Better ‘Down’ Than Out


My wife contracted breast cancer. She went through a tough time emotionally, physically and psychologically. She is slowly on the mend now. And, I know that I need to be strong in all respects to hasten the healing, to expedite her regaining of strength. I wish to be a good husband to her, just as I wish to be a good brother, a good son and a good friend. These are, of course, beyond the purview of having a good job and succeeding at it. Perhaps, one could be all of the above, without being a top-notch guy in any organisation, commanding a lot of respect from subordinates and enjoying all the frills of such a position? I am not sure, though.

I seem to be sitting on the fence when it comes to being ambitious and making efforts to achieving and moving ahead in life. I am not afraid that I would be swept away by sweet success and would end up not having my feet firmly planted on the ground.  I understand [thanks largely to the sun-sign I was born under; and also past experiences in life] that success of a material nature is ephemeral. It is success achieved in communing with the Soul that is the ultimate truth. The path though is via success achieved on the terrestrial plane of existence. I need that in order to guide me onward towards enlightenment.


My wife told me, the other day, that god will have mercy on us… that there is a limit to the challenges He poses. A good friend also mentioned that it is only the steep mountains which rise to great heights. All this, I have read several times and also used while counselling friends in the past. But, why, is it that I am not able to trust these truths [or, Truths]?

There are elders who bless me. Why am I not able to take heart and trust that these blessings will carry me through stormy seas? Perhaps, that is the elusive ability which all aspirants of Truth seek… and, it is given to a chosen few. Or, maybe, I am en route to being gifted with those abilities — sublime patience, detached selfless action [Nishkama karma, as the Gita says] — and, I am not aware of it. Quite like going out to bowl in a cricket match and not knowing that you may end up with a five-for in each innings.

I must wait and watch… as batsmen do before wanting to convert singles into twos in cricket. Better not to run myself out. Better to be down for a while, rather than be wiped out of the picture.

Is it really true that the ultimate goal of human existence is to amplify the good and make it subjugate the evil, or the not-so-good? How does one amplify the good that exists then? By nurturing it, appreciating it, rewarding it; right? Not by taking it for granted and feeling that just because it is good, it will take care of itself.

Yes, of course, obviously, you would say. But, then, can I ask you to be honest with me? Do you really think that is happening in our society today? There are people who misread the scriptural injunctions and claim that they need to be impartial, and not discriminate in any way between people. After all, they say, we are all god’s children. In doing so, they tend to spend a lot of time and energy, and pay a lot more attention to sympathising with the ‘evil’ or ‘not-so-good’ elements, who they say, need compassion, understanding and must not be allowed to fall by the wayside. God’s children. Well, quite blatantly, let the good bear the brunt of all the pain, frustration and suffering. The good, after all, they say, accept everything as god’s will — so, why bother?

If the ‘not-so-good’ elements need care and nurturing and sympathy, let them have it. The good would surely need more of the same, in that case. You would not kill a good policeman for having shot dead a serial killer, will you? Of course, the policeman and the serial killer are not equal.

If you reward the good without any sense of doing a favour to them, and without fear of hurting, or angering the ‘not-so-good’, you would end up motivating the latter to strive towards greater and nobler goals in their lives. And, the good will continue to be strongly motivated to keep treading along the paths they have chosen for themselves.


Is it not noble, heroic and courageous to stand up, speak up for, and support the good consistently? You do not need to say anything to the ‘not-so-good’. Of course, you cannot call a crow, a peacock, just to make it feel happier, can you? Unless, you are a sycophant of some kind, with ulterior motives. Bad metaphor, but it still drives home the message effectively.

Crows, after all, cannot become peacocks. But, the Homo sapiens, can aspire to be good, and keep getting better. The goodness here may be in the work one does for a living or simply one’s approach to other fellow beings in the world… and, other living creatures [birds, animals, etc.].

The good need not be sacrificed time and again. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was a message to all of us, to see to it that it does not happen again. Be compassionate towards those who do not make an effort to be better, to those who do not think beyond their own immediate and selfish needs and wants. But, do not forget to appreciate the good… even praise and laud them. Even if you would have to compare them with the former and make them aware of their importance to the world, genuinely, it would not be wrong. You would think you have hurt the ‘not-so-good’ by doing so. You have not. In fact, refrain from hurting the good, by putting them in the same basket as everyone else.

Saying that all are equal in god’s eye does not make one a saintly and noble person. It is god’s prerogative to look upon everyone as equal…. And, he may or may not want to remedy the wrongs and augment the good that exists on the surface of the Earth. That is His job. If He so wishes, He will act through the not-so-good and drive them towards goodness. We are human beings. We have the right and the moral duty to discriminate between the good and the ‘not-so-good’, moral and immoral, ethical and unethical. God, in His way, and we on our part, would, in so doing, contribute to recruiting the not-so-good in the army of good, and for the good.