Allow me to start with something that most of us know – The organization Art of Living, organization may not be appropriate description, since AOL is more a philosophy , founded by great Guru of Joy, Sri Sri Ravishankar (you can follow Him on Twitter here https://twitter.com/#!/SriSriSpeaks ) who gifted basic breathing techniques and profound knowledge in the simplest of terms – helping a layman easily walk the spiritual path without getting lost in the maze – so simple even I am practising them religiously for the past so many years . Like in any place we also have intellectuals coming, doing their 2 bits and then are bent on complicating things and pretending to be more knowledgeable on the subject than what they actually know . Personally if you ask me to pick a great quality of our Gurudev, Sri Sri, it is HIS unfailing ability to put forth very complicated concepts in so simple terms, we look silly for not having thought about it earlier. Read/Listen to HIS commentaries on Narada Bhakti Sutras/Ashta Vakra Gita/Patanjali Yog Sutras/Yogasara Upanishads – you name it. It is prodound knowledge simplified unbelievably for ordinary mortals.One day got back home after my morning AOL followup classes and got a telephone from a friend who happened to attend a spiritual talk from a self proclaimed enlightened soul who was displaying all his oratarial skills in a local dialect laced with liberal doses of hitech Anglicised Sanskrit terminologies. I believe the attempted use of big words were his way of proving to the audience that he was knowledgeable . This person was trying to chart his own course using the tools and knowledge provided benevolently to us by Master Himself, to be guarded against misuse but at the same time ensuring that it is not overprotected in order to reach out to maximum populace especially in these modern times. He started pretending (and worse still believing) to be more knowledgeable than the sculptor who carved a beautiful scultpure with a rough rock that he was earlier. Today he met more than his match, when someone asked him a few questions innocently and trying to wriggle out of the hole he dug himself was a pathetic sight. If only pride had not clouded this man’s judgement, the day would have been saved. But it was not to be, threw into a fit of rage, criticising Guruji (assuming that the questioner was related to his past background of being from that organization) and lost the day. I just recollected a nice story in this gentleman’s moment of truth.
There was a young student-archer who reached such proficiency in his art that he could shoot an arrow into a tree and then cleave that arrow into two with the next shot. He began to boast that he was a greater archer than his guru.
One day his guru, a venerable old man in his 70’s, asked the youth to accompany him on a trip across the hills. The journey was uneventful until they came to a deep chasm.
A single log spanned the chasm. The guru walked down to the centre of the log, unshouldered his bow and taking an arrow shot it into a tree on the other side. His next shot cleaved the first arrow into two.
“Now it’s your turn,” he said, walking back to where his student was standing. The youth stepped gingerly on the log and very slowly and carefully made his way to the middle. But his heart was in his mouth. He knew that if he lost his footing, he would plunge to his death. His hands trembled as he strung an arrow into his bow. Preoccupied with the danger he was in, he found it hard to focus on the target. Consequently when he let go of the arrow, it missed the tree altogether. Whimpering, he turned around.
“Help me!” he shouted to his guru. “I’ll fall!”
The old man walked up to him, took his hand and stepping backwards led him to safety.
Neither of them said a word on the return journey but the boy had much to think about. He had realised that to be a master of his art it was not enough to know how to control the bow, he had to learn how to control his mind (and mouth) too.
As a well wisher of this gentleman, I have just forwarded this story to him. This goes on to prove that Ingratitude towards your Master/Guru has its pitfalls and it is good for each one of us to realize that without HIS grace we are nonentities. Some more examples comes to my mind that goes on to prove that Pride invariably precedes the sure Fall from grace. All the despots, dictators paid the price for their pride and since they seemingly perched so high, greater was the impact of the fall. (Saving a personal anecdote on this theme for a later date). Though very hypothetical considering the IQ of Bush, would the situation of Iraq and Saddam been any different had the inspectors of WMD been allowed to inspect without the false pride standing in the way clouding judgements (by the way, I dont advocate bending backwards to accommodate fancies of a particular nation or person at the cost of national pride – but it was utter stupidity to have put the whole nation at risk just to satisfy one person’s ego). Sadly for me, as much as I hate to admit this, Saddam’s was a case of “from palaces to the pits (literally)” only due to his personal pride. Today the US of A led by Obama is falling into the same trap clouded by Bush’s misplaced pride.
PS: At the risk of diverting from the basic theme of this entry, I would consider the wheels of fortune to have come the full circle when all the dictators/despots meets the same fate (if only life followed a mathematical equation where 1 + 1 is always 2 – for similar crimes similar punishments or proportional punishments).