Scriptural reading and the listening to the exposition of scriptures in katha is an integral part of our spiritual endeavour. Yet, we harbour doubts about whether scriptural reading
or katha can really help us in our everyday challenges. We explore this issue in the case study below of the role katha can play in the everyday lives of three ordinary teenagers.
“Can I take your order?” says the woman at the register.
“Yeah, can I get three ice-coffees, no whip cream? Thanks,” says Rushi.
His good friends Kush and Anish are waiting for him at the corner table by the window. Rushi, Kush and Anish grew up together. Although Rushi is three years older than Kush and Anish, they are very close. Before Rushi left for college, they spent almost every weekend with each other, whether they were hanging out or doing seva at the mandir.
“Good to see you man. It’s been too long!” says Anish when Rushi joins them.
“Yeah, definitely…we were beginning to wonder if the big college-grad was ever going to make a trip back home,” chuckles Kush.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. You guys didn’t even miss me. You are just glad someone is here to pick up the tab!” says Rushi with a smile.
“Order 37,” announces the barista.
Kush scoots out of the booth to go grab the drinks, and comes back with the coffee and enough sugar and milk for the three of them.
“So, how is the job search going, Rushi?” says Anish as he stirs the coffee in his cup.
“It’s going pretty well. I have already completed a few interviews and have two more lined up for this week; hopefully something works out,” says Rushi.
“Aww come on man, I’ve seen your resume. You’re going to be fine…I’m sure all companies are looking for underperformers,” says Kush jokingly. They all laugh as Rushi punches Kush in the arm.
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” says Rushi.
“But, seriously, are you nervous? I know you were saying that one of the interviews is with your dream company,” says Kush.
“Eh, I’m not really sweating it. I have prepared thoroughly for the interviews, and my grade point average and experience should speak for itself. What’s been going on with you guys lately?” inquires Rushi.
“Oh, nothing much man, the same old nonsense. My coach keeps getting on my case. He told me on Friday after practice that if I want to make varsity, I’m going to have to go ‘above and beyond,’ whatever that means,” says Kush as Rushi and Anish nod their heads.
“And I’m like, listen coach. I don’t know what more I need to do to prove myself ‘worthy’ of the varsity team. I mean, I am at all the practices, and my stats are fairly decent for someone at my height. I told him, as far as going above, I can’t grow taller between now and the basketball season!” exclaims Kush. Rushi and Anish laugh at this outburst, and Kush joins in realizing how loudly he was speaking.
“Yeah, that’s how it goes sometimes,” says Anish, “Maybe he has some favourites and is trying to push you out.”
“I wouldn’t mind it if it wasn’t my last chance to play varsity before I graduate and go to college!” says Kush, “Ahh, forget it. I don’t know what I should do. Maybe I’ll read the Vachanamrut. My dad says it has ‘ALL’ the answers to my questions,” he says jokingly. Anish is chuckling too.
“Yeah, my mom and dad give the same spiel in ghar sabha. Beta, if we read the Vachanamrut regularly, then we won’t be stressed about school,” says Anish, “I didn’t realize Gadhada Pratham whatever is going to help me get into college, let alone show me how to complete an application. I can’t even write my personal statement!”
“No bro, you have to go to the Loya section for the answer to that one,” says Kush jokingly.
“I get that reading the Vachanamrut or other satsang books and listening to katha is really important for spiritual development, but I don’t know how it is going to help me get a job or help you finish your apps, or help you with increasing your scoring percentage,” says Rushi, “Ah, forget it, we sound like a bunch of whiners, let’s talk about something else.” After a while, Kush, Anish and Rushi leave the café.
“It was good catching up with you guys! See you on Sunday at the mandir!” says Rushi.
“Yup, see you guys Sunday!” say Kush and Anish.
On the way to his car, Rushi’s cell phone begins to buzz in his pocket. He reaches for his phone and looks at the screen only to see the human resource manager from his dream job is on the other line. “Hello?” says Rushi steadily.
“Hi Rushi! How are you? This is Candice from Benton Systems.”
“Hey Candice, how are you?” says Rushi. “Well she sounds chipper. She must be calling to give me some good news,” he thinks to himself.
“I’m fine, Rushi! Thanks for asking. Listen, I am calling to let you know that the team over here really enjoyed meeting with you yesterday,” says Candice.
“This is it, here it comes,” thinks Rushi.
“Unfortunately, we have decided to move on with other candidates. We appreciate your time. Thanks for considering Benton Systems. Feel free to apply again in the future...click.”
The smile on Rushi’s face slowly slid into a puzzled look. “I don’t understand,” Rushi thinks to himself, “Why didn’t I get the job? My resume was perfect, the interview went so smoothly...am I missing something?” he questions as he pounds his fist on to the trunk of his car.
Rushi’s mind is a whirlwind as he unlocks his car. He begins to drive away contemplating his ‘Plan B’. “This was my dream job with my dream company...what am I going to do now?” he mumbles to himself. Rushi reaches for the power button on his audio system, hoping to drown out his thoughts with some music.
“If a child takes refuge in his parents, his parents will protect him. Similarly, in Satsang, if we take refuge, or ashro, in the Satpurush, then we will be under his protection.”
Rushi suddenly remembers that on the way to the coffee shop he was listening to katha from a shibir that had recently taken place.
“When we seek protection from someone we have faith that he will only take steps that will be in our best interest. When we take ashro in the Satpurush, we must have full faith that no matter what happens in our life, good things or bad things, they happen for our best. Take the example of Dada Khachar. Shriji Maharaj lived on his premises for almost 30 years. Dada Khachar served Maharaj to his utmost every day. However, even Dada Khachar went through hardships. His uncle, Jiva Khachar, fought with him at the court in Bhavnagar to take his land. However, despite not securing a favourable court ruling after more than a dozen tries, Dada Khachar never lost faith in Shriji Maharaj. Dada Khachar’s ashro in Maharaj was firm – he knew that Shriji Maharaj would always look out for him and his betterment...”
The words of this katha began to sink in as Rushi pulled into his driveway. “Do I have ashro in Swami Bapa?” he asks himself, “Even though I didn’t get my dream job, I need to realize that everything happens for the best. No matter what happens, I need to have faith that Swami Bapa will guide my life in a way that will make me a better satsangi.” As Rushi walks into his house, his phone begins to buzz again. He looks at his phone and sees that he just received an email from another company asking him to come in for a second round interview tomorrow.