Sunday, 25 August 2013

It's cold in the shade

I thought it would be appropriate to start today’s blog with this episode related to an incident in Shashi Maharaj's life in order to justify my actions of yesterday and steer you away from the thought that I may be lazy. Once, Shashi Maharaj was visiting a fair and saw a knife which he decided to procure in order to slice fruits etc. for Master. Upon returning from the fair, he explained his purchase to the Master, which delighted him very much. Master explained to Shashi Maharaj that whenever he visited such events he must make sure to spend a few rupees there as these hawkers painstakingly bring their wares to these places to earn a living, and people should support them.

In order to beat the morning rush, I made my way to the car wash which is my little contribution towards sustaining the local economy. Having parked the car in the allotted bay... like a lizard, I was enjoying a few moments basking in the glorious morning sun. The body felt like an empty water pitcher gurgling in as much warmth as it could. It was wonderful I tell you especially after being touched by the icy cold winds over the past few days.

All this enjoyment abruptly ended as I took my seat on the chair, which was presided over by the overwhelming shadow of a pillar. It suddenly became very cold in the shade although the sun's presence could be felt just outside the shadow. That was how the idea for today’s blog came to be.

Thousands of devotees have begun gathering at Temples this week in celebration of Gita Week and in the ensuing week, the appearance day of Krishna Bhagavan. As the fortunate devotees bask in the radiance and warmth of Bhagavan's instructions and divine wisdom, millions are left in the cold going on with life in pain, drudgery and suffering.  That is the relevance of this sacred text. We find that many will bring out this book annually during this time, still wrapped in plastic, place it at the altar and offer pooja to it. This Bhagavad Gita is a manual for everyday life, it is not to be worshipped, but it is to be revered and utilised to make our lives a pleasure.

It is like when somebody buys an appliance, it is necessary to read the manual before operation to ensure that the efficiency is derived from the appliance. In the same way every person should have some kind of manual to ensure that we extract the efficiencies of our life. The irony of the matter though is that we find that at most satsanghs, the majority of the attendees are people who have gone through the major part of their lives and are now learning of how to live life a proper.

With salutations to my Guru and Revered Swami Vimokshanandaji Maharaj, I took up few speaking engagements during this Gita Week, and was absolutely bowled over by the profound gems presented to Arjuna by Sri Krishna. As much as Sri Krishna is addressing Partha in the entire conversation, Partha actually symbolically represents all of us seekers of God. It is on introspection of one’s life, that the relevance of Bhagawan’s words and advice dawns upon us.

This little conversation which forms part of the greater epic, the Mahabarata, has evinced much interest in minds not only Indian, but from all over the globe and all walks of life. Great thinkers, leaders and academics have given wonderful comments - the likes of Aldous Huxley, Henry David Thoreau, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Carl Jung, Mahatma Gandhi and Herman Hesse etc. Alduous Huxley said: "Gita is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity." I felt really proud of this idea, that the words of Krishna were universal and didn’t force anyone in a corner of fundamentalism or bigotry.  Its thoughts were like the morning dew, silently nourishing the minds of its readers... striving to manifest the perfection already inherent in him or her... no matter what race, creed or caste they belonged to. That is why Swamiji (Vivekananda) always carried a Gita with Him, because it was this Vedanta which transformed man to God... that Swamiji gave to the world.

The great truth, which Swamji has brought forth in the contemporary is that one eternal spirit which permeates the entire world which gives effect to His words that "each soul is potentially divine". Life thus becomes a continuous effort and struggle to understand and realise that we are one with God.

There will come a time, maybe not in this lifetime, but after some more births when man by himself will realise that true happiness cannot be found in the manifest world, but in union with the self. Sri Krishna said in Ch7, that in having unconditional love, utilising Him as the sole support in all that we do, and continously striving for devotion in Him, we will come to know Him without a doubt. Because in understanding and knowing Him, all will be known. That  without the warmth and radiance of the spirit within, our body is a mere cold corpse.

When the manufacturer of your cellphone says that a certain version of a software upgrade must be done to ensure your phone functions, we listen. Yet when our manufacturer is asking us so many times to please listen to His valuable instructions (by His repeated use of the word 'shrunu' which means 'listen') we ignore Him.

For those who want to lead a more rewarding and happy life, I suggest that you listen and implement the Lord's suggestion as basking in the glory of His words will not leave you in the cold.

May we all gather strength, inspiration and guidance from this wonderful scripture, is my sincere prayer.

With love and prayers always

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