PURSUING A PATH LESS TRAVELLED – THE PATH THAT LEADS TO THE LASTING GOOD
The two options that life offers to us every now and then – the path of the lasting good(shreya) and the path of the pleasant (preya), about which Lord Yama talks in the Kathopanishad (mantras 1.2.1 and 1.2.2) constitute a classic ‘decision making dilemma’ faced by man since times immemorial.
Let me try to explain this in the
context of the popular game of golf.
In golf, you are required to hit the ball over long distances to reach what are called ‘greens’. Very frequently, you are not even able to see the green, your view being obstructed by trees, ponds, mist etc.
While the easy path appears more tempting as it does not have any hazards (water bodies, sand bunkers etc.), it (this easier option) is generally the longer path requiring more shots to reach the green.
In such circumstances, an ace golfer would refer to the layout diagram of the course. He would first fix his own location on that map and then arrive at the rough direction in which the green would lie.
With this rough direction, the player confidently hits the ball knowing well that the ball would have flown towards the green. This confidence in one’s own knowledge makes the player relax and releases his full power of purposeful action that brings out amazing performance levels.
Similarly, in the game of our own lives, often we do not identify correctly our objective (green), distracted as we are by the attraction of worldly pleasures (easy pleasant paths). Even those who know their objective (green), often fail to recognize the direction in which it lies. Hence, we are lost about the correct course of action to be pursued in our day to day situations.
While counseling, mentoring, coaching etc.all provide clarity in the many professional fields of activities, none of them provides a compass in the truest sense. It is only the timeless wisdom of the Upanishads that provides the lay out diagram for the obstacle course of life.
They declare that in this ephemeral world, it is only the realization of our deathless and joyous nature that provides the permanent happiness. Hence, that should be our only green(objective) and once we obtain a focus on our purpose and direction in life, our daily actions acquire a potency and effectiveness all their own. The journey of Life becomes verily a walk in the God’s beautiful park.
Cdr. H C Guruprasad (IN Retd)