A man who has gone out of his town comes back and finds that his house is on fire. It was one of the most beautiful houses in the town, and the man loved the house. Many people were ready to give double price for the house, but he had never agreed for any price, and now it is just burning before his eyes. And thousands of people have gathered, but nothing can be done. The fire has spread so far that even if you try to put it out, nothing will be saved. So he becomes very sad.
His son comes running, and whispers something in his ear: “Don’t be worried. I sold it yesterday, and at a very good price ― three times. The offer was so good that I could not wait for you. Forgive me.” But the father said, “Good, if you have sold it for three times more than the original price of the house.” Now the father also becomes one of the thousands of onlookers as he suddenly becomes unattached to his house. Just a moment ago he was not an onlooker, he had a sense of attachment to that house. It is the same house, the same fire, everything is the same. But now he is not concerned. He is enjoying it just as everybody else is enjoying.
Then the second son comes running, and he says to the father, “What are you doing? You are smiling ― and the house is on fire?”
The father said, “Don’t you know? Your brother has sold it.”
He said, “He had talked about selling it, but nothing has been settled yet, and the man is not going to purchase it now.”
Again, everything changes. Tears which had disappeared, have come back to the father’s eyes, his smile is no more there, his heart started beating fast. Now again, he is no more just an onlooker. He is again attached.
And then the third son comes, and he says, “That man is a man of his word. I have just come from him. He said, ‘It doesn’t matter whether the house is burned or not, it is mine. And I am going to pay the price that I have settled for. Neither you knew, nor I knew that the house would catch on fire.’” Again the father is an onlooker. The attachment is no more there.
If you notice carefully, nothing is changing. Just the thought of attachment that “I am the owner” makes the whole difference. When that attachment is removed, “I am not identified. Somebody else has purchased it and I have nothing to do with it; let the house burn.”
The lesson to learn here is that we are eternal spirit souls. We are not the body that we look at in the mirror. But because we identify with our bodies and everything else that is “in our possession”, we experience the misery. It is not the situation itself which causes the misery but our attachment to that situation. Once we understand that we are spirit soul — ahaṁ brahmāsmi — and have absolutely nothing to do with the body and everything that is associated with it, then we are relieved from the blazing fire of material existence.
This serene state of being is possible by the practice of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We revive our eternal spiritual relationship with Kṛṣṇa and thus become free of all miseries caused by misidentifying with the body.
Kṛṣṇa consciousness begins with chanting —
Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare.