Three Important Life Lessons

In almost all religions a trio of divine powers is explained to be the source of everything there is. Christianity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Hinduism – Brahma, Vishu, Mahesh. Even in geometry the triangle holds an exulted position and has a whole branch called Trigonometry dedicated in its worship. Research in paleography has revealed that across all the ancient numeral symbols of different civilizations like the Babylonian, Sumerian, Egyptian, Vedic, Roman, Greek it is the symbols for 1, 2 and 3 that bear an uncanny resemblance. Not only that in each number system, it is the first three numerals that have unique symbols for themselves, the rest of the numerals can be written as combinations of the first three. Even in child development, it is said that it is only after the first 3 years that an independent sense of self emerges in the child. Most of us can hardly remember events before this period. Sri Aurobindo and Rudolf Steiner laid emphasis on the physical, emotional and mental development of the human being. Ayurveda (Vatta, Pitta, Kapha), Yoga (Sattvic, Rajas, Tamas), Jean Piaget (Function, Structure, Content) … Woman, Man and Child. The concept of trinity holds a mystical and special place in the history of mankind.

I being no exception can organize the history of my life around three key lessons -

Brahma . Creation . Love
My journey into myself started after my first breakup. It happened during the last year of engineering college. I was in love with a girl who had become a very good friend of mine. We seemed to understand each other’s emotions without saying a word to each other. It was as if there always existed a special unspoken connection between us. However, we were unable to give acknowledgement to the relationship in public.
This broke my heart.
It made me aware of the pain that existed in the world. I saw it all around me, poverty, war, anger, hatred. I wanted to understand it, really feel what others must be going through. I left a job and career with immense potential to pursue what I believed was my calling – spreading love and making a difference in society. Little was I aware of the depths of myself and society that I would be confronting.
I got married. We had met online, chatted for 6 months and met twice. We were more excited about the prospects of love and spending a lifetime together exploring it. All our talk revolved around it, with my to-be wife I got all that I was unable to get earlier – open acknowledgement. Her family loved me and was ready for marriage despite the fact that I was working as a school teacher at the time. My family was happy too. She loved me deeply and was ready to follow me where ever I went, whatever I chose to do. But would love alone be sufficient to ensure our happiness?

Vishnu . Sustenance . Money
My parents gave me everything one could ask for, except – a working relationship with money. Though I need it, I do not want it or rather do not want to work for it. As a child I rarely saw my father get into arguments over money or count the pennies like the ‘Banias’ are famous for. He would gladly pay more for something, believing higher price meant better value. So I got accustomed to the best things around me. Unfortunately, my father fell ill. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 35 years back. The meaning of this did not sink into me until recently. At the time he was diagnosed, business was doing well and in a few years he was able to amass just enough wealth to support his young children’s education and marriage and his retirement fund.
We continued to enjoy the quality of life that we were having and as the case is with most Indian parents of our class, who rarely discuss finances with their children, my parents too made sure they did not let the monetary impact of the disease effect us. I grew up believing everything was normal. So what my father was ill, we had money, we were not impacted, in fact we were in comparison to most of my friends whose families seemed to have started from behind, so what was the hurry in the race. At eighteen I did not realize that not growing monetarily meant impacts on sustenance. My sustenance was taken care of by my parents. I was taken care of by my parents until marriage. Then I stepped into an alien world. A world where there was their money and my money, and I had none. There were expectations to run an independent household with my wife, something there was no preparation for, nor earlier discussions in our house.
It was a wretched time trying to understand what was happening; keeping ones head above water was a daunting task. Ideals, dreams, passions clashed head on with the reality of life. What is essential for growth, sustenance and a meaningful life?

Mahesh . Destruction . Ego
A woman is expected to cook and clean for her husband. Whether she is a simple girl from a village or a high flying career woman, she is expected to at least know the rudiments of managing a house. She is also expected to know how to adjust to her in-laws and keep a long term perspective about life. Adjust now to win them later. These are unsaid assumptions about the abilities of women. They are somehow expected to know, understand and do these things. Though as an enlightened male (would like to believe so) I looked to share the burden of domestic work with my wife, I still hold an unequal value in my mind. Society holds it too. Why if the wife does not want to do it, a maid is available to do it for Rs.4000 per month. That is the external value of the output. This view is not just prevalent amongst men, but also amongst women. The male ego – aggressive, ambitious, impatient, independent, externally oriented seems to be the recipe for success. But is it really so? What happens when you throw two hawks at each other? They both end up being wounded. That is exactly what happened when a young couple, had to live together!

I have learnt the difficult way in life - personal hardships. But I am sure these lessons will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Just like the hol(e)y* trinity is whole in itself, so are love, money and ego. Attempting to understand any in isolation of the other will lead to falling into a big deep hole. Ability to express and receive love is a function of egos involved and financial stability. Financial growth depends on emotional support and psychological compatibility. Psychological compatibility is a slowly evolving life - long process needing loving environment and similar financial backgrounds. No wonder the institution called marriage sometimes so often feels like one!

*hol(e)y – The concept of trinity too seems to be full of holes. Why is it that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh are all … MEN?
Why is it that most knowledge that is documented was written by … MEN?
Why? Why? Why?
The most important lesson of my life has been the pervasive reality of ROTI, KAPDA aur MAKAAN!