Give Up Ego to Bear the Ups and Downs of Life
Worldly life can never be an obstruction in the pathway to God. In life we have dealings with many persons; the parents, wife, children, siblings, other relatives, friends, and many others. If we want to put them on a proper footing and make the best use of them, we should interweave them with the thread of nama-smarana; this will help us in establishing amicable relations with all, and make prapancha very joyful; at least, it will not, prove troublesome.
The main cause of the upsetting of human relations is an individual's self-pride, his ego. It is by no means the rich alone who fall a prey to this pride; the financially poor and needy, too, are subject to it. We have read in the puranas that when God's incarnation as Narasimha began to tear out the entrails of Hiranyakashyapu, the latter's pride made him reach for his sword, instead of humbling himself to kneel before the Lord. How compelling is man's ego even against his better judgement!
Nor is a man spared by his ego because he is poor or in an humble position. A beggar once stood at the gate of a house to beg alms. When the householder remonstrated with him for coming at an odd hour, the beggar retorted, "Do you think yours is the only house for me to beg at? Don't forget there are a hundred such others!" See how universally this ego operates, how deep-seated it is!
Ego, indeed, is like weeds overrunning a field. We cannot obtain a good harvest without completely uprooting these weeds. Similarly, we cannot hope to attain God without completely ousting the ego. When opening the jackfruit, to get at the pulp, one has first to smear the hands with oil to prevent the viscous sap from sticking to them. Similarly, if we sincerely practise nama-smarana while conducting the tasks and relations of prapancha, neither ego nor desire will be able to entrap us, and we can positively attain God. If we shake off this ego and the pride that pester everybody, we can easily face the ups and downs of life.
After a storm shower has stopped, children make little paper boats to sail on the streamlets of running water, and laugh with fun whether the boats sail or sink; we should similarly take life sportingly; this is easy with the help of nama.
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