Published:11 Dec 2023 1 PMUpdated:11 Dec 2023 1 PM

Seshadrinatha Sastry  Sakthi Vikatan.

மனம்... நான்... கடவுள்! 14 - கடவுள் அருள்பெற்ற இரண்டு கள்வர்கள்!

Mind... I am... God! 14  - God's Grace received by two thieves

Machine translatio from Tamil to English was edited by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

1. 'The legs should take you to the temple. Your head should bow to Narayana. Your mind should think only of the in-dwelling God. The hands should do Archana. The eyes should behold him. The body is a machine. The mind activates the body. The soul gives the mind the ability to function. Activity is according to the will of the mind. The soul acts as an observer. If we want our actions to improve, the mind must function better. If we should perform refined deeds, our mind should function accordingly. If there is dust in the mirror, our image is not clearly visible. If the mirror is free from dust, the face appears clearly. Likewise, we should keep our mind clean. Dharmashastra and puranas give plenty of guidance. They point to our bad and good qualities and advise us to shed the bad qualities and improve and strengthen the good qualities.
2. The good qualities are compassion, patience, and tolerance. Asuai means to be jealous of others. Anasuyai means not to be jealous. Jealousy can push us into the abyss.
3. Mind is God. Two devotees did penance. God, who rejoiced in their penance, appeared before them. "Whoever asks me for a boon first will guarantee double benefits to the other. Ask for the boon."
4. Both were hesitant to ask for a boon at first. The other person will get double the benefits, causing jealousy in the first beneficiary. This predicament silenced both.
5. As God's pressure grew stronger, one of them boldly asked for a boon:
6. "O God, blind me in one of my eyes!" That is how God gave him a boon and disappeared.
7. The result was both eyes of the other person lost eyesight spontaneously. This is how jealousy destroys not only us but also our near and dear. How are we to get rid of evil qualities like jealousy?
8. "A drop of water that falls on a hot stone disappears from sight. A drop of water falling on a lotus leaf looks like a pearl. A drop of water (nucleus) that falls into the oyster becomes a pearl," says Bhartruhari, proclaiming the benefits of contact with good people. Yes, friendship and contact with good people will generate only good things in us. Here is a story for you.
9. Maharishi Uthanga did penance in Nanda Vanam (flower garden), adjacent to the Sriman Narayana temple in the town built by King Sauvira.
10. He had an abiding faith in seeking refuge in Narayana for his well-being'. Yes, Uthanga enjoyed serving Narayana with all his five senses.
11. Mind says, "I am God." 'The legs should take you to the temple. Your head should bow to Narayana. Your mind should think only of the in-dwelling God. The hands should do Archana. The eyes should behold him. The tongue should utter his name. The ears must hear his glory. The nose should smell the Tulsi leaves at his feet. God gave the senses, so we can use them in his service!' says Kulasekara Azhwar. It was Uthanga who put them into practice.
12. One day, a robber named Kanikan came on the path to the temple. Seeing the gold kalash (ceremonial vessels) glistening on the top of the temple tower, Kanika assumed that there would be jewelry, diamonds, and gems inside the temple!
13. He entered the temple at nightfall. At that time, Uthanga was meditating in the temple. 'He may impede me,' thought Kanikan, and decided to kill him.
14. He pulled out the sword from its sheath. He pushed down Uthanga, deep in meditation. He pressed his foot against his chest, grabbed the tuft of his hair, and raised his sword to cut off Uthanga's head.
15. Uthanga opened his eyes. The kindness in his eyes prevented his action. The sword in Kanikan's hand slipped. Kanikan stepped back from him. Uthanga began to speak in a kind and soft voice.
16. "My dear friend, why did you try to kill the blameless me? Punishing the wrongdoer is a world custom. Is the innocent subject to punishment?
17. The good ones will not punish the wrongdoers. On the contrary, they will rectify their mistakes. The mind of the good will see the good even in the enemy. The sandalwood tree gives a gift of aroma to the axe that cut it. In like manner, the good-hearted tolerate the bad and give abhaya (refuge) to the wicked. Since they are of a godly nature, the good should be treated like God,' Uthanga taught Kanika.
18. The association with good people will make the fool intelligent too. Subhashita says that the tethang nut will make the turbid water clear.
19. For Kanikan, his attempted robbery earned the friendship of the virtuous Uthanga.
20. "The desire for money earns more sin and destroys character. It is ignorance to think that money is the source of happiness. Therefore, get rid of sinful acts and worship God. You will have mangalam (auspiciousness)," Uthanga advised him.
21. His advice changed Kanikan’s thinking. He prostrated himself at the feet of Uthanga, sought forgiveness, and accepted him as his guru. As advised, he practiced penance. Soon, Sriman Narayaṇa took possession of him.
22. There is also the story of another thief as an example of how friendship with good people is beneficial. In the forest, a man supported his family by robbing travelers. One day he happened to meet Narada. Narada, intending to guide him, said, 'Do not ruin your life by robbing. Get rid of the evil deeds and seek a pure life!"
23. The thief said, "There is no other way to support my family. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with robbing!"
24. Hearing this, Narada said, 'It is a sin to steal. That sin will not affect your family who has enjoyed the stolen wealth. Do you have to bear the burden of sin for them? Think about it! Seek God; good things will happen!" he said.
25. But faith in God did not convince the thief. "My family, who has a share in wealth, has a share in my sin too. After consulting with my family, I will meet with you!" He came to his family and told them that they too had a share in his sin. On hearing this, his family was terrified and said, "It was you who stole! That sin belongs only to you. We have no share in it!"
26. Realizing the truth, the thief repented and became a devotee of the indwelling God according to the words of Narada. Legend has it that he is the sage Valmiki, who composed the epic Ramayana. Yes, he became a great man admired by the world because of the friendship with the good Narada!