BE FREED FROM WORRY
While in school, I remember reading a story-poem about an imperious king who claimed he was ill, although actually he was fit as a fiddle. When doctors opined that nothing was the matter with his health, they had to incur the royal wrath. At last came a roly-poly physician whose professional dispensibilities sat lightly on him, because if his patients recovered, they paid him well and if they expired, their heirs paid him double! This doc was a worldly-wise person and he agreed that the monarch’s health was below par. But the prescription he gave out was as odd as it was unmedical. He said, “Your majesty would be cured of your ailment if you sleep in the shirt of a happy man”. Collecting a hefty fee, he departed from the scene, even as the loyal courtiers set out in all directions to look for a happy man so that they may borrow a shirt for the king. They did not anticipate the arduous nature of their mission, for they could not locate a single subject in the kingdom who was free of worry and grievance. All that the courtiers could do was to send bureaucratic reports of their daily work. After a long time, one of the search-teams saw a fellow on the roadside who did not seem to have a care on his mind. When they asked him for the loan of his shirt, he rolled in laughter and then he said, “I do not have a shirt at all!”
The author of the story-poem had intended his output to be humorous but it contains a nugget of wisdom — that Dispossession and Non-possession of worldly objects are the twin-keys to real happiness.
Having had the fortune or otherwise to come into this world, you are under sentence to live out your allotted span of 75 years or so, during which you need a variety of commodities and facilities and you are obliged to interact with innumerable persons. What is the compulsive urgency for you to get attached to any of those objects and persons, Sirs? It is all a mischief of the mind, as Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi used to say. J.Krishnamurti said, ‘It is the trickery of the mind’. Sage Tiruvalluvar addresses the Mind in one of his couplets and says, ‘When you desire something, you get into the fear-mode that you might not be able to secure that object. And if it comes into your possession, you are again afraid that you might have to lose it at some point of time in the future. Endless is the misery you are inflecting on me!’ William Shakespeare, that philosopher among English poets, hit the nail on the head and echoed the same thought when he wrote in one of his sonnets:
“When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate —
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose”
Attachment is only a figment of your imagination, which seeks to lend permanency to what is transient under the law of Nature. You yourself are a transient being on this Earth and where is the logic in expecting all that is around you to be everlasting?
Having heard me thus far, you should resolve here and now to overcome Attachment. Attachment occurs only when there is loss of wisdom. All that I am asking you is to abandon a loss. Is not the loss of a loss tantamount to a gain?
As the second step, you should refrain from developing Attachment to objects and persons you interact with in future. This is non-attachment or vairagyam. From now onwards, your watch-words in life should be Detachment and Non-attachment. These are actually the passwords to a state where you would be totally freed from worry.
— Sage TGN