Ernest Hemingway, Nobel laureate in literature, loved life passionately. He loved adventure and relished the big game safaris in Africa as much as sailing through the dangers in the ocean or even punching the opponent in amateur boxing. More so, he trusted people just to know if they were trustworthy. Many of the adventures he embraced had the potential to kill him. He survived two plane crashes during his last safari in Africa and read with considerable amusement the obituaries that appeared in the morning’s newspapers which had presumed his death.
The Yogi, on the other hand, has no passions by profession. He is supposed to be dispassionate. He has conquered emotions and passions. Rig Veda says that the whole spectrum of human passions ranging from enthusiasm and creativity to depression and agony, from the heights of spiritual bliss to the heaviness of earth-bound labour, belongs to the rank and file. The Yogi has transcended these contrary forces.
Between the extreme passion of Hemingway and the equally extreme dispassion of the Yogi, there exist an infinite variety of possibilities which we the ordinary mortals embrace. A bit of adventure here and a bit of spirituality there is good enough for us. We can extend the bits occasionally to protracted entertainments too, maybe in the mountains or in the temples. We can be both passionate and dispassionate, as demanded by the occasion. We can be secular and religious at the same time. That’s why we are normal human beings. Albert Einstein wondered many times, looking at people like us, whether he was crazy or the other people (that is, we) were.
Hemingway was crazy anyway and his passions took his life in the end. The Yogi may live a hundred years though I will never understand for what. What’s the use of living like a vegetable even if you can exist for a hundred years? I’d rather have much shorter life filled with joys and passions. That’s my personal view: one of the infinite varieties of possibilities that lie between Hemingway and the Yogi. But I love those Yogis who go around entertaining the world with passionately undulating bellies and selling us everything from fairness creams to Ayurvedic Soanpapdi. They entertain us with a difference.