Radiant Divinities! Beloved sadhaks and seekers! An intelligent person makes use of every opportunity that God provides him or her in this upward ascent towards perfection. An intelligent being is ever upon the look out for opportunities to elevate himself, to improve himself, to move forward, progress and to work inwardly for an unfoldment that will enable him to put forth the maximum abilities, faculties and talents that he knows are within him.
The really intelligent person not only makes use of every opportunity for self-improvement, for progress, but also, if need be, he tries to create opportunities for fulfilling the purpose for which he has come here—self-unfoldment, upward ascent. He even thinks and plans how opportunities can be created. Whenever Gurudev had the occasion to mention or teach about karma yoga, he would even go to the extent of saying: “If you do not have opportunities to serve, create opportunities and serve.” And he did it.
If, for instance, on your birthday you decide you will try to make all the inmates of the leper colonies happy by distributing some special prasad to them—now here is a way where you are creating an opportunity. They have not come here. It is not Dussra or Dipavali. It is not any particular time when it is supposed to be an opportunity to do something good. But, while there are diverse ways of observing one’s birthday, here you say: “Among other things I should do this also.” It is your intention, your own voluntary choice. So you have created an opportunity where it does not really exist.
For opportunities may come knocking at your door, or they also may not come. So it does not mean that you should wait for someone to knock at your door before you open it. Why not open it yourself? You are inside; come out into the sunshine, into the open, into the field of infinite opportunities in the world around you. Why confine yourselves to a room, under a roof, within four walls?
For the world is not obliged to come knocking at your door in the form of opportunities. This world does not owe anything to anyone, whereas we owe everything to it. Whether you are born or not born is not the concern of the world, whereas you are concerned now with how to deal with the world. So if you are intelligent, you will grasp this one fact, that the world does not owe anything to anyone. Though, the wonder is, even though not owing anything, it keeps on giving. That is the beauty of life. Not obliged to anyone, not owing anything to anyone, yet it keeps on giving. The bounty of the Lord’s world is amazing if you have eyes to see.
Does it seem selfish that you are intent upon improving yourself by not missing opportunities, by looking for opportunities, even creating opportunities? Seemingly selfish, it is selfishness for a higher purpose. For it is discharging our duty towards He Who has created us in His image. It is the doing of a duty towards our own divine destiny. Seemingly selfish, it is really a duty. We owe a duty to the One Who has sent us; we owe a duty to ourselves. We owe a duty to the world which has given so much to us—that we give the best of ourselves to it.
And if you want to give the best of yourself, you must make yourself the highest and the best “you” you can. You must not be a second grade or a third grade “you.” You must be a first grade “you,” because you are yourself the best wealth and gift that you can bring to the world. So if you diligently work for self-improvement, self-unfoldment, self-progress, then you are only trying to make yourself into a first quality product and then give it to the world, offer yourself to the world. If you work for self-improvement, not only will you be the gainer, your neighbour will be the gainer, your nearest and dearest will be the gainer, and society, your country and the world will be the gainer.
If some machinery creaks and grinds and works with a harsh noise, then it becomes a nuisance to everyone. If a correction is made and it works smoothly, it helps everyone to tolerate it. It is the same with everything. If you are a good specimen of what you are meant to be, the world is the gainer. It goes without saying that you are the gainer also. But the world is the first gainer.
Because the impact of each one of us is first upon the world outside, and then it boomerangs and comes back on us. We have to enjoy or suffer what we are, for everything comes back. But the first impact is upon those amongst whom God has placed us. Therefore, be wise. Look out for opportunities. Make use of every opportunity. Create opportunities for self-improvement, to progress, to become a better “you,” and thus make the world happy that you are in it. This is the key to move towards perfection, slowly and steadily, day by day.
What a great amount of time, energy and exertion scientists put forth if they want to know something more about a phenomenon like a total solar eclipse—what great enthusiasm, what great earnestness, what great sincerity! What great desire not to miss this opportunity. What willingness to take great pains, not minding the hardships, energy and expense involved in it. And the world is the gainer. New knowledge is gained. When a prosaic, secular sector of humanity can be so sincere, so earnest, so willing to exert, so enthusiastic about gaining knowledge about seemingly remote things that have no direct connection with human life, how much more people who are dedicated to attaining the highest goal of life should have this attitude, this approach towards life.
Reflect for a while, are you having this attitude? We are concerned with our own life which is nearest to us, immediate to us, not something remote, something occasional, but right here and now. We have to deal with ourselves every day, and is it possible to do it without proper understanding? We have to understand ourselves, and we have to understand life. We have to learn how to live every day, morning till night. A great deal of light is thrown upon this great task, this science of life, upon all aspects and facets of the art of living life, in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita wisdom teachings. Go to the Gita for a better understanding of yourself—physically, vitally, mentally, morally, ethically, spiritually. You will not be disappointed; you will not return empty handed. You will be enriched. Many unknown things are brought to your attention: how to relate yourself to the body, to your senses, to your mind and its thoughts, emotions and sentiments, and how to deal with them, how to manage them. Mahatma Gandhi called it “Gita the Mother,” and said, “It is more than a mother to me.” Are you taking advantage of the opportunity to elevate yourself through regular study of the Gita?
Life is full of opportunities. If they do not present themselves to you, create them. Look out for them. God guide you. Gurudev’s blessings be upon you. More than anything else, may your own grace be upon yourself. May your own benedictions be upon yourself. May your own goodwill be directed upon yourself so that you can make of yourself a better “you” for other people to live with, tolerate, benefit by, and gain through. God bless you!
Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)
Yoga, A Way of Life - Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
"Yoga and Health" - a complete book with Question & Answer section by Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
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