Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Karma Philosophy.

Troubles come in battalions and one tends to feel all is lost. They are like thunder clouds that darken the sky and there is gloom in the air. But then there is a downpour and it is all bright and sunny again. Do we wish away thunderstorms and torrential rains? Of course we don’t. It is only on the rarest of occasions that torrential rains cause havoc in the form of floods and the human race is such that even after a tsunami people muster courage and start anew.

Take for instance Mr. T who faced a tsunami like situation some 10 years back. He lost his older brother to a major heart attack although he went for routine annual check ups and no heart trouble was ever detected. The brother was in fact a father figure since Mr. T lost his mother at an early age and it was his brother who took care of his emotional health ever since his father remarried and a step mother arrived on the scene. He hardly got over his brother’s death when the company he worked for decided to forcibly retire some of its employees and he was one among the unlucky few. With four children studying, two in high school and two in college, the family was devastated. Lay offs were not common but his organization was trying to reduce its work force, thanks to automation and computer technology. They dared not touch the workers with a solid union support. Officers were the affected ones and their services could be terminated on the slightest pretext. Everyone seemed to write Mr. T off. His wife stood by his side like a rock and the family managed to tide through troubled times. The children rose to the occasion and are doing very well in life thanks to their combined effort.

Mr. P likewise thought all was lost when following a mild heart attack he was asked to go for a bypass surgery. He was a teacher by profession and our government seems to think that teachers do not fall ill. He got a medical allowance Rs. 20/- quite enough to buy 2 strips of paracetamol or asprin but certainly not sufficient for financing costly medical treatment. His son had just joined his MBA and he had exhausted all his savings for his admission to the course. His wife again rose to the occasion. The extended family helped as much as they could. 16 years have gone by and today the family is up on its feet with the son and daughter happily married. Friendly loans have been repaid and the truma they faced is now a thing of the past.

My own sister in law suffered a stroke and was on ventilator for nearly a month. Finance was not a major issue but with a weak heart and an urgent need to have a valve replacement things did not look bright. It was sheer will power that saw her through and today she has recovered sufficiently and is well enough to direct the servants. She is once again the supporting wife she had always been.

I can give so many similar examples where a traumatic turn of events for whatever reason depresses the spirit of a family but the revolving wheels of time sees to it that a cold winter is soon followed by a cheerful spring and summer. After the initial shock one gathers strength and fights back.

When my father passed away one heard relatives saying that my mother would have been better off if the two younger children had not been born. She could have got the daughters married and lived with the older son. Now the younger two had not even begun school and were an added responsibility. Logical enough but I’d feel outraged and fiercely protective about my kid brothers. Now I realize that the responsibility of having two children to care for actually gave my mother a good reason to lead a purposeful life. She was visually challenged and was almost blind for the last 10-12 years of her life. She had stopped reading and writing long back. But her mental sharpness was immense. She’d remember details about when the interest from fixed deposits were due, what her bank balance should be at any given time, the amount that she last withdrew and god knows what else. She lived to see all of us settled and spent her final years surrounded by doting grandchildren and dutiful sons and daughters in law.

Why should people suffer at all, I wonder. There are explanations of the sins of past births and the balancing of karma. They say that the sins of our ancestors have to be accounted for and just as the son is expected to pay off the father’s debt we suffer due to the misdeeds of our forefathers. All this is fine and help one to find reason to fight back. As long as one is not directly accused and the blame lies on an unknown ancestor one seems motivated to get on with life. I have a different explanation to offer. I do not know of past or future births or the good/bad deeds of my ancestors. But I do know that just as spring cannot be appreciated unless winter precedes it, the good things we are bestowed with cannot be appreciated unless the possibility/ probability of bad times was either experienced or foreseen. I wonder if there is any other explanation.

17 comments:

SGD said...

Inspirational stories ...
Really resilience and will power work wonders and lack of either can ruin one too...
I quite agree with your explanation...without darkness, the wonder that is light would never be known; without sorrow the bliss of happiness cannot be enjoyed...

Sucharita Sarkar said...

I agree with SGD, these are really inspiratonal stories...but as you say, it is the darkness that makes us realise the value of light.

ugich konitari said...

Great post, HHG. Couldnt have said it better.

While the chiselling and banging and hammering during the making probably hurts, it all goes towards making a lasting item of long term beauty and utility.

But I shudder at the insensitivity of folks who declared that your two younger brothers shouldnt have been born . I wish such "advisors" would shut up while the family struggles to put together the pieces mentally and physically. But I suppose, even that experience has its use, in teaching us about human nature and tolerance , and temper control.

I guess its all about searching and finding...

dipali said...

Tough times are what strengthen us!
We need them in order to grow.
Has your sister-in-law had the valve replacement?

apu said...

I think karma, or past sins, or for that matter, any other explanation is mainly to make us feel better / accept losses which we cannot otherwise explain, especially in the case of untimely deaths. as you may have read on my blog, there was recently a death of a young boy in my family - a cousin - it has obviously been an unbearable blow to his parents, and shattering even for the rest of us. Since then, my mind wanders around death incessantly, and I keep asking myself what was the 'purpose' behind this one. I am unable to find it. Sorry for such a long comment...

Just Like That said...

How comforting for a bereft wife to hear that it would have been better if her last 2 kids had not been born.. sometimes some relatives make us wish we didn't have any!
and yeah, I wholly endorse the fact that being needed makes us healthy in spirit and body.
Nice post, HG Mom.

Renu said...

very nice post HHG! I have always felt that tough times always come to make us strong,and resilient, they bring out our inner strength.

I have faced many situations in my life like once my H was critical and last year I had thyroidectomy where it was touch and go, but I never let my faith in GOD and goodness down, and it has never let me down.
When we accept the bounty ofhappiness given by God, then we must accept with pleasure whatevr difficulties god puts us thru..this is my personal faith.

Sonia said...

Amazing post !! I feel tough times do shape your character and it immensely helps having parents who hold strong and keep optimistic through everything - becomes such a role model for their kids.

shoba said...

What is life without problems?It would be too monotonous and boring.I believe in Murphy's law, "If it has to happen, it will." There are some which are in our control but there are others like deaths in a family ,health problems which we cannot control and just have to face it. These will make us resilient and help us wade through life with a purpose and enjoy every single day as it comes. A thoughtful post.

Hip Grandma said...

SGD:True.It is stories like these that keep us going.

sucharita:How would one feel if it was always day and no night? Both night and day have a place in our lives.traumas make us learn.

Suranga:I think those who said this saw only the responsibility my mother had to take on.They never thought of the engagement my brothers' upbringing offered.But the remarks were insensitive however well intended.

dipali:My SIL has had her valves replaced and her heart is in a better condition than before. however she hasn't fully recovered from the stroke. Very careless of her not to have had her valves replaced earlier.

apu:True, we keep groping for answers but never get any and the untimely death of a budding youngster leaves all loved ones shattered.It is easy to say that it was fate.Only those who face such situations know how difficult it is to accept the explanation,My heartfelt condolences to you and the boy's parents and other family members.

JLT:You are right.Being needed and having responsibilities work like tonic for the shattered mind.

Renu:'tough times always come to make us strong'
How right you are.Although one is at wit's end during the crisis, we always emerge stronger and wise.And you are right again when you say that goodness never lets one down.

sonia:'it immensely helps having parents who hold strong and keep optimistic through everything'
My mother was one such person and I cannot imagine what would have happened were it not for her.

Shoba:I have a good mind to expand a point mentioned in your post. Will come over to your blogspace for permission.Life with problems gives us something to work for and the satisfaction one gets when the crisis becomes a past event one is soooo relieved and happy for having done their best.

Smitha said...

Very inspirational stories.. It is stories like this that gives one the confidence that there is light at the end of the tunnel.. And you are so right, we would never count our blessings unless/until we realise how much worse it could have been... Wonderful post!

vishesh said...

you can't paint without dipping the brush and then the prefect white has to be coloured :D

shoba said...

I saw your comment in my blog. Please feel free to expand my post. I would love to read your thoughts.

Joy said...

What you said is true. After reading books like "Kabul Beauty School" and many such and in general experiencing life, I truly believe that life will throw us challenges enough to make us feel weak. But I think it is up to us whether we get overwhelmed by life or fight back. The success need not be obvious but we need to persist and not always accept what has been given....

Hip Grandma said...

smitha:stories such as these that give encouragement to us.

vishesh:you are very correct.life is such a mixture of good and bad things that valuable lessons can be learnt at each step.

shoba:Done it already.

Joy: there is no point getting overwhelmed.Problems need to be challenged and faced or else one will drown in them.

The Inquisitive Akka said...

I hope that's true.I am certainly trying to think of it that way.

Dotm said...

I agree, if we never had any bad times to face, how would we know when we were having good times.
I used to wonder if people often show more pain before they die to help us let them go. It is a little easier to let someone go if we cannot stand to see them suffering.
Interesting post.