The Zeitgeist

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Chapter 5: Jyani

“Hi Jyani, this is Akshay. He has come from Shehar to explore the hitherto unexplored aspects of life. I thought who would be a better person than you to help him understand the different dimensions of life.”

“Don’t embarrass me with your blandishments.”

“You are trying to be modest.”

“Modesty is the acknowledgement of the truth. We can continue like this forever. Hi Akshay, how are you?”

“It was interesting.”

“What are you doing here in Bada Shehar?”

“Exactly what is told by Safal.”

At this Safal interrupted and sought permission to leave.

“We can’t say no to you. You won’t listen.”

“It’s urgent. Moreover, it will give both of you more time to understand life in a better way” he said smilingly.

“You crazy workaholic materialist, better leave this place.”

“Ok sir,” replied Safal and left the place.

“Akshay, please have a seat.”

“For how long do you know each other?”

“Actually, we are friends from our schooling days. He had always been a hard working student. There was a competition between us, who would top the class. But the competition had never induced bitterness in our relationship. We had made a rule that whosoever tops the class will give the party afterwards.”

“What do you do?”

“I give motivational lecture.”

“I think you are the right man.”

“For what? And why did you come here? I mean Bada Shehar.”

“I came here to find out the meaning of life. Why should I do what I am doing?”

“These are complex questions and can’t be answered easily. My understanding is based on reading, discussions with the people and my experiences in life. I don’t have any metaphysical experiences and

understanding. Whatever my experiences are, anybody can relate to or argue with.”

“Then, what do you say.”

“About what?”

“Life, its suffering and still going on.”

“Look, there is a period between our birth and death which we are destined to live. We don’t have a say in this. Many a times in life, you feel burdened by carrying your own carcass but still keep moving forward because you are helpless. Life is a task which we have to execute whether we want it or not.”

“Rightly said,” said Akshay and his eyes gleamed. “But if we have a destiny then what is the relevance of karma?”

“What I feel is that your destiny decides your karma. You become what you think, what situation you are put into, what place you are born and what people you are surrounded by.” He smiled looking at the roof and continued “You can decide upon how much time you want to carry the carcass. You can either burn it or take rest at regular intervals to gather energy to carry the carcass forward. Only courageous people can burn the carcass. That’s what differentiates them from the rest.”

“It means that once you burn the carcass you can never be unhappy.”

“No it’s not like that. External situation which are beyond your control will always affect your life. They have the potential to make you happy or sad. The realization of that potential on human mind depends on the state of mind of the person. Those who have burned the carcass know not only how to burn it but also how to avoid the built up.”

“So, how to avoid that weight from mounting on your shoulder?”

“Only the person, who neither does get excited by success nor bogged down by failure, has truly burned the carcass.”

“Is it possible?”

“Only saints acquire this state of mind. But the people who show little fluctuations to the changing external situations have also burned their carcass to an extent. They are materialistic saints. They live in this world, enjoy worldly pleasures and at the same time show little fluctuations. It is not possible to enjoy worldly pleasures and still show no fluctuations. Therefore, I said modesty is the acknowledgement of truth. I was talking about this realization.”

“What is truth then?”

“Everybody has their definition of truth. For me- Truth is Intention.”

“Why so?”

“The world is full of unreasonable people; people who consider their perspective to be supreme. They don’t try to step into other people’s shoes to see their perspective. They are all around and in plenty. You cannot explain all things to all these people, even if you are right. In such cases, I lie that is not intended to harm anybody. So the real truth lies in intention. Sometimes you have to do something which otherwise may be considered wrong, but if done with good intention, is right. That’s my point of view and it has nothing to do with the realities of life or the perception of others.”

“Could you elaborate it with an example?”

“I love travelling long distances on bike. My parents are somewhat averse to the idea of my going for such tours. In the beginning I informed them about my travel plans, but their reaction was shocking. They reacted so strongly against it. So whenever I use bike for travelling long distances, I lie to them. Not that I was afraid of speaking truth but try to minimize conflicts for the smooth functioning of the family affairs. I believe in intention more than what is being spoken? Tell me whether you like riding bike or not?”

“I am passionate about it.”

“While commuting to office I felt it to be same as life. I have tried to compare the movements on road with that of life in my diary. Wait I will get that diary.”

Jyani went inside and returned with the diary. He opened the diary and gave it to Akshay.

A Day in Bada Shehar Traffic

Today was like any other day. I was commuting from my home to the office. Every day the realization that this journey unfolds the different facets of life increases. At the start of the journey, I came across a red light at a junction which was not crowded. If you cross the red light just by observing the movement of the vehicles you can save some time. It’s like taking risk in life. While jumping signal if you can also see that there is no traffic policeman there or if there is one, then he does not see you, then it is calculated risk. When I crossed the red light, it was the empty road. I like riding on this road as it is the only stretch of the whole journey where the traffic is light. If such stretches continue for long, the journey becomes monotonous. It’s like a monotony of life of going to office and coming back regularly or following the same routine over and over again. Commuting on this stretch is bliss as the rest of the stretch is a mess. Traffic increases once the stretch is over. In real life too such stretches are required when we get tired of adventure and difficulty. The amazing thing about the road is that no matter how many vehicles you overtake, there will always be some vehicles ahead you. You keep chasing them all through your life. Until you realize somewhere in between that this will go on and then you start enjoying the journey. Every day when you start the journey you need to be aware and alert. You can never become complacent on the roads no matter how much experience you have got. While coming across the various pits and aberrations on the road, you can avoid them next time if you are aware. In real life too you should avoid making same mistake over and over again. You can never be invincible in traffic or in life. It’s the sense of understanding that every day is different; that keeps you going. There are differences in new and various stretches of the road. Differences can be of traffic congestion or that of vigilance required. I won’t recommend you to drive recklessly on the road. At times you feel like competing with other vehicles. That tests your expertise on the road. Similarly, in life competition helps you to explore yourself. Where rules are strictly followed you have limited opportunity to overtake the other vehicles. But when that is not so you have to create the opportunity by observing the gaps. Sometimes the risk taken is not in proportion to the gains. You must have noticed that you take risk to overtake a vehicle. As soon as you overtake the vehicle, the light turns red and the effort goes waste. So you should not be bogged down by the failure of your effort. These continuous efforts are required in life to take something out of it.

“It means you were working somewhere before this.”


“Why did you leave the job?”

“That was not for me.”

“How did you come to know about that?”

“It’s a very subjective thing. It’s like you are working for it and it’s not working for you. Tell me have you ever worked in a company?”


“Why did you leave?”

“Reasons are unknown to me.” There was lull for a moment. Jyani realized that his answer has caused the lull. So he himself started the conversation again.

“I am talking about those subjective unknown reasons that prompted me to leave. You will realize them yourself as we move forward in our discussion.”

“Why not, now?”

“Everything has a time and that hasn’t arrived yet. That’s not too far also.”

“What happened after you left the job?”

“I left the job without planning. When I left I had enough money to sustain myself. I didn’t know what to do in life. I tried to follow my heart from then on. It’s not a selfish concept. This concept makes life meaningful. While working I realized that life is an eternal struggle. If you don’t enjoy this struggle and persist just to give yourself monetary support you fell into gorges of stress or existential crisis. Let me tell you a very interesting thing about human mind. Human mind doesn’t accept change or perhaps is reluctant to change but still likes change in life’s day to day activities. Let me explain it with an example. There was a paradigm shift in the company strategy when it decided to change from manual system to computerized one. There was huge resistance within the company. People were not willing to change even though they knew the advantages that will follow. Paradoxically, man wants change from monotonous life of the work. You know why this happens? Man doesn’t want change in its external environment. He develops a comfort zone around himself from which he doesn’t want to come out. But internally he does aspire for change. So, enjoying the struggles of life is all about maintaining equipoise between both the changes. Now I will come to your question. After I had left the job, I travelled a lot until my money was exhausted. I had no money to sustain myself. I was still clueless about what to do in life. I used to argue with myself to calm myself down the paroxysm of insecurity which was making me restless. One day, I got a call from Prabhavit- I met this guy while travelling. He held a very senior position in an organization. He was stressed because his work-life was imbalanced. He thought of resigning but with family to look after to, he could not. He was utterly frustrated in life. He started suffering from suicidal tendencies. I saw him the first time while going for a walk. He was sitting alone in a park; I noticed he looked like statue in agony. I went to him and asked the reason for being melancholic. He told me the whole story. For next two days we kept on discussing and arguing about the life, its purpose and reason for existence and not to let it go just like that. I don’t know what he got out of that discussions; he decided to give it a shot again. Prabhavit wanted me to come to motivate the employees of his company; I was hesitant as to whether I would be able to do justice. I shared my reluctance with Prabhavit. He told me not to worry and deliver and I agreed. And it worked. I enjoyed my new job. From then on, I am continuing with it. This is how it happened.”

“Let’s discuss something else.”

“Why not? You ask question; I will give you my thoughts which you can agree or refute.”

“What is love?”

“Love emanates from freedom or else it is a manifestation of some prejudices powered by chemical imbalances.”

“What is love?”

“Why again?”

“Some easy explanation or a different one.”

“Let me think.”

“Take your time.”

Jyani thought for a while before coming with an answer.

“Something that remains in the carburetor after servicing yourself is love.”

“What is sex?”

“Sex is something under estimated by society and over estimated by rapist.”

“What is passion?”

“Passion equals to love plus anger. It arises from anger and love sustains it.”

“What are values?”

“Values are the ideas that people assimilate over time.”

“What are ethics?”

“Ethics are the manifestation of those values which one has assimilated over time.”

“What is unreasonability?”

“Lack of vision.”

“Explain mind.”

“Mind is like a car going uphill. You have to give certain amount of acceleration to keep it still.”

“Why the mind is volatile?”

“Complexities in mind make it volatile.”

“What is the significance of problem?”

“It provides you an opportunity to peep into yourself.”

“Why do people change?”

“People don’t change. It’s just that their behaviour is manifested in different situations. Sometimes they show different reaction to the same situation because of the experience they have gone through earlier.”

There was a lull for a moment.

“What else, Akshay?”

“What is success?”

“Financially stable without work.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means you enjoy your work and earn simultaneously.”

“How can we avoid fundamentalism?”

“Paradigm shift in the question.”

“You were answering questions. So I thought let me ask as much questions as possible.”

“Not an issue. Religious texts provide guidelines to the society and were written for the prevailing situation. So there needs to be a synchronous between the existing society and the religious texts. Revision of religious texts at regular period can prevent fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is the inability of the religion to change. Religion represents the thought process of the group of the people. It’s difficult for an individual to change his way of thinking; it becomes even more difficult for a group to change their thought process simultaneously. It’s a slow process. ”

“In which form of government you believe?”

“I believe in anarchy. A system of no government with self-conscious people. Self conscious persons don’t need laws to regulate them. There is a dearth of self-conscious people in the society. A few are there. But there is no way you can certify a person to be self conscious. This is a subjective quality that has objective manifestations. This is the problem. So we need laws to regulate the people to control chaos.”

There was a lull for a moment after the quick fire round of questions and answers. The discussion started the process of contemplation within Akshay’s mind. He asked Jyani to leave as Gappori was waiting for him for dinner. After dinner while they were lying in the bed he told Gappori about his meeting with Jyani. While he was narrating the discussion, Gappori slept in between. He realized immediately and stopped the narration and started pondering over the questions raised in the discussion and the answers given by Jyani until sleep overtook him.

“I am going back to Shehar,” said Akshay as he woke up next morning.

“Why? What happened?”

“I think I have got what I wanted?”

“Then it’s fine. But you can stay for some more time.”

“That I know. Why to waste time? Already wasted a lot. I will move tomorrow evening.”

“Have you booked the tickets?”

“No. I will do it today.”

“Let’s party tonight then. Some kind of farewell party.”

“Of course! Why not? After booking the ticket I will meet Kavi, Safal and Jyani. If you want to join we can go together to meet them.”

“I am too busy today. Lots of work in office. Sorry, some other time.”

“Ok, as you wish.”

He booked the ticket and met them all the same day. Next day he packed his baggage and boarded the train for Shehar.

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