Two lazy friends were relaxing under a mango tree. All of a sudden, a mango fell between them, just slightly closer to the first man than the second. ‘I will eat it. Give me that mango, would you?’ the first man said to his friend. ‘No, not possible, I am too busy relaxing,’ was the reply.
A few minutes later, ‘There are flies on my face, come and keep them off me, will you?’ the second man said to his friend. ‘Definitely not,’ answered the first man with irritation. ‘A dog just came by and pissed on my face and I didn’t even have the energy to send him away. Why are you even bothering to ask me?!’
Guruji sometimes comes out with the most unexpected stories. But there is always a message. And after we’d stopped laughing at this short-and-not-so-sweet one, he added with a serious expression on his face, “You are laughing. But what is the cause of our laziness? This is something that we have to know.”
I remember telling Guruji early on that I never wanted to give up Kriya practice, and that I was determined to maintain the discipline it required for the rest of my life. It was certainly heartfelt, yet instead of being happy to hear it, Guruji firmly reprimanded me – he said to never become complacent or proud about this, for the mind is always playing tricks.
Laziness was probably the biggest obstacle during the first years of Kriya; there was sometimes the temptation to be like the rabbit in the fable who takes a nap under the tree because there’s always tomorrow, instead of going on slowly and steadily like the tortoise. But it was really after family life began that I began to find out why Guruji’s tone of voice had been so serious back then; why the need for awareness was a recurring theme. I began to discover that the mind never ceases to make all kinds of objections. In fact I’m sure it gets more inventive over time.
I remember when someone once told Guruji, “Sometimes I feel like doing (Kriya) practice, and sometimes I don’t. It goes up and down.”
Guruji replied, ‘This is normal and natural. But remember that you are not doing practice for anyone else – it is only for yourself. When you are practising, you are the one getting the benefits from it. Be clear that it is your duty, and that you have to do it. Be firm in your mind that you have to be alert and conscious, and do it correctly. Think that in an hour or two, I have to get on with my worldly life and responsibilities, but right now I have to concentrate on practice.
‘Also,’ Guruji added, ‘if the mind is going up and down before practice, it means the mind is distracted. Lahiri Mahasaya used to say that if you don’t feel like doing your practice, you should do more practice than usual as an act of penance.’
Now there’s food for thought. Imagine that, not wanting to do practice at all and then shutting out the objections of the mind and doing heaps of practice instead! Beat the mind with a stick! Exterminate the laziness! Yeah…! On that note, I am reminded of the time I was totally “Charmed” by the T.V. . But that will have to wait for next week.