Swami Chinmayanandaji generally sat outside his cottage in the evening at Sidhabari, Himachal, for informal Satsang with the devotees. On one such beautiful evening, as we sat around him wrapped in a divine aura of bliss, Swamiji was fielding all kinds of question “missiles” that came his way. One gentleman asked something that most of us wanted to know, but felt diffident to ask. Most questions to such masters are revelations about one’s ignorance. One pays with revelation to get a revelation! He asked, “Swamiji, I have been attending Satsangs for many years but, even though I try I cannot rid myself of my negativities and worries. What should I do?”

Gurudev always answered with a hitting example that always found its mark and left an everlasting imprint of clarity. 

He smiled mischievously and said, “If there is a corked bottle nicely waxed over and thrown into the Ganges for six months, not a drop of the purifying Ganges water will go in and the devil inside the bottle will never get purified. You have to make space for Him if you want to invite Him.”

The answer was so applicable to all. We realised that no matter how great the guru or his teachings, they can benefit only him whose mind is keenly focussed and who listens with a pure mind that is rid of all negativity. Only he benefits who has a burning desire to put in the effort to lift himself. In Vedanta, it is called patrata, the student’s qualification. The Ganges flows for all, but you can take home only that much water that the capacity of your pot allows. 

We were thankful for the question asked, as confidence comes not from always being right, but not fearing to be wrong, and the questioner was not afraid to be wrong.

Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission, Delhi

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