There were great lessons to be learned from those experiences. Not least of all, trying not to judge those who have been brought up in totally different circumstances to myself. But every day brings one of life’s great adventure and when you are in the back yard of “God in human form” you can expect to be a part of his leela (Divine play).
There were two lessons that stood out for me and I will deal with them one at a time. Firstly, Baba always used to say that the best way to achieve spiritual growth and liberation from the cycle of birth and death was plain and simple selfless service. He also used to say that in any act of service in which we engage, we should always detach from the fruit (outcome), in the knowledge that everything is his will. So, whilst our hearts were in the right place, and of course there was nothing wrong with what we tried to achieve, we made the mistake of wanting to see the outcome of our gesture and demonstrated this by participating in what should have been the end result, i.e. the giving of food etc and interacting with the people we were trying to help. Because of our failure to detach we experienced disappointment which is the result of unfulfilled desires.
Now this may sound as though I am being harsh on Ciara and myself, however, there is a very deep and profound spiritual lesson here. Feelings such as disappointment only arise because of ego attachment. Who we really are is beyond all ego and earthly illusion, and therefore transcends pleasure and pain, bitter and sweet, happiness and sadness AND fulfillment and disappointment. It is the ego-self within humans that is responsible not only for self-agrandisation but also for self-degredation; it is the ego-self within humans that prevents the individual from gaining moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). In our haste to try to do a good turn or three we failed to think things out properly. There is no right or wrong in this, for right and wrong are simply relative; opposite polarities that must exist side by side in this wonderful world of paradox, which brings me to the second point.
I didn’t realise until we got back to the UK that there was actually a much easier and more effective way of helping those in need. I related my tale of woe to my friend Satyan and he told me that had we known we could have gone into the ashram office and made a donation. The amount of money we spent on packets of biscuits, soft drinks, water, books, pens, sweets and other items of food was not a great deal by UK standards, but it was a large sum of money by Indian standards. So had we known, we could have donated that money at the ashram office, and also specified where we wanted it to be spent; so much to the hungry and so much to the kids etc. For sure, we did help a few people but had we taken more time to think things out, and detached from the outcome, the money could have been used more effectively, AND Mohan would not have been able to take a cut.
So the moral of the story is sometimes we have to be careful how and when we help those in need, also, when we are in someone else’s back yard we need to know the rules.
I hope you have enjoyed this short story based on my actual experiences. If you have please click the “like” button and share on twitter and facebook, and if you haven’t already, please subscribe to my blog I would love to have you on board.
Smile and be lucky