Do The Plants Complain?

An elderly sister of an inmate in Prasanthi Nilayam once asked her sibling, purely out of love and concern, as to, is he happy in Prasanthi  Nilayam. The boy, to her wonderment, ‘retorted’ questioning her ‘audacity’ to ask him such a ‘foolish’ question. He asked her, ‘how can you ask me such a question when I am with my Swami?’ Yes, we do forfeit all our rights to complain, once we are ‘basketed’ by our Beloved Bhagawan. He has often repeated, Bear All and Do Nothing; Hear All and Say Nothing; Give All and Take Nothing; Serve All and Be Nothing, exhorting His creation to excel in the path of ‘Life’ with ‘Love’. The following story, which has no bearing on the above incident, does sound this message from Bhagawan, and much more. A story from Summer Course 1978, as narrated by Sri S. Sankar, a student with Bhagawan’s institution then.

Formerly, from about 1969 to 1974 I was very plump and fat, owing to some kind of over secretion of the lymphatic gland or something like that. I could say with shameful pride that I was a “fatty”. Apart from attributing a kind of social untouchability, usually meted out to fat boys at school, I was intensely suffering a kind of gravity and weight in the chest, etc, which sometimes was suffocating. I felt I was a giant and moved about with considerable difficulty.

Around this time, I also got the bad habit of unnecessarily uprooting and “transplanting” the plants in the garden outside our house. It seems I was having my anger thrust upon the innocent plants, for no fault of theirs. But I did not give a moment of thought to this at that time.

Once, I asked Swami, why I had to suffer so much from breathing trouble, etc. (I did not have asthma at that time). Then of course, because of childish courage, I had not realised or felt any fear towards Swami. I was thinking just that He was one of our “best friends”, knowing all the while He was God. I was asking Him so many things inquisitively, without any trepidation, and which I would not dare to do now.

And Swami’s answer was quick. “You are making the plants in your yard to suffer so much. Do they complain?”

Though I stopped the plant business immediately, it is only last week that I began to realise the great significance of this philosophy.

Firstly, it is poignant that Swami was ‘able’ to point out a “devilish” habit, to which we did not attach much significance, and correct it. This shows the SARVA JNANI aspect of Swami, and also shows He is the “best teacher” we can get. His simple sentence purged me of a habit, which though trivial, was not good.

Finally, it proves how Swami is resident in the heart of all beings and even non-beings. His sense of identification even with plants is complete, for He is in all. Since then, I try my best not to cause harm to any creature, even accidentally. Swami’s philosophy of AHIMSA (non-violence) extends to the lowest of creatures.

More deeply implied are Swami’s Doctrine of Necessity and Doctrine of Purpose. He says, He does or says everything with a Purpose and never wastes anything. He uses something only if it is absolutely necessary. Hence Swami does not blame the farmer who cuts and binds the corn, not the people who eat it. Swami does not find fault with the spider who kills the mosquito, because this is the very basis of its sustenance. But he scolds me, who caused harm to plants unnecessarily.

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II