I got a phone call from Charan inquiring if I’d be interested in going to Jillellamudi with him, the following day.
I replied to him in the positive, “Okay, lets go”.
He said, “I will come to your house by 8 a.m, please be ready”.
As I was talking to Charan, I felt like someone had come and as I looked towards the entrance, found that Madan was walking into the house. As we work in the same office, he visits me every once in a while.
I informed Madan about the trip and invited him to join us.
He promptly accepted.
In this manner, our trip to Jillellamudi got finalized within a minute and completely out of the blue. This is how everything associated with Mother takes place, suddenly and unexpectedly. They don’t turn out as per our plan. Other than simply accepting and following whatever happens, there isn’t much that we can do.
The next morning, as planned earlier, Madan arrived along with his wife on time. Charan, who was supposed to come by 8 a.m, hadn’t yet arrived. Considering that people at Railways are known for being late, I said to myself that I ought not to complain and continued to wait. In the meantime, Charan arrived.
He said, “Brother, on my way, the Railway gate was closed, resulting in my late arrival.”
“Do we blame the teeth for biting our tongue by mistake?” thinking so, I remained quiet without saying anything.
I said, “Settle down for a minute, we shall start shortly”.
Settling down, he said, “Brother, these days an idea is constantly haunting my mind”.
I looked at him silently.
I absolutely dislike the small talk of people. I cannot tolerate individuals who engage in conversations about worldly affairs. Either I leave from there or they themselves walk away, unable to bear my silence. However, few individuals like Charan can converse at the level I anticipate. By and large, he inquires about fundamental and extremely profound spiritual questions. I like them a lot.
Hence, I like having discussions with him.
He said, “These days, the thought of grihasta sanyas is constantly occurring to me”.
He continued, “Not only that, but also sanyasa gaarhastya. In my opinion, the former is conceivable, but the latter is not”.
I replied, “Both are possible. While the first one is difficult, the second one is very easy. It is the second one that we see being practiced in numerous ashrams nowadays”.
He said, “How is it possible? I am not inquiring about what is happening. Please let me know the true interpretation of this”.
I stood up saying, “Lack of portrayal is the true interpretation for this. Let us get started now and discuss this on our way”.
We reached the city outskirts and the car was cruising on Pedanandipadu road. Until then, no one brought up the topic.
Charan started by saying, “Brother, please tell me now”.
I started talking.
Grihasta sanyas is a very generous and noble idea. Lord Sri Ramakrishna described this as fighting the war from within the fort. To tell you the truth, not all individuals can follow the path of sanyas. Infact, many spiritually awakened people are also forced to marry due to their past karma. They don’t lose their spirituality just because they get married. Such individuals will end up becoming grihasta sanyasis. Even though they are in family life, they lead a sadhana oriented yogic life but not an ordinary life. All our ancient sages were householders. Was there any deficiency in the power of their penance?”
Charan inquired, continuing to drive the car, “Then, what about sanyasa gaarhastya?”
Despite knowing beforehand most of the things I am about to tell him, Charan still asks me a number of questions. And although I am aware of this fact, I still continue to answer his questions. This is a sort of fun for both of us.
“That is much simpler. Like I said before, these days, that’s what is happening in numerous ashrams, which is ethical degeneration. As if this isn't enough, did you observe that some poor swamijis are even being subjected to virility tests?” I asked smilingly.
“Oh! That is even more awful. Anyhow, let’s not talk about such people”, said Charan.
I said with a smile, “Yes, we don’t need to bother ourselves with them. I was just giving an example. I am not talking about family life. Some individuals leave their homes and family to establish an ashram. And in an ashram, a much bigger family catches hold of them. While at home, there are only four or five individuals, but at an ashram, there are hundreds. Over there, one will become involved in various activities like fundraising, managing income and expenses etc. Also, one has to contend with issues such as ego, deception and conspiracies and jealousy. I am talking about this sort of life, not the matrimonial life between man and woman. Daily affairs are also considered as family life. In fact, that is the real family. Which means, swamis are leaving a smaller family and getting trapped by a bigger family”.
Charan did not speak for a while.
Madan, his wife, as well as my wife sat silently in the rear seat.
Silence ruled for quite some time.
Breaking the silence, Charan’s voice echoed, “Brother, is creation a need or a desire?”
Charan is always like this, his questions are very abstract. His inquiries always touch upon very fundamental and serious subjects.
As the mood had become serious, I decided to lighten it.
With a serious tone, I said, “One’s desire is another’s need. That’s when creation begins”.
At once, the car was filled with laughter.
Charan repeated, “Not that, brother, I am asking about the creation around us”.
For a long time, I had a suspicion that Charan knows the answers for his questions beforehand. I also have a stronger suspicion that he tries to extract those answers from me somehow. Instead, this time, I decided to have these answers come from him in the way I want.
Going back to my usual serious mode, I said, “Be it the creation around us, the creation within us or the creation that created us, all follow the same rule. First of all, we need to know the answers for - What is a desire? What is a need? Then we can discuss about creation. Now, tell me clearly what they are”.
Meanwhile, from the rear seat, my wife’s voice echoed, “Your discussion is good, but please find a hotel to have breakfast. I’m hungry”.
The topic of hunger, hotel and breakfast must have led to some flash in her mind, the same voice from behind said, “When hungry, wanting to eat idli is a need, wanting to eat onion dosa is a desire”.
We all clapped saying, “Awesome!”.
Charan said, “We can control a desire but we cannot control a need, can we?”
I said, “My dear brother, instead of being enigmatic, tell me directly and clearly.”
Charan contemplated a little and said, “While one cannot survive without satisfying his need, one can certainly survive without satisfying his desire.”
I repeated, “I am asking what they are”.
After thinking for some more time, he said, “Assuming that a person is walking on the street and suddenly it becomes too hot and he has no footwear, at that point, what would be his feeling?”
I said, “I don’t know, besides, how would I know what he’d feel?”
He said, “That person would think that it’d be nice to have footwear”.
I asked, “Is it a need or a desire?”
He said, “As long as he looks for footwear, it is a need but, if he looks for an air conditioned car then it becomes a desire”.
Once again, a voice from the backseat said, “It is neither of them, it is his lack of intelligence. Doesn’t he know that one must have footwear before stepping out into the hot sun? Forgetting this is the root cause for his pain”.
Charan inquired, “I agree that’d be the case if it is sunny, but what if it rains?”
I answered with a smile, “Before venturing out of the house, he ought to take an umbrella. Forgetting that is also his lack of intelligence”.
Charan inquired again, “How would he know in advance, if it is going to rain on his way?”
Again, I answered, “He ought to know that too. Not being able to know what is going to happen is also his lack of intelligence”.
Charan said, “That means, before venturing out of the house, one should take an umbrella, wear a cap, a raincoat and other things whether required or not”.
I said, “Yes, if possible, it will be better to wear a crown, an armour, a sword and a shield before leaving the house”.
The voice from behind said, “Then dogs are sure to chase him”.
Once again, everybody had a great laugh.
Our journey thus continued in a joyful mood.
To be continued….
All rights reserved. This article has been translated by Ganesh A, which was originally posted in teluguyogi.net on Oct 7, 2014. The content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.