So long as one remains a slave of one’s senses how can one concentrate the mind on God and serve Him? –Swami Tapovan Maharaj
The law of life is:
Whatever we love, we will invariably think of it. What we love is what we think, and what we think is what we become. A mind which loves the world becomes a worldly mind; a mind which chooses God becomes a spiritual mind.
What kind of mind do we possess – a worldly mind or a spiritual mind?
Our experience at the seat of our meditation will give us the answer.
A worldly mind is rooted in the world; a spiritual mind is rooted in the Self… A worldly mind is noisy; a spiritual mind is silent… A worldly mind wanders; a spiritual mind ponders… A worldly mind seeks pleasure outside; a spiritual mind finds bliss inside… A worldly mind is content with nothing; a spiritual mind is content with anything… A worldly mind is extrovert and gross; a spiritual mind is introvert and subtle… A worldly mind carries the burden of worries and anxieties; a spiritual mind is light and carefree…
Meerabai, a princess of Merta, was a disciple of Ravidas, the famous fifteenth-century Indian saint who was a cobbler. Because of her Guru’s low status, many of Meerabai’s friends, and many others as well, spoke of him with contempt and compared his poverty with her great wealth, saying such things as: “Saint Ravidas is scarcely able to make a living by mending shoes; while Meerabai who claims to be his disciple, lives in luxury in her palace.”
It was not long before Meerabai was told of what people were saying and, devoted as she was to her Master, she was touched to the quick. Wondering what to do, she finally decided to take a valuable diamond from her jewel casket and give it to her Guru, so that he could sell it and obtain a large amount of money.
Going to Ravidas with the diamond, she bowed low before him with folded hands and said: “Revered Master, it pains me to see you living in such poverty and want, and at the same time everyone is ridiculing me for being the disciple of a pauper saint. It would please me beyond anything if you would take this diamond and sell it, and build a comfortable home with the proceeds, so that you could live in ease and comfort.”
Ravidas, still bending over his work of mending a pair of shoes, replied: “Dear princess Meerabai, please try to see that whatever I have attained has been achieved through the mending of shoes. If you feel that it is beneath your dignity to come to me, and that people speak ill of you for doing so, you are free to stay away. As regards the diamond, dear Meerabai, I need nothing of this world and am most happy in my seeming poverty.”
Meerabai, however, was determined to give the diamond to Ravidas, and she begged and pleaded with him for a long time. But the saint remained adamant in his refusal.
In the end, Meerabai, disappointed and in great distress, told the Master: “Sir, I am putting the diamond here, in the thatched roof of your hut. Please do as I have begged you, and sell it so you will be well-to-do and comfortable. If you do not need it now, let it stay hidden in the thatch. In case of need at any time, it will be there for you to use.”
Meerabai then returned to her palace, and many months passed by before she was again able to visit her Guru. When she did go to Ravidas, she was surprised to find that he was still working as a cobbler and was still poor as ever. Bowing before him in reverence, she asked: “My beloved master, why are you still in such poverty in spite of the diamond that I left with you? Why haven’t you used the gift that I gave you in all love and sincerity?”
“Ah dear Meerabai, I thank you, but I have no need for your diamond,” said Ravidas. “I already have wealth so great that it could not possibly be calculated. Please take the diamond away with you when you leave here today.”
Searching in the thatch of the roof, Meerabai quickly found the diamond, to which Ravidas had not given a single thought. Humbled, and with her inner understanding immeasurably increased by this demonstration of the vastness of the spiritual treasures within, Meerabai fell at the feet of her beloved Satguru.
A worldly mind values the world; a spiritual mind values the Spirit, the Self.
Our mind basically wants happiness. Addiction to the lower remains as long as the mind is not exposed to the bliss of the Higher.
An ascetic, a true lover of God, who was young and exceptionally handsome, came one day in his wanderings to the house of a lady in a small village. As he was begging for alms, the lady gave him some food and, as she gazed at his beautiful face, fell deeply in love with his eyes.
For several days after that, the ascetic went to the lady’s house. Each day, she gave him food, and each day she fell more deeply in love with the young man’s luminous eyes. One day the ascetic went to the next village to beg for food. When, on the following day, he returned and went once again to the lady’s house, she ran to the door and cried: “Where have you been? I thought you might have left our village forever. I was nearly out of my mind.”
“But why was that?” asked the guileless ascetic. “Have you had a death in your family?”
“Oh, no, no!” said the lady. “It was your eyes. I cannot live without them. Oh, what shall I do when you do leave us and go away, never again to return?”
The poor ascetic, very much surprised, went quietly away. But the next day he went once more to the lady’s house. A bandage was over his eyes, and he felt his way along with the aid of a stick. In his hand, he carried a small bag.
When he reached the lady’s house, she saw his bandaged eyes, and asked in a voice filled with sympathy: “Have you hurt your eyes, poor man? Is there any ointment I could give you, to ease the pain? Ask for anything at all, and I will get it for you.”
The ascetic handed over to her the little bag, saying as he did so: “Mother, here are the eyes with which you fell in love. Pray keep them, for I no longer have any use for them. Do not be distressed, for I could not do anything else. On the path of the devotee, every attachment is forbidden, except for the attachment of love for the Lord.”
For the sake of the Higher, any sacrifice is no sacrifice.
Shankaracharya in Vivekachoodamani says, deer due to its attachment to sound, elephant due to touch, moths due to sight, fish due to taste, bee due to smell – these beings die because of the attachment towards one sense organ. What to talk of human beings who are attached to all of them!
Through our senses, we cannot know the Divine. On the other hand, these sense organs can only help us become an addict to the world of objects. Is there a way to profitably use our senses so that we can evolve spiritually?
Kulashekhara Alwar answers this in Mukundamala says:
जिह्वे कीर्तय केशवं मुररिपुं चेतो भज श्रीधरं पाणिद्वन्द्व समर्चयाच्युतकथा: श्रोत्रद्वय त्वं शृणु |
कृष्णं लोकय लोचनद्वय हरे: गच्छाङ्घ्रि-युग्मालयं जिघ्र घ्राण मुकुन्दपाद तुलसीं मूर्धन् नमाधोक्षजम् ||
O tongue! Sing the glory of Keshava. O mind, think of the enemy of Mura. O two hands, worship the Lord of Wealth. O ears, listen to the story of Achyuta. O eyes, see Krishna. O feet, walk to the temple of Hari. O nose, smell the tulasi leaf offered at the feet of Mukunda. O head, bow down before Lord Adhokshaja!
Become a slave of the senses, and be a slave of the world. Make the senses slaves of God, and be a master of the world. Meditate on the world, and be a slave of the senses. Meditate on God, and be a master of the senses.
The choice is ours.
O M T A T S A T