On the spiritual path, there may be lots of ups and downs, but never a fall. – Chinmaya
There was once a farmer who, after a poor crop, complained: “If God would only let me control the weather, everything would be better, because He apparently does not know very much about farming.”
The Lord said to him: “For one year I will give you control of the weather. Ask for whatever you wish and you will get it.”
The poor man became very happy and immediately said, “Now I want sun,” and the sun came out. Later he said, “Let the rainfall,” and it rained.
For a whole year, first the sun shone and then it rained. The seed grew and grew; it was a pleasure to watch it.
“Now God can understand how to control the weather,” he said proudly. The crop had never been so big, so green, such a luscious green.
Then it was time to harvest. The farmer took his sickle to cut the wheat, but his heart sank. The stalks were practically empty.
The Lord came and asked him, “How is your crop?”
The man complained, “Poor, my Lord, very poor!”
“But didn’t you control the weather? Didn’t everything you wanted turn out all right?”
“Of course! And that is the reason I am perplexed — I got the rain and the sunshine I asked for, but there is no crop.”
Then the Lord said, “But you have never asked for wind, storms, ice and snow, and everything that purifies the air and makes the roots hard and resistant. You asked for rain and sunshine, but not for bad weather. That’s the reason there is no crop.”
So too, ups and downs are essential in our daily life. In His infinite wisdom, he has provided these for our healthy growth and evolution. Experiences, good or bad, make us rich in our understanding about life.
As a pretty girl passed by, Mulla Nasrudin turned to look. His wife, murmured with displeasure, “Every time you see a pretty girl, you forget you are married.”
“That’s where you are wrong,” said Mulla. “Nothing makes me more aware of the fact!”
Setbacks and failures are normally considered inauspicious, but on the contrary, these bitter experiences make us alert, introvert and disciplined in our quest for the Higher.
The value of anything valuable is appreciated only when we pay the price for it. Every fall, every slip, every suffering is the price we pay for ignoring and disregarding the Reality. Just as a thirsty man alone knows the value of water, a suffering man alone feels the need to seek the Higher. These tragedies bring along with it a great reverence for Truth. In this sense, no fall is really a fall.
Failures remind us how fragile and weak we are to attain the Infinite through our own self-effort. The miserable ego, after having tried everything under the sun, getting kicked hither and thither by the world, tossed up and down by the inner conflicts, at last surrenders helplessly at the Higher Altar. It is in these sacred moments of total surrender that the Self is realized, the ultimate freedom is gained.
Once, a French prince visited a jail. In honour of the royal guest, the prison warden offered to release any prisoner the prince might designate.
To pick out that prisoner, the prince began interviewing each of the men privately, asking, “Why are you here?”
“I’m innocent, my lord!” cried one.
“I’ve been framed!” pleaded another.
Perjury, prejudice, injustice and oppression were reasons given by the convicts for their being in prison.
Only one man told a different story. “Your highness,” he replied, “I deserve to be here and I have no complaint. In my time I have been a wicked, desperate murderer. It is a great mercy, both to society and to myself, that I am here.”
“You wicked wretch!” the prince replied. “What a pity you should be confined among so many honest citizens. You admit yourself that you are evil enough to corrupt them all. I can’t allow you to remain in their company another day. Guard! This is the man I wish to be released!”
Let us allow the Lord to polish us from all sides through the rough surfaces of ups and downs of life. Thus having become round and beautiful, freed from all sharp egoistic corners, may we offer ourselves in His service in His effort to shape others.
O M T A T S A T