We all know that people suffer. We do, our friends do, and people out there in the world do.
All through life, when I have tried to materially help people who are suffering, they have had relief for a while and then gone back to doing the same thing, that caused them that pain in the first place. This has happened thousands of times.
I have come to the conclusion over the years, that it is vrittis (mental circles) that cause people to repeat the behaviour that causes human suffering. Like birds flying into glass windows, people repeat their follies, because they don’t understand them.
The identification and destruction of vrittis requires knowledge. You have to destroy both the ignorance and that desire specific to that vritti for it to break. And that ain’t gonna happen because I say so. It’s your battle. Your own personal battle.
Now this brings you to my vritti – “the desire to help” – “the desire to end human suffering”. I have always felt, if only people used their heads and “thought” and having thought, “determined”, well.. that would be an end to the problem. To my eyes, all human suffering is completely unnecessary. This is the vritti that I seek to destroy today.
People have ideals, as’ayas, strong desires that are not give-uppable. These are not consistent with their visible strengths. Desire means effort. Effort means fatigue. Sometimes success, sometimes frustration. Whether a desire is simple or complex can only be judged in the context of that person’s life.
“Footpath” (Kannada movie) is the beautiful story of a rag-picker child who wants that Oh-so-simple desire of going to school as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution/Law. But there are so many obstacles and so much suffering .. till the end of the movie.. where of course he wins.
My veda guru wants to preserve electronically all her guru’s teachings, without the material (people, money) support needed for a task like that. My friend wants to meet Devendra, Sakra. To me both look like impossible goals and neither are likely to give up their wishes because I say so. (Story : Thatha and the Magic Grain).
It is frustrating to me, because “I can’t help” and “I can’t see needless suffering”.
Not that they ask for my help! What is it that they ask for when they tell me their troubles?
An elderly neighbour lady was very unhappy that her age, some people were trying to spread rumours about her. I can’t stop them. A young girl friend is unhappy because caste came in the way of her marriage to someone she liked. A young boy friend is unhappy that he can’t win the girl of his choice. People confide in me about troubles in their careers, health, family….
… and I can’t help them with action or words.
Why tell me your troubles?
Why do humans tell their troubles to other humans?
Human minds are very, very lonely. Much happens in our lives that is not our fault and not in our control and not to our liking. Much happens in our lives that scares and worries us. So when we see someone who cares for us and appears strong enough to take it without collapsing we share our sorrows with them. We don’t tell people we don’t like and we don’t tell people we don’t trust. We don’t tell people we think are fools.
So when people tell me their troubles, I am being honoured for my goodness, strength and wisdom. I should be flattered.
But the fact remains that they are the ones who have to destroy their vrittis and that’s not easy.
So what can I do?
I can say “Hang in there! I care! In time your mind will show you the way out of this mess. Even birds stop bonking their heads on glass after some number of times.”
I can think, “I can’t help this person, but they can help themselves, in time!”
I can think,”Suffering is not needless. It is necessary. Whether it is a person or humanity or life itself, it is going to struggle for what it wants or its going to die trying. In that struggle lies their happiness, their self-determination, their destiny”.
I can think, “It is like when my baby was learning to crawl and walk and I watched with love and care, protecting the boundaries and letting it try and try and try… no point in giving it the toy then is there? Its not the toy, but the crawling itself that the baby wants to master.”
All humans want from other human minds is understanding, solace and courage. They want to know that all is not lost. That there is love out there. And that they are not being judged.
So yes! There is nothing I can do for you, you are going to do it all yourself. But yes, I understand your desire and am trying to understand what it is a part of. And I know that you may lose a battle but you will win the war!
Goodbye desire-to-help vritti! Goodbye suffering-is-needless vritti!
Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula