A farmer may have cultivated the land and sown selected seed; the rain may have been sufficient and timely; the sprouting may be vigorous; even then, however, he must not rest careless; for even as the growth proceeds, increasing care becomes necessary. For one thing, stray cattle may enter the field and cause destruction; also, pests or locusts may ruin the crop. Intrusion by cattle may be easily apparent, and can be controlled by fencing; but attacks by pests or locusts may not be noticeable without minute inspection, and can only be controlled by sprinkling of appropriate medicines or chemicals. This means that the farmer has always to be vigilant; so, too, has one who is striving for spiritual uplift.
What a fence or hedge is to the field, ordinary life of family and worldly affairs is to the spiritual aspirant; he should therefore pay due attention to its proper management, taking care, however, that it does not thrive so much as to encroach on the main crop and overwhelm it. He should not forget that the sole role of family life is like that of the fence-protection, and give it only that much importance and attention, and no more. We should lead family life without letting it become an impediment in the spiritual path. Just as the farmer inspects the crop very minutely to detect the incidence of pests, so too should we be carefully on the watch lest the mind should get attached to worldly matters.
With proper precautions as outlined above, a farmer may successfully reach the stage of harvesting of the crop. But care is required also in threshing, and the grain must be carefully garnered to prevent incursions by rats and mice. It should be carefully husked so as not to injure the grain. Thus care and caution are needed at all stages. So, too, they are necessary for the aspirant; for, instances are numerous where the aspirant’s progress is retarded if he acts carelessly, or under an illusion that the journey is finished and he has reached the goal. The aspirant leading a family life will have to live among other householders, and must therefore exercise great caution lest his mind should go astray owing to their influence; there is no knowing when the inner inclination may change. Spiritual quest is indeed a difficult hunt.
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