When a stone hits the lake it is the ripples that cause agitation to the water, not the stone itself. This stunning illustration is used by Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha to help us understand that it is not the objects of the world that assail us, it is the resulting ripples in the mind. Therein lies the key to remaining poised and peaceful in a tumultuous world.
Our senses are outgoing – they have been designed to be so. As long as our intelligence also continues to run after anything external, our real Self which is imperishable, stable and universal, will remain ever elusive. Senses should not be controlled or suppressed. Rather, the way forward is to sublimate the senses by anchoring our intelligence in our inner Self, and live in this world with enlightened vision. The Truth is what we are, there is nothing else. All we need to do is look within, and realize the brilliance of our real “I”.
Kathopanishad 1.3.15, 2.1.1
Bhagavad Gita 6.22, 2.59
Shvetashvatara Upanishad 1.3
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.5.14
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Those days, there were many rats staying in various pockets of the tiled roof. My room had a very low ceiling and I could even touch the roof tiles. At night, I would see big, big rats running around just near me.
I got back to my daily chores, but the scene remained in my mind – the old man’s wrinkled face, his gleaming eyes, the contentment he enjoyed, his refusal to accept more than ‘his minimum needs’! How many of us can take such a stand?
Bhakti is not so much in the worship with flowers, garlands, lamps or incense sticks. Neither it is in chanting His names and praises. It is verily in living and acting according to the wish of the Lord, pleasing Him, imbibing qualities and attitudes that He wants us to imbibe.