Joys of Grandfatherhood

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever” – This is especially so if that ‘thing’ happens to be a small baby and that too your own grand-daughter! Yes, I’m now a 1st time grand father and my grand-daughter gives me appointment everyday on Skype. Isn’t there something charming and mesmerizing about babies. Aren’t they irresistible? One could look at them for hours without getting bored. It doesn’t matter whether they are sleeping or smiling or crying or simply staring into empty space.

What’s it that makes one lose oneself in presence of a baby? People completely lose all inhibitions the moment they see a baby. It can make us dance, make funny faces and speak gibberish – all in the name of entertaining the little one. We also love to play the game of one-upmanship to get the attention of the baby. Even as people around are vying with each other to grab the little one’s attention, the infant doesn’t know it’s enjoying a celebrity status. People touch, pinch her cheeks,  tickle her ribs or belly, straighten her dress and caress her hair. The poor thing doesn’t know why so much fuss is being made. Here is a typical scene centred around a baby:

“Hi kutty(hi, cute little one)”, someone says, ” thata va paaru( see the grand father)” – “No, look at me”, says someone else  – the baby cries then a guy would whistle in an attempt to pacify. The baby looks completely confused and ultimately smiles by default. And that is enough to cause a big uproar in the room! Poor thing doesn’t have a clue as to what’s happening. She doesn’t know why everyone around is talking so excitedly or why all of a sudden there is a burst of laughter when she just smiled. And the baby’s smile becomes another talking point: “Pathya enna paathu daan sirichudu – onnapathu azhududu”(yea, the baby smiled at me and cried when she looked at you!)etc. One can have endless fun with a little kid around in the house.

Let me end this blog on a philosophical note. What is the real source of the joy that one experiences with a baby?  Is it our love for the infant or our love of pure innocence that the newborn exhibits or as psychologists say is it purely the joy of giving? Let us explore this question in the light of our experiences with babies: Can you tell who gets more pleasure out of  taking a baby on your lap and gently putting her to sleep: the baby or you? Again, when you are feeding a hungry baby with a feeding bottle, who gets more pleasure – the baby or you? When you play with the baby, when you laugh with the little one, who is more pleased? you or the baby? I am inclined to believe that you derive immensely more pleasure than the baby. In fact, for all you know, the infant may be feeling irritated  with our antics and funny behaviour. After all, touching the little one, pinching its cheeks, calling her by all sorts of funny names or whistling  merely to draw attention, trying to wake her up when she is about to doze off — all this cannot be amusing to anybody! So, it’s fair to say that you get more pleasure out of all this than the baby. Can we therefore conclude then that you love a baby because you love yourself or to be more precise, because you love your pleased self. In other words, a baby is dear to you not because you love the baby. The baby is dear to you because you love your pleased self! This insight is provided by a famous passage in the Brihadaranyaka upanishad, which says that everything in the world is dear to you because you love your pleased self. (“Atmanastu kaamaya sarvam priyam bhavati” – this is part of the famous dialogue between the sage Yajnavalkya and his wife Maitreyi in the Upanishad). This is indeed the fundamental truth about any love for all the material things in the world. 

PS: Here is a link for an entertaining video clip of my grand-daughter.

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Published in: on February 15, 2014 at 12:34 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is a great write up. I have been a silent fan of yours even though we don’t know each other.

  2. Lovely, thought-provoking insight!

  3. excellent write up athimber u r knowledge,wisdom and ur expression of thoughts and the insight to all u see or feel are priceless. ur blogs should be available to future generations so that they get an idea of our great sanathana dharma of our land and the wisdom of our great sages i follow ur writing regularly and get enlightened on various issues u express. Eagerly awaiting for a day with u to hear more of these from u ( i know u will be laughing to hear me write “to listen” than talking) .
    feel sad now that i dont have audit ,not coming to mumbai to spend a week end in u r house. Hope prabha has a lot of discussion with u when she is not busy doing her pattis job congrats to a happy grandpa enjoy every moment of it. I hope u see the presence of the almighty because u will be at peace with ur self when u think or be with ur grand child/children. am i right?


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