I have always loved stormy weather. The rain, the thunder and the lightning capture my heart and seem to cast a magical spell on me. I love to watch the rolling waves of the ocean under the pouring sky. Stormy weather creates its own mystical beauty, which is fascinating and astonishing; I love to watch the crackling sky and the brilliant lightning shimmer through space and vanish in the vast emptiness. In fact, I love to go to Mumbai during the monsoon, when the rains are at their peak and nature is at the height of her power, vitality and vibrancy. It is difficult to tell you about this powerful, awesome beauty, for it has a quality of divinity about it, which cannot be described but can only be experienced.
Let me share one such experience with you. I was travelling to Mumbai during the monsoons. All along the way it was beautiful. The flowers had blossomed with the touch of rain and the rocks were covered with myriad colours of green. In between the rocks and the niches, the rain water cascaded and tumbled, forming small streams and miniature waterfalls all along the road. The rain had washed away all the thick layers of dust, which summer had inflicted on the trees and rocks. The rains have this magical quality of transforming the landscape of India: it gives a fresh coat of green all around, and somehow makes everything look absolutely enchanting. Mother Nature’s ways are indeed mysterious and captivating!
If you have ever taken the old highway from Pune to Mumbai during the monsoon, you would have seen hundreds of people soaking wet in the rain, as they take in the freshness and the life-giving quality of the pure rain water. Seeing the splendour of the monsoon, I thought to myself, “This rain, our life-giving south-west monsoon, falls only during four months of the year. But there is the rain of grace, which falls continuously on us, all our lives, sweeping away the accumulated dust and dirt of a dead past. Alas, why do we not get drenched in this shower of abiding grace?”
We, in India, are very particular about our morning bath; for many devout souls, it is almost a ritual. We clean our physical bodies, but, we rarely cleanse our inner self.
The rains have this magical quality of transforming the landscape of India: it gives a fresh coat of green all around
Three kinds of rain
Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani often used to tell us that there are three kinds of rain. The first one is the pure waters of the satsang. These Divine waters flow through the sacred words of saints and from the scriptures. They flow from the positive circle of the continuous incantation of prayers and mantras. These words cleanse your interior, and give you an integration of mind, heart and soul. These words purify you even as the holy waters of the Ganga cleanse you from within. The waters of the satsang are indeed a source of great purification.
The very word satsang, means fellowship of truth and truth, as we know, is a hard taskmaster. Truth is ever vigilant and, like a sentinel, stands brandishing its iron weapon, preventing any unauthorised entry into its domain. For inside the domain of truth, there is only truth, there is One Name and One Love. Once you enter this domain you cannot come out. Satsang of the true type permits you to glimpse this realm; it enriches, empowers and beautifies the inner self.
The second type of rain is the experience of the interior world. You can contact this source of grace through meditation and silent communion with the Divine.
The third type of rain is experienced through selfless service. We all need to have the experience of selfless service. This is like a shower of blessing and joy that invigorates our very spirits. We should spare at least a part of our expenses to be spent in the service of the poor. The waters of selfless service have a magical effect on the body, mind and spirit. They wash away the ego, the cobwebs of the mind and the lower emotions of the heart. Selfless service washes our inner instrument or antahkarana, and leaves us with a lasting feeling of joy that no personal extravagance can ever match. Selfless service should be undertaken with a feeling of devotion. It is an offering to God.
The waters of selfless service have a magical effect on the body, mind and spirit
A word of caution to workaholics
It is true that all work is worship of God; and we should put maximum effort into whatever we wish to achieve. But, work should not be killing! It should not drain your spirit or kill you with the slow poison of stress, anxiety and fear.
My dear ones, do not become workaholics, create time for your own self. For, ultimately you have to live for your own self. Allot time for silent meditation, for your soul needs meditation. Have you ever wondered what is the noblest thing on the earth? Let me answer, in the words of my Gurudev, “The noblest work is to cultivate the soul.” In order to cultivate the soul, we should sow the seeds of love, selfless service and devotion.
We should set apart time for silent communion with God, and offer the service of love to those who are less fortunate than we are. We will then experience divinity in our everyday life.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa often gave the example of a goldsmith. A goldsmith burnishes the gold in the fire, he bellows the air and moulds the gold into a beautiful shape. This is a tremendous effort, after which he relaxes with his hookah, inhaling the aroma of tobacco. Like the goldsmith, we too should put in our best efforts and then relax in silence, inhaling and exhaling the Name Divine. The Name Divine can be of Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Jesus, Buddha or anyone who to us is symbolic of the Truth.
In order to cultivate the soul, we should sow the seeds of love, selfless service and devotion
Bliss is your birthright
Keep your heart pure, the heart is the seat of the Lord. Decorate the interiors of your heart with love, longing and devotion. Let your heart be pure and divine. This will happen only when you sublimate your senses, creating a pure and a loving place for the Lord to reside. Once the senses are sublimated, the Divine Energy, the positive life force will flow in.
This Divine Energy is there within each one of us, but it is barricaded, blocked, suppressed by the lower emotions. Hence, we are unable to feel, to experience the beauty of the Divine Energy. Take the first step on this inner journey, discover your ‘self’, and the miraculous wonders of the interior world. Experience the bliss that is there within you, and belongs to you as your birthright. This journey will ultimately lead you out of the cycle of birth and death.
Adapted with permission from How to overcome depression By J P Vaswani
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