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Do you imitate or are you inspired? – Part 1

“Parrots mimic their owners. Their owners consider that a sign of intelligence.”

–    Marty Rubin (Canadian born author of ‘The boiled frog syndrome’)

I saw a new member of the ashram nibble away his lunch silently, from a bowl that contained a palmful of rice and dal. He didn’t take second helpings either. Concerned, I asked him if he was all right.

His reply worried me.    

“Our Goswamis hardly ate anything, and even that was once in three days.”

He spoke about teachers from history- known as Goswamis- who performed severe austerities and rendered loving service to God.

I probed him, “I heard you serve others the entire day and hardly sleep four to five hours at night.”

“But Raghunath das Goswami, the epitome of service, rested only an hour and a half” he replied humbly.

I appreciated his mood of giving care, and then abruptly said, “If you imitate the great souls, you’ll go crazy.” He sensed I was irritated.

He then spoke spiritedly, “I am stirred by our saints’ dedication and want to serve the Lord like them.”

I explained to the young enthusiast that honest awareness of our needs is the foundation on which inspiration rests.

The matchstick and the sun

Exceptional leaders perform extraordinary services- they are like the sun. But if you are a matchstick, you could still serve like them- remember the principle in play here.

“Light removes darkness” – this is a fundamental reality.    

However, the application of this rule varies, depending on time, place and circumstances.

The capacity of the sun to dispel darkness is much higher than a fire of this world. And the floodlights in a cricket stadium generate more light than a matchstick. All three- sun, fire, and a matchbox- carry the same quality; each can bring light in a dark room, but their ability is quantitatively different.

It’s foolish for the matchstick to compete with a 100-watt bulb or the sun. If it does so, depression threatens to invade its life. Nevertheless, it could remember the potential it carries in its existence, get the impetus from the sun, and then modestly contribute to bringing light to the world. 

To be continued…

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