A boy stood on the parapet of a well, ready to jump in to recover his ball which had fallen in. A person who was standing by tried to dissuade him, warning him that he may sink in the deep water and be drowned. The boy’s father happened to be passing by and did his best to reason with the lad. Finding him stubbornly bent on jumping, the father gave a smart slap and drove him home. Would you here blame the father as unkind to his son?
Precisely similar is what happens between the disciple and his sadguru. The disciple, in his ignorance, goes on asking for fulfillment of mundane desires. The sadguru reasons with him to dissuade him. If the disciple still insists stubbornly, the sadguru uses more stringent deterrents such as obstacles and calamities, and tries his best to save him despite his protests. We profess to be educated, grown up, wise, and yet are eager for fulfillment of mundane desires. The sadguru may advise the disciple, in his own interest, not to marry, while the latter asks imploringly and persistently when he will find a wife; he may finally go to the length of saying that the guru is an ignoramus. This is because we see and seek happiness only in the sense perceptions. The sadguru, on the other hand, knowing as he does where true happiness lies, tries to dissuade us from following our fanciful notion of happiness. It is therefore in our own interest to listen to his advice. We shall attain true happiness by implicit obedience to his behests. What he does in advising us is to extricate our mind from wherever it may have got stuck with false fancies.
When it is said that God protects the devotee, it does not mean that He destroys the calamities; rather, He so fortifies the devotee’s mind that he can meet them calmly and courageously, with a contented mind. He ensures that the devotee is ever mindful of God. It is such devotees that eventually attain sainthood.
To feel respect for a learned man one must oneself be learned to some extent; to recognize a saint one must oneself possess at least some saintliness. The main essential quality is devotion. The external appearance and behaviour may differ according to the place and times, but love for God is an unvarying quality common to all saints.
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