Thursday, February 21, 2008

This too shall pass...

Let me start with a story that I had heard as a child from my mother. These stories have been picked up from one of those fantasy story books for kids written by an Indian author. There was this king. He had a very very smart and sharp minded minister working for him. Whenever the king would need a sound and impartial advise, he would call out for this particular minister coz his impeccable sense of timing and presence of mind was unmatched in the entire region. Once the king fell sick. He was in lot of pain and the medications he was taking was not doing anything dramatic for him to feel better. He was depressed and distraught. Because of the failing health and weak body he was unable to concentrate and take care of his people and his kingdom . Finally, he decided to announce a reward and prize money for the person who would be able to pull him out of his depression and make him feel good despite all his problems. People came up with innovative ideas. Some organized an evening of dance and music followed by drinks, some sent him his favorite flowers or gifts, some came and recited poetry for him as he appreciated the aesthetic culture and values a great deal. It was all nice, but it all turned out to be very transitory nonetheless. They did provide distraction for the king for a short time but his search for something more permanent and deeper was on. Finally he called out for his favorite minister and asked him to do something that lasts with him forever. The minister came along with a box and handed it over to the king. The king asked his men to open it. Inside the big box was another box, then another and another and another and finally the tiniest one. The king was getting a little exasperated thinking if his minister is trying to play a game with him. Anyways, he lasted until the final one, however with extreme irritation and impatience. He opened the box. What was inside it? Was it empty? Then on close perusal he realized that there’s a tiny leaf in it with something engraved on it. He took it out and read; it said, “This Too Shall Pass." He read it again and again and again and broke into a smile. Suddenly he felt alive again....

The entire volume of a literature cannot describe the non permanence of the universe so beautifully than this one short and simple sentence. I was a child when I had heard it. I may not have completely understood the deep meaning then but I could figure that it has some magical powers to make you feel better. After all, life is a series of incidents, some good some bad. It does not follow a pattern, and we hardly have powers in our hands to control or manipulate whatever has in store for us. But what we do have control over is how we think about a situation. We can empower our thoughts to live a life with zeal and positivism by remembering this one simple truth - “this too shall pass."

In my life, I have gone through several experiences some of which were excruciatingly painful. I lost the best man of my life, my dad, when I was still very young. As that was not enough, we were coming to terms with lot other problems we had never imagined. But at each and every juncture of life if we were able to survive through all of them, it was by remembering this one simple truth that "this too shall pass." What doesn’t pass is the person. My dad never passed, he is still there with me, with my entire family and now that his body does not have the physical form, he is much more powerful in his spirits.

I always wonder why do people give so much importance to the mundane and futile occurrences of life? Nothing stays forever. That’s the biggest and most powerful truth. Most people acknowledge this statement or think about it when the goings are not great. But to understand the meaning of our existence we should also remember this when everything seems to be looking good too. That would propel us to take the right action at the right time to make our life more meaningful and purposeful. What’s the point in starting to take care of our health when it starts to fall?

We cannot control much but remembering this powerful truth might help."This too shall pass."