29th July 2015, S Radha Prathi
When one walks along the long journey of life, it becomes apparent that we cannot be in control of our lives all the time. We may come across unforeseen obstacles in the form of natural calamities, accidents, death et al which can completely change the course of our actions. Sometimes our best laid plans may end up in shambles. Our dream projects may be washed down the drain. There are times when we may have to simply change our pattern of life. These aberrations usually prompt us to question the need to lead an organised existence. After all, who has seen tomorrow? Besides, it is an accepted truth that no one can change destiny. Whenever we are caught wondering about the uncertainty of our lives, it will do us a world of good to ruminate over a story from the Panchatantra.
Once, a couple of fishermen came to a riverbank around sunset. When they scouted the waters they realised that it was rich with fish. They planned to cast a net for them the following day. Some of the fish happened to overhear the conversation. They decided to migrate to another water body overnight. They spread the word about their plans in the waters they lived. Some of their brethren were ready to follow course. Some of them approached an elderly fish called Yadbhavishya who was also a philosopher of sorts for guidance. When Yadbhavishya heard about their plans, he said that everything that happens in life is predestined and individuals can do very little about it. Every living being who is born into existence will ultimately die at some point of time. He added that death is most definitely the final point in everyone’s life and therefore there is really no point in safeguarding life. The followers of Yadbhavishya decided to stay back and accept their fate. Many other fish migrated despite his counsel. The following day, the fishermen cast their net as planned. The believers in destiny contemplated on the irony of fate as they breathed their last as they were being drawn out of water. It is true that they would all have to die at some time or another as pointed out by their philosopher. Nevertheless, they could have extended their lives to some extent, if they had taken a practical recourse. There is really no point in becoming willing scapegoats and sitting ducks in the name of being submissive to our destinies. We must be proactive, for it is said that even god will help only those who help themselves.