Prof Ved Guliani
In every spiritual practice the first priority is purifying one’s mind and soul of all the vices and sins. One is persuaded to come out of the entanglement of the five major vices of Anger, Attachment, Greed, Ego and Lust. People undertake many different ways to attain the goal and yet they remain dissatisfied with their efforts. They undertake fasts, visits to the holy places and buildings, take bath in the ‘holy’ waters of this and that river or pond apart from many other rituals and practices. Regular religious discourses and such discussions are the other means of attempting the purification. But how should one ensure that this purification is surely attained?
The other day a friend of mine sent me a small story, which I think answers this question. I relate that story in my words. Once, an old man lived in a mountain village with his grandson. The grandson admired the old man almost in everything and therefore tried to follow him in as much detail as possible. The old man had the habit of reading the Hindu scripture ‘The Geeta’ regularly daily in the morning. He had a small table in the kitchen where he would sit for his regular reading and meditation. The young boy also followed his grandfather.
One day the boy said to the old man, “Baba, I have been reading the Geeta for so many days. But frankly I cannot understand all that I read and then, whatever I understand I generally forget.” The old man was sitting by the hearth where a pile of ash had accumulated. He told the boy to first take the ash in a basket and put it in the nearby river. He also asked him to bring back a ‘basket-full’ of water. Surprised at the strange demand, the boy went without any question.
He filled the basket with water and before he could reach back home, all the water had leaked. The grandfather said, “You need to run faster with the basket.” He went back to the river but the result remained the same. “O, child, you did not run fast enough to reach home with water.” The boy went for water a third time, but could bring no water. Finally, he said to the old man, “Baba, you see it is practically impossible to fetch water in this manner. I will bring water in a bucket.” But the old man said, “I want a basket of water and not a bucket of water.”
Helpless, the boy went again, knowing so well the outcome of this effort. At last he gave up. Now the grandfather said, “I knew no one can bring water in a basket. But now look at the basket. Earlier it was dirty and black with ash, but now it is shining inside out. Every single speck of ash has been washed away.” The boy was also surprised at the clean-looking basket. “So is the case with your soul and mind, my child. With every reading of the Geeta you might have felt that you have not gained anything, but you continued with the effort, the way you tried to bring water in the basket. With such a consistent effort your basket-like soul and mind were getting purer.”
Naturally, one should make persistent efforts to reach the goal, though the success may seem even unattainable. We do make gains with every single word of spiritual wisdom heard or read, though we may not realize our true gains at that very moment.
Prof Ved Guliani is associated with Brahmakumari, Mount Abu, Rajasthan