A guru and his disciple were going through a forest.
While they were walking on, a sudden growl of a tiger was heard.
The disciple freaked out and out of fear climbed high up a tree,
While the guru found a clearing and sat himself down to continue singing bhajans
The tiger appeared soon after and came around to where the guru was seated,
He sniffed around for a while and went away.
The disciple came down the tree surprised and soon they resumed their journey through the forest.
A few paces after, a fiercer growl, yet again of a tiger was heard.
This time the guru freaked out and out of fear started trembling.
The disciple surprisedly asked him why he was scared now if he wasn't so before?
The guru replied saying that earlier he was immersed in singing god's name and thus was unaffected
But now, he was affected by the company of the disciple.

Such was the story that Morari bapu happened to share yesterday among few other tales. I am sharing it here after a strong personal experience of the effect, that those whose company we keep may have on us.

The beginning of this year had been pretty rough for me; not because of anything else but my failure to nurture the precious connection I had always maintained with Krishna, my lovely friend on earth and all those awesome beings on earth whose pure actions and thoughts inspire feelings of courage, fearlessness, love and hope; in whose presence I am always reminded of the best me that I can be. Instead I had let myself forget and be surrounded and overcome by well-meaning yet petty ignorant thoughts and words and unknowingly grew distant from that infinite source that nourished my spirit. I had lost all sense of direction or worth and having lost my reference, could not distinguish right from wrong and could not listen to that inner voice that always guides us; such was my misery. The turning point definitely came after the inevitable; though I cannot say I'm cent per cent glad for the way it came; I found my Earthly self turning mean and finally my spirit could take no more and let the Universal self shake me up and I exclaimed- This is not who I want to be! For now, all I can be is thankful as that jolt sure woke me up and got me seriously considering a cleansing and here I am.

Satsang literally means "true company", to keep company of the highest truth.
Here, I recall a couplet by Kabir:

संत ना छोड़े संतई, जो कोटिक मिले असंत 
चन्दन भुवंगा बैठिया, तऊ सीतलता न तजंत। 

Saints leave not their saintlihood despite coming across a million wicked rogues,
Just as the sandalwood tree that discards not its coolness despite having snakes coiled around it.

There may be very few saints indeed and I do not claim to be one; but I do believe that we all have kernels of saintliness within us among many other kernels of all other 'nesses'; wickedness too.
And it is up to us to decide what 'ness' we choose to cultivate; and more importantly to assess what 'ness' we are unknowingly cultivating in our ignorance. We all have it in us to make whatever we want of ourselves.
Here I would like to share a very apt set of lines that caught my attention only a few days past:

"You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?" -- Jim Rohn

Ask yourself these questions, and have the courage to be honest;
Ask yourself the big question, and have the faith in yourself to meliorate.

It is important, to not blame another for our plight because in the end we always do have a choice, or shall I say 'in the beginning' ;-)
Here I'd like to share a favorite couplet from Kabir:

बुरा जो देखन मैं चला, बुरा न मिलिया कोय
जो दिल खोजा आपना, मुझसे बुरा न कोय।

I went out into the world to look for evil, but find none did I;
Then I looked within, and found that there was none more evil than I.

I write this post to above all, share some magical awesomenesses we are surrounded by and emphasize the importance of the effect that the things we feed ourselves each day, each moment have on us- it includes what we see, what we hear, what we read, what we eat, the company we keep- things that we choose or do out of habit or by default just because everyone else is doing it;
It helps to first take an honest look at ourselves: observe what we speak, what we think, how we behave and see how it tallies with how we ourselves wish to be treated, and then assess where it comes from; the output is going to be only as good as the input; but again there are always moments where we go beyond it all and surprise ourselves when we tap into the resourceful realm of the unknown- those rare moments of pure bliss!

I shall end this post with some wise words from the last conversation between Uddhav and Krishna before he left earth. An excerpt from the eleventh chapter of the Bhaagwat:

Uddhava: Krishna, who is powerful?
Krishna: Powerful is not the one who conquers the world, but one who conquers his own nature. It so happens that the conquerors of the world oftentimes become helpless against their own nature.

Uddhava: Who is misery?
Krishna: Misery is a life without satisfaction.

Uddhava: Who is wealthy?
Krishna: Wealthy is one of true character.

In the end, Krishna tells him:
Uddhava, whatever work you do, dedicate it towards me.
Be careful to not envy another; to not compete with another; to not neglect another.
Generally, people tend to envy those who are ahead in wealth, knowledge, status or age:
Respect those who are ahead; envy them not;
Be friendly with those who are similar; compete with them not;
Empathise with those who are behind; neglect them not.
All of this is the royal path of contentment.

He said- "Uddhava, this knowledge that I am sharing with you, impart it to those worthy of it."

Love and kindness,

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