What I Wish to Never Forget!
– By Sri Swamiji
Many people say that during their visit abroad they had seen a park or a building or some event that turned to be an unforgettable matter in their life. Some recall the taste of some food eaten and claim that they are unable to forget that in their life. There are yet others who speak of some wonderful music that they had enjoyed and are unable to forget that. Some speak of a hill station that they had visited and say that the natural surroundings and the climate there had come to stay in their memory.
In this way to each and every one, some matter seen, heard, tasted or felt gets engraved in his memory. They feel happy in thinking of it often and also sharing it with others.
Once Kanchi Mahaperiyava said, “I was passing through a village when I saw a little girl hitting her small brother and admonishing him ‘Will you speak a lie ever again? Can one lie in life? Is not truth important’?”
Recalling this incident Mahaperiyava said, “I am unable to forget this incident in my life. I thought that I must earn the steadfast faith this little girl had in truth.”
Once Mahaperiyava had camped near Pallakad. An elderly gentleman who had come for Mahaperiyava’s darshan left as it was time for his daily worship. But he returned within a short time. Mahaperiyava asked him, “You went to conduct worship. Why have you come back?”
The elderly gentleman said, “Periyava! My mind was not in the worship. Not desiring to do puja without mental involvement I have come back here.”
Mahaperiyava said,“From this I learnt that one should not do puja without mental involvement. I shall never forget this.”
Likewise, I am not willing to forget some incidents that I have seen, heard and experienced in my life.
Once, I had gone on a visit to a home in a village. They had made all arrangements for a grand welcome–the entrance had been decorated with mango leaves, huge kolams drawn on the floor and purna kumbam. The members of the house told me, “There is a temple of our family deity where Kumbabhishekam needs to be performed. Right now no puja is being conducted there.” They also prayed for a good bride for the young man in the family. They were also very anxious that the married daughter of the family be blessed with a child. They then showed me great hospitality.
I then asked the head of the family, “Do you have your parents?”
He said, “My father is not alive but my mother is.” I was then taken in to see the mother. She was a very old woman. There was no cloth on her body. Flies were swarming all over the body. They had sprinkled disinfectant all over the floor. While on the one hand I felt deeply saddened by and worried over the old women’s plight, on the other hand it was really funny to see these people’s nature. I was reminded of the words of Kapila Vasudeva to His mother Devahuti in Srimad Bhagavatam. He tells his mother that the old will be treated like a dog at home. I thought that I should never forget this scene…ever! Because the thought of this scene would help me realize what old age meant and thus deepen my dispassion. This is an incident that I saw.
Once, I visited the Adyar cancer hospital where a man known to me was undergoing treatment for cancer. There I saw a young boy. He had cancer in the ear. I saw many–from children to old people suffering from cancer of the mouth, tongue, etc.–undergoing treatment there. I saw thatched chemotherapy, radiation treatment that they were all undergoing is not only very punishing in this age but very painful and harsh. Further, these cancer patients are in the gruesome state of awaiting death with only a short span of life left. All these got imprinted in my mind. I did not wish to forget these scenes. I desire to hold them in my thought always.
Likewise, once, I went to see a young man who was a victim of an accident. I was told that he was in coma state for the past twenty years. I desire to retain this too in my memory. I do not desire to forget my visits to a death house or a crematorium, where the body that had all along been running around doing this and enjoying that, is now burnt. The body that could not bear the pain of the prick of a thorn or the burn of a small incense stick, lay there without responding even when burnt down totally. I do not desire to forget these scenes in order to remember that this verily is the end fate of my body too. I also see some people having to do all sorts of things, all through their life, only to come out of some problems they have been caught in. I also see people doing extremely well in life being pushed to a penniless state and those in ordinary state of life being lifted to a high state.
All these only bear testimony to the fact that nothing is everlasting in life. I desire to ever hold only scenes of old age, death, disease, sorrow and accidents in my memory. This is because remembering scenes of happiness is of no use at all. Dispassion is earned only by remembering scenes of this kind. We may also have to face all these or some of these in our life; or we may not face them. We know not what our state will be tomorrow. Therefore, today, when I am placed in a good state, in every way and every moment, I must work hard to attain the state of Jivan Mukti in which none of these, when faced with, will affect us.
By HH Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji
From MadhuraMurali Magazine, English Edition, 2016