There was Shri Diwan Chand of Lucknow, a famed intellectual and philosopher, who was a leader of the Arya Samaj, and had been a Vice Chancellor before he retired. He met Shri Nathji in Mussoorie in the 1930’s.
How are you? Shri Nathji asked him.
Like a bird in a cage, said Shri Diwan Chand, fluttering to get out!
Is that your concept of life, then? Shri Nathji said to him.
And Shri Dewan Chand asked Shri Nathji: “Maharaj, do you ever feel like that?”
Shri Nathji replied: I, too, am in the same cage but:
“Jee kafas men lag gayaa apnaa chaman se bhee sivaa
Hamko ai sayyaad parvaaye rihaayi kyaa rahee
“The cage captivates my heart even more than the garden,
O Hunter! What care I for freedom now?
A bird wishes to get out of a cage. The more it flutters its wings, the more it hurts itself. It is the relative comparison of the cage with the garden that makes it restless. But, then, realisation dawns upon it. The garden outside–was it real or unreal? If it was real, why did it vanish? If it was unreal, of what use yearning for it? It was like a dream. The present is a reality. Why must the bird destroy reality in pursuit of an illusion?
“The hunter opens the cage, but the bird refuses to fly away. It has found contentment inside the cage.
“There are no fears within the cage, no storms, no arrows, no fear of nets. The bird has found the secret of life. The absence of contradiction in the present is another name for peace!”
Shri Nathji had further elaborated on the theme of a bird in cage by two other Urdu Verses:
The bird inside the cage finds contentment within the cage when he finds that he is secure therein and he says:
Na tezeeye sar-sar hai na sayyaad kameen men
Goshe men kafas ke mujhe aaram bahut hai
Here there is no storm nor a hunter with arrows drawn
In the corner of the cage I am greatly at peace
Then again there is the bird inside the cage giving consolation to its companions who, too, have been caught and placed there:
Ham bhee kafas men aaye khaamosh ho rahe,
Faayedaa hamsafeero naa haq ke shor kaa
I, too, have come into the age, but have become silent,
Of what avail, O friends, the noise of piteous wailings
If people could fathom even a tiny bit of the philosophy expounded by Shri Nathji in these verses they would learn to be content in whatever circumstances life placed them.