Chapter 8: The Blinkers of the “I”
There may be an abundance of sufferings, but hope is even larger than all of them put together. Life does not continue because of happiness - happiness hardly exists at all. And if there was only suffering, then too life would break down, you would commit suicide. This is why every thinking person, at some point or other in his life, contemplates suicide; he considers closing the chapter on this life: “What is the point in every day just getting up in the morning and going to bed at night? The same meals, the same clothes, the same routine of work! There seems to be no purpose at all in constantly revolving on the same wheel. And if one is to die anyway in the end, what is so bad about dying right now? After thirty years or forty years of spinning on the same wheel one has to die, and if the abyss of death is going to engulf me anyway, why not let go into it this very day? Why go through so much worry, anguish and turmoil in the meanwhile?”
So sometime or other, every sensitive person thinks of suicide. Only the stupid never think that this life is worth ending. But the thinkers, the sensitive ones, arrive many times at the point where they think of destroying themselves: “If it has to end, let it be by my own hand!”
So, suffering pervades life abundantly, with not even a trace of happiness anywhere, and yet hope says: “Tomorrow! What you cannot get today you will get tomorrow.” So suicide has to wait, not because of the quality of life, but because of hope - the hope that tomorrow the doors of heaven may open, the hope that the very next moment may bring the treasures of life. The next moment is so tempting! That is why we all live in tomorrow.
Mind is another name for hope in tomorrow.
Death is hovering over our head, death is lurking beneath our feet, and we are hanging in-between, clinging to roots that can give way at any moment - and even if the roots don’t break, our hands can hold on only for so long, they will soon grow tired. Yet still hope is there. Something can be done - time is still there, and thus the hope continues. In such a moment of hope a fruit, a wild strawberry or some other kind of fruit is seen, and everything is forgotten - all the nightmarish situation you are surrounded by is forgotten.
Pleasure is ephemeral, but it manages to make you forget everything else. It has a deep intoxication of its own. The taste will last only for a moment, but its unconsciousness is supreme. In that one moment it makes you forget the whole world - all the sufferings, all the troubles of the journey, all the anguishes that are past, all the anguishes that are to come. It makes you forget them all. Pleasure is momentary but it obscures the whole truth, the whole reality of brahman.
Hindus used this story to warn you not to get lost in momentary pleasures. Remain aware, don’t try to forget death; no taste of any fruit can save you from death. Don’t give life any opportunity to make you forget its reality - neither through taste nor through greed. Don’t let life be clouded by any of your senses.