A beautiful message by Arthur Ashe, a legendary Wimbledon player who was dying of AIDS, which he got due to infected blood he received during a Heart Surgery in 1983!
During his illness, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed;
“Why did God has to select you for such a bad disease?”
To this Arthur Ashe replied:
- 50 million children started playing Tennis,
- 5 million learnt to play Tennis,
- 500,000 learnt to play Professional Tennis,
- 50 Thousand came to Circuit,
- 5 Thousand reached Grand Slam,
- 50 reached Wimbledon,
- 4 reached Semi Finals,
- 2 reached the Finals and…When I was holding the Cup in my hand, I never asked God:
Sometimes you are not satisfied with your life, while many people in this world are dreaming of living your life.
A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead dreams of flying, while a pilot on the plane sees the farmhouse and dreams of returning home. That’s Life!
WHERE CAN ONE ALWAYS FIND HAPPINESS?
See the dictionary under the letter ’h’ – only there will you ﬁnd happiness always. In life things are very mixed up. Day and night are together, so are happiness and unhappiness. Life and death are together, so is everything. Life is rich because of polar opposites. The very idea that one would like to be happy forever is stupid. The very idea will create only unhappiness and nothing else. You will become more and more miserable because more and more you will be missing your so-called eternal happiness. Your greed is too much.
Then who is the happy person? The happy person is not one who is always happy. The happy person is one who is happy even when there is unhappiness. Try to understand it. The happy person is one who understands life and accepts its polarities. He knows success is possible only because failure is also possible. So when failure comes he accepts it.
I remember one incident of my childhood. A great wrestler had come to my town. Everybody was very interested in wrestling, so the whole town had gathered. I have seen many people and many wrestlers in my life but he was really rare. He had something of Zen in him.
For ten days the wrestling continued, and every day he defeated a famous wrestler. Finally he was declared to be the winner. The day he was declared to be the winner he went around and touched the feet of all the ten persons whom he had defeated.
Everybody was puzzled about why he did it. I was a small child, I went to him and I asked him, ’Why did you do that? This is strange.’
He said, ’It is only because of them that I am victorious. It is only because of them. If they had not been defeated, if they had not allowed themselves to be defeated, I would not be victorious. So I owe it to them. Without them how could I be victorious? My victory depends on their defeat, my victory is not independent of them. So really I feel greatly thankful to them. There was only one possibility: either I was to be defeated or they were to be defeated. And they are good people, they accepted defeat.’
This is a very Suﬁ or Zen idea. Things are interdependent: failure/success, happiness/unhappiness, summer/winter, youth/old age, beauty/ugliness– all are interdependent, they exist together. And the man who starts seeking one pole against the other pole is getting into unnecessary trouble. It is not possible, he is desiring the impossible; and he will get very frustrated.
Then what should the attitude be? When happiness comes, enjoy happiness; when unhappiness comes, enjoy unhappiness. When there is happiness, dance with it; when there is unhappiness, cry with it. That’s what I mean when I say ’Enjoy’. Unhappiness is a must. If you can accept unhappiness as smoothly as you welcome happiness, you will transcend both. In that very acceptance is transcendence. Then unhappiness and happiness will not make much difference to you, you will remain the same. When there is sadness you will have a taste of it; and when there is joy you will have a taste of it. And sometimes bitter things also taste beautiful.
And sadness has something of depth in it which no happiness can ever have. Happiness has something shallow. Laughter always looks shallow, tears always look deep. If you want to be happy always you will become a shallow person, a superﬁcial person. Sometimes it is good to fall into the depths, dark depths, dismal depths of sadness. Both are good. And one should be total in both.
Whatsoever happens, go totally into it. When crying, become the crying, and when dancing, become the dance. Then the ultimate happens to you. By and by you forget the distinction between what happiness is and what unhappiness is. You enjoy both! So by and by the distinction disappears.
And when the distinction has disappeared, there arises something which is eternally there, which remains always there. That is witnessing, that is SAKSHIN (साक्षी). And Suﬁs say that if you can become a witness of all that happens to you, YOU HAVE ARRIVED HOME.
Osho: Suﬁs: The People of the Path, Vol 1: CHAPTER 10. THE ORIGINAL SIGNATURE Q 4
ज़िन्दगी तो हमें
“सा रे ग म” सीखा रही थी;
हम ही हैं जो
“सारे गम” ले कर बैठ गए !
Zindagi to humein
” Sa re Ga m^” sikha rahi thi;
hum hi hain jo
“Sare Gam^” le kar baith gaye.
Life was teaching us the melody
It is we who caught on to despair
Rajesh Khanna starrer “Anand” was a perfect depiction of Arthur Ashe’s approach towards life and death. If you have little more time and mood, please listen to some amazing dialogues of the film (~6 minutes) and then / or the song (Link is attached below this clip)…Anand Movie best scenes – YouTube