Last year, this time around, on Datta-Sridhara jayanti, I was at Bangalore and spent the first half at Vasanthapura at Sridhara Swamiji’s paduka mandira. Today, I’d initially planned to go to Varadahalli for a similar darshana and prasada, but that was not to be. Even a visit to have paduka darshana at Ramatirtha nearby got shelved. I wasn’t even able to do my routine puja today! As my earlier self, I would get frustrated with such happenings and beg for grace. Today, however, I can feel the grace even in such seeming denials. Why, I can’t really say, but I feel so; nay, I know so. So, I’m going to write something about how I want to exist now, henceforth!
Let me start with a prayer or two to my most beloved guru, Sridhara. Why I say most beloved is because I know Shankaracharya from only his writings and others’ writings about him, Ramana through such and his video too, but Sridhara through these and people who’ve met him, heard him, touched him, lived with him and moreover, through his voice! Perhaps, I say this (also) because I feel it more today through his grace on this special day of his jayanti. It’s a bhakti-bhaava.
guru dattAtreyA shripAda rAyA
narasimha sridhara guru rAyA
namaH shAntAya divyAya satya dharma swarupiNe
swanandAmritatriptAya shridharAya namo namaH
What I wanted to talk of today, is how is the existence today and how it should be! I’ll, for some reason, say the latter first. The existence must be childlike, not childish of course! A child gets something and loses interest in it as soon as the next interesting thing comes to it. That is, it’s a moving interest if it may be called that at all. It doesn’t remain stuck to any one thing for a long period of time. The so-called interest in a particular subject or object, for a child, is for interest’s sake only. It’s a different matter that it learns from it and uses such data later on, gets attached, and grows on to be an adult like us, totally tied up and bound to all sorts of things, good and bad. But suppose we draw a line just there as to the child’s interest for interest’s sake, or better put, child’s doing something for no particular reason but only because it needs to be done (eg, for others like parents, relatives, etc). That line would define how I would like to exist: existence for existence’s sake in this world. Its not a negative, lost-everything, kind of outlook towards life as *many* might feel, since within, there’s an entirely different world, full of bliss. As long as this bliss continues, there’s nothing wrong in what is happening around… I’d merely be a witness. Again, to me, it’s a positive thing.
Next, how life was until now: the childhood is a living for others, according to others, not knowing anything, learning, not learning, right or wrong, most of it being visibly circumstantial. Later, a stage comes where we *feel* we live for others, or even as if we live because others live for us! However the case may be, we do make plans for tomorrow, losing today, exhausting ourselves in a bandwidth that’s beyond our catering! Having done that, lost and fixed health, we age and then on, our (over-grown) family feels our burden since we, even if not a burden, expect them to live according to the terms that we’ve defined lifelong. (This may probably be one of the reasons that Vedas declared vAnaprastha Ashrama, wherein a person is expected to leave his family behind, at most, taking his wife along, for children to live on their own terms). We do not remain happy and contented with what we have achieved by then and want more from life, materially. We have got attached to people and things we built around us over the entire era that has gone, judging and misjudging everyone and everything. That attachment will have bound us to such an extent that we do not allow ourselves to step an inch away from any of that. To justify our behavior, we also state all the troubles we’ve undergone in past years, not knowing that it was all for ourselves and for our people that brought us pleasure! No one cares for it today since the past is valued little, by a few people, if at all. A child relates to its parents and viceversa, emotionally and that’s the most difficult barrier to break: to step away from them. Even anyone wanting to take a plunge so finds it hard to believe that the first (physical) cut of the umbilical cord bound us to the society but the second (logical) cut of it frees us for ever! Somewhere during that time, we may or may not realize that Death awaits us across the fence as an atithi (uninvited guest), like a vaishvAnarAgni to whom our final Ahuti need be given!
Om asatomA sadgamaya
om shAntiH shAntiH shantiH
dattaguro'rarpaNamastu: ramaNArpaNam, shankarArpaNam, sridharArpaNamastu