There is another Indian saying – and these sayings show the wisdom of centuries – “If the shoe fits, it is ugly.” A strange statement! Whenever things are good, Indians don’t feel good: if the shoe fits, it is ugly. The shoe is good only when it pinches….
Mulla Nasruddin was purchasing a pair of shoes, and the shopkeeper was saying, “Mulla, you are trying an almost impossible job. You are trying to force your foot into a shoe which is one size smaller than you need.”
Mulla said, “You keep quiet! I know what kind of shoes I need.”
The shopkeeper was very much puzzled, but Mulla managed to force his foot into a small shoe, and tears came to his eyes. The shopkeeper said, “What are you doing?”
Mulla said, “You don’t understand the philosophy of it.”
The shopkeeper said, “There is some philosophy in it?” – in India everything is philosophical!
Mulla said, “Yes, this is not an ordinary philosophy, but a great philosophy. This is the only thing that keeps me happy.”
The man said, “And tears are coming to your eyes….”
Nasruddin said, “That’s why I cry the whole day: it is pinching so much that I forget all worries, all difficult problems – the wife that is waiting at home, the difficult children, the ugly neighbors, business failures – everything is forgotten when the shoe is pinching. And when I reach home and I take the shoes off, it is such a relief! This is the only relief in twenty-four hours. I feel so good and so grateful to God that one day has passed…. Now the problem will arise again the next day, in the morning; I can rest the whole night, and my sleep is really deep, because of the whole day’s torture.”
But this is the philosophy of this country. People are living in self-inflicted torture. Torture has become something of a religious discipline: the more you torture yourself, the more religious you are and the closer to God.
Another proverb for you:
…The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.
That’s how Indians go on remaining in utter misery, but still contented. It is simply a case of bad memory; they forget that it was the same yesterday, and it was the same the day before yesterday. Every day seems to them to be new – and it has been so old and so dirty. It has been for centuries the same slavery, the same poverty, the same suffering, but every day the Indian gets up and thinks that everything seems to be new. Just a case of bad memory…but very advantageous: you will not find anywhere in the world people so contented and so miserable at the same time.
…You should look into Indian proverbs and you will find the very heart of the Indian personality. Another proverb says: