Life Is Not Always a Bed of Roses


If we turn over the pages of our Shastras and Puranas, the lives of the gods and goddesses would appear to be the same as that of man. Had Lord Shiva not drunk the poison that came out of the churning of the ocean by the gods and the demons, the whole universe would have been destroyed. The effect of the poison was so much on the body of Lord Shiva that His throat turned blue. It is because of this reason that He is called Neelakantha. Mention may be made of another incident relating to Lord Shiva. He lives atop the Kailash mountain like an ordinary man. Sitting in deep meditation, He thinks of the welfare of mankind. He tolerates heat, rain, cold, and dew. He has been insulted like an ordinary human being in the ‘Daksha Yagya’. Having been insulted, He took a vow not to remarry. Being aware of this, Tarakasura, the demon, asked Lord Brahma for the boon that he would only be killed by the son of Lord Shiva, with the hope that He would never marry and have a son to kill him. But when the three Lokas trembled under the oppression of Tarakasura, Lord Shiva was forced to remarry in the interest of the universe. He has no house of His own. He lives in the caves of the mountains. The sky is His roof. The fruits of the jungles form His food. Under such circumstances, He married Mata Parvati, who also raised no objection. She made a lot of sacrifices in the interest of mankind. She took the form of Durga and Kali. She also fought with Lord Shiva if the situation so demanded. At long last, Kartikeya was born. Tarakasura was defeated and killed. The whole world heaved a sigh of relief.

Similarly, even Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, was cursed. Having been so cursed, He does not get worshipped in any temple. Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, is also not an exception. Due to a curse by Devi Lakshmi, He, along with His elder brother Balabhadra, became homeless and begged, moving from door to door. He even starved for days together. Circumstances compelled Him to fight with Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, to get kicked on His chest, to get beheaded, and to lose His memory. Everybody is aware of the circumstances in life that Sriram and Sri Krishna, the two incarnations of Lord Vishnu, underwent. Sriram faced an exile for fourteen years, His wife was abducted, and He underwent a protracted struggle to rescue her. On the other hand, Sri Krishna was a struggler ever since His childhood days. He was insulted in the court of the Kauravas, even with an attempt to bind Him with a rope. He was cursed by Gandhari and accordingly saw the gradual destruction of His kingdom and the ‘Yadava Kula’.

The incidents from our Shastras and Puranas are relevant even today in the context of certain people thinking that if there is a God, then why is there disparity in the world? Why are there the rich and the poor? Why are epidemics spreading? Why are things not in order? What is God up to if He exists? Saying this, the atheist very easily rules out the existence of God. But the fact is that this life is a struggle. A life without struggle is valueless and a waste. If God makes everybody rich, then man will always try to sit idle and eat. Nobody would like to work. The farmer will stay away from farming and the businessman will stay away from business. Under such a situation, the very position of society is just beyond imagination. It is because of this reason that Sri Krishna put stress on Karma in the Geeta. Go on doing your duty without waiting for the result. If somebody does his duty with sincerity and hard work, he can convert the impossible into the possible. Fate has been given priority in Hindu philosophy. But this does not mean that one will only harp on fate. There is no dearth of examples of people reaching heights of name, fame, and money rising from the grassroots level. This is the story of Karma. Most of the problems appearing in present-day society are man-made. So it is not good to blame God for problems created by man.

May it be the gods, the demons, or men, life for anybody is not always a bed of roses. It is replete with thorns and obstacles, and even if the gods appear on earth, they have to act as men. So keeping in view the present circumstances, the idea of a nonexistent God is not acceptable. It is easier being a theist leading a righteous life with faith in God than being an atheist straightaway rejecting the very existence of God. Life, being the greatest gift of God, has to be lived fully. Life entails struggle which has to be faced boldly. The trials and tribulations of life will have to be dealt with. Expecting that life will always be a bed of roses is not right for the rational man. There will be thorns too. Such thinking and an attitude towards life will make a complete man. The lives of the gods and goddesses and their incarnations, as enumerated in our Shastras and Puranas, may be a great source of inspiration for man in leading his life.

(The views expressed are the writer’s own)

Mr. Prafulla Kumar Majhi,

Retired Asst. Director, A. I. R, is an eminent Scholar and freelance writer in English & Odia. His areas of interests are sociocultural, economic, literary, historical and analytical studies and writings.

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