Thursday, January 11, 2018

Two Blind

I want to be your disciple, Master. A young man came to Master’s mountain abode and genuflected in front of the Master.

And the reason! Master posed sportingly.

I want to get enlightened, I want to learn about life, I want to change the world, I want to know.

And you think that you will achieve all these if I take you as a disciple!

I believe so Master.

Can a blind lead another blind. Master asked.

I don’t understand your question Master.

I am not enlightened myself, I haven’t learnt anything about life yet, I have not changed the world and I don’t have the desire to do so either and I certainly don’t know. So how can you learn these things from me. I am as blind as you are my friend and one blind cannot lead the other.

We all understood that Master was testing the young man’s resolve.

Perhaps you are blind, Master, but two blind is better than one.

Master chuckled pleased with his answer and accepted him into his tutelage. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Let them Go

One day an illuminated lady, much sought after and illustrious, visited the Master. She bowed before him and uttered: Master, I am growing old and I am ill. I have worries and pains. The world believes that I am living the finest life. But it isn’t so. Deep within I am ailing. What should I do?

Let them go, my dear sister. Master said kindly.

How can I do that? The lady asked bewildered.

Master smiled and said: when I say, I am ill, I own up the illness, so obviously it won’t let me go since it is mine.

Instead if I say, I am very well, some part of this body is bit out of order; then I am creating a distance between I, my true self, and the illness. Then it is not so difficult to let go. Illness is like a parasite and it cannot live long if the body into which it grows is not conducive or favourable to its growth.

Don’t own the illness and don’t own your worries or pain or miseries. To live we have to grow old, we have to bear the pain and miseries of our deeds and situations and as the body progresses there would be time when it doesn’t function optimally or as designed. There’s nothing we can do to avoid these since these are inevitable and essential as well.

But it is important to remember that these all are momentary and temporary and we must let them go. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Expression of Love

Is it necessary to express my feelings to the one I love? A young man asked the Master.

Not particularly my son, Master spoke with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, especially when you suspect that the subject of your affection would neither acknowledge nor reciprocate your overtures.

But then how would that person know? How would I express my love, my deepest and strongest feeling?

Expression of love is not only by expressing it to the one you love. In fact it’s only one way of expressing. Love is the mightiest force of all, like water, without which there would be no life, no tomorrow, no hope. Don’t keep it stagnant or reserved only for one. Let it flow let it go let it blow. Like the breeze that gives succour to millions, like the sun that warms a cold heart, like the blue endless sky that permeates the soul, like the infinite cosmic melody that keeps playing even after there is no one to listen. Be the love that encompasses all and gathers all into one.

Do not fret if the subject of your love is ignorant of your embrace, there is so much more you can do with it, for the world, for the society, so channelize it into something bigger than one individual. And when you do that, that person will know. Let the person be wherever they have to be. You must move on for love must never be allowed to sit still.

Expression of love needs action that uplifts the downtrodden. Not to be wasted or allowed to become stale just because one individual doesn’t know or reciprocate.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Light Shows the Way

Once in the deserts of Wadi Rum, I met a Bedouin dervish. I was with a group of friends on a camel back safari of a week through the vast desert stretch and one evening we all gathered in a cave where the dervish lived. Surrounded by fire and lit up only with its flame, we hearkened to his stories and parables about his travels and his quest for the infinite God.

At one point I asked him: when we find the light what should we do? Should we focus on the light!

He answered: my young friend, nature of light is to show us the way, to reveal to us who we are and where we should be headed. We cannot stay with the light or focus upon it because then its purport is lost. Our purpose should be to walk upon the way that is now lit up with the light of wisdom. The path won’t be visible without the light but you won’t reach your destiny if you stay with the light.

Light shows us the way but it isn’t the WAY. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sharpen Your Axe

One day, after the evening prayers, Master told us a story. He spoke thus:

Many miles from here, there was a forest village, and in that village, many years ago lived a very famous and proud woodcutter. The village occupation was cutting woods hence everyone was really good at it but this man was the champion of champions. He could beat anyone in woodcutting. He was strong as an ox and he could work relentless. And he was vain as a peacock. He challenged other woodcutters to compete with him and ridiculed them when no one would accept the challenge or the very few who would, would face a humiliating defeat. And then one day arrived a rather unassuming, pale faced youth, bearing a woodcutting axe upon his gaunt shoulders. And as luck would have it, he met the proud vain woodcutter as soon as he entered the village seeking some sustenance.

Seeing the newcomer, the village champion asked him to compete with him. The youth agreed but first he wanted some food and water. Which the villagers promptly offered him. Everyone could sense a ridiculous contest in the offing and they wanted to have some merriment at the expense of the newcomer, who had no idea what he had agreed upon. So the villagers piled the youth with as much goodies they could offer, fattening the pig (in a manner of speaking) before the feast. The youth ate calmly and having finished his food, declared that he must rest for the day and the contest would be held next day at dawn. Everyone agreed and that night they held a fiesta, to celebrate the champion’s certain victory next morning.

Even before dawn the villagers gathered around the arena, where lay two identical long thick and terribly toughened gnarl of trees. The two contestants appeared and the crowd gathered around. They looked so incredibly unmatched: the hulk of the champion brandishing his massive axe upon his rippling torso, and the youth with his commonplace axe upon his commonplace physique. The village chieftain explained the rules: they each had to chop their tree into as many pieces they could, making them into a pile and no individual piece of chopped wood could be larger or smaller than an elbow length. Whoever finished first would be the winner.

It was a tough competition, requiring not only strength but finesse and tact. The champion snorted in delight and triumph. The youth remained silent and calm. The village chief signalled and the contest begin.

The champion went to the task like a man possessed. He swung his axe in a giant arc and brought it down with such force that the ground shook and he struck the wood like never before. While the youth chopped too but in a more timid fashion, in a steady pace, his axe barely swinging up and down and then to the utter disbelieve of the onlookers, he rested. While the champion went on relentless. He seemed stronger and more invincible than before. The youth chopped some and then rested. The villagers soon lost interest in the youth and they all focused upon the champion. Never before had they witnessed such savagery nor such strength and agility, they cheered the proud champion, who roared like a beast with every swing of his axe. The wood was tough and sure enough his strength started to deplete, but the pile of his chopped wood kept growing. Unheeded, unheralded, on the other side, the youth went on his task with calm resolve and at every regular interval he rested. No one bothered to see his pile of chopped woods, which was growing too, and a bit quicker than that of the champion.

The contest was nearing its end, the villagers could decipher, since the champion was now rather slow and his pile of chopped woods rather high, with little left to chop. He was sweating and grunting with the effort yet he wouldn’t stop even for a moment from his garrulous task. And then someone, perhaps mistakenly, looked on the other side at the youth, and guess what, lo and behold, the youth was sitting quietly upon his pile of chopped woods, smiling at the crowd since he had no more woods to chop.

The village chief raised his arm to declare that the contest was over. He checked both the piles, measuring the chopped woods and reluctantly declared the youth to be the champion. The proud champion as well as the onlookers couldn’t believe their eyes. How on earth could this happen.

The village chief asked the youth: tell me my son, is it sorcery or god’s intervention that you managed to chop all the woods before our champion could!

‘It is neither, my honourable host,’ the youth said.

‘Then how is it possible, he chopped wood non-stop and you rested often in between?’

‘You all saw that I rested, but none of you noticed what I did while I rested...’

‘And what did you do while you rested?’ The chief asked dumbfounded.

‘I sharpened my axe.’ Master paused.

‘Were you that youth woodcutter?’ I asked the Master.

‘Anybody could be that young woodcutter,’ Master patted my back, ‘as long as you don’t forget to sharpen your axe.’ 

Instrument of Destiny

One day, at the Master’s mountain hut, there came a convicted man running away from the law. He was armed and seemed dangerous. There were only a handful of us with the Master and we didn’t know what to do as we didn’t have any means of communicating with the outside world.

The man, brandishing his gun, addressed the Master: I will hide here for couple of days and then I would go away. Don’t try to do anything, I will kill you all. I have already murdered others.

As the rest of us stared dumbfounded, the Master smiled and opened his arms to welcome the man: There’s no need to use violence or angry words my son, you are in the mountains that belong to anyone and everyone, no matter what your deeds are or what you are or have become. You are free to stay here as long as you wish, but please do not disturb the others. Respect everyone and the sanctity of this place and you will be fine. But there’s a rule of this place, you must work for what you receive. You don’t get anything for nothing. You might be a criminal in the eye of the law but I am not a judge to condemn or absolve. Join us with humility and only with the identity of a fellow human being, that’s all I ask of you.

The man looked rather startled at the Master’s calm reply and smiling demeanour. Yet he couldn’t let down his guard or show of violence (which is actually a show of his cowardice). He brandished his gun at the Master, pointing it right at his forehead and said: aren’t you scared of me? I can kill you without hesitation.

My son, Master spoke, we all must die one day and for that to happen we all must die due to a reason and that reason is nothing but an instrument of god or destiny. That I should die due to you only makes you a venerable person since God has chosen you to be the instrument of my death. Therefore my son, I am grateful to you if indeed you will end my life today. Someone or something had to do it one day anyway, but few are so fortunate to know and see the instrument of destiny so up close and clear.  Be the instrument of my destiny by all means if that indeed is your destined ordeal in this life.

The man collapsed on the ground, his eyes overflowing with tears of repentance. He prostrated at the feet of the Master and sought forgiveness. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Every Day a Lifetime

One fine morning, Master was guiding us through the process of yogic breathing. All we had to do was breathe in and out completely, while focusing in the process of the air flow as it weaved in and out of our body. Our eyes were shut and the morning sunny breeze spread a pleasant glow. What we were trying to experience and learn was the art of living in the present while focusing completely into what we were doing at the moment. Past and future didn’t exist, neither did they seem important. At the end of the session, one of the aged participants asked the Master: why is every day important.

And the Master replied: there are several reasons my friend, but the most important ones are two. One is based on law of Karma or action. Without action nothing will happen and it is only today, which is our every day that we can take action and do something. You cannot act in the past or in the future, all you can do is to act in today, every day, which in turn will reflect upon tomorrow; yet that tomorrow has to first become today for you to experience and understand what your action has led to.

Then there is another way of looking at each day as a reflection or compression of a lifetime. Each day is a lifetime. We arise each morning as if newly born, with yet another opportunity to do something; we are fresh and full of energy. As the day wanes, we age and grow, we learn and act and we experience and also tire. At the end of the day, at night, when we rest, we metaphorically perish and die.

One single day with this cycle of being born when we awaken, aging through the day and then dying when we go to sleep and rest, symbolises and depicts our entire life. It’s a lifetime compressed within a day. Therefore what we do during a single day, today, every day, and how we do it, becomes the basis and symbol of our whole lifetime. Because life is only the sum of our every single day. Any day, today, can become our life’s turning point.

In a single moment, in one day, today, we can alter our life. Arise and awaken, today, every day. Starting at this very moment now.