There are hundreds of rivers. There is one ocean. Even if there are different names for the same ocean, the ocean is one. Names do not matter. The essence matters. The substance matters.
There was a sea captain. He sailed all his life in search of the Pacific Ocean. He could not find the ocean until a wise sea-farer told him: “My friend, where you are now, is the Pacific Ocean indeed. It is not someplace away from you. This very ocean that you sail on, is the Pacific.”
We are all sailors, in search of an exotic shore. Our search is so intense that we fail to recognize or appreciate how exotic the place below our feet really is!!! The dream merchants sell stories of fanciful lands far, far away. We believe in their dreams and take up the sail. Until we exhaust ourselves, we seldom find out that the journey itself was unnecessary. The dreams that we sailed for were within us, always. All we needed to do was just to shut our eyes and go to sleep from this conscious world. All we needed to do was just open our eyes within and look inside. The treasure chest is not outside of us. It always exists within us. Period. All you need is an inner awakening. So, Do Wake Up. Rise and Shine!!!
There was a great dreamer. He thrived on selling his dreams. Lazy pedestrians stood and listened to the narration of his enchanting dreams and many even bought these dreams from him. There was one man who punctually came every day to listen to his dreams. He used to buy and accumulate dreams. His wife got suspicious. Where is this guy going every day, spending all the money that he earns? She followed him and reached the dream seller. After every story, her husband paid some money. That evening, she cautioned her husband. She made him understand that the money he was spending was emptying their very coffers. She and their children have no means for further life. He did not change a bit. He was so used to his comfortable routine. So, he continued his regular ways. One day, he realised that his house was not his anymore and he and his family were actually thrown out onto the street. He was homeless and had no money to feed himself and his family. He was shaken by reality. He went and met the dream seller and told him his real story expecting him to return some of the money that he paid earlier. The dream seller said: “I like your story. But, I cannot buy it. This is your reality. Not my dream. You yourself must handle your own reality”.
Do we buy dreams about the future? Is someone constantly selling us dreams? Beware. Stick to your waking reality. Life does not happen in the future. Life happens NOW.
There was a learned man. Every evening, the learned man called the villagers and explained many complicated philosophical materials at length. People were awed at his knowledge. They went back home saying, “What a learned man!!!, we are lucky to have him here with us.” He was very intelligent and was quite shrewd as well. He very well knew how to manipulate the seekers who come to him, thirsting for guidance. He was a good businessman. He used his power of speech to capture the hearts of the villagers and soon became their chieftain. His ego and arrogance grew along with his possessions and power. He also added a big title to his name and behaved like a spiritual Master, as well as a renunciate. He started calling himself an enlightened Master. Instead of humility, his ego and arrogance increased.
There was a poor old saint living close to his house. The villagers respected him. He lived on the food that the villagers gave him as alms. In return, he gave them his blessings and free advice. His very presence purified the people and premises. He wore torn clothes and lived in one room. During the rainy season, water flowed inside drenching the whole room. Even though he was in a pathetic condition, he had no complaints about anything. He accepted his life as it was. The learned man thought that it was time he proved his worth in front of this saint too. He thought that it would add to his respectability and acceptance in the society if the saint was on his side. He arranged for the saint to live in a house close to his abode. The saint reluctantly agreed. He behaved as if this was the saint’s approval of his knowledge and stature. The poor guy did not understand that the saint’s purpose was to put some real wisdom into him and make him benevolent to the villagers, rather than increasing his arrogance. The saint, with his divine presence, wanted to lighten the darkness of terrestrial vasanas of the learned man and make him truly useful for the society. The society never actually needed the dull intellectual heaviness that he poured into them, profusely, every day. It only added to their confusion and never got anyone enlightened with it. He himself was a pretender who never got enlightened.
Once, during his regular evening session, a boy asked the learned man – “Sir, whom can we call truly healthy?”. The saint was also listening to this question. The learned man started explaining about health and the status of being healthy, which he had read and remembered from various books. He had only book knowledge to convey. The whole crowd was dissatisfied. Finally, the boy took permission and asked the same question to the saint who had always been a silent spectator of the drama. The saint slowly muttered: “One who eats in limit, one who sleeps in limit, one who acts in limit, one who is not prone to violent emotions, one whose needs are limited, one who never stands to prove anything, one who maintains equanimity, and one who is beyond duality – is the healthiest man in this whole world. Everyone understood clearly. They realized, true wisdom is simple. True spirituality is simplicity. It has nothing to do with a craving for fame, acceptance, and fortune. The whole group of listeners applauded the saint’s wisdom. The learned man was also humbled in the most natural way.
Our world is full of learned men who pretend to be saints. They have only book knowledge. They have no real experience. They themselves are blinded and they are leading the rest to the ocean of karmic quagmire. It is not in the looks. It is not in the words; but, it’s in the ability to deliver experiences which makes a teacher become a real Guru. Transferable knowledge is aplenty. All one needs is a good memory. Transferring an experience needs calibre and real mettle. This is the difference between an acharya and a Guru. We call anybody with a white beard – Guru. We even give them fancy titles. These acharyas need titles because they are insecure without it. But, where is the real mettle? Titles cannot guarantee stature. Stature has got to be earned only through generations of rigorous spiritual practices. So is enlightenment. Enlightenment has to happen. It will happen only at the appointed time and space. Even if one does all the right spiritual practices, one cannot achieve enlightenment, until he is ripe and ready; until he is established in the beingness. Book knowledge is a big barrier. Ego is another barrier. Samskaaras are all barriers. When the vessel is completely empty, divinity fills in. Otherwise, this is another dream like all the other dreams. Masters can deliver, but, Masters deliver only when the pot is empty. Master appears to deliver. We need not go searching for one.
The world is full of pretenders, who obscure the real Gurus. They are like clouds obscuring the sun. They cannot take away the sun’s glory. The real ones seldom come out into the open. Those ones who pretend do everything possible to make their voice heard. They say one thing and mean another thing because they are insecure. They are worried about the erosion of their source of income – disciples. They tell you what you like to hear so that you stick to them. If that’s not working, they put fear and guilt into you, so that you will not run away from them. They cannot take you to enlightenment because they themselves are not enlightened. Beware of the pretenders in the path of spirituality, because they are aplenty and they will look more real than the real ones. In the above story, the old saint was real, but, never pretended and he was ignored by the villagers. The empty pot which made the maximum noise was considered as real and revered. This is the truth of life. This is the way our world is. We vote for color and glamor, which catches our senses and mind. We ignore the often colorless and unpretentious reality which only appeals to our spirit. Who cares about the spirit? Sankaracharya said “Parame Brahmani Kopina Sakta” – Alas!!! no one, even for a moment, considers the soul, the Brahman which resides in oneself, ever in life until one’s death…when one has to leave everything and go. But then, unfortunately, its too late.
I wish your eyes to see and recognize the real truth. If you choose color and glamor instead of the life-transforming grace and miracle, it is purely your discretion. No need to regret. Just go ahead. The decision is always yours.
God bless all