Beyond the coal minesWhen a person has less, he often does not know what ‘more’ is and so, he remains happy. A man who does not know anything is much happier than a man who knows everything—for ignorance is bliss. This is a story of a person who worked at a coal mine—a happy soul.
When a person has less, he often does not know what ‘more’ is and so, he remains happy. A man who does not know anything is much happier than a man who knows everything—for ignorance is bliss. This is a story of a person who worked at a coal mine—a happy soul.
Roy was a coal miner and lived in the Himalayas of India. He hardly earned a dollar a day. He wore nothing but rags and never spent a penny on anything but food. He lived in a tent put up in public lands. Whenever he got wages, he smiled and thanked his employer regardless of its amount. Whenever the wind was too rough and he felt cold, he’d clutch his fifteen year old jacket tighter. Whenever rain trickled down from the grey clouds with a silver lining, he’d rush for shelter.
Roy never knew lights. He stayed away from the glamour of the cities; never saw all those fancy places; never ate anything that cost more than 50 cents and never wore anything except for what was given in mercy. His life was pretty simple. He woke up at dawn, ate his breakfast which was his only meal, worked all day, got his wages in the evening, went back to his tent and slept soundly with the hope of a new day.
He never received any form of education. His parents perished in the coal mines when he could barely speak. He was raised along those coalmines by people he could never call his family. He was chained with poverty and grief but then it didn’t stop him from being happy, it didn’t bar him from the glamour and shine that lay in those mines; it didn’t keep him away from peace within.
The dark lignite extracted wasn’t just some form of carbon; it was black pearl for Roy. The sweat that ran through his body was little droplets of gold. Those wages that he got wasn’t just money for food; it was his hope for a brand new day. The coal mines where he worked weren’t simply some holes dug on the ground; they were his home; his happiness; his commitment and his peace.
He did not have a labour contract; in fact, he did not even know such things existed. He’d risk his life, every single day, working in those coal mines without any security. He did not know what would happen when he’d fall sick. He did not know what would happen when he’d grow old. He did not know how he’d survive; he didn’t know how or when he’d die. He didn’t know and he didn’t care. As long as he got to work in those coalmines, he was at peace, from within.
Whenever people looked at him, they’d often see a dirty, uneducated and poor guy who risked his life for a few pennies. They often pitied him. But Roy was at peace. For him, he wasn’t poor—for poor were those, who couldn’t sleep peacefully those who stressed every moment to earn a little more, those who had debts to pay and family to feed, those who were tensed at every happenings and those who had lost their peace. People often asked him how he could be so happy working in those coal mines.
To that he’d often say, “A man must not be afraid of dying, he must be afraid of living. As long as a man is content with what he has, he has peace from within.”
Roy was a simple fellow. He was dirty, uneducated, and poor and lived a low life. Yet Roy had something that the wealthy and educated did not have. Roy had happiness. Despite all the ups and downs, Roy did not criticise his life. He took all his pains, all his burdens and carved a smile out of the sorrow. He had something that the rich didn’t have. He had peace in his heart and thus he had peace in his life.
While the wealthy ones often battled their lives and created wars within themselves to earn more and live happily, they lost all their peace. No matter where one looked, all they could see was greed. People were so much into making their lives better that they lost all the happiness and satisfaction to the chaos that outgrew their will. All that they could see was dirt, battle and destruction. The peace in their heart was all gone. They often had nightmares of someone taking away all their money, every new man coming to them was a man coming to loot them, every new idea was a deal to bring them to the street, every new thought was a thought of havoc and destruction. There was no peace within and thus everything turned into chaos.
They often wondered what peace was. They thought it was quietness, when people didn’t fight. They often failed to analyse the fact that outer peace was temporary. Chaos in the world is inevitable and uncontrollable. What can be truly acquired is peace within.
To bring peace to the world, thousands of changes have been made. There are organisations, treaties and so many schemes to bring peace in the world. The peace that is really needed to bring about a change is a peace of mind. Let there be no demons that stop you from reaching your goal, let there be no fear that hauls you to depression, let there be no greed that digs up sorrow, let there be no greed that destroys your peace. Let’s all work together and bring peace upon ourselves so that we can make a change for greater good. Let there be peace on earth; let there be peace within.
Subedi is an A-level student at Rato Bangala School