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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Karma Sutra: Why it’s important to let go in life

What we don’t want to accept is that life goes on, with or without us.

Written by Ritu S | New Delhi | Published: May 16, 2016 8:20:14 pm
Happy businesswoman releasing birds No matter how good our intention, we need to make allowance for the young ones to learn from their mistakes. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

In life there’s a time for everything. The Bible says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… A time to keep and a time to castaway… A time to keep silent and a time to speak.” (Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:18)

In Hindu mythology, Manu the first man and an important lawgiver has suggested four stages that an individual life must be divided into. The student stage(brahmacharin), the householder(grihastra), the forest wanderer (vanaprastha), and the saint (sanyasin).

In Kaliyuga, aka, the Dark Age, people refuse to forsake the ‘householder’ stage. Once a householder, always a householder. They are not willing to pass on the reins to the next generation and forsake the duties of the householder. Whereas, the law clearly specifies the stage to participate (householder) and the stage to withdraw (vanaprastha).

No matter how good our intention, we need to make allowance for the young ones to learn from their mistakes. The noble Atlas in us is unwilling to let go of the world that we carry on our frail shoulders. We justify our intrusion, if only to ourselves, that without us our world would fall apart, it will cease to function. What we don’t want to accept is that life goes on, with or without us. Having made our contribution to the world in the best possible manner, it is just as much our duty to make way for fresh ideas and energy to express itself.

As householders we implement whatever knowledge we acquire as students. We take up the challenges, realise our potential and, in the process, we make mistakes. And whoever has led the path of a householder knows that making mistakes is the only way to learn. We also know that some events in life are beyond our control, hence, in spite of putting our best efforts, some transactions go well, some don’t.

This attitude is ingrained in us through fables at a very young age.

The path of householder also requires us to nurture our young ones and having trained them, the old must make way for the new. But so massive is our hold on the world (samsara) that we are unwilling to make that space for the others to blossom. Although, we know that nature does not permit the sapling to grow under the shadow of the big tree.

Read all the Karma Sutra columns here.

Coming back to the Bible, “There’s a time to keep and a time to castaway”. And indeed, we need to know when to let go of all that belongs to us, including our sense of control on the young adults. Ironically, when we set the young adults free, we are infact setting ourselves free. Having imparted them with the right values and good education we have done our bit. Now slowly but surely, we need to start withdrawing and make room for them to live life their way.

Each one of us operates with our understanding of the world, our small light which guides us through life. And as we move ahead we win some, lose some. But atleast they were our choices and decisions. Not imposed upon us by our elders.

Our immortality is no secret. We all have to leave some day, the show goes on. When we insist on living others’ lives for them, we make them dysfunctional, we leave them with crutches, let us instead give them wings of freedom and leave behind a better world, a functional world.
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