Saturday, July 10, 2010

Just wondering...

Sometimes under-commitment is the challenge, sometimes over-commitment is... and at other times both are present in the same individual for different life areas... seems sooner or later in life, most people do reach some kind of balance in life!
I was reminded of Gautam Buddha and his wife Yashodhara. Both were moved by sufferings in the world. On one hand, as a sensitive queen Yashodhara worked towards alleviating suffering by working with the concrete realities. On the other, Buddha's quest was removing the roots of suffering. Well, guess the deeper the solution the longer it does last... not only for oneself but also for others!
Well... in the end it depends on people's life journeys!!!


  1. Nice post. I also think the line differentiating the two is very obscure. The very definition of 'concrete reality' is subjective. During my visit to Bodh Gaya, the guide showing us around provided an important insight. As Buddha sat in meditation without food or water for several weeks, he became all skin and bones. A woman passing by offered him a bowl of Kheer. His first instinct was to to decline, but then he thought, "if I continue like this, it is a biological reality that I will die. And if I can't live and propagate my learning to others, what's the use of all this?" So he accepted the food.
    Whether this story is true or one made up by the guide, I really don't know. But it shows that Buddha too was aware of concrete realities and more importantly, did not dismiss them altogether.

  2. didn't know about Yashodhara. She was practical it seems and Buddha delved deeper which of course is the harder thing to do. And as you rightly said it helped many more than Buddha... Nice thoughts!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. @ Pushkaraj, I do agree the line differentiating the two is obscure. And this story of kheer is appreantly true. I read it in a biography of Buddha (old path white clouds), but it happened with a little girl of a nearby village who (along with a little cowheard boy) were the first humans to have Buddha's teachings.
    But I meant in a different way ... not to dismiss concrete realities, but to also remember there is more going behind every reality.

    @ Sid, we rarely get to know anything about Yashodhara. In the above mentioned Biography by Thich Nhaat Hann, (which is based on 21-26 original Pali texts), she was a gem of a person, intelligent, loving and sensitive... a real beautiful soul.
    Actually I meant that Buddha's path might have helped many more, for i know people doing social work, who get burnt out with the amount to do and so little one can do. Or some get into the grandiose delusion of being the change maker. This can be a long ongoing discussion. But I have come to believe that the middle path is the way to go ...

  5. Have been thinking on your post ever since. This bit about striking a balance.... it has been like an irritant for me for some time now. You know, like a piece of supaari stuck in the molars.
    I have myself often said this infinite times in my workshops - about striking a balance. But I am now bending towards a belief that while it is a nice thing to talk about balance, REAL life and LIVING is actually about tilting the balance towards one side by making a choice for oneself. Then of course, one also has to be ready to face the consequences of one's choices.
    You have given an example of social workers' dilemma. I would compare Yashodhara and Buddha in this case with a general physician choosing to run a dispensary and a super-specialist neurosurgeon. One endeavours to do 'less for more people', the other focuses on doing 'more for less people'.
    As for an insight into Yashodhara's mind, the superb poem by Maithilisharan Gupt is etched on my mind. Sakhi we mujhse kah kar jaate....

  6. I do agree, that everything has a place in the world!
    And I wonder if balance as an abstract concept is very individual, and very unique, when it is applied experientially ?
    Even the two doctors would have to find their individual balance in their own lives, after choosing the path. For every moment of life there are new demands...
    Reminds me of Gita's concepts of 'swadharma' and 'swabhava' as guides to making decisions. Which itself is dynamic process. As Vinoba Bhave said, even his 'swadharma' has change many times in his life...
    Well i too have been thinking over this issue. And just trying to find that my own very personal 'theory of everything' :))

    Nice methophor of supari stuck in the molar... have u noticed it sometimes becomes an interesting pleasurable past-time too :)

  7. And that poem was truly superb... 'sakhi vo mujhse keh kar jaate...
    We had it in our school and during those growing up days I passionately belived that Buddha was another bad husband in a series of many, who let down his wife and also the child :)

    Well... we grow up and learn to assimilate multiple and some times contradictory perspectives on any issue...

  8. Of course, I remember the poem vividly only because of school days. Just that I didn't see him as a bad husband then!
    I am so glad that in spite of being Marathi, I got an opportunity to learn in a Hindi medium school - the golden days which were shaped by Sumitranandan Pant, Ramdharisingh Dinkar, Jaishankar Prasad, Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, Harivanshrai Bacchan and so many others.
    The magical effect that a poem like 'Baadal ko ghirte dekha hai' has not worn off even one little bit after decades!

  9. Thanks for reminding of all those awesome poets... and my fav. always has been the impressionistic style, in poetry and painting both. And yes 'badal ko'.. was my fav too... remembered n recited often... something about it is very elevating!
    kahan gaya dhanpati kuber voh
    kahan gayi uski vo alka
    nahin dhikana kalidas ki
    vyomprawahi gangajal ka
    hamne to bhishan jaade mein
    (oops forgot.. ) :(
    still it often reminds me of Himalayas and the few months i have spend there... and yearn to be there for more and longer...
    Thanks for ur postings :)
    God bless u!

  10. You can see the whole poem here -