Bhagwan Baba always stressed upon the relentless practice of sadhana to discipline the mind and to develop moral and mental strength. He often used to visit the school hostels in his Puttaparthi School. One day he visited the boys’ hostel at lunch time and asked to see what the boys were being given. Amongst the regular menu of rice, sambar, vegetable and roti were sprouted moong grains.
Swami asked the warden what it was and also took a few to taste. As he chewed it, he grimaced, not liking the taste. The boys giggled as they saw Swami make a face at the unpalatable taste of the sprouts. The boys had always hated having them. But the warden insisted that they must. Finally, it seemed the days of the sprouts were numbered. This was going to be the beginning of the end of the daily sprout battle. The boys waited with bated breath to hear Swami, tell the warden to stop giving this unpalatable stuff to the boys.
He looked at the warden and asked, “Why do you give this to them?” The warden replied, “Swami, this is sprouted moong dal and it’s very rich in protein and fibre. We give it to them raw, because it’s very good for them to have it in this form.”
Swami said, “Is it really good for them?” “Yes, Swami!” replied the warden knowingly. “How much do you give them every day?” “One teaspoon Swami,” he gushed. “In that case, make it two teaspoons from now on!”
The boys were left gaping. What was this? Two spoons of the torturous sprouts! Swami! Why are you doing this to us? Swami smiled enchantingly and moved on. Totally unpredictable are the ways of the Lord!
The anecdote centres around sprouts, but the lesson in it runs deeper. Swami told the boys by this little incident that if something is good for you, you must take it, whether you like it or not. The way to teach self-discipline and resilience is to put yourself up to doing things you do not like to do. One normally wants to do the easier things in life, but they are not what make us strong.
Junk food like Pizza and burgers may taste yummy, but they are not really good for us. One has to train the mind to accept that tests are the taste of life. Gold shines only after being in the fire for some time, till then its impurities don’t burn away.
Swami says, “Devotion, wisdom or action (Bhakti, Jnana or Karma), must all lead to the achievement of equanimity; otherwise, they are simply a sham. The curbing of the mind will take you to the winning post.”
Let us take another example; when an animal is tethered to a post, it will not be able to go to another place and spoil it. It will not be able to show anger or violence or do harm to any person. But if it is untied and let loose, it can roam over various fields, destroy the crops and cause loss and harm to others. For the mischief it does, it gets beaten. Similarly, the mind must be bound by certain regulations and limits. As long as one lives within certain limits and disciplines, as well as particular rules and regulations, one will be able to maintain a good name and lead a happy and useful life.
Truly the one, who can control the mind, is the winner. It is discipline in the formative years that is able to mould the child into becoming a good human being. Mind control and sense control are of utmost importance! Discipline is surely the mark of intelligent living!