Chapter 7: SCATTERED PEARLS
Both east and west are standing on the opposite shores. The eastern culture makes man an introvert; the western culture makes him an extrovert.
The base of the eastern culture is observing the soul while that of the western culture is observing the nature. Eastern culture worships the powerful life force as God and western culture worships the trivial demon of materialism. East holds a pitcher of cool water while that of the west holds burning wood.
Why look at the beauty? Look at the qualities. Why look at the family background? Look at the character. Why look at the learning? Look at the miracle of inspiration. Why look at speech? Look at the actions. Why look at penance (Tapas)? Look at forgiveness and tolerance. Why look at religion? Look at the feeling of kindness.
There are struggles and fights as long as your sight is on the road. As soon as you sight the goal you get complete satisfaction. Oh good people! Why are you fighting over the paths of different beliefs? Get going towards that shining goal of the highest truth.
Lamps are lit on the dark Dipavali night and kept outside the doors and on the windowsills. What kind of Dipavali is this? Bright flames are scintillating outside while the darkness inside is whimpering in fear. The festival of light must be celebrated with light both inside and outside.
The dignity of humanness in man lies only in his giving away more than he gets. If not more, at least half should be given away. Man possesses two hands for earning. But he uses only one hand for eating. Earning by both hands, giving away by both hands and eating by one is humanity. And eating by both hands is beastliness.
Big men and leaders in the society or nation have big responsibility. They can spread happiness among people only when they themselves are in the state of sorrow. Leaders are destined only to drink poison. People whose leaders drink nectar, themselves drink poison. And people whose leaders drink poison, themselves drink nectar. If Lord Shiva had not drunk the poison that came out at the time of churning the ocean, the gods could not have at all been able to drink the nectar. Nectar comes only after poison.
Freedom is such an extraordinary thing that it gives happiness even during the state of starvation and excites every atom of the heart. The bird is safe in the cage, assured of its food etc. Why is it sad then? Because, after all, he depends upon others. He wants to fly freely in the vast sky. What does it matter if he remains hungry or thirsty or gets killed at the hands of some wicked person? When I see free Indians clamouring for their right for food, it appears to me that in their eyes, there is some value of food, but no value at all for freedom. To die in freedom is to be like a lion and to enjoy rich food under dependence on others is to be like a vulture.
Who is more important? A senior person or a superior person? Senior means older and superior means the best. Some people say they are big in wealth. I say, “You may be big in wealth, but are you also superior in wealth?” When wealth is used for the benefit of others then it gains superiority. Some people say they are big in intellect. I say, “You may be big in intellect but are you also superior in intellect? When intellect is used for the benefit of human society then it gains superiority. Superiority is greater than seniority among the whole world; therefore try to achieve superiority and not seniority. Actually, the dignity of seniority lies in superiority.
Oh man! You have the right to despise sin but not the sinner. Sin can never be righteousness but a sinner can abandon sin and become a great righteous person tomorrow, today or even at this moment.
Smartness lies not in speaking more but in silently listening more. A man must be fast in understanding and slow in listening.
Why are you wandering in the jungle? Is there anything you can do in the jungle that you cannot do at home? If you cannot do anything at home, then what can you do in the jungle?
A swan picks up pearls and a crow picks up spit. You decide what you want to be, a swan or a crow.
Oh thundering clouds! Thunder and thunder more. I love the sound of your thunder; I listen to your thunder a thousand times because you are the clouds that rain. When it comes to people who act, it is not a sin to speak, it is their right.
Eh! Why are you thundering and making everybody deaf? You do not want to rain and are thundering for nothing. When the speech is not backed by action then that speech does not befit the speaker.
O little cloud! You came quietly and rained. Did not say anything. Did not give any warning. In one stroke you covered the whole ground with water. You are great and praiseworthy. You understand the secret of the art of living. Raining silently is the beauty of life. Anyone who does not speak but acts, expresses his speech through action, becomes highly respected.
What kind of cloud are you, neither thundering nor raining? Roaming the vast sky uselessly like half-dead insects, stumbling, getting depleted as you go? What kind of life is it? Nobody knows whether you are coming or going. The meaning of life is to be a dignified character. Can an unknown life be called life?
There is a flower, beautiful no doubt but without fragrance. There is another that is fragrant but not beautiful. A third one is neither beautiful nor fragrant. The fourth is both beautiful and fragrant.
Bhagwan Mahavir says, you must be the fourth kind of flower. There should be beauty as well as fragrance in it. It should appear soft from outside and the fragrance of truth and non-violence, love etc. should be from inside. It should give fragrance while living and its fragrance should spread even after death. The speciality of human flower is that even after fading and falling off it leaves behind its fragrance permanently.
At Gandhi Maidan in Delhi near the Mahavir temple, I note that children gather around the jamun tree and all eyes are on the ripe dark jamuns. A stone is picked up and thrown, aimed at the jamuns. They wait for some time to see whether or not it has stuck the bunch of fruits. If the fruits fall then everybody jumps to pick up them and put them in the bag. And if one misses, then they pick up and throw another stone and again there is the same wait. Man also must make his life like that. This life is the life of a player. The dice is thrown and one waits for the result to see whether it is favourable or unfavourable. Man makes efforts and waits for the results. If he is successful then well and good, otherwise try again. Man’s right is to make efforts, not to always gain the desired fruits. Only throwing a stone is in children’s hands not hitting the fruit.
The immortal desire of my life is to burn like an incense stick in the service of the public, burning slowly to the last, and to spread the fragrance of the service to people in the surroundings.
Look how the lightning dances from here to there in the faraway dark clouds. Fire in water! Is it not surprising? The beautiful message of achieving a balance between two mutually opposite things is the basic gift of nature, if any person is fortunate enough to understand it.
Cow eats husk and gives milk. Man eats good food and what does it give? … Faeces. Cow also gives faeces but in the form of dung that is used to coat the front yard of our house. Dry cow dung burns to cook bread and the ash cleans used utensils. And what does man’s faeces do? …. Human mother feeds milk to her baby and gets the right to be served for lifetime. But cow gives milk throughout her lifetime. Just think how much right a cow has to be served by man. Human race will have to give the correct answer to this question, if not today, at least tomorrow.
Do you wish to learn something from the peacock? If you do then learn this that people look at his beauty while it itself looks at the ugliness of his feet.
Learn from the ants how to walk together. Look at how they march towards their goal together in a line. The journey goes on silently and calmly without making a noise.
When you have a cane in your hands, it gives you an advice. What advise? Even though I am lifeless, I give you strength and assistance. And though you have life, do you ever give strength and assistance to the weak?
Man should be like a rose in his surroundings. Let this life be a rose in a bloom, which by every action and thought spreads a sweet fragrance that pleases the heart and mind.
Clouds are thundering in the sky, it is raining and a cool, mild, fragrant breeze is flowing when a peacock dances and speaks happily. His happiness lies in the happiness of others. Where the hearts of thousands of farmers thump on seeing the clouds, the mind of the peacock also thumps. Have you ever been like this, happy in other people’s happiness and danced and talked?
If your watch does not show correct time, are you not worried about repairing it? Definitely you are! In the same way, if your brain is not able to think properly, is it not something to be worried about? Dishonesty, whether it be of a clock or a companion, needs to be set right immediately.
What does an elephant do? It takes dust in his trunk and puts it on his head. What is the meaning of this? However much you nurture, decorate the body, make it big and fat, it has to go finally in the dust.
Oh man! There is darkness all around you. People are wandering, knocking against each other and going on the path of destruction. Actually, darkness within us is equally bad. Do you wish to come out of this darkness? If you do, then become the constant flame of love, kindness and truth. The coming out is pleasant when your flame illuminates even the dark face of darkness.
Oh man! If you are somebody’s son then think -- Have you done your duty as a son? What blessings have you taken from your father? How high have you raised his dignity by your good behaviour? How much time have you spent for giving him timely service and when? Does your father feel pleased on seeing you? Does he praise you now and then? Has he to shed any tears in the corner his heart on account of you?
Oh man! If you are somebody’s father then think -- Have you fulfilled your duty as a father? Have you educated your child? Have you passed on to him the message of humanity? How much have you elevated him? How much inspiration has he received from you for becoming a proper citizen of the country?
Oh man! If you are somebody’s brother, then think -- Have you fulfilled your duty as a brother? The criterion for testing the brotherliness of a brother is whether one finds happiness in brother’s happiness and sorrow in his sorrow. How much have you stood up to this criterion and when? How much of your own desires did you sacrifice for your brother and when? How much of a partner did you make him in your wealth and when? If you are the elder brother, have you ever become Rama? And if you are the younger brother, have you ever become Laxman?
Oh man! If you are anybody’s neighbour, then think -- Have you fulfilled your duty as a neighbour? How much of the sweetness of your speech has your neighbour received from you? How much of your friendship has been securely kept in the safe of his mind? Have you ever considered his son as your son and his daughter as your daughter? Have you treated his wife as your sister? Have you mixed your tears in his tears, your laughter in his laughter? The duty of a real neighbour is to consider neighbour’s honour as his own honour and neighbour’s gains and losses as his own gains and losses. When you get a chance, test yourself on this criterion.
Sister! If you are somebody’s mother then think -- Have you fulfilled your duty as a mother? How much and when have you loved your sons and daughters? How much and when have you taught them religion and ethics? Have you ever, out of love, resorted to improper means to get them food, clothes and other items? Have you kept enmity towards other people’s children on account of your own children? How much friendship and courtesy has developed among your own children, other children in the family and those of the surrounding neighbours because of you? Have you sprinkled the poison of hate related to high and low castes or individuals in the delicate mind of any of your children?
Sister! If you are somebody’s wife then think -- Have you fulfilled your duty as a wife? Have you held improper feelings towards the other members of your husband’s family? Do you have feelings of faith, devotion and service towards your father-in-law and mother-in-law same as you have for your own parents? Have you spent more time on lusty pleasures and ornaments ignoring the matter of cleanliness even when the conditions at home were not good? Did you nag your husband for beautiful ornaments and clothes? Have you behaved properly, with friendliness with your sisters-in law and other neighbours? Did you gauge yourself whenever you had time in comparison with Sita and Draupadi? Remember, your job is to spread fragrance like a fresh rose. Just let the fragrance of your spotless life spread in the surroundings.
Oh man! If you are somebody’s husband then think -- Have you fulfilled your duty as a husband? Are you considering your wife as your co-traveller? Are you behaving with her like a friend and an equal? Are you hurting her friendly and delicate mind due to ego or due to instigation by others? Are you limiting the conjugal love only to your wife? Do you consider her to be just a means of satisfying your lust? Are you experiencing pleasure and sorrow in your wife’s pleasure and sorrow? Are you engaged day and night in her service whenever she is sick? Have you dared to save the dignity of your wife at the cost of your life when difficult circumstances arise?
Oh man! If you are a shopkeeper then stay away from black-marketing. Don’t cheat your customers; don’t keep your eyes on profit; pay attention to the convenience and the satisfaction of the customers. Show him what should be shown and give what has been shown. See that you do not stain the honour of your society and country by your improper behaviour.
Oh man! If you are a teacher then be like a father to your students. Teach them proper behaviour along with proper education. Do not pass small, retrograde, dirty thoughts on to them. You have been assigned the great work of bringing up the children of this country from the viewpoint of both their thinking and behaviour. Children are like balls of earth. You make idols of Rama, Krishna, Mahavir, Buddha, Gandhi and Nehru from them. You have to turn these ignorant animals into man and God; you have been given the responsibility of developing good people and good citizens for the sake of the society and the nation. See that you do not make any mistake.
Oh man! If you are an official of the government machinery then do you think that – “I am an unimportant servant of the public. My job is not to administer but to serve. The public has selected me for serving it by providing its money to me and my family for eating, drinking, wearing clothes etc.” -- You don’t take bribe from anybody, do you? Are you taking regular money instalments from anybody? Do you consider your work as an unnecessary burden? Are you canvassing improperly for any particular person, family, caste or religion?
Oh man! If you are a man then your duty is to earn the means of your living by hard work. Sincerity and honesty are your greatest virtues. Snatching or grabbing something from others like a beast or a demon is not you religion.
Man should not be like the wick of a lamp. What kind of adventure is it to get extinguished like a lamp just by a whiff of difficulty or opposition? It is all dark with no sign of light anywhere. Man must be like the burning embers, which burn stronger and turn into a great inferno instead of getting extinguished by a strong wind.
Experience the infinite knowledge, activity and power within you. You are not meant to crawl like worms of lust. You are an eagle, an eagle with infinite power. You fly up to the infinite height of your infinite qualities.
Oh man! Your God is not in a stone nor in wood, nor in fire, nor in water, nor in the sky, nor in the earthen idol. He is inside you, inside your every nerve. You yourself are your own God. Is there any God other than you? Nobody! Some philosophers have called you a two-armed God. See that your godliness does not go to dust because of your mistakes.
O man! Do you have any strength in you or not? If you have, keep boiling like the underwater fire even as you remain inside the vast water body. Do not cool down. If the boiling is like that of hot milk that subsides by a few drops of water, can it be called boiling?
Oh human being! Why do you go madly after this world? Why are you disturbed? Other than a few breaths what else do you have for living here? What kind of attraction and love is it towards this momentary life? And what kind of anger or hate?
If you want to accumulate faults in the store of your mind then look towards your qualities and if you want to accumulate qualities then look at your faults. Decide about what do you prefer.
Oh man! If any needy person comes to your door then welcome him from the bottom of your heart. Indian culture considers a guest not just a guest but as God. Therefore serve the guest with the feeling that he is God. The success of life depends upon it.
Oh human being! Can that pit in your mind be ever filled? There is a limit to accumulation in this world. The means of acquiring wealth and pleasure are but few. And what about the thirst of the mind? Oh! It is unlimited. Can an unlimited be filled with limited? Can a mound of earth fill the belly of the sky? Can a burning fire extinguish by adding fuel to it? No! Never! You have to reduce the stretch of your mind. You have to restrict your needs. The hunger of the mind is not met by accumulation. It will be met only through satisfaction and sacrifice. To extinguish fire, you need water. Not fuel.
A real saint remains cool from head to foot. Fragrance of non-violence, kindness and compassion pervades through every part of his mind. His awareness remains ever alert like a man who has got up in the morning after a good sleep and stretched himself to remove the lethargy.
Real saint forgives even those who give him trouble. Sandalwood imparts fragrance even to the axe that chops it. Seekers treading the path of knowledge behave with the world with a feeling that they are one with it. Therefore they consider even those who trouble them as part of themselves. There is an example that illustrates this. When you bite the tongue with your own teeth you do not want to punish the teeth because you know the tongue is already paining, so why make the teeth also suffer?
Service is more valuable than selfishness. Great are those who sacrifice or are always ready to sacrifice their selfishness for the sake of service.