Ramesh says that acceptance is more of a jnana process, and surrender is more of a bhakti process, and that dispassion is another term for the same two processes. "They really mean living in the present moment without being attached to anything. He has many stories that illustrate this point.

"There was a saintly man, a Sufi. He lived his life quietly in his own small house. Then one of the neighboring young women got pregnant and she gave birth to a child. Everyone wanted to know who the father was. She didn't want to give up the name of her lover, so she gave the name of the Sufi. The community then insised that the Sufi bring up the child. They came to him and he said, ‘All right, leave the child’. He brought up the child with whatever means he had. Two or three years later, the mother relented and she was sorry. She and her lover got married and they confessed that the Sufi was not the father of the child. They went to the Sufi and said, ‘We are very sorry that we made this mistake. Please give us the child back.’ He said, ‘Take it’.

These two anecdotes of Ramana Maharshi's are examples of deep acceptance of whatever is going to occur.

"Perhaps even more relevant and pertinent, and I would say shocking in modern times, is the answer given by Ramana Maharshi to a query put to him by a sincere young seeker. The seeker said, ‘I am carried away by the sight of the breasts of a young woman neighbor and I am afraid of committing adultery with her’. He implored Ramana Maharshi, ‘Please tell me what I should do’. The answer given by Ramana was amazingly straightforward. He said, ‘You are always pure. It is your senses and body which tempt you, and which you confuse with your real self. So first know who is tempted and who is there to tempt. But even if adultery does take place, do not think about it afterwards because you yourself are always pure. You need not feel guilty. You are not the sinner’.

"Some robbers came into Ramana Maharshi's place and beat up many people including Ramana Maharshi. His comment was. ‘You all worship me with flowers; they worship me with a stick. That is also a form of worship. If I accept yours, should I not accept theirs as well?’

The following stories continue the illustration of acceptance of the nature of things.

‘A Brahmin was having his bath in the river. Then he noticed a scorpion almost drowning. So he lifted the scorpion and put it on the ground. But before he could put it on the ground, the scorpion bit his hand. Many people were sitting around and some said to him, ‘What have you achieved? You have spared him only to get yourself bitten’. His answer was, ‘I did what I had to do according to my nature. The scorpion did what it had to do according to its nature’.

‘A rabbi who had the Understanding lived in a tiny room with no stools to sit on and a desk which served as his bed at night. Anybody who came to see him had to sit on the ground or stand to talk. One of his visitors said, ‘Rabbi, where is your furniture?’ The rabbi said, ‘Where is yours?’ The visitor replied, ‘I am only passing through.’ The rabbi replied, ‘So am I.’

This is a famous Zen story which Ramesh frequently quotes.

‘A farmer lived in the days when fighting was going on between small kingdoms in China. This farmer had a son. His son, with the aid of the horse, was tilling a small field. One day the horse ran away. The neighbors came and said, 'It's a very bad thing. You have such bad luck.’ The farmer said, ‘Maybe.’ So the next day the horse came back with half a dozen other wild horses. The neighbors came again and they said, ‘What tremendous luck.’ So he said, ‘Maybe.’ On the third day the son, while trying to ride one of the wild horses, fell and broke his leg. Again, the neighbors came and said what bad luck it was, and the farmer said, ‘Maybe.’ The next day the king's people came to recruit strong healthy farmers into the army. When they found this farmer's son with a broken leg they left him alone. So, again, the neighbors came and said it wasn't such bad luck after all and that everything had turned out well. The farmer said, again, ‘Maybe.’’

This metaphor is by Chuang Tzu, and is called ‘The Empty Boat.’

"He who rules men lives in confusion. He who is ruled by men lives in sorrow. The Tao therefore desires neither to influence others nor to be influenced by them. The way to get clear of confusion and free of sorrow is to live with Tao in the land of the great void. If a man is crossing a river and an empty boat collides with his own skiff, even though he be a bad-tempered man, he will not become very angry. But if he sees a man in the boat he will shout at him to steer clear. If the shout is not heard, he will shout again and yet again, and begin cursing. Yet, if the boat were empty he would not be shouting and not angry. If you can empty your own boat, crossing the river of the world, no one will oppose you. No one will seek to harm you. He who can free himself from achievement and from pain descends and is lost amid the masses of men. He will flow like Tao, unseen. He will go about like life itself, with no name and no home. Simple is he without destination. To all appearances he is a fool. His steps leave no trace. He has no power. He achieves nothing. He has no reputation. Since he judges no one, no one judges him. Such is the perfect man. His boat is empty."

‘Being unattached is quite different than being an ascetic’ -  Ramesh says about the following story.

‘King Janaka still worked as a king after enlightenment happened. He did all his kingly duties, including the pleasures and the entertainment that came with his role. Once a guru had a disciple with a great deal of understanding, but who put a great deal of importance in asceticism. The guru sent the disciple to King Janaka. The disciple arrived at King Janaka's court in the evening and he found the king enjoying his usual entertainment. There was a feast going on, girls dancing, and everything that was expected of a king. So this disciple said, ‘Why has my guru sent me here? This is just entertainment. King Janaka is enjoying all this just like a rich man. ‘King Janaka said to him, ‘Go and rest for the night. In the morning at six o'clock I'll pick you up and we'll go for a walk in the garden and talk about things which your guru has asked you to discuss with me. So the next morning King Janaka picked up this disciple. As they started walking the disciple noticed a big fire in the quarters where he had spent the night. He said to the king, ‘Your Majesty, there's a fire there.’ The king said, ‘Yes, yes, yes. Let's go on and talk. They go a little further and the disciple says again, ‘There is a fire there!’ And the king says, ‘Yes, yes. Let's talk.’ The disciple takes a few more steps and then he couldn't wait any longer. So he said, ‘Your majesty, you may have many clothes, but my only other loincloth is in there, hanging on a string and drying.’

An Excerpt from the Unique Teaching of Ramesh S. Balsekar "It So Happened That". Edited by Mary Ciofalo - Published by Zen Publications


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