Spirituality...the bitter pill

One will certainly wonder why this article is titled the way it is. It is common knowledge that everyone generally speaks highly of spirituality. Then why call it a 'bitter' pill?
I must narrate the story of my niece here - a story that happened right in front of my open eyes and opened my closed eyes - an incident which made me realize a deeper truth. Inspiration is all around - there is only a need to pay heed. Let me not dilly dally anymore. Let's get straight to the topic.
Bitter pills to make you feel better when unwell - worth it?
The setting was at home where my 6 year old niece had been down with fever and vomitings for 2 days in a row. The temperature had crossed 105.5 degrees F and it meant that she was to be hospitalized immediately. Once taken there, she was administered a strong dose of anti pyretics which brought down the fever. The doctor prescribed a course of medicines to be followed for the next five days and she was brought home. Presently, her condition was stable. The next morning, she was still weak but had no temperature. Things had got better but what happened thereafter was interesting. As my sister in law was readying all the medicines for my niece, she started to refuse to take one of them because it was bitter. Hmm...interesting, isnt it? Everyone at home tried to convince her that it was good for her and there might be a relapse if she didnt take it. She seemed to agree with the logic, but could not bring herself to consume the medicine. She cried and threw tantrums as only a 6 year old can, she refused and even spitted out whatever was forcibly thrusted down her throat, not realizing the mistake she was making. The scene went on and I started off to my office. As I boarded the office cab, I was thinking all along why she was refusing something which was good for her own health. Surely, she was old enough to understand that. As is my habit, I put on my earphones and connected it to my mobile on which I had downloaded a few discourses of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The discourse opened with Swami chiding all mankind for refusing to live a spiritual life inspite of knowing that it is the only recourse for him - just like a child which refuses to take the bitter medicine which is for its own good.
Now, that rung a bell - what a profound experience! I had just come out of the exact same scene. This set me thinking how true it was. Here we were blaming the little child but pause for a moment - is it not the same scenario with all of us? The child's illness will disappear in a couple of days but the sloth that has overcome us seems to persist for lifetimes. God Himself came down to show us the way out of this sloth and slumber, to show us the way to lead a higher life. Yet, we do not pay heed. Why? Because just like the medicine which is bitter, we feel a distaste towards any matters spiritual. And then, I started to count the number of things that I have not done and that Swami would want me to do...the list went on.
Get up at 5am each day and chant Suprabhatam
Excercise everyday to stay fit
Meditate everyday on God
Be loving, peaceful and helpful to all...... oh the list goes on and on

But all of these 'bitter pills' only make us get over the disease of illusion. However, we often refuse to follow the regimen required to try the solution - even if God Himself came down to tell us to follow it (quite literally)
I have come to show you the way...but you must listen
and obey!
I remember during an interview with Swami, I told Him, "Swami, I know that I am also God - since You have been saying it. But why do I not feel any different?"
Swami replied, "It is not enough if you know. You must experience it."
"But Swami, why do I not experience the bliss of being one with God." I asked,
Swami replied, "Did you know ABCD from the time you were born? No. What did you do? You had to do Abhyasa (practice). Only after steady and constant everyday practice were you able to learn ABCD. Today, you can not only read and write the alphabets, but you can read and write paragraphs and books. That is why practice is important.
Shreyohi Jnanam Abhyasaat,
Jnanaat Dhyaanam Vishishyate
Dhyaanaat Karma phala tyagah
Tyagas Shantir Anantaram.
So, to gain permanent peace and bliss, it starts with Abhyaasa or practice."
There we go! No practice, no attainment. No pain, no gain. No medicine, no cure. The pill has to be swallowed till the cure is effected.
Coming back to the child in the story, she finally agreed to swallow the pill only after she was promised ice cream after the medicine was taken. Isnt it similar to what Swami did with all of us. He would bless devotees with gifts, clothes, watches, some fortunate ones with rings or medalliions created by a wave of His hand, all of these only to get them to follow the course as prescribed by the Divine Doctor.
Looking back at all those days, I realized how foolish we have been to refuse the disciplines taught to us, just like the little girl who refuses to take medicines just because they taste bitter. Its purpose is not to satiate your taste buds. Its purpose is to cure you of  your ailment. Spirituality is therefore often a bitter pill....but remember, it will cater to your taste buds too - provided you persist till the cure is effected.


Amit said…
Thanks! It was Beautiful one. It happens so many times in our lives that we have a question and Swami is answering through the discourse we are listening to.
Venu said…
Yes Amit. It happens to me very often for sure.
CS.Bala said…
Sairam...Venu! good food for thought. relished it though it is the story of bitter pill. We know what is right, but not able to practice. there by we miss good fortune and start blaming someone else in life rather than realising who is the reason and cause. keep writing good stuff for the benefit of many. all the best.
Right Bala brother. Thanks for reading.
Krishna Kishore said…
Sairam, I love the point get up at 5am and chant suprabhatam. As I am reading the entire story, I was remembering my school days I think during my 9th standard (Master E K Bala Bhanu Vidyalayam, Macilipatnam,1996) my mother use to wake me up at 4.30 am everyday for my studies, while studying I use to hear some times Omkaram and Suprabhatam from my neighbour's house or watching the walk of a group of people on streets by singing bhajans, I was totally attracted and love to go out and swicth on my varanda lights and see from the main gate of my house. It started like that LOVE with our beloved Swami.....Thank you Venu brother! Because of you today I am remembering my roots with swami in this birth......thanks
Sairam Krishna Kishore. Glad that it brought back fond memories.

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