Radhanath Swami says, “The moment we wake up, we wake up asking questions. What time is it?, What is for breakfast? and things like that…Everyone of us is on a quest. Somebody wants to be a top cricketer, famous footballer, President, CEO, et al. Many wants to get into the Guinness Book of Records. Airplanes were invented just so that we can fly. Some people wants to make the tiniest of things. Scientists are on the quest to discover the smallest particle. Medical science is on the quest to overpower death. While driving we want to overtake other travelers. Nobody is an exception. Why?”.
Animals are not called as rational, but we are. The greatest difference is the power of rationality. Radhanath Swami explains that rationality is nothing but the discriminatory power to distinguish between the good and bad. The power to discriminate truth. We minus rationality is animal. If we do not use rationality to understand what is truth then our life is an illusion – a waste. People may object to this saying how is it possible to live like this? After all, there is such tough competition for survival. But on sincere introspection, do we really get any happiness from such competition. People in Mumbai have to board trains of a particular time. A second late and their train has zoomed. Next train means late in office. So people may say that it is impractical to lead a life of truth, but if we do not, we will find ourselves vacant of emotions, love, compassion, and strength. And besides Radhanath Swami says there is nothing wrong with competition, but it has to be for truth pursuits and not sense gratification pursuits. Here is an unheard story (at least i hadn’t heard it until lately) which clearly describes how man is distinctly different from animals. Man can pursue higher truths whereas animals cannot.
This is a story from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. For those of you who do not know what this is i will tell you in one sentence that Bergen-Belsen (or Belsen) was a Nazi concentration camp in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany. At the conclusion of the nightly meal—a scrap of stale bread, filthy watery soup and a small pat of margarine—the Nazi commander would toss the empty margarine tub into the center of the room, inviting the starving prisoners to fight for the remaining drops. The sight provided nightly entertainment for the commander and his guards.
One prisoner named Elijah, however, refused to take part in the commander’s show. Though his body was withered and frail, he was steadfast in preserving his human dignity, and the others drew strength from his refusal to join the frenzy.
Then, one cold wintry night, Elijah cracked. He suddenly threw himself toward the greasy vat and furiously rolled around like a crazed beast. The satanic commander howled with delight. The last of the Jews had been broken.
Later, after the guards had left, Elijah began to pluck threads out of his jacket. He then sat down on the floor to carve a hole in his one, precious potato.
The others looked on in silence. Elijah had gone mad.
Then they watched as Elijah carefully placed the margarine into the potato, and inserted the threads which he had nimbly twisted into a wick.
At that moment Elijah looked at the others calmly and said, “Please, now, let us light the Chanukah candles.”
Chanukah means an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the re dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BC.
So this man Elijah was pursuing higher principles. He was interested in GOD.
This story highlights what actually has to be our quest and Radhanath Swami explains it in detail.
So our quest in life has to be right. We can try to create many records but all this will not help at the time of death. Only a quest for higher principles – only The Absolute Truth will help us at the time of death, if we had seeked it when we were breathing.