Brats And Birds
An old man had five married sons. His wife had died. All of them lived together in the same house. Theirs was a large house. There were many grandchildren, of all ages in the house.
All day long the house was abuzz with activity. The day would start with the toddlers crying for milk; the mothers hurrying around doing housework and dropping the kids off to school. There were activities like yoga, singing, aerobics, guitar, chess, cricket, tuitions, homework etc. happening all day. The children and the servants would be shouting, playing and running up and down the stairs all afternoon.
The old man would try to meditate and concentrate on prayer, but due to the incessant disturbance in the house, he was unable to and this led to a lot of frustration.
One day he just left the house and went to the jungle. He found a large tree, cleared some space under it and sat down to meditate. Moments later, he felt an insect crawling on his foot. He opened his eyes to see the insect. He shook it away, only to be disturbed by a bumble bee buzzing around his nose. He shook his head and waved his hands to ward it off. Minutes later he felt a bird dropping on his head. He was at his wits end! He got up enraged and shouted. “Brats, in the house! Beetles and bees, bugs and birds in the jungle! Where the hell should I go?”
He walked towards the village, looking for suitable place, but found none. So fed up was he, that he decided to put an end to his life, thinking that he would take birth again, in favourable circumstances and then continue with his sadhna in his next life.
He built a pyre and sat on it. He was about to light it and immolate himself, when a man shouted out and said, “If you must immolate yourself, wait a while till the wind turns its direction. If you burn yourself now, the stench shall come our way and pollute our houses. And if you are so impatient to do so just now, then pick up your pyre and shift it to another place. But do not disturb our peace.”
That was the last straw! He couldn’t even die in peace!
In a moment of realization he understood that the peace that he sought to achieve by prayer and meditation could not be achieved by changing the external situation. Changing the externals would just change the nature of the circumstances, but the real issue would remain.
Why? Because the real issue was within him! The mind has to be quietened and quelled. It has to be groomed and trained to look inwards, not outwards. It is not easy, but it’s the only way. The sound of our breath is a constant reminder of who we are. Every time we breathe in, the sound ‘so’ and every time we breathe out, the sound ‘hum’ is created. ‘So-hum’ means- I am that. It is a constant reminder that ‘I’ am one with God. He and I are one. So with every inhalation-exhalation, we are reminded of the Divinity latent in us … yet we forget!
The mind is like a mad monkey. Swami always says, when you feel that your mind is agitated and jumps around like a mad monkey, sit down in a corner and repeat to yourself slowly, “I am not a monkey; I am a man. I am not a monkey; I am a man …”
The eye, the ear, the tongue, etc. are like wild horses that have no bridle between the teeth, unlike trained horses. We must learn one discipline – controlling of our senses. If we can do that, we can achieve a lot!