Life is like a river. If you place your hands in the river and keep them open, the river will always be there in your hands. But if you try to hold it, you will have only empty hands!


Please be very clear, again and again Kṛṣṇa declares:

karmendriyāṇi saṁyamya ya āste manasā smaran I

indriyārthān vimūḍhātmā mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate II 3.6

If you can’t create completion in your inner space, even if you control your body or your senses, you are just a hypocrite. Your life will not be a complete, blissful life. Not only will it not be a spiritual life, it will not even be life! The meaning of living is bliss, but there is no purpose. The more you think about purposes, the more worries you will create; the more will you try to squeeze the most out of life. But life is much more intelligent than you. When you try to squeeze the maximum out of life, it just slips through your fingers.

Life is like a river. If you place your hands in the river and keep them open, the river will always be there in your hands. But if you try to hold it, you will have only empty hands! If you just allow it to happen it will continuously flow through you. The moment you try to possess it, you will have only empty hands. You will not be able to have life itself.

The moment you experience, in your inner space, that nothing is going to be with you permanently, a deep healing, a breeze enters your consciousness. Your whole inner space is healed. You have so many wounds of incompletions in your inner space. Wounds created by your incomplete desires, by your failures, and by your near and dear ones. All these wounds will be healed with this one medicine. This one understanding that life is purposeless, that whatever you achieve is just nothing, and that nothing is going to be with you, is enough.

All the so-called great warriors are cowards. They kill others before they are killed, that’s all. They live in constant fear of death.

A small story:

Alexander, who committed so many murders, can never be called ‘the Great.’ Please be very clear: never teach your kids that Alexander is great. You are inspiring them to commit murders! Unconsciously, you are putting all these ideas into their heads. Of course, fortunately or unfortunately, he met an enlightened Master in India. Somehow, his teacher in Greece gave him the idea, ‘Bring one Enlightened Master and the Vedas from India, and I will change the whole society.’

So, Alexander decided he would take at least one enlightened person from India. He invited him to his country. The Master just laughed and said, ‘No, no! I don’t want to come anywhere. I am happy here.’

Alexander said, ‘No! Please come with me. I will give you a big palace and all the comforts. Here you are living like a beggar without clothes or food.’

The Master just laughed and said, ‘No. I am quite happy here, I don’t want to come.

You know the next step a king will take. First, he tried to entice him. When it did not work out, the next step, he tried the fear factor. He simply took out his sword, pointed it at the Master and said, ‘If you are not ready to come, you will be killed.

Faced with the naked sword, the master just laughed. Laughing now is very easy, but laughing when faced with a naked sword is very difficult, especially when the person who is holding the sword is a king, if he kills nobody will even question him.

But in front of the naked sword, the Master laughed and said, ‘Fool! You are a liar.’ He straightaway looked into the eyes of Alexander and said, ‘Fool! You are a liar.’

For the first time Alexander was shaken. He asked the Master, ‘Are you not afraid?

The Master replied, ‘Afraid of what? You can never kill me. You may destroy this body, but you cannot kill me.’

That is the courage of authenticity and the confidence of integrity gained by the spiritual experience of completion as we study in Sāṅkhya Yogaḥ:

nai ’naṁ chindanti śastrāṇi nai ’naṁ dahati pāvakaḥ I

na cai ’naṁ kledayantyāpo na śoṣayati mārutaḥ II 2.23

It means: ātman or the soul cannot be killed or destroyed; it cannot be burned. This had become an experience for the Master. That is why he had such courage and confidence. He just laughed.

Slowly, Alexander started thinking, ‘If he can laugh in front of my naked sword, how courageous he must be!’ For the first time he was shaken, because he had never seen anybody who could laugh in front of a naked sword, in the face of death. Even he was afraid.

Listen. All the so-called great warriors are cowards. They kill others before they are killed, that’s all. They live in constant fear of death.

Alexander was totally shaken and shocked to see the courage of this Master.

He asked him, ‘Please tell me something. How are you so courageous, so bold?

The Master asked him in return, ‘Tell me, why did you come to India?

Alexander replied, ‘To conquer India.’ The Master continued, ‘After that, what are you going to do?’ Alexander replied confidently, ‘I will conquer the next country.’ The Master again asked, ‘After that, what are you going to do?’ Alexander continued, ‘I will conquer the next country.’ The Master persisted, ‘And after that?Alexander replied as if the answer was obvious, ‘I will conquer the whole world.’The Master questioned further, ‘After that?’ Alexander replied, ‘I will relax and enjoy.’

The Master said, ‘Fool! Don’t you see, that is what I am doing now in front of your eyes? Why do you need to go around and conquer the whole world to relax and enjoy?

Only a man who has understood the impermanence of life can relax and surrender totally even in the face of death. The Master gave a glimpse of the Truth to Alexander. That is why Alexander said to his ministers, ‘After my death, during the funeral procession, please let both my hands hang out of the coffin, visible to all. Let people know that even the great Alexander could not carry anything with him’.

A beautiful story! You need to understand three things. The first thing is the courage of authenticity, the space of possibility and confidence of integrity, the space of positivity radiated by an enlightened person, the one established in space of completion. The next thing is the purposelessness of our running. Why was Alexander running? To relax and enjoy, to be complete in the Self. This Master was already doing the same thing! The third thing is that we are not going to carry anything with us when we leave. Even if the whole world worships you as a king, you cannot carry that with you! You have to go empty handed.

Never think that having comforts in the outer world will give you inner completion. All developed countries are filled with depression. They have the best roads, the best infrastructure, but their people are depressed. Never think outer space will give you inner space. If you want inner space, you need to work towards creating it. You need to understand the science of completion and the creation of inner space.

source: chapter 2, Bhagavadgita Decoded verses, 3.5 – 3.8

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