March 20, 2010

Leave a small footprint but large shoes to fill. ~ Shashi Joshi

‘Oh! I could eat two more scoops of the Sugar Frosted Chocolate Bomb ice-creams, if only I was not so full with the pizza!’ the kid on the next table said with a sigh.


We all have desires for pleasures that are always enticing us. Even the ancient Upanishads accept it, “This human is made of desires.” But we don’t have enough time and money to pursue them all. We think that if we have enough money, we will pursue all pleasures, fulfill all our desires and be happy. But interestingly, the pleasures are innumerable and never get over.  The number of pizzas we can consume is only limited by our stomach, not by the taste buds or pizza makers.

We think we are consuming the pleasures by pursuing them, but they are consuming us, eating us up all the time. To enjoy all the pleasures coming at us at the rate of a gushing oil-well, we must earn more, work more, have less time or patience for others and family, get more loans, stick to our current job that pays bills but sucks blood…that is the rat race in a nutshell. And one day we realize we can’t consume any more pleasures because the doctor has advised against it and we might be getting a personal call from God soon, but the pleasures are still there!

We don’t consume, we are consumed.


There is pleasure, and there is thirst. One is outside, the other inside. There was a time when the variety of pleasures was less. Today, with technology and innovation, even the variety of pleasures has gone up.

Even if the pleasures, already innumerable, were to be limited, the desires are not limited. The thirst never gets over, we get over. Even after the stomach is full of pizza, we still want the ice cream! Unless we learn to be content, there is no getting over thirst.

Desires never get over by pursuing them, but only by our conscious effort to get over them. Sure, if you eat five mega-size pizzas in one sitting, you may seem to have gotten over it. Or maybe not! It is your stomach rebelling, the tongue could still have had more of the taste! The desire never subsides on its own.

Desires are like the fire, the more ghee (butter) of pleasures you put in it, the stronger it grows. All the addicts of the world (addicted to anything – ice-cream, alcohol, drugs, sex, work, limelight …) will tell you that.

There are three types of seekers. One wants to know (curious, jijñāsu), other who wants to experience (thirsty, pipāsu), and the third who wants to go beyond both (seeking liberation, mumukṣhu). For example, one wants to know about water, another wants to drink it to quench the thirst, and the third wants to conquer thirst itself.

Yayāti was one such king, in the Indian epic Mahābhārata. Due to his transgression of the lines of right conduct, he was cursed to become old much earlier, and had not fulfilled his desires. So he asked his sons to loan him their youth, and one of them agreed. But even after a thousand years, Yayāti was not able to satisfy his desires, at the end of which he returned the youth to his son, and took renunciation. He said:

“Desires don’t stop by succumbing to them, fire doesn’t stop by putting more fuel into it, and all the wealth and resources of the world are not enough for even one addict of pleasures. Desires don’t get old even with old age, only the body gets old.”


Time flies when we are having fun, and stops when we are bored. In reality time is not even moving. It is just us moving by, passing by, passing on and passing away! We are all like small airplanes at an airport, each taking off and landing at its own schedule. A little time spent together at a non-descript airport and we get attached. And we think time flies or stops. But time is always constant, no matter what relativity says, it is our perception of time that changes.

Time is not spent; we are spent, with every breath. We are constantly looking for instant gratification, else we are bored. But only boring people get bored. Sometimes, just be still and enjoy your own company. Next time, don’t try to kill time, for it is only us that are being killed, every minute, every moment. Some think of what long life they have lived, some at how little is left. Be content with a good life, or else rush on to do some good before the flame goes out. Don’t just let time pass, do something worthwhile, while the worth is still there, for after a while you won’t be worth (doing) or while!

You are the knower, not the known. You are the seer, not the seen.

Realize your true self, and control ‘Consumania’ – mania for consumption.

Consume less, create more. Leave a small footprint but large shoes to fill.

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