Around 8th century CE, a saintly philosopher lived in Kerala, the southern part of India. Due to his notoriously strange behavior and lifestyle, he was called as ‘Naranathu Bhrandan‘ or ‘the mad man of Naranath‘. But through his odd actions, he strived to convey great messages to laymen.
Waking up every day before dawn, Naranthu used to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, with great effort. Upon reaching the zenith, he would let the rock roll down to the valley and would laugh with immense pleasure, ecstatically clapping his hands. When the rock reaches the bottom he resumed his activity of rolling it up again.
Thinkers and philosophers contemplating on this strange routine of Naranathu have come up with many theories as to what he is trying to convey. Many have reached the conclusion that he was depicting the futility of materialistic effort.
The Analogy of human life
Sisyphus, in Greek mythology, is analogous to Narathu Bhrandan. The only difference is that Sisyphus was condemned by Gods to roll the boulder for eternity because of his sins.
Whatever the myth may be, it attracts our attention towards the vanity and idiocy behind our stress and strain from a spiritual vantage point.
In the short span of sixty or seventy years, men take great effort to live hedonistically in different facets of their lives, only to find that nothing gave them what they really sought for.
Our day-to-day lives are filled with things that we consider important. For some it is money, for many it is their career, for some others it is their relations and so forth.
But, what if one day the one thing that we lived for gets destroyed once and for all. Failures in business, love life, and being suddenly broke are all very common happenings. How can someone survive that?
In face of such atrocities, many fall to taedium vitae, some lose their mental stability and can even be prone to self-destruction.
The Basic flaw
The primary problem with us is that we have become oblivious to what really is important in our life. We consider our career, money, relations and so on as the great goals. It captures the center stage and our lives revolve around it.
We are like the actors, who have fallen into the illusion that they do not have a life outside the play.
Such misconceptions have made us grave and over protective of our possessions and positions. But realizing that these are just aids for the most important thing to keep going, is the first step.
This brings us to the relevant question: What is the most important thing in life?
The Most Important Thing
Thinkers and philosophers have come up with many philosophical answers to this existential query. But I found the words of the mystic Sadhguru most appealing of all.
“The most important thing in life is life itself”
Though at first it feels like a meaningless tautology, his words have echoes in all spiritual texts and thoughts. Once we realize that life is the most important thing, we are never the same.
The reason for all frustrations
We are all followers of Sisyphus who take great efforts to make a living, oblivious to the fact that our efforts are not in the right direction. Hence sooner or later, we become aware of the futility of our efforts.
In fact, in deep consciousness, we all know that we are doing something wrong. This knowledge comes out in the form of anger, guilt, frustration and profound ennui.
This is not to say that we should refrain from all worldly activities and live like a hermit. We should all follow our passion and fulfil our duties. Nevertheless, we should take care not to allow them to be the primary preference in our lives.
A child’s Wisdom
As children we all knew this universal law. We used to play around without any concern of winning or loosing. Enjoying life for the sake of living without much heed to the paraphernalias will make life so much simpler.
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus. (Mathew 18.3)
To be like children we have to be change our life style. We need to cultivate trust and live life light-heartedly. A simple and meditative life, turning down all the noises around, will make it a game to be enjoyed.
Being Aware of the Obvious
Once we give up the dilutions, we would start perceiving the beauty of our own existence. The childish non-seriousness makes life a game to be enjoyed rather than a problem to be solved. That would vindicate us from the constricting columns of profit and loss.
The lesson of Naranathu, prompts us to leave behind our Sisyphean efforts and live free. The weight of the invisible burdens that we carry up the hill, will not make us eligible to enter the zenith of happiness. Rather, it hinders our freedom and slows down the journey by squeezing out the last drop of our zest, only to free fall to the valley of depression and self acquisition.
Isn’t it time to let go of the burdens and walk free, enjoying life without getting over attached to anything?
Thank you for reading. Please post your opinions in the comment box below.