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  • Writer's pictureMeera

Why Is Life So Unfair? What Changed My Outlook?

A few months back, while casually discussing films and television with Gurudev, the name of one TV series came up. He was surprised to find out that I had never heard of it. "How is it possible that you haven't seen it yet?" he exclaimed. "I highly recommend it to everyone!" It was a Japanese TV show called "1 Litre of Tears." Upon Gurudev’s insistence, I began to watch it.

The TV series follows the story of a high school girl, Ikeuchi Aya (real name: Kito Aya). At the age of 15, she was diagnosed with an incurable disease called "spinocerebellar degeneration." Her disease will cause her cerebellum to gradually deteriorate until she will no longer be able to walk, speak, write, or eat by herself while retaining all her mental awareness and abilities.

The TV series depicts how life was brought to a screeching halt for that little girl, who still had her entire life in front of her. She could have been anything she wanted, but life had other plans for her. She began to keep a diary, initially to keep track of her progressing disease and its effects on her daily life.

However, as the disease began to progress rapidly, the diary became a source of courage and a chronicle of the fierce battle she put against her disease. She wrote about her experience, her fears, and her words of gratitude and encouragement for herself until she could no longer hold the pen. To quote her, "I write because writing is evidence that I am still alive."

At the end of each episode, while the theme music played in the background, I was overcome with emotion. Gurudev would ask me how I was enjoying the show, and before I could respond, he would burst out laughing. "Why are you laughing?" I'd exclaim, failing badly to disguise my tears and cracking voice. He'd laugh even louder before responding, "Because this is reality! "This is life!"

According to my understanding, it wasn't my tears that made Gurudev laugh, but the fact that he was able to expose me to even a smidgen of reality that let the joy shine through his entire being and burst into laughter.

With each passing episode, as that little girl began to struggle with daily tasks such as walking, running, dunking a basketball, and using chopsticks, I was forced to think about so many little things in my life that I take for granted. I wondered if I had ever genuinely felt thankful for my ability to walk and move about freely without fear of falling over my face.

"Why is life so unfair to some people? Why do some people face so many difficulties?"

I questioned Gurudev at the end of one of the episodes.

He explained,

"Meera, we are born to die, and we die to be born. Everything that occurs between life and death is fictitious. There is something more out there, a more everlasting afterlife. We won't know until we break free from the cycle of life and death. We will only be able to break free from the cycle of life and death when we recognise that nothing we refer to as life is real. It takes several lifetimes to learn that none of it is real.
Often, a person only realises this when confronted with insurmountable difficulties. Those difficulties and obstacles are intended to make us more aware of the nature of our existence.”

"But Gurudev, while this is true, we still have to deal with whatever challenges life throws our way!" I interrupted.

He calmly responded,

"We see them as challenges, but they are actually opportunities to make us realise that this life isn't real. Meera, the truth is that we came here not to do anything else but to live fully. The ultimate goal of our lives is not to become or attain this or that. The ultimate purpose of life is to meet life's difficulties with all that we have to the best of our abilities. To live a full life, particularly in the face of adversity."

"But Gurudev, why do some people face so many more difficulties than others, such as this little girl?" Isn't it unfair?"

“Meera, consider this: if it takes a person eight lifetimes to realise the reality of this world, with his increased hardships, the realisation may come sooner, and it may take him only five lifetimes!"

He continued, "In this context, the role of Guru becomes important. A Guru's responsibility is not to clear those difficulties for you or to assure that you do not meet any hurdles. A Guru's role is to guide you in better preparing to overcome those obstacles. Sometimes, without your knowledge, I may be preparing you for the challenges you will encounter in the future."

"So, it's like taking an extra class to better understand a lesson and perform better on an upcoming test?" I added.


As I reflect upon Gurudev’s words, I realise that we will all perish one day. Nonetheless, the lessons that our adversities will teach us will forever remain etched on our souls like embroidery on a silk robe, guiding us through our lifetimes until we are finally liberated. So, rather than fearing adversity, fear not learning anything from it.

Throughout the series, Aya would wonder, "What is the purpose of me living, mother?" I am sure the purpose of her life is evident to anyone who has had a glimpse at the story of her life. While she lived, her greatest desire was to help people, even when she needed it more than anyone else. Through her words, she eventually succeeded in helping millions of people.

I have come to realise that words hold tremendous power. Even after forty years of Aya's passing, her words continue to reverberate and touch the hearts of countless people. I believe that if your words can make even one person's life better, they are worthwhile.

Gurudev often says,

"Meera, after I am gone and after you are gone, everything that we have talked about and that you have learnt will fade into nothingness, and only the words you take down will remain. So write as much as you can about your experiences and the lessons you learn."

I've been writing more frequently than ever before, thanks to Gurudev's encouragement. Aya's life story has strengthened my resolve to continue writing about my experiences and Gurudev's teachings as much as possible.

I write because writing is evidence that I am not stagnant. I am growing.


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