Pic.: Trivikram Iyer
It was late in the night, yesterday. We were three of us: I was the oldest of the three, at 57. My doctor-friend and Professor-friend, both, were around 50. The discussion was about how insecurity had kept us constantly worried and on the edge even at this age of our lives!
“Of late, I was pondering on this issue,” my doctor-friend said, “I have already spent fifty years of my life trying to secure myself and my family. Why should I not spend the rest of my life appreciating what is good in my life… relishing the simple pleasures… maybe more time in devotion?”
The Professor-friend, too, voiced the similar thoughts. “It is insecurity that keeps us on the edge and anxious all the time,” he said, “It is an illusion.”
“The life was taken care of… We were all taken care of even when our parents could handle it no more,” the doctor-friend said, “Still, we presume, that without us Life will not function, without our incessant efforts to secure our families… We assume that we are indispensable… We need to keep earning and saving till the last breath… We need to support our nearest ones…”
I was really feeling a lot calmer as I was listening to my two friends. I was in touch with what was going on in my own mind… the kind of insecurity that had kept me on the edge, causing constant anxiety… The thought, that 57 years had been spent already trying to secure myself and my family… and, thought, that if I continued to do the same, I would miss it all… yes, this truth, all of a sudden, had come to strike me, last night.
Sometimes, we need someone to hold a mirror before us and reveal ourselves!
And, this morning, another friend of mine, Vikram, had offered me a lift in his car. He was slightly older than me. Incidentally, the subject of our discussion was similar to last night’s. Vikram told me about Adi Shankaracharya’s famous song – ‘Bhaja Govindam’… He narrated the story - how Acharya was inspired to write this song…
Once, while walking along the streets of Varanshi, accompanied by his deciples, Acharya noticed a very elderly scholar trying to attract students. He was reciting the rules of Sankrit grammar repeatedly so that he could find some students to teach the grammar rules and, thereby, earn some money. This sight was the provocation – rather inspiration – for Shankaracharya to go to this old man and tell him, “Fool, enough of thinking about earning, saving and securing… You have done that enough… Spend the rest of days in thanking and praising God for whatever He had showered upon you till now.”
I loved this story behind the famous ‘Bhaja Govindam’ song…
As I got off Vikram’s car and began to walk, I found my heart smiling…
“What good is lust when youth has fled?
What use is a lake which has no water?
Where are the relatives when wealth is gone?
Where is samsara when the Truth is known?”
This was one of the verses of Acharya’s song… “Fool, the song was written in the eighth century,” I heard a voice reminding me, “Still, it hasn’t aged!”