History has a great record of changes that occurred in civilizations, nations, cities, human settlements, etc. It is a story of rise and fall of certain men and women and also of communities, nations, or groups which were led by them during a particular period. These annals show that certain men and women had a great transformation in their lives. The reasons behind transformation were
Reflecting deeply on certain events and their causes
Reflecting on certain events and their outcome
Reflecting on the futility of certain acts done by themselves and others.
It was deep reflection, realization, and resolve that enabled them to rise to great moral and spiritual heights. The transformation that began with them, later transformed larger sections of humankind. A few examples are Saint Valmiki, Gautam Buddha, King Ashoka, Tulsidas, and Mahatma Gandhi.
Saint Valmiki used to rob passengers on their way to a deep forest. One day, he made an attempt to rob some mendicants (sadhus). The sadhus told him that he was earning his livelihood in a sinful way. None of his family members, for whom he robbed, would save him from the punishment for his sins. Valmiki realized this and he resolved firmly not to rob anyone again. This also led to an inner transformation in him which awakened many of his good qualities. Valmiki was now a deeply compassionate man. There was such a great awakening in him that he decided to write about the victory of virtue over vice in the form of the great epic, Ramayana.
Buddha reflected deeply after seeing a sick man, an old man, and a dead body. He realized that there was a lot of suffering in the world. He decided to identify the cause of suffering to liberate himself and others from it. This brought in him a great transformation which, later, led to the transformation of many others.
Likewise, after the Kalinga war, Ashoka reflected on the loss and suffering. Realizing the futility of wars, he resolved to give up war forever. This brought in a great transformation in him followed by his kingdom and many others.
The great poet Tulsidas reflected on the remarks of his wife when, one night, he visited her at his in-laws without their invitation. He realized that sex-lust was an abject form of dependence on a woman and it would be far better to love God.
When Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s baggage was thrown out of a moving train and he was pushed onto the platform he reflected on this sad and humiliating event. He realized how degrading it was to be the citizen of a country that was under the yoke of a foreign rule. He then vowed to spend the rest of his life for the political freedom of his mother country. This is how his own transformation brought a change in the lives of many others and the dream of free India became a reality.
These and such other examples clearly show that inner transformation in great human beings occurred after deep reflection, realization, and resolve. These three steps changed sinners into saints, ordinary men into great leaders, and men of clay into higher-souled persons. These awakened their potentialities for being good and for doing good. Those who did destructive acts before now became constructive and creative. They served as inspiring examples of transformation. The change in individuals thus resulted in societal transformation.
Then why is it so difficult to transform the self? The greatest difficulty in the process of change is one’s own resistance to it, non-co-operation, lack of will, and intention to change.
But the choice is yours. Do you want to be happy or do you choose to suffer? Thoughtful people will want to transform their lifestyles into a kind that does not bring sufferings to them. If once this process of transformation starts and a few people get transformed, then it automatically catches other people’s attention.
Who would not like a cool morning breeze on sunny summer days or who would resist its refreshing and energizing effect? Similarly, if there is a person who always wears a smile on his/her face and who always speaks words that are refreshing, energizing, and sweet then who will be able to resist this temptation of being like this lovely fellow?
Almighty Supreme says, if you change individually, your change will help change a large part of the world. So, on your shoulder rests the responsibility of transformation of the whole world. Never think that if X, Y, or Z changes I change. If I change, others around me will definitely change.