QUENCH THE FLAMES
Baba said, "This Maya (illusive power) of the Lord (Shri Hari) teases God Brahma and others; then what to speak of a poor Fakir like Me?" in Sri Sai Satcharitra, Ch. XIII.
Many of us think that saints are never subject to temptations like us, ordinary mortals. This is not so!
A young man once complained to a saint, "Master, I have struggled for eight long years, and I have not succeeded in restraining my passions.
"Eight years of struggle?" replied the saint. "For sixty years, I have been fighting against my passions in the desert, and so far I have not been spared a single day!"
St. Benedict lived a life of great austerity. He wore a rough shirt and lived for three years in a desolate cave, beyond all human reach. His Spartan food was let down to him at the end or a rope. But ever here, temptation did not spare him! He was haunted continually by the memory of a beautiful woman he had met. He was even tempted to leave his life of austerity and seclusion and follow her!
Near his cave was a clump of thorns and briers. Having undressed, he threw himself on the thorns and rolled around till his body bled with many wounds. This he continued to do until the fires of passion were quenched forever.
Yes, saints too are tempted, even as we ordinary mortals are. The difference is, we easily succumb to temptation; saints overcome temptation and grow in spiritual strength and splendour!