cease to grow. And if we cease to grow, we lose the whole.

There is nothing in this world that is permanent. So there is actually nothing in this world that you are not bound to lose as a result of its natural decay. Even life itself. Is it permanent? We are bound to lose what we are attached to anyway when we lose life, so does it hold any meaning to wail over our loss? Bhagwat Gita mentions this clearly:

“What’s it
that you came with
to this earth?
And what’s it
that you’ll go back with?”




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