THE TEACHINGS OF SAINTS
SAINTS and sages are respected and worshipped in every country because they teach us great truths in simple ways. They show us the path to real happiness.
Ramana Maharshi was one of the great sages of South India. Devotees from all parts of India and even from other countries came to see him and to receive his blessings.
One day a devotee saw the Maharshi pinning together dry leaves to make Patravalis which serve as dinner-plates for people in the Ashram. A young devotee who was standing nearby said, “Bhagawan, you are pinning the leaves. Is it not doing unnecessary work and wasting your time?” Sage Ramana smiled and said, “My son, no work is a waste of time if it serves a good purpose and if it is done in the right way. You can even learn something useful from every piece of work you do. Take this pinning of the leaves, for instance. These pinned leaves become important when they are used to serve food to the hungry. After eating the food, they are fit only to be thrown away. So, too, our body is important only when we use it to lead a good life and also to serve the needy. The selfish man, who lives all for himself only, wastes his life, even if he lives for a hundred years. He is no better than other animals such as sheep or goats which also live, eat, and grow.”
On another day, Ramana Maharshi saw a few grains of rice fallen on the ground near the kitchen. He immediately sat down and started collecting them, one by one. Some of the devotees gathered round the Maharshi to see what he was doing. They could not believe that the great sage who had left his home and all for the sake of God cared so much for a few grains of rice! One of them even said, “Bhagawan, we have many bags of rice in the kitchen. Why do you take so much pain to pick up these few grains?”
The sage looked up and said, “You see only these few grains of rice. But try to see what is inside those grains. The hard work of the farmer who ploughed the field and sowed the seeds, the water of the ocean and the heat of the sun, the clouds and the rains, the cool air and the warm sunshine, the soft earth and the life in rice plants-all these have gone into these grains. If you understand this fully, you will see in every grain the hand of God. So, do not crush them under your feet. If you do not want to eat them, give them to the birds”.
That is how the saints show us the way to lead a happy and useful life. Fortunate, indeed, are the persons who get the company of a saint or sage now and then.
- How is a saint different from other men?
- Why is the saint respected by all?
- Write about any saint whom you have seen or about whom you have read or heard. Did you learn anything from him?
- According to Ramana Maharishi, when does life become useful? When does it become a waste of time?
- How are we to see in every grain the hand of God?