The Sun and the Earth forever face each other. The Earth rotates around the Sun in an elliptical orbit, taking one year to complete it. But while moving this way, it also turns about its own axis, one revolution every 24 hours. The tilt of 23 degrees between the rotational axis and orbital axis causes different seasons as one pole is directed away from the Sun on one side of the orbit, and half an orbit later, it faces the Sun, causing winter and summer. The point I am making is that beneath the apparent changes – day and night; winter and summer – there are constants – the elliptical orbit and obliquity of the Earth.
When we say that the Sun has set in the West, it just moves below “our horizon” and rises on “another horizon” on the opposite side of the Earth. When it is night here, it is day there. Summer in Europe is winter in Australia and vice versa. Everything is indeed relative. When you are moving eastward traveling from Delhi to Kolkata, the person traveling from Dhaka to Kolkata is moving westward. Rise and fall, left and right, big and small all exist relative to other objects. A person earning a lakh of rupees every month in India is richer than one earning 2000 dollars a month in America.
Knowing this game of relativity holds the key to how we feel about ourselves and life.
Duality as being separate from others is a great delusion – from entitlements that you are someone special to playing the victim, thinking that others in this world are playing against you. Even people who are very learned, experienced, and hold high positions can be very insecure and touchy at times. Many move around in this world as if carrying a large chandelier in a crowded bus – afraid and annoyed every moment.
Know the wandering nature of your mind. It is always at work to drag you out of the present moment.
And where does it travel? In the bad memories of the past, or the frightening imagination of future events – most of which may never even happen. In this process, our performance at the moment we are living is terribly compromised. This is the root cause of most accidents, big as well as small. We respond to the people around us inappropriately, either ignoring them or overreacting. No wonder we end up being seen as lousy.
Emerge from this delusion of being distinct from the people around you at any moment.
Deal with everyone who comes in your contact with loving-kindness, if not helping them or favouring them. Make decency and courtesy your hallmarks. Why? Because that is how you have been created and grown in this world. Never forget your parents, teachers, and people who have been helping you out every day. We are indeed duty-bound to be grateful for living in this world and to try to make it a better place. If you are incapable of being good to anyone, at least never be bad to them – do no harm to others if you can’t benefit them.
Plato, the well-known philosopher of ancient Greece, said, “In the course of countless revolving ages, recurring at long but fixed intervals, the same Plato, and the same city, and the same school, and the same scholars would recur, and so would be repeated again and again in the course of countless ages.” Love your part in the present moment and give your best performance – right where you are and right now – that is all that is to be done. Procrastination and inaction are not an option – अकर्मणि मा अस्तु declares the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita (2.47). As Arthur Ashe, the American tennis player, the first Black winner of a major men’s singles championship had famously said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”