Monday, July 18, 2011

17 - The Illusion of Being Old.

"Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery:  
He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, 
and he has saved not only his soul but his life."
 ~G.K. Chesterton

'Mind your age..You are 60 now'...the wife told her husband in a stern voice.  The rebuke came because her husband suddenly became very enthusiastic like a kid while  showing me his house with a view of the swimming pool and describing  what joy it is to stand in the balcony and watch people (meaning..women ) swimming. He became silent ( sad perhaps ..) as soon as he was reminded of his age. My initial reaction to it was that of amusement. I smiled thinking that the old man has forgotten to act according to his age. I felt sorry for him.

Now, the above incident just appeared in my mind after reading the popular vedic fable, which goes like this :-  

"A god and a demon went to learn about the Self from a great sage. They studied with him for a long time. At last the sage told them, "You yourselves are the Being you are seeking." Both of them thought that their bodies were the self. 

The nature of the demon was ignorant, clouded; so he never inquired any further, but was perfectly contented with the idea that he was God, that by the Self was meant the body. 

The god had a purer nature. He at first committed the mistake of thinking: I, this body, am Brahman: so keep it strong and in health, and well dressed, and give it all sorts of enjoyments.

But, in a few days, he found out that that could not be the meaning of the sage, their master; there must be something higher. So he came back and said, "Sir, did you teach me that this body was the Self? If so, I see all bodies die; the Self cannot die." The sage smiling  said, "Find it out; thou art That." 

Then the god thought that the vital forces which work the body were what the sage meant. But. after a time, he found that if he ate, these vital forces remained strong, but, if he starved, they became weak. The god then went back to the sage and said, "Sir, do you mean that the vital forces are the Self ?" The sage said, "Find out for yourself; thou art That." 

The god returned home once more, thinking that it was the mind, perhaps, that was the Self. But in a short while he saw that thoughts were so various, now good, again bad; the mind was too changeable to be the Self. He went back to the sage and said, "Sir, I do not think that the mind is the Self; did you mean that?" "No," replied the sage, "thou art That; find out for yourself." 

The god went home, and at last found that he was the Self, beyond all thought, one without birth or death, whom the sword cannot pierce or the fire burn, whom the air cannot dry or the water melt, the beginningless and endless, the immovable, the intangible, the omniscient, the omnipotent Being; that It was neither the body nor the mind, but beyond them all."

I understood the above fable as it resonated with my theory that the world is a dream and that the soul is dreaming this world. As such, the dreamer is unaffected by the dream. It all made sense... But I could not understand as to why the incident about the swimming pool popped in my mind right after reading this fable. I figured that the answer will present itself in due time and as such did not think much about it.

I was right. The answer came while I was browsing a website. My eyes went on a quote mentioned on the website.

"A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; 
on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of 
continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves 
in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention."

After reading the above quote, my conclusion about the swimming pool incident changed. Instead of feeling sorry for him, I thought he must be feeling sorry for me. Perhaps, God was teaching me that Age.. is just a number...:)


  1. gud1 ..
    but i m still nt able 2 understand dis article to its brim ...
    can u plz add links for better expansion..

  2. To Anonymous
    well.. the article basically implies that age is just in the mind.. as with everything else. So there are ways to turn the clock back..the yogi's new how to control age..been researching on this some clues..follow the blog to find out.
    - Amit