Imaginary Conversations with God - 5
Devotee - Swami, may I repeat the question? Last time you said you have come to promote spiritual life among mankind. What is spiritual life, and what is not?
Swami - When you look at a tree, what do you see? The trunk, the branches, and the leaves, don’t you?
D - Yes swami.
S - Does the tree live on the trunk, the branches, and the leaves?
D - No Swami, it lives on its roots.
S - So that which you cannot see is the source of that which you see; and your inability to see something does not prove its non-existence.
D - Yes, so it appears.
S - A tall building stands on its foundation dug deep into the earth. The building cannot stand without its hidden foundation, will it?
D - No Swami, the foundation holds the entire building in its place.
S - Likewise, whether you are able to see it or not, a person has his roots in God, who is normally not seen. One who believes in this, and tries to feel his roots in God, begins to live a spiritual life.
D - Why then is it called spiritual, not anything else?
S - Spirit is the essence of a thing, the basis of a thing, its fundamental aspect on which it exists. You are using telephone, computer, fridge etc. How do they run? If you have no power connection in your house, will they work? No. So you see the fundamental to all these tools is electricity.
D - Then what is fundamental to life, Swami?
S - Kindness, love, devotion, sacrifice, truth, trust are some of the values without which life cannot go on. A spiritual person believes in and lives these fundamental values spontaneously.
D - But Swami, there is plenty of selfishness, cruelty, untruth, exploitation in the world, and life is going on all the same.
S - These are no doubt visible effects of a humanity which has lost its path. But if you look at it closely, you see there are a lot of goodness, kindness, love, sacrifice and truth still holding up life. Humanity is crying out for stability, and for happiness, for it knows where its fundamental needs are. Life is going on, but it is threatened at every step. Do you want this to continue?
D – Of course not. But people who do not promote these fundamental values far outnumber those who want to promote them. They can gradually suck the values that support spiritual life.
S - Unless you allow them to. Even if you allow, God won’t. Tell me, what would
you prefer: a life lived in kindness, understanding, compassion, sharing, or
a life lived in cruelty, selfishness, anger and hate?
D - I wouldn’t surely prefer the later to the former, Swami. But when I am surrounded by animal passions, I wouldn’t be allowed to live a different life. My security shall be in jeopardy. It won’t be practical.
S - If a person who believes in negative values of life can stand by them, why can’t a person who believes in positive values do the same? If you stand by God Power, God Power would stand by you. Life is meant to be an investment in light, not companionship with darkness.
D - What is God Power swami?
S - Dharma is God Power, Truth is God Power, Love , Kindness, Compassion – all this is God Power. These powers build up life, they always endure because they are fundamental to life.
D - But what would anyone get by following these spiritual values except pain, suffering, injustice and insecurity?
S - Can you assure me those who do not live these fundamental values do not go through pain, suffering, and insecurity?
D – Hmm…..no Swami.
S - Then if pain, suffering, and fear of insecurity are common to both, why not go through them for a noble purpose than for an evil purpose?
D - You have again become difficult, Swami. What is noble purpose?
S - To live on the side of God. Those who live a spiritual life, in God, they live for a cause, a value. They do not live for themselves. The world lives on their sacrifice, their faith, their love, their kindness, and their forgiveness. You know the story of Jesus. Though he had the power of saving himself from a painful death, he preferred to go through it, for he knew in his death shall be written the story of the triumph of God. Krishna says in the Geeta that the suffering and pain of spiritual people forces him to take a body. Isn’t it glorious to live and die for God than rejecting God, or being indifferent to God?
D - Swami……it appears that to live a spiritual life is a constant challenge, a constant strain!
S – Feeling strain is a sign of anxiety; anxiety is a result of doubt and lack of faith. Spirituality teaches you how to strengthen your faith; faith in God, and faith in yourself. It is a process of continuous self-renewal. I thought you wanted to be my soldier!
D - Yes Swami… I want to be your soldier… But it appears you want me to be forever in fighting trim!
S - Therefore I have a very small army, and we fight all alone to keep the humanity, the globe alive. I sometimes come down to see if I can recruit more soldiers, but my search never ends. Only those who are very efficient, very devoted, and very brave are recruited in my army. Not that I need an army to establish my greatness, but to share my joy of working together for the sake of my children makes me seek soldiers.
D - Swami, I am both scared and inspired by your words.
S - My son, there are two ways to live: to crush others in order to live a life that stinks, or to live in such a way that even if you are crushed, you leave behind a trail of fragrance. But to be sweet is not to allow the evil to crush you. Yudhistir thought he could win over evil by being good to it. He forgot that Dharma cannot be upheld by mere goodwill, you have to stand up for it, you have to protect it, and then you will receive its protection. Have you read the story of Prithviraj and Mohammed Ghori in history?
D –Yes swami. Mohammed Ghori attacked India 17 times, and 17 times Prithviraj defeated him, and forgave him. Next time his father in law betrayed him and Ghori defeated, and blinded Prithviraj.
S - Forgiveness is a fine quality, it shows your strength, not weakness. Once or twice you can forgive your enemy. But 17 times! It was the dharma of a king to protect the land and the people. Prithviraj’s personal pride prevented him from performing his duty as a king.
D - But Swami, stand up means to fight, and fighting is violence, himsa. And one of the basic principles of spirituality you have taught is ahimsa.
S - My boy, you are completely confused about the two. Suppose you have a decaying toe affected by gangrene. Doctor says you must amputate it if you want to save your body. Will you say no to him because you want to practise ahimsa?
D – No Swami, that would be foolish. To save the body I must sacrifice the sick toe.
S – And do you sacrifice it out of hate, or anger or malice?
D –No swami, I still love my toe, but its presence in the body will poison the whole body. So I agree to amputate it.
S – Therefore there is no himsa in amputating the toe. Anger is himsa, hate is himsa, greed is himsa, selfishness is himsa, destruction for personal gain is himsa. Fighting to establish greater good, as the surgeon cuts out the toe for the health of the body, is not violence.
D - It is very difficult to comprehend Swami. Please speak more about it.
S - Today I have spoken to you long. Next time we shall discuss that.