The First Word
Sri Narasimha Swamiji in his masterpiece ‘Life of Sai baba’ deals with human nature and how people chase something impossible. We do not know whether it was a real incident or Sai Baba inspired wisdom.
Two travelers who survived a shipwreck, were washed ashore on a lonely island. With nothing to eat, nothing to protect them from the vagaries of the weather and with no one to listen to their woes, they started crying in desperation. Soon, they realized that crying was of no use. They decided to carry on with life.
The two castaways toiled hard to scratch out an existence. Thirty years went by during the course of which they built a beautiful village with the help of the local tribal people they befriended. They married local women and had children and grandchildren. Whatever they had learnt during their student days, they passed on to their newfound community and the new generation, and soon the village became quite developed. The two men commanded respect from one and all and were made heads of that village. Both lived like brothers and had great love for each other.
As they grew older, they began to wish that they could spend the last few years of their lives with their blood relations from whom they had gotten separated decades back. They embarked upon their voyage on an unknown route.
At a distance of five hundred miles, they discovered a city that looked prosperous and modern with all amenities. Both were shell-shocked. “Were we really so close to such a good place? Why didn’t we travel these five hundred miles earlier? Quite possible, we could have somehow reached our country and kin and that would have saved us from the toil, struggle and the difficult time we underwent all these years,” they said to themselves, bemoaning their fate.
Angry with themselves, angry with destiny and, angry with God, sitting near the river bank, they started weeping. It drew the attention of a sage and he rushed to them. After he got to know their story, he asked them to follow him and soon they were in a palatial house. Pointing to the house owner, the sage said, “His father was the wealthiest person of the state. He is younger than you, but various ailments have left him immobile whereas you have undertaken an arduous voyage on an uncharted route at this ripe age. The big mansion facing this house belongs to his brother, but the brothers hardly speak with each other. Their families remain estranged because each of them nurses a grouse that their parents didn’t do justice in property division. Worse, the parents spent their last few years in an old age home. You were strangers, but destiny brought you together. But I can see that you live like brothers and are committed to live and die together.”
By now the two men had come to understand ground realities. Full of gratitude, they asked the sage the reason for this unusual conduct of humans, “You met as strangers, so you had no expectations of each other. You had nothing, so you started creating with your hard work and it was a source of immense satisfaction to you. On the other hand, most of us who are blessed with family and friends have only expectations from them. It becomes the cause of unhappiness and estrangement. Instead of having the will to do something new and constructive, we want to have what is created by others.”
The two men gave up their plan to go back to their country. They returned to the village they had helped establish.
Dear Readers, Sai Baba sought ‘Shradda’ and ‘Saburi’ as ‘Dakshina’. Let us remember this in every moment of our life.