Genius and the Story of a Hen

The following phone conversation was recorded on Sep 5, 2006 around 8:30pm PST.

I asked Guruji what is the right definition of genius. My friends and I had a long debate about it in the afternoon and I thought only Guruji can resolve it. His answer was not only spot on, but also gave us a new perspective to think from.

Guruji said, “A genius is someone who has unlimited vision or imagination, who has awakened their consciousness way more than ordinary people. See, imagination is the strongest force of the mind. A genius is one who has the super combination of intellect and imagination, and the capacity to realize it.

“Another thing to consider: All scientific truths that are being discovered today, they have been around since forever. The laws of physics or the rules of mathematics or arts, they have always existed. We were not aware, so we were not able to understand them. The genius who discovered a scientific truth had a developed mind, and he became aware, or conscious, of it and was able to express it. It depends on the level of consciousness. To be stupid or a genius, it’s all in the mind. Whatever our mind conceives, that’s how we behave and express in our lives. When someone says ‘blessing from above’, it really means their own mind.”

I asked Guruji if it is the same as when we sit idly and let our minds wander.

Guruji said, “Idle imagination is not the same thing. That is building castles in the air which never materializes. The fundamental principle is that when the mind comes across a truth or a fact, like an object or a specific form or some event, which triggers some thought, that will lead to real imagination. The Yoga Darshan principle applies here, ‘what the mind attaches to, it absorbs its essence.’ It fires up your imagination, that this is possible and that is possible, and you keep following that to reach the truth. And see, only that person advances in life who can think through a problem from all angles. A man should not be like a hen. Most of them are.”

I asked, “How so, Guruji?”

Guruji then told me an amazing story how he found this wisdom. “My brother kept a poultry farm in Gwalior of White Leghorn chicken,” Guruji said. “One day a veterinarian doctor was visiting. He showed us this experiment. He put a hen on a table and drew a line in front of it with white chalk. Then he touched her head and beak to the line 3-4 times to make sure she has seen it, and then released her. He claimed that the hen will not move; she will keep seeing the chalk-line and think that she is confined in it.

“Even though it was not a wall – it was just a chalk-line and she could have easily walked over it and moved about – the hen stood there for hours. I was shocked! Isn’t that what is happening with all of us? In our society, religion? In our minds? Whatever lines we have drawn we feel confined in them. We are open on all sides but we never explore that. That’s why I say, open your mind, change your point of view and then everything will be okay. Most people live their lives like that hen; their beak has touched the line and now they can’t cross it.”

“Wow!” That’s all I could say.

Guruji continued, “It was an amazing experiment. And the hen literally stood there the entire day and didn’t move. She could have easily flown away. But she got trapped behind that line. Just like we get trapped in our mental limitations. What is bondage? Which limits our freedom to explore the great world. It’s like that story: A man called on his neighbour, ‘Did you know that Neil Armstrong went to the moon?’. The neighbour replied, ‘Even I might go somewhere if I could get a moment free from the daily grind.’”

Guruji laughed and said, “Now I am surrounded. Vakeel Sahab has come for reporting.” Vakeel Sahab is Guruji’s lawyer who would come in the morning and discuss events and plan for the day over a cup of tea. That would usually be the end of our phone conversation. I said Pranam. He said, “Khush raho.”

The Eternal Religion, Life and Death

Q: “Guruji, I was watching a documentary about Pygmy people on TV. It was amazing that in all their activities and songs they were thanking Nature from morning to evening.”

Guruji: “Yes, they are Nature worshipers. They live according to Nature, including most native tribes of Africa and and even Americas. Nature is the eternal religion, as we are living with Nature. And as soon as our behavior goes against Nature, we don’t experience anything except sorrow and frustration. Imagine someone who can understand his own nature and also Earth’s nature. How glad he will be, how close he’ll feel close to Earth!”

Q: “Does knowing Nature mean knowing natural laws like gravitation, etc, or something more subtle?”

Guruji: “Think of it this way: Let’s say you made friends with somebody, so there will be rapport between your nature and his nature. You don’t necessarily have to figure out how his finger is working or the coffee that he just drank how is it getting digested inside him. Those things are no longer important. It’s a feeling! When somebody starts feeling the nature of mother Earth, for them it’s not important why did this tree grow and how did it grow. If I know Her, I’ll accept the tree as part of Her. Will not add my own conditions that it should like grow this and not like that. When we accept Nature and start understanding its beauty, we’ll accept it in its totality. That’s intimacy.

“Say you fall in love with someone. You won’t process how frequently she’s blinking or how many hair does she have on her head or show fast they are growing. If she sneezed, at how many miles per hour the wind went out of her nostrils (laughs). You’ll accept her in totality. If we are tuned-in or intimate with Earth’s nature or have fallen in love with Her, we won’t question these things. And if I’m tuned enough, may be I’d prefer living in a cave which Nature has made Herself, instead of corrupting Her landscape. When there’s the feeling of love, there’s no feeling to dominate, only acceptance. This is true friendship, it’s very rare but must happen.

“This is an axe on all established religions. Always remember these words:

“कब तक पूजें पदचिन्ह किसी के
चलें हम भी, छूने क्षितिज को “
(Why keep worshiping someone else’s footprints? Let’s go ourselves, reach out and touch the horizon!)

“We should realize that these possibilities are open for everybody – from a Pygmy to a modern American.

“I’ve seen we have more open and concentrated discussions on the phone. May be telepathy works better this way since it’s telephone (laughs).”

* * * * * *
Guruji: “It’s very cold over here these days.”

Me: “I like cold weather.”

Guruji: “I like cold too. But it’s also fun to say that the cold weather is killing us (laughs). It’s a different kind of pleasure to whine like this – it’s a pure Indian thing. Even after eating the choicest food in a party, people complain they are going to die that they’ve eaten so much (laughs). See, even when somebody falls in love, they say ‘he died on that girl’ [Ed: sorry, no easy way to translate that in English]. “The cold weather is killing us”, “we are dying in the hot summer” – we are very much in love with death, so in every situation we discover that word. May be we understand the love affair between life and death. Even death is a poetic experience.”

“It takes time to realize how much love life holds for death. Doesn’t life just run all life long in order to finally unite with death? Real beauty is born only in the moments of union. Moments of union are always beautiful!”
[From Guruji’s yogic commentary on Srimad Bhagvat Gita]

“The mother of our water-tanker driver died a few days back. I tell you it was such a beautiful death! She was hail and hearty – no health problems. One day, after some household chores, she asked her daughter-in-law to prepare her bath. After her bath, when she got up, she suddenly felt dizzy and fell down. When people came to help her up, she asked for her husband to call him quickly. When he came, she was lying on the bed. When the husband entered the room, she said to him, joined her hands, ‘Our companionship was only for this long. I don’t think I’ll survive. If you can save me, save me, otherwise please forgive any transgressions. I’m leaving.’ Then she died!

“Can you imagine how deep tuning and love the husband and wife must have had, how much she must have cared for him? Both of them were saintly – I’ve met with both of them. I’m proud to say that I’ve met them. Even the big-shot sadhus haven’t died like this. It was a conscious death – within 5-10 minutes everything was over. This is true love! Even after becoming grandparents, she was asking him with folded hands to forget any faults. If not them, who do you call saints! In India, there are so many unsung heroes, genuine people. You’ll find them all over the place.

“There was a similar story about a temple priest who died about 2 years back. It was also very touching – we all became emotional after hearing that. He was a priest in Radha Kund. For some time he was feeling sick. One afternoon, when he was doing the puja, somebody came to tell him that his wife had just died. The priest said, ‘She’s gone? All right, I’m coming.’ He finished his ceremony, went home, laid down next to her, took her hand, and died then and there!”

[20110324-3] Dated: Jan, 2002