|| Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
Aum Namo Narayanaya
The greatest benefit of life is struggle declared Swami Vivekananda. Clearly a deviation from our conventional thinking wherein everything we do is to avoid challenges and approach this journey with a nonchalant attitude. In fact it is this very behaviour that has been the catalyst and driver of the electronics industries which has devised every possible gadget to ensure that very little physical effort is needed in most of our daily activities and chores.
It takes one of immense inner strength and courage to pray to God for inspiration and strength to face and overcome challenges rather than the mediocrity of asking for them to be removed. I was deeply moved and inspired by one such devotee of the Lord. Queen Kunti was an ardent devotee of Sri Krishna. Upon the victorious culmination of the battle of Kurukshetra Lord Krishna was preparing for his return to Dwarika.
At this point he had placed before this great devotee the opportunity to ask for any boon she desired in view of all the pain and suffering she had undertaken. Sri Krishna was displaying his compassion to his devotee to assist in ameliorating her pain. Without a hint of hesitation she asked, “Dear Lord give me pain “The Lord was surprised as he was giving this boon to remove her from miseries yet she intentionally wanted to be in the very same predicament.
With tears in her eyes she said,Lord it is through this very pain and suffering that I am closest to you. In the absence of such my mind will be engaged in some other fruitless activity. This answer is the defining boundary between being religious and spiritual. Our revered Swami Vimokshanadaji Maharaj on many occasions highlighted the difference between these two. Religious he said was a routine with which we approach or participate in our activity. For example we daily get up at 4am every morning take a bath, perform meditation and japa and upon our return from work at 4pm take bath again and perform sadhanas , read literature and take supper and sleep. It is thus said you are very religious about your pooja and reading. Spiritual is when you are faced with challenges in life, it is how effectively you utilise all that you have read and learnt in ensuring the challenge is dealt with in a responsible manner.
In the case of Queen Kunti we see how she has developed such devotion and love for God that even the obstacles and pain in her life have become conduits to god’s love and affection.
|Prahalad fearlessly facing the torture by his father|
That is what our revered Swami Vivekanada projects through his statement that the Great benefit of life is struggle. It is as certain as the sun shall rise in the morning that were it not for some sort of pain or struggle in some peoples life they would not entertain even the smallest thought of god. Yes indeed there are some because of their good past deeds and karma are born with the Lords name on their lips , this is clearly illustrated through the life of Prahalada who despite all the torture his father lunged at him, he continuously and involuntarily called Sri Hari’s name.
Many are constituted such today, that at the mere sight of a challenge, welcome defeat so graciously within the folds of their lives. This chronic refusal to exploit challenges and obstacles to our advantage has created a generation of vegetables obsessed with bread winning education as a means to their peace and joy. On the contrary we find that the more affluent man becomes the more maladies he incurs and as a result makes no significant approach to real joy.
Face the brutes thundered Swamiji. Let these words vibrate in every cell and inch of your body to awaken the inexhaustable strength that lies within you. Let it amass you like a tsunami and give you a clear understanding of the divinity that you are. So long as you think you are weak you are as good as dead. Strength is life said Swamiji.
Harness this strength and concentrate your efforts in finding that state of eternal bliss. For that is our true nature. From the time we awake in the morning, if we closely analyse the purpose of all our activities, we conclude it is to bring us some kind of comfort and joy.
We have however fallen short of the objective as these joys and comforts are of a very transient nature. The secret to our success therefore lies in making every activity in our lives a pathway to god. Do whatever we do as a form of worship or offering to him alone as a result we will fail to see these as obstacles or challenges but utilise them as our daily sadhana.
Our lives will be so full of strength and joy as the mirrors of our minds will be constantly reflecting the divine. Why should you ever think you are weak, you are the prince or princess of the world. Your father is the King. Lift your head up high and take this journey with the confidence and knowledge that you travel in the kingdom of thy father and at a mere call you have the backing and support of his Majesties protection. If you have his strength then you have his life.
May we all approach life with this attitude of strength is my sincere prayer.