Finally, it is

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie is a true story of talks about life's essential lessons between a spiritual mentor and his student. One old professor named Morrie is terminally ill and is about to die within 6 months. The story narrates his talks with one of his students about every important aspect of life and death. They generally talk on Tuesdays hence the name of this book. It is heart touching to see how Morrie tackles his ever-growing illness with death approaching near and near and understands life's lessons. It also portraits the author, his love for his old professor and the care he shows to him. And finally we are privy to intimate moments of Morrie's final days as he lies dying from a terminal illness. Even on his deathbed, this twinkling-eyed man manages to teach us all about living wisely and fully.

My friend Lokesh gave me this book. He wrote some of his thoughts about it after reading the book. As always, I was quick to add few points on his points. Here they are.


I can’t even imagine myself in the same situation as Morrie. If I would have been in the same situation, I think I would have opted for mercy killing. Having said that, I know it is easier said than done and requires a great deal of courage. But may be in that situation, I would have actually got the required strength to make the decision. This is unnecessary pain, both for me and people around me. Moreover, I feel in today’s world no one will be as supportive as presented in the novel. Forget about the family members, you won’t get people even after paying money to do such kind of a job as done by care-takers of Morrie. I can’t live with loosing my self-dignity everyday.

Morrie was shown as a character with great strength and determination. He was facing death everyday but still he was smiling over it. Anyone else (at least me) would have easily gone into depression. But if he was shown having such a great character, his repeated mention of his growing bodily weakness came as a disappointment. The greatest strength would have been shown if he would not mention about it. But again, we humans are not perfect. Forget about Morrie, a normal human being can have moments of weakness. Hats off to Morrie for his great determination and will-power.


Sometimes repeated mention of disease can be seen as the reality which the more he repeated, the more he accepted. There was no point of weakness. The time for weakness and strength was already gone. It was the time for acceptance and prayer.


Also, I feel all the advice and lessons of live given by Morrie are known to even a normal person. But a normal human being is so much entrapped in fight for survival (poor people fighting for basic needs) and world of materialism (next step when your basic needs are fulfilled), that he/she refuses to accept these facts. Everyone gets bouts of these feelings every now and then, but then he/she runs away from it quiet easily.


Life’s greatest lessons are all the simplest. It is easy to have information about it. It is another thing to realize it. We all know that we will die one day. But do we really realize what we are talking about? Do we know what it is to die actually? Do we know how well prepared are we for this ultimate fate? The trick here is to die before we actually die and see the truth that there is no death. Only real knowledge will make us wise, not the information.


I believe, it is not the fault of an individual. It has to do with the way society brings up his next generation. Morrie rightly said, “Make your own culture and give society a damn”. But one in a million has the courage to do it. It is not easy to go against the society, more so when your elders have imbibed in you the importance of following the rules of society and religion. You and I won’t do it. Will you?


There should always be a fine balance of what society needs of you and what you need to do for yourself. It is not to tell that you break laws of society or don’t contribute to it, it is just to say that some things are just very personal. And you should be the only one to decide them. People can help in giving advice but in the end, you should take the choice with your conscious thinking.


There is one sentence mentioned by Morrie.

“People are only mean when they are threatened” and society always threatens them.


Well, society means you and me and others. The society had always existed before and that has not stopped people from being kind or so. There is always all type of people in society. You might have few good and few bad experiences. It is actually not the society, but our perception of society and its interpretation in our mind which makes us think that we can survive here only if we become mean. No individual can live one’s life in true sense if one lives only for survival. We are born here not to survive or threaten; we are born to Love, to care, to understand and to share.


Was Morrie like this before he got diagnosed with this deadly disease? I am saying this because it is more important to learn these lessons when you are in well-being. When a person is fully fit, he gets desires and wishes to fulfill them. Because he knows that he/she can achieve it. At that point of time all these “lessons of life” are easily ignored. Moreover society and family pressures, forces him/her to ignore these lessons. He/she is taught to be mean and selfish, by our society and by our parents. Can’t blame our parents for this because they are also part of the society and moreover they want their children to be successful in life. It’s just that meaning of success is being taken wrongly by them too.

Question above came into picture because some of the sentences in the novel caught my attention. Here are they:

“The day he learned that he was terminally ill was the day he lost interest in his purchasing power”

“You realize that, especially when you are in a time like I am, when you are not doing so well”.


Death is the great leveler. When you know that the race is about to be over and I will be leaving it, then you just don’t run like mad man, but try to complete other important things. We all know what other important things in our life are. It is only that we ignore them with clever argument that currently we can’t afford to put our time in those things and there will always be a time when we will do all these. Well, death reminds you that your time is running out and you should start living in your priority. When you have to choose your priority, you will of course choose those which will mean to you more at that time.

It is always important to learn these lessons as early as possible. But everybody might not be as fortunate as him. He required death to teach him all these lessons. Are we also waiting for something or someone to realize these lessons? Or we can learn it right Now?

~ ~ ~

In the end, one of my favorite lines of the book.

“I heard a nice little story the other day,” Morrie says. He closes his eyes for a moment and I wait.

“Okay. The store is about a little wave, bobbling along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He is enjoying the wind and the fresh air – until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore.

“My God, this is terrible,” the wave says. “Look what’s going to happen to me!”

“Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, ‘why do you look so sad?”

“The first wave says, ‘you don’t understand! We are all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?”

“The second wave says, ‘No, you don’t understand. You are not a wave; you are part of the ocean.”

Happy reading...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Radha Madhav temple visit in Korea

Nowadays I hear people say “The time is very bad. When will God send his angels to help us?” Well, all I want to tell them is this: “The angels are waiting for you. Just give them a chance to help you.” Yesterday, I met few of those angels.

It was a cloudy Sunday, a normal fall day in Korea. I had a day off from the office. Fresh from missing Diwali and New Year celebrations, I had no plan for Sunday. Then suddenly I saw one announcement on our kitchen notice board. There is diwali pooja and celebrations in Radha-Madhav temple. All these in Korea!! I was surprised to find that head priest of that temple is a Korean monk who studied Vedas in ISKCON. I wanted to visit the place and join in the kirtan. The place name was of course new for me. The person, who brought this information – Yagna, gave me all the required information to reach there. Still my confused face told him all. It told him that I might not possibly be able to go there on my own. Being working here for more than 1 year, he is half Korean by now. On Saturday evening, I was still thinking to go or not. Just to clear my confusion before night, he called me and told me that he will accompany me till half journey for my mission. I thanked God.

Come Sunday. Normally a lazy day with 12 hours of sleep. Not today. I got ready by 9 and waited for Yagna. He came all the way from his house to my guest house to pick me up and we went to bus stop. Got a bus for Gangnam and then reached the place where temple bus was waiting for me. I was the only passenger!! Well, I thanked Yagna for taking all the pains to guide me till then.

After getting few more passengers, and enjoying beautiful landscapes, we reached at Radha- Madhav temple. Immediately I heard “Hare Krishna” maha-mantra. Absorbing it inside me, I scanned “Bhagvad Gita – As it is” and read few of random verses. And then we started Kirtan. As we all know, everything has one vibration energy and frequency. If any frequency matches to your basic frequency, Resonance happens. The sound is very effective way of getting that energy. Few sound vibrations can awaken your consciousness and dormant energy. “Hare Krishna” Maha-mantra is one of those. Kirtan has always been a very effective way of sadhana in Bhakti-marga.

There was “Bhagvad-Gita verse” discussion on verse 40 of chapter 2.

nehabhikrama-naso ’sti pratyavayo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat

"In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear."

The speaker told how material success, degrees and money will not be carried over next birth. But higher consciousness, bhakti and knowledge will come with us as chitta from one lifetime to another.

After pooja and bhakti, there is Prasadam. We enjoyed very Satvik prasadam prepared by volunteers. There can never be more joy to eat Prasadam after offering it to Lord.

Return journey was as colorful as our stay there. It became a “Tirth-yatra” bus with chanting and kirtan. Being new to this group, I was asked to introduce myself. I not only introduced myself, but also took that opportunity to sing kirtans of Shri Ram and Krishna. It was a long awaited dream come true. To start kirtan and getting others to join. We found my new devotees as friends.

There was a question about how will I come back. Well, when you are on a mission, the commander takes care of everything. So, Lord arranged a nice person to accompany me till my place. We had lots of discussions and thoughts on various subjects. When I reached at my guest house, I was exhausted because of journey but my mind was escalated. I had lived one day in Krishna consciousness. I pray to God to give me strength for retaining this consciousness.

Hare Krishna…