No true seeker has the right to be pessimistic; he should ever be consciously optimistic. – Chinmaya
Pessimism and dejection often visit a spiritual seeker. “Immortal, Infinite; am I?… Taming this terrible mind; can I?…Very very rare few reach God; will I? … But I am a low-caste- born/sinner; how can I?… Giving up the tempting pleasures of the world; why should I?… Realizing God: when will I? … The journey appears unending; where am I? … Better give up; shall I? …”
Pessimism has not spared even the great stalwarts in spirituality. Once Swami Vivekananda was wandering in a thick forest as a mendicant, highly dejected and grieving, “What is the use of living like this – only eating, sleeping and begging food – not attaining the highest goal of life!”
Suddenly he came face to face with a starved lion in search of its prey. “Better sacrifice this life to satiate the hunger of this being than dragging it on and on purposelessly.” Thinking thus, Swamiji offered himself to the wild beast. But the lion stepped back, refusing the offer, and went its way. (Very soon, Swamiji came out of this mood of dejection, and in the depth of his prayer the mission of his life was revealed to him.)
The above quote advises us to be consciously optimistic. It means replacing the negative thought-currents of dejection with the positive thought-currents of devotion, confidence and cheerfulness. This is achieved by exposing oneself to everything positive: by attending satsangs, by reading the scriptures and the life stories of great mahatmas, by seva, by meditation / japa / puja etc.
Food becomes tasty only for the hungry. For the thirsty, water becomes nectar. A true seeker considers the tragedies a necessary appetizer for relishing the Divine.
An interesting incident is narrated by Swami Rama in the book, “Living with the Himalayan Masters”. Once, a railway station master went to a sage and insisted, “Sir, give me something to practice, and I promise I will follow it faithfully.” The Master instructed him, “You are a station master. So be stationed in truth. From this day onwards don’t lie. Practice this faithfully for the next three months.”
Most of the employees of the Railways were dishonest in that area and took bribes. This man decided that he would not take bribes or lie any more.
The very same week a supervisor from the head office came for investigation. The station master’s honest answers led to the prosecution of all the staffs, who in turn joined together and accused the station master of being the only one guilty of taking bribes. All others were released and the station master was put in jail. Soon his wife and children left him. Within a month, his life crumbled like a house of cards.
In the court, the judge looked at him and asked, “Where is your attorney?” The station master boldly replied, “I don’t need one.” The judge said, “But I want someone to help you.”
“No,” said the station-master, “I don’t need an attorney; I want to speak the truth. No matter how many years you put me behind the bars, I won’t lie. I used to share in bribes. Then I met a sage who told me never to lie, no matter what. My wife and children have left me, I have lost my job, I have no money or friends, and I am in jail. All these things have happened in one month. I have to examine the truth for two more months no matter what happens. Sir, put me behind bars; I don’t care.”
The judge called for a break and quietly called the man to his chamber and asked about the sage. Coincidentally the judge happened to be the disciple of the same sage. He acquitted the station master and said, “You are on the right path. Stick on to it. I wish I could do the same…”
On the exact day after the end of three months, that man, having lost everything, was sitting quietly under a tree when he received a telegram saying, “Your father had a huge plot of land that was taken long ago by the government. The government now wants to give you compensation.” They gave him 1 million rupees! This came as a shocking surprise as he had never known about his father’s land, which was in a different province.
He gave the compensation to his wife and children and they happily said, “We want to come back to you.”
“No”, he said, “Until now I have only seen what happens by not lying for three months. I have been rewarded so much. Now I want to find out what will happen if I do not lie for the rest of my life!”
Laws of this universe are ever biased towards the righteous – dharmo rakshati rakshitah. How can a true seeker be ever pessimistic, knowing fully well that the Supreme Lord is in full control of even the minutest, insignificant happenings of the world? Bheeshaasmaat vaatah pavate… (Out of fear of Him the wind blows…) thunders the Upanishad.
Hence, for a true seeker, even the word FEAR means Face Everything And Rise; and NOT Fear Everything And Run!
Never Say Die attitude – Let our nails and hairs teach us this lesson!
In those inauspicious moments when negativities flood our bosom, let us consciously train the mind to seek refuge in Lord, remembering His promises “Na me bhaktah pranashyati…Yoga-kshemam vahaamyaham…Maa shuchaha…”
O M T A T S A T