Disclaimer – This dialogue is neither a figment of imagination nor a real one; and the same applies to the characters as well. The character MAnvi is one I see myself in, though at times different. Her thAthA is one who seems much familiar. Much of these dialogues are a trigger  from a book or a discourse by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Any error in the way I have blogged upon, on any aspect is due to an error in my understanding alone.

MAnvi’s thAthA saw her walking up to his room and walking away, many times. She was deeply engrossed in her own thoughts and was talking to herself. He knew it was a matter of time before she either walked away to her room or decided to step in to his room. That depended on whether she sorted it out within herself or not.

MAnvi: thAthA, I always thought that success is defined based on the results that is got from our actions. Looks like there is a different perspective.

thAthA: Success for whom, MAnvi? There are many people involved in any action isn’t it? So can everyone involved in that action, take the credit for that success?

MAnvi: Put like that, I don’t know thAthA. I guess the success is felt more by the person who is initiating and carrying out most of the action. I have always thought that a person was  successful, if he or she got the results that they set out to achieve.

thAthA: You seem to be speaking in the past tense, MAnvi. You don’t think that is the definition of success?

MAnvi: Not anymore, thAthA. Success seems to be redefined for me now.

thAthA: Explain MAnvi. Let me also learn how it is redefined for you.

MAnvi saw her thAthA’s smile and could not help reciprocating that smile. It was to her, the smiles of two people who were always eager to learn.

MAnvi: thAthA, any action that we do has four types of outcomes.

– Getting what we expect

– Getting more that what we expect

– Getting less than what we expect

– Getting the opposite of what we expect

I always thought that if we are able to manage our emotions and also ourselves, when we get less than what we expect or opposite of what we expect, we would be able to handle a situation when we get what we expect or more than what we expect.

thAthA: Wait MAnvi. Let me think on what you said for a while, and then you can continue.

MAnvi waited for her thAthA to open his eyes and look at her, before continuing.

MAnvi: What I heard was the other way around – if we are able to manage our emotions and also ourselves, when we get what we expect or more than what we expect, we would be able to handle a situation when we get less than what we expect or opposite of what we expect.

thAthA took his notebook and wrote what MAnvi had said. He read and re-read it a few times.

thAthA: Continue, MAnvi.

MAnvi: thAthA, I think I understand but I am puzzled too. When we get what we expect or more than what we expect, we are happy or elated and in an upbeat state of mind. On the other hand, when we get less than what we expect or opposite of what we expect, we are in a downcast state of mind. Perhaps when we are really elated, we come down crashing when we face an outcome that is either less than what we expected or the opposite of what we expected. Does this mean that we should refrain from being elated? How is that possible, thAthA? Isn’t it natural to be elated when we get an outcome that is the same as we expected or more?

thAthA: MAnvi, I don’t think it is meant that way. It is natural to feel really happy when things go the way one expects it to or when one gets more than what was expected. However, when we keep bouncing up and up and up in that sense of being elated, what do you think will happen when the outcome is less or opposite of what was expected?

MAnvi: Thump and thud!!! The fall then may be far more bouncy also. Getting up then could be a struggle, isn’t it, thAthA? So how do we handle this thAthA?

thAthA: MAnvi, when we are elated due to an outcome achieved as expected or more than what was expected, it would be wiser to also remember that we were at the right place and at the right time, for it to happen. There were people who we may have helped earlier, who reciprocated that help. We may have made the right choice amongst the various choices that were in front of us. We would have planned for the action and put in the effort as well. There would have been some other hidden variables that we are not aware of which acted on the situation. We may call these hidden variables as the ‘luck’ factor. Every thing happened at the same time to help us achieve the expected or more than expected outcome.

One needs to be objective to look at all these aspects, after the few moments of elation. We are in the situation but we are looking at the process of what happened and also the outcome, with dispassion. We need to be dispassionate and objective about this outcome of achieving the same as expected or more than expected. Remember I am saying dispassionate and not  detached. Then we are on Terra Firma, being firmly grounded in reality. It becomes then easier to look at a situation in which the outcome is less than what was expected or opposite of what was expected, with the same dispassion and objectivity.

MAnvi: That is not easy, thAthA. To be dispassionate and objective, whatever the outcome.

thAthA: You are right, MAnvi. It is not easy but it is not difficult either. When the objectivity and dispassion is assimilated well, an inner transformation is seen. MAnvi, you started this discussion on success being redefined for you and then these about the four outcomes. Could you explain the connection between these two?

MAnvi: Our life is always filled with moments of each one of these outcomes. We cannot afford to be swayed away by the outcomes, in which case every moment will be fraught with tension. Then living in harmony with oneself becomes a challenge. The outcomes of our actions are not in our control, given the many variables, from the time we initiate the action and till the time we finish it. So thAthA, when handling all these four outcomes dispassionately and objectively,  makes us a successful person.

thAthA, ever since I heard this, I have been feeling that life seems so much more simpler due to the way success is redefined. To me this redefinition is meaningful – A successful person is one who handles all the four outcomes dispassionately and objectively.

MAnvi was near the door but quickly ran in and hugged her thAthA and said “And you know what thAthA, I prefer the word ‘outcome’ to ‘result’. Semantics perhaps but nevertheless :-)”

A bemused thAthA watched his grand-daughter, walking out of the room with a spring in her gait.