We the inhabitants of planet Earth are not united by love, tolerance or humanity. We rarely share a mutual understanding of how kind or beautiful this world has been. And that is precisely because the world hasn’t been kind to us. In fact it has been cruel and unjust and insufferable to the point of self-annihilation.
So instead of shared love, we rejoice in shared pain!
We have all been loved, but more heartbroken. We welcome companionship but strive at shielding ourselves altogether from pain. And this impossible, insurmountable task is what unites us at the core and strengthens our bond because we have all gone through this. And thus, we deem ourselves capable of being called human beings, because we do recognise the agony of others.
Have you ever noticed, whenever a friend or an acquaintance comes to us with some unsolvable problem of theirs, our minds immediately jump to helping them about even if it is just some kind words or a heartfelt advice. Sometimes we are suffering from our own issues and are worried deep inside, yet helping that one person brings some strange relief!
This innate human tendency has been ridiculed and mocked over the ages.
“Why don’t you get around to solving your own problems first if you are so intelligent!” We hear this all the time! Okay, yeah. It is true. Wear your own oxygen mask first! “सर्वप्रथम अपनी कुर्सी की पेटी बांध लें!”
But then, why does it feel so good to help others out even when we are struggling with our own dilemmas! More importantly, how come we always end up figuring out great solutions for others, and not so well for our own lives. And this goes vice versa. Others end up giving us a better outlook than we could ever have thought about!
Is it just because we can see the other person’s problem from a detached perspective and give them a bird’s eye view, which they cannot see for themselves most of the time. Is it just because of this rational ability of our minds, or is there more to this?
Those of you who have already used the brilliant Black Lotus app created by Swami ji, you will agree with me when I say that after a while, we all actually started looking forward to the Random Acts of Kindness section. Oh the rush it brings, to see that glowing smile on someone’s face! The relief of having spent the day worthwhile and not just in our selfish pursuits! There must be a reason why Swami ji put it there, a reason behind why it feels amazing to follow through everyday and why we are getting addicted to it more and more. Even those who have not precisely used the app, I am sure you all have felt this too in some way or the other!
The reason is simple. Man has not been called a social animal just for the sake of saying. And not in the way people tend to socialize these days, just for showing off, clicking pictures and uploading them on social media. No, not the Facebook and Instagram way of socializing!
More like os.me way of socializing!
Back in the day it appears, when we weren’t glued to our screens, we were more glued to each other. Barring a few nosy neighbors and gossipy relatives, most of the human society co-existed quite peacefully in their tiny little communities. Our culture and rituals served to bring us together in times of need. And I am talking about all the cultures and sub-societies out there in the world. Why do all of us always tend to live TOGETHER? We migrate closer home, and feel that sense of security spotting a familiar face. This is because human beings were designed this way. We are SUPPOSED to assist and take care of each other.
Let me sum up all this blabber by recounting a story from the Upanishads, about Asuras and Devas that my Amma used to narrate, whenever me and my siblings ended up fighting with each other.
Once there was an intense debate between the Asuras and the Devas as to who was the best. The debate was soon turning into physical assault, when they decided to approach the God of Creation, Brahma for a fair judgement. Brahma Dev in his usual benevolent manner assured them that they would receive an answer the next day and invited both the parties to lunch. A sumptuous meal was prepared. The Devas and the Asuras were seated in such a way that they could not see each other. Just before the food was served, Lord Brahma announced that a ritual needed to be performed in order to partake in the meal, such that they acquired maximum nutrition from the food!
And then he tied wooden planks to all of their elbows and smiled mischievously, “This is to ensure that the food offered to you with my great tapas fulfills your soul to the core. Dig in!”
The Asuras did try their best to dig in, or rather poke each other in the eyes, for their hands tied with wooden planks could only reach a certain level. Dropping food everywhere, they were all creating pure chaos. Unbeknownst to them however, the Devas were having the time of their lives! Sitting face to face with each other, they fed the person in front of them rather than feeding themselves (which was rendered impossible, thanks to Brahma’s clever trick.) Asuras, as you can imagine, were left hungry, agitated and angry beyond measure. They accused Brahma that He had invited them over only to play this cruel prank upon them and make a fool of them in front of the Devas, after all they were His favorite!
So then, Brahma took them over to where the Devas were seated and showed them how they had received the same instructions and were feeding each other with similar wooden planks tied to their elbows as well!
The Asuras, having received the answer to their debate, hung their heads in shame and prostrating before Brahma, left for their loka.
This is how it goes! We can only survive by feeding each other. It is in-built. Our pain and sufferings limit us, like the wooden planks tied to our elbows and we fail to figure it out for ourselves. So the only plausible solution it appears, is feeding each other so that no one remains hungry and we’re all full to bursting, burping to our heart’s content!
We cannot find our way home all alone, but amidst the never ending darkness we can always hold each other’s hands and walk together through the scary jungle of life!
It was probably just hard wired into our brains by our very Creator, and the software programming is now being handled by Swami ji!
I think I should have just narrated this story instead of boring you all with my nonsensical chatter. But the os.me family has welcomed me with open arms and so you guys have it upon yourselves to slog through my exhausting narratives!
Love and warm hugs to my new found family!
ॐ सह नाववतु ।
सह नौ भुनक्तु ।
सह वीर्यं करवावहै ।
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Dedication and Pranams to my One and Only! 🙏🏻❤️
PS: Do correct me by citing the original source of the story. Swami Ji mentioned a version of this in his book The Big Questions of Life, pages 151-153.
Picture Credit: Hannah Busing on Unsplash