The Churning of the Ocean

The Hindu mythology greatly talks about the incident of The Churning of the Ocean, and many wise people still speak about its relevance to the modern world. Recently I realised lately that I have too been churning the ocean and coincidentally a book I was reading made me realise what was happening.

In a gist, the story goes something like this: In the desire of amrita (the divine drink which gives immortality), Lord Indra initiated the desire to churn the ksheer sagar (ocean of milk). The amrita did come out in the end of the ordeal, but at the cost of halahal (the deadly poison, which Lord Shiva had eventually drunk to save the world).

In the modern world too, we want a lot of good things. The list and the quest is endless. But end result is not always the good part. Along with the many fulfilled wants comes some price which we have to pay reluctantly. As an economics teacher, I have said this statement many a times: There is a difference between wants and needs. Most of the times our needs can be fulfilled, but wants are something which is endless. And this is what that has to be controlled by a controlled line of thoughts and emotions. Tough, very tough but achievable by practice.

There is another side of the coin, which I read about in the book, which I felt was more applicable to me. Most of the times I am pretty much in control to decide what I need and what I want. What I am about to mention is what I have had to struggle with.

For a lot of us, there is an unending desire to churn the ocean around us. When things are calm, composed and pretty much smooth, we want to add new things to our agenda. It’s like saying calmness is boring. During trying times, we keep wishing for normalcy, boredom and the usual. And then when things become normal, then we want a change, and we start churning the ocean to derive a newness, a want, a desire.

With that churning, comes a halahal. The forms are many. Stress, tension, sleepless nights, lengthy phone calls, body ache, heart problems…the list is huge. We are not letting our mind to stay still. The mind is put to work so much that it starts giving up, and thus arises many ailments and bad relationships.

Next time when things are normal and boring, let it be. Like I said earlier, normal and usual is fine. Ask someone who is facing a problem in his life. It is something to be grateful about. Trust me, to kill boredom or normalcy with a new want is the wrong way. Try a hobby, pick up a book, play an instrument, feed the poor, do some charity, play with your pet, take a walk, listen to your favourite music, meet a friend, have a healthy snack, make some good food, watch a little bit of TV, log on to facebook, chat with a friend. There you go…there are so many options. Look for small happiness and not churning the ocean. 

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