December 2011

When the transience of life is understood in all its depth and significance, material possessions are viewed merely as gifts granted for temporary enjoyment. – Chinmaya

A man once went to an exhibition mela along with his son, five years of age. Enchanted by the colourful balloons flying high, the little child expressed his intense desire to possess one. The loving father fulfilled the innocent wish of his beloved child and soon the boy was playing joyfully in the open ground with his favourite balloon. The father too didn’t mind joining him in his merrymaking.

For some time everything was going well.

A loud burst and lo! The balloon disappeared from the sight. The shocked child started weeping. And the father couldn’t control his laughter!

The situation was the same – a balloon burst. But the reactions were so different – One burst into tears while the other burst into laughter! The reason? The above quote answers it all.

The child gave permanent reality to the balloon and got blindly attached to it. Hence he was heartbroken when the balloon was gone; whereas the father, even while engaging in the play, was expecting a burst any time. His prepared mind made all the difference to his reaction.

 In fact everything of the world – our relationships, physical beauty, health, strength, mental and intellectual capacities, worldly possessions and positions, name and fame, power, influence… – are nothing but varieties of colourful balloons, very enchanting and attractive, but unfortunately, one day or the other they have to ‘burst’ and depart from us.

A king once built a beautiful palace and invited saint Kabir to have a look at it. The saint saw the entire mansion and was about to leave without saying a word.

The king, expecting a word of praise, asked the saint to give his comment. Kabir said, “O King, the palace is, no doubt, wonderful. But it has two flaws.” The King, who had taken the greatest care in an error-free construction, became curious and enquired what they were.

The saint answered, “Number one, a day will come when it will be reduced to dust. Secondly, when you depart from this world, you can’t take it along with you!”

Expecting from an object what it cannot give is called moha or delusion. For example, expecting sweetness from salt is moha. Expecting permanent happiness from an impermanent changing world is the cause of all our suffering.

Alas! Life is half spent before we know what it is!

For most of us, life ever remains a foreign language, with all grammatical errors and mispronunciations!!

Once a devotee went to saint Eknath ji and asked, “Sir, how are you able to remain cheerful all the time?” Eknath ji stared at him for some time, ignoring his question, and said, “I see in you that you will not be alive after seven days.”

The devotee returned with a shock. From that day was seen a miraculous change in his behaviour. His wife, children and even the neighbours were surprised to see the change. On the seventh day, the devotee, taking bath early in the morning, and wearing a pair of clean cloth sat in his puja room meditating while awaiting death. Just then Eknath ji happened to come there. He asked, “How did you pass your seven days?”

The devotee said, “During the last seven days I never behaved harshly or got angry with anyone. I kept myself aloof from all unworthy worldly matters. I lost interest in all gossips. All my worldly problems became insignificant. Fearing death, my mind was in God alone as that alone gave me true peace and strength.”

Eknath ji smiled and said, “Good! Now you have truly understood how to remain ever-cheerful!”

A philosopher puts it well, “God writes a lot of comedy; but the tragedy is He is stuck with so many bad actors who don’t know how to play funny.”!!

A Chinese proverb says, “The real miracle is neither in flying in the air nor in walking over water, but in walking on the earth!”

We have no choice but to live amidst the fleeting world and the decaying bodies. Understanding the nature of the world as impermanent and hence developing a healthy detachment from the world of things and beings, and at the same time, ever fixing the attention upon the Real and the Permanent, is called the perfect way of living.

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Posted in: Chintana

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