Friday, April 2, 2010

Nissneh: Beware of the Bug Light

Summer is right around the corner, and depending where you live, the critters invade our homes. Flying insects, like mosquitoes and houseflies, can get quite irritating, but mankind came to solve that problem fairly quickly...
This video is worth more than a few chuckles, especially since it's an invaluable metaphor for this week's topic of nisneh.

But first, what's our main point? Nisneh is guided attachment - attachment through understanding. 

And the mosquitoes illustrate this idea well. Start sabha off with this brief video clip, and ask the audience, "How many mosquitoes were aware of the bug light?" We are tempted to answer one, but the answer is two. Before meeting his death, the second mosquito actually admits that he can't overcome his attachment

Now ask, "How many mosquitoes understood the nature of the bug light?" Only one - he survived.   

For us, attachment comes easily in both reality (with people, places, pets, etc.) and in fiction (with TV, movies, novels, etc.). We don't have to think about it - it just happens - just as mosquitoes gravitate towards a bug light. Hence, we need to be aware to what we become attached lest we wish to get fried by the bug light of maya.

Succeeding in life requires that we attach ourselves to those who have proven themselves successful and in turn want us to succeed, and we have to look no further than Shriji Maharaj & Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Prasangs about P. Krishnapriya Swami, Mulji Bhakta, and even Macha Khachar help us with developing true nisneh, attachment through understanding. Even Swamishri's own words reveal to us the ideal of nisneh. 

But, what about us? What about now

Now present the audience with the following scenarios. Do not ask for responses initially. 
  • Go to sabha vs. hang out with friends? 
  • Go to sabha vs. work on a school project with group? 
  • Go to sabha vs. go to garba? 

Some of these same easy, some of them do not. To answer them, we will turn to an activity.
  • Ask everyone to write down on a sheet of paper the ten things they care about the most (e.g. playing basketball, checking e-mail, etc.). To make this activity work, try not to classify similar items - like puja, darshan, arti - separately; they can all fall under Satsang.
  • Then ask a few members to share. Now, ask everyone to cross off three things they could do without; again ask for a few to share. 
  • Now, ask everyone to cross off two more, and see what everyone has left. Rank these five items in order of importance.  
These are our attachments. These dictate how we manage our time - for better or for worse. Going back to our scenarios...
  • Go to sabha vs. hang out with friends? No brainer - but when we have something to do for mandir that Sunday and socialize too much during the week, the presentation does not get done. 
  • Go to sabha vs. work on a school project? We feel better on this one given that Swamishri wants us to do well in school, but did we really maximize our time during the school week to work on the project? Or did we make sabha a priority when our group was scheduling our meeting?
  • Go to sabha vs. go to garba? Garba is not usually held during sabha time, so this one sounds stupid. However,  catching up on missed sleep is anything but stupid. Dancing the night away costs us by causing us to doze sabha away. 
If Satsang was our #1, then the answer is easy to all of these scenarios. It's only when it's not #1 that we struggle with the answer. 

For us, nisneh helps us manage our time wisely. Lalji Suthar's prasang caps off this point very well. So steal the show this Sunday - talk about nisneh and its relevance to us today.

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