Updated on: Tuesday, June 01, 2021, 02:26 AM IST

Guiding Light: You are your own prison!


Yesterday, a dear and esteemed brother met me. There were tears in his eyes. And in a voice touched with plaintiveness, he said to me: “The spiritual urge is growing within me, from more to more. I feel that I can no longer do the humdrum duties of an office assistant. Surrounded by files and meaningless papers, feel unhappy, miserable. I want to resign and belong wholly to my Guru and my God!'

True it is that at one time or the other, the words are wrung out of the hearts of the vast majority of men: “I feel unhappy, miserable!” And the mind, which does not rest content until it has discovered a reason for every happening, a cause for every effect, examines outer conditions and places its finger on this circumstance or that as the cause of unhappiness.

Among thousands of men scarcely one sets out in search, of God -- says the Gita. Many of those who seek the Lord, alas! do not seek Him aright. I have heard a number of my brothers exclaim:

“How I wished I lived, far from the madding crowds of men, in the depths of a jungle or on the heights of a mountain-peak!” They forget that it is not where they live that matters but how they live. It is not where they work or what work they do that counts but how they work. So many, however, believe that they will never be happy unless they are in a particular place or doing a particular type of work. And because their desires are not fulfilled they feel an inner restlessness and an urge to “escape” life which they misinterpret as spiritual awakening.

Spiritual life begins with forsaking oneself. “You are your own prison,” says Pir Jamal. “Arise and quickly depart!” “The heart inquired of the soul, what is the beginning of this business?" asks the Sufi Saint, Ansari of Herat, and answers: “The beginning of it is the annihilation of self.”

And again:

The way to the Beloved

Is the way of self-loss!

There is no other secret to be revealed,

And more than this is not known to me!

(Dada J.P. Vaswani is humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader.)

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Published on: Tuesday, June 01, 2021, 02:26 AM IST