A bunch of disciples invite their Guru to join them on a pilgrimage to take a holy dip in the Ganges at Haridwar. The Guru politely declines. But the disciples insist saying they have gleaned from the scriptures that such a dip in the holy river will cleanse and transform each of them. They believe that if their Guru would bless them and be by their side during this transformational ritual they would be doubly blessed. The Guru counsels them but to no avail. Finally, he advises them to take a bitter gourd as his mascot with them. He advises them to also dip the bitter gourd in the holy river when they bathe. The disciples grudgingly agree and set off on their pilgrimage. A few weeks later they come back and report to their Guru saying how good their journey and experience was. The Guru calls for the bitter gourd. One of the disciples promptly pulls it out and presents it respectfully. The Guru demands that the vegetable be sliced and each disciple taste it__without cooking it. With much difficulty the disciples taste the bitter vegetable, their contorted faces exclaiming with anguish as the vegetable’s juices enter their system. “Did you not dip the vegetable in the Ganges, the Holy River,”asks the Guru, demanding “Why then is it so bitter?” “We did Guruji. But how can bitter gourd stop being bitter because it was dipped in a river, however holy it may be,”reasons a disciple. No sooner had he finished saying it, the moral of the Guru’s abstinence from the pilgrimage dawns on all his disciplines.
We are like that bitter gourd. Our inside is what must change for our external reality to change.
Following a ritual for the sake of doing it or attempting to change the environment around you cannot lead to personal transformation. Even before the physical effects of your transformation emerge, something within you must have changed. The light within you must have come alive, lit up. Its radiance can then show you the way forward. Personal transformation is possible, successful, only when you lead the change, from within, because you want it, are happy doing it and when no one’s asking you to change!