Quiver – Clean and Firm Mind | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Amal achal mann trona samaana
Sam jam niyama sileemukh naana
Kavach abhed bipra gur pooja
Ehi sam bijaya upaaya na dooja

Amal – clean; without any impurities. Achal – firm; unshaking. Mann – mind. Trona – Quiver. Samaana – is like. A clear/pure and firm mind is like the quiver.

In his visit to Chicago, USA, Swami Vivekananda was once walking on a bridge when he saw a group of young boys trying to shoot egg shells floating in the river below. They fired their air gun many times but were unable to shoot the shells even for a single time. Vivekananda stood there watching with keen interest. The boys asked him whether he would like to try a shot. Vivekananda took the air gun, focused on the egg shells for some time and fired twelve times. Each time the bullet hit the target. The boys were stunned. They asked him with all wonder, “Sir, who taught you to shoot?” Vivekananda’s reply was something like this – “I’ve never handled a gun in my life. Your teacher taught you to shoot. My teacher taught me to concentrate.” What a powerful line!

A quiver is where an archer keeps his arrows ready. If the quiver is not tied firmly to his back, the archer, however efficient he may be, might not be able to take out at the right time when he is in a battle. All his knowledge and training can go unfruitful if he neglects the quiver. And the quiver has to be clean so that there’s no trouble in taking the arrows on time. In the case of Vivekananda, his mind was clean and firm. The power of Self-knowledge, study of the scriptures and Sadhana had made his mind pure. All the words he has spoken reflect the firmness of his mind. With such a mind, he could achieve almost anything he wanted to do.

Everybody has got desires, be it selfish or selfless. Not all of them get fulfilled. But if we look at the life of great people, we can see that they could achieve such herculean tasks which nobody could even dream of. Like the case of Swami Chinmayananda. One man’s wish to serve the society, to spread the knowledge of the scriptures to the common man in the common man’s language, resulted in a global organization with more than 300 centres all over the world, more than 80 schools and colleges, hospitals, rural development centres, International Research Centre, much more and still growing. It was nothing but one man’s wish. But that wish came from a pure and firm mind. Hence it brought out such an unimaginable result.

Purity of mind is not just possible for saints and sages. J.R.D.Tata is an inspiring example in quote in this context. He was a visionary leader who didn’t think of merely making money. A businessman he was, no doubt, but he had a greater vision for the country. He wanted his country to grow and not just himself or his business organization. That purity, that clarity in thought brought about the growth of one of the biggest business empires in India.

They say it is a competitive world today. There is cut-throat competition. The one who is able to beat the rest, wins the race. But J.R.D.Tata’s attitude towards competition was quite different. In 1930, the Aga Khan Trophy was offered for the first Indian to fly solo from India to England or vice versa. J.R.D. competed, taking off from Karachi to London. When he landed at Aboukir Bay in Egypt, he found that Aspy Engineer, the other contender, flying from London to Karachi, was stranded in the desert airfield for want of a spark plug! J.R.D. sportingly parted with his spare one and they continued their journey in opposite directions. Aspy beat him by a couple of hours. “I am glad he won,” said J.R.D., “because it helped him get into the Royal Indian Air Force.” Later Aspy was to be the second Indian to be the chief of the Indian Air Force. And in 1932, India’s first airline, the Tata Airlines, was inaugurated.

Such clean are the minds of successful individuals in any field, be it spirituality or materialism, purity and firmness are must. Most of our desires usually come out from an unclean and wavering mind. But the lives of such successful people show how purity mind and vision helped them in achieving success. When we aim at success, we generally work on all other factors like gaining knowledge, skill, power, etc. But a thought of cleansing our mind seldom comes to us probably because we do not consider it as a factor determining success. And Tulsidas ji aptly compares it with the example of a quiver which might be ignored by an archer who thinks that skill and knowledge can earn him victory in a battle.

Sometimes a NO is very important

They say cause of all sorrow is ‘desire’. Some people remain very sad for a long time if their wants are not fulfilled. But there are some, who can come out of their sadness pretty fast. They don’t remain dejected for a long time. I’ve always wondered what must be the reason in the difference in the degree of recovery from sadness. Recently I had a conversation with someone whom I know very well and I got to understand one probable reason for the changes in degree of recovery in different persons.

This person’s father had a tough childhood. He was very poor and all through his childhood he passed through a very difficult financial condition. To make it worse, he lost his parents while he was very young. Yet, with a lot of hard work, he completed his graduation, got on to a good job, got married to a nice girl and got two wonderful kids. By this time, he was financially stable, he had a wonderful family who loved him and life was treating him good. Since he struggled for food, good clothes, etc., during his childhood, he didn’t want his family to face the same situation. So, he started fulfilling almost all the desires of his children. Whatever the children would ask, the father would provide them. Of course, the children too understood their father well and hence were never greedy for things. But as they grew up, they hardly tasted a turn down for fulfillment of any of their wishes.

This person, whom I know, becomes very upset even when a small wish of his is not fulfilled or accepted by his wife. It may be a small thing like going out for a movie or a dinner or a weekend outing. If that wish is not fulfilled, he becomes very sad, gets angry, can’t get out of that situation and remains to be upset with his wife for a long time. He is also very keen on fulfilling all the desires of his kids. Be it watching a cartoon, or going out to a park, or having an ice-cream; he feels that those desires should be fulfilled every time or else how ‘sad’ the child would feel. Truly speaking, children often forget such things very quickly and are back to normalcy very fast. But it is the elders who are unable to let go of the thoughts.

His wife is able to let go or come out of any negative responses because she had heard ‘No’ from her parents quite a few times when she was young and had accepted the fact that there are some things which we get in life and some things that we miss. That we may not always get what we desire for. No big deal about it! So, her life is fine and she stays happy. But this guy gets very depressed and the worst part is, he does not realize that the cause of his sorrow is he himself!

From his example I felt, as a part of good parenting, sometimes when it is not possible to fulfill the child’s wish, the child should be clearly told, ‘Look son, this cannot be done’. All their wishes need not be fulfilled. The genuine wants should be satisfied but not all their wants. May be the child will cry for some time if he’s unable to understand the reason, but he will surely take home the lesson that ‘life may not give me everything I wish for’. And he’ll be prepared to face any turn downs or failures. By allowing all their wishes to be fulfilled, by not allowing to taste them negations; we might be making them ‘happy’ for the moment, but are we making them strong to withstand the ‘NOs’ he might hear in his life?