This is the fourth in this series by Guruji.
Guruji narrates an episode where the Lord takes over his workshop session and clarifies the questions “Arjun” Shenoy has about his role in today’s world and how to perform his duty while living in this world. He also drives home the message how we all want to change the world when in fact we need to change ourselves..
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The conversations are all about the Lord talking to his devotees (who is represented by ‘I’ ) in each of us. In the following piece, the Lord takes over at some stage as the voice of devotee and educates the student Arjun Shenoy in a workshop, which the author was conducting in one of the colleges.
Most scriptures of all religions, if taken literally, fail to confirm to modern scientific facts. The Moon and Mars are no longer devtas; nor is there any place in the clouds for 6 billion people to sit down and listen to the white bearded God on the so-called Day of Judgment.
What was written, just like what was cooked or planted etc., was pertinent for those times. Matter was not understood by science as it is today. We need to take the essence of the scriptures. We have to be guided by their ‘spirit’ and not by the letter. That is what helps us to elevate and revere these scriptures and avoid blasphemy.
I was conducting a workshop and there he was sitting in the class and laughing at me. “What’s the matter?” I asked. He continued to smile, “thought of listening to myself” “Go ahead” I said (and surrendered to his voice)
Arjun Shenoy, one of the students, asked “I want to be useful to this world, what should I do?”.
He asked “which world? And whose world?”
Arjun- “This world that I see around me; so much misery, so much unhappiness, so many problems. I really want to do something”.
He- “My friend, cleanse yourself of greed, lust, selfishness, attachment to persons, things, expectations from others, hypocrisy, jealousy, egoism, cravings for name & fame…………..”
Arjun protested, “I wasn’t talking of myself; I was talking of the world and how I can change all these qualities from the world.”
He– “Somewhere you got to begin. Why not begin with yourself?
Why presume that we don’t need such cleansing?”
Arjun- “But I harm none; I’m not the cause of the world’s misery; on the other hand, I’m sincerely trying to alleviate other’s pain; I want to be truly useful to the world”
He– “You are right. When you say you harm none; in fact, almost all people, invariably say the same thing, that they are kind, good and harm nobody. What harms others, are the traits that we possess. Traits, such as egoism, pride, haughtiness, jealousy etc.”
Arjun – “I still don’t understand what my qualities have to do with the world?”
He- “My friend, there is no world other than you. When you cleanse yourself your misery ends. Law of Karma is eternal and infallible. It’ll take care of the rest. Whatever you are, be useful to others; live and lead a simple life. There is no need to be perturbed over the happenings of the world; they will continue to happen all the time.”
Arjun– “You mean to say that I have no duty to the world? I can’t alleviate the misery of the world?”.
He smiled and said, “You have a duty if you think the world is real and you are in it; if you are convinced of the falsity of the world of happening and the infallible nature of Karmic law, then you remain unperturbed, nonetheless being useful to others in a simple way without losing your sleep over it.”
Arjun – “I am really confused now; do you want me to act or not? Tell me something that is definite.”
He- “Action is a must for all, except for a perfect yogi who too continues to act, although he is free not to act. Do your regular duties; for that, first define who you are. Your role (bhoomika, at any given moment) enumerates your duties. Whether you are the manager, husband, child or teacher, guest or host, what role you are in, tells its duties”. “Perform all your daily functions without attachment to them or to their fruits.”
“Whatever, in addition, you wish to do, check your motive by introspection, whether you crave for recognition, importance, fame, name etc. Cleanse your motive by doing all actions for my sake or offering the fruits of action to me at the end of the day or end the deed whichever is of smaller duration.”
He continued, “let your interest be always so-called ‘others’; for there are no such ‘others’; they are you yourself in an all-encompassing way. Till you are convinced of this truth, you continue to aggrandize others to your advantage; you will treat your wife as your maid, your children the torch bearers of your name and glory. Learn to give your family members total freedom. You
live the life of a ‘nispraha’ (unattached one) and be an example.”
Once you realize the great truth that you alone exist; that there is no world beside you, and the so-called others are you only and you now voluntarily work for all, like a mother to her children, wanting nothing and expecting nothing.” “Once the realization that you and ‘others’ are the same great Paramatman, an overwhelming love, compassion and service to others becomes your way of life. My dear friend, you have no choice but to live for others.”
Arjun Shenoy was listening and was beginning to understand somewhat. He continued to listen, “the mango tree does not eat its mango however delicious the fruits are! However pretty the daughter is, the father doesn’t wed her himself! She is always given away to some stranger! True, a total stranger!! The sun, moon and the great Vayu all live for others. The parents work day and night for the welfare of their children who might, alas!, eventually send them to old age homes!
Understand the only way to live is to live, to love and serve.”
Arjun asked, “Why should I love? I will serve, yes. I will do it as a matter of duty.” “My friend, without love everything is a burden, a pain, a task and life becomes tiresome. What we love we do well. Whom we love, we do everything for them; when we love we have fun in doing. We remain tireless throughout. For your survival and good health, it becomes necessary for you to understand this principle. Moreover when you serve as duty and not out of love, you are in effect saying, you are different from the people whom you serve! Right understanding alone can give you cheer, health, happiness and longevity.”
Arjun’s unwillingness and doubts continued. ” Everyone dislikes me, especially my sister in law and my brother and sister, whom I helped in their early life. My wife and children do not often care for me, despite my having done so much for them.”
He smiled, (almost laughed) “They know not what they are doing, you now know ; be at peace by knowing that you serve none
other than yourself.”
Arjun had one more doubt – “If we serve like this, sooner or later we will have nothing left either for ourselves, or for my
children (who are employed and well off now)…………..oh! I understand now that there is no difference between ‘my children’ and those whom I am serving; all are mine and all need my help, service. While I serve, I am not supposed to look at their behavior, responses…………virtually expect nothing from them. Oh! I understand now and my doubts have vanished. I can now work for ‘my
society.‘ wanting nothing, willing to be useful.
He left as he had come; I found myself talking again. Suddenly I felt a certain vacuum in my voice, ” So, Arjun Shenoy?”
Arjun replied, “ Thank you sir, for enlightening me! I am now fired with love for all; I will do your bidding and be useful, offering all my actions every night to the lord; every morning as soon as I get up, I shall pray for Divine Guidance and action to operate through me. Thank you again.”