“The life-story of Sundar is really an eye-opener. I now get some ideas on the consequences of our beliefs. But, I still doubt whether one can control one’s beliefs, or whether one can change them,” commented Sakthi.
“It is a question of your conscious choice. Sundar learned something very important from his manager, and he chose to try it out. He made a conscious effort to change his belief. Everything could be difficult until they became easy.
Let me tell you once again.
It is all about the choices we make. Whether we like it or not, in every moment of life we have a choice to make. A decision to make.
Whether to go to sleep early in the night or watch a late night movie, whether to tell a lie to the teacher about not completing the homework, or not, or whatever… The list could be ever long.
We cannot avoid taking a decision about the choices before us; we must exercise our choice. Even to leave making a decision about a choice to others is a choice. This appears to be the life’s dilemma.”
“O, yeah…Now that you told me, I realize that I have had those dilemmas, many times…”
“Not just you…everyone, without exception. Besides, once the choice is made, we must always be prepared to face the consequences of the choices we made. Own responsibility for the choice we made. Once again, there is no escape from the consequences. But, generally, we tend to blame others for the outcome of our actions without realizing that it was primarily the choices we made that brought those outcomes.”
“Making a decision is the most difficult part,” said Sakthi.
“Yes, exercising our choice is a delicate matter. Not many had learnt the art of choosing, making a decision about what is good in their interest and what serves their purpose. But for that to happen, we need to be aware of our purpose,” Paramanad concluded.
Sakthi’s mood changed suddenly as he said, “It is really disturbing to know that we have been continuously making a choice in every minute of our life, without even knowing about it. I am able to see the other part: the consequences of our actions… right now, I feel very sad, leaving my house in anger and frustration.”
Once again, Paramanand consoled him. “Once we learn to take responsibility for our action, there will be more happiness and less disappointment in our life. Let me explain this with the story of another friend of mine.”
Sakthi interrupted saying, “You seem to be knowing the history of many people.”
“Remember, I am basically a history teacher. I love history. I closely observe the life of people, their history, their struggle, their victories, their disappointments, their failures, and their dilemmas. It really fascinates me to watch how human beings react or respond to other people and their own circumstances,” replied Paramanand.
“Can you tell the story of your friend?” Sakthi interrupted again.
“Sure. The life of Rajesh is a classic example of the dilemmas one could face and the difficulties in choosing. Rajesh came from an ordinary lower, middle-class family of six, including him. He was academically brilliant. His father became sick and was heading towards a long leave of absence from his work, without pay. He suggested to Rajesh to take his job in a government department, which might be available to him on compassionate grounds.
But Rajesh dreamt of other things – good education, a well-paying job, a lucrative career and comforts of life – not a poorly paying, mediocre government job. His father had also sounded Rajesh that he had no money to send him for higher studies.
Rajesh had the first challenging dilemma of his life. The family needed an earning member, to run the family, and Rajesh wasn’t ready to shoulder the responsibility, for he had his own dreams about his life. He loved his family, and choosing between the two alternatives was very painful.
Eventually, he chose what his heart dictated. He defied his father, went in for higher studies. There were struggles, but he finished his studies creditably. During the entire two years of his studies, his mother somehow ran the family without bothering him about the family’s day to day problems.
When Rajesh was about to complete his higher studies, he faced the second, tough dilemma. A bank had already picked him up for a lucrative officer’s job, just before his final examinations. As jobs were difficult to get those days, friends advised him to quit the college and take up the job. His Professor in the college had already arranged for a full scholarship for his Ph. D course in a prestigious institution and advised him to ignore the offer of a job from the bank. If Rajesh didn’t accept the job offer, his family would go financially broke. Rajesh mustered his courage, decided to finish his education first and then join the bank, to save the family from the possible financial ruins. He chose to forego a Ph. D degree that he had loved to have.
Rajesh was a novice to banking. Not many in the bank believed that he would stay on with the bank job for long, given his excellent academic record. But, not only Rajesh chose to stay on with the bank, but also chose to love banking and what he did in the bank. He grew up there until one day when he decided to leave the bank after nearly two and half decades of satisfying career.
This happened when the bank denied him a critical promotion at top-management levels. His pride didn’t allow him to swallow the denial. The third biggest challenge was to choose between staying on in the bank, swallowing his pride, plodding, or, leave the bank seeking his fortunes outside. He chose to leave the bank honorably.
That turned out to be the most significant decision of his life. That change brought him an opportunity to work abroad and earn a lot of money. Eventually, he became so successful that he could never have dreamt of in his earlier career. He had remembered his pain of the struggles he had in studying, and he spent the money he earned abroad liberally to help many students for higher education.”
When Paramanand concluded his story, he found Sakthi in a deep contemplative mood. He decided not to disturb his mood.
Then suddenly, Sakthi remarked, “I understand my own dilemmas now and the difficulties in making a choice. Should I have listened to my parents, keeping aside my own preferences, or not? Should I have openly discussed with my parents about my dislike for a medical education, or not? Should I not have left my house and my parents in anger?”
“Exactly. This is the kind of dilemma we all face, and we have to choose among equally competing alternatives. However, it needs to be remembered here that most of the choices we normally make are unconscious decisions, controlled by our childhood conditioning. The traumas we had undergone during our early years have telling effects on our attitude and our behavior.”
“So, what should I do now?” asked Sakthi.
“Again, only you can make that choice, however painful it is.” replied Paramanand.
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