Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Rarity of Goodness

                        “With uplifted arms I cry,but no one heed;
                         From dharma flow wealth and pleasure.
                        Then why is Dharma not pursued?”- Mahabaratha

In the recent past I read a book that was recommended to me by a special friend. The book was titled “The Difficulty of Being Good”.

The title was apt and the content, the allegories, anecdotes and its analysis were quite interesting. Though it does give one a confused state of mind when the last page is done with- the moral and ethical predicament, dilemma of being good! A kind of haze I must say rather than confusion, perhaps! The book dwelled on incidents in the epic Mahabratha and juxtaposed it with real time life. Either one has to be a Machiavellian Prince and escort the practical and logical side where morality, forthrightness, ethics and compassion has no grounding. Amidst the haze and smoke, what stands out starkly is the fact of life- the difficulty of being good,the rarity, if not the impossibility.

One of my friends observed (I’m certain in disgust), that he often feels that he is not fit for this world. An arrogant optimist and egocentric that he is not, may have dissuaded him from saying that the world is not fit to have the likes of him. It would be a candid reflection too and I would have agreed the most.
So when the world around, from the past and the present provide nothing but bleak portrait and vile, ominous portents, when the fact is that it is difficult to be good and if one does, it will be at ones peril and distress, I have felt in my life affected by the goodness that we may fear to possess.  It being the placebo, the saviour and like an unsolicited hand, extend in graciousness. Those were the moments when one would believe and be convinced there is indeed goodness that prevail despite the imperiling difficulty. Something in human nature that contributes a wee bit perhaps even for the world to turn around and not disintegrate away. It can be a smile, a wink of the eye, a nod, a touch, a firm grip on the wrist a caress on the back and even more, to alleviate distress.It comes without our asking adds the flavour of manna to it.

It is inexplicable why the fear of being good does not persuade some men and women to not prefer the confined comforts of their cocooned and comparatively safe life and or even stake their comfort for another’s.

Sometimes it is difficult to narrate matters of life as in a fiction, a story. It may be too true to be fictitious and often too fictitious to be not true.

A friend staking his little fortune for you; an acquaintance that does something that make you wonder if he knew you from the past life. In most cases these may not have been necessary, even from a Good Samaritan point of view. Did someone say that no good deed goes unpunished? But yet goodness thrives amidst difficulty. And some are undeterred by the fact that goodness sowed does not reap a bounty in return.


Happy Kitten said...

Your post shines like a ray of light on a bleak day.

Yes..goodness does abound in this world and even I have experienced the same. I might like to call it the hand of God but it comes forth from ordinary folks who press on despite everything.

KParthasarathi said...

A nice post.
Virtues like goodness,compassion or empathy are not acquired but in born.Some are cultivated by the family values but the basic nature manifests sometime or the other.
The wicked may be good for fear of law or be compassionate for publicity or political favour.The true test of character of an indiviudual is known when there is certanity of his not being found out.
There are still very good persons in the world.I will send you a mail about one such person

Insignia said...

I read somewhere "If you are good, then you will be lonely"

Umm, I have often acknowledged it. But being good is rare these days, and I always thought its a relative virtue. Why? Most times, people dont realize they are causing harm or being bad. To them, they are being good

R.Ramakrishnan said...

There is such a large measure of evil virtues around us that we become blind & fail to see the goodness that abounds around us. Goodness is akin to the millions of tiny sparkling stars in the sky surrounded by an ocean of blackness.

Meera Sundararajan said...

Well goodness, by the natural law of things should find its way back to the doer. But unfortunately it does not.. that is when the questionof Karma comes in -which I find difficult to accept.. Yes but good deeds are rare and even a small minority of good people make this world worth living!

Ashwini C N said...

Enjoyed reading the post. If you are Good, it doesnt necessarily mean people have to be Good to you. So, if you are not bothered about how others are going to treat you, Being good is fine, But if you expect others also to be good to you, it can be irritating.

rama said...

It is natural that we try to be good to everyone, sometimes even when the response we get is not so good. And we would continue to be good to such people with the belief, that if we are good to them, it would automatically have the mirror effect on them, but when this too fails, we have to let go of such people, and move away from them, and let them be what they are, for negativity can be quite contagious, we don't want to fall in that trap. At the most we can be civil to such people.

anilkurup said...

@ Happy Kitten,

Thanks Aha for the comments.
You are right when you mentioned that goodness often come from ordinary places. The sleight of God as one may call it.


Indeed situations bring out the character.I do not know if we are born with a programmed behaviour and character. Or if they are acquired. I feel that there is more to the later though genetic make up do have streaks of our being.

@ A Insignia,.

Indeed B, it only matters for many in their individual and selfish sense. Some show goodness , say flaunt goodness for public consumption .
It is a irony that goodness may result in the visit of nemesis.

@ R. Ramachandran,

You said it poetically!

@ MeeraSundarajan,

I agree, but am a bit skeptic about the natural law or Natures purchase over goodness and evil. Isn't she indifferent an neither malevolent or benign.

@ Ashwini,

Yes the best is to expect the least. Great expectations always hurt.

@ Rama,

Move on .
That seems sane than demanding or expecting.

....Petty Witter said...

It is always wonderful to read of
'good' people as it renews my faith in humanity.

Interesting and thoughtful post as always, thanks.

NRIGirl said...

You are right; goodness can be found in it's simplest form in a smile, a wink, a nod, a touch etc. If we trace back we will always find a good heart behind it.

anilkurup said...

@ NRIGirl,

Thanks for the comment.

@ Petty Witter

I appreciate your comments as always . Thanks

rudraprayaga said...

Your thoughts poured out as words have reaped appreciation.I think both i.e to be good as well as bad, are difficult. The nature of people houses both, only the area and arena differ.

Shilpa Garg said...

Wonderful post, Anil.
Just read this sometime back...Nekiyan Kar Ke Jo Dariya Me Daal Doge Abhi....
Wahi Tufaano Mey Kastiyan Ban Kar Saath Dengi Kabhi!

One should keep doing the good, though doing it always may have repercussions, but still...

Jyothi said...

When I read this post in reader, I came to here to comment "Neki Kar aur Dariya me fenkh" or something like that. Do good and forget about getting anything in return. That is the way to live. But Shilpa already said it.

These days, the problem is that the good people get treated the worst. And hence the fear. Sometimes, not being a bad person is good enough. Being good is highly overrated.

Usha Menon said...

Hi Anil,This is a beautifully written post. Good people still exist,but they are like lovely lotus flowers growing in dirty and filthy surroundings.I liked the last words"goodness sows does not return a bounty"

anilkurup said...

@ SG,
Since goodness does not guarantee goo, and doing good is not effortless as menacing , we may find less of the former.

@ Jyothi,
Being good is at premium and such souls are rare. aren't they ?

@ Ushja Menon,

Thanks for the appreciation.