The Golden Ring

Returned back from a very brief sojourn to Chennai – sweltering heat and profuse sweating pretty much describes the trip. Someone approached me for my opinion on the course to pursue (this person was at career crossroads) and it set me thinking. Seeking advice is such a serious business of late, since there seem to be no dearth for people who ask for and dish out advices.

Should someone’s opinion about us matter too much to us? Shouldn’t we apply some discrimination in taking advices or opinions and act accordingly? Why live life to someone else’s standards, especially if they don’t qualify to be your counsel in the first place? Let us be wise builders and role models. Take care of yourself, and those you love…today, and every day!

Reminded me of a story that a senior teacher and Disciple of His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar ji Founder of Art of Living (you can follow Him on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/#!/SriSriSpeaks )

Read on….

A school boy went to see his teacher to talk about a problem that was troubling him.

“Everyone says I am good for nothing” he complained. “No one believes that I will ever achieve everything. They think I am stupid and lazy. How can I become a better person? What do I have to do for people to appreciate me?”

Without looking at him, the teacher answered “I am sorry, lad, but at the moment I have problem of my own that is occupying my mind, so I can’t help you” he paused and then continued, “But perhaps if you first help me to solve my own problem I could look at how to help you with yours.”

“Of course, Sir” said the boy. But inside he felt let down and small.

The teacher took a gold ring off his little finger and held it up saying, Take your horse and go to the market. There you must sell this ring for me as I need the money to repay a debt. Obviously you must get the best price you can, but whatever you do, don’t accept less than one gold coin for it. Go, and come back with the money as fast as you can.”

The boy took the ring and left. When he arrived at the market, he started to show it to the stallholders. They seemed very interested and were keen to know how much the young boy wanted for it. But when he started to talk about a gold coin, some of them felt about laughing while others just walked off without a backwards glance.

Only one old man was kind enough to explain to him that a gold coin was too much too much to ask for an old ring. Trying to help the young boy, he offered him a bronze coin for it, and then a silver coin. But following the instructions of his teacher not to let it go for less than one gold coin, the boy refused all offers.

After having approached every stallholder and passer-by in the market without success, feeling extremely downhearted at his failure, he got back on his horse and returned to his teacher. How he wished that he had a gold coin himself that he could use to buy the ring, thus freeing the teacher of debt so that he in turn could help him with his own problem!

He went up to his teacher and said, ”I am sorry, Sir, I have failed to achieve what you asked of me. I could have got two or three silver coins for it, but I believe that we can’t mislead anyone about the value of this ring.”

“What you say is very important” replied the professor with a smile. ”First of all we have to find out the real value of this ring. Get back on your horse and take it to the jeweler. Who else can know its value better than he? But whatever he offers you for it, don’t sell it to him. Come back to me with my ring.”

The boy went and to find the jeweler and held out the ring to him to examine. The jeweler scrutinized it through his magnifying glass, weighed it, and said “Tell your teacher that if he wants to sell it today I can only give him 58 gold coins for it.”

“58 gold coins!” exclaimed the boy.

“Yes. And in a while I might be able to give him 70, but if it’s an urgent sale…”

The boy ran back to his teacher in a state of excitement to relate what had happened.

“Sit down” said the teacher. After having listened to the child’ story, he said, “You are like this band of gold; a unique jewel of immense value?” So saying, he put his ring back on his little finger.

The student then realized, a lot of them who adversely commented on this guy were like a stall holder who aren’t qualified enough to realize his worth. It also was an eye-opener in the sense that he realized the importance of seeking guidance or opinion from the right person – teacher was the jeweler who realized his potential which was that of a gold band.
The point to note, never go for an advise when you are too anxious as some researcher points out as a result of his study. When you are deep in the well, you cannot have a proper perspective of possible solutions to extricate yourselves out of that situation. Approach someone who generally has no stake in the solution but understands you well (but make sure he is the jeweller and not a stall hold

Remember a solution is not necessarily a stress reliever. You would end up with more than one solution as a result of this advises received. Helps to Sleep over it for a while – As the chinese proverb goes – When confused, take a pillow and go to bed.

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Selfless Service – Best Antidepressant

Why do we have the mood swings – against which was the very reason why we took up such practice in the first place. This question was posed  by an ardent devotee to the Master, His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar – (you can follow HIM on twitter here @SriSri or through the official Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/HHSriSriRaviShankar)  Many of us get into suspicion mode as to why despite so much of sadhana (spiritual practices like yoga, classical music etc) we are not elevated.

HE went about explaining the phenomenon saying, sadhana raises energy levels to such high levels that unless it is channelised productively, there could be some restlessness and uneasiness. The most productive channel is to be of service to others (Seva). Seva thus  is the panacea for these kinds of ills. But then to sustain Seva levels regular Sadhana is a must – therefore both of them go hand in hand. While on the subject, here is a nice story on selfless seva and its benefits to the sevak later on. (The original story is in German and here is the best translation that I could manage – all Credits to the original author for this wonderful story)

The Clouds

One hot summer morning a little Cloud rose out of the sea and floated lightly and happily across the blue sky. Far below lay the earth, brown, dry, and desolate, from drouth. The little Cloud could see the poor people of the earth working and suffering in the hot fields, while she herself floated on the morning breeze, hither and thither, without a care.

“Oh, if I could only help the poor people down there!” she thought. “If I could but make their work easier, or give the hungry ones food, or the thirsty a drink!”

And as the day passed, and the Cloud became larger, this wish to do something for the people of earth was ever greater in her heart.

On earth it grew hotter and hotter; the sun burned down so fiercely that the people were fainting in its rays; it seemed as if they must die of heat, and yet they were obliged to go on with their work, for they were very poor. Sometimes they stood and looked up at the Cloud, as if they were praying, and saying, “Ah, if you could help us!”

“I will help you; I will!” said the Cloud. And she began to sink softly down toward the earth.

But suddenly, as she floated down, she remembered something which had been told her when she was a tiny Cloud-child, in the lap of Mother Ocean: it had been whispered that if the Clouds go too near the earth they die. When she remembered this she held herself from sinking, and swayed here and there on the breeze, thinking,–thinking. But at last she stood quite still, and spoke boldly and proudly. She said, “Men of earth, I will help you, come what may!”

The thought made her suddenly marvelously big and strong and powerful. Never had she dreamed that she could be so big. Like a mighty angel of blessing she stood above the earth, and lifted her head and spread her wings far over the fields and woods. She was so great, so majestic, that men and animals were awe-struck at the sight; the trees and the grasses bowed before her; yet all the earth-creatures felt that she meant them well.

“Yes, I will help you,” cried the Cloud once more. “Take me to yourselves; I will give my life for you!”

As she said the words a wonderful light glowed from her heart, the sound of thunder rolled through the sky, and a love greater than words can tell filled the Cloud; down, down, close to the earth she swept, and gave up her life in a blessed, healing shower of rain.

That rain was the Cloud’s great deed; it was her death, too; but it was also her glory. Over the whole country-side, as far as the rain fell, a lovely rainbow sprang its arch, and all the brightest rays of heaven made its colors; it was the last greeting of a love so great that it sacrificed itself.

Soon that, too, was gone, but long, long afterward the men and animals who were saved by the Cloud kept her blessing in their hearts.

As seen, the fruits of seva continued to linger in form of blessing of the people and animal long after our existence – in case of the clouds the blessings ensured continuing supply of clouds to the mankind. How many songs or verses are written everyday in praise of Clouds to this day.

While we involve and indulge in seva and sadhana, it definitely raises our spirits (the extent of seva should be so high that we should’t have time to worry about our silly problems). We also find that our problems which were insurmountable (in our minds, of course) compares pitiably to the problems many other face much more bravely than us.

Seva is not a duty – it is an Opportunity! I am blessed with loads of opportunity that keeps coming my way, almost every moment. It has indeed enriched and enlivened my life. I am sure it does that to everyone.

To summarize, It pays to serve…It pays to do sadhana

PS: The photograph clicked from a flight in Chennai Skies on return flight from Colombo

Divine & Unconditional Love

As I celebrated my 21 years of a journey on 31st March, with a irreplaceable co-passenger. Time for some reflections and a tribute to that wonderful soul mate. Reproducing my thoughts penned at 0000hrs of 31st March. For whatever she meant, I thought this should be the first thing I should do. Here it is…

The journey that began about  21 Summers ago is probably the happiest moment in my life. Me and Aparna Suresh became husband and wife (that is us in the picture). Yet another 7-year itch passed by itching for the same person.

Can I really describe it in mere words how special she is to me.No! Vocabulary goes bankrupt. Like they rehearse for a show, I patched up something like this after countless entries/backspaces because I was pretty sure there were better ways to appreciate whatever this amazing lady meant to me.

She indeed is the the most amazing thing ever happened to me. My life changed when you came into my life.. if before I sleep very late at night, surfing the web, watching movies etc, but nothing has changed even today 😉 LoL! just like the love and longing for her too.

My gratefulness to the Divine for this wonderful gift dropped right on to my lap (Ouch! It hurts – 70kg is not too less a weight) But I guess the good heartedness makes it very light and bearable.

If I were to rewind my clock back and change things to my liking, what would I do? Exactly the same little things we did, the joy we shared, the challenges we conquered together. I would replay the life exactly the way it played out so fat and well until He take me up above.

Happy Anniversay! Thanks my darling Aparna for whatever you are.Love you loads and have a fantastic day! Wishing that we celebrate many many years of this day for ages to come (I had another line here, but some of my extremely close well-wisher wanted it removed for emotional reasons)

While at it, I was also reminded of a story of Lord Krishna, incidentally a favourite bedtime story that my better half keeps telling our children. And she indeed lives her life this way. Unconditional love to all of us.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS TRUE LOVE

Krishna, while living in Dwarka with his favourite wife Rukmani, would very often softly utter to himself, ” O Radha… O Radha.”

Rukmani felt jealous and asked him why he kept Remembering Radha so often. Krishna did not saya nything. He just smiled.

A few days later, Krishna complained of stomach Ache. Rukmani gave him medicines, but the pain did not go away. He kept moaning in pain. Krishna told her that only a little charanamrita (blessed water) washed off the feet of a person who truly loved him would put an end to his agony.

He begged Rukmani to give him some of her charanamrita. A shocked Rukmani refused: ” How can I commit such a terrible sin? You are the Lord of all that be, and if I gave you my charanamrita I would surely go to hell.”

Krishna than asked Rukmani to send an attendant to Vrindavan and try and procure some charanamrita from  someone there. Soon the attendant returned with a cupful of charanamrita and as Krishna sipped it, all The pain disappeared.

He then asked the attendant, “Who gave you this Charanamrita?” the attendant replied “no one in Vrindavan was ready to give it on learning it was for Lord Krishna.

Then one young woman came running up to Me and gave me this cup. Her companions cautioned her, “You fool Radha, you are committing the greatest sin. But she did not care. She said, “I don’t care about What happens to me but I cannot bear to see my beloved  Krishna in pain”

Krishna turned to rukmani standing by his side and Said, ” Radha is not afraid of going to hell for me.
She only thinks about me.

So if Radha loves me so much, should I also not long for her?”

Radha in this story epitomized in my day to day life through Aparna! Lucky me! Thank Lord Krishna for HIS blessing. Also gratitude to by our Master, HH Sri Sri Ravishankarji who has abundantly and unconditionally loved, guided and blessed us. You can follow Him on twitter here @SriSri