May 2014

What you meet in your life is Praarabdha (destiny); how you meet is your Purushaartha (self-effort). –  Chinmaya

We are what we are due to our own past actions (Praarabdha). We can be what we want to be by our present thoughtful actions (Purushaartha).

The quote asks us to leave the past and concentrate on the present, so that we may have a bright future.

A 10-year-old boy decided to study judo even though he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master.

The boy was doing well; but he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move. “Sir,” the boy finally asked, “shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”

“This is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the master replied. Though not clear, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept practising.

Several months later, the master took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.

 This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. The referee was concerned that the boy might get hurt, but the master insisted, “No, let him continue.”

Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake; he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.

On the way home, the boy, unable to contain his curiosity asked the master, “Sir, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”

“You won for two reasons,” the master answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defence for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”

Purushaartha transforms even the most unpleasant Praarabdha into a blessing in disguise! The master had converted the boy’s biggest weakness into his greatest strength!!

An MNC Vendor organization once organized an event in Singapore to raise funds for the visually handicapped people. Around 40 people from various industries were invited to that event.

 Later, in the evening, all were made to gather in a hall and were briefed about the next event – ‘Dining in the Dark’ – to have dinner in a pitch dark room!!

The next two hours were completely planned, organized, directed and executed by three blind youths – a girl (the leader) and two boys as her assistants. The blind leader first gave them tips for dining:

“When you sit at your table the things will be placed as follows:  at 3 o clock of your dish – you will find a spoon; at 9 o clock – a fork; at 12 o clock – a spoon; at 2 o clock – an empty glass; dish at the centre with a paper napkin tucked at 6 o clock.”
 “There will be two large jugs circulated to you. The jug with plain walls will have water and the jug with a curved wall will have orange juice.”
“When you get your jug based on your choice you have to pour it in your glass. You have to dip your forefinger in the glass so that when you fill it and the liquid touches your finger, you have to stop pouring.”

She asked whether everyone had understood. All said yes but everyone was confused and trying to remember what she had said and confirmed with each other. Next one-and-a-half hours were spent in full of fun and learning.

All the 40 people were taken in groups to the dark hall. Each one was directed by a blind person until he/she sat on a chair. The delegates found it awkward. For the first time in their life, they found themselves being guided and led by the blind!

They were served full five-course dinner by this team of three blind people – welcome drinks, appetizers, starters, main course and desserts. In a completely pitch dark room, they were enjoying various delicious food without seeing it!

While registering online they had been asked to choose from ‘Vegetarian’ or ‘Non-vegetarian’. The amazing thing was that the team of three blind people was serving exactly vegetarian dishes to the vegetarian people who were sitting randomly in the room! They were so nicely hosted that they never had to wait in between serves. As they were finishing one dish, they were served with next without any delays.

After approximately one-and-a-half hours of dining in the dark, the leader asked whether everyone had finished eating. After confirmation, she switched on the lights of the dining room. The delegates, while leaving the room, had their eyes filled with tears…

When the Praarabdha is cruel, weeping and cursing are but natural. But to continue singing the song of life with a cheerful acceptance, with a sense of gratitude and a smile on the face demands Purushaartha.

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