A European lady was wonderstruck when Swami Chinmayananda once answered the precise questions she had in her mind. “Could he read her mind?”, she wondered.. "I cannot read your mind and neither do I wish to," the Swamiji replied, "In life, your answers could be from a bus conductor, a man on the street or in this case, me. That is the way the universe works."
Truly, the universe has numerous lessons for us. Perhaps one of the greatest teachers is nature itself. The sun shines everyday at the precise hour and gives light to the entire world without expecting any returns. The birds chirp whether or not someone claps and applauds. Trees give shade and succour to millions of creatures and never tire or get bored of doing this. As a bonus, they add beauty too, the sun by giving us the rainbow and beautiful patterns of the sunrise and sunset, trees and plants by giving us different types of flora.
Every creature too has its unique lesson for us. One of the verses of the Thirukkural says, "The crow does not conceal its food from its fellows and calls them and willingly shares it with them. Only men of like nature prosper." To constantly remind us of this principle, people are encouraged to offer some food to the crow every day and observe how it shares it with the entire group.
Geese fly in a "V" formation. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. If a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front. When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies
Such teaching stories abound in nature. Even the much detested cockroach teaches us resilience and determination. Apart from this, the little coincidences of life, the people one meets and situations one encounters constantly teach us the lessons we need at any point in time.
Of course, saints and prophets have inspired and guided humankind in every era and if we have the good fortune to be blessed by such guidance by a human guru, it would be a wonderful bonus. As it is said, when the time is ripe, the master will appear without any effort on our part. In the meantime, let us recognize that the entire universe is constantly conspiring to teach us the lessons, the ones we seek actively, and the ones we may not voice but do need for our spiritual progress. All we have to do is to tune our senses to receive them.