I see this world differently and have a different perception about it. I observed this world very closely with all the oppression taking place under the sky. I saw the tears of the oppressed who had no one to comfort them. Power lay with their oppressors, and they realised that the dead were happier than those living. But luckier than both of them is the one who
has not been born yet, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.
I found many fools boasting of the verity of Earth’s greatness. But the day of death is better than the day of birth. I thought in my heart, what can possibly be there on earth to appreciate? In the place of judgement, I found wickedness; in the place of honesty, treachery; and in the place of righteousness, transgression.
To my surprise, I have seen another evil under the sky, and it weighs heavily on man. God gives man property, possessions, power, prosperity, personality, position and honour, so that he lacks nothing that his heart desires. But God doesn’t enable him to enjoy them, and a stranger enjoys them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.
A man may have many children and live many years. Yet no matter how he lives, if he can’t enjoy his prosperity and doesn’t receive a decent funeral, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.
It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than man.
All efforts of man are for feeding the mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied. What advantage has a wise man over a fool? What does a poor man gain by knowing how to conduct himself before others?
For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? I with assurance will say that all share a common destiny – the righteous and wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean. As it is with the good man so it is with the sinner, as it is with those who take the oath so it is with those who are afraid of it.
Finally, I haven’t found any difference between the fate of animals and human beings. For what happens to humans also happens to animals: as one dies so does the other. All go to one place. So I learnt that there is nothing better for man than to enjoy his work. For no one can help him see what will happen after him.
A version of this article appears in print on November 28, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.