3 things that prevent us from following God's command

Sairam to all. Firstly, let me state that this article is purely a discussion born out of what I heard from a discourse given by Swami - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I thank Him for constantly guiding me and opening up new perspectives to make me more wholesome - mentally and spiritually.
As it is, there always seems to be a quiet war within each of us which goes unnoticed most times. Many of us are generally prone to this syndrome of knowing what the right thing to do is, but yet we desist mainly due to fear. Fear of what? Swami describes this beautifully when He says that the 'knowledge' of the right thing is nothing but Conscience. And, it is that Conscience which is the voice of God  - God who is within each of us. There are 3 obstacles which come in the way of our following God's command. What are they?
Attachments
Firstly, we dont quite do the right thing many a time because of a fear - the fear that arises due to our attachments and false affiliations. The thought of 'What will my family think of me if I do this?' or 'What will me colleagues/friends/relatives think of me?' or 'Will the world view me as someone who is trying to show off?' and so on .This fear arises mainly due to our clinging on to our relationships and societal impressions of us. But God expects us to be able to put all that aside and follow His command.
Jealousy
Secondly, what prevents us from following God's command is jealousy. Many times we see that there are others who are jealous of someone being good or godly. People are sometimes unable to digest the fact that there can be someone who can be a little closer to perfection than they are and are therefore jealous. Often times it is also jealousy which catches on to the person who wants to follow God's command but doesnt quite do so because he sees someone else being given more importance. Jealousy devours such a person and he becomes unfit to follow God's command. So, you see - both ways jealousy causes a roadblock.
Ego
Last but not the least is Ahamkara - or Ego. This is perhaps even more dangerous. The egoistic person tries to defend his acts and always maligns the others simply because he wants to be seen as most important. Its amazing how God lets the ego bloat. Someone rightly said that God waits for the ego to grow and grow so that its ugly hood can easily be identified before He cuts it. Ego blinds a person to such an extent that he is neither liked nor appreciated by people around him. An egoistic person is unable to see the difference between right and wrong since he is prone to justifying whatever he does as right. Even Duryodhana would do that - justify that he was the rightful heir to the throne, inspite of all the elders advising him otherwise. That is another story anyway - let us get back to what Swami has to say. He then gave the example of a great devotee who is often represented as the epitome of devotion - Hanuman.
Sai with Sai Geetha
When Hanuman had to find out the whearabouts of Sita at the command of Sri Rama, he embarked on the journey. As the Vanaras reached the sea shore, Hanuman was chosen to jump across the ocean. He does so immediately without thinking for a second whether it is possible or not. That is faith.
Trayee Incident
This reminds me of a beautiful incident which happened in Trayee Brindavan during one of the sessions that Swami's students are blessed to have. Swami once said to the boys, "Boys, I want to give Sai Geeta to one of you. Who wants her?"
When Swami asked this question, most of the boys started to wonder what they would do with an elephant. Sai Geeta, as most devotees would know, was Bhagawan's pet elephant, extremely devoted to Him. You can read about her here http://media.radiosai.org/journals/Vol_05/01JAN07/03-coverstory.htm.
Taking and keeping Sai Geeta would mean that the elephant would also have to be maintained and fed every day. But as the boys were all staring at Swami, there was one tiny tot from the Primary school who put up his hand. Swami called him close and asked him how he would maintain Sai Geeta. The primary school boy replied, "Swami, when you will give the elephant, will you not also give the ability to take care of her?"

Bang!! This was a lesson for all of us. While we were busy thinking about the hows and whys, here was this little boy who put such a great truth in a simple statement. Needless to say, Swami was immensely pleased and created a beautiful little idol of Sai Geeta - the elephant and gave it to the boy. And then chided the rest of us for doubting so much.

Hanuman as a shining example
Coming back to our story, Hanuman had such immense faith that he didnt doubt whether he would reach the other end since he had faith that when the Lord had assigned the task, He would certainly bless him with the ability to execute it.
As Hanuman continued to fly across the sky over the ocean, a mountain called Mainaka rose from the sea. It was grateful to Hanuman since his father, the wind god, Vayu had helped the mountain once. It offers Hanuman place to rest and take a break. Swami says, this represents the first hurdle in executing God's command - people who have affection towards you and represent attachment. Hanuman politely declines and moves on, thus overcoming this first hurdle.
Next, a demoness named Surasi comes up with her mouth open and wanting to devour Hanuman. This represents jealousy which is waiting to devour you when you are on God's work. Hanuman hoodwinks her and moves on. He diplomatically enters her mouth and exits it before she can shut it. That is the way to deal with jealousy - get over it before it gains control over you.
Hanuman hoodwinks the demoness Surasa
Finally, Lankini - a demoness who protects the gates of Lanka blocks his way. She accuses Hanuman of being a thief who was trying to stealthily enter Lanka. This is the most identifiable aspect of an egoistic person. In fact, it was Ravana who was the thief who stole another's wife in a stealthy and deceptive manner. However, his faults were being rubbed onto Hanuman. Enraged, Hanuman engages her in combat and overcomes her by landing a blow on her head. She represented the ego which will not let you accomplish the task God has put you upon.
Hanuman is therefore an example for all devotees since he was able to overcome all these 3 obstacles and was able to execute Rama's work successfully. This beautiful analogy sums up what we need to do and how we can be conscious about these obstacles. Perhaps no one else could interpret this portion of the Ramayana in such a profound manner. As always, it is only Swami who can and I found this so thrilling that I just had to share it on my blog.

Comments

Aditya Nittala said…
Thank you venu for sharing such a wonderful article,Lesson to be imbibed everyday.
CS.Bala said…
thank You Dear Venu for on line sathsangh. keep doing it as long as you can... people will surely be enlightened with nectarine message of the Lord Sai
Venu said…
Thanks Aditya and Bala. I will share good things that I have learnt from Swami as and when I can. It also inpsires me to follow Him.
Meenaa N said…
Very enlightening indeed. Thanks for sharing. Aum Sai Ram
Satya said…
Thanks for sharing these wonderful and Divine messages of Swami. Sai Ram !!

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