Sunday, 24 July 2011

Unconditional Surrender the key to his Grace

|| Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||

Lord Venketeswara

Aum Namo Narayanaya
As evening starts to swallow that which remains of this beautiful winter day, I cannot but set aside a little discontent at the pace with which the weekend has approached and left us. Each weekend though presents a little excitement which provides some tangible proof of its existence.
I awoke on Saturday morning with the usual respects and pranams to the Master, Swamiji and Lord Venketeswara whose beautiful pictures adorn the wall s in my room. For some particular reason this morning it seemed the Lord sported a mischievous smile. My eyes then resigned to his regally jewelled form which sprouted an intense joy in my heart. At once I broke into a mental rendition of Kasturi Thilakam Narayana(song dedicated to Narayana) as the first offering of love for the day as anything vocal would have made the neighbourhood cringe in agony at my off tone performance.
The day unfolded nicely with much of it being spent at the Shree Durga Amman Chariot Festival in Tongaat. Soon after lunch Prasad at 2pm I made my way home to take some rest. Then as one would put it, “All hell broke loose” with a bomb scare at the Shree Veeraboga Cultural Centre which was occupied by a large crowd attending a memorial service. Although I was not there at the precise moment of the scare, I was told by members of the temple that it was not a pleasant experience as panic and mayhem ruled over all as the protection services and the bomb disposal units swept the premises in search of a bomb which eventually proved to be a hoax call.

It is instinctive for us to flee from impending danger, but this incident has begged the question of why should we be consumed by such fear. This fear which has been used by terror movements throughout the world to leverage their demands is born purely out of attachment to our body and this physical existence. Has anything born into this world not suffered the fate of death?  How then do we live a life free from fear and attachment?
Sri Ramakrishna said in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna after Mahendranath commented on a discussion by Vidyasagar:”What is the use of calling on God? On one occasion Genghis Khan plundered a country and imprisoned many people. The number of prisoners exceeded 100000. The commander of his army asked your majesty who will feed them and it will be equally dangerous to free them. What shall I do? Genghis Khan ordered them to be killed. Now God saw this slaughter, didn’t he? But he didn’t stop it in any way. Therefore I don’t need God even if he exists because I don’t derive any good from him.
To this Sri Ramakrishna replied as follows: Is it possible to understand Gods actions and his motive? He creates preserves and destroys? Can we ever understand why he destroys? I say to the divine Mother I do not need to understand. Please give me love for thy lotus feet. The aim of human life is to attain bhakti. As for other things the mother knows best. I have come to the garden to eat mangoes. What is the use of my calculating the number of branches and leaves? I only eat mangoes; I don’t need to know the number of trees and leaves.

Fear can be eradicated by two things. One is knowledge and second is the company of someone.  If one has to enter a forest with the knowledge that there is no wild animals or thieves ready to plunder you, the fear to travel the forest will be diluted, in a similar manner if you were to enter the same forest infested with wild animals and thieves but in the company of a skilled archer once again the fear within is much reduced.

Let us undertake our life with the knowledge that God alone is the doer, our only goal is to attain him. Let all our concentration and focus in this life be on achieving his grace and he will take care of our material and physical needs.  I am reminded here of the Swayamvar of Arjuna (where prospected bridegrooms will part take of a challenge to win the ladies hand in marriage). During his training Arjuna’s guru sage Drona set up a wooden bird upon a tree, and from across the adjacent river, asked the princes to shoot it down by striking its eye. When prince Yudhisthira tried first, sage Drona asked him what he saw. Yudhisthira replied he saw sage Drona, his brothers, the river, the forest, the tree and the bird.  Sage Drona replied that Yudhisthira would fail and asks another prince to step forward. The others gave the same reply, and Sage Drona was disappointed with all. But when Arjuna stepped forth, he told Sage Drona that he was seeing only the eye of the bird and nothing else. When sage Drona excitedly asked him to continue, Arjuna replied that he saw only the bird's eye. Sage Drona asked him to shoot, and Arjuna did strike the bird down in the eye. 

Arjuna Shooting the fish

At the swayamvar a pole with a revolving fish was placed in the center of the hall. A vessel full of water was kept beneath it. The prospective grooms had to aim an arrow at the eye of the fish watching the reflection of the fish in the water. Using the technique of intense focus and concentration Arjuna came on stage and took the bow in his hands. He took aim and shot the arrow on the eye of the fish. Finally, Draupadi garlanded Arjuna choosing him as her husband.
In the same way if we focus our energy and concentration on God alone as the target and attain him then all the pleasures and necessities of life will automatically garland us.
In these times that we live in, where acts of terror are as common as the setting sun, we need not hunt down the terrorists as more and more of them will emerge, we must neutralize the treat by removing the fear from within us, by making God our only goal by surrendering unconditionally at his feet whilst soliciting his divine grace and company through bhakti (devotion). When there is no fear, there is no leverage.
May God himself be our eternal protector is my sincere prayer.

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