Sculpting a significant life

By and large, most of us nurse this desire of making our existence on earth singularly significant. And for this, each one of us try traipsing on the different path. To some, significant living is synonymous with academic growth. Hence they go on the rampage in acquiring a string of educational degrees.

To a few others, it’s the professional and subsequent financial growth that makes their life significant. Therefore, they get into overdrive, to beaver away at their workplace.

There are also folks who equate significant life with creative growth. So, you find them dabbling in myriad creative activities during their free moments. And, there are those taking spiritual route too – making zillion temple trips, listening to spiritual lectures, etc, to make life significant. Funnily, there are also those fitness fiends who feel by ever staying fit as a fiddle, they make their life fully significant.

Here, I think of an interesting analogy drawn from this trite, oft-heard story of an erudite scholar and the unlettered boatman. It goes like this... Once, the boatman, while ferrying a scholar to the other side of the river, gets blitzed by the blizzard of queries by the learned scholar.

At first, he asks the boatman whether he is acquainted with good literature books. When the boatman shakes his head, the scholar, with presumptuous attitude, says quarter of his life has been frittered away by doing nothing worthwhile.

Then the scholar grills him again, asking whether he is conversant with Hindu puranas, Upanishads, etc, to which the boatman again says nope. The snooty scholar, with supercilious tone, spitefully says half of his life has been squandered away by doing nothing significant.

Next, the scholar, in peremptory tone, quizzes him whether he is clued up on any other branch of knowledge at least. Even to this, when the boatman says no, the scholar, with hoity-toity airs, derisively laughs telling him three-quarter of his life is dissipated as waste.

Precisely at that moment, dark ominous clouds, a precursor for pounding rains, start blanketing the sky. The gusts of squally winds start buffeting the boat, making it bob up and down. At this juncture, the boatman shoots a question to the scholar asking him whether he has learnt the art of swimming. When the latter replies in the negative, the boatman smirks and says, “Your entire life has gone waste.” Saying this, he jumps into the turbulent river, before the boat could turn turtle.

The analogy here is, in life, in trying to pursue some complex things, we forget a few simple things. Like the scholar, though an intelligent, was ignorant of simple survival strategies.

In the same way, to make our life more significant, we indulge in arduous tasks, like striving for professional, financial and intellectual growth. Though these ego-gratifying exercises are essential, what makes our life truly significant is when we enhance our emotional growth by way of making a positive impact/influence/ difference, in the life of people around.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)