Sakthi Vikatan Feb 4, 2014

Seed In The Tree07


Problems: no problem at all!  Author: Sēvāratṉā Doctor T.S. Narayanaswamy.  Images: Aras

Man has at least some desires: Healthy life; good education; pride; good job or business; prosperity; food, clothing and jewelry, dwelling; and desired property or daily needs with no shortage.

The wish list extends further: Good wife or husband; good children, good relatives and friends; great fame, pride, and good life; and a long life, most of all.

These desires are justifiable. To accomplish these ideals, we struggle from birth to death.  We call them problems when there are delays or impediments in attaining our goals, and unsavory circumstances and environment.

Are the problems, problems?

Any problem has a resolution. “Every resolution is the beginning of a new problem,” said Aristotle.

Those who exercise a great caution in life to avoid problems, problems find them. There are people living in great fear, though they project a brave front and tell themselves they can manage any problem getting out of hand. They think that postponing problem resolution will eventually resolve itself but against their belief, the problems assume gigantic proportions and cause great fear.

If you immunize yourself, you can avoid diseases. Likewise, if you develop and increase the ability to manage problems, the problems won’t threaten you.


Upon facing a problem, we blame it on inopportunity, circumstances, and others. Barring that, the thought we are responsible for our problem is the first step to a resolution.

Problem hobbles us in life. But, we should not let the problem run our life. Put aside the notion we should succeed in life; when failure strikes you, success is not to give in to grief.

He who discovered the new world!

Fourteenth century! There was a great urge to invent something new, discover unknown and unseen things… A mariner sailed from Spain to discover new continents. He was Christopher Columbus. He took with him 20 sailors on a small ship, beginning his journey in the Pacific Ocean. His journey, well there was no end. It was sea, sea, sea and more sea. He saw nothing else. Twenty-four days passed by. There was sight of land.

Ronald, the keeper of food and water rations came to know he had 21 days of supplies on the boat. He calculated a journey back to Spain with no loss of life would take 24 days on a fast run, provided there were no sea storms, rain, wind… He informed the sailors if the onward journey was to continue and no land was seen, life would be lost on the seas.

The tired and worn-out sailors concurred with Ronald’s assessment, concluded to turn the ship back to homeland to join their near and dear and informed Columbus of their unanimous decision.

Do water and food come in the way of my objective? Should I back off in my effort to discover a new world? Columbus could not imagine such a scenario in his mind.

He ordered the shipmates, “Go forward in full blast. There is no going back.”

Countermanding his order, Columbus was shocked to see from the upper deck the ship was going towards Spain.  Yes, Ronald took charge of the ship and shipmates. Columbus, taken custody, was tied to the mast.

The captainship of Columbus was usurped from him. Friends turned enemies. Columbus was not perturbed and did not give up his objective, though he was tied down to a mast. He was in deep thought. He called Ronald and discussed about food and water situation.

Columbus: Twenty-one persons have water and food for 24 days. Is that a yes?

Ronald: Yes, enough for 24 days.

Columbus: Of the 21 people, am I not one?

Ronald informed, “There is no doubt. We oppose you to save you.”

Columbus: “If I did not eat and drink, my share of food and drink for 24 days will feed the rest for one more day. Is it not true?”

Ronald understood the calculation but not the reason. Columbus continued…

Columbus: “Drive the ship forward for one more day. In case, a shore was not discovered, push me into the sea. The rest of the food and water will be sufficient for your return journey home.”

The sailors understood the calculation, Columbus’ grasp of his theory and their duty as sailors.

He was untied. The ship forged forward. In the next 20 hours, land was sighted and the ship was at anchor shortly. American continent was discovered.

Columbus did not change his theory bending to the circumstances. He succeeded changing the circumstances and holding on to his theory fast.

Instead of removing the problems, finding the reasons and acting on resolving them help find success. That is the way of Columbus.

Agasthiyar winning the fate!

Obeying Siva’s order, Guru-Muni left Himalayas for Kumari (tip of south India). On his way, he found the Vindhya mountains hard to traverse. Egoistic mountain king said to Agasthiyar he would give way if he paid homage to him by mentioning his name. This was a problem for Agasthiyar who paid homage and offered worship only to God and Jñāṉis.

The resolution to the problem was not to offer homage, but to curb his hubris and traverse the mountain. He did not think of shrinking the mountain. Agasthiyar took Viśvarūpam (Gigantic size). Agasthiar’s foot was bigger than the mountain. In one step, he jumped over the mountain. Vindyan stood there astonished. Abrogating the ego, he fell at the feet of Agasthiyar.

Problems stand before you as mountains. Do not try to get rid of it or make it small. You must know how to increase your power. The mountain-size problem will shrink to the size of a mustard seed.