Lao Tzu (a famous Chinese Philosopher) was passing through a forest, and the forest is being cut. Thousands of carpenters are cutting the trees. Then he comes near a big tree a very big tree, one thousand bullock carts can rest underneath it and it is so green and beautiful. He sends his disciples to enquire of the carpenters why this tree has not been cut yet. And they replied :
It is useless. You cannot make anything out of it: furniture cannot be made, it cannot be used as fuel it gives too much smoke. It is of no use. That’s why they have not cut it.
And Lao Tzu said to his disciples
Learn from this tree. Become as useless as this tree then nobody will cut you. And you will grow big and vast, and thousands of people can find shade under you.
Uselessness has great value. He says: Look, and watch this tree. Learn something from this tree. This tree is great. Look, all the trees are gone. They were useful, hence they are gone. Some trees were
very straight, that’s why it is gone. It must have been very egoistic, straight, proud of being somebody. Now it is gone. This tree is not straight, not a single branch is straight. It is not proud at all. Hence
If you want to live long become useless. Don’t become a commodity, don’t become a thing. If you become a thing you will be sold and purchased in the market, and you will become a slave. If you are not a thing, who can purchase you and who can sell you? Remain in God’s creation. Don’t become a human commodity and nobody will be able to use you. And if nobody is able to use you, you will have a beautiful life of your own, independent, free, joyful. If nobody can use you, nobody can reduce you to a means. You will never be insulted, because in this life there is no greater insult than to become a means: somebody or other is going to use you your body, your mind, your being.
In today’s chaotic world, we are taught how not to be ourselves. I remember the words of William Wordsworth one of the most celebrated English poets who said
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Misshapes the beauteous forms of things
We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
Sadashiva Brahmendra a great tapasvi in his Shiva Manaseeka Puja prays
याचे ह्यनभिनवं ते चन्द्रकलोत्तंस किञ्चिदपि वस्तु ।
मह्यं प्रदेहि भगवन् मदीयमेव स्वरूपमानन्दम् ॥
O one wearing the crescent moon! I beseech you for some object which is not new. O Lord! Give me my own blissful nature (which I am unaware of)
May the Divine bless us all in realizing our own blissful nature.