(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 26 March 2016, Durban, South Africa, Ratha Yatra Q&A: Goodness, Passion and Ignorance)
I have one short story. It is a story I made up myself but I think it is quite nice. Once, there was a group of people who lived in an oasis in the desert. In this oasis, they had their enjoyment, they had their variety of things – camel milk, dates and some bananas; or bananas and dates and camel milk; or camel milk with bananas and dates; dried bananas; camel milkshake – but that was it. So they were milking their varieties and this oasis was known as the “Oasis of sense gratification”.
One day a stranger came in and he brought a whole philosophy with him about a green land which is somewhere else. As proof, he brought these fruits that no one had ever tasted – alphonso mangos… you know, delicious and sweet!
People were all excited and sure enough, one day the stranger said, “So, is anybody interested in going to the green land?”
Well, some people said, “Yeah.”
Others said, “Ah, you know, these things come from another oasis; there is no green land. Do not let him pull the wool over your eyes. He is after your money!”
But people went. They went into that dry desert because when you want to go from an oasis to a green land, you have to go through a dry desert first. So they went through the dry desert where there was no more sense gratification – the desert of austerity where the hot sun of lust was burning on their heads.
Some people went crazy and just ran off into the desert, they just could not take it! Others went back. But a few stayed and they got to the next oasis which was the oasis of the mode of goodness. In that oasis of the mode of goodness, people did not want material life. No alcohol and all those horrible sinful activities! Oh, no! They were enjoying spiritual life there in the oasis of goodness.
Anyway, the stranger came and said, “This oasis of goodness is not good enough.”
People said, “Oh no, it is good enough for me. I am very happy here. I do not want anything else. We have a nice spiritual life and we are happy with it.”
“No,” the stranger said. “Now you have to go back into the desert.”
“Back into the desert? Are you out of your mind? It is comfy here.”
“No, back into the desert. But this time you go to help people who are out there in the desert.”
Then those who did that, they saw that the landscape was changing and gradually it was turning more and more green and those who dedicated their lives to giving others the fruits of transcendental knowledge, they reached the green land at the end! Anyway, this is a story which illustrates a little bit about our relationship with the three modes of material nature.