New Year Enlightenment

Submitted into Contest #25 in response to: Write a short story about someone writing Valentine's Day wishes.... view prompt



New Year Enlightenment

Feet seemed heavy and mind heavier as M was coming out of the Ashram of Swamiji (Priest/ Guru). It became almost impossible for M to push himself any further and he slumped over a bench few meters from the exit gate.

It was a foggy evening in this part of North India– New Year eve. There was enough light to not call it a night yet. But, it was dark and foggy enough to conceal his inner conflict to the world. He felt a little comforted that his wife did not come with him though she strongly desired so. It would have been impossible for him to explain his state of mind. It saved him from the possibility of making his twenty five year old marital life even worse.

This is the second time M visited Swamiji’s Ashram. One of his close friends was a regular devotee and visitor to Swamiji. He used to seek the advice as well as blessings of Swamiji for every major struggle  in his life. On his first visit to Ashram (with his friend, of course) to attend Swamiji’s discourse, M was impressed to see Swamiji’s following. Swamiji appeared to have the aura of his knowledge written on the face of everyone there irrespective of cast, creed, gender and age. M was truly mesmerized by the radiance on the forehead of Swamiji.

M came alone today noon with a specific purpose. He could not see himself narrating his purpose to Swamiji in the presence of anyone known to him. He joined Swamiji’s discourse in the afternoon.

Swamiji told the congregation – “Every Soul on the face of Earth is an Energy Unit from a large system called Universe. Universe has a definite motion, which is defined by God. Every Energy Unit moves synchronized to the motion of the Universe. There is no individual act and movement. It is just one Direction which belongs to the Universe. All the constituents of the Universe just follow it.

M had come there to confess that he had been smoking for the past thirty-five years,  and to have a New Year resolution not to smoke. He wanted Swamiji to show him the way not to indulge again, forever. He expected it to be simple. He thought he would go to Swamiji and make an open confession. In return, he expected  Swamiji to laud him and bestow his blessings. Though M was sitting at quite a distance away from him, M felt that Swamiji was looking in his eyes while saying it as if these lines were specifically for him. After these words, world suddenly became void. M was not able to hear anything. Just these words kept reverberating in his ears with Swamiji’s face.

Was he smoking as M or it was also the design of the Universe? Was he guided by God to smoke? Did he decide to quit smoking or is it the role of the Universe? Does Swamiji want to say that I have no Free will and it does not matter whatever I say or do? All such questions captivated him completely. He was feeling like “Arjuna”(Brave Warrior in the Epic Mahabharata) in the “Battle of Mahabharata” completely confused and grief stricken by his inner conflict.

From this state of persona captivation, M was awakened by a distant voice. He saw a young man, whom he immediately identified as Nitya the disciple of Swamiji, calling his name. M could see him only when he came very near. Nitya asked him if he was all right. M could produce a wry smile but nodded anyway. Nitya told him that Swamiji was calling him for a meeting. Nitya also asked M if Swamiji happened to know him personally. When M denied any such connection, Nitya looked utterly surprised and said that M was special. Swamiji did not, generally, meet unknown persons privately. As a natural reaction, M asked what was the purpose of call by Swamiji. Nitya shrugged his shoulders down to notify that he had absolutely no idea about it.

Anyway, M went along with Nitya for the rendezvous and reached Swamiji’s chamber. It was a simple and sparingly furnished room with outlook of peace and tranquility. However, presence of Swamiji was filling it up with Vibrancy. It was adequately lit for the occupiers to be able to observe the facial expressions of each other.

Ordinarily, M should have touched Swamiji’s feet but with his state of mind, he could not bring himself to perform this act. He folded his hands in a brief “Pranam”(way of greeting an elder). From the corner of his eyes, he could watch Nitya not liking it and, perhaps, taking it as an insult. However, Swamiji looked to be composed and smiling. He asked M to take his seat and asked if he would care for some water. It calmed M down a bit. He already started feeling better for reasons unknown to him. Swamiji signaled Nitya to bring water for M when he nodded for it.

As Nitya moved off, Swamiji came straight to the point, “ Son, What is troubling you?”

M was dumbfounded. How could he know I am stricken by inner conflict? Who is he? And, if I am so important, who am I?

Finally he spoke,” Perhaps you already know it all. Yet, I will narrate it again.”

Then he told him everything from his confession to possible resolution and his feeling himself as the target of his gaze during discourse and also the matter in his mind afterwards. Nitya returned back with slightly warm water exactly when M was on the verge of completing his rendition. He drank a little water. The glass of water felt refreshing. He looked at Swamiji with childlike curiosity for the answers.

Swamiji smiled and said,” Son, You look exhausted. Pl go with Nitya. He will arrange for your stay and food. We will talk in the morning.”

He, once again, signaled Nitya to carry out his instructions. M was perplexed with such turn of events but he could see Nitya even more astonished than he was. He, surely, had not seen his Guru being so personal and caring about an unknown person. However, instructions were to be obeyed. He arranged comfortable stay for M very methodically.

M was woken up early on New Year morning by a cheerful Nitya. He informed M that He should get ready to meet Swamiji in an hour. M could not remember the last time he felt so excited in anticipation. He surprised himself with his speed to be with Nitya again in thirty minutes. Nitya also could not resist smiling at his age defying enthusiasm. However, Nitya told him to wait for some time as his Guru was completing his morning prayers. After another half an hour, they left and reached Swamiji’s Prayer and Yoga Compound almost immediately. Swamiji was sitting in “Vajrasana”(A posture of Yoga) when he reached there. Once again, He bade “Pranam” to Swamiji who blessed him with his hand on his head and signaled to take “Aasana” (a Yoga mat).

Once settled, Swamiji asked M to start with his queries.

M said,” First of all, I want to know how you knew about my state of mind. “

Swamiji’s eye got lit up when he told him that he would know it himself by the end of the discussion. M began to say something but caught himself from doing so. He had many more questions that he wanted answered first. So He moved on to his earlier thoughts as queries -

“Was I smoking as M or it was also the design of the Universe? Was I guided by God to smoke? Did I decide to quit smoking or it is the role of the Universe? Do you want to say that I have no identity and it does not matter whatever I say or do?”

And he added,” Should I quit smoking at all?”

Swamiji’s voice became deep as he spoke,” Universe was created by the Almighty with Matter or Mass and Energy. Then, HE gave it direction and motion by creating the Laws of Birth and Death. HE decided no further intervention in the functioning of constituents. However, He fixed the most basic laws of life, which are Birth and Death. Every Being that takes birth in the Universe dies and takes birth again in another form.

He continued,” We take birth by assimilating Mass and Energy derived from Universal Reservoir created by God. So, We are a Part of HIM. However, HE does not intervene in our routine life. HE takes control of the direction as well as motion of the Universe by the form of Birth you will get. Since you are an engineer, you will understand that HE has written the code for this function to happen automatically. Our way to act between the period of Birth and Death qualifies for Birth in another form of Life. Code installed by God manipulates the combination and amounts of Mass and Energy to give you another Birth Form.”

M pondered over Swamiji’s lines in his mind for some moments and said,” I could understand what you told me but my queries remain unanswered.”

Swamiji laughed lightly and asked,” is it?”

M looked puzzled but still said,” Yes Swamiji. I am still looking for replies on my queries about smoking.”

Swamiji stood up from his “Aasana” and raised his right hand upwards to explain further,” HE gave you life to perform and enjoy within the framework of “Dharma” (Principles of right Living) which keeps the direction and motion of the Universe aligned to HIS design. You get your Birth form by your capability of following the path of “Dharma”. Your exhibiting high adherence to “Dharma”means you help HIM to keep his designs intact. It brings you closer to HIM. “ All your actions, which include even smoking, keep getting categorized to Harmonious or Cacophonous to the motion of the Universe by the code HE wrote. If your acts are harmonious with “Dharma “, you are destined for higher Birth close to HIM otherwise you are not.”

While Swamiji has completing his sentence, Sun was rising behind him. It reached exactly behind his head when he reached the last of the words. It also cleared the mist in M’s head and he could clearly reflect every aspect of life. He watched in amazement towards Swamiji who looked like “Lord Krishna” (God from Epic Mahabharata who explained Dharma to Arjuna). This was the moment when he realized by himself that he got the answer to his first question by himself as promised by Swamiji. His inner self created an image of Arjuna sitting in the Feet of Lord Krishna in his mind. With Tears of Joy in his eyes, He bent to sit in the feet of Swamiji and touch them.

This was the moment of Enlightenment…

January 25, 2020 04:56

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