The real test of a Perfect One is not in the jungle or in a cave, but in the market place where he is teased by the mischiefs of the world. – Chinmaya
Mahatma Gandhi once met a sage living in solitude in the Himalayas. The sage asked him, “Why should you unnecessarily get into the turmoils of the world? I suggest you stay here. There is so much of peace in these silent valleys. Moreover,” he added smilingly, “there is none to disturb you here!”
Gandhiji replied with a smile, “Sir, I agree there is inner peace here amidst outer peace. But I am searching for inner peace amidst outer storms.”
Challenges in life test our strength, mastery and expertise. A driver’s driving skill is tested not in the isolated, open grounds, but in the thick of the traffic. A pole is shaken violently to ensure that it is well-rooted on the ground.
An immature sadhak, once, after a little scriptural study, fancied to become instantly popular and rich. Wearing an ochre robe with distinct marks of holiness all over the body, he made a kutir for himself and put a board outside, “Here is a mahatma who never gets angry.”
People started dripping in. One villager approached him and exclaimed, “Swamiji! What aura!! What tejas!!! Please tell us the secret.” The sadhak said, “Watch the thoughts. Detach yourself from it. Don’t get identified with it. That’s the secret.”
No sooner did he finish than the second one came, “Mahatmaji, thousand prostrations to your lotus feet! Please show us the way.” The sadhak continued, “Chant the name of the Lord. All anger will disappear. This is the way.”
By now the ‘mahatma’ became the talk of the town. Visitors kept pouring in. Though exhausted he continued, “Listen carefully. I can’t repeat again and again. Practice shama (mind-control) and dama (sense-control). Also, practice pranayama. When breathing becomes slow, the mind comes under control. Don’t forget to practice pratipaksha bhavana. Replace thoughts of love in the place of anger.”
Kutir became flooded with devotees. The ‘mahatma’ now had it enough. He grew wild, “No more advice. Now all of you get out of here.”
But the villagers considered even his scoldings as ‘prasad’. They refused to allow him even a moment’s rest. Seeing them adamant, he shouted angrily at the top of his voice, “You idiots! Your anger will never go!! You all go, and allow me also to go!!!”
But the devotees loved him. Some fought among themselves to massage his hands and feet. One fanned him; another did a smoky arati. One sang his praises with his heart-breaking voice, while others banged the bells and cymbals creating an ear-breaking noise.
Soon the ladies joined the mess and fought among themselves to feed him with their ‘home-made’ sweets. Some senseless ones went out to fetch river water, ice-cold but fresh, to do his pada puja and abhisheka, that too in winter!
One sneaked in and put a huge heavy garland of fresh flowers on the ‘mahatma’ not realizing that it was full of ants, worms and insects. Another fell flat holding on to his feet crying, “Jai Swamiji Maharaj! Thou alone are our refuge!”
The ‘mahatma’, who was not even allowed to attend to nature’s call, at last, lost all his control. Screaming for help, he took a big stout stick and to the utter surprise of all, landed blows to everyone nearby. Fuming with anger, and making way with his stick, he somehow managed to escape from the mess and ran for his life!
Teasing the pompous and taming the insolent, the world, with its unseen chisel and hammer, is ever polishing our egoistic sharp edges. For the devil to emerge out as divine, this worldly womb is an unavoidable necessity.
A boy was born to a couple after eleven years of marriage. They were a loving couple and the boy was the apple of their eyes. When the boy was around two years old, one morning the husband saw a medicine bottle opened.
He was late for work. So he asked his wife to cap the bottle and keep it in the cupboard. The mother, preoccupied in the kitchen, totally forgot the matter.
The boy saw the bottle and playfully went to the bottle and, fascinated by its colour, drank it all. It happened to be a poisonous medicine meant for adults in small dosages. When the child collapsed, the mother hurried him to the hospital, but it was too late. The mother was on the verge of collapse. She was terrified by the very thought of facing the husband.
When the distraught father came to the hospital and saw the dead child, he went blank for a moment; but not a word of blame escaped his lips. He slowly went to his grief-stricken wife, hugged her and uttered just four words, “I love you, dear…”
There is a saying:
I asked God to give me wisdom, and He gave me problems to solve so that I may become wise… I asked God to give me strength, and He gave me difficulties to make me strong… I asked God to give me courage, and He gave me dangers to overcome… I asked God to give me prosperity, and He put me amidst sweat and toil… I asked God to grant me patience, and He gave me tribulations to overcome… I asked God to make my spirit grow; and He put me through diseases, failures and insults so that I have none else to depend upon but Him… I asked God to shower His love and grace, and He made it clear that it was ever there for me to recognise… In the end, I got nothing what I asked, but everything what I desired.
Let’s allow the ups and downs of life to break, bake and make us; for, this is the only known way to bring out the best in us.
O M T A T S A T