Prashaanthi Nilayam, 1963
Bhoga and Roga
A Pandith engaged a boat to take him across the flooded Godhavari. He began a lively conversation with the boatman after starting the journey. When the Pandith came to know that the boatman had no schooling, he said "Alas! A quarter of your life has gone to waste. It is as if you have drowned those years in the Godhaavari". Pandith enquired the time and was replied that the boatman had no watch, he said "Half of your life has gone into the Godhavari". Later the pundith understood that the boatman had no time to read the papers everyday, he said that three-quarters of the boatman's life had been liquidated.
Immediately the sky darkened with storm clouds and there wan an imminent threat of rain. Now the boatman asked the pundith "Can you swim?" and when the frightened passenger confessed that he could not, he said "In that case, your entire life is now going to merge in the Godhavari". Do not use your knowledge for developing the faculty of argument, criticism or winning a polemic victory over your opponents or exhibiting your mastery over language or logic. The best knowledge is that which teaches you to conquer this cycle of birth and death; which gives you the mental equipoise that will not be affected by the prospect of death; which will not be disturbed by the blessings or blows of fate.
There was such an ardent devotee of Ganesha that he used up all his riches to make golden images of the God as well as the mouse, vehicle, umbrella and also his seat out of gold. Later he fell on evil days and so had to sell all these loved things. The merchant who offered to purchase them weighed both (Ganesh and mouse) and said that Ganesha would fetch as much as mouse. The devotee got enraged and complained that he was letting down. That was because he forgot the reality and attached value to the appearance, Form and the Name, and not to the substance. People are apt to go by the appearance rather than the reality of things.
Do not be carried away along the flood of material pleasures and lures as you have to prepare for both joy and grief. If you invite the Minister Bhoga (material enjoyment), get prepared for the visit of his private secretary Roga (illness) also. On the other hand, if you invite Minister Thyaaga (sacrifice) or his collegue Yoga (meditation), you will be happy to receive their private secretary Bhoga (enjoyment) who plays a minor role in the presence of his master.
Take your surroundings as a saadhana-kshethra (field of spiritual practice). Do not fly into rage when you are found fault. Examine your own conduct and discover the faults in yourselves. Self-examination is the first step to self-improvement and peace. Do not exaggerate the faults of others and exaggerate your faults and strive to remove them fast. Take all faultfinders as your friends and well-wishers for they give you warning-signals in time.
The intellect must investigate the fundamental problem--why this birth, whither this life, when this adventure, what the effect of human actions is on this life and on future lives, etc. Consciousness must dive deep into the Divinity that underlies it. An intellect that is moved only by Truth and a Consciousness that will not tolerate the impurity of meanness. Joy and grief are within you but not brought by others. So do not try to put the blame on others and try to cure yourself. Take the lamp to the place where the darkness is!
Omsai Srisai Jaijaisai