“There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.”
– G.K. Chesterton (popular English writer, poet and philosopher of the early twentieth century)
I asked a spiritual leader, an elderly man of around seventy years, if he isn’t bored doing the same chanting, hearing, and studying of the unchanged scriptures. I wondered how one could be enthusiastic day in-day out on a path that appeared to me, has limited variety? Interestingly this man is a senior leader with a daily practice of forty five years; he chants the Hare Krishna mantra for over two hours and reads the ancient scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam for an hour daily, besides other rituals that he claims is spiritually elevating. To me his level of advancement on his chosen path was palpable; he shone brilliantly, his effulgence and the silent peace he exuded spoke a million words.
He replied softly that spiritual practice nourishes him exactly like the food we eat daily. You may have a good breakfast, lunch and dinner. Still, the next day, you are again hungry. Even the best meal you enjoy doesn’t bore you; you are ready to devour another one a few hours later. If food, which is a mere energy of the different material elements of this world, which in turn is an energy of God, can excite us daily, imagine how much more ardour one could possess in spiritual practices that are from another, sublime dimension.
Although I was satisfied by the example he gave, I was curious to know more and asked him what brings him so much joy and contentment. I asked if merely in his presence I felt so peaceful what is it that he experiences within. He said nothing at first, and then moments later remarked it’s ineffable.
I asked him at what age he began this new life. He smiled again, as if wryly, and said, “I lived a life devoid of God for the first twenty years of my life. Now for the last fifty years, I have a practice that nourishes me and fills my heart with tangible contentment. It’s like drinking water when you are thirsty; you feel happy and relieved by that experience. I can see that my earlier life devoid of a spiritual practice was like drinking tons of water in a dream. When you are thirsty, and also fast asleep, you may drink many liters of water in your dream, but will it ever satisfy you? You need to wake up, and then even a single cup of water can quench your thirst. In the same manner all my passionate actions were like drinking water in a dream; it’s only when I am in an awakened state of connection to the divine that I feel satisfied – even a little of the practice can satiate my craving completely.
“But then a few hours later, I am again eager for another connection; it’s blissful!” he said and rose to excuse himself.
I observed him clean the plates in the deity room, and then he mopped the floor. He was content in his menial services and reading of scriptures. He found nothing boring in life; he often said life is too short to be bored !