We are living in kaliyug where things are upside down. The things which were considered inappropriate and were shunned in the ancient times; the things which one earned accolades for getting rid of in the ancient times are the very things that are glorified and sought after in the present times.
People in all walks of life are busy scheming against each other, and are trying to get ahead at the expense of the people around them. People who have deceitful interiors and superficial exteriors, people who are untruthful, and selfish; are considered smart and resourceful. The foresight to understand where such behavior will ultimately lead to, has vanished.
People have forgotten the true meaning and essence of religion and are steeped in ignorance. Due to this ignorance and lack of knowledge they knowingly or unknowingly indulge in undesirable actions and practices.
The rules of nature are unbending. One’s bad deeds, committed knowingly or unknowingly, will not escape punishment. One can hope for happiness if only one stays away from deeds considered unworthy by the scriptures, and leads a life of simplicity and true goodness. Humans can deceive humans but can never fool God who sees through everything. He is present all around us and in our hearts.
He knows all our thoughts, judges all our good and bad motives, and imposes happiness and unhappiness based on them. People who believe in God and fear Him, save themselves from unworthy behaviors and thoughts and can expect happiness and peace in return.
Listen to this story which explains and illuminates this concept.
Once upon a time there was a king who outwardly appeared kind, genuine, and cultured; but his heart always harbored ill-will and malice toward all. When in the company of others, he would always appear respectful, talk smooth and try to gain everyone’s trust to size them up from inside. In their absence he would criticize them and misuse their trust to bring them harm and misery.
Because of his seemingly benign exterior everyone around him praised him, believing him to be a good person. The king remained immersed in this falsehood and grew increasingly arrogant.
One day a liberated saint happened to be passing through the kingdom. He was a true saint who had simplicity in his outward behavior as well as inside his heart. He had rid himself of anger, greed, desires and endearments, and was perpetually in a blissful state. Even though he himself never proclaimed to be anything special, people around him experienced the peace and happiness which permeated around him and flocked to him. On their insistence he decided to settle down there.
Liberated as he was, he was full of divine attraction and his company was exceptionally uplifting. In a short duration he transformed the lives of thousands of people. His effective teachings changed the outlook of all people around him — turning them away from worldly deceit and towards godly pursuits. Soon his fame had spread in the whole kingdom.
When the king heard his praises he also developed a keen desire to meet him and one day decided to visit him. The saint graciously welcomed the king and asked him the reason of his visit. The king replied that he would like to ask him something in private. The saint asked everyone else to leave and turned towards the king.
The king asked – O Great one, I have a strong desire to know what would my end be like? The saint smiled and asked him – ‘would you like to see it or hear it?’ The king replied that there would be nothing better than seeing it for himself. The saint kept his hand on the king’s forehead and instantly transformed him into a state where he could see himself in a different world.
The king saw an extremely beautiful garden full of very pretty flowers, attractive fountains, stately tall trees and wonderful shrubs. Colorful birds were happily chirping from the branches. It was truly a sight to behold. In the middle of this magical garden was an equally impressive palatial house constructed of spotless white marble. Several caretakers were busy taking care of the beautiful property. The king asked one of them who the owner of this beautiful place was, and for whose stay had this house been constructed? The caretaker replied, ‘Sir, this property has been constructed for you and you will be staying here one day’.
The king proceeded inside the house. Each room was exquisitely decorated and extremely well appointed but there was one big problem. The house was littered with garbage filling the entire house with unbearable stench. The king could not take it and ran outside. Once he caught his breath he asked one of the caretakers— ‘the house is so pretty, but why have you littered it with so much garbage?’
The caretaker replied — ‘This is how we were instructed to complete the project, and it is the result of how you have lived your life on Earth. Whatever you sow in your lifetime on Earth, you harvest here. Your outwardly behavior with everyone was exceptionally good. You talked sweetly and even showed outwardly love. That is why this house looks very beautiful. But your heart was always filled with bad motives, and you were always plotting to harm other people and inconvenience them. The interior dirt in your heart is reflected in the garbage littered inside this house.
This really disturbed the king. His trance was broken in this frightened state, and he came back to his senses. He saw the saint sitting in front of him and smiling. He fell to his feet and said — I have made a huge mistake, please tell me the way to improve myself and make remedies so that I do not have to undergo hardships later on. Is there still time and hope for me?
The saint smiled and said of course there is time. You have to cleanse and purify your heart. There is a cure for every disease, a medicine for every ailment. But medicines only work when the patient has faith in his doctor and strictly follows his prescription. If you truly believe in what I tell you and conduct yourself exactly as I tell you to then I can show you an easy way out.
The king followed the saint’s instructions and practices, and thus managed to purify his heart to a great extent but not completely. With folded hands he one day asked the saint to help him to completely get rid of the remaining darkness. The saint explained that it would not be easy to do that but he will tell him a way he could try. To that effect he told the king that if he could get the other saints and sages in his kingdom to criticize him then it would be possible for him to get rid of his remaining dirt.
The king was perplexed by this seemingly contradictory instruction but he had complete faith in his guru and started troubling all the saints and sages in his kingdom, imprisoning many of them and putting them through various hardships in an attempt to make them criticize him. But these were true saints. None of them voiced any criticism of the king. Each one of them was silently tolerating everything, happily accepting whatever they considered God was putting them through.
Many months went by but the king could not get even a single saint to criticize him. He was perplexed and one evening he visited their ashram. The saints welcomed him with open arms, seated him with utmost request and made him comfortable in every way. The thought that this was the person who was putting them through so much hardship did not even enter their minds.
The king asked them — ‘I unloaded so much suffering on you, disrupting your worship and your lives, but none of you ever uttered any derogatory words about me and never criticized me. What is the reason for this?’
The saints replied that this world is actually a web of illusions. There is actually neither happiness nor sorrow. What ever our mind tells us is unhappy, invokes unhappiness; and what ever our mind tells us is happy brings about happiness. This is a game played by our mind. By practice and meditation we are able to control our minds and do not fall for this illusion. That is why for us there is no happiness and sorrow, no friend or foe.
Just like when fire engulfs different materials it takes different physical forms, the same eternal soul exists in every person taking on different physical forms in different people.
If we believe this saying of the upanishads, then there is no question of mine or his. All are one. The physical body is inert and so is the mind residing in the body. Both of these are incapable of any intrinsic activity and have no inherent knowledge. They are completely dependent on the soul for energy and vitality and conduct all their business purely dependent upon the soul’s power. Therefore, when the soul in everyone is the one and the same, the question of calling anybody good or bad, calling something mine or his, calling something beneficial or harmful or even the emotions of love and hate have no meaning as all of these imply duality, and duality is non-existent.
The saints continued further. They said that they did not hold him responsible for whatever obstacles he created for them didn’t matter because they never saw him as anybody separate from them. That was the reason they developed no hatred towards him and could not criticize him.
Whatever happens, happens because of Gods will, therefore it is unwise to criticize or be hateful towards the person physically performing the actions, since he is just the means, and not the source of anything that is occurring. It is a great sin for a saint or a true devotee to see fault in others and criticize them, for it is nothing but a criticism of God and his will.
Living ones life with peace and composure, speaking less, tolerating hardships without complaining, remaining satisfied in whatever one has and always having faith in God are the qualities of a true saint or devotee. As soon as there is a deficiency in any of these, one is promptly removed from the list of devotees. It is therefore truly a difficult thing to be a true devotee and one has to learn to tread really carefully.
True devotees do not care about worldly or heavenly desires. They are also not seeking salvation. They only strive to keep God happy. The only thing that worries them is committing an act that would anger their beloved God. That is why they always remain careful, constantly keep looking at God and keep begging for his patronage.
The true devotees are not worried about their own well being because they truly believe that God will take care of all their needs. Anyone who creates obstacles in the path of such true devotees faces the wrath of God as he can not tolerate his devotees put through miseries and hardships. The God’s sudershan chakra starts hovering on such peoples’ heads to teach them a lesson.
The saints continued — ‘you will never get a response from us for whatever adversity you put us through as your actions will be judged by God who may punish you heavily for your actions. Your guru did a great service to you by asking you to put us through all these hardships because that is the reason you are here today and are able to hear these deep spiritual secrets.’
The words of the saints had a profound effect on the king. His pride and arrogance were shattered. He could clearly see the good as well as the bad in all his past deeds. He thanked the saints for revealing the truth to him and begged them humbly to show him a path forward for receiving God’s grace and mercy. The saints replied that if he would start methodical and regular spiritual practice in their guidance he could still save himself from later misery, and endear himself to God.
As the upanishads also instruct — Aum is the bow, your soul is the arrow, and Brahma is its target. This target can only be pierced by the one whose attention does not waver. Once the target is pierced, the arrow or the soul becomes one with the target or Brahma. This is the practice, they said, which in its last stage brings one face to face with Brahma the creator and results in dissolution of all doubt. The saints concluded that once someone reaches that stage, he would have achieved everything and would not desire anything more.
The king returned to his kingdom a completely changed person. He sincerely and conscientiously committed himself to the prescribed spiritual practice and in the end achieved oneness with God.
Translated by Sanjiv Kumar from Amrit Bindu Vol 1 written by Guru Maharaj, Dr. Chaturbhuj Sahay Ji.