One of my ex students has given very good feedback of my article published last Sunday, “Life is wavy that is why its life.” And requested me to write something on regrets so today’s article is dedicated to that student.
Almost everyone has one or other regrets in life. It is difficult to find a person in the world without regrets. So I feel that first we have to understand what is regret? Why there is regret in life? What effect does it have on life? How many types of regrets are there, for which we usually feel remorse, and is it possible to get rid of regrets? If possible, how?
According to common sense, regret means something or nothing happens in life according to our will or desire. We have different unlimited desires or expectations with our lives or relationships but sometimes exactly the opposite happens in life, which is usually not acceptable to us so regrets are born. There are usually many types of regrets such as not having beauty like others, not having knowledge, power or wealth like others, not having status or prestige like others, not having lovely sweet relationships like others, not having love or warmth etc. We observed daily many people saying that nothing good happens to me in life, all that is easily obtained by others either I do not get or if I get it after much difficulty, so there is no joy of getting. According to my understanding, there are three reasons behind such regrets.
1) Lack of faith in the Almighty
2) Lack of proper knowledge of the principle of karma
3) Lack of true identity of “self” means ignorance of what is really one’s own in this world.
A person who trusts in God that whatever he does will be excellent and beneficial for me, regrets can be easily reduced from life as God has more judgment of things than our own understanding or knowledge. We never have a real sense of what is good and what is bad for us. But God has a very subtle and real understanding of it. We have all experienced that what we often consider to be excellent and beneficial actually proves to be unhealthy, harmful and painful for us in the time to come. Because we acquire knowledge through the senses and the power of our senses is so limited that what is seen, heard or felt is often not true. While God is TRIKALGYANI, there is so much continuity in His vision that He knows the karmas, instincts and desires of life from birth to birth and plans accordingly which we find inappropriate because we do not understand the fact with our limited intellect and in life we nurture many regrets which makes us miserable endlessly. We are constantly trying and become active to remove those regrets. Activism that tires us out because it is a futile endeavor that can never be fruitful creates a chain of regrets that never ends and the person gets caught up in it. Trust in God is essential for overcoming regrets. Cultivating faith in God does not cause any regrets in life that can make a person miserable.
Another reason behind regret is our ignorance of the theory of karma i.e. many karmas from birth to birth create convenience-adversity, joy-grief, happiness-sorrow, obstruction, pain, attachment in our life. According to Hinduism, there are three types of karma, KRIYAMANA Karma, SANCHITA karma and PRARABDHA karma. The deeds that we do, if they bear fruit immediately, it is KRIYAMANA karma. But if it does not become active to bear immediate fruit, it remains dormant which is accumulated known as SANCHIT karma. But those karmas that become active to bear fruit at particular time which becomes the destiny of the person (PRARABDHA karma) and the liberation from those karmas cannot be done without suffering or enduring.
Jainism has a very subtle and detail understanding of karma in which there are eight types of karma. 1) GYANAVARANIYA karma – which determines the level of knowledge, explains the elements that cover knowledge. With the help of these karmas one can get idea that how much knowledge can be gained or how much can be digested. 2) MOHANIYA karma – which shows person’s attachment with worldly desires. 2) VEDANIYA karma – which is an important factor determining the sensation of the soul. Sensation can be good or bad such as Happiness-suffering, convenience-adversity etc. that person has to endure. 2) ANTARAYA karma that gives information about how many obstacles will come in life. How many and which kind of obstacles or hindrances will come in life depends on one’s own ANTARAYA karma. 2) AYUSHYA karma – which determines the length of life of the man. 3) NAMA karma – which determines the name-form, color, limb, fame, beauty, good fortune, etc. of a person. 2) DARSHANAVARANIYA karma – which affects the proper vision of a person due to which he can understand the reality. Karma that creates a cover or obstacles in proper DARSHAN is DARSHANAVARANIYA. 2) GOTRA karma – which determines the caste, race, clan, religion, GOTRA etc. of a human being.
In general, there are seven centers of human desires means man is always in search of these seven things that is knowledge, love, power, beauty, peace, joy and immortality which is subject to the eight karmas mentioned above. Now if we regret not getting any of this, it means that we do not have a proper knowledge of the theory of karma. So we spend our precious life only in regret. If we know the true form of theory of karma, then it will become instinctive and easy to remove regret from life. In general, everyone regrets that they do not get enough knowledge, strength, success, love, beauty, longevity, joy, peace, which would actually arise in terms of comparisons with others. Moreover, we have to understand that everything we have got is subject to our own deeds.
The third most important reason responsible for regret is the lack of true identification of the “self”. “Self” means “i or me or our own soul”. Actually we do not know who am I? We even don’t know who is our own and who are other, we usually neglect ourselves all our lives for pleasing others. Due to that we cannot get the happiness, love, affection and warmth that we should have got through relationships in life. And the most painful thing is that our happiness depends on others and the “other” will always be the other. In view of the fact that “others” can never be the cause of happiness, our happiness should be based on our own self and never on others. Thus in this world there is no one our own or our closest complete trustworthy except our own self or soul. Neglect of the “self or soul” and expectation of others is the root cause of every regrets in life. The attainment of the seven biggest desires of human life that is power, beauty, knowledge, peace, love, joy and immortality can be achieved only with true self-knowledge, self-realization and self achievement. But we can’t recognize or get the real self during entire life so regret becomes our destiny.
According to a book “Five Regrets of My Life”, many people on their deathbed were asked to write about the five main regrets of their lives. And if they get life again, what will be their desire? Majority people had a common desire or wish to live life as per their own will or choice. From this research it is proved that people are not actually living life as per their will, choice or wish and one of the main reasons why a person cannot live as he wishes for the rest of his life is that he does not know what his wish really is because his wish changes very frequently almost in every second it changes. This is how life goes astray and the destination cannot be achieved. And as I said before, we depend on others for the fulfillment of our every wish and all will adjust themselves as per our wish is almost next to impossible. So one is that we do not have the true identity of the self and the other is that it is almost impossible to get support and love from all in life that is to get complete satisfaction as per our desires.
If you want to make life free from regrets, know yourself, achieve yourself, come out from the dilemma of owns and others. True enjoyment of life is not possible without getting out of the whirlpool of expectations, neglect and complaints. Our whole life is actually spent in numerous expectations and complaints. Expectation itself indicates that your happiness depends on others and others can never be our own. But we do not understand that eternal truth for the rest of our lives and when the expectation is not fulfilled, there is a flood of regrets and complaints. From which a person can never get out. Thus neglect of “self” and expectation of others is the root cause of many regrets in life. So reduce the expectation from others, know the self, achieves the soul as with its attainment the seven centers (power, beauty, knowledge, peace, love, joy and immortality) of the pursuit of life are accomplished, attained. Increase your faith in God so that visual impairment can be removed (we actually never look a thing as it is that is in a original form due to many bias that is called visual impairment) and understand the true nature of theory of karma, I am sure different types of regrets can be eliminated from our life.
Shilpa shah director in-charge HKBBA College