Maya – Magic of 99.

It is a beautiful sunny morning of Saturday, beginning of a weekend. I am reminded of a folk tale where a magical figure of 99 plays havoc with the simple life of a poor village farmer. There was this innocent, happy-go-lucky farmer who went about earning his livelihood from a small piece of land that he inherited from his father. He would produce crops just enough to feed his family. He had plenty of time during off-season which he spent with his family. He and his family were carefree, celebrating life often singing and dancing. Life was going on smoothly and uneventfully till he met a rich friend from a nearby town, who had a grand lifestyle with every type of materialistic item in his house. The farmer asked his friend, ” You are so lucky, you have everything in life, I am a poor farmer with very little means. What is the secret of your success.?” His friend told him that he was far from happy and had his own troubles. The poor farmer was not convinced and further nudged his friend to share his secret . Anyway, his rich friend offered him no explanation and instead gave him an amount of Rupees 99 and asked him to keep it with him and do what he felt like with it.
The poor farmer on his way back to his village kept wishing that amount was Rupees 100 instead of 99. So he thought of earning more money and picked up an additional part-time job working as a construction labourer. He was now available for lesser time to his family. After about a month, he found that he had an amount of Rs 999 from his extra work; his desire now yearned to make it to 1000. So the farmer picked up yet another job during the weekend. He was now hardly available to his family. He could not afford time for leisure, sing-song and dance. Early morning he would go to work in his fields, in the afternoon he worked at the construction site and on weekends he did yet another labor job. He soon accumulated an amount of Rs 9999 but he was not satisfied; a figure of 10000 was more respectable. So he picked up another evening job till midnight. Soon he had Rs 99000; this was an odd figure as it would be better to have Rs 100000. After about two years the farmer had earned enough money, he also had material possessions but he had no time for his family. He thought of newer and newer methods of earning money to increase his figure from 999000 to a million and thus it went on and on. The simple smiling, happy and peaceful farmer had been transformed into an agitated, impatient and frustrated person who had no time for his family or even for pursuing his simple hobbies. Soon his health started deteriorating and he had to shell out large amounts of money to doctors for his treatment. To compensate for his expenses, this man thought of more ways to multiply his wealth. One day he met his old friend who inquired, “I am sure that by now you must have found the secret of success, but have you realised at what cost, Has it given you more peace.?” To which this farmer replied,” I think, I was better of as a poor farmer.”
2. Most of us including myself who are not born with a silver spoon in their mouth have fairly simple lives, till we get introduced to the Magic of 99 by someone. The life there after becomes complex as bar of expectations is raised and we struggle to fulfil our shifting goals. We loose our peace of mind, originality, simplicity and leisure time with family. We keep on adding a figure of further 9 on the right hand side to what we already have like 99, 999, 9999, 99999, 999999 and so on so forth till we depart from this planet earth empty-handed.
3. Indian scriptures ( Both Hinduism and Sikhism ) have termed this phenomenon as ” Attachment with Maya”. Maya denotes wealth and riches as also attraction to worldly possessions. Maya is the cause of all ills in our society. Gurbani ( Sikh scriptures) has aptly summed up the nuisance of Maya,
” Is Maya Jag Mohiya, virla bujhe koi” ( Punjabi language Source Shri Guru Granth
” The Maya ( Money, wealth and material possessions) has bewitched the World,
only a rare few understand this.”


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