Vraja Bihari Das

Once I was travelling with two friends to a holy place of pilgrimage. It rained heavily that evening and we were stranded in our hotel rooms. Unable to go out, we decided we’d connect to the wisdom of the past. One of us played on a small speaker, a 1966 lecture by Srila Prabhupada, the foremost proponent of Bhakti yoga during the counter culture movement of the 1960-70’s. The class lasted for over an hour and the three of us heard silently without judgement and bias. Later as the rains continued unabated, I asked my two friends if we could recall what we heard. Instinctively my friends dismissed it; they said they may not remember it at all. I insisted we atleast try and over the next hour, as one of us recalled a point that he remembered, the other’s memory was jogged. Like this, much to our own surprise we recalled the entire class. Then one of us suggested we share what individually, we relished in the class. Again we churned and discussed for an hour, each one of us adding some other thought that we had heard or read elsewhere that resonated with the point we had heard today. We saw outside the window the rains showed no respite, so I suggested we discuss what we could do in our lives different based on what we learnt in the class today. Thus was born the three tools of connecting to the wisdom scriptures – Recall, Relish and Resolve. Since that day we spend some time after our stipulated reading or hearing, on recalling what we studied, then we list down or share what we liked and finally we reflect on what we could add or change in our lives for the better based on the wisdom we received today.

I remember earlier I’d be keen to read and gather more information in less time; I wanted to maximize results with minimum effort. Now I realized the virtue of chewing and digesting the spiritual food, rather than simply swallowing loads of information that brought about no transformation in my consciousness. Albert Einstein echoed our plight saying, “any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

Since then whenever we read or hear sacred teachings, we pause to reflect; we share what we learnt, liked and what we propose to live by based on our study and learning from the pages of these revered books. That evening we unanimously felt the mundane gossip and political news of this world paled in comparison; we were relishing a higher taste. The joy of our inner journey is palpable and the news of this world can’t give us the same experience. Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet put it aptly, “yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”Later as we visited the holy temples in the town, we prayed we could always connect to the wisdom of the past and learn lessons in the present, to contribute and leave a legacy for the future. 


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