I’d Rather Be

No human being is ever satisfied with who they are, what they are, where they are, how they are and why they are at all!!

We want to be somebody else, we want to have what others have, we want to be somewhere else than where we are at present. Finally, after all that we achieve, we wonder whether it is worth it at all.

So what is it that I am really seeking as I travel through life?

What do I seek when I chase money, pleasures, fame, name, power or heaven?

Do I seek all these for the sake of these different goals? Then when I achieve one goal, I would be happy, content. When I have fulfilled any given desire, then I would be glad to ‘be’ there. However, this being is only a momentarily satisfying status for another desire or series of desires will take over and push me towards striving to achieve them.

Desires change in nature and in time but one thing remains constant. Despite all the accomplishments I may have, the unsatisfied and inadequate person remains.

I cannot accept myself as I am and throughout my life I try to be acceptable to myself by searching for that ‘Holy Grail’!!

Will I one day become totally acceptable to myself and find a lasting fulfilment that does not depend upon any situation, any given place or time?

My brother, Arvind Rajgopaul’s boss, had a philosophy of life that sums up this desire to be something and somebody in life. He used to say that every human being needs a list of ten desires or wishes. This list should be divided into five major and five minnow desires or goals. Once, a major wish is fulfilled, promote a minor one to the major list and create a new minor goal. If a minor one gets fulfilled, get a new one and add it to the list. So I’d rather be fulfilling one of these ten desires and creating new ones. This pursuit will keep me busy and on the go all my life.

My friend Aparna Krishnan is a scholar and somebody who is living amongst the villagers of a small hamlet beset with common rural problems. Her experiences are worth exploring but would I be her? No, I don’t think I have the physical stamina, grit and passion to retire to a village with no mod cons, poverty, lacking health services. I am an urban animal who cannot find her way in a jungle. However, I have a feeling deep within my soul that I wish I could be her. She quotes:

मूर्खो न हि ददाति अर्थ नरो दरिद्रयशङ्कया ।
प्राज्ञः तु वितरति अर्थ नरो दरिद्रयशङ्कया ॥

The fear of becoming poor in future prevents a fool from giving [away wealth in charity]; haunted by the same fear the wise donates [generously now].

This nature of my longings leads me to think that there is no connection between what I want and what I do: I want to be free from being a wanting, limited, satisfied, insignificant person I want to be a contented person. Spiritual pursuits help me to learn from the experiences of great saints, philosophers and teachers who have been there, seen that, done that and have come out of this chakra of want.

The first step is to just be an ethical person and try to excel in what I do. I should try and contribute to my society as much as I can without expecting anything more than being able to do this.

Since we have the faculty of free-will, we have the faculty to choose our goals in life, work for their fulfilment and for that we have the support of the scriptures. We have to choose the end we wish to pursue and the means to gain that end. All the things we desire fall under four main headings: dharma ethics, artha security, kama pleasures, moksha liberation. These are called purusharthas.

Artha and kama are common with animals. Dharma and moksha are peculiar to human beings alone.

That is why I am gradually being with Vedanta: ‘Veda’ means “knowledge” and ‘anta’ means “end”. The light for this path has been lit by my eldest brother Ramana Rajgopaul. He led me to Swami Dayananda Saraswathi.swamiji

In a nutshell, Vedanta says that I am already what I am looking for. I am the limitless, the whole, and free from this sense of limitation, insecurity and lack. This is the ultimate knowledge of my true nature.

Vedanta teaches me to be or live in harmony with the world by recognizing my place within the scheme of things. It helps me to be sensitive to myself, to others and to the environment. A person who is sensitive and mature does not take anything in Creation for granted. It aims to teach me the importance of the appropriate use of free will and helps me to make a deliberate choice to do what is to be done. It helps me not to give in to raga dwesa—likes and dislikes. It has helped me to be grateful to the Lord—Iswara and to express appreciation for all that I have been given (received) in life.

My Guru Swami Paramarthananda sums it up beautifully:Swami Paramarthananda

‘O Lord,

Let me be cheerfully and enthusiastically active. Let me enjoy whatever I do.Iswara

Let me contribute to the future; let me not try to control the future.

Let me influence positively through my life and language; let me not try to change others.

Let me have the wisdom to discover satisfaction and security within myself, whatever be the setup ‘.

This topic was suggested by Shackman, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium.   The seven other bloggers who write regularly are AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, http://rummuser.com/, Pravin,  Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their ‘being’ is all about!




About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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4 Responses to I’d Rather Be

    • padmum says:

      Lovely article…no where to go!! My armchair is getting to be more and more attractive!
      P.S. The article has typos and needs editing!!! Oops…there I go being an editor!!


  1. tskraghu says:

    Most of us reach this predicament sooner or later, Only a few find their way thru the fog.


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