Saturday, February 14, 2015

With No Cares

The Fort by the sea in Tranquebar (Tharangampadi) has a museum on the first floor. After a quick glance through the exhibits, I stepped out and sat on a bench facing the Bay.

The tsunami of 2004 had claimed a part of the beach. I could see the ramparts of the fort peeping over the water every time a wave receded.

There was a wall closer to the fort building and the waves hit the wall, jumped up vertically, spraying water droplets on the beach.

My eyes fell on two very young children standing safely on the beach side behind the wall, in just their underwear, urging the waves to rise higher and higher. The waves too gamely obliged. Sometimes, the waves felt tired and were more muted, just jumping enough to peep at the children. The boy, who stood in the front, would then wave his hands as if swinging a sword, and challenging the waves to get at him. Fresh and rejuvenated waves would respond with mirth and joy, making the children scream excitedly.

I watched them for a long time wistfully. This is childhood. No cares, no responsibilities, just their imagination and a friendly 'nature'.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Life - An Illusion

My heart, my belief system is rooted deeply in the firm conviction that the divine and I are separate. He, (She, if you insist - it is just a word at that level) is all pervading, and so in me, in you, everywhere. A part of it rests within me, but the larger part rests outside, like in a bank account - to be accessed when the Self is incapable of dealing meeting a situation.

The separateness is reassuring, as if there is someone watching over, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to pour the troubles into, an arm that envelopes protectively, a dark, reassuring night that soothes and cools, a bright light that guides... As if it is all not my responsibility.

So probably, 'Yoga Vasishta' was not the book for me.

Or, just the book for me. A treatise on Advaita philosophy, it is Sage Vasishta's discourse on the non-duality of the Paramatma and Jeevatma, of how it is the Brahman, the Supreme Consciousness that is manifest in every living and non-living thing not just in the universe but the various universes that exist in multifarious forms in parallel. The discourse is given to Rama when Sage Vishwamitra calls on King Dasaratha asking for Rama's help in killing Tataka.

Rama has been distressed and restless and feels a strange detachment that he is not able to explain. The discourse aims to enlighten Rama on the nature of non-duality of the world and the need to perform our duties with detachment and realisation of the true nature of the self.

Whether you are an atheist, agnost, or theist matters not; whether you go to temples or to war matters not; whether you act or not matters not. The gods are not gods, but like us, creation of that Supreme Imagination. Life, and even non-life, is but a dream. What matters is to know this Truth and to contemplate on it, be aware of it, and repose in that Supreme Consciousness.

While I read novels at least one a week, this book needed time - I took two years to complete it. It is the same idea repeated with many stories, instances and examples. Creation and dissolution of the cosmos are also mere beginning and end of a dream. There is no you, no me, nothing. We dream and think that is true and the waking world becomes a lie. When we wake up, the dream world dissolves and becomes a lie. So it is with the world.

Am I nothing? Just a puff who will vanish, has vanished and materialised again? Are you whom I love, hate, like, dislike, am indifferent to, don't even know you exist - really? Just the effect of a dream?

The mind is still struggling to understand how all that I see and experience are but a dream of some supreme being that is and is not; that life is an illusion, a mirage that vanishes the moment the dream ends. It all seemed so clear when I was reading it, but so hard to comprehend when I close it!

I love that God who stands by me. But if that God and I are a but dream...?

Yet another illusion or self-realisation?

Am I awake or asleep?

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