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Dialogue with Guru: The reasons for failure

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Once upon a time, there lived a guru and sisya (teacher-student). Both were very lazy, corrupt and drunkard, but, both loved each other. The orders of the master were duly followed by the disciple and the requests of the disciple were always met by the master.

Once, the disciple said to his master — ‘Guruji, let’s go for sightseeing and explore all the villages situated on the bank of this river. Let us see all the various places.’ ‘Son what is there in sightseeing? All the places are the same. Whatever is here is present elsewhere. There is no difference, then why to labour in vain?’ the master replied. The disciple was sad with the reply of his master. The master observed the sadness of his disciple, so he said, ‘If you are so eager to see places, then let’s go for it.’ The master and disciple started their voyage. After travelling for a while, both of them reached a very big and beautiful village on the bank of the river, they consumed liquor and having taken their meal they decided to spend the entire night, rowing the boat.

Both of them sat on the boat and started rowing. When both of them felt completely exhausted, they decided to stop the journey. They stopped and fell asleep in a deep slumber. As soon as they woke up, they moved their eyes in all the four directions. ‘Look, my son, everything is the same as it was before the start of this journey. The village, the garden, all appear the same,’ the master said to his disciple. ‘Yes Guruji! Everything is same as before,’ the disciple answered. ‘Didn’t I tell you, everything is same everywhere,’ the master said. ‘Truely said, Guruji! Every word of yours is true. I am blessed to have a master like you. You are a tatvadarsi (the one who perceives the essence of everything),’ the disciple replied. ‘Let’s go back then,’ said the master. ‘Ok Guruji, let’s go,’ the disciple replied.


As they began rowing the boat, they realized that the boat was still tied to the wooden post.

The inebriated pair of guru-sisya remained at the same place as they were before starting their journey, inspite of rowing for the entire night because they had not untide the rope. Similarly, man remains in the same place where he was, all the while wandering in the intoxicated state of ignorance.

Caught in a tailspin of accomplishing a great number of tasks at a time, none is accomplished due to the lack of concentration. Our mind craves to perform other tasks, leaving the preceding actions incomplete. This only leads to wastage of labour and time and finally results in discontentment of mind. Systematizing and establishing balance between thoughts and actions check the wastage of labour and energy and the person is able to the climb the ladders of success.

Expecting others to be like us and follow our directions is the root cause of all the mental tensions and meaningless complications. To get rid of these situations, it is important to silently and peacefully accomplish one’s own task and to let others work in their own fashion. Never try to pressurize anyone nor drain out your valuable time and energy to appease someone.

It is futile to expect others to accept our words, follow our instructions, take interest in us and help us. These desires are wrong and even harmful. It is better not to remain emotionally dependent on others.

It is better to forget all the painful old memories that get triggered in our mind. Forgetting bad moments is as essential as remembering the good things. We must forget- all the things related to unhealthiness so as to gain well-being of body, mind and conduct. We should not remember the painful unpleasant incidents that hurt and make our heart filled with sorrows. We need to concentrate our mind on all the good and holy actions and need not pay attention to the painful matters.

The best way to be free from stress is to forget the sorrows. It has also been said: Bhaisajyametaddhi duhkhanam yadetannanucintayet. (Mahabharata-l 7.3)

Some achieve greatness by losing everything and some bite the dust, even after acquiring everything. The answer is
revealed slowly as the time goes by.

The importance of will-power and hard-work

If a person has a strong will-power in him, then it gets so much work done through him that it leaves others stupefied.

If we try to escape from hard work, then subsistence too becomes very difficult. Those who steal, employ deceit and cunning, in order to acquire food, clothing and to fulfil their yearnings, can never accomplish any great work.

Adore the character not image

We should adore the character, not image; personality, not the person. We must refrain from worshipping mere idols of stone. By becoming the devotees of the Supreme consciousness and through the power of Yoga, may we infuse the stone-hearted with the stream of consciousness of bhakti (devotion) and patriotism? The foundation of vedic-sanatana culture is- if wealth is lost, then nothing is lost; if health is lost, then something is lost; but if character is lost (due to corruption), then everything is lost.
(Excerpted from the book  Divine Transformation: Building Blocks for Enlightened Life, Ideal Nation & Peaceful World by Acharya Balakrishna)

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