Tranquillity is the innate nature of all; it is a self-existent reality. – Chinmaya
How to know what is our innate nature?
That which is ever available to us, that which can never leave us, that which is never a burden to us, ignoring which we become miserable, is our innate nature. When we are closer to our innate nature, we ‘feel at home’.
For example, existence is our innate nature. Everyone wants to exist; no one wants to die. Even an old man wants to hang on to his dilapidated body. Consciousness is our innate nature, as we are at ease when we are alert and vigilant. Knowledge is our innate nature, as ignorance makes us uncomfortable. Perfection is our innate nature, as we are not happy with our own imperfections. Infinity is our innate nature, as we feel suffocated with all limitations. Freedom is our innate nature, as we dislike bondage. Tranquillity, as the above quote says, is our innate nature. All want to be happy all the time. One can be burdened with sorrow, but never with happiness!
The good news is, being our innate nature as Sat-Chit-Anand, all these are already within us. The bad news is, instead of searching within for these, we are busy seeking them outside.
When the disciple was at prayer one night he was disturbed by the croaking of a bullfrog. All his attempts to disregard the sound went unsuccessful. At last, totally annoyed, he shouted from his window, “Quiet! I am at my prayers.”
Being a saint, his command was instantly obeyed. Every living creature held its voice to create a silence that would favour his prayer.
But now the disciple was all the more disturbed. A sweet inner voice expressed its displeasure from within, “My child, was it right to silence that frog?”
The disciple expressed his wonder, “In what way, O Lord, can the croaking of a frog please Thee?”
The inner voice replied, “In what other way, dear, can a frog offer its prayer and express its gratitude unto its Creator? The frog’s croaking and your praying – are not both these abilities given by Me? Then in what way, My son, is your prayer holier than its croaking?”
The disciple realized his mistake. With an apologetic heart seeking forgiveness, he leaned out of his window and ordered, “Sing!”
The bullfrog’s measured croaking filled the air to the ludicrous accompaniment of all the frogs in the vicinity. As the disciple, in all humility, attended to their sounds, his heart was filled with divine joy, and he experienced his oneness with the entire cosmos.
The greatest challenge in life is not in finding a peaceful place, but in cultivating a peaceful mind, unaffected by peace-less surroundings.
There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture on peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.
But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush, a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace.
For the prize, the king chose the second picture. Someone asked why.
“Because”, explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.”
The one who has discovered peace within becomes totally contented without.
Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, who passed away recently on 27th July 2015, left behind only the following properties – 2500 books, a wristwatch, 6 shirts, 4 trousers, 3 suits, a pair of shoes and a few thousand rupees bank balance. He remained a bachelor throughout his life. He did not have a fridge, TV, car, air conditioner, or any immovable property. He never accepted any gifts. All the gifts received by him were tabulated and sent to the government’s treasury.
Hence the wise say, the richest man is not the one who is a billionaire and still craves for more, but the one who has a contented heart and needs nothing more.
There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. “Well,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.” So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. “Hmm…, “she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.” So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. “Well,” she said, “Today I am going to wear my hair in a ponytail.” So she did and she had a fun-filled day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head.
“Great!” she exclaimed, “I don’t have to fix my hair today!”
The outer world is unpredictable; hence the peace coming from the world also is undependable. But the inner peace is just a matter of right thinking.
Once a saint was asked, “What did you gain by regularly praying to God?”
The saint replied, “Nothing, but let me tell you what all I lost – anger, ego, passion, greed, depression, jealousy, confusions of life, insecurity and fear of death!!”
Perfection being our innate nature, the answer to our prayers is not gaining but losing, which ultimately is the gain.
O M T A T S A T