Wake up, sleepwalkers
Once a thief went to a hermit and said, "I have resolved so many times to give up my sinful occupation but failed every time. Please show me the right path." The saint, an enlightened soul, replied, "Have no feeling of guilt for God's sake. No occupation is bad in itself. Only be sure that whatever you do, do it with awareness."
The thief felt relieved, thinking this wouldn't be difficult. But after two days, he became frustrated and fell at the feet of the pious man, saying with his eyes full of tears, "You have landed me in a strange fix, your Holiness. Thieving is not possible at all with awareness.
Every time I tried at it, I failed miserably due to your directive." Thus, he gave up the criminal occupation once and for all and became a disciple to the Master.
A friend of mine is a staunch follower of the Epicurean principle of eat, drink and be merry. He eats like a glutton at lunch or dinner parties and drinks like a fish. Now in the twilight of his life, he has invited on himself the never-to-leave ailments such as osteo-arthritis and diabetes.
Doctors have advised him to avoid fried and sweet delicacies but he has an alarming difference of opinion with the physician or the dietician over the issue of eating and drinking. One never dies with a hearty meal, is his golden belief in life.
During the examination season, we are keen to approach the invigilation staff to help our children get through by using unfair means. At times, even a fund is raised on the pattern of flood relief to gratify the staff on exam duty.
It is not that the teachers who become a party to this malpractice are unaware of the fact that copying facilitates an examinee in clearing the immediate test only while in life, the 'beneficiary' fails on every turf. But who bothers about the future? We believe in the present though in the most perverted sense of Omar Khayyam's philosophy.
Here I am reminded of an incident of my childhood. Jeeto, a damsel in the neighbourhood, used to get up at night and start walking a small distance before she returned to bed again.
People, particularly the leisurely old women, had derived a great pleasure in saying nasty things about her character.
But now, when we know well that it is a psychic disorder called somnambulism, I wonder to think whether only girls like Jeeto suffer from this malaise. Doesn't the virus of sleep-walking exist in almost all of us at a different level?
An eminent Urdu poet has said:
Laaee hayaat aaye, kaza le chali chale, apni khushi se aaye na apni khushi chale. (Life brought us, and we came to this world. Now that Death is taking us away, we are leaving. Our wish lay neither in coming nor in leaving.)
Agreed that life and death both are beyond human control, but it is certainly for us to live life the way we like. Then why live the transient human life like a sleepwalker rather than living it at a plane of awareness? Are we worse than even the thief of this piece?