Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Seeker : Whoever surrenders to Him, takes refuge in Him, puts himself in His protection, can he be regarded as an orphan? I ask you, whoever has not established contact with the Father, is he not an orphan?


Escape to the Himalayas

With eight years, as it was customary in his Brahmin caste he was about to be married. This led to a quick decision: 
Being a young student in Kashi, the next moring he left for the Himalayas. Eight years but undaunted:

The path was chosen, the decision was made. The young ascetic in Kashi, renouncing all worldly desires, set out next morning on a lonely upstream journey along the banks of the river Bhagirathi (the Ganga). With his mind fixed on the inward Goal the child advanced in rapid steps alongside the Ganga. The sun rose, the sandy trail became hotter and hotter, but he kept walking, undeterred, calm, ready to face all challenges. The river goddess suggested that he should drink a few sips of the holy water with the cup of his hands and rest a while under a shady tree. But he replied, "Mother," it is with your grace alone that I can make this lone journey. Let me not get into the habit of stopping: Let me reach soon a cave in the Himalayas where I can sit and find my life's fulfillment." Saying this, he bowed to Goddess Bhagirathi and moved on.

Without rest, without sleep, unafraid of the desolate night, he moved on and on and on. On and on. On and on and on. Hungry or thirsty, or hungry and thirsty, he drank a few mouthfuls of the Ganga water with his hollowed palm, and moved on. On and on. One day passed. Two days. What a test for Destiny to give to someone so young in years! And also to give him the fortitude that enabled him to pass it!

It was nearing sunset on the third day. The young traveller was moving onwards, kicking up a lot of dust, leaping over shrubs, when a zamindar (village landlord) noticed him and wondered who he was and where he was going. He tried to send for him through his servant, but could he dare do that and insult the young traveller moving so freely and with such single-minded intent? When the servant failed to elicit response, the zamindar went himself.

"Who are you?" the zamindar asked, when he caught up to him at last. Came the reply,
"Why do you want to know? What is your intention?"
He entreated, "All I want to know is who are you and why are you going in such a great hurry on this rugged path at such an odd time."
The young ascetic said, "You are not in a position to know whether this is the right path or the wrong path, the right time or the wrong time. Sufficient for you to know, that l am travelling from Kashi to the Himalayas in order to meditate.
Go and mind your own business and don’t trouble me for nothing.'
The zamindar taken aback somewhat mustered courage
enough to say softly, “Maharaj,may I ask you when and where on the way you have begged tor food?”
He got the reply, "So far the Ganga water has been my food and my drink."
"Then come and have some food and rest before going further. That will give me satisfaction. Moreover, it’s getting to be dark."
"I'm not going to knock at anyone's door for food. As for satisfaction, I cannot believe that your giving me a meal would give you satisfaction. Satisfaction means that no desires remain and after that no desires arise. Your giving me alms is not going to give you that satisfaction. That can come only if you know the Supreme Essence, knowing which all else is known, and obtaining which nothing remains unobtainable. So make such efforts that bring you real satisfaction."

What a glorious philosophy from such an innocent mouth! The zamindar wondered about the extent of learning that must been the institution that produced mere youngster. Milk was arranged on the river bank itself. Our philosopher friend poured two-thirds of it into the river as an offering in repayment of the water he had drunk during the last three days. The river goddess was immensely pleased and gave him a boon: He would never again need to quench his hunger with water alone. And indeed it so happened that during the many years that he spent in lonely caves or thick jungles or barren plains, he never had to beg for food and yet it came aplenty in some form or the other. Many a time on dark dismal nights in the forest he would receive food from somewhere.

From his grandfather he had heard about the Triveni, or the sacred meeting-point of three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. With great devotion he took dips at the holy spot. Then he moved onwards. Feeling tired, he sat down on a wooden plank near the riverside at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Some time later, he was sitting, meditating, when a stranger came and sat down nearby. Both remained motionless for quite a long time. The stranger saw how difTerent this child was from other children of his age. He looked tired and yet there was a glow on his face. The stranger took out a piece of paper from his pocket, read it, and looked again at the child's facial features. Then he came very close and sat down beside him. The child ascetic was shocked a little by this behaviour and looked curiously at him. The man once more took out the paper from his pocket and placed it before the child. Child ascetic: What is this?
Man: Your description.
Child ascetic: Who are you?
Man: I am a policeman.
Child ascetic: What do you want?
Policeman: This is your description. You have run away from home....
Child ascetic: There is no need to talk much. It's just a description, isn't it?
Policeman: Yes.
Child ascetic: Then whoever has given you this description, inform him that I am here. If someone loses an animal, he reports a description to the police. But I am someone's son. Go and inform him that I have come here. If he wants he should take me from here.
Policeman: Yes, of course, I will inform. But tell me why have you come away from home?
Child ascetic: It's a fine question, "Why have you come away from home?" I ask you, why do you never leave your home?

For a while the policeman forgot who he was. He was wonderstruck by the philosophic logic of the little boy's retort.

Policeman: Everybody stays at home because that is where the comfort is. Why have you left the comfort of your home? Why are you wandering restlessly on the riverside on such a hot afternoon?
Child ascetic: Go, Sir, mind your own business. Go and enjoy the pleasures of home. In the lap of Mother Ganga, or on the sands, or walking on a silent afternoon in the wilderness—do I wander about restlessly or do I have the very bliss of life? —you'll never understand.

The policeman felt cut down to size, and sensed a great deal of respect for the child ascetic. Policeman: You are young of age. But you seem to belong to a very high family. Roaming around like this—like an orphan—don't you feel.. -a-ashamed?

Child ascetic: It's true I'm small. But you consider yourself big, don't you? But being big you still don't understand who is an orphan and who is not an orphan. If you think about it a little, then you will see that the Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Supreme Soul is everyone's Guardian, is everyone's Master, is everyone's Father. Whoever surrenders to Him, takes refuge in Him, puts himself in His protection, can he be regarded as an orphan? I ask you, whoever has not established contact with the Father, is he not an orphan? Such sagacious words coming from the mouth of one so very young left the policeman speechless and he thought that this was no ordinary child but a Mahatma in the bud.

From: ‘The Whole Thing the Real Thing’

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