Are we conscious chessmen?
by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)
Are we conscious chessmen?
We seem to be living on Earth like chessmen, with innumerable feelings! Then, who are the players?
A game of chess with 32 chessmen of different status and movements has an infinite number of possible ways to finish the game. In the game, each piece gets protection from others and in turn, it also tries to protect others. Two opponent chessmen with selfish motives try to exploit the situation to their advantages. One gains when the other loses.
What about two eternal players, in male and female form, playing friendly? Guiding each other they do not take advantage of the other’s wrong movement. They may argue now and then, but remain sincere and friendly throughout. Ultimately, there is no gain or loss in the game and it may also continue forever. Any moment they can leave the game, in case one of them is not willing. However, status and movement of pieces remain the same, except when one chessman reaches the opponent’s last house and gains the value of the house reached.
In physical life we (all living beings together) are just like chessmen of the chessboard (world) with defined worldly status and skill. Though the real players are God (absolute consciousness) and Nature (body, senses, mind, and intellect), among ourselves we have developed a false ego under the influence of nature alone (forgetting the friendly opponent, i.e., consciousness) and normally, our movements are selfish. In such a game we are looking for our advantages and not paying attention to the opponent’s intentions. Sometimes, it may cause a loss, ultimately. The result is that one gains happiness at the cost of another’s unhappiness.
Now, what is this ego? Let us not call it false but consider it just a chessman with its selfish feelings, when we (conscious chessmen!) have realized that our governors, both players – Nature as female and God in male form, or vice versa – are playing friendly. Please don’t presume that any worldly relations exist between them, or that all relations combined together exist between them. We are mere chessmen and when our movements depend upon their mutual wishes, then only have we lost our ego. Wise people know that it is the ego which is the root cause of our tension, anxiety, and fear, and disturbing our peace of mind.
Realization of this may bring the understanding that Nature and God play for mutual amusement and that the role of each chessman, with its ego or without it, is just for that purpose. (Here we consider that being ignorant of this fact is due to our ego, because in essence, God and Nature are synonymous).
This is the
way to gain sainthood and to become a witness of this divine play in the world, while rendering various services related to real welfare (pleasure of mind) for mankind. This sainthood is already present among us; we only need to awaken it. Realizing its need, we may pray to the Almighty, or approach the saints to help us. Usually (real) saints are always in search of such needy persons.
Sainthood should not be identified with a bed of roses, but with a completely satisfied life, fulfilling the mission of the eternal players, i.e., Soul and Nature. Mission is nothing, but we derive true and eternal pleasure from all our companions (living and non-living). If we adopt the attitude that we are just witness to the eternal play and, if necessary, helping both players leaving our whims, fancy, selfishness, enmity, jealousy, etc. with other chessmen, then only do we derive true pleasure from our surroundings.
Here is an ancient story to give an idea of such a state of mind:
A saint was crossing a river in a boat with many others. When they were reaching mid-stream suddenly a tornado-like storm arose, and the boat seemed to lose balance, due to the high waves. The saint started pouring water in the boat with a Kamandal (a kind of wooden vessel) and continued to do so in spite of the other people’s resistance. Within a few minutes the storm subsided, and now people saw the saint emptying the water from the boat into the river with his Kamandal!
Surprised, people asked an explanation from the saint for his opposite behaviour. The saint, very meekly, replied “When the boat was getting sunk I thought that it was God’s wish, so I helped Him. When the storm subsided and the boat became stable, I thought the mood of God had changed, so I helped Him by emptying the water from the boat. My intention is always to help Him.”
Here, God means God+Nature. For the sake of enjoyment and amusement the Almighty is split in duality. The individual soul that willingly chooses its divine mission during life is considered most lucky by the wise. Contrary to this are the common men pursuing their worldly desires and ignorant of their divine mission.
Each one of us is considered to be an infinitesimal part of God, enjoying worldly objectives with the help of Nature (the physical body). A better proposition would be to remain on the side of Nature, believe the sayings of saints, and develop an enjoyable relationship with God.
Unless we love God with some relationship and respect Nature by utilizing minimum resources from it, our life is not meaningful and complete.