CHANGE IN LIFE
“There is nothing permanent in life except change,” said philosopher Heraclitus. Others have called change or variety as ‘the spice of life’. So, changes (shuffle or reshuffle) in the government from time to time should come as no surprise to anyone, though changes in the political arena are often viewed with suspicion.
Change is in the very nature of being. Every new day is different from the previous day. Body metabolism is one such process as also growth of trees and revolving of planets. Tides come and go. Sometimes a whole river changes its course as was the case with the Saraswati.
The great insight of the enlightened, Gautam the Buddha, was everything that is, will change and the changed will change further. Hence, one must neither get attached to joy (happiness) because that will pass away; nor get depressed with sorrow (suffering) because that too will pass away. Nothing is really permanent in this world.
Changes can be categorized under two main types. Changes that take place in nature we have little or no control over. We cannot, for instance, switch the time of tides, which anyway, wait for no one. The other kind of change is the one we witness either in political, social or other fields including the area of personal life. These are changes over which one can exercise some degree of control, changes which can be guided by oneself or others.
As far as our human and particularly Indian society is concerned, there are so many things that fall in the second category and need change, be it in caste system, condition of the poor, status of women, dowry system, spreading corruption, and so on. Not that anyone likes these things to continue. Often the dilemma is, ‘where to begin’?
It is here that we need to ask ourselves some basic questions about change. Have I ever given a thought to changing things around me? Have I ever tried to act in a way that could bring about change—change for the better—in society?
The most important question that we probably need to ask ourselves is whether these evils in society exist somewhere out there or do they reside within us?
In other words, do we have any responsibility towards this state of our society?
Again can change in society be brought about without bringing change in ourselves, in me? Can such changes be brought about only through prayer and meditation? Can we rely only on God to change our society, forgetting that ‘God only helps those who help themselves’? It would be a good idea to throw up a prayer on these lines: Oh Lord, give me the wisdom to know which change is inevitable, and which that I can change—and give me the strength to effect changes that are humanly possible—for the good of mankind.