Facts of life
A professor stood before his Philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.
He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed."Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life."
The golf balls are the important things-your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions-things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car.
The sand is everything else--the small stuff.
"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls".
The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.
Play another 18.
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter.
Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.
The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked".
“It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend."
First practice and then preach
A woman brought her child to see a saintly person and said, "The doctor has told me that my child is a diabetic and must stop eating sugar and sweets, but in spite of what I tell him, he won't stop. Since you are a saintly person, I am sure that if you tell him to stop eating sugar and sweets he will listen and his life can be saved.
Surprisingly, the saintly person replied that he could not tell that to the child. He can supposedly help him if they come back after 2 weeks Disappointed and confused, the mother took the child away and returned back after two weeks. But this time also sage asked for some more time.
When they came back again after two weeks, the saintly person looked sternly at the young boy and said, "Stop eating sweets!" The boy was so startled that from that day he never again ate sweets and sugar.
When the curious mother inquired from the Sadhu, “Why didn’t you tell the same thing on the very first day”? The Sadhu replied, "I myself was fond of eating sugar. Until and unless I practice this myself, how could I tell this to somebody?”
That’s true, example is better than precept. A leader cannot tell the public to stop smoking if he himself smokes. A beautiful flower is not very pleasing, if it is without fragrance. Similarly good instructions are not very acceptable, if they are not themselves practiced by the speaker. First practice and then preach.
Kalahasti is a holy Saivite (worshippers of Lord Siva) place in the state of Andhra Pradesh. There are five temples of Lord Siva in five different places representing the five elements, viz. fire, water, air, ether, and earth. This holy shrine represents air (vaayu). The purana (history) of this place says that a spider worshipped Kalahasthinathar, the presiding deity. The holy river Swarna Mukhi runs in this place. Atop the mountain in this holy place there is a Siva temple. In the ages gone by a hunter lived in this mountain forest. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Siva of this temple. After spending the whole day in hunting, at nights he used to visit this temple to worship Siva.
A deep desire developed in him to do Pooja and Abhishekha to Siva. But he did not have in his possession any pot to carry water, any basket to carry flowers or any vessel to cook food for offering to Lord Siva. So, he would place the flowers on the matted locks of his hair, carry as much as water as possible in his mouth and the meat of the animals hunted during the day in his hands. Arriving at the temple he would just spit all the water onto the Siva Linga, shake the flowers off his hair onto the Linga and offer the meat as Naivedya. At day-break he would leave the temple.
In the mornings when the priest of the temple came up to do Pooja and Abhishekha he found that someone had offered fresh flowers and meat for God every night. This upset him greatly. He would clean the whole place, do Pooja and Abhishekha and leave the temple sorrowfully. Since this strange night worship continued, the priest not knowing how to stop this , prayed intensely to Lord Shiva to give him an answer. That night the Lord appeared in his dream and instructed him to hide himself in the temple the next night and watch all that would take place. The priest hid himself in the temple and anxiously awaited the night happenings.
The hunter arrived at the temple as usual and conducted the Abhishekha and Pooja. Suddenly one of the eyes of the Linga started bleeding. Immediately, without a second thought, the hunter plucked out one of his own eyes with the help of his arrow and fixed it onto the Linga. He was happy to find that the bleeding stopped. However, blood started oozing out of the other eye. Immediately he decided to fix his other eye there but stopped a while wondering how he would be able to locate the right spot to fix it as with both eyes gone he would be blinded. The idea then struck him to place his foot on the bleeding eye. He plucked out his other eye and fixed it on this spot.
The priest was totally awe-struck and broke down witnessing the deep devotion of the hunter. He realized that his own devotion to the Lord was only superfluous compared to the hunter's. Just then Lord Siva appeared on the Rishaba (bull) and blessed the hunter. The priest felt a sense of fulfillment of his life being blessed with Lord Siva's Darshan. The hunter was none other than Kannappa Nayanar, one of the sixty-three Nayanmars (Saivite Saints) who are worshipped by all.
Triple Filter test by Socrates
"In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, 'Socrates, do you know what I just heard about your friend?'
'Hold on a minute,' Socrates replied. 'Before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test.'
'That's right,' Socrates continued. 'Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?'
'No,' the man said, 'actually I just heard about it and...'
'All right,' said Socrates. 'So you don't really know if it's true or not.
Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?'
'No, on the contrary...'
So,' Socrates continued, 'you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell about my friend going to be useful to me?'
'No, not really.'
'Well,' concluded Socrates, 'if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?'
This is why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.
Mere adulation is poor adoration
Akbar as we all know, is one of the greatest Moghal Emperors. He was a lover of mankind and respected the great and pious souls of all religions.
He had heard of Guru Nanak's reputation and his attempts to unite the Hindus and the Muslims. He desired to welcome him and honour him in his court. So he sent word to him through his minister, paying his respects and requesting him to grace his court. Guru Nanak replied to the minister: "I shall only respond to the call of God, the Emperor of Emperors and shall enter only His court."
The minister conveyed this message to the Emperor. Akbar's respect for Guru Nanak increased and so he sent word again to meet him at the mosque at least. Nanak consented and did come to the mosque at the appointed hour. Both Akbar and Nanak were welcomed by the mullah with due honour. According to the custom, the mullah should say the prayers first. So he sat on his knees and prayed loudly. Nanak laughed loudly. All the muslims in the temple got angry but dared not say anything because of the Emperor's presence. Then Akbar sat on his knees and prayed. Nanak at once laughed even more loudly. The atmosphere in the mosque was becoming tense. The faces of the devotees became red and their lips twitched to pounce upon Nanak. Akbar controlled them by way of silent gesture. Both of them came out. Akbar questioned Nanak with all humility: "Oh revered one!, may I know why you laughed loudly during the prayer session? Does it become you?"
Guru Nanak replied: "Oh king, how could I withhold my laughter when I could see clearly that neither the mullah nor your majesty where thinking of God while praying. The mullah was thinking of his ailing son and you were thinking of the pair of beautiful Arabian horses that were gifted to you. Is it worthy of either the mullah or your majesty to call that prayer? Is it not hypocrisy? The mullah and emperor sought pardon from Nanak and thanked him for opening their eyes to their own weakness.
Remember that prayer is not just a string of words of praise to God to be recited mechanically. It is an earnest attempt to awaken and arouse the divinity in us. We should say prayers with full concentration. What matters is the feeling, not either the voice or words. "Mere adulation is poor adoration".