Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Chaubeyji wanted to cross the river one dark and windy night. He had come to the other side of the river to meet someone this morning. The day had just passed loitering around the festive bazaars and chit-chatting with old friends. In the company of his friends he had a drink or two. As the day drew to a close, he realized that it was high time he went home to the other side of the river.
When he looked for a boatman, he found that there was no one around. Perhaps it really was very late. He looked around desperately and saw a small little boat near the river bank. He got into it and decided to row himself to the other side.
All night he kept rowing. It was difficult for him to keep awake because he was so tired after the day’s activities. The wind blew harshly and it was quite a task for Chaubeyji to keep himself awake as well as afloat in the water.
His biceps hurt as he continued to row. He strained his eyes to see the other side of the shore but the moonlight was too dim for the new moon was barely a sickle in the dark sky.
He stared at the crescent in the sky and wondered when the solar deity would wake up. After what seemed like eternity, the glow of dawn lit up the dark waters.
But, what was this? Was he still on this side of the shore? But he had rowed hard all night. He had not rested even for a second. How could it be so?
His tired eyes narrowed slowly on to a rope. And he realized that the boat was tied to the shore by the rope. He had rowed all night, but because of the rope, he had gotten nowhere. All his hard work had resulted into nothing.
How stupid of him to not untether the boat before getting into it! He was just where he was last night …
So too it is in life. Sometimes, we are so attached to the mundane that all efforts on the spiritual path are exercises in futility.
If we want to reach the other side of the Bhavsagar, we have to cut the ties that bind.
This story reminded me of a poem that I learnt in nursery school. This is how it was – ‘Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!’
It’s alright for a child to feel that life is but a dream, but as adults, we do need to realize that the dream is going to end one day and we shall wake up to the reality. But are we prepared for it?
We have to give up our pursuit of sensory objects if we seek lasting peace and joy. Material wealth brings along with it not only joy but grief as well. Accumulation of riches and multiplication of wants only lead to alternation between joy and grief. Attachment is the root of both joy and grief; detachment is the saviour.
Baba says, “Through the process of ‘giving up’, great things can be achieved. Cultivate detachment, and the Lord will attach Himself to you.”