During the short break, room was made for several rows of chairs. Although many remained on the floor, many more entered the room to listen to the discourse.
Once everyone was seated, Swami Mukundananda returned to his seat on the stage.
He began by emphasizing the importance of being mindful of everything we do.
To illustrate this point, Swami Mukundananda told a story of a man who was fishing in a boat in the dark. As he sat with his feet hanging over the edge of the boat, his feet touched the water. While sitting there, a bag floated by his feet. The man reached down, picked it up and then stuck his hand inside the bag, finding a smooth stone.
He pulled the stone from the bag and threw the stone in to the water. Liking the sound, he repeated this action until he had one remaining stone. At this time, the moon is shining sufficiently to see that stone was a precious jewel. He lamented his action as he realized that he had thrown out all these precious stones, wasting the gifts God had bestowed on him.
Swami Mukundananda felt the man was luckier than he realized, explaining that he had not had the opportunity to become overly attached to the wealth represented by the stones. We, however, are often distracted with all our responsibilities, goals and desire for wealth to actively seek a relationship with the Divine.
I know that I have to consciously prioritize time for meditation, yoga and reading from spiritual books. It is all too easy to come home and turn on the boob tube in order to numb from the day. Not to mention all the other interuptions we face on a daily basis: work, caring for children or others, the latest sports game, etc.
Swami Mukundananda then reflected on how our attachments to the senses distracts us from enlightenment by telling another powerful story.
This story was of a 20 year old man whom God approached. The young man replied to God that he was too busy enjoying life and asked God to return in 5 years when he would have more time to talk.
So God left and returned five years later. At this time the man was in the midst of getting married, so he asked God to return in ten years when he was sure to have more time. God left and returned in ten years, but at this time the man was too busy raising his children and paying his bills for time to speak with God.
God, disappointed, returned ten years later. The man apologized, but stated his daughter was getting married and his son was in college and he needed to meet these financial obligations. He insisted that he would have time in ten more years. This went on until the man was now 85 years old and he learned that he was to die in seven days.
Suddenly, the man took a look at his life and removed everything that he could not change in seven days. He found nothing was left and he now had time to speak with God.
With wit and understanding, Swami Mukundananda called everyone to answer the calling of their hearts to develop a relationship with the God of their understanding. He reminded them that they do not know whether they will live to see tomorrow or whether their mind might not be ravished by dementia, thereby inhibiting them from interacting with God in their later life.
What gets in the way of your spiritual life? What will it take for you to make time to answer the calling of your heart?
Although I had not initially planned to stay for the discourse, I am glad that I did. I appreciated the simple message shared by Swami Mukundananda.
If you are interested in learning more about his teachings or about the remaining destinations of his tour, please click here.
**** For those who are familiar with Swami Mukundananda’s teachings, I apologize if I have misstated anything. I have tried to share from the gist of my understanding of his messages.