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Beauty of Old Age & Benefits of Disease

Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2011 08:09:27 -0500
Subject: Beauty of Old Age & Benefits of Disease
From: CJ Phillips



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:


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 do not
enjoy their condition. They 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 plight.

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.

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.


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.
Tragically, wherever materialism spreads it has this same effect. Thus
today, even in parts of India and Japan where materalism is taking root,
in those pockets - little by little - the elderly are marginalised.

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."
(Subhasita Samgraha, part 3)


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)

"A'mi pather hadish pa'i ni, ta'i toma'r pa'ne cali ni..." (PS 1338)


   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...

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