To Be or Not To Be

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!

~A Wise Man Said~

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

Sunday, September 22, 2002
Alcohol is nicissary f’r a man so that now an’ thin he can have a good opinion iv himself, ondisturbed be th’ facts.
--Finely Peter Dunne

A certain music teacher once told us of an incident. It impressed on me that even the most educated of us hold very dearly to our biases, no matter how ill grounded these biases may be.

This music teacher had a Guru, to whom he owed the credit of initiating him into the music world. It was a long time (some 15-20 yrs) since this teacher had had the opportunity to meet his Guru. He began by telling us how he esteemed the Guru, how all these years he had been hoping to meet him, and how, without his blessings, he might never have been where he was this day. He realized how much he was grateful to him and could not but carry this debt to the grave.

But that was till a few days ago. Now, he was shocked and shaken and couldn’t believe his idol was broken. I wondered how it could be so, for whatever may have happened, I couldn’t imagine how it could have changed what the Guru meant for him. I could not imagine that it could have erased what was owed to him. I decided to be patient and still my thoughts till I had heard more.

The music teacher went on to say that he had been attending a function, when in a corner of the hall, he noticed a drunken and disheveled man making a general spectacle of himself. He went close and was aghast to see that it was his Guru.

At this revelation, we anxiously enquired if the Guru recognized him. I wasn’t ready for the answer. Our teacher said that he did not know and did not care. He removed himself from the scene as fast as he could; he could not bear the sight.

He wished he had never seen the Guru in such a state. He had an image of God of him and now, it was fallen. He wished he could have gone with life with this image. He wished he could forget the truth, and keep believing in the reality of his illusion.

To say that I was amazed is to put it very mildly. I realized that my teacher held drinking in the utmost abhorrence and as a sin as great as any, and not to be associated with one he so esteemed. I realized that it would have been painful to him to find that his God was after all, a human. I realized that it would have shamed him that the one he so worshipped, was not one whose life made him fit to be worshipped. I realized he had placed him so high, that he could not bear to see him so low.

All this I realized and yet I wondered. If I truly owed so much to him, if it was he who had made me ‘me’ today, would I just shun him to his fate? Would I just leave him where I thought his greatness did not belong? Would I simply wish I had never laid eyes on him? Would I try to make as if the one who was the reason for my well being today, was not he, this man, but some imaginary God? Would I not wish to know the cause of his downfall and would I not wish to remedy it and repay the debt I bore him, no matter in how small a part? Would I not be filled with sadness for my Guru, who had lost himself, and not just for myself, who had lost him?