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“The story does not proceed further to tell us how the sober and staid gentleman managed the consequent situation, when the irate householder opened the door and demanded to know the reason for the intrusion.
“Suffice for us to know that each one of us is in the position and predicament of the gentleman on the mat. They who brought you into this trouble-tossed world have made themselves effectively scarce and you are the one facing the music the grammar for which was not set by you. You have to start in an as-is-where-is condition and you have no alternative to making the most of a bad bargain. This analysis of the situation, however doleful it might be, has to be accepted by you for drawing up any meaningful plan for future action.
“As a first step, realize that there is no use blaming the previous generation. Your forebears went along the beaten track and they knew not the long-term effect of their own activities. The pressure of Evolution coerced them to bring forth offspring so as to shoulder part of their own burden of imprints. Their ignorance of the purpose of life was invincible but you are not that badly positioned, are you? Otherwise you would not be sitting here in this sat-sang while the rest of the world is watching illusory scenes on the TV screen not having realized that worldly life itself is a grand illusion!
“You have been told here that the reason for your birth with a fixed life-span was the need thrust on you to clear the imprints you were saddled with at the time of conception as embryo. That was the heap of sanchita karma to which, in the years of your ignorance of the purpose of life, you added your own quota which is prarabdha karma. Ignorance is no excuse even in the eyes of man-made Law (which is proverbially an ass, biting from the front and kicking from behind!). Can you shirk responsibility for the part of karma which is your own creation? When you have got to own up to that, why not shoulder the inherited segment too with good grace? Anyway you have no choice in the matter! You cannot wish away your sanchita karma even as you cannot alter your height or complexion.
“At this point do you hear Jesus the Christ telling you, ‘Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit unto his stature?’ Face the fact that you have to carry your own cross, right up to Calvary. Your kith and kin, your near and dear are not empowered to borrow the burden, even for a brief while.
“Having been convinced that there is no point in blaming others, put on a cheerful demeanour. A task would be less burdensome if you do it willingly. Have I not told you about a horse that had to carry a load of grass on its back? It moaned and groaned on the journey until midday when the bundle of grass was flung before it for its feed. Having made a neat meal of the grass the horse resumed its travel with a spring in its gait. It was still carrying the load of grass but this time not on its back but inside its stomach. Having made the commodity its own, it was no longer feeling it as a burden. Likewise make the sanchita karma your own and it will no longer harass you.
“Having decided not to hold anyone else responsible for your being on this Earth, extend the philosophy to all the aspects of day-to-day life. If you are Accounts Officer and your assistant has made a mistake in drafting or totaling, correct the error and carry on without throwing a fit. When your assistant sees the corrected version, he would himself realize where he slipped up and be grateful to you for your magnanimity in not pointing out it openly.
“As a next step avoid entertaining Expectations with reference to those around you. It is in the nature of Expectations that not all of them will be fulfilled. That would lead to the breeding of grievances, big and small, in your mind. Grievances are eroders of peace.
“If you have to point out another person’s mistake for his future guidance, do so after assuring yourself that there is not even a tinge of spite in your mind. Also devise beforehand a method which the defaulter can adopt on his own for correct work. I had a sub-editor once who could never check the spelling of the word ‘Consciousness’ aright despite striving on his part; either one ‘s’ or one ‘c’ used to be left out in the page-proof sent for my clearance. As a last resort, I told him to count the number of letters in the word every time. It should come to ‘13’ I pointed out to him. Thereafter he never made a mistake.
“While teaching Arithmetic to a school-child do you know that the product of two figures could be checked for correctness by a simple addition-method? For example 12 multiplied by 8 is 96. The product when reduced to a single digit by addition would be 9+6 = 15, 1+5 = 6. As for the components, 1+2=3 which when multiplied by 8 yields 24 which reduces to 2+4=6. This is the same as the final figure for the product and so the multiplication has been done correctly. I had occasion to teach this method to a Tuition Master in Chennai who remained grateful for the help to the end of his days.
“Now that you have come to attend these programmes of Practical philosophy, whether out of curiosity or spiritual earnestness, you would find that you are becoming more receptive and creative. On the lines indicated by me evolve your own plan of action to conserve your peace under all circumstances by taking total responsibility for every situation you find yourselves in.
“The sober and staid gentleman of