|AHYMSIN NEWSLETTER, ISSUE - August 2019|
The One-Pointed Mind
by Swami Rama
[This passage has been taken from the book Love and Family Life, pp 27- 29, by Swami Rama, published by Himalayan Institute India.]
From the beginning of history there have been two major paths that people have taken in life in order to seek the goal of a deeper happiness and peace. A few sincere souls have decided to genuinely renounce the world’s attractions in order to attain the highest wisdom. The path of renunciation actually means not keeping or possessing anything for oneself. Instead, these wise ones serve others, knowing that by doing so they are utilizing their time and energy in the best way. Living their lives in service to others is the characteristic by which you will recognize them.
Most people, however, still experience strong and compelling attractions to many things. They want to fulfil the desires for marriage, parenthood, and the conventional life. Thus, there is a second path, which is travelled by most people in the world, called the path of action. Throughout history, there has been confusion about which of these paths is superior.
A story is told to help clarify this confusion. Once, an arrogant swami, who had meditated in the mountains for many years, boasted about his spiritual advancement, thinking that he was superior to householders. He came down from the mountains to exhibit the powers he had gained in his studies. He had such a powerful gaze that if he looked at a bird flying overhead, its wings would catch fire and burn, and the bird would fall to the ground. He was very egotistical about his supposed spiritual power.
Eventually in his travels, he came to the home of a couple and he said rudely to the woman, “I want food, and I have no time to waste. It is your duty to feed me because I devote all my time to the Lord.”
The woman, who was serving her husband’s dinner at the time, said to him quietly but firmly, “Right now, I am doing my duty toward my husband lovingly, but don’t ever make the mistake of thinking I am as powerless as that bird you killed! I have far more power than you; if you think you can hurt me, you are mistaken!”
The swami was stunned to realize that she had acquired the power to know many things about him while she was still living in the world, doing her duties as a wife. He fell at her feet and said, “Mother, clearly I have yet to understand the path of the world. Now I see that it, too, is a great path.”
But the swami was not unusual; many people do not realize the power of family life. This is a path of living in the world, loving others, and also seeking and attaining the highest wisdom. Some people who want to follow the spiritual path are not content with their lives in the world. They do not appreciate how the path of marriage and parenthood helps them to fulfil life’s ultimate purpose.
The path of a human being is not meant to be that of a loner who travels through life by himself or herself. If we want to express the meaning of life in a single sentence, it is that life means having relationships. Without relationships, life has no significance at all. The closest relationship in the world is that between a wife and husband, and the next most intimate relationship is that between parents and children.