XXXIV - Page 354 Home | Index | Previous | Next

No Need to Carry your Luggage on your Head

There once was an old, ignorant villager, who left his native place to set off on a long journey. He had never traveled by train before; in fact, in all his life he had never even had a chance to see a train. Now he had come to the railway station and was waiting for the train to arrive. A train made up of many wagons drew into the station. The villager was completely awed by this train. 'It has so many carriages,' he thought to himself, 'and it goes so fast. Look at how easily it balances on those narrow rails that a human being can hardly even walk on.'

Hundreds of passengers were waiting to board the train. The amount of luggage which most of these passengers had brought was very large. The villager sat brooding, thinking to himself, 'How is this train going to be able to carry so many passengers and so much luggage? Why do these people have so much luggage anyway?' Along with the others, the villager entered the train. Putting their luggage on the racks overhead or leaving it on the floor, the passengers took their seats and began chatting and relaxing.

The villager thought to himself, 'How cruel all these people are! Why are they giving so much burden to this poor train by throwing their luggage down in the compartment and relaxing?' So, this old man sat down, keeping all his luggage on his head. It was enough that the train was carrying him; the least he could do was to carry his own luggage and not place any further burden on this heavily-loaded train! A co-passenger asked him, "Sir, why are you carrying your luggage on your head? Why not put it down and be comfortable?" The old man replied, "When the train is carrying so much luggage already, I do not want to add my own luggage also. So I have put it on my head and will carry it myself."

Whatever you do with your luggage, the train will still be carrying both you and your luggage. By keeping the luggage on your head you are not helping the train at all. So you might as well put it down and enjoy your journey. Now, this naive old man had kindness and compassion, but he did not have much intelligence and discrimination.

Krishna told Arjuna, "Though you are highly educated, though you have sense control, though you have accomplished great feats and have developed many skills, you are, nevertheless, experiencing many difficulties. This is because you have not been able to understand the divinity. As long as you do not understand the divinity, you cannot be free from sorrow. If you want to free yourself from sorrow and earn the grace of the Lord, you must obey my commands.

"First of all, remember that you are not the body. These sense organs have no connection with you; they are associated with the body. Use the body for doing work, but do not identify yourself with the body or the work. You have taken birth in this body as the result of your past actions, your karma, and you must use this body for performing karma. So, get up! Arise, Arjuna! Do your duty. Perform actions and offer them all to me. Let me have the consequences of your actions. Shun selfishness, uphold justice, be fixed in faith! That is the dharma from age to age. If you obey my commands, I will take care of you."