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D.Muthukrishnan (Muthu), Certified Financial Planner- Personal Financial Advisor

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Weekend Jottings

Posted by Muthu on January 23, 2011

Saagaavaram (The boon of deathlessness) – Some time last year, I read this beautiful Tamil book written by one of the respected IAS officer in Tamilnadu, Irai Anbu. I liked the book and shared it with few of my friends too.

Incidentally Irai Anbu, a Tamil name means one who loves God.

This book says deathlessness, which people think as a boon, is actually a curse. Creation without destruction is very painful. Spring looses meaning if there is no autumn. There is no such thing as permanency or continuity of an individual. If there is one, then that is what an eternal hell is.   

A reference was made in the book about ‘Papanasam  Swamigal’. Probably Irai Anbu might have known him.

A close friend of mine knew this swamigal well and has asked me many times in the past to accompany him to Papanasam (near Tirunelveli). Somehow it never happened.

This friend of mine is non religious and non ritualistic. He neither worships anyone nor practices any system. We share some common traits. 

Few years ago, when this swamigal visited Chennai, I happened to see him.

If the term ‘swamigal’ gives a picture of someone in an ochre robe, with long beard etc., it is not so. He resembled any ordinary gentleman in his old age, wearing normal attire.

Normally when you visit a guru, there is either expectation from the guru or his coterie that you show extreme reverence. Bending, prostrating and talking with hands covering the mouth are the norms at many places.

He has come alone to a house and everyone was joyfully chatting with him. There was no garlanding, ‘Padhaa Pooja’ (worship of feet) or distribution of any ‘prasadam’ (offerings).

When I saw him, I felt like bowing down. May be my old habit. He immediately stopped me from doing that and mentioned something like there is no need to bow before another human being.

Despite his ripe age, he addressed me only in plural and offered me a seat. There was no such thing as he sitting in a chair and everyone else sitting down.

Though we discussed nothing profound, there was only a casual chat, he somehow made an impact on me.

I thought I should visit Papanasam and spend sometime with him. However he soon passed away in sleep while he was travelling in a train.

Only very few knew him because he never promised anybody anything. A guru is in demand only if he offers protection to people from their fears or promises them what they desire, either in this world or the other. Even the worldly detached ones, wants self realization, considered as pinnacle of one’s spiritual journey.

He was working till his last giving employment to the local community also. He never depended on anyone.

I was told that he gave instructions that after his death there should not be any kind of symbol of worship by people who liked him. He wanted to leave without any trail.

There was a time I used to be deeply scared about death, my death.

Somehow I’ve overcome it. Though like any other species, I’m hardwired to fight for my survival, the psychological fear is less now.

I cannot say the same for people whom I like. Definitely there is fear of loosing people. However I realise that all I can do is to grieve, when such thing happens.

I do not believe in any kind of continuity. If there is one, I’ll know after I die.

I feel that bubbles have no separate identity apart from ocean. Ocean is one.

I sometimes exhibit the trait of wanting the future to be certain.

Time and time again, life has proved that it is not possible.

Any lesson learnt?

I worry lot less these days but am not able to totally avoid it.

I’m fine with the same. I feel that negative emotions too have an unavoidable place in the life.

I find it easier to deal with people who do not project themselves as ‘ever green positive thinkers’. There is some depth in the relationships when you relate to people as they are.

I’ve found many times that hard core positive thinkers are very superficial and it is impossible to connect to them as they do not want their outer veneer to be broken.  They do not want to be vulnerable. Unless I’m ready to be vulnerable, nobody can meaningfully connect to me.

Feelings, both positive and negative, needs to be acknowledged.

Like happiness and pleasure, suffering and pain also exist, both in me and outside me.

There is no point living in a denial mode.

‘Positive thinkers’ project the state of permanent happiness, which in my opinion is non existent. 

I’m unable to watch interviews of film heroines for more than few minutes. They smile for each and everything and it appears very shallow.

Equally horrible is watching serials where they only cry endlessly.

I many a times get positive thinking quotes which ends up saying that sky is the limit.

Whenever I get such quotes I remember Buffett’s quip that ‘Trees don’t grow to sky’.

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