The Vivekananda series ……. 7. Risk Taking


This is a corollary quote to the quote on daring – this is about daring to take risks.

Let’s think a little more about what sort of risks we take …. Study in a really good school, worry incessantly about marks and commit suicide when we get 95% instead of 97%… buy the latest in-fashion clothes for our children, in-fashion fast (non) food, in fashion video games and the latest cellphones, so they don’t move at all and are unable to wear the in-fashion clothes, so we buy some more….. join a good company and every couple of years shift to another one, stop learning by the time we get a manager tag, buy the latest car, take loans, buy a bigger house than our colleague, hoard for tomorrow and not take care of our relationships or health, run after rats and lose the race of life…

Such big risks we take from childhood to adulthood and before dying, so what is the Master saying here ?? All of the above are actually the risks that fools take and yes a large part of humanity are fools. We chase after things that don’t matter and things that matter are too risky for us to chase. Osho gives a great explanation about things that matter in his talks on the Dhammapada. He says Buddha calls those people fools who chase after things that have no value after you die – material things, better house, better car, money, in short all things that you leave behind on Earth when your time comes. Only those things are valuable that your soul can carry with you and the people left behind here can remember you for – so focus on accumulating good deeds, help others, meditate and be aware… Not chase after things that are meant to be used but cannot be yours forever. Osho does not talk of renouncing, he only talks of living right – things and money are for use, please make yourselves comfortable but build and hoard things that will be yours forever – we may have a lock of Buddha’s hair or a tooth of his, but his teachings are what we cherish and those have stayed on for all these 2500 years, they can transform us, they can make us Buddhas and not that lock of hair or his tooth. His tooth is preserved in Sri Lanka and it did not prevent the atrocities by the LTTE or by the Sri Lankan army against innocent Tamilians – get the point ?

I have a standard question I ask of people who work with me and I got a chance to ask that several times yesterday – what’s the worst that can happen ? In the corporate context, the worst that can happen is that you lose your job and many people refuse to take risks because they fear the worst – but you can always get another job !! Yeah, may not be exactly “the” job you want, but you will get “a” job and you won’t go hungry. Then I am pushed back with “oh, my child studies in a great school, I cannot fund his/her education” …. You didn’t study in a fancy school and you haven’t done badly, so why assume that your child needs a fancy school to do well ? So we in the corporate world are risk averse and security minded people and we hesitate to disturb the apple cart a wee bit – those who took the risks – yes, Steve Jobs, reached where they did. If Jobs wondered about his next job – I wouldn’t have the world under my fingertips !!

There is a beautiful story from Osho’s discourses on Krishna – the book is called “Krishna, the man and his philosophy”. He talks of a bunch of windflowers that grow in the crevice of a wall, well sheltered by the wall from the wind, sun and storms. In front of them is a rose bush and the beautiful roses bloom and are tossed and turned in the wind and storm, the petals going every which way. A young wildflower wants to become a rose bush and experience the world and the senior windflowers say to her, don’t do that, in our community we don’t do things like that, we keep ourselves safe in the crevice. The young wildflower doesn’t listen and God turns her into a rose bush – and she blooms into a beautiful rose and the Sun beats down on her, the wind tosses her around and she is dying, her older wildflower sisters tell her – we told you so ! But the dying rose flower says “it’s better to be a rose for 24 hours, and live dangerously… I lived fully and I am going to die fully. As far as you are concerned you live a life of living death”

Let go of the crevice, get tossed around and live fully, yes, live limitless.

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