Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Golden Gift

(Abridged from my article published in the magazine 'Conservative' in January '62)

In my schooldays I had a favourite joke with  my friends.  I will ask them to name the longest word in English language.  The usual answer will be "antidisestablishmentarianism" or some times "floccinaucinihilipilification " or something similar to that.  Then I used to smile and say that the longest word in English language is a simple word that everyone is taught in the early years viz., the word "smiles".  For between the first letter and last letter is not there a mile? and then we used to have a good laugh.

I cannot think of these incidents now without a certain amount of pleasure and pride. For not only the word "smiles" helped me to outwit my friends in my school-days but the smiles in real life helped me a long-way to make my journey through life smooth and pleasant. Many a battle in life I would have lost - lost ungraciously and most miserably - had I not learnt to smile; smile at my misfortunes and fortunes alike.  Smile is not only an antidote to mental trouble but also a physical preservative and psychological restorative.  Shakespeare called the smile 'a sunshine' in his King Lear.  And smile has a good tonic effect on health as well.

The man who smiles cannot frown and much more cannot be easily frowned upon.  This I consider a capital virtue of smile.  For frowns not only distort and uglify the face but disturb also the peace of mind and also dislocate the streamlined functioning of the body system if indulged in too often. And it is easier to smile than frown.  For to smile you have to exert only five muscles while to frown you have to exert more than four times as much muscles.  And again a smile is infectious.  It not only makes you relaxed in a company but puts the others also at ease.

Take every successful person in life.  He/she will be one with a charming smile knowing the secret formula given by Thomas Moore "Give smiles to those who love you less". Queen Elizabeth I did it and against odds she triumphed to be the loved, adored and worshipped "Young Bess".  Mr. Cromwell ignored it and in spite of the good reforms he attempted and goodies he tried to deliver, he was exhumed from his grave and gibbeted.  Mr. Stalin failed in this and the desecration of his coffin and its present place of rest is of recent history. Mr. Eisenhower had a beautiful smile and albeit his flops and failures he is the idol of America even today.  We know how Mr. Khrushchev stampeded into the hearts of millions of Indians by his radiant smile and exuberant cheerfulness when he came to India in the company of Mr. Bulganin.

Chinese have put it neatly in their proverb 'A man without a smile must not open a shop".  For a man with a ready and willing smile not only sells his articles but also infuses confidence in the stock for sale and so increases his sales. And smile like mercy is also twice blessed.  It blesses the one who has and also the one who sees the one who has. The man with the charming smile becomes the darling of everybody.  He steals the show in any event by stealing the hearts of audiences. So, I think, Shakespeare said in Othello " The robbed that smiles steals from the thief."

But let me caution you also against a pitfall.  Never attempt an insincere smile.  It is easily found out and its effects are as bad as expressed ill-feeling, if not worse.  Sport on your face ever an honest-to-God smile, the smile that is the Golden Gift of God to make life worth living and worth loving.  To have it in earnest you should acquire the orientation of mind to view alike your own foibles and faults as well as others' with amusement and tolerance rather than  with derision and contempt. Vedantic way of life is a life of disinterested detachment.  To smile ever and happily one should have disinterested love for all and everything.  Not a long way from Vedanta way, anyway.

So a smile,a sincere honest-to-God smile begets joy, buries woes, smoothens the wrinkles of ill feeling in human relations and puts one on the path to be a true Vedantin.  Have it and you have the world with its immeasurable treasure of pleasures.   Have it not, the world loses little while you lose something precious.

1 comment:

  1. For the sake of GG it is al right! In fact it is a PLATINUM GIFT! Great write. Enjoyed every bit. Thanks. Congrats.