Search This Blog

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Spice Trader

  Ashtavakra  was a wise man. He traded spices and goods from Indian main land to regions and nations far and wide.  One day he came across a sage in the cold mountain deserts of Pamir who taught him the art of surviving the cold harsh mountains with nothing but just a few herbs between their teeth.

Amazed at this discovery, he decided to meet all wise men that he came across in his travels and imbibe their knowledge. His loyal and rather simple servant, Nityajantu accompanied him wherever he went. Over a period of several years, he met several wise men, peers and fakirs of the Arab desert, wise monks of the far away northern regions, old nomadic tribal men and women of the stony Gobi desert.

           He learned with such eagerness and child like joy that nobody could resist from imparting their knowledge to him. Over time he grew much wiser that even kings, badshahs, and ministers were conscious in his presence afraid that if they talked it would expose their ignorance in front of him.

One day he finally decided, as he grew old, to stop traveling. Retire at home and compile all his knowledge for the benefit of future generations. He prepared 28 granths (epics) and 25 treaties of various esoteric knowledge. His fame grew far and wide; people came from all walks of life to seek his advice on all matters. The scope of his knowledge was so encompassing that nobody ever left without sound piece of advice. In the meantime, Nityajantu served his master with true devotion. All his efforts to impart knowledge to the simpleton servant fell apart. He was happy cooking, cleaning and serving his master and decided to know nothing more. Ashtavakra finally gave up all his efforts to teach the servant.

            One auspicious day, in his meditation, Ashtavakra levitated beyond the conscious mind’s limitation and had his first true experience of the realization of the Divine. What an ecstatic experience it was! When he came out of his meditation, he experience utter sweetness and beauty of the Divine in every little thing. As he stepped out of the house, he saw Nityajantu, his humble servant, cleaning vegetables for the evening meal. He was wrapped completely in pure bliss of the Divine. He was totally merged with the Divine. To Ashtavakra, he appeared as the child Krishna muttering a Radha bhajan under his breath.

A huge realization dawned upon Ashtavakra as he bowed before his servant. It startled Nityajantu so much that he almost jumped up and all the vegetables fell on the ground.  Shocked and confused by his master’s behavior, he requested him never to do this again, saying that a master can never bow before the servant and other such things.

            Seeing his response, another realization dawned on Ashtavakra that Nityajantu in all his childlike simplicity, was not even aware of his own awareness of being Divine. He assumed his state of bliss as the normal state of existence , just the way it is with little children. They know the “truth” and yet they don’t know that they know it. What a big realization fell upon Ashtavakra! He traveled all over the world and learned from hundreds of wise men and women while eventually learned one simple truth which his simpleton servant knew just by being.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Haunted Haveli

In the village of Hoshangarhi, there was a huge haveli that stood in the outskirts of the village. Tall, proud, pristine, painted bright white yet abandoned and haunted.  

Once upon a time, a big family of two brothers, their wives and several noisy children lived in that mansion. There was a complete harmony and celebration; Devjani was the wife of the younger brother. They had no children of their own but they loved all the children of the elder brother Somesh and his wife Mridula. 

One day Devjani went to her parent’s house for a visit. Her mother gifted her some of her family jewelry. On her return she was too tired; she kept the gift in the cabinet without showing it to her sister-in-law, Mridula. Being close-knit, like siblings, this pinched Mridula. The rub of feelings grew; before Devjani could realize anything squabbles and fights grew between the two. Husbands began to notice the discord but decided not to intervene. The differences turned into intolerance and Mridula decided to get Devjani out of the house. She started filling her husband’s ears against Devjani and her brother in law.

 Evil words worked like slow poison. The elder brother started doubting and questioning her young brother. The entire mansion resonated with disturbance. Devjani’s husband resorted to drinking because of the disharmony in the house. One day he came home drunk to find two women in a heated exchange of words. He tried to intervene but the elder brother got in the middle and called him, lazy, selfish and a cheat. Frustrated with the lambasting, he started beating up his wife Devjani that night and threw her out of the house blaming her for their childlessness. All this while Mridula gloated with evil joy. Devjani was deeply shocked. The irony was that when they threw her out of the house, she was pregnant. Her parents took care of her. When her child came into the world, there was no sign of joy or recognition in her as if she had lost her mental equilibrium and her connection with the world. She ignored the baby and roamed around in the streets talking gibberish.

One day she passed by the haveli. She saw Mridula inside. She walked in and asked, ‘Didi (big sister) whom are you cooking for? Everyone is gone.’ And laughed manically. The next day virulent cholera hit the village. All the family members got infected and died within hours. The villagers cremated their bodies. Devjani now roamed around the village like a recluse hardly visiting her parents’s house. She rather preferred to live in her old haveli. In the night, she fought with the spirits of the diseased relatives or laughed and played with the disembodied souls of the children that waxed and waned in the night. She ran around on the terrace laughing eerily. The villagers avoided the area around the haveli during the night. They started calling it the Bangru haveli.

The old fakir sat under a tree and witnessed the whole drama. He summoned Devjani and she sat next to the fakir in the state of complete disarray. She laughed, cried, pulled her hair and showed no sign of recognizing the presence of the fakir. Fakir understood that the pain she has endured made her disconnected with her physical mind so she could remain blissfully unaware of her sad reality. He touched her forehead and reconnected the two. Suddenly Devjani felt as if she woke up from sleep. She stood before the fakir. Tears ran down her face and she felt at his feet and thanked him for freeing her from her misery. While she got her conscious self back and reconnected with life, the legion of souls of her relatives stuck in the haveli were released all at once as if a big curse had lifted. She went back to take care of her child. She never saw the fakir under that tree again but thought about him often.

One day she inquired about the fakir. The old men of the village told her that there is no such fakir in the village anywhere. Although, the babul tree that she had mentioned is exactly where the mazaar (grave) of the old fakir was. The old fakir was a Sufi saint who lived in the village centuries ago. When she went back to the same spot under the tree, she found the mazaar right where the Sufi sat that night when he liberated her from her suffering.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Downward Climb To Ascend

Muni Ujjwal was running for his life as the mad crowd was dashing at him with all sorts weapons available at hand. There were angry because the Muni drunk with his power of siddhis, promised to fulfill the desires and wishes of the villagers on this full moon night. He promised to produce gold coins, emeralds, diamonds, and rubies at will, destroy the enemies or summon the desired women and what not. 

On that fateful night, Muni sat in meditation before the crowd of the anticipating villagers who were in full awe of his celestial powers. When the Muni summoned his Ishtadeva, he appeared and got angry with the Muni, he categorically declined to fulfill any of his ego driven and selfish demands. He deserted him for good saying that there is no reason why he should shower benevolence on someone who has fallen down from his ascended level.

Seeing his absolute failure, reverence quickly turned into rage. Villagers chased him with murderous intent. Scared for his life, Muni entered the dark forest that the villagers diligently avoided in the night for the fear of wild animals. He ran panting for breath with moonlight as his only guide in the darkness. He reached a clearing where he found Rishi Agatsya. 

Rishi Agatysa was submerged deep in his mediation. Radiant golden light surrounded him. He was emanating celestial light from his body. Muni begged Rishi for mercy; slowly the sage opened his eyes and said, ‘Muni, I agree to help you ascend to your spiritual realm again but you will have to follow my path.’ Muni readily agreed. Rishi then asked him again to think again before agreeing to his conditions. Muni knew too well that he has fallen and this Rishi was his only salvation.

Rishi Agatsya finally said that the path to the Divine that I will show you is bit tricky. It takes you one step upward and two steps downward. Therefore any progress you make, you will have to descend two realms lower. 

The Muni had no choice but to follow as was told. Subsequently as he meditated, he would ascend and then descend two realms lower. Taking lifetimes after lifetime, from the realm of angels, he was pushed back in to humans, then semi humans and then into the lower forms of life but he persisted with nothing but faith. 

Descending further, he entered the demon realm and so on into the darker realms till he reached the very bottom that is the Patala Loka where he took birth as the serpent king, Sheshnaga. 

Because of his noble deeds and spiritual efforts, Sheshnaga was later called upon by none other than Vishnu himself to work as his protector. From the depth of darkness, Muni catapulted to the realm of God, the Divine Lord himself. 

All he knew was that in order to resurrect he needs to have complete faith in his guiding guru Rishi Agatsya. That unshakable faith, even in the darkest realm gave him the courage to remember the Divine and eventually he found himself in the abode of the God again.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Story of Devi Anukampa

Devi sat in deep meditation in her damp cave while underground water seeped and trickled in droplets at the mouth of the cave. From her vantage point, higher up in the isolated wing of Vihara (Buddhist Monastary) she could see the spiral staircase reaching the assembly place surrounding the holy kund (sacred pond).

The senior most monks sat in deep contemplation over the issue at hand. They were in a state of confusion. The arrival of the Devi at Vihar raised some serious questions amongst the young and old monks alike. Anahata, the head councilmen sat bemused by the discussion as the assembly discussed the issue of the presence of the beautiful young woman disrupting the life of celibate monks; creating unwanted desires in them thereby distracting from their path. She looked at them smilingly, she closed her eyes and merged with her inner light again.

 Anahata disagreed with the other monks. Although stunningly beautiful, he felt as though she never invited his sexual energy; instead he saw trees swaying happily, dropping their fruits for her and showering her with flowers. Whenever she walked through the forest, it became more vibrant and green. 

Trees blossomed out of the season as if the whole existence was bursting with joy in her presence. When she walked through the main Vihara chambers, just one look at her inspired the monks to carve and paint the most beautiful sculptures and paintings. Anywhere she went, the place resonated with life and beauty, she inspired joy, creativity, and bliss by her mere presence.

While the council decided to test the virtues of Sanyasis and Devi, Anahata’s head hung in shame to be part of such vibration that actually thought of testing the goddess herself. Devi Anukampa smiled and agreed to the test. She called upon all the monks that claimed that she was the distraction to their sadhana into the main prayer hall. When she arrived and sat before them, one look at the beautiful form created a surge of desire in all the monks. The next moment, Devi Anukampa shut her eyes and merged with her inner light. At that very moment, a miracle happened. 

All the desire filled monks dropped their adult grown up bodies and turned into infants crying and wailing for the Divine Mother. They were conscious beings still adult but crying out for their Divine Being for the first time just the way a new born cries for his mother. They let out a collective wail, the prayer hall suddenly turned into a pulsating womb. The collective cry of the souls vibrated through the Vihara into the forest. Anahata was sitting in his meditation in his cave, when he heard the wail, the cry of seeker for the Divine. 

A tear drop of joy and gratitude fell from his eyes as he bowed to the Divine Mother who sat amongst the monks reminding them of their real quest.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Friend for life

Ajeya was the sole heir of a huge princely estate, one day bored of his privileged life he decided to prove himself. On a whim he got on his horse and took off. By afternoon he ended up in a lush green forest, he felt extremely thirsty and realized how unprepared he is for the journey. He search for water in the forest for hours but he could not find any pond or stream. He came across a strange looking woodcutter, who understood that the person he is talking to is from a royal family looking at his attire jewelry and horses. The woodcutter asked him to wait under the shade of the Gular tree ( Indian cluster fig tree) as the sun is strong and he will fetch water for him.

Exhausted from his search Ajeya readily agreed. he waited for nearly an hour but there was no sign of the woodcutter. Tired and thirsty he decided to take a nap under the shade of the tree. As soon as he shut his eyes mischievous monkeys on the tree started throwing Gular fruits on him to annoy him because he had invaded their territory. 

 He ignored their antics for a while but they persisted relentlessly, finally just to deter them from their mischief he threw a fruit back at them, which unfortunately hit a baby monkey suckling on its mothers breast, he fell on the ground with the impact and injured himself. Monkeys fell eerily silent at this sudden event and retreated. 

He picked up the baby monkey who was unconscious from the fall and decided to look for water for him. He got on his horse and carried the baby monkey with him. A few miles from the tree there was a small pond. Ajeya tenderly washed the baby monkey's face and put a few drops of water in his mouth. As he rocked him gently, the baby monkey opened his eyes slowly and gave him a pitiable look. That moment he resolved to keep the monkey with him and take care of him. 

Days passed by, the two developed a special bond. They later came upon a town, where the cloth merchant gave him a job, he asked him to take a huge lot of cloth and get it dyed in different colours. he asked him to tie the monkey in the backyard because he would be struggling with that heavy bundle  of clothes. Ajeya did as told, upon his return he was aghast to find that the rope was lying loose on the ground and baby monkey was nowhere to be seen.

 He inquired around but nobody had seen him. Defeated he retired for the day in a shelter above the shop that the kind cloth merchant offered him to sleep. Ajeya worried for the safety of the monkey, as per habit he saved a fruit for the baby monkey. He left it by his bedside and drifted into a peaceful sleep. Morning he woke up to find that the fruit was missing, the seeds and skin were scattered around in the same familiar fashion as the baby monkey did while he ate. He spat and dispersed the seeds and skin of the fruits all around him in a circle while eating, which Ajeya always found amusing. It gave him relief to know that his baby monkey was still alive and well and he is aware of his whereabouts.

As time passed he attained considerable success and bought a small piece of land upon which he built a small cottage and grew vegetables and fruits around it. There was never a day that he did not think of his monkey friend, he maintained his habit of leaving some food for the monkey every night, which monkey dutifully consumed as Ajeya slept.

Later he married and had two beautiful children, he grew richer and retired to a peaceful life as an old man, his children got married and left the house, one day his wife left the world too. Alone he sat and remembered his monkey friend all the time. he would beg of him to appear before him once before he dies. One day as he struggled to sleep he saw a big monkey sitting by his bedside. Looking at him with the tenderness of a mother. Tears welled up in his eyes, he was finally there. Before he could say anything monkey spoke in a deep resonant voice. "Come with me my friend, your duties here are done, I have fulfilled my promise of protecting you in this lifetime, let me take you to my Lord Ram in his heart the heavens dwell."

Atreya discarded his old body and followed the monkey through a tunnel of light, Monkey now took the form of Lord Hanuman whom he ardently worshipped in his previous lives, Hanuman pointed at the gigantic divine form of lord Vishnu, he entered into the lotus of his heart and floated in supreme bliss as he gratefully bade farewell to his protector, savior and friend Lord Hanuman.