Mar 19, 2011

The Healthiness of Passion - Personal views, and Short Story

Quote: "Ardent affection is good. Love is good. Linking your entire emotions and feelings to one particular Source is good. In other words, PASSION is good. But only if it's worth it."

I shall reveal the author of this quote at the end of this blogpost.

To begin with, here are few questions that I ask you to ponder over: 

Have you ever screamed out of joy when your favorite team won a crucial match of a tournament? Have you ever cried, or atleast did you have a tear in your eye, when they crash out sadly of the very same tournament? Have you ever gotten angry towards a machine for not working properly? Moreover, have you ever felt the anger towards the Manufacturer, or Creator of the machine, rather than the machine itself? Have you ever lost something, or even SOMEONE, very near and dear to you, and wondered if a certain God really existed up there in the heavens? And moreover, have you ever THANKED the Almighty, for having given you so many memorable moments with the person, or object in question?

Well, Passion is the main culprit behind all these feelings in such situations. But one shouldn't blame Passion, or his feelings, for having such moments in Life. Actually, one should learn to control it, and learn to feel it, only when required.

Personally, I believe there are two main types of Passion: Healthy and Unhealthy ones. So you may ask me "How does one differentiate a Healthy Passion from an Unhealthy One?" The answer to that question is simple: just ask yourself "Is it worth it?". Of course, that was just a simple answer (or infact, an answer in the form of another question, to be precise). But to get the answer to that new question, is the toughest part.

Here's a short story I wrote a very long time back, but which I never got a chance to use in a particular context. Well I finally found the relevant blogpost in which I can use it. So here goes:

There once was a bird-watcher. He used to spend every single day of his Life just observing the beauty of exotic birds in his garden. But he had a dream: he wanted to capture the most beautiful bird ever, and keep it in a cage, so that he can observe it constantly and admire its beauty for life.

One fine day, it happened. He had just spotted the most beautiful and most exotic bird he had ever seen. It had all the most beautiful colors printed on its feathers. It had the most lovely chirp ever. And he was determined to capture it, which he achieved by trapping the bird and keeping it, in the cage he prepared.

That day onwards, he took care of the bird like a child, by feeding it and talking to it, as if it were a person. At first, the bird used to enjoy the food given, and used to reply to the bird-watcher's talks by chirping cheerfully. Yet, the Happiness didn't last too long.

As the weeks went by, the bird lost its cheerfulness, and became all quiet and depressive. It even stopped eating and started looking even sick. And so, the bird-watcher decided to let it go, thinking that it may have needed to mingle with other birds, and didn't like living in a lonely cage.

So he opened the cage, but before opening it, he just stared at the bird, and he thought “I hope you come back soon and more cheerful than ever...”. And thus, he let it go.

The next day, he puts food at the opening of the cage, hoping it would thus come back. But there was no sign of the bird. It flew away. It flew away so far, that he never saw it again.

This made the bird-watcher sad. He lost his passion for life. All hope was gone for him.

Weeks and months went by, after this incident happened, until one fine day, he realized his biggest flaw. Maybe he was spending too much time observing birds. Maybe he spent too much time taking care of a thing that never really cared for him. After all, there is more to Life than a silly bird.

And so, he decided to do other activities. He started going out with friends, meeting new people. He took up a new job. He spent more time with his family.

In other words, he was enjoying his Life more than he ever did. He did happen to think about this beautiful bird from time to time. But it didn't affect him anymore. After all, it was this ungrateful bird that taught him his Life's biggest lesson.

Moral of the story: Passion is good. But one should always expect a good outcome out of it. Because if you don't think that the outcome of this ardent affection will be a positive one, then it's just not worth it.

Here's a personal example, a very recent one infact: India lost against South Africa in a crucial cricket match of the 2011 World Cup. That day, I was totally mood-off and very angry with the loss. My Dad simply looked at me and told me: "Relax! At the end of it all, it's just a game! It's their loss, not yours."

Very right, he was. I guess I let my "over-passionate" feelings get the better of me.

Whether it's cricket matches which end in a loss, a movie star who splits with your favorite actor/actress, or simply a mere bird that never came back, one should put a LIMIT to his/her feelings.

That's where the key word comes: Detachment. One should learn to be detached from all these negative feelings, that comes from the unhealthy Passion.

Though there is an exception. One shouldn't think about the outcome or result of his feelings, in the following context: Passion towards God. God doesn't give you bad or good, he just blesses you from above the heavens. You should never expect ANY return from Him.  Just believe in Him, and believe in yourself. If thereafter, the results of your prayers are good, then there's nothing better than that. However, if things don't go the way you want them to go, maybe they were never destined to click for you.

And to conclude, I believe that even Love should have no conditions, and one shouldn't have expectations from it. Just Love all around you, and most importantly, Love YOURSELF. Not because you expect to be loved in return. But because, it's the right thing to do.

The quote I mentioned at the beginning of this blogpost was actually one that I wrote. And from the day I started believing in it, things have been going smoothly in my Life.

Here's hoping it stays that way. Here's hoping YOU ALL will have a Healthy Passion in your lives. And here's wishing you all a colorful and wonderful Holi.

Stay happy,

Santhosh Muraleeedharan


Which is as poison in the beginning, but is like nectar in the end; that is declared to be "good" pleasure, born from the serenity of one's own mind. That which is like nectar in the beginning from the connection of the sense-object with the senses, but is as poison in the end, is held to be of "passion".

Bhagavad Gita 18:37-38




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