Friday, Sep 21 2018
Follow the Master, Face the Devil, Fight to the end and Finish the Game - 15 Apr 2013
My topic for today is one to do with our daily lives. Swami continually encourages us to recognize who we are - that we are not this mind or this body. We are the eternal spirit that temporarily occupies these minds and bodies. So how do we comprehend this reality -
Swami has given us numerous guidelines to attain this goal. The 4 Fs of life that Swami set out for us are
1. Follow the master
2. Face the Devil
3. Fight to the end and
4. Finish the Game
Swami has said, "Life is a game, play it", but what are the main guidelines of life? These 4 Facets of life will guide all of us and make us understand the way Swami wants us to live our life and these are the stepping stones of our spiritual evolution. These 4 rules are purusarthas, the four goals of life.
The first 'F' is 'Follow the master'. What does 'follow the Master' mean? Swami tests us with various situations and with his guidance we can surmount any difficulty. Swami has said, "Dharma, or righteousness, is your master". Dharma is a body of principles that keep the individual and society in order. Swami also says "Dharma Moolam Idam Jagath". Dharma is the root of this world. Obey it and you are happy. One common definition of Dharma is that it is the adherence to the rule: 'Do unto others what you wish them to do unto you. Do not have a double standard. Treat all as your own self'. Swami expects us to be righteous and follow his message in our daily lives - this is one of the four pillars of life.
What is the second F? Face the Devil. The word devil is similar to the challenges in our lives - facing our fears, desires, anger, ego etc. The key point is to be aware of them, rather than trying to destroy them, or to avoid them. However, in this case Swami means that the devil is kama or desire. Swami does not mean that we completely destroy all desire in life - we must all try to put a ceiling on our desires, so that they do not take over our lives. Many people struggle for money, and on the other hand there are many who resort to dishonest means or do unrighteous acts to gain money. Swami has said, "Many think that the world goes by money, dhanamulamidam jagat. No, the world relies on dharma, dharmamulamidam jagat. One should earn money righteously."
Swami wants us to fight to the end! We must try again and again; we must persevere until we achieve our goals. Let me recite a small parable to illustrate the concept of 'fight to the end'.
Once Sage Dakshinamurthy happened to walk along the shore of a sea. He noticed the rising waves pushing a small blade of grass towards the shore. He felt bad. After all, it was a tiny grass blade and the mighty sea sent forth its mounting waves to push it away onto the shore. "How arrogant is the sea not to tolerate even a blade of grass!" thought the sage within himself.
Then the Sea God, Samudra, appeared before the sage with folded hands and said very humbly, "Oh! Great sage! I am not at fault: Do not blame me and call me arrogant. I am not so. I cannot afford to have a single, simple blemish, not even a blade of grass in me. So my waves pushed it away to the shore and not out of any hatred or enmity". This is what 'fight to the end' means.
Swami wants us to try with all our will and strength to remove our imperfections and strive towards our goal. Determination is essential to our success in life. However, what is this goal which swami wants us to achieve. That brings to the next Facet - Artha, finishing the game.
What is the game? It is the game of life. Swami has told us repeatedly "Life is a game, play it" But when does the game of life finish? It finishes with the attainment of moksha (liberation). So moksha is the final goal of the four objectives of life. Swami wants us all to attain moksha, and we can do this by following the guidelines he has given us. Dharma is the path, and we must face our obstacles with determination if we are to attain this goal.
Swami once addressing the students at Parthi said that his students must have the confidence in the self or the inner divinity to set these 4 guidelines into action
However, to reach our goal, there is a fifth guideline that we must follow- Love. Love must pervade all our actions, and we must live our lives in love. Swami has said-
Love is God,
God is Love, hence,
Live in Love.
One can achieve anything with love.
JAI SAI RAM