Paradoxes

Life is all about paradoxes. The more you ponder over it, the more you realise the pertinence of the aforesaid statement. Recently, our organisation brought in a retirement scheme for some employees. Those who were targeted were taken aback by this sudden decision of the management. Philosophically, their exit could be attributed to their fate! It can also be stated that whatever happens in life is predestined and it happens for one’s ultimate good! But it is very difficult to explain to the affected person when he asks, ” Why me?”. And this cuts across whole lot of events that we encounter in our lives! This ” Why me?” is asked by those suffering from cancer, losing their near and dear one, living in the condition of extreme deprivation etc.

The paradoxes add a layer of complexity to human life. Some people smoke heavily yet die at a ripe age old, while a teetotaller dies young of lung cancer, liver cirrhosis or heart attack! Some people slog all their lives yet live in extreme penury, while a few are born with golden spoon in their mouth, inheriting big fortune from their ancestors and don’t need to work all their lives! In spite of preparing hard for the examination, the mind simply refuses to work on the d- day resulting in abysmal performance! A prime property suddenly becomes junk due to coming up of a chemical plant, which emits heavy pollutants, in its vicinity! In our daily lives, we come across such paradoxes almost regularly, but thank God the impact of some such paradoxes is not very hard or deep and we continue with our lives, taking such events in our stride!

While not very religious and definitely not superstitious, I feel that sometimes a few such eventualities in life shake you to the core and you start seeing a great learning in a famous English proverb, ” the man proposes but God disposes” ! There seems to be a superpower sitting somewhere there, playing pranks with individuals, the impact and motive of which could be deep rooted and difficult to comprehend! This also brings one to believing another famous sloka from Bhagvad Gita that reads:

“कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥”?

In simple words, it means:

You have a right to “Karma” (actions) but never to any Fruits thereof. You should never be motivated by the results of your actions, nor should there be any attachment in not doing your prescribed activities.

The above teaching by Bhagwad is the only explanation for paradoxes affecting our lives.

8 thoughts on “Paradoxes

  1. Arvind, I read about the next round of forced retirements thrust upon those employees for whom the Management could not find a slot. Sum of the numbers thus gotten rid of would cross a thousand or many more over the last five or six years. Many of these employees were promoted through the ranks which implied that the Management had some faith in their abilities for carrying out responsibilities of a higher nature. ( normal good performers having already received their bonuses for good deeds of the last year) . It is a paradox that I will never find an answer to, unless I look at a more baser motive of cost cutting by replacing more expensive employees by less expensive ones. Many of the of the employees at senior levels have not found suitable alternative openings elsewhere.

    The Indian philosophy of so called Karma that says , inter alia, that “you reap as you sow, if not in this birth but in the next birth etc ” is also at variance with the other variant of Karma as quoted by you namely “You have a right to “Karma” (actions) but never to any Fruits thereof. You should never be motivated by the results of your actions, nor should there be any attachment in not doing your prescribed activities”.

    People who lost their jobs may have done so because of sins of their previous births as per our religious philosophies, but that certainly does not help their families when the bread earners are suddenly deprived of their livelihoods not on account any wrongdoing on their part in this birth , but because of the machinations of a handful of people who will get a pat in the back , ( plus bonuses and may be also a promotion) for enhancing profitability this year by saving huge employee costs.

    No one really knows what happens after we die. Whether rebirth happens or we simple turn into Nitrogen, Hydrogen etc are matters of conjecture and belief. What is more tangible is whether we get what we have earned in this life. Co-incidences do exist, as do statistics – like so many people will die each year in road accidents, from hear ailments, cancer, stroke, or at childbirth. It is tough to attribute it all to some all knowing all pervading omnipresent entity that no one has seen or heard, who only plays pranks with all beings in the universe.

    A fatalist philosophy does help people to cope with their own misfortunes and losses, by attributing such happenings to the “Will of the Supreme Being”. But deep inside one knows that that Supreme Being that loves us all can receive our gifts ,donations, charities and money but when it comes to the crunch really does not give back our monies worth !!

    Please don’t take all this seriously. I am just joking !! I really have no wish to be branded as a “non- believer” or an “anti- national”. That is a fate far worse than every other misfortune that even God can dish out in the next birth..

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  2. Unlike many writers I need some kind of a prod or motivation to write. Your are currently providing that motivation. There are moments such as these when I really churn out stuff.

    Coming to life’s paradoxes, I can mention a few that have really got me flummoxed.

    Foremost among them is tobacco.
    Successive Governments have spent humongous amounts in advt campaigns and statutory warnings through movies, TV etc against smoking and the use of chewing tobacco, sometimes using very expensive film stars. Huge amounts are again spent by Governments on cancer research, other health care, hospitals, medicines for the poor and so on.

    They say Tobacco Kills. They have made it compulsory to print the warnings covering at least 65% of the surface on the packets.

    But they refuse to ban its manufacture and production, the way opium and heroin and other drugs are banned.

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  3. Forgot to mention that e- cigarettes ( electronic smoke generators and nicotine inhalers) are officially banned in many states of India, although there is not sufficient research or data to suggest the extent of ill effects ,if any, of e- cigarettes. These are not banned in anywhere else.

    The ill effects of real tobacco on the other hand are very well documented. But they are not banned anywhere, including in our esteemed country.

    Makes you wonder, what ?

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  4. Dear Sir. It is complex to understand whether to be enshrined in Bhagwad Gita Shaloka and improve on action, say to correct result. Followers donot know how hard leaders create path. But at front since leader is creating despite that blame is on him/her. Organisation should develop mesaurement method of painstaking ability and absorbed by a leader. Nobody will like to leader then. Still those who are true leaders win because it is their character even though world is unable to measure. Organisations want results therefore such leaders are failing.Leaders now need to be smart but retain character to move in tandem with organisational goals. Still if they fail then it can be attributed to Bhagwad Gita Shaloka.

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