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16. Fish: Dattaguru, Shri Dattatreya points out to the fish as a guru. The fish gets caught in the baited hook because of its weakness for taste and perishes thereby. We are also slaves of the tongue. Abstinence may help to control the other senses, but here it only intensifies our craving. One who has conquered this weakness can be said to have conquered all his other senses.
17. Pingala was a prostitute. The Avadhuta, in the course of his wanderings, happened to sit under a tree on the street where she lived. She was waiting in the balcony for a customer. She went in and came out again and again. From the business standpoint, it was a night of failure, of utter loss. But strangely, sometimes a loss turns into a gain. She thought, "Here am I waiting to sell my body to anyone who comes along, while the Lord in my heart is waiting quietly and I never paid any attention to Him!" This trend of thought resulted in the dawn of dispassion, wisdom and mental peace. Finally she slept well.
Swami Chinmayananda used to say, "Disappointments come only to those who make appointments with the future." False hopes from others for happiness and money lead only to mental agitation. When we have no expectations from anything or anybody, we can be truly happy".
We may well wonder at her sudden change of mind. A Mahatma has said that it was the grace of the Avadhuta Maharaj. The breeze that touched his body happened to touch her also and created vairagya in her mind. Such is the power of sages. Hence we should worship a person who has gained Self-knowledge - tasmadatmajnam hi arcayet.
18. Kurara Bird: The kurara bird had a small piece of meat in his mouth. Bigger and more powerful birds pounced on him. Suddenly the bird realised that it was because of the meat that they were attacking him. So he dropped it and the birds swooped down on the meat, leaving him alone. If you hold on to desirable things, other people are bound to attack you. So you should either become stronger or let go of the object of desire. It is better to let go of our attachment and develop devotion for the Lord. '
19. Child: When a child plays with his toys, he forgets his hunger and other bodily needs. Children play with each other and fight, but soon they forget it. Parents may take up the fight, but the children get together and play. Yogis are child-like in their behavior; they don't harbour emotions like anger and enmity; they live in the present moment without a care in the world. However, unlike children, their spontaneity is born of wisdom.
20. Girl: A teenage girl, not yet married, received some visitors who had come with a proposal of marriage. No one else was at home then.
After welcoming and seating them, she went in to prepare something for them to eat. As she was pounding the grains, her bangles made a noise. So she removed some of them. Still they jangled, and even when there were only two on each hand, they made a noise. So she removed one more from each hand. Finally, with only one bangle each, there was no noise. In hindi, it is said: ek me santi do me kranti tin me bhranti - one is peace, two is revolution, three is commotion! In Sadhana Panchakam Adi Sankaracharya says that we should enjoy the bliss of solitude and rest our attention on the Supreme - ekante sukhamasyatam paratare cetah samadhiyatam. In advaita there is peace (santi). By sheer observation, the Avadhuta learnt many things:
21. Arowsmith : The Avadhuta learnt the virtues of single-pointed concentration from an arrowsmith who was so intent on his work that he was not even aware of a royal procession that went past Instead of getting distracted by other people and their concerns, if we focus on our sadhana and contemplate on the Self, we can achieve our supreme goal.
To be continued
About the author
This article is a continuation of “Gurus-24 Spiritual Teachers," which, is an excerpt from Swami Tejomayananda's “The Twenty Four Gurus" The article is about the spiritual teachers found in nature and world as revealed by Shri Dattatreya, acclaimed as Dattaguru. It covers teachers from 16 to 21 of the 24. This article is written for the Vedanta Vani of Chinmaya Mission.