At every moment, we are making decisions. We always have choices to make, and these little decisions we make determine the journey of our life. Fifteen years ago, where were you? Think about it. And then you made some decisions, and those decisions determined where you are today. So, what you are, where you are, and what you do are all consequences of the choices that you have made. And today, too, you have choices before you.
What is the meaning of success?
It doesn’t mean that we all have to become similar. God has filled this world with infinite variety, so we are all unique individuals, and that is why we are all precious to God. If your child says, “Papa, which of your children do you love the most?” You will say, “I love all of them.” If I ask you, “Which of your fingers do you love the most?” You will say, “I love them all. I need each of them.” Similarly, each of us is irreplaceable, each of us is unique, and God loves us all even though we are different.
Look at the variety in creation. No two human beings have the same face; they all look different. Our biometrics are different. In fact, our bodily aromas are also different. A dog recognizes based on the aroma, and you’ll remember by the face. You’ll remember by the smell. This smell is in my memory. In other words, each of us has a different bodily aroma. That is the extent of the variety in this world. So, similarly, each of us is unique. But the principle applies: we all need inwardly. We are programmed to feel the best we can feel, to be the best we can be, and to do the best we can do. So, how then will we reach this goal? Think growth, think progress.
Now, the problem is, Swamiji, you know, I did think. I tried my best to change myself, but it was so difficult. I gave up. Many people have this complaint that they tried and did not succeed, so they became disappointed. On the other hand, we’ve come across instances of people who completely transformed their lives. How did they do it? Let’s study their examples and see what worked for them. It may work for us as well.
Take a look at Tulsidas Goswami. Tulsidas, the writer of the Ram Charit Manas, the Hindi Ramayana. The Ram Charit Manas that he has written is so scholarly. Every time I read it, I am astounded. How could anybody write something like this? It has the best literary tools in the world from a literary perspective. From the scriptural perspective, there are direct translations of Upanishadic mantras. From a Bhakti perspective, it’s an ocean.
Tulsidas was not born as a saint. In fact, in his youth, he was extremely attached to the world. He was so attached that he could not think of living without his wife. One day, his wife had gone to her parent’s home. But in the night, Tulsidas realized, “How can I be without her? I need to meet her tonight.” So, he set out to meet his wife. Unfortunately for him, it was pouring that day. But Tulsidas was not one to be daunted. When he wanted to meet his wife, rain was not going to stop him. Such was his attachment. He braved it all the way until he reached the river, which was just before his in-laws’ home.
On that stormy night, there was no boat willing to take him across. But he would not accept no for an answer. He found a piece of log floating by and said, “Thank you, God. You are so kind.” He grabbed the log and swam his way across. Then, when he reached the other bank, he put the log aside and reached his in-laws’ home. Now, the appropriate thing would have been to go to the front door and knock. After all, he was the son-in-law, and he had a legal right to be there. However, Tulsidas was in such a hurry that he could not wait for the time it would take for them to respond and open the door. He knew that his wife would be on the floor above, and from the window, he saw a rope hanging down. He said, “God is doubly kind to me.” So, he grabbed the rope, climbed up, and jumped in through the window. “Here I am.”
However, his wife was not impressed. On the other hand, she was extremely annoyed. She was shocked and said, “My dear husband, where did you manifest from?” He said, “You know, my love for you is so deep. I just had to meet you tonight.” The wife said, “But in this rainy night, how did you cross the river?” He said, “You know, God showed me the way. I found a log floating by, I grabbed it. Look, there is the log.” She looked and said, “Log? That’s a dead body. It’s a corpse. Why are you so blind that you mistook a corpse to be a log? What’s wrong with you?” And how did you climb up?” He said, “You were so thoughtful. You had hung a rope from your window for me to climb.” She said, “I did nothing of the sort. Which rope are you talking about?” She looked outside, and there was a snake slithering there. Tulsidas’s wife scolded him, berated him. “What kind of infatuation do you have? You are so blinded by your love for this body made of past blood, stool, urine, mucus. Even though you have the knowledge of the scriptures, if you had a fraction of this attachment for Lord Ram, you would have become God realized.” That scolding, which she gave to him, Tulsidas made a decision.
He said, “Enough is enough.” He turned around from there and walked off. He revised the knowledge of the scriptures. He practiced devotion to awaken his best self, and as a consequence, he became one of the most learned and devotional people in the last 5,000 years. So here we have somebody who was so low, and he completely changed his life. Then why is it that you and I find it so difficult? What was the key in his transformational journey? The desire. He decided, “No more.” That decision came about because of his wife’s scolding or whatever, but the decision he made created a difference. Think about it.
At every moment, making decisions, we always have choices to make. These little, little decisions we make determine the journey of our life. Fifteen years ago, where were you? Think about it. And then you made some decisions, whether to become an engineer or a doctor, whether to stay in one country or another country, to get married or not to get married, or whatever. And those decisions determined where you are today. So what you are, where you are, what you do, are all the consequences of the choices that you have made. And today, too, you have choices before you.
The biggest choice is in regard to time because time is a limited resource. Everybody only has 24 hours.
What should I do with my time?
Should I play video games or should I go to the Radha Krishna Temple for darshan?
Or should I gossip with my friends?
The choice is always there, and as you keep choosing, that is how you keep becoming. So there are some choices that can be rectified, and there are some choices that cannot be rectified.
The choices are always there. God has created us to love Him, and that is why He has given us free will to choose.
What do we have between B and D? The letter C. Between birth and death, we have choices. We are making choices.
Remember, when you say “yes” to something, you say “no” to another.
If you say “yes” to your professional growth, you are saying “no” to family life. You are saying “no” to work-life balance.
There are all these aspects in your life. You say “yes” here, you say “no” there. So what are the choices that you are making?
One husband and wife went to the Grand Canyon. The husband was scared of heights, and the wife was fearless. She was repeatedly going close to the edge, and he was telling her again and again, “Don’t go so far.” But she was not listening. She was feeling the thrill of adrenaline. So finally, he said, “Look, if you can’t resist going so close, then give the sandwiches to me. In case you fall off, at least I’ll have the sandwiches.” So he’s making a choice, whether to laugh at it or to cry at it or to take some remedial action or to bear it. The choices are always there.
The God has created us to love him, and that is why he’s given us a free will to choose. What do we have between B and D? Is the letter C. Between birth and death, we have the choices. We are making choices. Remember, when you say yes to something, you say no to another. If you say yes to your professional growth, you are saying no to family life. You are saying no to work-life balance. There are all these aspects in your life. You say yes here, you say no there. So what are the choices that you are making?
One husband and wife went to the Grand Canyon. The husband was scared of heights, and the wife was fearless. She was repeatedly going close to the edge, and he was telling her again and again, “Don’t go so far.” But she was not listening. She was feeling the thrill of adrenaline. So finally, he said, “Look, if you can’t resist going so close, then give the sandwiches to me. In case you fall off, at least I’ll have the sandwiches.”
The choices that we are making, remember the power of choice. So today, the choices that you make, what do you choose to think? Do you choose to be miserable? Do you choose to be happy? Do you choose growth, or do you choose contentment? That is always in your hands. As we choose, that is where we will find ourselves in the future.