The game Temple Run does not require any instructions. A three-year-old can pick up a smartphone and start playing it. A 70-year-old can spend hours trying to master it. It is intuitive, simple, and thus, in a sense, beautiful. The premise of the game is that you are an explorer who, while running away from a yeti-like creature, must collect coins and rewards. All these resources are used to simply keep running. Through a variety of swipes on the screen and tilts of the device, players run through a virtual obstacle course through a virtual jungle, avoiding virtual death and striving to achieve objectives based on things like how far they run, how many coins are collected in a single run and how far they run without tripping. The simplicity of Temple Run is a large part of the popularity of the game. There are no instructions, you just play. However, what is not so apparent is that this initial simplicity gives way to a deep level of game play. There are subtle variations in the obstacles you face. You have choices in the power ups you use. This phenomena of profundity within simplicity makes the game popular to play and also brings joy. People can play this game for hours even though there is no apparent end to the game. This has the potential to be a very frustrating condition – to play with no way of winning. Yet Temple Run turns this situation into an advantage as players continue to outdo their last greatest run. Simplicity draws people to play Temple Run, depth keeps them playing. Profundity within simplicity is a powerful force, which if we observe carefully, can be found in many things in our environment.
Similarly, Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s never-ending profundity within timeless simplicity was part of his saintliness. Many people had witnessed it in his always simple, accommodating manner.
When we sing, “Shobho sãdhu gune sadã saral ne…” (You are resplendent with the virtues of saintliness, always unassuming and accommodating) we pay homage to the profundity of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s simplicity.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj embodied simplicity and the joy and depth of character that simplicity bestows. Simplicity breaks the barriers of age and language and enabled Pramukh Swami Maharaj to interact with any age group or any culture.
A young boy named Vikesh experienced this simplicity first hand in 2001 when Pramukh Swami Maharaj was visiting Bochasan. Drawn by Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s open nature, Vikesh pointed to the murti of Shriji Maharaj and said to Bapa, “This is your reflection.” Pramukh Swami Maharaj corrected him and stated, “God is not our reflection, but we are his reflection. Because of him we are great and glorious. Our powers have been given by him. Everything is his. Remember, God is the greatest and we should never forget him.” Within moments, Pramukh Swami Maharaj was able to lucidly explain the supremacy of Maharaj to a small child – age has no bound for Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s simplicity.
During the Cultural Festival of India in Edison, NJ, in 1991, a visiting politician noticed that Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s upper garment had slid off his shoulder and yet he remained undisturbed. Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s simplicity melted any barrier of language and culture and the politician commented to him, “You look very comfortable.” Pramukh Swami Maharaj playfully took hold of his tie and joked, “You have to wear this around your neck. Whereas for us [in English] ‘all season, one dress’.” The politician was greatly amused. Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s simplicity had engendered lasting joy. Such moments with Pramukh Swami Maharaj remain firmly etched in our memory many years later.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was resplendent in his simplicity. His simplicity was effortless – a part of his innate saintliness. One aspect of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s simplicity was his ability to say a great deal with very few words. We saw already how his few words to the politician at the CFI had enabled him to cross great cultural boundaries. But just a few words from Pramukh Swami Maharaj also bridged vast spiritual boundaries, taking the jiva to Paramatma.
One morning, Pramukh Swami Maharaj was performing pradakshina at Atladra Mandir. As he finished and was walking away, a sadhu casually asked him what he was praying for while doing pradakshina. Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s brief reply speaks volumes about his saintliness. He stated, “I prayed for the happiness of saints and devotees; that everyone may worship God and attain peace.” Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s prayer was simple, but in its purity and depth, in his yearning for everyone to experience the same indescribable bliss of God that he enjoyed, lay his profound saintliness.
Once, in Boston, a curious child approached Pramukh Swami Maharaj and asked if he had ever spoken to God. Pramukh Swami Maharaj replied, “Of course, we talk every day.” This reply gives us a window to the profundity that underlay Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s simplicity. A simple reply to a simple question by a child revealed Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s unbroken communion with God. If we stop and think about this our minds cannot even comprehend it.
However, Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s simplicity makes it easier for us to find him and once we find him it becomes easy to get lost in his profundity.