Saturday, 1 February 2014

Sthitapradna - Steady Intellect

 Going to Kashi (Benaras) was supposed to be a great religious achievement in those days Everybody therefore tried to go to Kashi in his old age and complete that pilgrimage. Once a gentleman wanted to go for that pilgrimage. He had a "Paris'' (one stone which converts iron into pure gold by touch) with him and in those good old days, when there was no security he was faced with the difficulty of keeping it in safe custody.

The travel from Maharashtra to Kashi was quite hazardous. The roads were infested with thieves and often times the Muhomedans used to attack the pilgrims and convert them. Thus unrest and insecurity prevailed in India for about three centuries from 1500 A, D. to 1800 A. D. After the coming of the British, they destroyed all the mischievous elements like the Thugs and Pendharies and established peace in India. It is said that this peace and security, which the British gave to the Indians, was one of the reasons why the opposition to the British rule subsided very soon and the people thought that the British rule has come to India for their good.

This gentleman had heard that Eknath was an upright and honest man who would not play flase with him. He therefore came to Eknath and requested him to keep the Paris with him up-to the time he returns from the pilgrimage. Eknath took that stone and kept it in the place where the idols of the god were kept and quite forgot about it; because he had not the sligtest idea of using the stone and converting iron into gold. After a lapse of nearly eight months the gentleman returned from his pilgrimage and straight went to Shri Eknath. On seeing him Shri Eknath welcomed ,him and enquired how he completed the pilgrimage. He also enquired whether he had any difficulties on his way. Shri Eknath was talking about everything else except the Paris; because he had forgotten completely about it, On seeing this, the gentleman started doubting the fidality of Shri Eknath He thought that Eknath wants to retain the stone and does not want to give it back to him. He thought it is no use keeping quiet at this juncture. He therefore himself opened the topic and requested Shri Eknath to give back his Paris. When the person made the mention of Paris Eknath remembered about it and went in the room where he had placed it. After a diligent search, he could not trace it; because it appeared that along with the stale flowers, used for God's worship, the stone also might have been thrown in the Godavari river. When Eknath could not produce the stone, the gentleman became restless.

The doubt in his mind about Shri Eknath's honesty was confirmed and he thought that the reputation he had heard about Eknath was not correct. He was a rogue and wanted to usurp the stone. He got a little agitated; but Eknath clamed him and said "Do not be afraid. I will find out and return the stone to you before the evening". After this Eknath further requested the gentelman to stay with him for lunch and suggested that in the meanwhile they might go to the Godavari for a bath. Though annoyed the gentleman became quite helpless before the calm and composed talk of Shri Eknath and he went to the river for bath. When they came to the river, Shri Eknath dived into the water and from the riverbed he brought out a handful of stones and requested the gentelman to pick up his stone from amongest them. He was however dismayed and thought that he was being fooled by Eknath, as he thought that such handful of stones can never all be Paris; but he was careful enough to bring peices of iron with him and on trying them he found to his utter surprise that all of them were Paris. He was picking up one and leaving it, thinking that it was not his stone. So he went on fidgeting, not being able to make up his mind. Seeing this,

Shri Eknath said, "Kindly select your stone early. So that we can finish our bath and go home. I have yet to worship the god and therefore we might be late for lunch." On this request, the gentleman had no other go but to select his stone and no sooner he picked up his stone, Shri Eknath threw the rest of them back in the river. Similar incident is also reported in the life of saint Namdeo.

The greedy gentleman was stunned at this queer behaviour of Shri Eknath. He thought of retaining a few more stones out of those brought out by Shri Eknath; but Shri Eknath was a man whose greed, anger love and such other passions had vanished. In terms of the Bhagavadgita he had become a Sthitapradna i, e. a person whose intellect had become steady.

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