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Beauty of Old Age & Benefits of Disease

Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 23:09:27 -0500 To: am-global@earthlink.net Subject: Beauty of Old Age & Benefits of Disease From: CJ Phillips Baba "A'mi pather hadish pa'i ni, ta'i toma'r pa'ne cali ni..." (PS 1338) Purport: Baba, in the past I could not get the direction of the proper path. Because ofthat I could not come close to You. Your and my relation was hidden in dark. I was not aware about You. In that past I could not get Your introduction. And I could not link up in our close intimate relation which, in reality, has been going on since a very long time. In my misunderstanding, I was thinking that nobody is mine, and that to feel love and affection is not my fate. I was thinking that my life does not have any value. That I will not get respect in my life, just it will be filled with disrespect and neglect. Baba, today You have blessed me and changed everything. Now I feel that my life has become meaningful, because You are mine. My heart is filled with Your love. Baba, by Your grace I surrender at Your lotus feet, O' Baba...
== BEAUTY OF OLD AGE AND BENEFITS OF DISEASE ==
Namaskar, Sometimes humans may moan and groan and exclaim in frustration, 'Why did such & such problem have to happen'. Or in exasperation, one may cry out, 'Why must this world be riddled with so many infections & diseases'. These types of queries often plague the human mind.
THE QUESTION AT HAND
Through it all, the question stands: How to explain such events? Why is it that old age must befall us? What is the need for disease? What should be our outlook with regards to these inevitabilities.
ONE REPLY: SAMSKARA THEORY
Of course, there is our samskara theory which dictates that one must undergo the reactions of their actions. This is part and parcel of our yogic outlook. So that is one way-- a logician's way-- to explain the onset of disease & difficulties in life etc.
ANOTHER REPLY: DISEASE AWAKENS A LONGING TO SEEK THE DIVINE
Side by side there is another way to explain the hardships which make our human existence seem so fragile. We can say that such problems are Parama Purusa's way of reminding us that our human life is for something great-- something divine. The onset of old-age & disease forces us to seek a pathway out of this material world which is otherwise riddled with trouble and torment. Failing that-- without any longing or desire to find something better-- then one would be satisfied to live forever and ever in this crude mundane world. But this is not our way; this is not our human dharma. So diseases and problems help, nay, force humans to seek something greater. Because by seeing how this earth is wrought with innumerable difficulties and tragedies, it awakens within human beings a thirst-- a longing-- to find something better, something divine: Permanent peace at His lotus feet.
ALL WANT A BETTER LIFE
Actually all want a better life. Animals are not satisfied with their animal existence. Some may think that animals are happy and perfectly content, but this is not at all the case. Animal life is full of fear and torment and they want something more. In His 1969 DMC discourse, Baba describes how the bull attached to the bullock cart longs to become a human being. Because all day & night that bull is pulling human beings from place to place; so that bull internally thinks that one fine afternoon it should escape its fate and become a human being. Because that bull is not satisfied with its lowly existence as an animal; it is not satisfied with its lot in life. It wants something better. Because as was already stated, animal life is not 'a basket of roses'. Proof being that in our very own Supreme Command, Baba warns us that animal life is torturous and that humans must not plunge themselves into such horrific suffering. So animal life is not something blissful & wonderful; those animals desire something more. In a similar manner, we humans also long for something higher. We are not content with our human existence. All are looking for something better. But even then, the human mind is somewhat fickle. It can be tricked into thinking that what it has is the best. For example, if one has a fancy car, a big house, a swimming pool, and a lot of social prestige, then one may think that 'I need nothing more in life-- I have all there is to get'. Some materialists may think like this, especially here in the west. Some blind persons may think they are the king of this mundane world and their desire is to remain here forever. So when disease comes along-- or when old age invariably sneaks up on them-- then such materially minded persons are forced to re-evaluate what is important in life. Because those diseases and that old age factor undermines their entire existential value. They think their material existence is no longer something great. In which case, they again embark on a search to improve their lot. Thus disease and old age pressurises even complacent human beings into looking beyond this material world for some type of higher existence. The ups and downs of life invariably forces one to think that this world is not their final destination.
AWAKENING THE SEARCH FOR LIFE DIVINE
By this entire picture we can realise that disease, difficulties, and old age help human beings reach up to that sacred stance. Members of the general public pray up to the heavens or to their favoured god, 'Please relieve me of my earthly sufferings and allow me to drink from the pot of divine nectar-- let me experience peace'. This is the way some members of the general society may think when their life is overwrought with the hard realities of this ephemeral world. And with Ananda Margiis, our standard approach is to request Baba for His divine blessing, 'Baba, do with me what You will in this life-- I do not care for it, just please be gracious on me and bring me under Your divine shelter at lotus feet'. This type of plea is our way of requesting Baba to spare us from the sufferings of this relative world. Because we understand that although we have come here to establish His mission, this is not our final resting grounds. This relative world is not the destination. Rather this mundane world is just a train station for going to our final abode-- unto His divine Lap. And it is things like difficulties, disease, and old age which stand as a constant reminder to us that this world is not our permanent domicile. This is not our eternal home. This human life is limited and our dharma is to find unlimited bliss in His divine shelter.
COMMONLY KNOWN IN SOME AREAS
And this entire point is well known in those spiritual societies of the east. They know that old age brings wisdom and those elderly people have their eyes fixed on the other world. That is why in places like Japan, India, and various other lands, the elderly people of those societies command huge respect. In contrast in the US-- where materialism runs rampant-- then elderly and diseased persons are pushed aside to the outskirts & fringe of society. Because in the materialistic model, old age and disease have no value. Whereas those societies that honor spiritual values, such communities place tremendous import on age and greatly value the advice and teachings of their seniors. Because those societies recognise the beauty of old age and benefits of disease and what wisdom spiritual thirst they bring.
BABA'S BLESSING
By Baba's grace, He has given us the teachings and pathway to reach unto Him. We have gotten Him as the Sadguru and the sadhana of AM to lift us up to that final abode-- by His grace. This is His great blessing upon all Ananda Margiis. So none should think that this material world is their final resting place. Baba says, "The worship of Brahma should be done scrupulously, or else you will later regret and bemoan the futility of your life with the last drop of your tears at your last hour. You should make your life worthwhile through your Sa´dhana´. How much can your worldly friends and relations do for you? After your death your relatives may perhaps ask, "How much money has he left behind?" Your friends may go to the crematorium and indulge in flattering reminiscences about you. Your husband or wife may cry for you for about ten or twelve days and then regain their normal composure. Your lot will be only a profound sigh - a record of the futility and frustration of your life. So do not waste your time lest you later have to repent." Namaskar, Cinmay
Note 1: PART LIFE
In numerous discourses Baba guides us how our human life is just a part life. All the various births we take as we progress through the cycle of Brahmacakra-- through saincara and pratisaincara-- are mere part lives. Each and every birth is but a piece. And the culmination of our journey arises when we reach unto Him. So none can think that this world is our permanent residence. No Ananda Margii can think like that. And for those who do think that this world is our permanent abode, then disease, struggle, and strife will awaken their yearning to fine something more-- something divine. In that way-- one way or another-- all will come onto the path of sadhana to seek that eternal connection with Him.
******************************************** Special Formula of Tandava
Baba says, "Tandava: As long as a dancer remains above the ground, he derives much benefit; when he touches the ground, then those benefits are assimilated by the body. That is why in the tandava dance there is much jumping, because jumping requires the practitioner to remain off the ground for a fairly long period of time." (NSS, p. 23)
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