Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Live In The Moment

Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.”- I don't remember who said this, but it seems to be very true.

We often regret what we have done or left undone in the past. We also feel apprehension about what the future holds. These two emotions frequently make us forget the present. But since it is only the present that we have the power to influence, it is the present that is most important.

This same thought is expressed in the following Subhaashit-

गते शोको न कर्तव्यो भविष्यं नैव चिन्तयेत् l
वर्तमानेन कालेन वर्तयन्ति विचक्षणाः ll

(We) should not grieve (शोको न कर्तव्यो) over the past (गते). (We) should not think (worry) (नैव चिन्तयेत्) about the future (भविष्यं).

Those who are learned (विचक्षणाः), act (वर्तयन्ति) keeping (only) the present time in mind (वर्तमानेन कालेन).

This is, of course, easier said than done. Most of us spend much time thinking about what 'could have been'. What we could have done differently. But no one has the power to change the past. We should learn from the mistakes we have made, but not dwell on them. Likewise, it does not help to worry about the future.

We can only influence our present time, so we should not waste our present, but live every moment.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

अहो रूपं अहो ध्वनिः l

उष्ट्राणां च गृहे लग्नं गर्दभाः शान्तिपाठकाः l
परस्परं प्रशंसन्ति अहो रूपं अहो ध्वनिः ll

The wedding (लग्नं) is at the home of the camels (उष्ट्राणां च गृहे) and the donkeys ( गर्दभाः) are reciting the prayer for peace (शान्तिपाठकाः).

They praise each other (परस्परं प्रशंसन्ति)- Ah! What (a charming) appearance! (अहो रूपं) Ah! What (a lovely) sound (voice) (अहो ध्वनिः)!

In reality, neither do the camels possess good looks, not do the donkeys have melodious voices. But the donkeys compliment the camels on their handsomeness, and the camels praises the singing of the donkeys.

Sort of a 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' situation.

If a new movie is to be released we often read interviews where the actors praise the director, saying it was because of his direction that they could give such great performances, and also explain that it was mainly because of the lovely tunes composed by the music director, that the movie has turned out so well.

The director in turn praises the actors and the technical crew. - all in an effort to promote the film.

We notice this kind of 'arrangement' many times between politicians and the media. Also between industrial corporates and the government.

There is benefit to both parties- who cares if the general public is misled?

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Strong Survive, The Weak Are Sacrificed

अश्र्वं नैव गजं नैव व्याघ्रं नैव च नैव च l
अजापुत्रं बलिं दद्याद्देवो दुर्बलघातकः ll

Neither a horse (अश्र्वं नैव), nor an elephant (गजं नैव) (is sacrificed in a ritual). A tiger is never sacrificed (व्याघ्रं नैव च नैव च).

(However) a goat is sacrificed (अजापुत्रं बलिं दद्यात्). (Even) God destroys (only) the weak (देवो दुर्बलघातकः).

This Subhaashit tells us that the strong survive, but the weak are sacrificed. In earlier times, during a ritual requiring a sacrifice, the stronger animals like the elephant or the tiger were never sacrificed. However, the goat, being weak, was usually sacrificed.

From time to time we read in the newspapers that a clerk in some government office has been booked for taking a bribe of fifty Rupees. It is common knowledge that government officials demand, and are given, bribes of many times that amount. But they are seldom caught.

If a scam in a ministry is exposed, it is usually the lower officials who are punished. The Minister and higher officials generally use their influence or hire expensive lawyers, and manage to escape punishment.

After the terror attack in Mumbai last year, a lone terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, was captured. His trial is now nearing completion, and very likely he will be judged guilty and sentenced. However, it is unlikely that the masterminds who orchestrated the attack will be punished.