Qualities of a saintly person
October 27, 2009 1 Comment
In Srimad Bhagavatam, there is a very interesting conversation between a brahmana avadhuta and King Yadu. The avadhuta (one who is liberated) explains to Maharaja Yadu what he learnt from his 24 gurus, which include the earth, wind, sky, water, and fire, among others.
This has been taken from here.
Maharaja Yadu once observed a certain brahmana avadhuta, who appeared to be quite young and learned, wandering about fearlessly. Being himself most learned in spiritual science, the King took the opportunity and inquired from him as follows. Sri Yadu said: O brahmana, I see that you are not engaged in any practical religious activity, and yet you have acquired a most expert understanding of all things and all people within this world. Kindly tell me, sir, how did you acquire this extraordinary intelligence, and why are you traveling freely throughout the world behaving as if you were a child?
Generally human beings work hard to cultivate religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and also knowledge of the soul, and their usual motive is to increase the duration of their lives, acquire fame and enjoy material opulence. You, however, although capable, learned, expert, handsome and most eloquent, are not engaged in doing anything, nor do you desire anything; rather, you appear stupefied and maddened as if you were a ghostly creature.
O brahmana, we see that you are devoid of any contact with material enjoyment and that you are traveling alone, without any companions or family members. Therefore, because we are sincerely inquiring from you, please tell us the cause of the great ecstasy that you are feeling within yourself.
The brahmana said: My dear King, with my intelligence I have taken shelter of many spiritual masters. Having gained transcendental understanding from them, I now wander about the earth in a liberated condition. Please listen as I describe them to you.
(The brahmana then lists the 24 gurus from whom he has learned, and then proceeds to describe what he learnt from each of them. Some of them are given below.)
A sober person, even when harassed by other living beings, should understand that his aggressors are acting helplessly under the control of God, and thus he should never be distracted from progress on his own path. This rule I have learned from the earth.
A saintly person should learn from the mountain to devote all his efforts to the service of others and to make the welfare of others the sole reason for his existence. Similarly, as the disciple of the tree, he should learn to dedicate himself to others.
Even a transcendentalist is surrounded by innumerable material objects, which possess good and bad qualities. However, one who has transcended material good and evil should not become entangled even when in contact with the material objects; rather, he should act like the wind.
Although a self-realized soul may live in various material bodies while in this world, experiencing their various qualities and functions, he is never entangled, just as the wind which carries various aromas does not actually mix with them.
Saintly persons become powerful by execution of austerities. Their consciousness is unshakable because they do not try to enjoy anything within the material world. Such naturally liberated sages accept foodstuffs that are offered to them by destiny, and if by chance they happen to eat contaminated food, they are not affected, just like fire, which burns up contaminated substances that are offered to it.
A saintly person, just like fire, sometimes appears in a concealed form and at other times reveals himself. For the welfare of the conditioned souls who desire real happiness, a saintly person may accept the worshipable position of spiritual master, and thus like fire he burns to ashes all the past and future sinful reactions of his worshipers by mercifully accepting their offerings.
O King, a saintly person is just like water because he is free from all contamination, gentle by nature, and by speaking creates a beautiful vibration like that of flowing water. Just by seeing, touching or hearing such a saintly person, the living entity is purified, just as one is cleansed by contact with pure water. Thus a saintly person, just like a holy place, purifies all those who contact him because he always chants the glories of the Lord.