Cleverness is out of place in spiritual affairs
Kaalidaasa knew of only one Person who was free from jealousy and pride and that was Kaali, theMother. So he went to the Kaali temple and prayed before the Mother to assurehim of high status among poem. After a long time spent in intense prayer,Kaalidaasa heard a Voice emanating from the shrine and it extolled Dhandi andBhaava-bhuthi as great geniuses and scholars. There was not even a whisperabout his attainments! So, he got hurt and even enraged; he gave vent to hisire in harsh words and insisted that She should declare the truth, howeverunpleasant. Then the Voice announced, Thwamevaaham, thwamevaaham, thwamevaaham,na samshayah”— “You are Myself, you are Myself, you are Myself,without doubt!” What greater status did Kaalidaasa need than this? That isthe reply that every seeker will get, for that is his truth, his reality, hisprize and consummation. There are many stories which describe Kaalidaasa as avery resourceful poet who defeated the stratagems of his opponents by yukthi(cleverness); but his bhakthi was much greater than his yukthi. I am remindedof the cleverness of a householder when he heard at midnight the noise of hishouse being broken into by thieves. He guessed that they were within earshotand so he asked his wife loud enough to be heard by the thieves. “Why areyou torturing me thus, asking me to bring back all your jewels that I havepledged with the Maarwaari? I know that all your gold has gone to him and youknow that I have not even a rupee with me; let good times come; I shallcertainly recover them and give you. But now?” You need not be told thatthe thieves left, to enter some other house that night; they left the housethat had “no gold, not even a rupee.” Such cleverness is out of placein spiritual affairs where all artifice and artificiality are impedimentsrather than helps. It is when cleverness increases and chokes sincerity andstraightforwardness in spiritual matters and in the relationship between Godand Man that the Avathaar comes. As the Health Minister of Mysore said justnow, cleverness degenerates into conceit, and that makes man forget God who isthe inner motivator.
1. When you hear the word clever, what comes to mind?
2. Swami says that sometimes cleverness is out of place in spiritual matters, and that it chokes sincerity and straightforwardness in spiritual matters. Reflect a little. Why do you think this is so, and can you support your answer with an example?
3. What are some best practices that can ensure that we do not practice unwanted cleverness?
Learn the art of operating the human machine
You may have a costly transistor or watch or phonograph withyou, but if you do not know how to use it efficiently they are mere lumber.Now, imagine what a wonderful machine you yourself are! Should you not know howto operate it and get the best results out of it? What is the benefit, if youuse a sharp silver hilted sword to cut vegetables? Indian seers discovered theart of operating this human machine, but their descendants have allowed thatart to decline. The teachers have no desire to learn it, have no qualificationto practice it, or enthusiasm to discover it. The leaders of the people, whoare in charge of Government are unaware of it. Provided there is the thirst toknow it, even one sage who is adept in that art is enough; many can light theirlamps at the flame of that sage. Vyaasa is one such sage, the foremost and thefirst. That is why he is described as Naaraayana Himself. By imbibing theteachings of the Bhaagavatha, your thamo guna (quality of inertia) will beraised into rajo guna (quality of restless activity) and purified into sathwaguna (quality of poise and serenity). It is like the fruit growing by thecombined influence of the earth and sun first into full sourness, then topartial sweetness and finally complete sweetness, in three stages. Man too bythe twin forces of the Grace from without and the yearning from within, growsinto the complete sweetness of aanandha and prema.
4. Swami says thatby imbibing the teachings of the Bhaagavatha, your thamo guna (qualityof inertia, a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged) will be raisedinto rajo guna (quality of restless activity) and purified into sathwa guna(quality of poise and serenity). Reflecta little. Can you give examples of how thamoguna, rajaguna, and sathva guna canaffect the quality of your spiritual progress?
Affirmation: I respect my body.
Life Application skill: Please come up with one based on today’s reading.