Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal: Slumber is More Sweet Than Toil

Friday, August 21, 2015

Slumber is More Sweet Than Toil

Blessed are Idles For The Kingdom of Heaven Belongs to Them

                                                 [Lord Tennyson and Bertrand Russell Photo By CC]

Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his poem Lotus-Eaters has praised the slumber. The brave and courageous Ulysses finds himself defeated by arguments of his mariners :

All things have rest: why should we toil alone,
We only toil, who are the first of things,
And make perpetual moan,
Still from one sorrow to another thrown:

Marines didactically prove the superiority of slumber:

All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave
In silence; ripen, fall and cease:
Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease.

Ultimately Ulysses finds himself cornered and he has no argument in favour of hard work, toil and working endlessly. None of the living being is doing so in the nature. So he yields to the wishes of his fellow mariners:

Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
Than labor in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more.

The virtues of Laziness are yet to be explored. Tennyson has given arguments from mariners who are mostly not so well educated, but their arguments are so down to earth that not only Ulysses is speechless, but even today the readers are left astounded by strength of arguments.

Intellectuals have read Bertrand Russell’s views on the virtue of idleness. Still more inquisitive have read the Zen which emphasise on quality of life. The leisure and recreation are important determinants of quality of life.

One esteemed member of “Lazy Club” was spotted driving fast by another member. In next meeting he was served a show cause notice. He explained that by mistake he had pressed the accelerator that day and then was too lazy to remove his foot from it. Undoubtedly he won the trophy for laziness.

Many times laziness is camouflage in action.

Remember, what T. S. Eliot says about action in his play “Murder in the Cathedral”.
“Action is suffering and suffering action”

There cannot be better condensation   of thoughts evaporated by hard boiled brain storming.

All the suffering of the world comes from action. All of us suffer the pain of death whether we work hard or sit idly. Everyone suffers from Final action that is death. If we make efforts to escape that final action or even have fear of it, which again is action, we suffer more. So action and inaction have the same significance.

A sanskrit verse says

"Those who work hard to acquire knowledge die,
Those who sit idle and remain ignorant too die,
Then what is the use of clattering the teeth."

(In ancient time initial knowledge was acquired by cramming.)

Robert Browning in his poem "Rabbi-Ben-Ezra" 

"Not on the vulgar mass
Called 'work' must sentence pass
Things done,that took the eye and had the price
O'er which, from level stand,
The low world laid its hand,
Found straightway to its mind, could value in a trice.

You are trying to weigh diamonds on hay scale (Phelps). World is not going to judge you by toil but by your achievements.

When Buddha pronounced his four Noble Truth he had similar interpretation. “All is suffering” and “There is cause of suffering” are first two Noble Truth. has a simple interpretation of this as

“The causes of suffering lead to suffering, suffering produces the causes of suffering which again produce suffering. They are circular.” 

Religion has remained the best shelter for idlers. Since the surplus produced by proletariat was extorted by Kings and Priests, they were revered and worshipped for their skills of extortion. Surprisingly the story has not come to an end despite many centuries of oppression and many revolutions.

 As leisure differs from idleness for being purposeful so does inaction differs from idleness.

Whatever wrong is happening around, you are responsible for that, even if you are not directly involved in its occurrence. Only because you are present at that moment, even if you had no means to stop its occurrence, would not make you free from bondage of the Karma of inaction.

Writing and reading more than this would be a toil.

© Vipin Behari Goyal

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