Every event in daily life is a silent proclamation of some profound truth. – Chinmaya
What is the purpose of life?
The purpose of life is to take us from darkness to Light, from illusion to Reality, from ignorance to Knowledge, from inertness to Sentiency, from death to Immortality, from plurality to Unity, from sorrow to Peace, and from the not-self to the supreme Self.
Event by event, birth by birth, this journey of life continues, patiently and perseveringly taking us from the present state of imperfection to the ultimate state of Perfection, the state of no-return.
What are we to learn here?
We have to learn to be the Self, see the Self, and live as the Self. As an expression of this vision, we are expected to rise above our petty ego and selfishness, and learn to love all, serve all, and work for the welfare of all.
How are the lessons taught?
Through the language of peace and pain, He constantly navigates us towards His Kingdom of the Self. He, as the world, becomes the event outside. He, as the Inner-Controller, becomes the guide inside.
Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua, a resident farmer in Kenya, made headlines recently for his effort to save wildlife in the Tsavo West National Park.
Patrick, a local Kenyan pea farmer, was dejected when he discovered that one of his kidneys has failed and that he did not have enough money for treatment. One day, as he was walking past the Tsavo National Park, he saw a healthy elephant dead on the wayside. It was the month of June, the month of intense heat.
His eyes welled up with tears. He thought “I will anyway die due to my disease. But this elephant so healthy; just because it could not satiate its thirst it died. I must do something.”
In Kenya, from June to December, it is a dry season without a single drop of rain. Patrick thought maybe God has made him as an instrument in saving these wild animals. He took a vow that no animal will die of thirst any more.
He went to the city and started collecting donation. With the collected money, he got a water tanker for rent and reached the isolated place in the deep jungle after travelling around 70 kilometres for three and a half hours. He dug a pit and then emptied the water from the tanker, around 12,000 litres.
When the wild animals saw this, they, in hundreds, came running to drink water from this pond. The animals included zebras, antelopes, elephants and buffalos. The grateful animals expressed their gratitude in their own language – by licking Patrick!
This touched his heart. Patrick continued his service, amidst exhausting travel and heat, in spite of his weak health, needing dialysis twice a week. But he forgot his pain when he saw the parched animals coming running towards the truck for water. In relieving the suffering of these animals, Patrick found a new purpose of life.
Patrick’s service was appreciated worldwide and got wide media coverage. Soon the funds and supports started pouring in. Today Patrick has three trucks and he has a team who would supply water in the forest.
When we wipe out the pain of others, a miracle happens – we forget our pain!
Hence the wise say – “We truly live when we live for others.”
The Hindu scriptures say: वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् – The whole world is one family.
Father Massimo d’ Orlando is a priest ordained in the Roman Catholic Order in Italy. He is the disciple of father Elinjimittam, his revered teacher, who too is an ordained Roman Catholic priest.
Father Massimo arrived at CIF (Chinmaya International Foundation) with his students from Italy and Switzerland, for a spiritual camp on Vivekachoodamani!
But before that who is father Antony Elinjimittam? He is a priest who runs Sacchidananda Mission of Assisi, Italy, and has a story preceding him.
One historical blessed day, some three decades ago, Father Elinjimittam was driving over a bridge in Rome, when in the distance he espied a man standing at the curb, looking down at the river flowing under the bridge. Even from that distance, Fr. Elinjimittam sensed an urgency to stop and ask after this man who appeared to be clad in orange garments.
Now, Fr. Elinjimittam is of Indian origin even if he has been living in Italy for over 40 years. Therefore the orange garments conveyed something. Stopping his car, he got down and nearing the man, his feelings were confirmed.
“Are you Swami Chinmayananda?” he asked. Gurudev affirmed and they greeted each other with the cordiality and respect that people of such elevated spiritual commitments accord one another. And as they talked, Pujya Gurudev talked about his dream to set up a Sanskrit Research Foundation in Velianad, Kerala.
At this point, Fr. Elinjimittam froze. “Where, did you say?”
“Velianad, a small hamlet in Kerala,” explained Gurudev, knowing that nobody would have ever heard of the place. But not for Elinjimittam. “Velianad!” he repeated slowly, relishing the name, and said, “But Swamiji! That’s where I was born!”
The heavens must have smiled deeply that morning as two great men, converged after seeming years of separation. Like the two roads that had parted to accomplish separate tasks and met again with greater purpose, so did Gurudev and Elinjimittam. A significant meeting had been accomplished by time.
Unusual settings and unusual meetings unfold unusual occurrences. So it was that Gurudev invited Fr. Elinjimittam to visit CIF. “You must visit us!” he urged and the good Father accepted graciously.
Two roads met that morning and then diverged… as both went their ways. Some years after that meeting, Fr. Elinjimittam was watching the news on Italian TV one morning in 1993 and heard that India’s revered teacher Swami Chinmayananda has attained Mahasamadhi.
Fr. Elinjimittam, in his next trip to India, visited CIF. Recounting his meeting with Gurudev, Father said, “I want to do something for CIF, as I promised Swamiji…”
The residential block where the Acharyas of CIF live today- called the Scholars Block – was sponsored by Fr. Elinjimittam. He kept his word, but more was to come.
In September 2008, his disciple, the revered Father Massimo d’ Orlando arrived at CIF and threw everyone off their feet as he wanted a Vivekachoodamani camp for his team! He himself gave a talk on Vivekachoodamani in Italian! Next Swami Advayananda and Swamini Niranjanananda addressed them in English, and father Massimo translated it into Italian for the participants. Father Massimo sang many bhajans, chanted Sanskrit verses from Vivekachoodamani – all with the clarity, precision and diction rare even among born Indians.
The visiting seekers were so happy that at the end of the programme, they offered to sponsor the entire Easy Sanskrit Online Course; that is how CIF was able to deliver this course so effectively. The entire cost of building the website, converting the easy Sanskrit Interactive CD into an online course format and making it fully functional, was an offering of love from Fr. Massimo’s team and the Sacchidananda Mission of Assisi. In fact, it is this course that IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) has adopted as its Certificate Course in Sanskrit.
About three decades ago two great men met without a plan, in the middle of a busy street on top of a bridge, in the holy city of Rome… One mentioned his dream; the other kept his promise.
The profound truth – the Self – proclaims silently – that we are all connected.
The Lord says in Geeta: मयि सर्वमिदं प्रोतं सुत्रे मणिगणा इव -The whole world is strung in Me like the pearls in the thread.
Abiding peace is only for those who recognise this connection and have risen above all superficial differences of caste, creed, gender, nationality and religion.
And once this lesson is learnt, the purpose of life is over. The external world, which has fulfilled its purpose, fades away to become an illusion. The knower of the Self becomes the Self, and sees nothing but the Self.
Till this profound truth is known, events repeat itself.
O M T A T S A T