Guru Controls Habits

It was a request from the son, to meet his father and give sound advice on how he should live his life in a more healthier and responsible manner. He even began to tell BG what he should advice and how intense it should be. BG was in no mood to listen on the phone as son expected, he said, “please bring your father along with you and we will talk in person”.

It was not just his son, but it appeared the whole clan arrived along with the old man and his son. BG invited them all inside his room. As they entered and introduced the half a dozen of themselves, BG figured that they were all living under the same roof. The son, his wife, two male children. Then the old man and his wife and their daughter. But everyone’s concern was just one thing and that was about the grand old man of the family, at the age of 77, was still drinking and smoking like nobody’s business.

The rest of the members looked ferocious and equally righteous too. The old man had hung his head in shame and was not even defending his case. BG asked rather ignorantly, “so what should happen now?” Most members responded in chorus, “please tell him not to smoke and drink henceforth”. BG said “I never told him to start and how do you think I can tell him to stop?” But the son replied “he has respect for you and he attends all your discourses, so we are sure, he will listen to you, you can certainly control his habit”.

BG enquired, “does he disturb anyone when he is drunk?” They said “No”. BG wanted to make sure few more things concretely, “ Does he shout or get violent or abuse when he drinks or smokes?, or does he find it physically affecting and troublesome to his health in anyways?, or does he force anyone else in the family to follow his habits?, does he ask money for the drinking and smoking?” They were unison in reply “He is a perfect gentleman, only trouble he has is this drinking and chain smoking and we don’t face any trouble because of that, except that he should get out of his habits as a spiritual person”.

The rest of the members were sitting upright with confidence as they have almost found a way to tame the old man. BG turned to the person in question and asked him “sir please explain yourself, in front of your family members, what is your stand?” He was a very polite man and soft spoken, “I want to give up as they wish, but Im not able to, every day morning I resolve to give up, but by the evening I get drunk and as a result, I have to smoke the whole of evening and night”.

He looked very sorrowful and the wrinkles on his face were multiplied as he spoke. “ I want to die as a clean man, god will not forgive me if I die as a drunkard, please help me to stop this”. BG asked. “is your concern is only about what God thinks about you or wants from you ?, or do you have concern about your health, or the concern about losing money on such things?” He replied “the only thing that bother me and them also is that I should not die as a man of such gross habits. I should die without them. We have no other problem, by god’s grace”.

His grandchildren came and sat next to him as they probably never heard him talking in such a tone. BG did not fail to notice that despite the 77 years of age, the person was very sturdy and agile. He looked quite sober and normal for his age. BG wanted to know, “since when are you smoking and drinking?” He was thoughtful but soon came up with the exact data, “I started smoking, 57 years ago. But drinking came little later, at the age of 29 that is about 48 years ago”. He described the various stages, “at first I was not drinking every day, but only during holidays, then it slowly became an every day affair, so also was smoking, I started with a cigarette a day, but ever since I retired from active life, I smoke at least 40 cigarettes a day”. He somewhat sounded proud, as he raised his tone every time he had to tell the figures.

He in fact appeared like a conqueror, when he said that no de-addiction center could do anything to stop him forever from the habit. He resumed his habits after a brief spell of discontinuation always. The rest of the members were listening to his bravado in a somewhat awe struck manner. They probably never heard him reading out such an exhaustive data. The son suddenly spoke in between “seeing him drinking and smoking, I never got in to the habit, I always hated it”. He now appeared lot more righteous self than before. BG finds such occasions very embarrassing, to pass on a judgment which should make everyone happy within the family. He did not want to wash his hands off the situation either, as they all seemed to have faith in what he had to say.

BG asked in a friendlier tone to the family members “so what do you think I can do about this?” The lady (daughter of the old man) spoke “you can make him stop his habits and make god accept him fully when he dies, so that he can go to heaven”. The son added, “unless he stopped his habits, he may never be purified and as a result he may suffer after his death”. BG figured the ‘spiritual’ context of the whole issue finally.

BG looked quietly at the oldest of all in the room. He has been avoiding looking at BG directly ever since he entered into the room. BG resumed in a very mild tone as if addressing the whole group, “I think he should be left alone with his habits”. There was instant reactions from all of them in the form of shaking heads to moving hands to looking at each other etc. BG continued “at this point of time if we try to stop his habits, he will not be able to do so, and we will be putting him to a lot of discomfort, if you all worry about god’s acceptance, then I can assure you from my understanding, that God does not need anything from him or ask anything from him. He can go as he is, but if we force him to give up his habits then he may end up in great exasperation. Let him drink and smoke as he wishes and god has no problems with it”.

They looked at BG in utter disbelief. BG continued “since you asked me, let me tell that he should not try to stop those habits now as he has always been unsuccessful trying to stop, because the guilt of living with the habits is far more destructive than the habits themselves”. BG turned to the old man, “please keep in mind, it is not wrong to drink or smoke except that it may cause damage to your health, but then you have already lived your life and seemed to have crossed the deadline too. So enjoy as you drink and be happy about it. Please do not drink if you feel guilty and please do not drink if you have to hide and drink”.

This was the most unlikely thing to be heard from a guru’s mouth. They looked stunned and appeared like they had done a big blunder coming to such a place. BG did not stop but prolonged his explanation “god is not too keen to know if someone drank or not, these habit do not have far reaching consequences other than spoiling one’s health and probably draining all the money in to dumps”. BG was little louder this time, “all of us will add to his already existing problems by forcing him to stop something he has lived with for so long, please be considerate and let him live his life and let him face the consequences, and I can assure from my spiritual background that ‘god’ has not much interest in what he smoked and what he drank, but is probably interested in the amount of guilt and fear he carried with him when he had left, so let him drink and smoke peacefully, live peacefully, and die peacefully”.

The son appeared confused and a bit angry from within, “if you say like this, then who can control him? now he will take your words to his support and he will die of drinking only”. BG replied quietly “let it be, but let him die in contentment, doing what he wanted”. They sat quietly looking at BG with a somewhat hard-to-believe look. BG said there is nothing to rake up this as an issue. Let everyone focus on their own lives. Spare him(old man) and focus on what you do, now proceed to your home, this is what I have to say about your father”.

They got up from their sitting position, one after the other, obviously not happy with the ‘verdict’. The son was pleading as if its some courtroom drama, to reconsider BG’s thinking and advice his father, the right thing to do. BG just remained silent watching them leave one after the other as the door swung every time each member left. As BG looked at the old man, who suddenly appeared to be free and there was certain clarity his face exhibited when he looked at BG, eye to eye for the first time, as he swung open the door and closed it behind him and left.