The truth that we are the Atman is very simple. Swami Vivekananda says that the greatest truths are the simplest things in the world. But to realise this simple fact, we have to practise hard. What comes in the way of our understanding is ego, or the principle which separates us from one another. The ego is like the scum on the surface of water, to give the simile of Sri Ramakrishna. You see the clear water beneath, but very soon the scum covers it again. The sum and substance of Vedanta is to get rid of the ego that I am the body and mind and identify ourselves with the Atman which is beyond both. Identifying ourselves with our bodies brings in its train endless miseries.
Recently, a son died prematurely in a family. The mother, who could not bear his loss, also died within two months. That is because of the tremendous attachment to their egos.
Contrast this with Dr. Sri Shivakumara Swamiji (1 April 1907 – 21 January 2019) who was the head of Sree Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur district in Karnataka and the founder of the Siddaganga Education Society.
This highly respected Swamiji started an orphanage for a few destitutes several decades back and today it has grown to accommodate 10,000 orphans—all of them getting completely free food, accommodation and education.
The Swami was 112 years old when he attained Samadhi.
In 2015, when he was 106 years old he used to get up at 2.30 AM, completed his meditation and then used to go to each dormitory, tap the doors with his stick, wakes up the boys to get ready for the prayer at 6.00 AM. All the 10,000 boys and girls used to pray together with the Swamiji every day. He was able to do this at the age of 106 since he had true, selfless, detached love for the children, because he saw God in them. He was not disappointed by their occasional betrayals and misbehaviors because he sees the whole life as a drama played by God. This detachment gave him true joy and infinite power to work.
Sri Shivakumara Swamiji
This is exactly what Swami Vivekananda taught us, when he said, ‘My mission in life is to teach unto mankind its divinity and how to make it manifest in every movement of their lives’. He asked us to practice this philosophy of Vedanta and teach it to others also.
Source – Excerpts from ‘Bringing Vedanta into Daily life’ by Swami Abhiramananda published in March 2015 edition of Vedanta Kesari (page 22 and 23)
Originally Published: www.hindu-blog.com