To think that this phenomenon of alternating sorrow and happiness is not so is another illusion we have. Based on all this, as you can see, our entire life is built on hope.
You know, the greatest illusion–I am sitting here now, speaking into this microphone and recording this talk, and you believe that I will continue recording till the allotted time is over, when the fact is anything can happen. I am 58 now. Well, I look young; my mind is young and all of it is true. But, I am 58!
Who knows when the heart has had enough and says, ‘stop it’ and is gone just like that? Or else, consider there is a spurt of blood in the head and there you are gone. Or maybe, inadvertently, I put my finger into one of these electrical connections and get electrocuted. When they open the door to see if M has finished recording, M is not here, he is gone. Look, I am not trying to be funny. It’s true! It can happen at any time. There could be an earthquake any moment.
Even if one looks into the mirror and sees a few wrinkles, how hard we try to forget it or cover it up in some way or the other. Illusions! Illusions!
See, one of the greatest illusions that the human being carries is the hope that everything is everlasting; that we are going to be like this forever, even in the simplest of things. You know how long it takes for one to realise one is becoming old? One likes to stay young. Even if one looks into the mirror and sees a few wrinkles, how hard we try to forget it or cover it up in some way or the other. Illusions! Illusions!
Now, if you see it like a play on a stage, it is interesting! Beautiful! You can enjoy the whole scheme of how hope works, how illusion comes and it is all one big drama. Vedanta says we are looking for the director of this drama–the director who has got these actors all lined up and is letting them play their roles well or not so well!
So what happens? Deep down, we know that there are brief spells of happiness. For instance, I make a lot of money, and then I am very happy. I say ha! Now I have this much of bank balance and then what happens? The troubles start, what is that? First the Income Tax–I have to check if I have paid it properly. Then, there is someone asking for a bribe from the Income Tax department on the pretext of setting something right. My auditor says, “Sir, give it and finish it off, why the headache?” You see this?
Okay, another instance! I have a brand new car and I am driving around in style and the extortionist watches me through binoculars and says, “Now, this is a good guy to catch.”
Recently, film-maker Mahesh Bhatt got a phone call from an extortionist asking for money. It happens regularly, industrialists know this. People are always looking for easy ways to make money and they have their eyes on other people’s money. So, my happiness in having made money has evaporated because I have to protect it.
If I have to protect something and hold on to it because it is more slippery than a fish out of water, or a snake, with the fear that it can disappear at any time, I hold on to it with all my might. Not letting it go; but it has to go at some point.