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The Bulging Body

Friday February 11 2005 09:01 IST

By Karmayogi

Man is unself-conscious. It is a euphemism for selfishly unconscious. A young man before marriage decides to dissipate unmindful of his victims. Guileless girls become his victims and he moves on to another.

His winning ways get him a new prey every time. He gets married. Still he continues his questionable ways of life. From his wife, he expects very great obedience, as if this is 1850. Well, most men are like this. The poor woman takes it as her womanly fate and submits.

He rules like a king and behaves like a tyrant at home, while outside he is all charm. The truth is his charm is true and no friend of his will listen to one complaint against him. He is that popular. We know it takes all sorts to make life. The wife submits to his tyranny that is almost torture. That is life as we know here in India.

As years pass, life rewards him for his temperament and the patience of his wife. The roles are reversed. Life changes. Now she dominates, desires to be cruel to him, but out of timidity resists. Out of this narration, I wish to cull out only one psychological GEM.

In the first phase of his life, he did truly believe he was a good man, as all his friends said so. He could not KNOW he was unfaithful to his wife, irresponsible to his family and false in his convictions. He is not a fool. He is very intelligent and has a high academic degree. We may think he is a hypocrite. The pity and wonder of it is he is not a hypocrite.

He did believe he was a good, generous, capable, responsible person. That was why I described it at the beginning as unself-conscious. The unvarnished truth of it is he is SELFISH and is so much absorbed in his selfishness that he is oblivious of what he really is. Moving from him, if I look at myself, analyse my past, ask for the frank opinion of those who are willing to speak out, will I be any better than he?

A young boy from his village moved to the Engineering College where he could eat with no restraint at the hostel. Each time he returned home, he had gained weight. It was visible. People around were polite, never made a comment and restrained their smiles at his bulging body.

One of his well-wishers was concerned about his health and pointed out the ill effects of extra fat. The boy answered, “Sir, how is it you say this? My mother is worried that I am growing thin and losing weight.”

Whether the mother was simply affectionate or factual is another matter. The boy did believe he was losing weight while he was periodically finding a higher number on the weighing machine and constantly outgrowing his clothes. Man is that factual when it comes to knowing himself. Lenin said people would change geometrical axioms to suit their ‘rational' arguments.
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