A few days ago, while I was chatting with one of my friends, I was asked what change I see in life after becoming a devotee of Lord Rama. I said, "I've become good."
"So before that were you not Good?"
It is not like that. I felt I should have explained. But when I try to, I get so excited and come to a loss of words. I thought a lot about it and decided to narrate the following part of my life which would give a glimpse of how life has changed after becoming a devotee of Lord Rama.
I have been staying in a bachelor's mansion for the past few years. In these years the main difficulty was to find a nice shop to eat. There were shops. But there were also problems. Especially with the service. They did not know to respect customers. And I, simply could not ignore that.
For instance, I pay cash after having food. Some cashiers used to just throw the change on the table and look away. It would be like, 'if you don't come back, we have thousand other customers.' It used to infuriate me like hell. May be they have thousand other customers. But what right do they have to ill-treat me like that. If I don't pay money will they provide me with food? They need not respect me. But how the hell can they show disrespect towards me?
Pre-devotion to Rama, I used to retaliate.
I used to go back to the same hotel with exact change. After having food, I would go up to the cashier and ask him how much I have to pay. Then I would throw the money on the table and wait to see his reaction. I would not just go away. But I would stand there and look at the cashier as if to challenge him if he is going to do anything about that. He cannot say anything but to just pick up the money and put it in his drawer. Then he would look elsewhere. But this time his face would have fallen and there would be a defeated bewilderment in his eyes. I used to enjoy that reaction for a few seconds and then leave the place very slowly, immensely satisfied. After that I never ever go back to that hotel again.
Post devotion to Rama.
I get angry. I certainly want to retaliate. But Lord Rama's face comes to my memory. It cools down my anger. Brings a smile in my face. I scratch my head with a shy smile and think, 'Okay my Lord. This person is ignorant. Let's ignore his ignorance'
But then, I go back to the same hotel and the cashier keeps repeating his act. I am unable to ignore it. I am unable to compromise. Lord Rama's face comes to my memory. I ask Him, what he would do in such a position. And there comes the answer.
"Just walk off. Why deal with people who are not up to our standards? Why go and break our heads with them? Why suffer for their mistakes? Just walk off !"
I walked off and walked off. Hotel after hotel. I ended up exhausting all the hotels in my vicinity. But I was determined that I am never going back to a hotel if they don't treat me well. I even ended up having only biscuits and tea for breakfast.
Then one day I told Lord Rama, "Why am I living in such a hell my Lord, why can't I even have a proper breakfast?"
Trust me, there came a small shop very close to my place. That's exactly the kind of shop I wanted.
So this is one of the many things I've learnt from Lord Rama. When we shed off the anger and are determined not to retaliate nor ignore nor compromise nor co-operate with offenders, things will start working fine. This is exactly what Mahathma Gandhiji too learnt from Lord Rama by chanting His name.
This is what is happening to me in love too. Girls, like me. But when I propose they act as though, they would be doing me a favour by accepting my love. As though it would be only my joy and not their's. So I walk off and walk off and walk off. Girl after girl.
May be one day I must ask Lord Rama, "Why can't I even get a girl friend my Lord?"
Ha ha ha....