There is a story that illustrates several of the points. A high official in a traditional Indian State government came to know a merchant, and was impressed by his character. He said to him: “When we have big changes in the government it is an anxious time for everyone. If things go one way some will be promoted and others disgraced; but if they go the other way it will be the reverse. It does not depend on simply whether one has done a good job or not because luck can play a big part. We all get harassed at these times of crisis. But I have watched you in similar situations in your line – when markets were going up and down and nobody knew what would happen. You worked hard: I saw that. But you never seemed disturbed: when the news was good, you weren’t excited; when it was bad, you sometimes moved quickly but you never seemed nervous. Will you tell me how you got to be like that?”

The merchant quoted to him the illustration of the sun in the water and said that he had used it to develop the Way of the Merchant. “When I am doing business I am seeing the sun of the Lord deep in the waters of the world. I practice calmness so that I can see the Lord more clearly there: when I see him without many ripples I know what to do, and I do it without making more ripples. But every evening in my room I sit alone and take my inner gaze away from the whole world with its ripples and even the reflection. Throwing it all away I close my eyes and mentally look up to meditate on the sun-Lord in the sky. This has set me free from the world and its fears.”

Rama Tirtha says you will succeed in all you do if you can give up completely your personal desire and wish and you can say to the Lord, “This is your work, and therefore I think it to be mine. If you let me be successful, I am pleased. If you make me fail, I am pleased.” When you can give up dependence on the results, your action will no longer be clogged with like and dislike, hope and fear, and it will be efficient.

© Trevor Leggett

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