All the world’s a stage
The best way to fulfil our karma is by seeing ourselves as actors in this world, playing our respective roles righteously, says A S Dandekar
How do we look at our life? How do we live it? How should we live it?
It seems that our life is a combination of happiness and sorrow, and success and failure. Life today is full of tension and stress. It seems that we are travelling in the boat of life; sometimes the ride is smooth and many a time we encounter severe storms and whirling waters. How should we navigate the boat of life?
Here is a way. We all know that the life we get is based on our past karma and vasanas (tendencies). To fulfil these, it seems that God prepares a script for all of us. There are a number of things over which we have no control and are predetermined: the family in which we are born, our country, surroundings, close relatives, associates, etc. They come into our life due to their past karma as well as ours.
Let us look at our life in a different way. Let us consider ourselves as actors participating in a drama staged by the great director, God. We have to give our best performance so that it should please God. Once we accept this, we have to observe the following:
Accept everything which is beyond our control as God-given—both good and bad. It means that we should not regret, criticise, blame, or resent. No fuming and fretting. God is all-merciful, kind, just and loving. He certainly does not wish for us to suffer. We ourselves are responsible; we have selected this role due to our past karma. We should accept the members of our family: spouse, parents, and children, as they are. We should also accept our friends, associates, employers, employees. Some of them may misbehave or be ungrateful. We have to play our role without getting affected in any way. After all, it is a drama!
Just as in dramas and movies, we encounter villains who create mischief and give us a lot of trouble. Accept them as unavoidable. We have to take strong action, admonish people, get angry, and even threaten them, all as a part of the job—as an actor! However, in our heart, let there be no anger, resentment, or revenge, for they will create further karma to be dealt with in another birth.
A person plays multiple roles. At his workplace, he may be the boss or an employee. At home, he plays the role of a son, father, spouse, or neighbour. He should consider all these roles as God-given and perform well in each role, using both, his head and his heart. Let him realise that the great director, God, is watching him and will reward him. In fact, everything is recorded in the Akashic records. Some people are able to read it!
It is also necessary to understand that, ultimately, everything belongs to God. In a true sense, nothing belongs to us. After our job is over, we have to leave everything here. For example, let us assume that a person is given the role of a king in a movie. The producer hires a palace for shooting. The actor and his supporting staff have to stay in the palace for a few months for the shooting. The palace is located on a hillock with beautiful surroundings. Once the actor puts on the costumes and starts acting, he should consider himself as a real king owning the beautiful palace. He should immerse himself fully in this role and enjoy it. He may enjoy dances and songs performed for him (the king). While staying in the palace, he can appreciate the beautiful surroundings, delicious food, and so on. Yet he is fully aware that when the shooting is over, he has to go back home. The palace and all the things enjoyed by him did not belong to him! Similarly, all worldly possessions are given by God for performing the role given to us. After the role is over, we have to leave everything here.
Maybe some director has signed the same actor for the role of a poor farmer who is fighting against injustice. In yet another movie, he may play the role of a benevolent dacoit! We perform different roles in different lives in the same fashion. However, our soul remains the same. That is what we really are.
We should enjoy whatever we like—good food, drinks, music, watching movies, or travelling. We should laugh and make merry, remembering that this is a creation of God. However, there is one difference between a staged drama and God’s drama. In the former, every word, every sentence, and every act is scripted. In the latter, you have the liberty to change the script. It is not absolutely fixed. A person born in a poor family need not remain poor his entire life. He can become rich by working hard.
This approach will help immensely in many ways:
Benefits of playing well
We will get rid of most of our negative feelings of anger, resentment, worry, fear, and hatred. This will usher in a great sense of freedom, peace, and relaxation unknown to us. It will have an extremely positive effect on our physical and mental health. We will never do any harm to anyone knowingly, for that great director, God, is watching us.
Our efficiency will increase manifold, and it will be reflected in all our activities. Our selfishness and ego will be reduced considerably. In the spiritual sphere, it will be a great leap forward. We will understand and practice true detachment. It is well known that it is our attachment to worldly possessions that slows down our spiritual progress. In fact, it may create hurdles. With detachment, our progress in our sadhana (spiritual practice) and spiritual attainment will be excellent. We can have the best of both worlds—the worldly life as well as spiritual progress!
In fact, this is the path of Karma Yoga as explained in the Gita. When Arjun was hesitating to fight for a righteous cause and afraid of killing many people, Krishn said that he has already killed them (because of their past karma). Arjun was to be only an instrument, an actor participating in the drama. Let us play the role given to us efficiently with dedication and with righteousness.
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