Our Master frequently recommends that we marry and live a settled householder’s life. In this modern age we look for so-called freedom and sometimes we are afraid of the commitment of marriage. Yes, marriage is full of ups and downs, yet these obstacles strengthen us, help us let go of our selfishness and actually teach us to believe in love rather than our passions and attachments. This little story is to help us have a realistic attitude to marriage:
A lively young couple were attending a colourful festival full of passion and frolic. They decided to take a break and walk into the peaceful countryside nearby, away from the noise and crowds. They wandered over the fields towards a mountain and rested under a tree. Suddenly a huge white bird gently landed on the branch above them and started to speak to the couple.
“I believe you are searching for me,” said the bird. “My name is Love.”
The couple were so amazed by the majesty of the bird, they just nodded their heads in awe.
“I live at the very top of that mountain in a beautiful, peaceful home. Inside the home there is all the nourishment anyone could crave, plenty of clear fresh water and a cosy fire that never goes out. Sweet music enchants every space and the huge windows allow in beautiful light at all times. The house on the peak of the mountain is called Marriage. There is a special path up this mountain. One must take and keep the marriage vows to receive the blessings that will help overcome all the difficulties on the way to the sacred home at the peak. Courage, commitment, forgiveness, perseverance and purity are essential for success because there are many cliffs to climb, many traps and challenges to face. But I believe you both want to climb this mountain and I believe you can do it! Remember, I am always here to help if you call me. Are you ready for the adventure?”
The young couple knew their inner desires were already seen by the bird called Love, so they said together, “We are, but what are the obstacles we have to face?”
The great bird answered, “I will tell you. But do not fear, I will introduce you to a powerful friend who will also support you. Your friend is the Eagle and his name is Duty. With his powerful focus he can spot difficulties from afar and can help you avoid them. A number of unfriendly birds live on the mountainside and you will have to deal with them. The first one is the Peacock called Pride. This beautiful looking bird is selfish and vain and will make it impossible for you to ascend the upward path together. Ignore it, don’t even look at its fine feathers. Instead, follow the Song Bird of Humility, and the Blue Bird of Kindness. They will always take you in the right direction.
The next dangerous bird is the Crow called Expectations. It will try to lead you to its cave full of treasure, wealth and luxuries beyond your imagination. All these goods are stolen and if you accept or take anything, you will have serious problems. It promises you admiration, importance, and the comfort of having all your wants addressed. Don’t be tempted; rather, work hard honestly for your own treasure.
If Expectations is around then you will probably encounter the angry Woodpecker called Nag. This bird loves to make a noise and get what it wants by nagging and arguing. Resist this bird, although its methods initially appear useful, and instead cultivate silence and learn to understand another’s point of view.
Then you will meet the fat white Dove called Indulgence. This lazy bird encourages you to enjoy its billing and cooing but you’ll find it gradually saps all your energy. Turn away from this dove as there’s no real peace at this point. Rather, maintain discipline, work hard and walk to the peak to experience true peace.
Finally you will meet the House Sparrow called Selfishness. It seems modest and humble – what could be wrong? But it will keep you confined in a narrow place at the foot of the cliff and demand constant feeding so that you forget your goals. Stay away, otherwise your journey will halt and you will end up frustrated.
Many try the mountain but turn away because of the pressure and pain on the way to the top. Remember, this mountain called Marriage is steep, but the climb will make you strong and fit. In life, though separately you are vulnerable, if you stay together and help each other your bond and commitment will make you powerful. Don’t listen to others walking down the mountain – they are the ones that have given up. The reward on reaching the top of the mountain will be worth it. Good luck. You can do it.
The disciple will never love the Master unless the Master plants that seed of love in the heart of the disciple, unless he nourishes that seed in the disciple, strengthens that seed in the disciple, pulls the disciple towards him. His inner hand of strengthening that seed of love is always there at the back.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III