A CLOSE LOOK

Encountering life squarely in the face

Nilratan Halder | Published: November 16, 2018 19:35:27


If I weren't there, mother would have no tension. A sentence uttered so innocently by a city college girl shook anyone at the core of existence, provided that the person is sensitive enough. Actually she wanted to convey 'if it weren't for me, mother would be free of all worries in the world'. But the girl uttered something philosophical, the fundamental question of human existence on this planet. It is one way of encountering the ephemeral human life squarely in the face. But surely the girl did not had in mind the question of her being or not being. Coming into being is a big event and still it is just a fluke. It could happen or not happen. The girl's utterance issues forth from a deep bond with her mother and she feels for her mother because the mother also feels her.

Much as religion or philosophy or science may try to provide an answer to the riddle and mystery of life, there is no guarantee the answers-different as they are from each other-would be axiomatic. So if someone embarks on delving deep into one's life or for that matter human life in general, chances are that s/he would be face to face with the futility of life. People live or love life only because they develop what in Upanishad's parlance is called maya (illusion). It is not the feeling of oneness with the Supreme Being as enunciated by religion or philosophy but an illusion of unbreakable connectedness with people all around. But people are hardly aware of the temporal and are so unnecessarily concerned with the most trivial of things. When uncertainty is the rule of the game, one can ask oneself the question what harm there would be had I not been born at all.

Most people do not even bother why they are here in this world. But some feel the urge to know the answer to this question. Thus people have tried to codify life's objectives and purposes on a set of rules, norms and laws. But there are rebels who would not go by set rules. At one extreme are those who try to find out purpose by exploring the furthest point of human capacity. They invent theories of natural laws or things in order to make people's life easier and comfortable. Others would dedicate their life for making a difference in the lives of the wretched and the hapless. However the overwhelming majority are crazily involved in petty concerns. To get their own ends they can do things unapproved by laws and society. And there is the apocalyptic vision of civilisation's annihilation, courtesy of the deadliest weapons of mass destruction.

Is the world sobre and sane enough? Clearly, right now the future of mankind is in the hands of crazy and insane people in many parts of the world. Following the college girl's statement, one feels tempted to focus the prism from the opposite angle and the picture that emerges does not do justice to the intellect and wisdom of the so-called most rational animal of all. When petty concerns and self-interests govern the motive, life really becomes undignified and not worth the living. Yet members of this super species do not feel ashamed of becoming filthy rich and enjoying life in silly and frivolous manner. Emperors and kings of the days of the earlier centuries at least patronised artists, singers, musicians, story tellers and even zesters. Barring a select few, the rest wallow in luxury and spend huge sums of money on trivialities. Sometimes they sponsor sports and gala events but not free of cost, in return they advance their business promotion. Had they looked at their naivety from a vantage point, they would be amazed to discover their childishness. Humanity becomes no gainer with their acquisition of wealth. They too need some soul searching and ask themselves 'if I weren't born, the world would not be poorer at all'. Poverty here does not refer to want of money and other material requirements.

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