In Search of Life…
Man’s Eternal Betrayals
Centuries ago, Peter was having his supper with Jesus. Peter told Jesus, “Jesus, I love you more than words can say. I Love You and without you, I cannot exist. I cannot even imagine a life away from you. I will give anything for this proximity. Nothing else matters to me, except your companionship.” Jesus looked into Peter’s eyes, smiled and said: ” Not so fast, Peter. Before the cock crows tomorrow morning, you would have disowned me thrice (Three Times).” Peter went into contemplation mode at these words of Jesus and, even though he lost his appetite, they continued their supper. Shortly afterwards, Jesus was arrested and, caring for their own dear lives, His disciples disappeared and dissolved into the crowd of sundry faces, beyond recognition. All were confused. What next? Will we be caught too? Will we be persecuted? Where to go? What to do? Is there a life ahead at all?
The wandering Peter also suffered seeming recognition from others, three times. “Is this the man whom we saw with Jesus?” Spontaneous response came from Peter, three times “Are you mad??? What are you talking about? I do not know any Jesus!!! There you go. All the steely resolutions that filled his heart a few hours ago, had completely disappeared.
Jesus has been arrested. They will kill him. Such a pure man!! How can one man singularly defend him? Now, the main job is to save oneself from persecution. Save YOURSELF… instead of save your SELF. When mind was the driving force and fear was the driver of the mind, preserving the body through which mind needs to operate was more important than living the truth that he proclaimed a short while ago. This is human nature. The confused Peter asked himself: “Judas betrayed Jesus for some transitory money which he could not eventually use. What did I do? If I truly loved Him, I should have accompanied Jesus to the CROSS!!! Why did mortal fears stop me? Was my love so shallow? Then, what is the meaning of what I told Jesus during the last supper? Was that sheer pretension? No. I loved Jesus. But fear of torture, humiliation and death obscured my love.” Peter cried…
How many times have we betrayed our dear ones? We cannot even count!!! This is the truth. This is the eternal truth of human existence.
Our love is limited and conditional. It is walled by expectations. We cannot accept anybody as they are. We can accept a person only as we want them to be. If they behave differently, we disown them. Natural expressions have no value. Pretentious expressions are often glorified. Thus, men resort to pretensions all their lives, to preserve their short lived glory. When the last time Peter disowned Jesus, he saw Jesus completely chained and dragged through the streets ahead of him. Pity welled in his eyes. Sorrows drowned his heart. What did Jesus do, to suffer this? He only lived a life of conviction and selflessness. He played with danger at will. When such emotions were overflowing through his eyes, Jesus looked at him knowingly and smiled. Jesus knew everything, but was never affected. His own safety had no value for Jesus. What is the big deal in preserving a perishable body? If days are wasted in procrastination, what is old age for? Instead, if every moment is lived purposefully and selflessly, even a shorter life is worth it. Jesus knew exactly what He was doing and He was obviously never affected. He also knew His gross and insensitive “handlers”. They had no idea what they are doing too. They thought that physical annihilation amounted to silencing the thoughts. They were wrong. Thoughts were already sown. They must sprout in the right climate. The thoughts of benevolence have always been occurring in the higher realms and only their physical manifestation appeared briefly in the terrestrial realm. His aim was equal to that of a neat road sign. Jesus had already done that. Now, the nature of exit is immaterial. He just detached Himself from His perishable body and allowed the body to be handled by gross, ignorant mass. Jesus exited as peacefully as He entered. Death is not the End. Death does not Exist, just as Birth.
Three centuries ago, existed a wandering monk. Baba Atmananda or Rastha Baba (Road Baba). He was always moving and “on the road”. Many people thought that Baba is a mad man. Because, he never cared about food or clothing. He was always wandering. He contradicted himself many times and confused people. He sometimes swept the roads in the mornings. If somebody gave him money, he bought food and distributed all to poor people, hungry children, old people and stray animals. He used to get so excited in doing this, that he would forget to consume any food for weeks. He never stayed in one locality for more than 3 days.
Many people found him to be a Siddha and wandered with him. He never took anybody with him in the form of his disciples. But, all those who dared to live with him, were taken care of by Baba. He never chose any disciples though. One day, Baba suddenly told his companions: “There will be heavy clouds and rains. There can be no shelter from elements. We will be scattered”. His companions became scared and confused. If rain and flood happens, where will they stay? Some slowly detached from Baba and left for safer zones. Some tried to make a shelter or arrange one in the neighborhood. But, the problem was, Baba never stayed at one place for long. So, all the plans that they made were of no use. Some chose to be with him against all the odds, as they were confident that Baba will protect them.
This time in the story, they were staying in a temple town in South India and they were all sleeping in the temple complex, on the floor, on a simple cloth. They stayed there for three nights, and on the third night, there was a theft in the temple. The police caught the thief. They brought him to the temple to take evidences and while taking him back, they were keenly observing the bystanders to see if any of them were showing any familiarity, spontaneously, towards the thief. Or, if the thief was looking at anyone in particular. This could be a sign that he could be an associate of the thief. They were disappointed. None showed any recognition. When the thief came near Baba Atmananda, he looked at Baba. Baba lifted his hand, smiled and blessed him. Police caught Baba and took him to the police station. His disciples ran away. They did the same thing that Peter did to Jesus. They completely disowned their Guru. All of them ran away, to other cities even, to escape persecution. Atmananda stayed in prison for three nights and it never affected him. Finally, the police understood his innocence and released him. He blessed the policemen and the police station and started walking, as always. For many weeks, Baba wandered alone. It did not make any difference to him. Some disciples understood Baba’s prediction of Clouds and Rains. Some came back. Some went away for ever.
Human relationships are so conditional. There is no permanence. Today, we may feel inseparability and deep love and tomorrow utter hatred. Relationships are so fragile and they are built on expectations. When our expectations crash, so do our relationships. Life after life, we have been living this terrestrial truth of impermanence. When can we truly understand our existentialistic impermanence and embrace the truth and permanence?
Many liberated Masters have created situations that tilted their disciples from their comfort zones. They often behaved in strange ways. Disciples who have expectations and set notions about their Guru become disillusioned and quit. This was the aim of the Guru too. Shaking the tree. Dry leaves should fall. Only those with firm faith need to survive. Faith is the key. Faith takes them to the highest, with the guidance of the Guru.
Nirupama was in her late 30’s. Unmarried and looking. Domestic difficulties did not permit her to marry and settle down. Yet, she was hopeful and continued her search for a groom. She was working for this British couple for more than six years and they quite liked Nirupama. She was honest and trustworthy.
One day, from nowhere, a gardener called Raja appeared in her neighborhood. He was in his late 20s. Handsome and strong. Nirupama watched him keenly for a few days and decided that she liked him a lot. She made friends with him. She found him to be a bit shy and reluctant in the beginning, but, later on, they fell “deeply” in love. What has age got to do with love?!!!
Their relationship matured rapidly and they spent all their free time together. For Nirupama, it was like a fresh rain on her parched life. A big relief. Raja was reasonably educated and intelligent. Nirupama was happy about it. She dreamed of having a house and children of her own with Raja. Raja also encouraged her dreams. Thus, months went by. Her dreams grew into determination. Raja supported it. They even behaved like a husband and wife. Raja put in her mind the need for capital to start a family. All these years, she has been spending for her own family, educating her brothers and sisters and treating her ailing parents. She had no savings of her own. Raja made her understand the importance of savings of their own and even showed her how much he has saved ever since he met her, for their dreams’ sake. She was convinced and she also started to save money. She even started to collect materials for their eventual house.
A year or so passed and they decided to eventually tie the knot. Nirupama realized that she did not know any family members of Raja, nor was she clear of where he belonged to. He just told her that he is an orphan, hailing from the neighboring state. Love is blind. She did not care about such details anyway. Her love was powerful enough to eradicate any worries about his nativity. They decided to get married on a particular day. The week before that day, they sat and charted out their future plans. The first thing was to go to his state, get married at a magistrate office, take a rented house and start the family. They would both leave their current jobs. He would find a job in their neighborhood and she would assist him, as best as she could. Their priority was children and everything else was secondary. Nirupama was excited. She announced her plan to her employers and they supported her wholeheartedly. They gave her some money and new clothes. Raja persuaded her to get more money. She was not happy to ask for more. He convinced her that the amount they both had in hand was insufficient even to rent a house. For the first time in her life, she stole money. Nirupama’s employers trusted her so much that they always left their rooms unlocked. Even though guilt haunted her, looking forward for a great life, she ran away to the state of Raja. She also realized that Raja also had stolen some money from his employer, “for their sake”. So, they shared their guilt. They traveled in a local bus. Raja hugged Nirupama and made her feel comfortable and loved.
Next day morning, their bus arrived at the bus station in Raja’s home town. Raja said: “There is still time for the government offices to open. We could use the public facilities to freshen up. You could go to the bath and toilet, freshen up and comeback. I will wait till you come back and then I will do the same. Then we will have breakfast and go to the office of the marriage registrar.” Nirupama was excited about the day and taking her clothes for changing after bath, she left her bags with Raja and went to the toilet. When she came back, she could not find her bags or Raja. She searched the entire place. He was nowhere to be seen. Thinking that he might have gone to toilet, she remained at the same place she left him till noon time. He never came back. Slowly she realized that she has been BETRAYED!!!
Raja left with their bags and money. He went to a friend who is a money lender. He had told Raja that if he brings some money to him, in a month’s time, he can double that amount and return to him. Raja handed over the entire cash to his friend. Friend treated him with a lunch and accepted the money. He asked Raja to come back exactly on the same day, the next month.
When Raja went back to his friend exactly on the same day, the next month, his friend pretended that he does not remember any transactions between him and Raja. He asked for proof in writing, receipt of some kind. Raja had none. Raja lost his money. He knew that his friend has CHEATED him.
His friend used the money to buy a new car. He went to the second hand car dealer and bought a fancy car for an “unbelievable bargain”. He was given a week to decide and since he knew the dealer, he took the car for test drive. His friend allowed to keep the car for a week. The next day, police arrested him and the car because the car was stolen. He had to spend a lot of money to get out of the situation and police case. The car dealer had CHEATED him.
Thus, the saga of cheating continues in the terrestrial life. Who gets the last laugh? The History. History laughs at the human folly. Terrestrial urges make people ruthless and they carry the guilt and burden. Nirupama cheated her employers. Raja cheated Nirupama. Money lender cheated Raja. The car dealer cheated the money lender. Everything comes around, sooner or later. In the search for life, we accumulate. We become over burdened by our own actions and their heaviness. We blame others for our suffering. We never realize that each thought, word and action of ours creates our own destiny. This is the truth. If we realize this, we will be unconditional. We will certainly watch our own thoughts, words and actions. We will never hurt anyone. We will always express love without expectations. Life is so short. Life is all about LOVE. Life becomes heavy with Greed. Life becomes light with spontaneous expressions of KINDNESS and LOVE. Life becomes unbearable with Anxieties and Hatred. Life becomes meaningful with Unconditional LOVE. In search of life, or its meaning, if we live indiscriminately, nobody else will be able to help us. We will suffer, over lifetimes. No action, word or thought will go wasted. Everything is bound to build a chapter in our existence, irrespective of whether the chapter is long or short.
This time I chose to talk about the shallowness of relationships because, this is the truth on earth. Nobody loves anybody unconditionally. Every relationship is conditional. Every attachment has a purpose. Love and kindness depend on conditions. This is the sorry state of our seemingly grand relationships. Small and ignorable errors are separating people. People hesitate to even smile, let alone hug and kiss. We have lost spontaneity. It is time to think deeply about ourselves, our thoughts, words and action. Are they conditional or not? I bet, all of us will find tons of conditions attached to each relationship. The ropes of conditions are strangling ourselves. We are living in an idealistic world. We pretend and live our pretensions, eventually becoming oblivious about our reality and truths. It is time. Wake UP. It is time. It is TIME…
LOVE YOU ALWAYS
Atmananda is a fictional character created by Mohanji to explain the Tradition. Any resemblance to the living or dead is purely coincidental.