Living Forever!(?) — Quotidian — 407

(Transcript of video originally posted on 20 Jul 2022)

Do you remember this amazing song from the Badshah movie? He will divide Life itself, into eight parts! The first eighth would be about playing. The second eighth would be about education. Then you get married. Then you get a baby. Then you start collecting wealth, you go around the world, and probably take rest for a while, but, please don’t live past sixty-four! Because, you won’t get inner peace otherwise… He had laid it out thus, eight eights! That is the Life of Man. And, find out which eighths you are actually currently in!

Namaste! Living Forever!! Can we live forever? Should we live forever?! Will we want to live forever??

Steve Jobs, in 2005… at Stanford, he had given a Commencement Speech. It is still 2005! Which means the iPhone is not out yet! He hasn’t scratched the surface of all the amazing things he was going to do! At that time, he delivered an amazing speech. Some even call it the Most Watched Commencement Speech! He delivered it in three parts.

The first part talked about “Connecting the Dots”. Then it was about “Love and Loss”. The third part though…! It talked about “Death”.

Specifically, he says, “Death? Death is perhaps the greatest invention, the single best invention of Life…!” I will live on… And, every day, standing in front of the mirror, I would ask myself, “What if this were my last day on Earth?” “If I knew today was the day, would I still do what I am setting out to do?” If, for too many days at a stretch, I receive answers like “No”, “Not at all”, “Never”, I will go back, I will change my plan, he said! Death is also something that exposes you. No external pressure. No unnecessary ego! You are already naked, he says! Every one of you is going to die! If only you get that clarity of thought, you will understand that there are a few things you are here to do, and you should focus on those, and don’t bother about what others are going to say!

You will remember! Time is limited, so, don’t waste it living the life that somebody else wants you to live. That amazing quote came from this speech, actually! What was he trying to say? A man who has been diagnosed of cancer… he was saying, Death gave me great clarity! Time is limited, and Death gave me the amazing clarity about what to focus my energies on. Those classic “Thousand Nos” that we often talk about, came from this speech! I had to choose, and I chose only the best things, only the things that I can do best!

Some of you will know that I am reading the Mahabharatha, as written by Mr. Jeyamohan. A book series titled Venmurasu. He had written one chapter a day, from the year 2014. Venmurasu, in twenty-six books, 25,000 pages. I have been posting, everytime I finished a book, reading it aloud with my mom, I would post a photograph of it on Social Media.

Now, I am reading the 13th book. Of the 26. The 13th book is titled Maamalar. And, in that book, it is basically the story of Bheema, who sets out, to get that amazing, unusually scented flower because Draupadi wanted it. And, it is about his interesting adventures.. That book. In this book, Maamalar, there is one part, oh my God, Jeyamohan has given me such a beautiful chapter, relevant for today’s topic.

And that is about Oorvashi. Oorvashi and Pururavas. Pururavas is a King. He falls in love with the Heavenly Nymph, Oorvashi. And, Oorvashi too, is drawn to the King Pururavas. And, they send her down to Earth. A punishment of sorts, for falling in love with an Earthling. But, Devaloka is missing the amazingly beautiful, the perfect damsel, Oorvashi. They want her back. To bring Oorvashi back, they send seven Gandharvas. These seven Gandharvas go, look around, see what she is doing, and come back to report to Indra. They say, “Sorry to say this, but you should stop hoping. We don’t think she is ever going to come back”.

What happened? Why wouldn’t Oorvashi return back to Indraloka?! Each Gandharva gives a reason. Let us listen to those reasons!

Why wouldn’t Oorvashi return? The first Gandharva, by name Vishwavasu, he says, “Vaazhum Akkanam Meelaadhu… You folks are living in Eternal Time. Those folks there, every one of them realises, this second that is passing by, they can’t get it back. That moment isn’t coming back. Ever. It was here. It is now gone. Forever. So, they are always in the pleasurable panic of ‘I need to make good use of this moment now!’ Those things can’t be reproduced here. Sorry, so, she won’t come here. She is really enjoying it back there!”

Another guy, Chandrahasan, what does he say? “Ninaivil Meelum Thuyaram… You folks don’t have memory here. For you live in Infinite Time. In Forever Time. You don’t have Memories of the Past. To chew cud on. But, these Earthlings? They regret about the happenings of the Past, they recall the Past, they bring back the nostalgic ones, and wow, the kind of joy and the kind of pain they get, they will not want to miss it, and so, she won’t be coming!”

Another Gandharva comes. Prabhahasan. “Naalai Enum Perunkanavu… That is what they are swimming joyfully in. A dreamland called Tomorrow. You have no Future. In Devaloka, the Past and the Future are melded into one continuous Infinite Present. But, back there? They dream of a Future. A Grand Dream. Will it happen? How will it happen? What all can we do? What will result if we do this? They spend a lot of time in this grand dreaming, and they wouldn’t want to miss it for the world!”

One more guy comes. Suphrahasan. What does he say? “We seem to think that everybody has two eyes on their face. They actually have a Third Eye. The one of Imagination. For you, the Dream is Reality. You can dream anything into reality, sir. The Devas are all-powerful. You can Dream and make it happen . So, there is no distinction between what you can wish for, and what may end up happening. For them, appearing as a Third Eye, is the Imagined World. While living in the World of the Real, they dream of things that never may happen, that might actually happen, that may have actually happened, they run circles in their mind with these, that’s a special kind of joy, they wouldn’t want to miss that…”

One more guy comes along. Ratnahasan. He says, “The world you live in is devoid of emotions. There though, the Earthlings learn about Anger by watching Fire. Peace and tranquility, they learn by watching the Ocean. And, laughter by watching the flow of Water. So, he lives in a world suffused with Emotions. And, Emotions mark the passage of time. You were unhappy yesterday. Today, you are quite happy. In a short while, we will perhaps be eager and enthusiastic. And, that is what actually defines the milestones of time’s passing. Sorry, please don’t wait for her. She is not going to return!”

What does Suryahasan say? “Amaiyaath Thulaamullena… Like swinging wildly between the extremes of a pendulum… Between the Past and the Present and the Possible Futures. Memories of what could have been, in the Past. Expectations of the infinite pathways of the Future. And the fleeting moment of the Present. It is like a dissatisfied little needle, swinging like a mad pendulum between these three Times. Inside each person’s mind, this is what resides, you can’t replace this here, and whoever has tasted it, would never want to leave that and come over!”

And, finally, a Gandharva by name Jwaalaakshan says, “You live in a world of infinite, completed knowledge. Those guys? They have this thing called Aridhal Enum Perinbam! I didn’t know this yesterday, it sounded so big, so confusing, I was completely outfoxed by it… Today, I got a way. Tomorrow, I may know it! Aridhal Enum Perinbam…! That joy that comes, that unique joy, when you learn something new and interesting each day, you have nothing of that sort in Devaloka, sorry, she is not coming back!” The seven Gandharvas thus end their report, and Indra immediately realises, “Oh my God, these guys make sense! Of course all the things they said are valid points..” and then, decides to try some other ploy to eventually get Oorvashi back to Heaven. Or, that is how the story goes! So, probably living forever in that beautiful heavenly world, is not for everybody…! What do you think?

There is a website called Waitbutwhy! In that website, there is this little picture that makes you… take pause…! Hey, do you think you are going to live to 90? Well, if you picturise it, one dot per year, this is what it is! You start there, you die here! This is what it is! Mark, mark where you are!

Oh, years are too long? It takes too much time to pass us by? Let us look at it then as probably months. If you are age, your life expectancy is 90, you will probably live this many dots. Mark. Mark where you are! Probably you are one-fourth in? Two-thirds in? Wait.

Even a month is too long. A day is too short. Why not we look at weeks? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. If I were to look at it as weeks, this is what it would look like. Start up there on top, and 4000+ weeks later, there you are! Are you accounting for that time you are spending? You can spend that only in two ways, he says! Firstly, learn to enjoy that week! Completely, to the hilt! Or, a better approach would be, do something meaningful, do something constructive, do something that will help you lead the rest of your weeks better! Probably by helping others get better, or, perhaps by strengthening your own basic fundamentals,… Do something that will ensure the quality of life you will lead from now on, for the rest of the weeks, is better than it could have been. Simple. Where are you? Account for yourself.

Let us take a look at three famous people… Where was Rafael Nadal when he actually won his first French Open? 19 years old! That’s where he was! Where was Isaac Newton? When he started talking about the First Law of Motion?! He was 23. A covid-like pandemic had shut his college down. He was sent home! Lockdown! What did he do in the lockdown? He didn’t watch Netflix or play PUBG… He actually brought out the First Law of Motion. Twenty-three years old. How old are you?! Wait. Wait. Wait. No! I am not mocking you! I have one more person waiting! This lady, famous artist, famous American artist, a person popular for drawing rural pastoral scenes so very well, she STARTED painting at the age of 78. She didn’t become FAMOUS at 78! She has STARTED painting at 78. And became famous AFTERWARDS. Grandma Moses, she was lovingly called. She STARTED at the age of 78. So, don’t worry where you are on this chart. All that matters is you gotta get started. In the right direction, doing the right thing.

That’s my closing thought actually today. This person’s name is Chuck Palahniuk. Remember the Fight Club movie? He was the guy who authored the book! Look at what he says! We all die! The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will. You are surely going to die. Today, tomorrow, some day. But, the stuff that you created, will it bring fame to your name, live forever? That is the only challenge in front of you?! Isn’t that cool?! We’ll meet again, very soon, if we are around alive till then! Thank you!

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Rajendran Dandapani

Rajendran Dandapani

Business Solutions Evangelist at Zoho Corp. President at The Zoho Schools Of Learning.