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Theory of Relativity and Happiness

Chandrashekhar Raut loves writing on various topic. He loves literature and writing is his passion.

The Theory of Relativity

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Comparative view

A parable goes like this – a line is drawn on a paper or blackboard; it is asked to be shortened without touching it in anyways; many clever ones tried their best but failed to solve the puzzle; at last a wise one came who only drew another line – longer than the previous one – in front of it; the given line was thus shortened in comparison with the line just drawn; thus the riddle was solved!

The moral of the story – ‘we perceive a thing relatively.’

In this way we understand the world around us comparatively, in degrees and measures – just by comparing and contrasting. This principle is applied throughout. All our feelings are relativistic. That means our happiness or sadness could be modified - increased or decreased simply by comparing it with something else. A simple example could explain the theory. A person who considers himself rich in his own village finds his own self poor when he compares himself with the rich people in a city.

Our perspective

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My life experience

The above principle has transformed my life entirely. Unconsciously this principle was applied by me in my life. In order to explain it I will have to narrate my life story briefly. I was born as a sick baby and remained so through all my childhood. Later, I was diagnosed with an incurable chronic renal ailment and advised for a kidney transplant in an unpredictable future. At the age of eighteen I had undergone a kidney transplant. Thus since my birth doctors, medicines, check-ups, tests, reports, infections, hospitalizations, etc. have been the indispensable part of my life. In this course my family suffered a lot. Particularly, my father, who had also donated one of his kidneys to me, had played a hero’s role to maintain my health and the family responsibilities. The precise treatment and confident and serene attitude by my physician, Dr. S. J. Acharya soon restored me to normalcy.

Meanwhile, the experiences at hospitals, the problems shared by fellow patients and their relatives made me introspective. The sudden demise of my elder uncle - who had been the firm support of our family, forced me to become completely philosophic. I shifted my attention from worldly life to spiritual practices. The questions haunted me – ‘what is life after all? Is it full of sorrows? How can one escape all the miseries of life?’ Being a devotee of Lord Shree KRISHNA, I went through the Bhagavad Gita and following verses in it answered my queries!

Lord KRISHNA preaches

When senses come into contact with the objects it gives rise to pleasure and pain, heat and cold; they are transient, come and go. Therefore O! Arjuna! learn to endure them.

Look at the Rose Instead of the Thorns!

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Equanimity of Mind

In this verse Lord Krishna has suggested that we should take pleasure and pain with equanimity. Neither we should get over excited by joy nor become frustrated in pain. Instead we should remember that they are fleeting; vanishing with the passage of time. We should become brave in trouble and humble in pleasure. That is the way to make life happy and endurable under all circumstances.

"The person who is not troubled by these temporary sensations of pleasure and pain but endures them with an equal state of mind, he is fit for eternal happiness."

This message of Lord Krishna made an indelible impression on my mind. I realized the truth that both happiness and sadness are short existing like a morning mist. As there is the continuous interchange between sunshine and shadow on a cloudy rainy day or the cycle of day and night, so we all are bound to have pleasure and pain. Therefore, is it not wise to take them with an equal state of mind? Since then I started to learn the art of bearing pleasure and pain. Soon I realized that most of our sorrows are not real but created by our creative mind. For example, is it not true that neighbor’s new expensive car makes us restless for days?

Compare and Contrast Principle

In the above lines great British poet Shelley has described human nature in the most precise manner. It is a common tendency of man that for the most of time he either ruminates on the past or worries for the future instead of living in the present. He never enjoys what he has but yearns for what he does not possess. Khalil Gibran puts it in this way – ‘all of us dream of some magical garden at the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our window today!’

We take care of our physical health but never make efforts to maintain our mental integrity. We allow all negativity to rule over our mind. Do we ever bother to control our thoughts? Kidneys cleanse toxics from our body, but what about the poisonous wastes in the mind? It is the mind that controls the body. And our thoughts rule the mind. Naturally, positive thoughts create positive energy which is a phenomenal healing medicine. On the contrary, the negative thoughts are a slow poison, giving birth to negative feelings such as jealousy, anger, hatred, etc. which cause anxiety, restlessness, tension, resulting in increased levels of body parameters - the signal of some imminent illness.

I discovered that there was more to enjoy than to regret for. I found during my regular visits at the hospital that there were many people who were suffering much more than me. When I compared myself with them I felt that indeed I was enjoying a very happy life. To my surprise, I became aware that my illness had been more beneficial for me as it had given me a new perspective at life. It had made me to think on the fundamental things instead of being entangled in petty chores of daily life.

So I started to enjoy each moment of my life by using it for some productive purpose. I started reading all kinds of good books on spirituality, philosophy, literature, science, etc. I filled my mind with illuminating, positive thoughts and tried to get rid of negative feelings such as jealousy, hatred, anger, etc. Regular prayer played a miraculous role and gradual my mind began to become calm. As a result I experienced undisturbed inner happiness. All this which I experienced is similar with Shelley’s guess of the secret of the skylark’s delight expressed in the following stanza of his great poem ‘Ode to a Skylark’:

Secrete of Everlasting Delight

‘Waking or asleep,

Thou of death must deem

Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream,

Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?’

Be Happy!

In this way the principle of relativity helped to soothe me. If we compare ourselves with those who are in more sufferings than us it is bound to relieve most of our pain. So, it is my humble suggestion that a transplant patient should compare himself with a dialysis patient; the dialysis patient should compare himself with an ICU patient and the ICU patient could compare himself with a patient who is in coma for months and see for himself if he does not get rid of most of his woes.

Indeed the person in coma could not and need not to compare with anybody for he is already enjoying the joy of unconsciousness. But, even if he could do so, he might feel overjoyed for the simple reason that he has been above common pursuit of ordinary mortals as he has attained the bliss of oblivion!

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© 2020 Chandrasekhar Rajendra Raut