3 of 31 Questions for Reflection. Today’s question is inspired by reading Dṛg Dṛsya Viveka: An Inquiry Into the Seer and the Seen along with reading a short story by T.C. Boyle called “The Apartment.” You can find the text for Dṛg Dṛysya Viveka online as a PDF; you can find Boyle’s story in The Best American Short Stories 2020.
What question arises when I focus on “The Apartment” as an objects of Vedanta meditation?
This story tells of a lawyer living with his wife and two teenage daughters in a small apartment in the South of France. Due to a sense his family is growing too big for their current home, he wants to move; his ideal place is owned by a ninety-year-old widow who lost her only son years ago. Not thinking it’s any risk, the man offers the widow a deal. She can live in the place while he pays her 2,500 francs a month. “You’re betting I’ll die—and sooner rather than later.” The old woman sees clearly. For years he goes on paying her, always assuming that she will die any day now, and the sunlit apartment will be all his—for a good deal. But she goes on living. She outlives him.
This disturbing story could make a Jnana yogi ask, “What if I were to gather everything that I have at stake right now — my longevity, my home, plus my sense of “I am” — and place it all upon this passing breeze. What powers this Witness of names and forms to outshine even the shrewdest of women?”