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That time never comes

In ancient India, parents used to send their children to Gurukuls or schools, where young children grew up under the guidance of a Sage or Guru. There they would learn spiritual practice and various other subjects that they needed to, in order to excel in life. In one such Gurukul, the Sage noticed that a young boy, Gopal, was finding it difficult to concentrate on spiritual practice. Gopal only wanted to spend time with his parents and friends or play all the time. The Sage gave Gopal many chances to change his ways and turn to spiritual practice. Finally, after years of Gopal showing no improvement, the Sage told him, "Dear Gopal, you can stop your spiritual practice and study for now. Go enjoy life outside the Gurukul for ten years. We will meet again then."

Gopal readily agreed and left the Gurukul. He thought that ten years would be enough for him to enjoy life. Then he could return to God and his studies. After ten years, the Sage knocked on Gopal's door. A seven-year-old girl opened the door; she was Gopal's daughter. Seeing the Sage, Gopal at once remembered his promise. However, he felt that he needed a little more time to take care of his wife and young daughter. So he apologised and said that he could not turn to spiritual practice, just as yet. The Sage understood, smiled and said, "Alright, I will come back after seven years."Gopal
 Gopal was relieved and thought, "Seven years from now, I will surely be free." Seven years passed quickly. Again, the Sage came to meet Gopal. However this time too, Gopal was busy looking after his daughter and her studies. Gopal said to the Sage, "I would like to do spiritual practice at the Gurukul, but need just a few more years till my daughter completes her studies." The Sage told Gopal that the Gurukul would always be open for him, whenever he is ready to do spiritual practice.

Unfortunately, Gopal came across one responsibility or another for the rest of his life. The time to go to the Gurukul, do spiritual practice and experience God's joyful presence never came.

Moral: After reading this story, we should immediately take up any opportunity to get close to God, instead of waiting for another, more convenient, time. Otherwise, like Gopal, we too will never find time for God away from our education, friends, TV and other such things. Thus we should remember to chant (repeat) God's Name and pray to God as much as possible throughout the day - be it during a shower or while eating. Similarly, if our parents attend satsang or do satsēvā, we too should go with them and do whatever satseva we can.

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