Q&A with grandma

I moved back with my parents after a week with ‘Paatti’. I have a job lined up from Monday and I am moving on. Last night, I kept the poor, old woman awake till long past. I wanted a few answers.

Me: Does life have an inherent meaning?
Paatti: No.

Me: I’m only 25 but already I have seen so my sorrow, have been let down by people, exploited , seen children dying, loved and been forsaken. There is so much greed and animosity everywhere. I can see life as only a buy of more responsibility, and creation of more problems either in the form of children or house etc. As we grow older it only looks like it gets worse as our physical system also starts failing. This cant be the right way to live?

Paatti: Okay, so become a Kanyastri ( a young sanyasi). So there are two ways, either you have to embrace life with all its problems and attachments or you have to give up all attachments.

Me: Does becoming a Kanyastri mean less problems?
Paatti: No. I you have taken birth on this earth then you are going to have problems whatever path you take.

Me: If we embrace the normal life knowing that it is meaningless. How can we be content in this hypocrisy?
Paatti: In my case, I accept circumstances if I cant change them. If your daughter-in-law is unkind to you and you expect kindness from her because it is the right thing for her to do, the only person who is going to be frustrated is you. Whatever is in your fate will happen, so no point in fighting circumstances. I like to help people and I have been doing that all my life. My sister-in-law liked to make sweets and she used to prepare a lot of sweets. We were content.

Me: Is education only for making money? What is real education?
Paatti: Real education should be able to give you the ability to differentiate between the right and the wrong. It should also give you the ability to act on it like smartness, power and energy. And yes, education is also to give you the ability to make money to look after your more mundane wants.

Me. So what is ‘right’?
Paatti: Right is to do good things . In the indian society it is to give to the handicapped, to the mental ward as these people are the most neglected. Education used for teaching is also a good way.

Me: Is doing a Phd a more useful way of using your education?
Paatti: No, most Phds are fools. They are concentrating on only improving their minds without a care to other wants of a body. In a holistic life you have to take care of all your needs, not just mental ones. Also, some people do their phd as a way to make money which is not different from a normal job. People like you, with a more wavering mind should not think of this option as there is no running away from realities. Only those people should do a Phd who are totally dedicated to the field.

Me: If God is so powerful, then how come he cannot protect himself? ( This is in the context of Tamilnadu where the temples of worship are subject to political vagaries)
Paatti: How do you know that God is not watching ?

Me: Is there God?
Paatti: No, it is all a creation of the mind. If you put a stone in front of it and think it is God, then it is God.

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