|Holy Mother- Pic Google Images|
The boldness of the sun does little to deny the advent of Summer. Here in South Africa, there is tremendous anticipation, with Diwali behind us and examinations nearing its tail end, it can only mean holiday season is on the horizon. The feast commenced with a spiritual and divine entre served out in epic proportions by the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa-Durban yesterday to a packed Playhouse theatre. The gathering was in honour of the 75th anniversary of the centre incorporating the 150th birth celebrations of sister Nivedita. The well-orchestrated and planned celebrations highlighting the work of the centre over the past 75 years that fitted hand in glove with the principles laid down by the its founder in chief Swami Vivekananda. Sister Nivedita spoke to these principles when she said,” Can we not cultivate in our children and ourselves a vast compassion? This compassion will make us eager to now the sorrows of men, the griefs of our land and the dangers to which in these modern days the religion is exposed, and this growing knowledge will produce strong workers, working for works sake, ready to die, if only they may serve their country and fellow men. As a little exercise for yourself take a little time to contrast the work of the centre to the above in the fields of education, character development, humanitarian, spirituality and self-development and you would come to understand and appreciate its relevance in our society today.
Diwali may have passed but the fireworks continue here in the SADC region of Africa. The two weeks preceding yesterday began the end of the tyrannical dictatorship rule of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. In an unprecedented flow of events, the military enacted a bloodless coup to precipitate a smooth constitutional transfer of power from the despot.
I was scrummaging for ideas for a while now but nothing captured and inspired my thoughts worthy of inking until these recent events. Sitting in contemplation, the sporadic arrangement of events and information slowly started to organise and pivot themselves around a profound quotation of Holy Mother. Mother said: “My child, it is a great fortune to have a human birth. One must call on God wholeheartedly. One should practise hard. Is it possible to achieve anything without intense discipline?”
Holy Mother’s question: “Is it possible to achieve anything without hard work?” With emphasis on the word “anything”. Being the embodiment of the universal consciousness, Mother does not differentiate but simply pronounces the universal law. Reducing the statement further, it can be put forward simpler to mean “you reap what you sow”.
In analysing the life of ex-President Robert Mugabe and many other kleptocracies around the world, it dawned upon me that for a minority to be able to take control of the majority and thereafter loot and pillage the resources of the nation, cannot simply be a walk in the park. It requires serious hard work and discipline. In further analysis, one would uncover that none of these corrupt leaders paid by any means for their atrocities… if anything, they amassed huge amounts of wealth and lead luxurious lifestyles whilst their people continued to perish.
We are thus presented with a dilemma. We have two choices: we can either follow the way that is prescribed by our scriptures and value-based literature or we can adopt the approach of the tyrants. What is the motivation then to pursue the convention of morality when the tyrannical path brings absolute power, unlimited access to resources and luxury in epic proportions? This is no figment of our imagination as we witness right before our eyes how the criminal elements, drug dealers and gang bosses known very well to the communities plying their trade with impunity and living in opulence at times even better than the person on the straight and narrow path of morality.
Many arguments support the path of tyranny. Our lack of empirical knowledge of the afterlife and the unconvincing theories of post mortem liberation brings us to the now of conscious experience of the world around us. If we can have the better life in this experience at any cost, why not?
This age and time of Kali seems to shovel doubt on our beliefs and posit an alternative to dharma. However, like the impressive telemarketing promotion, the offer is literally too good to be true. The universal laws of love, compassion, empathy, humanity and altruism can never be circumvented.
I came across this intriguing story that put forth a powerful argument against selfishness and greed which forms the substance of tyrannical leaders. A reporter once asked a farmer to divulge the secret behind his corn, which won the state fair contest year after year. The farmer confessed it was all because he shared his corn seed with his neighbours. Why do you share your best corn seed with your neighbours when you are entering the same competition each year, asked the reporter? Well Sir, said the farmer, don’t you know? The wind picks up the pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field.
If my neighbours grew inferior corn, cross pollination would steadily degrade the quality of my corn. So, if I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbour do the same. The farmer thus gains his edge over the competition through special care in soil preparation, weeding, irrigation, tender love and care, and hard work.
So, it is with other situations in our lives. Those who want to be successful must help their neighbours, friends and relatives to be successful. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. The welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all. Swami Vivekananda proclaimed that “there is no salvation for the self unless all are free”. Therefore, He made the most selfless statement when He said: “May I be born again and again and suffer a thousand miseries so that I may worship the only God that exists, the only God I believe in, the sum of all souls, and above all, my God the wicked, my God the miserable, my God the poor of all races, of all species is the special object of my worship”.
The valuable lesson we take from is that by practicing adharmic tendencies, we are weakening ourselves, and like Robert Mugabe and in the instance of the farmer… it is those next to you or in your proximity who will determine whether you flourish or not. Being altruistic and practicing Vasudhaiva Kuttum Bakkam and Ubuntu to ensure the welfare of all will create fertile ground for your sadhana to bring exponential growth for your own personal development. As Mother said: “hard work and discipline will attain success”. In further qualifying this point, hard work and discipline in sync with the universal laws of divinity will allow you to attain sustainable success.
The ensuing month of December (the birth month of Holy Mother) gives us the opportunity to study the life of Holy Mother and extract the profound wisdom from her simple actions that demonstrate practically the universal laws for blissful living. Mother is all compassionate and the provider of unsolicited grace. May Mother bless us all, is my sincere prayer!!!
With love and prayers always,