The Illusion called Life - A tale from Indian Philosophy

The last 10 years had been a real roller coaster ride for him. Now looking back it almost seemed like a dream. He remembered that fateful day he had gone into his boss’ cabin to tender his resignation letter. That had been a long time back. He could not remember why he had wanted to resign. That did not matter either. For that was before opening the door of the cabin. His life could easily be divided into two parts – BOCD (before opening the cabin door) and AOCD (after opening the cabin door). All BOCD events did not matter anymore. Only AOCD events mattered.

He had been most pleasantly surprised to see an angel waiting inside. Her very sight had mesmerized him.

Hi, I am Vishaka, your MD’s daughter”, she had introduced herself

At first he could not find words. But he eventually got to talking with her. An hour of waiting for the MD had been magically transformed into a second. He wished it had lasted longer. But he would again be meeting her over a cup of coffee later that evening. The four hours till the evening close of business seemed like 4 years. The concept of time was so relative! The resignation letter lay forgotten.

Within a year, he was married. Half a decade later he was still besotted with his wife as much as he had been on the first day he had met her. But sometimes an object can be made smaller without reducing it in any way. In a relative sense, by putting a bigger object next to it. That is what had happened to his love for his wife. It had been rendered smaller by emergence of a greater love in his heart. His two lovely children, the apples of his eye! He had done well in his career as well. In 5 years, he had become the youngest MD in the history of the firm, on the way to become a partner. What more could one ask from life!

Then one day the winds suddenly changed direction without warning. The American economy was going into recession. The financial sector was hit badly. The company had to close shop. He soon found himself without a job. But that was part of life. He was not exactly on the streets. He had managed to feather his nest well in the years he had worked and had enough saved up to take care of the next 20 years without an additional penny earned.

Being without a job had turned out a blessing in disguise. He could now spend more time with his family. Things had gone on nicely for a year. Then one day suddenly his lovely wife had fainted in the kitchen. Apparently she had been having dizzy sensations for the past one year. She had been ignoring them. A visit to the doctor had confirmed their worst fears: it was cancer. He put all his heart and soul into her treatment. She was taken to the best hospital in US. The most expensive drugs were procured. But even the best efforts could not stall the inevitable. He found himself a widower in the eighth year of his marriage.

But he still had his children to think of. He needed to be strong for the sake of his children. He did his best to cheer them up. They spent a lot of time together going on trips to all exotic places around the world. Time they say is a healer. Now at the end of 10 years, one could not say categorically that things had turned out entirely bad, he reflected as he looked on fondly at his two children playing happily in the water. Yes, there had been a few tough years like the time of his wife’s sickness and death. But by and large, they had gotten along life decently.

His reverie was broken by a shout, “Papa, Priya is drowning

It was his son Rahul. Rahul was swimming fast after his drowning sister. But the eddy current was too strong. He jumped into the water and swam towards his children. By the time he reached them, it was too late to save Priya. Rahul was also fast getting sucked in. He sent up a silent prayer as his hand reached out to save his drowning son. The first time he had prayed in the last 10 years.

As he prayed, he remembered his spiritual master. He had wanted to give up worldly life and take up spiritual pursuits on a full time basis 10 years back. That was why he had wanted to resign from his job. All the BOCD memories began to flood back into his head.

He suddenly found a hand shaking him. It was his master. “You have still not left for office? I thought you were planning to go there and submit your resignation letter today.

He opened his eyes with a jerk. He had dozed off in the Verandah. It had all been a dream – a dream gone wrong. 10 minutes here had been 10 years in his dream. He wondered if his master had something to do with the dream. Was this the Maya his master often spoke about?

Coming up next week: Zipanca's side of the story : An ancient Mayan myth


  1. Remember seeing this one before on the other blog. Good one

    1. Thanks Suresh. These old posts are a saver in stressful weeks where I am pushed for time.


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