The Swami with the Rolex

“Your watch Swamiji”, my friend says. “The watch is waterproof” Swami casually replies while putting on his helmet to go wildwater rafting on Ganga River in the Himalayas. “It’s a Rolex watch,” my friend adds. I look at his watch. I have been exposed to a lot of luxury in previous years and am not much impressed by material things. In fact I wear my own Rolex watch at that moment; a wedding gift from a royal family member. Swami wears elegant white clothes and hardly looks like 60 years. I heard many stories about him. It is said that he is a disciple of Mahavatar Babaji. His approach is very calm and loving. While outwardly I do not show any reaction, I cannot fail to observe my inner thoughts about his Rolex watch. “How come he wears a Rolex? He must have influential followers” I watch my thoughts passing through my mind. “Is he attracted to material things then?“ the stream of thoughts continues. A common pattern of humans: judgment by outer appearance. I should know much better by now to control my thoughts. How does it matter to me what he wears? Becoming conscious of the game of my mind, I decide to detach from my murmur and to feel his loving presence instead.

I recollect my own countless learning experiences….“I fly to Addis Ababa to build a water well” I reply to my seat neighbor in business class. Reading puzzlement on his face, I quickly add that I received a free business class upgrade for no particular reason. In fact there was one specific year in my life during which I must have gotten upgraded to business class in 95% of all my flights. It is quite a funny experience to encounter one of our key donors in the plane while he sees me taking a seat in business class. Needless to say he did not give a donation to our organization anymore then onwards. I experienced countless similar events in which my outer appearance gave away a very distorted reality; truly each and every incident was miraculously made available to me, from flights, to cars, to clothes. It is fascinating to observe how easy it is to play with society, how easy it is to manipulate others through their senses. Observation is necessary and a must on the spiritual journey, yet mental note to self: let me never assume or judge others simply by outer appearance. It is not so much about the appearance itself, but rather how it is presented and how one is attached to such objects. If we take the example of Swami and his Rolex, he simply replied to a concerned friend. In fact it was my friend to whom the material aspect was of importance. She noticed and commented on it. So it held more importance to her than to the owner. It is often not about the object as such, but about our reaction and expression that give away the truth.

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