“When I walk on the streets, I come across so many people with frowns on their faces or with shoulders drooping. Only if there were antidotes for stress and sadness.”
my niece wondered out aloud.
“There is a common antidote but aren’t you a bit too young, sweetheart, to worry about such things?”
“Why, do you have a monopoly on hogging all the problems in the world?” She asked, indignantly.
“Seems like I’ve ruffled some feathers ..you are right, who isn’t afflicted these days..”
“My ultra wise uncle, so what is magical antidote, if indeed you have any?” She asked me, eyebrows raised.
Arms folded, with a relaxed smile on my face I replied,
“Oh come on, give me a break! I’m not looking for silly answers like that one!”
“Think about it. Your and my natural state of being is happiness. It is only when we drift from it that any other upsetting emotion can creep in.”
As she began listening with interest, I continued,
“The fundamental question is, how on Earth do I remain happy? Who am I? I identify myself with my false sense of individualism or in other words my ego. That is why I seek appreciation, set goals and give ‘myself’ credit for my achievements.
Am I entitled to back patting, really? Am I the achiever?
I am merely the doer (Karmayogi), acting on His behalf, it is He who is the true achiever.
I must understand this and shed my ego, and Bingo! there’s bliss! An abundance of it!
Then, there is no more hankering for success or being saddened if things don’t go the way I expect them to. Also there is nothing to be anxious and stressed up about either, if Iknow that results are not in my hand! At every moment I am mindful that the actual Doer is He, I am guided by Him at every step.
There’s a flip side to this too. The human mind is so conditioned about individual identity that it feels lost without it. I too, am conditioned to being ruled by the ego and only the rarest of rare, saints actually, really manage to shed their egos for good. What would drive me anymore if I do not attribute success to my own efforts? What would make my actions accountable to myself? By focusing on getting work done and dedicating the fruit of my work to Him, am I not surrendering the very source of motivation? The great conflict and eternal dilemma.”
My niece listened to me in rapt attention. “Fascinating”, she remarked.
“In that sense the ego, by itself is not good or bad. Our failing to acknowledge and understand that we are spiritual beings makes us susceptible to being dictated by our egos rather than the other way round. Thus, even for highly evolved souls, there is this tug and war.
In The Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says to his devotee Arjuna,
Think of Me, surrender to Me and you shall come to me.”
My niece said, “I have not read the Bhagavad Gita but this line of thinking makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.”
“Anytime, for my curious niece.”
Wistfully, she asked me whether I had experienced such bliss.
“Oh, quite often, Almost daily, in fact. That is when I am meditating. At that time, there is no barrier between me and Him. Even my ego bows before Him.
What’s more, sweetheart, there’s no experience more joyous than that.”