Winning and losing are a part of life. The are two sides of the same coin. Winning and losing come in cycles; neither is permanent. Today’s victor is tomorrow’s or yesterday’s loser. And today’s loser might well be the champion next year or the next. While we are fully aware of this, we continue to crave for victory and live in dread of losing, although we know in our heart of hearts that one is invariably followed, with the passage of time, by the other.
The feeling of happiness and joy that any victory brings is basically felt and enjoyed by our ego. Our true Self knows neither victory nor loss. The atman or soul is beyond the duality of good an bad, right and wrong, winning and losing. But the human mind and ego exult when it can do something better than the other person or other team. And sometimes it becomes difficult to conclude whether our win or their loss causes greater satisfaction.
Just as victory brings extreme emotions, so does defeat. How often we have seen that today’s heroes become tomorrow’s non-heroes or villains? Today’s idols are smashed tomorrow, when they fail to perform. Such is the price of celebrity status; such is the price of victory.
What about the loser? We owe a great deal to the loser, for withuot a loser, there cannot be a winner. Imagine if all other teams from other parts of the world stopped playing cricket, then where would we be? There would be no contests and no victories to celebrate or defeats to ponder over. A good performance is inspired by competition and from learning from the experience of others.
Swami Vivekananda used to say “Let not the giver feel proud, for he can give only when there is someone to receive. Let the giver kneel down and let the receiver stand erect, during the act of giving and receiving. For the giver is blessed to find a receiver”. In the same vein, let the winner have respect for the loser, for without the loser, the winner too disappears.
When someone loses, there are enough people to ridicule, criticise and berate the losing team members. It is ironical that the seeds of defeat are actually sown during the act of winning, whether it is a sporting encounter or a personal feud, because the losers are already getting together and planning their next move, their come-back, so that they can regain their lost glory. It is only a matter of time before the tables are turned, before the tide is reversed, and the winner is on the losing side.
While giving full credit to the winners, one question that comes up is: “Is it possible to play, enjoy the game, have fun, but not have losers and winners?” This is true for all examinations and competitions. That would really be something to look forward to . Because if we are going to win at someone else’e cost, it is only a partial victory.
For a total or abslute victory, everyone should be a winner, something that is of course not routinely possible, but something we can think about for the future, where encounters are not only winners, no loser. And ther is still the possibility of feeling excited and elated.
The Speaking Tree, Page: 20, 2, April, 2010