How to Walk on the Path of Life

June- July 2004

When I was very young, not long after I came to Parmarth Niketan, a very old, revered saint came to Rishikesh to give his divine satsang at Parmarth Niketan. However, rather than staying in the comforts of the ashram, he used to stay in a small hut on the banks of Ganga a little bit away from the center of the ashrams.

I was given the special seva of going to pick him up each morning and bring him to the ashram. As we walked through the busy marketplace, I would try to push everyone and everything out of his way so that this revered saint could walk comfortably and unimpeded to the ashram. I asked everyone along the way, Side please. Please give us the way to walk. I would gently push all of the wandering cows out of his path. I moved standing bicycles and fruit carts out of the way so he could pass.

Finally as we reached the gate of the ashram I was feeling very glad that I had been able to bring him so safely and smoothly to the ashram, and that I had been able to clear such a nice path for him to walk.

This saint, however, looked at me lovingly and said, Beta, kis kis ko hatate rahoge? Aur kab tak hatate rahoge? My child, how many people and cows can you push out of the way? For how long can you move other people and things out of your path? That is not the way. Apna rasta banate jao. Apna rasta banake nikalte jao. Do not try to move others; rather find your way between the others and around them. Make your own path, but do not worry about moving others. Find your own way in the midst of the chaos.

In our lives we frequently get frustrated and broken by feeling that others are blocking our way and thwarting our path. We blame their presence and their actions for our own failure. We explain to ourselves that we would have been able to succeed if only they had let us, if only they had moved out of the way for us. We try to push people and obstacles aside to clear a way for ourselves in life.

However, obstacles never stop coming. People who are jealous never stop trying to block our path. For how long can we try to move them aside? How many obstacles, how many enemies can we try to push away? The answer is to simply find our own way, around them, between them. If they are blocking the path on the right, we walk on the left. If they are blocking the path on the left, we walk on the right.

We must be more concerned about finding our own way rather than focusing on moving all of those whom we think are blocking our path. For those who are pure in mind, thought and deed, there will always be a path in which to walk. The path may be narrow at times and it may seem that obstacles and enemies line both sides. But we must humbly and sincerely make our own way on the path of life. We must just keep walking the path of our dharma, the path of righteousness, the path of honesty, purity and piety without worrying about those who try to block our way.

So much of our precious time, energy and focus are wasted in the futile task of trying to remove obstacles and other people from our path. It is not necessary. Find your own path around the obstacles. Find your own path around the enemies. Do not try to push them aside or push them down or fight them for the right of way. Rather, carefully examine the situation and see where the path is clear. Then, choose that path and continue on your way.

The more attention we give to those who are trying to sabotage us and trying to thwart our progress, the less time and energy we have to walk to right path. In that way, then, the enemies win, for they have stolen our peace of mind, our tranquility, our joy and also our time. Instead of trying to fight them out of the way, we must remain humble, pure and single-minded on the goal. If we can see our destination clearly then we will always be able to find a path in which to walk.

So, keep the destination firm in your mind. Stay focused on the goal and nikalte chale, nikalte chale jao [move around the obstacles and continue on the path.







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