Published in: The Pioneer
    Category: Spirituality
    Dated: 9/26/2005
The all-conquering Alexander was in India. He had won several battles in the north and was preparing to go to the south of India to repeat his unbelievable exploits. Though troubled by several factors, Alexander was particularly perplexed by the opposition from his own men who wished to return home. Looking for solutions, Alexander was told of the presence of a renowned saint nearby. Soon, the great warrior sent for him, but the hermit refused to come. Alexander was quite annoyed by such behaviour. How could anyone refuse to meet the all-conquering ruler ? Alexander, therefore, decided to go to the saint himself. On reaching his ashram, Alexander found the hermit in a contemplative and serene mood, without any trace of fear for refusing to obey his command. Further intrigued, he enquired, “What makes you so peaceful even when you do not have many material acquisitions ?” The saint replied, “I possess what is of real value and not possessions which are transitory in nature or are painful to possess. Lord Krishna has described these possessions in Bhagavad-Geeta : “Fearlessness, purification of one’s existence, cultivation of spiritual knowledge, self-control, austerity, simplicity, non-violence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquility, compassion for all living entities, gentleness, modesty, steady-determination, vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, and freedom from envy or passion for honour belong to godly men endowed with divine nature” (16.1-3). Persons with such qualities are actually liberated even while living in this world. How does one achieve such an exalted and rare position ? By accepting that one always needs guidance for course correction. At the same time one must be dependent on none other than God. One must always actively work towards fulfilling basic material responsibilities as are essential for the proper upkeep of one’s body. One must increase spiritual activities for one’s uplift in the remaining time, seeking progress, being totally focused, helping others and seeking help from others, whenever necessary. There must be satisfaction with the present, a good amount of tolerance, introspection in case of loss or failure, being thankful to others and to God in success and gain. Finally we must seek higher pleasures of being useful, helpful, encouraging, appreciative and generous. What are the signs that indicate that one is liberated ? One is sure of the future that means one feels secure ; accepts the inevitability of troubles ; does not blame others for the same ; is naturally attracted to spiritual activities, like inculcating divine qualities and helping others as sought and as possible. One is sure of liberation if one is not proud of achievements ; is positive in outlook ; is looking forward to the future ; and believing in continuity of life even after death. Such a person does not reject material pleasures but is not attached to them either, knowing them to be poor cousions of spiritual pleasures. Wisdom comes to those who have realized that fame, external beauty, wealth, position, etc. cannot be alternatives to peace, happiness and security and also do not necessarily contribute to them. What are the additional benefits of being thus liberated ? One is always connected to God and, therefore, is in a position to get answers to one’s problems - directly or through some qualified person. One has the necessary strength of character to implement the required changes including in one’s nature which is quite difficult to do. One can stop oneself from going into negative mood ; does not suffer from much bodily, mental or sleep disorders ; and one is realist that allows him a holistic view the world. Liberation means not getting affected negatively even when faced with adversities, and being able to retain one’s equanimity.
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