Tuesday, 26 August 2008

What Happens Once You’re Faster, Higher, Stronger

What Happens Once You’re Faster, Higher, Stronger

"Nearly all men/women can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's/woman's character , give him power "

Everyone is celebrating the gold medal victory of master shooter Abhinav Bindra in the individual event at the just concluded Olympic Games in Beijing. On his arrival in Delhi he answered many questions from the media and some of his observations on his success reveal a mature approach. For instance, when he was asked what it felt like winning the gold at the Olympics, Bindra remarked: “It was a sort of emptiness. You climb the mountain and there is nothing at the top. When you work so hard to achieve something and you get it at the end, there is a feeling of emptiness. But then life goes on...”

The other day i read about a man who wanted to win a place in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ by drinking maximum amount of
water in one sitting. Unfortunately he collapsed in the effort and died. Now and then newspapers bring to our attention such daring deeds undertaken to draw attention and seeking fame but ending in disaster.

There is also the current story of ambitious men driving themselves to insanity and ruining their health in their obsession with success. It is the brainwashing of a materialistic society and prodding of the competitive spirit that sends many a young man early to his grave!
It is a psychological truth that for a person, the pleasure of anticipation is more than the pleasure of actual realisation of a goal. Many of us might have dreamt of heavenly experiences on reaching the top of a career. The less fortunate ones watching close by are overcome by envy while the successful ones are overcome by a sense of emptiness. This is what is termed in Biblical language, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”

Dreams begin in the prime of
one’s life and their fulfilment take up a good part of one’s waking life. Yet it happens that very few could claim as in fairy tales, that “they lived happily ever after”. Once they thought heaven lay in supermarket shopping. Somewhere along the line they learn that the joys brought by earthly possessions, fame and power do not last for long.
When Alexander the Great had come to the end of his conquests, he is said to have lamented that he had “no more lands to conquer”.

Some scriptures speak of life as “nothing but a pastime, a
momentary delight”. If anything, it is our materialistic bragging that has made success a matter of life and death; as if only rewards and honours make life worth living. In the race for being Number One, many stake their all only to end it all in the grave.

Albert Einstein said: “A successful man is he who receives a great deal from his fellow men, usually incomparably more than corresponds to his service to them. The value of a man, however, should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.” The striving, the effort to achieve success and to excel is not a bad thing. However, to make that the ultimate goal of life is nothing short of being foolish for earthly gains and achievements are short-lived. It is the search for the divine truth that ultimately brings real fulfilment.
The adventure is in the journey, not in the destination. And they say it is not winning or losing, but how you have played the game that matters.

We are so made and the restlessness within is so evident that we appreciate the profound truth uttered by St Augustine, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee...”