Saturday, January 11, 2003
T A K I N G   N O T E 

Combine self-will with spiritual strength
I.M. Soni

"I AM helpless, Misery moving on two legs, unable to change anything about my life. Thatís my fate."

Such laments often come from persons who are all wrapped up in their own selves.

Miracles do take place but one has to work hard for them. Thoughts are things, powerful ones at that. And can change anybodyís life. One of the greatest discoveries of our times, according to psychologist William James, is that we can change our life by changing our thoughts.

"Crippling" and gloomy thoughts are entertained by persons who are physically or emotionally "diseased."

Such breast-beaters, forced with an overriding problem, turn their back to will power and adopt the path of least resistance ó wailing and blaming.

Beethoven was deaf. Imagine his tragedy. He could not hear the "deafening" applause of his appreciative audiences. But he did not turn his back to self-will and went to win deathless fame.


Novelist Thomas Hardy moaned that happiness was but an occasional episode in the general drama of pain. He is entitled to his philosophy, as I am to mine!

Nietzsche declared: I donít hanker after happiness. Only the British do.

We Indians are highly "spiritual". Hence we spend more time securing a place in paradise than scientifically working out a solution to our problems.

The fault lies in our work culture, which is alibi-oriented rather than "action-oriented". Gibbon put it like this: Give me love and work, only these two.

It should not be overlooked that side by side with our spiritual culture has grown a feeling that the scientist can solve many of our problems, including personal ones.

Why not go to a psychiatrist to free yourself from melancholia? Suffering from martyr complex, we prefer to suffer and thus inflict suffering on our family members. This suffering in the name of Godís will is sickness of the mind.

I am not suggesting that a spiritual approach for solving problems should be consigned to the dustbin. The burden of my argument is that by total dependence on it, we only add to our problems and difficulties.

Yet, many nurse the notion that they can expect a "spiritual contractor" to mend their lives. There are a number of programmes on TV on this theme. Long discourses are delivered by those who live in luxury afforded by their devotees. Such preachers have never faced hardship of earning a living by the sweat of their brow.

The fallacy lies in man rejecting all he knows about self-will. He is equally strange to the strength of human character. Doctors see this great force, for even critically ill patients can rise back to health by exercising their will.

The endurance and will of man can be gauged by numerous examples: conquering mountains, braving disasters, calamities, and tragedies ó all these point towards the invisible force in man.

Each one of us can use a judicious mix of science, self-will and spiritual strength to better ourselves.