“Although I am happy to hear about Mother from you, I’m still unable to overcome my curiosity”, Charan expressed his concern.
“Why are you so curious? What is your concern?”, asked sister Vasundhara.
Charan said, “I don’t really know. I have many doubts and oftentimes, I question myself, whether I am on the right path or not. Sometimes I ask brother about this, but as you know, he is not always within my reach”.
“Do not worry, you are on the right path. After so many years, why are you still skeptical? If you had doubts before seeing Mother, I can understand. But you have seen Mother, lived with her for sometime and you even received Brahma Upadesh from Her. All you need to do now is simply surrender”, Sister made it very clear.
I was listening silently.
Tears flowed relentlessly from Charan’s eyes as he sat near Sister’s feet, looking into her face and saluting her with folded hands.
My mind travelled to the times of Upanishads. It was an ashram situated in a forest and we were all seated in the presence of a Brahmavadin (an expounder of the Vedas), endowed with the knowledge of Brahman. The atmosphere was very serene. She, as knowledge incarnate, was answering the questions of a curious devotee. Who says that our nation does not have great people? And who says that spirituality is lost? Even to this day, there are countless people in our country who have made their lives pure by walking the path of spirituality. They are amidst us and around us. We can recognize them only by lifting the veil off our eyes. It is not their fault that we are unable to recognize them owing to our ego. How can it be their fault, when our own views are forming barriers in our minds and preventing us from noticing them? If we stop living in dreams and open our eyes to reality, they will appear to us right here.
I suddenly remembered the holy life of Gopaler Ma, the illustrious devotee of Lord Sri Ramakrishna. She lived a very simple life in a small room on the banks of river Ganga. When she passed away, only two or three things were found in her room. A rosary, a mat, a copper mug and a book were her assets. Owing to her constant spiritual practices, she used to have an uninterrupted vision of little Krishna. Infant Krishna used to play with her, throw tantrums at her and pester her. She used to feed him and put him to bed. If he were hiding somewhere to tease her, she used to look for him with a stick in her hand. Sometimes, she used to beat him up with a stick and repent later for doing so and cuddle him. All this used to happen while she was in a conscious state, not in a meditative state. Aren’t these people the truly great souls, because of whom this country has become blessed? This land has become sacred with the touch of their holy feet. How many kings and emperors have been born and led meaningless lives and left the Earth, accumulating the karma of so many people. Their flamboyant lives seem insignificant in comparison to the simple lives of these saints. Looking at Sister’s life, I was reminded of Gopaler Ma.
Sister turned towards me and said, “I neither feel that I presently lack something nor do I wish for anything more. Every moment reminds me of Mother. Every word that I hear and every incident that occurs, always reminds me of Mother’s words and the events that took place during Her time. In that way, I am constantly meditating upon Mother. She is here and will take care of everything, so what is the need for us to worry?”.
I felt very happy looking at her spiritual state. What an elevated life she is living in this remote village, in a two room house, with utmost simplicity and always in a meditative state! Even in such adversity, her face reflected a calmness, devoid of any worries. Our shallow lives caught in constant rat race and filled with desires, jealousy, impurity and taint, pale into insignificance before her devotion filled life.
How wonderful ! Isn’t this the real India and the greatness of our culture? Real Hindu religion is one that leads human beings to this state. This is real spirituality. This is what is meant by total surrender to the Lord. I felt that this is how one’s life becomes meaningful. I felt my mind rising to higher realms beyond this world. I silently paid my reverence to her in my mind.
We concluded our conversation and paid our obeisances to her before leaving. We went to the temple office and took leave from brother Dinakar and others. We prayed to Mother in our hearts and started our return journey.
No one spoke until we crossed Bapatla. Our minds were not willing to start a conversation. We were in some kind of a trance.
Dispersing the silence, Charan said, “You are right, brother, all my doubts are cleared”.
I nodded and smiled.
I said, “There are no obstacles other than our mind. Many a time, our own thought process is an impediment, due to which, we are unable to recognize great people. Even if we recognize them, we are not able to understand them and even if we understand them, we are not able to follow them. The ideology that we created in our minds for years is the root cause behind this. We are habituated to think in a certain way. This habit blinds us and takes us away from the truth. If we can remove these blinds, then we can see everything clearly. This is surrender.
But, how many people can do this? Who will accept that their mind is their enemy? Who will recognize that their thought process is their biggest obstacle? Ego stops them from accepting this. Who has the courage to change himself? No one is ready for this. Everyone talks big but no one follows. We are heroes in talking but zeroes in practicing. We brag that we can leap across the sea, but we never get up and take even one step. This is the real problem with us and this is where we all fail”.
Charan smiled and said, “Brother, you are right. Sister’s words have removed the blindfold off my eyes. Yes, it is true, I have seen Mother and have had the fortune of receiving her blessings, then, why should I have any doubts or curiosity?”
I said, “Charan, shall I tell you something? Spiritual life can be easily described, one can cross it in three levels, one can complete it in three steps.”
Charan enthusiastically asked, “Please tell me.” His zeal to know was clearly evident.
I said, “First level is ignorance, second is curiosity and third is surrender. Simply put, this is what spirituality means. Everyone’s life is in one of these three levels, nothing else”.
Charan exclaimed with a glowing face, “How wonderfully you have described it!”
I laughed saying, “I did not say this, Mother made me say it. Everyone should look at which level they are in and try to go to the next level. The progress has to come naturally from within. It should not be to gain someone’s admiration or to satisfy one’s ego. It should arise out of one’s burning desire to progress. This is very easy if one has a pure heart but very difficult if one has a heart filled with all sorts of impurities”.
Charan did not say a word, his face conveyed that there was nothing more to talk. All of us remained silent.
The car was moving ahead and we were nearing Guntur. Our hearts were heavy with happiness. Our minds were filled with the thought that there is nothing more to achieve in life.
All rights reserved. This article has been translated by Ganesh A, which was originally posted in teluguyogi.net on Aug 26, 2012. The content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.