Saturday, October 25, 2014

These six, burn us alive

India's greatest contribution to the world and mathematics is said to be "Zero". That is one way of putting things; there have been many a contributions of India to the world, in diverse fields. But the concept of zero and decimal system are indeed very important contributions. One speciality of zero is that it is also used as a symbol in many languages. Just as a zero makes a very big difference in mathematics, it also makes a big difference in the languages in which it is used. The most common example often given for this are the words "Chita" and "Chinta". Chita (pyre) burns a dead body whereas Chinta (worries) burn a living person. Chita finishes its work by burning once and is done. Chinta keeps burning day after day and the process of burning the person continues until Chita finally takes over. The difference between Chita and Chinta is again that zero.

There are certain worries that make the very journey of life a big burden and unbearable. These stare at us each day of of the life; it is impossible to forget them. They have an uncanny ability to pop up at the most unwanted times and remind us of their existence. They cannot be solved easily and they appear perennial in their haunting capacities. One may be bestowed with bountiful pleasures, but these worries swallow the cumulative pleasant effect of all those pleasures.

The first of such worries is living in an unwanted place. Godforsaken place. Kugraamavaasa. Living in a place without basic amenities. No communication and conveniences. No like minded people or companions. No social life or facilities to pursue one's favorite pastime. These were the type of places to which an unwanted civil servant was being transferred when he earns the displeasure of his authorities. He continues in service but also continues to suffer each day of his living there. Burning the person alive on each day of stay there. The only relief is of dreaming of the day when one gets out of such place.

Second one is of serving a bad boss. Kujanasya seva. A boss who is an expert in finding faults, but does not believe in guiding or providing solutions. If something is done, he asks why it was done. If the same thing is not done, he asks why it was not done!  If something is done in one way, he asks why it was not done the other way. If it is done the other way, he questions why it was not done the earlier way. Burning alive each day of the life.

The third of such troubles is bad food.  Kubhojanam. The food is ready and kept before you. You are hungry too. But the quality of the food is pretty bad or it is an item you detest. If you try to eat it, it does not pass through the gullet. If you want to leave it and get up, hunger does not allow the option. Either way you suffer. If this repeats day after day, it is a never ending problem.

The fourth of such worries is a volatile spouse. Krodhamukhi patni (or pati). It is difficult to live without the spouse. It is even more difficult to live with such a spouse! One does not know when the volcano erupts. Or what ignites the volcano. Living under such fear for ever. Until divorce do us part. Of course, such a solution was not available in the past.

Fifth of such worries is living with children who are neither useful nor can be dismissed. Moorkhascha Putraha. All the duties of a parent are to be discharged in bringing up such children. But there is no use from them. Even if one assumes that bringing up them is a duty to be discharged without desire of returns, the duty never ends. They are a life long problem and a constant source of burning the parents alive. They can neither be got rid of.  Living with them is a problem personified. 

The sixth has undergone change with times. It was said to be a widowed daughter. Vidhava kanya. This was true a few decades earlier. But providing good education and skills to the girl child has reduced this problem a lot. Whatever be the case, staring at the life of a son or daughter without a spouse is considered a big problem of parents. Opinions differ, but some still believe this is a source of lifetime worry that burns alive.

The troubles of first have been tempered now due to better communication facilities. The third is moderated by availability of a multiple restaurants in some places. The fourth is solved to some extent by divorce laws. Fifth and sixth are probably less intense now. But the worry of serving a bad boss continues for some even today.

This subhashita summarises the above six beautifully:

कुग्रमवासः कुजनस्य सेवा कुभोजनं क्रोधमुखिच पत्नी 
मूर्खाश्च पुत्रः विधवा च कन्या दहन्ति चैतानि जनं विनाग्निम् 

Kugrama vasaha kujanasya seva kubhojanam krodhamukhicha patni
Moorkhascha putrah vidhavaacha kanya dahanti chaitani janam vinaagnim 

All these were very relevant when this was written. Today some have changed partially or fully depending on how one looks at them. Parts of them are true even today.


  1. In the present day context , there are solutions to almost all the issues stated above. Even the bad boss syndrome can be overcome by "working from home" to avoid coming face to face with him every moment of the day. Or one can choose to be self employed so you are your own boss !

  2. Wisdom from Shubhashita of six worries will be relevant for all times, although all of them may have solutions. The 'Chinta' factor will continue to remain. Very well written blog.

  3. Whether these six chintas have solutions or not they sure will keep popping up during one's lifetime. Very well explained sir

  4. Your thoughts are wonderful sir..

  5. I am facing the 1st chinta .
    Although I feel that sooner I will overcome my chinta.
    Nice thought sir.

  6. Only the boss problem is difficult these days. After facing the wife problem, all other problems become totally insignificant. Luckily, us bankers have a wonderful option of transfer for this wife problem. That same hell of a punishment transfer becomes a welcome transfer to escape from a troublesome wife.