Life, to most of us, is a succession of sorrows. This may sound rather pessimistic. Shakespeare through the lips of one of his immortal characters spoke of “the oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contu­mely. Shakespeare’s lines find a sympathetic echo in our own hearts, for we are all subject to these and other woes. Man vainly hopes to find in religion and God the sop or solace that life denies.

Almost all religions have a similar prescription. The Christian tells us not to think much of our material possessions, for even if we lose the kingdom of the earth, we will gain the kingdom of Heaven. Islam tells of the gates of Paradise, with all the joys, which we were denied on earth, will open wide to welcome us to eternal happiness. The Hindus want us to perform our duties without attachment and without any expectation, and one day we will be released from the bondage of worldly life. The Buddhist points to the Eightfold Path that will help us attain Nirvana, which means extinction of all births, rebirth, and desires. Really few want to escape the sorrows of life by getting rid of what we believe to be the very sources of joy. But we would say rather that the remedy has proved impracticable, since in spite of preaching it for thousands of years, it has not brought man any nearer to the final conquest of sorrows.

The philosopher may deny life but poet Tagore is there to sing of the beauty and blessedness of life. His message comes to us refreshingly, — “Salvation through renunciation, — no, that is not for me.” Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die? As a matter of fact, if life had not its plentiful store of joys, man would have given up the effort to live as a hopeless business. Our joys, indeed, more than outweigh the sorrows that the pessimists exaggerate. We prefer to be with the poets rather than with the pessimists and weeping philosophers. Every moment of our existence has something to bring us, some prospect of joy, some chance of happiness, some fulfillment of our hopes. Why should we speak of sorrows more than of joys? Thomas Hardly has been dubbed a pessimist when he said “Happiness is an occasional episode (in life) in an otherwise drama of pain.”

 

By:  Ammara Siddique