A study circle was formed in my neighbourhood a few years back soon after completing the Vinaka Chathurthi celebrations.The aim was to recite the entire text of "Panniru Thirumurai",the sacred Tamil hymns sung in praise of Lord Shiva prior to the Chola dynasty.Initially it was thought to recite one Thirumurai every year within a week soon after Vinayaka Chathurthi. But this time it was decided to complete the remaining three Thirumurais within 12 days by devoting 6 hours in a day. Nearly 10000 hymns had to be recited during this period. Every thing went on well and the same was completed and I thanked the Heavens to be a part of the study circle. Meanwhile I took time to visit Kalahasthi and worshipped the Lord there.My cousin who is a surgeon also accompanied me.We were discussing many things all along the route.He told me his personal view on various ways of shedding ego.He narrated his own experience that took place during his visit to Thirupathi.Every one is familiar with the sight at Thirumala when people in long queues shout "Govinda".It is also an interesting observation that most of them who chant God's name are poor.It is rare to see the rich and middle class sections shouting Lord's names.My cousin inferred that it is because of ego the later do not fall in line with others although the inner faith may be the same as found in others.The shyness makes him to keep mum and feels as if the chanting is not meant for him as he will be looked by others.But my cousin wanted to break the silence in him and joined those who shouted "Govinda".He says that it gave him new thrust and power to move further in the queue and forget for a while that he was waiting for a very long time.
I was also going through an interesting book,"The Quest of the overleaf" written by Paul Brunton,published in 1937.The author's name is familiar to many in the south as he was an admirer of Kanchi Sankaracharya and Sri Ramana Maharshi. One has to take time to read this wonderful book.He talks about devoting time for spirituality thus:
" One must find,out of the twentyfour hours of the day,a fixed period of about half an hour when one is able to withdraw from ordinary personal activities and be alone,in quietude and stillness,with one's thoughts.The length of time devoted to the daily practice should be decided upon beforehand and will naturally be fixed only after taking into consideration the particular duties imposed upon one by his environment and status.One need not,and should not, neglect the normal everyday duties of business and home in order to find time for these spiritual practices,yet one shpuld not be so foolish as to assert that he is too busy to find any time for them at all." It is afterall an act to "self-regaining".
The wise man turns every opportunity in his favour.If the person starts cursing himself for having waited for hours he never conquers his mind.Instead,he simply worsen matters by dwelling overmuch on negative critical thoughts.He lives his beliefs and converts principle into practice.Paul Brunton adds: "It is not every man's duty to guide nations and rule people. It is every man's duty,however,to guide his personal life and rule his turbulent mind,to win for himself what the state can never give him."
An act of submission should never be viewed as a weakness. Surrender at the feet of Lord and His devotees is prescribed as the easiest way to attain salvation.The lives of 63 Nayanmars in Peria Puranam is highlighted towards this aspect throughout the masterly work in Tamil.It helps us to shed our ego and become not only more pious than ever but become a modest soul as well. A casual talk with my cousin was indeed a great learning to me personally to shed impatience,anger and ego.I admit that the journey has just started and it has to be a long one.