The real asset
It was an affluent family of the locality. It had lot of agricultural land. I had mango plants spread over several acres. The rooms were packed with mango fruits during the season.
I was the only child of our parents. I was a welcome child. There were celebrations all-round at the time of my birth. I was liked a lot by me parents and grandparents.
Gradually I grew up. I was very smart and active boy. I was doing well at my studies. I had interest in sports as well. I used to call several children of my age group from my neighbourhood daily in the evening for this purpose. Gradually more and more children joined us. We had wonderful time at the playground. However, my father was not happy with my interest in sports as he wanted me to excel in studies. According to him sports could have caused distraction. But I was not convinced. Sometimes I even quarrelled with him on this issue.
One day a Swamiji(saint) came to my village. He used to deliver lecture on spirituality. His narrations were quite meaningful. Lot of locals used to attend to his discourses. I, too, developed interest in him. I starting following him. He, too, liked me. He would tell me not to ignore my studies and to care for my aging parents. But I was crazy. I kept following him. In the process I would not care for even my foods and other daily requirements.
This made our parents worried. They married me with a beautiful girl. I was not interested in marrying so early but could not say no to our parents and ultimately married. I was just 20 years old at that time. My wife was educated and beautiful. She came from a respected family. Soon I had a child. The boy was very handsome and we both were quite happy. My parents, too, were very much satisfied.
One day while I was returning after listening to a discourse of the Swamiji, I heard lot of noise on the roadside. Some villagers were quarrelling among themselves over some petty issues. They were abusing each other. After sometimes they started beating each other. My father tried to stop them. Unfortunately, he was hit by a lathi and collapsed. Blood started oozing out of his head. He was rushed to the hospital but it was far away. Lot of blood loss resulted in cardiac arrest. On reaching there, he was declared brought dead.
Untimely death of my father left me clueless. I being the eldest son of the family had to shoulder the family burden. I was, too, young and had little understanding of the village politics. The murder of my father had further increased animosities among the villagers. The police filled criminal case against the persons involved in the murder of my father. It was a fact that he was injured by chance but the injury was quite fatal and took away his life.
The death of my father and consequential increase in my family responsibility disturbed me, too, much. It had adverse impact on my studies as well. I could not do well in the University Examination that year. My entire family were having tough time.
Despite the fact that I was the lone male member in the family, I used to be out most of the time listening discourses of the Swamiji. I would forget everything. My interest in the family started receding. I used to be out most of the time. I was taking more and more interest in religious affairs This worried my family. They tried their best to persuade me to take interest in family affairs but I was unable to change.
One day I left my family. I became follower of the Swamiji and started living with him in his Ashram I took the life of mendicant. I moved from place to place and spent several years that way. In the meantime, my family suffered. My only child always missed me.
Lot many persons used to come to the temple. The daily routine was very harsh. I used to get up at 4AM in the morning. Then spent time in meditation followed by listening bhajans and kirtans. Sometimes I used to talk about my family with the Swamiji. The Swamiji knew my family and inspired to bring my wife and the only child to live in the temple complex which had all the facilities including a school In fact, many other families were already living there.
As desired by Swamiji I called for my wife, and the lone child. She immediately came. I was happy to meet my wife after such a long gap. We had a very happy time for a few days. But like all good things that do not last for long, our good time, too, ended soon. The Swamiji advised me to concentrate on prayers and temple work. According to him giving, too, much time to the family was not in my interest as this would only grow worldly attachments which were all false and need to be discarded for achieving the larger goal of deliverance.
Soon thereafter arrangements were made for our stay separately in different blocks. That followed restrictions on our meeting. My only son was kept with my wife. Initially we could have met once a week, that, too, in presence of some lady disciples of Swamiji. But this period went on increasing with lapse of time and ultimately our meeting was totally stopped.
I was following his directions blindly as questioning or even applying mind on the directions of the Swamiji was not allowed. This tantamounted to deviation from the spiritual path.
Many persons had been living separately from their family, so I was not much worried about the development rather I had the consolation that my family is having good time. After a few months of stay in the temple, my wife, too, got anointed and became an ardent follower of Swamiji. She was a great scholar of Sanskrit and had faith in religion.
Swamiji was very happy with my wife as she was progressing very fast on the spiritual path. Soon arrangements were made for separate stay of my child. He was moved to the boys hostel.
Thus, all the three family members were separated from one another. This was done because we had to achieve deliverance from the worldly affairs. We had to realise that the world was illusion and only Swamiji could have led us to the Truth.
Swamiji was very intelligent person and had solution for everything. He would repeatedly advice his followers to forget the world. According to him everything on the earth was an illusion and had no permanent existence. It is changing every moment. So, one need not run after them. They are bound to vanish and cannot give real happiness.
I accepted every advice of Swamiji but I was unable to forget my son with whom I was very much attached. it was becoming increasingly difficult to forget him. I often talked about this to Swamiji. That followed stricter dose of meditation and lecturing.
Sometimes I would see my wife moving here and there in the temple complex. I would stop for a while but my mind would at once go back to the words of Swamiji: This world is illusion. Forget it”
But my wife would not even for a while look at me. She had completely immersed herself in the temple activities. She had grown faster than me and was given high position among the lady disciples.
One day the police cracked on the temple complex. Swamiji was informed immediately about this. But nobody was able to stop the police from entering the temple complex which was like a fort as they had orders from the court to make a detailed search for an inmate who was missing for last several months. The parents of the missing girl had tried to contact Swamiji several times but was unable to meet him. He could not give any satisfactory answer about the sudden disappearance of the girl inmate who was studying in the residential school inside the temple complex.
Several incriminating documents, videos CDs and computer Laptops were seized by the police. Based on the investigation and proofs unearthed by the police, there was a strong case made out against the Swamiji about his involvement not only in disappearance of the girl rather in several criminal activities including money laundering. In fact, Swamiji was a great instrument in converting black money into white for which he used to charge heavely.
Leaders of various political parties had developed close association with Swmiji They used to gather in his Ashram from time to time. These activities never surfaced mainly because it was considered to be part of the religious activities and Swamiji had developed very high reputation as a religious person.
TV channels were flooded with the news of the police raid on the temple complex and the possible involvement of Swamiji in criminal activities. Several clinching evidences against Swamiji were in possession of the police. Although some influential persons tried to hush up the matter but that could not materialise because the court had taken a very strong view in the matter and was monitoring day to day progress for the case. Ultimately Swamiji was arrested.
Once Swamiji was arrested, several persons came out with similar stories. Inmates had started deserting the temple. The goons hired by Swamiji tried to stop them but the local administration came to their rescue.
I heard about these developments through a newspaper report. Initially I could not believe it. But I was surprised to see flood of news reports against Swamiji on TV channels.
There was lot of hue and cry within the temple complex. Everybody was trying to get out of it along with their nears and dears. Some of them were unable to locate their family members who were residing separately in the temple complex. I was too much worried to see all this and started searching for my wife and the only son. Luckily, they were safe. I decided to leave the temple complex at once. I did not have money even for the travel from the temple to my village. I was helped by an inmate. He came from a nearby place and had developed affinity for me.
I left the place with my family. Next day, I reached my village home. It was locked for a very long time. My villagers came running and helped me a lot to settle down once again in my village.
I am now living happy and peaceful life with my wife and child. I have learnt a lot from the past mistakes. I have developed real understanding of life. Any talk of Spirituality without character is only a fraud. Peace of mind is the real asset of life. Any achievement without it is meaningless and can bring only trouble. I often used to think about the duplicate life of persons like Swamiji who were cheating everybody in the name of religion.