Significance of Experience
[Pujya Gurudev Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya dedicated his whole life to actualization of his vision of ushering in the Golden Era, the advent of the Age of Truth in the 21 st Century. The method, by which he set out to bring about a revolution in the world, is as simple as it is powerful and profound. Making his own life a well thought-out experiment, he proved one simple fact – the very root cause, the reason for prevalent problematic world conditions is the direction and nature of thoughts we think. These problems cannot be solved by treating the symptoms. We need to tackle the problem at the level of the root – “Our Thinking”. Realizing this and with an aim of providing a solution to the current world problems, he launched the mass movement – Vichar Kranti Abhiyan (Thought Revolution Campaign). Every plan, every action of his life, whether it was performing twenty-four Mahapurashcharans or visiting his Master in the deep recesses of the Himalayas, or writing life-transforming literature or establishment of Shaktipeethas or organizing grand Gayatri Yagyas or establishment of Shantikunj Ashram or Brahmavarchas Sodh Sansthan – everything was aimed at achieving this objective. He used to call this a divine plan and himself an instrument of the divine to achieve this objective.
On his Nirvana Day (Gayatri Jayanti / Ganga Dussera), we are presenting an editorial titled ‘Significance of Experience’ written by him for Hindi Akhand Jyoti magazine (August 1942, issue). The contents reflect his alacrity in learning from simple day-to-day experiences. This also serves as an example of how greatness is achieved.] In our village there lived a patwariji whose name was Lala Hubbalal. When I was a kid, I would see that he owned a mare whose size was so big as was not to be found with anyone else in the village, not even the zamindar.Officially, he got only thirteen or fourteen rupees by way of salary,but had made thousands through his patwari work. His type of luxurious living could not be seen even at big zamindar households. And his terror was such that whoever he frowned upon was scared to death, while the recipient of his benign look would consider himself beyond the pale of harm. He was adept in litigation, in conspiring and in creating feuds. He had good access to government people as well as gundas and ruffians. If he decided upon something, he would not rest until he had accomplished it by hook or by crook. Many well-to-do homes, unfortunate to become his target, were razed to penury. Conversely, many village jackals, with his blessings, began to roar. All the women who came in his life at different stages would wallow in royal luxury. Such was the persona of this patwariji—Lala Hubbalal.
“God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites so that you will have two wings to fly, not one” - Rumi
I grew up, and having completed elementary education in the village, came to Agra. Along with studies, I also took part in social service activities. In the winter our seva- samiti decided to distribute blankets and quilts to the disabled poor. In this connection I was moving from place to place in the district. The list of the needy in different areas was being prepared. This work brought me to my village too. Enquiries were made from the people about possible beneficiaries. The first name they suggested was that of patwariji. I was dumbfounded. Patwariji! The man who was the uncrowned king of the village only 6-7 years back has come to this pass now that he be given blanket meant for disabled destitutes! I had vaguely heard about his service termination and general illness. But I could never imagine him falling into such a pitiable condition.
I got up and started towards his place to know the full details. Lalaji was lying on a broken bed, wrapped in torn clothes struck. Limbs were not working. He could not even get up to relieve himself. The near and dear ones, the relatives had distanced themselves leaving him to his plight.There was no one to assist him. He had contrived a hole in the bed which served as commode with no provision of cleaning and washing thereafter.Food depended upon god’s will.
His demeanour had become so pathetic that as soon as he saw a known face he would break down. When I reached near him he started crying uncontrollably, uttering only ‘Lalloo’, ‘Lalloo’. The atmosphere inside gripped me too. I could not control myself, and sitting on the bed by his side, started weeping with him.
Both of us were weeping in silence.No third person was there to see this.Neither of us was uttering a word, but a silent conversation was going on between us.His tears were saying -“See the result of sins I committed”.My tears were saying -“Power and riches are but a few days’ wonder; it is foolish to get drunk on them.”
Sitting there I analysed minutely every aspect of Lalaji’s life and times. This study was continuously hammering its lesson into my mind -“Life is invaluable. It must not be wasted, but be utilised for the right purpose only”. These moments brought a revolution in my life – then and there. All the dreams for a future life — money, power, fame and glory — instantly evaporated. Lalaji spoke to me wordlessly- “Lalloo, look at me”. I looked closely again, and decided that the ignorance, the nonsense, the sins and the degeneration – all of which are responsible for this plight of Lalaji, have to be removed from this world. We will have to wake up the sleeping mankind and exhort them - “See the havoc wrought by sin. Be alert. Never tread this path”. Whatever help was possible at that time I gave to Lalaji, paid my respects, and came back.
This satsang of merely half an hour which saw only copious flow of silent tears and little use of spoken words proved more educative for me than one thousand Gita recitals. Inspired by those very moments, I devoted myself to propagation of dharma, and today I am serving as an editor of ‘Akhand Jyoti’
- Pandit Shriram Sharma, Acharya