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Monday, June 21, 2021

Karma Sutra: Why we shouldn’t assume that a situation is permanent

The one common assumption that we share as humans is our ‘sense of permanence’, but we need to remember that things can change in a moment, and nothing is really forever.

Written by Ritu S | New Delhi |
April 4, 2016 5:26:48 pm
- Our own situational assumptions cause us all kinds of embarrassment, misunderstanding, hurt and disillusionment. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

A farmer who had lost his wife in childbirth, decided to raise his infant on his own. He would feed the child goat milk, put it to sleep and then leave. Since there was a fear of snakes on the farm, he decided to get himself a mongoose to guard his little hut.

One day upon his return, he saw blood stains around the mongoose’s mouth. Thinking that the mongoose had attacked his son, he flew into a rage. Picking up his sickle, he killed the mongoose. The poor mongoose died instantly. He raced inside the hut and was surprised to his little child sleeping blissfully. After he regained his senses he saw a dead snake near the child’s cot. He understood in an instant what must have transpired in his absence. He shook his head in repentance, cursing himself for not paying heed to what the wise men said about testing one’s assumptions before it was too late.

While the farmer’s assumption cost him the life of his dear and loyal pet, our own situational assumptions cause us all kinds of embarrassment, misunderstanding, hurt and disillusionment. But the one common assumption that we share as humans is our ‘sense of permanence’. We assume that we — and those around us — are there ‘forever’. But alas, people leave, situations change; nothing remains the way it used to be. What seemed set in stone, turns to sand.

While some people leave for their respective destinations, others leave us for good. We are at a loss in this new found situation. For better or for worse, it implies a change of mindset, milieu and a series of adjustments. What strikes us most is the suddenness of these events. Till things change we assume they will be the same ‘forever’. But it takes a single day for things to change and history is witness to that.

So, be it favourable or unfavourable, people or situations, things can and do change in a day. The negative people who stifle us today too will be gone one fine day and just like that our life would have changed. The loving people who spread warmth in our life too will be gone. As humans, we assume, in both the cases that things will be the same ‘forever’.

Read all Karma Sutra columns here.

When we assume that the negative people in our life are going to be around permanently, we feel dejected. We either cave in to despair or get into unwarranted situations with them out of sheer frustration. The frustration stems more out of our helplessness of being stuck with such specimens permanently than with those specimens themselves. And, it is at such times that we need to remind ourselves that things will change, these negative people will someday magically vanish from our life because nothing here is permanent, the good, the bad, the ugly…

As for the good people, assuming them to be ‘permanent’ as well, we tend to take their love and care for granted. We procrastinate doing things for them in the wake of an ever present tomorrow. It’s time to shake ourselves of this conditioning and understand for a fact that there may not always be a tomorrow to put off things for. Sometimes, later turns out to be too late.

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