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Friday, July 29, 2005

A Harsh Reality

Before I tell you that this is another bit from the newspaper, let me just tell you about my reaction to it. It came to me at a time when I was feeling otherwise happy with the world...one of those rare days when it felt good to be awake and the feeling of wanting to go into the world and take life by the horns enveloped me in its warm embrace. And then, as I always do, ignore the headlines and look for the cartoon section...because the state of the world is, at best monotonous, at worst, mildly shocking. Cartoons were pretty funny, and then on to the 'spiritual read' for the day. Now, the piece that I'm about to put up here struck me as being stark, and realistic in the purest of senses. Maybe you've read it before, and maybe you haven't. But, at the end of the day, this is another reality that we are faced with.

When Self Comes Before Spirit of Sacrifice
by Shantanu Nagarkatti

Once upon a time a sage and a disciple were discussing the issue of altruism versus selfish interest. The guru said to his disciple: "Don't trust anyone, particularly he who swears by ethics and principles. Ultimately, a person whose primary focus is on the wrld, acts entirely in a selfsih way".

The disciple was astounded. He remarked: "Shouldn't a spiritual seeker always think well of every person? Should he not trust the Lord seated in each person's heart?" The sage replied: "We must trust in the spiritual goodness of every living being, but we should never delude ourselves about his natural material responses and behaviour". He continued: "Even as a person condemns the unethical and unprincipled behaviour of another, he will find himself helplessly behaving identically, when in similar circumstances".

Ultimately, we come to trust in the will of God, and His perfection. By the law of karma, each person will get his due. The mills of God grind slowlys, but they grind exceedingly fine. "What about trusting one's friends?" the disciple protested. "How about trusting one's parents, brothers and sisters?" The sage replied: "Your only friend is God and those who cease to be, having lost themselves in Him. Many lives have you had before this one, many parents and many siblings".

Connections of the flesh are often a great burden. They create expectations on both sides that are impossible to fulfill, and make obligations that often make life difficult to bear. Despite blood being 'thicker than water', none may be truly depended upon. "The sooner you are free of such illusions, the happier you will become".

With these words, the sage led his disciple through pouring rain to the nearby river which was in spate. In the swelling river was a tree that was rapidly being submerged. A monkey was seated near the top of the tree and she held her baby close to her breast. As the water rose higher, the mother climbed higher and higher. Finally, as the water rose to her chest, the monkey raised the baby in her arms above her head. At this point, the disciple looked triumphantly at the guru. "Wait a bit", said the sage. "Let us stay here awhile".

Finally, the water rose above her head. The mother monkey now placed the baby below the water, and climbed onto it to keep her head above the flood. At the moment of crisis, she sacrificed her child for her own life.

Have you ever been disillusioned by someone you trusted or believed in? That is a painful way to become enlightened. The painless way is to listen to the voices of wisdom that echo within. Ancients have said that "One should never trust anyone in material consciousness". Every worldly person rides on what is termed manorath or chariot of the mind, and cannot be depended upon or trusted; especially where his selfish interest is concerned.

Trust in God and those who have truly lost themselves in Him. As far as worldly persons are concerned, either create systems that make depending entirely upon trust irrelevant, or align your interests so closely with them, that your interests become their interests.

So, there you have it folks. And, the interesting things was that it wasn't disheartening at all. I mean, I woke feeling in love with the world and all that, and then I read this...but, it didn't faze me or change my mood any. In fact, it was sort of the 'reality' crutch that I needed to get up and do something with my life, and all the 'love' that I was feeling. Some very interesting ideas in this though, what do you guys think?
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