Children, there are two types of people in this world—ones who act without thinking and ones who think without acting. The first group gets into a lot of trouble by acting without thinking—or at least without thinking correctly. As a result, not only do they fail to help anyone, they also often harm people. The second group thinks with discrimination, understanding what is right and what is wrong. However, they do not act accordingly. At most, they may advise others. This is like a sick person asking someone else to take medicine on his behalf. We often plan to undertake many virtuous acts, but we then think of many excuses to not put them into action.
Once there was an ancient temple. Every week, a large group of devotees would go there for meditation and prayers. Watching this, a monkey thought to himself, “All these devotees are able to receive God’s grace by doing austerities and prayers. Why can’t I also do some fasting and meditation too?” The next prayer day, this monkey sat under a tree and started to meditate. Immediately a thought came to him: “I have never done fasting like this before. By the time the day of fasting gets ends, I may become too tired to even walk. I could die! If I sit under a tree that has a lot of fruit on it, then I will not have to go far looking for food after I am done.”
Thinking like this, the monkey got up and moved to sit under a tree with a lot of fruit. Then he started to meditate. After a while, he started thinking, “After fasting for so long, what if I do not have any energy to climb the tree to get the fruit?” So, he climbed up to a branch that had a lot of fruit on it and sat there to meditate. Then he thought, “What if my arms do not have any strength to pluck the fruits after fasting?” So, he plucked a lot of fruits, held it in his lap and started to meditate again. A little while later, he felt hungry. He thought, “I haven’t had such big and tasty fruit in a long time. I can always fast another day!” As soon as this thought entered his mind, the fruit was in his mouth.
Many of us are like this monkey. Our mind will constantly find excuses to avoid doing what needs to be done. Along with knowledge, we must have determination and one-pointed focus on our goal. Those who have steadfastness of the mind and work towards fulfilling all their goals by overcoming all obstacles will definitely be successful.
Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi