Prologue and Blessings
By Swami Nirmal Chetan
Dattatreya was the son of Atri and Anasuya. He was one of the shining beacons from the pages of the Srimad Bhagavatam He is known to have made 24 Gurus.
A Guru is one who gives you a direction for the road that leads to true life.
Whoever or whatever taught Dattatreya something about how to perfect his life he considered a Master.
Thus from the sky he learned that though thunder and lightning happen in it, the sky remains unaffected. So in life one must not be adversely affected by the innumerable tragic events that one must perforce encounter.
He noticed that the fire burns everything - good and bad. Dattatreya learned to contain and absorb praise and criticism alike.
From the wind he learned to take Just as much as one requires.
The water cleans - the good and the bad. So from water one must learn to forgive.
The earth gives refuge to all beings and brings forth alimentation and food on which all must subsist. That is how our homes and hearts must be.
From the Moon he learnt to give light to all.
The Sun takes the moisture from the Earth and returns it hundred-fold in the form of rain. Dattatreya learnt to return each favour in greater measure to the giver.
The Ocean, though immense, dances Joyfully in the form of waves.
Dattatreya observed the moth hypnotised by the flame: dies for it. Its obsession by what it saw was the cause of its destruction. Dattatreya learnt to keep what he saw under check.
Dattatreya observed that once a bee sat in a lotus entranced by its fragrance. The lotus closed its petals at night — the bee decided to sleep the night and fly away the next morning. The next morning never came for the bee, as an elephant ate away the lotus. So from the bee Dattatreya learnt never to postpone for tomorrow what can be done today, as tomorrow the sun may never dawn for you.
An elephant’s main weakness is the she-elephant. The hunter places her picture and captures the elephant. Dattatreya learnt never to have that much of passion for anything or anyone.
A hunter plays an enchanting tune and captures the deer. The enchanting tune Dattatreya compared to praise: so he decided never to be carried away by anyone’s raising his ego to unnecessary heights.
A fish is caught when he bites at the morsel attached to the hook. Dattatreya observed that similarly people get you under their fist sometimes by kindness under which hide ulterior motives.
The observations of the moth, the bee, the elephant, the deer and the fish also exhort us to control our senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste as one can see that obsession of the above qualities was the reason of the downfall of the above creatures.
From a prostitute he learnt the futility of waiting the whole night for a love, which was not true.
Dattatreya once saw a crow flying with a piece of meat in its mouth. He noticed that the other crows would not leave him in peace until he dropped the piece of meat. Dattatreya realised that if relatives fight for what you possess, sometimes for your own peace of mind it seems a better Idea to surrender that.
From the child he learnt to be simple-hearted. A child is scolded one minute, he cries but smiles at you the very next instant. He never grudges his love for long: and is happy for most part of the time.
Dattatreya once observed that the bangles of a young girl were making a lot of noise. Hence she took all of them out except one. That taught him the greatness of solitude.
He also observed a mendicant and his peace of mind when he has no possessions.
Once a bow-maker did not notice the din of the procession as it passed by. So from him he learnt the fact that concentration can be so complete that it can block out the other senses.
Dattatreya observed a spider and noticed that it makes a web and gets captured by it. This is what man does: with his desires, he builds castles in which he remains a prisoner.
Lastly he noticed an insect, which camouflaged its form to that of its aggressor just to stop itself from being recognised and captured. Dattatreya concluded that if an insect is capable of achieving such a feat then what about a human being: if he were to constantly think of God, couldn’t he also imbibe the qualities of the Almighty whom he worships with his heart and soul!
Shakun Narain has observed and learnt from those she has come across. What has appealed to her intellect and heart she has compiled in this book and has emulated in her life.
She has achieved a praiseworthy balance between her spiritual life and her worldly commitments.
I have observed her progress through the years and have known her to be an honest seeker for the truth.
I am convinced that if she perseveres in her endevour, she will one day achieve what she is striving for - with the Grace of God.
Dal Sabzi for the Aatman
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