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This tree has a shadow that extends for a distance on the ground. Now, a man who wishes to secure the coconuts climbs up the coconut tree. At the very time he is climbing the tree; his shadow may be seen climbing the shadow tree. And, when he plucks the coconuts, his shadow may be seen plucking the shadow coconuts. The man who climbs the real tree secures the real coconuts and, at the same time, his shadow self climbs the shadow tree and plucks the shadow coconuts! But if the man does not relish the task of climbing the real tree, and instead limits his action to the climbing of the shadow tree, he will not get satisfaction from the shadow coconuts. While the shadow tree represents the world, and the shadow coconuts represent worldly prosperity, the real tree represents the spiritual life, and the real coconuts represent the fulfillment of life. Hence it is said that the person who devotes his life and energy to spiritual values will ‘automatically’ get worldly benefits. In fact, everything is spiritual and the ‘make – believe’ world is nothing but ‘the shadow tree’, an illusion!!! Do contemplate on this! SPIRITUAL QUOTIENT – 2 THE GARLAND Man's life is like a garland, with birth at one end and death at the other. Between the two ends are strung together flowers of all kinds - troubles, worries, joys, sorrows and dreams. Few are aware of the string that runs through all the flowers. Without the string there can be no garland. Our sole objective is to recognize this Divine string!!! The hundreds of flowers in a garland are held together by this thread, which we do not see.... So also, this world has an unseen Master and lawgiver. The Unseen is the sustainer of the Seen!!!
That SUPREME POWER is the thread around which the flowers are strung; we see and feel the garland very easily; are we seeing and feeling that string that holds the flowers together? Are we seeing & feeling that supreme power? SPIRITUAL QUOTIENT - 3 THE GUEST!!! There was a nice couple who had a guest. But that guest was like a pest. He didn’t want to leave. At first, they treated him well for 1 or 2 weeks. Later, when they saw he wouldn’t leave, instead of giving him 3 or 4 snacks, they cut it down to one snack. They used to give him 2 meals, but then cut it down to 1 meal. But he still wouldn’t leave!!! One day they got frustrated because now this guy was staying with the family for almost 1 year. They didn’t know what to do to get rid of this bad guest. Then they made a plan: The husband and wife enacted a drama that they were fighting with each other. “Either you stay in the house or I will.” Finally the guest looked disgusted with their fights and left. The wife said, “See how beautifully I acted. That’s why he left.” The husband said, “No, I acted better, that’s why he left.” Meanwhile they heard a knock on the door. When they opened the door, the guest was standing there and said, “Oh, I acted even better,” and came back!!! However hard we ‘shoo’ away the ‘VAASANAAS’ like anger, jealousy, desire, Ego, criticizing others etc…they keep coming back to haunt us. We’ve to try even harder to keep them away if we’ve to MOVE UP THE SPIRITUAL LADDER!!! SPIRITUAL QUOTIENT - 4 THE MOUNTAINEER Once, a man was climbing a snow-clad mountain. It became night. Suddenly, the man slipped and fell. He found himself hanging by the rope which he had tied to his waist. It was cold. It was dark. It was freezing. The man became desperate and cried to God, "God, please save me." “CUT THE ROPE,” said GOD.
The man was shocked. He could not believe in God. He did not pay heed to God. He shouted, “Are you crazy? You’re supposed to help me and you actually want me to kill myself!!! I’ve come to your temple so many times & prayed.” “That’s why I’m here to help you. Cut the rope before you freeze,” God’s voice declared. But the man didn’t listen. The next morning, the newspaper headline read, "Man frozen to death hanging by a rope, just 2 feet above the ground!!!" And the media wondered why he didn’t cut the rope to save himself! That is why it is said, "A man without faith is half-blind". We visit so many religious places to worship. But do we really have the FAITH to SURRENDER and LISTEN to Him? In deep silence, God’s voice can be heard!
SPIRITUAL QUOTIENT – 5 THE OMNIPRESENCE The man whispered, "God, speak to me." And a Cuckoo bird sang. But, the man did not hear. Then the man yelled "God, speak to me." Thunder rolled across the sky. But, the man did not listen. The man looked around and said, "God, let me see you." And the Stars lit up the sky. But the man did not notice. And, the man shouted, "God, show me a miracle." And, a Life was born. But the man did not know. So, the man cried out in despair, "Touch me God, and let me know you are here." Whereupon, God reached down and touched the man. But, the man brushed the Butterfly away and walked on!!! Spirituality is seeing GOD everywhere & in everyone including you!!! ANOTHER EXAMPLE… A man who, sitting on the roof of his house during a rising flood, refused all help from men in boats and helicopters who tried to rescue him, saying, "Don't bother, I have prayed to God to save me!!!" When in due course, he was drowned, and his soul stood in the presence of God, he said to the Almighty, "I prayed to you to save me, but you did not."
God replied "I sent rescuing boats and a helicopter to take you off your roof and save your life but you refused help!!! You had forgotten that all helping hands are my hands!!! It was 'ME' in those rescue boats!!!" Spirituality is seeing GOD everywhere & in everyone including you!!!
SPIRITUAL QUOTIENT – 6 THE SCORPION Once, some SAINTS were walking along the BANK OF THE RIVER GANGES... At one place a big depression was caused due to fall of water from a great height, resulting in the formation of 'foam' there. From somewhere, a scorpion happened to fall into the foam & was struggling. One of the saints lamented, "This scorpion is caught in the foam & is not able to come out of it. We must try to save it." To save the scorpion, the saint got into the water & put his hand into the foam to remove the scorpion. At once the scorpion 'stung'. The saint was in deep pain, but again put his hand into the foam to save it. And again the scorpion bit his hand. Still he didn't leave his attempt & without caring about the pain, after a few attempts, ultimately succeeded in taking the scorpion out & put it on the ground!!! The other SAINTS really admired this act & commented, "The scorpion didn't stop biting you even though you were trying to save it. You have really taken great pains to save this deadly scorpion! WHY?" Then the SAVIOUR replied, "The scorpion didn't forget its' NATURE even when it was caught between life & death. Being born as a HUMAN BEING, should I forget MY DIVINE NATURE?” SPIRITUAL QUOTIENT – 7 THE TINY SPARROW In a clearing in a forest there stood a huge banyan tree. It had a gigantic trunk and mighty knolled prop roots, and sturdy branches. And on one such sturdy branch there was a lean twig on which sat a tiny sparrow. A slight breeze set the twig into a harmonic oscillation, and the sparrow chirped in with rhythm.
The breeze slowly turned into a wind and the sparrow’s seat shook violently. But the sparrow just continued chirping with none to listen to its melody. The wind turned fierce and roared; the sparrow only twittered. And in the asymmetric battle that continued, the twig snapped, unable to bear the onslaught. What happened to the tiny sparrow? “It just spread its wings and flew away!!!” “Man lives in this world and builds a home, housing in it everything he has acquired in life. And he sits in this house and twitters to the tune of life. But when the winds are not in favor and the world comes crashing around him, he hops about lamenting his plight. He blames all including GOD!” The tiny sparrow on that branch did not depend upon the twig, or on the branch, or on the gigantic trunk of the mighty banyan tree. It depended on its wings! So too in life, let us depend not upon mere twigs of passion and fashion, of pain and gain, of wealth and glory. Let us rather depend upon wings of Faith. Faith in ‘His’ Benevolence, and in ‘His’ Benediction! When the tempest becomes stormier than we can bear, we can spread these wings of Faith and glide effortlessly to our destinations!!! SPIRITUAL QUOTIENT – 8 CONVERSATION WITH GOD Once a fortunate devotee saw God and said "God, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?" God says "Not at all, ask me anything." So the man says "God, you've been around for a very long time. So, in your time frame, how long is a ‘thousand’ years?" God replied "For me, a ‘thousand’ years is only ‘five’ minutes." The man again asks, "That's very interesting indeed! And, for you, how much is a million Rupees?" God replied "For me, a million Rupees is only five Paisa." The man says excitedly, "Really? Well then God, could you please lend me just 5 Paisa?"
God looks at the man, sweetly smiles at him, and says "Of course my son. Just wait for five minutes and I shall give it to you!!!" PS: Be careful what you ask GOD. He might just give it to you!!! But he would give everything to you in HIS time frame and not yours’!!! Sometimes we feel that disasters increase instead of diminishing. Instead of getting agitated and asking GOD something, Spirituality teaches us that we should do more than our best, then close our eyes and tell GOD with faith: "Thy will be done. You think of it."
SPIRITUAL QUOTIENT – 9 THE BULBS!!! Once a Man was in a hotel room, it was evening and he wanted to write a letter. But he couldn’t see clearly though all the lights were on. He looked at the globes - they were all 25 watts. So he went to the manager and said: “Look, I can’t see clearly out there! The lighting is just not sufficient. Would you have a 100 watt lamp?” “Oh yes of course!” the manager said and took the 25 watt out and put the 100 watt bulb in and then the room had plenty of light! And then it slowly dawned on him that there’s only one current that comes into this building. And that electrical current there was waiting to express itself as light. But the amount of light depended on the quality of the bulb! Just contemplate. “Isn’t it just like God? The Divine current is ever ready to express itself as Love and Light through every one of these human globes. But it depends upon the quality of the globe as to how much Love and Light can be expressed.” So we need to ask ourselves what sort of a globe am I. How much love and light am I expressing? One might be satisfied with a 25 watt. One might say well, perhaps 75 is okay or a 100 and so on. The choice rests with us!!! There are many bulbs but the electric current flowing through them is one & the same. Only there is a difference in the Wattage of the bulbs due to which some bulbs are dim & some are bright. Based on our receptivity is GOD’S GRACE!!! Another analogy is ‘tuning’ the radio knob to catch the right station. We need to be able to tune in to the right wave length to receive GOD’S messages!!! Otherwise we can only hear screeching sounds. It’s entirely up to us!!!
SPIRITUAL QUOTIENT – 10 THE SNAKE There is a dark room and in a corner there is a coiled rope. A man enters the room, faintly sees something coiled & shouts "Snake, snake," and rushes out. A crowd gathers, and people then enter the room armed with sticks and carrying a lantern. And what do they see? It was a rope and not a snake. There was never a snake. There was only a rope!!! The person who saw it first was deluded on account of darkness, and when the darkness was removed, he along with all others saw that there was no snake and only a rope. So let us strive to remove this darkness and understand that Spirituality does not mean leading a lonely ascetic life. Spirituality means getting rid of this darkness due to which Man is having this illusion that this World is real and GOD is unreal!!! If the place you must reach is very near, you can just step across; if the distance is more, you may need a vehicle, bullock-drawn or horse-drawn. For longer distances, you may require a car or plane. But, the Lord is the nearest to US. Slide the door of delusion; remove the curtain of ignorance; open the closed eye! He is right there beside us, before us! The fog of sensual pleasure is hiding God from us. Switch on the Light - darkness disappears and God becomes visible to us. The choice is ours…whether we want to hold the snake or the rope!!! Whether we want to put on that switch or not! No point in just dangling our feet in the pool water & then claiming that there are no PEARLS there!!! We need to dive & check it out for ourselves.