Heard a lot on TV channels, read a lot in the newspapers , including from the New York Times(NYT) about Steve Jobs after his death was announced. Most comments are restricted to the business empire the Emperor has left behind! From the glimpses of him as displayed on the TV channels, he was two in one: the body and the soul. The soul has simply moved away, as it has to always, leaving behind the body, which owners can do what they like personally or as is customary, like the business empire left behind. I am sure Steve realized very early in life the significance of spirituality. What triggered it might be known only to his family and friends, but emotional jolt of early childhood seeing his parents separate might be one. Spirituality alone must have sustained him in the days of the trauma of his being turned out of Apple! Nobody removed from spirituality can extol the virtues of hunger and foolishness: it comes from a spiritually enlightened soul and needs to be taken literally but figuratively. It signifies compassion and humility, two great virtues that make one a fine human being. Wasn’t he living in a house modest by American standards? Nobody goes in the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment to India and proclaim it all an illusion for nothing. Steve came to India in the decade of the 70s when numerous American youngsters were roaming the cities like Kashi or Banaras or Varanasi, Vrindavan, Mathura,Bodh Gaya etc in search of peace and spiritual enlightenment. Many were more religious than the locals. Their devotion to Shri Krishna inspired more Indians than the local preachers. They lent support to ISCON. That was the generation of the successors of the Hippies. The times were nothing different from the sense of intellectual disillusionment depicted in The Wasteland by TS Eliot. Declaring some experience as illusion can come only after imbibing that experience.That is possible from a spiritually evolved soul. That is possible from a person who has internalized spirituality. Jobs’ manner of doing business, his commitment to work, his un-businessman like attitude to his work and his interest in Indian experience of spirituality, as are filtering down from the media coverage also give me a feeling that Jobs had internalized many cues from the Indian experience. He was, it gives me an impression, a true Sadhak in the typical Indian spiritual tradition with an American questioning or inquisitive mind. All signifying creativity. Such creative energy is genuinely difficult for a physical body to hold. Steve was being notified by his body of this problem manifested by his illness, but he couldn’t do anything about it. Nobody really can do anything about it. He has to continue with his creativity and that’s what Steve really did. A Sadhak undertakes Sadhana – meaning first a person sets a goal in life and then pursues it wholeheartedly, detached from everything else and unable to spare more than necessary time to the mundane chores in life. Such detachment can be practiced when one learns to do only his duty without bothering for the rewards(karmanye vaadhikaaraste, maa phaleshu kadachinah…). It is not as if Jobs was restricted to the Indian tradition. No, he must have imbibed the best from all traditions, as spirituality is universal but religions are territorial. A spiritual person is a part of the universe, as Steven Jobs and his ideas and products are in the digital space. Can these ideas disappear? No, they will live for centuries, will gather more strength from subsequent generations and inspire the world.
So mourn not for that which is untrue and is another illusion. Steve lives and will live longer.