THE TRAIN OF LIFE

Once, Sheikh Raunqi Ram was travelling in a train. The train chugged its way through the beautiful hilly terrain, halting periodically, as it is its custom, at small railway stations, where some people would get down and the new ones get on board.

At one such station, a village youth boarded the train. Looking at the huge amount of luggage he had with him – an old suitcase, two small steel boxes, a basket made of bamboo stick, and many small bundles wrapped in tattered cloth, one could easily infer that he was shifting to a new place.  He settled down, and arranged some of pieces of his luggage neatly. So far so good!  However, the next act of this nervous youth set the whole compartment rolling with laughter.  He sat down on a vacant seat, loading himself with two boxes, and a basket piled up on his head, one upon the other.

The simple, innocent rustic was having a hard time balancing the load on his head. But he wouldn’t keep it down. The people were obviously, amused. What a fool- they thought-sitting in the moving train and keeping so much of heavy luggage on his head, despite so much of vacant space. Some of them were laughing aloud, while some of the more sophisticated ones were grinning at this strange act of the young man. Some even started jibing at him.

However, the sagacious Sheikh, was sympathetic. “Poor fellow, appears so innocent, I must help him out of his predicament”.

“Why don’t you keep the luggage on the floor” he accosted the youth, pointing towards the luggage on his head. “There is ample space here.”

“I have been told that they allow only 40 kg of luggage to be carried in the train. But I have to carry much more. Since I do not want to be caught on the wrong side of the law, I have kept the extra load on my head. So the luggage in the train is within the limit and it is not overloaded”, he replied innocently. His seemingly stupid reply fetched another round of roaring laughter from the co-passengers, but the Sheikh was serious.

“Look my dear”, he tried to reason out, “Since you are on the floor of the train, and the load is on your head, effectively the entire load is on the train only. It does not make a difference, whether you keep it on your head or on the floor of the train.”

“No, no!” retorted the youth. “The load of the boxes and the basket is on my head and not on the floor.  I can feel the entire load on my head.  How can it be on the train’s floor?”  Unmindful of the peels of laughter in the compartment, Sheikh Raunqi Ram went on, “Let me explain. It is true that you feel the entire load on your head. But just see. The load of boxes is on your head and that of your head is on your body. The weight of your body is on the train. So I reiterate that the entire load is on the train only, whether you keep the luggage on your head or on the floor of the train. So why are you taking the trouble! Put the luggage down and relax. All that you need to do is, to keep an eye on your luggage and not leave it unguarded. You need not worry about carrying your luggage or even yourself to your destination. Once you have got on board, your journey is taken care of by the train itself.”

The boy apparently got the point. He removed the luggage from his head and put it down on the floor.

All the other passengers were listening with amusement and were having a hearty laugh on the funny explanation given by the boy. Sheikh Raunqi Ram decided to use the opportunity, for driving home his message to his fellow passengers.

“Please stop laughing”, he implored sternly. He is an innocent fellow, probably riding the train for the first time. We think he is foolish.  Come to think of it.  Don’t we behave the same ourselves?” His co passengers were now serious and attentive.

“Driven by the engine of kalashakti, the train of this world is constantly running on the tracks of maya. We are all travelling it this train.  Yet like this poor unguided boy, we are also carrying on our heads, the heavy luggage of, ‘How shall I do it’. Worry and hope are the hands with which are constantly trying to secure and balance this load. Our job is only to perform our duties, inspired by the God’s will. We are not to shirk away from our ordained duties. We have to use our assets, — power, prudence and material wealth etc- for performing our duties. We are not to alight from the train, leaving our assets unguarded.

We are laughing at this innocent youth. But actually we ourselves are worse off than him. We are also always travelling in the train of life.  While on this train, we not only carry our luggage on our heads, but also keep running in the train itself wishfully thinking that we shall reach our destination even before the train.

We not only are ever tense over our worldly anxieties, but are also constantly in conflict with others, even with our near ones. We do not desist from blaming even God, the cause of our very existence, holding him responsible for our failures.  How can we gain anything but failure and despair,  if  we turn our back to God,  the force that enables us to discharge our duties, if we exclude from our lives the pillars of our strength, our near and dear ones. How can we ward off grief and despair while we are always saddled with negative notions of hopelessness – ‘I don’t trust anyone’, ‘I don’t need anyone’.

Continuing the flow of astute wisdom Sheikh went on, “In the Bhagwat Gita, Bhagwan Krishna says ‘yoga kshemam vahamyaham’submit to me, and I will bear your entire load.”

Sabhna jeeyan Dai k data sau mai visar na jaayee

“There is but one who provides for all the beings, may I never ever  forget  him.”

The Sheikh’s words forced all his co passengers to reflect within.

“We think we are wise. But like that rustic youth are we not committing the folly of  burdening our head – our ego-, with  the load of the ‘I’ and ‘mine’?”