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Life Is Precious

This happened in a seacoast village. Ananthu, the fisherman living in that village, was up from bed early in the morning to go fishing in the sea. The high tide, on the previous night, had left behind many shells, conchs, dead fish and pieces of trash on the beach. It was still dark; only the distant horizon was slightly crimson. Ananthu walked in a carefree mood, right on the shoreline, enjoying the morning scene.

Suddenly he stumbled upon a sack-like object. He bent down and opened it, but as it was dark he could only feel some pebble like objects inside the bag. "Maybe a piece of shipwreck washed away by the waves," he muttered to himself. His happy mood prompted him to play with his just found objects; he decided to toss the pebbles into the sea to test his capacity to hurl them. He opened the bag, took out the pebbles one after another, heaving them skillfully into the sea, feeling happy by the "plup" sound they made when they fell into the waters.

He went on doing it until dawn broke and a dim light of rising sun began to scatter all over. Now, he paused, curiously looked into his bag to examine his pebbles. And lo! They were no ordinary pebbles, they were large-sized diamonds that he was mistakenly throwing away! Only a few had remained.

This is how most human lives are spent. We begin our life by playing with the precious life-opportunities mistaking them to be worthless pebbles, fit to be thrown into the sea of events without realizing how important and precious they are. Every time we give way to greed or lust or anger or jealousy or selfishness of any kind, we treat the precious diamond of life like a pebble, heaving it into an endless ocean of time from where we just cannot retrieve what we have thrown away.

The tragedy is that we treasure our "fun" more than our diamonds.

When we discover the value of this life-diamond, at the dawn of wisdom, much of our life by then would have already been wasted in those meaningless pursuits. This is the story of most lives. The one wonder of life, however, is that once we wake up to the precious opportunity of human life, our loss, too, becomes a gain - for it then becomes a stepping stone in the learning process of how to utilize what we are left with.

"Even a little of this religion," says Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, "protects a man from a great danger." Whatever we are left with, practically speaking, is more important and precious than any losses that we may have suffered. Of what use is the regret for that which has happened and cannot be altered in any way? We must focus on what can be done rather than bother about what could have been done.

About the author

This article is written by Swami Atmashraddhananda for the 'Vedanta Vani' magazine of Chinmaya Mission.

To be continued

Story first published: Monday, June 28, 2010, 16:05 [IST]
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