Although I was sorry that they had to suffer so much, my initial sympathy transformed to awe and humility when I saw their attitude. My friend explained to me on the phone, “Yes, the journey is difficult right now, but we are in good spirits.
“How about the elderly and children?” I asked, remembering, in particular, an aged woman, who had recently undergone a knee transplant.
“She is cheerful and has been telling stories all the way. We sang and chatted all the time- it’s blissful.” The full expressions in the background convinced me he wasn’t merely putting up a brave front; they were all genuinely positive.
Later we met at Mayapur, and I told that senior lady, “But I am still sorry you went through this.”
Her answer impressed and inspired me, “We are extremely grateful that the kind Lord has allowed us to visit Mayapur. Despite our disqualifications, we are here. Isn’t this a great cause of celebration? Besides, due to the technical problems on the rail route, thirty-six trains got, but ours just got delayed. I dread to imagine a cancellation- there’s no way we could come then. We all would have surely missed this trip. Moreover, we bonded well with each other on the journey as we had real and not virtual chats.”
I asked myself that evening: what was the truth in this episode- the uncomfortable train situation or the happy experience of the travelers?
External situations are sometimes beyond our control, but the choice of thankfulness in our internal world is entirely ours. And this is not living in denial, but merely accepting the inevitable and choosing an aspect of truth that helps our soul grow spiritually. A life of appreciation- principle-centered living-is a higher reality in this world as it helps us transcend the inhibiting laws of this world.
The Vedic wisdom assures us this attitude is the launching pad to travel beyond the temporariness of this world to a dimension of satcitananda- eternity, knowledge and bliss. It’s this attitude that helps us then become a boat in this world- you live in the ocean of problems, but don’t let the water enter your boat!