HOW TO OVERCOME TEMPTATIONS
The other day, a young lady met me and, in the course of her talk, said, “I can resist everything except temptation.”
How true it is that no man had graduated to the art of life till he has been well tempted and overcome every temptation.
They meet me: young men and women in whose hearts is the aspiration to live the new life, the life of simplicity and service, of purity and prayer, of love and compassion, young men and women, who have not yet been tainted through contact with worldliness – pure, young, eagre-souls, – and they put to me the question: why is that we are tempted? What is the place of temptation in life? Why can we not have a world without temptation? What a wonderful world it would be, where everyone could live a pure, chaste, clean life! What is the purpose of temptations? Why do we have temptation at all? In answer to these questions, I say to them: “Temptations are the dumbbells of the soul.”
In my boyhood days, I joined a gymnasium. Every evening I would go and practice my exercise with the dumbbells. One evening, I asked the instructor: “What is the use of doing this exercise, day after day?” He answered: “As you do this exercise, your muscles will be strengthened.”
Just as dumbbells strengthen the physical muscles, of the soul develop our hidden spiritual strength, temptations unlock the hidden powers of the Spirit.
There was a holy man. His life was pure and chase as the waters of the Ganges. He lived in the fear and love of God. His life was a source of inspiration and joy to many around him. He lived to a ripe, old age. Soon after he passed away, one of his companions had a dream. In the dream, he saw the holy man occupying a place of honour in the heaven world. Around him were angels who said: “He is a great saint and occupies place in heaven, because he succeeded in overcoming many temptations.”
A person becomes holy, in the measure in which he overcomes temptations. Instead of complaining, let us bless God for our temptations. They come to unfold our hidden spiritual strength. They come to make us spiritually strong. Truly, temptations are the dumbbells of the soul.
The word temptation, is derived from the Latin, tentare, which means to prove, to put to the test. Temptation is the touchstone of the soul. Even as gold is tested on the touchstone, so is the man’s character. The loftiness of his soul is tested by the temptations he is able to overcome.
When a temple bell is cast in a foundry, the Founder does not at once fix it in the temple, but first tries it with his strong hammer to see if there are any flaws in it. So is man tries with hammer blows of temptations before he becomes perfect.
Not many of us, however, can withstand the hammer blows of temptations. Many of us are so weak that we easily succumb to temptation. Often when we do so, we think that it is only once that we shall yield to temptation, to experience what it is like. Alas! Once we yield to its appeal and get to relish the pleasure, we will soon be entangled by sin and will find it difficult to come out of it. Therefore, beware! Never yield to temptation. But stand up in the strength of your soul and , in the words of Jesus, say to temptation: “Get thee behind me, Satan!”
A young man wanted to make one of his companions do something bad just once, and the companion retorted: Just once? Would you allow your head to be cut off just once?” Not many have such heroic spirit within them. They easily succumb to temptation and, to them, sin becomes a habit, until they find that they are helpless in the face of temptation. They simply cannot resist it. They cannot live without it. They realise that the consequences are dangerous, but they feel helpless and lost. They are drawn to temptation even as a frog is drawn to a snake. When a snake looks at a frog and a frog has met its gaze, the frog feels helpless. There is a mesmeric power in the look of the serpent which the frog cannot resist and, irresistibly, the frog is drawn to the mouth of the snake, drawn to its own death.
St. Augustine, in one of his books tells of a young man names Eutimius. He lived a life of profligacy. He was sunk in vile pleasures and realised that he was losing his health, but just could not overcome his sinful habits. After contracting several diseases, he developed a serious eye infection, and the physician said to him: “the stage has arrived when either you will have to give up your evil habits or lose your sight!” Eutimius replied: “what can I do? I feel helpless. Let me lose my sight and if necessary, even my life, but I simply cannot give up my habits.” Such is the force of habit. Many youths become slaves of habits with which they do not break off in time.
There was a young man. His father saw him slipping into the vice of impurity. Immediately, the father took him to a hospital ward where lay patients who had led immoral lives. There they lay in spasms of pain. At the sight of those moaning patients, young men who had become prematurely aged, emaciated, ulcerated, with an unbearable stench, the youth almost fainted. Then his father said: “These are the consequences of an immoral life, and if you continue on the road to dispassion, it would not be long before you end up in this hospital. “The father’s lesson made such an impact on the youth that he immediately straightened himself out and became an example of temperance to all his companions.
There is the story of a lark who was merrily flying in the heavens. From his heights, the lark saw a small object moving in a garden far below him. Being curious to know what it was, he descended until he was quite low and, to his utter surprise, he found that it was a tiny cart with a mouse drawing , while alongside was another mouse who was waving a whip and all the time crying out: “Fresh worms for sale.”
The lark felt tempted and wanted to know the price of the worms.
“Three worms for one feather from your wings,” was the answer.
The lark thought this was an excellent bargain, and pulled out a feather from his wings, exchanged it for three worms which he enjoyed greatly, then spread his wings and rose again. He had not risen very far when the temptation to eat more worms became too strong for him to resist. Descending again to the garden, he bartered away two more precious feathers, had the great pleasure of eating six worms, and rose once again into the sunlit air. Balance and wing-power were lost, however, and the lark found it difficult to fly. And like an aircraft, that suddenly develops engine trouble, the lark crashed and was found dead in the lovely garden where he had met temptation and found it irresistible.
So it happens with man, again and again. He is tempted and, if he overcomes it, he grows in spiritual strength. But if he yields to it, he falls into sin. Gradually, sin becomes a habit which he can not resist: and he finds that he has become a slave of a tyrant from whose clutches he cannot find release.
Have you ever looked at a fly sipping honey? At first, it is very careful to see its legs are free. It sips on the edge of the spoon containing honey, saying to itself that after just one wee little taste of honey, it would fly away. But once it gets the relish of honey, it forgets everything and goes all out for it. And when it has had its fill, it finds that all its legs are stuck in honey: it cannot fly away. There it dies a tragic death in its sweet grave. Such is the case with man. He is lured into temptation by the thought of a little pleasure that he expects to get. Once he has tasted pleasure, it draws him to itself, again and again, until he becomes the slave of a habit cannot overcome. Pleasure leads a man ashtray!
There is a Bengali proverb which tells us: “The heron is a saint when there are no fish in sight.” And there is an amusing little story told to us concerning a young woman who trained her cat to hold a candle stick in his paws while she ate dinner. This the cat did, night after night, and when the young woman felt satisfied with the cat’s performance, she invited her friends to dinner, so that they could see what she had trained her cat to do. The cat jumped on the table, got hold of the candlestick and sat there quietly. One of the friends spread the food on the floor, thinking that the cat would be driven to it, but was surprised to find that the cat sat motionless, holding the candlestick in his paws. Another friend held a piece of meat close to the nose but even that did not affect the cat. However, when someone who had brought a mouse in a box, opened the box and let the mouse go, the cat immediately dropped the candlestick and ran after the mouse.
We are like that. We seem to be safe in virtue, but as soon as we see some pleasure, we run after it, forgetting everything else, forgetting even our reputation, our family, honour, and prestige.
The question has been considered in the Gita. Arjuna asks Sri Krishna: “Master! why does a man commit sin against his will? What is the force that drags him, irresistibly to pathways of evil?” Many of us have had a similar experience. We think we do not wish to fall into. In our saner moment, we wish to avoid sin. Then suddenly, there wakes up within us a storm, and we are led ashtray. What is the force that drags us to pathways of evil?
In answer, the Master says to Arjuna: “You say that man is dragged to the path of sin. That is not so! For man is not a machine. Man is endowed with willpower, – the power of determination, the power to make his own choice. Man can never commit sin against his will. Man’s will consents, gives the green signal, before man falls into sin. And, Arjuna, you ask me what is the force that makes a man commit sin. The force is kama, desire, lust. It is the enemy of man! It is man’s deadly foe! Beware of it! And, never forget, that desire is insatiable!”
Significant are the words of the great law-giver, Manu: “Desire is never satisfied by the enjoyment of the objects of desire. It grows from more to more as does the fire to which fuel is added.” And the Yoga Vashista tells us: “We think it is we who enjoy pleasure. But, in truth, it is pleasures that enjoy us. For a while pleasure always remains young and vital, it is we who keep growing old and get consumed in the fire of pleasure.”
An old man of eighty met me. His hair were white and he walked with stoop. With tears in his eyes, he said to me: “Even at this age, I feel drawn to the sins of flesh. My body is become old, my limbs have grown feeble, but the pull of pleasure is stronger than ever before!”
Yes, desire is insatiable. There is the classic example of Henry VIII, called the “Great Widower.” He married one women after another. He married six times. His lust was insatiable. He had to break off with the Pope of Rome. He said: “What does it matter? I shall set up a new church, but I must satisfy my lust.”
Kama cannot be quenched. The more you seek to satisfy it, the more you add fuel to its flame. Kama, desire, lust, reigns over man’s unregenerate senses. His reason is clouded: he cannot discriminate between right and wrong: and there are no depths of degradation to which a man, under the influence of kama, will not stoop.
In our days, in the city of Pune, there was a man who lived happily with his wife for several years, until one day he met a girl. Lust woke up within him. He lost his appetite and sleep. He but desired to marry the girl. How could he do so? In Maharashtra, there is a law forbidding a man to remarry during the life-time of his wife. So he hatched a plan. To his wife he said: “You have not moved out of Pune for some years. Why should not we go out for a change to Mumbai?” They travelled by a night train on a moonlight night. There were only the two of them in the compartment. While the train crossed Lonavla, the man called his wife to the door of the compartment, saying, “Come and see the mountains in the moonlight; how wonderfully beautiful they are!” The wife, not knowing what was in store for her, looked out through the door at the enchanting valley. Suddenly, the husband pushed her from behind, and down she went, her body rolling on the slops of the lofty mountains. The man thought he was rid of his wife and would now be able to marry the young, pretty girl. Destiny had decreed otherwise. Early next morning, a shuttling engine passed by. The engine stopped at that spot for a while. The engine driver heard moanful sounds. Curious to find the origin of the sounds, he went and looked down the mountain-side, and saw the body of a woman lying in a cluster of branches of trees on the mountain slopes. Soon rescue parties arrived and the woman’s life was saved. The husband was tried in a court of law and sentenced to capital punishment. This is what kama, desire, lust does to man. It clouds his reason and leads him to his own destruction.
In the Gita, Sri Krishna gives us the mechanics of desire. Desire is man’s deadliest foe: and how does it work? In answer to this question, Sri Krishna says: “Arjuna, desire, kama, lust enters through the outer gates of the senses and captures the fort of the mind and then invades the region of determination and will.” Therefore, if you are wise, if you wish to overcome temptation, if you wish to live a pure, peaceful, happy life, a life of freedom and fulfillment, you must guard the gates. Each sensation of pleasure should be to you a warning. Watchman! Let not the enemy in! When kama, lust leads the senses; the mind and the reason, the man goes swiftly down the path of decline.
Goethe was a great man. He was, perhaps, the greatest poet the world produced during the nineteenth century. But when kama, lust darkened his senses, he ran after girls in restlessness. Nelson was a great general who won many victories on the battlefield: he could not gain victory over desire. In the face of kama, lust, he crumbled. Nelson lived with the wife of another man. Shelly was a man of poetic genius; but his poetic intuitions were darkened by lust, and Shelly, leaving his wife, married another woman and the first wife committed suicide.
I could go on and on, but my time has travelled fast, and the question still remains: How to overcome temptations? What may we do to overcome this which is, perhaps, the greatest foe of man, man’s arch enemy, desire?
What may we do to overcome temptations? And so let me pass on you some practical suggestions, which I have found helpful in overcoming temptations. If I have time, I would wish to pass on to you thirteen practical suggestions. It is not necessary that all the thirteen suggestions be put into practice at once and the same time. It is enough if you pick up one of them and try to live up to it: you will be benefitted greatly.
Practical Suggestion number one:
What is it? Temptations are of various types. There is the temptation to gratify the senses; there is the temptation to steal what belongs to another; there is the temptation to drink, to smoke, to take drugs; there is the temptation to overcome or eat forbidden food or violence; there is the temptation to send out thoughts of ill will to others; there is the temptation to speak harsh words or to indulge in lie; there is the temptation to gossip, to spread scandals against others; there is the temptation to waste time in playing cards or other frivolities; there is the temptation to accept bribes, to indulge in unlawful profiteering, to make money by means fair or foul, there is the temptation to evade payment of taxes. There are a hundred and one other temptations. To be able to overcome any type of temptation, you must be ready and willing to turn a new leaf. You must decide once and for all that you will never, never fall into sin again.
Of St. Augustine, it is said that when awakening came to him, he prayed to God to be led into a new life, to be kept away from a life of sinfulness. And then he added; “O God, but not yet!” That is, he wanted to indulge in sin just one more time, before turning a new leaf. It is said that most people who flee from temptation usually leave a forwarding address.
If I wish to overcome temptation, I must be ready and willing to wash my hands off it right now and here, and I must be willing to make any sacrifice for it. No price is too heavy to receive entry into the new life.
I read of a wealthy man, the master of a big estate in England, who was on his deathbed. His thoughts turned to God. He had a servant, named Jim, who was a devotee of the Lord. To Jim the Master said: “Jim I am dying. I do not know what will happen to me after death. What can I do to earn Heaven?”
The wise old servant knew the pride of his master and he said: “Sir, if you want to earn heaven, you must humble yourself. You should be ready to go to the pigsty, get on your knees in the mud and say, God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
The master said: “I could not possibly do that. What would the neighbours and servants think?”
A week passed by, and again he spoke to the servant: “Jim, what did you say to do to earn heaven?”
The old servant replied: “Sir, you should be ready to go to the pigsty.”
The master said: I have been thinking it over, Jim, and I am ready to go.”
The servant then said: “Master, you do not really have to go to the pigsty. You just have to be willing.”
This willingness to become new, to renounce the old life of sinfulness and pride, is very important. We must humble ourselves, we must make a clear confession of everything before God or a God-man. When our heart becomes contrite and lowly, the way for us is opened to the Kingdom of Heaven. The prayer of the Sikh Guru is so moving:
“Infinite are my sins, O Lord, as are the drops of water in an ocean. Have mercy on me and take this sinking stone to the other shore.”
The willingness to humble oneself before God, the resolve to live a new life, the determination not to touch temptations even with a pair of tong, this is the first and most important thing. It leads us to practical suggestion number two.
“God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” is a very noble aspiration: but it must not be overdone. We must not indulge in a lot of retrospection. With a heart contrite and lowly, let us confess our sins, and then think of God’s mercy which can wash the darkest spots on our hearts. Let us not then think of our sins, for whatever we think of, repeatedly, to that we are drawn. If we constantly think of our sins, we shall be drawn to them, more and more. Let us not think of our sins, but keep our eyes fixed on God and His mercy, on God and eternal things, His goodness, His beauty, His purity and His truth. And we shall grow Godlike.
Let us honestly confess our sins, pray for strength to live a new life, and then forget our sins. Let us forget what God has already forgotten. To my revered Master, Beloved Dada there came a girl who had gone ashtray. She shed tears of repentance, and asked for forgiveness. Beloved Dada looked at her penitent eyes and said: “My child, forget what God hath forgotten. Go and live a new life!”
And what is practical suggestion number three? The more man turns to God, the more he realizes that he is a child of God. God is the king of Universe, the King of all kings. This makes everyone of us a prince, princess, a son or daughter of the King. If only I remember this one thing that I am the King’s son, I will refrain from doing wrong things. I will never stoop low. I will stand up to my royal dignity. I will never compromise with ideals.
I recall what Beloved Dada’s brother, Shri Mangharam, told me more than once. His work took him to many places: he did not have a settled life. He came face to face with many temptations. There were occasions when he was about to succumb to temptation when, he said, the thought would occur to him: “I am a brother of Sadhu Vaswani. How can I do such an ignoble thing?” The thought was enough to give him enough strength to overcome temptations.
In the annals of France is the story of the son of Louis XVI. As a young prince, he was handed over to wicked and vicious men with the express command that they should defile him and ruin his character. The vilest influences were to be let loose, so that this child of royalty might become the mockery of the enemies of the King of France. No boy, prince or peasant, had ever been brought face to face, with such shamefulness as that to which the young prince was exposed. Unmentionable were the temptations placed in his path, indescribable the company into which he was thrown. But to it all the young prince had only one answer to make: “I can not do that. For O am the son of a king!”
Young men and women! Remember, youth is too good to squander after some things, too good to lie, to cheat, to steal, to take to drugs, to indulge in impurity, to poison the body, to drown the soul. “I cannot do that, for I am a child of a king!” is a good slogan for youth. Everyone of you is a child of a king, the king of kings. Everyone of you is a child of God. And there are things which a child of God must never do!
Let us move on to practical suggestion number four. To a holy man I went when I was a little boy, and said to him: “Teach me a way to overcome temptations” He said to me: “I will suggest to you not one but three remedies.”
The first, he said, is to avoid occasions. The second is to avoid occasions. Yes, avoid occasions and in that way you will be free from many temptations.
Mohan was a little boy who had just recovered from an illness. He was still weak, and the doctor had forbidden him to eat many things, one of which was cake. One day, Mohan’s sister entered his room, eating a piece of cake with another in her hands. The cake appeared tempting. But Mohan said to her: “You must run right out of the room away from me with that cake. And I will keep my eyes shut, while you go away, so that I should not want it!” Yes, the way to overcome temptations is to avoid occasions.
A young man, who came to the satsang, was determined to change his way of life by avoiding evil occasions. One day, he met a dangerous occasion, a girl of questionable character with whom, at one time, he was very intimate. The girl invited him to her room and said to him: “Honey, don’t I mean anything to you? I’m still the same girl.”
“Yes” replied the young man, “but I am not the same fellow.” Saying thus, he ran away as fast as his legs could carry him.
Avoid occasions. You have heard the story of fruit seller who said to the boy who had been lingering too long near a tempting display of fruit: “What are you doing? Trying to steal one of those apples?” “No” said the boy, “trying not to!”
In such a case, it is a good thing for a boy or a man to remove the temptation by removing himself. One way of winning is not to be defeated. And the way not to be defeated is to depart from the place and situation where defeat will naturally result.
Practical suggestion number five:
Never forget that impurity begins in the thought. Therefore, take care of your thoughts. Thoughts are forces, not to be trifled with: thoughts are the building blocks of life. If you entertain pure thoughts, you build for yourself a noble future. If otherwise, you work for your own ruination. St. Thomas A’Kempis says: “First there cometh to the mind a bare thought of evil, then a strong imagination there of, afterward delight and evil motion, and then consent.” His advice is, “withstand the beginnings!” Therefore, take care of your thoughts!
The great Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad, said, “Temptation comes as a passer-by, then knocks on the door of your heart to be taken as a guest. But once you open the door to temptation, it will stay as a master!” Then man is doomed. Therefore, do not let temptation in! Withstand the beginnings. The moment temptation comes to you, drive it out with all the force you can summon.
Thomas Acquinas, one of the greatest saints of the Catholic Faith, when he was sixteen years of age, was locked up in a castle tower. A woman was sent to entice him to evil. “Let me flee,” thought Thomas to himself. But every exit was locked: he could not flee. He then took from the chimney a burning log and chased the shameless woman away.
That is how everyone of us must try to deal with temptation, chase it away the moment it appears.
This leads us to practical suggestion number six. The moment an evil desire or thought wake up within me, I should immediately, without the least delay, push it out and punish myself. Beloved Dada always carried with himself a pin: and on his body, we found ,many scratches. When he was a young man, he kept with himself a stick. If an undesirable thought came to him, he would close the door of his room and beat himself with the stick, until his mind repented and promised never to entertain such a thought or desire.
One chilly, wintery night, St. Francis of Assisi felt within himself, as never before, the rebellion of the flesh. He got up and found some brambles with thorns and, without hesitating a moment, lay down on it, crying out: “O Lord, it is better to suffer your thorns than to fall into satan’s hands.”
St. Benedict lived a life of great austerity. He wore a rough shirt and lived for three years in a desolate cave, beyond the reach of man. His scanty food was let down to him at the end of a rope. Even there, temptation did not leave him. The memory of beautiful woman he had met haunted him continually and so impressed him that he was on the point of leaving his seclusion to follow her. Near his cave was a clump of thorns and berriers. Having undressed, he threw himself among them and rolled around till his body bled with many wounds. This continued to do till the fires of passion were quenched forever.
Many of us think that the saints are never tempted. That is not so. Only the other day, I read concerning a young man who complained to a saint that, after struggling for eight years, he had not yet succeeded in restraining his passions. “Eight years of struggle!” replied the saint. “For sixty years I have been fighting them in the desert, and so far I have not been spared a single day!”
Saints, too, are tempted even as we ordinary men are. The difference is, we easily succumb to temptation, saints overcome it and grow in spiritual strength and splendour.
It was Emerson who said, “As the Sandwich-Islander believes that the strength and valour of the enemy he kills passes into himself so we gain the strength of the temptations we resist.”
Practical suggestion number seven.
What is it? I believe we all remember the adage which was taught to us in the school: “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” If you wish to be free from temptations, keep yourself busy all the time. Our mothers were well aware of this truth, and they were specifically careful to see that their daughters were kept busy all the time. I know of a mother who, if she had no other work to give to her daughter, would mix a handful of dust with rice and tell the daughter to clean the rice. Today’s daughters spend their time in frivolous activities. They read dirty novels which poison their imagination and spoil their minds. They go to the cinema, houses of filth, they play rummy, they spend hours watching the video. Little wonder, if their minds become small factories of impurity. O ye who would wish to overcome temptation, keep yourself busy all the time.
A young man came to Beloved Dada and complained of being continually tempted. Dada prescribed certain disciplines, but the young man returned a few days later, saying that there was no improvement in his condition.
“Alright,” said Beloved Dada, “come back early tomorrow and spend the day with me.”
The next day, Dada said to the young man: “Take the books out of this cupboard, dust them properly, and keep on doing this until noon.”
The young man followed the instructions and met Beloved Dada that afternoon. His cloths were covered with dust, but looked happy. And Dada said to him: “Go and take lunch, and after lunch, you will do the same thing to the books in the other cupboard.”
The boy obeyed and when it was dark, he returned to Beloved Dada, exhausted. Dada asked him: “Tell me, my child, if you had any temptations today.”
“None whatsoever,” replied the young man. “I did not have the time.”
Dada said to him: “Try to work that way, everyday!”
Practical suggestion number eight:
Take care of your food. See that your food is satvic, pure, earned by honest means, without doing violence to anyone.
Practical suggestion number nine:
Take care of your breathing: breathing has a direct influence upon the mind. Let your breathing be deep and rhythmic. Some day, perhaps, I shall speak to you in detail concerning these two important factors of life, food and breathing.
Practical suggestion number ten:
Never succumb to temptation. Try to overcome it but, in spite of your best efforts, if you fail, you must not think any more about it. When a little child learns to walk, not unoften, he stumbles and falls. But immediately, the mother comes and lifts him up and asks him to walk again. When you fall, pay no attention to it, but immediately rise and move on, ever onward, forward, Godward!
Practical suggestion number eleven:
You can not overcome temptation by fighting it, in the ordinary sense of the term. The more you fight it, the more you direct your attention to it. The stream of life flows in the direction of attention. If you direct your attention to temptation, forces of life will tend to flow towards temptation, and will only strengthen it. This will increase your troubles.
To give an illustration, when the body suffers from pain, the more we think of pain, the greater it grows. But when we forget it by absorbing our attention in some other activity, such as painting, or music, pain completely vanishes,
It is the same with temptation. The less we think of it, the better for us. On the other hand, we must not thoughtlessly yield to temptation. We must be sinless. To be sinless, our lower self must be cleansed, washed, purified. The lower self must be transmuted into the Higher Self.
This leads us to practical suggestion number twelve:
Whenever we are assailed by temptation, let us turn to God. What is meant by turning to God? Turning to God means directing one’s attention to a Power, Intelligence, Wisdom, Love greater by far than my own. Turning to God means directing one’s attention to a Being who is ever above, beyond, transcendent, and yet who is also closer to us than breathing, nearer to us than the nip of our neck.
How may this turning to God be accomplished? Through the top of the head or the point a little behind and between the eyebrows. When we turn our attention to the top of the head, or to the point between the eyebrows, we rise above the physical and the psychic, and contact the spiritual, and divine forces begin to flow in and through us. The light and wisdom and power of God flow into us and help us in living the new life. Everyone who seeks to contact God will find his own way of doing so. The way I have found helpful is this. I close my eyelids and turn the eyes in their sockets upward, to a point above the apex of the head and, immediately, I feel the divine forces flowing into me, strengthening me, washing me, cleansing me, making my heart pure and clear. Or I turn the eyes in their sockets to a point a little behind and between the eyebrows, and, again, have the same experience. Try this experiment and you will find wonderful things happened to you.
Practical suggestion number thirteen:
In our language “thirteen” is “tera”. And “tera” is also means “thine”. Say to God: “O Lord, I am Thine, completely Thine, utterly Thine! O Lord, I come to thee, as I am. I come to Thee with all my faults and failings, weaknesses and imperfections. Thou wilt mend my broken life. Thou wilt make me new! I cannot do it by myself. I have tried to straighten my life. I have tried to renounce evil ways, I have tried hard, and failed. Now I come to Thee as I am. Lead me to the Other Shore! I hand myself over to Thee, knowing that by myself I can do nothing. I am nothing. Thou art the All. Thou alone canst deliver! Thou alone canst save! I place my trust in Thee!”
He who hands himself over to God, temptations can have no power over him.
I read concerning a man in America. He was driving his Ford car, when suddenly, something went wrong. He got out and looked at the engine, but could detect no fault. Helplessly, he stood there, when from a distance he saw another car approaching: he waved to it for help. It was a brand new Ford car. Out of it stepped a tall, friendly man who asked: “Well, what’s the trouble?”
“The engine suddenly stopped” was the reply. “And it will not start again.”
The stranger made a few adjustments under the bonnet, then said: “Now start the car!”
When the motor started, its grateful owner introduced himself and asked: “What is your name, sir?”
“My name,” answered the stranger, “is Henry Ford.”
The man who made the Ford car knew how to make it run. God has made us and He alone knows how to run our lives. All we are required to do is to completely surrender ourselves to Him, call Him by what name we will, Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Mahavira, Nanak, Zarathustra, Buha’u’alla. Call Him by what name we will, without Him we can make a complete wreck of our lives. When we surrender ourselves to Him, all goes well. When we cut ourselves off from Him, we can do nothing. Therefore, say to Him, again and again and still again: “O Lord! I come to Thee as I am. Take me to the Other Shore!”
To have the true joy of life, you must be in continuous contact with the source of joy, with God who is the Spirit of Ananda; unbroken bliss. Once you have contacted God, nothing, no one will be able to take away your joy from you. It may appear as though you are living a life of poverty and destitution, your spirits will keep soaring the skies.
There was a poor man. His clothes were soiled and torn. His feet were covered with mud. Yet there was a beautiful smile on his lips and a spring in his steps as he walked. Someone said to him: “Good Morning!”
“I have never had a bad morning” answered the poor man.
“That sounds strange” said the man to him. “I pray that you may always be so fortunate.”
Quickly answered the poor man: “I have never been unfortunate.”
“May you always be happy”, said the man to him.
“I have never been unhappy”, answered the poor man.
“I do not understand”, said the man. “Will you kindly explain the paradox?”
“I have never had a bad morning,” said the poor man. “For every morning, I praise the Lord. The day may be bright or dull, the weather may be pleasant or otherwise, I am still thankful to God. You wished that I might be always fortunate, but I cannot be unfortunate for I rejoice in everything that the will of God brings to me. I believe that whatever God sends me is good! You wished me happiness, but I cannot be unhappy so long as I rejoice in the will of God, and as long as his peace rules in my heart.”
Yes, praise the Lord in everything that happens, and you will be amongst the happiest of men on earth. You will have the true joy of life and you will keep radiating it wherever you go!
(Author: J.P. Vaswani, Sadhu Vaswani Mission, 10 Sadhu Vaswani Path, Pune – 411 001)