January – 2021

Overall power and adorability by all came to God because He never says ‘I’ even in forgetfulness. Ramana.

The law of life is:

Even God, when the ego is pampered, becomes a man – finite and miserable.

Even man, when the ego is dissolved, becomes God – Infinite and Perfect.

But the itching to pamper the ego is very hard to contain!

How do I pamper my ego?

When I live to execute my will, and not His will… when my likes and dislikes are more important for me than living in His submission… when ‘I and mine’ (vyashti) becomes more important than ‘all’(samashti)… when I compete and assert myself, than co-operate and dissolve myself… when I become selfish and self-centred rather than selfless and God-centred… – all these tendencies pamper the ego.

Why do the majority of us like pampering our ego?

The egoistic joys, though finite, are immediate and effortless. It doesn’t demand any discipline or alertness. It is very natural to us.   

To such egoistic people, the Lord says “Since you are doing everything to pamper the ego, tathaastu– may it be so. May you remain as the ego.”

The result? We end up with all the characteristics of ego – finite, ignorant, arrogant, selfish, jealous, powerless, discontent, miserable, and transmigrant (going from body to body, world to world).

There was a man who was an exceptionally brilliant sculptor. Somehow he came to know that his death was near and the Yamadootas are soon coming to take him. He devised a plan. He sculpted many identical statues exactly like himself, and stood along with them.

When the Yamadootas arrived, they were confused seeing the identical figures. For a moment, they wondered, “Who is the real one?” But being in this profession for a long time, they knew how to tackle the situation. 

Looking at these identical statues, they gave a mocking laugh, “I was told that you are the best sculptor in the profession. But you have made such a big mistake!!”

The sculptor, unable to take this criticism, couldn’t control himself. He shouted back, “Mind your words! No one could ever find even the slightest error in my work! What mistake are you talking about?”

Now the Yamadootas, with a success-smile on their face, approached him and caught hold of his collar. As they dragged the unwilling trembling sculptor to Yamaloka, they said, “O fool! This is the mistake. For everything you say- ‘I did it, I did it’…”

What happens when we dissolve the ego?

When we dissolve the ego, the Lord says, “Since you seem to be busy annihilating the ego, may you not exist.”

The result? The individual, finite existence of the ego vanishes. What remains is only the Infinite Existence of God. We merge with God, like the finite drop, losing its individuality, merges with the infinite ocean to become the ocean.

As Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda says beautifully, “‘Renounce your ego’ is the only request from the Lord. ‘And I will make you God’ is the promise.”

In the life of all great saints, we see how they renounced their ego in all their day-to-day activities.

An American businessman, Mr Joffo, came to meet Sadhu Vaswani one day. Mr Joffo’s great desire was to start “The Gandhi International Centre for Peace and Plenty”. He had already roped in the then Union Minister, Mr S.K. Patil, to be the Chairman of the centre. It was his earnest desire that Sadhu Vaswani should consent to be a member of the Committee.

Vaswani commended him for his fine idea. “Mahatma Gandhi has been forgotten by his own people.” He said to the American. “You are doing well in trying to bring the people back to Gandhi.”

“You are the spiritual heir of the Mahatma,” Mr Joffo told the Master earnestly. “It would be in the fitness of things that your name should adorn the committee of the Gandhi International Centre.”

Sadhu Vaswani smiled as he replied, “My Guru taught me to inscribe my name in the list of servants. When the office of the servant is vacant, let me know.”

The American was taken aback. Never before had he met a great soul whose one aspiration had always been to become the “lowliest of the low.”

Destiny took Vaswani, again and again, out of his solitude to perform “great” things in life – but he always felt happy in doing little things. He rejoiced in the company of the “little ones”- the poor in spirit. Very often, admirers and devotees asked him to participate in big conferences and seminars. Invariably his reply was, “Let the cobbler cobble his shoes.”

Humility and simplicity are the hallmarks of the great ones!

This is an incident shared by Lt. Col. Ashok Kini H, SM, VSM (Former Comptroller to The former President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.)

It was the first visit of an elevated saint, Shankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt, H.H Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

 Since President, Dr Kalam wanted to give due honour to the saint, he called me (I was the Comptroller in President’s House) to his office and asked me the traditional protocol.

I told him, “I will receive the Saint at the gate and bring him inside.”

After a few minutes of deep thinking, he asked me, “What will happen if I receive him?”

I said, “Sir, you will honour the Saint and make his position more important than the President.”

He smiled. He didn’t say anything.

Then, once inside the office, I briefed him, “Sir, I will bring the Saint here, put his seat (asan) on this sofa and will request him to sit; and you will continue sitting on usual President’s sofa chair.”

He again asked me, “What will happen if I make him sit on my sofa seat?”

I again said, “Sir, you will honour the Saint and make his position more important than the President.”

He smiled once again and did not give me any more instruction.

After thirty minutes, when the Saint was to reach the Rashtrapati Bhavan, a few seconds before his arrival, to my surprise, I saw Dr Kalam, standing behind me at the gate. I immediately went behind the President. He was there to receive the saint with garland and flowers.

We received the Saint, walked through the corridors and straight entered into his office.

When I was spreading Saint’s seat (tiger skin asan) on the visitor’s sofa as we had discussed, he directed me to put the same on President’s sofa chair.

I was shocked by this simple, humble and great gesture. This was President Kalam!

We offered fruits and flower basket to the saint. 

After the meeting, I asked him the reason behind doing this.

He smiled and said, “I wanted the sofa seat of the President of India, to be blessed by the Saint’s spiritual power so that whoever sits here later also gets the Saint’s blessings.”

I admired these words of my spiritual guru Kalam and said: “Sir, you are not only a scientist but you are yourself a saint in disguise too.”

As usual, he gave his meaningful smile. 

Those who allow their heart to be ruled by the Lord, and not by their ego – they rule the hearts of all!

Somebody wrote the first biography of Ramana Maharshi in Malayalam. Factually it was full of errors. He had written that Bhagavan was married, and had four children, and one day suddenly he felt Arunachala was calling. So he disappeared from his place and appeared in Arunachala.

Interestingly, he took the proof to Bhagavan to get it corrected. Bhagavan went through the writings, and then told him, “You may publish it.”

He took it to get it published, but the printer had his doubts. He showed it to Kunju Swami, a Malayali devotee of Bhagavan. Kunju Swami went through the writings and got the shock of his life!

He took it back to Bhagavan and said, “Bhagavan! All non-factual errors have crept into this. How can you allow him to publish it?”

Bhagavan looked at him and said, “Do you think this is the only thing which is false? And everything else is true?” After a pause and with a sweet smile, Bhagavan continued: “He wrote what he knew. What you know you write.”

The one in whom the ‘I’ is dead, verily he is Brahman, so says the scriptures.

India is poor and illiterate – agreed. But this is a divine land where, even today, in every nook and corner, we find mahatmas – both men and women – who have mastered the art of self-effacement, and live their simple lives, steeped in bliss, unknown to any.

When Swami Vivekananda returned from the West, one British friend asked him, “Swamiji, how do you like now your motherland after four years’ experience of the luxurious, glorious, powerful West?”

Swamiji said, “India I loved before I came away. Now the very dust of India has become holy to me, the very air is now to me holy; it is now to me the holiest land, a place of pilgrimage, a teertha!!”

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