Kannada Article by: Dr C R Ramaswamy
English Rendering by: M R Bhashyam
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A washer man used to take clothes for washing in a river. One day, in the spate, a woollen blanket slipped, fell into the river and was carried away by the currents. Lamenting that the blanket was gone, he jumped into the currents, swam and caught the blanket. However, since the currents were fast, he was swept down by the river along with the rug. The dilemma now was either to save his own life or the blanket. Only if he let go of the blanket, he could get to the banks. Well-wishers on the bank, who were so-far shouting "Catch the blanket! Catch the blanket!" then started shouting "let go off the blanket, get to the banks". The washer-man shouted back saying "I am also trying to do the same but though I am trying to let go, the blanket is not leaving me. What shall I do?" The reason was he had caught not the rug but instead a bear. Even if he was willing to let go, it would not. What a peril!
We do not know what ultimately was the fate that befell the washer-man. However, we are also caught in the current of life. We sometimes forget about the goal but spend time going behind unwanted things. Neighbors and others many times encourage us too. Many times, we do not like the advice of the well- wishers. In due course, when we are caught in incidents of life which are like whirlpools, though we become careful they will not let us go like that bear.
In order that we may not be caught in these kinds of perils, we must understand the ultimate goal of life and the high-way to accomplish that goal. Our great sages discovered those highways through penance and taught them to us with great kindness. They proclaimed that life lived within the four-fold bounds namely Dharma-Artha-Kaama and Moksha was this high way. If we keep Artha and Kaama as the only objectives to be achieved, they initially appear like blankets but without doubt they will gradually metamorphize into bears. But if we opt only for Moksha, liberation, as the ideal to be accomplished, we are sure to reach the shores. It is not that we should not enjoy the worldly pleasures bestowed by Artha and Kaama. But if we enjoy them within the bounds of dharma, we are sure to get the rug without being tortured by the bear and we will enjoy the pleasures of life at the same time making us traverse towards liberation. Let us remember the gem of words of Shri Ranga Mahaguru, the foremost among yogis, who said "If Artha and Kaama are controlled within the bounds of Dharma and Moksha, like we control a naughty cow by tying its two hind legs, we can milk ambrosia from life".
Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.
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